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´╗┐Title: Hurricane Hurry
Author: Kingston, William Henry Giles, 1814-1880
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Hurricane Hurry" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Hurricane Hurry, by W.H.G. Kingston.

________________________________________________________________________

This rather long book is definitely an historical novel. In the edition
used there are 470 pages, not above size for one of Kingston's books,
but the text on the pages is tall and wide, while the font is small.
All this builds up to 1.1 megabytes of text.  In addition the inking was
not always good, though the type in the corners of the page was not
particularly damaged, as is common in Victorian printings.  As a result
producing this e-text was rather difficult, and there may still remain
some errors, though not, we hope, many.

The main action takes place in the years around 1780.

There are some rather strange aspects to the narration. For example, the
hero's name is Hurry, except that on two occasions in Chapter 8 and one
in Chapter 9, his name is mysteriously change to Poynder.  Also in
Chapter 9, the young Miss Carlyon is referred to as having gone to live
with her aunt, Mrs Tarleton, on the death of her father.  Yet the
latter figures strongly in the later stages of the book, so we conclude
that Kingston wrote the book with parts being pulled in from previous
notes, but that he did not go back and re-read the book with a critical
eye.

However, those are but passing observations which it is necessary to
make.  The book is about the war between the British and the American
Royalists on the one hand, and the American rebels on the other.  The
author is probably sympathetic to the rebels, but certainly to the cause
of Freedom, and he makes his hero, Hurry, sympathetic to their cause,
yet always observant of his duty as an officer of the King's Navy.
While there are the usual fights between ship and ship, or between ship
and weather, as always so beautifully expressed by Kingston's pen, we
find that by chapter 9 Hurry has fallen in love with an American young
lady, and the rest of the book contains episodes in which he is in
contact with her, though she is the daughter of a Colonel active on the
Rebel side.  It won't spoil the story if we say that they marry in the
last paragraph, five lines from the end.

Slightly annoying is the fact that we are made interested in the fate of
Harry Sumner, a very young midshipman, alone in the world, who is
wounded in a minor skirmish, and by Chapter 8 is met with in a
sick-berth, fully expecting to die. But does he die, or was that but a
childish fancy?  We never find out.

This book is probably one of the very best historical novels about the
American Rebellion, seen from the naval point of view, and as such is
well worth reading by both British and American subjects.

________________________________________________________________________

HURRICANE HURRY, BY W.H.G. KINGSTON.


CHAPTER ONE.

MY BIRTH, PARENTAGE, AND EDUCATION.--MAKE THE ACQUAINTANCE OF TOM
ROCKETS.--SENT TO SEA ON BOARD THE FOLKSTONE CUTTER, ANNO 1764.--
NUMEROUS VOYAGES.--MY FRIENDS AND I APPEAR ON THE QUARTER-DECK OF THE
TORBAY, 74.--JOIN THE FALCON.--MY ONLY DUEL.--ADVENTURES IN THE WEST
INDIES.--THE CARIB WAR.--BOAT CAPSIZED.--FATE OF HER CREW.--APPOINTED TO
THE WOLF.

On the north-east side of the street, about midway between the fish and
flesh markets in the seaport town of Falmouth, and at about the silent
and solemn hour of thirty-six minutes past one by my father's watch, on
the morning of the 28th day of December, of the year of grace 1752, His
Gracious Majesty George the Second being King of Great Britain and
Ireland, (it is necessary in important matters to be particular).  I was
introduced with the usual forms and ceremonies into the ancient family
of the Hurrys, as the undoubted child of my father Richard and my mother
Joan, the ninth, and as it subsequently proved, the last of their
promising offspring.  On the 29th day of the January following, the
Reverend Edward Walmsley, rector of the parish, baptised me by the names
of Hurricane, with the addition of Tempest, which were selected by my
parents, after numberless consultations, in compliment to my maternal
grand-uncle, Sir Hurricane Tempest, Alderman of Bristol, though it did
not appear from his remark when informed of the occurrence that it was
likely to benefit in the remotest manner from the delicate attention
which had been paid him.

My early days were not remarkable, I got through the complaints incident
to childhood in a manner satisfactory to my mother and the doctor, while
my elder brothers and sisters took very good care that I should not be
spoilt by over-indulgence.  My brothers, as they advanced towards
manhood, were sent into various professions, and as none of them had
chosen the sea, it was decided, without my opinion being asked, that I
should be made an offering to Neptune.

That I might be prepared for my future calling, I was sent to reside
with my brother-in-law Jack Hayfield, in the neighbourhood of Bideford,
North Devon, to allow me the vast benefit of attending the school of
worthy Jeremiah Sinclair, kept over the marketplace in that far-famed
maritime town.  I still love the recollection of the old place, with its
steep streets, its broad quays, and its bridge of many arches; to my
mind a more picturesque bridge does not exist in all the world, nor,
when the tide is in, a prettier river.  On the bosom of that river I
gained my first practical experience of affairs nautical, and many a
trip I made down to Appledore with my schoolfellow Ned Treggellis, in a
boat which, had not a special providence watched over us, would speedily
have consigned us to the muddy bottom of the stream.  An oar served us
as a rudder, another as a mast, with a piece of sacking as a sail spread
on a condemned boat-hook, while one of us was constantly employed in
baling out the water which came in through leaks unnumbered--a state of
affairs we had learned to consider normal to our craft.

From Sinclair's school, in order to receive the finishing-touches to my
education, I was removed to old Allen's well-known Mathematical Academy
in Cold Harbour.

It is just possible that I might have reaped some amount of benefit from
the mental provender served out in those nurseries of genius, but
unfortunately for me Jack's appreciation of the advantages of knowledge
was such that he considered the time squandered devoted to its
acquisition.  Frequently, therefore, when I was supposed by my good
sister Mary, his wife, to be on my way to school, I had been waylaid by
him, and was employed with another boy in setting springles, marking
woodcocks, or in some other equally intellectual pastime.  Whatever I
may now think about the matter, I was then convinced that Brother Jack
was one of the kindest and best fellows in the world; and when I fell
asleep in my chair during the evening, my somnolency was attributed to
the assiduity with which I had applied to my studies during the day.  I
have since then had not a little reason to regret honest Jack's
ignorance and my own folly in listening to his persuasions.

My frequent companion on the occasions I have spoken of was Tommy
Rockets, the son of a poor widow who lived near Jack's house.  He was
somewhat younger than myself and small for his age, but a sharp,
intelligent little fellow, though amusingly ignorant of affairs in
general.  His chief employment was acting the part of a scarecrow by
frightening birds from the cornfields, and running on errands into
Bideford for any of the neighbours, by which means he enabled his mother
to eke out her scanty pittance.  I used to share with him my school
pasty, and now and then I saved a piece of bread and cheese, or I would
bring him a cake or a roll from Bideford.  He never failed to carry a
portion to his mother, sharp-set as he always was himself.  The poor
fellow soon conceived a strong affection for me; and when I was going
off to sea he cried bitterly at the thoughts of parting from me.  I also
had a regard for him, and, forgetting how small and young he was, I took
it into my head that I would carry him with me.  We were sitting on a
grassy bank under a tree, with a series of undulating hills and the blue
ocean beyond, when I broached the subject.

"Would'st like to come to sea with me, Tom?" said I broadly.

"What, to them furrin parts across the water?" he asked, pointing
seaward with his chin.  "No; I'd bee afeared, Master Hurricane, I would.
What makes you go now?"

"To fight the Frenchmen, of course," I replied.  "It's peace just now,
they say, though I thought we were always at war with the French; but it
won't last long, that's one comfort."

"Well, now, I'd rather stay at home with mother than go and fight the
furriners--that I would," said Tommy, with much simplicity.

"Oh, you've no spirit, boy!"  I replied, with a look of contempt.
"Wouldn't you like, now, to be sailing round the world with Commodore
Byron, who'll fill his ships with rubies, and pearls, and gold, and
precious stones, and all sorts of things.  Why, Tommy, you would come
back with more riches in your waistcoat-pocket than you ever thought to
possess in your life."

Tommy's eyes sparkled as I spoke.  "What, enough to make my mother a
lady!" he exclaimed.  "Well, then, Master Hurricane, if so be you can
take me to them parts, when I'm big enough I'll go with ye."

"Well, we'll see about it," said I, with a patronising air; "but it is
not all gold-picking, remember.  There's plenty of fighting and
prize-taking besides.  You've heard speak of Admiral Hawke?"

"No," said Tommy, "I ne'er did."

"I'd have given my right hand to have been with him when he beat the
French in Quiberon Bay.  That was a glorious day for old England, let me
tell you."  I was able to expatiate on the subject, as the last time I
was at home my father read me a full account of the battle which took
place in 1759, the year preceding the death of his Majesty George the
Second, and about five years before the time of which I am now speaking.
It was the most memorable action of my early days.  The French fleet
was commanded by Monsieur de Conflans, whom a short time before a
violent gale had compelled to take shelter in Brest harbour, while the
English had anchored in Torbay.  The two fleets were about equal.  After
cruising for some time the enemy again took shelter in Quiberon Bay, on
the coast of Bretagne, in France, where they were pursued by the
English.  A strong gale had sprung up and a heavy sea was running, but,
undaunted, the brave Hawke stood on.  The Frenchmen hoped to lead his
fleet to destruction among the rocks and shoals of that dangerous coast.
Unwilling to fight, yet too late to escape, the French admiral, when he
saw the English approach, was compelled to make sail.  Hawke pursued
them and ordered his pilots to lay him alongside the Soleil Royal, which
bore the flag of the French admiral.  The Thesee, a seventy-four-gun
ship, ran between them, and a heavy sea entering her ports, she
foundered.  The Superbe, another Frenchman, shared the same fate.
Several other French ships struck their colours; many were driven on
shore, among which was the flag-ship, which was set on fire and
destroyed.  A great number of the French were killed, but the English
lost only one lieutenant and thirty-nine men killed, and about two
hundred wounded.  But I must not stop to describe the gallant actions
which occurred during my boyhood.  Lord Anson, one of the most
experienced of navigators, died two years only before I went to sea.
Captain Byron sailed that same memorable year, when my country first had
the benefit of my services, on his voyage of discovery into the pacific,
and returned in 1766.  Captains Wallis and Carteret sailed on exploring
voyages at the same time.  I happened to have heard of Mr Cook, but it
was not till many years after this that he became known to fame as one
of the most talented and scientific of English navigators; indeed, he
did not return from his great voyage till eleven years after this.  He
lost his life in his last voyage in 1779.

A number of gallant actions were fought at the end of the war,
sufficient to fire the ardour of any youth of spirit to whom they were
recounted.  Captain Hood's capture of the Warwick, a sixty-gun ship,
which had been taken from the English, was one of the most celebrated.
At this time, however, she carried but thirty-six guns, with 300 men,
including a company of soldiers.  Captain Hood attacked her in the
Minerva frigate of thirty-two guns and 220 men, and after an hour's
fight, with a heavy sea running, both ships having lost their masts, he
captured her and took her to Spithead.  A still more remarkable action
was that of the Bellona and Brilliant, Captains Faulkner and Loggie, and
a French ship of the line and two heavy frigates, which resulted in the
capture of the first and the flight of the latter.  There were also
numerous actions fought between packets and privateers, and other small
craft, with the enemy, which seldom failed to add to the honour and
glory of our country.  Though ignorant of other lore, I greedily
devoured all the accounts I could find of these events, and having once
made up my mind that the sea was to be my profession, I resolved, when
opportunities should occur, to imitate them to the best of my power.

But to return to my friend Tommy.  Just before I sailed I went to pay
his mother a visit.  I found the widow sitting, as was her wont,
knitting at her window, waiting for her son's return.  I went not
empty-handed, for besides my pasty, which I had saved, I had bought a
loaf and a lump of cheese and a bundle of lollipops at Bideford.  First
presenting her with these treasures and emptying my pockets of the very
small amount of cash they contained, I opened the business I had at
heart.  Poor Mrs Rockets burst into tears when I asked her to let her
Tommy go to sea with me.

"Oh, Master Hurricane!" said she, "I feel all your kindness to a poor
creature like me and my boy, and I would not deny you anything, but, oh,
sir, he is my only child, my only comfort in life, and I cannot part
with him!"

All the arguments I could use and the brilliant hopes I held out were of
no avail for a long time, till at last, with a sad voice, she consented,
when he grew bigger, should he then show a strong wish to go to sea, to
allow him to accompany me.

I met Tommy on my way home and told him that he must make haste and grow
big that he might go to sea and fill his pockets with pearls and
diamonds for his widowed mother.  In many a dream which I had thus
conjured up, both by day and night, did the poor lad indulge as he was
scaring off the crows in the fields or lying on his humble pallet in his
thatched-roof hut near Bideford.

It was at Whitsuntide of the year 1764, I then numbering eleven summers,
that I was placed on the books of the Folkstone cutter, commanded by a
particular friend of my father's, Lieutenant Clover; the amount of
learning I possessed on quitting school just enabling me to read a
chapter in the Bible to my old blind grandmother (on my mother's side),
who lived with us, and to tell my father how many times a coachwheel of
any diameter would turn round in going to Penryn.  Having received my
father's and mother's blessing and a sea-chest, which contained a
somewhat scanty supply of clothes, a concise epitome of navigation, an
English dictionary, and my grandmother's Bible--the only gift of value
the kind old lady had it in her power to bestow--I was launched forth
into the wide world to take my chance with the bustling, hard-hearted
crowd which fills it.  I was speedily removed from the cutter into his
Majesty's packet the Duncannon, Captain Charles Edwards, in which vessel
I crossed the Atlantic for the first time; and after visiting Madeira
and several of the West India Islands I returned to Falmouth on the eve
of Christmas, 1767.  I next joined the Duke of York, Captain Dickenson,
in which vessel I made no less than sixteen voyages to Lisbon.  As,
however, I had grown very weary of the packet service, I was not sorry
to be paid off and to return once more home, if not with a fuller purse,
at all events, a better sailor than when I left it.  I was not long
allowed to enjoy the luxury of idleness before my father got me
appointed to the Torbay, seventy-four, commanded by Captain Walls, who
was considered one of the smartest officers in the service, and I was
taught to expect a very different sort of life to that which I had been
accustomed to in the slow-going packet service.  There were several
youngsters from the neighbourhood of Falmouth, who had never before been
to sea, who were appointed to the same ship.  One of them, my old
messmate poor Dick Martingall, used to speak of the unsophisticated joy
with which his old mother, in her happy simplicity, announced to him the
fact of his appointment.  She came to his bedside long before the usual
hour of rising and awoke him.

"Richard, my dear son, Richard!" she said; "get up, thou art made for
ever!"

"What am I made, mother?" he asked with astonishment, rubbing his eyes,
which were still full of sleep.

"Oh, my boy, my dear boy!" replied the good lady, her countenance
beaming with satisfaction, "thou art made a midshipman!"

Alas! little did his poor old mother dream of the sea of troubles into
which her darling boy was about to be launched, what hardships and
difficulties he was doomed to encounter, "the snubs that patient raids
from their superiors take," or she would not have congratulated herself
on the event, or supposed that by his being made a midshipman he was
made for ever.  Yet in his case it was so far true, poor fellow, that he
was never made anything else, as he was carried out of the world by
fever before he had gained a higher step in rank.

The tailors in Falmouth and its neighbourhood who were employed in
fitting us out were delightfully innocent of all notion of what a
midshipman's uniform should really be, and each one seemed to fancy that
he was at liberty to give full scope to the exuberance of his taste.
Their models might have been taken from the days of Benbow, or rather,
perhaps, from the costumes of those groups who go about disguised at
Christmas-time enacting plays in the halls of the gentry and nobility,
and are called by us west-country folks "geese-dancers."  As we met on
board the cutter which was to carry us to Plymouth we were not, I will
allow, altogether satisfied with our personal appearance, and still less
so when we stepped on the quarter-deck of the seventy-four, commanded by
one of the proudest, most punctilious men in the service, surrounded by
a body of well-dressed, dashing-looking officers.

Tom Peard first advanced, as chief and oldest of our gang, with a
bob-wig on his head surmounted by a high hat bound by narrow gold lace,
white lapels to his coat, a white waistcoat, and light-blue
inexpressibles with midshipman's buttons.  By his side hung a large
brass-mounted hanger, while his legs were encased in a huge pair of
waterproof boots.  I followed next, habited in a coat all sides radius,
as old Allen would have said, the skirt actually sweeping the deck, and
so wide that it would button down to the very bottom.  My white cuffs
reached half way up the arm to the elbow; my waistcoat, which was of the
same snowy hue, reached to my knees, but was fortunately concealed from
sight by the ample folds of my coat, as were also my smallclothes.  I
had on white thread stockings, high shoes and buckles, and a plain
cocked hat--a prodigiously long silver-handled sword completing my
costume.

Dick Martingall's and Tom Paynter's dresses wore not much less out of
order, giving them more the appearance of gentlemen of the highway than
of naval officers of respectability.  One had a large brass-mounted
sword once belonging to his great-grandfather, a trooper in the army of
the Prince of Orange; the other, a green-handled hanger, which had done
service with Sir Cloudesley Shovel.

Often have I seen a set of geese-dancers compelled to make a hurried
flight before the hot poker of some irate housekeeper disturbed in her
culinary operations, and much in the same way did we four aspirants for
naval honours beat a precipitate retreat from the deck of the Torbay as,
with a stamp of his foot, our future captain ordered us to be gone and
instantly to get cut down and reduced into ordinary proportions by the
Plymouth tailors.

As may be supposed, the operation was almost beyond the skill of even
the most experienced master of the shears, and we were all of us
compelled, much to our dismay, to furnish ourselves for the most part
with new suits.  On our return on board, however, we were complimented
on our appearance; and as our tailor agreed to receive payment from our
first instalment of prize-money, we were perfectly content with the
arrangement.

After spending a few months in channel cruising--the Torbay being
ordered to lay as guard-ship at Plymouth--such a life not suiting my
fancy, I quitted her and joined his Majesty's sloop of war Falcon,
captain Cuthbert Baines, fitting out for the West India station.

As in those days I kept no regular journal, I have only a few scattered
notes written in an old log-book to guide me in my account of the events
of that period of my career.  A few are still vivid in my memory as when
they first occurred, but many have escaped me altogether, or appear like
the fleeting phantoms of a dream of which it is impossible to describe
the details.  I must therefore be allowed to pass rapidly over that
early portion of my naval life and go on to the time when I had passed
my examination for a lieutenant's commission and trod the quarter-deck
as a master's mate.

On the Falcon's leaving Portsmouth we touched at Falmouth or our way
down channel, when I had the opportunity of taking leave of my family--
with some of them, alas! it was an eternal farewell.  This is one of the
seaman's severest trials; he knows from sad experience that of the many
smiling faces he sees collected round the domestic hearth some will too
surely be missing on his return, wanderers, like himself, far, far away,
or gone to their final resting-place.

We made a stay of a few days at Madeira, and without any occurrence
worthy of note reached English Harbour, Antigua, October 21st, 1771,
where we found lying several ships of war under the flag of Rear-Admiral
Mann.

I have not hitherto mentioned the names of my messmates.  Among others,
there were William Wilkins, John Motto, Israel Pellew [see note], and
Alexander Dick.  We were a jovial set and generally pulled well
together; but on one occasion the apple of discord was thrown in among
us, and Alexander Dick, the surgeon's mate, and I fell to loggerheads in
consequence of some reflections I thoughtlessly cast on the land of his
nativity--to the effect, as far as my recollection serves me, that
nothing better was to be found there as food for the people than sheeps'
heads and boiled bagpipes; to which he retorted by asserting that we
west-country folks were little better than heathens and had no more
manners than blackamoors.  As neither of us would retract what we had
said, it was decided that our dispute could alone be settled by mortal
combat.  Pistols, we were aware, were the most gentlemanly weapons to be
employed on such occasions; but we found that it would be impossible to
obtain them in a hurry without to a certainty betraying our intentions.
It was therefore settled by our seconds and ourselves that we should
decide the knotty question with our hangers as soon as we could manage
to get on shore after reaching port.  All four of us therefore, having
got leave the morning after our arrival, left the ship soon after
daybreak in a shore-boat and pulled off to a retired part of the
harbour.  Here we landed, and telling our black boatmen to wait our
return, we walked away arm-in-arm to a spot where we thought no one
would observe us.  Having thrown off our coats and tucked up our
shirt-sleeves, the word was given, and, drawing our hangers, we advanced
towards each other with furious passes, as if nothing but the death of
one of us could satisfy the rancour of our enmity, and yet at that very
moment I believe neither of us recollected the origin of our quarrel.
Dick first gave me a cut on the shoulder, which so excited my fury that
I was not long in returning the compliment by bestowing a slash across
his arm, which made him wince not a little, but before I could follow it
up he had recovered his guard.  In a moment I was at him again, and as
we were neither of us great masters of the noble art of self-defence, we
kept hewing and slashing away at each other in a most unscientific
manner for several minutes, till we were both of us covered with gashes
from head to foot, and the blood was flowing copiously down into our
very shoes.  At last, from very weariness and loss of blood, we dropped
the points of our swords as if by mutual consent.  Our seconds now
stepped forward.

"Hurry, my good fellow," said my second, "one thing I see clearly.  This
matter cannot be settled satisfactorily with cold steel--it's too much
like the custom of piccarooners.  We must wait till we can get hold of
pistols, and arrange the affair in a gentlemanly way.  That's my
opinion, and I daresay you and Mr Dick will agree with me."  In honest
truth, both my antagonist and I were in such a condition that we were
perfectly ready to agree to any arrangement which would prevent the
necessity of continuing the painful operation we had both been
inflicting on each other.  All four of us therefore sat down on the
sands, and Dick, pulling out some lint and bandages from his pockets,
our seconds, under his directions, bound up our wounds.  When this at
length was done we found it, however, impossible to get on our coats
again.  We were therefore obliged to carry them over our shoulders as we
walked to the boats.  When the Negro boatmen saw our pale faces and
halting gait, as with difficulty we stepped into the boat, they grinned
from ear to ear, full well guessing what had occurred, and doubtlessly
thinking, as will, I suspect, my readers, that we were very great fools
for our pains.  Ay, truly we were far worse than fools, for in obedience
to the customs of sinful men we had been disobeying the laws of God, and
committing a very great crime as well as a very great folly, but we did
not think so then, nor did I till very many years afterwards.

Our intentions had not been kept so secret but that they had become
known on board, and, our appearance on our return fully corroborating
the truth of the reports which had been going about, we were put under
arrest by Captain Baines, who then sent for us, to know the cause of our
quarrel.  We explained it as well as we could; but, as may be supposed,
we neither of us had a very good case to make out.  "Well, gentlemen,"
said our commander, "this is a point I do not wish to decide myself, but
I shall leave it to the arbitration of the gun-room officers, and to
their decision you must bow."  The next day, therefore, the gun-room
officers held a court, and, feeling very stiff and very sore, and
looking, I doubt not, very foolish--though we did our best to appear
like heroes--we stood before them.  Having both of us pleaded our cause,
it was decided that we had no business to use the language we had
employed, and that we were both in the wrong.  We were in consequence
ordered to shake hands, and be friends, or else to look out for squalls.
Had we possessed more sense, this we might have done before we had cut
each other half to pieces, not to speak of spoiling a shirt and a pair
of breeches apiece.  Thus ended the first and only duel in which I was
ever engaged, and Dick and I from that time forward became very good
friends.

About this time, some serious disputes having arisen with the Caribs of
Saint Vincent, who had become very troublesome to the settlers, the
British Government formed the design of removing them altogether from
the island and of placing them on some part of the mainland, where they
might enjoy their own manner of life without interfering with civilised
people.  To effect this object an expedition was sent to the island
under the command of Major-General Dalrymple, consisting of two
regiments from America and various bodies of troops collected from the
other islands and from on board all his Majesty's ships of war on the
station.  At this distance of time of course I cannot pretend to be able
to give any minute description of the details of the affair.  I know
that there were some gentlemen who acted as commissioners who went on
shore to try and arrange matters with the Caribs; but the savages, after
agreeing to terms, not showing any intention to abide by them, the
troops were ordered to land.  It was very easy to give the order, but
not so easy to execute it, for at the time there happened to be an
unusually heavy surf breaking on the shore.  It would have been wiser in
my humble opinion to have waited till the surf had gone down, or to have
selected some other spot for disembarkation to that fixed on; but,
strange to say, the authorities did not happen to ask my opinion,
simply, I suppose, because I was a midshipman, and the landing
commenced.  The boats, pulled by the seamen and crowded with soldiers,
made for the shore.  Some reached it in safety by taking the proper
moment to dash through the surf, but others were not so fortunate.  One
boat from our ship had put off; the men in high spirits at the thought
of a brush with the Niggers, as they called the unfortunate Caribs.  I
was watching them from the deck as they approached the shore, when a
heavy roller went tumbling in after them.  The men saw it coming and
pulled for their lives, but it was too quick for them, and catching the
boat turned her over as if she had been a mere cockleshell.  In an
instant some thirty poor fellows were struggling in the surf.  Many sunk
at once, others made way for the shore, but they had a remorseless enemy
on the watch for them, and several, with a shriek of agony which reached
almost to the ears of those on board the Falcon, were drawn under by
those monsters of the deep, the voracious sharks.  Others, when nearly
touching the sand, were washed out again by the reflux of another roller
following up the first.  It was doubly sad, because before it was
possible to send any help to them their fate was sealed.  Several other
boats met with a like accident, and before the troops were all landed a
large number both of seamen and soldiers were lost.  The survivors
formed on the beach and then advanced rapidly into the country, where
the Caribs were drawn up in strong force to receive them.

The enemy, having the advantage of a knowledge of the country, chose
their own ground for encountering our troops, and, truth to say,
generally had the best of it.  I do not wish to enlarge on the subject.
I know that we gained very little honour and glory, but, after losing a
considerable number of men, some from the bullets of the enemy and
others from sunstrokes, the troops were ordered to embark again.
Afterwards we heard that the Caribs were allowed to remain in possession
of their rights.  I suspect, however, that they did not retain them for
any long period after this time.

I remember nothing of any particular importance happening to me till
August, 1772, when we were lying in English Harbour, Antigua, in company
with his Majesty's ships Chatham, Sea-horse, and Active.  I have good
reason to remember the harbour well.  It is small, but very pretty.  The
inner part is encircled by hills of various shapes and sizes, the outer
is formed by a rocky ridge, with a fort on it guarding the narrow
entrance.  The capital, Saint Johns, is at the other side of the island,
so that we were not able to get there as often as we wished.  With
little or no warning one of the most terrific hurricanes I ever
encountered came down upon us, and before we could get our topmasts
housed our masts went by the board, and at the same instant breaking
from our anchors we were all driven on shore together.  It was a case in
which seamanship was of no avail, for before we could make any
preparations to avert the evil the catastrophe had occurred.  The same
blast levelled with the ground all the stores and houses in the
dockyard, as also the Naval Hospital and all the dwelling-houses and
other buildings which it encountered in its course.  Before we could
attempt to heave the ships off we were obliged to clear them of
everything, down to the very kelson, and even then we could not move
them till we applied the most powerful purchases which could be
invented.  The Falcon had received so much injury that we were compelled
to heave her down to repair her before she was fit for sea.  While this
operation was going forward I had the misfortune to break my right
knee-pan, and for very long it was doubtful whether I should ever again
have the free use of my leg.  For sixteen weeks I remained in hospital,
but at length, to my great satisfaction, was pronounced fit for duty.

I was now no longer a mere youngster, and had seen already a
considerable amount of service.  Early in 1773 I was appointed
acting-lieutenant of the Falcon by Vice-Admiral Parry, who had
superseded Admiral Mann.  I now assumed the lieutenant's uniform and
walked the deck with no little amount of pride, hoping to be confirmed
in my rank when at the expiration of her time on the station my ship
should return to England.  The change from a midshipman's berth to the
gun-room was very considerable, and as I shone away in what the
Orlopians term white boot-tops, I was looked upon by them, with no
little amount of envy.  I was doomed, however, in this respect to suffer
disappointment.  In August, 1774, the Falcon returned home, the captain,
the lieutenant of marines, another midshipman, and myself, being the
only officers on board who had left England in her--the rest having died
or changed into other ships.  I must mention the kindness I ever
received from Captain Baines while I remained with him.  After I left
the Falcon I served in the Folkstone cutter stationed at Bideford, and
then joined the Wolf sloop of war, Captain Hayward.  In the space of a
few months I attended the funerals of his wife, his child, and lastly of
himself.  On quitting the Wolf I began what I may look upon as a new era
in my life, and it is therefore a fitting period to commence a fresh
chapter.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note.  Afterwards Sir Israel Pellew, the brother of the famous Lord
Exmouth.



CHAPTER TWO.

COMMENCEMENT OF THE AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.--APPOINTED TO THE
ORPHEUS FRIGATE.--CAUSES OF THE WAR.--SAIL IN COMPANY WITH THE CHATHAM
FOR HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA.--STORMY PASSAGE IN MID-WINTER.--LOSE SIGHT OF
CHATHAM.--LOSE MASTS.--THE CAPTAIN KEEPS AT IT.--RIG JURY-MASTS.--A
SUCCESSION OF GALES.--GET IN AT LAST.--OUR CAPTAIN GAINS GREAT CREDIT.

I had enjoyed the _otium cum dignitate_ of a midshipman's life on shore
scarcely more than six weeks when, in September, 1775, the shrill
bugle-blast of war sounded the knell of the piping tunes of peace; and I
received the very satisfactory intelligence that I was rated as master's
mate on board the Orpheus frigate, of fifty-two guns, Captain Hudson,
then fitting for sea with all possible despatch at Plymouth, and
destined for the North American station.  I had hoped to have been
confirmed in my rank as a lieutenant; but, disappointed in this, I was
too glad under present circumstances to get afloat on any terms.

The peace which had now lasted for nearly ten years was thus abruptly
terminated by the outbreak into open rebellion of the North American
colonies, which led on to their Declaration of Independence.  I was
never anything of a politician, and I must confess that at that period
of my existence I troubled myself very little about the rights of the
case, though even then I had a lurking idea that the colonists were not
quite the ragamuffins some people would have had us suppose.  They had
no fancy, it appeared, to pay taxes without having a voice as to the
employment of their money or interest in the objects on which it was
expended.  The British Government and the upper classes generally at
home had always treated the inhabitants of the colonies as if they
considered them an inferior race, and almost beyond the pale of
civilisation.  This conduct had naturally caused much discontent and ill
feeling, and made the colonists more ready to resent and oppose any
attempt to curtail their rights and privileges.  What was called the
Stamp Act met with the first organised opposition.  The Government
offices were in many places pulled down, while the Governor of New York
and other promoters of the Act were burnt in effigy.  Many influential
colonists then bound themselves to make use of no articles on which
duties had been levied; while the people of Boston, proceeding a step
farther, rather than pay the duty imposed by the British Government,
threw into the sea the cargoes of several ships sent there by the East
India Company laden with tea.  This proceeding of the inhabitants of
Boston induced the British Government to send General Gage, with an
army, to take up his quarters there, with the intention of coercing
them.

The belief that arbitrary Government was about to be established
throughout the colonies made the people in every direction rise in arms.
A rebel force, consisting of several thousand men, began to collect in
the neighbourhood of the above-mentioned city.  Petition after petition
and remonstrance after remonstrance had been sent over to England in
vain.  The great Lord Chatham and the famous Mr Edmund Burke had
pleaded the cause of the patriots with all the mighty eloquence they
possessed; but without altering the resolution of the King or the
Government.  The celebrated Dr Franklin, already well known in England
and America as a philosopher as well as a statesman, had come over to
England to plead the cause of his countrymen, but had returned hopeless
of effecting his object.  What treatment, after this, could the
colonists expect, if they yielded to the dictates of the mother-country?

The crisis at length arrived.  There was at Concord, near Boston, a
large magazine of military stores.  General Gage sent a force to destroy
it.  The patriots collected in considerable numbers to oppose the
British troops, and drove them back, with a heavy loss, into the city.
This engagement, though little more than a skirmish, was called the
Battle of Lexington.  If its results were to be taken into
consideration, few battles have been of more importance.  Brethren had
shed each other's blood.  Both parties were exasperated beyond control.
The patriots felt their power; the royalists burned to wipe out the
disgrace their arms had received.  General Gage now regularly fortified
Boston, which was in its turn besieged by the rebels.  The whole
continent was up in arms.  Another successful enterprise had been
undertaken by a leader of irregulars, who had seized the Ports of
Ticonderoga and Crown Point, which gave the patriots the command of Lake
George and the head of Lake Champlain, always recognised as the keys of
Canada.

The patriots had by this time formed a regular Government.  Each of the
colonies had sent delegates to a general assembly held at Philadelphia,
to which the name of the Congress was given.  The Congress had
authorised the formation of an army and had appointed as
Commander-in-chief a gentleman of Virginia of good repute, Colonel
George Washington.  He was well known as a bold leader in frontier
warfare against the Indians, and had also seen service against the
French; besides this, he was a man of the highest moral qualities, which
had gained him the respect of his fellow-colonists.

The event which had induced the Government to despatch my ship and
others so hurriedly to the North American station was the battle of
Bunker's Hill, the news of which had just been received.  The engagement
itself would not have been of much consequence had it not proved that
the rebels were resolved to fight it out to the last.  The Americans,
besieging Boston, had fortified a height above the city called Bunker's
Hill.  General Gage resolved to dislodge them and to endeavour to raise
the siege.  Our troops, after much hard fighting and considerable loss,
claimed the victory, having driven the enemy from the heights; but the
Americans quickly rallied, and, many reinforcements coming up, the city
was more closely invested than ever.

I frequently heard the subject of the rebellion discussed by my friends
during my stay at home, and I cannot say that generally their sympathies
were in favour of the colonists.  A few took the view of the case
entertained by Lord Chatham, Mr Burke, and a small band of enlightened
men in advance of their age; but they mostly sided with the King and the
Tories, and considered that the presumption of the colonists must be put
down with a high hand.  They little knew of what stuff the descendants
of the Pilgrim Fathers--the sturdy Puritans, the dashing Cavaliers, the
prim Quakers, and of many other classes whom persecution, poverty, or
their crimes, had driven from Europe--were made, as I had full many
opportunities afterwards of discovering.  A just and judicious policy
which at once would have granted all the rights the colonists demanded
would have preserved the dignity of the mother-country and saved oceans
of bloodshed; but it was ordained otherwise.  The falsehood of traitors
had taught our too credulous King to disbelieve in the loyalty as well
as the courage of his trans-Atlantic subjects; and his ministers, in
spite of all the warnings and the earnest entreaties of the colonists,
persisted in forcing on them their obnoxious measures.  I must again
repeat, that at the time I allude to I did not see things in the serious
light in which I have described them.  It would never do if midshipmen
were to turn politicians; still, I could not help hearing what others
said on the subject, and I had plenty of time to think of what I had
heard.  The general cry was--"Crush the audacious rascals!  Put down the
traitorous villains with a strong hand!  What, venture to disobey the
authority of their lawful master and sovereign, King George?  They will
soon learn reason at the point of the sword!"  Such were the sentiments
shared by most on board, as well as throughout the army and fleet.

Had it not been for this outbreak of war, I had proposed volunteering to
sail with Captain Cook, who had just then returned from his famous
voyage in the Resolution with Captain Furneaux, who commanded the
Adventure; and it was reported that he was about to start on another and
still more important expedition, which he actually did on the following
year.

During my stay on shore I had gone over to see my sister Mary and my
brother-in-law, Jack Hayfield.  Jack was the same good-natured,
thoughtless creature as before, and had done as little to better himself
as he had to improve me.  I made inquiries for Tommy Rockets, whom I
found was still at home, so I set out to see him and his mother, not
forgetting what I knew would prove a welcome present to the poor woman.
I found her looking more careworn and poverty-stricken than ever.  She
did not know me when I entered her cottage, for I was much grown and
thoroughly sun-burnt.

"Well, dame," said I, "how goes the world with you?"  She looked at me
hard, surprised that a stranger should make such an inquiry; then,
suddenly recognising me, she sprang up, and in her joy was about, I
believe, to kiss me as she would have done Tommy, when, recollecting
herself, she took my hand, which I put out, and pressed it warmly.
After I had told her somewhat of my adventures I asked her whether she
would allow Tommy to accompany me the next time I went to sea.  The poor
woman turned pale at the question, but at last gasped out--

"If the lad wishes it, if it's for his good, I dare not say him nay--
but, oh, Master Hurricane, you'll look after him--you'll befriend him--
you'll protect him--he's my only child, and he's very simple and
ignorant of the world's ways."  I promised her that I would do my best
for him, though I warned her he must trust to his own good conduct; and
soon after Tommy came in.  I saw at a glance that he had the stuff in
him to make a sailor.  He had grown into a stout, broad-shouldered lad,
though still rather short, with fists big enough to fell an ox, a round,
bullet head covered with curly hair, and a thoroughly honest,
good-natured countenance, not wanting in intelligence, though a snubby
nose, small eyes, and thickish lips formed his features.  He had a
strong struggle in his bosom, I saw, before he could make up his mind to
tell his mother that he would accept my offer; but he could do little
for their mutual support while he remained on shore, and I left him
attempting to comfort her by telling her of the wealth with which he
would ere long return to her.

As soon as I got my appointment I sent directions to Tom to join me at
Plymouth, with a small sum to fit him out, being very certain that he
would at once be taken on board.  I had a wide round of farewell visits
to pay to numerous friends who had been kind to me during my stay on
shore.  They all wished me plenty of prize-money and rapid promotion,
but I cannot say that I had much expectation of getting either.  I was
much concerned at this time at observing the state of my father's
spirits.  His worldly affairs were, I suspected, not flourishing,
though, as he did not speak to me about them, I could not venture to
make any inquiries of him on the subject.  I could only cherish the hope
that if I did realise a sailor's dream and make any prize-money I might
be able to render him some assistance.  My poor mother's health also was
failing, weakened, as it long ago had been, by cares and
responsibilities of her numerous family.  With a heart therefore more
full of misgivings than usual, I bade them and those of my brothers and
sisters who remained at home farewell, and, with a chest rather more
amply supplied with necessaries than when I first went to sea, I set off
for my ship then lying at Hamoze, and joined her on the 15th of October,
1775.  I was, as I fully expected, successful in getting Tommy Rockets
rated as a landsman on board, and though, poor fellow, he at first
looked very much like a fish out of water, and a very odd fish too, I
saw that it would not be long before he would be perfectly at home on
his new element.

As soon as he had been entered and had become one of the ship's company,
I told him to go aloft, to give him some experience before we got to
sea.  "What, to the top of them big sticks that grow out of the ship?
They be plaguey high, Master Hurricane!" said he, looking up doubtingly,
at the same time preparing to swarm up by the foremast itself.  When he
found that he might go up by the shrouds he seemed to think it a very
easy matter, and before many days were over he could go aloft as quickly
as any lad in the ship.  I got an old seaman, Nol Grampus, who had
sailed with me in two ships before, to look after him and to put him up
to his duty, which, to do him justice, he was very anxious to learn.  A
little help of this sort to a lad when he first goes to sea is of great
service to him in many ways; it gives him encouragement, it saves him
from many a cuff and harsh word, and makes a seaman of him much sooner
than he would otherwise become.  On the 16th of the month we went into
the Sound, where the remainder of the officers joined.  By frequently
sending press-gangs on shore we got together our ship's company, but we
had yet to learn the stuff they were made of.  I was truly glad to find
two or three old shipmates on board.  One of them was Gerrard Delisle,
my greatest friend.  We had gone afloat at the same time and were
exactly the same age and standing, though, I must confess, he was vastly
my superior in education and ability.  He had all the gallantry and
impetuosity of an Irishman, with a warm heart full of generous feelings,
and at the same time the polish of a man of the world, not always to be
obtained in a cock-pit.  Another friend of mine was Noel Kennedy, also a
master's mate.  He was a Scotchman of good family, of which he was not a
little proud.  His pride in this respect was an amiable failing, if
failing it was, for his great anxiety was to shed honour on his name.
Among my other messmates were John Harris Nicholas, Richard Ragget, John
Drew.  A great pet of ours was little Harry Sumner--one of the smallest
midshipmen who ever came to sea.  Left an orphan, without a connexion
bound to him by the ties of blood, the poor child had been sent afloat
by his guardians as the simplest mode they could devise of disposing of
him.  The event was happy for him, for he soon found many more friends
on board than he ever would on shore, and in a short time there was not
a man of the ship's company who would not have risked his life to shield
him from injury.  As I shall have to mention the officers and my other
messmates in the course of my narrative I need not here describe them.

On the 30th, the moment we had cast off the lighters from alongside, we
sailed for North America in company with the Chatham, bearing the flag
of Rear-Admiral Shouldham, who was going out to take the chief command
on that station.  The wind continuing fair and the weather fine, we, on
the following day, lost sight of the English shore, which many on board
were destined never to see again--none of us, until months and months
had passed by.

Things had begun to shake a little into their places and the officers
and ship's company to know something of each other by the time that we
had got about three hundred leagues to the westward of Scilly.  Instead,
however, of keeping to the southward, where we might have found a
continuance of fine weather, our captain, in his anxiety quickly to
reach the scene of action, notwithstanding the advanced season of the
year, ordered a northerly course to be steered.  The consequence was
that we had soon work to try the mettle of all hands.  By noon on the
6th of November we fell in with a gale of wind which would as
effectually have blown up the Houses of Parliament as would Guido Faulks
and his barrels of gunpowder, if it could have got under them.  Sail was
shortened and all was made snug aloft in time, hat below many an article
took a voyage which terminated in total shipwreck to itself or
neighbours.

"Here comes a combing sea in a vengeance!" exclaimed Delisle, seizing
hold of little Harry to save him from being by chance washed away.  We
were standing aft on the quarter-deck.  On came the watery mountain with
its curling crest of snowy foam, and, striking the ship with terrific
force and with a noise like thunder, broke over the starboard chesstree,
deluging the decks forward and carrying away a fine cutter off the
larboard skidds, with some of the rails and carlings of the head.

"Where are we going to, Mr Delisle?" exclaimed little Harry, as he
clung to his arm with a look of very natural terror in his countenance.

"To Halifax, in Nova Scotia, I hope," answered Gerrard, laughing.
"Where else should you think?"

"I thought we might be going to the bottom," answered the poor boy with
perfect simplicity; "but I'm not afraid, you know."

"No reason why you should be, Harry," answered Delisle.  "The old barkie
will have to swim through many a worse sea than this, let me tell you--
so remember, my boy, you are never in future to begin to be afraid till
you see the rest of us turn pale."

Little Harry promised obedience, and he had before long ample
opportunities of proving his nerves.  The seamen, as they hurried about
the decks, shook the water in showers, like Newfoundland dogs from their
shaggy coats; and in a short time we had things put as much to rights as
circumstances would allow.

The gale continued all night, but ceased on the following evening
without having committed further damage, and from that time till the
morning of the tenth we had tolerably fine weather.  It then fell a
stark calm, but there was an ominous cold-grey silky look in the sky
which I did not like.  The captain was constantly on deck, anxiously
scanning the horizon, and Jonathan Flood, our old master, kept his
weather-eye open, as if apprehensive of evil.

"Vary fine weather this, Mr Hurry," said Andrew Macallan, our surgeon's
mate, who had come to sea for the first time.  "Just a wee bit more wind
to waft us on our way to the scene of action, and we may well be
content."

"Wait a bit, doctor, and we shall have wind enough and to spare,"
replied I.

It was not long before my words were verified--though just after that
the appearance of coming bad weather wore off, and even the captain and
master seemed to think that a moderate breeze was all we had to look
for.  We were lying with our topsails on the caps and courses hauled up,
when, without a moment's warning, a gust of wind with the force of a
hurricane laid the ship on her beam-ends.

"Up with the helm!" shouted the captain, who had that instant come on
deck.  "Brace round the foreyards--trice up--brail up the after sails!"

The helm was put up, but before the canvas could be handed, with claps
like thunder, the main-topmast-staysail and jib were blown from the
bolt-ropes, the topsails and courses were flying in shreds from the
yards, the topsail sheets, clew-lines and bunt-lines were carried away,
as were also the main-clew garnets, bunt-lines and leech-lines, while a
more tremendous sea than I had ever before beheld got up as if by magic.

The ship, however, happily answered her helm and flew before the gale,
which at the same time kept freshening and shifting round to every point
of the compass.

All we could now do was to scud, and that every instant, as the wind and
sea increased, became more and more dangerous.  To bring her to under
present circumstances was impossible--indeed, deprived of all means of
handing the sails, we were helpless; and by this time every one of them
was flying aloft in tattered streamers, adding not a little to the
impetuous rate at which the gale drove us onward.

The seas, each apparently overtopping the other, kept following up
astern, and before long one broke aboard us, deluging the decks and
sweeping everything before it.

"Hold on! hold on for your lives, my men!" shouted the captain as he saw
it coming.

Few needed the warning.  When for a short time all was again clear we
looked round anxiously to ascertain that none of our shipmates had been
carried overboard.  By next to a miracle all were safe.  The carpenter
and his crew were called aft to secure the stern ports and to barricade
the poop with all the planks and shores they could employ, but to little
purpose.  The huge dark-green seas, like vast mountains upheaved from
their base by some Titan's power, came following up after us, roaring
and hissing and curling over as if in eager haste to overwhelm us, their
crests one mass of boiling foam.  As I stood aft I could not help
admiring the bold sweep of the curve they made from our rudder-post
upwards, as high it seemed as our mizen-top, the whole a bank of solid
water, with weight and force enough in it to send to the bottom the
stoutest line-of-battle-ship in the Navy.  The taste we got occasionally
of their crests, as they now and then caught us up, was quite enough to
make me pray that we might not have the full flavour of their whole
body.

No one on board had thought all this time of the Chatham, and when at
length we did look out for her she was nowhere to be seen.  It was
probable that she was in as bad a plight as ourselves, so that neither
of us could have rendered the other assistance.  Hour after hour passed
without any improvement in the weather.  Every instant we expected
something worse to befall us.  To remain below was out of the question,
as at any moment we might be wanted.  To keep the deck was scarcely
possible, without the risk of being frozen to death or carried
overboard.  Matters were bad enough in the daytime, but when darkness
came on and we went plunging away amid showers of snow and sleet and
bitter frost, with the cold north-west wind howling after us, I thought
of what the friends of some of our delicately-nurtured young gentlemen
would say if they could see us, and, for my own part, often wished
myself by the quiet fireside of the humblest cottage in old England.  We
did our best to look after little Harry Sumner, and got him stowed away
carefully in his hammock, where we told him to lie still till he was
wanted.  There was no object in allowing him to remain on deck, where he
could not be of use and was very likely to get injured.

"I'll do as you tell me, Mr Hurry," said he.  "But I'm not afraid of
the sea or the wind--if it were not for the bitter, bitter cold I would
rather be on deck, I would indeed."

"You're a brave little fellow, Harry, but we must take care of you for
some nobler work, and then I've no doubt you'll give a good account of
yourself," said I.  "So now go to sleep and try and get warm."

Of my own immediate follower and protege, Tom Rockets, I have said
nothing since we came to sea.  By the courage and activity he displayed
on the present occasion he showed that he was made of the right stuff to
form a first-rate seaman, and I had no reason to be ashamed of him.

The whole of that long, weary night did we run on, the gale rather
increasing than falling, and when daylight broke over the waste of
tumultuous waters the prospect seemed as unpromising as ever.  Nothing
could be done to get in any of our tattered canvas.  The ship remained
tight, and that was our chief comfort.  At length, on the evening of the
11th, the wind began to drop a little.  Everyone was on deck ready to
take advantage of any opportunity which might occur for getting the ship
into a better condition.  Suddenly the wind shifted round to the
north-east and dropped considerably.  The hands were called aft.  A
fore-staysail was set on the mizen-mast--the helm was put down and the
ship brought-to under it.  The most necessary part of the rigging being
also replaced, the ship's company was divided into four watches, and all
but the watch on deck were sent below to sleep.  Never did weary seamen
turn in with a greater good-will, or more require rest.

All hands had ample occupation the next day in unbending the remnants of
our tattered canvas from the yards and in replacing it with a new suit
of sails fore and aft, in reeving new running rigging, and in repairing
the stern frame.  All this was done with a tolerably fresh breeze
blowing and a pretty heavy sea running, though moderate in comparison to
what we had had and to what we were to encounter.  This sort of weather
continued till the 15th, during which interval we contrived to get
things a little to rights.  Gale number three now sprung up, and during
the whole of it we lay under a balanced mizen.  We did not escape,
however, without damage, losing the bumkins and the remaining part of
the carlings and rails of the head, and a part of the starboard
quarter-gallery.  The wind lulled again in the evening and continued
moderate till the 19th, when it breezed up once more for the fourth
time, and by the 21st we were in the centre of a perfect hurricane.
Still nothing would induce our captain to run back or to endeavour to
make his way across the Atlantic in a more southerly latitude.  He had
made up his mind that this northerly route was the right one to take,
and he was not a man to be diverted from his purpose.  The gale had been
blowing for some hours, when at about one o'clock in the morning watch,
the night being dark as Erebus, the ship pitching heavily into the seas
and straining terrifically, Delisle and I were on deck together,
endeavouring to pierce with our eyes the thick obscurity into which we
were driving.  It was much of a time for moralising, considering the
showers of snow which ever and anon beat into our faces, the sheets of
spray which came aboard and froze as it fell over us, and the biting
wind which blew down our throats.

