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´╗┐Title: Under the Waves - Diving in Deep Waters
Author: Ballantyne, R. M. (Robert Michael), 1825-1894
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Under the Waves - Diving in Deep Waters" ***

Under the Waves; or, Diving in Deep Waters, by R.M.Ballantyne.


This was a very difficult book to obtain.  There was a copy in the
British Library, and another one in a Library in Dartmouth, Devon.  For
several years I tried at least weekly to find a copy via Abebooks or
eBay, with no success.  The copy belonging to the Ballantyne family had
disappeared, not to put too fine a point on it.  Eventually a kind
family in Canada offered to scan the pages of their copy, and send the
images to me, and this is the result.

Ballantyne did indeed try out some diving equipment, so as to obtain a
first-hand feel for diving. It is related that something went wrong, too
much air was sent down, and he surfaced rapidly upside down.  A similar
episode is related in the book.

Ballantyne's style often gives rise to two or even three stories
continuing simultaneously, and here we have the adventures of one Rooney
Machowl, an Irishman who decides to move from his ship's carpenter trade
to that of diving.  In fact divers should always have another trade, or
they wouldn't be much use under the water.  In addition there is the
aspiration of Edgar Berrington to win the hand of a fair young lady,
there are the events happening to the young lady's father, and then
again the events happening to the young lady's companion.  So it is all
fairly convoluted.  But you'll certainly learn a lot about diving, as
the art stood in 1876.  It is rather strange that Ballantyne, having
written this book, which ran to several printings, did not much mention
diving in any other of his books.




This tale makes no claim to the character of an exhaustive illustration
of all that belongs to the art of diving.  It merely deals with the most
important points, and some of the most interesting incidents connected
therewith.  In writing it I have sought carefully to exhibit the true
and to ignore the false or improbable.

I have to acknowledge myself indebted to the well-known submarine
engineers Messrs. Siebe and Gorman, and Messrs. Heinke and Davis, of
London, for much valuable information; and to Messrs. Denayrouze, of
Paris, for permitting me to go under water in one of their
diving-dresses.  Also--among many others--to Captain John Hewat,
formerly Commander in the service of the Rajah of Sarawak, for much
interesting material respecting the pirates of the Eastern Seas.

R.M.B.  Edinburgh, 1876.



"So, sir, it seems that you've set your heart on learning something of

The man who said this was a tall and rugged professional diver.  He to
whom it was said was Edgar Berrington, our hero, a strapping youth of

"Well--yes, I have set my heart upon something of that sort, Baldwin,"
answered the youth.  "You see, I hold that an engineer ought to be
practically acquainted, more or less, with everything that bears, even
remotely, on his profession; therefore I have come to you for some
instruction in the noble art of diving."

"You've come to the right shop, Mister Edgar," replied Baldwin, with a
gratified look.  "I taught you to swim when you wasn't much bigger than
a marlinespike, an' to make boats a'most before you could handle a
clasp-knife without cuttin' your fingers, an' now that you've come to
man's estate nothin'll please me more than to make a diver of you.
But," continued Baldwin, while a shade clouded his wrinkled and
weatherbeaten visage, "I can't let you go down in the dress without
leave.  I'm under authority, you know, and durstn't overstep--"

"Don't let that trouble you," interrupted his companion, drawing a
letter from his pocket; "I had anticipated that difficulty, and wrote to
your employers.  Here is their answer, granting me permission to use
their dresses."

"All right, sir," said Baldwin, returning the letter without looking at
it; "I'll take your word for it, sir, as it's not much in my line to
make out the meanin' o' pot-hooks and hangers.--Now, then, when will you
have your first lesson?"

"The sooner the better."

"Just so," said the diver, looking about him with a thoughtful air.

The apartment in which the man and the youth conversed was a species of
out-house or lumber-room which had been selected by Baldwin for the
stowing away of his diving apparatus and stores while these were not in
use at the new pier which was in process of erection in the neighbouring
harbour.  Its floor was littered with snaky coils of india-rubber
tubing; enormous boots with leaden soles upwards of an inch thick;
several diving helmets, two of which were of brightly polished metal,
while the others were more or less battered, dulled, and dinted by hard
service in the deep.  The walls were adorned with large damp
india-rubber dresses, which suggested the idea of baby-giants who had
fallen into the water and been sent off to bed while their costumes were
hung up to dry.  In one corner lay several of the massive breast and
back weights by which divers manage to sink themselves to the bottom of
the sea; in another stood the chest containing the air-pump by means of
which they are enabled to maintain themselves alive in that
uncomfortable position; while in a third and very dark corner, an old
worn-out helmet, catching a gleam from the solitary window by which the
place was insufficiently lighted, seemed to glare enviously out of its
goggle-eyes at its glittering successors.  Altogether, what with the
strange spectral objects and the dim light, there was something weird in
the aspect of the place, that accorded well with the spirit of young
Berrington, who, being a hero and twenty-one, was naturally romantic.

But let us pause here to assert that he was also practical--eminently
so.  Practicality is compatible with romance as well as with rascality.
If we be right in holding that romance is gushing enthusiasm, then are
we entitled to hold that many methodical and practical men have been,
are, and ever will be, romantic.  Time sobers their enthusiasm a little,
no doubt, but does by no means abate it, unless the object on which it
is expended be unworthy.

Recovering from his thoughtful air, and repeating "Just so," the diver
added, "Well, I suppose we'd better begin wi' them 'ere odds an' ends
about us."

"Not so," returned the youth quickly; "I have often seen the apparatus,
and am quite familiar with it.  Let us rather go to the pier at once.
I'm anxious to go down."

"Ah!  Mister Edgar--hasty as usual," said Baldwin, shaking his head
slowly.  "It's two years since I last saw you, and I _had_ hoped to find
that time had quieted you a bit, but--.  Well, well--now, look here: you
think you've seen all my apparatus, an' know all about it?"

"Not exactly all," returned the youth, with a smile; "but you know I've
often been in this store of yours, and heard you enlarge on most if not
all of the things in it."

"Yes--most, but not _all_, that's where it lies, sir.  You've often seen
Siebe and Gorman's dresses, but did you ever see this helmet made by
Heinke and Davis?"

"No, I don't think I ever did."

"Or that noo helmet wi' the speakin'-toobe made by Denayrouze and
Company, an' this dress made by the same?"

"No, I've seen none of these things, and certainly this is the first
time I have heard of a speaking-tube for divers."

"Well then, you see, Mister Edgar, you have something to larn here after
all; among other things, that Denayrouze's is _not_ the first
speakin'-toobe," said Baldwin, who thereupon proceeded with the most
impressive manner and earnest voice to explain minutely to his no less
earnest pupil the various clever contrivances by which the several
makers sought to render their apparatus perfect.

With all this, however, we will not trouble the reader, but proceed at
once to the port, where diving operations were being carried on in
connection with repairs to the breakwater.

On their way thither the diver and his young companion continued their

"Which of the various dresses do you think the best?" asked Edgar.

"I don't know," answered Baldwin.

"Ah, then you are not bigotedly attached to that of your employer--like
some of your fraternity with whom I have conversed?"

"I _am_ attached to Siebe and Gorman's dress," returned Baldwin, "but I
am no bigot.  I believe in every thing and every creature having good
and bad points.  The dress I wear and the apparatus I work seem to me as
near perfection as may be, but I've lived too long in this world to
suppose nobody can improve on 'em.  I've heard men who go down in the
dresses of other makers praise 'em just as much as I do mine, an' maybe
with as good reason.  I believe 'em all to be serviceable.  When I've
had more experience of 'em I'll be able to say which I think the best.--
I've got a noo hand on to-day," continued Baldwin, "an' as he's goin'
down this afternoon for the first time, so you've come at a good time.
He's a smart young man, but I'm not very hopeful of him, for he's an

"Come, old fellow," said Edgar, with a laugh, "mind what you say about
Irishmen.  I've got a dash of Irish blood in me through my mother, and
won't hear her countrymen spoken of with disrespect.  Why should not an
Irishman make a good diver?"

"Because he's too excitable, as a rule," replied Baldwin.  "You see,
Mister Edgar, it takes a cool, quiet, collected sort of man to make a
good diver, and Irishmen ain't so cool as I should wish.  Englishmen are
better, but the best of all are Scotchmen.  Give me a good, heavy,
raw-boned lump of a Scotchman, who'll believe nothin' till he's
convinced, and accept nothin' till it's proved, who'll argue with a
stone wall, if he's got nobody else to dispute with, in that slow sedate
humdrum way that drives everybody wild but himself, who's got an amazin'
conscience, but no nerves whatever to speak of--ah, that's the man to go
under water, an' crawl about by the hour among mud and wreckage without
gittin' excited or makin' a fuss about it if he should get his life-line
or air-toobe entangled among iron bolts, smashed-up timbers, twisted
wire-ropes, or such like."

"Scotchmen should feel complimented by your opinion of them," said

"So they should, for I mean it," replied Baldwin, "but I hope the
Irishman will turn up a trump this time.--May I take the liberty of
askin' how you're gittin' on wi' the engineering, Mister Edgar?"

"Oh, famously.  That is to say, I've just finished my engagement with
the firm of Steel, Bolt, Hardy, and Company, and am now on the point of
going to sea."

Baldwin looked at his companion in surprise.  "Going to sea!" he
repeated, "why, I thought you didn't like the sea?"

"You thought right, Baldwin, but men are sometimes under the necessity
of submitting to what they don't like.  I have no love for the sea,
except, indeed, as a beautiful object to be admired from the shore, but,
you see, I want to finish my education by going a voyage as one of the
subordinate engineers in an ocean-steamer, so as to get some practical
acquaintance with marine engineering.  Besides, I have taken a fancy to
see something of foreign parts before settling down vigorously to my
profession, and--"

"Well?" said Baldwin, as the youth made rather a long pause.

"Can you keep a secret, Baldwin, and give advice to a fellow who stands
sorely in need of it?"

The youth said this so earnestly that the huge diver, who was a
sympathetic soul, declared with much fervour that he could do both.

"You must know, then," began Edgar with some hesitation, "the fact is--
you're such an old friend, Baldwin, and took such care of me when I was
a boy up to that sad time when I lost my father, and you lost an

"Ay, the best master I ever had," interrupted the diver.

"That--that I think I may trust you; in short, Baldwin, I'm over head
and ears with a young girl, and--and--"

"An' your love ain't requited--eh?" said Baldwin interrogatively, while
his weatherbeaten face elongated.

"No, not exactly that," rejoined Edgar, with a laugh.  "Aileen loves me
almost, I believe, as well as I love her, but her father is dead against
us.  He scorns me because I am not a man of wealth."

"What is _he_?" demanded Baldwin.

"A rich China merchant."

"He's more than that," said Baldwin.

"Indeed!" said Edgar, with a surprised look; "what more is he?"

"He's a goose!" returned the diver stoutly.

"Don't be too hard on him, Baldwin.  Remember, I hope some day to call
him father-in-law.  But why do you hold so low an opinion of him?"

"Why, because he forgets that riches may, and often do, take to
themselves wings and fly away, whereas broad shoulders, and deep chest,
and sound limbs, and a good brain, usually last the better part of a
lifetime; and a brave heart will last for ever."

"I am afraid that I have yet to prove, to myself as well as to the old
gentleman, that the brave heart is mine," returned Edgar.  "As to the
physique--you may be so far right, but he evidently undervalues that."

"I said nothing about physic," returned Baldwin, who still frowned as he
thought of the China merchant, "and the less that you and I have to do
wi' that the better.  But what are you goin' to do, sir?"

"That is just the point on which I want to have your advice.  What ought
I to do?"

"Don't run away with her, whatever you do," said Baldwin emphatically.

The youth laughed slightly as he explained that there was no chance
whatever of his doing that, because Aileen would never consent to run
away or to disobey her father.

"Good--good," said the diver, with still greater emphasis than before,
"I like that.  The gal that would sacrifice herself and her lover sooner
than disobey her father--even though he is a goose--is made o' the right
stuff.  If it's not takin' too great a liberty, Mister Edgar, may I ask
what she's like?"

"What she's like--eh?" murmured the other, dropping his head as if in
reverie, and stroking the dark shadow on his chin which was beginning to
do duty for a beard.  "Why, she--she's like nothing that I ever saw on
earth before."

"No!" ejaculated Baldwin, elevating his eyebrows a little, as he said
gravely, "what, not even like an angel?"

"Well, yes; but even that does not sufficiently describe her.  She's
fair,"--he waxed enthusiastic here,--"surpassingly fair, with wavy
golden tresses and blue eyes, and a bright complexion and a winning
voice, and a sylph-like figure and a thinnish but remarkably pretty

"Ah!" interrupted Baldwin, with a sigh, "I know: just like my missus."

"Why, my good fellow," cried Edgar, unable to restrain a fit of
laughter, "I do not wish to deny the good looks of Mrs Baldwin, but you
know that she's uncommonly ruddy and fat and heavy, as well as fair."

"Ay, an' forty, if you come to that," said the diver.  "She's fourteen
stun if she's an ounce; but let me tell you, Mister Edgar, she wasn't
always heavy.  There _was_ a time when my Susan was as trim and taut and
clipper-built as any Aileen that ever was born."

"I have no doubt of it whatever," returned the youth, "but I was going
to say, when you interrupted me, it is her eyes that are her strong
point--her deep, liquid, melting blue eyes, that look at you so
earnestly, and seem to pierce--"

"Ay, just so," interrupted the diver; "pierce into you like a gimblet,
goin' slap agin the retina, turnin' short down the jugular, right into
the heart, where they create an agreeable sort o' fermentation.  Oh!
Don't I know?--my Susan all over!"

Edgar's amusement was tinged slightly with disgust at the diver's
persistent comparisons.  However, mastering his feelings, he again
demanded advice as to what he should do in the circumstances.

"You han't told me the circumstances yet," said the diver quietly.

"Well, here they are.  Old Mr Hazlit--"

"What!  Hazlit?  Miss Hazlit, is _that_ her name?" cried Baldwin, with a
look of pleased surprise.

"Yes, do you know her?"

"Know her?  Of course I do.  Why, she visits the poor in my district o'
the old town--you know I'm a local preacher among the Wesleyans--an'
she's one o' the best an' sweetest--ha!  Angel indeed!  I'm glad she
wasn't made an angel of, for it would have bin the spoilin' of a
splendid woman.  Bless her!"

The diver spoke with much enthusiasm, and the young man smiled as he
said, "Of course I add Amen to your last words.--Well then," he
continued, "Aileen's father has refused to allow me to pay my addresses
to his daughter.  He has even forbidden me to enter his house, or to
hold any intercourse whatever with her.  This unhappy state of things
has induced me to hasten my departure from England.  My intention is to
go abroad, make a fortune, and then return to claim my bride, for the
want of money is all that the old gentleman objects to.  I cannot bear
the thought of going away without saying good-bye, but that seems now
unavoidable, for he has, as I have said, forbidden me the house."

Edgar looked anxiously at his companion's face, but received no
encouragement there, for Baldwin kept his eyes on the ground, and shook
his head slowly.

"If the old gentleman has forbid you his house, of course you mustn't go
into it.  However, it seems to me that you might cruise about the house
and watch till Sus--Aileen, I mean--comes out; but I don't myself quite
like the notion of that either, it don't seem fair an' above-board

"You are right," returned Edgar.  "I cannot consent to hang about a
man's door, like a thief waiting to pounce on his treasure when it
opens.  Besides, he has forbidden Aileen to hold any intercourse with
me, and I know her dear nature too well to subject it to a useless
struggle between duty and inclination.  She is certain to obey her
father's orders at any cost."

"Then, sir," said Baldwin decidedly, "you'll just have to go afloat
without sayin' good-bye.  There's no help for it, but there's this
comfort, that, bein' what she is, she'll like you all the better for
it.--Now, here we are at the pier.  Boat a-hoy-oy!"

In reply to the diver's hail a man in a punt waved his hand, and pulled
for the landing-place.

A few strokes of the oar soon placed them on the deck of a large clumsy
vessel which lay anchored off the entrance to the harbour.  This was the
diver's barge, which exhibited a ponderous crane with a pendulous hook
and chain in the place where its fore-mast should have been.  Several
men were busied about the deck, one of whom sat clothed in the full
dress of a diver, with the exception of the helmet, which was unscrewed
and lay on the deck near his heavily-weighted feet.  The dress was wet,
and the man was enjoying a quiet pipe, from all which Edgar judged that
he was resting after a dive.  Near to the plank on which the diver was
seated there stood the chest containing the air-pumps.  It was open, the
pumps were in working order, with two men standing by to work them.
Coils of india-rubber tubing lay beside it.  Elsewhere were strewn about
stones for repairing the pier, and various building tools.

"Has Machowl come on board yet?" asked Baldwin, as he stepped on the
deck.  "Ah, I see he has.--Well, Rooney lad, are you prepared to go

"Yis, sur, I am."

Rooney Machowl, who stepped forward as he spoke, was a fine specimen of
a man, and would have done credit to any nationality.  He was about the
middle height, very broad and muscular, and apparently twenty-three
years of age.  His countenance was open, good-humoured, and
good-looking, though by no means classic--the nose being turned-up, the
eyes small and twinkling, and the mouth large.

"Have you ever seen anything of this sort before?" asked Baldwin, with a
motion of his hand towards the diving apparatus scattered on the deck.

"No sur, nothin'."

"Was you bred to any trade?"

"Yis, sur, I'm a ship-carpenter."

"An' why don't you stick to that?"

"Bekase, sur, it won't stick to me.  There's nothin' doin' apparently in
this poort.  Annyhow I can't git work, an' I've a wife an' chick at
home, who've bin so long used to praties and bacon that their stummicks
don't take kindly to fresh air fried in nothin'.  So ye see, sur,
findin' it difficult to make a livin' above ground, I'm disposed to try
to make it under water."

While Rooney Machowl was speaking Baldwin regarded him with a fixed and
critical gaze.  What his opinion of the recruit was did not, however,
appear on his countenance or in his reply, for he merely said, "Humph!
Well, we'll see.  You'll begin your education in your noo profession by
payin' partikler attention to all that is said an' done around you."

"Yis, sur," returned Machowl, respectfully touching the peak of his cap
and wrinkling his forehead very much, while he looked on at the further
proceedings of the divers with that expression of deep earnest sincerity
of attention which--whether assumed or genuine--is only possible to the
countenance of an Irishman.

During this colloquy the two men standing by the pump-case, and two
other men who appeared to be supernumeraries, listened with much
interest, but the diver seated on the plank, resting and calmly smoking
his pipe, gazed with apparent indifference at the sea, from which he had
recently emerged.

This man was a very large fellow, with a dark surly countenance--not
exactly bad in expression, but rather ill-tempered-looking.  His
diving-dress being necessarily very wide and baggy, made him seem larger
than he really was--indeed, quite gigantic.  The dress was made of very
thick india-rubber cloth, and all--feet, legs, body, and arms--was of
one piece, so perfectly secured at the seams as to be thoroughly
impervious to air or water.  To get into it was a matter of some
difficulty, the entrance being effected at the neck.  When this neck is
properly attached to the helmet, the diver is thoroughly cut off from
the external world, except through the air-tube communicating with his
helmet and the pump afore mentioned.

"Have ye got the hole finished, Maxwell?" said Baldwin, turning to the
surly diver.

"Yes," he replied shortly.

"Well, then, go down and fix the charge.  Here it is," said Baldwin,
taking from a wooden case an object about eighteen inches long, which
resembled a large office-ruler that had been coated thickly with pitch.
It was an elongated shell filled to the muzzle with gunpowder.  To one
end of it was fastened the end of a coil of wire which was also coated
with some protecting substance.

As Baldwin spoke Maxwell slowly puffed the last "draw" from his lips and
knocked the ashes out of his pipe on the plank, on which he still
remained seated while the two supernumeraries busied themselves in
completing his toilet for him; one screwing on his helmet, which
appeared ridiculously large, the other loading his breast and back with
two heavy leaden weights.  When fully equipped, the diver carried on his
person a weight fully equal to that of his own bulky person.

"Now look here, Mister Edgar, an' pay partikler attention, Rooney
Machowl.  This here toobe, made of indyrubber, d'ee see?  (`Yis, sur,'
from Rooney) I fix on, as you perceive, to the back of Maxwell's helmet.
It communicates with that there pump, and when these two men work the
pump, air will be forced into the helmet and into the dress down to his
very toes.  We could bu'st him, if we were so disposed, if it wasn't for
an escape-valve, here close beside the air-toobe, at the back of the
helmet, which keeps lettin' off the surplus air.  Moreover, there is
another valve, here in front of the breast-plate, which is under the
control of the diver, so that he can let air escape by givin' it a
half-turn when the men at the pumps are givin' him too much, or he can
keep it in when they're givin' him enough."

"An' what does he do," asked Rooney, with an anxious expression, "whin
they give him too little?"

"He pulls on the air-pipe,--as I'll explain to you in good time--the
proper signal for `more air.'"

"But what if he forgits, or misremimbers the signal?" asked the
inquisitive recruit.

"Why then," replied Baldwin, "he suffocates, and we pull him up dead,
an' give him decent burial.  Keep yourself easy, my lad, an' you'll know
all about it in good time.  I'll soon give 'ee the chance to suffocate
or bu'st yourself accordin' to taste."

"Come, cut it short and look alive," said Maxwell gruffly, as he stood
up to permit of a stout rope being fastened to his waist.

"You shut up!" retorted Baldwin.

Having exchanged these little civilities the two divers moved to the
side of the barge--Maxwell with a slow ponderous tread.

A short iron ladder dipped from the gunwale of the barge a few feet down
into the sea.  The diver stepped upon this, turning with his face
inwards, descended knee-deep into the water, and then stopped.  Baldwin
handed him the blasting-charge.  At the same moment one of the
supernumeraries advanced with the front-glass or bull's-eye in his hand,
and the men at the pumps gave a turn or two to see that all was working

"All right?" demanded the supernumerary.

"Right," responded Maxwell, in a voice which issued sepulchrally from
the iron globe.

There are three round windows fitted with thick plate-glass in the
helmets to which we refer.  The front one is made to screw off and on,
and the fixing of this is always the last operation in completing a
diver's toilet.

"Pump away," said the man, holding the round glass in front of Maxwell's
nose, and looking over his shoulder to see that the order was obeyed.
The glass was screwed on, and the man finished off by gravely patting
Maxwell in an affectionate manner on the head.

"Why does he pat him so?" asked Edgar, with a laugh at the apparent
tenderness of the act.

"It's a tinder farewell, I suppose," murmured Rooney, "in case he niver
comes up again."

"It is to let him know that he may now descend in safety," answered
Baldwin.  "The pump there is kep' goin' from a few moments before the
front-glass is screwed on till the diver shows his head above water
again--which he'll do in quarter of an hour or so, for it don't take
long to lay a charge; but our ordinary spell under water, when work is
steady, is about four hours--more or less--with perhaps a breath of ten
minutes once or twice at the surface when they're working deep."

"But why a breath at the surface?" asked Edgar.  "Isn't the air sent
down fresh enough?"

"Quite fresh enough, Mister Edgar, but the pressure when we go deep--say
ten or fifteen fathoms--is severe on a man if long continued, so that he
needs a little relief now and then.  Some need more and some less
relief, accordin' to their strength.  Maxwell has only gone down fifteen
feet, so that he wouldn't need to come up at all durin' a spell of work.
We're goin' to blast a big rock that has bin' troublesome to us at low
water.  The hole was driven in it last week.  We moored a raft over it
and kep' men at work with a long iron jumper that reached from the rock
to the surface of the sea.  It was finished last night, and now he's
gone to fix the charge."

"But I don't understand about the pressure, sur, at all at all," said
Machowl, with a complicated look of puzzlement; "sure whin I putt my
hand in wather I don't feel no pressure whatsomediver."

"Of course not," responded Baldwin, "because you don't put it deep
enough.  You must know that our atmosphere presses on our bodies with a
weight of about 20,000 pounds.  Well, if you go thirty-two feet deep in
the sea you get the pressure of exactly another atmosphere, which means
that you've got to stand a pressure all over your body of 40,000 when
you've got down as deep as thirty-two feet."

"But," objected Rooney, "I don't fed no pressure of the atmosphere on me
body at all."

"That's because you're squeezed by the air inside of you, man, as well
as by the atmosphere outside, which takes off the _feelin'_ of it, an',
moreover, you're used to it.  If the weight of our atmosphere was took
off your outside and not took off your inside--your lungs an' the
like,--you'd come to feel it pretty strong, for you'd swell like a
balloon an' bu'st a'most, if not altogether."

Baldwin paused a moment and regarded the puzzled countenance of his
pupil with an air of pity.

"Contrairywise," he continued, "if the air was all took out of your
inside an' allowed to remain on your outside, you'd go squash together
like a collapsed indyrubber ball.  Well then, if that be so with one
atmosphere, what must it be with a pressure equal to two, which you have
when you go down to thirty-two feet deep in the sea?  An' if you go down
to twenty-five fathoms, or 150 feet, which is often done, what must the
pressure be there?"

"Tightish, no doubt," said Rooney.

"True, lad," continued Joe.  "Of course, to counteract this we must
force more air down to you the deeper you go, so that the pressure
inside of you may be a little more than the pressure outside, in order
to force the foul air out of the dress through the escape-valve; and
what between the one an' the other your sensations are peculiar, you may
be sure.--But come, young man, don't be alarmed.  We'll not send you
down very deep at first.  If some divers go down as deep as twenty-five
fathoms, surely you'll not be frightened to try two and a half."

Whatever Rooney's feelings might have been, the judicious allusion to
the possibility of his being frightened was sufficient to call forth the
emphatic assertion that he was ready to go down two thousand fathoms if
they had ropes long enough and weights heavy enough to sink him!

While the recruit is preparing for his subaqueous experiments, you and
I, reader, will go see what Maxwell is about at the bottom of the sea.



When the diver received the encouraging pat on the head, as already
related, he descended the ladder to its lowest round.  Here, being a few
feet below the surface, the buoyancy of the water relieved him of much
of the oppression caused by the great weights with which he was loaded.
He was in a semi-floating condition, hence the ladder, being no longer
necessary, was made to terminate at that point.  He let go his hold of
it and sank gently to the bottom, regulating his pace by a rope which
descended from the foot of the ladder to the mud, on which in a few
seconds his leaden soles softly rested.  A continuous stream of
air-bubbles from the safety-valve behind the helmet indicated to those
above that the pumps were doing their duty, and at the same time hid the
diver entirely from their sight.

Meanwhile the two men who acted as signalman and assistant stood near
the head of the ladder, the first holding the life-line, the assistant
the coil of air-tubing.  Their duty was to stand by and pay out or haul
in tubing and line according as the diver's movements and necessities
should require.  They were to attend also to his signals--some of which
were transmitted by the line and some by the air-tube.  These signals
vary among divers.  With Baldwin and his party one pull on the
_life-line_ meant "All right;" four pulls, "I'm coming up."  One pull on
the air-pipe signified "Sufficient air;" two pulls, "More air."  (pump
faster.)  Four pulls was an alarm, and signified "Haul me up."  The
aspect of Rooney Machowl's face when endeavouring to understand
Baldwin's explanation of these signals was a sight worth seeing!

But to return to our diver.  On reaching the bottom, Maxwell took a coil
of small line which hung on his left arm, and attached one end of it to
a stone or sinker which kept taut the ladder-line by which he had
descended.  This was his clew to guide him back to the ladder.  Not only
is the light under water very dim--varying of course, according to
depth, until total darkness ensues--but a diver's vision is much
weakened by the muddy state of the water at river-mouths and in
harbours, so that he is usually obliged to depend more on feeling than
on sight.  If he were to leave the foot of his ladder without the
guiding-coil, it would be difficult if not impossible to find it again,
and his only resource would be to signal "Haul me up," which would be
undignified, to say the least of it!  By means of this coil he can
wander about at will--within the limits of his air-tube tether of
course,--and be certain to find his way back to the ladder-foot in the
darkest or muddiest water.

Having fastened the line, the diver walked in the direction of the rock
on which he had to operate, dropping gradually the coils of the
guiding-line as he proceeded.  His progress was very slow, for water is
a dense medium, and man's form is not well adapted for walking in it--as
every bather knows who has attempted to walk when up to his neck in it.
He soon found the object of his search, and went down on his knees
beside the hole already driven into the rock.  Even this process of
going on his knees was not so simple as it sounds, for the men above
were sending down more air than could escape by the valve behind the
helmet, and thus were filling his dress to such an extent that he had a
tendency to rise off the ground despite his weights.  To counteract this
he opened the valve in front, let out the superabundant air, got on his
knees, and was soon busy at work inserting the charge-tube into the hole
and tamping it well home, taking care that the fine wire with which it
communicated with the party in the barge should not be injured.

While thus engaged he was watched, apparently with deep interest, by a
small crab, a shrimp, and several little fish of various kinds, all of
which we may add, seemed to have various degrees of curiosity.  One
particular little fish, named a goby, and celebrated for its wide-awake
nature and impudence, actually came to the front-glass of the helmet and
looked in.  But the diver was too busy to pay attention to it.  Nothing
abashed, the goby went to each of the side-windows, but, receiving no
encouragement, it made for a convenient ledge of the rock, where,
resting its fore-fins on a barnacle, it turned its head a little on one
side and looked on in silence.  Finding this rather tedious, after a
time it went, with much of the spirit of a London street-boy, and,
passing close to the shrimp, tweaked the end of one of its feelers,
causing that volatile creature to vanish.  It then made a demonstration
of attack on the crab, but that crustaceous worthy, sitting up on its
hind-legs and expanding both claws with a very "come-on-if-you-dare"
aspect, bid it defiance.

Meanwhile the charge was laid, and Maxwell rose to return to the world
above.  Feeling a certain uncomfortable hotness in the air he breathed,
and observing that his legs were remarkably thin, and that his dress was
clasped somewhat too lovingly about his person, he became aware of the
fact that, having neglected to reclose the front-valve, his supply of
air was now insufficient.  He therefore shut the valve and began to wend
his way back to the ladder.  By the time he reached it the air in his
dress had swelled him out to aldermanic dimensions, so that he pulled
himself up the ladder-rope, hand over hand, with the utmost ease--having
previously given four pulls on his life-line to signal "coming up."  A
few seconds more and his head was seen to emerge from the surface, like
some goggle-eyed monster of the briny deep.

A comrade at once advanced and unscrewed his front-glass, and then, but
not till then, did the men at the pumps cease their labours.

"All right," said Maxwell, stepping over the side and seating himself on
his plank.

"Stand by," said Baldwin.

The two satellites did not require that order, for they were already
standing by with a small electrical machine.  The wire before mentioned
as being connected with the charge of powder, now safely lodged in the
hole at the bottom of the sea, was connected with the electrical
machine, and a few vigorous turns of its handle were given, while every
eye was turned expectantly on the surface of the sea.

That magic spark which now circles round the world, annihilating time
and space, was evolved; it flashed down the wire; the ocean could not
put it out; the dry powder received it; the massive rock burst into
fragments; a decided shock was felt on board the barge, and a turmoil of
gas-bubbles and dead or dying fish came to the surface, in the midst of
which turmoil the shrimp, the crab, and the goby doubtless came to an
untimely end.

Thus was cleared out of the way an obstruction which had from time
immemorial been a serious inconvenience to that port; and thus every
year serious inconveniences and obstructions that most people know very
little about are cleared out of the way by our bold, steady, and daring
divers, through the wisdom and the wonderful appliances of our submarine

"Now then, Rooney, come an' we'll dress you," said Baldwin.  "As you're
goin' to be a professional diver it's right that you should have the
first chance and set a good example to Mister Berrington here, who's
only what we may call an amateur."

"Faix, I'd rather that Mister Berrington shud go first," said Rooney,
who, as he spoke, however, stripped himself of his coat, vest, and
trousers preparatory to putting on the costume.

"I'll be glad to go first, Rooney, if you're afraid," said Edgar.

Rooney's annoyance at being thought afraid was increased to indignation
by a contemptuous guffaw from Maxwell.

Flushing deeply and casting a glance of anger at Maxwell, the young
Irishman crushed down his feelings and said--

"Sure, I'm only jokin'.  Put on the dress Mister Baldwin av ye plaze."

A diver, like a too high-bred lady, cannot well dress himself.  He
requires two assistants.  Rooney Machowl sat down on the plank beside
Maxwell, who was busy taking off his dress, and acted according to

First of all they brought him a thick guernsey shirt, a pair of drawers
and pair of _inside_ stockings, which he put on and fastened securely.
Sometimes a "crinoline" to afford protection to the stomach in deep
water is put on, but on the present occasion it was omitted, the water
being shallow.  Then Baldwin put on him a "shoulder-pad" to bear the
weight of the helmet, etcetera, and prevent chafing.

"If it was cold, Rooney," said his instructor, "I'd put two guernseys
and pairs of drawers and stockin's on you, but, as it's warm, one set'll
do.  Moreover, if you was goin' deep you'd have the option of stuffin'
your ears with cotton soaked in oil, to relieve the pressure; some do
an' some don't.  I never do myself.  It's said to relieve the pressure
of air on the ears, but my ears are strong.  Anyway you won't want it in
this water.--Now for the dress, boys."

The two assistants--with mouths expanded from ear to ear--here advanced
with the strong india-rubber garment whose legs, feet, body, and arms
are, as we have already said, all in one piece.  Pushing his feet in at
the upper opening, Rooney writhed, thrust, and wriggled himself into it,
being ably assisted by his attendants, who held open the sleeves for him
and expanded the tight elastic cuffs, and, catching the dress at the
neck, hitched it upwards so powerfully as almost to lift their patient
off his legs.  Next, came a pair of _outside_ stockings and canvas
overalls or short trousers, both of which were meant to preserve the
dress-proper from injury.  Having been got into all these things, Rooney
was allowed to sit down while his attendants each put on and buckled a
boot with leaden soles--each boot weighing about twenty pounds.

"A purty pair of dancin' pumps!" remarked Rooney, turning out his toes,
while Baldwin put on his breast-plate, after having drawn up the inner
collar of the dress and tied it round his neck with a piece of spare

The breast-plate was made of tinned copper.  It covered part of the
back, breast, and shoulders of the diver, and had a circular neck, to
which the helmet was to be ultimately screwed.  It rested on the _inner_
collar of the dress, and the _outer_ collar--of stout india-rubber--was
drawn over it.  In this outer collar were twelve holes, corresponding to
twelve screws round the edge of the breast-plate.  When these holes had
been fitted over their respective screws, a breast-plate-band, in four
pieces, was placed over them and screwed tight by means of nuts--thus
rendering the connection between the dress and the breast-plate
perfectly water-tight.  It now only remained to screw the helmet to the
circular neck of the breast-plate.  Previously, however, a woollen
night-cap was drawn over the poor man's head, well down on his ears, and
Rooney looked--as indeed he afterwards admitted that he felt--as if he
were going to be hanged.  He thought, however, of the proverb, that a
man who is born to be drowned never can be hanged, and somehow felt

The diving helmet is made of tinned copper, and much too large for the
largest human head, in order that the wearer may have room to move his
head freely about inside of it.  It should not touch the head in any
part, but is fixed rigidly to the breast-plate, resting on the
shoulders, and does not partake of the motions of the head.  In it are
three round openings filled with the thickest plate-glass and protected
by brass bars or guards; also an outlet-valve to allow the foul air to
escape; a short metal tube with an inlet-valve, to which the air-pump is
screwed; and a regulating cock for getting rid of excess of air.  The
arrangement is such, that the fresh air enters, and is spread over the
front of the diver's face, while the foul escapes at the back of his
head.  By a clever contrivance--a segmental screw--the helmet can be
fixed to its neck with one-eighth of a turn, instead of having to be
twisted round several times.  To various hooks and studs on the helmet
and breast-plate are hung two leaden masses weighing about forty pounds

These weights having been attached, and a waist-belt with a knife in it
put round Rooney's waist, along with the life-line, the air-tube was
affixed, and he was asked by Baldwin how he felt.

"A trifle heavy," replied the pupil, through the front hole of the
helmet, which was not yet closed.

"That feeling will go off entirely when you're under water," said
Baldwin.  "Now, remember, if you want more air, just give two pulls on
the air-pipe--an' don't pull as if you was tryin' to haul down the
barge; we'll be sure to feel you.  Be gentle and quiet, whatever ye do.
Gettin' flurried never does any good whatever.  D'ee hear?"

"Yis, sur," answered Rooney, and his voice sounded metallic and hollow,
even to those outside--much more so to himself!

"Well, then, if we give you too much air, you've only got to open the
front-valve--so, and, when you're easy, shut it.  When you get down to
the bottom, give one--only one--pull on the life-line, which means `All
right,' and I'll give one pull in reply.  We must always reply to each
other, d'ee see? because if you don't answer, of course we'll think
you've been suffocated, or entangled at the bottom among wreckage and
what-not, or been took with a fit, an' we'll haul you up, as hard as we
can; so you'll have to be particular.  D'ee understand?"

Again the learner replied "Yis, sur," but less confidently than before,
for Baldwin's cautions, although meant to have an encouraging effect,
proved rather to be alarming.

"Now," continued the teacher, leading his pupil to the side of the
barge, "be sure to go down slow, and come up slow.  Whatever you do, do
it slow, for if you do it fast--especially in comin' up--you'll come to
grief.  If a man comes up too fast from deep water, the condensed air
inside of him is apt to swell him out, and the brain bein' relieved too
suddenly from the pressure, there's a rush of blood to it, and a singin'
in the ears, and a pain in the head, with other unpleasant symptoms.
Why," continued Baldwin, growing energetic, "I've actually known a man
killed outright by bein' pulled up too quick from a depth of twenty
fathoms.  So mark my words, lad, and take it easy.  If you get nervous,
just stop a bit an' amuse yourself with thinkin' over what I've told
you, and then go on with your descent."

At this point Rooney's heart almost failed him, but, catching sight of
Maxwell's half-amused, half-contemptuous face, he stepped resolutely on
the ladder, and began to descend in haste.

"Hold on!" roared Baldwin, laying hold of the life-line.  "Why, man
alive, you're off without the front-glass!"

"Och!  Whirra!  So I am," said Rooney, pausing.

"Pump away, lads," cried Baldwin, looking back at his assistants.

"Whist!  What's that?" asked the pupil excitedly, as a hissing sound
buzzed round his head.

"Why, that's the air coming in.  Now then, I'll screw on the glass.  Are
you all right?"

"All right," replied Rooney, telling, as he said himself afterwards,
"one of the biggist lies he iver towld in his life!"

The glass was screwed on, and the learner was effectually cut off from
all connection with the outer air, save through the slight medium of an
india-rubber pipe.

Having thus screwed him up--or in--Baldwin gave him the patronising pat
on the helmet, as a signal for him to descend, but Rooney stood tightly
fixed to the ladder, and motionless.

Again Baldwin patted his head encouragingly, but still Rooney stood as
motionless as one of the iron-clad warriors in the Tower of London.  The
fact was, his courage had totally failed him.  He was ashamed to come
up, and could not by any effort of will force himself to go down.

"Why, what's wrong?" demanded Baldwin, looking in at the glass, which,
however, was so clouded with the inmate's breath that he could only be
seen dimly.  It was evident that Rooney was speaking in an excited
voice, but no sound was audible through that impervious mass of metal
and glass.  Baldwin was therefore about to unscrew the mouth-glass, when
accident brought about what Rooney's will could not accomplish.  In
attempting to move, the poor pupil missed his hold, or slipped somehow,
and fell into the sea with a sounding splash.

"Let him go, boys--gently, or he'll break everything.  A dip'll do him
no harm," cried Baldwin to the alarmed assistants.

The men let the life-line and air-tube slip, until the rushing descent
was somewhat abated, and then, checking the involuntary diver, they
hauled him slowly to the surface, where his arms and open palms went
swaying wildly round until they came in contact with the ladder, on
which they fastened with a grip that was sufficient to have squeezed the
life out of a gorilla.

In a few seconds he ascended a step, and his head emerged, then another
step, and Baldwin was able to unscrew the glass.

The first word that the poor man uttered through his porthole was "Och!"
the next, "Musha!"

A burst of laughter from his friends above somewhat reassured him, and
again the tinge of contempt in Maxwell's voice reinfused courage and
desperate resolve.

"Why, man, what was your haste?" said Baldwin.

"Sure the rounds o' yer ladder was slippy," answered Rooney, with some
indignation.  "Didn't ye see, I lost me howld?  Come, putt on the glass
an' I'll try again.  Never say die was a motto of me owld father, an' it
was the only legacy he left me.--I'm ready, sur."

It is right here to remark that something of the pupil's return of
courage and resolution was due to his quick perception.  He had time to
reflect that he really had been at, or near, the bottom of the sea--at
all events over head and ears in water--for several minutes without
being drowned, even without being moistened, and his faith in the
diving-dress, though still weak, had dawned sufficiently to assert
itself as a power.

"Ha!  My lad, you'll do.  You'll make a diver yet," said Baldwin, when
about to readjust the glass.  "I forgot to tell you that when your
breath clouds the front-glass, you've only got to bend your head down,
and wipe it off with your night-cap.  Now, then, down you go once more."

This time the pat on the head was followed by a descending motion.  The
mailed figure was feeling with its right foot for the next round of the
ladder.  Then slowly--very slowly--the left foot was let down, while the
two hands held on with a tenacity that caused all the muscles and sinews
to stand out rigidly.  Then one hand was loosened, and caught nervously
at a lower round--then the other hand followed, and thus by degrees the
pupil went under the surface, when his helmet appeared like a large
round ball of light enveloped in the milky-way of air-bubbles that rose
from it.

"You'd better give the signal to ask if all's right," said Edgar, who
felt a little anxious.

"Do so," said Baldwin, nodding to the assistant.

The man obeyed, but no answering signal was returned.

According to rule they should instantly have hauled the diver up, but
Baldwin bade them delay a moment.

"I'm quite sure there's nothing wrong," he said, stooping over the side
of the barge, and gazing into the water, "it's only another touch of
nervousness.--Ah!  I see him, holdin' on like a barnacle to the ladder,
afraid to let go.  He'll soon tire of kickin' there--that's it: there he
goes down the rope like the best of us."

In another moment the life-line and air-pipe ceased to run out, and then
the assistant gave one pull on the line.  Immediately there came back
_one pull_--all right.

"_That's_ all right," repeated Baldwin; "now the ice is fairly broken,
and we'll soon see how he's going to get on."

In order that we too may see that more comfortably, you and I, reader,
will again go under water and watch him.  We will also listen to him,
for Rooney has a convenient habit of talking to himself, and neither
water nor helmet can prevent _us_ from overhearing.

True to his instructions, the pupil proceeded to fasten his clew-line to
the stone at the foot of the ladder-rope, and attempted to kneel.

"Well, well," he said, "did ye iver!  What would me mother say if she
heard I couldn't git on my knees whin I tried to?"

Rooney began this remark aloud, but the sound of his own voice was so
horribly loud and unnaturally near that he finished off in a whisper,
and continued his observations in that confidential tone.

"Och!  Is it dancin' yer goin' to do, Rooney?--in the day-time too!" he
whispered, as his feet slowly left the bottom.  "Howld on, man!"

He made a futile effort to stoop and grasp the mud, then, bethinking
himself of Baldwin's instructions, he remembered that too much air had a
tendency to bring him to the surface, and that opening the front-valve
was the remedy.  He was not much too soon in recollecting this, for,
besides rising, he was beginning to feel a singing in his head and a
disagreeable pressure on the ears, caused by the ever-increasing density
of the air.  The moment the valve was fully opened, a rush out of air
occurred which immediately sank him again, and he had now no difficulty
in getting on his knees.

"There's little enough light down here, anyhow," he muttered, as he
fumbled about the stone sinker in a vain attempt to fasten his line to
it, "sure the windy must be dirty."

The thought reminded him of Baldwin's teaching.  He bent forward his
head and wiped the glass with his night-cap, but without much advantage,
for the dimness was caused by the muddiness of the water.

Just then he began to experience uncomfortable sensations; he felt a
tendency to gasp for air, and became very hot, while his garments
clasped his limbs very tightly.  He had, like Maxwell, forgotten to
reclose the breast-valve, but, unlike the more experienced diver, he had
failed to discover his omission.  He became flurried and anxious, and
getting, more and more confused, fumbled nervously at his helmet to
ascertain that all was right there.  In so doing he opened the little
regulating cock, which served to form an additional outlet to foul air.
This of course made matters worse.  The pressure of air in the dress was
barely sufficient to prevent the water from entering by the breast-valve
and regulating cock.  Perspiration burst out on his forehead.  He
naturally raised his hand to wipe it away, but was prevented by the

Rooney possessed an active mind.  His thoughts flew fast.  This check
induced the following ideas--

"What if I shud want to scratch me head or blow me nose?  Or what if an
earwig shud chance to have got inside this iron pot, and take a fancy to
go into my ear?"

His right ear became itchy at the bare idea.  He made a desperate blow
at it, and skinned his knuckles, while a hitherto unconceived intensity
of desire to scratch his head and blow his nose took violent possession
of him.

Just then a dead cat, that had been flung into the harbour the night
before, and had not been immersed long enough to rise to the surface,
floated past with the tide, and its sightless eyeballs and ghastly row
of teeth glared and glistened on him, as it surged against his
front-glass.  A slight spirt of water came through the regulating cock
at the same instant, as if the dead cat had spit in his face.

"Hooroo!  Haul up!" shouted Rooney, following the order with a yell that
sounded like the concentrated voice of infuriated Ireland.  At the same
time he seized the life-line and air-tube, and tugged at both, not four
times, but nigh forty times four, and never ceased to tug until he found
himself gasping on the deck of the barge with his helmet off and his
comrades laughing round him.

"It's not a bad beginning," said Baldwin, as he assisted his pupil to
unrobe; "you'll make a good diver in course o' time."

Baldwin was right in this prophecy, for in a few months Rooney Machowl
became one of the best and coolest divers on his staff.

We need not try the reader's patience with an account of Edgar's
descent, which immediately followed that of the Irishman.  Let it
suffice to say that he too accomplished, with credit and with less
demonstration, his first descent to the bottom of the sea.



Miss Pritty was a good soul, but weak.  She was Edgar Berrington's
maiden aunt--of an uncertain age--on the mother's side.  Her chief
characteristic was delicacy--delicacy of health, delicacy of sentiment,
delicacy of intellect--general delicacy, in fact, all over.  She was
slight too--slightly made, slightly educated, slightly pretty, and
slightly cracked.  But there were a few things in regard to which Miss
Laura Pritty was strong.  She was strong in her affections, strong in
her reverence for all good things (including a few bad things which in
her innocence she thought good), strong in her prejudices and impulses,
and strong--remarkably strong--in parentheses.  Her speech was eminently
parenthetical, insomuch that the range of her ideas was wholly
untrammelled by the proprieties of subject or language.  Given a point
to be aimed at in conversation, Miss Pritty _never_ aimed at it.  She
invariably began with it, and, parting finally from it at the outset,
diverged to any or every other point in nature.  Perplexity, as a matter
of course, was the usual result both in speaker and hearer, but then
that mattered little, for Miss Pritty was also strong in easy-going

On the evening in which we introduce her, Miss Pritty was going to have
her dear and intimate friend Aileen Hazlit to tea, and she laid out her
little tea-table with as much care as an engineer might have taken in
drawing a mathematical problem.  The teapot was placed in the exact
centre of the tray, with its spout and handle pointing so that a line
drawn through them would have been parallel to the sides of her little
"boudoir."  The urn stood exactly behind it.  The sugar-basin formed, on
one side of the tray, a _pendant_ to the cream-jug on the other, and
inasmuch as the cream-jug was small, a toast-rack was coupled with it to
constitute the necessary balance.  So, too, with the cups: they were
placed equidistant from the teapot, the sides of the tray, and each
other, while a salver of cake on one side of the table was scrupulously
balanced by a plate of buns on the other side.

"There she is--the _darling_!" exclaimed Miss Pritty, with a little skip
and (excuse the word) a giggle as the bell rang.

"Miss Aileen Hazlit," announced Miss Pritty's small and only domestic,
who flung wide open the door of the boudoir, as its owner was fond of
styling it.

Whereupon there entered "an angel in blue, with a straw hat and ostrich

We quote from the last, almost dying, speech of a hopeless youth in the
town--a lawyer's clerk--whose heart was stamped over so completely with
the word "Aileen" that it was unrecognisable, and practically useless
for any purpose except beating--which it did, hard, at all times.

Aileen was beautiful beyond compare, because, in her case, extreme
beauty of face and feature was coupled with rare beauty of expression,
indicating fine qualities of mind.  She was quiet in demeanour, grave in
speech, serious and very earnest in thought, enthusiastic in action,
unconscious and unselfish.

"Pooh!  Perfection!"  I hear some lady reader ejaculate.

No, fair one, not quite that, but as near it as was compatible with
humanity.  Happily there are many such in the world--some with more and
some with less of the external beauty--and man is blessed and the world
upheld by them.

The chief bond that bound Aileen and Miss Pritty together was a text of
Scripture, "Consider the poor."  The latter had strong sympathy with the
poor, being herself one of the number.  The former, being rich in faith
as well as in means, "considered" them.  The two laid their heads
together and concerted plans for the "raising of the masses," which
might have been food for study to _some_ statesmen.  For instance, they
fed the hungry and clothed the naked; they encouraged the well-disposed
and reproved the evil; they "scattered seeds of kindness" wherever they
went; they sowed the precious Word of God in all kinds of ground--good
and bad; they comforted the sorrowing; they visited the sick and the
prisoner; they refused to help, or, in any way to encourage, the idle;
they handed the obstreperous and violent over to the police, with the
hope--if not the recommendation--that the rod should not be spared; and
in all cases they prayed for them.  The results were considerable, but,
not being ostentatiously trumpeted, were not always recognised or traced
to their true cause.

"Come away, darling," exclaimed Miss Pritty, eagerly embracing and
kissing her friend, who accepted, but did not return, the embrace,
though she did the kiss.  "I thought you were not coming at all, and I
have not seen you for a whole week!  What has kept you?  There, put off
your hat.  I'm _so_ glad to see you, dear Aileen.  Isn't it strange that
I'm so fond of you?  They say that people who are contrasts generally
draw together--at least I've often heard Mrs Boxer, the wife of Captain
Boxer, you know, of the navy, who used to swear so dreadfully before he
was married, but, I am happy to say, has quite given it up now, which
says a great deal for wedded life, though it's a state that I don't
quite believe in myself, for if Adam had never married Eve he would not
have been tempted to eat the forbidden fruit, and so there would have
been no sin and no sorrow or poverty--no poor!  Only think of that."

"So that our chief occupation would have been gone," said Aileen, with a
slight twinkle of her lustrous blue eyes, "and perhaps you and I might
never have met."

Miss Pritty replied to this something very much to the effect that she
would have preferred the entrance of sin and all its consequences--
poverty included--into the world, rather than have missed making the
friendship of Miss Hazlit.  At least her words might have borne that
interpretation--or any other!

"My father detained me," said Aileen, seating herself at the table,
while her volatile friend put lumps of sugar into the cups, with a
tender yet sprightly motion of the hand, as if she were doing the cups a
special kindness--as indeed she was, when preparing one of them to touch
the lips of Aileen.

"Naughty man, why did he detain you?" said Miss Pritty.

"Only to write one or two notes, his right hand being disabled at
present by rheumatism."

"A gentleman, Miss, in the dinin'-room," said the small domestic,
suddenly opening a chink of the door for the admission of her somewhat
dishevelled head.  "He won't send his name up--says he wants to see

"How vexing!" exclaimed Miss Pritty, "but I'll go down.  I'm determined
that he shan't interrupt our _tete-a-tete_."

Miss Pritty uttered a little scream of surprise on entering the

"Well, aunt," said Edgar Berrington, with a hearty smile, as he extended
his hand, "you are surprised to see me?"

"Of course I am, dear Eddy," cried Miss Pritty, holding up her cheek for
a kiss.  "Sit down.  Why, you were in London when I last heard of you."

"True, but I'm not in London now, as you see.  I've been a week here."

"A week, Eddy!  And you did not come to see me till now?"

"Well, I ought to apologise," replied the youth, with a slight look of
confusion, "but--the fact is, I came down partly on business, and--and--
so you see I've been very busy."

"Of course," laughed Miss Pritty; "people who have business to do are
usually very busy!  Well, I forgive you, and am glad to see you--but--"

"Well, aunt--but what?"

"In short, Eddy, I happen to be particularly engaged this evening--on
_business_, too, like yourself; but, after all, why should I not
introduce you to my friend?  You might help us in our discussion--it is
to be about the poor.  Do you know much about the poor and their

Edgar smiled sadly as he replied--

"Yes, I have had some experimental knowledge of the poor--being one of
them myself, and my poverty too has made me inconceivably miserable."

"Come, Eddy, don't talk nonsense.  You know I mean the _very_ poor, the
destitute.  But let us go up-stairs and have a cup of tea."

The idea of discussing the condition of the poor over a cup of tea with
two ladies was not attractive to our hero in his then state of mind, and
he was beginning to excuse himself when his aunt stopped him:--

"Now, don't say you can't, or won't, for you must.  And I shall
introduce you to a very pretty girl--oh! _such_ a pretty one--you've no
idea--and _so_ sweet!"

Miss Pritty spoke impressively and with enthusiasm, but as the youth
knew himself to be already acquainted with and beloved by the prettiest
girl in the town he was not so much impressed as he might have been.
However, being a good-natured fellow, he was easily persuaded.

All the way up-stairs, and while they were entering the boudoir, little
Miss Pritty's tongue never ceased to vibrate, but when she observed her
nephew gazing in surprise at her friend, whose usually calm and
self-possessed face was covered with confusion, she stopped suddenly.

"Good-evening, Miss Hazlit," said Edgar, recovering himself, and holding
out his hand as he advanced towards her; "I did not anticipate the
pleasure of meeting _you_ here."

"Then you are acquainted already!" exclaimed Miss Pritty, looking as
much amazed as if the accident of two young people being acquainted
without her knowledge were something tantamount to a miracle.

"Yes, I have met Mr Berrington at my father's several times," said
Aileen, resuming her seat, and bestowing a minute examination on the
corner of her handkerchief.

If Aileen had added that she had met Mr Berrington every evening for a
week past at her father's, had there renewed the acquaintance begun in
London a year before, and had been wooed and won by him before his stern
repulse by her father, she would have said nothing beyond the bare
truth; but she thought, no doubt, that it was not necessary to add all

"Well, well, what strange things do happen!" said Miss Pritty, resuming
her duties at the tea-table.  "Sugar, Eddy?  And cream?--Only to think
that Aileen and I have known each other so well, and she did not know
that you were my nephew; but after all it could not well be otherwise,
for now I think of it, I never mentioned your name to her.  Out of
sight, out of mind, Eddy, you know, and indeed you don't deserve to be
remembered.  If we all had our deserts, some people that I know of would
be in a very different position from what they are, and some people
wouldn't _be_ at all."