"No unapt picture this, of the life of many of us, Hurry," said my
companion.  "Here have we been knocking about for some weeks very much
the worse for wear--no nearer our voyage's end, and utterly unable to
say whither we are driving.  I doubt much that we have seen the worst
yet."  Scarcely had he spoken when a gust stronger than ever struck the
ship.  We felt her quiver and shake all over, and at the same instant
there was a terrific crash forward.  I hurried to see what had occurred.
The foremast had been carried away about twenty feet above the
forecastle, and lay over the lee fore-chains.  The captain was on deck
in a moment, and all hands were called to clear the wreck.  In doing
this the main-topmast-stay was cut, and thereby the main-topmast was
carried away, severely wounding in its fall nine men.  The poor fellows
were borne below and placed under the surgeon's care.  The morning came
and showed us our sad condition; but the gale had not yet sufficiently
shorn us of our pride or tried to the full our captain's perseverance,
for soon after daybreak another gust struck us.  I looked up to see what
was next to happen.  Before me stood our stout mainmast.  Then, as if
wrenched by a giant's grasp, the shrouds and stays were torn away, and
with a loud crash down it came by the board, crushing the booms,
gallows, bits, gangway-rails, and the fore part of the quarter-deck, and
staving in the long-boat and a large cutter so as to destroy them
completely.  The daylight enabled those on deck to stand from under in
time to escape injury; but it was a work of time, danger, and difficulty
to clear the ship of the wreck, for while we were engaged in it the sea
was constantly breaking over us fore and aft, threatening every instant
to engulph the ship.  At the same time we were in momentary expectation
of seeing the mizen-mast share the fate of the other masts.  At length,
having cleared the wreck, we hoisted a fore-topgallant-sail to the stump
of the foremast, which we stayed up as well as we could, and were
thereby able to keep the ship once more before the wind, though even
then the heavy seas which followed us threatened every moment to break
aboard.  We were truly in a forlorn condition--with our fore and
mainmasts gone, two suits of sails carried away with the exception of
the sails on the mizen-mast, the remainder required for jury-sails
whenever the weather would allow us to erect jury-masts--with numbers of
the crew falling sick from exposure and excessive fatigue, and with a
ship strained and battered in every direction.  At length, the wind
getting round to the westward, with unequivocal reluctance Captain
Hudson resolved to bear up, to the very great satisfaction of everybody
else on board.  We were then four hundred and sixty leagues from the
Lizard.  For several days more the gale continued, and we were all in
expectation of shortly reaching England and getting a thorough refit,
when the weather suddenly became more moderate than heretofore.  The
opportunity was immediately taken of erecting jury-masts, and all hands
were employed on this important work.  To do this we had to use all the
studden-sail-booms and spare spars on board.  When completed and set up,
they were pronounced to be equal if not superior to any ever before
under similar circumstances fitted at sea.  The captain looked at them
with no little satisfaction, and complimenting the ship's company on
what had been done, called the officers aft, and informed them that he
was resolved to attempt once more to reach the coast of America.  Had
there been a war with France, we should have been eager to get to our
station, but as we expected to have little enough to do in putting down
the American rebellion, I cannot say that our captain's announcement was
received with any great satisfaction.  For several days we made
tolerably fair progress, but on the 2nd of December a gale of wind
sprang up, and carried away our jury-main-topmast and top-yard, and
split the sail from clew to earing.  During the whole of this month the
weather continued as boisterous as at the commencement.  Disaster
followed disaster in quick succession.  Among others, we lost four
top-masts, six topsail-yards, one mainsail and one foresail, two
topsails and one fore-topsail, besides which the cover of the arm-chest
fell out of the mizen-top, and, striking the gunner, knocked out four of
his teeth, broke his shoulder in two places, and cut his right eye in
the most shocking manner.  He was carried below in great agony, and his
life was despaired of.  I need not mention any more of the accidents we
encountered.  It may be supposed that by this time we were in a
tolerably forlorn condition, with nearly every yard of our spare canvas
expended, and with scarcely a spar remaining to replace our jury-masts,
should they be carried away.  Unpleasant, however, as was our position,
I must say that we respected our captain for his perseverance, though it
had become the pretty generally received opinion on board, both fore and
aft, that we were destined never to reach our station.  All sorts of
stories were going the round of the decks.  An old woman near Plymouth,
Mother Adder-fang she was called, had been heard to declare, two nights
before the ship went out of harbour, that not a stick of the Orpheus
would ever boil a kettle on English ground.  Another was said to have
cursed the ship and all on board.  Then we had a fine variety of Flying
Dutchman's tales, till the men began to look upon the captain as a sort
of Vanderdecken himself, and to fancy, I verily believe, that we were
destined ourselves to box about till the day of judgment.  Now of course
a man of calm sense should be uninfluenced by these sort of tales--we
should be well assured that God only knows the future, and that words of
anger, uttered by a wicked, ignorant old woman, cannot possibly alter
His determination; still, when a man is worn out with fatigue, hardship
and hunger, when the gale howls fiercely, and the raging seas appear
every instant ready to engulph the ship, he cannot help thinking of the
words he has heard and the stories which have been told him, and looking
forward with sad forebodings to the future.

In spite, however, of the raging storm, the battered condition of the
ship, and the predictions of disaster, we jolly Orlopians resolved not
to be baffled in keeping our Christmas dinner in the accustomed manner
as far as circumstances would allow.  Our means for so doing were
certainly not very extensive, either with regard to our condiments or
the utensils for serving them in.  The greater part of our crockery had
been broken in the previous gales, and all our luxuries had long been
consumed.  We managed, however, to exhibit a dish of boiled beef at one
end of the table, and one of boiled pork at the other, and a tureen of
peas-soup and a peas-pudding; while our second course was a plum-pudding
of huge dimensions, and solid as a round-shot--the whole washed down
with a bowl of punch.  Our seats were secured to the deck, and the
dishes were lashed to the table, while it required no small amount of
ingenuity and rapidity to convey each mouthful from our plates to our
mouths.  Never did the good ship tumble and roll about more violently
than she did on that 25th of December, while we young gentlemen were
drinking "sweet-hearts and wives," and other appropriate toasts.  Let my
readers picture us to themselves, if they can, as we sat, each member of
the mess holding on like grim death to either a dish, or bowl, or can,
or mug, endeavouring, often in vain, to keep the contents from spilling,
and then to carry a portion of them to his mouth, our voices now
clattering away together, now one of us breaking forth into a song, and
joined in chorus by the rest, the ship rolling and pitching, the
bulkheads creaking and groaning, and the wind howling overhead.  The
contrast between the picture we presented and the dining-room of a
comfortable, well-lighted country-house in England on the same day was
not small.

Our condition was not improved when at length the year 1776 commenced.
We had expended all our sails with the exception of those actually bent
to the yards; of spars we had scarcely one remaining.  In consequence
also of the great expenditure of provisions and stores, the ship had
become so light that she rolled excessively and with so quick and rapid
a motion that some of the guns in the galley, drawing their ring-bolts
from the side, broke loose, and before they could be secured committed
much damage.  Added to all this it was announced that our supply of
water was very short, and we were put on an allowance of a pint for each
person.  On these occasions the captain and the smallest boy share
alike.  If any of us breakfasted or dined in the gun-room or cabin, we
carried with us our allowance of water to help make the tea.  We were
still fully four hundred leagues from the coast, and to all appearances
as little likely to make it as we had been a month back.  The officers
were unanimous in their opinion that we should bear up for the West
Indies, but Captain Hudson still resolved to persevere and to endeavour
to gain our intended port.  Though I, like the rest, was heartily sick
of the life we had been enduring, and longed as much as anybody to get
into port, I could not help admiring the perseverance and determination
of our captain.  Grave and anxious as he could not help appearing at
times, he did his utmost generally to assume a cheerful countenance, and
by words of encouragement to keep up the spirits of the men.  As,
however, one after the other the people fell sick, and disaster upon
disaster overtook us, I more than once, when I went into the cabin,
found him sitting pale and silent at the table, with his head resting on
his hand, evidently meditating on the responsibilities of his position.

Meantime the men forward were grumbling and evincing no slight mutinous
disposition.  "Here, old ship, do ye see, have we been boxing about for
the best parts of two months, and for what we knows to the contrary,
farther off from our port than ever we were," I heard one of the
quartermasters, Jos Lizard, observing to a messmate, another old salt of
the same kidney.  Old Jos, as he was called, was somewhat of a sea
lawyer in his way, though not the less superstitious on that account.

"Well, what's to be done, mate?" asked his chum, Ben Goff.

"Done!" exclaimed old Jos; "why, I axes, are we to go knocking our heads
against Providence, so to speak, till we've no water and no grub, and
then to rot away, as I've heard of a ship's company doing, and one left
to tell about it!"

"No, old salt, I wouldn't for one wish to do that same; but how's it to
be helped?" asked Goff.

"Helped!" said Lizard, with a look of scorn, "helped! why, let's go aft
to the captain, and tell him our mind.  Either we bears up for a port,
or let the ship sink at once; it's only what we must come to at last.
We'll get the rum casks on deck, and have a regular jollification of it
first.  Then no matter what turns up, we sha'n't know much about it."

I well knew the horrible folly seamen are capable of, so I thought it
best to put a stopper at once on the precious notion old Jos had got
into his head.  I therefore presented myself suddenly before the two
men.  "You're a couple of donkeys, to talk such nonsense as you've just
been doing!"  I exclaimed, in a contemptuous tone.  "Do you think two
ignorant old fellows like you know better than the captain what ought to
be done?  Let me hear no more about it.  I am not going to report what I
overheard, and if you catch any of the other men talking the game sort
of stuff, just let them know what fools they are."  I felt that it would
not do to reason with the men, but that I should have a better chance of
putting them off this notion by making them feel ashamed of themselves,
and this I think I succeeded in doing.  I cannot say, however, that I
felt very sanguine as to the termination of the voyage.

What the temper of the crew might at length have led to, I don't know,
but at last we got a slant of fair wind and moderate weather, and it was
announced that we were within twelve leagues of Cape Sambro, near the
entrance of the harbour of Halifax.  As may be supposed, there was great
rejoicing on board; all our troubles and misfortunes were forgotten, and
we fully expected to be in harbour the next day.  That night Delisle and
I were on deck together.  Kennedy also was there, and little Harry
Sumner.  Mr Gaston, the third lieutenant, had charge of the watch.  We
were congratulating ourselves on the turn which fortune had made in our
favour, when Delisle called my attention to a thick gloom which was
gathering over the land.  We pointed it out to Mr Gaston, and asked him
what it signified.

"That we are going to have another gale, which may drive us farther to
the southward than we have hitherto been," he replied.

Scarcely had he spoken than the first indications of the coming wind
reached us--a rising sea and a driving shower of sleet--the helm was put
up, and the ship kept before the wind, and then down came the gale upon
us, and once more we were driving before it, surrounded by dense sheets
of snow, which prevented us from seeing a yard beyond our bowsprit end.
Away we went during the whole of the next day and night and the
following day, driving madly before the gale.  If the ship's company had
before this been full of forebodings of coming ill, it is not surprising
that they should now have entirely abandoned all hope of ever again
seeing land.  On the 25th of January we were eighty leagues from the
Cape, and more distressed than ever for masts, spars, sails, provisions,
and water.  So short, indeed, was our store of the latter necessary that
we were now put on an allowance of half a pint a day; so severe also was
the frost that we were compelled to throw hot water on the sails when
they were furled before we could set them.  The men more rapidly than
before fell sick day after day, and completely lost their spirits, and
it became the fashion when the watch turned out for them to inquire what
fresh accident had occurred.

At length one night, as I lay sleeping in my hammock, I was awoke by a
terrific noise.  I found that the ship was on her beam-ends.  There was
a rushing of water, a crashing of timbers, a splitting of sails, the
howling of wind, the cries and shrieks and stamping of men.  I felt
certain that the fatal and long-expected stroke had been given, and that
I and all on board were about to be hurried into eternity.  I have been
since in many a hard-fought battle, I have seen death in every form, but
I never felt its horrors so vividly as I did on that night.  I remained
in my hammock without attempting to dress, for I thought that I might as
well drown as I was, and I had not the remotest expectation of being
saved.  Still the water did not reach me, and at length I heard
Kennedy's voice rousing up the idlers to go on deck, and help take the
canvas off the ship.

"We've been in very great danger, and for some minutes I thought it was
all over with us," he observed: "we've brought her to, however, and she
may ride out this gale as she has done many others."

"I hope so," said I, springing up and putting on my clothes, while
Kennedy hurried on deck.  I found that the chief noise had been caused
by a number of shot boxes breaking loose from the mainmast, and as the
ship heeled over, they came rushing under my hammock and crushing
everything before them.  I had no little difficulty in getting them
secured.  This appeared to be the last piece of malice those winter
gales had to play us.  The next day the weather moderated, and we were
able to lay a course for Halifax.  We could scarcely believe our senses
as we found ourselves entering that magnificent harbour, after our
protracted and disastrous voyage.  We had been out ninety seven days,
ten weeks of which time we had been under jury-masts.  Our only
squaresail was a spritsail at the main-yard to serve as a mainsail.  The
whole ship was covered with ice, and a most complete wreck she looked in
every respect.  We had the second lieutenant, gunner, and seventy-three
men sick, twenty of whom were suffering from frost-bites.  No wonder
that such was our condition when we had encountered no less than
forty-five heavy gales of wind, and it spoke well for the soundness of
the hull of our ship that she had held together so perfectly.  Our
captain, officers, and ship's company received the thanks of the
commander-in-chief for their perseverance and resolution, and certainly
no one deserved more credit than did our captain, for the determined way
in which he held on and succeeded in bringing his ship into harbour.

The next Sunday we all repaired to church, to return public thanks to
Almighty God for preserving us from the perils and hardships of the sea,
to which we had been so long exposed.  It was a solemn and touching
occasion.  Two and two, the captain at our head, and the officers
following with the ship's company, we all marched up together to the
church.  Thoughtless and careless about our spiritual being as we
generally were, I believe very few among us did not feel our hearts
swell with gratitude to the Great Being who had so mercifully watched
over and preserved us from the dangers to which we had been exposed,
when the minister gave forth the words of that beautiful hymn of
thanksgiving,--"The sea roared, and the stormy wind lifted up the waves
thereof.  We were carried up as it were to heaven, and then down again
to the deep; our soul melted within us because of trouble.  Then cried
we unto Thee, O Lord, and Thou didst deliver us out of our distress.
Blessed be Thy name, who didst not despise the prayer of Thy servants,
but didst hear our cry, and hast saved us.  Thou didst send forth Thy
commandment, and the windy storm ceased, and was turned into a calm."
The minister also gave us a sermon appropriate to the occasion, and most
deeply attentive to it were the greater part of the ship's company.
There is as much religious feeling about seamen as in any class of men,
though they are in general grossly ignorant of the doctrine of the
Gospel.  This is owing entirely to the wicked neglect of those of the
upper classes who ought to have seen that they were properly instructed.
I have, however, only to remark that it is the duty of the rising
generation, not to sit idly down, and with upturned eyes to abuse their
ancestors, but to arouse themselves, and by every means in their power
to remedy the neglect of which they were guilty.  The people seemed very
soon to forget the hardships they had endured, and I fear likewise that
the recollection of the mercies vouchsafed to us speedily passed from
our memories.



CHAPTER THREE.

HALIFAX HARBOUR.--LIFE IN THE BACKWOODS.--DANGEROUS EXPEDITION THROUGH
THE ICE.--LORD SHOULDHAM'S FLEET WITH LORD HOWE'S ARMY ARRIVES.--SAIL
FOR NANTUCKET ROADS.--BOSTON CANNONADED.--WATERING-PARTY ON SHORE.--
CAPTURE WHALING SLOOP RANGER.--CRUISE IN HER WITH GRAMPUS AND TOM
ROCKETS.--HER SKIPPER'S TRICK DEFEATED.--REACH HALIFAX.--ORDERED ON
BOARD CHATHAM.--SAIL FOR NEW YORK.--GENERAL WASHINGTON HOLDS POSSESSION
OF THE CITY.

The harbour of Halifax is a very fine one.  A thousand ships may anchor
there in safety.  It is our chief naval station in North America.  The
town, which is a handsome one, stands on a peninsula, and rises
gradually from the water's edge, where there are numerous wharves,
alongside which ships can lie to discharge their cargoes.  We found in
the harbour the Cerberus frigate, Captain Symonds, (see Note 1), hove
down alongside the wharf, as also the Savage sloop of war, wearing
Commodore Arbuthnot's broad pennant.

The inhabitants cordially welcomed our arrival, as they were in hourly
expectation of an attack from a body of rebels who were said to be
marching on the town, while the organised force existing for its defence
was very small.  At length an express arrived from the interior, stating
that the enemy were at the distance of about twenty miles, at a small
village of which they had taken possession.  We were instantly ordered
under arms to protect the dockyard, and fully expected to have warm
work.  The people who formed the rebel bands had been instigated to
revolt by the revolutionists of the southern colonies, who had formed a
plan at this time to invade Canada, which happily proved abortive.  They
themselves, as far as I could learn, had no real cause of complaint.

After we had waited for some time in expectation of an attack, notice
was brought us that the rebels had plundered and burned the village
where they had quartered themselves, and then retired.  We were
therefore able to employ all hands in refitting the ship, a work to us
of the greatest importance.  The cold, however, was so great that we
suffered no little inconvenience from exposure to it.  All the meat, I
remember, which came on board, was frozen so hard that we were
invariably obliged to cut it up into pieces with a cross-saw, to serve
it out to the messes.  Quantities of fish also of a peculiarly fine
flavour were to be picked up daily, frozen to death, on the surface of
the ice, thrown up by the united action of the tide and sea.  As there
were no masts and spars in the dockyard, we found that we should be
obliged to send a party into the woods, fully ten miles from the town,
to cut down trees suitable for the purpose.  I was ordered to accompany
the party appointed for this object.  My friend Delisle was with me, and
Tom Rockets went as my servant.

Having provided ourselves with blankets, provisions, cooking utensils,
and other means of making ourselves comfortable, away we trudged over
the snow, following our guide, John Nobs by name, who was to show us
where we might find the sort of timber we required.  It was the first
time I had ever been in an American forest.  The deep silence which
reigned around, and the perfect solitude were very impressive.  The tall
leafless trees, springing up out of the sheet of snow which covered the
whole face of nature, were the only objects to be seen.

We were merry enough as we tramped away in the keen, pure air over the
crisp snow.  As some thirty pair of feet, stepping out together, went
crunch--crunch--crunch--the noise was so loud, that we were obliged to
raise our voices to make ourselves heard.  Delisle and I marched
directly after our leader old Nobs, our men following, laughing,
talking, and singing, as the mood seized them.

At length, having gone some way through the forest, Nobs began to look
about him attentively.  He was not a man of many words.

"That's 'um," said he, pointing with his chin to some tall, straight
fir-trees, up to which he had led us.  We saw also that a considerable
number of the same description grew in the neighbourhood.

"I suppose, then, we may call a halt?" said I.

Nobs nodded.  We had been told that he would show us how to build some
huts for sheltering our party.

"Some on you with axes come along," said he, turning to the men, and
away he trudged till we reached a clump of graceful, white-stemmed
birch-trees.  Scoring down the stems, he quickly ripped off huge sheets
of bark, some five and six feet long, and two and three broad.  The men
followed his example, and we soon had as much as the whole party could
carry.

"Stay, that won't do alone," observed Nobs; and he commenced cutting
some thin poles, seven or eight feet long, from saplings growing in the
neighbourhood.  With these we returned to the spot we had fixed on for
an encampment.  Scarcely uttering a word, having got some men to assist
him, he erected a framework of a cone-shape, with about eight of the
poles, fastening the upper ends together with a piece of rope.  He then
covered the framework with sheets of bark, leaving a doorway and a small
space open at the top.

"There you have an Indian wigwam," said he.

From the pattern he had thus formed, the men very soon erected wigwams
enough to shelter the whole party.  He then collected some dried wood,
of which there was an abundance about, and lighted a fire in the middle
of his hut.  The hole left at the top of it allowed the smoke to escape.
The snow, which had first been cleared away in the interior, was
piled-up round the hut outside, and the ground was then beaten hard.  He
showed us how to make our couches of dried leaves; and at night, wrapped
in our blankets lying round the fire, we found that we could sleep most
luxuriously.

Having thus speedily made all these necessary arrangements, we set to
work to select the trees fit for our purpose.  As soon as we had fixed
on them, Nobs threw off all his outer clothing, and with his gleaming
axe began chopping away like a true backwoodsman at one of the largest
of the trees.  The carpenter's crew followed his example.  The air was
so calm that while the men were actively employed they felt not the
slightest sensation of cold.  The moment they ceased, however we made
them put on their clothing.

Nobs was thoroughly versed in all the customs of backwoodsmen, so he was
able to show us how to make ourselves comfortable, and I learned many
lessons from him which I, on many subsequent occasions, found very
useful.  Among other things he showed us how to roast our meat by
spitting bits of it on a long thin stick, which rested on two forked
sticks stuck in the ground.  Indeed, we enjoyed ourselves far more than
we expected.

Tom Rockets and another lad slept in our wigwam, to assist in keeping up
the fire.  I lay awake for a short time, when my ears were saluted with
the sound of a long, low howl.  I presently heard Tom stir himself.

"Oh, Jim, sure them be the ghostesses we heard tell of," said he.  "I
hope they won't be coming this way now."

"I hopes not," replied his companion.  "Them be dreadful things I do
think, by the noise they makes."

Just then there was a louder howl than before.

"Oh, they be coming!" cried Tom.  "I'll rouse up Mr Hurry.  Maybe he'll
know how to tackle 'em."

Highly diverted with the opinion my followers had formed of my prowess
against not only mortal but spiritual enemies, I lay still, wishing to
hear what he would next say.  The hideous howl approached still nearer.

"I can't stand it!" he exclaimed.  "Muster Hurry!  Muster Hurry! there
be ghostesses, or devils, or some such things abroad, a-playing of their
pranks, and they be coming to eat us up, Muster Hurry, I be sure!"

I burst into a fit of laughter, so loud that it woke Delisle.  It was
responded to, it seemed, by so unearthly a cry from the depths of the
forest, that even he for a moment was startled.  Then there was the
report of firearms, and looking out of our wigwam, I saw old Nobs
standing in front of his, with a musket in his hand.

"I've druve the varmints away," he said, in his usual laconic style.
"You may turn in, mister."

I took his advice, for it was very cold outside.

"The wolves will not probably disturb us again," said I, as I lay down.

"Wolves! be them wolves?"  I heard Tom remark; but as I soon fell
asleep, I do not know what more he said.

Towards the morning I was again awoke by loud shouts, and growls, and
cries, and the sound of a tremendous tussle.

"I've caught ye, my bo!"  I heard Tom exclaim.  "If ye be a ghost or a
devil, ye shall just show yourself to Muster Hurry, before I let ye go."

Starting up, I found the two lads struggling with some beast or other at
the entrance to the wigwam.  I soon discovered that they had got hold of
a black bear, who had doubtless been attracted to our wigwam by a pot of
sugar which had been left at the entrance, into which he was putting his
paw when Rockets discovered him.  The noise brought a number of the
other men from the huts.  They thought we were attacked by Indians or
the rebels, I believe.  The poor beast made a good fight of it; but
before I could come to his rescue, he had been somewhat severely
handled.  We, however, easily secured him, and kept him prisoner till we
settled what should be done with him.  He was, we learned from old Nobs,
of a species not at all ferocious, and very easily tamed.  We therefore
determined, instead of killing him in order to turn him into ham, to
carry him on board as a pet.  He very soon became reconciled to his lot,
and at once ate willingly from our hands any mess we offered,
particularly if sweetened with sugar.  Rockets considered him as his own
prize, and took him under his especial care.  The men gave him the name
of Sugar-lips, and as Tom stood his sponsor he was known on board as
Tommy Sugar-lips.

However, I must not spend more time on my shore adventures, as I have
matter of so much greater interest to describe.  In about five days we
had cut down and trimmed a sufficient number of trees for our purpose.
The greatest labour was to drag them over the snow to the harbour; but
at length that was accomplished, and we returned once more on board.

Shortly after this the frost set in harder than ever, but in consequence
of the rapidity of the tides the ice, though fully four feet thick, did
not form a consistent body in the harbour.  In some places it was hard,
but the chief quantity round the ship was like a mass of wet snow, too
soft and too rotten to walk on, and yet too thick to allow a boat of any
size to be impelled through it.  Thus all communication with the town
was suddenly cut off.  At this time we had a gang of men on the opposite
shore, fitting the rigging at a spot where they could procure no
provisions.  They were getting very hard up for food, when Captain
Hudson sent for me.

"Mr Hurry," said he, "I wish to send some provisions to the people on
shore.  It will be a service of difficulty, and perhaps danger, but I
can entrust it confidently to you; you must take a couple of hands and a
light boat, and you may be able to force her either over or through the
ice."

"Ay, ay, sir," I answered; "I'll do it if it is to be done."  And away I
went to make my preparations without loss of time.  I always felt an
inclination to volunteer for any work to be done, and never thought of
throwing difficulties in the way of the performance of any thing that
was proposed.  I chose Nol Grampus, the old quarter-master, and Tom
Rockets as my companions in the enterprise.  The dinghy, a small boat we
carried astern, was the best suited to my purpose.  Having laden her
with provisions, we shoved off from the ship among the floating ice.
Our progress was very slow, sometimes we worked our way among the sheet
ice, then we came to a hard slab on to which we jumped and hauled the
boat over it.  "Take care, sir," said Grampus, as we were crossing a
slab, "this is treacherous stuff we are on."  Just as he spoke I felt my
feet sinking into the slush, and had I not had firm hold of the gunwale,
I might have gone through altogether.  As I sprang into the boat I could
not help shuddering at the thought of sinking into the cold deadly mass
which surrounded us without the possibility of making an effort for
life; too dense to enable one to swim, and yet too liquid to bear the
weight of a person, it was as sure to destroy one as the treacherous
quicksand or the furious maelstrom.  Near us was another boat with an
old man and a boy, likewise endeavouring to cross the harbour.  We saw
that they were exerting all their energies, but were not making better
progress than we were.  After some time the tide made down stronger, and
on taking our bearings I found that the ice was setting us fast down the
harbour and out to sea.  My men needed no encouragement to exert
themselves to the utmost, for the peril we were in was very apparent.
Captain Hudson observed it also, and made the signal for us to return to
the ship, but it was even more difficult to go back than to go forward.
In attempting to obey the order I found that we were carried more into
the strength of the current.  I therefore kept on towards the wharf,
where some hundreds of people were collected, rather anxious spectators
of our adventure.  Captain Symonds, of the Cerberus, and the
master-attendant of the dockyard were looking on, and they also hailed
to me to return to the ship.  Sometimes we appeared to be making no
progress whatever, and I felt the probability of our being carried out
to sea--then again we advanced, though slowly, towards the shore.  The
old man and his boy were less able to contend with the difficulties
which surrounded them.  The old man had hurt himself, I fancy, and by
degrees relaxed in his efforts--the poor little fellow was still putting
forth all his strength to urge their boat forward, but it was too
evidently likely to prove unavailing.

At last they slowly drifted past us, and though at so short a distance
that I could clearly see the expression of their countenances we could
render them no possible assistance.  I shall not quickly forget the poor
old man's look of despair and grief--more perhaps for the coming fate of
his boy than for himself.  The poor lad had not yet given up all hopes
of escape.  Now he would sit down and wring his hands, and then he would
start up, and, seizing an oar, try once more to shove the boat ahead.
We had little time, however, for contemplating their fate, for there was
still a great probability that we might have to share it.  We were yet
drifting seaward, and for hours together our utmost exertions only
enabled us to hold our own.  I can easily fancy the interest we excited
on shore, yet nothing could be thought of to help us.  We could hear the
cry of horror and commiseration which rose from the crowd as the boat
with our companions in misfortune drifted past the spot whence there was
any hope of escape, and the old man and lad sat down and gave themselves
up to despair.  The intense cold would, I guessed, soon deprive them of
all sensation and further power of exertion.  Night was coming on, and
we lost sight of them in the gloom.  We had now been six hours in our
perilous position, without time even to take a particle of nourishment.
We were making for the Cerberus as the nearest point where we could
receive assistance.

"We shall reach her, sir!" exclaimed Grampus at length, with a cheerful
tone.  "See, they are ready to heave us a line if we could but get a few
fathoms nearer."  Encouraged by this, we exerted ourselves still more
than ever, and at length a man from the jibboom end of the Cerberus hove
a lead which happily reached our boat.  We seized it eagerly, and making
the line fast, we were hauled alongside the wharf.  As soon as we landed
and had received the congratulations of the spectators of our adventure,
we were carried off, half-starved and frozen, by the master-attendant,
Mr Prowse, to his house; where we were most hospitably entertained.  I
found in him an old shipmate, as he had been master of the Torbay when I
belonged to her.  I spent upwards of two days at his house, and received
the greatest of kindness from him.  While on shore I met another old
friend, Captain Lee, of the Harriet Packet, with whom I almost lived
during his stay at Halifax.  As may be supposed, I found his comfortable
cabin a far more agreeable place of abode than a midshipman's berth with
the rough and scanty fare with which we were provided.  I was anxious to
ascertain the fate of the old man and his son whom we had seen carried
out to sea by the ice.  Sad to relate, they had been picked up two days
afterwards at the mouth of the harbour, frozen to death.  They must have
died, I suspect, soon after we lost sight of them, for the cold was so
intense that it could not long have been resisted.  We had, indeed,
cause to be thankful to providence that their fate was not ours.  It is
but one of the many instances in which I have been mercifully preserved,
while those by my side have been cut off.  For what end has this been
done?  I wish that I could say that I have properly employed the longer
term of life thus vouchsafed to me.  There had been at Halifax all the
winter a very limited supply of provisions.  At length a fleet appeared
off the harbour's mouth, which proved to be that under the command of
Admiral Lord Shouldham, with the army of General Howe on board, (see
Note 2), who had been compelled by the American revolutionists, under
General Washington, to evacuate Boston, after having been besieged in it
for fully ten months.  It will be remembered that we parted from the
Chatham, Admiral Shouldham's flag-ship, in a gale in the early part of
our voyage.  She went through as much bad weather, and experienced
almost as many disasters as we had suffered, though at length she
reached Boston, where Lord Shouldham succeeded Admiral Graves as
Commander-in-Chief.  Our disasters throughout the whole of that sad
contest with the American States arose from the foolish contempt with
which the British generals and their officers treated the provincial
troops.  While General Howe was waiting for reinforcements from England,
General Washington was collecting an army and disciplining his troops.
Before, therefore, the expected reinforcements could arrive, General
Howe, to his great surprise, found himself outnumbered, and the city
commanded from some hills which overlook it, called Dorchester Heights.
He found that he must either dislodge the enemy from these heights or
evacuate Boston.  A heavy gale of wind prevented the adoption of the
former alternative till the rebels were too strongly entrenched to allow
the attempt to be made with any prospect of success.  A hurried retreat
was therefore resolved on, and not only the troops, but those of the
inhabitants who had sided with the British, were compelled to embark on
board the men-of-war and transports, vast quantities of military stores
and property of all sorts being either destroyed or left behind, to fall
into the hands of the enemy.  This fleet had arrived ill provided with
provisions to feed so many mouths, and from there being, as I have said,
but a scanty supply of food in Halifax already, it was considered
necessary to put the army and navy on half allowance--an arrangement to
which, though very disagreeable, we were compelled to submit with the
best grace we could muster.  From the time of our arrival till the 4th
of May we were busily occupied in fitting the ship for sea, and not an
hour was lost after that was accomplished, in getting under weigh, when
we stood to the southward.  We were not sorry to have the chance of
seeing some active service.  On the 8th we spoke HMS Merlin, with two
transports bound for Halifax, on the 12th the Milford and Lively, on a
cruise.  On the same day we anchored in Nantucket Roads, Boston, where
we found lying the Renown, wearing the broad pennant of Commodore Banks,
which we saluted with thirteen guns.  A constant cannonade was kept up
on the squadron by the rebels who now held Boston and the surrounding
heights, but without doing us much mischief.  We returned the fire
occasionally with probably about the same result.  After their late
successes the American patriots had become very bold, and no longer held
the British in any respect.  Some parts of the coast of the harbour were
left unprotected by the enemy.  One night I was sent on shore in command
of a watering-party, with strict orders to keep a watchful guard against
surprise.  To do this I considered it necessary to take possession of a
house near the spot where we were filling the casks.  As the house was
deserted I carried off a table and six chairs which I found in it, with
which to furnish the midshipman's berth--ours having been knocked to
pieces on the voyage to Halifax.

By the rules of war I had a right to take the property, I believe, but
it seems hard that the owners, who were probably not belligerents,
should be deprived of it.  On the following day, the 15th, we sailed on
a cruise in search of any of the enemy's merchantmen or privateers, of
which they had begun to fit out a good many.  The crews ran a great risk
of being treated as pirates, but as the rebels had already threatened to
retaliate, should the usual customs of regular warfare be departed from,
it was judged prudent to behave towards those who fell into our hands as
if they were regular prisoners of war.

We had begun to grumble much at our ill-luck in not falling in with
prize.  "Ye'll na take anything which will put siller into any of our
pockets this cruise, ma laddies," said Andrew Macallan, the Scotch
surgeon's mate, who was much addicted to the prophesying of ill-luck.

We Orlopians were collected in the midshipman's berth towards the
termination of a not over-luxurious dinner.  "I should think not,"
responded Kennedy.  "What can we expect to get out of these beggarly
provincials?  It's not likely they'll have any craft afloat which will
be worth capture."

"How do you know that?" exclaimed Frank Mercer, one of our mates, with a
deep crimson flush on his brow.  "Now, from what I have heard, I believe
the patriots have a number of fine merchantmen sailing out of their
ports, and have already fitted out several privateers."

"From which of your friends on shore did you hear that?" asked Kennedy,
with a look of contempt.

"From common report," replied Mercer.  He was known to have several
relations and friends in America who had sided with the rebels, and
though this made him look on them with a favourable eye, he had too
loyal a spirit to allow him to contemplate for a moment the desertion of
his colours.  Still his heart often yearned towards those engaged in
what then appeared so unequal a struggle on shore, and he could scarcely
help expressing satisfaction at any success they met with.  Poor Mercer
had to endure a great deal of irony and abuse on the subject, but while
he defended the rebels, and asserted their right to take up arms in the
defence of their liberties, he acknowledged that his own duty was to
remain loyal to his sovereign.  The dispute was waxing warm, when little
Harry Sumner, who had been on deck, came below, and announced that there
was a suspicious sail away to the north-east, and that we were in chase
of her.  I was on deck in a minute, and found everything being set alow
and aloft in chase of the stranger.  After watching her for some time
from aloft, where I had gone with my spy-glass, I saw that we were
gaining on her rapidly, though she had also made all sail.  This
convinced us that she was a craft belonging to the enemy.  She was
sloop-rigged, but seemed to be a vessel of some size.  After a chase of
four hours we got her within range of our guns, when a shot from one of
our bow-chasers, falling close alongside, convinced her that she had no
chance of escape, and that her wisest policy was to heave-to without
more ado.  This she at once did, and I was sent on board to take
possession.  She proved to be the Ranger, from Nantucket harbour, bound
on a whaling voyage, her crew consisting of a master, mate, boy, and ten
men.  Her master, Mr Jotham Scuttle, was very indignant at being
captured, and good reason he had to be so, for half the vessel was his
own, and thus in a moment he was deprived of all his worldly wealth.  He
was as unlike a seaman in appearance as could well be imagined; with his
broad-brimmed hat, knee-breeches, buckles to his high shoes, and long
waistcoat, but he was not the less active for all that.  Leaving
Grampus, who had accompanied me, with two hands in charge of the sloop,
I returned with the prisoners to the frigate.  The mate and men were
instantly pressed, without the question being asked whether they would
wish to join, and Captain Hudson ordered me to go back to the sloop,
giving me leave to carry Tom Rockets, in addition to the men already on
board, and to make the best of my way to Halifax.  "Stay," said he,
"take the master and boy with you, Mr Hurry; we shall not know what to
do with them on board--and see that he plays you no trick."  I laughed
at the idea of having anything to dread from the demure Mr Scuttle,
and, putting up a few necessaries, I tumbled into the boat which was to
take me on board my new command.  I thought I caught a twinkle in friend
Jotham's eyes when he found that he was to be sent back to his own
vessel--but this was probably fancy.  He sat looking very sad and
downcast as we pulled on board the sloop.  The crew of the boat which
had brought me gave me three cheers, and Delisle, who had come in her,
wished me a prosperous voyage to Halifax, from which I was about two
hundred leagues distant.  The frigate then hauled her wind, and I made
sail to the northward.  Of course I felt very grand in my new command,
like Sancho Panza in his island, though it was not to last very long at
the utmost; and it was not impossible that I might be summarily
dispossessed of it at any moment; however, I did not trouble myself
about such thoughts just then.  Having taken possession of the master's
cabin, and allowed him to occupy his mate's, I called my ship's company
together, and, having divided them into two watches, told them I
expected they would do their duty and behave themselves.  Nol Grampus
had charge of one watch with one of the seamen and Mr Scuttle under
him, and I took the other with the other seaman, Tom Rockets and the
boy.  Tom had not got over his innocent country look, though he was
sharp enough in reality, and did his duty as a seaman very fairly.  Old
Grampus, who had taken a fancy to him, was always teaching him something
or other likely to prove useful.  "Now, Tom, you may be no wiser nor a
young gull as has never learned to fly," I heard the old man say; "but
listen, my boy, if you follows my advice you'll soon be able to spread
your wings and skim over the water just for all the world like one on
them big albatrosses one meets with off the Cape of Good Hope, you've
heard speak of."  Tom had not heard of such a place, so Grampus told him
all about it, and a great deal more besides.  In that way my young
follower picked up his sea lore.  The contrast between the two was
perfect.  Tom's young, smooth, innocent face, and round boyish figure,
and the thorough old sea-dog look of Grampus, with his grizzly bushy
hair and whiskers, his long cue, his deeply-furrowed, or I may say
rather bumped and knobbed and bronzed countenance, and his spare, sinewy
form, having not a particle of flesh with which he could dispense.

As Mr Jotham Scuttle's eye fell on Tom he took him at once for a simple
lad, who could readily believe anything he had to say, and he formed his
plans accordingly.  I got on very well with my scanty crew, for as there
were winches and tackles of all sorts on board, I managed to work the
vessel easily enough.  We had an abundance of provisions, so that,
contrasted especially with the fare to which I had for many months past
been accustomed, we lived luxuriously.

The second day I invited Mr Scuttle to dine with me.  The commencement
of the entertainment was not very lively, for though he did not play a
bad knife and fork, he uttered no sound except an occasional deep sigh
from beneath the very lowest button of his waistcoat.  At last, after
leaning his head on his hand for some time, he looked up.

"It is very hard to be borne, mister," he exclaimed with vehemence.
"Here was I, with a fine craft I could almost call my own, and with
every chance of providing for my family, and now I'm worse than a
beggar--a prisoner, and forced to go I don't know where."

"You shouldn't have broken the blockade, and your friends shouldn't have
rebelled and broken the laws," said I.

"Laws!" he exclaimed with disdain, "they were bad laws, and it went
against the grain of every honest man to observe them."

"I don't know anything about that," I replied; "in my profession all we
have to do is to obey without asking questions, and I just fancy that
your people will very soon have to do the same, whether they like it or
not."

"Will they, forsooth?" he exclaimed, striking his fist on the table.
"The time has passed for that.  I'll tell you what, sir, they'll fight
it out till every drop of honest blood is spilt in the country.  It was
the supercilious, boasting airs of your lords and aristocrats who came
out among the military looking down upon all the first gentlemen in the
land as provincials and colonists, as they called them in contempt,
which was the real cause of the revolt.  They made enemies wherever they
went, with their follies and pride and haughty words.  They and their
government at home seemed to forget that we were Britons like
themselves, with British hearts, ay, and with truer loyalty than they
had for the king and the old country.  What would you say, sir, if you
were insulted as we have been?"

"I certainly do not like being bullied by anyone," said I.

"No more do we colonists, sir," answered the poor skipper.  "My father,
sir, came over from the old country; misfortunes compelled him to quit
it, but he loved it as much as ever, and brought up me, his son, to love
it also; and so I should to this day, had I, and those who had made
America their own, been fairly treated--not looked upon as children to
be played with, or slaves to be bullied and despised.  Now, sir," he
continued, standing up and placing one hand on the table, while he
extended the other, "I tell you that there are not bitterer enemies to
the old country than your government have made me and many like me."

"I am very sorry for you," I said, seeing the justice of his remarks,
"but you see I cannot help it, so just sit down and mix yourself another
tumbler of grog; we can but make the best of circumstances."

"I don't want your pity, or that of any of the enemies of America," he
answered proudly.  Then he seemed to soften, and he continued in a more
subdued tone, "But you, young gentleman, seem inclined to treat me as a
man should a man, and not as some of your officers have treated us
provincials, so I am thankful, and if the day should come when I can
return your kindness I shall be glad to do so."

"I only hope that I may not be in your place as a prisoner," said I.

"To be honest with you," he replied, "if I only had the chance of taking
the sloop from you, I should be right not to let it pass by, though I
have no great hope that it will be offered me."

"No, I should think not," I answered, laughing.  I have often since
thought of the foolish, domineering way in which England and Englishmen
treat their brethren who turn colonists, and shall not be surprised if
she loses one colony after another as she was now doing her American
settlements.  The skipper was soon pacified, and we became very good
friends.  We were still talking away over our glass of grog, when Nol
Grampus put his head in at the cabin-door.

"I don't quite like the look of the weather, Mr Hurry," said he.  "I
think it's going to breeze up a bit, and the sooner we shorten sail the
better."

I jumped up and went on deck, when I saw that he was right.  We
accordingly at once made all snug.  Thick clouds were banking up from
the westward and southward, which soon rushing on like a vast army
sweeping over a devoted country, deluged us with rain, bringing a heavy
breeze, which kicked up no small amount of sea.  The wind keeping to the
southward of west we could lay our course, so on we went pitching and
tumbling before it in no very pleasant manner for several days.

Fortunately the Ranger was well found in every respect, and, proving a
very good sea-boat, showed that the men of Nantucket knew what was the
best economy in the end.  She was newly painted, and had sixteen ports,
so that at a distance she had a somewhat formidable appearance; but as
they had no guns to them, though she could grin, she could not even
bark, much less bite.  If, therefore, we fell in with an enemy I saw
that, should we not be able to escape by flight, we should in all
probability be captured.  I had observed that my friend the skipper had
been in better spirits than at first.  He spoke frankly to me, as he did
to the crew, and seemed to be on good terms with everybody.  He was
evidently a clever man--full of resources of all sorts--above his
station I should say.  He had been brought up as a farmer, and had never
been afloat till within the last six or seven years.  He was now no
contemptible sailor.  His next move would probably be to some totally
different sphere, where he would take a step higher in the social scale.
Such is the career of many a New Englander.

I had turned into my berth, after keeping the morning watch some days
after this, when, as I awoke, I saw Tom Rockets moving about in the
cabin.

"What do you want, Tom?"  I asked.

"Hist, sir," he whispered, "I've just a word to speak to you."

"Out with it then, my man," I said.

"It's just about that strange skipper, sir."

"Well, go on."

"He's been talking to me, and asking if I wouldn't like to go and settle
in a land of liberty, and make my fortune, and no longer be subject to
be starved and flogged and ill-treated on board of a man-of-war?"

"And what did you say, Tom?"  I asked.

"I told him just simply like that I belonged to you, that I would follow
wheresoever you went, and that if you thought fit to go and settle in
his country, I'd have no objection to go too."

"That was right, Tom.  If he speaks to you again, give him the same sort
of answer.  Don't let him suppose you are offended.  Has he spoken with
either of the other men?"

"With all except Grampus; but I don't think he has made much way with
them.  The old man, I fancy, sir, guesses what he's after, and has his
eye on him," answered Tom.

"All right, then, my lad.  Keep your eyes about you, and let me know any
thing you observe, but don't allow the skipper to find out that we
suspect him."

Tom promised to follow my directions, and I sent him on deck while I
turned out and dressed.  I treated Mr Scuttle just as if he were not
plotting against me, for forewarned, I felt myself fore-armed, and had
no fear that he could do me any harm.

That day the wind fell considerably and we again had fair weather.  The
next morning, while I was at breakfast, old Nol hailed down the
sky-light--

"Would you just come on deck for a moment, sir?" said he.

"What is it?"  I asked.

"There's a sail away to the south-west, and I don't quite like the looks
of her," answered the old man.

I jumped on deck in a moment.  I was not long in making out a brig under
all sail holding the same course we were on.  As I took the glass from
my eye I found Scuttle standing by my side.

"What do you think of her?"  I asked.

"Maybe she's a whaler, or maybe a sealer, or a merchantman from one of
the provincial ports, or maybe a transport with British red-coats
aboard; but, Mr Hurry, it requires a man with a longer sight than I've
got to tell just now what she is," said the skipper, in the long
drawling tone of a New Englander.

I thought that there was something ironical in his tone as he spoke, and
that he more than probably knew perfectly well all about the stranger.

"Whatever she may be," I answered, "I'll show her my heels.  Make all
sail, Grampus."

"Ay, ay, sir," he replied; and in a short time, the skipper pulling and
hauling with as good a will as the rest, we had every stitch of canvas
packed on the sloop which she could carry.  I fancied, however, that the
skipper gave a knowing look at me as he went forward, as much as to say,
"You may make all the sail you like, but it won't do."  At all events, I
soon found that the Ranger, though a very good sea boat, was a tub in
regard to sailing, under-rigged especially, as she was, for greater
convenience in handling.

The stranger was walking up to us fast.  As the morning sun fell on her
sails they appeared to me very white, and to have a wide spread, and I
began to hope that she might prove an English man-of-war brig.  Another
two hours, however, banished any such hopes, and I was convinced, on
looking at Jotham Scuttle's countenance, that she was likely to prove
his friend, but my enemy.

"What do you think of her now, Mr Scuttle?"  I asked.

"She's a brig," he answered innocently.

"Anyone can see that with half an eye," said I; "but what is she?  Where
does she hail from?"

"Well, then, maybe she hails from a provincial port," he answered
slowly.  "I should not be very much surprised, too, if she carries
guns."

"A rebel privateer or pirate, in fact," said I.

"An American privateer, if you please, sir, I have no doubt she is," he
replied; "in two or three hours, I guess, you will find it safer to call
her so, at all events."

"Well, well, we will see about that," I remarked, laughing at his
coolness, though I began to entertain no slight apprehension that I was
about to lose my prize and to become a prisoner into the bargain.

"They've got their new-fangled flag a-flying from their peak, sir," said
Grampus, stepping up.

On looking through my glass I made out the star-and-stripe covered
ensign, just then begun to be carried by provincial vessels, flying out
proudly from her gaff end; while several ports at her side left me no
longer in doubt that she was an enemy most devoutly to be wished away.
Do everything I could, however, to increase the speed of the Ranger, she
rapidly came up with us.  Still it was not in my nature to give in while
a chance remained of escape.  Some man-of-war might heave in sight, or
some other craft the privateer might think more worthy of chasing; or we
might keep ahead till darkness came to my help.  The chances were,
however, very small in my favour, and Mr Scuttle could not help showing
his satisfaction at the prospect of the probable change in our fortunes.
I went aloft and swept the horizon with my glass in every direction,
but not a sail appeared in sight.  The breeze held steady, and indeed
seemed rather inclined to increase than fall.  My heart sank lower than
it had ever done before.  In another hour my people and I would be
prisoners, and Mr Jotham Scuttle would be offering me his
commiseration.  He was speaking to my two men; doubtless telling them
they had nothing to fear.  I felt a very strong inclination at the
moment to pitch him overboard; I wanted some one on whom to vent my
vexation.  Poor man! however, there was in reality much to admire in
him.  In another half hour the game would be up.  Suddenly a bright idea
occurred to me.  I had often seen a poor silly creature followed by a
troop of urchins hallooing at his heels and mocking him with their
thoughtless jests, when he would turn round with clenched fists and
grinning lips, and they would take to an ignominious flight.  I would
try the effect of a similar trick.  Descending on deck, I ordered
Grampus to get lines fastened to all the ports, so that they might be
lifted at once.  As soon as the arrangement was made I put the sloop
about, and at the same moment, suddenly lifting all our ports--of which,
as I have said, we had eight on a side--under all sail, I stood boldly
down towards the enemy.  Still she stood on, and my heart began to quake
for the success of my manoeuvre.

"It can't be helped, sir, I fear," said Grampus.  "We are in for it."

"No, no," I exclaimed, with a shout of joy.  "It's all right.  Hurrah,
my lads!"  The brig had taken in her studden-sails and was standing away
from us, close-hauled on a wind.  I was so eagerly watching her that I
did not see what had become of friend Scuttle.  I was aroused by a cry
from Tom Rockets.

"Just you come down, master!" he exclaimed.

I looked up and caught sight of the skipper and his boy going aloft with
knives in their hands.  Their intention was obvious.  It was to cut the
halliards, and by letting the sails come down by the run, call the
attention of the brig to our true condition, and thus bring her back to
our capture.  Tom had got hold of the boy's leg, and I thought would
have jerked him overboard.  Grampus in a moment was after the master,
and before he had reached the cross-trees had hold of him, and,
wrenching the knife from his hand, had hove it overboard.  Whatever were
the thoughts and intentions of my two other men, they did not show any
inclination to side with the skipper.  He began to show fight and to
kick and struggle not a little, but Grampus had held on with his teeth
in too many a gale while close-reefing top-sails, not to be able to gain
the mastery.  With threats and very significant signs that he would
heave him overboard, he at length forced him down on deck.

"Now," said I, "Mr Scuttle, I should be justified in pistolling you on
the spot for the pretty trick you purposed playing me.  But I will not
injure you.  You gave me warning, I remember, what you would do, so, as
I believe you to be a man of honour, pass me your word that you will
attempt no further treachery and I will not injure you.  Otherwise, for
my own safety, I must clap you in limbo, and shoot you the moment I find
you again at any such game."

"It's very, very hard," he answered, folding his arms on his bosom and
looking wistfully at the brig, which still held her course away from us,
"to have thought that I should get back my vessel and see my family
again in a few days perhaps, and now to have all my hopes rudely swept
away from me!  It's hard--very, very hard!"

I really pitied the poor man and would on no account have injured him,
could I have avoided it.

"Well, Mr Hurry, luck's against me," he said at length.  "In all things
regarding the navigation of the vessel, I'll obey you faithfully till we
reach Halifax.  Then you have nothing more to fear from me."

I was sure that I could trust him.  "Then," said I, "go about your duty,
and I will take no notice of what has passed."

Grampus, Tom, and I cheered lustily as we saw the brig continuing to
stand away from us, and the men joined us, though I suspect the fellows
did not care much about the matter.  It was getting towards evening.  I
longed for darkness, for I never felt so anxious in my life.  I was
afraid every moment that the people of the brig might gain courage and
turn round upon us.  If so, we should be worse off than ever, as we
should not have a chance of escaping.  Friend Scuttle eyed the brig as
anxiously as I did, though with very different wishes.  Still we held
on, looking, I doubt not, very fierce, and the privateer's men must have
been no less anxious to get away from us than we were from them.  At
length evening approached, and never did I see the sun set with so much
satisfaction.  Gradually the shades of night crept over the ocean, and I
drew a long breath as the brig was lost to our sight in the thickening
gloom.  As soon as I was certain that we could not possibly be seen, I
ordered the sloop to be kept away, and once more made all sail to the
northward, altering my course a few points from that I had been steering
when first seen by the brig, lest she should by any chance be looking
after us in the morning.  Probably the privateer's men were
congratulating themselves at thus easily escaping from us.  As I gave
vent to my feelings in a hearty cheer the poor skipper exhibited his in
a deep groan, and then, having assisted in making sail, turned in to try
and forget his sorrows in sleep.  The weather continued fine till the
7th of the month, when I made the land about five leagues to the
westward of Halifax harbour.  Soon after this the wind fell and we had a
stark calm.  By Mr Scuttle's advice I fitted a couple of fishing-lines,
and in the course of an hour, with those two lines alone, caught one
hundred and twenty-four very fine cod.  They proved a welcome addition
to our usual salt-meat fare.  Those we could not eat fresh we split open
and dried in the sun, and they thus served us for food for several days.

"What do you think of the weather now, Grampus?" said I, after we had
been fishing for some time.

"I don't like its looks at all, sir," he replied.  "This is a ticklish
coast at all times, and one never knows what's coming."

"If you had asked me, I could have told you that we are going to have
wind, and fully enough of it," observed Mr Scuttle.

He had got into a mighty free-and-easy style of talking of late.  He was
perfectly right, though in addition to the wind, which sprung up
immediately afterwards, we got a thick fog, which totally obscured the
land.  I steered a course, however, which I hoped would carry us to the
harbour's mouth.  We ran on for some time and then hove-to, that we
might sound.  We had still plenty of water, so I stood on again.  At
last the fog lifted a little, when to my very great disgust I found that
we had run three leagues past the mouth of the harbour.  We endeavoured
to tack back, but before morning a heavy gale of wind sprung up directly
off shore.  It was impossible to beat up against it, so I stood to the
eastward all that day and night, under a try-sail and storm-jib.  During
this time the gale showed no signs of abating.  It was a good trial to
our tempers, at all events.  Grampus vowed that there was some old witch
in Halifax who must have taken a spite to us and was resolved to keep us
out of the harbour as long as she could.  He was devising all sorts of
plans for exorcising her, but none seemed likely to prove satisfactory.
In the morning, the weather moderating a little, I stood to the westward
under close-reefed mainsail and double-reefed foresail, and by the
evening reached at length the mouth of the harbour.  "There's many a
slip between the cup and the lip."  We were congratulating ourselves on
getting all snug at night, when once more the wind breezed up with a
thickish fog, and as we were then in only forty fathoms of water I was
obliged again to run to sea.  The bad weather kept me, as well as all
the people, on deck, for not knowing what might occur no one could
venture to go below.  Some time before daylight I once more hauled my
wind and beat up towards the land.  By the evening of the 10th we were
again in with Jabucta Head.  We then got soundings on a reef of rocks in
eight fathoms water, but so worn out was I and everybody on board that I
ordered the anchor to be let go, that we might turn in and get some
rest.  I fully expected to lose my anchor and cable, but when I came to
weigh at daylight the next morning I was fortunate enough to save them
both.  I now fully expected to get safe into harbour, but as I was
standing up Major's Reach I saw a Falmouth packet coming down.  The
temptation of speaking her and sending a message home was too great to
be resisted, so I stood over towards her.  As the sloop was going about
she missed stays near a dangerous reef, and to prevent her driving on
the rocks it was necessary to be quick in wearing.  In doing this the
boom came over with the whole main-sheet eased off, and carried it away
in six different places.  This accident compelled me to run from the
narrow channel and lost me the opportunity of speaking the packet.  Once
more making sail, and the wind favouring me, I got as high as George's
Island, when a sudden squall split my mainsail.  This compelled me to
bring up.  Manning a boat, I pulled up to Halifax to look out for the
prize agent, into whose hands I was to deliver the sloop.

I parted on the best of terms with Mr Jotham Scuttle.  He hoped to find
some friends in Halifax who would advance him money to enable him to buy
back the Ranger.

"If ever you come to Nantucket," said he, "ask for me, and if I'm on
shore there's no one will give you a more hearty welcome."

I promised that I would not forget his kind invitation, and, after a
hearty shaking of hands, I saw no more of him.

I found the whole town in a state of great commotion, as the immense
fleet there collected, of men-of-war and transports, with a large army
on board, were on the point of sailing, it was said, on an expedition
which would effectually crush the rebels and bring the American
provinces once more into complete subjection.  That I might not be left
behind I immediately reported myself to my Lord Shouldham.  His lordship
ordered me at once to come on board the Chatham, with my people.  I very
speedily returned to the Ranger and again got back to the Chatham.  I
was, however, rather ashamed of my outfit, as it was not very
appropriate to the atmosphere of a flag-ship, consisting, as it did, of
one old uniform suit, four shirts, and a very few etceteras.

The fleet, I found, was bound for the projected attack on New York.  It
consisted of his Majesty's ships Chatham, Rear-Admiral Shouldham, of the
White--she had on board General Lord Percy, General Pigot, and other
officers of rank--the Centurion, the Greyhound, which had on board
General Sir William Howe, the Commander-in-Chief, and brother to Admiral
Lord Howe, the Rose, Senegal, and Merlin, sloops of war, and nearly two
hundred sail of transports.

Two hours after I got on board the whole fleet of men-of-war and
transports made sail for their destination.  It was understood that we
were to be joined at New York by Admiral Lord Howe, who was on his way
out from England.  He was to take command of the fleet, while his
brother, the general, had command of the army.  The two together were to
act as commissioners to treat with the rebels, and, by showing them the
overpowering force marshalled against them, to endeavour to bring them
to terms.  Although the rebels had been for so long able successfully to
set the king's forces at defiance, there were a considerable number of
people throughout the country who still remained loyal to their
sovereign, known generally under the designation of Tories, and it was
supposed that they would materially aid both in putting down the
rebellion and in winning back the inhabitants to their allegiance.  The
rebel army, under the immediate command of General Washington, held New
York and Long Island opposite to it, as well as the adjacent country.  I
believe I knew the particulars I speak of at the time: if not I learnt
them soon afterwards.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 1.  Father of the late Admiral Sir William Symonds, and of the late
Admiral Thomas Symonds.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 2.  General Howe was the brother of Admiral Lord Howe.



CHAPTER FOUR.

THE FLEET AT SEA.--TROOPS LANDED.--ALL HOPE OF PEACE ABANDONED.--SPIES
EXECUTED.--BOATS SENT TO WATCH FIRE-SHIPS.--REJOIN ORPHEUS.--LAND
MASTERS OF MERCHANTMEN.--FALL IN WITH REBEL REGIMENT.--ATTACK FORT ON
SULLIVAN'S ISLAND.--HEAVY LOSS.--WITNESS ATTACK ON BROOKLYN.--DREADFUL
SLAUGHTER.--RUN PAST BATTERIES IN EAST RIVER.--TRYING TIME.--DEATH OF AN
OLD FRIEND.--SHIPS CANNONADED.

Far as the eye could reach the white sails of the men-of-war and
transports dotted the blue waters of the Atlantic, as with a light
though favourable breeze the fleet steered a course for New York.  We
might have been excused, as we scanned with pride the vast armament--the
ships, their crews, and the troops in prime order and amply supplied
with all the munitions of war, under the command of the most experienced
leaders England could send forth--if we believed firmly that victory was
destined to sit proudly on our standards.  Here and there a man-of-war
might be seen in the far distance, like a sheep-dog on the heels of the
flock, firing a gun now, on this side now on that, to hint to any
laggers along the transports to make more sail, but generally the fleet
kept well together.  On the 13th the Greyhound, with General Howe on
board, parted company, to hasten on, it was supposed, to make
arrangements with Governor Tryon and other royalists in the
neighbourhood of New York about the landing the troops, and did not
return to the fleet.  It was not till the 2nd, after a prosperous
voyage, that we reached Sandy Hook, at the mouth of Baritan Day, to the
southward of the narrow entrance of New York harbour, where we found at
anchor his Majesty's ship Phoenix and several sail of merchantmen.  At
noon on the 4th the signal was given for the whole fleet to weigh.  It
was a beautiful sight.  The sky was blue, the sun bright, and the water
calm and clear.  To the southward, across the yellow glittering shore of
Sandy Hook, arose the bold highlands of Neversink; on the larboard bow
was Staten Island, with green fields, feathery woods, and sloping hills,
sprinkled with numerous country houses and villas, built mostly by the
old Dutch settlers, peeping from among the trees.  Ahead were the
Narrows--such is the appropriate name given to the channel leading to
New York--while more to the right stretched away, till lost in distance
to the north-east, the low sandy coast of Long Island, with a fringe of
dark forest appearing on the summit of its centre ridge like the
bristles on the back of a wild boar.  The Chatham was the first ship to
make sail, and the master received orders to steer through the rest of
the fleet.  It was truly a fine sight, as the admiral and the generals,
with their brilliant staffs in rich uniforms, and the officers of the
ships stood crowding on the decks, with bands playing joyous and
inspiriting tunes while we sailed onward, the crews and troops on board
that numerous squadron cheering lustily, their hearts beating with
martial ardour under the belief that we were advancing to the immediate
attack and certain conquest of New York.  All necessary preparations
were made on our passage up for landing, but as we approached the
entrance of the harbour some change seemed to be contemplated in the
arrangements, and at sunset, instead of entering the Narrows, the signal
was made for the fleet to anchor in Gravesend Day at the south-west end
of Long Island.  I was anxious to fall in with the Orpheus, once more to
get on board her, for with my scanty stock of clothing I was far from
comfortable in the flag-ship.  She was, however, away on a cruise and
might not possibly return for some time.  However, I thereby saw and
heard more of the general proceedings than I should otherwise have done.
We learned soon afterwards that on this very day, the 4th of July,
1776, thirteen British colonies in America had declared themselves free
and independent States, abjuring all allegiance to the British Crown,
and renouncing all political connexion with the mother country.  This
declaration was issued by the celebrated Congress, organised by Dr
Franklin and other provincial leaders, consisting of representatives
from the above-mentioned States who assembled at Philadelphia.  The
resolution was passed on the 2nd, but it was not till the day I speak
of, the 4th, that the document entitled the Declaration of Independence
was adopted by the Congress and published to the people.  It was the
fatal blow which severed for ever that vast territory from Great
Britain.  The reasons for our anchoring and the troops not being landed
were known only to the commanders-in-chief.

At daylight on the 5th the signal was made for the whole fleet to weigh.
At this time, it must be understood, the rebels held the shore of Long
Island on our starboard hand in considerable force, and there were
bodies of them on Staten Island on the larboard hand, which forms the
southern side of the harbour.  It was a fine sight to see the fleet, the
Phoenix, Rose, and Senegal leading, standing for the channel of the
Narrows; but our hopes of entering into action were again disappointed
in consequence of the wind falling away and compelling us to anchor.  At
four o'clock in the afternoon, however, once more the signal was made to
weigh, the flat-bottomed boats destined to land the troops were manned,
and in the same order as before we proceeded onwards.  The moment we
entered the Narrows the rebels opened fire on us from field-pieces and
small arms, but without doing us much injury, but very few men on board
any of the ships being killed.  By seven o'clock we had dropped anchor
close in with the north shore of Staten Island, and were actively
engaged in landing the troops.  So rapid and unexpected had been our
movements at the last that a body of the enemy, to the number of nearly
three hundred men, were unable to escape and were taken prisoners by the
first division of Grenadiers who landed.  The army at once encamped, and
it was difficult to say what great movement would next take place.  We
found ourselves, however, at once engaged in active warfare on a small
scale, for the enemy were by no means idle and the troops had frequent
skirmishes with them.  The navy also had work enough to do, and of a
very harassing nature.  Frequently I had to spend the whole of the night
in a guard-boat keeping watch on the movements of the enemy, especially
looking out for the approach of fire-ships, which, it was reported, they
were about to send down in the hopes of destroying the fleet.  In the
day-time we were employed in carrying about troops and throwing them on
shore in different directions, to harass and distract the enemy, so that
they might be less prepared when the real attack upon them was made.  On
the 12th of July the signal was made for the Phoenix, Rose, and Tryall
to get under weigh, and the wind being favourable, they stood up boldly
towards the mouth of the Hudson.  It was an exploit of no slight danger
and difficulty, and was watched by all on board the fleet with
breathless interest.  As they got within reach the batteries of Red
Hook, Powles Hook, and the garrison of New York opened an incessant and
heavy fire on them, which was warmly returned by the ships.  General
Washington and his army must have looked with no little vexation, if not
dismay, on the success of the attempt, as it exposed the shores of the
Hudson at unexpected points to our attacks, and Captain Wallace of the
Rose was well known for the annoyance he had been causing the
inhabitants of the New England coast since the commencement of the
outbreak.

On the day of this occurrence a salute from each of the ships-of-war
gave notice that Lord Viscount Howe had arrived.  He superseded Lord
Shouldham as commander-in-chief.  He had come out from England expecting
to join his brother, the general, at Halifax, but finding that he had
sailed from thence had followed him here.  At first it was supposed that
warlike operations would be pushed on with vigour, but soon it was
reported that conciliatory measures were to be the order of the day, and
the general and admiral lost no time in communicating with General
Washington, Dr Franklin, and other leaders of the rebels, in the hopes
of bringing them to terms.

Officers were sent with flags of truce, who were met by the Americans
each time in a barge half-way between Governor's Island and Staten
Island.  Governor's Island is a small island in the centre of the
channel between Brooklyn and New York.  They were conducted with every
mark of courtesy to the American generals, but the rebels had already
committed themselves too far to allow them to accept of any terms the
British Commissioners had it in their power to offer.  The Declaration
of Independence had for ever, indeed, cut the last link which bound the
colonies to England, and though henceforward they might be reconciled,
it was clear that it must be in the character of separate States.  It
was reported on board that the admiral had addressed a letter to General
Washington as simply to George Washington, Esquire, and that the
American commander-in-chief refused to receive it, on the ground that he
was at the head of a regularly constituted army and could only receive
communications under his proper title of general.  Those who knew
General Washington, as I afterwards had the means of doing, were aware
that this was not owing to pride or ostentation, but from the importance
in the critical position in which he was placed of keeping up his
character and of asserting the legality of the cause in which he was
engaged.  Whatever might have been then said of that truly great man,
ample justice will be done him in after ages, I am sure, among all ranks
and classes of opinion.  However, as I do not profess to write a history
of the events of the war or of the public characters engaged in it, I
will return to my own private journal.

The Americans had for some time past, as I have mentioned, been
preparing fire-ships.  This we knew from our spies.  We had a number of
them on shore, or rather, there were a number of royalists who, having
no wish to join the rebellion, were ready by every means in their power
to aid in putting it down.  A considerable number of these had been
removed by the rebel authorities, both from Long Island and the adjacent
districts, into the interior.  Many were imprisoned, and some few who
had been discovered communicating with our party were executed as spies.
Even among the very men who were about Washington himself some were
found not true to him, and it was reported that plots had been laid, if
not against his life, at all events against his liberty, so that it
would not have surprised us had he been brought on board a prisoner.
But to return to the subject of the fire-ships.  On the night of the
10th of August I had been put in charge of one of the squadron of boats
always held in readiness to repel any attack from those dangerous
engines of warfare.  It had just gone four-bells in the first watch, the
night was cloudy though it was calm and sultry, when the Eagle, Captain
Duncan, made the signal that the enemy's fire-ships were approaching.
The officer in command of our boat squadron repeated the signal.  "Give
way, my lads, give way?" he shouted, and away we all pulled up the
harbour.  It was necessary to be silent and cautious in the extreme,
however, as soon as we had quitted the fleet.  We made the best of our
way, for time might be of importance.  The night was very dark, the
water was smooth and the foam which bubbled up at our bows of the boats
and fell in showers from the blades of our oars sparkled brilliantly, as
if composed of grains of burnished gold.

Ahead of us lay the devoted city against which our arms were soon to be
turned, and from whose neighbourhood we expected every instant to see
the fire-ships issue forth.  At length the order was passed from boat to
boat that we should lay on our oars to await the expected event.  Hour
after hour, however, went by.  Now there was an alarm that some dark
bodies were seen moving down towards us, but no vessels made their
appearance, and at last the near approach of dawn warned us that it was
time to pull back to our ships to escape an attack by the enemy.  We of
course kept a look-out astern, to be certain that the fire-ships were
not following us, and then lay on our oars again in the neighbourhood of
the fleet.  Either the alarm was a false one or the rebels, aware of our
preparations, saw that it would be useless to send out the fire-ships.

This was the last night I was thus engaged, for on the 13th of August,
to my very great satisfaction, my eyes fell on the Orpheus standing up
the harbour and taking up her berth among the fleet.  I did not,
however, get my discharge from the Chatham till the following day, when,
accompanied by old Grampus, Tom Rockets, and my two other men, I lost no
time in pulling on board, after an absence of ten weeks.  I was warmly
greeted by my messmates, and we each had our adventures to recount.  She
had taken seven prizes, most of which she brought in with her.  Poor
Lee, the surgeon's second mate, was, they told me, at the point of
death.  His constitution was unfit to cope with the hard life to which
he was exposed in the navy.  He died soon afterwards, and on the morning
of the 16th we carried him on shore on Staten Island, where he rests in
an unknown grave in the land of the stranger.

The same day we sailed and steered a course for Cape May, with, the
intention of proceeding up the Delaware river to Philadelphia.  My
account of the way in which I had frightened off the privateer highly
delighted my shipmates, and Captain Hudson was pleased to approve of my
conduct.  We had on board forty masters of merchantmen which had been
captured by the different ships-of-war.  They were mostly very decent
men, some of them not unlike my friend Mr Scuttle.  We treated them
with every kindness and attention in our power.  On the 24th we arrived
off Cape Henlopen, opposite Cape May, at the entrance of Delaware Bay.
Here we hove-to, and Captain Hudson ordered me to go on shore with a
flag of truce, to land the masters of the merchantmen.

As we neared the shore I observed a body of men drawn up as if prepared
to receive me.  They were military, but had it not been for fear of
hurting the feelings of the people who were with me, I could have thrown
myself back in the stern sheets and enjoyed a hearty fit of laughter.
Not two were armed or dressed alike.  Some had high-boots, others shoes,
many had on moccasins, and not a few jack-boots; several had their legs
encased in hay-bands; hats of all shapes and sizes graced their heads.
Cocked hats and round hats and caps, and Spanish hats, and helmets even
were not uncommon.  Some wore breeches of truly Dutch build, others of
as scanty dimensions as could cover them--some had trousers, and others
scarcely any covering to that portion of their persons.  Their coats
were of every colour, shape, and size.  Green and blue and brown and
grey; some were of red, though not a little soiled, being evidently of
ancient date, while there were long coats and great coats and short
coats and spencers and cloaks; indeed, every species of covering
invented to hide the nakedness of the human body.  While the men
themselves were tall and short and thin and stout and straight and
crooked.  No one had been refused admission into the corps.  Their arms
were as various in construction as their costumes.  There were muskets
and rifles and pikes and matchlocks, and pistols which had been used at
Culloden, and some even, I fancy, in the civil war of the Commonwealth,
while a few even had contented themselves with pitchforks, scythes, and
reaping-hooks.  The officers were as independent as to uniformity as the
men, and not less picturesque, though more comfortably dressed.  Each
man had exercised his own taste in his endeavour to give himself a
military appearance, though I must say they had most lamentably failed
in the result.  I honestly confess, as I was speaking to them, that I
was forcibly reminded of the appearance my old shipmates and I cut when
we first presented ourselves on board the Torbay at the commencement of
my naval career.

My orders were to land the prisoners and to return to the ship as soon
as possible.  I had therefore time only to exchange a few words with the
officers, who were inclined to be very civil, and when the masters of
the vessels told them how they had been treated on board the Orpheus
they were still more disposed to be friendly.  At that time the bitter
feeling against Great Britain, which it must be owned she brought on
herself by her injustice and dictatorial conduct, had not then been so
universally stirred up.

"Now, my lads," shouted the commander of the party as I was stepping
into my boat, "that young officer is a good fellow so let us give him
three cheers."

"Hip, hip, hip, hurrah!" broke from the throats of all the regiment in
good hearty style.

I turned round as I was shoving off and bowed and waved my hat, and I
parted on the most amiable terms from those heroes, so like the ragged
regiment headed by the redoubtable Sir John Falstaff.

We had great fun on board as I described them--Frank Mercer alone looked
grave.

"Does it not strike you," said he, "that the very fact of the want of
uniformity in their outward man shows the unanimity of sentiment which
pervades them and makes them flock round the standard of liberty to
defend their rights as freemen, regardless of outward appearance?  Those
poor fellows, though doubtless very inferior to regular troops, would
not shed their blood less willingly or behave less bravely in the face
of an enemy."

"Oh, you are a rebel, Mercer, you are a rebel!" we all shouted; "don't
talk treason here."

"I only talk truth," answered Mercer gravely.

Since then I have been much inclined to agree with him.

We had a speedy voyage back, without taking a prize, and reached New
York harbour on the 27th of August.  A considerable number of
ships-of-war and transports had arrived during our absence, having on
board large reinforcements.  Among them were a large body of Hessian
troops, who had been hired from the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel and the
Duke of Brunswick, especially to put down the American rebellion.  They
were well disciplined, but fierce, ruthless troops, who murdered and
plundered without hesitation whenever they had the opportunity, and were
naturally dreaded and hated by the enemy.  Besides the troops which had
come from Europe, a large body of men had arrived from the South, under
the command of Sir Henry Clinton, who, in conjunction with Sir Peter
Parker, had retired from an unsuccessful attempt to capture Charleston,
in South Carolina, which, after the evacuation of Boston, it was
considered important to occupy.  I afterwards served under Sir Peter
Parker and heard all the particulars, some of which I now introduce to
make my brief account of the contest more complete.

At the entrance of Charleston harbour, on the right hand, is Sullivan's
Island, about six miles below the city.  To the east of Sullivan's
Island is Long Island, from which it is separated by a creek called the
Breach.  On the south-west point of Sullivan's Island was a strong fort,
though composed only of earth and palmetto wood.  As palmetto wood is
soft and does not splinter, it was especially suited for the purpose.
The squadron, under Sir Peter Parker, consisted of the Bristol,
Experiment, Active, Solebay, Actaeon, Syren, and other smaller craft.
While Sir Henry Clinton landed his troops on Long Island Sir Peter
undertook to attack the fort, which was commanded by Colonel Moultrie.
General Lee, however, with a large force, had by rapid marches advanced
to the protection of the city.  The Thunder-bomb began the action,
during which the Sphinx, Syren, and Actaeon ran foul of each other and
got on shore.  The two first hauled off, but the Actaeon remained, and
was ultimately abandoned and burned.  The fire was most tremendous and
deadly on both sides, but the British suffered the most; indeed, seldom
have ships been exposed to a more terrific battering, or stood it with
greater heroism and perseverance.  On board that small squadron there
were no less than sixty-four men killed and one hundred and forty-three
wounded.  At one time on the deck of the Bristol Sir Peter himself,
amidst the deadly shower, alone stood unhurt.  Captain Morris, of the
Actaeon, was killed, as was Lord Campbell, late governor of the
province, serving as a volunteer on board.  Captain Scott, of the
Experiment, lost his arm.  The Bristol was completely unrigged; her guns
were dismounted and her top-masts shot away.  In vain Sir Peter looked
for the assistance he expected from Sir Henry.  Each time the troops
attempted to cross from Long Island they were foiled by the bold front
presented by a body of Americans with artillery.  At length, the carnage
growing more appalling than ever, and their hope of success diminishing,
Sir Peter ordered them to make their way out of action.  This event took
place on the 28th of June.  Other unsuccessful attempts were made to
capture the fort, and in a few days the troops were re-embarked and the
squadron came northward.  I did not hear that the Phoenix, Rose, and
Tryall did much execution up the Hudson.  They had some encounters with
the enemy's row-boats and exchanged shots occasionally with the troops
on shore; while they had constantly to be on the watch at night to
prevent the attack of fire-ships; but their chief object was evidently
to survey the river, to enable the fleet to proceed upwards if
necessary.  As the river is very broad, in many places expanding into
almost lakes, they were able to anchor at all times out of gun shot
distance.  Having accomplished their object, they left the river on the
18th, exchanging a brisk fire with the forts in their passage.

I must now give a sketch of one of the most sanguinary encounters it has
ever been my lot to witness, and which, had we arrived a day later, I
should have missed seeing.

People in England were apt to fancy that the rebels were officered by a
set of planters or merchants, and to treat them accordingly with
superciliousness and contempt, instead of which, besides General
Washington, there were many who had been engaged from their youth upward
in border warfare, not only with Indians, but with the disciplined
troops of France.  Many had aided in the conquest of Canada, while
others had served in the armies of England and other European powers,
and had experience equal to those to whom they were opposed, wanting
only titular or official rank; while all were better acquainted with the
country and were animated with the warmest patriotism and belief in the
justice of their cause.  Their great deficiency was in the discipline of
their men, who, though not wanting in bravery, had but little discretion
and no experience in general, while the subaltern officers were
destitute also of the same necessary qualities.  Some of their
regiments, however, had been brought into very fair discipline, and were
well officered.  The great fault of the British, I must remark, as I
shall have frequently to do, was over-confidence and a contempt of the
foe with whom they were contending.  On the present occasion, however,
no imputation of that sort could be cast on the British commanders.  The
main body of the Americans were entrenched in a strong position at
Brooklyn, at the end of Long Island, directly opposite New York, from
which it is divided by a strait about three quarters of a mile in width,
called East River.  Directly down the centre of the island is a ridge of
rocky hills, covered with wood.  Across these hills were three roads
leading from the side of the island, opposite Staten Island, where our
troops would naturally land.  These three passes were held by different
bodies of American troops.  The whole American force was under the
command of General Putnam, though it was said Washington himself
frequently crossed from New York to aid in the defence of the position.
Previous to the 27th a large portion of our army, including two brigades
of Hessians, had crossed over from Staten Island, and, landing between
Gravesend and Flatland, some of them encamped in that neighbourhood,
while the Hessians pushed on to a place called Flatbush.  On the evening
of the 26th the whole army advanced, Sir Henry Clinton leading the light
infantry, Lord Percy following with the grenadiers, flying artillery,
and light dragoons, while Lord Cornwallis, accompanied by Lord Howe,
brought up the rear-guard with the heavy ordnance.  About two hours
before daybreak they arrived at the neighbourhood of the hills, when
they discovered that the pass to the east, called the Bedford Pass, was
unoccupied.  He at once led his division through it, and thus turned the
left of the American position.  In the meantime General Grant had
advanced with another division from Gravesend past Gowanus Cowe, on the
road by the Narrows towards the right of the American position.  As soon
as it was daylight he formed his troops directly opposite the enemy,
where he waited to hear that Sir Henry had commenced the attack.
General De Heister, who commanded the Hessians, had kept up a hot fire
with his artillery on a redoubt in front of the lines from his camp at
Flatbush, which he ultimately stormed, while Lord Cornwallis, advancing
on the centre, was bravely opposed by Lord Stirling who had taken up
arms on the side of the Americans.  One of our ships was all the time
discharging a heavy cannonade on the battery at Red Hook, near which we
also were brought up to join in the action had it been necessary, and
whence from the maintop, where I with others had gone, I had a tolerably
perfect view of many of the proceedings.  Hemmed in on all sides, as I
have described, and pressed on by overwhelming numbers of disciplined
troops, the Americans, after a desperate and brave resistance, at length
gave way, and then commenced a most indiscriminate and dreadful
slaughter.  They were cut down and trampled on by the cavalry, bayoneted
by the savage Hessians, and torn in pieces by the artillery.  Some
rallied for a time and defended themselves with their rifles, behind
rocks and trees, and at length, by a desperate effort, cut their way
through their foes to the lines.  Lord Stirling, who had fought bravely
throughout the day, surrendered himself as a prisoner to General De
Heister, two hundred and fifty of the brave fellows he had led lying
dead around him.  General Sullivan and several other officers were
taken, endeavouring to cover the retreat of their troops.  The enemy in
all lost in killed alone full fifteen hundred men besides others who
were smothered in the mud as they were endeavouring to escape from the
Hessian bayonets.  These, with wounded and prisoners, made up their loss
to nearly three thousand men out of scarcely more than five thousand
engaged.

It is a dreadful sight to witness slaughter such as this was, when one's
blood is cold and one sits a mere spectator of the fight.  I felt all
the time more inclined to side with the poor Americans as they were
flying from our victorious troops than to wish for the success of the
latter.  I heard a deep groan near me as I was seated in the maintop.  I
looked round.  It was Frank Mercer.  He was as pale as death.  I thought
he would have fallen on deck.  At times he would shade his eyes with his
hand, and then again he would gaze earnestly at the dreadful sight as if
unable to resist its horrid fascination.  Of course I have not described
half the events of the day.

The Americans retreated within their lines and the British troops
advanced close up to them.  It was supposed that General Howe would give
the order to storm the works.  Had he done so at once they would
certainly have been taken, and though with some considerable loss of
life, it might have prevented much subsequent greater loss.  However, it
appeared that he had resolved to attack the lines by regular approaches.
General Washington, seeing the inevitable result, made a masterly
retreat with the whole garrison across the sound to New York during the
night, favoured by calm weather and a thick fog.  Notice was brought in
the morning to General Howe of what had occurred, and when one of his
aides-de-camp, who was sent to ascertain the fact, climbed over the
crest of the works he found them of a truth deserted.  The next day no
less than thirteen hundred Americans were buried in one large pit, while
many more had been lost in the creek and swamp near the lines.

It was the general opinion, both in the camp and fleet, that had the
army at once been pushed forward, a speedy and happy conclusion would
have been brought to the war.  There were all sorts of reports current.
Among them it was said that the city was about to be abandoned and burnt
to the ground, to prevent our troops occupying it for the winter.  This
proceeding, however, the inhabitants strongly opposed, as all their
property would thereby have been destroyed.  I must not delay the
progress of my narrative to mention the various reports of all sorts
which were flying about.

On the 30th we again put to sea, Captain Hudson having under his command
the Niger and Greyhound frigates.  We cruised off Sandy Hook without
meeting with any occurrence worth noting till the 3rd of September, when
we returned to Sandy Hook.  Here we received orders once more to proceed
to sea, to look out for a fleet of transports, with a division of
Hessians on board, daily expected from Europe, under convoy of the
Repulse.  We fortunately fell in with them on the following morning, and
returned in their company to Gravesend Day.

On the 8th we moved up to Staten Island, and we began to hope that we at
length might be engaged in some more active service than we had hitherto
seen.

"Have you heard the news?" exclaimed Delisle two days afterwards, as I
came on deck for the first time that morning.

I inquired what it was.

"We are to move up at once opposite New York and to prepare the ship for
running past the batteries up the East River."

"Hurra! the hotter the better; anything better than stagnation!"  I
exclaimed.

"Mercer, have you made your will?" asked Kennedy, as the two met each
other near us.

"Yes, Kennedy, I have," answered Mercer gravely.  "It may not be to-day
or to-morrow that it will come into force, but it may before long, and I
wish that those I may not help living may benefit by my death."

Kennedy had nothing to reply to this; Mercer's solemn manner silenced
him.

"What does Mercer mean?  Does he think he is going to be killed?" asked
little Harry Sumner, who was standing by.

"It may be the lot of anyone of us, my boy," said I.  "Though I hope the
enemy's shot won't find you out at all events."

"I hope not indeed," replied Harry.  "I should like to go home and
describe all the places I have seen and the things we have done."

As I looked at our young pet I felt how hard a thing it was that so
small a lad should be exposed to all the vicissitudes of warfare.

Macallan had overheard us.  "It's my opinion that Mercer has seen his
wraith," he remarked sententiously.  "There's a grave, dour look about
his pale countenance which a man who is long for this world never
wears."

We all agreed that there was too much truth about the doctor's
observation, though we trusted he might be mistaken.  I have heard many
conversations of this sort, and many of my shipmates and others whom I
have known have had presentiments of their approaching death.  Some have
been killed on the occasion they expected, while others who appeared
equally certain of being summoned away have come out of action without
scratch.  Others, again, whom I have seen laughing and jesting as if
they had a long lease of life before them, have, within a few hours
perhaps, been stretched lifeless on the deck.  I have come to the
conclusion, therefore, that no one can tell when his last moment is to
come, and that consequently it behoves us all to be prepared at all
times for that unavoidable occurrence.

Among the ships lying near us was the Roebuck, of 44 guns, commanded by
Captain Andrew Snape Hamond, (note 1), a very active and intelligent
officer.  I knew several of her officers.  Among them was an old friend
of mine, Hitchcock, belonging to Falmouth.  I dined with him a day or
two after this, and in return invited him to dine with me on board the
Orpheus.

"I'll come," said he; "depend upon me, I'll not let the rebels stop me."

"I shall keep you to your promise," I replied, as I was shoving off.

We had prepared the ship for action for some days by clearing away all
bulkheads fore and aft, and sending everything not absolutely required
below.  Still several days passed by and nothing was done.  It was
understood that Lord Howe and Dr Franklin were negotiating at this
time, as the result proved, without any effect.  Lord Howe to the last
was anxious to prevent more bloodshed, and hoped to bring the colonists
to terms, but as they now considered themselves an independent people,
and he had the authority to treat with them in that capacity, he was
powerless.

At length, on the 21st of September, towards three o'clock in the
afternoon, the admiral made the signal for us to weigh.  Each man with
alacrity hurried to his quarters.  Never was sail more speedily got on
the ship.  The Phoenix, Roebuck, Carrisfort, and Rose were seen
spreading their canvas at the same time to a very light air which blew
from the westward.  I must try and describe the scene of our operations.
Before us lay a long, narrow strip of land called Manhattan Island,
about thirteen miles long and from half a mile to two wide, on the south
end of which stands the City of New York, while on the north end are
some hills called the Harlem Heights.  It is divided from the mainland
on the north by a creek called the Harlem River, over which there is a
bridge called King's Bridge.  The west of Manhattan Island is washed by
the River Hudson, which separates it from the New Jersey shore, while
part of the Sound, which is called the East River, runs round it on the
south and east, dividing it from Long Island, till it is joined by the
Harlem River on the north.  The Harlem River forms a direct
communication between the Hudson and East River.  That part of it
nearest the Hudson was called by the Dutch Spuyten Duyvel Creek, while
the east end, where it joins East River, has the still less pleasant
sounding name of Hell Gate.  Near it was a strong battery.  Nearly in
the centre of East River, opposite the south point of New York, is
Governor's Island, which was strongly fortified.  There were batteries
along the whole line of the shore on Manhattan Island.  Slowly and
solemnly our squadron approached the shore.  Perfect silence reigned
throughout the ship.  For some time not a shot was fired.  Captain
Hudson had been keeping a sharp look-out on the enemy's batteries as we
approached.

"Pass the word along the decks that every man and officer is to lie down
at his quarters!" he exclaimed.

The judicious order was at once obeyed.  The same precaution was not
used by the other ships.  At half-past three, when we were within
pistol-shot of the city, the enemy opened their fire.  We were so close
and moved so slowly that scarcely a shot missed us, literally riddling
the ship, as if we had been a butt put up to be fired at.

"How do you like this?"  I asked of young Sumner, who was near me.

"Not at all just now," he answered.  "I only wish that the captain would
let us get up and fire back on the enemy.  I thought that was always
done when people fight."

"Sometimes one has to be battered at as well as to batter, as in the
present instance," I answered.  "But depend on it, we shall be allowed
to take our revenge before long."

"Oh, I wish those dreadful cannon-balls would not come so close to one,"
sung out poor Harry, half playfully, half in earnest, as a round shot
came crashing through the bulwark close to where we lay, throwing the
splinters about us, ploughing up the deck, and passing out at a port on
the other side.

"I thought you were not going to be frightened, Harry, my boy," said I.

"Nor should I, I tell you, if I could but be firing in return," he
answered.  "Besides, it is the first time I was ever in action, and I
have heard that the bravest men are apt to bob their heads on such
occasions.  Perhaps when I get accustomed to it I shall care as little
as anyone for it."

"I have no doubt you will, Harry," I replied; and most truly the noble
little fellow did not disappoint my expectations.  With proud defiance
the squadron continued its onward course, still desisting from firing,
as if invulnerable to the showers of round shot and bullets which came
whistling about them.  The enemy were in general firing too high to do
much injury except to our rigging; the splinters which flew from our
topmasts and yards and came showering down every now and then on deck,
and the strange festoons our rigging began to form, the ends of ropes
hanging here and there, and the numerous holes exhibited in our sails
showed the effect their unremitting fire had caused.  Sometimes the wind
was so light that we had little more than steerage way, when instantly
guns were brought round to attack us.  Still we had not performed half
our distance.  I must own that never, when in chase of an enemy, or when
attacked by gun-boats, or when finding my ship set on shore by a strong
current, have I more earnestly prayed than now for a breeze to carry us
onward.  Nothing so much damps the ardour of men as having to sit quiet
and be fired at without having the power of returning the compliment.
Few can stand it except Turks and Englishmen; Turks because they fancy
it is their fate, Englishmen because they know it is their duty.  As the
shot came crashing among us and the blocks and splinters from the spars
and other parts of the rigging came tumbling down on our heads, a growl
might every now and then be heard from some of the seamen very like that
given by a savage dog chained up as a stranger approaches his kennel and
he finds after repeated trials that he has come to the length of his
tether.  I really felt it a relief when I had to move about the decks on
any duty, as was the case occasionally when a slight shift of wind or an
alteration in our course made it necessary to trim sails, though I was
thus exposed to a much greater risk of losing the number of my mess.
Not a man could show his head above the hammock nettings but he was sure
to become the mark of a hundred riflemen who were poking out their
weapons from the windows of the houses which looked so peaceably at us.
As I went about the decks I amused myself by remarking the different
expressions worn by the countenances of the men.  With respect to the
greater number it was that of calm indifference, as if not aware that
they were running any unusual risk of their lives.  Some seemed to see
the danger, but to brave it; many were laughing and joking among
themselves, while a few, and only a few, were evidently in no small
terror of being hit.  I passed near Tom Rockets.  His countenance told
me that I need have no fear of his doing me discredit.  Old Grampus was
near him, looking as calm as if he was sitting down to his dinner.

"I have been telling the youngster, sir," said he, "that one of the
first things a seaman has to learn is how to bear the hardships it may
please Providence to send him, whether he has to be shot at, as he has
now, or to suffer famine on a raft or desert island, or to have the sea
breaking over him on a wreck or on the cold, slippery rocks.  Maybe
he'll have to try them all before he settles down with a wooden leg,
ashore in his own cottage, or bears up for Greenwich, as I hopes to do
one day."

Tom listened to this very gravely, but I suspect old Nol had been
amusing himself somewhat at his expense.  Hour after hour passed by, and
the ship proudly held on her course round Manhattan Island till we
reached the eastern side beyond the city, where, at a spot called Kip's
Bay, about two miles from it, the squadron at length, at about seven
o'clock, dropped anchor in front of a long line of entrenchments which
the enemy had thrown up.

Captain Hudson, having to communicate with Captain Hamond, sent me on
board the Roebuck.  Having delivered my message, I inquired for my
friend Hitchcock.

"He is here," said Collins, a midshipman I had addressed, lifting up an
ensign which was spread near the mainmast.

There lay the poor fellow who was to have dined with me that day, so
lately full of life and spirits, now stiff and stark.  A rifle-bullet
had passed through his heart.  Several other men had been killed and
wounded on board.  Such is one of the chances of war.  I returned sadly
on board my own ship.  In those days such an occurrence had but a very
transitory effect.

As soon as the enemy found that we were to be stationary for a while,
some guns were brought up, which began playing on us, and kept up a no
very musical serenade during the night.  The shots struck the ships
occasionally; but the guns were very badly served, and did little or no
execution.  Their music did not prevent me sleeping soundly, and
preparing to take my share in the hot work in which we were about to
gage.

The next day we received orders to attack the batteries at Hell Gate.
Lord Howe could not have been informed of the true nature of the place,
or he would not have issued the order.  The pilots, however, positively
refused to take up the ships, asserting, and not without good grounds,
that they would inevitably be lost.  At all events, I believe that by
their determination we escaped a severe chastisement from the enemy.  We
therefore, with the exception of a little cannonading, spent another
quiet night with whole skins in Kip's Bay.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 1.  Afterwards Sir Andrew Hamond, Bart, and father of the late
Admiral Sir Graham Hamond, Admiral of the Fleet, and grandfather of the
present Captain Sir Andrew Hamond, Bart.--Editor.



CHAPTER FIVE.

A BRIGHT MORNING AND A DARK DAY.--ATTACK ON NEW YORK.--MERCER SHOWS HIS
SYMPATHY WITH THE AMERICANS.--THE BATTLE RAGES.--FIELD OF BATTLE.--
ASSIST A WOUNDED AMERICAN.--FIRED AT BY OUR FRIENDS.--ANOTHER TRIP ON
SHORE.--FALL INTO THE HANDS OF HESSIAN TROOPS.--RESCUED BY GENERAL
PIGOT.--SENT WITH DESPATCHES TO LORD HOWE.--MY BOAT'S CREW MUTINY.--NEW
YORK ON FIRE.--TREATMENT OF SUPPOSED INCENDIARIES.--REMARKS ON THE
WAR.--THE CONDEMNED SPY.--MERCER PLEADS FOR HIM IN VAIN.--HIS EXECUTION.

By early dawn on the morning of the 23rd of September, 1776, every one
was astir.  The sultry atmosphere alone, even under ordinary
circumstances, would have made us glad to leave our berths.  It had
become known that a combined attack by the land and sea forces was to be
made on the enemy.  The mighty sun rose over Long Island in a blaze of
glory, and shot upward into a cloudless sky as the anchor was lifted.
Fold after fold of our white canvas was let fall, and the other ships of
the squadron following our example, we once more moved onward along the
shore of Manhattan Island.

The scene was one of great beauty.  The rays of the bright luminary fell
on the wood-crowned heights of Harlem on one side, and of Morrissania on
the other side of the creek, throwing the promontories into bold relief,
and the bays and inlets, with which the coast is indented, into deeper
shade, while rich fields, and meadows and orchards, as they basked in
the soft morning light, gave the whole landscape an appearance of
calmness and peace, soon to be broken by the rude realities of fierce,
unrelenting warfare.

As soon as we weighed anchor the troops of the enemy, who had been
watching us under arms since dawn, began to march along the shore close
to us, regardless of the danger they ran of destruction, for had we
opened our broadsides, we might have played sad havoc among them.  They
were not quite so fantastically dressed as my friends at Cape Henlopen,
but still there was a very great variety of costume, and a lamentable
want of discipline among them.  If the front rank did not advance fast
enough, the rear would give them a shove or a kick to urge them on, all
the time making significant and not very complimentary signs to us to
come on shore and fight them, while they tried to express their supreme
contempt for us by every means in their power, shouting out taunting
words, and abusing us in no measured terms.

Our men had two days before stood the battering we got with comparative
calmness, but the taunts and signs of the foe now enraged them beyond
all endurance.

"Wait a bit, my lads, and then won't we give it you!" sung out Dick
Trunnion, a sturdy topman, and many similar expressions were uttered by
others.

"Oh, Muster Hurry, don't yer think the captain would let us go ashore,
and give them chaps the drubbing they deserves?" asked Tom Rockets as I
passed, doubling his fists while he spoke.  "I'd like to give them a
hiding."

"Never mind them, lads," said old Grampus, turning his back to the
shore, and looking over his shoulder at the foe with a glance of supreme
contempt.  "They knows no better; and fancies because we don't hit we
can't.  Poor fellows!  I pities them, that I do.  They bees little
better than savinges, only they wants the paint and feathers."

I felt very much as Nol said he did; but I suspect that his anger was
rather more excited than he chose to confess.  The truth was that these
were mostly raw militia regiments, who had seen little or nothing of
warfare, and from the previous occurrences of the war had been taught to
look with contempt on British prowess.  The regulars in most instances
behaved admirably, and nothing could surpass the bravery of the officers
of all ranks.  This their greatest enemies could not deny; but the
militia were of a very different stamp, and the men, unable to depend on
each other or their officers, on several occasions fairly turned tail
and ran away.  I fancy that most of our opponents on the present
occasion were of that class.  We stood on till we reached a spot about
fifty yards from the enemy's entrenchments, a little below Blackwell's
Island, where the squadron dropped their anchors, and calmly furled
sails.  There we lay for some time without exchanging a shot, expecting,
however, that some hot work was about to be commenced.  The glasses of
the officers were in the meantime constantly turned towards the small
islets in the direction of Long Island.  At length Captain Hudson
uttered an exclamation of satisfaction.

"They come! they come!" he cried out, and as he spoke a flotilla of
boats were seen emerging from among the tree-covered shores of Bushwick
Creek.  They formed the first division of flat-bottomed boats, having on
board a force of 4500 men, under the immediate command of General Howe.
Slowly and steadily they advanced, like some huge black monsters
covering the blue surface of the tranquil and hitherto peaceful Sound.
The drum now beat to quarters.

"Now my boys, if so be you want to punish them poor savinges as has been
beguiling you, your time's soon coming," growled out old Nol, as the
crew were hurrying with alacrity to their guns.

The only person whose countenance showed no satisfaction was Mercer.
Pale as death, he stood at his post over his division of guns; but I saw
that he would rather have died a hundred deaths than engage in the work
he felt it was his duty to perform.  From my heart I pitied him.  There
was but little time, however, for thinking of that or any other matter.
On came the flotilla of boats.  Not a shot had as yet disturbed the calm
tranquillity of the scene.  A thin, gauze-like mist was spread over the
distant portions of the landscape.  The hot sun struck down on our
heads; the blue expanse of water glittered in his bright rays, and the
sea-fowl skimmed over it, dipping their wings ever and anon, as if to
refresh them in the liquid element.  Everything still wore an aspect of
perfect peace.  The boats at last got within fifty yards of the ships.
A signal flew out from the mast-head of the Phoenix--the knell of many a
human being.  It was the signal to engage.

"Fire away, my lads," was shouted along the decks.  It was not necessary
to repeat the order.  Never did a crew work their guns with more
alacrity.  The shot rushed like a storm of gigantic hailstones among the
ill-fated Americans, tearing up their entrenchments and scattering the
earth and palisades far and wide.  In a very short time the
fortifications in which they had trusted were blown to atoms; still we
fired on as fast as our guns could be loaded and run out.  The enemy
answered us from various points; but with little effect.  In a few short
moments, how changed was the scene from what it had lately been!  Now
from point to point, and through every sheltered nook and bay resounded
the roar of cannon, the rattle of musketry, the shouts of the
combatants, the shrieks and groans and agonising cries of the wounded,
while above all hung a dark, funereal pall of smoke, ascending from the
scene of strife, shutting it out as it were from the bright blue
glorious firmament above, and, if it could be, from the all-searching
eye of the Creator of men who were thus disfiguring His image by their
furious passions, and dishonouring Him by the infraction of all the
precepts of that mild, that beneficent religion, which He in His
unsearchable love sent His only Son to teach them to obey.

But where am I driving to?  I did not think thus at the time.  No; my
blood was up; my evil passions were aroused; and I was as eager as
anyone to shed blood, and utterly careless of all the consequences to
myself and others.  Never have I witnessed a more tremendous fire than
was kept up by our ships for fifty-nine minutes, during which time in
the Orpheus alone we expended 5366 pounds of powder.  I kept no note of
the number of shot we fired away.  The very first broadside made a
considerable breach in the enemy's works.  At the end of the time I have
mentioned the boats advanced, and the signal was made to cease firing.
As they touched the beach the men sprang on shore, and, forming rapidly,
gallantly rushed towards the entrenchments with fixed bayonets and loud
cheers.  The enemy scarcely waited to deliver their fire, but, throwing
down their arms, fled on all sides in the utmost terror and confusion,
earnestly petitioning for quarter.  The red-coats leaped through the
breaches made by our guns, and over the embankments, and were speedily
in possession of the enemy's works.  As the smoke cleared away, the
ground far and near appeared covered with the bodies of the slain and
wounded, some with arms, others with legs, shot away, while parties of
fugitives were seen flying in every direction, pursued by our men,
especially by the Hessians, who seemed little disposed to give the
quarter which was asked.

I was not only a spectator but a participator in what I have been
describing.  As soon as the ships ceased firing, our boats, of which I
commanded one, were ordered to aid in towing the flat-bottomed boats on
shore.  As soon as the troops had landed, leaving Grampus in charge of
my boat, I, with another midshipman and Tom Rockets and two other men,
followed them into the entrenchments, and found myself shortly in the
rear of a body of Hessians as they charged over the ground.  A poor
American was flying for his life, shrieking out for mercy.  One of those
savage mercenaries either did not or would not understand him, and
before I could interpose had with a sweep of his sword severed his head
from his body, then, in savage triumph worthy of a Red Indian, sticking
it on a pole, carried it through the entrenchments, shouting out as if
he had performed some noble act of heroism.