"Why, aunt," said Edgar, laughing.  "Would you--"

"Some more cake, Eddy?"

"No, thank you.  I was going to say--"

"Have you enough cream?  Allow me to--"

"_Quite_ enough, thanks.  I was about to remark--"

"Some sugar, Aileen?--I beg your pardon--yes--you were about to say--"

"Oh!  Nothing," replied Edgar, half exasperated by these frequent
interruptions, but laughing in spite of himself, "only I'm surprised
that sentence of annihilation should be passed on `some people' by one
so amiable as you are."

"Oh!  I didn't exactly mean annihilation," returned Miss Pritty, with a
pitiful smile; "I only mean that I wouldn't have had them come into
existence, they seem to be so utterly useless in the world, and _so_
interfering, too, with those who _want_ to be useful."

"Surely that quality, or capacity of interference, proves them to be not
_utterly_ useless," said Edgar, "for does it not give occasion for the
exercise of patience and forbearance?"

"Ah!" replied Miss Pritty, with an arch smile, shaking her finger at her
nephew, "you are a fallacious reasoner.  Do you know what that means?  I
can't help laughing still at the trouble I used to have in trying to
find out the meaning of that word fallacious, when I was at Miss
Dullandoor's seminary for young ladies--hi!  Hi!  Some of us were
excessively _young_ ladies, and we were taught everything by rote,
explanations of meanings of anything being quite ignored by Miss
Dullandoor.  Do you remember her sister?  Oh!  I'm so stupid to forget
that it's exactly thirty years to-day since she died, and you can't be
quite that age yet; besides, even if you were, it would require that you
should have seen, and recognised, and remembered her on her deathbed
about the time of your own birth.  Oh!  She _was_ so funny, both in face
and figure.  One of the older girls made a portrait of her for me which
I have yet.  I'll go fetch it; the expression is irresistible--it is
killing.  Excuse me a minute."

Miss Pritty rose and tripped--she never walked--from the room.  During
much of the previous conversation our hero had been sorely perplexed in
his mind as to his duty in present circumstances.  Having been forbidden
to hold any intercourse with Aileen, he questioned the propriety of his
remaining to spend the evening with her, and had made up his mind to
rise and tear himself away when this unlooked-for opportunity for a
_tete-a-tete_ occurred.  Being a man of quick wit and strong will, he
did not neglect it.  Turning suddenly to the fair girl, he said, in a
voice low and measured--

"Aileen, your father commanded me to have no further intercourse with
you, and he made me aware that he had laid a similar injunction on
yourself.  I know full well your true-hearted loyalty to him, and do not
intend to induce you to disobey.  I ask you to make no reply to what I
say that is not consistent with your promise to your father.  For
myself, common courtesy tells me that I may not leave your presence for
a distant land without saying at least good-bye.  Nay, more, I feel that
I break no command in making to you a simple deliberate statement."

Edgar paused for a moment, for, in spite of the powerful restraint put
on himself, and the intended sedateness of his words, his feelings were
almost too strong for him.

"Aileen," he resumed, "I may never see you again.  Your father intends
that I shall not.  Your looks seem to say that you fear as much.  Now,
my heart tells me that I _shall_; but, whatever betide, or wherever I
go, let me assure you that I will continue to love you with unalterable
fidelity.  More than this I shall not say, less I could not.  You said
that these New Testaments"--pointing to a pile of four or five which lay
on the table--"are meant to be given to poor men.  _I_ am a poor man:
will you give me one?"

"Willingly," said Aileen, taking one from the pile.

She handed it to her lover without a single word, but with a tender
anxious look that went straight to his heart, and took up its lodging
there--to abide for ever!

The youth grasped the book and the hand at once, and, stooping, pressed
the latter fervently to his lips.

At that moment Miss Pritty was heard tripping along the passage.

Edgar sprang to intercept her, and closed the door of the boudoir behind

"Why, Edgar, you seem in haste!"

"I am, dear aunt; circumstances require that I should be.  Come
down-stairs with me.  I have stayed too long already.  I am going
abroad, and may not spend more time with you this evening."

"Going abroad!" exclaimed Miss Pritty, in breathless surprise, "where?"

"I don't know.  To China, Japan, New Zealand, the North Pole--anywhere.
In fact, I've not quite fixed.  Good-bye, dear aunt.  Sorry to have seen
so little of you.  Good-bye."

He stooped, printed a gentle kiss between Miss Pritty's wondering eyes,
and vanished.

"A most remarkable boy," said the disconcerted lady, resuming her seat
at the tea-table--"so impulsive and volatile.  But he's a dear good boy
nevertheless--was so kind to his mother while she was alive, and ran
away from school when quite young--and no wonder, for it was a dreadful
school, where they used to torture the boys,--absolutely tortured them.
The head-master and ushers were tried for it afterwards, I'm told.  At
all events; Eddy ran away from it after pulling the master's nose and
kicking the head usher--so it is said, though I cannot believe it, he is
usually so gentle and courteous.--_Do_ have a little more tea.  No?  A
piece of bun?  No?  Why, you seem quite flushed, my love.  Not unwell, I
trust?  No?  Well, then, let us proceed to business."



Charles Hazlit, Esquire, was a merchant and a shipowner, a landed
proprietor, a manager of banks, a member of numerous boards and
committees, a guardian of the poor, a volunteer colonel, and a
good-humoured man on the whole, but purse-proud and pompous.  He was
also the father of Aileen.

Behold him seated in an elegant drawing-room, in a splendid mansion at
the "west end" (strange that all aristocratic ends would appear to be
west ends!) of the seaport town which owned him.  His blooming daughter
sat beside him at a table, on which lay a small, peculiar, box.  He
doated on his daughter, and with good reason.  Their attention was so
exclusively taken up with the peculiar box that they had failed to
observe the entrance, unannounced, of a man of rough exterior, who stood
at the door, hat in hand, bowing and coughing attractively, but without

"My darling," said Mr Hazlit, stooping to kiss his child--his only
child--who raised her pretty little three-cornered mouth to receive it,
"this being your twenty-first birthday, I have at last brought myself to
look once again on your sainted mother's jewel-case, in order that I may
present it to you.  I have not opened it since the day she died.  It is
now yours, my child."

Aileen opened her eyes in mute amazement.  It would seem as though there
had been some secret sympathy between her and the man at the door, for
he did precisely the same thing.  He also crushed his hat somewhat
convulsively with both hands, but without doing it any damage, as it was
a very hard sailor-like hat.  He also did something to his lips with his
tongue, which looked a little like licking them.

"Oh papa!" exclaimed Aileen, seizing his hand, "how kind; how--"

"Nay, love, no thanks are due to me.  It is your mother's gift.  On her
deathbed she made me promise to give it you when you came of age, and to
train you, up to that age, as far as possible, with a disregard for
dress and show.  I think your dear mother was wrong," continued Mr
Hazlit, with a mournful smile, "but, whether right or wrong, you can
bear me witness that I have sought to fulfil the second part of her
dying request, and I now accomplish the first."

He proceeded to unlock, the fastenings of the little box, which was made
of some dark metal resembling iron, and was deeply as well as richly
embossed on the lid and sides with quaint figures and devices.

Mr Hazlit had acquired a grand, free-handed way of manipulating
treasure.  Instead of lifting the magnificent jewels carefully from the
casket, he tumbled them out like a gorgeous cataract of light and
colour, by the simple process of turning the box upside down.

"Oh papa, take care!" exclaimed Aileen, spreading her little hands in
front of the cataract to stem its progress to the floor, while her two
eyes opened in surprise, and shone with a lustre that might have made
the insensate gems envious.  "How exquisite!  How inexpressibly
beautiful!--oh my dear, darling mother--!"

She stopped abruptly, and tears fluttered from her eyes.  In a few
seconds she continued, pushing the gems away, almost passionately--

"But I cannot wear them, papa.  They are worthless to me."

She was right.  She had no need of such gems.  Was not her hair golden
and her skin alabaster?  Were not her lips coral and her teeth pearls?
And were not diamonds of the purest water dropping at that moment from
her down-cast eyes?

"True, my child, and the sentiment does your heart credit; they are
worthless, utterly worthless--mere paste"--at this point the face of the
man at the door visibly changed for the worse--"mere paste, as regards
their power to bring back to us the dear one who wore them.
Nevertheless, in a commercial point of view"--here the ears of the man
at the door cocked--"they are worth some eight or nine thousand pounds
sterling, so they may as well be taken care of."

The tongue and lips of the man at the door again became active.  He
attempted--unsuccessfully, as before--to crush his hat, and
inadvertently coughed.

Mr Hazlit's usually pale countenance flushed, and he started up.

"Hallo!  My man, how came _you_ here?"

The man looked at the door and hesitated in his attempt to reply to so
useless a question.

"How comes it that you enter my house and drawing-room without being
announced?" asked Mr Hazlit, drawing himself up.

"'Cause I wanted to see you, an' I found the door open, an' there warn't
nobody down stair to announce me," answered the man in a rather surly

"Oh, indeed?--ah," said Mr Hazlit, drawing out a large silk
handkerchief with a flourish, blowing his nose therewith, and casting it
carelessly on the table so as to cover the jewel-box.  "Well, as you are
now ere, pray what have you got to say to me?"

"Your ship the _Seagull_ has bin' wrecked, sir, on Toosday night on the
coast of Wales."

"I received that unpleasant piece of news on Wednesday morning.  What
has _that_ to do with your visit?"

"Only that I thought you might want divers for to go to the wreck, an'
_I'm_ a diver--that's all."

The man at the door said this in a very surly tone, for the slight
tendency to politeness which had begun to manifest itself while the
prospect of "a job" was hopeful, vanished before the haughty manner of
the merchant.

"Well, it is just possible that I may require the assistance of divers,"
said Mr Hazlit, ringing the bell; "when I do, I can send for you.--
John, show this person out."

The hall-footman, who had been listening attentively at the key-hole,
and allowed a second or two to elapse before opening the door, bowed
with a guilty flush on his face and held the door wide open.

David Maxwell--for it was he--passed out with an angry scowl, and as he
strode with noisy tread across the hall, said something uncommonly pithy
to the footman about "upstarts" and "puppies," and "people who thought
they was made o' different dirt from others," accompanied with many
other words and expressions which we may not repeat.

To all of this John replied with bland smiles and polite bows, hoping
that the effects of the interview might not render him feverish, and
reminding him that if it did he was in a better position than most men
for cooling himself at the bottom of the sea.

"Farewell," said John earnestly; "and if you should take a fancy to
honour us any day with your company to dinner, _do_ send a line to say
you're coming."

John did not indulge in this pleasantry until the exasperated diver was
just outside of the house, and it was well that he was so prudent, for
Maxwell turned round like a tiger and struck with tremendous force at
his face.  His hard knuckles met the panel of the door, in which they
left an indelible print, and at the same time sent a sound like a
distant cannon shot into the library.

"I'm afraid I have been a little too sharp with him," said Mr Hazlit,
assisting his daughter to replace the jewels.

Aileen agreed with him, but as nothing could induce her to condemn her
father with her lips she made no reply.

"But," continued the old gentleman, "the rascal had no right to enter my
house without ringing.  He might have been a thief, you know.  He looked
rough and coarse enough to be one."

"Oh papa," said Aileen entreatingly, "don't be too hasty in judging
those who are sometimes called rough and coarse.  I do assure you I've
met many men in my district who are big and rough and coarse to look at,
but who have the feelings and hearts of tender women."

"I know it, simple one; you must not suppose that I judged him by his
exterior; I judged him by his rude manner and conduct, and I do not
extend my opinion of him to the whole class to which he belongs."

It is strange--and illustrative of the occasional perversity of human
reasoning--that Mr Hazlit did not perceive that he himself had given
the diver cause to judge him, Mr Hazlit, very harshly, and the worst of
it was that Maxwell _did_, in his wrath, extend his opinion of the
merchant to the entire class to which he belonged, expressing a deep
undertoned hope that the "whole bilin' of 'em" might end their days in a
place where he spent many of his own, namely, at the bottom of the sea.
It is to be presumed that he wished them to be there without the benefit
of diving-dresses!

"It is curious, however," continued Mr Hazlit, "that I had been
thinking this very morning about making inquiries after a diver, one
whom I have frequently heard spoken of as an exceedingly able and
respectable man--Balding or Bolding or some such name, I think."

"Oh!  Baldwin, Joe Baldwin, as his intimate friends call him," said
Aileen eagerly.  "I know him well; he is in my district."

"What!" exclaimed Mr Hazlit, "not one of your paupers?"

Aileen burst into a merry laugh.  "No, papa, no; not a pauper certainly.
He's a well-off diver, and a Wesleyan--a local preacher, I believe--but
he lives in my district, and is one of the most zealous labourers in it.
Oh!  If you saw him, papa, with his large burly frame and his rough
bronzed kindly face, and broad shoulders, and deep bass voice and hearty

The word suggested the act, for Aileen went off again at the bare idea
of Joe Baldwin being a pauper--one at whose feet, she said, she
delighted to sit and learn.

"Well, I'm glad to have such a good account of him from one so well able
to judge," rejoined her father, "and as I mean to go visit him without
delay I'll be obliged if you'll give me his address."

Having received it, the merchant sallied forth into those regions of the
town where, albeit she was not a guardian of the poor, his daughter's
light figure was a much more familiar object than his own.

"Does a diver named Baldwin live here?" asked Mr Hazlit of a figure
which he found standing in a doorway near the end of a narrow passage.

The figure was hazy and indistinct by reason of the heavy wreaths of
tobacco-smoke wherewith it was enveloped.

"Yis, sur," replied the figure; "he lives in the door it the other ind
o' the passage.  It's not over-light here, sur; mind yer feet as ye go,
an' pay attintion to your head, for what betune holes in the floor an'
beams in the ceilin', tall gintlemen like you, sur, come to grief

Thanking the figure for its civility, Mr Hazlit knocked at the door
indicated, but there was no response.

"Sure it's out they are!" cried the figure from the other end of the
passage.  "Joe Baldwin's layin' a charge under the wreck off the jetty
to-day--no doubt that's what's kep' 'im, and it's washin'-day with Mrs
Joe, I belave; but I'm his pardner, sur, an' if ye'll step this way,
Mrs Machowl'll be only too glad to see ye, sur, an' I can take yer

Not a little amused by this free-and-easy invitation, Mr Hazlit entered
a small apartment, which surprised him by its clean and tidy appearance.
A pretty little Irishwoman, with a pert little turned-up nose, auburn
hair so luxuriant that it _could_ not be kept in order, and a set of
teeth that glistened in their purity, invited him to sit down, and wiped
a chair with her apron for his accommodation.

"You've got a nice little place here," remarked the visitor, looking
round him.

"Troth, sur, ye wouldn't have said that if you'd seen it whin we first
came to it.  Of all the dirty places I iver saw!  I belave an Irish pig
would have scunnered at it, an' held his nose till he got out.  It's
very well for England, but we was used to cleaner places in the owld
country.  Hows'iver we've got it made respictable now, and we're not
hard to plaze."

This was a crushing reply.  It upset Mr Hazlit's preconceived ideas
regarding the two countries so completely that he was perplexed.  Not
being a man of rapid thought he changed the subject:--

"You are a diver, you say?"

"I am, sur."

"And Mr Baldwin's partner--if I understand you correctly?"

"Well, we work together--whin we're not workin' apart--pritty regular.
He took in hand to train me some months gone by, an' as our two
missusses has took a fancy to aich other, we're likely to hold on for
some time--barrin' accidents, av coorse."

"Well, then," said Mr Hazlit, "I came to see Mr Baldwin about a vessel
of mine, which was wrecked a few days ago on the coast of Wales--"

"Och!  The _Seagull_ it is," exclaimed Rooney.

"The same; and as it is a matter of importance that I should have the
wreck visited without delay, I shall be obliged by your sending your
partner to my house this evening."

Rooney promised to send Baldwin up, and took his wife Molly to witness,
with much solemnity, that he would not lose a single minute.  Thereafter
the conversation became general, and at last the merchant left the place
much shaken in his previous opinion of Irish character, and deeply
impressed with the sagacity of Rooney Machowl.

The result of this visit was that Baldwin was engaged to dive for the
cargo of the _Seagull_, and found himself, a few days later, busy at
work on the Welsh coast with a staff of men under him, among whom were
our friends Rooney Machowl and surly David Maxwell.  The latter had at
first declined to have anything to do with the job, but, on
consideration of the wages, he changed his mind.



The spot where the wreck of the _Seagull_ lay was a peaceful sequestered
cove or bay on the coast of Anglesea.  The general aspect of the
neighbouring land was bleak.  There were no trees, and few bushes.
Indeed, the spire of a solitary little church on an adjoining hill was
the most prominent object in the scene.  The parsonage belonging to it
was concealed by a rise in the ground, and the very small hamlet
connected with it was hid like a rabbit in the clefts of some rugged
cliffs.  The little church was one of those temples which are meant to
meet the wants of a rural district, and which cause a feeling of
surprise in the minds of town visitors as to where the congregation can
come from that fills them.

But, bleak though the country was, the immediate shore was interesting
and romantic in its form.  In one place perpendicular cliffs, cut up by
ragged gorges, descended sheer down into deep water, and meeting the
constant roll of the Irish Channel, even in calm weather, fringed
themselves with lace-work of foam, as if in cool defiance of the ocean.
In another place a mass of boulders and shattered rocks stretched out
into the sea as if still resistant though for the time subdued.
Elsewhere a half-moon of yellow sand received the ripples with a kiss,
suggestive of utter conquest and the end of strife.

As we have said, the spot was peaceful, for, at the time to which we
refer, ocean and air were still, but ah!  Those who have not dwelt near
the great deep and beheld its fury when roused can form but a faint
conception of the scene that occurred there on the night in which the
_Seagull_ went down!

Mr Hazlit thought of the place as something like the region of a "bad
debt,"--where a portion of his wealth had been wrecked.  Some knew it as
the hated spot where they had suffered the loss of all their fortune;
but others there were, who, untouched by the thought of material gain or
loss, knew it as the scene of the wreck of all their earthly hopes--for
the _Seagull_ had been a passenger-ship, and in that quiet bay God in
His providence had dealt some of the most awful blows that human beings
are capable of bearing.

Close to a bald cliff on the northern shore the foretopmast of the wreck
rose a few feet above the calm water.  In a cove of the cliff the
remains of a mast or yard lay parallel with a deep and thick mass of
wreckage, which had surged out and into that cove on the fatal night
with such violence that it now lay in small pieces, like giant
matchwood.  On a patch of gravel not far from that cliff a husband and
father had wandered for many days, after being saved--he knew not how--
gazing wistfully, hopelessly at the sea which had swallowed up wife and
children and fortune.  He had been a "successful" gold-digger!  On that
patch of gravel scenes of terrible suspense had been enacted.  Expectant
ones had come to inquire whether those whom they sought had _really_
embarked in that vessel, while grave and sympathetic but worn-out or
weary men of the Coast-guard, stood ready to give information or to
defend the wreck.

In the church on the hill there were dreadful marks on the floor, where
the recovered bodies had lain for a time, while frantic relations came
and went day by day to search for and claim their dead.  Ah, reader, we
are not mocking you with fiction.  What we refer to is fact.  We saw it
with our eyes.  Peaceful though that spot looked--and often looks--it
was once the scene of the wildest of storms, the most terrible of
mercantile disasters, and the deepest of human woe.

But we are mingling thoughts with memories.  The wreck which has crept
into our mind is that of the _Royal Charter_.  The _Seagull_, although a
passenger-ship, and wrecked near the same region, does not resemble

At the time of which we write, Joe Baldwin and his men had already saved
a considerable portion of the cargo, but during his submarine
explorations and meditations Joe had conceived the idea that there was
some possibility of saving the vessel itself, for, having recoiled from
its first shock and sunk in deep water, the hull was comparatively

But Joe, although a good diver, was not a practical engineer.  He knew
himself to be not a very good judge of such matters, and was too modest
to suggest anything to competent submarine engineers.  He could not,
however, help casting the thing about in his mind for some time.  At
last, one evening while reading a newspaper that had been got from a
passing boat, he observed the return of the ship in which his young
friend Edgar Berrington had gone to India.  At once he wrote the
following letter:--

  "My dear Mister Edgar,--I'm in a fix here.  It's my opinion there's a
  chance of savin' a wreck if only good brains was set to work to do it.
  It would pay if we was to succeed.  If you happen to be on the loose
  just now, as is likely, run over an' see what you think of it.--Yours
  to command,


Our hero received the letter, at once acted on it, and in a few days was
on the spot.

"What a change there is in you, my dear sir!" said Joe, looking with
admiration at the browned, stalwart youth before him; "why, you've grown

"I couldn't help it, Joe," replied Edgar; "they _would_ come, and I had
no time to shave on board.--But now, tell me about this wreck."

When Edgar heard that the vessel belonged to Mr Hazlit his first
impulse was to have nothing to do with it.  He felt that any
interference in regard to it would seem like a desire to thrust himself
before the merchant's notice--and that, too, in a needy manner, as if he
sought employment at his hands; but on consideration he came to the
conclusion that he might act as a wire-puller, give Baldwin the benefit
of his knowledge, and allow him to reap the credit and the emoluments.
But for a long time the honest diver would not listen to such a
suggestion, and was only constrained to give in at last when Edgar
threatened to leave him altogether.

"By the way, have you seen Miss Aileen since you came home?" asked
Baldwin, while the two friends were seated in the cabin of the diver's
vessel poring, pencil in hand, over several sheets of paper on which
were sundry mysterious designs.

"No; I was on the point of paying a visit to my good aunt Miss Pritty,
with ulterior ends in view, when your letter reached me and brought me
here.  To say truth, your note arrived very opportunely, for I was
engaged at the time in rather a hard struggle between inclination and
duty--not feeling quite sure whether it was right or wise to throw
myself in her way just now, for, as you may easily believe, I have not,
during my comparatively short absence, made a fortune that is at all
likely to satisfy the requirements of her father."

"I suppose not," returned the diver.  "No doubt, at gold-diggin's an'
diamond-fields an' such-like one does hear of a man makin' a find that
enables him to set up his carriage an' four, and ride, mayhap at a
tremendous pace, straight on to ruin by means of it, but as a rule
people don't pick up sovereigns like stones either at home or abroad.
It's the experience of most men, that steady perseverance leads by the
shortest road to competence, if not to wealth.--But that's beside the
question.  I think you did right, Mister Eddy--excuse an old servant,
sir, if it's taking too much liberty to use the old familiar name,--you
did right in coming here instead of going there."

"So thought I, Baldy--you see that I too can take liberties,--else I
should not have come.  Your letter solved the difficulty, for, when I
was at the very height of the struggle before mentioned--at equipoise so
to speak,--and knew not whether to go to the right or to the left,
_that_ decided me.  I regarded it as a leading of Providence."

Baldwin turned a rather sudden look of surprise on his young companion.

"A leading of Providence, Mr Eddy!  I never heard you use such an
expression before."

"True, but I have learned to use it since I went to sea," replied our
hero quietly.

"That's strange," rejoined the diver in a low voice, as if he feared to
scare the young man from a subject that was very near his own heart,
"very strange, for goin' to sea has not often the effect of makin'
careless young fellows serious--though it sometimes has, no doubt.  How
was it, if I--"

"Yes, Baldy," interrupted Edgar, with a pleasant smile, laying his hand
on the diver's huge shoulder, "I don't mind making a confidant of you in
this as in other matters.  I'll tell you,--the story is short enough.
When I parted from Aileen, she made me a present of a New Testament from
a pile that she happened to have by her to give to the poor people.  To
be more particular, I asked for one, and she consented to let me have
it.  You see I wanted a keepsake!  Well, when at sea, I read the
Testament regularly, night and morning, for Aileen's sake, but God in
His great love led me at last to read it for the sake of Him whose
blessed life and death it records."

"Then you've fairly hauled down the enemy's colours and hoisted those of
the Lord?" asked Baldwin.

"I have been led to do so," replied the youth modestly but firmly.

"Bless the Lord!" said the diver in a low tone as he grasped Edgar's
hand, while he bowed his head for a moment.

Presently he looked up, and seemed about to resume the subject of
conversation when Edgar interrupted him--

"Have you seen or heard anything of Aileen since I left?"

"Nothing, except that she's been somewhat out of sorts, and her father
has sent her up to London for a change."

"Has he gone to London with her?"

"No, I believe not; he's taken up a good deal wi' the cargo o' this
ship, and comes down to see us now and then, but for the most part he
remains at home attendin' to business."

"Have you spoken to him about raising the hull of the ship?"

"Not yet.  He evidently thinks the thing impossible--besides, I wanted
to hear your opinion on the matter before sayin' anything about it."

"Well, come, let us go into it at once," said the youth, turning to the
sheets of paper before him and taking up a pencil.  "You see, Baldwin,
this trip of mine as second engineer has been of good service to me in
many ways, for, besides becoming practically acquainted with everything
connected with marine engines, I have acquired considerable knowledge of
things relating to ships in general, and am all the more able to afford
you some help in this matter of raising the ship.  I've been studying a
book written by a member of the firm whose dresses you patronise, [Note.
`_The Conquest of the Sea_', by Henry Siebe.] which gives a thorough
account in detail of everything connected with diving, and in it there
is reference to the various modes that have hitherto been successful in
the raising of sunken vessels."

"I've heard of it, but not seen it," said Baldwin.  "Of course I know
somewhat about raisin' ships, havin' once or twice lent a hand, but I've
no head for engineerin'.  What are the various modes you speak of?
_That's_ not one of 'em, is it?"

He pointed, with a grave smile as he spoke, to the outline of a female
head which Edgar had been absently tracing on the paper.

"Well, no," replied the youth, scribbling out the head, "that's not one
of Siebe and Gorman's appliances, and yet I venture to prophesy that
that head will have a good deal to do with the raising of the _Seagull_!
However, don't let's waste more time.  Here you are.  The first
method,--that of putting empty casks in the hold so as to give the hull
a floating tendency, and then mooring lighters over it and pushing
chains under it,--we may dismiss at once, as being suitable only for
small vessels; but the second method is worth considering, namely, that
of fixing air-bags of india-rubber in the hold, attaching them to the
sides, and then inflating them all at the same time by means of a
powerful air-pump.  We could get your divers to pass chains under her,
and, when she began to rise could haul on these chains by means of
lighters moored above, and so move the wreck inshore till she grounded.
What say you to that?"

Baldwin shook his head.  "She's too big, I fear, for such treatment."

"Good-sized vessels have been raised by these air-bags of late," said
Edgar.  "Let me see: there were the brig _Ridesdale_, of 170 tons
burthen, sunk off Calshot Castle, and Her Majesty's gun-brig
_Partridge_, 180 tons, and the brig _Dauntless_, 179 tons, and last, but
not least, the _Prince Consort_, at Aberdeen, an iron paddle-steamer of
607 tons, and the dead weight lifted was 560 tons, including engines and

Still Baldwin shook his head, remarking that the _Seagull_ was full 900

"Well, then," resumed the young engineer, "here is still another method.
We might send down your men to make all the openings,--ports, windows,
etcetera--water-tight, fix a shield over the hole she knocked in her
bottom on the cliffs, and then, by means of several water-pumps reaching
from above the surface to the hold, clear her of water.  When
sufficiently floated by such means a steam-tug could haul her into port.
The iron steamship _London_ was, not long ago, raised and saved at
Dundee in that way.  She rose four feet after the pumps had been worked
only two hours, and while she was being towed into dock the pumps were
still kept going.  It was a great success--and so may it be in this
case.  Then, you know, we might construct a pontoon by making a raft to
float on a multitude of empty barrels, pass chains under the _Seagull_
and fix them to this pontoon at low water, so that when the tide rose
she would rise perforce along with the pontoon and tide, and could be
moved inshore till she grounded; then, waiting for low tide, we could
taughten the chains again, and repeat the process till we got her
ashore.  Or, better still, we could hire Siebe and Gorman's patent
pontoon, which, if I mistake not, is much the same thing that I now
suggest carried out to perfection."

"I'm not sure that the pontoon you speak of has been launched yet.  I'm
afraid it's only in model," said Baldwin.

"More's the pity," rejoined Edgar, "but I can go to London and
ascertain.  In any case, I shall have to go to London to make inquiries,
and secure the necessary apparatus."

"Are you sure," said Baldwin, with a look of great solemnity, "that your
going to London has nothing whatever to do with apparatus of _that_

He placed a blunt forefinger, as he spoke on the obliterated sketch of
the female head.

"Oh you suspicious old fellow!" replied Edgar; "come, you _are_
presuming now.--We will change the subject, and go on deck."

"Human natur's the same everywhere," observed Baldwin, with a quiet
laugh as he rose.  "Same with me exactly when I was after Susan.  For
one glance of her black eye I'd have gone straight off to China or
Timbuctoo at half-an-hour's notice.  Well, well!--Now, Mister Eddy,
don't you think it would be as well for you to go down and have a look
at the wreck?  You'll then be better able to judge as to what's best to
be done, an' I've got a noo dress by the firm of Denayrouze, with a
speakin'-apparatus, which'll fit you.  I got it for myself, and we're
much about a size--barrin' the waist, in which I have the advantage of
you as to girth.  Their noo pump and lamp, too, will interest you.  See,
here is the pump."

As he spoke, the diver pointed to a pump which commended itself at first
sight by its extreme simplicity.  Whether or not it was better than the
more complex, but well-tried, pumps of other makers, our hero was well
aware could only be proved by time and experience.  Meanwhile he was
favourably impressed with it.

The peculiarities of the pump referred to were, first, and most obvious,
that it had no outer wooden case or box, and the parts were exceedingly
few and simple.  It was on the lever principle, the cylinders, instead
of the pistons, being movable.  The pistons were fixed to a bed-plate
and pointed upwards, so that the pump was, as it were, turned upside
down, a position which, among other advantages, allowed of the plungers
being covered with water, through which the air was forced and partially
cooled.  Another and important peculiarity was an air-reservoir which
received air from the pump direct, and then passed it on to the diver,
so that even if the pumps should stop working there would still be a
supply of air flowing down to the diver for several minutes.  The lamp
referred to was also a novelty, inasmuch as it was supplied with air by
a separate tube from the reservoir in the same way as if it were a
separate human diver.  The Henkie and Davis lamp burns, on the other
hand, entirely without air, by means of certain acids.  That of Siebe
and Gorman is an electric-lamp.  Both are said to be effective and

Putting on the new dress, our hero was soon ready to descend, with the
lamp burning in his hand.

"There are three men down just now," said Baldwin as he was about to
screw on the mouth-piece, "two of 'em bein' your old friends Maxwell and
Rooney Machowl.  They've been down about three hours, and won't be up
for an hour yet.  See that you don't foul them in your wanderings below.
The other man, Jem Hogg--an' he's well named--is the laziest chap I
ever had to do with.  I do believe he sometimes goes to sleep under

"Is that possible?" asked Edgar.

"Possible?  Ay, I've caught 'em takin' a snooze before now.  Why, I've
known a man _smoke_ under water.  There was one of our fellows once got
a comrade to let him keep his pipe in his mouth while he screwed on the
front-glass; you see he couldn't have put it in his mouth _after_ that
was fixed; but he was well paid.  For a time he smoked away well enough,
and the draught of air carried off the smoke through the escape-valve,
but an extra strong puff sent a spark out o' the bowl, which went
straight into his eye.  He spat out the pipe, and nearly drove in the
glasses in his useless efforts to get at his eye, and then he tugged at
the lines like fury, and, when we got him on deck he danced about like
wildfire, as if he'd been shod with indyrubber instead of bein' weighted
with lead.  We thought he had gone mad, and held him fast till we got
his helmet off.  It cost him a month in hospital before that eye was

"That being the case, I won't smoke while below," said Edgar, laughing;
"screw away."

The glass was fastened, and our hero quickly disappeared under the sea.



The vessel which Edgar Berrington had left his native element to inspect
was a large barque.  It had gone to the bottom only a few months after
having been launched.  The cargo, being intended for the Cape of Good
Hope colony, was of a miscellaneous character, and some of it was of
course ruined by water, but much remained almost uninjured, or only a
little damaged.

It was for the purpose of raising the latter portion of the cargo that
Baldwin and his men had been engaged by Mr Hazlit.  Hitherto the divers
had been extremely successful.  With the usual appliances of slings,
chains, shears and windlasses, etcetera, they had already recovered a
large quantity of goods, and were still busy in the hold when Edgar went

As we have said, the wreck lay in comparatively deep water--about ten
fathoms.  The ladder which descended from the side of the diver's vessel
was not two fathoms in length, so that after reaching the lowest round,
Edgar had to continue his descent by slipping down the rope which hung
from the ladder and was weighted at the bottom with a stone.

On reaching the ground he knelt, set down the lamp, and attached his
guide-line to the stone.  While thus engaged he looked with much
interest at his little lamp, which burned as brightly and steadily down
in the depths of ocean as if on land, while, from its chimney the air
which gave it life rose upwards in a constant stream of bubbles.  The
water being dense and very dark its light did not penetrate far, but
close to the bull's-eye it was sufficiently strong to enable our hero to
see what he was about.  Having fixed the line, he was about to move in
the direction of the wreck when he received one pull on his life-line.
Replying to it with one pull--"all right"--he was again about to move,
when a strange unearthly sound filled his ears, and he smiled to think
that in his interest about the lamp and fastening his guide-line he had
totally forgotten the speaking apparatus connected with his helmet.

"How d'ee git on down there?" inquired the voice, which sounded
strangely mysterious, not to say unpleasant, in his confined metal

"Splendidly," he replied, not applying his mouth to any orifice in his
helmet--for there _was_ no opening into the speaking-tube--but simply
giving utterance to the word in his usual manner.  "I've just fixed my
line and am going to move on."

"Go ahead, and luck go with 'ee," was the prompt reply from Joe Baldwin.

We have said that there was no opening into the helmet in connection
with the speaking apparatus, such not being necessary.  It was quite
sufficient that the speaking-tube was fastened to the outside of the
helmet, just over a sort of cavity formed inside by means of what we may
style an interior patch of metal.  The sound passed _through_ the
head-piece and up the tube--or _vice versa_--and thus even though the
tube should get broken and filled with water, no evil result could
follow to the diver.

Suddenly Berrington was again arrested.

"Hallo!" shouted Baldwin.

"Hallo!  Well?" was sent up in reply, and the voice that came from below
came out at the mouth-piece above, so soft and faint and
far-far-away-like that it seemed to Joe to belong to another world, and
had to be listened to attentively to be understood.

"D'you think you could read by the light of your lamp?"

"Yes, I'm sure I could."

"Look out then; I'm sending you down a copy o' the _Times_."

The youth looked up, and now perceived the advantage of the _fourth_
hole or window, just over the forehead, which is peculiar to the
Denayrouze helmet, most others having only three openings.  He could
look up by merely raising his eyes, whereas with the other helmets it is
necessary to bend well back in order to get the front-glass to face
upwards.  Afterwards he found that there were some who objected to this
glass on the ground that as divers when below, and in total or partial
darkness, are constantly butting their heads against beams and other
portions of wrecks, the upper glass would be in frequent danger of being
broken, but to this it was replied that it might be well guarded by
powerful cross-bars.  The point we believe is still an open question.
At all events the upper glass was found useful on the occasion to which
we refer, for, looking up through it, our amateur diver saw a stone
coming down to him.  It was lowered by a piece of twine, and tied to it
was an old _Times_ newspaper.  Detaching and unfolding it Berrington set
his lamp on the sand, and, seating himself beside it, found that he
could read with perfect ease!

Intimating the fact to his friend above, he returned the paper and began
his explorations.

He had been lowered close beside the stern of the wreck, that he might
be as far as possible from the divers who were at work in the hold, and
had taken only half a dozen steps in the direction of it when its vast
bulk appeared above him, looming through the dark water like a darker
cloud.  For some time he went carefully round it, minutely examining the
rudder and stern-post and the parts connected therewith, all of which he
found to be uninjured.  Then, passing along the starboard side, he
proceeded in his inspection until he reached a point which he judged to
be nearly amidships.  Glancing upwards, he thought he could see the
life-lines and air-pipes of the other divers.  To make sure he signalled
for more air.  This he did by means of the air-pipe--two pulls--instead
of using the speaking-tube, because the air-pipe and life-line are never
for a single instant let go or neglected by the attendants above,
whereas the speaking-tube, on that occasion, was merely tried for the
first time by these divers as an experiment.  Immediately the puffing at
the airhole showed that the men at the pumps were on the alert.  Edgar
now closed his front-valve so that no air at all was suffered to escape
through it; the dress began to inflate, and in a few seconds was swelled
out pretty tightly.

Up to that period he had felt no further inconvenience than a slight
pressure on the drums of his ears, which was relieved by the usual
method of swallowing the saliva, which action has the effect of opening
a small, and not _easily_ opened, internal orifice or passage to the
drum, and thus, by admitting the condensed air to the interior of the
ear, enables it to resist the pressure on the outside.  Each inspiration
of air has the same effect on the lungs, and the pressure, inside and
outside, being _at once_ equalised, is in their case unfelt, although it
remains and tests the strength of the animal tissues.  Hence it is a
recognised rule that a man who has at any time spat blood is unsuited to
a diver's work, as his weak blood-vessels are apt to burst.  But now,
under the increased pressure, our hero felt his ears affected
considerably, and other disagreeable sensations came on--such as singing
in the head, etcetera; nevertheless, confident in his strength, he

Presently the amount of air in his dress more than counterbalanced the
weight of lead about him--great though it was--and he began to rise like
a cork--slowly.  In a few seconds his head was close to the lines and
air-pipes which he observed passing over the bulwarks of the wreck and
down into the hold.  Afraid lest he should get entangled in them he
caught hold of the end of a piece of iron which projected near him and
checked his upward rise.  At the same time he opened his valves; the air
rushed out, and he immediately descended.  On reaching the bottom he
regulated the valves so as to give himself just enough of air to permit
of his _keeping_ the ground, and moving about as before.

He had observed, while up, that one set of lines diverged away from the
wreck, but this did not strike him at the time as being noteworthy.
After a few minutes he signalled his friends above, and shouted by means
of the speaking-tube--

"Pay out the air-pipe and life-lines and give me free play."

This being done he could pass under the lines of the other divers, and
examined the wreck as far as the bow, where he found an immense hole,
partially filled by a mass of the rock which had originally driven it
in.  This of itself was sufficient to have sunk the vessel.  In order to
examine the port side of the wreck he returned towards the stern and
signalled for more air.  As before, he rose to the bulwarks, over which
he passed by a slight effort, and, opening the valves, dropt gently,
like a bird, upon the deck.  Walking across it slowly, and with some
difficulty, owing to the broken spars and cordage with which it was
encumbered, he passed over the port bulwarks and lowered himself again
to the bottom.  A careful examination showed him that no injury worth
mentioning had been sustained on that side, and he finally came to the
conclusion that the large hole in the starboard bow was the only serious
damage done to the hull.

To make sure of this he returned to it, and satisfied himself as to its
exact nature and extent.  While thus engaged, his attention was again
directed to the diverging line and air-pipe before referred to.
Following these up he came to a mass of rocks, in a snug corner of which
he found a diver fast asleep.  At first he could scarcely believe his
eyes, but when he cautiously held the lantern close to the man's
front-glass all doubt was removed, for not only were the eyes of the
sleeper tightly closed, but the opening and shutting of his nostrils,
coupled with certain regular motions about the lips, gave unquestionable
evidence that the man was snoring vigorously, although, of course, no
sound passed the metal covering that hermetically sealed his head.

While Edgar gazed at the slumberer, around whose form a number of small
fish were prying inquiringly, he observed that his life-line received a
jerk, and came to the correct conclusion that the attendants above,
alarmed at the absence of motion in the diver's life-line and air-pipe,
had signalled to know if all was right.  Of course he expected that the
sleeper would give no reply, and would, according to rule in such cases,
be hauled up without delay.  What then was his astonishment to see the
man slowly lay hold of his lifeline with his left hand, give it a single
tug to indicate that all was right, and then settle himself more
comfortably to continue his submarine slumbers!

Our hero gave vent to an uncontrollable burst of laughter, which,
however, resounded so horribly in his ears that he checked it suddenly
and began to consider what he should do in order to punish the idler.

Remembering to have heard it said that divers might communicate with
each other with their voices by bringing their helmets into contact, so
that the sound should vibrate through both, he resolved to test this and
try an effect.  Hooking the lantern to his belt behind, in such a way
that its light was concealed, he kneeled down beside the diver--who, he
had no doubt, was the Jem Hogg mentioned to him by Baldwin--and rested
his helmet on the rock, in such a way that the side of it was brought
into contact with the back of Jem's head-piece.  No sooner did it touch
than the snoring became audible.  Feeling assured, therefore, of
success, our hero drew in a long breath and gave vent to a Red-Indian
yell that rendered himself completely deaf.  Its effect on the sleeper
was electric.  Edgar could just hear the beginning of a responsive yell
of terror when Jem's springing up separated the helmets and produced
silence.  At first the scared man stood up and stared right before him
in a state of wild amazement, while Edgar took care to stand directly
behind him, out of sight.  A man in a diving-dress cannot turn his head
round so as to look over his shoulder.  When he wishes to see behind him
he must needs turn round.  Seeing nothing in front to account for the
alarming sound, Jem began to turn, but Edgar knew that this motion would
have the effect of twisting their lines and pipes together.  He
therefore seized Jem suddenly round the chest, and, being a much larger
and stronger man, held him like a vice in the grasp of his left arm
while he pommelled him heartily with his right all over the back and
ribs.  At the same time he punished him considerably with his knees, and
then, a sudden fancy striking him, he placed his helmet against that of
Jem, and began to laugh, howl, and yell like a maniac, the laughter
being rendered very real and particularly effective owing to the shrieks
of terror which he then heard issuing from the horrified diver.  Not
content with this he seized his lantern and passed it smartly in front
of his victim's front-glass, in the hope that the unwonted and
unaccountable glare might add to his consternation.  That he had not
failed in his intention was made plain by the shock which he immediately
felt thrilling Jem's frame from head to foot.

Strong though he was, however, our hero was not powerful enough to
prevent the struggle from agitating the air-pipes and lines to such an
extent that those in charge above became alarmed, and signalled down to
Jem to know if all was right.  Edgar observed the jerk, and felt the
diver make a violent effort to disengage one hand, with the intention,
no doubt, of replying; he therefore held him all the tighter, and
seizing the line replied for him--"All right."  At the same moment his
own line received one jerk, to which he quickly replied in the same
manner, and then resumed his belabouring, which, being delivered under
water, required to be done vigorously in order to have any satisfactory
effect.  While thus engaged, and during a momentary pause in his
howlings, he heard a faint voice come down his speaking-tube, and
instantly removed his head from Jim's in order to prevent the latter
hearing it.

"What on earth are you about down there?"

"Never mind; all right; attend to signals!" answered Edgar sharply;
then, being pretty well fatigued with his exertions, he suddenly gave
four pulls at Jem's line with such good-will as almost to haul the
attendant at the other end into the sea.  At the same instant he relaxed
his grip and Jem Hogg shot upwards like a submarine rocket!

While this struggle was going on at the bottom, the attendants above
were, as we have said, greatly perplexed, and it is certain that they
would have hauled both divers up but for the reassuring signals of young

"I say, Bill," remarked one of the couple who held Jem Hogg's lines,
"Jem seems to be doin' somethin' uncommon queer--he's either got hold of
a conger-eel by the tail, or he's amoosin himself by dancin' a

"Why, boys," answered Bill, who was one of the attendants on Edgar, "I
do believe Mr Berrington has got hold o' somethin' o' the same sort.
See here: his line is quiverin' as if a grampus was nibblin' at the end
of it.  Hadn't we better haul 'im up, sir?"

He addressed Joe Baldwin, who chanced to come on deck at the moment.

"Haul 'im up--no, why?"

"Why, sir, just look at the lines an' pipes."

"Have you signalled down?" asked Joe.

"Yes, sir, an' he's answered `all right.'"

"So's Jem, sir, signalled the same," said one of the latter's

Baldwin looked anxiously at the lines, and went quickly to the
speaking-tube, to which he applied his ear.  A look of surprise mingled
with the anxiety as he put his lips to the tube.

It was at this moment that he sent down the message before referred to,
and received Edgar's prompt reply.

"All right," said Baldwin, turning gravely to his men, while a little
gleam of intelligence and humour twinkled in his grey eyes.  "When a man
signals `all right,' he _must_ be all right, you know.  Let 'em alone,
but stand by and mind your signals."

He had scarcely finished speaking when the man at Jem's life-line gave a
shout, and held on, as if to an angry shark.

"Hallo!  Hi!  Haul in.  Lend a hand!"

He said no more, and did not require to, for willing hands came to the

In a few seconds poor Jem Hogg was hauled inboard, and tumbled on the
deck, where he lay rolling about for some time, and kicking as if in a

"Hold him fast, Bill!  Off with his mouth-piece," cried Baldwin,
kneeling on the writhing diver; "why, what's wrong, Jem?"

"Wrong?" gasped Jem, as soon as his glass was off; "wrong?  Hey!--haul
me up!  Hi!--"

These exclamations terminated in a fearful yell, and it was plain that
Jem was about to relapse into hysterics or a fit, when Baldwin, lifting
him in his arms, planted him sitting-wise, and with some violence, on a

"Come, none o' _that_" he said sternly.  "Off with his helmet, Bill.  If
you don't quiet yourself, I'll chuck you overboard--d'ee hear?"

Somewhat reassured by this remark, and having his helmet and weights
removed, Jem Hogg looked about him with bloodshot eyes and a countenance
that was almost sea-green with terror.

"There's nothin' bu'st about your dress," said Baldwin, examining it,
"nor broken about the helmet.  What on earth's wrong with you?"

"Wrong?" shouted Jem again, while a horrible grin distorted his
unhandsome visage; "wrong?  Hey!  Oh!  I've seen--seen the--ho!--"

Another relapse seemed imminent, but Baldwin held up a warning finger,
which restored him, and then the poor man went on by slow degrees, and
with many gasping interruptions, to tell how, when busily engaged at
work in the hold of the wreck, he had been suddenly seized by a
"Zanthripologus," or some such hideous creature, with only one eye, like
a glaring carbuncle in its stomach, and dragged right out o' the hold,
overboard, taken to the bottom, and there bashed and battered among the
rocks, until all his bones were smashed; squeezed by the monster's
tentacles--sixteen feet long at the very least--until all his ribs were
broke, and his heart nigh forced out of his mouth, and finally pitched
right up to the surface with one tremendous swing of its mighty tail!

All this and a great deal more was related by the unfortunate diver,
while having his dress removed, his volubility increasing as his fears
were allayed, but he was not fairly restored to his wonted state of mind
until he had swallowed a stiff glass of grog, and been put into his
hammock, where, in his sleep, he was heard to protest with great fervour
that he wouldn't go under water again for any sum short of ten hundred
thousand million pounds!

Meanwhile our amateur diver continued his inspection of the wreck.
Returning to the deck he went down into the hold.

The idea occurred to him that the other divers might also be indulging
in a siesta.  He therefore left his lamp on the deck behind him.  The
hold was very dark, and at first he could see nothing.  As he could hear
nothing, he fancied that the men could not be there, but he was somewhat
rudely corrected in this error by receiving a severe blow on the helmet
from a large box which, having just been attached to the slings, was
being hauled up by the men at the windlass overhead.  The blow knocked
him off a beam on which he stood, and he fell on the cargo below,
fortunately, however, without evil result, owing to the medium in which
he half-floated.  Presently his eyes became accustomed to the faint
light that penetrated from above, and he saw an indistinct figure moving
slowly towards him, with a sprawling motion.  As it drew near, the huge
head and distended form proved it to be a diver.  He was guiding the box
above mentioned, and had let it slip, when it came so violently against
Edgar's helmet.  Not wishing to be recognised at first, our amateur drew
back into a darker spot and watched.

The diver bent his head close to the slings, apparently to see that all
was secure, and gave a signal with his line on which the box moved
slowly up.  A few minutes later it was deposited on the deck of the
vessel overhead, and added to the heap of goods which had previously
been recovered from the deep.

The diver sprawled slowly back into darkness again.  As he disappeared,
a similar figure became faintly visible, guiding another box of goods.
The box was sent up as before, and now Edgar was convinced that Rooney
Machowl and his comrade David Maxwell--unlike their sleepy-headed
companion--were busy at work.

Thousands of pounds' worth of property is saved in this manner by divers
every year--not only on the coasts of England, but all over the world,
where-ever human enterprise and commerce have touched, or costly ships
gone down.

As we have said, a large portion of the cargo of the _Seagull_ had
already been recovered.  During the process a healthy spirit of
emulation had arisen among the men as to which of them should send up
most of the sunken property.  Rooney and Maxwell were confessedly the
best divers among them, but the rivalry between these two had
degenerated, on the part of Maxwell, into a spirit of jealousy.  Under
the influence of this, even Rooney's good-nature had to some extent
given way, and frequent disputes and semi-quarrels were the result.  But
these quarrels were always made up, and the two were soon as good
friends as ever.

At this time, however, while Edgar Berrington stood watching them, these
two men seemed to have found an apple of discord of unusual size--to
judge from the energetic display of feeling which it occasioned.  Edgar
never ascertained what the bale in dispute contained, but he saw them
appear rather suddenly and simultaneously, dragging it between them.
The violent gesticulations of the two showed that their spirits were
greatly roused, both having evidently resolved to claim and keep
possession of the bale.  At last one of them struck the other a severe
blow on the chest, which, though it did not hurt him, caused him to
stumble and fall.  From his smaller size Edgar judged the striker to be
Rooney.  Before the other could recover, he had fastened his slings to
the bale, and given the signal to hoist--intending to go up with it, but
Maxwell caught him by the legs and attempted to drag him off, whereupon
Rooney kicked as hard as his suspended position would admit of, and in
his struggles kicked in one of the glasses of his comrade's helmet.  The
water instantly began to rush in, and he would certainly have been
suffocated had he not signalled quickly, and been hauled up to the
surface without delay.  At the same time Rooney Machowl signalled to be
hauled up in haste, and appeared on deck of the attendant vessel, in
dreadful anxiety as to the consequence of his violent conduct under

But Maxwell was not seriously injured.  He had indeed been
half-suffocated, and had to be invalided for a few days, but soon he and
Rooney were at work again, as good--or, if you will, as bad--friends as

After this incident Edgar received a pull on his life-line, to which he
replied "All right."  Immediately after, and while he was in the act of
rising from the hold of the wreck by the process of retaining his air
until it floated him, he heard Baldwin's voice saying--

"You've kicked up a pretty shindy among my men, Mister Edgar, since you
went under.  Don't you think you'd better come up?"

"Yes, I'm coming directly," he replied.

"There's a letter here for you--just brought off by a boat."

"All right; send me more air."

While this order was being obeyed, Edgar made his way to the
ladder-line, being guided thereto by his guide-line, and then, shutting
his valves, he quickly inflated his dress which soon floated him, so
that he used the rope depending from the ladder merely to guide him
upwards.  As he ascended the light became gradually stronger, the
pressure of water also decreased, obliging him to open his valves and
let out air which was becoming superabundant.  At last he emerged from
the sea, was assisted over the side, and two men began to divest him of
his dress.

While thus occupied he read his letter.  It was from the owners of the
steamer in which he had made his recent voyage.  Not being aware of his
distance from London they merely asked him to call, as they wished to
talk with him on a matter of importance.

"I wish they had mentioned what the matter was," said Edgar, with a
troubled look, as he and Baldwin descended to the cabin.  "It may be
important enough to justify my returning to London at once, and yet may
not be worth more than a walk of half a mile."

"True, Mister Edgar," said Baldwin.  "However, as you say you've
examined the hull well, and feel sure it can be raised, there's no
reason why you shouldn't go see about the apparatus required, and so
kill two birds with one stone.  Meanwhile, I'll write to Mr Hazlit,
recommending him to try to raise the wreck, and he's pretty sure to take
my advice."

In accordance with this plan Edgar returned to London.  We will not
however trace his future steps in regard to the _Seagull_.  It is
sufficient to say that his advice was acted on.  The divers tightly
closed the hole in the bow of the wreck, they also stopped up every
other orifice in her, and then pumped her out until at last she floated,
was towed into dock, and finally repaired.

Thus were several thousands of pounds saved to Mr Hazlit, and not only
to him, but to the world, for a lost ship--unlike a dropt purse--is a
_total_ loss to the human race.



There can be no question of the fact that authentic history sends its
roots into the subsoil of fabulous antiquity.  In turning to the records
of submarine exploration we are staggered on the very threshold of the
question with obvious absurdity.  We are depressed.  We seek to dive
into our subject, but find it too deep for us.  If we were to put on the
latest "patent improved diving-dress," with all its accompaniments of
double-extra pumps, pipes, powers, and purchases, and descend to a depth
of antiquity that would suffice to collapse a whale, we should find
nothing but idiotic speculation in the midst of chaotic darkness.

In this chapter we shall give a mere outline, and even that somewhat
disjointed, of the subject of diving.  We feel tempted to pass by the
fabulous period altogether, but fear lest, in our effort to eschew the
false, we do damage to the true.  Perhaps, therefore, it were well to
walk humbly in the beaten path of our forefathers, and begin at the

It is not certain whether Adam was a diver.  There is reason to believe
that he wore no "dress" of any kind at first, so that, if he dived at
all, he must have used his natural powers alone.  These powers, we learn
from the best authorities, are barely sufficient to enable a man to stay
under water for two minutes at the furthest.  Experience corroborates
these "best authorities."  It has been asserted that pearl-divers can
sometimes stay under water as long as three, four, and even five
minutes, but we don't believe the assertion.  If the reader does, we
have no hesitation in pronouncing him--or her--credulous.

To return to Adam.  We have no doubt whatever that he--perhaps Eve
also--could dive.  It is possible, though not probable, that they
"guddled" small trout in the streams of Paradise, and dived for the big
ones in the deeper pools.  We _may_ be wrong in supposing that they did,
but he would certainly be bold who should assert that they did _not_.
Unfortunately neither Adam nor Eve used the pen, therefore we have no
authentic records as to the art of diving at that period of the world's

The first writer who makes reference to diving is Homer, who is supposed
to have lived somewhere about a thousand years before the Christian era,
and he refers to it not as a novelty but in an off-hand way that proves
it to have been at that time a well-known art, practised for the purpose
of obtaining oysters.  Then we find Aeschylus comparing mental vision to
the strong natural eye of the "deep diver."  But Thucydides speaks more
definitely of divers having been employed at the siege of Syracuse to
cut down barriers which had been constructed below water; to damage the
Grecian vessels while attempting to enter the harbour, and, generally,
to go under and injure the enemy's ships.  All this inclines us to think
they must at that time have learned to supplement their natural powers
with artificial.