Meantime several of the ship's boats were ordered to pull along-shore to
annoy the enemy in their flight and to prevent them from rallying.  My
friend Hargrave and I, midshipmanlike and thoughtless of danger, set off
in the direction the enemy had taken along the shore, picking up a
number of articles which in their terror they had dropped or thrown
away, such as rifles, pistols, swords, spy-glasses, and even watches,
plate, and camp utensils of various sorts, which we knew would be most
acceptable to our mess.  We passed many of the slain, knocked over in
their flight.  As we ran thoughtlessly on, very little moved by these
sights, to which even the youngsters were becoming familiar, I heard a
deep groan.  Looking round, I saw behind a bush a militiaman stretched
on the ground with a bad wound in his side.

"Oh, kill me! kill me! put me out of my misery!" he exclaimed as soon as
he saw me.

"No, I will not do that," said I; "but I will try if I can relieve you."

I had a flask of some rum and water in my pocket; I gave him some of it
to drink.  There was, fortunately, a stream near; I got some fresh water
in a hat and washed his wound, and then bound it up with a piece of
shirt which I took from a dead man near.  The poor fellow seemed much
revived and very grateful.

"There," said I, "you will be able to get off and join your people at
nightfall.  It's not my business to take you prisoner."

"Thank you, stranger, thank you," said he; "Amos Spinks will not forget
your mercy and kindness."

I could not stay with him longer, but, leaving him a piece of biscuit
and a hat full of water, I ran on to join my companions, who, not seeing
me, had gone forward.  The American had no idea I was an officer, for I
had on a white linen jacket which I wore at my quarters, and it was
consequently thickly begrimed with powder and dirt.  I caught sight of
my party ahead, and ran on as fast as my legs could carry me, with the
load of spoils I had collected, to overtake them.  As I neared them, and
was shouting to them to stop, I caught sight of one of our boats, with
Mr Heron, our second lieutenant, in her, pulling along-shore after me.
I saw that he was somewhat excited, and seemed urging on the men to pull
with greater speed.  Just as I got up to my party, to our no small
astonishment, not to say dismay, he turned the bow of the boat towards
us, and bang he let fly a shower of grape from a gun placed there right
in among us, following up the unwelcome salute with a volley of small
arms.  We shouted at the top of our voices, and made signs that we were
friends; but what with the smoke and his blindness, for he was
near-sighted, and the noise of the firing and the shouts of his men, he
neither made out who we were nor heard us, but continued peppering away
as before.

"Run, my lads, run," I sung out; "there's no disgrace running from
friends, but very unpleasant to be shot by them."

My party required no second order, but away we all scampered as fast as
we could go, scattering from each other to distract our friends in their
very unfriendly employment.

"Oh, Mr Hurry, I bees hit, I bees hit?" sung out Tom Rockets.

I expected to see him fall, but the shot only made him scamper on the
faster.  Our flight, of course, made Mr Heron fire at us more
zealously, and we had to throw away all the things we had collected to
escape with greater speed from his heroic fury.  We took a course
inland, and then turned back towards the place where we had landed.
Happily we soon got among trees and rocks and broken walls, which much
sheltered us, and Tom was the only man wounded.  As soon as we got clear
of the shot from the boat, I called a halt to examine his hurt.  It was
merely a slight flesh wound from a bullet in the leg, and a handkerchief
bound round it enabled him to walk on.  It was now time to return on
board, so we made the best of our way to the boat, not without some
considerable risk of being shot by our own sentries.  On my stepping on
deck I found several officers round the captain.  Mr Heron was among
them.

"The rascally rebels can't stand us for a moment, sir," he was saying.
"A whole gang of them hove in sight as I was pulling along-shore--a
hundred at least--and stood hallooing to me and daring me to come after
them.  I let fly among them, sent them scampering away like a flock of
sheep, knocking over a good dozen or more, I should think.  It was rare
fun, sir."

"Very good fun for you, Mr Heron," said I, turning round; "but I beg to
assure you, sir, that there were not a dozen of us altogether."

"You! what do you mean?" he asked, with a look of surprise.

"Why, that I was one of the body of supposed rebels, and though we
shouted to you and begged you not to fire, you banged at us so furiously
that we had to throw away a whole heap of things we had collected, and
to run for our lives."

Captain Hudson and the other officers laughed not a little at this
exploit of Mr Heron's, for he was notorious for his boasting.  He bore
me a grudge about it ever after.

"Well, Mr Hurry," said the captain good-naturedly, "you shall go on
shore in the afternoon with Mr Heron, and try to recover some of your
treasures."

Away we went in the afternoon accordingly in high glee, Mr Heron
expecting to pick up all sorts of things, and I hoping to recover those
I had lost.  We soon reached the field on which Mr Heron boasted to
have gained his hard-won victory; but the swords and all the things of
value were gone, picked up by the plundering-parties who invariably
issue forth over the scene where the strife has been hottest, as birds
of prey gather on the carcase just fallen in the desert.  I looked about
for the poor fellow I had assisted in the morning.  He was gone.  He
had, I concluded, either been taken prisoner, or had managed to crawl
off and rejoin his friends.  We went on much farther than we had been in
the morning, picking up some drums and a few similar bulky articles,
which others had not thought worth collecting.  We picked up in all nine
drums, one of the largest of which I sent to my friend, Jack Bluet, who
lived in a small house at Falmouth.  It might have served him for a
drawing-room table.  I hope he has got it still.  A little way beyond
where I found the wounded man I came on the body of an officer.  He lay
on his back, shot through the heart, his hand grasping a very handsome
fusee, and with a look of defiance still on his countenance.  I suspect
he had been bush-fighting in Indian fashion, in hopes of checking the
advance of his enemies, in spite of the flight of his companions in
arms.  He was a fine young man, and from his style of dress and general
appearance was evidently of respectable family.  I stooped down, and,
undoing the grasp with which the dead man's fingers held the fusee, took
possession of it and ran after my companions.  Still, as I hurried on,
the look worn by the features of the dead officer haunted me.  I felt as
if I had been depriving him of his property.  I thought of his mother
and sisters, or perhaps a young wife, who were doomed never to see him
again, or of friends who might be expecting to meet him that very day,
and for a moment all the dreadful results of warfare presented
themselves before me more vividly than they had ever before done.  The
laughter and jokes of my companions, however, very quickly drove all
such thoughts from my mind.  We had been joined by an acquaintance of
mine, Simeon, a midshipman of the Phoenix, who had with him the gunner
and seven men.  By some means or other I had been separated from Mr
Heron and my boat's crew--indeed, my lieutenant had no particular fancy
for my society, so I joined company with Simeon, and together we rambled
into the woods.  We had not gone far when we caught sight of a fellow
skulking among the trees.  When he saw that he was observed he took to
his heels, and this of course made us give chase.  The woods rang with
our shouts and cries, and we were not long before we came up with the
man, who proved to be a rebel militiaman.  He sang out most lustily for
mercy, thinking that we were going to kill him, but we soon quieted his
fears on that score by assuring him that he was not worth powder and
shot.  He seemed to be very grateful, and informed us that there had
been a smart skirmish in the wood between his party and a body of
Hessians, the latter of whom he believed were still in the neighbourhood
of the wood.  Of the truth of part of his story the dead bodies
scattered here and there about were too true witnesses.  Simeon and I,
on this, called a halt and consulted together with the gunner whether we
should go back or seek further adventures ahead.

"We have taken one prisoner, perhaps we may make some more and gain some
little credit when we present ourselves with them in camp, so I vote
that we go on," said I; and my proposal was agreed to.

As we supposed that we might be in the face of an enemy we kept closer
together than before, and moved on more cautiously.  After advancing
some way we heard voices in an orchard on the skirts of the wood, and,
supposing the sounds to proceed from a party of the rebels, we presented
our muskets and advanced towards the gate of the orchard, fully
expecting to make more prisoners.  Just, however, as we began to move on
up started before us a body of two or three hundred Hessians, with
glittering brass helmets on their heads, who, with fixed bayonets and
loud cries, charged furiously at us.  Had we attempted to move they
would have shot us, so we stood our ground and sung out most lustily
that we were friends.  They did not understand us, and, charging on,
would, I fully, expected, have bayoneted us on the spot.  "Friends--
friends!  English--British officers!"  I sung out at the top of my
voice.

"Rebels, rebels!" was the only answer we got; and in another moment we
were knocked over with the butt-ends of their muskets.  We picked
ourselves up as well as we could, and I pointed to my own and Simeon's
white cuffs and lapels, and told them that we belonged to the British
fleet, but to no purpose; and what was my dismay when they showed us at
a little distance an unfortunate rebel officer who lay on the ground
with his leg shot off, and who was dressed in the same uniform which we
wore.  He told them as well as he could that he knew nothing of us, but
they would not believe him, and, having talked together in their hideous
lingo, once more knocked us over and began belabouring us with their
muskets.  I never met such savages, and I am not surprised that they
were hated by the poor colonists.  I am sure we bore them no love,
especially just then.  We sung out lustily for mercy, for to our horror
we saw that they were about to finish us off by plunging their bayonets
into us, when our cries brought up an officer on horseback, in whom, to
my great satisfaction, I recognised General Pigot, the commander of the
division to which they belonged.  He knew me on board the Chatham, and
was thus able to assure the Hessians who I was.  They made all sorts of
apologies, which afforded us a very small amount of satisfaction.

Thanking General Pigot for his timely rescue, we set off to return to
our ships, heartily sick of our day's adventures--hungry and battered,
indeed, very much in need both of cook and doctor.

The next day we weighed and, parting from the Phoenix and the other
ships with which we had been in company, ran up between Blackwell's
Island and the main.  As we were running at the rate of some four or
five knots an hour a shock was felt which made the ship shiver
throughout her whole frame.  The pilot turned pale, as if he expected to
be shot on the spot.  He had put us on a rock.  Captain Hudson, cool as
usual, issued his orders as if nothing particular was the matter, and we
quickly swung off again and proceeded on our way till we brought up
snugly in Turtle Cove.  While the ship lay there I was sent, on the
25th, with dispatches to Lord Howe, then residing on Staten Island.  My
boat's crew on this occasion consisted either of pressed men or of
fellows whom I knew to be among the greatest blackguards in the ship.
On the way down they showed signs of an unruly disposition by pulling
slowly and not putting out their strength when I ordered them.  Their
conduct, however, did not trouble me, and I forgot all about it as I
walked up to present my dispatches to his lordship.  I have always
entertained the greatest respect for Lord Howe.  He was a good seaman--
of bravery undoubted--cool and thoughtful in danger--generous and kind,
and considerate for those under his command and careful for their
interests.  He was much abused by the royalists in America, as well as
by many in the army and fleet, as also at home, because he did not seem
anxious to push matters to extremes at once with the rebels and allow
fire and sword to be carried throughout their territories.  But he
looked upon them as fellow-beings and fellow-subjects, and though
misguided, he considered that they had too much reason for their
rebellion to be treated with the severity others proposed.  I have heard
that after an action he would go below and visit each wounded man as he
lay in his hammock, and stop and talk to him, and would send wine and
poultry from his own stock to those whom the surgeon thought required
it.  Such are the deeds by which an officer can easily win the hearts of
seamen.  I had not to wait long before I was told to walk into his room,
and I found myself in the presence of a dark and somewhat hard-featured
man--with a figure, however, tall, well-proportioned, and dignified.
Had I not known him by repute I should have been somewhat awe-struck,
but as he spoke his countenance brightened up, and his kind look
dissipated all feeling of fear.

"Sit down, youngster," said he, "and let me hear your account of the
action of the 23rd.  As your ship was at hand I conclude you saw it."

I gave him the best description in my power of what I had seen, taking
care to make no reflections on the events of the day.  He seemed much
interested, and hastily writing a letter, as soon as it was copied, told
me to return with it to Captain Hudson.

When I got back to my boat I had no little difficulty in collecting my
men, and soon after I shoved off I found that they were one and all
drunk.  As long as they pulled on I said nothing, but in a short time
they began to grumble at having come away without more liquor.

"What's the odds?" said one.  "The shortest way is to go back and get
it."

"My idea, Sam!" cried another.  "If we once get aboard our chance is
over."

"About, shipmates," exclaimed a third.  "Never mind the youngster."

"But you will have to mind me, my lads!"  I exclaimed, springing up with
my hanger in my hand.  "You've made a mistake if you fancy that I allow
tricks to be played with me."

For a short time they were silent, and, hoping that I had cowed them by
my promptitude, I again sat down in the stern-sheets.  I kept my weapon
in my right hand, however, for I was aware how completely I was in their
power if they chose to proceed to extremities.  I had come away without
pistols, so that I had only my hanger to depend on, and they might, if
they had acted together, have wrenched it from my grasp and,
overpowering me, have hove me overboard.  They would then have escaped
without much difficulty to one of the nearest American posts and joined
the rebels.  While I was thinking over this very pleasant subject, and
contemplating myself swimming for my life up East River, they again
began to grumble.

"I'll not pull another stroke!" cried one fellow with an oath.

"Nor I!  Nor I!" exclaimed others.

Two, I remarked, did not speak; and addressing myself to them, I asked
if they would join in so rascally and uncalled-for a mutiny.

It was now getting very dark, and I could scarcely see the features of
the men, so as to be prepared for what they were about to do.  The boat
lay motionless on the water.  If I hesitated I was lost.

"Take to your oars and give way, or I will cut you to pieces, you
scoundrels!"  I shouted, springing up and making a cut with my hanger at
the hands of one of the most mutinous.  "If you won't use your bands,
I'll chop them off.  Pull, I say!"

I should have been as good as my word had not the fellow taken to his
oar, while my blade struck the gunwale of the boat, by which the point
was broken.  The mutineers now rose in a body and seemed about to make a
rush on me.  On this, I began slashing away to keep them at bay, cutting
them over the hands and arms pretty severely.

The two men, one of whom pulled the stroke-oar and the one next him, now
sang out that they would obey my orders.

"Then we'll heave you all overboard together!" cried the most drunken of
the mutineers.

"Will you, my man?"  I exclaimed, making a cut at him with my hanger.
"Then take that first!"

He stumbled and fell with his face aft, thereby saving his life, though
I again broke the blade of my hanger almost up to the hilt.  The other
men, fancying he was killed, hung back, while I dragged his senseless
body into the stern-sheets and stowed him away, for he was stunned with
the effect of his fall and his drunkenness.  The men forward sat sulkily
down, perhaps they would not have remained quiet had they known I had
broken my hanger.  They refused however to pull, and one after the other
dropped off into a drunken sleep.  The two more steady ones did their
best to pull on, and the tide fortunately favoured us, or I do not know
where we should have got to.  I have seldom been placed in a much more
fearful position.  Any moment the mutineers might wake up and,
remembering the consequences their conduct was sure to bring on them,
might again attempt to overpower me and carry off the boat to the enemy.
I was weary and hungry, and in the darkness of night all sorts of
dreadful thoughts occurred to me as I slowly floated over those perilous
waters.  I felt a strong inclination at times to run into New York to
try and get aid; but I thought if I did the men would certainly escape
and hide themselves before I could find any of the military authorities
to afford me assistance.  New York by this time was entirely in the
hands of the British.  On the day we landed at Kip's Bay General Howe
pushed forward part of his troops to encompass the city on the land
side, when General Putnam, the American commander who held it, was
compelled to make a precipitate retreat, being very nearly cut off
before he joined Washington at King's Bridge.  Had not, indeed, the
British delayed their advance to refresh themselves, they would in all
probability have captured the whole division of the rebel army.  A large
number of the inhabitants remained in New York, those only who had taken
a prominent part in the rebellion thinking it necessary to leave it.  It
was very doubtful, however, had I gone on shore, whether I should have
fallen among friends or foes.  I resolved, therefore, to make, the best
of my way to the ship.  I watched the lights glimmering in the houses,
one after the other being put out as I pulled slowly by, and I could
hear the constant call of the sentries as the officers went their
rounds, while any moment I felt that my mutinous crew might come to
their senses and make an end of me.  I amused myself, however, by
whistling and singing snatches of songs to make them suppose that I was
perfectly indifferent to their threats, and at length, by half-past one
in the morning, to my great relief I got alongside the ship.  The
mutineers only at that moment roused up, and very much astonished they
were to find themselves clapped into irons as soon as they got on board.
The next morning they each received nine dozen, with the exception of
the two who had at once returned to their duty.  I took care to get them
ultimately rewarded.

The most disagreeable duty we had to perform while we lay in Turtle Bay
was to row guard at night abreast of Hell Gate, the name, as I have
before mentioned, given to the entrance of Harlem River.  With the
ebb-tide a terrific current sets out through the narrow channel, forming
a whirlpool, on which is bestowed the pleasant-sounding title of the
Devil's Pot.  On one side is his gridiron, and on the other his
frying-pan, while another batch of rocks goes by the name of his "hen
and chickens."  Now, although I cannot take upon myself to affirm that
even on the darkest and most stormy night I ever beheld his Satanic
majesty engaged in the exercise of his well-known culinary talents in
frying soles or any other fish or fowl, or quadruped, or biped, yet I
had the greatest dread of getting within the power of his voracious
cauldron.  I therefore always kept at a respectful distance from it.  I
advise all those who may have to visit the spot to follow my example.
I, however, often heard afterwards some very strange tales narrated by
the seamen who had been in the boats when thus employed and implicitly
believed by their auditors.  In truth, although the master spirit of
evil may have no direct influence in the matter, a very large number of
vessels and boats have been lost on the surrounding rocks.

The constant hard service in which we had been engaged since we left
England had placed a large number of our men on the sick-list.  During
our stay in Turtle Bay we landed them at Blackwell's Island, where they
considerably recovered their strength.  From the same place we
abundantly supplied the ship with fresh meat and vegetables, luxuries to
which we had long been strangers.  On the 29th of September I had the
middle watch.  It had just gone six-bells, when, as I was casting my
eyes towards the city, I saw a bright light suddenly dart up towards the
sky.  It was rapidly succeeded by other flashes till the whole firmament
seemed to glow with a bright, ruddy light.  "The city is on fire--the
city is on fire!" was the general cry on board.  There was a strong
wind, and as the fire must have already made much progress, we had great
fear that the whole city would be burned down.  It was proposed at once
to make a party to go and see what was the matter, and, a messmate
taking my watch, I got leave to join it.  Away we pulled as fast as we
could, and after we had reached the shore we had no difficulty in
finding our way to the scene of destruction.  Everybody in the place had
turned out of bed.  Some were rushing about in despair at the loss of
all their worldly property, not knowing where to go to find shelter--
others were searching for friends or relatives, in doubt whether or no
they had fallen victims to the flames--others were endeavouring to stay
the progress of the fire.  The most active in this work were the British
troops.  They had formed a close circle round the burning part of the
city and were engaged in blowing-up and pulling down houses, deluging
others with water, and cutting off the communication in every direction.

We were attracted by a dense crowd and loud cries in one direction.  We
ran to the spot, where we found a number of soldiers who appeared to be
in a highly exasperated state.  They had among them a dozen or more men
whom they were dragging forward towards the flames.  "Burn them in their
own bonfire!" they were shouting out; "Burn them in their own bonfire--
they were going to burn us out of our quarters!"  We asked a civilian
who stood at a house-door looking on what had occurred.

"Why, the soldiers think they have got hold of the men who set the city
on fire, and they are going to pay them off.  Maybe they are the men who
did it, or maybe they are rogues and vagabonds who were prowling about
for plunder--so it matters little, I guess," was the answer we received.

We left our philosophical friend smoking his pipe; he was evidently one
of those who care little what becomes of the world provided they are
comfortable.  We followed the soldiers till we came to some scaffolding
erected for building a house, several ropes were hanging about it.  The
humour seized the soldiers to hang up some of their prisoners, and in a
trice four of the unhappy wretches were run up by the heels, while their
heads hung downwards.  In that position the infuriated soldiers dashed
at them with the butt-ends of their muskets, and very soon put them out
of their misery.  Their companions in misfortune, if not in guilt,
meantime were shrieking out for mercy and protesting their innocence,
but in vain.  The soldiers laughed and jeered at them, and hurrying them
on up to a burning house, forced them into the flames at the points of
their bayonets.  As they rushed shrieking out covered with fire, they
were driven back again till the devouring element grasped them at length
in its deadly embrace.  Then, with loud shouts of demoniacal
satisfaction, the enraged soldiers rushed away to look for fresh
victims.  Miserable was the fate while they were in that humour, of
those who fell into their hands.  I never saw so dreadful a spectacle
before, and hope never to see such a one again.

A short time afterwards General Howe had to send a flag of truce to
General Washington respecting an exchange of prisoners, when he was said
to have most solemnly denied having had anything to do with the burning
of the city.  The flames were happily stopped after about a fourth part
of it had been burned to the ground.  On the night of the 30th the
rebels made an attack on Montizieur's Island, but were repulsed with the
loss of a major and several men who were taken prisoners.

On the 2nd of October Delisle and I, with Harry Sumner, having got leave
to go on shore, agreed to walk out to visit the lines at King's Bridge,
where our army was intrenched in sight of that of the Americans.  Just
as we were setting off Mercer said he would come also.  The day was
lovely.  The air was so bright and pure and exhilarating that it was a
pleasure alone to breathe it--one of those days of autumn met with in
the northern part of America which go by the name of the Indian summer.
A thin gauze-like mist filled the atmosphere, giving a warm, almost
tropical, look to the landscape; the water looked bluer, the fields
greener, the sands yellower, and the rocks browner than I had ever seen
them; while the tints of autumn, just showing themselves on the more
exposed sides of the trees, gave the woods wonderfully rich and varied
hues.  We took a path through orchards and woods and across fields,
meadows, and gardens, which bore evident and sad traces of the advance
of hostile armies.  Fences and embankments were levelled, cottages
burnt, fruit-trees and fruit-bushes cut down or uprooted, gardens
trampled over and destroyed, here and there a few fragrant flowers
rearing their heads like guardian angels among the surrounding scene of
havoc, alone showing that the spot might once have been some peaceful
man's earthly paradise.

We at length reached the British lines.  They extended in one continuous
encampment from Horen's Hook on the Harlem River for about two miles
directly across the island of Manhattan to the Hudson, both flanks being
guarded by the men-of-war.  Commanding the sea, as we did, it was
impossible to hold a stronger position.  On the other side of an open
plain, well posted on a succession of rocky heights, appeared the rebel
forces, the advanced sentries of the two armies being within hail of
each other.  On our left the enemy occupied a strong fortress called
Fort Washington, which overlooked the Hudson, and two miles north of it
was King's Bridge, the only passage to the mainland across the inlet of
the Hudson I have before mentioned, which joins it to the Harlem River,
called by the Dutch Spyt den Duivel Creek, and which still retains its
unpleasant-sounding name.

The object of our party seemed to be to get possession of Fort
Washington, and so cut off the retreat of the enemy.  It was said that
General Howe ought to have sent a strong force up the Hudson and
attacked Washington in the rear, while the rest of the army pressed him
in front; but he did not make the attempt till it was too late, and a
large portion of the American troops had crossed King's Bridge and taken
up a strong position among the hills in the interior.  There was a good
deal of severe fighting after this, and Fort Washington, which had been
gallantly defended by a brave American officer, Colonel Magan, was
captured by us, with its garrison of upwards of two thousand men.

We spent some time in the camp talking to various acquaintances among
the soldier officers whom we met, and as we wandered on we came to a
spot where a drum-head court-martial was sitting.  They were trying a
man who had been accused of being a spy, captured endeavouring to make
his way out of the camp at night.  He had just been pronounced guilty.
He stood with his arms bound and soldiers holding him on either side.
He was a fine tall young man with an intelligent countenance, and though
dressed in the hunter's garb of a backwoodsman, torn and travel-stained,
and covered with dirt, while his appearance was as rough as he could
make it, I thought as I looked at him that he was above the rank he had
assumed.  A few short moments only were allowed him from the time of his
condemnation till his execution.  His guilt was clear; he did not even
attempt to defend himself.  The president had just finished addressing
him as we came up.

"If it is a crime to love one's country better than anything else on
earth, to exert every faculty of mind and body, to sacrifice one's time
and property, to risk liberty and life to serve her, then I am guilty--
to love liberty and freedom of conscience, to hate tyranny and
oppression, then I am indeed a criminal," he answered in an unshaken
voice.  "You call me a spy and load me with opprobrium.  It was
necessary to gain information as to the movements of your mercenary
army: twice have I obtained that information and carried it to our noble
general.  My only regret is that I have not succeeded a third time in so
doing; but understand that though I have thus laboured to injure you
secretly, I have ever fought openly against you on the field of battle,
and on that account I might plead to die a soldier's death, and not to
be treated as a dog and hung.  Yet it matters little.  According to your
laws my sentence is just.  I seek not to appeal from it, and I die with
the joyous certainty that the righteous cause for which I suffer will
triumph at last, and that your proud legions will retire from this
country defeated and disgraced."

"Silence, young man?" exclaimed the president; "you departed from your
allegiance to your lawful sovereign; you acknowledge that you have taken
up arms against his troops, and you are now found acting the despicable
part of a spy.  Your false reasoning cannot induce me to alter the
sentence pronounced against you.  You have but a few minutes in which to
take your farewell of life."

No sooner did Mercer catch sight of the prisoner than he turned very
pale, and as he laid his hand on my shoulder I felt that it trembled
violently.

"What is the matter, Mercer?"  I asked.

"That noble fellow who stands there is my schoolfellow, my old familiar
friend!" he cried, scarcely aware of what he said; then, unable to
restrain himself, he rushed forward and seized the prisoner's hand.
"Sydney Markham!" he exclaimed, with deep earnestness, looking up into
the face of the condemned man, who gazed at him with an expression of
recognition and affection; "say that you are not guilty; that you have
not been acting the part of a spy.  You were ever the soul of honour; I
will answer for you; they will not destroy you.  If they give you time
you can easily disprove the foul accusation brought against you.  Say
so, Sydney, speak!  Tell them that you are not guilty.  I will fly to
the general--I will go on my knees before him, I will entreat for your
life; I will offer mine instead of yours."

The unhappy young man shook his head, and with a faint smile answered,
"Mercer, I cannot disprove the accusation brought against me.  We may
differ in our views, yet, believe me, I do not feel that I have swerved
from the path of honour, and therefore, noble and high-minded as you
ever were, I am still worthy to be called your friend.  But we are
wasting precious time; the minutes of my life are numbered, and I must
prepare for death."

"Oh, no, no, no!  I must strive to save you; I cannot bear to see you
thus snatched away from life."  Then he turned abruptly to the president
of the court.  "This man cannot be as guilty as you suppose, sir," he
exclaimed, with a look of agony; "he would never have sought to injure
the King's forces unfairly; let him live till I have seen Sir William
Howe; he may order a reprieve till he has inquired more into the
particulars of the case."

"You ask an impossibility, sir," answered the officer, who was of the
Martinet school, as stern and unbending as one of his men's muskets; "he
has been found guilty, and I have no power to reprieve him.  We must put
a stop to this system of sending spies into our camp.  The higher his
position and education the more deserving he is of punishment.  Sergeant
of the guard, carry out the sentence pronounced on the prisoner."

"You see it is useless, my friend," said the young man.  "Come and
assist me to meet death like a man."

"Oh, my friend, say rather like a Christian," cried Mercer, again taking
his hand; and together they walked to a tree where a sergeant and some
soldiers were arranging a block and rope.  Mercer was allowed to
continue by the side of his friend, and together they knelt down on the
grass and prayed for mercy and forgiveness to Him who is the fountain of
all mercy and swift to forgive.  The chaplain of one of the regiments
had been sent for.  He came at length, and the prisoner accepted his
ministrations alone, but soon again asked Mercer to join him.

In a short time, terribly short it appeared to me, the officer in charge
of the party looked at his watch.  The prisoner saw the movement; he
started to his feet.  "I am ready," he exclaimed, with a firm voice; "I
willingly give my life for my country's freedom, well assured that ere
long America will be free to advance onward in the fulfilment of the
mighty destiny in store for her, and those who now seek to oppress her
will have departed with defeat and disgrace from her shores."

Mercer entreated him, when he ceased speaking, to calm himself; he did
so with wonderful self-command.  Another quarter of an hour was allowed
him, and at the end of it a signal was given, the rope was thrown over
his neck, and he was run up to a high branch of the tree under which he
had been standing.  There was a loud cry, but it was uttered by Mercer;
Delisle and I rushed forward--our messmate had fainted.  We got him into
a neighbouring hut, where an officer gave us every assistance in his
power.  Meantime the body of the spy had been removed.  As soon as
Mercer had recovered we led him as quickly at possible out of the camp
in the direction of our ship, and got him without delay on board.  He
made no allusion on the way to what had occurred; nor did he indeed ever
speak of it to me.  I expected to find the next day that he was taken
ill, but he still went about his duty as usual, though his nervous
system had received a shock from which it was evident he would take long
to recover.  This was the last adventure I have noted during our stay at
New York.



CHAPTER SIX.

ONCE MORE AT SEA.--DRIVE A SCHOONER ON SHORE.--BLOWS UP.--MERCER'S
DEATH.--CAPTURE A SLOOP.--SENT AWAY IN HER.--A GALE.--ENGAGEMENT WITH
PRIVATEER.--BEAT HER OFF.--SENT TO NEW YORK AS COMMODORE OF PRIZES.--
JOVIAL LIFE ON SHORE.--ILL CONDUCTED EXPEDITIONS.

We were once more at sea, and truly glad were all hands on board to find
themselves in deep water again.  The shore of Long Island, faint and
low, was just discernible astern, while Sandy Hook and the highlands of
Neversink arose in the distance over our starboard quarter.  As I looked
on the far-off shore I could not help thinking of the scenes of strife
and destruction which, in all probability, were going on there, and
feeling heartily glad that we were away from them for a time.  We had
quitted Turtle Bay on the 3rd and dropped down to Staten Island.  On our
passage down we ran on board a transport and carried away our larboard
fore-chains, cathead, and small bower-anchor stock, not to speak of
having so severely damaged the transport that she nearly sank.  On the
12th of the month, having repaired damages, we put to sea with his.
Majesty's ship Daphne in company.  We were on our way to the mouth of
the Delaware with the intention of capturing, burning, sinking, or
otherwise destroying all vessels of every description belonging to the
colonists which we could fall in with, an odd method, it would seem, of
bringing them to reason and making them loyal subjects of his Majesty,
though our proceedings did not strike me in that light just then.  For a
couple of days we had a fair wind, which carried us nearly up to our
cruising ground.  On the 14th Captain Hudson made a signal to the Daphne
to go in chase of a sail seen to the southward, and shortly afterwards
another sail was seen standing towards us from the westward.  We soon
made her out to be a man-of-war, and on exchanging signals she proved to
be the Kingfisher sloop-of-war.  Within an hour after she joined us.  As
we continued our course to the southward the look-out at the mast-head
hailed the deck.  "A sail in the south-east," said he.

"What is she like?" asked Captain Hudson.

"A suspicious-looking craft--a schooner, sir; a merchantman of some
sort," was the answer.

This announcement put us all on the alert, and as soon as every stitch
of sail we could carry had been clapped on the ship several officers
were seen going aloft with their spy-glasses slung by rope-yarns over
their shoulders to have a look at the chase.  I was among the number, so
was Mercer.  We soon afterwards made the land, which as we drew near we
recognised as Cape May.  We were rapidly over-hauling the chase, which
was steering directly for the coast, and it was a question whether we
should come up with her before she ran on shore or got under shelter
among any rocks which might be there.  There is nothing so exciting in a
sea life as a chase; the discussion as to what the stranger may prove,
friend or foe, with or without a cargo, armed, and likely to show fight,
or helpless, worth having or valueless; and, more than all, whether or
not one is likely to overtake her.  There is only one thing beats it,
and that is to be chased, and I cannot say that the sensations are so
agreeable.  We were most of us in high spirits at the thoughts of making
a capture; the first, we hoped, of a number of prizes we should take
during our cruise.  The only person who did not take an interest in the
affair was Mercer.  He was grave and careworn as before; indeed, it
struck me that his melancholy had increased lately.  He was sitting
close to me at the fore-top mast-head.

"Hurrah! we are overhauling her; we shall soon be up with her!"  I
exclaimed.

"Hurry," said he, turning round suddenly, "I cannot bear this life.  I
wish to do my duty, to remain faithful to my allegiance, and yet, I care
not who knows it, all my sympathies are with those England has made her
foes.  I have but one resource; I must quit the service.  I would that I
could reach some desert isle where I could hide my head far from the
haunts of men.  I would even welcome death as an alternative.
Hurricane, do you know I have of late felt as if my days were already
numbered, and that my stay on earth will be very short.  Once the
thought would have made me unhappy; now I contemplate it with
satisfaction, even at moments as a welcome boon."

I did my utmost to turn my friend's mind from the gloomy contemplations
which occupied it.  I had conceived of late much greater regard for him
than I had when we first met; there was much that was generous and
romantic in his character which attracted me, besides which his courage
and coolness in danger had often excited my admiration.  I had been, as
I have said, using all the arguments I could think of to turn his
thoughts into another channel, when he replied--

"I know that I am wrong to give way to these feelings.  My religion
teaches me to trust in God's good providence and to believe that all He
orders is for the best.  I spoke as I did from weakness and want of
faith; still I tell you that I am certain before long I shall meet my
death.  I am endeavouring to prepare for that awful moment; but it is at
times, notwithstanding what I have just said, very, very hard to
contemplate."

After speaking much in the same strain as before, I told him that I had
known so many people oppressed with the same feeling that he suffered
from, of approaching death, who had lived very many years afterwards,
that I put not the slightest faith in such prognostications.  "At the
same time," I continued, "many a man who expects to lose his life when
going into battle does so; but then he would have been killed whether he
expected it or not; so, my dear Mercer, I hope you will live to see
peace restored, and to enjoy many happy days at home."

Mercer shook his head, then took a long, eager look at the shore towards
which we were approaching.

The Kingfisher had been somewhat more to the south than we were when we
sighted the chase.  At first she had evidently hoped to double Cape May
and to run up the Delaware, but, that hope being cut off, her only mode
of escape was to make directly for the land; and it now became evident
to Mercer and me, as we sat on our lofty perch, that it was the
intention of her crew to run her on shore.  Our conversation was brought
to a conclusion by our being obliged to descend to attend to our duties
on deck.

The poor little schooner had but a small prospect of escape with two big
ships in chase, but the man who commanded her was a gallant fellow, and
it was evident would persevere while a chance of escape remained.

"Fire the foremost gun, Mr Willis, and bring that fellow to," said
Captain Hudson as we got her within range.

"Ay, ay, sir," answered the first lieutenant, going forward to see the
order executed.

Still the chase seemed to have no notion of giving in.  Shot after shot
was fired, none striking her, and soon the Kingfisher joined in the
practice, with like effect.

"I believe the fellow will manage to run his craft on shore before he
strikes," observed the captain.  "He has very likely a valuable cargo on
board."

"Powder or arms for the rebels probably, sir," said Mr Heron.  "We
shall have to cut him out."

"I expect so, and intend to give you charge of the expedition," replied
Captain Hudson.  "I hope that you will give as good an account of the
foe as you did at Kip's Bay, Mr Heron."

The second lieutenant made a face as if he did not like the subject.

We were now rapidly overhauling the chase.  We had been standing in on a
line a little to the north of her, to prevent her hauling across our
bows and beating up to windward along-shore in shallow water, which it
was just possible she might attempt to do.  Thus every chance of escape
on that side was cut off from her.  At length one of our shots struck
her and carried away her main-topmast.  Our crew gave a loud hurrah.  It
was replied to by her people in bravado.  Several successive shots did
further damage, yet still she would not give in.  Her crew might have
hoped to draw us on shore, but Captain Hudson was too wary to be thus
taken in.

"Shorten sail, Mr Willis," he shouted, "and make the signal to the
`Kingfisher' to do the same."

Just as our canvas was reduced and the heads of the ships turned off
shore, gracefully bowing to the sea which rolled in, there was a shout
from those who were on the look-out on the chase.  She had run on shore.
As she struck the rocks both her masts went by the board.  Captain
Hudson on this ordered three boats from us to be manned and two from the
Kingfisher, to go in and try to get her off, if not to destroy her, for
which purpose we took the usual combustibles.  Mr Heron went in one,
and had charge of the expedition.  Mercer went in another, and I had
command of a third.  The Kingfisher, at the same time, stood in as close
as she could, and then furling sails was warped in with springs on her
cables, to cover us in case we should be molested.  The schooner had run
in within a reef which protected her somewhat from the sea.  As we drew
near, I saw that her crew were still on board.  My boat had taken the
lead of the others.

"Give way, my lads, give way!"  I shouted; "we shall have time to catch
the fellows before they set their craft on fire."  I was not aware at
the time that they were not likely to do that same thing.  The sea was
breaking over her forward, but without much violence.  She lay at about
seventy to a hundred yards from the shore.  I steered for her quarter,
and as I and my men sprung on board, her crew tumbled over the bows into
their boat, and made good way towards the beach.  So precipitate had
been their retreat that they left behind them two poor fellows who had
been wounded by our shot.  As our boats came round the stern of the
schooner, and saw the rebels escaping, the two belonging to the
sloop-of-war pulled away in chase, while Mr Heron and Mercer jumped on
board.  The Kingfisher's boats would have captured the rebels, but, just
as they were about doing so, up started three or four hundred militiamen
from behind some sand hills, while other bodies were seen rushing down
from all directions towards us.  They immediately opened so heavy a fire
on the two boats that they were compelled to desist from the pursuit,
and wisely beat a retreat to the schooner.  The sloop-of-war on this
fired on the people on shore.  There were probably by this time a
thousand or more possessed of every possible description of fire-arm.
The Kingfisher dispersed those who had first shown themselves in an
exposed situation, and knocked several of them over, but the rest kept
up so very heavy a fire on us that we were glad to dive down below to
get out of it.  We at once found that it would be impossible to to get
the schooner off, and we then set to work to examine her cargo.  I had
gone into the cabin, where I found the ship's manifest.  I took it up to
read it, as I concluded it would give me the information we required.  I
saw that some dry goods had been shipped, and some saltpetre, and I had
just read "_Three hundred and sixty barrels of gunpowder_"--an article
very much in request among the rebels--when there was a cry raised of
"Fire, fire, fire!"  Mr Heron had made the same discovery by seeing
some suspicious black grains falling out of a cask, and he had just
before beat a retreat.

"To the boats, to the boats, for your lives, my men!"  I shouted,
springing on deck, followed by my men.  We tumbled into our boats with
no little speed, and seized our oars, to place as much distance as we
could between ourselves and the threatened danger.  As I was leaving the
vessel, I saw Mercer, with some of his people, apparently endeavouring
to lift the two poor wounded Americans into his boat.  It was but a
glance, for the hurry and confusion of that awful moment prevented me
seeing more.

"Give way, give way for your lives!"  I shouted.  No sooner did our
heads appear above the schooner's bulwarks than the rebels redoubled
their fire on us, but we cared not for them.  We scarcely had got clear
from the side of the ill-fated vessel, when a terrific, thundering,
roaring noise assailed our ears; a vivid flash blinded us; a scorching
heat almost consumed us; and as we bent our heads in mute dismay, nearer
despair, after a few moments of awful silence, down came crashing about
us burning fragments of timbers and planks and spars and sails, and,
horror of horrors! pieces of what an instant before had been human
forms, breathing with life and strength.  The oars were knocked from the
men's hands--dashed to atoms.  Several of the men were struck down,
shrieking with agony from the dreadful wounds the heavy pieces of
burning wood and the hot iron inflicted; the very air was darkened for
some moments,--and it seemed that the horrible shower would never cease.
Even the enemy were awe-struck at the catastrophe, and ceased firing,
as did the sloop-of-war.  Our boats' crews took the opportunity to get
out the spare oars, and to pull out to sea.  As they did so they rose up
and gave the enemy three cheers, which, as may be supposed, drew down on
them hot fire in return.  An important service had been accomplished in
the destruction of the powder, but I was in no mood for cheering.  Five
boats had gone in, four only were coming out.  The fifth floated,
shattered and blackened, over the scene of destruction, but no one was
in her.  She was the boat commanded by Mercer.  He and all his crew had
been; swept to destruction.  His anticipations of coming evil had indeed
been speedily verified.  Two short hours ago he and I were sitting side
by side away from the crowded deck, talking of matters of deep
importance, to fathom which I felt was far beyond my comprehension.
Now, though scarce a remnant of his blackened form could be discovered,
he, I trusted, was on his way to those realms inhabited by beings of
bright intelligence, to whom all such mysteries are clear as noon-day.
He died in full assurance of salvation through a merciful Saviour; his
last act one of charity, of the noblest self-devotion.

"Which, then, is the happiest?"

"Not I, not I."

I bent my head and thought of what I was, of what I might become, unless
protected by the loving mercy of a higher power than that of man's
feeble will.

The next day we parted company from the Kingfisher, and went in quest of
the Daphne, which joined us that evening, having missed the vessel of
which she had gone in chase.

On the 20th we captured a small schooner from Philadelphia, bound to the
West Indies, with flour and Indian corn, and, having taken out the crew:
and the flour, we set her on fire, to the no small grief of her master
and owner, who stood looking at her as we left her blazing away and
lighting up the darkness of a November night.  On the 24th a suspicious
sail hove in sight, which we made out to be an English brig, though she
showed no colours; but, as she did her best to get away from us, we made
chase after her.  A shot brought her to, when we found that she was
bound from the coast of Guinea, had a thousand pounds' worth of ivory on
board, and had been taken by the Congress and Chance privateers Her
captors looked very blue, but had to submit to their fate.  Captain
Hudson ordered Kennedy, with four hands, to take charge of her, and to
carry her into New York.

"We shall meet there I hope soon, Hurry," said he, as he was shoving off
to take possession of his new command.  "If we can but contrive to spend
some little time there, we'll manage to amuse ourselves now that the
place is free from those dunder-headed rebels."

"I hope so too.  It will not be my fault if I do not follow you soon," I
replied, "only, I say, Kennedy, take care that the brig is not
recaptured by any of those same dunder-headed rebels."

"No fear, no fear; I'll keep too bright a look-out for that," he
answered, laughing.

He had a fair wind and every prospect of a quick run, so that I hoped to
find him at New York when I got the chance of going there.

On the 30th we again parted from the Daphne, and soon after gave chase
to a sleep, which, after firing a few shots, we brought to.  I was at
once sent on board to take possession.  I found her armed with eight
carriage four-pounders, fourteen swivels and four cohorns, and laden
with rum, porter, flour and bread, and I dare say she would have proved
as ugly a customer to any small craft she might have fallen in with as
she would have been a welcome guest at the port to which she was bound.
Grampus and Tom Rockets had accompanied me as part of my boat's crew.
Scarcely had I got on board when another sail was seen from the
mast-head of the Orpheus, so Captain Hudson ordered me to keep them and
another man, and to send the prisoners on board with the rest of the
crew, which done, I was to cruise about in the neighbourhood to wait his
return.  A midshipman's personal comfort is not much considered on such
occasions, so that I was unable to get any clothes or even a change of
linen before my ship was standing away with all sail set in chase of the
stranger last seen.  My prize, I found, was called the Colonel Parry.

"What do you think of our craft?" said I to Grampus, who had been
running his eye over her, inside and out.

"Why, Mr Hurry, she's seen no little service in her time, I'm thinking;
and if so be there comes a gale of wind, she'll require delicate
handling, or she'll be apt to go t'other way to what the schooner we
last took did.  Now, to my mind, sir, the weather doesn't look at all
pleasant like, and I shouldn't be surprised but what we get a pretty
heavy gale of wind before nightfall."

"I think so too," said I.  "There's one comfort, if we do not fan in
with the `Orpheus' again for a month to come, we've provisions enough on
board--we shall not starve."

Old Nol's prognostications were fulfilled even sooner than we expected;
a black, heavy bank of clouds came rolling up towards us; and as the
frigate's top-gallant sails, shining with peculiar whiteness against the
dark mass, sank beneath the horizon, we were pitching our bows into a
heavy sea under a close-reefed mainsail and foresail.  We had made
ourselves as snug as we could, but not a moment too soon.  Had there
been a trysail on board I should have set it.  Even with the sail she
had on her the vessel strained very much, and sometimes I thought she
would make a perfect dip of it and go down head foremost.  However, I
had done all I could do, and must await the result.

"What's the matter now?" said I to Grampus, who had gone below for a
short time.

"Why, sir, the old tub is taking in water rather faster than we are
likely to pump it out."

"We must try, however," I answered.  "Man the pumps, and let's do our
best."

So to work we set.  The weather was cool, and we were wet with the sea
and spray, but the exercise kept us from feeling cold.  We soon found
that we made no sensible impression on the water in the hold, but yet it
was something to keep the vessel afloat.  While so employed, a loud bang
saluted our ears; a heavier blast than usual had split both the mainsail
and foresail.  The sails soon shivered to tatters.  I could find none
with which to replace them, and there we lay, almost water-logged, at
the mercy of the winds and waves.  A long November night, too, was
coming on, and I felt the very great probability that we might never be
blessed by the sight of another dawn.  Grampus took it very coolly; he
had been in many similar situations; but Tom Rockets was far from happy.

"Oh, Mr Hurry," said he, as the gale rose higher and the seas tossed us
helplessly about, ever and anon deluging our decks, "what is to become
of us, sir?  What will poor mother do when she hears that you and I are
gone to the bottom in this outlandish country, where they seem to have
nothing to do but to fight and shoot and knock each other on the head?"

Poor Tom's notion of the country was very naturally formed from his own
experience.

"I hope, Tom, things are not so bad as you fancy," said I.  "We must
pray to God, and trust in His mercy to save us.  He has power to hold us
up if He thinks fit; and I have no doubt, too, that your mother and mine
are praying for us, and I feel sure that He will listen to their
prayers, if He does not to those of such careless, thoughtless fellows
as we are."

"That's truth, Mr Hurry," put in old Grampus; "there's nothing like
having a good mother to pray for one, depend on't.  While my old mother
lived, I always felt as how there was one who loved me, who was asking
more for me than I dared ask for myself; and now she's gone aloft, I
don't think she has forgotten her son, though I doubt if she would know
his figure-head if she was to see him."

"I cannot say exactly that.  Grampus," said I, "though it looks to me
like true philosophy; but one thing I do know--and that the Bible tells
us plainly--that, if we will but trust and believe on Him, we have an
Advocate with the Father, ever pleading for us, bad as we may have
been--He who came into the world to save us, our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ.  He knows how to plead for us better than any earthly parent,
either alive or in heaven, for He so loved us that He took our nature
upon Him, and He knows all things, and knows our weaknesses and
temptations, and want of opportunities of gaining knowledge."

"That's true again, sir," observed Grampus; "that's what I calls right
earnest religion--you'll pardon me for saying it, but to my mind the
parsons couldn't give us better."

I told Grampus I was glad of his good opinion, and we talked on for some
time much in the same strain.  I had gained more religious knowledge
lately from poor Mercer, who, during the last weeks we had been
together, had been very assiduous in impressing his own convictions on
me.  There are occasions like this which bring people of different ranks
together, and which draw out the real feelings and thoughts of the
heart, when all know that any moment may be their last; a slight
increase of the gale, one heavier sea than usual, the starting of a
plank may send them all to the bottom.  The pride of the proudest is
humbled, the fiercest man is made meek.  Those who live on shore at
ease, and are seldom or never exposed to danger or are in hazard of
their lives, can scarcely understand these things; priding themselves on
their education, rank or fortune, they look down on all beneath them as
unworthy of their thoughts or care, and I verily believe that some of
them fancy that a different Creator made them--that they were sent into
the world for different objects, and that they will go to different
heaven when they die--that is to say, if they ever think of dying, or
ever trouble their heads about an hereafter.  I have often wished to get
those young gentlemen in just such a position as I was that night, and
they could not fail to learn a lesson which they would remember to the
end of their days.

In the morning watch the gale began to abate.

"Come," said I, "let's turn to and see if we cannot lessen the water in
the hold."

"Ay, ay, sir," replied Grampus.  "We've a chance now, I think."

We therefore all set to work with a will--there is nothing like trying
what can be done, however desperate affairs may seem--and before
daylight we most certainly were gaining on the leaks.  We now found a
second jib in the sail-room, which we set as a trysail, though I had not
much expectation of it standing, and by its means we hove the vessel to.
This at once relieved her greatly, but, as day broke, the weather
looked so unpromising that I had great fears we might very soon be in a
worse position than before.  Our comfort was, that we had now done all
that men could do, so we went to breakfast with clear consciences on
some of the good things left us by the former owners.  We lighted a fire
in the cabin, dried our clothes, warmed our bodies, and otherwise made
ourselves as comfortable as circumstances would admit.  On deck the
aspect of affairs was not so cheering.  Nothing was to be seen but dark
green seas crested with foam around us, and black lowering clouds
overhead, while a cold whistling wind did its best to blow our teeth
down our throats.  The wind, as I expected, soon breezed up again, and
continued blowing heavily the whole day.  The water, however, did not
further gain on us, so I had hopes that we might still weather it out.
Night came back on us without our having seen a sail or experienced any
change for the better, and the morning came, and the next day passed
away exactly as had the first.  We had bread enough to eat, and flour to
make dumplings, but we had no suet to put with them, so that they came
out of the pot as hard as round shots; and we had rum and porter in a
superabundance to drink; it was important, however, to use it sparingly,
especially the former; but we had very few other things which could be
called luxuries; no bedding, no change of clothes, and but a scanty
supply of fuel.  I had to lie wrapped up in an old cloak and a piece of
carpet while Tom Rockets washed out my shirt and stockings.  Day after
day passed away and there we lay, pitching our bows under, hove-to at
the most boisterous season of the year off that inhospitable coast,
earnestly wishing for the return of the Orpheus, with the prospect, in
the meantime, of being recaptured by an enemy's privateer, and the
certainty of being taken should we make for any port but New York,
which, as the wind then held, was a matter of impossibility.  We did
not, however, pipe our eyes about the matter but, following old Nol's
advice, made the best of it.

"Any sail in sight, Grampus?"  I used to ask as I turned out in the
morning.

"No, sir, only clouds and water; but better them than an enemy, you
know, sir," was his general reply.

Now and then a sail would appear in the horizon, but either we were not
seen or they were peaceable merchantmen, anxious to make the best of
their way to their destined port.  At last one morning, after I had been
keeping the middle watch, old Grampus' voice roused me out of a sound
sleep.

"Come on deck, Mr Hurry, sir, if you please!  I don't like the looks of
her at all."

In a moment my head was up the companion-hatch.  The weather was worse
than ever.  A thick driving mist formed a dense veil on every side, but
I could just discern through it the sails of a large schooner standing
directly for us from the eastward.

"She is American, I suspect, Grampus," said I.

"No doubt about it, sir," he answered.  "Our cruise is up, I'm afraid,
and we may make ready for a spell on shore, and nothing to do."

"We might beat her off, though," I observed.  "There is nothing like
putting a bold face on the matter, and it would never do to yield
without striking a blow."

"Ay, sir, with all my heart," said he cheerfully; "the guns are all
loaded, and I made Tom and Bill get up some powder and shot in case they
were wanted, before I called you, sir.  You'll excuse me, sir, I thought
there was no harm."

"All right, Grampus," I answered, laughing at his having calculated on
what I should certainly propose doing.  Bill Nettle was a good man and
true, so that I knew I could thoroughly depend on all my small crew,
and, having made every preparation, we waited till the schooner got
within range of our guns.  We had not long to wait.  The gale bore her
quickly towards us, and I almost thought she intended to run us down.
Were she to overpower us there was too much sea to allow her to send a
boat on board to take possession.  She got within range, still she did
not fire.

"She is unarmed, I suspect," said I.

"No, no, sir," replied Grampus.  "She is armed, depend on that.  She is
up to some trick or other."

On she came, passing close to us.  The American flag was flying from the
peak.  I could not make out the mystery.  In another moment, however, it
was explained.  For an instant the fog lifted, and showed us a large
ship under a press of sail, standing directly after her.  We cheered at
the sight, for we had no difficulty in recognising the Orpheus, and at
the same moment we ran out and let fly every gun we could bring to bear
at the rigging of the stranger.  One shot, directed by chance, certainly
not by skill, struck her main-topmast, and down it came tumbling on
deck.  We hastened to reload our guns as fast as we could.  She gave us
a broadside from her guns in return, but the shot were thrown away.  She
stood on, however, but we had not a little diminished her chance of
escape.  The Orpheus was soon up to us, passing within hail.

"Well done, Mr Hurry, well done!" shouted Captain Hudson.  "We will
send you help as soon as we can."

His commendation was no little satisfaction to me.  It was a fine sight
to see the noble ship sweeping by, her white canvas looking whiter amid
the dark clouds and the sheets of foam which surrounded her, as, pressed
by the gale, she heeled over, till her lee guns dipped in the water as
she plunged on through the heaving seas which she majestically cast
aside in her course.  I longed to be on board her, though I should have
speedily changed from a commander into a midshipman.  Away she went, her
vast form growing each instant more indistinct, like one of the genii
one reads about in tales of romance, till she disappeared altogether in
the thick driving mist, and once more we were left alone, so that her
very appearance seemed almost like a dream, and I began at last to
question whether I really had seen her.  We watched anxiously for her,
trying to pierce through the gloomy atmosphere, but no sign of her could
we discern, and night once again closed round us in our solitude.  The
weather did not improve, so we spent another day at pile driving,
neither a pleasant nor a profitable occupation.  The second morning
after the event I have described was as dark and lowering as before,
but, as I went on deck after breakfast, Grampus cheered me by saying
that he thought it was going to mend a bit.  We were looking to the
south-east, when simultaneously all hands uttered a loud cheer.  The
clouds seemed to burst asunder, the mist lifted, the bright sun shone
forth, and, surrounded by his glorious rays, beneath a canopy of blue
sky, our noble ship appeared, standing towards us, with the schooner and
a sloop in her wake.  There was, however, still too much sea on for her
to send a boat without some risk; indeed, before she could well have
done so, another sail hove in sight, and she was away in chase.

On the 14th of the month we spoke his Majesty's ship Mermaid, with a
convoy from England to New York.  On the 15th the Orpheus took a
schooner from Martinique, with a cargo of claret, so that with another
sloop she had taken she had now five prizes.  It was not, however, till
the 26th of the month that a boat boarded me from the ship, with written
directions from Captain Hudson to take under my command all the prizes,
and to proceed with them to New York.  I, in return, sent for my bedding
and chest, and a few other things from the purser, which I required, and
as soon as I had got them I hoisted the signal to my squadron to make
sail for the port of our destination.  A midshipman had been put in
charge of each of the prizes, and as soon as we had lost sight of the
ship we ran close to each other to discuss the plans of amusement which
each of us were already enjoying by anticipation.  Delisle commanded one
of the schooners, Ragget another, Nicholas had one sloop, and Drew the
last capture.  We were, as may be supposed, a very merry set.  It did
not occur to us that our enemy's cruisers might pop down on us before we
got into port, as does a cat among a party of mice at play.  We were
almost as helpless as mice in the paws of a cat, for so few men were
sent away in each prize that we had scarcely strength to work them, much
less to fight or make sail on an emergency.  In this instance fortune
favoured us.  We made Sandy Hook on the 28th, and before evening were
all safely moored alongside the wharf, among twenty-nine other vessels
of various rigs captured by the Orpheus.

As several other ships of war had sent in prizes, we altogether formed a
very jovial set of midshipmen.  There were seven of us from the Orpheus
alone, and, as I was senior officer, they were generally my guests.  I
had really a very elegant cabin, nicely fitted up with every
convenience, and a comfortable stove, besides which I collected from the
various prizes an ample stock of good things to supply the wants of the
inner man.  Never indeed had I enjoyed more perfect luxury, or greater
rest and relaxation, without one anxious care, one unhappy moment to
extract the sweets from my existence, free from all the rubs and kicks
and snubs midshipmen seem the natural heirs to, so I smiled at fortune
and defied its frowns.

I was for a short time, however, made to quake, for after the Orpheus
had, during December, sent in several prizes, she arrived herself with
two others, and some of my messmates had to return on board.  But
Captain Hudson, whose good opinion I had won, gave me directions, to my
infinite contentment, to remain in charge of the prizes.  I had also a
sufficient number of companions to bear me company.  Numberless were the
pranks we Orlopians played.  Some might now make me blush, though,
generally, if not wise they were harmless.  I remember that we did our
skipper and the captain of the Daphne out of three cases of claret which
they had marked for their own use.  It happened that, as we were
preparing to keep Christmas Day, some one bethought him of the three
cases.  They were sent for.  One of them was broached at dinner-time,
and found so excellent that we drank up the whole; but, as we were doing
so, our consciences were alarmed, and we ordered the bottles and corks
to be kept.  The next day we employed ourselves in refilling them from
the casks, and in carefully corking and sealing them.  Some time
afterwards I was dining with our captain, when one of the cases was
produced.  The opinion of the guests was asked.  Some thought it
excellent.  Delisle, who was there, looked at me, but we kept our
countenances.  Our first lieutenant, who was considered a judge,
pronounced it good, but he found very little difference between it and
the wine in cask.

Among other things we came on some casks of limes--excellent things, be
it known, in the composition of punch.  The said fruit we accordingly
ate up or used for that purpose, and filling the casks with wet hay,
some rotten limes, and the stuff they were packed in, returned them to
the hold.  On examination, the casks of limes were found to have been
entirely spoilt.  Such tricks are, however, I must own, not only
unworthy of imitation, but scarcely fit to be recorded.

I must now give a glance at the position of the belligerent armies at
this period.  Washington, having crossed the Hudson into the Jerseys,
had been compelled by the desertion of a considerable number of his
troops, who had enlisted only for short periods, to retreat across the
Delaware, while some of the most fertile tracts of the country fell into
the hands of the Royalists.  General Lee, an officer of considerable
talent and daring, was surprised and captured by a body of British
cavalry; while the other rebel generals found themselves, with
diminished and disheartened forces, separated from each other, and
without resources or means of recruiting; indeed, the revolutionary
cause appeared to have arrived at its lowest ebb, and great hopes were
entertained that a speedy conclusion would be made to the sanguinary
contest.  Perhaps the Americans were not so badly off as we supposed.
That they were not asleep was proved by their gallant and well-conducted
surprise and capture of Colonel Rahl and a thousand Hessian troops at
Trenton on Christmas Day, an enterprise which inspirited the Americans,
and was a severe loss to the Royalists.  The Hessian commander was
mortally wounded, and died the next day; and most of his men, being
marched into the interior, settled in the country.  Soon after this
occurrence Washington was appointed military dictator, and through his
consummate conduct the prospects of the rebels began to revive.

Of course the progress of the war was the constant subject of
conversation while I was at New York, and I consequently heard a good
deal about it.  Before I end this chapter, I think it may prove
interesting if I give a slight sketch of the warlike proceedings which
had occurred up to this period on the Canadian frontier, as well as some
of the proceedings of General Washington and his army.

Lakes Champlain and George, approaching as they do the upper waters of
the Hudson, have always been considered the key to the northern
provinces from Canada.  Their possession has therefore been looked on as
of the first importance; and Ticonderoga, the chief fort at the head of
Lake Champlain, has been the scene of many bloody encounters.  I heard a
good deal about the matter afterwards from Edward Fleetwood Pelew, whose
brother Israel was long a messmate of mine, and who was himself engaged
in the affair I have to relate.  General Gates commanded the American
forces in the north, and he had strongly fortified Ticonderoga.  Our
army in Canada was at that time under the command of Sir Guy Carleton, a
very brave and dashing officer.  The success which Sir William Howe had
met with on the seaboard inspired him with an ardent desire to signalise
himself in the north; and he hoped to be able to expel the rebels from
their posts on the lakes, and, by a triumphant march down the banks of
the Hudson, to form a junction with the main body of the British army at
New York.  To effect this object he fitted out a fleet of small craft of
every description on which he could lay his hands on Lake Champlain.  It
was placed under the command of Captain Pringle.  The Americans got
notice of what was going forward, and got a fleet together under the
orders of General Arnold.  Our fleet were ready by the first week in
October, and made sail up the lake in search of the enemy.  They cruised
for some time, and were almost in despair of falling in with the
American squadron, believing that it must have run for shelter to the
extreme southern point of the lake, when, as with a fair wind they had
already passed Valcour Island, they caught sight of the enemy drawn up
across the channel between that island and the main.  Our flotilla
instantly hauled their wind, and stood in to attack the enemy.  The
Americans, to do them justice, behaved gallantly, and no man could have
fought his vessels better than did Arnold; but our force was
overpowering, and they got dreadfully cut up.  Some Indians were landed
on the island, who, getting on their flanks, galled them terribly with
their rifles.  Still they fought on till darkness came to their aid.
Our larger vessels could not get into the channel, or they would have
been completely cut up.  At night the British squadron had to haul off;
and, when morning dawned, it was found that Arnold, and such of his
vessels as still kept afloat, had made his escape up the lake.  Several
of them were, however, overtaken and captured, while others were sunk or
run on shore and burnt.  Arnold with the remnant took shelter under
Ticonderoga.  This success was not followed up by Sir Guy, as he found
that Ticonderoga was so strongly garrisoned that he could not hope to
take it without considerable loss both of men and time, and he would
afterwards have had to advance through a difficult country in the middle
of winter with a vigilant enemy ever on the watch to harass him.  He
therefore returned with his army to Montreal.

General Washington, meantime, after he had retreated from New York with
his shattered forces, endeavoured to hold the country to the westward on
both sides of the Hudson.  The greater part of his army occupied a rocky
and mountainous district known by the name of the Highlands.  There he
carried on a sort of Fabian warfare, ever avoiding a regular engagement,
always on the defensive, and retreating when pursued.  So ill-formed and
ill-disciplined were the American forces at this time that he had no
other resource than to act as he did.  His army was still further
weakened by the loss of Fort Washington with a garrison of nearly three
thousand men, which was gallantly taken, after a desperate defence, by
Lords Percy and Cornwallis, and a body of Hessians under Colonel Rahl,
of whom I have before spoken.

Altogether, it seems surprising that our generals should not have been
able at this juncture to crush Washington, and put an end to the
rebellion.  A higher Power than either of the belligerents ruled
otherwise.



CHAPTER SEVEN.

MY COMMAND ENDS.--AT SEA ON BOARD THE ORPHEUS.--ON A LEE-SHORE.--
SAVED.--SENT UP PROVIDENCE RIVER.--THREATENED BY FIRE-SHIPS.--EMPLOYMENT
OF SPIES.--THE OLD SPY AND HIS NEPHEW.--ATTACKED BY FIRE-SHIPS.--
EXECUTION OF THE SPIES.--SAIL ON A CRUISE WITH OTHER FRIGATES.--PRIZES
TAKEN.--A PRIVATEER ESCAPES US IN A GALE.--CHASE VESSELS ON SHORE.--
EXPOSED TO HEAVY FIRE.--NARROW ESCAPE.--MY YOUNG MESSMATE WOUNDED.

"Well, skipper, I'm afraid our cruise is at an end," said Delisle,
coming into my cabin one morning as I sat discussing such a breakfast as
rarely fell in those days to the share of a midshipman before my warm
stove.

"Oh, bird of ill omen, why croak you forth such dire intelligence?"  I
asked, as he threw off his snow-covered coat, and prepared to join me in
my meal with a look which made me fear there were not many more such in
store for us.

"Because, by the pricking of my thumbs, something evil this way comes,
in the shape of the `Orpheus,' of which I caught a glimpse as I came
along, standing into the harbour," he replied, knocking the top off an
egg.

We had been reading Shakespeare, and various other literary productions,
and had become somewhat poetical in our style of conversation.  My
messmate's information was but too true--that very afternoon we received
orders to deliver up our prizes to the agents, and to rejoin our ship.
With what sorrow of heart did I bid farewell to my neat cabin, my airy
sleeping-place, my comfortable sofa, my warm stove, and all the other
luxuries with which I had been surrounded; and with what thorough
disgust and discontent did I take possession, after my long absence, of
my berth on board the old Orpheus!  Really, I had no right to complain,
and I was truly glad to see many of my shipmates again.

The heavy islands of ice, which came floating down with each ebb,
threatening to crush in the bows of the ship, compelled us to move down
close to the fish-market, where we were sheltered from them.

On the 20th, having received on board a number of rebel prisoners, whom
we were to take round to Rhode Island, we sailed in company with HMS
Solebay, Daphne, and Harriet packet, but parted with them off Sandy
Hook.  Our passengers were in a very sad state of destitution and
sickness.  Fever soon broke out among them, and it spread rapidly among
our crew.

We quickly were doomed also to experience another of the numerous ills
which seamen are heirs to.  This was a gale of wind which sprung up
about midnight from the south-east, catching us most completely on a
lee-shore.  We had made but little offing, and every minute the wind
increased, and we, I saw, were drifting closer and closer onto the coast
of Long Island.  Captain Hudson, Mr Willis, and Mr Flood, the master,
were in earnest consultation.

"What will you give for our chance of saving the ship?" said Delisle to
me as we stood holding on to the weather bulwarks, while the spray in
dense masses was breaking over us--the ship heeling over till her
lee-guns were buried in water with the heavy press of canvas it was
necessary to carry to give us a hope of beating off.

"A midshipman's half-pay for a week and a day, unless the wind shifts or
moderates," I answered.  "I believe the old barkie was never in greater
peril.  If we save the people's lives we shall be fortunate."

"So the captain seems to think.  I never saw him more anxious," replied
Delisle.  "My idea is that we shall have to cut away the masts and
anchor.  My only consolation is that if we escape with our lives, it is
the only part of the coast where we should not to a certainty be made
prisoners of war."

I agreed with Delisle.  To anchor would be our only resource, but one on
which I feared we could place very little reliance.  The anchors might
hold; but with the whole roll of the Atlantic tumbling in on us, and the
terrific gale there was already blowing, and every instant increasing, I
felt that there was small chance of their so doing.  Dark and darker
grew the night, higher and higher rose the sea, and fiercer and more
furious blew the wind.  Still the stout ship struggled bravely on; her
lee-side pressed deep into the water, while torrents of foam broke over
her weather-bow and deluged us fore and aft.  It seemed doubtful indeed
whether the masts would long stand the tremendous strain put upon them.
High above the roaring of the tempest was occasionally heard the ominous
voice of the man in the chains as he sung out the depth of water in
which we floated, showing that we were slowly though surely shallowing
it.

That dark and terrific night will not easily pass from my memory.
Captain Hudson had ordered the cables to be ranged in readiness to
anchor.  The carpenter and his crew were sent for, and ordered to
prepare for the last desperate expedient of cutting away the masts.
Every now and then, as a bright flash of lightning darted from the sky,
they might be seen with their gleaming axes uplifted, ready at a moment
to execute the fatal order.  Everybody was on deck, for our danger was
apparent to all.

"What shall we have to do?" asked little Harry Sumner, as he stood
shivering with the cold by my side.

"Obey orders and trust in Providence, my boy," said I.  "If the anchors
don't hold and the ship goes to pieces, we may have to swim for it, and
then, Harry, keep an eye on me, and if I can lend you a helping hand, I
will.  I must not promise too much, for I may not be able to help
myself."

"Thank you, Hurry, thank you.  Oh, I am sure you will do all you can for
me," said the boy gratefully.

The coolest man on board was the captain.  He stood on the weather-side
of the quarter-deck, one hand holding on by a stanchion, the other
grasping his speaking-trumpet, his hair streaming from beneath his hat,
and his coat-tails fluttering in the gale.  I love to picture our brave
commander as he appeared at that moment, when he knew the lives of
hundreds depended on his calmness and decision.

"By the deep nine," was heard from the man in the chains.  Scarcely had
the words been uttered, when down came the tempest on us with redoubled
fury, and the wind and sea roared so loudly that it would scarcely have
been possible to have heard his voice again.  Suddenly there was a lull.

"By the mark eight," was now heard with startling distinctness.  A flash
of lightning revealed the captain as he raised his speaking-trumpet to
his mouth.  We knew what was coming.  At that very moment the sails gave
a loud flap against the masts, the ship plunged violently, but rose on
an even keel.  The captain took the trumpet from his mouth.  Suddenly
the gale backed out of its former quarter, and shifted to the
north-west.  There was a shout of satisfaction; some few, perhaps,
breathed a prayer of thankfulness for our preservation as we ran off
from the dangerous coast.

On the 23rd we reached Rhode Island.  The fever had spread so rapidly
among our men that in a few days we sent no less than ninety of them to
the hospital on shore, while we kept an equal number of sick on board.
On the 27th the commodore sent us a hundred men from other ships, and
ordered us to cruise for a month in Buzzard's Bay, between New Bedford
Harbour and Martha's Vineyard.  The latter quaint-named place is one of
the many islands off that coast inside Nantucket Island.  The extreme
severity of the weather made our cruise thoroughly disagreeable, and
much prevented the people from recovering their health; indeed, it
considerably increased the number of our sick.  In truth, it was very
tantalising and provoking to be kept for nearly a week knocking about
for no purpose scarcely ten leagues from our port without being allowed
to enter it.  At last the captain could stand it no longer, so we put
back on the 3rd of March, and were forthwith sent up Providence River as
an advanced ship.  Here we had frequent skirmishes with the enemy, who
took a sly pop at us whenever they could, but without doing us much
damage.  On the 10th of March we received orders to proceed to sea
immediately.  We sailed accordingly that night, and the next morning
captured a sloop from Charleston, bound to Boston with dye and indigo.
That night we anchored under Block Island, and for some days cruised
about in the hopes of picking up some prizes, I conclude.  I fancy that
the commodore had received notice that some vessels with valuable
cargoes might be expected in the neighbourhood about that time.  We
anchored in Martha's Vineyard on the 16th, where some of our youngsters
expected to find grapes growing, and were much disappointed on
discovering that none were to be found there, especially in March, and
two days after we once more returned to Rhode Island without having made
another capture.  We were quickly sent off again, and, having bagged a
prize, returned on the 3rd of April, when we were ordered up the river
to relieve the Cerberus as the advance-ship off Providence, our station
being between the Island of Prudence and the mainland.  A glance at the
map will show the number of islands in that fine estuary, which
terminates in Providence Bay.  On one of them, called the Island of
Hope, near which the ship was generally at anchor, to vary the monotony
of a sea life we employed ourselves in the cultivation of gardens.  Our
horticultural knowledge was not very extensive, but we managed during
our stay to raise various crops of quick-growing esculents, and on our
departure we disposed of our property to our respective brother-officers
belonging to the ship which relieved us.  Our life was, however, far
from one of Arcadian simplicity, for we were constantly aroused by war's
rude alarms, and had every night to row guard in three flat-bottomed
boats ahead of the ship, to prevent a surprise.  The enemy were ever on
the alert, endeavouring to find some means of destroying us.  This was
but natural, as we were completely putting a stop to their commerce, on
which their existence mainly depended.  We had, however, a number of
spies employed, who brought us information of all the plots formed
against us.  Some brought us information, influenced by a spirit of
loyalty to the king, and a belief that they were serving a good cause;
but others were mercenary wretches, who were willing to be employed by
those who paid them the highest.  The reports of these latter, though it
was necessary to employ them, were always received with great caution by
our captain.  He could scarcely conceal the disgust he felt for them.
One morning, about ten days after our arrival, as we were washing decks
at sunrise, while I happened to be looking over the ship's side, I
observed a small boat standing towards us from Prudence Island.  As she
drew near, I saw that there were two men in the boat.  They were dressed
as ordinary seamen.  One was a young man of nineteen or twenty; the
other was much older, with his hair already turning grey--a stout,
strong-featured, healthy-looking man.  The younger man was rather tall,
and had a pleasant, honest face.  When the sentry hailed them, they
asked leave to come on board to see the captain.  Captain Hudson was
already up.  I went to inform him of their arrival, and by his desire
conducted them to him.  Their manner was frank and open, and they seemed
to have made a favourable impression on the captain.  When they left the
cabin he ordered them to be carefully provided and looked after.  I
afterwards had much conversation with them.  The elder had been a
soldier in his youth, and served the king in many parts of the world.
They were both imbued with an almost romantic feeling of loyalty.  "King
George was always a good and kind master to me, and I'm not going to
desert him when he most wants me because his ministers choose to do what
some of the people of this country don't like," said the elder man.  "I
got a wound in his service in my thigh here, so I can't march and carry
a musket as I did once, or I would have gone down and joined the
royalists at New York, but there are other ways of serving his Majesty,
though they are somewhat risky, I own; but what of that? every man
should be ready to die in a good cause.  It's very bad, though, all this
fighting and bloodshed among folks of the same race and kindred, and
now, if they'd followed my advice, I don't think it would ever have come
about.  As I used to say to my nephew, Amos Weeks here, `Amos,' said I,
`wait a bit and don't be in a hurry.  Write and petition against the
taxes as much as you like.  Taxes must be laid on, and somebody must pay
them, and if we don't like them we must petition, as I say; but anything
beyond that will be rank treason and rebellion, and that's wicked and
abominable.  Suppose this country was to become free and independent as
they talk of, what would the people do?  Either they must make General
Washington a king, or they will soon quarrel among themselves and cut
their own throats.'"  The old soldier spoke so earnestly, and there
seemed to be so much good sense in what he said, that I put it down.  He
certainly proved himself a very good advocate of the king's cause.  From
him we learned that the enemy were about to make a grand attack on us
with their fire-ships, and in the hurry and confusion which would
necessarily ensue they hoped to enable three of their frigates, which
had long been waiting an opportunity, to run past us and to get to sea.
That night we were doubly on our guard, though we could scarcely
increase the precautions we had already taken.  It was very dark, with a
strongish breeze blowing down the river.  There had been almost a gale
in the day, with a heavy rain, which would have afforded the enemy a
greater chance of success had we not been on the watch for them.  Mr
Gaston, our third lieutenant, Delisle, and I had charge of the three
boats.  Our ears were more likely to serve us than our eyes, considering
the thick darkness with which we were surrounded.  My boat was the
headmost--that is, farther up the river than the rest.  Grampus was with
me.  "Hist, sir, didn't you hear the chirp of a block?" said he in a
whisper.  "The lubbers should have taken care to use more grease if they
wanted to surprise us."  I fancied I had heard the same sound.  We
listened breathlessly while the crew lay on their oars.  It came from up
the river, directly ahead of us.  "Ah! there it is again," said I.  For
some time we waited without moving, all hands peering into the darkness.
At length I thought I discerned one spot darker than the surrounding
atmosphere.  I gazed at it earnestly.  Gradually the spot increased in
density till it resolved itself into the hull of a vessel, with canvas
set, standing directly down towards us.  There could be no doubt that
her intention must be to run aboard the Orpheus, and that she must be a
fire-ship.  "Give way, my lads," I whispered, steering directly for her
bows.  The instant we reached them we threw on board the grapnels we had
prepared for that purpose, and began to tow her away across the stream.
As we did so a fire of musketry was opened on us from her deck, which
wounded one of our men.  We had no time to reply to it, nor was it
repeated, the crew of the fire-ship having taken to their boat.  The
sound and flash of the fire-arms brought the other boats to our
assistance, and they began to pepper away at the retreating boat as she
was disappearing in the gloom.  In less than a minute she was no longer
to be seen.  For another instant there was a perfect silence, then
suddenly a bright light shot up from the hold of the fire-ship, flames
burst forth from her ports and from every quarter, and climbed up her
rigging, while fire-balls and all sorts of missiles of destruction
leaped forth in every direction, a bright glare extending far and wide
over the broad stream showing us our own ship on one side, with her
spars and rigging in bold relief, traced against the dark sky; and on
the other, towards Providence, it shone on the white sails of three or
four large ships and several smaller ones, which we concluded were
fire-ships.  We fully expected an abundance of hot work.
Notwithstanding the great risk we ran of destruction, we towed lustily
away till we had got the fire-ship well out into the stream, so that
there was no longer any risk of her drifting down on the Orpheus; while
fortunately, as we had a long painter, we escaped without injury.  We
knew that before she reached the other ships she would have burnt out,
so we cast off and prepared to grapple with any more of the same ugly
customers which might be sent against us.  The Orpheus had, in the mean
t ime, sent all her boats to our assistance, and together we waited in
expectation of the attack; but hour after hour passed away, and when the
morning dawned our mysterious and phantom-like enemies had, like the
ghosts of romance, disappeared from the landscape.  The adventure of the
night would have seemed like a dream, had it not been for our wounded
comrade and the charred bits of wood which lay scattered about the boat.
This night's work I describe as a specimen of what frequently occurred
during our stay in the river.  The following night I was sent on shore
to land our two spies, that they might learn what were the next
movements proposed by the enemy.

"Good-bye, Mr Meeks, good-bye," said I, as I landed the old soldier;
"it is hazardous work you are on, so be cautious."

"I know that, sir," said he, "I know that; but the man who would serve
his country must be ready to risk life and property, and all he holds
dear."

I have sometimes, long, long since then, thought, if people were but as
ready to devote themselves to the service of their Creator as they are
body, mind, soul, and strength, for the purpose of carrying out some
worldly objects, how much better would it be for their spiritual good,
for their eternal welfare!

For several nights after this the enemy were very quiet; no attempt was
made with their fire-ships, nor were we aware that their boats ever came
near us.  We therefore began to suspect that they meditated an attack of
greater magnitude than heretofore.  We therefore looked somewhat
anxiously for the information which we hoped our spies would be able to
supply.  Nothing was done, however, till the evening of the 20th, when
Captain Hudson sent for me.  "Mr Hurry," said he, "Lieutenant Douglas
of the `Chatham' has received orders to go on shore at midnight to bring
off our spies, the two Meekses.  You are to accompany him.  It is a
delicate service, and I must caution you to be careful that none of your
men do anything to give the alarm.  I send you on the expedition as I
know that I can trust to your discretion."

I thanked him for the good opinion he was so often pleased to express of
me, and went below to prepare for what was before me.  I took Grampus
and Tom with me, and a picked boat's crew, and at the hour arranged
shoved off from the ship's side.  Mr Douglas had come on board in the
afternoon.  He had to communicate with a person on shore, while I had to
look-out for the spies.  It was a darkish night, but there was very
little wind, so that it was necessary to muffle our oars in order that
our approach might not be perceived.  As we pulled over the still
waters, in which here and there the reflection of a star might be seen,
as it peeped out between the clouds, we could just distinguish the
fringe-like tops of the trees which surrounded the sheltered nook
towards which we were steering.  All was still as death as we approached
the shore.  We ran into the nook and landed.  Two men were left in
charge of the boat, and while Mr Douglas proceeded to the place where
he was to meet the person he had appointed to see, I led the men through
the wood to a spot where two roads met, and where the Meekses had
arranged to be in waiting.  I whistled twice very low as agreed on, but
no one answered.  Telling Grampus to wait, I walked along the road in
the hopes of meeting our friends; but seeing no one, I returned to await
their coming.  It occurred to me, that as strangers might be passing it
would be unwise to expose my men to view; so I posted them behind a
thicket, and sat down where I was myself concealed, and could at the
same time command a view along the roads as far as the light would
allow.  I had remained there fully half an hour, when I heard footsteps
approaching at a rapid rate.  The person stopped where the road branched
off, as if in uncertainty which to take.  I was about to rush forward
with my men to seize him, when I recognised Mr Douglas.  "We shall have
to retreat to the boats, I fear," said he; "some one has given
information that we are here, and the neighbourhood is alarmed; but we
must wait till the last moment for the poor fellows we were sent to
bring off."

Ten minutes, or rather more, elapsed when we heard footsteps advancing
along one of the roads.  They came at a leisurely pace, as if the people
were in no hurry.  I gave the signal.  It was answered by the persons
approaching.  "All's right," I observed to Mr Douglas; but almost as I
spoke, the dark figures of a body of men could be distinguished in the
gloom, turning a corner of the other road.  Seeing this, Mr Douglas had
no resource but to give the order to our party to retreat, for it was
very evident that the enemy far outnumbered us.  As we did so, I called
to the spies to hasten forward, for I knew that we could no longer
remain concealed.  Hearing my voice, the two men ran on; but at the same
time our foes advanced at a double quick step along the road.  I saw
that not a moment was to be lost if we would save the lives of old Meeks
and his nephew; so, calling on Grampus and Tom, I made a dash forward in
the hopes of checking the enemy till we could meet them.  Unfortunately
the rebels were too quick in their movements for us, and before we could
reach the fork of the road they had already gained the same place, and
effectually prevented us from saving our friends whom we had too much
reason to apprehend had fallen into their hands, unless they had been
able to save themselves by flying in an opposite direction.  From what I
had seen of the old soldier, I feared he was not likely to run even on
an occasion like the present.  Mr Douglas now hailed me to return, and
of course I did so as fast as I could, as I should inevitably have been
made a prisoner.  As it was we had enough to do to keep our enemies at
bay, and had not the darkness prevented them from learning the smallness
of our numbers, they might easily have surrounded us.  Though they
pressed us hard we kept as close together as the nature of the ground
would allow, and every now and then, led on by Mr Douglas, we uttered
loud cries and shouts, as if we were going to make a rush on them.  The
stems of the trees also assisted to protect us from the fire which they
opened on us, so that not a man was hit.  We were not sorry, however, to
reach our boats, when we jumped in with no little haste, for the
Americans were close upon us.  They were almost seizing the bows of the
boat before we had time to get out the oars and shove into the stream.
One, indeed, had seized the painter, but Tom Rockets dealt him such a
blow with his cutlass that he was glad to let go.  The enemy now rushed
down in numbers to the shore, and began firing away at us as fast as
they could load.  Fortunately in the darkness our boat offered no very
certain mark; but the shot came flying about us, spluttering into the
water like a shower of hail.  Now and then, _thud_--that peculiar
sound--gave notice that a bullet had struck the boat, but not a man was
hit.  As soon as we had got a little way off, we pulled up the stream,
and then steered for the ship so as to mislead the enemy as to the
course we had taken.  Long after they must have lost sight of us the
flash of their muskets showed that they were still peppering away in the
direction in which they supposed we had gone.

We reached the ship without further adventure.  Captain Hudson was very
sorry to find that we had come off without the spies; but he at once saw
that this was owing to no fault of ours.

The next morning, as the first lieutenant, as usual, was sweeping the
shore with his glass, an exclamation of horror he uttered made me point
mine in the same direction.  There, directly abreast of the ship, hung
suspended on the branches of a tree scathed by lightning two human
forms--one was stout and short, the other tall and slight.  There was
too much reason to believe that they were the bodies of our unfortunate
spies.  No one was near them.  Solitary they swung on the river shore, a
warning to others who might be inclined to follow their example--a sad
result of the ruthless necessity of war.  They probably had been seized
and executed directly after they were captured.  We could not blame the
Americans.  Our generals had frequently been compelled to do the same
with their spies whom they had taken, but even this did not put a stop
to the system.  The sad spectacle I have described saluted our eyes
whenever we turned towards the shore; and I, for one, was very sorry for
the fate of Meeks and his nephew; but I must confess that we were
becoming so accustomed to the sights and horrors of warfare that such
sensations lasted but a short time.

I forgot to mention that one of the pieces of information Meeks brought
us was that our messmate Kennedy, who had charge of one of the prizes
taken off Cape May, had been taken by the rebels, and was now a prisoner
of war in their hands.  It was with no slight satisfaction that we saw
the Greyhound come up to relieve us on the 30th of May, when we made
over to our brother-officers belonging to her the full right to all the
productions of the gardens we had so assiduously cultivated on the
Island of Hope.  On the 1st of June we ran down the river and anchored
off Newport, and on the 3rd sailed on a cruise towards the Bay of Fundy,
in company with the Amazon and Juno frigates.  The officers and ships'
companies of the three ships had previously agreed to share the
prize-money which might be made on the cruise.

I should be almost afraid of wearying my readers, were I to give a
minute account of all the captures we effected and the adventures we met
with, but still I do not like altogether to pass them by.  Our main
object, however, was to intercept the American Commodore Manley, but as
he had a force much superior to ours, it was absolutely necessary for us
to keep together, or we might have found ourselves very much the worse
for the encounter.  Had it not been for this, we should have taken many
more prizes than we did; indeed, we were compelled to allow numbers of
considerable value to pass by without going in chase.  On the 26th we
took a sloop from Philadelphia bound for Boston with rice.  On the 26th
we re-took a brig from Oporto, bound to London, which had been captured
by a rebel privateer off Scilly.  We sent her to New York, but we never
heard anything more of her, so that she must either have foundered or
have been taken by the enemy.  In the latter case the prize-master and
crew must have joined them.  On the 11th we took a vessel laden with
lumber, which we burnt, and on the 14th a sloop with wood, which we gave
up to the owners, as they were royalists; and on the 16th we took a brig
with fish and lumber from Boston to the West Indies.  At length, on the
23rd at daybreak, a flush-deck ship was seen becalmed within two miles
of us.  We made out that she was pierced for twenty guns, and from her
appearance we had no doubt that she was a rebel privateer.  The boats
were ordered out immediately, but before they were in the water a breeze
sprang up, and setting every stitch of canvas she could carry, away she
went before the wind.  We at the same time made sail in chase with our
consorts, which were a little astern of us, and of course we had every
hopes of making an important capture.  By this time the rebel government
had given letters of marque, not only to Americans, but to the
inhabitants of various other countries, who, under their flag, had
become very troublesome to our trade, and it had become necessary to
endeavour to put a stop to the system.

The privateer soon showed us that she had a remarkably fast pair of
heels, and it became doubtful, after a couple of hours' chase, whether
we had gained much, if anything on her.  Sometimes the wind increased,
and then our greater size and wider spread of canvas gave us the
advantage, so that our hopes of capturing her rose and fell somewhat as
did the breeze.

We had the whole of the day before us, and a day it was of no little
excitement.  We kept the lead, our consorts following, one on either
quarter, to be ready to cut her off, should the breeze shift, and place
her to windward.  Hour after hour passed, and still we were no nearer to
her.

"What chance have we of getting hold of her?" said I to Grampus, who was
standing with me forward, keeping a look-out on her.

"Why, sir, do ye see a stern chase is a long chase, as every one knows,
but a flaw of wind or a bit of a calm, or somewhat of that sort, may
throw her into our power, so that from all I've seen, and you know
that's not a little, Mr Hurry, I says never give up a-following an
enemy as long as you can keep eyes on her.  When once you loses sight of
her, why, then its all guess-work, and a chance that you ever claps eyes
on her again."

I ever after remembered Grampus's observations both when chasing and
being chased, and frequently experienced their practical wisdom.
Everything was done to increase the speed of the ships, the sails were
drenched with water, so that not a whistle full could escape through
them, and the hammocks were slung, and shot placed in them, but all was
apparently at first to little purpose.

"The rogues are laughing at us," said Delisle, as he and I paced the
deck together, "I wish we could get a calm, and have a chance of
boarding them with the boats.  They would give us some warm work though,
I suspect."

"I should hope so," said I.  "I have always preferred the excitement of
downright fighting to the sort of work we have lately had off
Providence."

"I should think so, indeed!" said he.  "I have often thought that if I
were made a prisoner, I should die of ennui.  How people can exist shut
up within the walls of a dungeon has always puzzled me."

We afterwards had good reason to remember this conversation, and he,
poor fellow, sadly to his cost.  While we had been speaking, dark clouds
had been gathering in the north-west.  They now began to form a thick
and heavy bank, which rose gradually higher and higher in the sky.
There was little doubt that they indicated the approach of a strong
wind, but whether or not it would aid us in capturing the chase was a
question.

"We shall have something to try our sticks soon, Mr Willis," said the
captain to the first lieutenant; "but we must carry on as long as they
will stand, rather than let that fellow escape.  So fast a craft as he
is will commit no little damage to our trade, if allowed to continue at
large."

"No fear, sir.  It is not likely that a rascally rebel will be able
ultimately to escape from three of his Majesty's ships," answered Mr
Willis, who held the Americans in supreme contempt.

"I do not know that," observed the captain, who had a very different
feeling for the foe.  "They have shown in many ways that they are not to
be despised, and several of their vessels have contrived to give us the
go-by."

"Ay, yes, to be sure; but then they were probably not worth catching,"
said Mr Willis, not liking to acknowledge that the enemy had anything
to boast of.  According to him, every battle they had fought had been
lost by them, and the time of their entire destruction was fast
approaching.  The squall which had for some time been brewing in the
westward, now made its advent known by curling up the waves, topping
them with foam and swelling out our sails to the utmost from the
bolt-ropes.  The chase kicked up her heels a little as it caught her up,
and then went staggering away before it faster than ever.  After her,
however, flew our two consorts and, ourselves, and still we felt sure
that we should capture her.  The sea rose higher and the wind increased,
which was all in our favour, and after some time, there could be no
doubt that we were gaining on her, but night was now approaching, and
the darkness would give her a far better chance than before of escaping.

"Do you think, Mr Willis, we should have a chance of winging her, if we
were to send a shot after her?" said the captain to the first
lieutenant, as they stood together, watching the chase attentively.

"Certainly I think so!" replied Mr Willis; "at all events, I'll try,
and I won't fail to do my best."

One of the bow-chasers was forthwith run out and pointed by Mr Willis
himself.  For a minute or more he looked along the gun at the chase.  At
last he fired.  The white splinters were seen to fly from her quarter.
The result of his first attempt encouraged him to make a second.  The
gun was again loaded, but when he fired no apparent effect followed.  A
third time he fired, but if the shot struck, no damage was to be
perceived.  It was now rapidly growing dark, and Mr Willis was becoming
impatient, for uncomfortable doubts began to rise in his mind as to the
possibility of the cruiser of the much-despised enemy escaping after all
from us.  Grampus was standing near him.  "Here, my man," said he, "you
have the credit of being one of best shots in the ship--try what you can
do in clipping one of that fellow's wings."

The old seaman looked gratified at the compliment, and prepared himself
to obey.  First, however, he cast a hurried glance to windward not
altogether devoid of anxiety.  I looked in the same direction.  There,
gathering thickly and close overhead, was the black mass of clouds which
had long been driving towards us, the seas looking white and more broken
in the increasing gloom.  I thought he was about to speak, but turning
to the gun he stooped down, before it and applied the match.  Scarcely
had he fired when its report was echoed by a discharge from the
artillery of the clouds, the wind roared in the rigging, the studding
sails, which had not been taken in, were blown away like light fleeces
from a sheep's back and carried far-off before the gale.  The
fore-topgallant sail and fore-topsail sheets were carried away; the ship
flew up into the wind, taking the wheel out of the hands of the men,
while she almost broached to, creating a scene of confusion which did
not often occur on board; over she heeled to the blast; sheets were let
fly; the spray in showers broke over her; the voices of Captain Hudson
and Mr Willis were heard above the uproar caused by the dashing of the
sea, the rattling of blocks, and the howling and whistling of the wind,
with the other accompaniments of a sudden squall.  When order was
somewhat restored, sail decreased, and the ship put on her former
course, we once more looked out for the chase.  Not a trace of her was
to be seen.  The dim outline of our two consorts could be perceived on
either quarter.  They apparently had been thrown into as much confusion
as we had from the squall, but were once more with diminished canvas
standing in the same direction as before.

"Oh, we shall soon be up with her again," said Mr Willis, who had gone
forward to look-out himself for the chase.  "She doubtless lost some of
her spars, if not her masts altogether, in the squall."

"Not so sure of that," I heard old Grampus mutter as he passed me.  "I
saw her all a-taunto, running away from us in fine style when we were
first caught.  She's given us the go-by, or I'm no seaman."

All night we ran on, looking out for the chase, and when daylight broke
and a hundred eager eyes were glancing round the horizon she was nowhere
to be seen.  To pursue her farther would have been vain, besides leading
us too far from our cruising-ground and risking the main object we had
in view.

Returning to our station on the 28th we took two vessels laden with
wood, which we gave up as before.  On the 4th of July we saw a brig in a
calm, about four miles from us.  The signal was made for all the boats
of the squadron, manned and armed, to be ready to attack her.
Lieutenant Moss, of the Juno, had the command of the expedition.  Making
sure of an easy victory, away we pulled towards the stranger over the
smooth shining ocean.

The brig we saw, as we drew near, was heavily armed; her colours were
flying, and she seemed prepared not to strike without a blow.  As soon
as we drew within range of her guns she opened her fire on us.  This, of
course, only expedited our movements, and we dashed on towards her as
fast as the oars could send the boats through the water.  The brig's
crew founded their hopes of escape probably on the chance of a breeze
springing up, of which there were already some signs, while our aim was
to get on board before the wind filled her sails.  The rebels fought
with desperation, and never relaxed their fire till we were alongside.
Two or three of our men had been struck.  One lost the side of his face
by a round-shot which shaved him more cleanly than he would have wished,
and spoilt his beauty for life.  With loud shouts and cries our men
leaped on board, and in two minutes the brig was ours.  She mounted ten
carriage guns and twelve swivels, was laden with rum and sugar, and was
bound for Boston.

On the 5th we ran a brig on shore after a chase of some hours.  From her
size and pertinacity in endeavouring to escape, we from the first
suspected that her cargo was of value.  No sooner had she struck than
the squadron hove-to and the boats were ordered to pull in to re-take
her.  I on this occasion remained on board.  We were expecting to see
the boats haul off the vessel, when, just as they drew near, a large
body of troops were perceived hurrying down to the shore.  The soldiers
at once began firing away at the advancing boats, but notwithstanding
they pulled alongside, drove the crew below, and took possession.  We
saw them make a gallant effort to tow off the vessel, but in three or
four minutes, so heavy became the fire, they were compelled to
relinquish the attempt.  When they reached the ship we found that three
men had been wounded, but happily none were killed.

"A tremendous loss we have had!" exclaimed Mr Heron, who commanded the
expedition, with a look of disgust.  "She is worth twenty thousand
pounds at least, if not much more.  It is not every day the rebels have
a vessel like her to give us."

"We must keep a sharp look-out after her, and if she gets off, try to
get hold of her another day," said Mr Willis.

In the evening we were directed to stand close in shore to cannonade and
endeavour to destroy her, but scarcely had we opened our fire when a
gale of wind sprung up, and we were compelled for our own safety to run
to sea.  We, however, did not yet give up all hopes of capturing her.  A
few days afterwards, indeed, she fell into our hands, but we were not a
little disappointed to find that the rebels had in the meantime removed
the greater portion of her cargo.

Nothing for some days occurred to break the monotony of our existence
except innumerable unsuccessful chases which sorely tried our first
lieutenant's temper, and the capture of a prodigious quantity of fish.
So abundant was the supply that it was the business of the mate of the
dog-watch to see that what were not eaten were thrown overboard every
night, to prevent the people from keeping them too long.  At length I
was engaged in an expedition with more serious results than had for some
time occurred.

On the 14th we rounded the end of that narrow neck of land known by the
name of Cape Cod, and which, circling round like an arm with its elbow
bent, forms a wide and extensive bay.  We stood along the eastern shore,
eagerly looking into every nook and inlet in which a craft could take
shelter.  As we got abreast of Cape Cod Harbour we saw three vessels at
anchor there--a brig, a schooner, and a sloop.  Mr Willis reported them
to the captain.

"We'll stand in and overhaul them, then," was the reply, and the ship's
course was altered accordingly.

No sooner were we perceived by the three vessels than they slipped their
cables and made sail in the hopes of escaping.  They steered across to
the western shore, either on the chance of finding shelter in some
creek, or being able to beat out of the bay, and thus get to windward of
us.

"We shall bag the fellows this time at all events," said Mr Heron,
rubbing his hands as we were fast over-hauling the chases.

They did not, however, give in, trusting to a flaw of wind or something
else turning up in their favour.  The Amazon and Juno, however, by
standing more to the northward soon cut off all chance of escape.  They
were running for the harbour of Truro, but before they could get there
we drove them all three on shore at some distance from each other.  A
loud shout from our crews proclaimed the result of the chase.  The
boatswain's shrill whistle sounding along the decks was followed by the
order for all the boats to be manned and armed and sent in to get off
the vessels.  I had charge of a cutter with Grampus and Tom, and little
Harry Sumner accompanied me.  Our first aim was the brig.  We pulled
towards her in good order as fast as we well could.  It was not till we
were close alongside that the enemy showed themselves to defend her.  We
took no notice of them, though they opened a warmish fire of musketry on
us, but, boarding together, got out hawsers, and while some of the boats
went ahead to tow her out the crews of the others remained on the deck
and kept the enemy at bay.  Thus in a few minutes we got her
triumphantly afloat, and while she was being towed out from the shore I
was sent in my boat to set fire to the sloop which lay nearly a mile
from the other vessels.  I thought that as the attention of the enemy
was engaged with the brig the work would be easy, and pulled boldly
towards her.  We had got within musket range when up started three
fellows from behind the bulwarks and let fly at us.  Their aim was good,
for each of their shots struck the boat, though happily no one was hit.
This salute, however, did not stop our progress.

"Give way, my lads, give way!"  I shouted.  "We will soon punish them
for their audacity."

They fired several times after this, but without doing us any damage.  I
was surprised at their boldness in still remaining on board, but on our
firing the swivel we had in our bows, accompanied by a round of
musketry, they quickly jumped out of sight.  As, however, we were close
alongside, and just about to hook on to her chains, the mystery was
solved by the unwelcome apparition of two or three hundred men, with
levelled fire-arms, who appeared mounting a line of sand-banks close to
the water, and behind which they had till now remained concealed.  The
first discharge with which they saluted us knocked over two of my men,
and the next wounded two more.  In addition to the musketry two pieces
of cannon were brought to bear on us, which, unfortunately for us, were
very well served.  Seeing this, and believing that I and all my people
must be killed if we attempted to escape, I turned the boat's head round
and sang out for quarter, and all the disagreeables of a long
imprisonment rose up before me.  So exasperated, however, were the
people on shore that they paid no attention to my request.  Sumner had a
white handkerchief, and, tying it to a stretcher, waved it above our
heads.  It was, however, all in vain.  The enemy seemed resolved on our
destruction.

"Harry, my boy," said I, "there is no help for it.  If I am hit, do your
best to carry the boat out.  Now give way, my lads!  If we can but hold
on a little we shall soon be clear."

Even the wounded men pulled away with all their might except one who was
too much hurt to handle an oar.  I took his place and put Harry at the
helm.  The shot fell thick as hail around us, the enemy shouting and
shrieking at us like demons.  Still we held on.  Now another of my men
was hit.  Suddenly I saw little Harry turn pale.  He sat upright as
before, but his compressed lips and an uneasy look about the eyes made
me fear he was hit.

"Are you hurt, Sumner?"  I asked.

"I think so," he answered; "but never mind, it is nothing, I am sure."

I was sure that he was hurt, however, very much, and this made me feel
more savage against our enemies than anything that had occurred for a
long time, but there was no time to stop and examine his wound.  I had
scarcely a man now left unhurt--most of them seriously so.  Two poor
fellows let the oars drop from their hands, and sank down in the bottom
of the boat.  Tom was one of them.  Grampus, indeed, was the only man
unhurt.  He seemed to bear a charmed life, for he had run in his time
more risks than any of us without receiving a wound.  I was in despair,
for I every instant expected to feel a bullet enter my body, and that
after all we should fall into the hands of the enemy.  The boat, too,
was almost knocked to pieces, and it seemed a wonder that she could
still swim.  The wind, fortunately, was blowing strong off the land.

"We must try and get the foresail hoisted, Grampus," said I.  "If we
can, we may do yet."

"Ay, ay, sir," he answered, stepping forward over the prostrate bodies
of our shipmates to execute the order.

Assisted by two of the men the least hurt, we got the mast stepped.

"Now up with the sail, my men!"  I sang out.