Livy mentions the fact that the ancients employed divers for the purpose
of recovering property from the sea.  The Rhodians had a law fixing the
share of the recovered treasure which was due to the divers who saved
it.  According to this law the remuneration was in proportion to the
depth from which it was brought up, and the risk incurred.  But as these
divers considered four fathoms or thereabouts an extreme and dangerous
depth, it is probable that they did their work in the natural way
without the aid of apparatus.

For the benefit of the credulous we may mention several statements which
have been more or less received.  The Dutch were once celebrated divers,
and it is reported that some of them have remained under water more than
an hour!  From this report some have argued that these Dutchmen must
have possessed artificial means of maintaining life below water.  To
this we reply, if that were so, is it likely that the reporter who made
reference to the length of time spent below water was ignorant as to the
means--if any--by which this apparent miracle was accomplished?  And if
he was not ignorant, would he have passed over such means in silence?
The idea is absurd.  The probability is rather that the reporter had
been gulled, or was fond of drawing the "long bow."

Again, mention is made by one Mersennius of a man who could remain six
hours under water!  If Mersennius were in a position to become
acquainted with that diver's powers, how comes it that he failed to
become acquainted with his apparatus?  Simply because there was no such
apparatus, and the whole affair is a fable.

But the most remarkable of these stories is recorded by a certain Father
Kircher, who might appropriately be styled a father of lies!  Here is
_his_ fabrication:--

In the time of Frederick of Sicily there lived a man named Nicolo
Pesce,--Nicholas the Fish.  This man's powers seem to have been
decidedly superhuman.  He was evidently an amphibious animal.  He
appears to have acted the part of ocean-postman in these old times, for
it is related of him that he used to carry letters for the king far and
wide about the Mediterranean.  On one occasion a vessel found him out of
sight of land in the discharge of ocean-postal duty--bearing despatches
of the king from Sicily to Calabria.  They took him on board and had a
chat with him.  It is not said that they smoked a friendly pipe with him
or gave him a glass of grog, but we think it probable that they did!
After a little rest and refreshment Nicholas the Fish bade them
good-bye, jumped overboard, and continued his voyage.  The end of this
poor man was very sad.  The king, being seized with an insane desire to
know something about the depths of the terrible gulf of Charybdis,
offered Nicholas a golden cup if he would dive down and explore them.
He dived accordingly, remained below nearly an hour, and brought back a
glowing account of the wonders and horrors of the seething whirlpool.
The king, far from being satisfied, became more than ever desirous of
knowledge.  He asked Nicholas to dive again, and tempted him with the
offer of another and larger cup, as well as a purse of gold.  The poor
Fish, after some hesitation, again dived into the gulf and was never
more heard of!

We don't wonder at it.  The greatest wonder is, that Nicolo Pesce ever
obtained a place in the encyclopaedias of the world.  From the fact,
however, that he has been thus rescued from oblivion, we conclude, that
although much that is said of him is false, the man himself was not a
myth, but a fact; that he was a man of the Captain Webb type, who
possessed extraordinary powers of swimming, perhaps of diving, to the
extent, it may be, of nearly three minutes, and that he possibly lost
his life by rashly venturing into the vortex of some dangerous
whirlpool.  That he did not use diving apparatus of any kind is clear
from the fact that nothing is said about such apparatus, which, had it
really existed, would have claimed as much attention and caused as much
talk as did the man himself.

The earliest authentic records we have of the use of diving apparatus
belong to the beginning of the sixteenth century.  In an edition of
Vegetius on the _Art of War_, published in 1511, there is an engraving
of a diver walking in the sea with a cap over his head and shoulders,
from which a flexible tube rises to the surface.  This was, no doubt,
the embryo of our "diving-dress."  John Taisner, in 1538, says that he
saw two Greeks, at Toledo in Spain, make experiments with diving
apparatus, in presence of the Emperor Charles the Fifth and ten thousand
spectators.  Gaspar Schott of Numberg, in 1664, refers to this Greek
machine as an "aquatic kettle;" but mentions, as preferable in his
estimation, a species of "aquatic armour," which enabled those who wore
it to walk under water.  The "aquatic kettle" was doubtless the embryo
of the diving-bell.

From that time onward inventive minds have been turned, with more or
less success, towards the subject of submarine operations, and many are
the contrivances--clever, queer, absurd, and useful--which have been the
outcome.  Not content with "kettles" and "bells," by means of which they
could descend into the deep and remain there for an hour or more at a
time, and with "armour" and "dresses" with which they could walk about
at the bottom of the sea, men have constructed several submarine boats
and machines, in which, shut up like Jonah in the whale, they purposed
to move about from place to place, sink to the bottom and rise to the
surface, at will, or go under the bottoms of enemy's ships and fix
torpedoes wherewith to blow them up, and otherwise do them damage.
These latter machines have not attained to any noteworthy degree of
success--at least they have not yet done either much good or much harm
to the human race; but the former--the "kettles" and the "armour,"--in
other words, the "diving-bells" and "dresses"--have attained to a high
degree of perfection and efficiency, and have done incalculable good

The diving-bell was so styled owing to the first machines being made in
the shape of a gigantic bell.  An inverted wine-glass, thrust mouth
downwards into water, will not fill with water, owing to the air which
it contains keeping the water out.  It will partially fill, however,
because air is compressible, and the deeper down it is thrust the more
will the air be compressed.  At a depth of thirty-three feet the air
will be compressed to half its bulk--in other words, the glass will be
half-full of water.  It is clear that a fly or any small insect could
live in the air thus confined although thrust to great depths under
water.  But it could not live long, because air becomes unfit for use
after being breathed a certain time, and cannot sustain life.  Hence, if
we are to preserve the life of our fly, we must send fresh air down to

The first diving-bells were made so large that the air contained in them
sufficed for a considerable period--an hour or more.  When this air had
lost its life-sustaining qualities, the bell had to be drawn up and the
air renewed.  This was so inconvenient that ingenious men soon hit on
various plans to renew the air without raising the bells.  One plan,
that of Dr Halley, was to send air down in tight casks, which were
emptied into the bell and then sent up, full of water, for a fresh
supply of air, while the foul air was let out of the bell by a valve in
the top.  Another plan was to have tubes from the bell to the surface by
which air was made to circulate downwards, at first being forced down by
a pair of bellows, and afterwards by means of air-pumps.

Round the inside of the bell ran a seat for the divers.  One or more
holes fitted with thick plate-glass, gave them light and enabled them to
use the various tools and implements required in their vocation.  From
some of these bells, a man could be sent out, when at or near the
bottom, having on a water-tight head-piece connected by a tube with the
air inside the bell.  He could thus move about with more freedom than
his comrades inside, but of course could not travel further than the
length of his tube, while, being wet, he could not endure the cold for
any great length of time.

As time went on the form of the bell was improved until that of a square
or oblong box of iron came to be generally adopted.  The bell now in use
is that which was made in 1788 by the celebrated engineer Smeaton, who
applied the air forcing-pump to it, and otherwise brought the machine to
a high degree of perfection.  He used it with great advantage in the
works at Ramsgate harbour, and Smeaton's diving-bell, improved by
Rennie, has continued in constant and general use on all submarine works
until a very recent period.  It has now been almost entirely
superseded--except in the case of some special kinds of work--by the
diving-dress--the value and the use of which it is the province of our
tale to illustrate and expound.

In regard to the diving-dress, we may say that it has grown out of the
"aquatic armour" of the olden time, but no great advance in its
improvement was made until the end of the eighteenth and beginning of
the present centuries, when the names of Rowe, Halley, Spalding,
Bushwell, and Colt, appear in connection with various clever
contrivances to facilitate diving operations.  Benjamin Martin, a London
optician, made a dress of strong leather in 1778 which fitted his arms
and legs as well as his trunk, and held half a hogshead of air.  With
this he could enter the hold of a sunk vessel, and he is said to have
been very successful in the use of it.  Mr Kleingert of Breslau, in
1798, designed a dress somewhat like the above, part of which, however,
was made of tin-plate.  The diving-dress was greatly improved by Mr
Deane, and in the recovery of guns, etcetera, from the wreck of the
_Royal George_, in 1834 to 1836, as well as in many other operations,
this dress--much improved, and made by Mr Siebe, under Deane's
directions--did signal service.

It has now been brought to a high state of perfection by the well-known
submarine engineers Siebe and Gorman, Heinke and Davis, and others, of
London, and Denayrouze of Paris.  It encases the diver completely from
head to foot, is perfectly water-tight, and is made of thick sheet
india-rubber covered on both sides with tanned twill--the helmet and
breast-plate being metal.

For further information on this subject we refer the inquisitive reader
to the _Encyclopaedia Britannica_, to the descriptive pamphlets of the
submarine engineers above named, and to an admirable little book styled
_The Conquest of the Sea_, by Henry Siebe, which contains a full and
graphic account in detail of almost everything connected with diving and
submarine engineering.  [See Note 1.]


Note 1.  It may interest practical spirits to know that they can _see_
the diving-dress and apparatus in operation, by going to Number 17 Mason
Street, Westminster Bridge Road, London, where Messrs. Siebe and Gorman
have erected a large Tank for the purpose of illustrating their
apparatus.  At the Alexandra Palace, also, Messrs. Denayrouze and
Company have a tank for the same purpose.



It is proverbial that incidents in themselves trivial frequently form
the hinges on which great events turn.  When Edgar Berrington went to
London he learned that the owners of the fine ocean-steamer the
_Warrior_ wished him to become their chief engineer for that voyage, the
previous chief having been suddenly taken ill and obliged to leave them.
Although flattered by the proposal, and the terms in which it was made,
Edgar declined it, for, having acquired all the knowledge he desired
about marine engines during the voyage out and home, he did not wish to
waste more time at sea.  The owner, however, being aware of his worth,
was not to be put off with a first refusal.  He took Edgar into his
private room and reasoned with him.

"Come now, Mr Berrington, consider my proposal again.  You'll go, won't

"Impossible," replied Edgar.  "You are very kind, and I assure you that
I fully appreciate your offer, but--"

He was interrupted by a clerk who entered at the moment and spoke a few
words in an under tone to the owner.

"Excuse me one minute, Mr Berrington," said the latter, rising quickly.
"I shall return immediately.  There is a newspaper, to look--no--where
is it?  Ah!  No matter: here is a list of the passengers going out to
China in the _Warrior_.  It may amuse you.  Perhaps you may find a
friend amongst them."

Left alone, Edgar ran his eye carelessly over the names--thinking the
while of the disagreeables of another long sea-voyage, and strengthening
his resolves not to be tempted to go.

Now, the careless glance at this passenger-list was the apparently
trifling incident on which hinged the whole of our hero's future career;
his careless glance became suddenly fixed and attentive; his eyebrows
lifted to their utmost elevation and his face flushed crimson, for there
he beheld the names of Charles Hazlit, Esquire, and his daughter, Miss
Aileen Hazlit.

Just at that moment the owner of the _Warrior_ returned.  This owner was
an intelligent, shrewd man--quick to observe.  He noted the flush on
Edgar's countenance, and Edgar immediately blew his nose with violence
to account for the flush.

"Well now, Mr Berrington, what say you?" he resumed.

Poor Edgar knew not what to say.  A reply had to be given at once.  He
had no time to think.  Aileen going to China!  An offer of a situation
in the same vessel!

"Well, sir," said our hero, with sudden decision, "I will go."

Of course the owner expressed himself well pleased, and then there
followed a deal of nautico-scientific talk, after which Edgar ventured
to say--

"I observe the name of Mr Charles Hazlit on your list.  He is an
acquaintance of mine.  Do you happen to know what takes him so far from

"Can't say exactly," replied the other.  "I think some one told me his
affairs in China require looking after, and his daughter's health
necessitates a long sea-voyage."

"Health!" exclaimed Edgar, striving to look and speak in a comparatively
indifferent manner.  "She was quite well when I saw her last."

"Very likely," said the owner, with a smile, "but it does not take long
to make a young lady ill--especially when her heart is touched.  Some
sort of rumour floats in my mind to the effect that Miss Hazlit is going
out to China to be married, or requires to go out because she doesn't
want to be married--I forget which.  But it comes pretty much to the
same thing in the end!"

"Hah!" said Edgar shortly.

If he had said "Oh!" in tones of agony, it would have been more truly
expressive of his feelings.

The moment he got out of the office and felt the cool air of the street
he repented of his decision and pronounced himself to be a consummate

"There," thought he, "I've made a fool of myself.  I've engaged for a
long voyage in a capacity which precludes the possibility of my
associating with the passengers, for not only must nearly all my waking
hours be spent down beside the engine, but when I come up to cool myself
I must perforce do so in dirty costume, with oily hands and face, quite
in an unfit state to be seen by Aileen, and without the slightest right
to take any notice of her.  Oh!  Donkey--goose that you are, Eddy!  But
you've done it now, and can't undo it, therefore you must go through
with it."

Thinking of himself in this lowly strain he went home to the solitude of
his lodging, sat down before his tea-table, thrust both hands into his
pockets, and, in a by no means unhappy frame of mind, brooded over his
trials and sorrows.

Let us change the scene now.  We are out upon the sea--in a floating
palace.  And oh how that palace rushes onward, ever onward, without
rest, without check, night and day, cleaving its way irresistibly
through the mighty deep.  Mighty!  Ah! _how_ mighty no one on board can
tell so well as that thin, gentle, evidently dying youth who leans over
the stern watching the screws and the "wake" that seems to rush behind,
marking off, as it were mile by mile, the vast and ever-increasing
space--never to be re-traversed he knows full well--that separates him
from home and all that is dear to him on earth.

The palace is made of iron--hard, unyielding, unbeautiful,
uncompromising iron,--but her cushions are soft, her gilding is
gorgeous, her fittings are elegant, her food is sumptuous, her society--
at least much of it--is refined.  Of course representatives of the
unrefined are also there--in the after-cabin too--just as there are
specimens of the refined in the fore-cabin.  But, taking them all in
all, they are a remarkably harmonious band, the inhabitants of this iron
palace, from the captain to the cabin-boy inclusive.  The latter is a
sprightly imp; the former is--to use the expression of one of the
unrefined--"a brick."  He is not tall--few sea-captains seem to be so--
but he is very broad, and manly, and as strong as an elephant.  He is a
pattern captain.  Gallant to the lady passengers, chatty with the
gentlemen, polite to the unrefined, sedately grave among the officers
and crew, and jocular to the children; in short, he is all things to all
men--and much of the harmony on board is due to his unconscious
influence.  He has a handsome face, glittering black eyes, an aquiline
nose that commands respect, and a black beard and moustache that covered
a firm mouth and chin.

Grinding is one of the prominent ideas that are suggested on board the
iron palace.  There are many other ideas, no doubt.  Among seventy or
eighty educated and intelligent human beings of both sexes and all ages
it could not be otherwise.  We allude, however, to the boat--not to the
passengers.  The screw grinds and the engine grinds incessantly.  When
one thinks of a thing, or things, going round and round, or up and down,
regularly, uninterruptedly, vigorously, doggedly, obstinately, hour
after hour, one is impressed, to say the least; and when one thinks of
the said thing, or things, going on thus, night and day without rest,
one is solemnised; but when one meditates on these motions being
continued for many weeks together, one has a tendency to feel mentally

The great crank that grinds the screw, and is itself ground by the
piston--not to mention the cylinder and boiler--works in a dark place
deep down in the engine-room, like a giant hand constantly engaged on
deeds of violence and evil.

Here Edgar Berrington, clothed in white canvas and oil, finds genial
companionship.  He dotes on the great crank.  It is a sympathetic thing.
It represents his feelings wonderfully.  Returning from the deck after
inhaling a little fresh air, he leans against the iron bulkhead in these
clanking depths and gazes gloomily and for prolonged periods at the
crank while it grinds with a sort of vicious energy that seems in
strange harmony with his soul.  Sometimes he grinds his teeth as a sort
of obbligato accompaniment--especially if he has while on deck, during a
wistful gaze at the distant perspective of the aft-regions, beheld, (or
fancied he has beheld) a familiar and adored form.

At first the passengers were sick--very sick, most of them--insomuch
that there were some who would gladly, if possible, have surrendered
their lives with their dinners; but by degrees they began to improve,
and to regard meals with anticipation instead of loathing.  When the
sunny and calm latitudes near the line were reached, every one grew well
and hearty, and at last there was not a sad soul on board except the
poor sick lad who studied the screw and measured the ever-increasing
distance from home.  One of the first evidences of the return of health
was the sound of song.  When the nights were clear and calm, and naught
was audible save the grinding of the screw, the passengers crystallised
naturally into groups in the same way that ice-particles arrange
themselves in sympathetic stars; and from several such constellations
the music of the spheres was naturally evolved.

One of these crystals was formed, usually in a tent on deck, by the
attractive influence of smoke.  It was consequently not a bright
crystal, and included particles both refined and otherwise.  Its music
was gruff for the most part, sometimes growly.  There was another
crystal which varied its position occasionally--according to the
position of the moon, for it was a crystal formed of romantic elements.
One of its parts was a Scottish maiden whose voice was melodious,
flexible, and very sweet.  Her face and spirit had been made to match.
She had many admirers, and a bosom-friend of kindly heart and aspect,
with wealth of golden hair, in some respects like herself.

Our heroine Aileen, being passionately fond of music, and herself a
sweet singer, attached herself to this crystal, and became as it were
another bosom-friend.

Two bearded men were also much given to seek attachment to this crystal.
They also seemed knit to each other in bosom-friendship--if we may
venture to use such a term with reference to bearded men.  One was
amateurly musical, the other powerfully sympathetic.  A pastor, of
unusually stalwart proportions, with a gentle pretty wife and lovable
family, also had a decided leaning to this crystal.

One evening the group, finding its favourite part of the deck occupied,
was driven to a position near the tent of the smoky crystal, and,
sitting down not far from the engineer's quarters, began to indulge in
song.  Grave and gay alternated.  Duets followed; trios ensued, and
miscellaneous new forms of harmony sometimes intervened.

"Do sing a solo, Miss Hazlit," said the Scottish maiden.  "I like your
voice _so_ much, and want to hear it alone.  Will you sing?"

Aileen had an obliging spirit.  She at once began, in a low contralto
voice, "I cannot sing the old songs."

Sometimes in private life one hears a voice so sweet, so thrilling, with
a "something" so powerful in it, that one feels, amid other sensations
of pleasure, great satisfaction to think that none of the public singers
in the world could "bat that" if they were to try their best, and that
few of them could equal it!

Such a voice was that of our heroine.  It drew towards her the soul,
body, and spirit of the music-lovers who listened.  Of course we do not
deny that there were some who could not be drawn thus.  There were a
few, among the smoky crystals, for whom a draw of the pipe or a mildly
drawn pot of bitter beer had greater charms than sweet sounds, however
melting.  With the exceptions of these, nearly all who chanced to be
within hearing drew near to the musical group, and listened while that
most, beautiful of songs was being warbled in tones not loud but
inexpressibly pathetic.

Among the listeners was our friend Edgar Berrington.  Seated, as usual,
in front of the great crank, with bare muscular arms folded on his broad
chest and a dark frown on his forehead, he riveted his eyes on the crank
as if it were the author of all his anxieties.  Suddenly the terminating
lines, "I cannot sing the old songs, they are too dear to me," rising
above the din of machinery, floated gently down through iron
lattice-work, beams, rods, cranks, and bars, and smote upon his ear.

Like a galvanised man he sprang on his legs and stood erect.  Then, if
we may say so, like a human rocket, he shot upwards and stood on the
margin of the crowd.  Being head and shoulders over most of them he
observed a clear space beside the singer.  The night was dark, features
could not be discerned, even forms were not easily recognisable.  He
glided into the open space, and silently but promptly sat down on the
deck beside Aileen.  His elbow even touched one of the folds of her
garment.  He went straight into paradise and remained there!

As for Aileen, if she observed the action at all, she probably set it
down to the enthusiasm of a more than usually musical member of the
ship's crew.

While she was still dwelling on the last note, a grinding sound was
heard and a slight tremor felt that not only stopped the song abruptly
but checked the applause that was ready to burst from every lip and
hand.  Edgar vanished from the spot where he sat quite as quickly as he
had appeared, and in a moment was at his station.  The captain's voice
was heard on the bridge.  The signal was given to stop the engines--to
back them--to stop again.  Eager inquiries followed--"What's that?  Did
you feel it?  Hear it?  Could it be a rock?  Impossible, surely?"  No
one could answer with knowledge or authority, save those who were too
busy to be spoken to.  Accustomed as they all were for many weeks past
to the ceaseless motion of the engines, the sudden stoppage had a
strange and solemnising effect on most of the passengers.  Presently the
order was given to steam ahead, and once more they breathed more freely
on hearing again the familiar grinding of the screw.

To the anxious inquiries afterwards made of him, the captain only smiled
and said he could not tell what it was--perhaps it might have been a
piece of wreck.  "But it did not feel like that, captain," objected one
of the passengers, who, having frequently been to sea before, was
regarded as being semi-nautical; "it was too like a touch on something
solid.  You've heard, I suppose, of coral reefs growing in places where
none are marked on our charts?"

"I have," answered the captain drily.

"Might it not be something of the kind?"

"It might," replied the captain.

"We are not far from the coast of China, are we?" asked the
semi-nautical passenger.

"Not very far."

Seeing that the captain was not disposed to be communicative, the
semi-nautical passenger retired to persecute and terrify some of the
ladies with his surmises.  Meanwhile the well was sounded and a slight
increase of water ascertained, but nothing worth speaking of, and the
pumps were set to work.

The anxiety of the passengers was soon allayed, everything going on as
smoothly as before.  The evening merged into night.  The moon rose
slowly and spread a path of rippling silver from the ship to the
horizon.  The various groups began to un-crystallise.  Sleepy ones went
below and melted away somehow.  Sleepless ones went to their great
panacea, smoke.  Lights were put out everywhere save where the duties of
the ship required them to burn continually.  At last the latest of the
sleepless turned in, and none were wakeful through the iron palace
except the poor youth who mentally measured the distance from home, and
the officers and men on duty.  Among the latter was Edgar Berrington,
who, standing at his accustomed post down in his own iron depths,
pondered the events of the evening while he watched the motions of the
great crank and listened to the grinding of the screw.



It turned out, on investigation, that, whatever the object by which the
vessel had been touched, some degree of injury had been done to her
iron-plating, for the pumps were found to be insufficient to prevent the
rising of water in the hold.  This was a serious matter, because
although the rise was very slow, it was steady, and if not checked would
sooner or later sink the ship.  Everything that could be done was
attempted in order to discover and stop the leak, but without success.

Fortunately it happened that the _Warrior_ had among her other goods a
quantity of diving apparatus on board, consigned to a firm in Hong-Kong
that had lost valuable property in a wreck, and meant to attempt the
recovery of it by means of divers.  The men had gone out by a previous
vessel, but their dresses, having been accidentally delayed, had been
sent after them in the _Warrior_.  Bethinking himself of these dresses,
the captain conceived that he was justified, in the circumstances, in
making temporary use of them; but he was disappointed to find, on
inquiry, that not a man of his ordinary crew had ever seen a
diving-dress put on, or its attendant air-pumps worked.  In these
circumstances he sent for the chief engineer.

Edgar Berrington was busy about some trifling repairs to the machinery
when the message reached him.  The place being very hot, he was clad
only in shirt and trousers, with a belt round his waist--a by no means
unbecoming costume for a well-made figure!  His shirt-sleeves were
rolled up to the shoulders, displaying a pair of very muscular and
elegantly moulded arms--such as Hercules might have been pleased with,
and Apollo would not have disdained.  His hands were black and oily, and
his face was similarly affected.

Expecting to meet the captain at the entrance to his domains, Edgar
merely rolled down his sleeves, and seized a bundle of waste with which
he hastily wiped his hands and face, thereby drawing on the latter,
which had previously been spotty, a series of varied streaks and
blotches that might have raised the envy of a Querikoboo savage.  But
the captain was not where he expected to find him, and on looking aft he
saw him on the quarter-deck in converse with one of the passengers.
Edgar would rather not have appeared in public in such guise, but being
in haste to return to the work from which he had been called, he pulled
on a light linen jacket and forage-cap, and walked quickly aft.  To his
horror he saw Aileen seated on a basket-work easy-chair close to the
captain.  It was too late, however, to retreat, for the latter had
already observed him.  Fortunately Aileen was deeply engaged with a
book.  Edgar quickly advanced and took such a position that his back was
turned to her.

"Excuse my appearance, sir," he said in a low voice, touching his cap to
the captain; "I am in the midst of a job that requires to be--"

"No matter," interrupted the captain, with a laugh, "you look very well
in your war-paint.  We'll excuse you."

Attracted by the laugh, Aileen looked up at the tall form in front of

"What a _very_ handsome figure!" she whispered to her bosom-friend, who
sat beside her reading.

The bosom-friend put her book in front of her mouth and whispered--

"Yes, _very_.  I wish he would turn round and show his face."

But her wish was not granted, for the captain walked slowly forward in
conversation with the "_very_ handsome figure," which obstinately,--we
might almost say carefully,--kept its back turned towards them.

Great was the satisfaction of the captain when he found not only that
one of the subordinate engineers understood a good deal about diving,
but that the chief himself was a diver!  It was accordingly arranged
that a descent should be made without delay.  The dresses were got up
and unpacked, and one was found suitable for a large man.

Soon the air-pumps were set up and rigged on deck.  One of the
sub-engineers was set to work them, with one of the crew, while another
sub and an officer, having been previously instructed by our hero, were
detailed to the important duty of holding the life-line and air-pipe.
Thereafter the engines were stopped, and the dead-calm that followed,--
that feeling of unnatural quietude to which we have referred
elsewhere,--did more perhaps to arouse all the sleepers, readers, and
dreamers on board, than if a cannon had been fired.  Of course the
descent of a diver over the side was a point of great interest to the
passengers, coupled as it was with some anxiety as to the leak, of the
existence of which all were fully aware, though only a select few had
been informed of its serious nature--if not checked.  They crowded round
the apparatus therefore, and regarded its arrangement with the deepest

When all was ready Edgar issued from the deck-cabin, in which he meant
to dress, to take a final look at the air-pumps.  In the flutter of
excitement he had for one moment, and for the first time since the
beginning of the voyage, totally forgotten the existence of Aileen.
Now, she and Lintie, the Scottish maiden who sang so well, chanced to be
looking with much interest at the helmet which lay on the deck, when his
eye fell on them.  At once he turned on his heel and retreated towards
his cabin.

"That's the man who is to go down, I believe," observed one of the
passengers, pointing to him.

Lintie looked up and saw his back.

"Oh!" she whispered to Aileen, "it is the _very_ handsome man!"

"Is it?" replied Aileen, with indifference, for she was engrossed with
the helmet just then.

Greatly perplexed as to how he should escape observation, poor Edgar
began to dress--or, rather, to be dressed by his assistants,--delaying
the operation as long as possible; but delay did not seem to increase
his inventive powers, and could not prevent the completion of the

The guernsey, drawers, and outside stockings were drawn on, and Edgar's
brain worked the while like the great crank of his own engine; but no
feasible plan of escape was evolved.  Then the "crinoline" was drawn on,
but it added no feminine sharpness to his wits, though it seriously
modified and damaged the shape of his person.  The crinoline, as we have
said elsewhere, is seldom used except at great depths, where the
pressure of water is excessive.  It was put on Edgar at this time partly
because it formed a portion of the dress, and partly because, his mind
being preoccupied, he did not observe with sufficient care what his
attendants were about.

After this came the shoulder-pad, and then the thick dress itself was
drawn on, and the attendants hitched it up with difficulty over his
spreading shoulders, but they could not hitch up an idea along with it.
The forcing of his hands through the tight india-rubber wrists of the
sleeves was done with tremendous power, but it was nothing compared with
the energy he put forth to force himself through his mental difficulty--
yet all in vain!  The outside stockings and the canvas "overalls"
followed, and he finally put on the red night-cap, which seemed to
extinguish all capacity for thought.

"You seem to be a little nervous, sir," remarked one of the attendants,
as he affixed the back and chest weights, while the other put on his
ponderous boots.

"Am I,--eh!" said Edgar, with a grim smile; then he added, as a sudden
idea flashed on him; "go fetch me the dirtiest bundle of waste you can
find below, and give it a good scrape on the blackest part of the boiler
as you pass."

"Sir!" exclaimed the attendant.

"Go; do what I bid you." said Edgar, in a tone that did not brook delay.

The attendant vanished and speedily returned with the desired piece of

Edgar at once rubbed it over his face and became so piebald and hideous
that both the attendants laughed.

Not heeding them, and only half sure of the completeness of the
disguise, Edgar issued boldly from his cabin, and walked with heavy
tread towards the place where he had to sit down to have the helmet
screwed on.

A loud roar of laughter greeted him.

"Why, you've been kissing the funnel," exclaimed one of the mates.

"That'll do me no harm," growled Edgar, stooping to catch hold of the
air-tube, and making an excuse for sidling and backing towards his seat.

"Oh!  What a fright!  And _such_ a figure!" exclaimed Lintie; "come
round, let us try to get a nearer view of him."

She dragged the laughing Aileen with her, for she was an impulsive
little woman; but at whatever opening in the crowd she and her friend
presented themselves, they were sure to find the diver's ridiculously
broad and now inelegant back turned towards them.

"Plague on him!" she exclaimed, for she was an impatient little woman,
just then, "I don't believe he's got a front at all!  Come round again--

"Why, what are you turning about like that for?" exclaimed one of the
exasperated attendants, who stood ready with the helmet.

"His head's turned wi' fear, an' he's a-follerin' of it," growled the

"Why don't you sit down?" said the attendant.

"Are you ready?" asked Edgar, in a low gruff voice.

"Of course I am--don't you see me?"

Another happy idea came into Edgar's head at that moment.  He pulled his
red night-cap well down over his eyes, and sat down with a crash, while
another hearty laugh greeted his supposed eccentricity.

"Hallo, I say, you're not going to be hanged--no need to draw it down
like that," said the first officer.

"Drowning comes much to the same thing; let's do it decently--according
to rule," retorted Edgar, with a grin that displayed a brilliant set of

"H'm!  We shan't see him _now_," whispered Lintie, in disappointment,
forcing her way once more to the front.

This time there was no reply from Aileen, for a strange shock passed
through her as she observed the momentary smile--and no wonder, for many
a time had that same mouth smiled upon her with winning tenderness.

Of course she did not for a moment suspect the truth, but she thought it
strange, nevertheless, that the diver's mouth should have such a strong
resemblance to--she knew not precisely what!  Afterwards she confided to
Lintie that it had struck her as bearing a faint--very faint--
resemblance to the mouth of a friend.

"Of a very particular friend?" inquired Lintie, who was sharp-witted.

Aileen blushed and hid her face on the neck of her friend, and suddenly
poured out her soul, which the other drank up with avidity.

That same night, lying in her berth, which was a top one, and looking
languidly over the side at her friend, who lay in the berth below
looking sympathetically up, she revealed her hopes and fears and
sentiments, to the edification, (it is to be hoped) of a mean-spirited
passenger in the saloon, who stood on the other side of the very thin
partition, and tried to overhear.  If he succeeded it must have been a
new sensation to him to listen to the gentle streams of hope and love
that flowed through to him--for Aileen's thoughts were gems, as pure and
beautiful as the casket which contained them.  We are not quite sure,
but we more than half suspect that if his presence there had been
discovered, and himself had been within easy reach, the casket's palm
would have evoked something resembling a pistol-shot from his dirty

But to return to our diver.  The moment his helmet was on he breathed
freely, recovered his equanimity, and went down the rope-ladder that
hung over the side, with an air of easy decision that checked the
criticisms of the men and aroused the admiration--not to mention the
alarm--of the women.

"The puir felly'll be droon'd," pitifully observed a fore-cabin
passenger from Edinburgh, as she gazed at the mass of air-bubbles that
arose when Edgar's iron head had disappeared.

"Nothink of the sort," responded a fore-cabin passenger from London, who
had taken an immense liking to the fore-cabin passenger from Edinburgh,
in virtue of their total mental, moral, and physical dissimilarity;
"divers are never drownded."

We need scarcely observe to the intelligent reader that both females
were wrong--as such females, in regard to such matters, usually are.
Edgar was _not_ "droon'd," and divers _are_ sometimes "drownded."

So far from being drowned, he was remarkably successful in discovering
the leak on his first descent.

It was caused by one of the iron-plates near the keel having been badly
torn by a coral rock.

Thoroughly to repair this was a difficulty.  Our diver did indeed stuff
it with oakum in a way that at once diminished the influx of water; but
this was merely a makeshift.  It now became a question whether it were
possible to effect the necessary repairs while at sea.  Our young
engineer removed the difficulty.  He undertook to rivet an iron-plate
over the hole--at least to make the attempt.

In order to effect this, a rope-ladder was constructed long enough to
pass entirely under the ship's bottom, to which it was tightly pressed
by means of tackle at both ends.  The rounds of this ladder were made of
wood, and all along its course were fastened rough balls or blocks of
wood about four inches in diameter, which prevented it coming too close
to the ship's bottom.  Thus there was secured space for the diver to
place his feet on the rounds.  This ladder having been affixed, so as to
pass close to the injured plate, a boat was lowered, and from this boat
descended a small ladder, hung in such a way that the diver, when a few
feet under water, could easily step from it to the fixed rope-ladder.
In addition to this, a small plank suspended to a rope, somewhat after
the fashion of a familiar style of bed-room bookshelf, was taken down by
the diver and hung to the rope-ladder by a hook, so that he could sit on
it while at work, and move it about at pleasure.

All having been prepared, our engineer descended with the necessary
tools, and, to make a long story short, riveted a new plate over the old
one in such a way as effectually to close the leak, so that thereafter
it gave no further trouble or anxiety.

But for this the vessel would certainly have been lost, unless they had
succeeded in beaching her before the final catastrophe, on some part of
the neighbouring coast; in which case they would have run the chance of
being taken by the pirates who at that time infested the China seas.

Delivered from this threatened danger, the good ship sped merrily on her
course; most of the crystallised groups grew closer together--in some
instances, however, they burst asunder!  Musical tendencies also
developed, though in some cases the sublime gave place to the
ridiculous, and music actually, once or twice, became a nuisance.  As
the end of the voyage drew near, the hearty captain grew heartier, the
bosom-friends drew closer; the shy passengers opened up; the congenial
passengers began to grieve over the thought of parting; charades were
acted; concerts were given: the mean-spirited passenger became a little
less vile; the fore-cabin passenger from Edinburgh observed to her
friend that the "goin's on a'boord were wonderfu';" to which the
fore-cabin passenger from London replied that "they certainly was;"
flying-fish and porpoises, and sharks and albatrosses, and tropical
heat, ceased to furnish topics of interest, and men and women were
thrown back on their mental resources, which were, among other things,
largely wid pleasantly--sometimes even hotly!--exercised on religious
discussion.  In short the little community, thus temporarily thrown
together, became an epitome of human life.  As calm and storm alternated
outside the iron palace, so, inside, there was mingled joy and sorrow.
Friendships were formed and cemented.  Love and folly, and hate and
pride, and all the passions, were represented--ay, and Death was also

In the silent night, when nothing was heard save that ceaseless music of
the screw, the destroying angel came--so silently that only a few were
aware of his dread presence--and took away the youth whose sole
occupation seemed to have been the watching of the ever-increasing
distance from that home which he was destined never again to see.  It
was inexpressibly sad to those left behind when his coffin was committed
to the deep amid the solemn silence that once again ensued on the
stoppage of the engines, while the low voice of a pastor prayed for
those who wept his departure; but it was not sad for him who had been
taken--he had reached the "better home," and, sitting by the side of
Jesus, could doubtless afford to think, at last without longing, of the
old home beyond the sea.



Standing in his accustomed place on the iron floor of the iron chamber,
Edgar Berrington watched the grinding of the great crank, and pondered.

He had now been many weeks at sea, and had not once spoken a word to
Aileen--had not even seen her more than half-a-dozen times in the far
vista of the quarter-deck.  Each Sabbath-day, indeed, dressed like his
former self, he had worshipped with her in the same saloon, but on these
occasions he had kept carefully in the background, had crept quietly
down after the others had assembled, had kept in the shadow of the door,
and had left before the worshippers had time to rise.

An event, however, was now pending, which was destined to remove his
present difficulties in a very unexpected manner, and to saddle on the
shoulders of Charles Hazlit, Esquire, difficulties which he had never in
all his previous business calculations taken into account.

During most part of the voyage out to China Mr Hazlit's visage had
presented a sea-green aspect, edged with yellow.  The great Demon of the
sea had seized upon and held him with unwonted avidity and perseverance.
It appeared to regard him as fair game--as one whose life had been
largely devoted to ploughing up its peculiar domain--or rather, inducing
others to plough there--and who was therefore worthy of special
attention.  At all events, the wealthy merchant did not appear
above-board until the lapse of two weeks after leaving his native land.
At the end of that period something like the ghost of him crawled on
deck one rather fine day, but a demoniac squall rudely sent him below,
where he remained until those charming regions of the Equatorial calms
were entered.  Here a bad likeness--a sort of spoiled photograph--of him
again made its appearance, and lay down helplessly on a mattress, or
smiled with pathetic sarcasm when food was offered.  But soon the calm
regions were passed; the Cape of Storms was doubled, and the fierce
"south-easters" of the Indian seas were encountered, during which period
Mr Hazlit passed away, as one of the things that _had_ been, from the
memory of all on board, with the exception of Aileen, the captain, the
bed-room steward, and a Christian pastor, who, with his amiable wife,
had done much during the voyage for their fellow-passengers.

At last, when the shores of China were approached, and people began to
talk earnestly about the end of the voyage, Mr Hazlit's shade once more
made its appearance, with a spot of dark red on each cheek and on the
point of his nose.  These spots were hopefully regarded as signs of
returning health.  They did not appear too soon, for the shade would
infallibly have vanished altogether if it had been subjected to further

"Oh, papa dear, you look so _much_ better to-day!" said Aileen,
arranging his shawls as he lay on deck--"quite rosy."

If she had said port-winy it would have been more in accordance with
truth, but Aileen was rather apt to diverge from truth, unintentionally,
in speaking of her father.

"I am thankful, dear," replied the shade in a faint voice, and with a
fainter smile.  "The captain says we shall be in port in a few days, and
then we shall be all right, and--"

"Ha!  Shall you?" exclaimed the Demon of the sea, giving the ship a
little lurch to starboard, which cut short the merchant's remarks
abruptly; "you think so, do you?  Ho!  We shall see!"

Following up this inaudible speech with one of those audible howls for
which demons are so justly celebrated, he went off in a gust of wind,
and summoned to his aid one of those simooms, or monsoons, or typhoons
which are in the habit of ravaging the southern seas.

These spirits, quickly obeying the summons, sent not only Mr Hazlit but
many of the other passengers to their berths, blew into ribbons the few
sails that chanced to be hoisted, boiled up the sea as if in a huge
caldron, caused the blackened sky to mingle with the world of waters,
rent the firmament with gleaming fire and crashing thunder, and hissed
or yelled everywhere in the spirit of wildest revelry.

The _Warrior_ was a splendid steamer, and her commander an able seaman,
but neither splendour of material nor power of mind can avert what is

The storm was prolonged, and raged with unwonted fury, the captain did
his best, the good ship behaved nobly, and things went well until the
night of the third day.  It was at that time so very dark that nothing
could be seen farther off than a few yards beyond the bulwarks, where
the white-crested waves loomed high in air in a sort of ghostly fashion
as if they meant to fall on the deck unawares and sink the ship.

The passengers had by degrees got used to the mad plunging and rolling
of their iron home, and even the timid among them began to feel hopeful
that after all the gale would be weathered, and the harbour gained.

What the captain thought no one could tell.  He remained on the bridge
night and day, clad from head to foot in oil-skin garments, facing the
furious blast as if it were his native air, watching every motion of his
vessel, and gazing intently into the world of ebony ahead as if trying
to read his fate there.

The darkness around was almost palpable.  Sometimes it seemed as if the
vessel were rushing against a mighty rock, that towered high above the
masts, but this was only optical illusion, or, perhaps, a denser
storm-cloud than usual passing by, for the steamer continued to plough
her onward way unchecked, save, now and then, by the bursting on her
bows of a monster billow, which caused her to quiver from stem to stern,
and swept the decks with green seas fore and aft.  One such sea had
carried away part of the bulwarks, and swept overboard all the loose
material on the decks.  Presently, there was a slight diminution in the
force of the seas.  The captain noted this, and gave orders to get the
lead ready to heave.

Deep in the iron chambers below, Edgar Berrington stood--not in his
wonted dreamy mood, beside the great crank, but close to the
steering-wheel of the engine,--alert, steady, with his hand on the
wheel, his eye on the index.

Suddenly the order came, "Half-speed,"--then abruptly followed, "Stop."

These orders were obeyed instantly.

The lead was hove--the result, "no bottom at thirty fathoms."

Again Edgar was signalled--"Half-speed," then--as the captain looked
into the darkness ahead, and saw, or thought he saw, it deepen
horribly--came the sharp order, "Astern, full-speed!"

Full well did Edgar know that this implied imminent danger.  Quick as
lightning he reversed the engines.

Next moment there was an appalling crash that overturned everything in
the vessel.  Our hero was himself wrenched from his position, and hurled
against the bulkhead of the boiler-room; the masts went over the sides
as if they had been pipe-stems, and the wire-ropes snapt like
pack-thread.  A moment of appalling silence followed, as if the very
elements had suspended their strife, then there came shriek and cry from
fore and aft as the passengers rushed frantically about, while above all
yelled the escaping steam when Edgar opened the safety-valves.

The spot where they had struck was partially protected by cliffs, that
rose like a wall in front.  These cliffs turned off the direct force of
the gale, but the general turmoil of the sea raised a surf around them
which rendered the prospect of effecting a landing a very poor one, even
if the vessel should hold together for any length of time.  They had not
struck on the shore of the mainland, but on a solitary islet or rock,
not far from the coast, which rose abruptly out of deep water.  Hence
the silence of "the lead" as to its presence.

It were vain to attempt a description of the confusion that followed.
The few cool and collected men in the ship were powerless at first, but
gradually they succeeded in restoring some degree of order.  Then the
captain explained that being hard and fast on the rocks they could not
sink, and that the vessel being strong was likely to hold together,
perhaps, for several hours.

"We're _not_ hard and fast, captain," said the semi-nautical passenger
in an undertone, as he stood by the after-hatch, where most of the cabin
passengers were assembled.

He referred to a swinging motion of the wreck, which, however, was so
very slight as to be almost imperceptible.

"I know that," replied the captain, also in an undertone, but somewhat
sternly, "we _may_ slip back into deep water, but we're hard and fast
_just now_, and I shall do my best to keep her so.  Don't you go, sir,
and raise needless alarm in the minds of the passengers.  See," he added
aloud, pointing towards the east, "day is already breaking; we shall
soon have light enough to commence landing.  Go below, ladies, and get
your bonnet-boxes packed."

The captain's mind was far enough from jesting at that moment, but he
knew that a quiet joke, possessing a modicum of truth in it, would do
more to calm the fears of the timid than solemn advice or reasoning.  He
was right.  Many went to their cabins to look after their most precious
treasures, while the officers and men commenced active preparations for
escaping to the islet, whose towering cliffs now began to loom heavily
through the driving mist and foam.

From the first it was evident that only one mode of escape offered,
namely, by means of a rope to the shore, and a running tackle.  This
material was easily procured and arranged, but the connecting of the
rope with the shore was another question.  As daylight increased, the
island was recognised as a mere uninhabited rock, from which, therefore,
no assistance could be expected, and the terrible turmoil of waters that
leaped and seethed between the wreck and the cliffs, seemed to all on
board, including the captain himself, to be impassable.

At last it became necessary to make an effort, for it was soon
discovered that the vessel hung on the edge of a ledge, outside of which
the water deepened suddenly to twenty fathoms, and a slip back into that
would have been equivalent to certain and immediate death to all on

"My lads," said the captain to the crew, most of whom were assembled
with the passengers near the port bow, where the preparations for
escaping were going on, "we must have a man to go ashore with that line.
I cannot swim myself, else I would not ask for a volunteer.  Come; who
has got the heart to do a gallant deed, and save these women and

He turned as he spoke, and glanced at the female passengers and
children, who crowded under the lee of the cook-house, wet, dishevelled,
and terrified, Aileen and her musical friend being among them.

There was no response at first.  The men turned with doubtful looks at
the furious sea, in the midst of whose white surges black forbidding
rocks seemed to rise and disappear, and the surface of which had by that
time become much cumbered with portions of wreckage.

"If I could only swim," growled the boatswain, "I'd try, but I can't
float no more than a stone."

Others, who looked stout and bold enough to make the venture, seemed to
think it might be better to stick to the ship until the sea should go
down.  Indeed one of them said as much, but the captain interrupted him,
and was about to make another appeal, when there was a movement in the
crowd, and one of the sub-engineers pushed towards him with the
information that a volunteer was ready, and would appear immediately.

"Who is it?" asked the captain.

"Mr Berrington, sir; he's getting ready."

"The chief engineer!" exclaimed the captain.  "Good; if there's a man in
the ship can do it, he is the man."

Aileen, standing somewhat back in the crowd, thought she had caught a
familiar sound!

"Who is going to make the venture?" she inquired of a man near her.

"The chief engineer, Miss, I believe."

At the moment the crowd opened and our hero came forward, clothed only
in a shirt and duck trousers.  His face was not streaked with
professional paint on _this_ occasion.  It beamed with the flush and the
latent fire of one who feels that he has made up his mind deliberately
to face death.

"Oh!  It's the man with the handsome figure," gasped Lintie, with a wild
look of surprise.

Aileen did not now require to be told who it was.  Unlike heroines, she
neither screamed nor fainted, but through the wonder which shone in her
eyes she shot forth another look,--one of proud confidence,--which Edgar
caught in passing, and it rendered his power and purpose irresistible.
The stern work before him, however, was not compatible with soft
emotions.  Seizing the end of the light line which was ready, he tied it
firmly round his waist and leaped into the raging sea, while an
enthusiastic cheer burst from the crew.

At first it seemed as if the youth had been endowed with superhuman
powers, so vigorously and with such ease did he push through the surf
and spurn aside the pieces of wreck that came in his way; but as his
distance from the vessel increased, and the surging foam bore him in
among the rocks, he received several blows from a piece of the floating
bulwarks.  Once also he was launched with terrible violence against a
rock.  This checked him a little.  Still, however, he swam on,
apparently unhurt, while the people on board the wreck gazed after him
with inexpressible eagerness.  They not only thought of the imminent
danger of the gallant youth, but fully realised the probability that his
failure would be the sealing of their own doom.

As he drew near to the rocks on shore, a mass of wreck was seen to rise
on the crest of the surf close to the swimmer's side and fall on him.
An irresistible cry of despair burst from those in the ship.  Some one
shouted to haul on the line and pull him on board, and several seamen
sprang to do so, but the captain checked them, for through his glass he
could see Edgar struggling to free himself from the wreck.  In a few
minutes he succeeded, and the next wave hurled him on the rocky shore,
to which he clung until the retreating water had lost its power.  Then
he rose, and struggling upwards, gained a ledge of rock where he was
safe from the violence of the waves.

It need scarcely be said that his success was hailed with three
tremendous cheers, and not a few deep and fervent exclamations of "Thank
God" from some who regarded the young engineer's safety as a foretaste
of their own.  Some there were, however, who knew that the work which
yet remained to be done was fraught with danger as well as difficulty.
This work was commenced without delay.

By means of the light line which he had carried ashore, Edgar hauled the
two ends of a stouter line or small rope from the wreck.  These two ends
he quickly spliced together, thus making the rope an endless one, or, as
seamen have it, an endless fall.  The other loop, or bight, of this
endless double-rope was retained on the wreck, having been previously
rove through a block or pulley which was attached to the broken
fore-mast about ten feet above the deck--in accordance with our "rocket
apparatus" directions.  In fact, the whole contrivance, got up so
hastily at this time, was just an extemporised rocket apparatus without
the rocket--Edgar having already performed the duty of that projectile,
which is to effect communication between wreck and shore.

By means of the endless fall our hero now hauled a heavy rope or cable
from the wreck, the end of which he fastened round a large boulder.
This rope, being hauled taut, remained suspended between the wreck and
the cliffs some feet above the sea.  Previous to fixing it a large block
had been run upon it, and to this block was suspended one of those
circular cork life-preservers which one usually sees attached to the
bulwarks of ships.  It was made into a sort of bag by means of a piece
of canvas.  The endless fall was then attached to this bag so that it
could travel with its block backwards and forwards on the thick cable.

The first who passed from the wreck to the shore by means of this
contrivance was a stout seaman with two very small children in charge.
The man was sent partly to give the passengers confidence in the safety
of the mode of transit, and partly that he might aid Edgar in the
working of the tackle.  The next who passed was the mother of the
children.  Then followed Aileen, and after her the sweet singer.  Thus,
one by one, all the females and children on board were borne in safety
to land.

After these the male passengers commenced to go ashore.  A few of the
older men were sent first.  Among them was Mr Hazlit.

The unfortunate merchant was so weak as to be scarcely equal to the
exertion of getting over the side into the life-buoy or bag, and he was
so tall that, despite the efforts he made to double himself together,
there was so much of him above the machine that he had a tendency to
topple over.  This would have mattered nothing if he had possessed even
a moderate degree of power to hold on, but his hands were as weak as
those of a child.  However, the case being desperate, he made the
attempt, and was sent away from the wreck with many earnest cautions to
"hold on tight and keep cool."

You may be sure that his progress was watched with intense anxiety by
Aileen, who stood close to Edgar as he hauled in the rope carefully.

"Oh!  He will fall out," she cried in an agony as the rope dipped a
little, and let him just touch the roaring surf, when he was somewhat
more than half way over.

Edgar saw that her fears were not unlikely to be realised.  He therefore
gave the rope to the seaman who had first come ashore, with orders to
haul steadily.

Owing to its position and the dipping of the life-buoy with its burden,
the cable formed a pretty steep slope from the shore.  Throwing himself
on the cable, Edgar slid swiftly down this incline until stopped by the
buoy.  The effect of course was to sink the machine deeper than ever,
insomuch that poor Mr Hazlit, unable any longer to withstand the
buffeting, threw up his arms with a cry of despair.  Edgar caught him as
he was falling over.

"Here, put your arms round my neck," he cried, struggling violently to
fix himself firmly to the life-buoy.

The merchant obeyed instantly, giving the youth an embrace such as he
had never expected to receive at his hands!  Even in that moment of
danger and anxiety, Edgar could not help smiling at the gaze of
unutterable wonder which Mr Hazlit cast on him through the salt water--
if not tears--that filled his eyes, for he had not seen the youth when
he jumped overboard.

"Haul away!" shouted our hero; but the words were stifled by a sea which
at the moment overwhelmed them.

The man at the line, however, knew what to do.  He and some of the
passengers hauled steadily but swiftly on the line, and in a few seconds
the buoy, with its double freight, was brought safe to land.  Mr Hazlit
was carried at once by his rescuer to a recess in the cliffs which was
partially protected from the storm, and Edgar, after doing what he could
to place him comfortably on the ground, left him to the care of his

On his return to the beach he found the passengers who had been saved in
a state of great alarm because of the slipping backwards of the wreck,
which strained the cable so much that it had become as rigid as a bar of
iron.  He began, therefore, to ply the means of rescue with redoubled
energy, for there were still some of the passengers and all the crew on
board; but suddenly, while the buoy was being sent out for another
freight, the cable snapt, the wreck slid off the shelf or ledge on which
it had hung so long, and sank in deep water, leaving nothing save a
momentary whirlpool in the surf to tell where the splendid ocean palace
had gone down.

The horror that filled the minds of those who witnessed the catastrophe
cannot be described.  A feeling of dreary desolation and helplessness
followed the sudden cessation of violent energy and hopeful toil in
which most of them had been previously engaged.  This was in some degree
changed, if not relieved, by the necessity which lay on all to lace the
vicissitudes of their new position.

That these were neither few nor light soon became apparent, for Edgar
and the seaman, after an hour's investigation, returned to their friends
with the information that they had been cast on a small rocky islet,
which was uninhabited, and contained not a vestige of wood or of
anything that could sustain the life of man.  Thus they were left
without shelter or food, or the means of quitting the inhospitable
spot--not, however, without hope, for one of the seamen said that he
knew it to be an isle lying not very far from the mainland, and that it
was almost certain to be passed ere long by ships or native boats.

On further search, too, a spring of fresh water was discovered, with
sufficient grass growing near it to make comfortable beds for the women
and children.  The grass was spread under the shelter of an overhanging
cliff, and as the weather was warm, though stormy, the feelings of
despair that had at first overwhelmed young and old soon began to abate.
During the day the gale decreased and a hot sun came out at intervals,
enabling them to dry their soaking garments.

That night, taking Edgar aside, Mr Hazlit thanked him warmly for
preserving his life.

"But," said he, seriously, "forgive me if I at once broach a painful
subject, and point out that our positions are not changed by this
disaster.  Much though I love my life I love my daughter's happiness
more, and I would rather die than allow her to marry--excuse me, Mr
Berrington--a penniless man.  Of course," continued the merchant, with a
sad smile as he looked around him, "it would be ridiculous as well as
ungrateful were I to forbid your holding ordinary converse with her
_here_, but I trust to your honour that nothing more than _ordinary_
converse shall pass between you."

"My dear sir," replied the youth, "you greatly mistake my spirit if you
imagine that I would for one moment take advantage of the position in
which I am now placed.  I thank God for having permitted me to be the
means of rendering aid to you and Ai--your daughter.  Depend upon it I
will not give you reason to regret having trusted my honour.  But," (he
hesitated here) "you have referred to my position.  If, in time and
through God's goodness, I succeed in improving my position; in gaining
by industry a sufficiency of this world's pelf to maintain Aileen in a
condition of comfort approaching in some degree that in which she has
been brought up, may I hope--may I--"

Mr Hazlit took the young man's hand and said, "You may;" but he said it
sadly, and with a look that seemed to imply that he had no expectation
of Edgar ever attaining to the required position.