At length it was hoisted, though the moment the enemy saw what we were
about they seemed to redouble their efforts to destroy us.  I breathed
more freely as I got the sheet aft, and saw the canvas swelling with the
breeze; but even then I knew that a shot might carry away our mast or
halliards, or, indeed, send us all to the bottom.  Just as I had got all
to rights, and was ready to take the helm, poor little Harry, overcome
with pain and the loss of blood, sank down by my side.  I placed him
carefully in the stern-sheets, and Tom Rockets, though badly wounded
himself, crawled aft and endeavoured to examine his wound and to staunch
the blood which flowed copiously from his side.  The bullets began now
to fall less thickly about us than before--a sign that we were
increasing our distance from the shore.  Had the enemy possessed a boat
they might have taken us without difficulty, but, fortunately, they had
none.  Indeed, I have no doubt that their aim was to destroy us
completely, as a punishment on us for our attempt to burn their vessel.
In spite of the shots which still fell around us, we kept steadily on
our course, while occasionally I turned an uneasy glance over my
shoulder to see how far we had got from the enemy.  At length scarcely a
shot reached us; a gentle thud every now and then showing us that those
which did so had almost lost their power.  I was able now to pay more
attention to my young companion.  I asked him how he did.

"I am afraid that I am more hurt than I at first fancied," he replied.
"If I die, you will write to my mother, and tell her all about me, will
you, Hurry?"

"Oh, don't talk of dying, my good boy," I answered, though I felt a
choking sensation in my throat as I spoke.  "We shall soon be on board,
and then you will be properly cared for, and will feel more easy."

"Oh, I do not complain," said he, "still, I have an idea that I am
mortally wounded.  Perhaps it is only fancy, you know, and I am not
afraid."

"That's right, be a brave boy, and keep up your spirits.  You've many
more years to live, and will be an admiral one of these days, I hope,"
said I, though my hopes were far less sanguine than my words.  "See,
scarcely any of the shots reach us; we shall soon be out of the enemy's
fire."

He looked up in my face and smiled.  One of the wounded men groaned.
Harry heard the poor fellow.  A look of intense pain passed over his
countenance.

"Oh, I wish that we could get to the doctor!  Let him look to that poor
man before me; I am sure he wants him most.  Who is it?"

I told him, "Tom Ogle."

"Ah, Tom Ogle," said he.  "Don't give way, my man.  We were doing our
duty, and there's One aloft who'll not forget us if we trust in Him."

"Bless you for those words, Mr Sumner," Tom Ogle gasped out between the
paroxysms of his pain; "they do a poor fellow's heart good."

All this time we were running off the land, with a strong fair breeze,
every moment the enemy's shot falling farther and farther astern.  My
great fear now was that some of my men would bleed to death before they
could receive surgical help.  However, they had bound up each other's
wounds in the best way they could.  From the enemy we at all events were
safe.  I did my utmost to keep up the spirits of my men.  I was thereby
performing, I knew, half the doctor's work.  I had been eagerly looking
out in the offing for our squadron.  To my intense satisfaction I now
made out a sail standing towards us from the northward.  I pointed her
out to Grampus.

"She's the `Orpheus,' sir.  I knows the look of them taw'sels too well
to be deceived," he answered, after watching her for a few moments.

"You're right, Grampus.  It's her without doubt," said I.  "Hurrah, my
lads!  We'll soon be snug on board the old barkie."

We neared the ship rapidly.  Many eager faces were looking out at us as
we got alongside.  Poor little Harry Sumner first claimed my attention.
I stooped down to lift him up, that he might be handed on deck.  His
cheeks were blanched, his eyes were closed.

"Oh, dear, oh dear! is the child dead?" exclaimed old Grampus, as he
took him from me.

"I fear so," I answered with a sad heart.  "Let the doctor look to him
at once."

One after the other the wounded men were handed up.

"This is sad work, Mr Hurry," said Captain Hudson, as I went to report
myself on the quarter-deck.  I told him how it happened.

"We must send in again, though, and punish the rascals," said he.

Notice was forthwith given that another attempt was to be made to get
off the brig.  Plenty of volunteers came forward; indeed, they are never
wanting when any hazardous work is in hand.  The way we had been treated
had excited great indignation against the enemy among our people.  Job
Samson, our old boatswain, volunteered to head the expedition.  He had
an idea that what others failed to do he could always find out some mode
of accomplishing, and, to do him justice, he was ever ready to attempt
to carry out his plans in spite of every risk, though he did not
invariably succeed.  He soon had his expedition ready.  We heartily
wished him success as he pulled in towards the shore.  The Amazon had in
the meantime come up, and as she was in-shore of us and drew less water,
she was ordered to stand in and cover the attack.  We eagerly, with our
glasses, watched the proceedings.  We could see the enemy, in great
numbers, mustering on shore.  Probably they did not expect that the
Amazon's guns were going to take part in the fray.  She stood in as
close as she could venture, and then opened her fire: but the enemy,
nothing daunted, returned it manfully from an earth battery, which had
been thrown up near the brig.  In the meantime, in the face of this
fire, old Samson advanced boldly to the attack; but round-shot and
musket-balls are stubborn things to contend against, and the boatswain
seeing, however easy it might be theoretically to capture the brig, that
practically, if he attempted it, he should lose the boat with himself
and every man in her, very wisely resolved to return on board, and wait
for another opportunity of signalising himself.  We afterwards found
that, in this instance, the grapes really were sour, as the sloop and
schooner had taken in the most valuable part of the brig's cargo, and
that she had remaining on board only ninety tons of salt.  We made
several attempts during the afternoon to cut out these vessels, but so
well guarded were they from the shore by riflemen and flying artillery,
that after all our exertions we were compelled to abandon the attempt.
Happily, however, no one was hit except those who had been wounded in my
boat.  In the evening, before turning in, I went round to see how the
poor fellows were getting on.  They all received me cheerfully.

"We're better off, sir, than if we had been boxed up in a Yankee prison,
even though as how we've got some eyelet holes through us, d'ye see?"
said Bob Nodder, who was the most severely wounded of any of the party.
He observed that I was grieved to see the sufferings they were enduring.

"It could not be helped, Mr Hurry.  You did your best for us, and if
you had not kept cool, sir, we might every one of us have been riddled
with rifle-bullets."

I felt still greater pain when I went to the side of little Harry
Sumner's cot.  He was in the officers' sick-bay, and the doctor had done
his best to make him comfortable.  He was slumbering, so I did not
speak.  I stood for some minutes watching his youthful countenance.  It
was almost feminine in its beauty--so clear, so fair, so free from the
effects of the evil passions which distort and disfigure so often the
features of those of older years.  His long light-brown hair had fallen
off his clear broad forehead, and his lips were parted, and moved
slightly, as if he were speaking to himself.  A sickly gleam of light
from the ship's lanthorn, which hung from a beam above, fell on his
countenance, and gave it a hue so pallid that I thought the shades of
death were fast gathering over him.  My heart sank within me.  Were his
anticipations, then, of evil so soon to be realised?  Of evil?  Would
it, indeed, be an evil to him, poor child, to be removed from all the
temptations to vice, from the scenes of violence and wrong with which he
was surrounded?  I felt it would not, and still I could not bear the
thought of losing him; and there was another, far, far away, who would
mourn him still more--his mother.  Who would have the courage to tell
her that she would see her boy no more?  I trusted that I might not have
the painful task to perform.  I prayed earnestly, for his widowed
mother's sake, that he might recover; that he might go through his fiery
trials in the world unscathed; that he might withstand the world, the
flesh, and the devil, and, through the merits of our Master, attain
eternal happiness in the end.  The surgeon entered the sick-bay.  I
signed to him that the boy was sleeping.

"What do you think of his case, doctor?" said I with an anxious face.
"Will he recover?"

"If fever does not set in he'll do," answered the medico.  "McCallum
will keep a constant watch on him during the night.  He'll call me if
any change takes place.  Ye need not fash yourself, Hurry; the boy is in
no danger, I tell you."

These words consoled me.  Still I was not perfectly satisfied.  The
heart of a sailor, far removed as he is from the social influences of
the shore, looks out for something on which to set its more tender
affections.

I felt for that lone boy as if he had been a young brother or sister.
My feelings were, I dare say, shared by many of my messmates.  We most
of us, if not cast originally in the same mould, had by circumstances
become shaped very much alike as to the inner man; the same prejudices,
the same affections, the same passions, the same ideas of honour, and I
will say the same tender feelings and generous impulses, were shared by
most of us alike.  But I was speaking of Harry Sumner.  Several times
during my watch below I turned out to see how he was getting on.
McCallum reported favourably of him; so, tolerably contented, I went
back to my hammock and slept soundly.



CHAPTER EIGHT.

ORPHEUS IN CAPE COD HARBOUR.--SENT ON SHORE WITH FLAG OF TRUCE.--POLITE
RECEPTION.--CAMP ATTACKED.--A MAGISTRATE OFFERS HIMSELF AS A HOSTAGE.--
OUR CAPTAIN'S MAGNANIMITY.--MY DYING MESSMATE.--AT SEA.--THIRTY REBEL
VESSELS CAPTURED.--DOUBT WHETHER THIS WILL INDUCE THE COLONISTS TO
RETURN TO THEIR ALLEGIANCE.

Varied are the changes of a seaman's life--I found them so, at all
events.  An episode in my history was about to occur, of which I little
dreamed.

After the brush I have described with the enemy's batteries, the
squadron came to all anchor.  On the evening, however, of the 15th of
June, the Orpheus was ordered to get under weigh, and proceed to Cape
Cod harbour.

When the sun arose in the morning, the inhabitants of the town, to their
no small dismay, found us anchored within gun-shot of their houses.  I
was just dressed when Captain Hudson sent for me.

"Mr Hurry," said he, "you are to go on shore with a flag of truce.
Inquire for the mayor or chief magistrate, or authorities of some sort.
Tell them that we are in want of water and refreshments of various
sorts, that we are perfectly ready to pay for everything we have, and
then politely inform them that we are resolved, at all events, to have
what we require; and that if they decline supplying us, or in any way
molest us, we will knock their town about their ears and take what we
want by force."

I signified that I clearly understood my orders, and, quaffing a cup of
a villainous compound called tea, and putting a piece of biscuit into my
pocket, I tumbled hurriedly into my boat and shoved off.  It took me
about twenty minutes to reach the landing-place before the town, whence
the boat had been observed approaching, and the very people I was in
search of were ready to receive me.  The principal magistrate was a very
dignified old gentleman, with silver buckles on his shoes, velvet
small-clothes, a three-cornered hat on his head, and a silver-mounted
sword by his side.  I did not expect to encounter such a personage in so
out-of-the-way and rough-and-ready sort of a place.

"May I ask, sir, to what cause we are indebted for the honour of a visit
from the King of England's ships?" said he, bowing low.

I thought that there was more of mock humility than of respect in his
manner, though.  I delivered the message the captain had given me.

"Certainly, sir, certainly," replied my friend, smiling: "the arguments
you use are incontrovertible under our present circumstances.  I doubt
not that they will make all the inhabitants of this place true and
faithful servants of King George."

I was rather amused than offended with his manner, and was pleased that
I had to deal with a gentleman instead of a lout.

"Do not let us weigh the force of the arguments, sir," I replied.  "I
shall be perfectly satisfied if I have your word that you will not allow
any attempt to be made to molest our watering party, and will collect
for us any provisions we require."

I gave him a list the purser had supplied me with.

"All your demands shall be complied with.  You have my word for it,
sir," said he, bowing as before.

This matter being settled, I pulled back to the ship.  The watering
place was some little way from the town.  The signal was made for the
boats to take the watering party on shore.  It was considered necessary
at the same time, as a precautionary measure, to send a strong body of
men on shore to protect the others, and, accordingly, a hundred marines
and two hundred seamen from the three ships were told off for that
purpose.  We certainly had rather a warlike than a peaceable aspect as
the squadron of boats made for the shore.

We were met, as we landed, by our friend the mayor with a flag of truce.
He came to inquire why we approached in so warlike a guise.  Mr
Willis, who commanded the party, replied that, while we did not wish to
injure others, we always liked to be in a position to take care of
ourselves.  Satisfied with this answer the mayor took his departure.  A
wood was before us.  A succession of sandy hummocks were between it and
the shore.  Among them we made our bivouac.  The spring from which we
were to fill our casks was on the borders of the wood.

According to rule, as we were in an enemy's country, we placed the usual
lines of sentries, while the seamen, as rapidly as they could, filled
the casks and rolled them down to the boats.  At night we were compelled
to knock off work, so we lighted our camp-fires and made ourselves as
comfortable as circumstances would allow.  Delisle, Drew, Nicholas and
some midshipmen of the other ships were seated with me on the ground, in
the neighbourhood of a fire, more that we might have its light than its
warmth, and superintend the cooking of some steaks which we had resolved
to have for supper.  Tom Rockets was acting under our orders, and
boiling the kettle to brew some punch.  We were a very jolly party.
Several of us had not met since we used to assemble on board my prize at
New York in the winter, and we had had a good deal of knocking about
since then.  Many a tale was told, and many a jovial song and not a few
sentimental ditties were sung, echoed by the seamen who sat grouped
about.  Thus hour after hour passed by, and we felt no inclination to
lie down.  I dare say we looked very picturesque as the light of the
fires fell on us: the seamen scattered about in every easy attitude; the
piled arms of the marines; the men themselves so different to the
sailors; the bayonets of the sentries in the distance; the yellow
sand-hills; the sea, calm and solemn, flashing every now and then with
phosphorescent light; and then overhead the dark mysterious vault of
heaven, studded with stars innumerable, all speaking of the might, the
majesty, the power unbounded of the Creator.  One by one my messmates
dropped off to sleep.  I lay on my back for some time contemplating the
magnificent spectacle.  I had often gazed on the stars before.  I had
taken the altitudes of many; I had measured the distance of one from the
other; I had steered my course by them over the ocean; but then I had
looked on them only as useful appendages to our globe.  Now, as I gazed,
they seemed to float--beauteous globes in the pure ether, altogether
independent of the puny world we call our own.  How far more pure and
brilliant did they appear than in the misty clime of old England!  I
began to envy the Americans the advantage they possess over us.

My meditations were rudely and suddenly interrupted by the sharp rattle
of musketry, and a quick succession of reports in return.  Every man in
an instant was on his feet.  All flew to their arms and hurried to the
front.  The rattle of musketry increased, and the bullets came flying
about our ears, while our advanced sentries retreated rapidly in on the
main body--I might have said they ran as fast as their heels could carry
them--shouting out that the enemy in strong force were pressing hard
upon us.  Mr Willis formed the marines in the centre, with the
blue-jackets as flanking parties in readiness to receive the enemy.  We
had not long to wait before their dark forms in dense masses could be
seen climbing over the sand-hills, threatening not only our front, but
both our flanks.

"We are outmatched: I suspect we have been outwitted by the rascals,"
said Delisle, who stood near me; "I'll never trust these rebels again."

"I cannot make it out," I answered; "I thought we could have placed
perfect confidence in the word of that old gentleman I met in the
morning."

We had, however, no time to discuss the matter; for every moment the
fire grew heavier, and we saw that we were far outnumbered by the enemy.
Now, under other circumstances, this might have been a matter of little
moment, for, had we advanced, we might have gained an easy victory; but
we at present had nothing to gain by fighting, and should we have found
ourselves caught in a trap, and been compelled to lay down our arms, we
knew that our loss would be very seriously felt by the remainder of our
ships' companies.  We therefore, by as heavy fire as we could maintain,
kept the enemy at bay, and retreated in good order to our boats, vowing
vengeance against them for the treachery of which we supposed they had
been guilty.  Strange as it may seem, very few of our men were hurt, and
none were killed.  The rebels, as is generally the case with unpractised
troops, had fired high, so that most of their shot had gone over our
heads.  We embarked with all our casks, and quickly got on board our
ships, expecting next morning to have the satisfaction of battering away
at the town till not a brick should stand to afford shelter to the
treacherous inhabitants.

My first inquiry on getting on board was for Harry Sumner.  He had been
going on well, but had frequently asked to see me.  Thinking he might be
awake, I went to the side of his cot.  He, however, was sleeping.  He
looked very pale and thin.  A few hours of suffering had altered him
much.  I was going away when I heard him whisper my own name.  "See,
mother dear, be kind to him; and you, Julia, will love him, for he was
kind to brother Harry.  You'll not turn him away when I am gone--gone on
a long, long voyage, you know.  You'll love him for my sake, both of
you.  He'll talk to you sometimes about Harry.  There, there, mother
dear, don't weep; we'll meet again, you know;--yes, yes, after my long
voyage.  Don't cry, Julia dear, don't now--don't?"

Thus he went on.  I felt ready to cry myself, I know.  I had not heard
him speak of his little sister--I could easily guess the reason--he
would run the risk of having her name profaned by careless lips.  At
length he was silent.  I slipped away.  Poor little fellow! in spite of
what the doctor said, I guessed that he at all events thought himself
dying.  I trusted that he might be mistaken.  With a heavy heart,
though, I left him and turned into my hammock, where in a very few
minutes I was sound asleep.

The word had already been passed along the decks to prepare for action,
and we fully expected that in a few minutes the fun would begin, when a
boat was seen coming off from the shore with a flag of truce.  It seemed
a matter of doubt whether it should be received after the way we had
been treated by the rebels; but Captain Hudson resolved that he would
hear what they had to say for themselves before he proceeded to
extremities.  The old gentleman with whom I had spoken the day before,
and several substantial-looking personages were in the boat.  They
evidently felt themselves in no trifling difficulty, and saw that it
would require the management of the most important people in the place
to save the town.  Captain Hudson at first, wishing to give them a
fright, refused to listen to any of their explanations.

"A truce had been agreed on, and while we were acting with perfect good
faith and peaceableness, your people most unjustifiably attempted to
destroy us.  I give you half an hour to remove the women and children,
and then expect the consequences of your treachery," said he, drawing
his sword-belt tighter round his waist, and turning on his heel with a
look of scorn.

"Hear me, sir," said the old gentleman, stepping forward.  "We had, on
my honour, nothing whatever to do with the outrage of which you
complain.  The people who attacked you were those whose vessels you have
so wantonly destroyed.  They came to revenge themselves.  When they
found that we had pledged ourselves to preserve the peace they returned
quietly homewards.  If you wish to complete the watering of your ships
we will in no way molest you, and we will supply you with all the
provisions you require."

"So you said before," replied Captain Hudson.  "How can I depend on the
fulfilment of your agreement?"

"I for one, and I dare say others will be ready to remain in your hands
as hostages till our agreement is fulfilled," answered the old
gentleman.

Captain Hudson, who was generous as he was brave, would not listen to
this proposal; but, stretching out his hand, he answered frankly, "No,
no, sir; I will not put you or your friends to this inc
nvenience.  I fully trust to your word.  Go on shore, and keep your
combatively-inclined countrymen from attacking us, unless they want to
have your town burnt, and by the evening we shall probably have relieved
you of our company."

I never saw people's faces brighten up more rapidly than did those of
our rebel visitors when they heard these words.  It was like the
clearing away of a thunder-cloud from the sky in summer.  They were
ready to promise all sorts of things, and to supply us with all we
desired; and, to do them justice, they amply fulfilled their word.  We
completed our water, got an abundant supply of fresh provisions, and
sailed again that evening on our cruise.

On the 21st of July we took a schooner from Bilboa to Boston with
cordage and canvas, and on the 22nd re-took a brig from Quebec to London
in ballast; on which day the Amazon parted company and sailed with the
prizes for New York.

On the 24th we took a schooner from Boston to the West Indies with fish
and lumber; on the 25th a brig from Martinique with rum and molasses; on
the 26th a schooner from Boston to the West Indies with lumber, and on
the same day chased a large ship close into Boston light-house; but she
effected her escape into the harbour.

On the 31st the Amazon rejoined us, and informed us that she had on her
passage recaptured a large ship from Jamaica to London with rum and
sugar, which had been made prize of by the rebels, and that she had sent
her into Halifax.

On the 1st of August, at sunrise, a schooner was reported in sight.  We
accordingly made sail in chase; but she seemed in no ways inclined to be
captured, and, setting every stitch of canvas she could carry, she began
to walk through the water at a great rate.  We soon saw that we should
have to put our best leg foremost to come up with her.  This to the
utmost of our power we did.

I have already described many chases, so I will not enter into
particulars.  Hour after hour passed, and we seemed to be no nearer to
her; still we had not lost ground, and, from her pertinacity in
endeavouring to get away from us, we of course fancied that she was the
more worth having.  The longest day must have an end, and so had this.
At its termination, when night was coming on, we were very little nearer
the chase than at daybreak.  Still we hoped that a shift of wind might
enable us to get up with her, or that a calm might come on and allow us
to reach her with our boats.  But neither one thing nor the other
occurred.  Night came down upon us, and not the sharpest pair of eyes on
board could pierce through the dark mantle which shrouded her.  Some
thought they saw her stealing off in one direction; others declared they
saw her steering an opposite course.  The result was that when morning
broke, our expected prize had escaped us, and we were compelled to stand
back and rejoin our consorts, like a dog with his tail between his legs.
We had hopes, however, of being able in some degree to indemnify
ourselves for our loss, when, on the 2nd of August, about two hours
before daylight, the shadowy outline of a ship was seen dead to leeward
between us and the land, the wind being somewhere from the south-west.
Now she was there, ghostlike and indistinct, a spirit gliding over the
face of the waters; now as I looked she had disappeared and I could
scarcely believe that I had seen her.

"Can you make her out?" said I to Grampus, who was a quarter-master in
my watch.  The old man hollowed his hands round his eyes and took a long
steady gaze into the darkness ahead.

"I did see her just a few minutes afor' you spoke to me, sir, but smash
my timbers if I sees her now!" he exclaimed, suiting the action to the
word.  "Where is she gone to?"

"She has altered her course or a bank of mist is floating by between
us," I suggested.

"That's it, sir," said he; "I wouldn't be surprised but what she'd heave
in sight again afor' long, except she's one of those craft one hears
talk of, aboard of whom there's no living man with flesh and blood to
work them.  If so be she is, I'd rather not fall in with her."

I laughed.  "No fear of that," said I; "she has been reported to the
captain, and we shall be making all sail in chase presently.  We shall
then soon find out what she's made of."

"Much as we did the schooner two days ago," muttered Grampus, as I left
him.  "I don't know what's come over the ship that she don't walk along
faster."

The stranger had been reported to the captain, who very soon came on
deck, when all sail was packed on the ship in chase.  The stranger, for
some time, did not appear to be aware of our vicinity; indeed, we could
frequently scarcely make her out through the darkness.  At length,
however, she discovered that an ugly customer was near her, and lost no
time in setting every stitch of canvas she could carry, and running
directly off before the wind.  By this time we had got near enough to
see that she was a ship, and of considerable size.

"That craft carries a good many hands, I suspect, by the smart way in
which she made sail," I heard Mr Willis observe to the captain.  "I
should not be surprised if she proves a privateer, or so-called ship of
war belonging to the rebel government.  To my mind, we shall do well to
treat all the rascals we find on board such craft as pirates, and trice
them up to their own yard-arms."

"You forget, Mr Willis, that two can play at that game," answered the
captain.  "The rebels have pretty well shown that they are in earnest,
and have established a right to respect at all events.  I don't think
hanging them will bring them to reason.  Let us treat them as open and
gallant enemies, and if we cannot make them fellow-subjects, at all
events we may induce them to become some day our friends again.  I
confess to you I am sick of this sort of warfare.  We must do our duty,
and take, sink, and destroy all the craft belonging to the misguided
people we find afloat, but there is neither honour nor glory to be
obtained by the work, and as for the profit, I would rather be without
it.  Bah!  I'm sick of such fratricidal work."

"I can't say that I see things quite in the light that you do, sir,"
said the first lieutenant.  "The British Government make laws, and it is
the duty of British people to obey them; and if they don't, it's our
business just now to force them to it."

"Your logic is unanswerable, Willis," replied Captain Hudson, turning
away with a sigh.  "There can be no doubt what our duty is, however
painful it may prove."

I believe that many officers thought and felt like my gallant and
kind-hearted captain, and yet not a more loyal man, or a more faithful
subject of his sovereign, ever stepped the deck of a ship of war.

As the first gleam of day appeared from beneath a dark canopy of clouds,
and shone across the leaden water, its light fell on the royals and
topgallant sails of a large ship, with studden sails alow and aloft,
running before the wind directly for the American coast.  Smoothly as
she glided on, and rapidly as she ran through the water, in all the
pride of symmetrical beauty, she was in a very critical position.  As I
looked at her I bethought me she presented no inapt simile to a careless
youth rushing over the sea of life regardless of all the dangers which
surround him, and with the pit of destruction yawning before him.  Haul
her wind and fight us she dared not, for we should have blown her
speedily out of the water; no friendly port that she could possibly make
was under her lee.  The only hope, therefore, her crew could have had of
escaping was to run the ship on shore and to abandon her.  This it was
our object to prevent them doing.  The usual devices for increasing our
speed were resorted to.  Every spar that could carry a sail was rigged,
while the canvas almost swept the water on either side of us, but all to
little purpose, it seemed.  If we increased our speed, so did the chase,
and not an inch was gained.  As the day grew on, the breeze freshened,
and at noon some on board asserted that we had begun to overhaul her.
We were all of us on deck as often as we could, for she afforded far
more subject of interest than the ordinary lumber-laden merchant craft
it was our usual lot to chase.  The clouds which had obscured the sky at
sunrise rolled gradually away; the sun shone down on the blue ocean with
undimmed splendour, glittering on the long lines of foam which the two
ships formed as they clove their way through it.

I was, among others, watching the chase when McCallum came up to me.

"Sumner wants to see you, Hurry," said he; "I think a little talk with
you will do him good.  He is very low, left so many hours by himself,
and he does not sleep much."

Our young messmate had been progressing favourably, according to the
doctor's report, since he was wounded, but he was nervous and fanciful,
poor little fellow! and wanted more tender nursing than the rough,
albeit kind-hearted, treatment he could obtain on board.  Captain Hudson
would gladly have landed him, could he have found any friends on shore
willing to take charge of him; but as this was impossible, all
circumstances would allow was done to make him comfortable.  I sat
myself down on a stool by the side of his cot, and told him all that was
going forward on deck.

"I wish that I could be about and doing my duty again," said he; "I'm
weary of being boxed up here below."

"I should be glad if you could get sent home, and have your mother and
sister to nurse you till you are strong and well."

"Who told you that I had a sister?" he asked quickly.

"You did, surely, Harry," I answered; "how else should I have known it?"

"Oh, I never spoke about her, I'm sure!" said he earnestly.  "She is
such a little angel, Hurry, that I could not bear to have her name
uttered by any of our fellows in the way they speak of each other's
sisters and female friends."

"Trust me, indeed, I will never mention her," I answered, appreciating
his delicacy, though I felt a strong desire to see the little girl he
praised so highly.  I did not reflect that her portrait was painted by a
loving brother.  I got him to talk more about her, and when his heart
was opened he seemed never tired of the theme.  He told me how she was
two or three years older than himself; how she had watched over him and
instructed him in all that was good, and how bitterly she grieved at his
going away to sea, and much did he blame himself for having often
appeared ungrateful for her love and affection.  Often in a night-watch
did my thoughts recur to Julia Sumner.  It was a midshipman's fancy, and
perhaps a folly, but it was very excusable, I cannot help thinking even
at the present time.

Our conversation was interrupted by the report of one of our
bow-chasers: I sprang on deck.  We had got the chase within range of our
guns, and we were not likely to let them remain inactive.  Still she
stood on; not a trace nor a sheet did she slack; and as our gunnery was
not first-rate it must be owned, we could not as yet hope to do her much
damage.

"We have gained on her considerably since you went below," said Delisle,
whose glass was fixed on the chase, watching the effect of our shot.
"In another hour, if the wind holds, we shall get her well under our
guns, and then she'll have very little more to say for herself."

"Land ahead!" shouted the look-out from aloft.  I with others went to
the mast-head to ascertain its distance.  We judged it to be the land
about Cape Cod, some fifteen miles or so away.  It would take us a
couple of hours to get up with it.  Evening, however, was now coming on,
and it would be dark before we could hope to reach it.  We watched the
chase more anxiously than ever; the prospect of bringing her to before
she should reach the shore was every instant growing less.  Those who
manned her were no cowards.  As we were watching her, her stern-ports
opened, and a couple of shots came hissing by us.  It was a desperate
chance.  Her object was to cripple us, and if she could do so, perhaps
she hoped to haul her wind, and, favoured by the darkness, to creep away
from between us and the shore.  We fired our bow-chasers as often as we
could in return, and more than one shot told with damaging effect.
Still every injury was repaired as soon as received.  The land, seen
under the glow of the setting sun, was growing more and more distinct,
and by the time the shades of evening came over us we were near enough
to distinguish it and the chase, now in dangerous proximity to its
sands.

The chase had now lasted fifteen hours--another hour would decide the
point.  It soon passed.  It was a moment of intense interest.  Every man
was at his station.  Hands were in the chains with the lead.  We were
nearer the coast than under other circumstances we would willingly have
been.  The chase stood on with everything set.  One felt it a grievous
pity that so beautiful a fabric should be doomed to destruction.  Her
striking would give us time to haul off.  On she glided, her symmetry
unimpaired.  In another moment her tall masts rocked to and fro; a loud
crashing and tearing, even at that distance, reached our ears.

"Down with the helm!" shouted Captain Hudson.  "Haul aft the starboard
sheets!  Flatten in the starboard braces!  Give her the starboard
broadside!"

These and other orders to bring the ship on a wind followed in quick
succession amid the roar of our guns, which sent the shot crashing into
the unfortunate chase.  As soon as the ship was put about she stood back
on the other tack, pouring in a second and still more destructive
broadside.  Again the ship was put about; once more the starboard
broadside was loaded, and as we came abreast of the stranded chase,
fired into her with deadly effect.

"Boats away!" was now the order.  The men, with cutlasses by their sides
and pistols in their belts, sprang into them.  Mr Willis led the
expedition: not a moment was to be lost.  The stranger must be boarded
before the crew could recover from the effects of our broadsides, or
people would come off from the shore to defend her.  She had fallen
almost broadside on to the beach, and on the other side the sea was
washing over her.  We pulled round, and boarded under her counter,
cutlass in hand.  A slight resistance only was made by her captain and
officers and some of the crew.  A few were cut down, and the rest
retreated forward, and escaped on shore by a warp, which had previously
been carried there, no one attempting to stop them.  As with lanterns in
our hands, we wandered over the ship, everywhere signs were visible of
the cruel effect of our broadsides.  In the cabin lay an officer and two
men.  We thought they were wounded.  We threw the light on their
countenances; they had been dragged there by their shipmates to be out
of the way, probably, and had died as they lay.  Poor fellows! they had
fought their last fight--they were dead.  Not a thing was found on
board.  A glance showed Mr Willis that it would be impossible to get
the ship off, so he ordered us to set fire to her in every direction.
Having done so, and left the dead bodies to be consumed in a not ignoble
funeral pile, we hurried to the boats.  We had been taught by a former
catastrophe not to delay too long.  As we pulled away, the flames,
climbing up the masts and spars; to which the canvas still hung, formed
a magnificent pyramid of fire, which grew and grew in height till it
seemed to reach the very skies.  It was a fine spectacle, but a finer
was to come.  She was still burning when we got back to our ship, and
the boats were hoisted in.  I watched the conflagration from the deck.
The fire threw a ruddy glare over the sand-hills and the dark woods
beyond, and by its light we could see people watching, undoubtedly with
bitter hearts, the destruction of their property.  Without a moment's
warning, while the conflagration was at its height, the whole mass of
flame seemed to be lifted together like a huge fire-work--then it spread
far and wide, forming a fiery canopy of mushroom shape, and breaking
into a thousand fragments, came hissing down into the surrounding ocean,
while a few burning embers alone remained to mark the spot where the
tall ship had lately been--a pretty night's work for the officers and
crew of his Majesty's ship Orpheus.  I don't know that the thought of
what we had been about disturbed the rest of any of those who enjoyed
the luxury of turning into their hammocks.  The next morning a boat with
a flag of truce was sent on shore to learn particulars of the vessel we
had destroyed.  A number of persons were collected in the neighbourhood
of the wreck, and, as may be supposed, they did not look very
affectionately at us; but flags of truce were always respected, in spite
of the animosity which was daily increasing between the belligerents,
and an officer stepped forward to know what we wanted.

We told him our errand.  "Tell your captain," said he, "that he has done
good service to his government, and saved the capture of many a rich
merchantman, if I mistake not.  The ship you have destroyed was the
`Wilks' privateer, mounting twenty guns--six-pounders--commanded by as
brave a man as ever stepped, Captain John Williams, and bound into the
English channel on a six-months' cruise.  If it is any satisfaction to
you, you may say that she was only off the stocks five weeks.  There's
the captain; he'll never break biscuit more, nor will several of our
people who were drowned coming on shore.  There's all that remains of
poor Captain Williams."

He spoke with bitterness, and, lifting a flag, exposed the form of a man
in an officer's uniform.  He had been wounded, it appeared, by one of
our broadsides, and carried on shore by his crew.  I was not sorry,
having received the information we were ordered to obtain, to get away
from the scene of the catastrophe.  This was our finishing stroke in the
Bay of Fundy.  During our cruise there it appeared by the log-book that
we had seen ninety rebel vessels of various descriptions, of which we
had either taken or destroyed thirty-three sail--a highly satisfactory
amount of mischief to have committed in so short a time--but it had no
effect in making the Americans loyal, or increasing their love for their
British brethren.



CHAPTER NINE.

RECOMMENDED TO SIR PETER PARKER.--JOIN CHATHAM WITH GRAMPUS AND TOM
ROCKETS--MY MESSMATE O'DRISCOLL.--APPOINTED TO COMMAND PIGOT TENDER.--
CRUISE WITH O'DRISCOLL.--CHASE AND CAPTURE A SCHOONER.--FIND TWO LADIES
ON BOARD.--NEW STYLE OF EXISTENCE.--DISCOVER SKIPPER'S PLOT TO RE-TAKE
HIS VESSEL.--MADELINE CARLYON AND MRS. TARLETON.--CAUGHT IN A HEAVY
GALE.

One forenoon a midshipman from HMS Chatham came on board, with a letter
from the admiral, Sir Peter Parker, to Captain Hudson.  The Chatham was
at that time Sir Peter's flag-ship.  The midshipman was of course asked
below and pressed to stop for dinner.  In a remarkably short space of
time he made himself at home with all hands.  He had a very red head of
hair, very red eyes, and very red face indeed.  I have never met a
redder person, but he was far from ugly, and his countenance was brimful
of good-nature and humour.  He and I quickly became friends.  He caught
my name.

"Faith, that's not a bad name you've got of your own," said he.  "Mine
is Patrick O'Driscoll.  If it happens not to be particularly well known
to fame just yet, I purpose to make it as notorious as it was in the
good old days in my native land."

While O'Driscoll was entertaining us with some racy anecdotes I was sent
for by Captain Hudson into his cabin.

"Take a seat, Mr Hurry," said he, in his usual kind way.  "I have an
offer to make which I hope will prove satisfactory to you.  Sir Peter
Parker has applied to me for some mates and midshipmen, and I have
especially named you, as I am sure you will do credit to my
recommendation.  He has asked also for some of my people, and as you
seem to have attached to you old Nol Grampus and Tom Rockets, they may,
if they wish it, accompany you, for I like to see an officer with
followers.  It speaks well for both parties.  I have not yet determined
who else I shall send.  I have recommended you because I have no doubt
that you will get a step by the change."

I warmly thanked my captain for the kind interest he had shown in my
welfare.  And here let me pay a just tribute to the character of my old
commander.  A more kind-hearted gentleman, or a braver or better officer
never walked the deck of a man-of-war.  I was sorry to leave my
messmates of the Orpheus; but for the reason Captain Hudson gave me, the
opportunity of serving under so distinguished an officer as Sir Peter
Parker was not to be lost.  I will pass over all my leave-takings.
Midshipmen are not much addicted to the sentimentals.  Let me be
supposed alongside the Chatham, accompanied by Nol Grampus, Tom Rockets,
and the chest which contained all my worldly possessions.  Those
possessions were, by-the-bye, considerably decreased in quantity and
value since I left my paternal mansion two years before.

On stepping on board I was met by my red-haired friend.

"Ah!  Hurry, my boy, it's myself then is glad to see you!" he exclaimed,
squeezing my fingers and wringing my hand with a vehemence almost
sufficient to dislocate my wrist.

"Happy to meet you," I answered, not letting him discover that he had
hurt me.

This demonstrative mode of greeting was a trick of his, I found, to try,
as he said, what people were made of.  Sometimes, however, he caught a
Tartar to his cost.  The Chatham's midshipmen were a more rollicking set
than my late shipmates.  However, I knew comparatively but little of
them, for, as it turned out, during the greater part of the time I
belonged to the ship I was away on detached duty.  Scarcely had I joined
her, when I was sent on shore in command of a party of men to clear a
transport lying in Rhode Island.  While I was engaged in this far from
pleasant duty I had to put up at the Cat and Fiddle Tavern, kept by a
certain Mrs Grimalkin.  To cover her sympathy with the rebels she used
to exhibit on all public occasions an exuberance of loyalty which I
thought rather suspicious.  By watching her narrowly I was not long in
discovering that she kept up a constant communication with the enemy,
and gave them notice of all our proceedings.  However, once knowing
this, I was on my guard, and used to amuse myself by telling her all
sorts of wonderful tales of what we had done, and what it was proposed
to do to bring the country to subjection.  I hope that I was the means
also of sending some of the American cruisers to look after merchantmen
which had gone in totally different directions, and of making others
keep clear of fleets which had no existence.

Mrs Grimalkin was a Dutch woman by extraction, and retained the
appearance and many of the habits of her ancestors.  Numberless were the
petticoats she wore, and unceasing were the ablutions which her
clean-tiled floors received.  She was in the main not a bad old soul,
and I dare say she considered herself perfectly justified, in
consideration of the cause I served, in charging me a preposterous
amount for my board and lodging while I resided under her roof.

Having cleared the transport, I returned on board.  A few days
afterwards Sir Peter sent for me, and expressing his satisfactions with
what he had observed of my conduct, appointed me to the command of the
Pigot tender, the officer who had hitherto had charge of her being on
the sick list.  A midshipman's berth is a very jolly place, but still
there is nothing like being captain of one's own ship, so thanking the
admiral for the good opinion he had formed of me, with a light heart I
hurried below to prepare for my change of quarters.  I had not been thus
engaged many minutes, when I was joined by O'Driscoll, with a broad grin
on his countenance.

"Well, brother skipper," said he, "how do you feel with your new
dignity?"

"What do you mean?"  I asked.

"Why, faith, that I've got command of the `Lady Parker,' a very tidy
craft, and that we are to cruise in company.  Arrah, now--won't we have
a jovial time of it, my jewel!"

"I hope so," said I; "if we don't happen to meet with poor Luscombe's
ill-luck.  There are two sides to every question, remember."

"Arrah, now.  Never look at the reverse of a pleasing picture, Hurry,"
he replied.  "Because Luscombe met with ill-luck, we have a better
chance of good luck, do ye see.  So now let's get aboard our respective
ships.  I feel wonderfully grown since I received my appointment."

Luscombe, one of our master's mates, had, while in charge of a schooner,
fitted out as a tender, been a short time before captured by the enemy,
after losing all his men, while he himself had been severely wounded.

Our orders were to make the best of our way to Long Island Sound, where
we were to deliver some despatches to HMS Syren, and then, after
cruising a week off Gay Head, to return to Rhode Island.  Both our
vessels were ready for sea, so, having obtained leave to take Grampus
and Tom Rockets with me, we pulled on board, and got under weigh.  A
fine breeze carried us to sea, and did not desert us till we made the
shores of Long Island.  We ran into the Sound and delivered our
despatches on board the Syren.  The spot wore a very different aspect to
that which it had borne when I was last there.  Now the whole country
was in possession of the royal troops, who were under the full belief
that it was henceforward to remain their own.  The reports were that the
whole of the American forces were completely disorganised and
disheartened, and that they would never again be able to make head
against the royalists.  The truth was what was supposed, but they had a
man at their head who was a host in himself, and by his courage, his
wisdom, and energy, he made amends for all deficiencies.  George
Washington was truly the man who established the American Republic.  For
that great work he was especially appointed by Heaven.  Unhappily, the
people of whom he made a nation have too often since forgotten his
precepts and example.  The farther they have departed from it the less
dignified and respected they have been.  But I am anticipating events.

O'Driscoll and I would have been right glad of an excuse to remain at
New York, but we had not even sprung a spar, and our craft were as tight
as bottles, and our crews did not want a single dose of physic among
them, so we were obliged to put to sea again that evening.  We however
contrived to pick up a round of beef, two legs of mutton, and a turkey,
with a sack of potatoes, and some other vegetables, out of a bumboat
which had come down to supply the Syren, and which we waylaid before she
reached that ship.  I must not forget also some soft tack, three dozen
of bottled ale, and a cheese, which set us up in the comestible way for
some time.  Just as we got to sea the wind veered round to the east and
south-east, and with a favourable breeze, under easy sail, we stood to
the northward.  The next day O'Driscoll came aboard to dine with me.  I
had the turkey.  The bird had made so many objections to remaining in
the coop into which I put him, that I was obliged to kill him.  He was
consequently rather tough, but midshipmen's teeth don't stand at
trifles, and we made considerable progress in devouring him.

"This is very jolly, Captain Hurry," said O'Driscoll, pouring out for
himself a glass of foaming ale.  "Here's to you, man, and I don't care
how long we're on our cruise."

"It will soon come to an end if this wind lasts," I remarked.

"Not a bit of it, if we're inclined to make it longer," he replied.
"Suppose now, a craft was to make her appearance in the south-east, we
should have to make sail after her, and it might be many a day before we
got back to port, do ye see.  Do you twig, my boy, eh?"

"Oh, yes, O'Driscoll.  I understand you perfectly," said I.  "But that
sort of conduct does not exactly come up to my notion of our duty to the
service.  We might get a long cruise, certainly, but I don't think we
should enjoy it, and we might just possibly fall into the hands of an
enemy, and end it in a prison on shore."

"Ha! ha! ha! that would be an unpleasant termination to our independent
commands," he replied, laughing.  "Well, I suppose to do our duty is the
best policy.  I shouldn't like the catastrophe you picture so vividly."

One thing I must say in O'Driscoll's favour, though his fertile brain
conceived all sorts of mischief, he was very ready to abandon any of his
proposals when he found that others objected to them.  Though hot enough
at times, and ready enough to fight anybody and everybody who came in
his way, his anger was as quickly appeased.  Thus also he was easily
persuaded by me to adhere to the letter of his instructions, and, in
perfect good-humour with all the world, he accompanied me on deck to
smoke our cigars.  It was one of those lovely days, which occur
frequently in autumn in that part of the world, called by the Americans
the Indian summer.  A thin, gauze-like mist hung over the face of the
deep--scarcely dense enough, however, to mitigate the heat of the sun's
rays, which, darting forth from the pure, blue sky, sparkled brightly on
the crisply curling wavelets, stirred up by a light southerly breeze.
Everything gave promise of a continuance of fine weather, and so, like
two pachas, we sat on the deck, calmly contemplating with philosophic
indifference all sublunary affairs.  Not another sail was to be seen
within the circle of our horizon besides our two small craft, so that as
we had nothing else with which to compare ourselves, we were content to
believe that we were two very important personages indeed.  We had our
coffee brought to us in due form.  It was not a common beverage among
midshipmen, certainly in those days, but Tom had learned to make it well
of a Spanish seaman on board the Orpheus.  We finished our repast with
more than one glass of grog apiece, but not sufficient, I am happy to
say, to risk the equilibrium of either our minds or bodies.  While we
were discussing the seaman's favourite beverage, O'Driscoll indulged me,
and by necessity my ship's company, with some of his choicest songs,
trolled forth in a full, clear voice, and the liquor loosening the
muscles of his tongue, every word came forth with the richest brogue of
his native land.  At first the people listened attentively as they sat
forward.  Then they by degrees crept up nearer and nearer, till at
length Pat Doolan, a compatriot of the minstrel, seemingly unable any
longer to contain himself, burst forth into the full chorus of one of
the songs.  To stop him would have been impossible.  The poor fellow
flung his whole soul into the melody.  What a flood of recollections--of
long pent-up feelings--it brought back!  Sooner than hold silence he
would have jumped overboard, I believe.  The example was infectious.
One by one the rest of the crew took up the strain.  Not one but had the
spirit of melody within him; and there we were, officers and crew, all
singing away together like mad people, or as if our lives depended on
the noise we made.

At sun-down we hove-to, and O'Driscoll returned on board his own vessel,
insisting on my returning his visit the next day.  The weather proving
calm, I was enabled to fulfil my engagement, and a merry time we had of
it.  So pleasant did I find this sort of life, that I began to persuade
myself that there would be no outrageous impropriety in acceding to
O'Driscoll's proposal to lengthen our voyage.  Two days thus passed
pleasantly away, during which we made but little progress in our voyage.
We might possibly by carrying a greater press of sail have made more,
but we were, as I have observed, in no hurry to bring it to an end.

On the morning of the 14th, as I lay fast asleep in my cot, it having
been my middle watch, I felt my shoulder shaken, while a rough voice
exclaimed--

"There's a sail in sight, Mr Hurry, sir, on the lee-bow.  She's the cut
of an American merchantman."

Looking up, I saw the weather-beaten countenance of Nol Grampus bending
over me.

"Keep her away, and make all sail in chase," I answered, springing up;
"I'll be on deck in a trice."

I was not many seconds behind old Nol.  The Lady Parker was on our
weather-quarter.  Her people had not been so quick-sighted as we were,
but when they saw us making sail, they did the same.  Away we both went
in hot pursuit of the stranger, which proved to be a schooner.  When she
made us out she apparently took fright, and likewise set every stitch of
canvas she could carry to escape.

There is nothing so exciting as a chase, whether on shore or afloat.
Next to it is a race.  Here we had both combined, for we wanted to catch
the enemy and to beat the Lady Parker.  The breeze freshened, but the
Pigot looked up to her canvas famously; and sweeter to our ears than any
music just then was the loud gush of the yielding waters as they were
parted by the sharp bows of my little craft.

"You are a darling now!" cried old Nol, as he looked up at the canvas,
ever and anon, to see that each sail drew its best.  "Just show us what
your heels can do this time, at all events."  The schooner seemed to
understand him, and went faster and faster.  We were somewhat distancing
the Lady Parker, and coming up with the chase.

"If the breeze holds, sir, we shall be within gun-shot in half an hour,
and then there'll be but little chance for that small hooker there,"
observed Grampus, chuckling.  She was a bigger vessel than the Pigot,
by-the-bye.

"It's just possible that one of the enemy's cruisers may heave in sight,
and spoil our sport before then," said I; "such a thing has occurred
before now, and there are plenty of them in these seas."

"The more call for speed, then, sir," replied Nol.  "Hurrah--blow your
best, good breeze, and don't stint us."

In even less time than Grampus had predicted, we got the schooner within
range of our guns.  I half expected to see her haul her wind and show
fight.  We began to blaze away with our bow-chasers, but she stood
steadily on, taking not the slightest notice of us.  Rockets and I had
both tried our hands at a shot, but without effect, so I sent him to the
helm, and called Grampus forward, to see what he could do.  More than
once he looked along the gun without firing.  "Here goes," he at length
exclaimed, applying the match.  I watched eagerly.  Away flew the shot--
it struck.  I could see the splinters fly, and down came by the run the
main-topmast of the chase.  All hands gave a grand hurrah.  Still the
chase stood on.  In a short time, however, we saw that there was some
confusion on board.  The ensign was hauled down--then run up, and then
hauled down again.

Just as we fancied that she was going to heave-to, up went the ensign
once more, and the hands were seen going aloft, to clear away the wreck
of the top-mast.

"What can the fellow be about?" said I; "he cannot hope to escape us."

"Perhaps, sir, he sees a big friend ahead, whom he thinks will come to
his assistance," observed Grampus.

"We must give him another dose, then, to stop him before his friend
appears.  Fire low this time!"  I exclaimed, for my blood was up at the
thoughts of his escaping us.  We yawed a little so as to bring all our
starboard guns to bear.  The shot took effect, and there appeared more
confusion than before on deck.  "Let them have it again," I sung out;
"this time they must give in!"  The guns were loaded, and our people
were about to fire, when, as I was looking through my telescope, I saw
two figures rush on deck, and which instantly made me arrest the order
to fire.  They were women.  By their gestures they were evidently
endeavouring to persuade the crew to continue their endeavours to escape
or to yield at once.  Which it was I could not determine, but while they
remained on deck I could not bring myself again to fire on the vessel.
I hoped that we should be able to capture her without doing her further
injury.  On we stood, therefore, as before.  The ladies remained on
deck.  I kept my eye on them, intending to fire at the schooner's
rigging the moment they went below.  I told Grampus my reason for not
firing.  "That's right, sir," he answered warmly; "no man who's fit to
be a man ever hurts a woman if he can help it, whether old or young, or
whatever her nation--or black or white.  And they, d'ye see, bless their
hearts, repays us; for no matter where it is, if a man is sick or
wounded, or in distress, they are always ready to help him and nurse him
and pity him--bless them, says I.  I don't know what we should do
without them."

The two ladies kept their posts, walking the deck, and every now and
then stopping and eyeing us--taking our distance, I thought.  We were
rapidly decreasing it, however, and to me it appeared that the chase had
very little chance of escaping.  I must own that I was now doubly
anxious to come up with her.  All sorts of romantic ideas came crowding
into my imagination, and I quite forgot that, after all, the petticoats
might belong to the skipper's double-fisted wife and rosy-cheeked,
loud-voiced daughter.  Still, whatever they were, I would not for worlds
have run the risk of hurting them.

As time sped away the more eager did I become to solve the problem.
When my eye began to ache with watching the chase, Nol took the glass.
I had had my breakfast brought on deck.  I ate my dinner there also.  I
was just washing down the cold salt junk and biscuit with a glass of rum
and water, when Grampus exclaimed--

"The petticoats has wapperated, sir--that they has."

I jumped up, overturning my glass of swizzle, and putting the helm to
starboard, sung--

"Fire away, but high, my lads--take care, now."

Grampus had handed me the glass and hurried to a gun.  Never was there a
better marksman.  His eye coolly glanced along the iron tube.  He fired.
The schooner's fore-yard was shot away in the slings, and directly
afterwards her fore-top-mast went tumbling over her bows.

"Hurrah!" shouted Nol, "we've got her now, my lads."

I watched through my glass.  The females did not return on deck.  I only
hoped that they were not frightened at the mischief we had committed.
The chase was now a complete wreck aloft.  Still her ensign was kept
flying at her peak.  Just, however, as I was about to yaw once more, it
was hauled down, and she was luffed up into the wind.  We were very soon
up with her.  Heaving-to just to windward of her, I ordered a boat to be
lowered, and, with Tom Rockets and two other hands, pulled aboard.  I
directed Grampus to keep a very sharp watch on the movements of the
schooner, should I go below, for the rebels were up to so many tricks
that it was necessary to be prepared for them.

As I stepped on the deck of the prize, I was met by a man whom I took to
be the master.  He was a tall, lank man, and one of the most
melancholy-looking beings I ever beheld.  I looked round for the
females.

"If they belong to our thread-paper friend here, the chances are that
their attractions are but small," I thought to myself.  Still I was very
curious to see them.

"Well, Mr Officer," said the master, without giving me time to speak,
"if it's any satisfaction to you, you'll understand that you've ruined a
hard-working man with a large family by this capture, and frightened
nearly to death two females aboard here."

He spoke in a slow, drawling tone, but there was something in it which
made me fully believe him.

"It cannot be helped.  I do but my duty," I answered.

"Your duty, sir!  Is it the duty of a man, a gentleman, to attack the
weak and the oppressed?" said a deep voice close to my ear.

The melancholy skipper had not spoken, the tones were too feminine for
him.  I turned, and saw standing near me a lady who had evidently just
ascended from the cabin.  I started.  She was something so unlike what I
had expected to see.  Her figure, though slight, was tall and
commanding, and a black dress set off the brilliant whiteness of her
complexion.  Her dark eyes flashed with fire as she spoke.  Her features
also, I saw, were very handsome.  I have not often been abashed, such a
feeling does not usually run in the blood of the Hurrys, but I was on
this occasion completely taken aback.  I felt that I should have liked
to have jumped into my boat and pulled back to my own craft without
saying a word.  However, I mustered courage to speak.

"Pardon me, madam," I stuttered out, "I obey the commands of my lawful
sovereign, though those commands are, I own, often painful."

"The excuse all mercenaries make," said the lady, with bitter scorn in
her voice.  "And now, sir, that we are your captives, may I ask what you
purpose doing with us?"

This question was rather a poser.  I could not let the prize go free,
and yet I had no wish to detain any women as prisoners.

"I cannot answer the question at once, madam," I replied; "but I will do
my best to land you as soon as possible at the nearest point I am able
to reach, to wherever you may wish to go."

I thought this would satisfy the lady, but not a bit of it.

"Oh, then, we are to be compelled to leave the vessel in which we have
taken a passage and to be delayed on an errand of importance because
George of Brunswick chooses to try and force unjust laws down the
throats of a free people!"

"The fortune of war, madam," I replied, my choler rising somewhat at her
remarks; still I did not forget she was a lady, and that I was an
officer and a gentleman.

"Such as brigands might be ashamed of," she replied.  "Then, sir, we are
to consider ourselves as your prisoners?"

"Not a moment longer than I can help it, I assure you, madam," I
answered, rather inclined to be amused than angry, and hoping to pique
her by my replies.  "You are free to go in any direction you please
directly you have an opportunity."

"You speak mockingly, sir," she said, apparently determined not to be on
good terms with me.

I was anxious to bring the conversation to a conclusion without being
rude to her; she was very evidently a lady, and probably accustomed to
be treated with attention.  My curiosity also was excited to know who
her companion could be.  We had seen two females on board, and she had
used the word "we" several times as if her companion was her equal;
whether older or younger was the question.  She herself had the
appearance and air of a matron who, though past the bloom of youth,
still retained much of her beauty.  Bowing to her again, I turned to the
melancholy-faced master and inquired the particulars of his cargo, where
he was from, and where bound to.  He was from Boston, with a cargo of
notions bound for Philadelphia.

"Well, then, captain, I'll step below, just to have a look at your
papers," said I, trying to appear as unconcerned as possible.  "Then
we'll get the wreck of your masts cleared away and take you in tow.  You
and your mate with two hands will go on board my vessel, the rest will
remain here to help work this craft."

He saw that my orders were not to be disputed, though he prepared to
obey them with no very good grace.  I had no fear of any trick being
played me, for the Lady Parker was fast coming up to the scene of
action, or I should not have trusted either the lank master or the
lovely dame.  I hailed Grampus to send another boat aboard, and while
she was coming I dived below, disregarding the black looks both of the
master and the lady.  I certainly was not prepared for the vision of
loveliness which broke on my sight when I opened the door of the cabin.
I somehow or other had taken it into my head that the lady on deck was
the youngest of the two persons we had seen, and I expected accordingly
to find a stout, elderly dame acting as her chaperone or attendant.
Instead, however, there, half-reclining on a sofa, and reading, or
pretending to read, was a young and lovely girl.  The lady on deck
possessed somewhat of a stern beauty; hers was of the most perfect
feminine softness.  She was fair, with light-brown hair, and a rich
colour on her cheeks, and eyes so full and lustrous that they pierced
through and through me at once.  I was very glad she did not ask me to
do anything I ought not to have done, for as Adam was easily tempted by
Eve, I fear me much that I should not have had the resolution to refuse
any request she might have made.  I stood for a minute at the door,
looking, I daresay, very stupid, and silent as a post.  At last I
blundered out--

"I beg pardon, miss; I came to see the ship's papers; I hope that I
don't inconvenience you."

"Oh, no, sir, as the ship is, I conclude, in your power, and the
passengers are your prisoners, we can only be grateful for any courtesy
you show us," she answered; and oh! what a sweet, soft, musical voice
she spoke in!

I was quickly followed below by the master, who proceeded to hand me out
his papers from a well-battered tin case.

"You are, I conclude, Mr Saul Cobb, master of the `Crab' schooner--not
much like a crab though, by the way she went through the water," said I,
running my eyes over the papers.  "All well and good, Mr Cobb.  We will
take the `Crab' in tow as far as Rhode Island, where Sir Peter Parker,
the English admiral, will decide what is to be done with her.  Your
passengers, I have no doubt, will be landed at Newport, and a safe
conduct will be granted them in whatever direction they may wish to
proceed."

I looked up as I spoke, and bowed to the young lady.  I found her eyes
fixed on me, though she very quickly withdrew them, and I could not help
fancying, vain puppy that I was! that a slight blush tinged her cheeks.

"I trust, madam," said I, "that we shall be able to make arrangements
satisfactory under the painful circumstances of the case to you and the
lady who is with you."

"She is my aunt," she answered quickly.  "But I fear that it will be
difficult to make amends to her for the inconvenience to which she must
be put and the bitter disappointment she feels.  She was called to the
bedside of a brother she believes to be dying from his wounds, and there
being no one else whose assistance she could claim, I accompanied her.
We hoped to have landed to-morrow.  Could you not still manage to put us
on shore?"

She looked up with such a beautiful, earnest expression that I instantly
began to consider whether I could not by some possibility do as she
requested.  As the result of my reflections I replied--

"I am sorry to say I cannot do so.  I dare not so far depart from my
very clear line of duty; still, any accommodation I can afford you and
your aunt will, I am sure, be sanctioned by the admiral."

"You are very kind indeed, sir," said the young lady.  "I would not ask
any officer to neglect his duty to the king he serves; I should despise
him if he did."

She had risen from her seat, and stood resting her left hand on the
table, while her right was slightly raised to give expression to her
sentiments.

"Ho, ho!"  I thought, "your politics do not agree, then, with those of
your aunt."

I looked up into her face.  I could not help it.  How beautiful and
animated she looked!  Her figure was not tall, though exquisitely
proportioned and rounded as if she enjoyed excellent health, and had
been subject to very few of the cares and disappointments of life.  In a
word, I thought her a perfect heroine, and so she was.  I could not help
congratulating myself at the idea of having her society on board the
tender for at least the next two days, and perhaps longer, and I must
own that I was in no hurry to finish looking over the papers of the
Crab, though for the life of me I could not have told a word of their
contents.

"Well, mister, are you satisfied now?"

The harsh, grating sounds of Captain Cobb's voice, for he it was who
spoke, recalled me to myself.

"Yes, yes," I answered.  "Turn your hands up and get a hawser secured on
board with plenty of scope."

I then once more addressed the young lady--

"I must beg you and your aunt to come on board my schooner.  This vessel
is not in a safe condition for you to remain in her.  I will, believe
me, endeavour to do everything to secure your comfort and to mitigate
the annoyance you must of course feel.  I will go on deck and endeavour
to persuade your aunt to do what is necessary."

"I wish you would," she answered.  "I am afraid that you will have no
little difficulty, though."

I left the young lady preparing in a very methodical way to pack up her
things to remove on board the tender, while I, with no little
trepidation, went on deck to address the aunt.  The Lady Parker was fast
coming up, and I wanted to make all arrangements before O'Driscoll's
appearance.

The lady, as I expected, at first refused positively to leave the vessel
she was on board of unless by force.  I assured her that she would
remain at very great risk to her own life and that of her niece, should
bad weather come on, and I assured her that I would spare no pains to
secure her comfort, and I pledged my honour that she would be as safe
under my protection as she had been under that of Captain Cobb.
"Besides, Captain Cobb himself will be on board my vessel, madam."

"In that case, sir, I will act according to your commands," said the
lady, with one of her bitter smiles.

As they had no attendant, she and her niece were some time in putting up
their things, and though I offered my services they were stiffly
declined by the elder lady.  However, under the counteracting influences
of her sweet niece I felt that I could bear a large amount of sourness
from her.

At last I got them safely into the boat and on board the tender,
together with Mr Cobb and his mate and two of his men.  The rest I
judged that I could safely leave where they were to help work the prize.
I sent Grampus on board her to take charge, and we had the hawser
secured when O'Driscoll came up.  I had no particular wish just then for
his company, though I could not for the world have shown any jealousy of
him, so I signalised him that all was right and that I was going to make
sail for Rhode Island.  He, however, had seen the ladies on my deck, and
he would have been unlike any Irishman I ever met had he not desired to
know more about them.  He accordingly signalised me in return not to
make sail till he had held some private communication with me, and very
quickly he was on board.  After he had made a most profound bow to the
two ladies and looked a thousand unutterable things, he seized me by the
arm and led me forward.

"Oh, you lucky dog, Poynder," said he, "to have fallen in with such a
prize--that magnificent creature and that pretty little girl.  Faith!  I
must accompany you back to the admiral, just to see that you don't get
into any mischief.  I should like to bask myself every morning in their
smiles, even though it may be at a somewhat long distance."

I of course told him that he must do as he thought fit, but I wasn't
sorry when he tumbled into the boat to return to his own craft, and
allowed me to prepare for the ladies' comfort on board mine.  I of
course gave them up the entire cabin, and fitted up a sofa with sides
for one of the ladies.  What with canvas, and flags, and some planks, I
very soon had some fair accommodation for them.  My own cot I had slung
in another part of the vessel.  The younger lady, when she returned on
deck, after inspecting the arrangements I had made, thanked me with a
look which made ample amends for all the trouble I had taken.  The elder
one did not deign to take any notice of the matter.  I had been anxious
to know their names.  I had seen that of Tarleton on one of the trunks,
so I addressed the elder lady as Mrs Tarleton, which she seemed to
acknowledge as her proper appellation, so I took the chance of being
right, and called the other Miss Tarleton; but she with a smile
observed--

"No; that is not my name.  I am called Madeline Carlyon.  That lady is
the wife of my mother's brother.  She, as you see, is very strongly
opposed to the Royalist party.  She has reason, for she has suffered
much from them.  I am very much attached to her, for she is an
excellent, noble-minded person, though she has, as you see, her
peculiarities."

"And are you, Miss Carlyon, equally opposed to the Royalists?"  I asked.

I felt that I was venturing on dangerous ground.

"Some of my family are Royalists, though some of them are in opposition,
and are what you, I fear, would call rebels.  I do not like the word."

"Nor do I," I answered warmly.  "Though I am a naval officer, and
fighting is my vocation, I wish that this dispute were settled.  I would
rather have any other enemies than those we are now fighting with."

"I am glad to hear you utter that sentiment, sir," said Mrs Tarleton,
who had overheard the last part of our conversation, as she continued
her never-ceasing walk on deck.  "Cherish it, for it may produce
wholesome fruit in time to come."

The wind held fair, and with the prize in tow, and the Lady Parker,
which could easily keep up with us in company, we steered a direct
course for the then small town of Newport, off which I hoped to find the
admiral.  After the conversation I have described above, the ice in Mrs
Tarleton's manner gradually thawed.  She began to regard me with some
degree of interest, and to look on me simply as a misguided young man
whom she might hope to win over to the cause to which she herself was so
warmly attached.  I certainly did my best to obtain her good opinion, as
well as that of her niece, and I felt that at all events I was winning
that of the latter.

Delightful and strange were the sensations I experienced as I leaned
over the bulwarks by the side of that lovely girl, while we watched the
blue sparkling wavelets, and I told her of the wonders of the deep, and
now and then threw in a description of some of the adventures I had gone
through.  It was, I repeat, fortunate for me that she was at heart a
loyalist, or she would inevitably just then have converted me to
whatever opinions she held.  We watched the glorious sun descend into
his ocean bed in a golden radiance which suffused the whole western sky;
and then the pale moon arose, and we stayed to gaze on its silvery beams
as they played over the calm waters of the ocean, just crisped into
wavelets by the light easterly breeze which blew us on our way.  It was
very delightful.  We were both of us very young, and very
unsophisticated.  I had scarcely ever spoken to a young lady.  The last
I had seen, and the impression she had made was not deep, was Miss
Deborah Doulass, the fair daughter of a retired linen-draper at
Falmouth.  The Poynders are in no way a phlegmatic race.  The young lady
was not backward in appreciating my sentiments, and we might very
probably have stood gazing at the ocean till the moon had gone to bed
also, when Miss Carlyon was summoned somewhat hastily by her aunt.  She
put out her hand, and as I pressed it I felt as if an electric shock had
run through me.  The elder lady drew her shawl round her, and, bowing
stiffly, they retired one after the other down the companion-ladder.

I walked the deck for some time, all sorts of new sensations jumping
away round my heart and in my head, and then I turned into the temporary
berth I had had rigged for myself in the hold, ordering Tom Rockets to
keep a sharp look-out, and to call me the moment he suspected even that
anything, however trifling, was going wrong.  Close to my berth, and
divided only by a thin bulk-head, was the place where the prisoners were
sleeping.  They were all snoring away when I turned in, but after a time
I heard one of them give some grunts.

"Peter," said a voice.  "Peter, are you awake, man?"

I knew by the grating harsh tones that it was that of the lank skipper.

"Yes, captain; I'm awake.  What's your will?" was the answer.

"I'll tell you what I've been thinking of," said the captain in a very
low voice, evidently getting near the person he was addressing.  "It
wouldn't be a hard matter to take this craft, and make off with her.
She is short-handed.  We have four stout fellows, and the woman I make
sure would help us.  I'd undertake, while he is caterwauling away with
the young gal, to knock that young sprig of an officer overboard.  Then
we'd cast off the hawser, and let the `Crab' go adrift.  They needn't
know it was done on purpose; and while the other king's ship was looking
after her to pick her up, we'd have a fine start.  At all events, this
craft has the best pair of heels, and she would never come up with us
again.  What do you say, Peter, to this?"

"I'm your man, captain," answered the mate chuckling.  "There's four to
seven, and that's no great odds if we choose our time.  We can count, I
guess, on the woman if you put her up to the trick.  It may be a job to
do that, though."

"No fear on that score," observed Captain Cobb.  "By the look of the sky
when the sun went down, there'll be a breeze before to-morrow night.
Just do you talk to Ahab and Silas, and I'll see about the rest."

The voices of the speakers sank so low after this that I could not catch
another word.

"Thank you, gentlemen," said I to myself.  "I've had that trick
attempted to be played on me before now; but I didn't think that you, my
melancholy-looking friend, were up to it.  However--forewarned,
fore-armed--I'll be ready for you.  I suspect that Mrs Tarleton will
not be a little enraged when she hears the part she is to play in the
drama.  She'll wither up the poor skipper into a mummy when she sees
him."

I could scarcely refrain from laughing aloud at the idea.  I waited till
the two conspirators ceased speaking, and as I believed had gone again
to sleep; and then I noiselessly left my berth and went on deck.  I had
my own pistols ready, and I sent Rockets to arm himself and the rest of
the people.

In the morning, when the lank skipper and his people came on deck, they
looked somewhat dismayed at the appearance we presented.  I, however,
said nothing, and treated him as if I was totally ignorant of his kind
intentions towards me.  I was, however, preparing to speak to him, in
the presence of Mrs Tarleton, hoping to enjoy her indignation and his
dismay; but the sight of Miss Carlyon put everything I was going to say
out of my head, as I sprang to the companion-hatch to hand her on deck.
How bright and beaming was the smile which irradiated her countenance!
While she was near, I scarcely had it in my heart even to frighten the
poor skipper, and certainly not to hurt him, even had he attempted to
carry out his kind intentions towards me.  She looked about her,
enjoying the sight of the blue sparkling sea and the fresh breeze.

"It is very beautiful," said she at length.

"Very!" said I, but if she had asked me to say what I thought so
beautiful it would have made her blush.  She did not remark a bank of
black clouds away to the eastward.  I did, and was sorry to see them,
for I thought how much discomfort a gale would cause her.  The lank
skipper saw them also, and probably hoped for an opportunity to carry
his pleasant little plot into execution.  I determined at once to spoil
it.  I had somewhat prepared Miss Carlyon, by telling her that I knew of
the existence of a plan to take the vessel from me, but made very light
of it that I might not frighten her.  Calling Captain Cobb aft, while
Mrs Tarleton was on deck, I looked him full in the face, and recounted
the whole particulars of the plan he had concocted.

"And do you know, madam, our worthy friend not only expects you to
approve of his project, but to help him carry it into execution, whether
by the aid of the bowl or dagger I do not know; perhaps he expects you
to help in smothering us with pillows while we are fast asleep."

Never was a man more completely taken aback than was Mr Saul Cobb on
that occasion, nor was his confusion lessened by the address of the
lady.

"You wretched, miserable being! do you fancy that because I am a patriot
I would consort with murderers, whose sole idea is how they may make
money without a thought how they may best serve their country?"

Her attitude, expression, and manner, more than her words, expressed the
vehemence of her feelings; and the skipper, without attempting to excuse
himself, turned round and, bolting forward, dived down below to hide his
head in darkness.  I told Rockets to keep an eye on him, for I thought
he might do some mischief.

"You, sir, will, I am sure, acquit me of approving even in the remotest
way of such a scheme," said the lady.

I assured her that I did, and I felt that I had, from the way I had
taken the matter, gained a yet further step in her good graces.  I then
sent Rockets to tell the skipper that, should he attempt to make any
such demonstration as he had proposed, I should forthwith be compelled
to blow out his brains; but that, if he behaved well, I would pass the
matter over.  I felt very sure that he would give me no further trouble.

Scarcely had I thus settled this affair than down came the gale on us
with a fury unexpected.  I shortened sail, lengthened our hawser to the
utmost, and then went to try and make the ladies comfortable in the
cabin.  Still, notwithstanding all my responsibilities and troubles, I
had never before felt so happy and proud in my life.



CHAPTER TEN.

GALE CONTINUES.--MY LADY PASSENGERS.--MY LOYALTY PUT TO THE TEST.--REACH
RHODE ISLAND.--ORDERED TO ESCORT LADIES TO THEIR DESTINATION.--CHASED BY
A STRANGER.--FEARFUL DANGERS.--RUN THROUGH A NARROW PASSAGE.--ANCHOR.

The little schooner kept plunging away through the heavy seas caused by
the gale, with her prize dragging astern.  Grampus had got some sail on
her to help her along, but still she not only made us labour much, but
exposed us to considerable risk.  This, under ordinary circumstances, I
should not have minded, and of course, except in the case of the last
necessity, I would not have thought of casting her adrift to look after
herself.  Night came on, and still there was no chance of the gale going
down.  I was much relieved by O'Driscoll ranging up alongside and
hailing me, promising to stay by the prize should I be compelled to cast
her off.  Still, as I had taken her, I naturally wanted to have the
satisfaction of bringing her in.  As the darkness increased, the gale
blew heavier and the sea ran higher.  Still, fortunately, we were able
to keep our course.  Hour after hour passed away, the little vessel
plunging bows under, and dragging away lustily at her heavy prize.  I
felt that she was straining very much, and on sending below I found that
she was making more water than she ought to have done.  Still I held on
with the Crab, hoping that the gale would break.  At last it seemed to
have moderated a little, so I left the deck in charge of Rockets, and
descended into the cabin to offer what comfort I could to its fair
occupants.  I asked leave to enter.  Mrs Tarleton's voice assured me
that I was welcome.  I found both ladies sitting on a sofa which I had
lashed close to the table.  A swing lamp hung from above.  They had
books before them, and were attempting to read.  I doubt if they had
made much progress.  I told them that I thought the gale was breaking,
and that we might have fair weather again before the morning.

"I trust so, indeed," said Miss Carlyon.  "It appeared to me that we
have been in very great danger; even now the vessel seems dreadfully
agitated, though my aunt assures me that such storms are constantly met
with at sea."

"She is right, I assure you," said I.  "There is no danger that may
alarm you."

Just as I spoke there was a loud report.  Both ladies shrieked.

"Oh, what is that?" exclaimed the younger.  "What can have happened, Mr
Poynder?"

"Parted the hawser, which was towing the prize," I answered hurriedly.
"Let me entreat you: do not be alarmed, whatever happens.  We shall have
probably to lie by her all night.  With daylight we may make her fast
again."

Saying this I rushed on deck.  I could just see the Crab astern of us.
The mainsail being handed, we hove the vessel to, under her
fore-staysail.  She felt far more easy than she had done, going free,
and with the prize in tow.  Still I never spent a more anxious night.  I
did not either forget friend Cobb's kind intentions by me, and I hinted
to him that I remembered them.  At length daylight came, and a dark
cloudy sky hung over a dull leaden sea.  I looked anxiously around for
the prize.  She had drifted away some three miles to leeward of us.  I
would rather not have been nearer the coast than we were.  Still I bore
down to her.  O'Driscoll was nowhere to be seen.  A cheery reply from
old Grampus assured me that all was right.  He, moreover, volunteered to
send a hawser aboard of us.  I accordingly hove-to again on his
weather-bow.  A boat was lowered from the Crab, manned by the prisoners,
and in a short time, though not without risk to the boat's crew, we had
the prize once more in tow.

"I'll not forget you for this, my lads," I sang out.

Captain Cobb looked daggers at his people, but I took care that he
should hold no communication with them.

My fair passengers, I found, had not suffered during the night.  As the
schooner, when hove-to, rode easily, they fancied that the weather had
improved, and were perfectly satisfied.  When we once more made sail,
although there really was less wind and sea, they fancied that the
weather had become worse, and I had some difficulty in assuring them to
the contrary.  The subject which caused me the most anxiety was the
quantity of water the vessel was making.  It became, therefore,
necessary to man the pumps, and I was not sorry to have a good excuse
for setting Captain Cobb and his people to labour at them.  The master,
especially, did not like it, and showed signs of disobedience.

"Come, come, my friend," said I; "I have been somewhat lenient with you.
I might have kept you in irons, had I not run you up to the yard-arm,
in return for the trick you wished to play with me."

"Well, now, mister, how did you find all that out?" quoth my friend,
looking me coolly in the face.

"Never mind," I answered, tickled by his impudence.  "Man the pumps."
And I made him work away, as he deserved, as long as he could stand.  I
kept a look-out for the Lady Parker, and felt not a little anxious as to
what had become of her.  I should have liked to have passed much more of
my time than I did in the cabin, but I was afraid of intruding on my
passengers.  I believe they fully appreciated my delicacy.  Several
times during the day Miss Carlyon ventured on deck, and seemed to enjoy
gazing on the stormy, foam-crested seas.  I stood by her side and
supported her as the little vessel plunged into the troughs, and rose
again buoyantly to their summits.

"This is very fine," she exclaimed enthusiastically.  "I do think the
life of a sailor must be very delightful, Mr Hurry.  Had I my choice, I
would select it above all others."

"You may be a sailor's wife, though you cannot be a sailor," came to the
tip of my tongue, but I did not utter the words; instead of them I said,
looking at her beautiful countenance, and admiring its animation, "I
love it dearly, and would not change it for any other, Miss Carlyon,
though it has its shadows as well as its sunshine."

"Ah, yes, but I always look at the _sunny_ side of every picture," she
remarked, smiling sweetly.

"You cannot help that.  The light you see shed over everything is but
the reflection from yourself!"  I blushed as I felt an expression so
different from my usual matter-of-fact style drawn from my lips.

Miss Carlyon looked up with a bright glance, (not smiling exactly), as
much as to say, "What is that about?"  She was not, I thought,
displeased, but I did not venture anything of the sort again.  I found
myself led by degrees to tell her all about myself, and my early life,
and my adventures, and then I described the sea under its various
aspects, and I went on to talk about ships of different classes, and how
to rig them, and the names of the ropes and sails and spars.  She told
me, in return, a good deal about herself and her family, and her likes
and dislikes and occupations.  Her father had property, I found, between
the Chesapeake and Potomac rivers in Virginia, where she had generally
resided.  Since his death she had remained chiefly with her aunt, Mrs
Tarleton, though she hoped to return in a short time, if the state of
the country would allow it, to Virginia.

"If you knew what a beautiful country it is, you would love it as I do,
Mr Hurry!" she exclaimed with enthusiasm.  "When this dreadful war is
over, and the people have attained their rights, and returned to their
allegiance, you must come and see us.  I am sure that my family will one
and all, whatever their politics, rejoice in the opportunity of thanking
you for your kindness and courtesy to my aunt and me on the present
occasion."

I of course said how delighted I should be, and fifty other very pretty
things besides.  All I can say is that I had never spent so enjoyable a
time before at sea.  Her aunt very seldom came on deck, so that Madeline
and I were left very much to ourselves.  I believe that Mrs Tarleton
purposely did not interfere, hoping by means of her niece to gain me
over to the cause to which she was so enthusiastically attached.  From
what I knew of her, I am certain that if such was the case, she fully
believed that she was employing a lawful means for a good end.  The more
I saw, however, of Mrs Tarleton, the more I learned to admire her
high-minded, noble, self-sacrificing disposition.  The love of freedom
was with her a passion, and she held in utter scorn all who submitted
to, what she considered, tyranny.  She was indeed a person of the old
heroic stamp, ready to dare and to do all things in a righteous cause.
The gale moderated sooner than I had expected, the sea went down, and we
had moderate and pleasant weather.  It was therefore with anything but
satisfaction that I made out Sir Peter Parker's flag flying aboard the
Chatham, off Rhode Island, which our squadron had been busily employed
in blockading.  I brought up with my prize close to him, and assuring my
passengers that I would endeavour to carry out the plans they had
suggested would be most for their convenience, I pulled on board to
report myself.  The admiral smiled when I told him all that had
occurred.

"So these very charming ladies would like to continue their voyage, and
you pledged your word that I would not detain them?" said he in a kind
way.  "Well, you were safe there; we do not war against women, and we
must not be behindhand in courtesy after the treatment which some of our
English ladies have received at the hands of the rebels.  They are
anxious to proceed to the neighbourhood of Philadelphia.  You shall go
there in the `Pigot,' and you will have no objection to keep them as
your passengers.  Probably the city itself is by this time occupied by
the British forces; but I will give you a letter to General Howe, and
will beg him to afford them a pass through the country occupied by our
troops, and to allow you to escort them till they are placed in safety
among their own people.  No; do not thank me.  I am glad to afford you
what I have no doubt you will find an interesting occupation, but I also
have great satisfaction in finding an opportunity of treating the ladies
of the opposite party in the way I feel they should be treated."

Never had I heard more satisfactory words.  I could scarcely refrain
from rubbing my hands with delight.

"Then am I to sail at once, sir?"  I asked.

"Certainly, let there be no delay.  You can supply yourself with
provisions and water from the ship, and send the master and crew of the
prize aboard here.  I'll have them put on shore.  From what you say you
will be glad to be rid of them."

Promising Sir Peter to carry out his instructions to the best of my
power, after seeing the purser about the provisions, and getting as many
extra luxuries as I could out of him, I jumped into my boat and returned
on board the tender.  On my way I caught sight of two vessels standing
in towards the roads.  I made out one of them to be the Lady Parker, and
the other looked very like a prize she had made.  So it proved.  Before
I sailed, O'Driscoll came on board me, and explained how he had missed
me.  He was as much pleased to see me safe as I was that no harm had
befallen him.  In the squall during which the Crab had broken adrift he
had been hove on his beam-ends, and on getting to rights he could
nowhere see me.  After some time he caught sight of a craft, which he
took for me, and made sail after her.  When morning broke she proved to
be a stranger and on over-hauling her he found that she was a rebel
merchantman, so he took her and brought her into Newport.  He declared
that he was very jealous when he heard of what he called my good
fortune.

"Will you change places now?" said he coolly.  "You shall have the `Lady
Parker' and all the prizes you are certain to take in her, and let me
run down in charge of the `Pigot' and the ladies."

"You are joking now," said I.  "But stay a moment and you shall pay your
respects to my passengers.  They made many inquiries about you when they
found that your craft was missing."

The ladies were most grateful to Sir Peter when they heard of his
courtesy, and begged O'Driscoll to bear their thanks to him.  My friend
remained till the stores came on board, and when he took his departure
he vowed that he had irretrievably lost his heart to the beautiful
widow.  I at the same time made sail and stood to the southward.  For
the first day we had a fair breeze and fine weather, and I was in hopes,
for the sake of my passengers, that we should make a good run of it to
the Delaware.  I need not describe the various incidents which occurred,
interesting as they were to me, and important in their results.  I
entirely won my way to the good opinion of Mrs Tarleton, and I could
not help being conscious that her niece no longer regarded me as a
common stranger.  Still, how could I venture ever to indulge any hopes
of making her mine?  I depended entirely on my profession for my
support, and that profession compelled me to appear as an enemy of her
relations and friends.  Before I was aware of the tendency of her
reasonings, I found that she had taught me to look on the fratricidal
war we were waging in a very different light to that in which I had at
first regarded it.  She, however, I must insist, in no way weakened my
patriotism.  I loved old England as much as ever, but she taught me to
feel the warmest sympathy for her countrymen and mine truly, who were
fighting in the noble cause of liberty.  I describe my feelings as they
then existed.  I leave to others to judge whether they were right or
wrong.  A fierce war began to rage within me between principle and
feeling, interest and duty, and all the tender sentiments of my nature.
A less high-minded person would have thrown all her weight into the
scale, and might have made me false to the sovereign in whose service I
was engaged; but then I flattered myself that a girl of her exalted
principles would not have so speedily won my affections.  [See Note 1.]
Now the murder is out; in plain English, I was head over ears in love,
and it was a toss up whether I should, for the sake of Madeline Carlyon,
desert my colours, go over and join the Americans, and get a captain's
commission, or remain true to my king and run the chance of losing her.
It puts me into a fever even now, to think of all the feelings which
came bubbling up in my bosom, and all the ideas which came rushing into
my brain, and the pulling and hauling and tugging at my heart.  Never
had I been so racked and tormented, tossed to and fro, kicked here and
there, up and down.  At length my good angel came to my assistance.  "Do
your duty like a man," he whispered.  "Don't think of consequences, what
you would like or what you wouldn't like.  Find out what is right, and
do that."

I had turned in, and, with a mind much calmed, fell asleep.

"There is a strange sail on our weather-quarter, sir," said Tom Rockets,
rousing me up.  "Grampus don't like her looks."

Nor did I, when a moment afterwards I stood on deck and made her out
through the pale light of a grey cold November morning.  "Make all
sail!"  I sung out.  "If she is an enemy, the sooner we are out of the
way the better."  It was blowing fresh, but I cracked on the little
schooner as much as she could carry, and away we went staggering under
it with the wind on our larboard quarter.  The stranger, apparently, had
not made us out, and I was in hopes that we might escape observation.
The increased motion, I suppose, awoke the ladies, and to my surprise
before long they came on deck.

"What is the matter, Mr Hurry?" asked Mrs Tarleton.  "It appeared in
the cabin as if there was a fearful gale blowing."

"You see that the weather is not so very bad," I answered evasively,
"and I am naturally anxious on your account to reach port."

I never could act the hypocrite, and the lady was not satisfied.  As her
quick-sighted eye ranged round the horizon she caught sight of the
stranger.

"What is that vessel out there?" she asked.

"That I cannot exactly say, madam," I answered.  "She may be a friend or
she may be a foe.  Under present circumstances I think it best to avoid
her."

"If she is an American vessel her captain would never think of detaining
you; and if she is English, you at all events need not fear her," she
replied quickly.

"I would rather not run the risk of detention," said I.  "It is
possible, should she be an American vessel, that her people may not
believe our story."

"Well, sir, I have no doubt that you act for the best," answered the
lady, evidently not satisfied as she saw the vessel tearing furiously
through the water.

Her niece had said nothing, but seemed rather to enjoy the rapid motion
and the fresh air.

While they were still on deck, the stranger caught sight of us and bore
up in chase.  Mrs Tarleton soon discovered what had occurred, and was
constantly watching the stranger.

I kept away a little, and, trusting to the Pigot's superior sailing
qualities, I had little fear of continuing ahead of her during the day,
and of escaping her observation in the night.  The state of the weather,
however, gave me most concern.  I saw Grampus looking up anxiously at
our spars, and ever and anon at the heavy seas which came up hissing and
foaming astern.  One of our best hands was at the helm, but he came aft
and stood by him.  I caught his eye as he was glancing over his
shoulder.

"Beg pardon, sir; the more haste the worst speed, Mr Hurry, you know,"
said he in a low voice, thinking the ladies would not hear him.

Thick heavy clouds were rushing up, one past the other, rapidly astern
of us.  I saw that the time had indeed come to shorten sail if I would
not run the risk of losing my masts, or, perhaps, of broaching-to and
capsizing.  I entreated my passengers in a few hurried words to go below
to be out of the way of danger.  Mrs Tarleton seemed inclined to stay.
I was obliged to be somewhat peremptory, and I did not lose her good
opinion by being so.

"Indeed, madam, there is considerable danger for you on deck.  I cannot
allow you to run it.  You must go."

She gave me a look of surprise, and, without another word, allowed me to
conduct her and her niece to the companion.

In the meantime the crew had come aft to take in the mainsail and
gaff-topsail.  I next had the fore-topgallant-sail and foresail off her.
This was done only just in time, before the squall came down on us and
I had to lower away and close-reef the foresail.  The wind had at the
same time caught the ship.  I took her to be a flush-decked vessel, a
corvette probably.  She had been looking at us and not thinking of
herself probably, for I soon discovered that several of her sails had
been blown away, and I suspected that she had received further damage.
We at all events benefited by her misfortune, and kept well ahead of
her.  Still she continued the chase.  I felt the truth of the saying
that it is much pleasanter chasing than being chased.  All day long we
ran on, plunging into the seas, and wet from the foam which blew off
them over our counter.  More than once I thought we should have been
pooped.  The vessel also began again to leak.  Night came on; the leak
increased.  We lost sight of our pursuer, but our condition became very
trying.  I endeavoured to make the best of matters, but my anxiety
increased.  We were off the northern coast of New Jersey.  The wind was
veering round more to the eastward, and we were getting a rock-bound
shore under our lee.  There were harbours I might run into, but the
thick weather had prevented me from taking any observations, and though
by my log I could tell pretty well how far we had run, yet I could not
be certain, and, unless from dire necessity, I was unwilling to attempt
to make any port short of the Delaware.  At times the wind hauled a
little more round to the northward, and as it did so my hopes
proportionally rose of being able to keep off shore.

Only for a moment did I at times leave the deck to speak a word of
comfort to my passengers.  Mrs Tarleton was, I saw, fully aware of our
danger.  I think her niece suspected it, but if she did she completely
concealed all signs of fear.  On one occasion, when I entered the cabin,
they rose from their knees.  Together they had been offering up prayers
to Him who alone can quell the tempest, for our safety.  Their last
words reached my ears.  I stood at the door and humbly joined in their
petition.  I quickly had to return on deck.  I had been obliged, when
the wind shifted, to get some after-sail on the vessel.  She heeled over
fearfully, yet I knew must be making great lee-way.  I could not venture
to take any canvas off her.

"What do you think of it, Grampus?" said I, after some time.

"Why, sir, I don't like it," was his unsatisfactory reply.

I did not again ask him his opinion.  The sea kept flying over us, the
night grew darker and darker, and the gale blew stronger and stronger.
The leak was increasing.  Two hands were kept constantly at the pumps.
I wished for Mr Saul Cobb and his companions.  Nothing could be well
worse.  Still I never for a moment lost courage.  I felt sure that the
prayers of those below would not be uttered in vain.  The hours wore
away.  I kept a bright look-out on the starboard bow to discover
breakers, should they be near, while my ears were constantly awake to
detect their terror-inspiring sound.  How I longed for daylight!  I
dared not lay-to: I dared not shorten sail.  I could only stand on with
any prospect of safety.  The gale increased: the sea was constantly
making a clean breach over the deck.  All hands had to hold on fast, or
we should have been washed overboard.  At the same time the water was
gaining terribly on us.  A new danger threatened the schooner; she might
founder before we could gain a harbour, even if she escaped shipwreck.
A considerable part of the New Jersey shore consists of long, low, sandy
beaches, which in thick weather can scarcely be seen till a vessel is
nearly on them.  I judged by my calculations that we were by this time
close in with Squan Beach, or Island Beach or Long Beach.  My chart told
me that there was a passage between the two latter, and several inlets
to the south of the last, up which I could run and be safe; but to find
them in the dark was impossible.

"Grampus! listen! what is that sound?" said I.

"Breakers, sir!" he answered in a slow way; "there's no doubt about it.
But we shall have daylight soon.  Ah, look-out, there sir, there it is!"

I looked seaward, and a pale streak was just appearing in the eastern
sky.  It grew wider and wider, and at length darkness gave way to the
rays of the yet hidden sun.  The prospect revealed to us was not
cheering.  The sea broke as heavily as ever, and not a mile to leeward
of us a terrific surf rolled over a long white sandy beach.  As I
watched the foaming broken mass of waters as they rolled furiously up to
it, I felt convinced that, should the schooner once get within their
power, not a human being on board would escape.  Not a break was to be
seen.  The wind was dead on-shore, blowing with a determined heavy
pressure; and the little vessel, though she made fair headway, was
surely drifting nearer and nearer to destruction.  Oh, what agony of
mind I suffered!  I cared not for myself, but I thought of that fair
girl and her lovely relative doomed to so hard a fate.  I called Grampus
to me and asked him if he could advise anything.  He shook his head--

"You've done all that a man can do, Mr Hurry," was his answer.

"Then I must prepare those two poor ladies for their inevitable fate," I
thought to myself.

Before going into their cabin, I took another look at the chart which I
kept outside it.  At the south end of Long Beach was a passage, I found,
leading into Little Egg Harbour.

Grampus hailed me.  My heart bounded into my mouth again.

"There is an opening, sir.  I make it out clearly.  Keep her close and
by, my lad!" he sang out to the man at the helm.  "If we just clear the
point we shall do it."

I held my breath.  The schooner dashed on, half buried by the seas.  She
was almost among the breakers--then broad on our bow appeared an
opening--heavy rollers went foaming over it.

"Up with the helm!  In with the main-staysail!  Square away the
fore-yard!  Hold on for your lives!"

I rapidly uttered these orders, one after the other.  Away before the
gale we flew, the sea breaking high on either hand of us.  One roller
after the other came hurrying on, but we rose to their summits, and then
with one more frantic plunge we sank down into smooth water, and in
another moment, rounding the vessel to, I let go the anchor and we rode
safely under the lee of the sand-bank.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 1.  I had at first thought, from what Miss Carlyon said, that she
was herself warmly attached to Royalist principles; and so in truth she
was, but love of country and love of freedom, with a clear sense of
justice, had overpowered them, and although she did not possess the
enthusiasm of her aunt, she was still a strong advocate of the popular
cause.  Had she indeed the bias I originally supposed, her aunt would
have thrown all her influence to prevent me from making any further
advance than I had already done, and I am certain that the young lady
would not have acted in opposition to the wishes and advice of her
family.  Very unromantic principles these, but the young lady in
question was totally unlike any heroine of any novel I ever read.



CHAPTER ELEVEN.

RUN UP LITTLE EGG RIVER.--MEET THE MILITIA LIEUTENANT WHOSE LIFE I
SAVED.--"ONE GOOD TURN DESERVES ANOTHER."--SET OUT FOR WASHINGTON'S
CAMP.--FALL INTO THE HANDS OF THE HESSIANS.--THE LADIES IN DANGER.--
DEVASTATING MARCH OF MERCENARIES.--ESCAPE.--HOUSE IN WHICH WE ARE LODGED
ATTACKED.--PLACE THE LADIES FOR SAFETY IN A ROOT HOUSE.

We were saved.  The gale blew as hard as ever outside; the sea broke
furiously on the sandy shore, the foam reaching across the bank even to
where we lay, while the wind whistled through the rigging with a shrill
and mournful sound.  No sooner did I see that the anchor held than as I
was hurrying below to quell the alarm of my passengers, I met them
coming on deck, unable to comprehend the cause of the sudden change from
the wildest tossing to the perfect calm in which we lay.  They looked
about them with an expression of astonishment on their features,
evidently puzzled to know how we could have got where we were; then they
clasped their hands and raised their voices together in prayer and
heartfelt gratitude for their safety.  The sudden and simultaneous
movement touched my heart, and while I admired their simple piety it
made me sensible of the hardness of my own heart in religious matters.

"Where are we, Mr Hurry?" asked Mrs Tarleton.  "We owe much, I feel
sure, under God's providence, to your excellent seamanship."

I thanked her for her good opinion of me, and told her that we were, I
believed, at the mouth of Little Egg Harbour, on the coast of New
Jersey, and that I hoped to run up the river and to land her at some
spot at which conveyances might be obtained, as I would not risk her
safety by continuing the voyage.  Her niece looked far more than her
aunt expressed, so I was perfectly satisfied, though she said but
little.  They knew that I should be in no hurry to part from them;
indeed, I had received orders from Sir Peter not to do so till I had
conducted them to their friends or seen them in a place of safety.

While I was still talking to the ladies.  Grampus called me aside and
hurriedly told me that, if the hands were not sent to the pumps, in a
very short time the schooner would go down.  I accordingly set all hands
to work, and when they had lessened the water in the hold I once more
made sail, and, with the lead going on either side, I stood through a
passage to the southward, and then to the west again up Little Egg
River.  I hoisted a flag of truce as I stood on.  After some time I came
in sight of a gentleman's house--a long low building with a verandah
round it--the usual style of building in that part of the country.  Near
the house was a village.  I dropped my anchor and lowered a boat to go
on shore.

"We will accompany you, Mr Hurry," said Mrs Tarleton, who at that
moment with her niece followed me on deck after I had announced my
intention.  "Should the country be in possession of the troops of George
of Brunswick, you are safe; but if in that of our patriot troops, you
may be liable to molestation."

To this proposal I could raise no objection, so, ordering Grampus to
keep the people at the pumps to prevent the vessel from sinking, I
handed the ladies into the boat, and steered for a rough little wooden
stage near the large house I had observed on shore.  I had a white flag
at the end of a boat-hook in the bows of the boat, that I might be
prepared for friends or foes.  Not a person was to be seen moving.  I
ran the boat alongside the stage, and with my passengers stepped on
shore, leaving Rockets with the flag and two other hands in the boat.
There was, for a short distance, a piece of uncultivated open ground,
and then a wood of somewhat scrubby trees through which a path led.  We
had walked along it but a short distance, when, turning an angle, we
were confronted by a body of militia, mustering some dozen or twenty
men.

"Halt!" cried the sergeant at the head of the party.  "Strangers! who
are you?"

I tried to explain.

"That's all very well, and may or may not be true, mister," answered the
sergeant, who certainly was not one of nature's gentlemen.  "I ain't
bound to believe your gammon, I guess; you may be spies, so come along
with us and we'll see about it."

Here Mrs Tarleton stepped forward.

"We are American ladies," said she.  "We owe much to this officer, and
trust that our countrymen will afford us the aid we require."

The fellow still doubted, and was evidently inclined to use us roughly,
when we saw a fresh body of men coming along the road, headed by an
officer.  He at once advanced to inquire into the matter.  At first he
also seemed not at all ready to believe us.

"So many spies are dodging about in various disguises that you may be of
that character for what I know to the contrary," he remarked, eyeing us
hard.

Mrs Tarleton was inclined to be very indignant.  As I looked at the man
there was something in the tone of his voice and his countenance I
thought I recognised.

"Is your name Spinks?"  I asked.

"I guess you're right," he answered.

"And you were wounded before New York, and an English officer gave you a
sup of spirits and some fresh water, and washed your wounds, and--"

"He did, he did; and you're the man who did it!" he exclaimed, springing
forward and grasping my hand warmly.  "I thought I knew your voice--you
saved my life, that you did.  I said Amos Spinks would be grateful, and
so he will.  I'm a lieutenant now; I was then only a private."

This was, indeed, a fortunate encounter.  Full credit was now given to
our statements.  The house to which we were proceeding was, we found,
the property of a gentleman of some consideration, who, although a
patriot, had from ill-health remained at home.  Lieutenant Spinks and
his men escorted us to it.  The ladies were cordially welcomed, and I
was treated with the greatest civility and attention.  Our host, John
Plowden, was a perfect gentleman of the old school, who received us with
many a bow, in bag-wig and sword, knee-breeches and buckles, flowered
waistcoat and three-cornered hat.  Dinner was instantly prepared, and
beds were offered, but Mrs Tarleton wished to proceed on her journey
that very afternoon.  At first Mr Plowden would on no account consent
to this arrangement, but, Mrs Tarleton having explained to him her
earnest desire to see her brother, or to gain tidings of him, he
willingly promised to do his utmost to enable her to proceed.

"I fear much, however, madam, that you will be exposed to insult from
the troops of the enemy who still occupy part of the Jerseys, though I
feel sure that the inhabitants, whatever side of the question they take,
would in no way annoy you."

Mrs Tarleton looked at me as this was said.  We were sitting at dinner,
a midday meal, with several members of Mr Plowden's family round the
table.  My instructions from Sir Peter were to see the ladies in safety
with Washington's army.  I turned to Mr Plowden--

"If, sir, you can guarantee the safety of my vessel during my absence,
and secure me free egress from this harbour on my return, I will proceed
with Mrs Tarleton and Miss Carlyon, and I trust shall have the means of
securing them from any inconvenience of the nature to which you allude."

Mr Plowden thought a little.

"I can be answerable for the safety of your vessel, and that no one will
prevent her leaving the harbour when you return," he answered.  "But
remember, sir, I cannot prevent your people quitting her if they wish to
do so."

"I will trust to your honour, then, sir," said I.  "My men are staunch,
and I have no fear of their deserting her.  I am ready to set out
whenever the ladies desire it."

"And I have determined to accompany you," exclaimed Lieutenant Spinks,
grasping my hand again.  "One good turn deserves another.  This is the
gentleman who preserved my life, and I want to show that I am grateful.
He will be safe enough from molestation on his way to General
Washington's camp, but he may find some difficulty when returning."

Of course I told Mr Spinks that I should be very glad of his society,
though I wondered how he could be certain of obtaining leave of absence
from his regiment.  I soon learned, however, that both officers and men
took the liberty of giving themselves leave, with very little ceremony,
from many of the militia regiments, into which but a very slack style of
discipline had as yet been introduced.

While the ladies were resting, and preparing for their journey, I
returned on board the tender, and, leaving Grampus in charge, received
from all hands an assurance that they would obey his orders and remain
faithful to their colours.

"Never fear us, Mr Hurry," said Grampus; "we hopes you will see them
beautiful ladies safe with their friends, and will soon come back to
us."

I told him I hoped to return in a few days, and as I went over the side
all hands gave three cheers as an earnest of their sincerity.

The arrangements for the journey were soon made, and by two o'clock our
party was ready to commence the journey.  At the door stood a coach
covered with gilding, but very much the worse for wear.  Four horses
were attached to it, but their sorry appearance showed that they would
not be able to drag it except at a slow pace, and for a short distance.
On the coach-box sat a white-headed negro.  He had once been a strong
stout man, but age had shrunk up his flesh and muscles, and his
countenance now seemed composed alone of black bumps and wrinkles and
protuberances, with two white orbs set in the midst of them.  His lank
body and limbs were covered with a livery of blue and silver, but, like
the coach, sadly faded and worn.  Two horses, of somewhat better
appearance, were held near at hand by some negro boys, and a little
farther off two black mounted servants held the reins of a couple of
well-conditioned palfreys with side-saddles on their backs.  Mr Plowden
led the ladies to the door.

"I have done all I could, madam, for your convenience," said he, bowing
low and pointing to the equipage.  "This war has left me in a very
different state to what I have been accustomed, or I would have enabled
you to journey in a style more befitting your position in life.  The
carriage will convey you as far as those sorry steeds are able, and then
I fear that the bad nature of the roads will require you to continue
your journey on horseback."