Satisfied with the shake of the hand, our hero turned abruptly away, and
went off to ruminate by the sea-shore.  At first he was filled with
hope; then, as he thought of his being penniless and without influential
friends, and of the immense amount of money that would have to be made
in order to meet the wealthy merchant's idea of comfort, he began to
despair.  Presently the words came to his mind--"Commit thy way unto the
Lord; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass."  This revived
him, and he began to run over in his mind all sorts of wild plans of
making a huge fortune quickly!  Again a word came to him--"Make not
haste to be rich."

"But what _is_ making haste?" he thought, and his conscience at once
replied, "Taking illegitimate courses--venturesome speculation without
means--devotion of the soul and body to business in such a way as to
demoralise the one and deteriorate the other--engaging in the pursuit of
wealth hastily and with eager anxieties, which imply that you doubt
God's promise to direct and prosper all works committed to Him."

"My plan, then," thought Edgar, "is to maintain a calm and trusting
mind; to be diligent in fulfilling _present_ duty, whatever that may be;
to look about for the direction that is promised, and take prompt
advantage of any clear opportunity that offers.  God helping me, I'll

Strong in his resolves, but, happily, stronger in his trust, he returned
to the cavern in which his companions in misfortune had already laid
them down to rest, and throwing himself on a bed of grass near the
entrance, quickly fell into that profound slumber which is the
perquisite of those who unite a healthy mind to a sound body.



Months passed away, and Miss Pritty, sitting in her little boudoir
sipping a cup of that which cheers, received a letter.

"I know that hand, of course I do.  How strange it is there should be
such a variety of hands--no two alike, just like faces; though for my
part I think that some faces are quite alike, so much so that there are
one or two people who are always mistaken for each other, so that people
don't know which is which.  Dear me!  What an awful thing it would be if
these people were so like that each should forget which was the other!
Nobody else being able to put them right, there would be irretrievable
confusion.  What do you want, eh?"

The first part of Miss Pritty's mutterances was a soliloquy; the query
was addressed to her small and only domestic with the dishevelled head,
who lingered at the door from motives of curiosity.

"Nothink, ma'am.  Do you wish me to wait, ma'am?"


She went, and Miss Pritty, opening the letter, exclaimed, "From my
nephew, Edgar!  I knew it.  Dear fellow!  I wonder why he writes to me."

The letter ran as follows:--

  "Dear Aunt,--You will doubtless be surprised to receive a letter from
  me.  It must be brief; the post leaves in an hour.  Since I saw you we
  have had a charming voyage out, but at the last we ran on a rocky
  island off the coast of China, and became a total wreck in a few

At this point Miss Pritty gasped "oh!" and fainted--at least she went
into a perfect semblance of the state of coma, but as she recovered
suddenly, and appealed to the letter again with intense earnestness, it
may have been something else that was the matter.  She resumed her

  "We succeeded in getting a hawser on shore, by means of which, through
  God's mercy, nearly all the passengers were saved, including, of
  course, your friend Miss Hazlit and her father.  It is mournful to
  have to add, however, that before the work was finished the wreck
  slipped into deep water and sank with all her crew on board.  We
  remained only one day on the rock, when a passing ship observed our
  signals, took us off, and carried us safely into Hong-Kong.

  "Mr Hazlit and his daughter immediately left for--I know not where!
  I remained here to make some inquiries about the wreck, which I am
  told contains a large amount of gold coin.  Now, I want you to take
  the enclosed letter to my father's old servant, Joe Baldwin; help him
  to read it, if necessary, and to answer it by return of post.  It is
  important; therefore, dear aunt, don't delay.  I think you know
  Baldwin's address, as I've been told he lives in the district of the
  town which you are wont to visit.  Excuse this shabby scrawl, and the
  trouble I ask you to take, and believe me to be your loving nephew,
  Edgar Berrington."

Miss Pritty was a prompt little woman.  Instead of finishing her tea she
postponed that meal to an indefinite season, threw on her bonnet and
shawl, and left her humble abode abruptly.

Joe Baldwin was enjoying a quiet pipe at his own fireside--in company
with his buxom wife and his friends Mr and Mrs Rooney Machowl--when
Miss Pritty tripped up to his door and knocked.

She was received warmly, for Joe sympathised with her affectionate and
self-denying spirit, and Mrs Joe believed in her.  Woe to the
unfortunate in whom Mrs Joe--_alias_ Susan--did _not_ believe.

"Come away, Miss,--glad to see you--always so," said Joe, wiping a chair
with his cap and extinguishing his pipe out of deference; "sit down,

Miss Pritty bowed all round, wished each of the party good-evening by
name, and seating herself beside the little fire as easily and
unceremoniously as though it had been her own, drew forth her letter.

"This is for you, Mr Baldwin," she said; "it came enclosed in one to
me, and is from my nephew, Edgar Berrington, who says it is important."

"Thank you, ma'am," said Joe, taking the letter, opening it, and looking
at it inquiringly.

"Now Miss," said he, "it's of no manner o' use my tryin' to make it out.
You mustn't suppose, Miss, that divers can't read.  There's many of 'em
who have got a good education in the three R's, an' some who have gone
further.  For the matter of that I can read print easy enough, as you
know, but I never was good at pot-hooks and hangers, d'ee see; therefore
I'll be obliged, Miss, if you'll read it to me."

Miss Pritty graciously acceded to the request, and read:--

  "Dear Baldwin,--My aunt, Miss Pritty, who will hand this letter to
  you, will tell you about our being wrecked.  Now, in regard to that I
  have a proposal to make.  First, let me explain.  The wreck of the
  _Warrior_, after slipping off the ledge on which she struck, sank in
  twenty fathoms water.  On our arrival at Hong-Kong, the agent of the
  owners sent off to see what could be done in the way of recovering the
  treasure on board--there being no less than fifty thousand pounds
  sterling in gold in her treasure-room, besides valuables belonging to
  passengers.  A Lloyds' agent also visited the place, and both came to
  the conclusion that it was utterly impossible to recover anything from
  such a depth by means of divers.  This being so, and I happening to be
  on the spot, offered to purchase the right to recover and appropriate
  all the gold I could fish up.  They laughed at me as a wild
  enthusiast, but, regarding the thing as hopeless themselves, were
  quite willing to let me have the wreck, etcetera, for what you would
  call `an old song.'  Now, although nominally a `penniless man,' I do
  happen to possess a small property, in the form of a block of old
  houses in Newcastle, which were left to me by an uncle, and which I
  have never seen.  On these I have raised sufficient money for my
  purpose, and I intend to make the venture, being convinced that with
  the new and almost perfect apparatus now turned out in London by our
  submarine engineers, bold divers may reach even a greater depth than
  twenty fathoms.  My proposal then is, that you should come to my aid.
  I will divide all we bring up into three equal portions.  One of these
  you shall have, one I'll keep to myself, and the third shall be shared
  equally by such divers as you think it advisable to employ.  What say
  you?  Do the prospects and terms suit, and will you come without
  delay?  If so, reply at once, and send all the requisite material to
  this place.  Be particular to bring dresses made by the first makers
  in London.  I wish this to be a sort of semi-scientific experiment--to
  recover property from a great depth, to test the powers and properties
  of the various apparatus now in use and recently invented, and, while
  so doing, to make my fortune as well as yours, and that of all
  concerned!  Perhaps you think the idea a wild one.  Well, it may be
  so, but wilder ideas than this have been realised.  Remember the noble
  house of Mulgrave!--Yours truly,--

  "Edgar Berrington."

The last sentence in the letter referred to a fact in the history of
diving which is worthy of mention.  In or about the year 1683 a man
named Phipps, the son of an American blacksmith, was smitten with a
mania, then prevalent, for recovering treasure from sunken wrecks by
means of diving.  He succeeded in fishing up a small amount from the
wreck of a Spanish galleon off the coast of Hispaniola, which, however,
did not pay expenses.  Being a man of indomitable perseverance as well
as enthusiasm, Phipps continued his experiments with varying success,
and on one occasion--if not more--succeeded in reducing himself to
poverty.  But the blacksmith's son was made of tough material--as though
he had been carefully fashioned on his father's anvil.  He was a man of
strong faith, and this, in material as well as spiritual affairs, can
remove mountains.  He was invincibly convinced of the practicability of
his schemes.  As is usual in such men, he had the power to impart his
faith to others.  He had moved Charles the Second to assist him in his
first efforts, which had failed, but was unable to similarly influence
the cautious--not to say close-fisted--James the Second.  The Duke of
Albemarle, however, proved more tractable.  Through his aid and
influence, and with funds obtained from the public, Phipps was enabled
in 1687 once more to try his fortune.  He set sail in a 200-ton vessel,
and after many fruitless efforts succeeded in raising from a depth of
between six and seven fathoms, (considered but a small depth now-a-days)
property to the value of about 300,000 pounds.  Of this sum the usurious
Earl obtained as his share 90,000 pounds while Phipps received 20,000
pounds.  Although James the Second had refused to aid in the expedition,
he had the wisdom to recognise the good service done to mankind in the
saving of so much valuable property at so great personal risk.  He
knighted Phipps, who thus became the founder of the house of Mulgrave--
now represented by the Marquis of Normanby.

When Miss Pritty had concluded the letter, Joe Baldwin turned to Rooney

"What think you, lad," he said, "would you venture down to twenty

"To twenty thousand fathom, if you'll consint to watch the pumps and
howld the life-line," replied the daring son of Erin.

"Will you let me go, Susan?" said Baldwin, turning to his wife.

"How could I hinder you, Joe?" answered Mrs Baldwin, with a face
reddened by suppressed emotion at the bare idea.

"And will you go with me, Susan?"

"I'd sooner go to the--" she stopped, unable to decide as to what part
of earth she would not sooner go to than China, but not being versed in
geography she finished by asserting that she'd sooner go to the moon!

Pretty little Mrs Machowl, on the contrary, vowed that no power on
earth should separate between her and her Rooney, and that if he went
she should go, and the baby too.

"Well then, Miss," said Baldwin to his visitor, "if you'll be so kind as
to write for me I'll be obliged.  Say to Mister Eddy--I can't forget the
old name, you see--that I'm agreeable; that I'll undertake the job,
along with Rooney Machowl here, and mayhap another man or two.  I'll get
all the dresses and apparatus he requires, and will set sail as soon as
I can; but, you see, I can't well start right off, because I've a job or
two on hand.  I've a well to go down an' putt right, an' I've some dock
repairs to finish.  However, to save time I'll send Rooney off at once
with one dress and apparatus, so that they can be tryin' experiments
till I arrive--which will be by the following steamer.  _Now_, Miss,
d'you think you can tell him all that?"

"I will try," said Miss Pritty, making rapid entries in a small
note-book, after completing which and putting a few more questions she
hurried home.

Meanwhile Rooney's wife went off to make arrangements for a long voyage,
and a probably prolonged residence in foreign parts, and Joe Baldwin
went to visit the well he had engaged to descend, taking Rooney as his
assistant.  During his visit to this well, Joe underwent some
experiences, both physical and mental, which tried his nerve and courage
more severely than any descent he had ever made in the open sea.

It is a well-known fact among divers that various temperaments are
suited to various works, and that, among other things, many men who are
bold enough in open water lose courage in confined places such as wells.
They say--so powerful is imagination!--that they "cannot breathe" down
in a well, though, of course, the means of breathing is the same in all
cases.  Joe Baldwin, being gifted with cool blood and strong nerves, and
possessing very little imagination, was noted among his fellows for his
readiness and ability to venture anywhere under water and do anything.

The well in question was connected with the waterworks of a neighbouring
town.  Having got himself and his apparatus conveyed thither he spent
the night in the town and proceeded on the following morning at
day-break to inspect the scene of his operations.

The well was an old one and very deep--about fifteen fathoms.  That,
however, was a matter of small importance to our diver.  What concerned
him most was the narrowness of the manhole or entrance at the top, and
the generally dilapidated state of the whole affair.

The well, instead of being a circular hole in the ground lined with
brick, like ordinary wells, was composed of huge iron cylinders four
feet in diameter, fitted together and sunk ninety feet into the ground.
This vast tube or circular iron well rested on a foundation of
brick-work.  When sunk to its foundation its upper edge was just level
with the ground.  Inside of this tube there were a variety of
cross-beams, and a succession of iron ladders zigzagging from top to
bottom, so that it could be descended when empty.  At the time of Joe's
visit it was found nearly full of water.  Down the centre of the well
ran two iron pipes, or pumps, each having a "rose" at its lower end,
through which the water could be sucked and pumped up to a reservoir a
hundred feet high for the supply of the town.  These two pumps were
worked by an engine whose distinguishing features were noise and
rickets.  It could, however, just do its work; but, recently, something
had gone wrong with one of the pumps--no water was thrown up by it.  Two
results followed.  On the one hand the water-supply to the town became
insufficient, and, on the other, the surplus water in the well could not
be pumped out so as to permit of a man descending to effect repairs.  In
these circumstances a diver became absolutely necessary.  Hence the
visit of Baldwin and Machowl.

"Now then, diver," said the managing engineer of the works to Joe, after
he had examined everything above ground with care, "you see it is
impossible to pump the well dry, because of the defective pump and the
strength of the spring which feeds it.  Water is admitted into the great
cylinder through a number of holes in the bottom.  These holes therefore
must be stopped.  In order to this, you will have to descend in the
water with a bag of wooden pegs and a hammer--all of which are ready for
you--and plug up these holes.  You see, the work to be done is simple

"Ay," asserted Baldwin, "but the way how to set about it ain't so simple
or clear.  How, for instance, is a man of my size to squeeze through
that hole at the top?"

"You _are_ large," said the engineer, regarding the diver for a moment,
"but not too large, I should think, to squeeze through."

"What!  With a divin' dress on?"

"Ah, true; I fear that is a puzzling difficulty at the outset, for you
see the well is frail, and we dare not venture to enlarge the hole by
cutting the beams that support the pumps."

While he was speaking the diver put his head through the hole in
question, and gazed down into darkness visible where water was dripping
and gurgling, and hissing a sort of accompaniment to the discordant
clanking and jarring of the pump-rods.  The rickety engine that worked
them kept puffing close alongside--grinding out a horrible addition to
the din.  As his eyes became more accustomed to the subdued light,
Baldwin could see that there was an empty space between the surface of
the water and the top of the well, great part of the first length of
_zigzag_ ladder being visible, and also the cross-beams on which its
foot rested.  He also observed various green slimy beams, which being
perpetually moistened by droppings from the pumps, seemed alive like
water snakes.

"Well," said the diver, withdrawing his head, "I'll try it.  I'll dress
inside there.  You're sure o' the old ingine, I fancy?"

"It has not yet failed us," answered the engineer, with a smile.

"What would happen if it broke or stopped working?" asked Joe.

"The well would fill to the brim and overflow in a minute or two."

"So that," rejoined the diver, "if it caught me in the middle o'
dressin', me and my mate would be drownded."

"You'd stand a good chance of coming to that end," replied the engineer,
with a laugh.  "Your mate might get out in time, but as you say the
dress would prevent you getting back through the hole, there would be no
hope for _you_."

"Well then, we'll begin," said Baldwin; "come, Rooney, get the gear in
order."  So saying, the adventurous man went to work with his wonted
energy.  The air-pumps were set up, and two men of the works instructed
in the use of them.  Then Baldwin squeezed himself with difficulty
through the manhole, and the dress was passed down to him.  Rooney then
squeezed himself through, and both went a few steps down the iron ladder
until they stood on the cross-beams behind and underneath it.  The
position was exceedingly awkward, for the ladder obliged them to stoop,
and they did not dare to move their feet except with caution, for fear
of slipping off the beams into the water--in which, even as it was, they
were ankle-deep while standing on the beams.  They were soon soaked to
the skin by the drippings and spirtings from the pipes, and almost
incapable of hearing each other speak, owing to the din.  If Rooney had
dropped the lead-soled boots or the shoulder-weights, they would have
sunk at once beyond recovery, and have rendered the descent of the diver
very difficult if not impossible.

Realising all this, the two comrades proceeded with great care and
slowness.  Dressing a diver in the most favourable circumstances
involves a considerable amount of physical exertion and violence of
action.  It may therefore be well believed that in the case of which we
write, a long time elapsed before Baldwin got the length of putting on
his helmet.  At last it was screwed on.  Then a hammer and a bagful of
wooden pins were placed in his hands.

"Now, Joe, are ye aisy?" asked Rooney, holding the front-glass in his
hand, preparatory to sealing his friend up.

"All right," answered Baldwin.

"Set a-goin' the air-pumps up there," shouted Rooney, from whose face
the perspiration flowed freely, as much from anxiety about his friend as
from prolonged exertion in a constrained attitude.

In a few seconds the air came hissing into the helmet, showing that the
two men who wrought it were equal to their duty, though inexperienced.

"All right?" asked Rooney a second time.

The reply was given, "Yes," and the bull's-eye was screwed on.

Rooney then sprang up the ladder and through the manhole; took his
station at the signal-line and air-pipe, while the engineer of the works
watched the air-pump.  The rickety steam-engine was then stopped, and,
as had been predicted, the water rose quickly.  It rose over Baldwin's
knees, waist, and head, and, finally, rushed out at the manhole,
deluging Rooney's legs.

Our diver was now fairly imprisoned; an accident, however trifling in
itself, that should stop the air-pump would have been his death-knell.
Fully impressed with this uncomfortable assurance, he felt his way
slowly down the second ladder, knocking his head slightly against
cross-beams as he went, holding on tightly to his bag and hammer, and
getting down into darkness so profound as to be "felt."  He soon reached
the head of the third ladder, and then the fourth.

But here, at a depth of about thirty feet, an unexpected difficulty
occurred which had well-nigh caused a failure.  The head of the fourth
ladder was covered with wood, through which a square manhole led to the
bottom of the well.  Of course Joe Baldwin discovered this only by
touch, and great was his anxiety when, passing his hand round it, he
found the hole to be too small for his broad shoulders to pass.  At this
point, he afterwards admitted, he "felt rather curious," the whole
structure being very frail.  However, with characteristic determination
he muttered to himself, "never mind, Joe, do it if you can," and down he
went through the hole, putting one arm down with his body, and holding
the other up and drawing it down after him, by which process he squeezed
his shoulders through at an angle.  After reaching the bottom of the
well, a feeling of alarm seized him lest he should be unable to force
his way upwards through the hole.  To settle this question at once he
ascended to it, forced himself through, and then, being easy in mind, he
redescended to the bottom and went to work with the hammer and wooden

At first he had some difficulty in finding the holes in the great
cylinder, but after a dozen of them had been plugged it became easier,
as the water rushed in through the remaining holes with greater force.
While thus engaged his foot suddenly slipped.  To save himself from
falling--he knew not whither--he let go the bag of pegs and the hammer--
the first of which went upwards and the latter down.  To find the hammer
in total darkness among the brick-work at the bottom was hopeless,
therefore Joe signalled that he was coming up, and started for the top
after the bag, but failed to find it.  In much perplexity he went to the
upper manhole and put up one of his hands.

To those who were inexperienced it was somewhat alarming to see the hand
of an apparently drowning man with the fingers wriggling violently, but
Rooney understood matters.

"Arrah, now," said he, giving the hand a friendly shake, "it's somethin'
you're wantin', sure.  What a pity it is wan can't spake wid his

Presently the hand shut itself as if grasping something, and moved in a
distinct and steady manner.

"Och!  It's a hammer he wants.  He's gone an' lost it.  Here you are,
boy--there's another."

The hand disappeared, transferred the implement to the left hand, and
reappeared, evidently asking for more.

"What now, boy?" muttered Rooney, with a perplexed look.

"Doubtless he wants more pegs," said the engineer of the works, coming
up at the moment.

"Sure, sur, that can't be it, for if he'd lost his pegs wouldn't they
have comed up an' floated?"

"They've caught somewhere, no doubt, among the timbers on the way up.
Anyhow, I had provided against such an accident," said the engineer,
putting another bag of pegs into the impatient hand.

It seemed satisfied, and disappeared at once.

Joe returned to the bottom, and succeeded in plugging every hole, so
that the water from the outside spring could not enter.  That done, he
ascended, and signalled to the engineer to begin pumping.  The rickety
engine was set to work, and soon reduced the water so much that Rooney
was able to re-descend and undress his friend.  Thereafter, in about
five hours, the well was pumped dry.  The engineer then went down, and
soon discovered that one of the pump-rods had been broken near the foot,
and that its bucket lay useless at the bottom of the pipe.  The repairs
could now be easily made, and our divers, having finished their
difficult and somewhat dangerous job, returned home.  [See Note 1.]

Next day Joe Baldwin paid a visit to the neighbouring harbour, where a
new part of the pier was being built by divers.  His object was to sound
our surly friend David Maxwell about joining him in his intended trip to
the antipodes, for Maxwell was a first-rate diver, though a somewhat
cross-grained man.

Maxwell was under water when he arrived.  It was Baldwin's duty to
superintend part of the works.  He therefore went down, and met his man
at the bottom of the sea.  Joe took a small school-slate with him, and a
piece of pencil--for, the depth being not more than a couple of fathoms,
it was possible to see to read and write there.

The spot where Maxwell wrought was at the extreme end of the unfinished
part of the breakwater.  He was busily engaged at the time in laying a
large stone which hung suspended to a travelling-crane connected with
the temporary works overhead.  Joe refrained from interrupting him.
Another man assisted him.  In the diver fraternity, there are men who
thoroughly understand all sorts of handicrafts--there are blacksmiths,
carpenters, stone-masons, etcetera.  Maxwell was a skilled mechanic, and
could do his work as well under water as many a man does above it--
perhaps better than some!  The bed for the stone had been carefully
prepared on a mass of solid masonry which had been already laid.  By
means of the signal-line Maxwell directed the men in charge of the crane
to move it forward, backward, to the right or to the left, as required.
At last it hung precisely over the required spot, and was lowered into
its final resting-place.

Then Baldwin tapped Maxwell on the shoulder.  The latter looked
earnestly in at the window--if we may so call it--of his visitor, and,
recognising Joe, shook hands with him.  Joe pointed to a rock, and sat
down.  Maxwell sat down beside him, and then ensued the following
conversation.  Using the slate, Baldwin wrote in large printed

"I've got a splendid offer to go out to dive in the China seas.  Are you
game to go?"

Taking the slate and pencil, Maxwell wrote--"Game for anything!"

"We must finish this job first," wrote Joe, "and I shall send Rooney out
before us with some of the gear--to be ready."

"All right," was Maxwell's laconic answer.

Baldwin nodded approval of this, but the nod was lost on his comrade
owing to the fact that his helmet was immovably fixed to his shoulders.
Maxwell evidently understood it, however, for he replied with a nod
which was equally lost on his comrade.  They then shook hands on it, and
Joe, touching his signal-line four times, spurned the ground with a
light fantastic toe, and shot to the realms above like a colossal


Note 1.  A "job" precisely similar to this was undertaken, and
successfully accomplished by Corporal Falconer of the Royal Engineers,
and assistant-instructor in diving, from whom we received the details.
The gallant corporal was publicly thanked and promoted for his courage
and daring in this and other diving operations.



In a certain street of Hong-Kong there stands one of those temples in
which men devote themselves to the consumption of opium, that terrible
drug which is said to destroy the natives of the celestial empire more
fatally than "strong drink" does the peoples of the west.  In various
little compartments of this temple, many celestials lay in various
conditions of debauch.  Among them was a stout youth of twenty or so.
He was in the act of lighting the little pipe from which the noxious
vapour is inhaled.  His fat and healthy visage proved that he had only
commenced his downward career.

He had scarce drawn a single whiff, however, when a burly sailor-like
man in an English garb entered the temple, went straight to the
compartment where our beginner reclined, plucked the pipe from his hand,
and dashed it on the ground.

"I _know'd_ ye was here," said the man, sternly, "an' I _said_ you was
here, an' sure haven't I _found_ you here--you spalpeen!  You pig-faced
bag o' fat!  What d'ee mane by it, Chok-foo?  Didn't I say I'd give you
as much baccy as ye could chaw or smoke an ye'd only kape out o' this
place?  Come along wid ye!"

It is perhaps scarcely necessary to say that the man who spoke, and who
immediately collared and dragged Chok-foo away, was none other than our
friend Rooney Machowl.  That worthy had been sent to China in advance of
the party of divers with his wife and baby--for in the event of success
he said he'd be able to "affoord it," and in the event of failure he
meant to try his luck in "furrin' parts," and would on no account leave
either wife or chick behind him.

On his arrival a double misfortune awaited him.  First he found that his
employer, Edgar Berrington, was laid up with fever, in the house of an
English friend, and could not be spoken to, or even seen; and second,
the lodging in which he had put up caught fire the second night after
his arrival, and was burnt to the ground, with all its contents,
including nearly the whole of his diving apparatus.  Fortunately, the
unlucky Irishman saved his wife and child and money, the last having
been placed in a leathern belt made for the purpose, and worn night and
day round his waist.  Being a resolute and hopeful man, Rooney
determined to hunt up a diving apparatus of some sort, if such was to
be found in China, and he succeeded.  He found, in an old
iron-and-rag-store sort of place, a very ancient head-piece and dress,
which were in good repair though of primitive construction.
Fortunately, his own pumps and air-pipes, having been deposited in an
out-house, had escaped the general conflagration.

Rooney was a man of contrivance and resource.  He soon fitted the pump
to the new dress and found that it worked well, though the helmet was
destitute of the modern regulating valves under the diver's control, and
he knew that it must needs therefore leave the diver who should use it
very much at the mercy of the men who worked the pumps.

After the fire, Rooney removed with his family to the house of a Chinese
labourer named Chok-foo, whose brother, Ram-stam, dwelt with him.  They
were both honest hard-working men, but Chok-foo was beginning, as we
have seen, to fall under the baleful influence of opium-smoking.
Ram-stam may be said to have been a teetotaler in this respect.  They
were both men of humble spirit.

Chok-foo took the destruction of his pipe and the rough collaring that
followed in good part, protesting, in an extraordinary jargon, which is
styled Pidgin-English, that he had only meant to have a "Very littee
smokee," not being able, just then, to resist the temptation.

"Blathers!" said Rooney, as they walked along in the direction of the
lower part of the town, "you could resist the timptation aisy av you'd
only try, for you're only beginnin', an' it hasn't got howld of 'ee yit.
Look at your brother Ram, now; why don't 'ee take example by him?"

"Yis, Ram-stam's first-chop boy," said Chok-foo, with a penitential
expression on his fat visage.

"Well, then, you try and be a first-chop boy too, Chok, an' it'll be
better for you.  Now, you see, you've kep' us all waiting for full half
an hour, though we was so anxious to try how the dress answers."

In a few minutes the son of Erin and the Chinaman entered the half
ruinous pagoda which was their habitation.  Here little Mrs Machowl was
on her knees before an air-pump, oiling and rubbing up its parts.
Ram-stam, with clasped hands, head a little on one side, and a gentle
smile of approbation on his lips, admired the progress of the operation.

"Now then, Chok and Ram," said Rooney, sitting down on a stool and
making the two men stand before him like a small awkward squad, "I'm
goin' to taich you about pumps an' pumpin', so pay attintion av ye
plaze.  Hids up an' ears on full cock!  Now then."

Here the vigorous diver began an elaborate explanation which we will
spare the reader, and which his pupils evidently did not comprehend,
though they smiled with ineffable sweetness and listened with close
attention.  When, however, the teacher descended from theory to
practice, and took the pump to pieces, put it up again, and showed the
manner of working, the Chinamen became more intelligent, and soon showed
that they could turn the handles with great vigour.  They were
hopelessly stupid, however, in regard to the use of the signal-line--
insomuch that Rooney began to despair.

"Niver mind, boys," he cried, hopefully, "we'll try it."

Accordingly he donned the diving-dress, and teaching his wife how to
screw on the bull's-eye, he gave the signal to "pump away."

Of course Chok-foo and Ram-stam, though anxious to do well, did ill
continually.  When Rooney, standing in the room and looking at them,
signalled to give "more air," they became anxious and gave him less,
until his dress was nearly empty.  When he signalled for "less air" they
gave him more, until his dress nearly burst, and then, not having the
breast-valve, he was obliged to unscrew his front-glass to prevent an
explosion!  At last the perplexed man resolved to make his wife do duty
as attender to signals, and was fortunate in this arrangement at first,
for Molly was quick of apprehension.  She soon understood all about it,
and, receiving her husband's signals, directed the Chinamen what to do.
In order to test his assistants better, he then went out on the verandah
of the pagoda, where the pumpers could not see him nor he them.  He was,
of course, fully dressed, only the bull's-eye was not fixed.

"_Now_, Molly, dear," said he, "go to work just as if I was goin' under

Molly dimpled her cheeks with a smile as she held up the glass, and
said, "Are ye ready?"

"Not yet; putt your lips here first."

He stooped; Molly inserted part of her face into the circular hole, and
a smack resounded in the helmet.

"Now, cushla, I'm ready."

"Pump away, boys," shouted the energetic little woman.

As soon as she heard the hiss of the air in the helmet, she screwed on
the bull's-eye, and our diver was as much shut off from surrounding
atmosphere as if he had been twenty fathoms under the sea.  Then she
went to where the pumpers were at work, and taking the air-pipe in one
hand and the life-line in the other, awaited signals.  These were soon
sent from the verandah.  More air was demanded and given; less was asked
and the pumpers wrought gently.  Molly gave one pull at the life-line,
"All right?"  Rooney replied, "All right."  This was repeated several
times.  Then came four sharp pulls at the line.  Molly was on the alert;
she bid Ram-stam continue to pump while Chok-foo helped her to pull the
diver forcibly out of the verandah into the interior of the pagoda amid
shouts of laughter, in which Rooney plainly joined though his voice
could not be heard.

"Capital, Molly," exclaimed the delighted husband when his glass was
off; "I always belaved--an' I belave it now more than iver--that a purty
woman is fit for anything.  After a few more experiments like that I'll
go down in shallow wather wid an aisy mind."

Rooney kept his word.  When he deemed his assistants perfect at their
work, he went one morning to the river with all his gear, hired a boat,
pushed off till he had got into two fathoms water, and then, dressing
himself with the aid of the Chinamen, prepared to descend.

"Are you ready?" asked his wife.

"Yis, cushla, but you've forgot the kiss."

"Am I to kiss _all_ the divers we shall have to do with before sending
them down?" she asked.

"If you want _all_ the divers to be kicked you may," was the reply.

Molly cut short further remark by giving the order to pump, and affixing
the glass.  For a few seconds the diver looked earnestly at the Chinamen
and at his better half, who may have been said to hold his life in her
hands.  Then he stepped boldly on the short ladder that had been let
down outside the boat, and was soon lost to view in the multitude of
air-bells that rose above him.

Now, Rooney had neglected to take into his calculations the excitability
of female nerves.  It was all very well for his wife to remember
everything and proceed correctly when he was in the verandah of the
pagoda, but when she knew that her best-beloved was at the bottom of the
sea, and saw the air-bells rising, her courage vanished, and with her
courage went her presence of mind.  A rush of alarm entered her soul as
she saw the boiling of the water, and fancying she was giving too much
air, she said hurriedly, "Pump slow, boys," but immediately conceiving
she had done wrong, she said, "Pump harder, boys."

The Chinamen pumped with a will, for they also had become excited, and
were only too glad to obey orders.

A signal-pull now came for "Less air," but Molly had taken up an idea,
and it could not be dislodged.  She thought it must be "More air" that
was wanted.

"Pump away, boys--pump," she cried, in rapidly increasing alarm.

Chok-foo and Ram-stam obeyed.

The signal was repeated somewhat impatiently.

"Pump away, boys; for dear life--pump," cried the little woman in
desperate anxiety.

Perspiration rolled down the cheeks of Chok-foo and Ram-stam as they
gasped for breath and turned the handles with all the strength they

"Pump--oh!  Pump--for pity's sake."

She ended with a wild shriek, for at that moment the waves were cleft
alongside, and Rooney Machowl came up from the bottom, feet foremost,
with a bounce that covered the sea with foam.  He had literally been
blown up from the bottom--his dress being filled with so much compressed
air that he had become like a huge bladder, and despite all his weights,
he rolled helplessly on the surface in vain attempts to get his head up
and his feet down.

Of course his distracted wife hauled in on the life-line with all her
might, and Chok-foo and Ram-stam, forsaking the pump, lent their aid and
soon hauled the luckless diver into the boat, when his first act was to
deal the Chinamen a cuff each that sent one into the stern-sheets on his
nose, and the other into the bow on his back.  Immediately thereafter he
fell down as if senseless, and Molly, with trembling hands, unscrewed
the bull's-eye.

Her horror may be imagined when she beheld the countenance of her
husband as pale as death, while blood flowed copiously from his mouth,
ears, and nostrils.

"Niver mind, cushla!" he said, faintly, "I'll be all right in a minute.
This couldn't have happened if I'd had one o' the noo helmets.--Git off

"Ochone!  He's fainted!" cried Mrs Machowl; "help me, boys."

In a few minutes Rooney's helmet was removed and he began to recover,
but it was not until several days had elapsed that he was completely
restored; so severe had been the consequences of the enormous pressure
to which his lungs and tissues had been subjected, by the powerful
working of the pump on that memorable day by Ram-stam and Chok-foo.



It is pleasant to loll in the sunshine on a calm day in the stern of a
boat and gaze down into unfathomable depths, as one listens to the slow,
regular beating of the oars, and the water rippling against the prow--
and especially pleasant is this when one in such circumstances is
convalescent after a prolonged and severe illness.

So thought Edgar Berrington one lovely morning, some months after the
events related in the last chapter, as he was being rowed gently over
the fair bosom of the China sea.  The boat--a large one with a little
one towing astern--was so far from the coast that no land could be seen.
A few sea-gulls sported round them, dipping their wings in the wave, or
putting a plaintive question now and then to the rowers.  Nothing else
was visible except a rocky isle not far off that rose abruptly from the

"Well, we're nearing the spot at last," said Edgar, heaving that
prolonged sigh which usually indicates one's waking up from a pleasant
reverie.  "What a glorious world this is, Baldwin!  How impressively it
speaks to us of its Maker!"

"Ay, whether in the calm or in the storm," responded Joe.

"Yes; it was under a very different aspect I saw this place last,"
returned Edgar.  "Yonder is the cliff now coming into view, where the
vessel we are in search of went down."

"An ugly place," remarked Joe, who was steering the boat.  "Come boys,
give way.  The morning's gittin' on, an' we must set to work as soon as
ever we can.  Time an' tide, you know, etcetera."

Rooney, Maxwell, Chok-foo, and Ram-stam, who were rowing, bent to their
work with a will, but the heavy boat did not respond heartily, being
weighted with a large amount of diving gear.  Just then a light breeze
arose, and the boat, obedient to the higher power, bent over and rippled
swiftly on.

The only other individual on board was a Malay--the owner of the boat.
He sat on the extreme end of the bow looking with a vacant gaze at the
island.  He was a man of large size and forbidding, though well-formed,
features, and was clothed in a costume, half European half Oriental,
which gave little clew to the nature of his profession--except that it
savoured a good deal of the sea.  His name, Dwarro, was, like his
person, nondescript.  Probably it was a corruption of his eastern
cognomen.  At all events it suffered further corruption from his
companions in the boat, for Baldwin and Maxwell called him Dworro, while
Rooney Machowl named him Dwarry.  This diversity of pronunciation,
however, seemed a matter of no consequence to the stolid boatman, who,
when directly addressed, answered to any name that people chose to give
him.  He was taciturn--never spoke save when spoken to; and at such
times used English so broken that it was difficult to put it together so
as to make sense.  He was there only in capacity of owner and guardian
of the boat.  Those who hired it would gladly have dispensed with his
services, but he would not let them have it without taking himself into
the bargain.

Having reached the scene of the wreck of the _Warrior_, the party at
once proceeded to sound and drag for it, and soon discovered its
position, for it had not shifted much after slipping off the ledge,
where it had met its doom on the night of the storm.  Its depth under
the surface was exactly twenty-three fathoms, or 138 feet.

"It will try our metal," observed Baldwin, "for the greatest depth that
the Admiralty allow their divers to go down is twenty fathom."

"What o' that?" growled Maxwell, "I've worked myself many a time in
twenty-three fathom water, an'll do it again any day.  _We_ don't need
to mind what the Admiralty says.  The submarine engineers of London tell
us they limit a man to twenty-five fathom, an' they ought to know what's
possible if any one should."

"That's true, David," remarked Rooney, as he filled his pipe, "but I've
heard of a man goin' down twinty-eight fathom, an' comin' up alive."

"Oh, as to that," said Berrington, "_I_ have heard of one man who
descended to thirty-four fathom, at which depth he must have sustained a
pressure of 88 and a half pounds on every square inch of his body--and
_he_ came up alive, but his case is an exception.  It was fool-hardy,
and he could do no effective work at such a depth.  However, here we
are, and here we must go to work with a will, whatever the depth be.
You and I, Joe, shall descend first.  The others will look after us.
I'll put on a Siebe and Gorman dress.  You will don one of Heinke and
Davis, and we'll take down with us one of Denayrouze's lamps, reserving
Siebe's electric light for a future occasion."

In pursuance of these plans the boat was moored over the place where the
wreck lay, a short ladder was hung over the side of a smaller boat they
had in tow with its pendent line and weight, the pumps were set up and
rigged, the dresses were put on, and, in a short time our hero found
himself in his old quarters down beside the great crank!

But ah!  What a change was there!  The grinding had ceased for ever; the
great crank's labours were over, and its surface was covered with mud,
sand, barnacles, and sea-weed, and involved in a maze of twisted iron
and wrecked timbers--for the ship had broken her back in slipping into
deep water, and wrenched her parts asunder into a state of violent
confusion.  Thick darkness prevailed at that depth, but Denayrouze's
lamp rendered the darkness visible, and sufficed to enable the divers to
steer clear of bristling rods and twisted iron-bands that might
otherwise have torn their dresses and endangered their lives.

The work of inspection was necessarily slow as well as fraught with
risk, for great difficulty was experienced while moving about, in
preventing the entanglement of air-pipes and life-lines.  The two men
kept together, partly for company and partly to benefit mutually by the
lamp.  Presently they came on human bones tightly wedged between masses
of timber.  Turning from the sad spectacle, they descended into the
cabin and made their way towards the place where Berrington knew that
the treasure had been stowed.  Here he found, with something like a
shock of disappointment, that the stern of the vessel had been burst
open, and the contents of the cabin swept out.

On further inspection, however, the treasure-room was found to be
uninjured.  Putting down the lamp on an adjacent beam, Edgar lifted a
heavy mass of wreck from the ground, and dashed the door in.  The scene
that presented itself was interesting.  On the floor lay a number of
little barrels, which the divers knew contained the gold they were in
search of.  Most of these were so riddled by worms that they were
falling to pieces.  Some, indeed, had partially given way, so that the
piles of coin could be seen through the staves, and two or three had
been so completely eaten away as to have fallen off, leaving the masses
of gold in unbroken piles.  There were also bags as well as kegs of
coin, all more or less in a state of decay.

The divers gazed at this sight for a few moments quite motionless.  Then
Edgar with one hand turned the lamp full on his companion's front-glass
so as to see his face, while with the other hand he pointed to the
treasure.  Joe's eyes expressed surprise, and his mouth smiling
satisfaction.  Turning the light full on his own face to show his
comrade that he was similarly impressed, Edgar motioned to Joe to sit
down on an iron chest that stood in a corner, and giving the requisite
signal with his life-line, went up to the surface.  He did this very
slowly in order to accustom his frame to the change of pressure both of
air and water, for he was well aware of the danger of rapid ascent from
such a depth.  Soon after, he redescended, bearing several canvas sacks,
some cord, and a couple of small crowbars.  Placing the lamp in a
convenient position, and throwing the bags on the floor of the
treasure-room, Edgar and Baldwin set to work diligently with the
crowbars, broke open the kegs, and emptied their golden contents into
one of the bags, until it was quite full; tied up the mouth, fastened it
to a rope which communicated with the boat above, and gave the signal to
hoist away.  The bag quickly rose and vanished.

Previous to redescending, our hero had arranged with Rooney to have
pieces of sail-cloth in readiness to wrap the bags in the instant of
their being got into the small boat, so that when being transferred to
the large boat's locker, their form and contents might be concealed from
the pilot, Dwarro.  The precaution, however, did not seem to be
necessary, for Dwarro was afflicted with laziness, and devoted himself
entirely to the occupations of alternately smoking, in a dreamy way, and

For three hours the divers wrought under great excitement, as well as
pressure, and then, feeling much exhausted, returned to the surface,
having sent up the contents of about twenty boxes and kegs of treasure.
Rooney and Maxwell then took their turn under water, and were equally

That night, being very calm and clear, they ran the boat into a
sheltered crevice among the cliffs, and slept on board of her.  Next
morning at day-break they were again at work, but were not equally
fortunate, for although plenty of treasure was sent up, several
accidents occurred which were severe, though, happily, not fatal.

In the first place, Baldwin tore his left hand badly while attempting to
raise a heavy mass of ragged iron-plate that prevented his reaching some
loose coin lying under it.  This, though painful, did not render him
altogether incapable of working.  Then, while Edgar Berrington was
passing from one part of the wreck to another, threading his way
carefully, a mass of wire-ropes and other wreckage suddenly dropt from a
position where it had been balanced, and felled him to the deck with
such violence that for a few moments he was stunned.  On recovering, he
found to his horror that he was pressed down by the mass, and had got
inextricably entangled with it.  If his dress had been torn at that
time, or his helmet damaged, it is certain that his adventures would
have been finally cut short, and there can be no doubt that his
preservation was largely owing to the excellence of the material of
which his dress was made.

But how to escape from his wire-cage was a difficulty he could not
solve, for the lamp had been extinguished, and the entanglement of his
line and air-pipe rendered signalling impossible.  He continued to
struggle helplessly, therefore, in total darkness.  That the air-tube
continued all right, was evident from the fact that air came down to him
as before.

In this dilemma he remained for a short time, occasionally managing to
clear himself partially, and at other times becoming more and more

At last Rooney Machowl, who was attending to the lines above, bethought
him that he had not received any signals for some time or observed any
of those motions which usually indicate that a diver is busy below.  He
therefore gave a pull to the lifeline.  Of course no answer was

"Hallo!" exclaimed Rooney, with a start, for in diving operations Life
and Death frequently stand elbowing each other.

He gave another and still more decided pull, but no answer was returned.

Jumping up in excitement, he attempted to haul on the line, so as to
bring Edgar to the surface by force, but to his consternation he found
it to be immovably fixed.

"Hooroo!  Man alive," he yelled, rather than shouted, to Maxwell, who
was attending the other line, "signal for Joe to come up--look sharp!"

Maxwell obeyed with four strong quick pulls on Joe's line, and Joe
appeared at the surface rather sooner than was consistent with safety.
On learning the cause of his being called, he infixed his bull's-eye
hastily; went down again with a heavy plunge, and discovering his
companion, soon removed the wreck by which he was entangled, and set him

Experience, it is said, teaches fools; much more does it instruct wise
men.  After this event our hero became a little more careful in his
movements below.

When a considerable amount of treasure had been recovered, it was
thought advisable to return to the shore and place it in security.

"It won't be easy to manage this," said Edgar to Baldwin in a low tone,
as they sailed away from the rocky islet, under a light breeze.  "I have
an uncomfortable belief that that fellow Dwarro suspects the nature of
the contents of these bags, despite our efforts at concealment."

"I don't think he does," whispered Baldwin.  "He seems to me to be one
o' these miserable opium-smokers whose brains get too much fuddled to
understand or care for anything."

"Whist now, don't spake so loud," said Rooney, advancing his head closer
to his companions, and glancing doubtfully at the object of their
suspicion; "sure he's got a sharp countenance, fuddled or not fuddled."

The pilot had indeed an intelligent cast of countenance, but as he sat
in a careless attitude in the bow of the boat smoking listlessly and
gazing dreamily, almost stupidly, towards the shore, it did seem as
though he had indulged too freely in the noxious drag which poisons so
many inhabitants of these unhappy lands.

As he was out of earshot, the four adventurers drew their heads still
closer together, and talked eagerly about their prospects.

"Sure our fortins is made already," said Rooney; "how much d'ee think
we've fished up, Mr Berrington?"

"I cannot say, but at a rough guess I should think not less than twenty
thousand pounds."

"Ye don't main it?  Och!  Molly astore!  Ye shall walk in silks an'
satins from this day forward--to say nothin' of a carridge an' four, if
not six."

"But where'll we putt it, sir?" asked Baldwin.

"I've been thinking of that," replied Edgar.  "You see I don't like the
notion of running right into port with it, where this pilot has probably
numerous friends who would aid him in making a dash for such a prize--
supposing he has guessed what we are about.  Now, I happen to have a
trusty friend here, a young Scotchman, who lives in a quiet
out-o'-the-way part.  We'll run up to his place, land the gold quickly,
and get him to carry it off to some place of security--"

"Whist, not so loud!  I do belave," said Rooney, "that rascal is cocking
his weather ear."

"He don't understand a word of English," muttered Baldwin.

Dwarro looked so intensely absent and sleepy as he sat lounging in the
bow, that the divers felt relieved and continued, though in more
cautious tones, to discuss their plans.

Meanwhile the boat ran into the Hong-Kong river.  As it proceeded, a
small light boat or skiff was observed approaching.  Baldwin, who
steered, sheered out a little in the hope of avoiding her, but the man
who sculled her conformed to the movement, and quickly shot past their
bow--so closely that he could exchange salutations with the pilot.
Nothing more appeared to pass between the two,--indeed there seemed no
time for further communication--nevertheless Rooney Machowl declared
that some telegraphic signals by means of hands and fingers had
certainly been exchanged.

In a short time the boat was turned sharp round by Baldwin, and run into
a cove near a wall in which was a little wooden gate.  A flight of
dilapidated steps led to this gate.

"What if your friend should not be at home?" asked Joe, in a whisper.

"I'll land the bags in any case and await him, while you return to the
port with Dwarro," replied Edgar.

If the pilot was interested in their proceedings, he must have been a
consummate actor, for he took no notice whatever of the sudden change of
the boat's course, but continued to smoke languidly, and to gaze
abstractedly into the water as if trying to read his fortune there,
while Edgar and Rooney landed the bags, and carried them through the
little gate into the Scotchman's garden.  In a few minutes Edgar
returned to the boat, stepped in, and pushed off, while the two
Chinamen, in obedience to orders, rowed out into the river.

"It's all right," whispered Edgar, sitting down beside Joe, "Wilson is
at home, and has undertaken to have the bags carried to a place of
safety long before any attempt to capture them could be organised, even
if Dwarro knew our secret and were disposed to attempt such a thing.
Besides, we will keep him under our eyes to-night as long as possible."

That night, highly elated at the success of their labours, our four
friends sat round their evening meal in the pagoda and related their
various diving adventures and experiences to the admiring and
sympathetic Molly Machowl.  They had previously entertained the pilot
with unlimited hospitality and tobacco, and that suspected individual,
so far from showing any restless anxiety to shorten his stay, had coolly
enjoyed himself until they were at last glad when he rose to go away.

On the following morning, too, he was ready with his boat before
day-break, and the party returned to the scene of operations at the
wreck in high spirits.

It is certain that their enthusiasm would have been considerably damped
had they known that exactly three hours after their gold was landed, a
party of six stout nautical-looking Malays entered the residence of
Wilson, the Scotchman, knocked down Wilson's servants, gagged Wilson's
mouth, drank up the claret with which Wilson had been regaling himself,
and carried off the bags of gold before his very eyes!  Fortunately for
their peace of mind and the success of their labours, our adventurers
did _not_ know all this, but, descending to the wreck with heavy soles
and light hearts, they proceeded to recover and send up additional bags
of gold.

That day they were not quite so successful.  Unforeseen difficulties lay
in their way.  Some of the gold had been washed out of the treasure-room
in their absence, and was not easily recovered from the sand and
sea-weed.  In order the better to find this, the electric-lamp was
brought into requisition and found to be most effective, its light being
very powerful--equal to that of fifteen thousand candles,--and so
arranged as to direct the light in four directions, one of these being
towards the bottom by means of a reflecting prism.  It burned without
air, and when at the bottom, could be lighted or extinguished from the
boat by means of electricity.

Still, notwithstanding its aid, they had not collected treasure beyond
the value of about eight thousand pounds when the time for rest and
taking their mid-day meal arrived.  This amount was, however, quite
sufficient to improve their appetites, and render them sanguine as to
the work of the afternoon.

"You'd better signal Mr Berrington to come up," said Joe, who with all
the others of the party were assembled in the stern of the boat,
anxiously waiting to begin their dinner.

"Sure I've done it twice a'ready," replied Rooney, who was attending to
our hero's life-line while Ram-stam and Chok-foo toiled at the

"What does he reply?" asked Joe.

"He replies, `all right,' but nothin' more.  If he knew the imptiness of
my--och!  There he goes at last, four tugs.  Come along, my hearty,"
said Rooney, coiling away the slack as Edgar rose slowly to the surface.

Presently his helmet appeared like a huge round goblet ascending from
the mighty deep.  Then the surface was broken with a gurgle, and the
goggle-eyes appeared.  Rooney unscrewed the front-glass, and the
Chinamen were free to cease their weary pumping.  When Edgar was
assisted into the boat, it was observed that he had a small
peculiarly-shaped box under his arm.  He made no reference to this until
relieved of his helmet, when he took it up and examined it with much

"What have you got there, sir?" asked Joe Baldwin, coming forward.

"That is just what I don't know," answered Edgar.  "It seems to me like
an iron or steel box much encrusted with rust, and I shouldn't wonder if
it contained something of value.  One thing is certain, that we have not
got the key, and must therefore break it open."

While he was speaking, David Maxwell gazed at the box intently.  He did
not speak, but there was a peculiar motion about his lips as if he were
licking them.  A fiend happened just then to stand at Maxwell's ear.  It
whispered, "You know it."

"Ay," said Maxwell, under his breath, in reply, "_I_ knows it--well."

"I wonder if there are valuables in it," said Edgar.

"Shouldn't wonder if there wor," said Rooney.

"Eight or nine thousand pounds, more or less," whispered the fiend,
quoting words used by Mr Hazlit on a former occasion.

"Ah--jis' so," muttered Maxwell.

"Don't you say a word more, David," said the fiend.

"I wont," muttered Maxwell's heart; for the hearts of men are
desperately wicked.

"That's right," continued the fiend, "for if you keep quiet, you know,
the contents will fall to be divided among you, and the loss won't be
felt by a rich fellow like old Hazlit."

Maxwell's heart approved and applauded the sentiment, but a stronger
power moved in the rough man's heart, and softly whispered, "Shame!"

"Why, Maxwell," said Edgar, smiling, "you look at the box as if it were
a ghost!"

"An' so it _is_," said Maxwell, with a sudden and unaccountable growl,
at the sound of which the fiend sprang overboard, and, diving into the
sea, disappeared from Maxwell's view for ever!

"Why, what d'ee mean, David?" asked Baldwin, in surprise.

"I mean, sir," said Maxwell, turning to Edgar with a look of unwonted
honesty on his rugged face, "that that box is the ghost of one that
belongs to Miss Hazlit, if it ain't the box itself."

"To Miss Hazlit," exclaimed Edgar, in surprise; "explain yourself."

In reply to this the diver told how he had originally become acquainted
with the box and its contents, and said that he had more than once
searched about the region of Miss Hazlit's cabin while down at the wreck
in hope of finding it, but without success.

"Strange," said Edgar, "I too have more than once searched in the same
place in the hope of finding something, or anything that might have
belonged to her, but everything had been washed away.  Of course,
knowing nothing about this box, I did not look for _it_, and found it at
last, by mere chance, some distance from the berth she occupied.  Why
did you not mention it before?"

Maxwell was silent, and at that moment the drift of thought and
conversation was abruptly turned by Rooney Machowl shouting, "Dinner
ahoy!" with impatient asperity.

While engaged in the pleasant duty of appeasing hunger, our divers
chatted on many subjects, chiefly professional.  Among other things,
Rooney remarked that he had heard it said a diving-dress contained
sufficient air in it to keep a man alive for more than five minutes.

"I have heard the same," said Edgar.

"Come, David," suggested Joe Baldwin, "let's test it on you."

"Ready," said Maxwell, rising and wiping his huge mouth.

The proposal which was made in jest was thereupon carried out in

Dinner being over, Maxwell put on his diving-dress; the Chinamen set the
pump going, and the front-glass was screwed on.  Air was forced into the
dress until it was completely inflated and looked as if ready to burst,
while Maxwell stood on the deck holding on to a back-stay.  At a given
signal the pumpers ceased to work, and the adventurous man was thus cut
off from all further communication with the outward air.

At first the onlookers were amused; then they became interested, and as
the minutes flew by, a little anxious, but Maxwell's grave countenance,
as seen through the bull's-eye, gave no cause for alarm.  Thus he stood
for full ten minutes, and then opening the escape-valve, signalled for
more air.

This was a sufficient evidence that a man might have ample time to
return to the surface from great depths, even if the air-pumps should
break down.

"But, perhaps," said Edgar, as they conversed on the subject, "you might
not be able to hold out so long under water where the pressure would be

"Sure that's true.  What d'ee say to try, David?" said Rooney.

Again Maxwell expressed willingness to risk the attempt.  The glass was
once more screwed on, the pumps set agoing, and down the bold diver went
to the bottom.  On receiving a pre-arranged signal, the pumps were

This, let the reader fully understand, is a thing that is never done
with the ordinary pumps, which are not permitted to cease working from
the time the bull's-eye is fixed on until after it is taken off, on the
diver's return to the surface.  It was therefore with much anxiety that
the experimenters awaited the result--anxiety that was not allayed by
Rooney Machowl's expression of countenance, and his occasional
suggestion that "he must be dead by this time," or, "Och!  He's gone
entirely now!"

For full five minutes Maxwell stayed under water without a fresh supply
of air--then he signalled for it, and the anxious pumpers sent it down
with a will.  Thus it was found that there was still sufficient time for
a man to return to the surface with the air contained in his dress, in
the event of accident to the pumps.  [See Note 1.]

While the divers were engaged with these experiments, Chok-foo was sent
on shore in the small boat for a supply of fresh water from a spring
near the top of the island.

Having filled his keg, the Chinaman turned his fat good-humoured
countenance toward the sea, for the purpose of taking an amiable view of
Nature in general before commencing the descent.  As he afterwards gazed
in the direction of the mainland, he observed what appeared to be a line
of sea-gulls on the horizon.  He looked intently at these after
shouldering his water-keg.  Chok-foo's visage was yellow by nature.  It
suddenly became pale green.  He dropped his burden and bounded down the
hillside as if he had gone mad.  The water-keg followed him.  Being
small and heavy it overtook him, swept the legs from under him, and
preceded him to the beach, where it was dashed to atoms.  Chok-foo
recovered himself, continued his wild descent, sprang into the boat,
rowed out to his companions in furious haste, and breathlessly gave the
information that pirates were coming!

Those to whom he said this knew too well what he meant to require
explanation.  They were aware that many so-called "traders" in the
Eastern seas become pirates on the shortest notice when it suits their

Edgar Berrington immediately drew a revolver from his pocket, and
stepping suddenly up to Dwarro, said sternly:--

"Look here!"

The pilot did look, and for the first time his calm, cool, imperturbable
expression deserted him, for he saw that he had to deal with a resolute
and powerful man.  At the same time his right hand moved towards his
breast, but it was arrested from behind in the iron grip of Joe Baldwin.

"Now, pilot," said Edgar, "submit, and no one shall harm you.  Resist,
and you are a dead man.  Search him, Joe."

The diver opened Dwarro's pilot-coat, and found beneath it a brace of
pistols and a long sheath knife, which he quietly removed and
transferred to his own person.  The other men in the boat looked on,
meanwhile, in silence.

"Dwarro," continued Edgar, "_you_ have planned this, I know, but I'll
thwart you.  I won't tie or gag you.  I'll make you sit at the helm and
steer, while we evade your friends.  I shall sit beside you, and you may
rely on it that if you disobey an order in the slightest degree, or give
a signal by word or look to any one, I'll blow out your brains.  D'you
understand me?"

The pilot made no reply save by a slight inclination of the head, while
a dark frown settled on his features.

It was obvious that fear found no place in the man's breast, for a deep
flush of indignation covered his countenance.  He merely felt that he
must obey or die, and wisely chose the former alternative.

Meanwhile the fleet of boats which had appeared to the Chinaman on the
hill-top was now seen by the party in the boat as they drew nearer under
the influence of a land breeze--their high sails rendering them visible
before the low boat of our divers could be seen by them.

The wind had not yet reached the island, but, even if it had, the divers
would not have hoisted sail, lest they should have been seen.

"Ship your oars now, lads, and pull for life," cried Edgar, seizing the
tiller with one hand, while with the other he held the revolver.  "You
take _this_ oar, Dwarro, and pull with a will."

In a few seconds the pilot boat was creeping pretty swiftly along the
rugged shore of the island, in the direction of the open sea.  To
lighten her, the little boat astern was cut adrift.  Continuing their
course, they rowed quite past the island, and then, turning abruptly to
the southward, they pulled steadily on until the first "cat's-paw" of
the breeze ruffled the glassy sea.

By this time the fleet of boats was distinctly visible, making straight
for the island.  Edgar now ordered the sails to be set, and bade Dwarro
take the helm.  The pilot obeyed with the air of a Stoic.  It was clear
that his mind was made up.  This had the effect of calling up a look of
settled resolution on Edgar's face.

In a few minutes the sails filled, and then, to the surprise not only of
Dwarro but all on board, Edgar ordered the pilot to steer straight for
the line of advancing boats.

Two of these had changed their course on first observing the divers'
boat, but when they saw it steering straight down, as if to meet or join
them, they resumed their course for the island.  Presently the breeze
increased, and the pilot boat leaped over the waves as if it had
received new life.

"It's a bowld thing to try," muttered Rooney Machowl, "but I'm afeard,

He was silenced by a peremptory "Hush" from Edgar.  "Get down so as to
be out of sight," he continued, "all of you except the Chinamen.--You
two come and sit by Dwarro."

As he spoke, Edgar himself sat down on an oar, so as to be able to see
over the gunwale without himself being seen.  To those in the fleet it
would thus appear that their vessel was a pilot boat returning from
seaward with its skipper and two Chinamen.  Whatever Dwarro's intentions
had been, he was evidently somewhat disconcerted, and glanced more than
once uneasily at the calm youth who sat pistol in hand at his side
directing him how to steer.

Although there was a considerable fleet of the piratical boats, they
were spread out so that a space of several hundred yards intervened
between each.  Edgar steered for the centre of the widest gap, and his
bold venture was favoured by a sudden increase of wind, which caused the
waves to gurgle from the bow.

Just as they passed between two of the boats they were hailed by one of
them.  Edgar kept his eyes fixed on Dwarro, who became slightly pale.
The click of the pistol at the moment caused the pilot to start.

"You may inform and we may be caught," said Edgar, sternly; "but
whatever happens you shall die if you disobey.  Speak not, but wave your
hand in reply."

Dwarro obeyed.  Those who had hailed him apparently thought the distance
too great for speech; they waved their hands in return, and the boat
passed on.  A few minutes more and our divers were safely beyond the
chance of capture, making for the mainland under a steady breeze.


Note 1.  The pump used by Denayrouze of Paris, besides being very simple
in its parts and action, possesses an air-reservoir which renders a
cessation of the pump-action for a few minutes of no importance.



Turn we now to Miss Pritty--and a pretty sight she is when we turn to
her!  In her normal condition Miss Pritty is the pink of propriety and
neatness.  At the present moment she lies with her mouth open, and her
eyes shut, hair dishevelled, garments disordered, slippers off, and
stockings not properly on.  Need we say that the sea is at the bottom of
it?  One of the most modest, gentle, unassuming, amiable of women has
been brought to the condition of calmly and deliberately asserting that
she "doesn't care!"--doesn't care for appearances; doesn't care for
character; doesn't care for past reminiscences or future prospects;
doesn't care, in short, for anything--life and death included.  It is a
sad state of mind and body--happily a transient!


"Yes, Miss?"

"I shall die."

"Oh no, Miss, don't say so.  You'll be quite well in a short time," (the
stewardess has a pleasant motherly way of encouraging the
faint-hearted).  "Don't give way to it, Miss.  You've no idea what a
happytite you'll 'ave in a few days.  You'll be soon able to eat hoceans
of soup and 'eaps of fat pork, and--"

She stops abruptly, for Miss Pritty has gone into sudden convulsions, in
the midst of which she begs the stewardess, quite fiercely, to "Go

Let us draw a veil over the scene.

Miss Pritty has been brought to this pass by Mr Charles Hazlit, whose
daughter, Aileen, has been taken ill in China.  Being a man of unbounded
wealth, and understanding that Miss Pritty is a sympathetic friend of
his daughter and an admirable nurse, he has written home to that lady
requesting her, in rather peremptory terms, to "come out to them."  Miss
Pritty, resenting the tone of the request as much as it was in her
nature to resent anything, went off instanter, in a gush of tender love
and sympathy, and took passage in the first ship that presented itself
as being bound for the China seas.  She did not know much about ships.
Her maritime ideas were vague.  If a washing-tub had been advertised
just then as being A1 at Lloyds' and about to put forth for that region
of the earth with every possible convenience on board for the delight of
human beings, she would have taken a berth in it at once.

We do not intend to inflict Miss Pritty's voyage on our reader.  Suffice
it to say that she survived it, reached China in robust health, and
found her sick friend,--who had recovered,--in a somewhat similar

After an embrace such as women alone can bestow on each other, Miss
Pritty, holding her friend's hand, sat down to talk.  After an hour of
interjectional, exclamatory, disconnected, irrelevant, and largely
idiotical converse--sustained chiefly by herself--Miss Pritty said:--

"And oh!  The pirates!"

She said this with an expression of such awful solemnity that Aileen
could not forbear smiling as she asked--

"Did you see any?"

"Gracious!  No," exclaimed Miss Pritty, with a look of horror, "but we
_heard_ of them.  Only think of that!  If I have one horror on earth
which transcends all other horrors in horribleness, that horror is--
pirates.  I once had the misfortune to read of them when quite a girl--
they were called Buccaneers, I think, in the book--and I have never got
over it.  Well, one day when we were sailing past the straits of
Malacca,--I think it was,--our captain said they were swarming in these
regions, and that he had actually seen them--more than that, had slain
them with his own--oh!  It is too horrible to think of.  And our captain
was _such_ a dear good man too.  Not fierce one bit, and _so_ kind to
everybody on board, especially the ladies!  I really _cannot_ understand
it.  There are such dreadfully strange mixtures of character in this
world.  _No_, he did not say he had slain them, but he used nautical
expressions which amount to the same thing, I believe; he said he had
spiflicated lots of 'em and sent no end of 'em to somebody's locker.  It
may be wrong in me even to quote such expressions, dear Aileen, but I
cannot explain myself properly if I don't.  It is fearful to know there
are so many of them, `swarming,' as our captain said."

"The worst of it is that many of the boatmen and small traders on the
coast," said Aileen, "are also pirates, or little better."

"Dreadful!" exclaimed her friend.  "Why, oh _why_ do people go to sea at

"To transport merchandise, I suppose," said Aileen.  "We should be
rather badly off without tea, and silk, and spices, and such things--
shouldn't we?"

"Tea and silk!  Aileen.  I would be content to wear cotton and drink
coffee or cocoa--which latter I hate--if we only got rid of pirates."

"Even cotton, coffee, and cocoa are imported, I fear," suggested Aileen.

"Then I'd wear wool and drink water--anything for peace.  Oh _how_ I
wish," said Miss Pritty, with as much solemn enthusiasm as if she were
the first who had wished it, "that I were the Queen of England--_then_
I'd let the world see something."

"What would you do, dear?" asked Aileen.

"Do!  Well, I'll tell you.  Being the head of the greatest nation of the
earth--except, of course, the Americans, who assert their supremacy so
constantly that they _must_ be right--being the head, I say, of the
greatest earthly nation, with that exception, I would order out all my
gun-ships and turret-boats, and build new ones, and send them all round
to the eastern seas, attack the pirates in their strongholds, and--and--
blow them all out o' the water, or send the whole concern to the bottom!
You needn't laugh, Aileen.  Of course I do not use my own language.  I
quote from our captain.  Really you have no idea what strong, and to me
quite new expressions that dear man used.  So powerful too, but _never_
naughty.  No, never.  I often felt as if I ought to have been shocked by
them, but on consideration I never was, for it was more the manner than
the matter that seemed shocking.  He was so gentle and kind, too, with
it all.  I shall _never_ forget how he gave me his arm the first day I
was able to come on deck, after being reduced to a mere shadow by
sea-sickness, and how tenderly he led me up and down, preventing me, as
he expressed it, from lurching into the lee-scuppers, or going slap
through the quarter-rails into the sea."

After a little more desultory converse, Aileen asked her friend if she
were prepared to hear some bad news.

Miss Pritty declared that she was, and evinced the truth of her
declaration by looking prematurely horrified.

Aileen, although by no means demonstrative, could not refrain from
laying her head on her friend's shoulder as she said, "Well then, dear
Laura, we are beggars!  Dear papa has failed in business, and we have
not a penny in the world!"

Miss Pritty was not nearly so horrified as she had anticipated being.
Poor thing, she was so frequently in the condition of being without a
penny that she had become accustomed to it.  Her face, however,
expressed deep sympathy, and her words corresponded therewith.

"How did it happen?" she asked, at the close of a torrent of condolence.

"Indeed I don't know," replied Aileen, looking up with a smile as she
brushed away the two tears which the mention of their distress had
forced into her eyes.  "Papa says it was owing to the mismanagement of a
head clerk and the dishonesty of a foreign agent, but whatever the
cause, the fact is that we are ruined.  Of course that means, I suppose,
that we shall have no more than enough to procure the bare necessaries
of life, and shall now, alas!  Know experimentally what it is to be

Miss Pritty, when in possession of "enough to procure the bare
necessaries of life," had been wont to consider herself rich, but her
powers of sympathy were great.  She scorned petty details, and poured
herself out on her _poor_ friend as a true comforter--counselled
resignation as a matter of course, but suggested such a series of bright
impossibilities for the future as caused Aileen to laugh, despite her

In the midst of one of these bursts of hilarity Mr Hazlit entered the
room.  The sound seemed to grate on his feelings, for he frowned as he
walked, in an absent mood, up to a glass case full of gaudy birds, and
turned his back to it under the impression, apparently, that it was a

"Aileen," he said, jingling some loose coin in his pocket with one hand,
while with the other he twisted the links of a massive gold chain, "your
mirth is ill-timed.  I am sorry, Miss Pritty, to have to announce to
you, so soon after your arrival, that I am a beggar."

As he spoke he drew himself up to his full height, and looked, on the
whole, like an over-fed, highly ornamented, and well-to-do beggar.

"Yes," he said, repeating the word with emphasis as if he were rather
proud of it, "a beggar.  I have not a possession in the world save the
clothes on my back, which common decency demands that my creditors
should allow to remain there.  Now, I have all my life been a man of
action, promptitude, decision.  We return to England immediately--I do
not mean before luncheon, but as soon as the vessel in which I have
taken our passage is ready for sea, which will probably be in a few
days.  I am sorry, Miss Pritty, that I have put you to so much
unnecessary trouble, but of course I could not foresee what was
impending.  All I can do now is to thank you, and pay your passage back
in the same vessel with ourselves if you are disposed to go.  That
vessel, I may tell you, has been selected by me with strict regard to my
altered position.  It is a very small one, a mere schooner, in which
there are no luxuries though enough of necessaries.  You will therefore,
my child, prepare for departure without delay."

In accordance with this decision Mr and Miss Hazlit and Miss Pritty
found themselves not long afterwards on board the _Fairy Queen_ as the
only passengers, and, in process of time, were conveyed by winds and
currents to the neighbourhood of the island of Borneo, where we will
leave them while we proceed onward to the island of Ceylon.  Time and
distance are a hindrance to most people.  They are fortunately nothing
whatever in the way of writers and readers!

Here a strange scene presents itself; numerous pearl-divers are at
work--most of them native, some European.  But with these we have
nothing particular to do, except in so far as they engage the attention
of a certain man in a small boat, whose movements we will watch.  The
man had been rowed to the scene of action by two Malays from a large
junk, or Chinese vessel, which lay in the offing.  He was himself a
Malay--tall, dark, stern, handsome, and of very powerful build.  The
rowers were perfectly silent and observant of his orders, which were
more frequently conveyed by a glance or a nod than by words.

Threading his way among the boats of the divers, the Malay skipper, for
such he seemed, signed to the rowers to stop, and directed his attention
specially to one boat.  In truth this boat seemed worthy of attention
because of the energy of the men on board of it.  A diver had just
leaped from its side into the sea.  He was a stalwart man of colour,
quite naked, and aided his descent by means of a large stone attached to
each of the sandals which he wore.  These sandals, on his desiring to
return to the surface, could be thrown off, being recoverable by means
of cords fastened to them.  Just as he went down another naked diver
came up from the bottom, and was assisted into the boat.  A little blood
trickled from his nose and ears, and he appeared altogether much
exhausted.  No wonder.  He had not indeed remained down at any time more
than a minute and a half, but he had dived nearly fifty times that day,
and sent up a basket containing a hundred pearl oysters each time.

Presently the man who had just descended reappeared.  He also looked
fagged, but after a short rest prepared again to descend.  He had been
under water about ninety seconds.  Few divers can remain longer.  The
average time is one minute and a half, sometimes two minutes.  It is
said that these men are short-lived, and we can well believe it, for
their work, although performed only during a short period of each year,
is in violent opposition to the laws of nature.

Directing his men to row on, our skipper soon came to another boat,
which not only arrested his attention but aroused his curiosity, for
never before had he seen so strange a sight.  It was a large boat with
novel apparatus on board of it, and white men--in very strange costume.
In fact it was a party of European divers using the diving-dress among
the pearl-fishers of Ceylon, and great was the interest they created, as
well as the unbelief, scepticism, misgiving, and doubt which they drew
forth--for, although not quite a novelty in those waters, the dress was
new to many of the natives present on that occasion, and Easterns, not
less than Westerns, are liable to prejudice!

A large concourse of boats watched the costuming of the divers, and
breathless interest was aroused as they went calmly over the side and
remained down for more than an hour, sending up immense quantities of
oysters.  Of course liberal-minded men were made converts on the spot,
and, equally of course, the narrow-minded remained "of the same opinion
still."  Nevertheless, that day's trial of Western ingenuity has borne
much fruit, for we are now told, by the best authorities, that at the
present time the diving-dress is very extensively used in sponge, pearl,
and coral fisheries in many parts of the world where naked divers alone
were employed not many years ago; and that in the Greek Archipelago and
on the Turkish and Barbary coasts alone upwards of three hundred diving
apparatuses are employed in the sponge fisheries, with immense advantage
to all concerned and to the world at large.

Leaving this interesting sight, our Malay skipper threaded his way
through the fleet of boats and made for the shores of the Bay of
Condatchy, which was crowded with eager men of many nations.

This bay, on the west coast of Ceylon, is the busy scene of one of the
world's great fisheries of the pearl oyster.  The fishing, being in the
hands of Government, is kept under strict control.  It is farmed out.
The beds of oysters are annually-surveyed and reported on.  They are
divided into four equal portions, only one of which is worked each year.
As the fishing produces vast wealth and affords scope for much
speculation during the short period of its exercise, the bay during
February, March, and April of each year presents a wondrous spectacle,
for here Jews, Indians, merchants, jewellers, boatmen, conjurors to
charm off the dreaded sharks, Brahmins, Roman Catholic priests, and many
other professions and nationalities are represented, all in a state of
speculation, hope, and excitement that fill their faces with animation
and their frames with activity.

The fleet of boats leaves the shore at 10 p.m. on the firing of a
signal-gun, and returns at noon next day, when again the gun is fired,
flags are hoisted, and Babel immediately ensues.

It was noon when our Malay skipper landed.  The gun had just been fired.
Many of the boats were in, others were arriving.  Leaving his boat in
charge of his men, the skipper wended his way quickly through the
excited crowd with the wandering yet earnest gaze of a man who searches
for some one.  Being head and shoulders above most of the men around
him, he could do this with ease.  For some time he was unsuccessful, but
at last he espied an old grey-bearded Jew, and pushed his way towards

"Ha!  Pungarin, my excellent friend," exclaimed the Jew, extending his
hand, which the skipper merely condescended to touch, "how do you do?  I
am _so_ overjoyed to see you; you have business to transact eh?"

"You may be quite sure, Moses, that I did not come to this nest of
sharpers merely for pleasure," replied Pungarin, brusquely.

"Ah, my friend, you are really too severe.  No doubt we are sharp, but
that is a proper business qualification.  Besides, _our_ trade is
legitimate, while yours, my friend, is--"

The Jew stopped and cast a twinkling glance at his tall companion.

"Is _not_ legitimate, you would say," observed Pungarin, "but that is
open to dispute.  In my opinion this is a world of robbers; the only
difference among us is that some are sneaking robbers, others are open.
Every man to his taste.  I have been doing a little of the world's work
openly of late, and I come here with part of the result to give you a
chance of robbing me in the other way."

"Nay, nay, you are altogether too hard," returned the Jew, with a
deprecating smile; "but come to my little office.  We shall have more
privacy there.  How comes it, Pungarin, that you are so far from your
own waters?  It is a longish way from Ceylon to Borneo."

"How comes it," replied the Malay, "that the sea-mew flies far from
home?  There is no limit to the flight of a sea-rover, save the

"True, true," returned the Jew, with a nod of intelligence; "but here is
my place of business.  Enter my humble abode, and pray be seated."

Pungarin stooped to pass the low doorway, and seated himself beside a
small deal table which, although destitute of a cloth, was thickly
covered with ink-stains.  The Malay rover was clad in a thin loose red
jacket, a short petticoat or kilt, and yellow trousers.  A red fez, with
a kerchief wound round it turban fashion, covered his head.  He was a
well-made stalwart man, with a handsome but fierce-looking countenance.

From beneath the loose jacket Pungarin drew forth a small, richly
chased, metal casket.  Placing it on the table he opened it, and,
turning it upside down, poured from it a little cataract of glittering

"Ha!  My friend," exclaimed his companion, "you have got a prize.  Where
did you find it?"

"I might answer, `What is that to you?' but I won't, for I wish to keep
you in good humour till our business is concluded.  Here, then, are the
facts connected with the case.  Not long ago some Englishmen came out to
Hong-Kong to dive to a vessel which had been wrecked on an island off
the coast.  My worthy agent there, Dwarro, cast his eyes on them and
soon found out all about their plans.  Dwarro is a very intelligent
fellow.  Like yourself, he has a good deal of the sneaking robber about
him.  He ascertained that the wreck had much gold coin in it, and so
managed that they hired his boat to go off to it with their diving
apparatus.  Somewhat against their will he accompanied them.  They were
very successful.  The first time they went on shore, they took with them
gold to the value of about twenty thousand pounds.  Dwarro cleverly
managed to have this secured a few hours after it was landed.  He also
made arrangements to have a fleet of my fellows ready, so that when more
gold had been recovered from the wreck they might surround them on the
spot and secure it.  But the young Englishman at the head of the party
was more than a match for us.  He cowed Dwarro, and cleverly escaped to
land.  There, however, another of my agents had the good fortune to
discover the Englishmen while they were landing their gold.  He was too
late, indeed, to secure the gold, which had been sent on inland in
charge of two Chinamen, but he was lucky enough to discover this casket
in the stern-sheets of their boat.  The Englishmen fought hard for it,
especially the young fellow in command, who was more like a tiger than a
man, and knocked down half a dozen of our men before he was overpowered.
We would have cut his throat then and there, but a party of
inhabitants, guided by one of the Chinamen, came to the rescue, and we
were glad to push off with what we had got.  Now, Moses, this casket is
worth a good round sum.  Dwarro wisely took the trouble to make
inquiries about it through one of the Chinamen, who happened to be an
honest man and fortunately also very stupid.  From this man, Chok-foo,
who is easily imposed on, he learned that the casket belongs to a very
rich English merchant, who would give anything to recover it, because it
belonged to his wife, who is dead--"

"A rich English merchant?" interrupted Moses, "we Jews are acquainted
pretty well with all the _rich_ English merchants.  Do you know his

"Yes; Charles Hazlit," answered the Malay.

"Indeed!  Well--go on."

"Well," said Pungarin, abruptly, "I have nothing more to say, except,
what will you give for these things?"

"One thousand pounds would be a large sum to offer," said the Jew,

"And a very small one to accept," returned Pungarin, as he slowly
gathered the gems together and put them back into the casket.

"Nay, my friend, be not so hasty," said Moses; "what do you ask for

"I shall ask nothing," replied the Malay; "the fact is, I think it
probable that I may be able to screw _more_ than their value out of Mr

"I am sorry to disappoint your expectations," returned the Jew, with
something approaching to a sneer, as he rose; and, selecting one from a
pile of English newspapers, slowly read out to his companion the
announcement of the failure of the firm of Hazlit and Company.  "You
see, my good friend, we Jews are very knowing as well as sharp.  It were
better for you to transact your little business with me."

Knowing and sharp as he was, the Jew was not sufficiently so to foresee
the result of his line of conduct with the Malay rover.  Instead of
giving in and making the best of circumstances, that freebooter, with
characteristic impetuosity, shut the steel box with a loud snap, put it
under his arm, rose, and walked out of the place without uttering a
word.  He went down to the beach and rowed away, leaving Moses to
moralise on the uncertainty of all human affairs.

Favouring gales carried the Malay pirate-junk swiftly to the east.  The
same gales checked, baffled, and retarded the schooner _Fairy Queen_ on
her voyage to the west.

"Darling Aileen," said Miss Pritty, recovering from a paroxysm, "did you
ever hear of any one dying of sea-sickness?"

"I never did," answered Aileen, with a languid smile.

Both ladies lay in their berths, their pale cheeks resting on the
woodwork thereof, and their eyes resting pitifully on each other.

"It is awful--horrible!" sighed Miss Pritty at at the end of another

Aileen, who was not so ill as her friend, smiled but said nothing.  Miss
Pritty was past smiling, but not quite past speaking.

"What dreadful noises occur on board ships," she said, after a long
pause; "such rattling, and thumping, and creaking, and stamping.
Perhaps the sailors get their feet wet and are so cold that they require
to stamp constantly to warm them!"

Aileen displayed all her teeth and said, "Perhaps."

At that moment the stamping became so great, and was accompanied by so
much shouting, that both ladies became attentive.

A few moments later their door opened violently, and Mr Hazlit appeared
with a very pale face.  He was obviously in a state of great

"My dears," he said, hurriedly, "excuse my intruding--we are--attacked--
pirates--get up; put on your things!"

His retreat and the closing of the door was followed by a crash overhead
and a yell.  Immediately after the schooner quivered from stem to stern,
under the shock of her only carronade, which was fired at the moment;
the shot being accompanied by a loud cheer.

"Oh horror!" exclaimed Miss Pritty, "my worst fears are realised!"

Poor Miss Pritty was wrong.  Like many people whose "worst fears" have
been engendered at a civilised fireside, she was only _beginning_ to
realise a few of her fears.  She lived to learn that _her_ "worst fears"
were mere child's play to the world's dread realities.

Her sea-sickness, however, vanished as if by magic, and in a few minutes
she and her companion were dressed.

During those few minutes the noise on deck had increased, and the
shouts, yells, and curses told them too plainly that men were engaged in
doing what we might well believe is the work only of devils.  Then
shrieks of despair followed.

Presently all was silent.  In a few minutes the cabin door opened, and
Pungarin entered.

"Go on deck," he said, in a quiet tone.

The poor ladies obeyed.  On reaching the deck the first sight that met
them was Mr Hazlit standing by the binnacle.  A Malay pirate with a
drawn sword stood beside him, but he was otherwise unfettered.  They
evidently thought him harmless.  Near to him stood the skipper of the
_Fairy Queen_ with the stern resolution of a true Briton on his
countenance, yet with the sad thoughtful glance of one trained under
Christian influences in his eye.  His hands were bound, and a Malay
pirate stood on either side of him.  He was obviously _not_ deemed

The decks were everywhere covered with blood, but not a man of the crew
was to be seen.

"You are the captain of this schooner?" asked Pungarin.

"Yes," replied the prisoner, firmly.

"Have you treasure on board?"


"We shall soon find out the truth as to that.  Meanwhile, who is this?"
(pointing to Mr Hazlit.)

The captain was silent and thoughtful for a few moments.  He was well
aware of the nature of the men with whom he had to do.  He had seen his
crew murdered in cold blood.  He knew that his own end drew near.

"This gentleman," he said, slowly, "is a wealthy British merchant--
well-known and respected in England.  He has rich friends.  It may be
worth your while to spare him."

"And this," added the pirate captain, pointing to Aileen.

"Is his only child," answered the other.

"Your name?" asked Pungarin.

"Charles Hazlit," said the hapless merchant.

A sudden flash of intelligence lit up for a moment the swarthy features
of the pirate.  It passed quickly.  Then he spoke in an undertone to one
of his men, who, with the assistance of another, led the captain of the
schooner to the forward part of the ship.  A stifled groan, followed by
a plunge, was heard by the horrified survivors.  That was all they ever
knew of the fate of their late captain.  But for what some would term a
mere accident, even that and their own fate would have remained unknown
to the world--at least during the revolution of Time.  The romances of
life are often enacted by commonplace people.  Many good ships with
ordinary people on board, (like you and me, reader), leave port, and are
"never again heard of."  Who can tell what tales may be revealed in
regard to such, in Eternity?

The _Fairy Queen_ was one of those vessels whose fate it was to have her
"fate" revealed in Time.

We cannot state with certainty what were the motives which induced
Pungarin to spare the lives of Mr Hazlit and his family; all we know
is, that he transferred them to his junk.  After taking everything of
value out of the schooner, he scuttled her.

Not many days after, he attacked a small hamlet on the coast of Borneo,
massacred most of the men, saved a few of the young and powerful of
them--to serve his purposes--also some of the younger women and
children, and continued his voyage.

The poor English victims whom he had thus got possession of lived,
meanwhile, in a condition of what we may term unreality.  They could not
absolutely credit their senses.  They felt strangely impelled to believe
that a hideous nightmare had beset them--that they were dreaming; that
they would unquestionably awake at last, and find that it was time to
get up to a substantial and very commonplace English breakfast.  But,
mingled with this feeling, or rather, underlying it, there was a
terrible assurance that the dream was true.  So is it throughout life.
What is fiction to you, reader, is fact to some one else, and that which
is _your_ fact is some one else's fiction.  If any lesson is taught by
this, surely it is the lesson of _sympathy_--that we should try more
earnestly than we do to throw ourselves out of ourselves into the place
of others.

Poor Miss Pritty and Aileen learned this lesson.  From that date
forward, instead of merely shaking their heads and sighing in a hopeless
sort of way, and doing nothing--or nearly nothing--to check the evils
they deplored, they became red-hot enthusiasts in condemning piracy and
slavery, (which latter is the grossest form of piracy), and despotism of
every kind, whether practised by a private pirate like Pungarin, or by a
weak pirate like the Sultan of Zanzibar, or by comparatively strong
pirates like the nations of Spain and Portugal.

In course of time the pirate-junk anchored at the mouth of a river, and
much of her freight, with all her captives, was transferred to native
boats.  These were propelled by means of numerous oars, and the male
captives were now set to work at these oars.

Mr Hazlit and his daughter and Miss Pritty were allowed to sit idle in
the stem of one of the boats, and for a time they felt their drooping
spirits revive a little under the influence of the sweet sunshine while
they rowed along shore, but as time passed these feelings were rudely
put to flight.

The captives were various in their character and nationality, as well as
in their spirits and temperaments.  These had all to be brought into
quick subjection and working order.  There were far more captives than
the pirates knew what to do with.  One of those who sat on the thwart
next to the Hazlits had been a policeman in one of the China ports.  He
was a high-spirited young fellow.  It was obvious that his soul was
seething into rebellion.  The pirate in charge of the boat noted the
fact, and whispered to one of his men, who thereupon ordered the
policeman to pull harder, and accompanied his order with a cut from a
bamboo cane.

Instantly the youth sprang up, and tried to burst his bonds.  He
succeeded, but before he could do anything, he was overpowered by half a
dozen men, and re-bound.  Then two men sat down beside him, each with a
small stick, with which they beat the muscles of his arms and legs,
until their power was completely taken away.  This done, they left him,
a living heap of impotent flesh in the bottom of the boat, and a
salutary warning to the rebellious.

But it did not end here.  As soon as the poor fellow had recovered
sufficiently to move, he was again set to the oar, and forced to row as
best he could.

The voyage along the coast, and up a river into which they finally
turned, occupied several days.  At first, on starting, Aileen and her
companions had looked with tender pity on the captives as they toiled at
the heavy oars, but this deepened into earnest solicitude as they saw
them, after hours of toil, gasping for want of water and apparently
faint from want of food.  Next day, although they had lain down in the
bottom of the boat supperless, the rest had refreshed most of them, and
they pulled on with some degree of vigour.  But noon came, and with it
culminated the heat of a burning sun.  Still no water was served out, no
food distributed.  Mr Hazlit and his party had biscuit and water given
them in the morning and at noon.  During the latter meal Aileen observed
the native policeman regarding her food with such eager wolfish eyes
that under an impulse of uncontrollable feeling she held out her can of
water to him.  He seized and drank the half of it before one of the
pirates had time to dash it from his lips.

Presently a youth, who seemed less robust than his comrades, uttered a
wild shriek, threw up his hands, and fell backwards.  At once the
pirates detached him from his oar, threw him into the sea, and made
another captive fill his place.  And now, to their inexpressible horror,
the Hazlits discovered that the practice of these wretches--when they
happened to have a super-abundance of captives--was to make them row on
without meat or drink, until they dropt at the oar, and then throw them
overboard!  Reader, we do not deal in fiction here, we describe what we
have heard from the mouth of a trustworthy eye-witness.

In these circumstances the harrowing scenes that were enacted before the
English ladies were indeed fitted to arouse that "horror" which poor
Miss Pritty, in her innocence, had imagined to have reached its worst.
We will pass it over.  Many of the captives died.  A few of the
strongest survived, and these, at last, were fed a little in order to
enable them to complete the journey.  Among them was the native
policeman, who had suddenly discovered that his wisest course of action,
in the meantime, was submission.

At last the boats reached a village in one of those rivers whose low and
wooded shores afford shelter to too many nests of Malay pirates even at
the present time--and no wonder!  When the rulers and grandees of some
Eastern nations live by plunder, what can be expected of the people?

The few captives who survived were sent ashore.  Among them were our
English friends.



About this time there hung a dark cloud over the pagoda in Hong-Kong.
Even the bright eyes of Molly Machowl could not pierce through this
cloud.  Rooney himself had lost much of his hopeful disposition.  As for
Edgar Berrington, Joe Baldwin, and David Maxwell, they were silently
depressed, for adversity had crushed them very severely of late.

Immediately after their losses, as already detailed or referred to,
stormy weather had for several weeks prevented them from resuming
operations at the wreck, and when at last they succeeded in reaching the
old locality, they found themselves so closely watched by shore boats
that the impossibility of their being able to keep anything they should
bring up became obvious.  They were forced, therefore, to give up the
idea of making further attempts.

"It's too bad," growled Maxwell one morning at breakfast, "that all our
trouble and expense should end in nothin'--or next to nothin'."

"Come, Maxwell," said Edgar, "don't say `nothing.'  It is true we lost
our first great find that luckless night when we left it with Wilson,
but our second haul is safe, and though it amounts only to eight
thousand pounds sterling, that after all is not to be sneezed at by men
in our circumstances."

"Make not haste to be rich," muttered Joe Baldwin in an undertone.

"_Did_ we make haste to be rich?" asked Edgar, smiling.  "It seems to me
that we set about it in a cool, quiet, business-like way."

"Humph, that's true, but we got uncommon keen over it--somethin' like
what gamblers do."

"Our over-keenness," returned Edgar, "was not right, perhaps, but our
course of action was quite legitimate--for it is a good turn done not
only to ourselves but to the world when we save property; and the salvor
of property--who necessarily risks so much--is surely worthy of a good
reward in kind."

"Troth, an' that's true," said Rooney, with a wry grin, "I had quite
made up me mind to a carridge and four with Molly astore sittin' in
silks an' satins inside."

"Molly would much rather sit in cotton," said the lady referred to, as
she presided at the breakfast-table; "have another cup, Rooney, an'
don't be talking nonsense."

"But it does seem hard," continued Maxwell in his growling voice, "after
all our trouble in thin venture, to be obliged to take to divin' at mere
harbour-works in Eastern waters, just to keep body and soul together."

"Never mind, boy," exclaimed Rooney with a successful effort at
heartiness, "it won't last long--it's only till we get a suitable chance
of a ship to take us an' our small fortins back to ould Ireland--or
England, if ye prefer it--though it's my own opinion that England is
only an Irish colony.  Never say die.  Sure we've seen a dale of life,
too, in them parts.  Come, I'll give ye a sintiment, an' we'll drink it
in tay--"

Before the hopeful Irishman could give the sentiment, he was interrupted
by the sudden opening of the door and the abrupt entrance of a Chinaman,
who looked at the breakfast party with keen interest and some anxiety.

"If it's your grandmother you're lookin' for," said Rooney, "she don't
live here, young man."

Paying no attention to this pleasantry, the Chinaman closed the door
with an air of mystery, and, going up to Edgar, looked him inquiringly
in the face, as he said interrogatively:--

"I's pleeceman.  You's Eggirbringting?"

"Not a bad attempt," exclaimed Edgar, with a laugh.  "I suppose _that_
is my name translated into Chinese."

"Took me muchee--long--time for learn him from young missee," said the
Chinaman with a hurt look.

At the mention of a young lady Edgar's amused look changed into one of
anxiety, for he had, through an English acquaintance in the port, become
aware not only of Mr Hazlit's failure, but of his sudden departure for
England with his daughter and Miss Pritty, and a vague suspicion of bad
news flashed upon him.

"You bring a message, I see?" he said, rising and speaking hurriedly.
"Let me hear it.  Quick."

Thus invoked, the Chinaman spoke so quickly and in such a miraculous
jumble of bad English, that Edgar could not comprehend him at all;--only
one thing he felt quite sure of, namely, that his anxiety was well

"Ho!  Chok-foo!" he shouted.

The domestic entered, and to him the Chinaman delivered his message,
which was to the following effect:--

He was a native policeman who had been captured on the coast when in
discharge of his duties.  Many others had been taken by the same pirates
at different times, and among them an English gentleman named Hazlit,
with his daughter and a lady friend.  These latter had been spared,
probably with a view to ransom, at the time the crew of their vessel was
massacred, and were at that moment in one of the strongholds belonging
to the pirates, up one of the intricate rivers on the coast of Borneo.
He, the policeman, having resolved to make his escape, and being, in
virtue of his wise, wily, and constabular nature, well able to do so,
had mentioned the circumstance to the young lady, and, under promise of
a handsome reward, had agreed to travel and voyage, night and day, by
boat or vessel, as fortune should favour him, in order to convey
immediate intelligence of these facts to a youth named "Eggirbringting,"
whom the young lady described as being very tall and stout, and
extremely handsome.

It may easily be imagined with what mingled feelings of anxiety and
impatience the "tall, stout, and extremely handsome young man" listened
to this narrative as it was volubly delivered by the "pleeceman" and
slowly translated by Chok-foo.

When at last he was fairly in possession of all that the messenger had
to relate, Edgar paced up and down the room for a few seconds with rapid

"We must go into action at once, sir," suggested Joe Baldwin.

"Of course, of course, but _how_?  That's the point," exclaimed Edgar,
with a look of impatient vexation.  "Borneo is a long way off.  There
are no steamers running regularly to it that I know of.  However, it's
of no use talking; let's go at once and make inquiry.  I'll go see our

"P'lhaps," interrupted the messenger, "p'lhaps the pleeceman can

"If he can, let him speak," cried Edgar, with impatience.

"Pleece he nevir too muchee quick," returned the man, coolly.  "We knows
what we's can do.  Hai, yach!"

Edgar sat down with a sharp sigh of discontent, and waited for more.


"Well," repeated the policeman, "there be steam-boat here now--go for
Borneo quick."

"At once!" cried Edgar, starting up and seizing his hat, "why did you

"Sh!  Keepee cool, you no 'casion makes so fashion," interrupted the
policeman, who thereupon went on to explain that on his arrival in
Hong-Kong he had gone at once to head-quarters, before delivering his
message to Edgar, in order to make himself master of all the news about
town that was worth knowing, or likely in any way to advance the
interest of those whom he sought to serve.  Among other things he had
learned the important fact that, two days before his arrival, a small
gun-boat, belonging to a certain Rajah of Borneo, and commanded by a
certain Scotchman, and employed for the express purpose of hunting up
and rooting out the pirates of the China seas, had put in to the port
for repairs.  He had hurried down to the gun-boat in time to prevent her
departure, had told his story, and had just come from her to say that
her captain would like much to see Mr Berrington.

On hearing this, Edgar again started up and eagerly ordered the native
policeman to guide him to the gun-boat in question without another
moment's delay.  He was followed, of course, by his male companions, who
were nearly as much interested in the matter as himself.  They were soon
on the deck of the gun-boat.

It was a neat trim screw-steamer of small size, 180 tons burthen, and
manned by about sixty Malays and a few Englishmen.  Everything on board
was as bright and orderly as if it had been a British man-of-war.  Her
commander received the visitors on the quarter-deck.  He looked like one
who was eminently well qualified to hunt up, run down, cut out, or in
any other mode make away with pirates.  There was much of the
bull-terrier in him--solid, broad, short, large-chested--no doubt also
large-hearted--active, in the prime of life, with short black curly
hair, a short black beard and moustache, a square chin, a pleasant
smile, a prominent nose, and an eagle eye.  Indeed he might himself have
made a splendid chief of the very race against which he waged "war to
the knife."

"Glad to make your acquaintance, Mr Berrington," said the captain,
holding out his hand.  "The native policeman has told me all about your
friends--I understand them to be such?"

"Yes--intimate friends."

"Well, this business is quite in my way.  I shall be glad to take you
with me.  But who are these?" he added, looking at Edgar's companions.

"They are comrades, and might do good service if you will allow them to

"My crew is complete," said the captain, doubtfully, "except, indeed,
that my chief engineer is just dead, but none of your men look as if
they could fill his shoes."

"That is true, but I can fill them myself," said Edgar, eagerly.


"Yes, I am an engineer by profession; my comrades are professional
divers.  We have been engaged on a wreck here for some time past."

"Good," said the captain; "are your dresses and apparatus at hand?"

"Some of them are."

"Then bring them aboard at once.  I leave in an hour.  Just bring what
you have handy.  Lose no time.  I will take your men also.  They may be
of use."

Within an hour after the foregoing conversation Molly Machowl was left
disconsolate in the pagoda under the care of Chok-foo, while the Rajah's
gun-boat was steaming out to sea with Edgar, Baldwin, Rooney, Maxwell,
and Ram-stam added to her warlike crew.



Steam has pretty well subdued time.  Fifty years ago it was a mighty
feat to "put a circle round the globe."  Now-a-days a "Cook"--by no
means a captain--will take or send you round it in "a few weeks."

Romantic reader, don't despair!  By such means romance has undoubtedly
been affected in some degree, but let not that grieve thee!  Romance has
by no means been taken out of the world; nor has it been, to use an
unromantic phrase, reduced in quantity or quality.  Human inventions and
appliances alter the aspects of romance, and transfer its influences,
but they cannot destroy a Creator's gift to the human race.  They have,
indeed, taken the romance out of some things which were once romantic,
but that is simply because they have made such things familiar and
commonplace.  They have not yet touched _other_ things which still
remain in the hallowed region of romance.  Romance _is_ a region.
Things crowd out of it, but other things crowd into it.  The romantic
soul dwells perpetually in it, and while, perhaps with regret, it
recognises the fact that many things depart from that region, it also
observes, with pleasure, that many things enter into it, and that the
entrances are more numerous than the exits.  The philosophico-romantic
spirit will admit all this and be grateful.  The unphilosophico-romantic
spirit will not quite see through it, and may, perchance, be perplexed.
But be of good cheer.  Have faith!  Do not let the matter-of-fact
"steam-engine," and the "telegraph," and the "post-office," rob thee of
thy joys.  They have somewhat modified the flow of the river of Romance,
but they have not touched its fountain-head,--and never can.

Why, what is Romance?  Despite the teachings of the dictionaries--which
often give us the original and obsolete meaning of words--we maintain
that romance signifies the human soul's aspirations after the high, and
the grand, and the good.  In its fallen condition the poor soul
undoubtedly makes wondrous mistakes in its romantic strainings, but
these mistakes are comparatively seldom on the side of exaggeration.
Our dictionary says that romance is extravagance--a fiction which passes
beyond the limits of real life.  Now, we maintain that no one--not even
the most romantic of individuals--ever comes _up_ to real life.  We have
been a child--at least we incline to that belief--and we have been, like
other children, in the habit of romancing, as it is called, that is,
according to dictionaries, passing "beyond the limits of real life" into
"extravagance."  We are now a man--it is to be hoped--have travelled far
and seen much and yet we can say conscientiously that the wildest
fancies of our most romantic moods in childhood have been immeasurably
surpassed by the grand realities of actual life!  What are the most
brilliant fancies of a child or of a mere ignorant "romancer," compared
to the amazing visions of the Arctic regions or the high Alps, which we
have seen?  "Fictions" and "extravagance"!  All our wildest sallies are
but _in_travagance and feeble fancy compared with the sublimity of fact.
No doubt there are men and women gifted with the power of burlesquing
reality, and thus, not going beyond its limits, but causing much dust
and confusion within its limits by the exaggeration and falsification of
individual facts.  This, however, is _not_ romance.  We stand up for
romance as being the bright staircase that leads childhood to reality,
and culminates at last in that vision which the eye of man hath not yet
seen nor his mind conceived; a vision which transcends all romance is
itself the greatest of all realities, and is "laid up for the people of

We return from this divergence to the point which led to it--the power
of steam to subdue time.  No doubt it was unromantic enough to be
pushed, propelled, thrust, willing or not willing, against, or with,
wind and tide, so that you could gauge your distance run--and to be
run--almost to a foot; but it was very satisfactory, nevertheless,
especially to those whose hearts were far in advance of their vessel,
and it was more than satisfactory when at the end of their voyage of a
few days they found themselves gliding swiftly, almost noiselessly, up
the windings of a quiet river whose picturesque scenery, romantic
vistas, and beautiful reflections might have marked it the entrance to a
paradise instead of a human pandemonium.

It was very early when the gun-boat entered the stream.  The mists of
morning still prevailed, and rendered all nature fairy-like.
Weird-looking mangrove bushes rose on their leg-like roots from the
water, as if independent of soil.  Vigorous parasites and creepers
strove to strangle the larger trees, but strove in vain.  Thick jungle
concealed wealth of feathered, insect, and reptile life, including the
reptile man, and sundry notes of warning told that these were awaking to
their daily toil--the lower animals to fulfil the ends of their being,
the higher animal to violate some of the most blessed laws of his
Creator.  Gradually the sun rose and dispelled the mists, while it
warmed everything into strong vitality.  As they passed up, clouds of
water-fowl rose whirring from their lairs, and luxuriant growth of weeds
threatened to obstruct the progress of the steamer.

"Come here, policeman," said the captain to the native functionary; "how
far above this, did you say, is the nest of the vipers?"

"'Bout tree mile."

"Humph!" ejaculated the captain, turning to Berrington, who had come on
deck at the moment.  "I never went higher up the river than this point,
for, just ahead, there are reeds enough to stop the screw of a three
thousand ton ship, but if you'll get your diving-dresses ready I'll try
it.  It would be much better to bring our big guns to bear on them than
to attack in boats."

"I'll have 'em ready directly," said Edgar.  "Perhaps we'd better stop
the engines now."

"Just so; stop them."

The engines were stopped, and the gun-boat glided slowly over the still
water until it came to rest on its own inverted image.

Meanwhile the air-pump was rigged, and Joe Baldwin put on his dress, to
the great interest and no little surprise of the Malay crew.

"Ready, sir," said Edgar, when Joe sat costumed, with the helmet at his
side and his friends Rooney and Maxwell at the pumps.

"Go ahead, then--full steam," said the captain.

Just in front of the vessel the river was impeded quite across by a
dense growth of rank reeds and sedges; a little further on there was
clear water.  Into this the gun-boat plunged under full steam.

As was expected, the screw soon became choked, and finally stopped.  Had
the pirates expected this they would probably have made a vigorous
attack just then.  But the danger, being so obvious, had never before
been incurred, and was therefore not prepared for or taken advantage of
by the pirates.  Nevertheless the captain was ready for them if they had
attacked.  Every man was at his station armed to the teeth.

The moment the boat began to work heavily Joe's helmet was put on, and
when she came to a stand he went over the stern by means of a
rope-ladder prepared for the purpose.

"Be as active as you can, Joe.  Got everything you want?" said Edgar,
taking up the bull's-eye.

"All right, sir," said Joe.

"Pump away," cried Edgar, looking over his shoulder.

Next moment Joe was under water, and the Malays, with glaring eyes and
open mouths, were gazing at the confusion of air-bubbles that arose from
him continually.  From their looks it seemed as though some of them
fancied the whole affair to be a new species of torture invented by
their captain.

Joe carried a small hatchet in his girdle and a long sharp knife in his
hand.  With these he attacked the reeds and weeds, and in ten minutes or
less had set the screw free.  He soon reappeared on the rope-ladder, and
Edgar, who had been attending to his lines, removed the bull's-eye.

"What now, Joe?" he asked.

"All clear," said Joe, coming inboard.

"What!  Done it already?"

"Ay; steam ahead when you like, sir."

The order was given at once.  The assistant engineer put on full steam,
and the gun-boat, crashing through the remaining obstruction, floated
into the comparatively clear water beyond.  The screw had been again
partially fouled, of course, but ten minutes more of our diver's knife
and axe set it free, and the vessel proceeded on her way.

Scouts from the pirate-camp had been watching the gun-boat, for they had
counted on nothing worse than an attack by boats, which, strong in
numbers, they could easily have repelled.  Great therefore was the
consternation when these scouts ran in and reported that the vessel had
cleared the obstructions by some miraculous power which they could not
explain or understand, and was now advancing on them under full steam.

While the operations we have described were being carried out on board
the gun-boat, in the pirate village poor Mr Hazlit was seated on a
stump outside a rude hut made chiefly of bamboos and palm leaves.  He
wore only his trousers and shirt, both sadly torn--one of the pirates
having taken a fancy to his coat and vest, the former of which he wore
round his loins with his legs thrust through the sleeves.  The captive
merchant sat with his face buried in his hands and bowed on his knees.

Inside the hut sat Aileen with poor Miss Pritty resting on her bosom.
Miss Pritty was of a tender confiding nature, and felt it absolutely
necessary to rest on somebody's bosom.  She would rather have used a
cat's or dog's than none.  Aileen, being affectionate and sympathetic,
had no objection.  Nevertheless, not being altogether of angelic
extraction, she was a little put out by the constant tremors of her

"Come, dear, don't shudder so fearfully," she said, in a half coaxing
half remonstrative tone.

"Is he gone?" asked Miss Pritty in a feeble voice, with her eyes tight

She referred to a half-naked warrior who had entered the hut, had half
shut his great eyes, and had displayed a huge cavern of red gum and
white teeth in an irresistible smile at the woe-begone aspect of Miss
Pritty.  He had then silently taken his departure.

"Gone," repeated Aileen, rather sharply; "of course he is, and if he
were not, what then?  Sure his being dark and rather lightly clothed is
not calculated to shock you so much."

"Aileen!" exclaimed Miss Pritty, raising her head suddenly, and gazing
with anxiety into the face of her friend; "has our short residence among
these wretches begun to remove that delicacy of mind and sentiment for
which I always admired you?"

"_No_," returned Aileen, firmly, "but your excessive alarms may have
done something towards that end.  Nay, forgive me, dear," she added,
gently, as Miss Pritty's head sank again on her shoulder, with a sob, "I
did not mean to hurt your feelings, but really, if you only think of it,
our present position demands the utmost resolution, caution, and
fortitude of which we are capable; and you know, love, that this
shuddering at trifles and imagining of improbabilities will tend to
unfit you for action when the time arrives, as it surely will sooner or
later, for my father has taken the wisest steps for our deliverance,
and, besides, a Greater than my father watches over us."

"That is true, dear," assented Miss Pritty, with a tender look.  "Now
you speak like your old self; but you must not blame me for being so
foolish.  Indeed, I know that I am, but, then, have not my worst fears
been realised?  Are we not in the hands--actually in the hands--of
pirates--real pirates, buccaneers--ugh!"

Again the poor lady drooped her head and shuddered.

"_Your_ worst fears may have been realised," said Aileen; "but we have
certainly not experienced the worst that might have happened.  On the
contrary, we have been remarkably well treated--what do you say?  Fed on
rats and roast puppies!  Well, the things they send us _may_ be such,
for they resemble these creatures as much as anything else, but they are
well cooked and very nice, you must allow, and--"

At that moment Aileen's tongue was suddenly arrested, and, figuratively
speaking, Miss Pritty's blood curdled in her veins and her heart ceased
to beat, for, without an instant's warning, the woods resounded with a
terrific salvo of artillery; grape and canister shot came tearing,
hissing, and crashing through the trees, and fierce yells, mingled with
fiend-like shrieks, rent the air.

Both ladies sat as if transfixed--pale, mute, and motionless.  Next
moment Mr Hazlit sprang into the hut, glaring with excitement, while a
stream of blood trickled from a slight wound in his forehead.

Uttering a yell, no whit inferior to that of the fiercest pirate near
him, and following it up with a fit of savage laughter that was quite
appalling, the once dignified and self-possessed merchant rolled his
eyes round the hut as if in search of something.  Suddenly espying a
heavy pole, or species of war-club, which lay in a corner, he seized it
and whirled it round his head as if he had been trained to such arms
from childhood.

Just then a second salvo shook the very earth.  Mr Hazlit sprang out of
the hut, shouted, "To the rescue!  Aileen, to the rescue!" in the voice
of a Stentor, plunged wildly into a forest-path, and disappeared almost
before the horrified ladies could form a guess as to his intentions.



Although the pirates were taken aback by this unexpected advance of the
Rajah's gun-boat to within pistol-shot of their very doors, they were by
no means cowed.  Malays are brave as a race, and peculiarly regardless
of their lives.  They manned their guns, and stood to them with
unflinching courage, but they were opposed by men of the same mettle,
who had the great advantage of being better armed, and led by a man of
consummate coolness and skill, whose motto was--"Conquer or die!"

We do not say that the captain of the gun-boat _professed_ to hold that
motto, for he was not a boaster, but it was clearly written in the fire
of his eye, and stamped upon the bridge of his nose!

The pirate-guns were soon dismounted, their stockade was battered down,
and when a party at last landed, with the captain at their head, and
Edgar with his diving friends close at his heels, they were driven out
of their fortification into the woods.

Previously to this, however, all the women and children had been sent
further into the bush, so that the attacking party met none but
fighting-men.  Turning round a bend in a little path among the bushes,
Edgar, who had become a little separated from his friends, came upon a
half-naked Malay, who glared at him from behind a long shield.  The
pirate's style of fighting was that of the Malay race in general, and
had something ludicrous, as well as dangerous, about it.  He did not
stand up and come on like a man, but, with his long legs wide apart and
bent at the knees, he bounded hither and thither like a monkey, always
keeping his body well under cover of the shield, and peering round its
edges or over, or even under it, according to fancy, while his right
hand held a light spear, ready to be launched at the first favourable
moment into the unprotected body of his adversary.

Edgar at once rushed upon him, snapping his revolver as he ran; but, all
the chambers having been already emptied, no shot followed.  Brandishing
his cutlass, he uttered an involuntary shout.

The shout was unexpectedly replied to by another shout of "Aileen, to
the rescue!" which not only arrested him in his career, but seemed to
perplex the pirate greatly.

At that moment the bushes behind the latter opened; a man in ragged
shirt-sleeves and torn trousers sprang through, whirled a mighty club in
the air, and smote the pirate's uplifted shield with such violence as to
crush it down on its owner's head, and lay him flat and senseless on the

"Mr Hazlit!" gasped Edgar.

The merchant bounded at our hero with the fury of a wild cat, and would
have quickly laid him beside the pirate if he had not leaped actively
aside.  A small tree received the blow meant for him, and the merchant
passed on with another yell, "To the rescue!"

Of course Edgar followed, but the bush paths were intricate.  He
unfortunately turned into a wrong one, when the fugitive was for a
moment hidden by a thicket, and immediately lost all trace of him.

Meanwhile Rooney Machowl, hearing the merchant's shout, turned aside to
respond to it.  He met Mr Hazlit right in the teeth, and, owing to his
not expecting an assault, had, like Edgar, well-nigh fallen by the hand
of his friend.  As it was, he evaded the huge club by a hair's-breadth,
and immediately gave chase to the maniac--for such the poor gentleman
had obviously become.  But although he kept the fugitive for some time
in view, he failed to come up with him owing to a stumble over a root
which precipitated him violently on his nose.  On recovering his feet
Mr Hazlit was out of sight.

Rooney, caressing with much tenderness his injured nose, now sought to
return to his friends, but the more he tried to do so, the farther he
appeared to wander away from them.

"Sure it's a quare thing that I can't git howld of the road I comed by,"
he muttered, as with a look of perplexity he paused and listened.

Faint shouts were heard on his left, and he was about to proceed in that
direction, when distinct cries arose on his right.  He went in _that_
direction for a time, then vacillated, and, finally, came to a dead
stand, as well as to the conclusion that he had missed his way; which
belief he stated to himself in the following soliloquy:--

"Rooney, me boy, you've gone an' lost yoursilf.  Ah, bad scran to 'ee.
Isn't it the fulfilment of your grandmother's owld prophecy, that you'd
come to a bad ind at last?  It's little I'd care for your misfortin
myself, if it warn't that you ought to be helpin' poor Mr Hazlit, who's
gone as mad as blazes, an' whose daughter can't be far off.  Och!  Man
alive," he added, with sudden enthusiasm, "niver give in while there's a
purty girl in the case!"

Under the impulse of this latter sentiment, Rooney started off at a run
in a new and totally unconsidered direction, which, strange to say,
brought him into sudden and very violent contact with some of those
individuals in whom he was interested.

Here we must, in hunters' language, "hark back" on our course for a few
minutes--if, indeed, that _be_ hunters' language!  We do not profess to
know much thereof, but the amiable reader will understand our meaning.

Just after the attack had begun, and Mr Hazlit had sallied from the hut
with his war-club, as already related, Aileen became deeply impressed
with the fact that all the women and children who had been wont to visit
and gaze at her in wonder had vanished.  The rattling of shot over her
head, too, and the frequent rush of pirates past her temporary abode,
warned her that the place was too much exposed in every way to be safe.
She therefore sought to rouse her companion to attempt flight.

"Laura," she said, anxiously, as a round shot cut in half the left
corner-post of the building, "come, we must fly.  We shall be killed if
we remain here."

"I care not," exclaimed Miss Pritty, clasping her friend closer than
ever, and shuddering; "my worst fears have been realised.  Let me die!"

"But _I_ don't want to die yet," remonstrated Aileen; "think of _me_,
dear, if you can, and of my father."

"Ah, true!" exclaimed Miss Pritty, with sudden calmness, as she
unclasped her arms and arose.  "Forgive my selfishness.  Come; let us

If the poor lady had owned a private pair of cherubic wings, she could
not have prepared for flight with greater assurance or activity.  She
tightened her waist-belt, wrapped her shawl firmly round her, fastened
her bonnet strings in a Gordian knot, and finally, holding out her hand
to her friend, as if they had suddenly changed characters, said, "Come,
are you ready?" with a tremendous show of decision.  She even led the
wondering Aileen along a winding path into the jungle for a considerable
distance; then, as the path became more intricate, she stopped, burst
into tears, laid her head again on its old resting-place, and said in a
hollow voice:--"Yes; all is lost!"

"Come, Laura, don't give way; there's a dear.  Just exert yourself a
little and we shall soon be safe at--at--somewhere."

Miss Pritty made a vigorous struggle.  She even smiled through her tears
as she replied:--"Well, lead on, love; I will follow you--to death!"

With her eyes tightly shut, lest she should see something hideous in the
woods, she stumbled on, holding to her friend's arm.

"Where are we going to?" she asked, feebly, after a few minutes, during
which Aileen had pulled her swiftly along.

"I don't know, dear, but a footpath _must_ lead to something or

Aileen was wrong.  The footpath led apparently to nothing and nowhere.
At all events it soon became so indistinct that they lost it, and,
finally, after an hour's wandering, found themselves hopelessly involved
in the intricacies of a dense jungle, without the slightest clew as to
how they should get out of it.

Aileen stopped at last.

"Laura," she said, anxiously, "we are lost!"

"I told you so," returned Miss Pritty, in a tone that was not quite
devoid of triumph.

"True, dear; but when you told me so we were _not_ lost.  Now we _are_.
I fear we shall have to spend the night here," she added, looking round.

Miss Pritty opened her eyes and also looked round.  The sight that met
her gaze was not encouraging.  Afternoon was drawing on.  Thick bushes
and trees formed a sort of twilight there even at noon-day.  Nothing
with life was visible.  Not a sound was to be heard, save such little
rustlings of dry leaves and chirpings as were suggestive of snakes and
centipedes.  The unhappy Laura was now too frightened to shudder.

"What shall we do?" she asked; "shriek for help?"

"That might bring pirates to us instead of friends," said Aileen.
"Listen; do you hear no sound?"

"Nothing," replied Miss Pritty, after a few moments of intense silence,
"save the beating of my own heart.  Aileen," she continued, with sudden
anxiety, "are there not serpents in these woods?"

"Yes, I believe there are."

"And tarantulas?"


"And tortoises?"

"I--I'm not sure."

"Darling, how _can_ we sleep among tortoises, tarantulas, and serpents?"

Even Aileen was at a loss for a reply, though she smiled in spite of

"I'll tell you what," she said, cheerfully, "if we _must_ spend the
night in the bush we shall get into a tree.  That will at least save us
from all the venomous creatures as well as dangerous beasts that crawl
upon the ground.  Can you climb?"

"Climb!" repeated Miss Pritty, with a hysterical laugh, "you might as
well ask me if I can dive."

"Well, you must learn.  Come, I will teach you.  Here is a capital tree
that seems easy to get into."

Saying this, Aileen ran to a gnarled old tree whose trunk was divided
into two parts, and from which spread out a series of stout branches
that formed a sort of net-work of foliage about eight or ten feet from
the ground.  Climbing actively up to these branches, she crept out upon
them, and from that position, parting the twigs, she looked down
laughingly at her friend.

Her bright spirit was contagious.  Miss Pritty almost forgot her
anxieties, smiled in return, and walked towards the tree, in doing which
she trod on something that moved in the grass.  A piercing shriek was
the result.  It was immediately replied to by a wild yell at no great

"It was only a frog; look, I see it now, hopping away.  Do be quick,
Laura; I am sure that was the yell of a savage."

No further spur was needed.  Miss Pritty scrambled up into the tree and
crept towards her friend with such reckless haste that one of her feet
slipped off the branch, and her leg passing through the foliage,
appeared in the regions below.  Recovering herself, she reached what she
deemed a place of security.

"Now, dear, we are safe--at least for a time," said Aileen, arranging
her friend's disordered dress.  "Take care, however; you must be careful
to trust only to limbs of the tree; the foliage cannot bear you.  Look,
you can see through it to the ground.  Lean your back against this fork
here; sit on this place--so; put your foot on this branch, there--why,
it is almost like a chair--hush!"

It was quite unnecessary to impose silence.  They both sat among the
branches as motionless as though they had been parts of the tree.  They
scarce dared to breathe, while they peered through the foliage and
beheld the dim form of a man advancing.

Whoever he was, the man seemed to growl as though he had been allied to
the beasts of the jungle.  He came forward slowly, looking from side to
side with caution, and, stopping directly under the tree of refuge,

"Musha!" with great emphasis, then placing both hands to his mouth he
gave vent to a roar that would have done credit to a South African lion.

As neither of the ladies understood the meaning of "Musha," they
listened to the roar with a thrill of unutterable horror.  Miss Pritty,
as if fascinated, leant forward, the better to observe her foe.
Suddenly, like the lightning-flash, and without even a shriek of
warning, she lost her balance and dived head-foremost into the bosom of
Rooney Machowl!

Well was it for the bold Irishman that Miss Pritty was a light weight,
else had he that day ended his career in the jungles of Borneo.  As it
was he went down like a shock of corn before the scythe, grasped Miss
Pritty in an embrace such as she had never before even imagined, and
proceeded to punch her poor head.

Then, indeed, she made herself known by a powerful scream that caused
the horrified man to loose his hold and spring up with a torrent of
apologies and self-abuse.

"Och! it's not possible.  Baste that I am!  Oh ma cushla astore, forgive
me!  It's a gorilla I thought ye was, sure, for I hadn't time to look,
d'ee see.  It's wishin' you had staved in my timbers intirely I am."

Rooney's exclamations were here cut short, and turned on another theme
by the sudden appearance of Aileen Hazlit, who soon found that her
friend was more alarmed than hurt.

"I _am_ so glad you have found us, and so surprised," said Aileen, who
had met Rooney in England during one of her visits to Joe Baldwin's
abode, "for we have quite lost ourselves."

Rooney looked a little awkwardly at the fair girl.

"Sure, it's glad I am myself that I've found you," he said, "but faix,
I'm lost too!  I do belave, howiver, that somebody's goin' to find us."

He turned his head aside and listened intently.  Presently a cry was
heard at no great distance.  It was replied to by another.

"Pirates," said Rooney, in a hoarse whisper, drawing a cutlass from his

As he spoke another cry was heard in an opposite direction.

"Friends!" exclaimed Rooney.  "Sure we're surrounded by friends and
foes!  Come, git into the tree, ladies.  I'll give a hail, an' if the
varmin should come up first, I'll kape them in play.  Don't show yer
purty faces dears, an' be as aisy as ye can."

So saying, Rooney gave vent to a true British cheer, while the ladies
ascended once more into the tree.

The cheer was instantly replied to by counter-cheers and howls.  A
minute more and two half-naked Malays, armed with spears and long
shields, bounded into the clear space and attacked the Irishman, but
Rooney had placed his back to the tree and was ready for them.  Although
he was scarcely a match for two such men, whose peculiar and bounding
mode of fighting he did not understand, Rooney nevertheless quickly
disabled one by the sheer strength of a blow, which cut through the
shield and wounded his enemy's head.  The other he sprang upon like a
wild cat and grappled with him.  At that moment a third Malay glided on
the scene, brandished his spear, and stood by the swaying combatants
awaiting a favourable opportunity to thrust his weapon into the white
man's back.  He stood right under the branch in which the ladies were
concealed.  Miss Pritty saw his intention and felt convinced he would
succeed.  In desperate alarm at the danger of her protector, and
horrified at what she was about to do, she grasped the pirate by the
hair and tore out a large handful, at the same time uttering shriek upon
shriek mingled with appalling bursts of hysterical laughter.

This saved Rooney, who turned just in time to protect himself, but as he
did so six more pirates leaped upon the scene and overpowered him.  They
also sprung up the tree, and quickly brought down the ladies.

Poor Miss Pritty had gone fairly off into violent hysterics by that
time.  She was carried down in the arms of a pirate, into whose hair she
had permanently fastened her ten fingers, while she filled the woods
with unearthly cries.

Before any advantage, however, could be taken of this success, a cheer
was heard close at hand.  Next moment, Edgar Berrington burst on the
scene, followed by the captain of the gun-boat and a body of men.  The
pirates did not await them, but fled instantly.

"Fire a volley, lads," shouted the captain.

The men obeyed, and one or two yells told that it had not been without
effect, nevertheless, all the miscreants escaped with the exception of
Miss Pritty's captive, who, unable to clear himself from her close
embrace with sufficient speed, was collared and throttled into
submission by Edgar.

"We'll divide our force here," said the captain.  "I'll follow them up a
while with some of the boys, and you, Mr Berrington, will return with
the rest to the gun-boat, in charge of the ladies."

Edgar was about to object, but the captain silenced him at once with:--

"Come, sir, you're under my orders.  Do what I bid you."

There was no resisting this, so Edgar turned, not unwillingly, and gave
his arm to Aileen, who seized it with a grateful eagerness that sent a
thrill of delight through all his frame.

"Come along, my lads," he cried.  "Take care of Miss Pritty, poor
thing!" he added, turning to Rooney.

The Irishman obeyed.  He stooped and lifted her in his arms.  She had
been lying in a state of semi-insensibility with her eyes tightly shut.
The moment she felt herself being lifted, she clutched her protector by
the hair, and held on, shrieking.

"Ay, tug away, cushla!" said Rooney, as he moved after his friends,
"it's not much of _that_ ye'll manage to root up."

"Have you seen my father?" asked Aileen, anxiously, as they moved on

"He is safe," answered Edgar; "I found him exhausted in the hut which he
told me you had occupied, and had him conveyed on board the gun-boat."

"Thank God!" exclaimed Aileen, fervently, "but," she added, with a
slight shudder, "it seemed to me as if his mind had been unhinged--and--
and he was wounded."

"A mere scratch on the temple," said Edgar, "yet sufficient, with
surrounding circumstances, to account for the temporary madness that
assailed him.  Fear not, Aileen, he is safe now, through God's mercy,
and you shall soon be safe beside him."

A feeling of deep gratitude and restfulness stole over the poor girl's
spirit, and she almost wept for joy as they stepped into a small boat,
and were rowed over the calm water to the gun-boat, which lay, black and
still, under the deep shadow of a bank of luxuriant foliage.

"My child," said Mr Hazlit, sadly, as they reclined together on the
couches of the little cabin, while Edgar sat on a camp-stool near them,
Miss Pritty having been consigned to the captain's berth, "they tell me
that this fearful work is not yet over.  There is to be more fighting
and bloodshed."

"How?  What do you mean, papa?"

"Tell her, Mr Berrington."

"We have just had news sent us by a fast row-boat from a town about
sixty miles along the coast that a large fleet of pirate-prows have been
seen off the coast.  They have taken several trading prows, and captured
many men belonging to the Sarawak territory, besides several Chinamen.
When our captain completes his work on shore here, he intends to start
at once in chase of these pirates, in the hope of destroying them and
freeing their slaves."

"God help us," said Aileen, "it seems as if men in this part of the
world, gloried in pouring out blood like water."

"Some of them undoubtedly do.  Perhaps it may reconcile your mind to the
destruction of these miscreants to know that for every one killed there
will probably be saved the lives of dozens--if not hundreds--of innocent
men and women, whom he would have murdered, or doomed to hopeless
slavery, in the course of his wicked career."

As Edgar spoke, the sound of oars was heard.  Presently the captain and
his men leaped on deck.  The moorings were cast loose, our hero took his
station at the engine, and the gun-boat glided swiftly down the river,
leaving the pirate stronghold in flames.



Silently they glided on, until the shades of evening fell, and the
brilliant stars came out.  Silently, for the gun-boat went at
half-speed; silently, for her engines were good and new, and worked
softly without the jarring of age or mal-construction; silently, because
those on board were in a tranquil mood, and did not raise their voices
above a low murmur.

"How romantic," said Aileen, in a low tone, as she sat by the stern-rail
and watched the gleaming track left by the screw; "how enjoyable, if we
could only forget what has just passed, and the object we have in view.
The world is a mystery!"

"Is this the first time you have thought so?" asked Edgar, who leaned on
the rail near her.

"Well, I think it is," she replied, with a sad smile; "at least it is
the first time I have been deeply impressed with the thought."

"It is a very old thought," returned the youth, musingly.  "Philosophers
from the earliest times have recorded it.  Thoughtful men and women of
all ages have expressed it.  Young people of all generations fancy they
have discovered it.  The Bible is a key which opens up much of it, and
makes it plain; but much still remains in mystery, and I suppose will
continue so to remain, till Time merges in Eternity."

"Do you think such mystery undesirable?" asked Aileen.

"No.  It is desirable, else God would not have left it there.  `Shall
not the Judge of all the earth do right?'  There is a need be, I doubt
not, for mystery, and there is no need for our being distressed by it,
for what we know not now we shall know hereafter.  But there is much
cause for anxiety lest we, either through wilful ignorance, or
carelessness, or stupidity, should allow that to remain involved in
mystery which is made plain by revelation.  The way of salvation was an
insurmountable mystery to me once, but since you gave me that poor man's
Testament, Aileen, it has become very plain and very dear to me, through
Jesus Christ."

Aileen thanked God in her heart, and a thrill of gladness filled her,
but before she could utter a word in reply, the captain came forward and
said in a low tone:--

"Stop the engine, Mr Berrington.  We'll lie by in this creek till

Edgar went below.  The vibrating of the boat ceased, and an awful
stillness seemed to sink down upon her as she glided into a little creek
or bay, which was deeply shaded by mangrove trees.

But the silence did not last long.  It was still three hours from
daylight, and the captain employed the time in preparations for the
action which he anticipated on the following day.  The yards were sent
down; the decks were cleared of all useless incumbrances; the guns were
got ready; and an attempt was made, to some extent, to disguise the
vessel, so that, in the event of the pirates being found, the gun-boat
might get as near as possible without her true character being
discovered.  The men, meanwhile, who were not engaged in such work,
busied themselves in sharpening cutlasses and cleaning small arms, while
they conversed in an undertone.  All was activity and order, without
fuss or needless noise--the result of a man of the right stamp being in

"It's a brush we'll be havin' soon," said Rooney Machowl, with a flash
of the eye which told that he inherited a little of his nation's love of

"Looks like it," replied Maxwell, who sat beside his friend in the midst
of a group of the Malay crew, rubbing up his cutlass with much interest.

"Does anybody know how many of a crew we have altogether?" asked Rooney.

"I heard the captain say to Mr Berrington," answered Joe Baldwin, who
was busy cleaning a rifle, "that we've got ninety men all told, which is
quite enough for a 180-ton vessel.  With these and seven guns we should
be more than a match for all the pirates of the eastern seas."

"Ho!" exclaimed Ram-stam, looking up from the weapon he was engaged on
with an amused expression, "you know noting of pirits of dem seas.  Hi!
Hi!  Wait."

Ram-stam said this with the air of one who held the decided opinion that
when he _had_ waited Joe would have his views enlarged.

"What, are they such bold fellows?"

"Ho yis, vely muchee bold.  Ca'es for noting.  'Flaid of noting.  Doos
a'most anyting--'cept what's good."

"Swate cratures," murmured Rooney; "I hope we'll be introdooced to aich
other soon."

As it is desirable that the reader should have a little more extended
knowledge of the miscreants referred to, we will retrace our steps in
time a little, and change the scene.

On one of those sweltering mornings in which the eastern seas appear to
have a tendency to boil under the influence of the sun, three piratical
junks might have been seen approaching a small island which lay on the
sea as if on a mirror.  They were propelled by oars.  The largest of
these junks was under command of our red-jacketed acquaintance,
Pungarin.  It was what is termed double-banked, and the oars were pulled
by "slaves," that is to say, the crews of trading vessels recently

Pungarin had more slaves than he knew what to do with on that occasion.
He had been unusually successful in his captures.  All the white men
taken had at once been slaughtered, also all who attempted to give the
pirates trouble in any way, including those who chanced to be too weak,
ill, or old to work.  In regard to the rest, each man was secured to his
place at the oar by means of a strip of cane, called rattan, fastened
round his neck, and a man was appointed to lash them when they showed
symptoms of flagging.  This the unhappy wretches frequently did, for, as
on a former occasion to which we have referred, they were made to pull
continuously without food or water, and occasionally, after dropping
their oars through exhaustion, it took severe application of the lash,
and the discovery of some unusually sensitive spot of the body, to rouse
some of them again to the point of labour.

The junks were strange, uncouth vessels, of considerable size, capable,
each, of containing a very large crew.  They might almost have been
styled "life-boats," as they had hollow bamboos wrought into their
structure in a manner which gave them great buoyancy, besides projecting
beyond the hulls and forming a sort of outside platform.  On these
platforms the slaves who rowed were fastened.  In each vessel there were
at least forty or fifty rowers.

Pungarin walked up and down his poop-deck as if in meditation, paying no
regard to what was going on around him until a feeble cry was heard from
one of the rowers,--a middle-aged and sickly man.  The pirate captain
looked carelessly on, while the overseer flogged this man; but the lash
failed to arouse him, and the captain ordered the man to desist--but not
in mercy.

"Over with him," he said, curtly, and then resumed his walk.

The slave-driver drew his knife, and cut the rattan that bound the man,
who turned his dying eyes on him with an imploring look.

At that moment one of the pirates, who from his dress and bearing seemed
to occupy a position of authority, stepped upon the platform and looked
at him.  He gave a brief order to one of his comrades, who brought a
large piece of cork and fastened it to the slave's neck.  He also
brought a short spear, with a little flag at its handle.  This he thrust
a few inches into the fleshy part of his shoulder, and then pushed him
off the platform into the sea.  Thus the wretched creature was made to
float, and, as he went astern, some of the pirates amused themselves by
shooting at him with their muskets.

Now, _gentle_ reader, don't shut your eyes and exclaim, "Oh!  Too
horrible."  It is _very much_ because of that expression of yours, and
the shutting of your "gentle," (we would rather say selfish) eyes that
these accursed facts exist!  Yes, we charge it home on you so-called
"soft ones" of the earth, that your action,--namely, shutting your
eyes,--does probably as much, if not more, to perpetuate horrible evil
as does the action of open godlessness,--that condition which is most
aptly expressed by the world's maxim, "every man for himself and the
devil for us all."

Do not imagine that we presume to invent such things or to exaggerate
for the sake of "sensation."  We relate well-authenticated facts.  We
entertain strong doubts as to whether devils are, in any degree, worse
than some among the unsaved human race.  There is great occasion for
you, reader, whoever you are, to know and ponder such facts as we now
relate.  We are too apt to regard as being applicable only to the past
these words, "the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations
of cruelty."  If we were to fill our book with horrors from beginning to
end, we should only have scratched the surface of the great and terrible
truth.  Assuredly now, not less than in days of old, there is urgent
need of red-hot philanthropy.

But we gladly pass from the cruel to the cunning phase of piratical
life.  These villains had at that time been about six months on their
cruise.  They had made the entire circuit of Borneo, murdering, and
plundering, and striking terror and desolation wherever they went.  The
scenes enacted by Norse pirates in the tenth century were repeated in
the middle of the nineteenth by a people who, _unlike_ the Norsemen, had
no regard whatever for law; and now they were returning home laden with

The pirate-chiefs usual mode of procedure on such occasions was to go to
an unfrequented island in the neighbourhood of Singapore, land all his
warlike stores and prisoners, and, leaving them under a strong guard,
proceed with two of his prows loaded to the gunwale with merchandise, to
the port.  The merchant-boats which he had previously sunk, and whose
crews he had murdered, provided him with "port-clearances," which
enabled him to personate the trader and regularly enter and clear the
customs at Singapore, so as to cause no suspicion; then, returning to
his place of rendezvous with a fresh supply of guns, ammunition,
etcetera, he divided his ill-gotten gains and recommenced his piratical

On the present occasion, however, Pungarin had received intelligence
which induced him to modify his plans.  Hearing that a gun-boat was in
pursuit of him, he determined to change his rendezvous for the time.

The weary slaves were therefore again set to work at the oars; but "kind
Nature" took pity on them.  A breeze sprang up and increased into a
gale, under the influence of which the prows sped out to sea and soon
left the islands far behind them.

It was while thus attempting to evade their enemy that the pirates had
the misfortune to run at last into the very jaws of the lion.



At six o'clock in the morning, the tide suiting, the gun-boat crept out
to sea, and steamed slowly along the coast to the southward, keeping a
good look-out.  They soon discovered sundry prows, but, after ordering
them to come alongside, found that they were legitimate traders.  Thus
the day was spent in a vain search, and at night they returned to their
anchorage, as it was not possible to make any discoveries in the dark.

Next morning, at the same hour, they steamed out to sea again, intending
to keep about twelve miles off the coast, so as to be able to command a
broad expanse of water in every direction; but before they had got two
miles from the anchorage, three prows were observed about four or five
miles to seaward.

"That looks like the rascals," observed the captain, as he surveyed them
through the glass.

"Indeed," said Mr Hazlit, who, rather pale and weak from his recent
unwonted experiences, leaned in a helpless manner on the quarter-rails.

"Yes; they pull forty or fifty oars, double-banked," returned the
captain, wiping his glass carefully.  "They've got heavy guns on board,
no doubt.  We shall have to protect our boiler."

The gun-boat was so small that a portion of her steam-case was
unavoidably exposed above deck.  A shot into this would have been
disastrous.  Orders were therefore given to surround it with bags of
coal, which was promptly done.

"And, one of you," said the captain, turning to the man who chanced to
be nearest him, "go into the cabin and bring up the sofa cushions; we
shall want them to protect the legs of the men stationed on the poop."

Rooney Machowl happened to be the man who received this order.  He at
once descended.

"By your lave, Miss," he said, with a bashful air; "I'm sorry to ask a
lady to git up, but it's the capting's orders--he wants the cushions."

"By all means," said Aileen, with a smile; "why does he want them?"

"Plaze, Miss, to protect our legs, savin' yer presence."

Somewhat puzzled, and not a little amused by the reply, Aileen rose and
allowed the cushion on which she sat to be removed.  These cushions were
placed in the nettings on the poop, which was much exposed, to arrest
the enemy's bullets.

In a few minutes it was seen that the three prows were doing their best
to get into shoal water, where the steamer could not have followed them.
In this effort one of them was successful, for although the gun-boat's
course was changed in order to cut her off, she managed to run on shore,
whence the pirates immediately opened fire.  The other two, seeing there
was no possibility of accomplishing the same feat, ceased rowing, and
also opened fire, at a distance of about five or six hundred yards.

"We shall attack from our port side," said the captain to his chief
officer; "let the guns be laid accordingly."

The armament of the gun-boat consisted of two nine-pounder guns, one on
the forecastle, and one on the poop; one twelve-pounder, just before the
bridge; and four six-pound brass carronades.  These were all soon ready,
but the order was not given to fire till they had got to within a
hundred yards of the pirates, who were now pelting them smartly with
small arms.

The captain stood on the bridge, the most commanding and, at the same
time, the most exposed position in the vessel.  He wore a cap, from
under which his black eyes seemed to twinkle with fire and mischief.

He soon observed that the two prows, wincing under his fire, were edging
for the shore.  With that reckless resolution, therefore, to which all
true heroes give way at times--not excepting Nelson himself--he resolved
to run them down.

The recklessness of this consisted in the fact that his vessel was not a
"ram," but built of comparatively thin plates.  The necessity for it lay
in the certainty that a few minutes more would enable the prows to gain
shallow water and escape.

"Besides," thought the captain to himself, as he walked up and down the
bridge with his hands in his pockets, while bullets whistled round his
head, "even a _thin_ plate can stand a good strain when struck end-on.
Never venture, never win!"

Giving the order "full-speed" to the engineer, and "port your helm a
little--steady" to the man at the wheel, the captain quietly awaited the

The result was most effective.  The gun-boat went at the prow like a
war-horse; her sharp bow struck one of the pirate vessels fair amidships
and cut her in two pieces, launching her crew and captives into the sea!

She then backed astern, and made for the other prow, but she, laying to
heart the fate of her companion, made for the shore as fast as possible.
It was in vain.  The gun-boat ran into her and sank her immediately,
but so nearly had they succeeded in their intention, that there were
only six inches of water under the steamer's keel when she backed out.

"Lower the boats," shouted the captain, the instant his object had been
accomplished; and it was not a moment too soon, for the sea all round
was alive with human beings, some of whom evidently waited to be picked
up, while others swam vigorously for the shore.  In a short time, about
a hundred men were rescued, most of whom were slaves--only ten being
pirates.  There was no difficulty in distinguishing between pirates and
slaves, because the latter wore the "rattan" round their necks, in
addition to which their spitting on the pirates, and furiously abusing
them for past cruelty, and their falling down and kissing the feet of
their deliverers, made the distinction abundantly clear.

Most of the other pirates gained the shore, but we may here finally
dismiss them, and relieve the reader's mind by stating that they were
afterwards hunted down and slain to a man by the natives of that
district, who entertained a deadly, and very natural hatred of them,
having suffered much at their hands in time past.

While the rescued captives were going about excitedly telling of the
shocking barbarities that had been practised on them, the captain
discovered among them a Singapore native who could speak a little
English.  Taking this man aft, he questioned him closely.

"Are there any more pirate-junks hereabouts?" he said.

"Yis; tree more."


"Hout seaward.  Not know how far.  Longish way off, me tink.  We was
sent off from dem last night, after all de goods an' money was tooked
out of us.  What for, no kin tell.  Where tothers go, no kin tell."

"They've got lots of captives aboard, I suppose?" said the captain.

"Ho!  Great lots," replied the Singapore man.

"And lots of treasure too, no doubt."

"Ho!  Very greater lots of dat."

After obtaining all the information he could from this man and from the
other passengers, the captain steamed out to sea in a westerly
direction, keeping a man at the mast-head to look out.  The captives
were in the meanwhile made as comfortable as circumstances would admit
of, and the ten pirates were put in irons in the hold.

As the morning advanced, the sun increased in power and splendour.  Not
a breath of wind ruffled the sea, which shone like a mirror, reflecting
perfectly the sea-birds that accompanied them.  Everything was so calm
and peaceful that the captain sent a message to Mr Hazlit and his
daughter to request them to come up and enjoy the fresh air.

During the brief action described, they had been sent below to be out of
danger.  They obeyed the summons, and even Miss Pritty was induced by
Aileen to come on deck.

Poor Miss Pritty!  Her hysterical fit was now quite over, but pale
cheeks and a trembling exhausted frame told eloquently of her recent
sufferings.  Mr Hazlit's limbs were also shaky, and his face
cadaverous, showing that his temporary aberration of reason had told
upon him.

"Oh _how_ delicious!" exclaimed Miss Pritty, referring to the
atmosphere, as she sank into an easy-chair which the captain placed for
her.  "Are these the pirates?" she added, shuddering, as her eyes fell
on some of the rescued people.

"No, Miss Pritty," answered the captain, "these are the freed captives.
The pirates are in irons in the hold."

"You had to fight, I suppose?" continued Miss Pritty, shutting her eyes
and pursing her mouth with the air of one who braces herself to face the

"Well, we could hardly call it fighting," answered the captain, with a
smile, as he cleaned the glasses of his telescope and swept the horizon
carefully; "we had a round or two of the guns, and a few bullets
whistled about our ears for a little--that was all."

"Was any one wounded--k-killed?" asked Miss Pritty, opening her eyes
with an anxious look; "and oh!" she added, with a sudden expression of
horror, as she drew up her feet and glanced downwards, "perhaps the
decks are--no," she continued sinking back again with a sigh, "they are
_not_ bloody!"

At that moment the man at the mast-head reported three prows, just
visible on the horizon ahead.

"I suppose we must go below again," said Aileen, sadly, after the
captain returned from the bridge, to which he had gone to examine the
prows in question.

"Not yet, Miss Hazlit.  It will probably be an hour ere we come up with
them.  You'd better enjoy the morning air while you may.  I'll warn you
in good time."

Aileen therefore remained on deck for some time with her father, but
poor Miss Pritty, on the first intimation that more pirates were in
sight, got up hastily, staggered with a face expressive of the utmost
horror into the cabin, flung herself into the captain's berth, thrust
her head under the pillow, piled the clothes over that, and lay there--

She quaked for full half an hour before anything happened.  Then she
felt a hand trying to remove her superincumbent head-gear.  This induced
her to hold on tight and shriek, but, recognising Aileen's voice, she
presently put her face out.

"Don't be so terrified, dear," said Aileen, scarce able to repress a

"I _can't_ help it," answered her friend, whimpering; "are the--the

"They are not far off now.  But don't give way to needless alarm, dear.
Our captain sent me below because he is going to fight them, and you
know he is sure to win, for he is a brave man.  He says he'll run them
all down in a few minutes."

"Oh!" groaned Miss Pritty, and with that, pulling her head in like a
snail, she resumed quaking.

Poor Aileen, although talking thus bravely to her friend, was by no
means easy in her own mind, for apart from the fact that they were about
to engage three pirate-junks, manned by hundreds of desperate men, she
could not repress her shrinking horror at the bare idea of men talking
coolly about shedding human blood.  To one of her imaginative nature,
too, it was no small trial to have to sit alone and inactive in the
cabin, while the bustle of preparation for war went on overhead; we say
alone, because her father, although there, was too much exhausted to act
the part of companion or comforter in any degree.

Meanwhile the gun-boat approached close to the enemy, and it soon became
apparent that they meant to fight--trusting, no doubt, to their very
decided superiority in numbers.

"They mean mischief," said the captain, as he shut up his telescope.

"Faix, an' they'll git it too," replied Rooney Machowl, who chanced to
be near at the time, though the remark was not addressed to him.

To this the captain made no reply, save by a grim curl of his black
moustache, as he once more ascended to his exposed position on the
bridge.  From this outlook he could see plainly that the pirates were
lashing their three prows together, and training all their guns on one
side, where the attack was expected.  As each prow mounted twelve guns,
they could thus fire a broadside of thirty-six heavy pieces, besides
small arms.

The men of the gun-boat were now all at their quarters, eagerly awaiting
the order to begin.  The captain descended and went round among them, so
as to inspect everything with his own eye.

"Now, lads," he said, in passing, "remember, not a single shot till I
give you positive orders."

He returned to the bridge.  Although naturally disinclined to parley
with scoundrels, he felt that he had a duty to perform, and resolved to
go close up, and, if possible, induce them to surrender.  But he was
saved the trouble of attempting a parley, for while yet six hundred
yards off, a regular volley burst from the sides of the pirate vessels.

Again the black moustache curled, but this time with a touch of
ferocity, for the shot partly took effect, cutting the rigging to some
extent, killing one man of the crew, and wounding several.  A
musket-ball also struck his own cap and knocked it off his head.

"Just hand that up," he said, pointing to the cap.

One of the men obeyed, and the captain, taking a look at the hole,
replaced it.  Still he gave no order to fire, although the pirates were
seen to be busily re-loading.

Hanging up to within a hundred yards, the captain looked quickly at his

"Port, a little," said he to the man at the wheel.

"Are you ready?"

"Ay, ay, sur," from Rooney Machowl, in a deep bass undertone.


As if but one piece had been fired the whole broadside burst from the
side of the gun-boat, shaking the little vessel violently.  Miss
Pritty's voice came up responsive with an unearthly yell!

"Load!" was instantly ordered, and so quickly was it obeyed that before
the enemy were ready with their second volley the gun-boat had charged
and fired again, doing great damage.

There being no wind, a dense cloud of smoke from the three volleys
settled down on the water and completely hid them and their enemy from
each other.

"Steam ahead, full-speed," signalled the captain to Edgar Berrington.

The screw instantly whirled, and under cover of the dense veil, the
active little vessel moved away just in time to escape a murderous
volley of shot, shrapnel, and ball, which was poured into the smoke she
had left behind her!  The pirates followed this up with a wild cheer and
a brisk fire of musketry, which only ceased when, discovering their
mistake, they beheld the gun-boat emerge from the smoke, steer round the
end of their line, and, slewing to port, deliver another volley of great
guns and small arms, that raked them all from stem to stern, doing
terrible execution both to the prows and their crews.

Thus the gun-boat played round and round the enemy, always maintaining
the distance of about a hundred yards, and keeping up the action as fast
as they could load and fire.  The pirates, on their part, fought with
the courage of trained men of war and with the ferocity of tigers at
bay--who ask and expect no mercy.  And thus they fought for no less than
three hours.

One reason why the pirates were able to hold out so long lay in the fact
that their prows were surrounded by a thick matting made from a certain
palm-leaf, which, although it could not prevent shot from passing
through, concealed the men who lay behind it, and so prevented the
riflemen of the gun-boat crew from taking aim.  In order to get the
better of this difficulty, the latter fell into the way of watching for
the puffs of smoke that came through the matting, and firing at these

Conspicuous among the pirates for his coolness, daring, and utter
disregard of his life, was one tall, powerful fellow in a red jacket.
Every one guessed him at once to be a chief among the pirates, and this
question was soon settled by some of the recently freed captives, who
recognised him as being the great chief of the fleet--Pungarin.

He went about the deck of his prow, which occupied the centre of the
line, encouraging his men to rapid action, and often pointing the guns
with his own hands.

Many rifle-shots were fired at him, but in vain.  He seemed to bear a
charmed life.

"Can none of you pick him off?" said the captain of the gun-boat.

Twenty rifles replied to the words, and the man's red jacket was seen to
be torn in many places, but himself remained unhurt!

At last the pirate-guns were silenced in two of the prows, only the
chief's maintaining an obstinate fire.  This vessel would have been much
sooner silenced, no doubt, but for the ferocity of Pungarin.  When his
men, driven at last by the deadly fire of the assailants, forsook a gun
and sought refuge behind the matting, the pirate-chief would promptly
step forward and serve the gun himself, until very shame sometimes
forced his men to return.

At last all the guns were disabled but one, and that one Pungarin
continued to serve, uninjured, amid a perfect storm of shot.

"The fellow has got the lives of twenty cats," growled the captain, as
he turned to give directions to the steersman, which brought the
gun-boat still closer to the enemy.  The effect of a well-delivered
volley at this shorter range was to cut the fastenings of the three
prows, thus permitting them to separate.

This was precisely what was desired, the captain having resolved to run
the pirates down one at a time, as he had done before.  He would not
board them, because their superior numbers and desperate ferocity would
have insured a hand-to-hand conflict, which, even at the best, might
have cost the lives of many of his men.  The instant, therefore, that
the prows were cut adrift, he gave the order to back astern.  At the
same moment Pungarin was heard to give an order to his men, which
resulted in the oars being got out and manned by the surviving pirates
and slaves, who rowed for the land as fast as possible.  Their escape in
this way, however, the captain knew to be impossible, for they were now
fully twenty-five miles from shore.  He therefore went about his work

Backing a considerable distance, so as to enable his little war-horse to
get up full-speed, he took careful aim as he charged.

It was interesting to watch the swart faces and glaring eyeballs of
those on board the first prow, as the gun-boat bore down on them.  Some
glared from hate, others obviously from fear, and all seemed a little
uncertain as to what was about to be done.  This uncertainty was only
dispelled when the prow was struck amidships, and, with a tremendous
crash, cut clean in two.  Simultaneous with the crash arose a yell of
mingled anger and despair, as pirates and prisoners were all hurled into
the sea.

Again the order was given to go astern.  The steamer immediately backed
out of the wreck.  After gaining a sufficient distance the engines were
reversed, and the little vessel bore down on another prow.

This one made violent efforts to evade the blow, but the captain had
anticipated as much.  His orders were sharp; his steersman was prompt.
The cut-water did its duty nobly, and in a few seconds another pirate
vessel was sent to the bottom.

The sea was now swarming with human beings in all directions, some
clinging to any scrap of wreck they could lay hold of, some paddling
about aimlessly and roaring for help, while others swam steadily in the
direction of the land.  These last were chiefly pirates, who had
evidently made up their minds to escape or drown rather than be

As it was evident that many of those struggling in the water would be
drowned in a few minutes, the captain delayed his attack on the third
prow, and ordered the boats to be lowered.  This was done promptly, and
many of the poor victims captured by the pirates were rescued and
brought on board.  A few of the pirates were also picked up.  These had
jumped overboard with their "creases" and other weapons in their hands,
and were so vindictive as to show fight furiously in the water when the
sailors attempted to save them.  Many of the men suffered from this.
Poor Rooney Machowl was among the number.

He pulled the bow-oar of his boat, and hauled it in on drawing near to
any one, so as to be ready to catch the hand of the swimmer, or make a
grasp at him.  As they approached one of the swimmers, Rooney observed
that he had a short twisted sword in his hand, and that he looked over
his shoulder with a fierce scowl.  Nevertheless, as he leaned over to
the rescue, it did not occur to the worthy man that the swimmer meant
mischief, until he saw the twisted sword leap from the water, and felt
the point of his nose almost severed from his face!

"Och!  You spalpeen," cried Rooney, with a yell of intense indignation
and pain.

He was about to follow this up with a blow from his powerful fist that
would have sent the pirate at least a fathom of the way down to the
bottom, but the sword again leaped upwards, causing him to start back as
it flashed close past his cheek, and went right over the boat into the
sea.  At the same moment a Malay seized the pirate by an ear, another
grasped him by an arm, and he was quickly hauled inboard and bound.
"Here, Joe Baldwin," cried Rooney to his comrade, who pulled an oar near
the stern of the boat, "for anny favour lind a hand to fix on the pint
o' my poor nose.  It was niver purty, but och!  It's ruinated now past

"Not a bit, man," said Joe, as he bound up the injured member by the
simple process of tying a kerchief right round his friend's face and
head; "it'll be handsomer than ever.  There was always too much of it.
You can afford to have it reduced."

Rooney did not quite seem to appreciate this comforting remark; however,
after his nose was bound he and the rest of the boat's crew continued
their work, and soon returned on board the gun-boat with a mixed lot of
pirates and captives.  Of course the rescuers were more careful in
approaching the swimmers after Rooney's misfortune, but in spite of this
many of them were wounded by the pirates slashing at them with their
swords and knives, or flinging these weapons violently into the boats.

In a short time all were saved who yet remained above water.  Then the
boats were hauled up and the steamer gave chase to the prow in charge of
the pirate captain, which was by that time far away on the horizon.



The nautical proverb saith that "A stern chase is a long one;" but that
proverb, to make it perfect and universally applicable, should have been
prefaced by the words "All things being equal."

In the present case all things were not equal.  The gun-boat was a fast
steamer; the chase was a slow row-boat, insufficiently manned by tired
and wounded men.  But many of them were desperate men.  Their leader was
an arch-fiend of resolution and ferocity.  He knew that escape, in the
circumstances, was impossible.  He was well aware of the fate that
awaited him if taken.  He therefore made up his mind to give his enemies
as much trouble as possible, to delay their triumph and cause it to cost
them dear, and, in every practicable way that might occur, to thwart and
worry them to the end.

Animated by such a spirit, he managed to encourage his men, and to
terrify and lash his slaves to almost superhuman exertions, so that
before being overtaken they approached considerably nearer to the shore
than would otherwise have been the case.  This, as it afterwards turned
out, resulted in a benefit to some of those in the gun-boat, which they
did not think of at the time.  As they overtook the prow, Pungarin
ordered the starboard rowers to cease.  Those on the port side continued
to pull, and in a few seconds the prow's broadside was brought to bear
on the approaching enemy.  Not till they were within a hundred yards did
the pirate leader again speak.  Then his powerful voice resounded
through his vessel:--


At the word every piece on board the prow, great and small, belched
forth a volume of smoke, flame, and metal, but the result was trifling.
In his anxiety to do deadly execution, the pirate had overdone his work.
He had allowed his foe to come too close, and most of the discharge
from the heavy guns passed over her, while the men with small arms,
rendered nervous by prolonged delay, fired hastily, and, therefore,
badly.  A few wounds were suffered, and many narrow escapes were made,
but in other respects the discharge passed by harmlessly.  The captain,
in his exposed and elevated position on the bridge, felt, indeed, as if
a thunder-shower of iron hail had passed, not only round, but through
him!  He paid no regard to it, however, but held straight on.  Next
moment there was a dire collision; the prow went under water, and the
surface of the sea was covered with shouting and struggling men.

The boats were quickly lowered, as on the previous occasion, and most of
the people were rescued, though, of course, some who could not swim were

The scene that now ensued was very exciting, and in some respects very
terrible, for, besides the gurgling cries of the perishing, there were
the defiant yells of the pirates, who, more fiercely than those in the
other prows, resisted being taken alive, and used their creases and
knives with deadly effect.

This naturally filled the conquerors with such indignation that in many
cases they killed the pirates who showed fight, instead of disarming and
capturing them.

At last every one in the water was either saved, killed, drowned, or
captured, with the exception of one man, whose red jacket clearly
pointed him out as the pirate-chief.  Being greatly superior to his
fellows in mental and physical powers, it was natural that he should
excel them in his efforts to escape.  Even after the whole affair was
over, this man, who might have been a hero in other circumstances,
continued to baffle his pursuers.

In the boat which finally captured him was the Singapore man already
mentioned.  This man, for reasons best known to himself, had a bitter
hatred of Pungarin, and was the chief cause of the boat in which he
pulled an oar being kept in close pursuit of the pirate-chief.

"Dis way," he cried, when the general _melee_ was drawing to a close.
"Yonder is de red-coat.  He make for de shore."

The steersman at once turned in the direction indicated, which brought
them close to the gun-boat.

Pungarin's keen eye quickly observed that they were making towards him,
although the water around him swarmed with other men.  He at once dived
and came up close to the side of the vessel, under its quarter, and in
dangerous proximity to its screw.  The boldness of the course might have
diverted attention from him for a time, but his one touch of vanity--the
red jacket--betrayed him.  He was soon observed.  A cry was given.  His
sharp-eyed enemy the Singapore man saw him, and the boat was once more
pulled towards its mark.  But Pungarin dived like an otter--not only
under the boat, but under the steamer also; coming up on the other side,
and resting while they sought for him.  Again they discovered him.
Again he passed under the ship's bottom, and this time continued his
dive onwards towards the shore.  When his power of remaining under water
failed, he came gently to the surface, turning on his back, so that only
his mouth and nose appeared.

One full breath sufficed, and he dived again without having been
observed.  If Pungarin had adopted this plan while the boats were busy
capturing his comrades, it is possible that he might have escaped, for
his swimming powers and endurance were very great; but it was now too
late.  When he rose the second time to the surface, the affair was over,
and men's minds were free to fix entirely on himself.  Just then, too,
he thought it advisable to put his head fully out of the water in order
to see that he had kept in the right direction.

He was instantly observed by his Singapore enemy, and the chase was

It is almost unnecessary to say that it terminated unfavourably for the
pirate-chief.  For several minutes he continued to dive under the boat
while they tried to seize him, and wounded some of the men nearest to
him; but his Herculean powers began at last to fail, and he finally
floated on the surface as if helpless.

Even this was a ruse, for no sooner was the boat near enough, and the
Singapore man within reach of his arm, than he raised himself, and made
a cut at that individual with such good will that he split his skull
across down nearly to the ears.

Next moment he was hauled into the boat and bound hand and foot.

The scene on board the gun-boat now was a very terrible one.  Every man
there was more or less begrimed with powder and smoke, or bespattered
with blood and soaked with water, while all round the decks the wounded
were sitting or lying awaiting their turn of being attended to, and
groaning more or less with pain.

On calling the roll after the action was over, it was found that the
loss suffered by the gun-boat crew was two men killed and eighteen
wounded--a very small number considering the time during which the
affair had lasted, and the vigour with which the pirates had fought.

And now was beautifully exemplified the advantage of a man possessing a
"little knowledge"--falsely styled "a dangerous thing"--over a man who
possesses _no_ knowledge.  Now, also, was exhibited the power and
courage that are latent in true womanhood.

There was no surgeon on board of that gun-boat, and, with the exception
of Edgar Berrington, there was not a man possessed of a single scrap of
surgical knowledge deeper than that required for the binding up of a cut

As we have already shown, our hero had an inquiring mind.  While at
college he had become intimately acquainted with, and interested in, one
or two medical students, with whom he conversed so much and so
frequently about their studies, that he became quite familiar with
these, and with their medical and surgical phraseology, so that people
frequently mistook him for a student of medicine.  Being gifted with a
mechanical turn of mind, he talked with special interest on surgery;
discussed difficulties, propounded theories, and visited the hospitals,
the dissecting-rooms, and the operating-theatres frequently.  Thus he
came, unintentionally, to possess a considerable amount of surgical
knowledge, and when, at last, he was thrown providentially into a
position where no trained man could be found, and urgent need for one
existed, he came forward and did his best like a man.

Aileen Hazlit also, on being told that there was need of a woman's
tender hand in such work, at once overcame her natural repugnance to
scenes of blood; she proceeded on deck, and, with a beating heart but
steady hand, went to work like a trained disciple of Florence

To the credit of the timid, and for the encouragement of the weak, we
have to add that Miss Pritty likewise became a true heroine!

No average individual, male or female, can by any effort of imagination
attain to the faintest idea of poor Miss Pritty's horror at the sight of
"_blood_!"--"_human gore_!" particularly.  Nevertheless Miss Pritty,
encouraged by her friend's example, rose to the occasion.  With a face
and lips so deadly pale that one might have been justified in believing
that all the blood on the decks had flowed therefrom, she went about
among the wounded, assisting Aileen in every possible way with her eyes
shut.  She did indeed open them when it was absolutely necessary to do
so, but shut them again instantly on the necessity for vision passing
away.  She cut short bandages when directed so to do; she held threads
or tapes; she tore up shirts, and slips, and other linen garments, with
the most reckless disregard of propriety; she wiped away blood from
wounds (under direction), and moistened many dry lips with a sponge, and
brushed beads of perspiration from pale brows--like a heroine.

Meanwhile Edgar went about actively, rejoicing in his new-found capacity
to alleviate human suffering.  What the Faculty would have thought of
him we know not.  All on board the gun-boat venerated him as a most
perfect surgeon.  His natural neatness of hand stood him in good stead,
for men were bleeding to death all round him, and in order to save some
it was necessary that he should use despatch with others.  Of course he
attended to the most critical cases first, except in the case of those
who were so hopelessly injured as to be obviously beyond the reach of
benefit from man.  From these he turned sadly away, after whispering to
them an earnest word or two about the Saviour of mankind--to those of
them at least who understood English.  To waste time with these he felt
would be to rob hopeful cases of a chance.  All simple and easy cases of
bandaging he left to the captain and his chief officer.  Joe Baldwin,
being a cool steady man, was appointed to act as his own assistant.

From one to another he passed unweariedly, cutting off portions of torn
flesh, extracting bullets, setting broken bones, taking up and tying
severed arteries, sewing together the edges of gaping wounds, and
completing the amputation of limbs, in regard to which the operation had
been begun--sometimes nearly finished--by cannon shot.

"How terribly some of the poor wretches have been starved!" muttered
Edgar as he bent over one of the captives, attempting to draw together
the edges of a sword-cut in his arm; "why, there is not enough of flesh
on him to cover his wound."

"There an't much, sir," assented Joe Baldwin, in a sympathetic tone, as
he stood close by holding the needle and thread in readiness.  "There's
one man for'ard, sir, that I saw in passing to the chest for this
thread, that has scarcely as much flesh on him as would bait a rat-trap.
But he seems quite contented, poor fellow, at bein' freed from slavery,
and don't seem to mind much the want o' flesh and blood.  Perhaps he
counts on gettin' these back again."

"Hm!  These are not so easily regained when lost as you seem to imagine,
my friend," exclaimed a pompous but rather weak voice.  Joe looked up.
It was Mr Hazlit, whose bloodless countenance and shrunken condition
had become more apparent than ever after he had been enabled to reclothe
himself in the garments of civilisation.

"Why, sir," said Joe, gently, "you seem to have bin badly shaken.  Not
bin wounded, I hope, sir?"

"No,--at least not in body," replied the merchant, with a faint smile
and shake of the head; "but I've been sadly bruised and broken in

Joe, remembering somewhat of Mr Hazlit's former state of spirit, had
almost congratulated him on the beneficial change before it occurred
that his meaning in doing so might have been misunderstood.  He
therefore coughed slightly and said, "Ah--indeed!"

"Yes, indeed, my man," returned the merchant; "but I have reason to be
supremely thankful that I am here now in _any_ condition of mind and
body worthy of being recognised."

As the amateur surgeon here desired Joe to assist him in moving his
patient a little, Mr Hazlit turned away, in a stooping attitude because
of weakness, and, with his vest flapping against the place where his
chief development had once been, shuffled slowly towards the

It was at this time that the boat which captured Pungarin came
alongside, and there was a general movement of curiosity towards the
gangway as he was passed on board.

The hands of the pirate-chief were tied behind his back, but otherwise
he was free, the cords that had bound his legs having been cast loose.

A howl of execration burst from the captives when they saw him, and
several ran forward with the evident intention of spitting on him, but
these were promptly checked by the sailors.

Pungarin drew himself up and stood calmly, but not defiantly, as if
waiting orders.  There was no expression on his bold countenance save
that of stern indifference for the crowd around him, over whose heads he
gazed quietly out to sea.  His brow remained as unflushed and his
breathing as gentle as though his struggles for life had occurred weeks
ago, though the wet garments and the ragged red jacket told eloquently
of the share he had taken in the recent fight.

"Take him below and put him in irons," said the captain.

"Please, sir," remarked the man whose duty it was to secure the
prisoners, "we've got no more irons on board.  We had only thirty pair,
and there's now thirty-eight prisoners in the hold."

"Secure him with ropes, then," returned the captain;--"where is Mr
Berrington?" he added, looking round hurriedly.

"For'ard, sir, lookin' after the wounded," answered a sailor.

While the pirate-chief was led below, the captain walked quickly to the
place where Edgar was busy.

"Can you spare a minute?" he asked.

"Not easily," said Edgar, who had just finished the dressing with which
we left him engaged; "there are several here who require prompt
attention; but of course if the case is urgent--"

"It _is_ urgent: come and see."

Without a word our amateur surgeon rose and walked after the captain,
who led him to the companion-hatch, leaning against which he found the
Singapore man, with his head split across and apparently cut down nearly
from ear to ear.  From this awful wound two small spouts of blood, about
the thickness of a coarse thread, rose a foot and a half into the air.
We use no exaggeration, reader, in describing this.  We almost quote
verbatim the words of a most trustworthy eye-witness from whose lips we
received the account.

The man looked anxiously at Edgar, who turned at once to the captain and
said in an undertone, but hurriedly, "I can be of no use here.  It is
quite impossible that he can live.  To attempt anything would really be
taking up time that is of vast importance to more hopeful cases."

"Sir, do try," faltered the poor man in English.

"Ha!  You speak English?" said Edgar, turning quickly towards him;
"forgive me, my poor fellow, I did not know that you understood--"

"Yis, me speak Engleesh.  Me Singapore man.  Go for vist me friends
here.  Cotch by pirits.  Do try, doctir."

While he was speaking Edgar quickly took off the man's necktie and bound
it round his head; then, using a little piece of wood as a lever, he
passed it through the tie and twisted it until the two sides of the
gaping gash were brought together, which operation stopped the bleeding
at once.  This done he hastily left him; but it will interest the reader
to know that this Singapore man actually recovered from his terrible
wound after a month of hospital treatment.  He was afterwards taken over
to Singapore as a natural curiosity, and exhibited there to several
doctors who had refused to believe the story.  For aught we know to the
contrary, the man may be alive and well at the present day.  Certain it
is that his cure at that time was complete.  [Note.  We were told this
fact by a trustworthy eye-witness.]

It was evening before all the wounds were dressed, and it was dark night
ere the disorder caused by the action and its consequences were removed,
and the gun-boat restored to somewhat of its wonted tidiness and
appearance of comfort.  But there was little comfort on board during the
silence of that long night, which seemed to many as though it would
never end; and which, in the case of a few, ended in Eternity.

Although silence began to descend on all, sleep was not there.
Excitement, fatigue, and the awful scenes they had witnessed, drove it
from the pillows of Aileen and her friend.  Frequent calls for the aid
of the surgeon put anything like refreshing rest--much though he
required it--quite out of the question, and at whatever hour of the
night or early morning he entered the temporary hospital where the
sufferers lay, he was sure to be met by the white flash of the many eyes
in haggard swart faces that turned eagerly and expectantly towards him--
proving that sleep had little or no influence there.

There was less of this want of repose, strange to say, in another part
of the vessel.

Down in the dark hold, where one feeble lamp cast a mere apology for
light on the wretched surroundings, many of the pirates slept soundly.
Their days were numbered--each one knew that full well--yet they slept.
Their hearts ought to have been fall of dark forebodings, but they
slumbered--some of them with the profound quietude of infants!  One
might wonder at this were it not a familiar fact.  This condition of
"the wicked" has been observed in every age, and is stated in holy writ.

But _all_ were not asleep in that dismal prison-house.  There were among
them, it seemed, a few who were troubled with fears--perhaps some who
had consciences not yet utterly seared.  At all events, two or three of
them moved uneasily as they sat huddled together, for there was little
room for so many in such a confined space, and now and then a bursting
sigh escaped.  But such evidences of weakness, if such it may be called,
were few.  For the most part silence reigned.  In mercy the captain had
ordered a chink of the hatch to be left open, and through this the stars
shone down into the dark chamber.

Looking up at these, in statue-like silence, sat the pirate-chief.  No
one had spoken to him, and he had spoken to none since his entry there.
Sleep did not visit _his_ eyes, nor rest his heart, yet he sat perfectly
still, hour after hour.  Perchance he experienced the rest resulting
from an iron will that abides its approaching time for action.

The tending of the wounded, the cleansing of the ship, the feeding of
survivors, the shutting up and arranging for the night, had passed
away--even the groaning of sufferers had dwindled down to its lowest
ebb--long before Pungarin moved with the intent to carry out his

The night-watch had been set and changed; the guard over the prisoners
had been relieved; the man in charge of them had gone his rounds and
examined their fetters; the careful captain had himself inspected
them,--all was perfectly quiet and deemed safe, when Pungarin at last
moved, and gave vent to one deep prolonged sigh that seemed to be the
opening of the escape-valve of his heart, and the out-rush of its
long-pent-up emotions.

Slowly, but persistently, he began to struggle, and in the darkness of
the place it seemed to those of his comrades who observed him as if he
were writhing like a snake.  But little did his fellow-pirates heed.
Their hearts had long ago ceased to be impressible by horrid fancies.
They could not help but see what went on before their eyes--it did not
require an effort to help caring!

We have already said that some of the prisoners had been bound with
ropes for want of irons.  Pungarin was among the number, and his almost
superhuman efforts were directed to freeing himself from his rope,
either by tearing his limbs out of it, or by snapping it asunder.  In
both attempts he failed.  Sailors are, of all men, least likely to tie a
knot badly, or to select a rope too weak for its purpose.  The pirate at
length made this discovery, and sank down exhausted.  But he rose again
ere long.

Those of the prisoners who had been secured by ropes were fastened to a
beam overhead.  The place was very low.  None of them could have stood
erect under this beam.  While endeavouring to free himself, Pungarin had
struggled on his knees.  He now raised himself as high as possible on
his knees.  His hands, although tied in front of him, could be raised to
his head.  He quickly made a loop on the rope and passed it over his

Just then the guard removed the hatchway, and descended to make the last
inspection for the night.  Pungarin hastily removed the rope, sank down
and lay quite still as if in slumber.

Night passed slowly on.  The morning-star arose.  The sun soon chased
away the shadows, and brought joy to the awaking world.  It even brought
some degree of comfort to the comfortless on board the gun-boat.  The
sleepers began to rouse themselves, the wounded to move and relieve
themselves, if possible, by change of position.  The cook set about his
preparations for the morning meal, and the captain, who, being
dangerously close to shore, had taken no rest whatever during the night,
gave up the charge of his vessel to the first officer, and went below to
seek that repose which he had so well earned.

Ere he had closed an eye, however, his attention, was arrested by a cry,
and by a peculiar noise of voices on deck.  There are tones in the human
voice which need no verbal explanation to tell us that they mean
something serious.  He jumped up and sprang on deck.  As if by instinct
he went towards the hatchway leading to the hold.

"He's dead, sir!" were the first words that greeted him.

A glance into the hold was enough to explain.

The pirate-chief had hanged himself.  With difficulty, but with
inflexible resolution, he had accomplished his purpose by fastening the
rope round his neck and lifting his legs off the ground, so that he was
actually found suspended in a sitting posture.

His comrades in guilt, little impressed, apparently, by his fate, sat or
reclined around his body in callous indifference.



"Gentlemen," said the captain of the gun-boat to Mr Hazlit and Edgar as
they sat that morning at breakfast, "it is my intention to run to the
nearest town on the coast--which happens to be Muku--have these pirates
tried and shot, then proceed to Singapore, and perhaps run thence to the
coast of China.  I will take you with me if you wish it, or if you
prefer it, will put you on board the first homeward-bound passenger-ship
that we can find.  What say you?"

Now, reader, we possess the happy privilege of knowing what Mr Hazlit
and Edgar thought as well as what they said, and will use that privilege
for purposes of our own.

In the first place, Edgar thought he should very much like to hear Mr
Hazlit's views on that subject before speaking.  He therefore said

The course being thus left clear to him, the merchant thought as

"It's very awkward, excessively awkward and vexatious.  Here am I, ever
so many thousands of miles away from home, without a single sovereign in
my purse, and without even the right to borrow of the captain, for I
have nothing certainly available even at home--_Some_!  Why, I _have_ no

At this point the poor man's thoughts took form in words.

"Ahem!" he said, clearing his throat, "I am much obliged by your
kindness (`Don't mention it, sir,' from the captain), and should prefer,
if possible, to reach Hong-Kong and ship thence for England.  You see, I
have some business friends there, and as I shall have to replenish my
purse before--"

"Oh, don't let that stand in the way," said the captain, promptly, "I
shall be happy to lend what you may require, and--"

"Excuse my interrupting you, captain, and thanks for your obliging
offer," said Mr Hazlit, holding up his large hand as if to put the
suggestion away; "but for reasons that it is not necessary to explain, I
wish to recruit my finances at Hong-Kong."

"And I," said Edgar, breaking in here, "wish to go to the same place,
not so much on my own account as on that of one of my companions, who
has left two very pretty little pieces of property there in the shape of
a wife and a child, who might object to being left behind."

This settled the question, and the breakfast party went on deck.

"Mr Hazlit," said Edgar, "will you walk with me to the stern of the
vessel?  I wish to get out of earshot of others."

Mr Hazlit replied, "Certainly, Mr Berrington;" but he thought a good
deal more than he said.  Among many other things he thought, "Ah!  Here
it comes at last.  He thinks this a good time to renew his suit, having
just rendered us such signal assistance.  I think he might have waited!
Besides, his saving our lives does not alter the fact that he is still a
penniless youth, and I _will_ not give my daughter to such.  It is true
I am a more thoroughly penniless man than he, for these villains have
robbed me and Aileen of our rings, chains, and watches, on which I
counted a good deal,--alas!  But _that_ does not mend matters.  It makes
them rather worse.  No, it must not be!  My child's interests must be
considered even before gratitude.  I _must_ be firm."

Thought is wondrously rapid.  Mr Hazlit thought all that and a great
deal more during the brief passage from the companion-hatch to the

"I wish to ask you to do me a favour, Mr Hazlit," the young man began.

The merchant looked at him with a troubled expression.

"Mr Berrington, you have been the means of saving our lives.  It would
be ungrateful in me to refuse you any favour that I can, _with
propriety_, grant."

"I am aware," continued Edgar, "that you have--have--met with losses.
That your circumstances are changed--"

Mr Hazlit coloured and drew himself proudly up.

"Be not offended, my dear sir," continued the youth earnestly; "I do not
intrude on private matters--I would not dare to do so.  I only speak of
what I saw in English newspapers in Hong-Kong just before I left, and
therefore refer to what is generally known to all.  And while I
sincerely deplore what I know, I would not presume to touch on it at all
were I not certain that the pirates must have robbed you of all you
possess, and that you must of necessity be in want of _present_ funds.
I also know that _some_ of a man's so-called `friends' are apt to fall
off and fail him in the time of financial difficulty.  Now, the favour I
ask is that you will consider me--as indeed I am--one of your true
friends, and accept of a loan of two or three hundred pounds--"

"Impossible, sir,--im--it is very kind of you--very, Mr Berrington--
but, impossible," said Mr Hazlit, struggling between kindly feeling and
hurt dignity.

"Nay, but," pleaded Edgar, "I only offer you a loan.  Besides, I want to
benefit myself," he added, with a smile.  "The fact is, I have made a
little money in a diving venture, which I and some others undertook to
these seas, and I receive no interest for it just now.  If you would
accept of a few hundreds--what you require for present necessities--you
may have them at three or five per cent.  I would ask more, but that,
you know, would be usurious!"

Still the fallen merchant remained immovable.  He acknowledged Edgar's
pleasantry about interest with a smile, but would by no means accept of
a single penny from him in any form.

Edgar had set his heart upon two things that morning, and had prayed,
not for success, but, for guidance in regard to them.

In the first he had failed--apparently.  Not much depressed, and nothing
daunted, he tried the second.

"Captain," he said, pacing up and down by the side of that
black-bearded, black-eyed, and powerful pirate-killer, "what say you to
run back to the spot where you sank the pirates, and attempt to fish up
some of the treasure with our diving apparatus?"

"I've thought of that two or three times," replied the captain, shaking
his head; "but they went down in deep waters,--forty fathoms, at
least,--which is far beyond your powers."

"True," returned Edgar, "but the prow of the pirate-chief was, you know,
run down in only nineteen fathoms, and _that_ is not beyond us."

"Is it not?"

"No, we have already been deeper than twenty fathoms with the dress I
have on board."

"There is only one objection," said the captain, pausing in his walk; "I
have learned from the prisoners that before we came up with them,
Pungarin had had all the money and chief treasure transferred from his
own prow to another, which was a faster boat, intending to change into
it himself, but that after our appearing he deferred doing so until the
fight should be over.  If this be true, then the treasure went down in
deep water, and the chiefs prow has nothing in it worth diving for."

"But we are not sure that this story is true; and at all events it is
probable that at least _some_ of the treasure may have been left in
Pungarin's boat," urged Edgar.

"Well, I'll make the trial; but first I must dispose of my prisoners."

So saying, the captain resumed his walk and Edgar went below to look
after his engine, having, in passing, given Rooney Machowl instructions
to overhaul the diving gear and get it into good working order.

This Rooney did with much consequential display, for he dearly loved to
bring about that condition of things which is styled "astonishing the
natives."  As the Malays on board, seamen and captives, were easily
astonished by the novelties of the western hemisphere, he had no
difficulty in attracting and chaining their attention to the minutest
details of his apparatus.  He more than astonished them!

With the able assistance of Baldwin and Maxwell and Ram-stam, he drew
out, uncoiled, rubbed, examined inch by inch, and re-coiled the
life-line and the air-tube; unscrewed the various pieces--glasses, nuts,
and valves--of the helmet, carefully examined them, oiled them, and
re-fastened them, much to the interest and curiosity of "the natives."
The helmet itself he polished up till it shone like a great globe of
silver, to the intense admiration of "the natives."  The pump he took to
pieces elaborately, much to the anxiety of "the natives," who evidently
thought he had wantonly destroyed it, but who soon saw it gradually put
together again, much to their satisfaction, and brought into good
working order.  Rooney even went the length of horrifying one or two of
"the natives" by letting one of the heavy shoulder-weights fall on their
naked toes.  This had the effect of making them jump and howl, while it
threw the others into ecstasies of delight, which they expressed by
throwing back their heads, shutting their eyes, opening their mouths,
and chuckling heartily.

Aileen and Miss Pritty, in the meantime, lay on the sofas in the cabin,
and at last obtained much-needed refreshment to their weary spirits by
falling into deep, dreamless, and untroubled slumber.

Thus the gun-boat with its varied freight sped on until it reached
Sarawak, where the pirates were sent ashore under a strong guard.

With these our tale has now nothing more to do; but as this cutting
short of their career is not fiction, it may interest the reader to know
that they were afterwards tried by a jury composed half of native chiefs
and half of Europeans, who unanimously found them guilty.  They were
condemned to be shot, and the sentence was carried out immediately, in
the jungle, two miles outside of the town.  They were buried where they
fell, and thus ended one of the sharpest lessons that had ever been
taught to a band of miscreants, who had long filled with terror the
inhabitants of Borneo and the neighbouring archipelago.

Some idea may be formed of the service done on this occasion--as
estimated by those who were well able to judge--when we say that the
captain of the gun-boat afterwards received, in recognition of his
prowess, a handsome sword and letter of thanks from the Rajah, Sir James
Brooke; a certificate, with a pocket chronometer, from the
Netherlands-Indian Government; a commander's commission from the Sarawak
Government; and letters of grateful thanks from the Resident Governor of
the west coast of Borneo, the Council of Singapore for the Netherlands
Government, and others--all expressive of his gallant conduct in utterly
routing so large a body of pirates, liberating two hundred and fifty
slaves--chiefly of the Dutch settlements--and clearing the Borneon coast
of a curse that had infested it for many years.  [See Note 1.]

Having disposed of the pirates, the gun-boat proceeded immediately to
sea, and in a short time reached the scene of her recent victory.  It
had previously been proposed to Mr Hazlit that he might remain in
Sarawak, if he chose, during the short period of the gun-boat's intended
absence, but the unfortunate man--owing to financial reasons!--decided
to remain in the vessel.

It happened to be a calm, lovely morning, not unlike that on which the
action had been fought, when they reached the scene of their intended
operations, and began to drag for the sunken prow.

The difficulty of finding it was much greater than had been anticipated,
for the land, although visible, was much too far off to be of any
service as a guide.  At last, however, it was discovered; the diving
apparatus was got out; the anchor cast, and Maxwell, being esteemed the
most enduring among the divers, prepared to go down.

"It feels quite like old times, sir, don't it?" said Joe Baldwin to
Edgar Berrington, as he assisted to dress the diver, and manipulated the
various parts of the costume with a fondness that one might feel towards
a favourite dog from which one had been for some time parted.

"It does indeed, Joe," replied Edgar, smiling; "I almost envy Maxwell
the pleasure of a dip--especially in such a clear cool sea in this hot

"How is he to breathe?" asked Miss Pritty, who with Aileen and her
father, as well as the captain and crew of the gun-boat, watched the
process of robing with as much interest as if they had never before seen
it performed.

"Sure, Miss," observed Rooney Machowl, with great simplicity of aspect,
"he does it by drawin' in an' puffin' out the air through his mouth an'

"Very true," observed Miss Pritty, with a good-natured smile, for even
she could see that the Irishman was poking fun at her; "but how is air
conveyed to him?"

"It is sent down by means of an air-pump," said Edgar, who took on
himself the duty of explaining.

"Dear me!" returned Miss Pritty, elevating her eyebrows in surprise; "I
always thought that pumps were used only for pumping up water."

"Och!  No, Miss," said Rooney, "they're largely used for pumping up beer
in London."

"Now, David, are you all right?" asked Joe.

"All right," said Maxwell, as he rose and shook himself to settle the
weights comfortably on his back and breast.

"Come along then, me boy," said Rooney.

Maxwell went to the side of the vessel, where a rope-ladder had been
prepared, and his two attendants assisted him to get over.

"All right?" asked Joe again, after giving the order to pump, which
Ram-stam commenced with the steady coolness and regularity of a veteran.

"All right," replied Maxwell, who immediately afterwards slowly

After an hour's absence he signalled that he was coming up.  In a few
minutes his helmet was seen far down in the depths.  Then it emerged
from the surface.

"I want a crowbar," he said on the glass being removed.

"If you'd had on a helmet with a speakin'-tube," observed Rooney, "you
might have said that without comin' up."

"True, lad," growled Maxwell, "but not havin' on a helmet with a
speakin'-toobe, here I am, so please look alive."

"Any sign of treasure?" asked Edgar.

"Not as yet, sir."

The crowbar having been brought, the diver again went down.

For some time all went on quietly, for it was expected that, deep though
the water was, Maxwell's power of enduring pressure would enable him to
remain below for at least two hours, if not longer.  After looking for
some time inquiringly at the spot where he had disappeared, most of the
Malays resumed their various duties about the vessel, though a few
remained a little to regard Ram-stam with much interest, as being one
who, in a measure, held the life of a fellow-being in his hands.

Suddenly a loud hissing noise was heard over the side.  It sounded to
those on deck as if the great sea-serpent had put his head out of the
sea close alongside and sent a violent hiss into the air.

Joe Baldwin was attending to the air-tube, while Rooney held the
life-line.  He looked quickly down.

"The air-pipe's burst!" he shouted, and both he and his comrade, without
a moment's delay, began to haul up the diver as fast as they possibly

That the reader may properly appreciate what had happened, it is
necessary to remind him that at nineteen fathoms Maxwell's body was
subjected to a pressure--from _water_, outside his dress--of about 50
pounds to the square inch, and that to prevent such a tremendous
pressure from crushing in and collapsing all the cavities of his body,
an _equal_ pressure of air had to be _forced_ into his dress, so that
the pressure of water outside the dress was met and counteracted by the
pressure of air inside.  This highly condensed air of course tended to
crush the diver, as did the water, but with this important difference,
that the air entered his lungs, wind-pipe, ears, nose, etcetera, and
thus prevented these organs from collapsing, and confined the absolute
pressure to their walls of flesh so to speak, and to the solid muscular
parts of his frame.  Maxwell, being a very muscular man and tough, was,
as we have said, able to stand the pressure on these parts better than
many men.  When, therefore, the air-tube burst--which it happened to do
at a weak point just a foot or so above water--the diver's dress was
instantaneously crushed tight round him in every part, the air was
driven completely out of it, and also largely out of poor Maxwell's

The moment he appeared at the surface it was seen that he was
insensible, for he swung about by his life-line and tube in a helpless

Seeing this, Edgar, who had anxiously watched for him, got out on the
ladder and passed the loop of a rope under his arms.  It was quickly
done.  He was laid on deck and the bull's-eye was unscrewed by Rooney,
who instantly exclaimed, "He's dead!"

"No, he's not; I see his lips move," said Joe Baldwin, aiding Edgar to
unscrew the helmet.

This was soon removed, and a frightful sight was revealed to the
spectators.  Maxwell's face and neck were quite livid and swelled out to
an almost bursting extent; blood was flowing profusely from his mouth
and ears, and his eyes protruded horribly, as if they had been nearly
forced out of their sockets.

It is right to observe that the helmet worn by Maxwell on this occasion
was an old-fashioned one which, in the haste of departure from
Hong-Kong, they had taken with them instead of one of their new ones.
Most of the helmets now in use possess a valve which shuts of itself in
the event of the air-tube bursting, and prevents the air from being
crushed out of the dress.  A dress full of air will, as we have already
said, keep a man alive for at least five minutes.  He has time,
therefore, to reach the surface, so that danger from this source is not
nearly so great as it used to be.

Such restoratives as suggested themselves to the chief onlookers were
applied, and, to the surprise of every one, the diver began to show
signs of returning life.  In a few minutes he began to retch, and soon
vomited a large quantity of clotted blood.  After a time he began to
whisper a few words.

"Cheer up, my lad," said the captain in a kindly voice, as he went down
on one knee beside the prostrate man; "don't attempt to speak or exert
yourself in any way.  You'll be all right in a few days.  We'll have
your dress taken off and send you below, where you shall be taken good
care of."

With returning vitality came back Maxwell's inbred obstinacy.  He would
not hold his tongue, but insisted on explaining his sensations to his
comrades as they busied themselves taking off his dress--a rather
violent operation at all times, and very difficult in the circumstances.

"W'y messmates," he said, "I hadn't even time to guess wot 'ad 'appened.
Got no warnin' wotsomedever.  I just felt a tree-mendous shock all of a
suddent that struck me motionless--as if Tom Sayers had hit me a
double-handed cropper on the top o' my beak an' in the pit o' my
bread-basket at one an' the same moment.  Then came an 'orrible pressure
as if a two-thousand-ton ship 'ad bin let down a-top o' me, an' arter
that I remembers nothin'."

It is probable that the poor fellow would have gone on with his
comments, though he spoke with difficulty and in a feeble voice, in
which none of his characteristic gruffness remained, if he had not been
cut short by Joe Baldwin and Rooney Machowl lifting him up and carrying
him below.

Rooney, who carried his shoulders, took occasion to say while on the way

"David, boy, did ye find anny treasure?"

"No;--see'd nothin'."

"Ow, ow, worse luck!" sighed Rooney.

Maxwell was made comfortable with a glass of weak brandy and water--
hot--and his comrades returned on deck, where they found Edgar
Berrington commencing to put on the diving-dress.

"Goin' down, sir?" inquired Joe.

"Yes.  We have fortunately another air-tube, and I want to complete the
work we have begun."

"Is there not a risk," whispered Aileen to her father, "that the same
accident may happen again?"

"Ah, true," answered Mr Hazlit aloud; "the water appears to be very
deep, Mr Berrington.  Do you not think it probable that the air-tube
may burst a second time?"

"I think not," replied Edgar, as he sat down to have his helmet affixed
to the dress.  "The best made articles are liable to possess flaws.
Even the most perfect railway-wheel, in which the cleverest engineer
alive might fail to detect a fault, may conceal a dangerous flaw.  There
is no certainty in human affairs.  All we can say is that, when we
consider the thousands of divers who are daily employed all over the
world, accidents of the kind you have just witnessed are not numerous.
If I were to refrain from going down because this accident has occurred,
I might as well refrain evermore from entering a railway-carriage.  We
_must_ risk something sometimes in our progress through life, Mr
Hazlit.  It was intended that we should.  Why were we gifted with the
quality of courage if risk and danger were never to be encountered?"

The screwing on of the bull's-eye put a stop to further remark, and a
few seconds later our hero went over the side, while Ram-stam, smiling
benignant indifference as to the event which had so recently happened,
steadily performed his duty.

As Mr Hazlit and Aileen watched the bubbles that rose in multitudes to
the surface, the former repeated to himself, mentally, "Yes, we must
risk something sometimes in our progress through life."  He went on
repeating this until at last he followed it up with the sudden
reflection:--"Well, perhaps I _must_ risk my daughter's happiness in
this youth's hands, even though he _is_ penniless.  He seems an able
fellow; will, doubtless, make his way anywhere.  At all events it is
quite evident that he will risk his life anywhere!  Besides, now I think
of it, he said something about lending me some hundred pounds or so.
Perhaps he is not absolutely penniless.  It is quite certain that I am.
Curious sentiment that of his: `We must risk something sometimes.'  Very
curious, and quite new--at least exhibited to me in quite a new light."

While Mr Hazlit's mind ran on thus, and his eyes dreamily watched the
bubbles on the surface of the sea, our hero was grubbing like a
big-headed goblin among the wreckage at the bottom.

He moved about from place to place in that slow leaning fashion which
the resistance of water renders unavoidable, but he found nothing
whatever to repay him for his trouble.  There were beams and twisted
iron-work, and overturned guns, and a few bales, but nothing that bore
the least resemblance to boxes or bags of money.

One or two large cases he discovered, and forced them open with the
crowbar, which Maxwell had dropped when he was struck insensible, but
they contained nothing worth the labour of having them hoisted up.  At
last he was about to leave, after a careful search of more than an hour,
when he espied something shining in a corner of what had once been the
pirate-chief's cabin.  He took it up and found it to be a small box of
unusual weight for its size.  His sense of touch told him that it was
ornamented with carving on its surface, but the light was not sufficient
to enable him to see it distinctly.  His heart beat hopefully, however,
as he hastened as fast as the water would permit out of the cabin, and
then, to his joy he found that it was Aileen Hazlit's jewel-box!  How it
came there he could not guess; but the reader partly knows the truth,
and can easily imagine that when the pirate-chief sent his other
valuables to the swift prow, as before mentioned, he kept this--the most
precious of them all--close to his own person to the last, desiring, no
doubt, to have it always under his own eye.

Not troubling himself much, however, with such speculations, Edgar
returned to the cabin, placed the box where he found it, and spent full
half-an-hour more in plying his crowbar in the hope of discovering more
of the pirate's horde.  While thus engaged he received two or three
signals to "Come up" from Joe Baldwin, who held his life-line; but he
signalled back "All right--let me alone," and went on with his work.

At last there came the signal "Come up!" given with such a peremptory
tug that he was fain, though unwilling, to comply.  Taking the box under
his arm he began to ascend slowly.  On gaining the surface he was made
at once aware of the reason of the repeated signalling, for a sudden
squall had burst upon the eastern sea, which by that time, although
perfectly calm below, was tumbling about in waves so large that the
gun-boat was tossing like a cork at her anchor, and it was found to be
almost impossible to work the air-pump.  In fact it was only by having
two men stationed to keep Ram-stam on his legs that the thing could be

With some difficulty Edgar was got on board, and the order was
immediately given to weigh anchor.

Expressing great surprise at the state of things he found above water,
and regret that he had not sooner attended to orders, Edgar placed the
box on the deck.  Then he unrobed, and drawing on his trousers and a
canvas jacket he issued from behind the funnel--which had been his
robing-room--and went aft, where he found Aileen seated between her
friend Miss Pritty and her father.

"Miss Hazlit," he said with a peculiar smile, "allow me to introduce you
to an old friend."

He held up before her the carved steel box.

"My mother's jewel-case!" she exclaimed, with a look of intense

"My--my wife's jewels!" stammered Mr Hazlit, in equal surprise;
"whereon earth--why--how--where--young man, did you find them?"

"I found them at the bottom of the sea," replied Edgar.  "It is the
second time, strange to say, that I have had the pleasure of fishing
them up from that vast repository of riches where, I doubt not, many
another jewel-case still lies, and will continue to lie, unclaimed for
ever.  Meanwhile, I count myself peculiarly fortunate in being the means
of restoring _this_ case to its rightful owner."

So saying he placed it in the hands of Aileen.

The captain, who had watched the whole scene with quiet interest and a
peculiar curl about his black moustache, as well as a twinkle in his
sharp black eye, uttered a short laugh, thrust his hands into his
pockets, and walked away to give the order that the steamer's head
should be laid precisely "sou', sou'-west, and by south, half-south,"
with a slight--almost a shadowy--leaning in the direction of


Note 1.  We may as well state here that our information on this subject
was obtained from Captain John Hewat, formerly in command of the steam
gun-boat _Rainbow_,--belonging to Sir James Brooke, K.C.B., Rajah of
Sarawak,--in which he had six years' experience of pirate-hunting in the
eastern seas, and now captain of one of Donald Currie and Company's
magnificent line of Cape steamers.  Perhaps we ought to apologise for
thus dragging the gallant captain into fiction, but we trust he will
find that, in regard to his own particular doings, we have stuck pretty
closely to fact.



We are back again in Hong-Kong--in the pagoda--with our old friends
seated comfortably round their little table enjoying a good supper.

Pretty little Mrs Machowl has prepared it, and is now assisting at the
partaking of it.  Young Master Teddy Machowl is similarly engaged on his
father's knee.  The child has grown appallingly during its father's
absence!  Ram-stam and Chok-foo are in waiting--gazing at each other
with the affection of Chinese lovers re-united.

"What a sight you are, Rooney!" said Mrs Machowl, pausing between bites
to look at her husband.

"Sure it's the same may be said of yoursilf, cushla!" replied Rooney,
stuffing his child's mouth with sweet potato.

"Yes, but it's what a _fright_ you are, I mane," said Mrs Machowl.

"An' it's what a purty cratur _you_ are that _I_ mane," replied Rooney,
repeating the dose to Teddy, who regarded his father with looks of deep

"Ah!  Go 'long wid you.  Sure it's your nose is spoilt entirely," said
Mrs Machowl.

"An' it's your own that is swaiter than iver, which more than makes up
the difference," retorted her lord.--"Howld it open as wide as ye can
this time, Ted, me boy; there, that's your sort--but don't choke, ye

There seemed indeed some occasion for the latter admonition, for Teddy,
unused to such vigorous treatment, was beginning to look purple in the
face and apoplectic about the eyes.  In short, there is every
probability that an attack of croup, or something dreadful, would have
ensued if the child's mother had not risen hastily and snatched it away
from the would-be infanticide.

"Now then, Ram-stam and Chok-foo," said Edgar Berrington, putting down
his spoon, "clear away the rat's-tail soup, and bring on the roast

Grinning from ear to ear, and with almost closed eyes, the Chinese
servitors obeyed.

While they cleared the table and laid the second course, the
conversation became general.  Previously it had been particular,
referring chiefly to the soup and the free circulation of the salt.

"So, then," observed Joe Baldwin, leaning back in his chair, "we must
make up our minds to be content with what we have got.  Well, it an't so
bad after all!  Let me see.  How much did you say the total is, Mister

"Close upon eight thousand five hundred pounds."

"A tidy little sum," observed Rooney, with an air of satisfaction.

"Eight thousand--eh?" repeated Joe; "hum, well, we'll cut off the five
hundred for expenses and passage home, and that leaves eight thousand
clear, which, according to agreement, gives each of us two thousand

Maxwell, who still looked pale and thin from the effects of his late
accident, nodded his head slowly, and growled, "Two thousand--jus' so."

"An' that, Molly, my dear," said Rooney, "if properly invisted, gives
you an' me a clair income--only think, an _income_, Molly--of wan
hundred a year!  It's true, cushla!  That ye won't be able to rowl in
yer carridge an' walk in silks an' satins on that income, but it'll pay
the rint an' taxes, owld girl, an' help Teddy to a collidge eddication--
to say nothin' o' pipes an' baccy.  Ochone!--if we'd only not lost the
first haul, we'd have bin millerinaires be this time.  I wouldn't have
called the Quane me grandmother."

"Come, Rooney, be grateful for what you've got," said Edgar.  "Enough is
as good as a feast."

"Ah!  Sur, it'll be time to say that when we've finished the puppy,"
replied the Irishman, as Chok-foo placed on the board a savoury roast
which bore some resemblance to the animal named, though, having had its
head and legs amputated, there could be no absolute certainty on the
point.  Whatever it was, the party attacked it with relish, and silence
reigned until it was finished, after which conversation flowed again--
somewhat languidly at first.  When, however, pipes were got out by those
who smoked, and chairs were placed in the verandah, and no sound was
heard around save the yelling of Chinese children who were romping in
the Chinese kennel that skirted the pagoda, and the champing of the jaws
of Ram-stam and Chok-foo as they masticated inside--then came the feast
of reason, not to mention the flow of soul.

"I wonder what our friends at Whitstable will say to this ventur' of
ours," said Maxwell.

"Have you many friends there?" asked Edgar.

"Many?--of course I has.  W'y, I suppose every English diver must have
friends there."

"Where is it?" asked Edgar.

"Why, sir, don't you know Whitstable?" exclaimed Joe Baldwin, in

"You forget, Joe," replied Edgar, with a smile, "that although I have
learnt how to dive, and have read a good deal about the history of
diving, I am only an amateur after all, and cannot be supposed to know
everything connected with the profession.  All I know about Whitstable
is that it is a port somewhere in the south of England."

"Right, sir," said Joe, "but it's more than that; it lies on the coast
of Kent, and is famous for its oyster-beds and its divers.  How it came
to be a place of resort for divers _I_ don't know, but so it is, an' I
_have_ heard say it was divin' for oysters in days of old that gave the
natives a taste for the work.  Anyhow, they've got the taste very
decided somehow, an' after every spell o' dirty weather they're sure to
have telegrams from all parts of the coast, and you'll see Lloyds'
agents huntin' up the divers in the public-houses an' packin' 'em off
wi' their gear right and left by rail to look after salvage.

"These men," continued Joe, "are most of 'em handicraftmen as well as
divers, because you know, sir, it would be of no use to send down a mere
labourer to repair the bottom of a ship, no matter how good he was at
divin'; so, you'll find among 'em masons, and shipbuilders, and
carpenters, and engineers--"

"Ah!" interrupted Edgar, "I was just wondering how they would manage if
it were found necessary to have the engines of a sunk steamer taken to
pieces and sent up."

"Well, sir," rejoined Joe, "they've got men there who can dive, and who
know as much about marine engines as you do yourself.  And these men
make lots of tin, for a good diver can earn a pound a day, an' be kept
in pretty regular employment in deep water.  In shallow water he can
earn from ten to fifteen shillings a day.  Besides this, they make
special arrangements for runnin' extra risks.  Then the savin' they
sometimes effect is amazin'.  Why, sir, although you do know somethin'
of the advantages of diving, you can never know fully what good they do
in the world at large.  Just take the case of the _Agamemnon_ at

"Och!" interrupted Rooney, whose visage was perplexed by reason of his
pipe refusing to draw well, "wasn't (puff) that a good job intirely
(puff!  There; you're all right at last!)  He was a friend o' mine that
managed that job.  Tarry, we called him--though that wasn't his right
name.  This is how it was.  The fleet was blazin' away at the
fortifications, an' of coorse the fortifications--out o' politeness if
nothin' else--was blazin' away at the fleet, and smoke was curlin' up
like a chimbley on fire, an' big balls was goin' about like pais in a
rattle, an' small shot like hail was blowin' horizontal, an' men was
bein' shot an' cut to pieces, an' them as warn't was cheerin' as if
there was any glory in wholesale murther--bah!  I wouldn't give a day at
Donnybrook wid a shillelah for all the sieges of Sebastopool as ever I
heard tell of.  Well, suddintly, bang goes a round shot slap through the
hull of the _Agamemnon_, below the water-line!  Here was a pretty to do!
The ordinary coorse in this case would have bin to haul out of action,
go right away to Malta, an' have the ship docked and repaired there.
But what does they do?  Why, they gets from under fire for a bit, and
sends down my friend Tarry to look at the hole.  He goes down, looks at
it, then comes up an' looks at the Commodore,--bowld as brass.

"`I can repair it,' says Tarry.

"`Well, do,' says the Commodore.

"So down he goes an' does it, an' very soon after that the _Agamemnon_
went into action again, and blazed away at the walls o' the owld place
harder than ever."

"That _was_ a good case, an' a _true_ one," said Joe Baldwin, with an
approving nod.

"And these divers, Mr Edgar," continued Joe, "sometimes go on their own
hook, like we have done this time, with more or less luck.  There was
one chum of mine who took it into his head to try his chances at the
wreck of the _Royal Charter_, long after all hope of further salvage had
been abandoned, and in a short time he managed to recover between three
and four hundred pounds sterling."

"An immense amount of money, they do say, was recovered from the _Royal
Charter_ by divers," observed Maxwell.

"That is true, and it happens," said Edgar, sadly, "that I know a few
interesting facts regarding that vessel.  I know of some people whose
hearts were broken by the loss of relatives in that wreck.  There were
many such--God comfort them!  But that is not what I meant to speak of.
The facts I refer to are connected with the treasure lost in the vessel.
Just before leaving London I had occasion to call on the gentleman who
had the management of the recovered gold, and he told me several
interesting things.  First of all, the whole of the gold that could be
identified was handed at once over to its owners; but this matter of
identification was not easy, for much of the gold was found quite loose
in the form of sovereigns and nuggets and dust.  The dust was ordered to
be sent up with the `dirt' that surrounded it, and a process of
gold-washing was instituted, after the regular diggings fashion, with a
bowl and water.  Tons of `dirt' were sent up and washed in this way, and
a large quantity of gold saved.  The agent showed me the bowl that was
used on this occasion.  He also showed me sovereigns that had been kept
as curious specimens.  Some of them were partly destroyed, as if they
had been caught between iron-plates and cut in half; others were more or
less defaced and bent, and a few had been squeezed almost into an
unrecognisable shape.  In one place, he told me, the divers saw a pile
of sovereigns through a rent in an iron-plate.  The rent was too small
to admit a man's arm, and the plates could not be dislodged.  The
divers, therefore, made a pair of iron tongs, with which they picked out
the sovereigns, and thus saved a large sum of money.  One very curious
case of identification occurred.  A bag of sovereigns was found with no
name on it.  A claimant appeared, but he could tell of no mark to prove
that he was the rightful owner.  Of course it could not be given up, and
it appeared as if the unfortunate man (who was indeed the owner) must
relinquish his claim, when in a happy moment his wife remembered that
she had put a brass `token' into the bag with the gold.  The bag was
searched, the token was found, and the gold was immediately handed to

"Molly, my dear," said Rooney Machowl at this point, "you make a note o'
that; an' if ever you have to do with bags o' goold, just putt a brass
token or two into 'em."

"Ah!  Shut up, Rooney," said Mrs Machowl, in a voice so sweet that the
contrast between it and her language caused Edgar and Joe to laugh.

"Well, then," continued Edgar, "in many other curious ways gold was
identified and delivered to its owners: thus, in one case, an incomplete
seal, bearing part of the legs of a griffin, was found on a bag of two
thousand sovereigns, and the owner, showing the seal with which he had
stamped it, established his claim.  Of course in all cases where bars of
gold were found with the owners' names stamped on them, the property was
at once handed over; but after all was done that could be done by means
of the most painstaking inquiry, an immense amount of gold necessarily
remained unclaimed."

"And I s'pose if it wasn't for us divers," said Maxwell, "the whole
consarn would have remained a dead loss to mankind."

"True for ye," responded Rooney; "it's not often ye come out wid such a
blaze of wisdom as that, David!  It must be the puppy as has stirred ye
up, boy, or, mayhap, the baccy!"

"Take care _you_ don't stir me up, lad, else it may be worse for you,"
growled Maxwell.

"Och!  I'm safe," returned the Irishman, carelessly; "I'd putt Molly
betwain us, an' sure ye'd have to come over her dead body before ye'd
git at me.--It wasn't you, was it, David," continued Rooney, with sudden
earnestness, "that got knocked over by a blast at the works in Ringwall
harbour two or three years ago?"

"No, it warn't me," responded Maxwell; "it was long Tom Skinclip.  He
was too tall for a diver--he was.  They say he stood six futt four in
his socks; moreover he was as thin as a shadow from a bad gas-lamp.  He
was workin' one day down in the 'arbour, layin' stones at the
foundations of the noo breakwater, when they set off a blast about a
hundred yards off from where he was workin', an' so powerful was the
blast that it knocked him clean on his back.  He got such a fright that
he signalled violently to haul up, an' they did haul 'im up, expectin'
to find one of his glasses broke, or his toobes bu'sted.  There was
nothin' wotsomedever the matter with 'im, but he wouldn't go down again
that day.  'Owsever, he got over it, an' after that went down to work at
a wreck somewhere in the eastern seas--not far from Ceylon, I'm told.
When there 'e got another fright that well-nigh finished him, an' from
that day he gave up divin' an' tuck to gardening, for which he was much
better suited."

"What happened to him?" asked Edgar.

"I'm not rightly sure," answered Maxwell, refilling his pipe, "but I've
bin told he had to go down one day in shallow water among sea-weed.  It
was a beautiful sort o' submarine garden, so to speak, an' long Tom
Skinclip was so fond o' flowers an' gardens nat'rally, that he forgot
hisself, an' went wanderin' about what he called the `submarine groves'
till they thought he must have gone mad.  They could see him quite
plain, you see, from the boat, an' they watched him while he wandered
about.  The sea-weed was up'ard of six feet high, tufted on the top with
a sort o' thing you might a'most fancy was flowers.  The colours, too,
was bright.  Among the branches o' this submarine forest, or grove,
small lobsters, an' shrimps, an' other sorts o' shell-fish, were doin'
dooty as birds--hoppin' from one branch to another, an' creepin' about
in all directions.

"After a time long Tom Skinclip he sat down on a rock an' wiped the
perspiration off his brow--at least he tried to do it, which set the men
in the boat all off in roars of laughter, for, d'ee see, Skinclip was an
absent sort of a feller, an' used to do strange things.  No doubt when
he sat down on the rock he felt warm, an' bein' a narvish sort o' chap,
I make no question but he was a-sweatin' pretty hard, so, without
thinkin', he up with his arm, quite nat'ral like, an' drawed it across
where his brow would have bin if the helmet hadn't been on.  It didn't
seem to strike him as absurd, however, for he putt both hands on 'is
knees, an' sat lookin' straight before 'im.

"He hadn't sat long in this way when they see'd a huge fish--about two
futt long--comin' slowly through the grove behind 'im.  It was one o'
them creeters o' the deep as seems to have had its head born five or six
sizes too big for its tail--with eyes an' mouth to match.  It had also
two great horns above its eyes, an' a cravat or frill o' bristles round
its neck.  Its round eyes and half-open mouth gave it the appearance o'
bein' always more or less in a state of astonishment.  P'r'aps it was--
at the fact of its havin' bin born at all!  Anyhow, it swum'd slowly
along till it cotched sight o' Skinclip, when it went at him, an' looked
at the back of his helmet in great astonishment, an' appeared to smell
it, but evidently it could make nothin' of it.  Then it looked all down
his back with an equal want of appreciation.  Arter that it came round
to the front, and looked straight in at Skinclip's bull's-eye!  They do
say it was a sight to see the start he gave!

"He jump up as smart a'most as if he'd bin in the open air, an' they
obsarved, when he turned round, that a huge lobster of some unbeknown
species was holdin' on to his trousers with all its claws like a limpet!
The fish--or ripslang, as one of the men called it, who said he knowed
it well--turned out to be a pugnaceous creetur, for no sooner did it see
Skinclip's great eyes lookin' at it in horror, than it set up its frill
of spikes, threw for'ard the long horns, an' went slap at the bull's-eye
fit to drive it in.  Skinclip he putt down his head, an' the ripslang
made five or six charges at the helmet without much effect.  Then it
changed its tactics, turned on its side, wriggled under the helmet, an'
looked in at Skinclip with one of its glarin' eyes close to the glass.
At the same time the lobster gave him a tree-mendious tug behind.  This
was more than Skinclip could stand.  They see'd him jump round, seize
the life-line, an' give it four deadly pulls, but his comrades paid no
attention to it.  The lobster gave him another tug, an' the ripslang
prepared for another charge.  It seemed to have got some extra spikes
set up in its wrath, for its whole body was bristlin' more or less by
this time.

"Again Skinclip tugged like a maniac at the line.  The ripslang charged;
the lobster tugged; the poor feller stepped back hastily, got his heels
entangled in sea-weed, and went down head first into the grove!

"The men got alarmed by this time, so they pulled him up as fast as they
could, an' got him inboard in a few minutes; but they do say," added
Maxwell, with emphasis, "that that ripslang leaped right out o' the
water arter him, an' the lobster held on so that they had to chop its
claws off with a hatchet to make it let go.  They supped off it the game
night, and long Tom Skinclip, who owned an over strong appetite, had a
bad fit of indisgestion in consikence."



Once more we beg our reader to accompany us to sea--out into the thick
darkness, over the wild waves, far from the abodes of man.

There, one night in December, a powerful steamer did battle with a
tempest.  The wind was against her, and, as a matter of course, also the
sea.  The first howled among her rigging with what might have been
styled vicious violence.  The seas hit her bows with a fury that caused
her to stagger, and, bursting right over her bulwarks at times, swept
the decks from stem to stern, but nothing could altogether stop her
onward progress.  The sleepless monster in the hold, with a heart of
fervent heat, and scalding breath of intense energy, and muscles of iron
mould, and an indomitable--yet to man submissive--will, wrought on night
and day unweariedly, driving the floating palace straight and steadily
on her course--homeward-bound.

Down in the cabin, in one of the side berths lay a female form.
Opposite to it, in a similar berth, lay another female form.  Both forms
were very limp.  The faces attached to the forms were pale yellow, edged
here and there with green.

"My dear," sighed one of the forms, "this _is_ dreadful!"

After a long silence, as though much time were required for the
inhalation of sufficient air for the purpose, the other form replied:--

"Yes, Laura, dear, it _is_ dreadful."

"'Ave a cup of tea, ladies?" said the stewardess, opening the door just
then, and appearing at an acute angle with the doorway, holding a cup in
each hand.

Miss Pritty shuddered and covered her head with the bed-clothes.  Aileen
made the form of "no, thanks," with her lips, and shut her eyes.

"_Do_ 'ave a cup," said the stewardess, persuasively.

The cups appeared at that moment inclined to "'ave" a little game of
hide-and-seek, which the stewardess nimbly prevented by suddenly forming
an obtuse angle with the floor, and following that action up with a
plunge to starboard, and a heel to port, that was suggestive--at least
to a landsman--of an intention to baptise Miss Pritty with hot tea, and
thereafter take a "header" through the cabin window into the boiling
sea!  She did neither, however, but, muttered something about "'ow she
do roll, to be sure," and, seeing that her mission was hopeless, left
the cabin with a balked stagger and a sudden rush, which was
appropriately followed up by the door shutting itself with a terrific
bang, as though it should say, "You might have known as much, goose!
Why did you open me?"

"Laura, dear," said Aileen, "did you hear what the captain said to some
one just now in the cabin, when the door was open?"

"N-no," replied Miss Pritty, faintly.

"I distinctly heard some one ask how fast we were going, but I could not
make out his reply."

"Oh!" exclaimed the other, brightening for a brief moment; "yes, I _did_
hear him.  He said we were going six knots.  Now I do _not_ understand
what that means."

"Did you mean that?" asked Aileen, turning her eyes languidly on her
friend, while a faint smile flickered on her mouth.

"Mean what?" said Miss Pritty, in evident surprise.

"No, I see you didn't.  Well, a knot means, I believe, a nautical mile."

"A notticle mile, Aileen; what is that?"

"A _nau_tical mile; dear me, how stupid you are, Laura!"

"Oh!  I understand.  But, really, the noise of that screw makes it
difficult to hear distinctly.  And, after all, it is no wonder if I _am_
stupid, for what between eating nothing but pickles for six weeks, and
this dreadful--there!  Oh!  It comes ag--"

Poor Miss Pritty stopped abruptly, and made a desperate effort to think
of home.  Aileen, albeit full of sympathy, turned her face to the wall,
and lay with closed eyes.

After a time the latter looked slowly round.

"Are you asleep, Laura?"

Miss Pritty gave a sharp semi-hysterical laugh at the bare idea of such
an impossible condition.

"Well, I was going to say," resumed Aileen, "that we cannot be very far
from land now, and when we do get there--"

"Happy day!" murmured Miss Pritty.

"We intend," continued Aileen, "to go straight home--I--I mean to our
old home, sell everything at once, and go to live in a cottage--quite a
tiny cottage--by the sea somewhere.  Now, I want you to come and visit
us the very day we get into our cottage.  I know you would like it--
would like being with me, wouldn't you?"

"Like it?  I should delight in it of all things."

"I knew you would.  Well, I was going to say that it would be such a
kindness to dear papa too, for you know he will naturally be very
low-spirited when we make the change--for it is a great change, Laura,
greater perhaps than you, who have never been very rich, can imagine,
and I doubt my capacity to be a good comforter to him though I have all
the will."

Two little spots of red appeared for the first time for many weeks on
Miss Pritty's cheeks, as she said in a tone of enthusiasm:--

"What!  _You_ not a good comforter?  I've a good mind to refuse your
invitation, since you dare to insinuate that I could in any degree
supplement _you_ in such a matter."

"Well, then, we won't make any more insinuations," returned Aileen, with
a sad smile; "but you'll come--that's settled.  You know, dear, that we
had lost everything, but ever since our jewel-case was found by--by--"

"By Edgar," said Miss Pritty; "why don't you go on?"

"Yes, by Mr Berrington," continued Aileen, "ever since that, papa has
been very hopeful.  I don't know exactly what his mind runs on, but I
can see that he is making heaps of plans in regard to the future, and
oh!  You can't think how glad and how thankful I am for the change.  The
state of dull, heartbreaking, weary depression that he fell into just
after getting the news of our failure was beginning to undermine his
health.  I could see that plainly, and felt quite wretched about him.
But now he is comparatively cheerful, and so gentle too.  Do you know, I
have been thinking a good deal lately of the psalmist's saying, `it is
good for me that I have been afflicted;' and, in the midst of it all,
our Heavenly Father remembered mercy, for it was He who sent our
jewel-box, as if to prevent the burden from being too heavy for papa."

Miss Pritty's kind face beamed agreement with these sentiments.

"Now," continued Aileen, "these jewels are, it seems, worth a great deal
of money--much more than I had any idea of--for there are among them a
number of very fine diamond rings and brooches.  In fact, papa told me
that he believed the whole were worth between eight and nine thousand
pounds.  This, you know, is a sum which will at least raise us above
want, (poor Miss Pritty, well did _she_ know that!)--though of course it
will not enable us to live very luxuriously.  How fortunate it was that
these pirates--"

"Oh!" screamed Miss Pritty, suddenly, as she drew the clothes over her

"What's the matter?" exclaimed Aileen; "are you going to be--"

"Oh!  No, no, no," said Miss Pritty, peeping out again; "how could you
bring these dreadful creatures to my remembrance so abruptly?  I had
quite forgotten them for the time.  Why, oh why did you banish from my
mind that sweet idea of a charming cottage by the sea, and all its
little unluxurious elegancies, and call up in its place the h-h-horrors
of that village-nest--pig-sty--of the dreadful buccaneers?  But it can't
be helped now," added Miss Pritty, with a resigned shudder, "and we have
the greatest reason to be thankful that their hope of a good ransom made
them treat us as well as they did;--but go on, dear, you were saying
that it was fortunate that these p-pirates--"

"That they did not sell the jewels or take any of them out of the box,
or send them into the other prow which was sunk in deep water, where the
divers could not have gone down to recover them."

"Very true," assented Miss Pritty.

At this point the cabin door again burst open, and the amiable
stewardess appeared, bearing two cups of fresh tea, which she watched
with the eyes of a tigress and the smile of an angel, while her body
kept assuming sudden, and one would have thought impossible, attitudes.

"Now, ladies, _do_ try some tea.  Really you must.  I insist on it.
Why, you'll both die if you don't."

Impressed with the force of this reasoning, both ladies made an effort,
and got up on their respective elbows.  They smiled incredulously at
each other, and then, becoming suddenly grave, fell flat down on their
backs, and remained so for some time without speaking.

"Now, try again; do try, it will do you so much good--really."

Thus adjured they tried again and succeeded.  Aileen took one sip of
tea, spilt much of the rest in thrusting it hurriedly into the ready
hands of the all but ubiquitous stewardess, and fell over with her face
to the wall.  Miss Pritty looked at her tea for a few seconds,
earnestly.  The stewardess, not being quite ubiquitous, failed to catch
the cup as it was wildly held towards her.  Miss Pritty therefore
capsized the whole affair over her bed-clothes, and fell back with a
deadly groan.

The stewardess did not lose temper.  She was used to such things.  If
Miss Pritty had capsized her intellect over the bed-clothes, the
stewardess would only have smiled, and wiped it up with a napkin.

"You'll be better soon, Miss," said the amiable woman, as she retired
with the debris.

The self-acting door shut her out with a bang of contemptuous mockery,
and the poor ladies were once more left alone in their misery.



When things in this world reach their lowest ebb, it is generally
understood or expected that the tide will turn, somehow, and rise.  Not
unfrequently the understanding and the expectation are disappointed.
Still, there are sufficiently numerous instances of the fulfilment of
both, to warrant the hope which is usually entertained by men and women
whose tide has reached its lowest.

Mr Hazlit was naturally of a sanguine temperament.  He entertained, we
had almost said, majestic views on many points.  Esteeming himself "a
beggar" on three hundred a year--the remains of the wreck of his vast
fortune--he resolved to commence business again.  Being a man of strict
probity and punctuality in all business matters, and being much
respected and sympathised with by his numerous business friends, he
experienced little difficulty in doing so.  Success attended his
efforts; the tide began to rise.

Seated in a miniature parlour, before a snug fire, in his cottage by the
sea, with one of the prettiest girls in all England by his side,
knitting him a pair of inimitable socks, the "beggar" opened his mouth
slowly and spake.

"Aileen," said he, "I've been a fool!"

Had Mr Hazlit said so to some of his cynical male friends they might
have tacitly admitted the fact, and softened the admission with a smile.
As it was, his auditor replied:--

"No, papa, you have _not_."

"Yes, my love, I have.  But I do not intend to prove the point or
dispute it.  There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the
ebb, leads on to fortune."

Aileen suspended her knitting and looked at her sire with some surprise,
for, being a very matter-of-fact unpoetical man, this misquotation
almost alarmed her.

"`Taken at the _flood_,' is it not, papa?"

"It may be so in Shakespeare's experience.  _I_ say the ebb.  When first
I was reduced to beggary--"

"You never were _that_, papa.  We have never yet had to beg."

"Of course, of course," said Mr Hazlit, with a motion of his hand to
forbid further interruption.  "When I say `beggary,' you know what I
mean.  I certainly do _not_ mean that I carry a wallet and a staff, and
wear ragged garments, and knock at backdoors.  Well, when I was reduced
to beggary, I had reached the lowest ebb.  At that time I was led--mark
me, I was led--to `take the tide.'  I took it, and have been rising with
the flood to fortune ever since.  And yet, strange to say, though I am
now rich in a way I never before dreamed of, I have still an insane
thirst for earthly gold.  What was the passage, dear, that you quoted to
me as being your text for the day?"

"`Owe no man anything,'" replied Aileen.

"Yes, it is curious.  I have never mentioned the subject to you, my
child, but some months ago--when, as I have said, the tide was very
low--I was led to consider that passage, and under the influence of it I
went to my creditors and delivered up to them your box of jewels.  You
are aware, no doubt, that having passed through the insolvency court,
and given up all that I possessed, I became legally free.  This box was
recovered from the deep, and restored to me after my effects had been
given up to my creditors, so that I might have retained it.  But I felt
that this would have been unjust.  I respect the law which, after a man
has given up all he possesses, sets him free to begin life again with
some degree of hope, but I cannot avoid coming to the conclusion that
moral duties cannot be abrogated by human laws.  I take advantage of the
law to prevent inhuman creditors from grinding me to death, but I refuse
to take advantage of the law so as to escape from the clear duty that I
ought to pay these creditors--gradually and according to my ability--to
the uttermost farthing.  Having been led to act on this opinion, I gave
up the box of jewels.  To my surprise, my creditors refused to take
them.  They returned them to me as a gift.  I accepted the gift as a
trust.  On the proceeds, as you see, we manage to live comfortably, and
I am now conducting a fairly successful business in the old line--on a
small scale."

Mr Hazlit smiled sadly as he uttered the last words.

"And the debts, papa, which you told me once were so heavy, do you mean
to pay them all?" asked Aileen, anxiously.

"I do," replied her father, earnestly; "by slow degrees it may be, but
to the last farthing if I live.  I shall try to owe no man anything."

A glad smile lit up Aileen's face as she was on the point of throwing
her arms round her father's neck, when the door opened, and a small
domestic--their only one besides the cook--put a letter into the hands
of her young mistress.

Aileen's countenance assumed a troubled look a she handed it to her

"It is for you, papa."

Mr Hazlit's visage also assumed an expression of anxiety as he opened
and read the letter.  It ran thus:--

  "Deer Sur,--i thinks it unkomon 'ard that a man shood 'ave is beed
  sold under im wen anuther man oas im munny, speshally wen is wifes
  ill--praps a-dyin--the Law has washt yoo sur, but it do seam 'ard on
  me, if yoo cood spair ony a pownd or two id taik it kind.--Yoors to
  komand, John Timms."

"This is very much to the point," said Mr Hazlit, with a faint smile,
handing the letter to Aileen.  "It is, as you see, from our old
green-grocer, who must indeed be in great trouble when he, who used to
be so particularly civil, could write in that strain to me.  Now,
Aileen, I want your opinion on a certain point.  In consequence of your
economical ways, my love, I find myself in a position to give fifty
pounds this half-year towards the liquidation of my debts."

The merchant paused, smiled, and absolutely looked a little confused.
The idea of commencing to liquidate many thousands of pounds by means of
fifty was so inexpressibly ridiculous, that he half expected to hear his
own respectful child laugh at him.  But Aileen did not laugh.  With her
large earnest eyes she looked at him, and the unuttered language of her
pursed, grave, little mouth was "Well, go on."

"The liquidation of my debts," repeated Mr Hazlit, firmly.  "The sum is
indeed a small one--a paltry one--compared with the amount of these
debts, but the passage which we have been considering appears to me to
leave no option, save to begin at once, even on the smallest possible
scale.  Now, my love, duty requires that I should at once begin to
liquidate.  Observe, the law of the land requires nothing.  It has set
me free, but the law of God requires that I should pay, at once, as I am
able.  Conscience echoes the law, and says, `pay.'  What, therefore, am
I to do?"

Mr Hazlit propounded this question with such an abrupt gaze as well as
tone of interrogation, that the little pursed mouth relaxed into a
little smile as it said, "I suppose you must divide the sum
proportionally among your creditors, or something of that sort."

"Just so," said Mr Hazlit, nodding approval.  "Now," he continued, with
much gravity, "if I were to make the necessary calculation--which, I may
remark, would be a question in proportion running into what I may be
allowed to style infinitesimal fractions--I would probably find out that
the proportion payable to one would be a shilling, to another half a
sovereign, to another a pound or so, while to many would accrue so small
a fraction of a farthing that no suitable coin of this realm could be
found wherewith to pay it.  If I were to go with, say two shillings, and
offer them to my good friend Granby as part payment of my debt to him,
the probability is that he would laugh in my face and invite me to
dinner in order that we might celebrate the event over a bottle of very
old port.  Don't you think so?"

Aileen laughed, and said that she did think so.

"Well, then," continued her father, "what, in these circumstances, says
common sense?"

Aileen's mouth became grave again, and her eyes very earnest as she said

"Pay off the green-grocer!"

Mr Hazlit nodded approval.  "You are right.  Mr Timms' account amounts
to twenty pounds.  To offer twenty pounds to Mr Granby--to whom I owe
some eight thousand, more or less--would be a poor practical joke.  To
give it to Mr Timms will evidently be the saving of his business at a
time when it appears to have reached a crisis.  Put on your bonnet and
shawl, dear, and we will go about this matter without delay."

Aileen was one of those girls who possessed the rare and delectable
capacity to "throw on" her bonnet and shawl.  One glance in the mirror
sufficed to convince her that these articles, although thrown on, had
fallen into their appropriate places neatly.  It could scarcely have
been otherwise.  Her bonnet and shawl took kindly to her, like all other
things in nature--animate and otherwise.  She reappeared before her
sedate father had quite finished drawing on his gloves.

Mr John Timms dwelt in a back lane which wriggled out of a back street
as if it were anxious to find something still further back into which to
back itself.  He had been in better circumstances and in a better part
of the town when Mr Hazlit had employed him.  At the time of the rich
merchant's failure, the house of Timms had been in a shaky condition.
That failure was the removal of its last prop; it fell, and Timms
retired, as we have seen, into the commercial background.  Here,
however, he did not find relief.  Being a trustful man he was cheated
until he became untrustful.  His wife became ill owing to bad air and
low diet.  His six children became unavoidably neglected and riotous,
and his business, started on the wreck of the old one, again came to the
brink of failure.  It was in these circumstances that he sat down, under
the impulse of a fit of desperation, and penned the celebrated letter to
his old customer.

When Mr Hazlit and his daughter had, with great difficulty, discovered
Mr Timms' residence and approached the door, they were checked on the
threshold by the sound of men apparently in a state of violent
altercation within.

"Git out wid ye, an' look sharp, you spalpeen," cried one of the voices.

"Oh, pray don't--don't fight!" cried a weak female voice.

"No, I won't git out till I'm paid, or carry your bed away with me,"
cried a man's voice, fiercely.

"You won't, eh!  Arrah then--hup!"

The last sound, which is not describable, was immediately followed by
the sudden appearance of a man, who flew down the passage as if from a
projectile, and went headlong into the kennel.  He was followed closely
by Rooney Machowl, who dealt the man as he rose a sounding slap on the
right cheek, which would certainly have tumbled him over again had it
not been followed by an equally sounding slap on the left cheek, which
"brought him up all standing."

Catching sight at that moment of Mr Hazlit and Aileen, Rooney stopped
short and stood confused.

"Murder!" shrieked the injured man.

"Hooray!  Here's a lark!" screamed a small street-boy.

"Go it!  Plice!  A skrimmage!" yelled another street-boy in an ecstasy
of delight, which immediately drew to the spot the nucleus of a crowd.

Mr Hazlit was a man of promptitude.  He was also a large man, as we
have elsewhere said, and by no means devoid of courage.  Dropping his
daughter's arm he suddenly seized the ill-used and noisy man by the
neck, and thrust him almost as violently back into the green-grocer's
house as Rooney had kicked him out of it.  He then said, "Go in," to the
amazed Rooney, and dragging his no less astonished child in along with
him, shut and locked the door.

"Now," said Mr Hazlit, sitting down on a broken chair in a very shabby
little room, and wiping his heated brow, "what is the meaning of all
this, Mr Timms?"

"Well, sir," answered Timms, with a deprecatory air, "I'm sorry, sir, it
should 'ave 'appened just w'en you was a-goin' to favour me with the
unexpected honour of a wisit; but the truth is, sir, I couldn't 'elp it.
This 'ere sc--man is my landlord, sir, an' 'e _wouldn't_ wait another
day for 'is rent, sir, though I told 'im he was pretty sure o' 'avin it
in a week or so, w'en I 'ad time to c'lect my outstandin' little

"More nor that, sur," burst in the impatient and indignant Rooney, "he
would 'ave gone into that there room, sur,--if I may miscall a dark
closet by that name--an' 'ave pulled the bed out from under Mrs Timms,
who's a-dyin', sur, if I 'adn't chanced to come in, sur, an' kick the
spalpeen into the street, as you see'd."

"For w'ich you'll smart yet," growled the landlord, who stood in a
dishevelled heap like a bad boy in a corner.

"How much rent does he owe you?" asked Mr Hazlit of the landlord.

"That's no business o' yours," replied the man, sulkily.

"If I were to offer to pay it, perhaps you'd allow that it _was_ my

"So I will _w'en_ you offers."

"Well, then, I offer now," said Mr Hazlit, taking out his purse, and
pouring a little stream of sovereigns into his hand.  "Have you the
receipt made out?"

The landlord made no reply, but, with a look of wonder at his
interrogator, drew a small piece of dirty paper from his pocket and held
it out.  Mr Hazlit examined it carefully from beginning to end.

"Is this right, Mr Timms?" he asked.

The green-grocer examined the paper, and said it was--that five pounds
was the exact amount.

"You can put the receipt in your pocket," said Mr Hazlit, turning round
and counting out five sovereigns on the table, which he pushed towards
the landlord.  "Now, take yourself off, as quietly as you can, else I'll
have you taken up and tried for entering a man's premises forcibly, and
endeavouring to obtain money by intimidation.  Go!"

This was a bold stroke on the part of the merchant, whose legal
knowledge was not extensive, but it succeeded.  The landlord pocketed
the money and moved towards the door.  Rooney Machowl followed him.

"Rooney!" said Mr Hazlit, calling him back.

"Mayn't I show him out, sur?" said Rooney, earnestly.

"By no means."

"Ah, sur, mayn't I give him a farewell kick?"

"Certainly not."

Mr Hazlit then expressed a desire to see Mrs Timms, and the
green-grocer, thanking the merchant fervently for his timely aid,
lighted a candle and led the way into the dark closet.

Poor Mrs Timms, a delicate-looking woman, not yet forty, who had
evidently been pretty once, lay on a miserable bed, apparently at the
point of death.

Aileen glided quickly to the bed, sat down on it, and took the woman's
hand, while she bent over her and whispered:--

"Don't be distressed.  The rent is paid.  He will disturb you no more.
You shall be quiet now, and I will come to see you sometimes, if you'll
let me."

The woman gazed at the girl with surprise, then, as she felt the gentle
warm pressure of her hand a sudden rush of faith seemed to fill her
soul.  She drew Aileen towards her, and looked earnestly into her face.

"Come here, Timms," said Mr Hazlit, abruptly, as he turned round and
walked out of the closet, "I want to speak to you.  I am no doctor, but
depend upon it your wife will _not_ die.  There is a very small
building--quite a hut I may say--near my house--ahem!  Near my cottage
close to the sea, which is at present to let.  I advise you strongly to
take that hut and start a green-grocery there.  I'm not aware that there
is one in the immediate neighbourhood, and there are many respectable
families about whose custom you might doubtless count on; at all events,
you would be sure of ours to begin with.  The sea-air would do your wife
a world of good, and the sea-beach would be an agreeable and extensive
playground for your children."

The green-grocer stood almost aghast!  The energy with which Mr Hazlit
poured out his words, and, as it seemed to Timms, the free and easy
magnificence of his ideas were overpowering.

"W'y, sir, I ain't got no money to do sitch a thing with," he said at
last, with a broad grin.

"Yes, you have," said Mr Hazlit, again pulling out his purse and
emptying its golden contents on the table in a little heap, from which
he counted fifteen sovereigns.  "My debt to you amounts, I believe, to
twenty pounds; five I have just paid to your landlord, here is the
balance.  You needn't mind a receipt.  Send me the discharged account at
your leisure, and think over what I have suggested.  Aileen, my dear, we
will go now."

Aileen said good-night at once to the sick woman and followed her father
as he went out, repeating--"Good-evening, Timms, think over my

They walked slowly home without speaking.  Soon they reached the cottage
by the sea.  As they stood under the trellis-work porch the merchant
turned round and gazed at the sun, which was just dipping into the
horizon, flooding sea and sky with golden glory.

"Aileen," he said in a low voice, "I have commenced life at last--life
in earnest.  I was a poor fool once.  Through grace I am a rich man



On a certain cold, raw, bleak, biting, bitter day in November, our hero
found himself comfortably situated at the bottom of the sea.

We say `comfortably' advisedly and comparatively, for, as compared with
the men whose duty it was to send air down to him, Edgar Berrington was
in a state of decided comfort.  Above water nought was to be seen but a
bleak, rocky, forbidding coast, a grey sky with sleet driving across it,
and an angry indigo sea covered with white wavelets.  Nothing was to be
felt but a stiff cutting breeze, icy particles in the air, and cold
blood in the veins.  Below water all was calm and placid; groves of
sea-weed delighted the eye; patches of yellow sand invited to a siesta;
the curiously-twisted and smashed-up remains of a wreck formed a subject
of interesting contemplation, while a few wandering crabs, and an
erratic lobster or two, gave life and variety to the scene, while the
temperature, if not warm, was at all events considerably milder than
that overhead.  In short, strange though it may seem, Edgar was in
rather an enviable position than otherwise, on that bleak November day.

Some two years or so previous to the day to which we refer, Edgar, with
his diving friends, had returned to England.  Mr Hazlit had preceded
them by a month.  But Edgar did not seek him out.  He had set a purpose
before him, and meant to stick to it.  He had made up his mind not to go
near Aileen again until he had made for himself a position, and secured
a steady income which would enable him to offer her a home at least
equal to that in which she now dwelt.

Mr Hazlit rather wondered that the young engineer never made his
appearance at the cottage by the sea, but, coming to the conclusion that
his passion had cooled, he consoled himself with the thought that, after
all, he was nearly penniless, and that it was perhaps as well that he
had sheered off.

Aileen also wondered, but _she_ did not for a moment believe that his
love had cooled, being well aware that that was an impossibility.  Still
she was perplexed, for although the terms on which they stood to each
other did not allow of correspondence, she thought, sometimes, that he
_might_ have written to her father--if only to ask how they were after
their adventures in the China seas.

Miss Pritty--to whom Aileen confided her troubles--came nearer the mark
than either of them.  She conceived, and stoutly maintained, that Edgar
had gone abroad to seek his fortune, and meant to return and marry
Aileen when he had made it.

Edgar, however, had not gone abroad.  He had struck out a line of life
for himself, and had prosecuted it during these two years with untiring
energy.  He had devoted himself to submarine engineering, and, having an
independent spirit, he carved his way very much as a freelance.  At
first he devoted himself to studying the subject, and ere long there was
not a method of raising a sunken vessel, of building a difficult
breakwater, of repairing a complicated damage to a pier, or a well, or
anything else subaqueous, with which he was not thoroughly acquainted,
and in regard to which he had not suggested or carried out bold and
novel plans and improvements, both in regard to the machinery employed
and the modes of action pursued.

After a time he became noted for his success in undertaking difficult
works, and at last employed a staff of divers to do the work, while he
chiefly superintended.  Joe Baldwin became his right-hand man and
constant attendant.  Rooney and Maxwell, preferring steadier and less
adventurous work, got permanent employment on the harbour improvements
of their own seaport town.

Thus engaged, Edgar and his man Joe visited nearly all the wild places
round the stormy shores of Great Britain and Ireland.  They raised many
ships from the bottom of the sea that had been pronounced by other
engineers to be hopelessly lost.  They laid foundations of piers and
breakwaters in places where old Ocean had strewn wrecks since the
foundation of the world.  They cleared passages by blasting and
levelling rocks whose stern crests had bid defiance to winds and waves
for ages, and they recovered cargoes that had been given up for years to
Neptune's custody.  In short, wherever a difficult submarine operation
had to be undertaken, Edgar Berrington and his man Joe, with, perhaps, a
gang of divers under them, were pretty sure to be asked to undertake it.

The risk, we need scarcely say, was often considerable; hence the
remuneration was good, and both Edgar and his man speedily acquired a
considerable sum of money.

At the end of two years, the former came to the conclusion that he had a
sufficient sum at his credit in the bank to warrant a visit to the
cottage by the sea; and it was when this idea had grown into a fixed
intention that he found himself, as we have mentioned, in rather
comfortable circumstances at the bottom of the sea.

The particular part of the bottom lay off the west coast of England.
Joe and a gang of men were hard at work on a pier when Edgar went down.
He carried a slate and piece of pencil with him.  The bottom was not
very deep down.  There was sufficient light to enable him to find his
man easily.

Joe was busy laying a large stone in its bed.  When he raised his burly
form, after fixing the stone, Edgar stepped forward, and, touching him
on the shoulder, held out the slate, whereon was written in a bold
running hand:--

"Joe, I'm going off to get engaged, and after that, as soon as possible,
to be married."

Through the window of his helmet, Joe looked at his employer with an
expression of pleased surprise.  Then he took the slate, obliterated the
information on it, and printed in an equally bold, but very sprawly

"Indeed?  I wish you joy, sir."

Thereupon Edgar took the slate and wrote:--

"Thank you, Joe.  Now, I leave you in charge.  Keep a sharp eye on the
men--especially on that lazy fellow who has a tendency to sleep and
shirk duty.  If the rock in the fair-way is got ready before my return,
blast it at once, without waiting for me.  You will find one of Siebe
and Gorman's voltaic batteries in my lodging, also a frictional
electrical machine, which you can use if you prefer it.  In the store
there is a large supply of tin-cases for gunpowder and compressed
gun-cotton charges.  There also you will find one of Heinke and Davis's
magneto-electric exploders.  I leave it entirely to your own judgment
which apparatus to use.  All sorts are admirable in their way; quite
fresh, and in good working order.  Have you anything to say to me before
I go?"

"All right, sir," replied Joe, in his sprawly hand; "I'll attend to
orders.  When do you start, and when do you expect to be back?"

"I start immediately.  The day of my return is uncertain, but I'll write
to you."

Rubbing this out, Joe wrote:--

"You'll p'r'aps see my old 'ooman, sir.  If you do, just give her my
respects, an' say the last pair o' divin' drawers she knitted for me was
fust-rate.  Tightish, if anything, round the waist, but a bit o'
rope-yarn putt that all right--they're warm an' comfortable.  Good-bye,
I wish you joy again, sir."

"Good-bye," replied Edgar.

It was impossible that our hero could follow his inclination, and nod
with his stiff-necked iron head-piece at parting.  He therefore made the
motion of kissing his hand to his trusty man, and giving the requisite
signal, spread his arms like a pair of wings, and flew up to the realms
of light!

Joe grinned broadly, and made the motion of kissing his hand to the
ponderous soles of his employer's leaden boots as they passed him, then,
turning to the granite masonry at his side, he bent down and resumed his

Arrived at the region of atmospheric air, Edgar Berrington clambered on
board the attending vessel, took off his amphibious clothing, and
arrayed himself in the ordinary habiliments of a gentleman, after which
he went ashore, gave some instructions to the keeper of his lodgings,
ordered his horse, galloped to the nearest railway station, flashed a
telegraphic message to Miss Pritty to expect to see him that evening,
and soon found himself rushing at forty miles an hour, away from the
scene of his recent labours.

Receiving a telegraph envelope half-an-hour later, Miss Pritty turned
pale, laid it on the table, sank on the sofa, shut her eyes, and
attempted to reduce the violent beating of her heart, by pressing her
left side tightly with both hands.

"It _must_ be death!--or accident!" she murmured faintly to herself, for
she happened to be alone at the time.

Poor Miss Pritty had no near relations in the world except Edgar, and
therefore there was little or no probability that any one would
telegraph to her in connection with accident or death, nevertheless she
entertained such an unconquerable horror of a telegram, that the mere
sight of the well-known envelope, with its large-type title, gave her a
little shock; the reception of one was almost too much for her.

After suffering tortures for about as long a time as the telegram had
taken to reach her, she at last summoned courage to open the envelope.

The first words, "Edgar Berrington," induced a little scream of alarm.
The next, "to Miss Pritty," quieted her a little.  When, however, she
learned that instead of being visited by news of death and disaster, she
was merely to be visited by her nephew that same evening, all anxiety
vanished from her speaking countenance, and was replaced by a mixture of
surprise and amusement.  Then she sat down on the sofa--from which, in
her agitation, she had risen--and fell into a state of perplexity.

"Now I _do_ wish," she said, aloud, "that Eddy had had the sense to tell
me whether I am to let his friends the Hazlits know of his impending
visit.  Perhaps he telegraphed to me on purpose to give me time to call
and prepare them for his arrival.  On the other hand, perhaps he wishes
to take them by surprise.  It may be that he is not on good terms with
Mr Hazlit, and intends to use me as a go-between.  What _shall_ I do?"

As her conscience was not appealed to in the matter, it gave no reply to
the question; having little or no common sense to speak of, she could
scarcely expect much of an answer from that part of her being.  At last
she made up her mind, and, according to a habit induced by a life of
solitude, expressed it to the fireplace.

"Yes, that's what I'll do.  I shall wait till near the time of the
arrival of the last train, and then go straight off to Sea Cottage to
spend the evening, leaving a message that if any one should call in my
absence I am to be found there.  This will give him an excuse, if he
wants one, for calling, and if he does not want an excuse he can remain
here till my return.  I'll have the fire made up, and tell my domestic
to offer tea to any one who should chance to call."

Miss Pritty thought it best, on the whole, to give an ambiguous order
about the tea to her small domestic, for she knew that lively creature
to be a compound of inquisitiveness and impudence, and did not choose to
tell her who it was that she expected to call.  She was very emphatic,
however, in impressing on the small domestic the importance of being
very civil and attentive, and of offering tea, insomuch that the child
protested with much fervour that she would be _sure_ to attend to

This resulted in quite an evening's amusement to the small domestic.

After Miss Pritty had gone out, the first person who chanced to call was
the spouse of Mr Timms, the green-grocer, who had obviously recovered
from her illness.

"Is Miss Pritty at 'ome?" she asked.

"No, ma'am, she ain't, she's hout," answered the small domestic.

"Ah!  Well, it don't much matter.  I on'y called to leave this 'ere
little present of cabbidges an' cawliflowers--with Mr Timms' kind
compliments and mine.  She's been wery kind to us, 'as Miss Pritty, an'
we wishes to acknowledge it."

"Please, ma'am," said the domestic with a broad smile, as she took the
basket of vegetables, "would you like a cup of tea?"

"What d'you mean, girl?" asked the green-grocer's wife in surprise.

"Please, ma'am, Miss Pritty told me to be sure to offer you a cup of

"Did she, indeed?  That's was wery kind of her, wery kind, though 'ow
she come for to know I was a-goin' to call beats my comprehension.
'Owever, tell her I'm greatly obleeged to her, but 'avin 'ad tea just
afore comin' out, an' bein' chock-full as I can 'old, I'd rather not.
Best thanks, all the same."

Mrs Timms went away deeply impressed with Miss Pritty's thoughtful
kindness, and the small domestic, shutting the door, indulged in a fit
of that species of suppressed laughter which is usually indicated by a
series of spurts through the top of the nose and the compressed lips.

She was suddenly interrupted by a tap at the knocker.

Allowing as many minutes to elapse as she thought would have sufficed
for her ascent from the kitchen, she once more opened the door.  It was
only a beggar--a ragged disreputable man--and she was about to shut the
door in his face, with that summary politeness so well understood by
servant girls, when a thought struck her.

"Oh, sir," she said, "would you like a cup of tea?"

The man evidently thought he was being made game of, for his face
assumed such a threatening aspect that the small domestic incontinently
shut the door with a sudden bang.  The beggar amused himself by
battering it with his stick for five minutes and then went away.

The next visitor was a lady.

"Is Miss Pritty at home, child?" she asked, regarding the domestic with
a half-patronising, half-pitying air.

"No, ma'am, she's hout."

"Oh!  That's a pity," said the lady, taking a book out of her pocket.
"Will you tell her that I called for her subscription to the new
hospital that is about to be built in the town?  Your mistress does not
know me personally, but she knows all about the hospital, and this book,
which I shall call for to-morrow, will speak for itself.  Be sure you
give it to her, child."

"Yes, ma'am.  And, please, ma'am, would you like a cup of tea?"

The lady, who happened to possess a majestic pair of eyes, looked so
astonished that the small domestic could scarcely contain herself.

"Are you deranged, child?" asked the lady.

"No, ma'am, if you please; but Miss Pritty told me to be sure to offer
you a cup."

"To offer _me_ a cup, child!"

"Yes, ma'am.  At least to offer a cup to any one who should call."

It need scarcely be added that the lady declined the tea, and went away,
observing to herself in an undertone, that "she _must_ be deranged."

The small domestic again shut the door and spurted.

It was in her estimation quite a rare, delicious, and novel species of
fun.  To one whose monotonous life was spent underground, with a
prospect of bricks at two feet from her window, and in company with
pots, pans, potato-peelings, and black-beetles, it was as good as a
scene in a play.

The next visitor was the butcher's boy, who came round to take "orders"
for the following day.  This boy had a tendency to chaff.

"Well, my lady, has your ladyship any orders?"

"Nothink to-day," answered the domestic, curtly.

"What!  Nothink at all?  Goin' to fast to-morrow, eh?  Or to live on
stooed hatmospheric hair with your own sauce for gravey--hey?"

"No, we doesn't want nothink," repeated the domestic, stoutly.  "Missus
said so, an' she bid me ask you if you'd like a cup of tea?"

The butcher's boy opened his mouth and eyes in amazement.  To have his
own weapons thus turned, as he thought, against him by one who was
usually rather soft and somewhat shy of him, took him quite aback.  He
recovered, however, quickly, and made a rush at the girl, who, as
before, attempted to shut the door with a bang, but the boy was too
sharp for her.  His foot prevented her succeeding, and there is no doubt
that in another moment he would have forcibly entered the house, if he
had not been seized from behind by the collar in the powerful grasp of
Edgar Berrington, who sent him staggering into the street.  The boy did
not wait for more.  With a wild-Indian war-whoop he turned and fled.

Excited, and, to some extent, exasperated by this last visit, the small
domestic received Edgar with a one-third timid, one-third gleeful, and
one-third reckless spirit.

"What did the boy mean?" asked Edgar, as he turned towards her.

"Please, sir, 'e wouldn't 'ave a cup of tea, sir," she replied meekly,
then, with a gleam of hope in her eyes--"Will _you_ 'ave one, sir?"

"You're a curious creature," answered Edgar, with a smile.  "Is Miss
Pritty at home?"

"No, sir, she ain't."

This answer appeared to surprise and annoy him.

"Very odd," he said, with a little frown.  "Did she not expect me?"

"No, sir, I think she didn't.  Leastways she didn't say as she did, but
she was very partikler in tellin' me to be sure to hoffer you a cup of

Edgar looked at the small domestic, and, as he looked, his mouth
expanded.  _Her_ mouth followed suit, and they both burst into a fit of
laughter.  After a moment or two the former recovered.

"This is all very pleasant, no doubt," he said, "but it is uncommonly
awkward.  Did she say when she would be home?"

"No, sir, she didn't, but she bid me say if any one wanted her, that
they'd find her at Sea Cottage."

"At Sea Cottage--who lives there?"

"I don't know, sir."

"Where is it?"

"On the sea-shore, sir."

"Which way--_this_ way or _that_ way?" asked Edgar, pointing right and

"_That_ way," answered the girl, pointing left.

The impatient youth turned hastily to leave.

"Please, sir--" said the domestic.

"Well," said Edgar, stopping.

"You're sure, sir--" she stopped.

"Well?--go on."

"That you wouldn't like to 'ave a cup of tea?"

"Child," said Edgar, as he turned finally away, "you're mad--as mad as a
March hare."

"Thank you, sir."

The small domestic shut the door and retired to the regions below,
where, taking the pots and pans and black-beetles into her confidence,
she shrieked with delight for full ten minutes, and hugged herself.



When Edgar Berrington discovered the cottage by the sea, and ascertained
that Miss Pritty was within, he gave his name, and was ushered into the
snug little room under the name of Mr Briggington.  Aileen gave a
particularly minute, but irrepressible and quite inaudible scream; Mr
Hazlit sat bolt up in his chair, as if he had seen a ghost; and Miss
Pritty--feeling, somehow, that her diplomacy had not become a brilliant
success--shrank within herself, and wished it were to-morrow.

Their various expressions, however, were as nothing compared with
Edgar's blazing surprise.

"Mr Hazlit," he stammered, "pray pardon my sudden intrusion at so
unseasonable an hour; but, really, I was not aware that--did you not get
my telegram, aunt?"

He turned abruptly to Miss Pritty.

"Why ye-es, but I thought that you--in fact--I could not imagine that--"

"Never mind explanations just now," said Mr Hazlit, recovering himself,
and rising with a bland smile, "you are welcome, Mr Berrington; no hour
is unseasonable for one to whom we owe so much."

They shook hands and laughed; then Edgar shook hands with Aileen and
blushed, no doubt because _she_ blushed, then he saluted his aunt, and
took refuge in being very particular about her receipt of the telegram.
This threw Miss Pritty into a state of unutterable confusion, because of
her efforts to tell the truth and conceal the truth at one and the same
time.  After this they spent a very happy evening together, during the
course of which Mr Hazlit took occasion to ask Edgar to accompany him
into a little pigeon-hole of a room which, in deference to a few books
that dwelt there, was styled the library.

"Mr Berrington," he said, sitting down and pointing to a chair, "be
seated.  I wish to have a little private conversation with you.  We are
both practical men, and know the importance of thoroughly understanding
each other.  When I saw you last--now about two years ago--you indicated
some disposition to--to regard--in fact to pay your addresses to my
daughter.  At that time I objected to you on the ground that you were
penniless.  Whether right or wrong in that objection is now a matter of
no importance, because it turns out that I was right on other grounds,
as I now find that you did not know your own feelings, and did not care
for her--"

"Did not _care_ for her?" interrupted Edgar, in sudden amazement, not
unmingled with indignation.

"Of course," continued Mr Hazlit, with undisturbed calmness, "I mean
that you did not care for her sufficiently; that you did not regard her
with that unconquerable affection which is usually styled `love', and
without which no union can be a happy one.  The proof to me that your
feeling towards her was evanescent, lies in the fact that you have taken
no notice either of her or of me for two years.  Had you gained my
daughter's affections, this might have caused me deep regret, but as she
has seldom mentioned your name since we last saw you, save when I
happened to refer to you, I perceive that her heart has been untouched--
for which I feel exceedingly thankful, knowing as I do, only too well,
that we cannot command our affections."

Mr Hazlit paused a moment, and Edgar was so thunderstruck by the
unexpected nature of his host's discourse, that he could only stare at
him in mute surprise and unbelief in the evidence of his own ears.

"Now," resumed Mr Hazlit, "as things stand, I shall be very happy
indeed that we should return to our old intimacy.  I can never forget
the debt of obligation we owe to you as our rescuer from worse than
death--from slavery among brutalised men, and I shall be very happy
indeed that you should make my little cottage by the sea--as Aileen
loves to style it--your abode whenever business or pleasure call you to
this part of the country."

The merchant extended his hand with a smile of genuine urbanity.  The
youth took it, mechanically shook it, let it fall, and continued to
stare in a manner that made Mr Hazlit feel quite uneasy.  Suddenly he
recovered, and, looking the latter earnestly in the face, said:--

"Mr Hazlit, did you not, two years ago, forbid me to enter your

"True, true," replied the other somewhat disconcerted; "but the events
which have occurred since that time warranted your considering that
order as cancelled."

"But you did not _say_ it was cancelled.  Moreover your first objection
still remained, for I was nearly penniless then, although, in the good
providence of God, I am comparatively rich now.  I therefore resolved to
obey your injunctions, sir, and keep away from your house and from your
daughter's distracting influence, until I could return with a few of
those pence, which you appear to consider so vitally important."

"Mr Berrington," exclaimed the old gentleman, who was roused by this
hit, "you mistake me.  My opinions in regard to wealth have been
considerably changed of late.  But my daughter does not love you, and if
you were as rich as Croesus, sir, you should not have her hand without
her heart."

Mr Hazlit said this stoutly, and, just as stoutly, Edgar replied:--

"If I were as rich as Croesus, sir, I would not _accept_ her hand
without her heart; but, Mr Hazlit, I am richer than Croesus!"

"What do you mean, sir?"

"I mean that I am rich in the possession of that which a world's wealth
could not purchase--your daughter's affections."

"Impossible!  Mr Berrington, your passion urges you to deceive

"You will believe what she herself says, I suppose?" asked Edgar,
plunging his hand into a breast-pocket.

"Of course I will."

"Well then, listen," said the youth, drawing out a small three-cornered
note.  "A good many months ago, when I found my business to be in a
somewhat flourishing condition, I ventured to write to Aileen, telling
her of my circumstances, of my unalterable love, and expressing a wish
that she would write me at least one letter to give me hope that the
love, which she, allowed me to _understand_ was in her breast _before_
you forbade our intercourse, still continued.  This," he added, handing
the three-cornered note to the old gentleman, "is her reply."

Mr Hazlit took the note, and, with a troubled countenance, read:--

  "Dear Mr Berrington,--I am not sure that I am right in replying to
  you without my father's knowledge, and only prevail on myself to do so
  because I intend that our correspondence shall go no further, and what
  I shall say will, I know, be in accordance with his sentiments.  My
  feelings towards you remain unchanged.  We cannot command feelings,
  but I consider the duty I owe to my dear father to be superior to my
  feelings, and I am resolved to be guided by his expressed wishes as
  long as I remain under his roof.  He has forbidden me to have any
  intercourse with you: I will therefore obey until he sanctions a
  change of conduct.  Even this brief note should not have been written
  were it not that it would be worse than rude to take no notice of a
  letter from one who has rendered us such signal service, and whom I
  shall never forget.--Yours sincerely, Aileen Hazlit."

The last sentence--"and whom I shall never forget"--had been carefully
scribbled out, but Edgar had set himself to work, with the care and
earnest application of an engineer and a lover, to decipher the words.

"Dear child!" exclaimed Mr Hazlit, in a fit of abstraction, kissing the
note; "this accounts for her never mentioning him;" then, recovering
himself, and turning abruptly and sternly to Edgar, he said:--"How did
you dare, sir, to write to her after my express prohibition?"

"Well," replied Edgar, "some allowance ought to be made for a lover's
anxiety to know how matters stood, and I fully intended to follow up my
letter to her with one to you; but I confess that I did wrong--"

"No, sir, no," cried Mr Hazlit, abruptly starting up and grasping
Edgar's hand, which he shook violently, "you did _not_ do wrong.  You
did quite right, sir.  I would have done the same myself in similar

So saying, Mr Hazlit, feeling that he was compromising his dignity,
shook Edgar's hand again, and hastened from the room.  He met Aileen
descending the staircase.  Brushing past her, he went into his bed-room,
and shut and locked the door.

Much alarmed by such an unwonted display of haste and feeling, Aileen
ran into the library.

"Oh!  Mr Berrington, what _is_ the matter with papa?"

"If you will sit down beside me, Aileen," said Edgar, earnestly,
tenderly, and firmly, taking her hand, "I will tell you."

Aileen blushed, stammered, attempted to draw back, but was constrained
to comply.  Edgar, on the contrary, was as cool as a cucumber.  He had
evidently availed himself of his engineering knowledge, and fitted extra
weights of at least seven thousand tons to the various safety-valves of
his feelings.

"Your father," he began, looking earnestly into the girl's down-cast
face, "is--"

But hold!  Reader; we must not go on.  If you are a boy, you won't mind
what followed; if a girl, you have no right to pry into such matters.
We therefore beg leave at this point to shut the lids of our dexter eye,
and drop the curtain.



One day Joe Baldwin, assisted by his old friend, Rooney Machowl, was
busily engaged down at the bottom of the sea, off the Irish coast,
slinging a box of gold specie.  He had given the signal to haul up, and
Rooney had moved away to put slings round another box, when the chain to
which the gold was suspended snapt, and the box descended on Joe.  If it
had hit him on the back in its descent it would certainly have killed
him, but it only hit his collar-bone and broke it.

Joe had just time to give four pulls on his lines, and then fainted.  He
was instantly hauled up, carefully unrobed, and put to bed.

This was a turning-point in our diver's career.  The collar-bone was all
right in the course of a month or two, but Mrs Baldwin positively
refused to allow her goodman to go under water again.

"The little fortin' you made out in Chiny," she said one evening while
seated with her husband at supper in company with Rooney and his wife,
"pays for our rent, an' somethin' over.  You're a handy man, and can do
a-many things to earn a penny, and I can wash enough myself to keep us
both.  You've bin a 'ard workin' man, Joe, for many a year.  You've bin
long enough under water.  You'll git rheumatiz, or somethin' o' that
sort, if you go on longer, so I'm resolved that you shan't do it--

"Molly, cushla!" said Machowl, in a modest tone, "I hope you won't clap
a stopper on my goin' under water for some time yit--plaze."

Molly laughed.

"Oh!  It's all very well for you to poke fun at me, Mister Machowl,"
said Mrs Baldwin, "but you're young yet, an' my Joe's past his prime.
When you've done as much work as he's done--there now, you've done it at
last.  I told you so."

This last remark had reference to the fact that young Teddy Machowl,
having been over-fed by his father, had gone into a stiff
blue-in-the-face condition that was alarming to say the least of it.
Mrs Machowl dashed at her offspring, and, giving him an unmerciful
thump on the back, effected the ejection of a mass of beef which had
been the cause of the phenomena.

"What a bu'ster it is--the spalpeen," observed Rooney, with a smile, as
he resumed the feeding process, much to Teddy's delight; "you'll niver
do for a diver if you give way to appleplectic tendencies o' that sort.
Here--open your mouth wide and shut your eyes."

"Well, well, it'll only be brought in manslaughter, so he won't swing
for it," remarked Mrs Baldwin, with a shrug of her shoulders.  "Now,
Joe," she continued, turning to her husband, "you'll begin at once to
look out for a situation above water.  David Maxwell can finish the job
you had in hand,--speakin' of that, does any one know where David is
just now?"

"He's down at the bottom of a gasometer," answered Joe; "leastwise he
was there this afternoon--an' a dirty place it is."

"A bad-smellin' job that, I should think," observed Rooney.

"Well, it ain't a sweet-smellin' one," returned Joe.  "He's an
adventurous man is David.  I don't believe there's any hole of dirty
water or mud on the face o' this earth that he wouldn't go down to the
bottom of if he was dared to it.  He's fond of speculatin' too, ever
since that trip to the China seas.  You must know, Mrs Rooney, if your
husband hasn't told you already, that we divers, many of us, have our
pet schemes for makin' fortunes, and some of us have tried to come
across the Spanish dubloons that are said to lie on the sea-bottom off
many parts of our coast where the Armada was lost."

"It's jokin' ye are," said Mrs Machowl, looking at Joe with a sly
twinkle in her pretty eyes.

"Jokin'!  No, indeed, I ain't," rejoined the diver.  "Did Rooney never
tell ye about the Spanish Armada?"

"Och!  He's bin sayin' somethin' about it now an' again, but he's such a
man for blarney that I never belave more nor half he says."

"Sure ain't that the very raison I tell ye always at laste twice as much
as I know?" said Rooney, lighting his pipe.

"Well, my dear," continued Joe, "the short an' the long of it is, that
about the year 1588, the Spaniards sent off a huge fleet of big ships to
take Great Britain and Ireland by storm--once for all--and have done
with it, but Providence had work for Britain to do, and sent a series o'
storms that wrecked nearly the whole Spanish fleet on our shores.  Many
of these vessels had plenty of gold dubloons on board, so when divin'
bells and dresses were invented, men began to try their hands at fishin'
it up, and, sure enough, some of it was actually found and brought up--
especially off the shores of the island of Mull, in Scotland.  They even
went the length of forming companies in this country, and in Holland,
for the purpose of recovering treasure from wrecks.  Well, ever since
then, up to the present time, there have been speculative men among
divers, who have kept on tryin' their hands at it.  Some have succeeded;
others have failed.  David Maxwell is one of the lucky ones for the most
part, and even when luck fails, he never comes by any loss, for he's a
hard-workin' man, an' keeps a tight hold of whatever he makes, whether
by luck or by labour."

"But what about the bad-smellin' job he's got on hand just now?" asked

"Why, he's repairin' the bottom of a gas tank.  He got the job through
recoverin' some gold watches that were thrown into the Thames by some
thieves, as they were bein' chased over London Bridge.  David found ten
of 'em--one bein' worth fifty pounds.  Well, just at that time an
experienced and hardy fellow was wanted for the gas-work business, so
David was recommended.  You know a gas tank, as to look an' smell, is
horrible enough to frighten a hippopotamus, but David went up to the
edge of this tank by a ladder, and jumped in as cool as if he'd bin
jumpin' into a bed with clean sheets.  He stopped down five hours.  Of
course, in such filthy water, a light would have been useless.  He had
to do it all by feelin', nevertheless, they say, he made a splendid job
of it,--the bed of clay and puddle, at the bottom, bein' smoothed as
flat a'most as a billiard table,--besides fixin' sixteen iron-plates for
the gas-holder to rest on.  He was to finish the job this afternoon, I
believe."  [See Note 1.]

"Ah, he's a cute feller is David," observed Rooney, reflectively, as he
watched a ring of smoke that rose from his pipe towards the ceiling.
"What d'ee intind to turn your hand to if you give up divin', Joe?"

"If!" said Mrs Baldwin, with a peculiar intonation.

"Well, _when_ you give it up," said Rooney, with a bland smile.

"I'm not rightly sure," replied Joe.  "In the first place, I'll watch
for the leadings of Providence, for without that, I cannot expect
success.  Then I'll go and see Mr Berrington, who has just returned,
they say, from his wedding trip.  My own wish is to become a sort of
missionary among the poor people hereabouts."

"Why, Joe," said his friend, "you've bin that, more or less, for years

"Ay, at odd times," returned Joe, "but I should like to devote _all_ my
time to it now."

In pursuance of his plan the ex-diver went the following morning to the
sea-shore, and walked in the direction of Sea Cottage, following the
road that bordered the sands.

Near to that cottage, about two hundred yards from it, stood a small but
very pretty villa.  Joe knew its name to be Sea-beach Villa, and
understood that it was the abode of his former master and friend, Edgar
Berrington.  There was a lovely garden in front, full to overflowing
with flowers of every name and hue, and trellis-work bowers here and
there, covered with jessamine and honeysuckle.  A sea-shell walk led to
the front door.  Up this walk the diver sauntered, and applied the

The door was promptly opened by a very small, sharp-eyed domestic.

"Is your master at home, my dear?" asked Joe, kindly.

"I ain't got no master," replied the girl.

"No!" returned Joe, in some surprise.  "Your missus then?"

"My missus don't live 'ere.  I'm on'y loaned to this 'ouse," said the
small domestic; "loaned by Miss Pritty for two days, till they find a
servant gal for themselves."

"Oh!" said Joe, with a smile, "is the gentleman who borrowed you

"No, 'e ain't," replied the small domestic.

At that moment Mr Hazlit walked up the path, and accosted Joe.

"Ah, you want to see my son-in-law?  He had not yet returned.  I expect
him, however, to-day.  Perhaps, if you call in the afternoon, or
to-morrow morning, you may--"

He was interrupted by the sound of wheels.  Next moment a carriage
dashed round the corner of the garden wall, and drew up in front of the
house.  Before the old gentleman had clearly realised the fact, he found
himself being smothered by one of the prettiest girls in all England,
and Joe felt his hand seized in a grasp worthy of a diver.

While Aileen dragged her father into the villa, in order to enable him
to boast ever after that he had received the first kiss she ever gave
under her own roof, Edgar led Joe to a trellis-work arbour, and, sitting
down beside him there, said:--

"Come, Joe, I know you want to see me about something.  While these two
are having it out indoors, you and I can talk here."

"First, Mister Eddy," said Joe, holding out his big horny hand, "let me
congratulate you on comin' home.  May the Lord dwell in your house, and
write His name in your two hearts."

"Amen!" returned Edgar, again grasping the diver's hand.  "My dear wife
and I expect to have that prayer answered in our new home, for we put up
a similar one before entering it.  And now, Joe, what is it that you

"Well, sir, the fact is, that my old woman thinks since I smashed my
shoulder, that it's high time for me to give up divin', and take to
lighter work; but I didn't know you were comin' home to-day, sir.  I
thought you'd been home some days already, else I wouldn't have come to
you, but--"

"Never mind, Joe.  There's no time like the present--go on."

Thus encouraged, Joe explained his circumstances and desires.  When he
had ended, Edgar remained silent for some minutes.

"Joe," he said at length, "you used to be fond of gardening.  Have you
forgotten all about it?"

"Why, not quite, sir, but--"

"Stay--I'll come back in a few minutes," said Edgar, rising hastily, and
going into the house.

In a few minutes he returned with his wife.

"Joe," said he, "Mrs Berrington has something to say to you."

"Mr Baldwin," said Aileen, with a peculiar smile, "I am greatly in want
of a gardener.  Can you tell me where I am likely to find one, or can
you recommend one?"

Joe, who was a quick-witted fellow, replied with much gravity:--

"No Miss--ma'am, I mean--I can't."

"That's a pity," returned Aileen, with a little frown of perplexity; "I
am also much in want of a cook--do you know of one?"

"No, ma'am," said Joe, "I don't."

"What a stupid, unobservant fellow you must be, Joe," said Edgar, "not
to be able to recommend a cook or a gardener, and you living, as I may
say, in the very midst of such useful personages.  Now, Aileen, _I_ can
recommend both a cook and a gardener to you."

"You see, ma'am," interrupted Joe, with profound gravity, and an
earnestness of manner that quite threw his questioners off their guard,
"this is an occasion when you may learn a valuable lesson at the outset
of wedded life, so to speak--namely, that it is much safer an' wiser,
when you chance to be in a difficulty, to apply to your husband for
information than to the likes of me; you see, he's ready with what you
want at a moment's notice."

Aileen and Edgar were upset by this; they both laughed heartily, and
then the former said:--

"Now, Mr Baldwin, we won't beat any longer about the bush.  We have not
succeeded in getting a cook, being in the meantime obliged to content
ourselves with a temporary loan of the green-grocer's wife, and of Miss
Pritty's small domestic; therefore I want to engage _your_ wife, who is
at present, I believe, open to an engagement.  We are also unprovided
with a man to tend our garden, look after our pony, and help me in the
missionary work, in which I hope immediately to be engaged in this town.
Do you accept that situation?"

Aileen said this with such an earnest irresistible air, that Joe Baldwin
struck his colours on the spot, and said, "I do!" with nearly as much
fervour as Edgar had said these words six weeks before.

The thing was settled then and there, for Joe felt well assured that his
amiable Susan would have no objection to such an arrangement.

Now, while this was going on in the bower, Mr Hazlit, observing that
his children were occupied with something important, sauntered down the
sea-shell road in the direction of his own cottage.  Here he met Miss

The sight of her mild innocent face called up a thought.  Dozens of
other thoughts immediately seized hold of the first thought, and
followed it.  Mr Hazlit was sometimes, though not often, impulsive.  He
took Miss Pritty's hand without saying a word, drew her arm within his
own, and led her into the cottage.

"Miss Pritty," he said, sitting down and pointing to a chair, "you have
always been very kind to my daughter."

"She has always been very kind--_very_ kind--to me," answered Miss
Pritty, with a slight look of surprise.

"True--there is no doubt whatever about that," returned Mr Hazlit, "but
just now I wish to refer to your kindness to her.  You came,
unselfishly, at great personal inconvenience, to China, at my selfish
request, and for her sake you endured horrors in connection with the
sea, of which I had no conception until I witnessed your sufferings.  I
am grateful for your self-sacrificing kindness, and am now about to take
a somewhat doubtful mode of showing my gratitude, namely, by asking you
to give up your residence in town, and come to be my housekeeper--my
companion and friend."

Mr Hazlit paused, and Miss Pritty, looking at him with her mild eyes
excessively wide open, gave no audible expression to her feelings or
sentiments, being, for the moment, bereft of the power of utterance.

"You see," continued Mr Hazlit, in a sad voice, looking slowly round
the snug parlour, "I shall be a very lonely man now that my darling has
left my roof.  And you must not suppose, Miss Pritty, that I ask you to
make any engagement that would tie you, even for a year, to a life that
you might not relish.  I only ask you to come and try it.  If you find
that you prefer a life of solitude, unhampered in any way, you will only
have to say so at any time--a month, a week, after coming here--and I
will cheerfully, and without remonstrance, reinstate you in your old
home--or a similar one--exactly as I found you, even to your small
domestic, who may come here and be your private maid if you choose."

Miss Pritty could not find it in her heart to refuse an offer so kindly
made.  The matter was therefore settled then and there, just as that of
the diver and his wife had been arranged next door.

Is it necessary to say that both arrangements were found, in course of
time, to answer admirably?  Miss Pritty discovered that housekeeping was
her forte, and that she possessed powers of comprehension, in regard to
financial matters connected with the payment of debts and dividends,
such as she had all her previous life believed to be unattainable
anywhere, save in the Bank of England or on the Stock Exchange.

Mrs Baldwin discovered that cooking was her calling--the end for which
she had been born--although discovered rather late in life.  Joe made
the discovery that gardening and stable-work were very easy employments
in the Berrington household, and that his young mistress kept him
uncommonly busy amongst the poor of the town, encouraging him to attend
chiefly to their spiritual wants, though by no means neglectful of their
physical.  In these matters he became also agent and assistant to Mr
Hazlit--so that the gardening and stable-tending ultimately became a
mere sham, and it was found necessary to provide a juvenile assistant,
in the person of the green-grocer's eldest boy, to fill these
responsible posts.

The green-grocer himself, and his wife, discovered that Christian
influence, good example, and kind words, were so attractive and powerful
as to induce them, insensibly, to begin a process of imitation, which
ended, quite naturally, in a flourishing business and a happy home.

The small domestic also made a discovery or two.  She found that a
kitchen with a view of the open sea from its window, and a reasonable as
well as motherly companion to talk to, was, on the whole, superior to a
kitchen with a window opening up a near prospect of bricks, and the
companionship of black pots and beetles.

At first, Aileen travelled a good deal with her husband in his various
business expeditions, and thus visited many wild, romantic, and
out-o'-the-way parts of our shores; but the advent of a juvenile
Berrington put a sudden stop to that, and the flow of juvenile
Berringtons that followed induced her to remain very much at home.  This
influx of "little strangers" induced the building of so many wings to
Sea-beach Villa, that its body at last became lost in its wings, and
gave rise to a prophecy that it would one day rise into the air and fly
away: up to the present time, however, this remains a portion of
unfulfilled prophecy.

Mr Hazlit became rich again, not indeed so rich as at first, but
comfortably rich.  Nevertheless, he determined to remain comparatively
poor, in order that he might pay his debts to the uttermost farthing.
His cottage by the sea had comforts in it, but nothing that could fairly
be styled a luxury, except, of course, a luxurious army of well-trained
grandchildren, who invaded his premises every morning with terrific
noise, and kept possession until fairly driven out by force of arms.

Rooney Machowl and David Maxwell stuck to their colours manfully.  They
went into partnership, and continued for years struggling together at
the bottom of the sea.  Mrs Machowl tended the amiable Teddy during the
early, or chokable period of infancy, but when he had safely passed that
season, his father took him in hand, and taught him to dive.  He began
by tumbling him into a washing-tub at odd times, in order to accustom
him to water.  Then, when a little older, he amused himself by
occasionally throwing him off the end of the pier, and jumping in to
save him.  Afterwards he initiated him into the mysteries of the dress,
the helmet, the life-line, the air-pipe, etcetera, and, finally, took
him down bodily to the bottom of the sea.  At last, Teddy became as good
and fearless a diver as his father.  He was also the pride of his

One afternoon--a bright glowing afternoon--in the autumn of the year,
Mr Hazlit sat in a favourite bower in the garden of his cottage, with
Aileen on one side of him, and Edgar on the other.  At the foot of the
garden a miscellaneous group of boys, girls, and babies, of all ages,
romped and rolled upon the turf.  In front lay the yellow sands, and,
beyond, the glorious glittering sea rolled away to the horizon.

Mr Hazlit had just been commenting on their happy condition as compared
with the time when they "knew not God."  The children having just romped
themselves into a state of exhaustion, were reasonably quiet, and the
sun was setting in floods of amber and gold.

"What a peaceful evening!" remarked Aileen.

"How different," said Edgar, "from that of which it is the anniversary!
Don't you remember that this is the evening of the day in which we
attacked the Malay pirates long ago?"

"So it is.  I had forgotten," said Mr Hazlit.

"Dinner, sir," said a boy in buttons, who bore a marked resemblance to
the green-grocer's wife.

As he spoke a stout gentleman opened the garden gate and walked up the
path leading to the bower.  At the same moment Miss Pritty issued from
the house and echoed the green-grocer's boy's announcement.

They were all silent as the stout gentleman approached.

"What! _can_ it be?" cried Edgar, starting up in excitement.

"The captain!" exclaimed Mr Hazlit.

"Impossible!" murmured Aileen.

"Pirates!" cried Miss Pritty, turning deadly white, and preparing to
fall into Edgar's arms, but curiosity prevented her.

There could be no mistake.  The bright glittering eyes, the black beard
and moustache, the prominent nose, the kindly smile, the broad chest and
shoulders, revealed unquestionably the captain of the Rajah's gun-boat.

"Miraculous!" cried Edgar, as he wrung the captain's right hand.  "We
were just talking of the great fight of which this is the anniversary."

"Amazing coincidence!" exclaimed Mr Hazlit, seizing the other hand.

"Not so much of a coincidence as it seems, however," said the captain
with a laugh, as he shook hands with the ladies, "for I made
arrangements on purpose to be here on the anniversary day, thinking that
it might add to the interest of my visit."

"And to come _just_ at dinner-time too," said Miss Pritty, who had

"Another coincidence," observed Aileen, with an arch look.

"Come--come in--here, this way, captain," cried Mr Hazlit, dragging his
friend by the hand.  "Welcome--heartily welcome to Sea Cottage."

The captain submitted to be dragged; to be placed by the side of Aileen;
to be overwhelmed with kindness by the elder members of the family, and
with questions by the younger members, who regarded him as a hero of
romance quite equal, if not superior, to Jack the Giant-killer.

But how can we describe what followed?  It is impossible.  We can only
say that the evening was one of a thousand.  All the battles were fought
over again.  The captain came out strong for the benefit of the
youngsters, and described innumerable scenes of wild adventure in which
he had been personally engaged.  And to cap it all, after dinner, when
they went out into the garden, and were seated in floods of moonlight in
the bower, two men opened the garden gate and made for the back kitchen,
with the evident intention of calling on the cook.  These were
discovered to be Rooney Machowl and David Maxwell.

Of course they were made to come and shake hands with their old
commander, the captain, and gradually got into a talk, and laughed a
good deal at the recollection of old times, insomuch that the noise they
made drew Joe Baldwin to the scene, and, as a natural result, this led
the conversation into divers channels--among others to life and
adventure at the bottom of the sea, and there is no saying how long they
might have talked there if a cloud had not obliterated the moon, and
admonished them that the night was at hand.

And now, good reader, with regret we find that our tale has reached its
close.  We may not have added much to your knowledge, but if we have, in
any degree, interested you in the characters we have summoned to our
little stage, or in the incidents that have been enacted thereon, we
shall not have wrought in vain, for the subject into which you have
consented to dive with us is not only an interesting, but a dangerous
one--involving as it does the constant risking of manly lives, the
well-being of large communities, the progress of important industries,
and the salvation of much valuable property to the world at large.



Note 1.  Something similar to the "job" above mentioned was accomplished
by G. Smith, a diver on the staff of Messrs. Heinke and Davis, of

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