Suitable replies were made, affectionate expressions were exchanged
between Mrs and the Misses Plowden and their guests, and the latter
took their seats in the old family coach.  Spinks and I mounted the
horses, the black servants and the baggage-horses followed, and with
many bows and waves of the hands the cavalcade moved forward.  The
carriage rolled creakingly on, pitching and tumbling and bumping over
the stones and into the ruts in the road.  Frequently I moved up to the
window to exchange words with its occupants.  They both expressed their
anxiety for the time when they might dismiss the vehicle and mount on
horseback.  At first the country was very uninteresting, but by degrees
it improved, and rich undulating ground and hills and fertile valleys,
here and there dotted with cottages and flocks and herds, were seen on
every side.  As we proceeded, men in half-military uniform, working in
the fields, would look up and inquire whence we came and where we were
going, but they were easily satisfied with the civil answers we gave
them.

It was late in the day before we drove into the courtyard of a house
very similar in character to that we had lately left.  We were not
expected, but a note from Mr Plowden explained matters, and we were
cordially received by the ladies of the family.  The master was with the
army, so were his sons.  One had already fallen in the unfortunate
strife.  I at first was received with some stiffness.  I could not
expect it to be otherwise; but that soon wore off, and I felt myself as
one of the family.  I must not delay in describing each event of our
journey.

A truly Indian summer morning ushered in the next day.  In high spirits
Miss Carlyon mounted her horse, as did her aunt, and with kind
well-wishes from our late hosts we trotted out of the courtyard.  They
felt great relief from the noise and jolting of the old coach.  The old
black coachman gazed after us with a look of reproach, as if he thought
we had no business to be merry after we had deserted him.  That day's
ride was to me one of the most perfect enjoyment.  Scarcely for a moment
did I leave Madeline's side, and every instant knit my heart closer and
closer to her.  I forgot all that the future might bring forth, all the
difficulties to be encountered; the months, perhaps years, of
separation, before I could hope by any possibility to call her mine, and
revelled only in the present.  I could not tell what she might think or
feel.  I dared not ask, lest the delightful enchantment by which I was
surrounded might be rudely broken.  She eagerly listened to all I said,
smiled and blushed and--but I won't go on.  I knew that I loved her, and
I thought she loved me.  Spinks was an excellent companion on such an
occasion; silent and phlegmatic, he occasionally only would ride up to
offer a few remarks to Mrs Tarleton, and then would drop astern and
seem lost in his own reflections.  As the day advanced, signs of war's
malign effects began to appear.  Poor fellows, with bandaged heads and
arms in slings, were met limping and crawling along.  Hedges and walls,
overturned cottages, and whole hamlets burned to the ground.  The tide
of war had during the summer swept over this part of the Jerseys.  The
mischief we saw was, however, chiefly effected by foraging parties from
the British forces, especially by the Hessians, so dreaded and hated by
the colonists.

"Two causes have alienated all true hearts from the British crown in
this country," observed Mrs Tarleton.  "The supercilious manner of the
civil and especially of the military officers sent from England towards
the colonists, and the attempt to coerce them with foreign mercenaries.
We could have borne unjust laws and taxes, because they could be
repealed; but the pride of all the gentlemen of the land has been
aroused not to be quelled, except by entire separation from those who
could thus insult them."

We were within a few miles of that magnificent stream, the Delaware
River, when we gained sufficiently exact information to enable us to
guide our future course.  The British fleet, under Lord Howe, had
complete command of the lower part of the river.  The city of
Philadelphia, lately the seat of Government, had fallen into the hands
of the army under General Howe, after the battle of Brandywine, when
Washington had been compelled to retreat.  General Howe, it appeared,
had neglected to take advantage of his success, and the patriot forces,
emboldened by, his inaction, were about to attack him again, when a
terrific storm of rain prevented the engagement.  After this the British
troops, having advanced to Germaintown, were vigorously attacked by the
whole patriot army, and victory seemed inclined to their standard when,
the Americans becoming separated by a thick fog, a panic seized them,
and they made a precipitate retreat.  General Washington's army, we
heard, was now at a place called White Marsh, about fourteen miles from
Philadelphia.  Thither Mrs Tarleton resolved immediately to proceed, in
the hopes of meeting her brother, who, though wounded, was still, she
heard, with his regiment.

As both shores of the Delaware were now in possession of the British,
there was much chance of our falling in with some of their troops.
Strange as it may appear, I felt very anxious to avoid them.  I could
not bear the idea of exposing my charges to the scrutiny and the
inquiries to which they would be subject, though my presence would, I
trusted, prevent their being exposed to any personal annoyance.  We
accordingly turned our horses' heads to the north, intending to cross
the river at a spot a considerable distance above Philadelphia.  We had
travelled some miles without meeting anyone from whom we could make
inquiries.  I began to be somewhat anxious, fearing that the peasantry
might have concealed themselves in consequence of the approach of an
enemy, and I was on the point of begging Lieutenant Spinks to ride
forward and make inquiries, when a cloud of dust rose up from a valley
before us, and the dull heavy tramp of a body of men was heard ascending
the winding road up the hill.  I instantly reined up and drew my
companions on one side, where they were concealed by a small clump of
trees, while I advanced with Spinks a little way in front, each of us
waving a white handkerchief, to show that we were there with no hostile
intent.

"They are the enemy!" cried Spinks.  "Oh, the villains!  May they all
be--"

"Which enemy?"  I asked, forgetting for a moment that he was an
American.

"The scoundrel Hessians," he answered with an oath.  "They are the last
people I would wish to have met."

I agreed with him, but there was no time to be lost, as we could
distinguish the advanced guard with their glittering arms and dark
uniforms coming over the brow of the hill.  No sooner were we perceived
than several men advanced at double quick step and surrounded us.  We
could not make ourselves understood, so, holding Sir Peter Parker's
letter in my hand, and pointing to my uniform, I signified that I wished
to be conducted to their colonel.  By this time a halt was called.  A
light company was sent out as skirmishers into the wood through which we
had passed, and the officer I asked for rode up in front.  He looked at
my naval jacket, and then at the militiaman's uniform, and evidently
regarded us with no little suspicion.  I found, however, that he could
speak English, and I endeavoured rapidly to explain matters.

"A very odd story this you tell me," he answered.  "How can you expect
me to believe you?"

I handed him Sir Peter's letter.

"I do not know his handwriting.  This may be a forgery," said he.  The
colonel was a weather-beaten, stern, wary old man.  I have seldom met a
person less likely to be moved by any of the gentler sympathies of our
nature.

"I'll tell you what it is, colonel.  I was left for dead, near New York,
by some of your people, and this sea-officer here came up and saved my
life, and that's the reason I came along with him," exclaimed Spinks,
who was excessively indignant at our statement being doubted.

The mention of New York reminded me of the narrow escape I had had of my
life on the day to which Spinks alluded, and I thought I recognised in
the man before me the officer in charge of the party of Hessians who so
nearly finished Simeon and me when General Pigot came up to our rescue.
I asked the colonel if he recollected the circumstance.  He smiled
grimly.

"I think I recollect the circumstance," said he; "but what has that to
do with the matter?"

"Simply that you thought I was a rebel then, and you found that you were
mistaken, and in the same way that you will find you are mistaken now if
you molest me."

Scarcely had I ceased speaking when a shriek resounded through the wood.
I knew too well whence it proceeded.  I wheeled round my horse, and,
putting my spurs into his side, was in a moment at the spot where I had
left the two ladies and their attendants.  I found them surrounded by
Hessian soldiers, some of whom were attempting to catch hold of their
horses' heads and to drag them from their saddles.  I drew a sword from
the scabbard of the first man I reached, and before he could look round
I had dashed in among the miscreants, cutting at them right and left.  I
felt maddened with rage, and thought not of the consequences.  Madeline
saw me coming, and held out her hands to implore my aid.  I reached her
just as a soldier had succeeded in catching the bridle of her horse and
had almost dragged her to the ground.  With a blow of my sword I sent
the fellow reeling backwards, and placed her in her saddle.  Mrs
Tarleton had managed hitherto to elude the soldiers; but in another
instant they would have closed in on her, when Spinks, followed by the
Hessian colonel, galloped up.

The appearance of the latter prevented the soldiers from attacking her.
He ordered them back into their ranks.  I pointed to the pale and
terrified ladies, and asked him if this was the way Germans behaved
towards helpless women.  He looked ashamed and attempted to apologise.
I saw my advantage and pushed it to the utmost.

"They are anxious to visit a wounded, perhaps a dying, relation, and you
threaten to delay them," said I.

"We cannot allow people to wander about, and perhaps give notice of our
expedition," replied the colonel.

"As to that, colonel, depend on it, every step you take is well known to
General Washington, and if he does not attack you it is because he does
not think it worth while," put in Spinks, in his amusingly independent
manner.

The Hessian officer looked as if he would like to eat him.

"Well, sir," said I, "you have every proof I can give you of the
correctness of my statement.  You see what Sir Peter Parker says.  Will
you allow my party to proceed?"

The colonel must have seen that we could in reality not do him the
slightest injury by any information we could give as to his movements,
so after some more conversation he ordered his detachment to advance,
while he remained with us.  It was with much satisfaction that I saw
them march by, casting no very friendly looks at us.

"Now proceed as fast as you can," said the grim old officer.  "My men
are rather unmanageable at times.  They might have attempted to revenge
themselves for the way you treated their comrades, though on my word you
were perfectly right."

We thanked the gruff old man for his courtesy.  I suspect that he had a
softer heart than he would have wished to appear under his rough
exterior, and, taking his hint, moved on as rapidly as our horses would
carry us to the northward.

I will not repeat the indignant expressions uttered by Mrs Tarleton at
the conduct of the Hessians.  I could only blush for my country, and
bitterly regret that such men were employed in that fratricidal warfare.
Madeline expressed her thanks to me, rather by her looks than her
words.  She said little, afraid of wounding my feelings, but I suspect
that the behaviour of the Hessians made her abandon any sympathy for the
Tories which she might have entertained.  Every now and then we looked
round to see that none of the Hessians were following us.  Their march
could be traced by the fields trampled down--cottages unroofed or
burnt--stacks of corn scattered about, and walls and hedges overturned.
It showed the utterly unprotected condition of New Jersey at the time--
that no opposition was offered them in their progress.  For my part I
felt that the patriot cause was hopeless, and it was with a secret
feeling of gratification that I pictured to myself the service I might
render to my friends when the royal cause should finally triumph, and
all ranks be compelled to submit.  I did not venture to ask Mrs
Tarleton what opinion she had formed from the aspect of affairs, but she
apparently divined my thoughts.

"It is very sad to behold all this," she remarked, pointing to the
devastated country.  "But, Mr Hurry, do not be mistaken.  Those who
come to conquer us little know the amount of endurance possessed by the
Anglo-Saxon race, if they fancy that we are about to succumb because
they have laid waste our fields, cut down our fruit-trees, and burned
our villages, or because our undisciplined troops have in some instances
been compelled to retreat before them.  I tell you, Mr Hurry, we shall
be victorious in the end."

Soon after this we came to a spot where three roads branched off before
us.  We hesitated which to take, and not a person was to be seen to
inquire our way.  That to the right led, it appeared to me, in the
direction we wished to proceed.  We took it, and shortly began to ascend
a steep hill among trees, now richly tinted with the varied hues of
autumn, though many of the leaves had already fallen, and thickly
strewed the ground.  Never had my eye rested on such gorgeous colouring
as that wooded height presented.  Madeline and I could not refrain from
reining up our horses, and turning round to enjoy the superb view which
lay spread out before us over the country across which we had lately
passed.  At our feet was a broad valley, with a succession of undulating
hills beyond, and fields and orchards and cottages sprinkled about.
There were to be seen groves of the delicate straw-tinted beech, and the
ruddy maple, with its shades of brightest yellow and green, and oak
forests of a dark copper hue, as if changed into metal by an enchanter's
wand, and in the hollows, dark patches of the sombre cypress of North
America, which delights to grow in the stagnant marsh; nor was the
graceful birch with its white stem, or the willow, wanting to add
variety to the woodland scene.  To our right the majestic stream of the
broad Delaware wound round from the north-west towards the city of
Philadelphia, now the head-quarters of General Howe's victorious army.
While we were looking across the valley at the wood into which the
Hessian troops had passed, we saw several men appear at the outskirts.
After looking about them, it seemed to us, they descended rapidly the
hill.  Others followed, and it appeared as if the main body were making
a retrograde movement, and perhaps might march along the very road we
were taking.  At all events I was anxious not to expose my charges to
any fresh insults, and therefore once more put the party in movement.
Spinks volunteered to ride back to ascertain in what direction the
Hessians were about to march.  He promised not to expose himself
unnecessarily, and to overtake us speedily, so I saw no objection to his
proposal.

We rode on as fast as the horses could go, without risk of falling over
the very rough and ill-formed road.  It was late in the day, and still
Spinks had not overtaken us.  I began to feel anxious about him, for I
knew that, should he fall into the hands of the Hessians, he would have
very little mercy to expect from them.  After what had occurred they
would probably look upon him as a spy, and hang him without ceremony.  I
thought of sending back one of the servants who had charge of the
baggage-horses, to try and learn something about him, but Caractacus,
the negro in question, positively refused to go.

"If Massa Spinks dead, Cractus no make him live again," he argued.  "If
he live, he come back of his self."

There was no controverting this opinion, so we continued our journey.
We at last came to a cottage, in which was an old woman almost deaf and
blind.  After much interrogation, I found that her two sons had gone to
the wars with General Washington, and that a daughter-in-law who lived
with her was away to get some provisions, and, what was of importance to
us, that we were on the road we had wished to take.  We had still a
league to go before reaching the house at which Mrs Tarleton wished to
rest before crossing the river.  Spinks knew of it, so we hoped that he
would rejoin us there.  There was something very genuine about that poor
fellow.  I had done him a service, and he wished to do me one, so I
could not help taking a liking to him.  Both Mrs Tarleton and her niece
had become somewhat anxious about our friend.  The shades of evening
grew rapidly denser, for the twilight in that latitude is short, and
still he did not appear.  We could not, however, stop for him, and it
became at last so dark that we could scarcely find the entrance to the
house at which we were to stop.  It seemed a long, low building,
surrounded by a courtyard and walls, with several out-houses and gardens
and orchards outside.  I made out an entrenchment in front, with a
wooden bridge over a moat, and then a stone wall with some massive
gates.  After ringing for some time they were opened, and several armed
men appeared on either side.  As we rode on to the hall door there
appeared a blaze of light inside, and a tall, dignified old gentleman
came down the steps to assist the ladies to dismount.

"I am glad to welcome you and your niece to my house under any
circumstances, Mrs Tarleton," said he, as he led them up the steps.
"But you find us somewhat in marshal array just now, and I am afraid may
be put to some inconvenience.  The enemy's troops have crossed the
river, and it has been considered necessary to fortify this post."

"I can never complain of any inconvenience in our noble cause," said
Mrs Tarleton.

I knew well that not only would she cheerfully bear any inconvenience,
but would glory in any suffering or hardship she might be called on to
endure on account of it.

The public rooms, as we passed along, were, I perceived, filled with a
number of persons, some in military uniforms, and others in the dresses
of civilians.  I was formally introduced, and though at first I was
received with some restraint, in a little time the manner of the host
and his numerous guests became as cordial as if I was an old friend,
instead of belonging to the party of their enemies.  There were no
ladies or any females left of the family.  They had all been sent off to
another house some way into the interior, to which it was believed the
enemy were not likely to penetrate.

From what I could learn, it was not at all improbable that the house,
which commanded a reach of the river, might be attacked before long, and
I was therefore very anxious to get my friends across it, and once more
on their journey towards head-quarters.  Mrs Tarleton, however, seemed
to think that she might wait safely till the next morning, and, as no
news of the British troops had been brought in, I hoped that the delay
would not bring them into any danger.  Supper was over, and the officers
of the little garrison not on guard had retired to their rooms.  I had
one allotted to me, looking out on the river, which shone with a silvery
hue from the light of an almost full moon, while the swill of the
stream, as it rushed by, had a pleasing and soothing effect.  I could
hear, ever and anon, the distant bark of a dog, the tramp and challenge
of the sentries, and the voices of some of the men of a militia regiment
quartered in the out-houses and in some hastily-constructed huts within
the courtyard.

My mind was occupied with too many thoughts to allow me to sleep.  After
several attempts I gave it up.  My companions in the room were much in
the same condition, and as they rose and resumed their outer clothing, I
did the same.  They proposed making the round of the works, and I asked
leave to accompany them.  Scarcely had we reached the front door when
voices were heard, and the clatter of a horse's hoofs in the courtyard.

"A scout has come in, and will bring us news of the enemy," observed one
of the officers.  "Let us hear what he has to report."

In another second the light of the lamp in the hall fell on the
countenance of the newcomer, and I recognised my friend Lieutenant
Spinks.  His dress was bespattered with mud from head to foot; his horse
shook in every limb as he dismounted; his head was bare, his countenance
was pale as death, and through a rent in his coat I saw the blood oozing
slowly out.

"They are coming!" he exclaimed.  "The rascally Hessians!  I have been
watching them all the evening to ascertain which way they were taking.
I got too close at last, and was discovered by one of their pickets,
just as they were getting under arms.  They are going to make a
night-attack on this place.  Of that I am certain."

The senior officer in the house, Colonel Barlow, now came down, and
Spinks made him a full report of his adventures.  He had run a great
risk of being taken, and I was truly glad that he had escaped.  There
seemed to be no doubt that the Hessian troops were advancing to attack
the house.  The officers assembled were unanimous in the opinion that
they could defend it.  Every one was instantly on foot.  Loop-holes had
been cut in all the walls.  They were at once occupied by men.  Some
light field-pieces defended the front of the house--the weakest point;
some men were stationed on the roof; the bridge over the moat was drawn
in, and, indeed, every preparation was made to stand a siege.

In the midst of the preparations Mrs Tarleton appeared in the hall
among the officers collected there.  Her countenance was as calm, and
her voice, when she spoke, as firm as if nothing unusual was occurring.

"You will be able to hold this fort against those wretched mercenaries,
I hope, Colonel Barlow?"

The colonel replied that he had no doubt about it.

"Then we will remain and see the result," she answered.  "I cannot bear
the thought of running away when so many of my countrymen are exposed to
danger."

"While such are the sentiments of our women, our cause is sure to
triumph, madam," said the colonel.  "Still it is my duty to try and
persuade you not to expose yourself and niece.  The fortune of war is
always uncertain.  Independent of the risk you run from the shot of the
enemy, we may be overcome, and then your fate would be a sad one.  It
will be wise in you if you will consent to leave us at once.  A boat is
being made ready to ferry you across the river, and on the other side
the country is occupied by patriot troops."

Still Mrs Tarleton would not consent to go.  She knew that her presence
would encourage the garrison to resist to the utmost.  I would very much
rather for her sake, and especially for that of her niece, that she had
gone at once to a place of safety.  As, however, I must, at all events,
be a non-combatant, I felt that I could remain by their side and aid
their escape.  The better to be able to do this, I set off at once to
examine the situation of the place, and to see that the boat was in
perfect readiness to cross the river.  Caractacus and his companion, I
found, were both accustomed to pull an oar.  There was a horse-boat also
at hand, and as there would probably be time before the attack
commenced, I got Colonel Barlow to allow the horses and baggage to be
conveyed across at once, and left at a farm-house of which he told me,
at a short distance from the banks.  I directed Caractacus and Sambo, as
soon as they had performed this duty, to return at once, so as to be
ready for any emergency.

"Is, massa, we come back and fight de Hessians; oh, ki, berry likely,"
exclaimed the negro, giving a poke with his elbow at his sable
companion's ribs.

The other grinned, as if he considered the bare possibility of his doing
such a thing a very good joke.  I saw that I could not very well depend
on them.

"No, I don't want you to fight, only to help the ladies escape; you
understand me?  I promise you a dollar each if I find you at the boat
when I come down."

The negroes understood this sort of reasoning better than any argument I
had used, and promised obedience.  Had Mrs Tarleton, however, known
beforehand of the arrangements I had made, I believe she would have
countermanded them, so confident was she on all occasions of the success
of her party.  When any defeat had occurred, she evidently looked on it
as an exception to the general rule, or rather as a means to the
victorious termination of the strife.

By the time I had made all the arrangements I had described it was past
midnight.  Some of the gentlemen retired again to their beds, but I with
others sat up.  My position was rather a curious one.  Here was I, a
guest in an enemy's camp, with the prospect of an engagement, and unable
to side with either party.  Certainly, however, I could not have been
treated more kindly or courteously than I was by the Americans on that
occasion.  A party of a dozen or more of us were sitting smoking and
chatting in the large plank-lined dining-hall, by the light of a huge
fire, when a sergeant of militia entered with the announcement that
several scouts had come in, reporting that the enemy were advancing, and
were not more than a couple of miles off.  In less than an hour, then,
we might expect an attack.  I have never felt more anxious than I did on
that occasion.  Immediately all within the house were on the alert; the
walls were manned; the wooden bridge hauled up, the guns loaded and run
out, and every preparation was made to repel the assault.  Being myself
very doubtful of the result, I looked about for a place where the ladies
might remain in comparative safety.  The most secure spot was a root
house, where stores of vegetables are kept during the winter.  There, at
least, no shot could reach my friends, and as it was on the side nearest
the river, they might more easily escape thence to the boat.  Having
found a piece of matting, I carried it, with some chairs and cloaks, to
the place, and then returned to beg Mrs Tarleton to take shelter there.
She laughed at my proposal.

"What! do you think that the women of America are accustomed to skulk
from their enemies when their presence may avail to encourage their
friends, and they may be of use to the wounded?" she answered, looking
at the same time towards Madeline, in the expectation that she would
utter her sentiments.

"Perhaps, dear aunt, we might be of more use out of the way of danger,
in some place where, should any of our friends be wounded, they might be
brought to us," remarked her niece, "especially as Mr Hurry has so
considerately prepared a refuge for us."

Still nothing Madeline or I could say could move Mrs Tarleton from her
purpose.  At length Colonel Barlow came to our aid, and so strongly
urged the point that she appeared inclined to give in.  We were standing
at the moment in the centre of the dining-hall.  Our conversation was
interrupted by the loud report of musketry--the pattering of the bullets
against the roof and sides of the house--the louder roar of the
field-pieces--the cries and shouts of the men within the building, and
of their unseen assailants.  The colonel and his officers hurried off
instantly to the defences.  Madeline trembled; even Mrs Tarleton turned
pale.  Several shots found their way into the room where we were.  The
shouts of the assailants grew louder; the bullets fell thicker and
thicker.  A bright glare burst forth.  One of the out-houses had caught
fire.  Two wounded men were brought in and placed on the ground.  Mrs
Tarleton and her niece knelt down by their sides.  I assisted.
Madeline, I observed, had ceased to tremble while employed in her work
of mercy.  One poor fellow soon ceased to breathe; he had been shot
through the lungs.  The other groaned heavily; the haemorrhage was
internal.  I soon saw that their efforts to aid him were of little
avail.  He quickly joined his companion in another world.  For a minute
or more there was a cessation of the attack: then it began again with
greater fury than before, and the bullets came pattering against the
walls like hail, many finding their way into the room.  I seized Mrs
Tarleton's hand, exclaiming--

"Come, madam! no woman should remain thus unnecessarily exposed."

Madeline took her other hand, and together we led her through the garden
to the place I had prepared for their reception.



CHAPTER TWELVE.

THE AMERICANS OVERPOWERED.--SPINKS ASSISTS US TO ESCAPE.--CROSS RIVER.--
REACH WASHINGTON'S CAMP.--INTERVIEW WITH THE GREAT CHIEF.--MRS. TARLETON
FINDS HER BROTHER, COLONEL HALLET, WOUNDED.--MY STAY IN THE CAMP.--AN
AFFAIR OF OUTPOSTS.--FAREWELL TO MADELINE.--QUIT THE CAMP, ACCOMPANIED
BY SPINKS.--AFTER MANY ADVENTURES REJOIN THE TENDER.

Madeline and I endeavoured to hurry along Mrs Tarleton, but she
appeared totally insensible to the dangerous position in which she and
her niece were placed.  Several bullets came whizzing by us, but she
kept her head as erect as would the oldest veteran.  I had almost to
drag her on, and I was very thankful when at length we reached the door
of the building unscathed.  I had told Lieutenant Spinks where to find
us, should he wish to communicate with the ladies.

In spite of his wound, he had joined in the defence of the place.  Not
so Caractacus and Sambo.  When we entered, I saw two bundles among the
piled-up turnips and potatoes.  I gave a kick at them, and out tumbled
our two sable attendants.

"Oh, ki, massa, is dat you?" exclaimed the first, springing to his feet.
"Come along--dis no good place for any wise man.  We get across de
river, and away from dese Hesse devils."

"All in good time," I answered.  "Do you take care of the ladies while I
go and learn the state of affairs."

It was now the part of Mrs Tarleton and Madeline to press me to stay,
and not to expose myself to danger.  I promised to obey in the latter
point, but urged the necessity of ascertaining how matters were
progressing, that I might judge whether we might safely remain where we
were, or whether it would be better at once to cross the river.
Unwillingly they let me go.  I managed to climb up to the top of a wall.
A glance showed me that a considerable body of men were engaged in the
attack, and that they were well provided with field-pieces, which were
already making some impression on the walls.  Two of the out-houses were
in flames; the roof of the main building had caught fire, and men were
engaged in extinguishing it, while the number of the killed and wounded
was very considerable.  I felt convinced that, heroically as the
garrison were defending themselves, they could not long hold out.  With
this conviction I returned to my friends, and urged Mrs Tarleton to
allow me to conduct her at once to the boat.  While she was still
hesitating, Lieutenant Spinks rushed into the vault, blood streaming
from his arm.  "All is lost!" he exclaimed.  "Fly, ladies, fly, or those
villainous Hessians will be up to us before you can escape.  The colonel
is making a stout resistance, and may keep them back for some time, but
he ordered me to come on and hasten your flight."

After hearing this, I was determined that there should be no further
delay; so, sending the negroes on to the boat, we took the ladies' arms
and followed as rapidly as they could walk.  Not for a moment would I
allow them to stop and look back.

The boat was in readiness: we stepped in.  I urged Spinks to come also,
as with his wound he could be of no further use.  I had, however, almost
to force him on board.  Without a moment's delay we shoved off.  I put
Spinks at the helm, and took an oar.  The blacks seized the other two,
and there was no necessity to tell them to pull away lustily.  We were
only just in time.  The shouts and shrieks and cries increased.  Thick
flew the bullets--many passing over our heads.  The flames grew
brighter; the main building was on fire, and burned furiously.  By its
bright glare we could distinguish the dark figures of the combatants--
the assailants climbing over the walls on either hand, and the defenders
of the place in detached parties, still desperately endeavouring to
oppose them.  Suddenly trumpets sounded, voices were heard calling
loudly, and there was a cessation of firing.  We pulled on, however,
across the river, for I thought very likely that, if we were discovered
by the victors, we should be fired at, and compelled to return.  The
ruddy glare was reflected on the broad stream, and the banks were
lighted up by the flames of the burning house, so that we had no
difficulty in finding our way across to the right landing-place.

The farmer in whose charge the horses had been left, brought them out as
soon as we appeared.  "I would ask you to stay," he said, "but I know
not how soon the enemy may come upon us.  You must take a stirrup-cup,
though; it will do the hearts of the poor ladies good.  They want
something to keep up their spirits, I'm sure."  I forget the mixture
that was produced.  I know that it was very good, though the ladies
would not be prevailed on to do more than taste it.  Lieutenant Spinks
would allow us to make only a very short delay to get his wound washed
and bound up, declaring all the time that it was of very little
consequence.  "I'm well accustomed to shot-holes by this time, I guess,
so never fear," said he.  I must say this for him, that he was decidedly
a very plucky fellow, and was, I suspect, a fair sample of the men who
won independence for America.  The good-natured farmer then ordered a
lad on horseback to show us the way, and uttered many hearty good wishes
for our safety.  "None of the enemy are to the north of us, so I think
you may reach the camp without difficulty," he remarked.  He asked no
questions about me.  I suspect that Caractacus and Sambo had fully
enlightened him.

We pushed on for the remainder of the night, and did not even draw rein
till morning dawned.  It was wonderful how well the ladies endured the
fatigue they were undergoing; not a complaint escaped either of them;
indeed, Mrs Tarleton seemed rather to glory in the hardships she was
undergoing.

Instead of striking at once into the country, we kept to the north, so
as to make a circuit towards the spot where it was understood General
Washington was then encamped.  I tried to persuade Spinks to stop and
rest, but on he would go, as long as his horse would carry him.  Our
steeds, however, at last began to knock up, and we were glad to discover
a farm-house among the trees a couple of hundred yards from the road.
The inmates received us cordially.  Breakfast was instantly placed
before us, and a room prepared where the ladies might lie down and seek
that rest they so much required.  The farmer put Spinks into an
arm-chair, and scarcely had he finished his breakfast than he leant back
and fell fast asleep.  I felt much inclined to follow his example, but
our host would not let me.  He wanted to hear all about us, and, to do
him justice, he was ready to impart an abundance of information in
return.  Unaccustomed to the sight of uniforms, it never occurred to him
that I was a British officer, and from the far-from-pleasant way he
spoke of my countrymen, I felt no inclination to enlighten him.  What
surprised me most was to hear of the disorganised state of Washington's
army--the want of food and clothing from which it was suffering, and the
utter insufficiency of all the commissariat arrangements.  The wonder
was how, in such a condition, the American forces could withstand
General Howe's well-supplied, and well-disciplined troops.

"I'll tell you what it is," observed the farmer; "one has a just cause,
and the other hasn't--that's the difference."

I did not tell him that there were two sides to that opinion, and that
some people might consider the royal cause the just one.

A three hours' rest refreshed all our party as well as our horses, and
we were once more in the saddle.  No further incident of importance
occurred till in the afternoon we came suddenly on an outlying picket of
the patriot forces.

The main body of Washington's army was at this time encamped at a place
called White Marsh, about fourteen miles to the north of Philadelphia.
We had approached it from the north-east.  The officer in command of the
picket came forward, and Mrs Tarleton explained who she was, and her
object in visiting the camp.

"Can you give me any information respecting my brother, Colonel Hallet?"
she asked with an anxious voice.

"Colonel Hallet is alive, madam, but he requires more rest than he
obtains," answered the officer with a grave look.  "I see him often, but
I cannot report favourably of him."

I saw that more was implied than was said.  While this conversation was
going on, I brought my horse close up to that of Miss Carlyon.  I could
not but realise to myself that the moment of our parting had arrived.
The thought sent a pang, such as I had never before felt, through my
heart.  Madeline herself looked grave and sad.  Was it the account of
her uncle's state of health which made her so or was it--vain puppy that
I felt myself--because we were about to part--perhaps for ever.

How distant the prospect appeared, with the numberless vicissitudes of a
sailor's life intervening, when we might hope to meet again!  Could we
venture to indulge that hope?  Should we ever meet?  Should I not rather
be prepared to part for ever?  I would not allow myself to be overcome
by a thought so full of agony.

"Miss Carlyon!"  I gasped out, and I drew my breath, while I felt as if
I could not utter another word.

"Hurricane Hurry!" said a low voice within me, "what are you about?  Act
like a man!"  However, I did not feel a bit the wiser.  "Miss Carlyon,"
I began again, "I have almost completed the duty I was sent on.  You and
your aunt will soon be within the lines of General Washington's camp."

She looked very grave, and I thought pained.  I continued: "I must now
return with all speed to my ship, though--though--" I could not for the
life of me find words to express what I wanted to say.

"Mr Hurry must be aware how deep an obligation he has conferred upon my
aunt, and we should have been glad if we could have avoided making his
duty irksome," said Miss Carlyon in a low, deep voice, while the colour
came into her cheeks for an instant and then fled, leaving her paler
than before.

I was certain her voice trembled as she uttered the last words.

"Irksome!"  I exclaimed.  "Oh, Miss Carlyon, how could you for a moment
think so?  It has been the most delightful duty I ever performed.  Duty
did I call it?  It has been unspeakable joy and happiness to me, almost
from the time you came on board my vessel, to feel that I was of service
to you; that you were under my care and protection.  Day after day that
feeling increased, till it has grown into a part of my being.  It would
be my delight to feel that I could spend my life in the same way.  Why
should I conceal it?  You may not care for me--you will return to your
own people, and perhaps scarcely ever cast a thought on the rough sailor
who is tossing about on the wild ocean; but he never, never can forget
the days of intense happiness he has passed in your society, in watching
your every look, in serving you with a true and faithful love--in--"

The temper of the Hurrys was breaking forth with a vengeance.

"Oh no, no; do not say those words!" she exclaimed; "I do--I do regard
you with--with--deeper feeling than I ought.  Can you ask me to say
more?  But oh, Mr Hurry, this dreadful war!"

"Madeline, the war will end; the time will come when you may be mine!"
I exclaimed vehemently.  "Will you--will you then consent?"

"Mr Hurry, I will," she answered calmly.  "If you come and claim me,
you will find me true.  Some women never love more than once.  Yet I
will not bind you.  You have your profession to occupy you.  Your family
may disdain a rebel's child with her property confiscated.  You may
wander to all parts of the world: you will see numberless women--many
very far superior to me--you may--"

I interrupted her with a vehement exclamation of denial as to the
possibility of anything she suggested occurring.  I need not repeat all
I said--all the vows I uttered.  I did not believe that mortal power
could make me break them.

We had remained somewhat behind the rest of the party while Mrs
Tarleton was speaking to the officer of the picket, and Lieutenant
Spinks was gaining information as to the road we were to take to reach
head-quarters.  It was now time to move on.  Anxious as I was not to
part from Madeline till the last moment, I felt that, as an officer of
the Royalist party, I ought to offer to remain in the outskirts of the
camp; but to my great satisfaction Mrs Tarleton at once overruled my
objections.

"Our friends will wish to thank you for the great service you have
rendered us, and you will require a few hours' rest at least before you
commence your return journey," she observed.

Madeline's look I thought said, "Do not go yet;" so I agreed to the
proposal.  The marks of recent strife were sadly evident along the road
over which we passed, in the blackened remains of houses, woods cut
down, and fences destroyed.

We passed through several other pickets till we finally came to where a
considerable body of troops were encamped within intrenchments, and with
some rugged hills in front.  Among the troops was a corps of fine, tall,
active-looking young men, whose uniforms and accoutrements were in the
most perfect order.  Accustomed as I had been to see the ill-clothed,
various-sized, undisciplined militia, I was particularly struck by their
appearance.

"Those are General Washington's guards," observed Mrs Tarleton.  "He
has much need of such men; for, though prizing the lives of those under
him, he is sadly careless of his own.  He himself is, I do not doubt,
not far-off."

We had not ridden a hundred yards when we saw before us a group of
mounted officers in handsome uniforms, with plumes nodding and arms
glittering.  I had somehow or other pictured to myself the rebel
generals as a dingy-looking set, like the Covenanters of old, or
Cromwell's Invincibles, and I could scarcely persuade myself that those
I saw were officers of the enemy's army.  Among them rode one whom the
eye would not fail to single out from the rest--tall, handsome, and
graceful--the noble expression of his countenance showed that he had the
right to command.  I was struck, too, with the way in which he managed
his horse, and sat on his saddle.  He was an enemy and a rebel; but for
the life of me I could not help pulling off my hat and bowing low, when,
as he saw Mrs Tarleton, he rode forward to greet her.  I guessed he
could be no other than the renowned chief General Washington.  Among the
officers were Generals Sullivan, Wayne, and Woodford; Lord Stirling, a
gallant Scotchman, who in spite of his rank had joined the patriots; the
noble Frenchman, the Marquis Lafayette, and his veteran German friend
the Baron De Kalb; as also Generals Irvine, Reed, and other native
officers.  Their appearance was very military, but I had no eye for
anyone but the commander-in-chief.  He bowed to Madeline, and took Mrs
Tarleton's hand in a most kind and courteous manner, while his voice as
he spoke was gentle and melodious.

"I gladly welcome you to our camp, madam, deeply as I mourn the cause
which has brought you here.  Your gallant brother is still with us.  One
of my aides-de-camp will conduct you to his quarters.  You will, I fear,
find Colonel Hallet much changed.  He should long ago have retired from
active duty, but his patriotism overcame all suggestions of prudence.  I
would that all who advocate the independence of our country were like
him!"

Mrs Tarleton made a brief answer.  She was anxious to hurry to her
brother.  A short conversation, however, first ensued between her and
the general, which I did not overhear; then, calling me up, she
introduced me formally and explained who I was.  General Washington
received me in the frankest manner.

"I am happy to welcome one who has been of so much service to those I
highly esteem, and Mr Hurry may be assured that he will find none but
friends as long as he thinks fit to remain in this camp."

I made a suitable reply, regretting that duty must summon me so speedily
away.

"Perhaps you will have reason to alter your intention," said Mrs
Tarleton with marked emphasis.  "I will make you known to Lord Stirling
and other friends; they may have more success than I have had in proving
to you which is the right side of the question."

Madeline looked at me, and I thought she seemed to say, "Oh, I wish they
may succeed!"

General Washington simply remarked, "At all events, Mr Hurry is welcome
here as long as he stays with us.  I hope to have the pleasure of his
company at dinner to-day."

Several of the other officers came forward and spoke to me very kindly,
and by the general's directions a junior aide-de-camp attached himself
to me, while another accompanied Mrs Tarleton and her niece to Colonel
Hallet's quarters.

As they rode away I could do no more than take a hurried and formal
farewell of them both--I dared scarcely hope that I should be able to
see them again.  Lieutenant Spinks had several friends in the camp, with
one of whom he intended to take up his quarters.  He promised to call
for me if I persisted in my resolution to commence our return journey on
the following day.  I found Captain Douglas, the officer in whose charge
I was placed, a very pleasing, gentlemanly man.  To avoid giving any
cause of suspicion, I refrained from moving about without first asking
him if I could walk in that direction, and I thus soon gained his good
opinion, as he fully appreciated the motive of my conduct.

As the dinner-hour approached he took me to his tent, where I might get
rid of the dust of my journey.  It was pitched close to a farm-house
occupied by the general.  A barn attached to the farm-house, and hastily
fitted up, served as a dining-hall and council-chamber.  Here a number
of officers, mostly generals and colonels, were assembled.  I, a
midshipman, felt very small among them; and certainly the attention
which was paid me by so many great people was well calculated to turn my
head.  However, I was wide awake enough to know that all is not gold
that glitters.  From what I had previously heard, and from what I saw
when passing through the camp, I could not help discovering that the
American forces were in many respects in a very bad condition, ill-fed
and worse clothed.  Whole corps were in a very ragged state, and some
were almost shoeless, and entirely stockingless.  This in the summer was
bad enough, but with winter coming on, it was enough to disorganise the
whole army.

The feast to which I had been invited was, considering the state of
affairs I have described, a very grand one.  Everyone was in good
spirits, and laughed and talked with the greatest freedom.  I could
scarcely believe that these were the men who had lately been engaged in
a deadly strife, and might any moment be called out to give battle to a
well-disciplined and fierce enemy.  The provisions were somewhat coarse,
and probably not cooked by the most experienced of artists; but I had
been accustomed to meet with much worse at sea, so that I did not think
much about the matter.  Toasts were drunk, healths were pledged, and I
was frequently invited to take wine by the officers present, although
some looked at me, I thought with eyes rather askance, as if they did
not quite approve of an officer of the opposite cause being at large in
the camp.

The party, however, did not sit long after dinner, and when it broke up,
Douglas took me with him to his tent.  "Come, we will have a cup of
coffee together before you turn in," said he, as we sat down; "I have a
French servant who understands cooking it better than any man I ever
met.  You shall have at the same time a pipe of the true Virginia weed.
No one produces better than does our general on his estate; and this he
gave to me as being some of the very best he ever saw."

I found my friend's encomiums were fully justified by the excellence of
the tobacco; nor was his coffee to be despised.  Several officers looked
in occasionally, and we had a very pleasant evening.  They were,
however, at last hurriedly summoned off, and I threw myself down on the
camp bedstead my host had prepared for my use.

Weary as I was I could not sleep.  Something I was certain was going
forward.  More than once my ear caught the not very distant rattle of
musketry and the roar of cannon, and I could not help fearing that the
camp itself might be the object of attack, and that Mrs Tarleton and
Madeline might be involved in the confusion which must ensue, and
perhaps exposed to greater danger than any they had yet escaped.  I
considered how I could find means of being of service to them.
Unhappily I did not know my way to Colonel Hallet's quarters, and should
the necessity I apprehended arrive, I was not likely to find anybody to
guide me to them.

Douglas had gone out; I felt that I ought not to leave the tent till his
return as I might very naturally, by wandering about, have thereby
exposed myself to the suspicion of some sinister motive; so I lay still,
eagerly listening that I might make a guess at the way things were going
by the sounds which reached my ears.  Now and then there was a roll of a
drum--now a bugle sounded--then the distant report of a field-piece, and
next, a whole volley of musketry.  I sat up with my arm resting on my
pillow, ready to spring to my feet at a moment's notice.  I felt very
sad.  I could not bear the thought of not seeing Madeline again; and
even should I see her, I knew that I must be prepared to part from her
for an indefinite period--for many long years perhaps.  How changed
might she and I be by that time!

"It will not do to indulge in these thoughts," I exclaimed, passing the
palm of my hand to my brow; "they will unman me, or make me turn
traitor.  Traitor! ay, that's the word.  I must throw no false gloss
over it.  Deserter--a wretch, false to his flag!  No, no; she herself
would despise me.  These men now in arms around me have never sworn
allegiance to their sovereign; they have been forced into rebellion by
ill-treatment and injustice, by numberless insults.  I should have no
such excuse.  If I unite myself to them it will be for my own
gratification alone.  No, no, I'll not do it."

I must confess that many such discussions as this I had in my own mind
at this period, but I resisted the tempter in whatever form he came.
The firing ceased; still I listened, expecting it to recommence.  At
length Douglas returned:--

"An affair of outpost!" he remarked carelessly.  "You were disturbed by
the firing.  Howe's army is somewhat near at hand.  He wishes to draw us
into the lower ground, but General Washington knows the strength of our
position, and the advantage it gives us, too well to be tempted out of
it.  The enemy has retired; you may rest in quiet for the remainder of
the night."

By daylight all the camp was astir.  Lieutenant Spinks soon made his
appearance.  He looked pale, but said that his wound did not hurt him,
and that he should be able to accompany me if I was ready to commence
our return journey.  I had no excuse to offer to myself for delay, but
every reason for getting back to my vessel.  I however frankly told
Captain Douglas that I wished to bid farewell to the ladies I had
escorted to the camp.  I have an idea that he suspected how matters
stood.

"We will ride to Colonel Hallet's quarters directly after breakfast," he
answered promptly.  "By that time they may be ready to receive you."

Spinks promised in the interval to get the horses and servants prepared
for the journey.

A frugal and somewhat hurried meal over, I set out with Captain Douglas.
A ride of upwards of a mile over exceedingly rugged ground brought us
to a hamlet of log huts.  I remarked on the way the inaccessible nature
of the ground, and saw the wisdom of Washington in holding it.  I made
no remark in reference to this, but we talked freely on various topics
not immediately connected with the war.  My heart beat quick as my
companion pointed out a long low hut, and remarked--

"There lies poor Hallet, and I fear that he will never leave the place
alive."

The walls of the building consisted of long rough trunks of trees piled
one on the other, the ends fitting at the angles together, and a scoop
made in the lower log to admit the convex part of the upper one.  Not
that I remarked this at the time; all my thoughts were occupied with
what was to occur.  Douglas went to the door.  It was opened by a
soldier.  After a minute's delay he beckoned to me to follow him.  In a
small roughly-boarded room sat Mrs Tarleton and her niece.  They rose,
and the former took me cordially by the hand--

"Again I must thank you for enabling me to reach my poor brother in time
to find him alive," she said in a mournful voice.

I of course expressed my satisfaction of being of use, and looked to see
what Madeline would say.  I had taken her hand.  She forgot to withdraw
it.

"Indeed, indeed we are grateful," she uttered in a low voice.

She could not trust herself to say more.  I would have given much to
have been alone with her, but I saw no chance of this.  Perhaps it was
better as it was.  What she herself wished I could not tell.  Mrs
Tarleton showed no intention of leaving the room.  I longed to say a
great deal, but I felt tongue-tied.  Captain Douglas had but little time
to spare.  He looked at his watch.  I saw that I could no longer delay.
I bade farewell to Mrs Tarleton.  Madeline came to the door of the hut.
I took her hand--it trembled in mine:--

"Oh!  Mr Hurry," she said in a low, faltering voice, "I will never,
never forget you."

Douglas had thrown himself on his horse.  I leaped on mine and had to
follow him at a gallop.  Madeline was still standing at the door of the
hut when a rocky height hid it from my view.  Spinks was in readiness
for a start with Caractacus and Sambo.  We soon left the camp of the
American army far behind, and pushed on for the Delaware.  We crossed it
some way up, for the British forces were now in possession of both banks
for a considerable distance above Philadelphia.  That city remained
entirely in their hands.  An attack had, however, I found from Spinks,
been planned by the American generals to re-take it, but had been
abandoned by Washington on account of the great loss of life it would
have entailed.

In spite, however, of the general want of success of the patriots in the
south, their spirits were raised, and their determination increased, to
hold out by news of the surrender of General Burgoyne and his entire
army to General Gates at Saratoga, as well as of the evacuation of
Ticonderoga, and several forts on the Hudson, and the abandonment of a
marauding expedition up that river from New York.  We succeeded in
crossing the Delaware without impediment; but we had no little
difficulty, at times, to avoid falling in with the troops of the
contending parties.  Once or twice we had to gallop very hard to get out
of their way.  As Spinks observed, "It would be very disagreeable to be
hung up as spies before we had time to explain who we were."  In spite
of his weakness, he, poor fellow, bore up manfully, and I was truly
sorry to part from him.  At length we came in sight of Little Egg River,
and, to my very great satisfaction, I caught a glimpse of the tender,
directly opposite Mr Plowden's house.  I rode up to the door to restore
him his horses, and to return him my thanks for their loan.  He most
kindly pressed me to remain a day with him, but I was anxious to be on
board my vessel and once more at sea.  Three cheers greeted me as I got
alongside.  Not a man had deserted, and Grampus gave me a favourable
account of the behaviour of all hands.  The tide and wind were fair for
us.  The anchor was hove up and sail was made.  It was fortunate that I
had not delayed.  Scarcely were we under weigh when, through my glass, I
saw a considerable body of troops with some light artillery march down
to the beach.  I doubted much whether Mr Plowden could have protected
me.  One or two shots came flying after us to make us heave-to, but the
wind freshened.  The little vessel glided swiftly on, till once more she
bounded freely over the blue ocean.  As I inhaled the fresh sea air I
felt happier than I had done for many a day.  I trimmed sails and stood
away to the northward to rejoin the admiral off Newport.



CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

RHODE ISLAND.--SENT TO ASSIST SYREN AND TRANSPORT.--FRIGATE BLOWS UP.--
TAKE A PRIZE.--GRAMPUS IN CHARGE.--TENDER ON HER BEAM ENDS.--JOIN SIR
PETER PARKER ON BOARD BRISTOL.--MY OLD MESSMATES.--APPOINTED AS
LIEUTENANT TO THE CHAMELEON AND THEN TO THE CAMEL.--SAIL FOR GULF OF
FLORIDA.--FEVER.--WAR WITH FRANCE.--ONCE MORE AT JAMAICA.

I gave the land a wide berth, thereby getting fine weather, and with a
fair breeze had a quick run for Rhode Island.  I brought up close to the
flag-ship, and hurried on board to make a report of such of my
proceedings as I thought it incumbent on me to inform the admiral about.
He was pleased to approve of all I had done, but when I mentioned the
ladies, he looked hard at me as if he had read my secret.

"You'll not wish to be idle, I know.  Give your vessel a refit, and I
shall have work for you before long," said he with, I thought, a
significant look.

I accordingly ran into harbour, hove the tender down, and in three days
was ready for sea, when I received orders to accompany his Majesty's
ships Flora, Lark and Lady Parker tender to the assistance of the Syren
frigate, which with a transport had run on shore at Point Judith, the
people being made prisoners by the rebels.

At ten o'clock at night we, with the two frigates, dropped anchor about
two miles off shore, having the wrecked ships just inside of us.  We
were not long allowed to remain in quietness before we were discovered
by the enemy, who commenced a hot fire on us from three
eighteen-pounders.  As it was important not to allow the enemy to
increase their force, four of our boats were instantly manned ready to
proceed to the attack.  The first lieutenant of the Chatham was sent in
command of them, and each officer was furnished with a supply of
combustibles, with directions to heave them on board the ships, so as to
blow them up without delay.  The first lieutenant of the Flora had
charge of the second boat, the second of the Lark the third, and I
commanded the fourth.  We were all ready by eleven o'clock, when we
pulled away towards the Syren.  There was no use to attempt concealment,
for we were conscious that our motions were narrowly watched; and this
was proved when we approached the shore, for we were welcomed with a
very warm salute of big guns and small-arms, the musket-balls and
round-shot rattling round us in a far from pleasant manner.  To add to
the difficulties to be encountered, a heavy sea was running, which
washed up alongside the stranded frigate, and created a considerable
risk of causing the boats to be stove in.

"Pull away, my hearties, pull away!" sang out our gallant commanding
officer.  "We'll make a short business of the work in hand when we once
get alongside."

He was as good as his word.  In spite of the iron and leaden shower
which rattled around us, we dashed on.  The masts had gone by the board,
but had been secured, and by this means a stage had been formed leading
from the ship to the shore.  Along this stage the enemy, till we drew
near, were busily engaged in carrying off the stores and provisions out
of the ship.  When they saw us coming they gave up the work and poured
instead a number of armed men on board.  The bowmen stood ready,
boat-hooks in hand, to hook on as the sea sent us surging alongside.
When our boats rose to the top of the waves we tumbled in on deck
through the ports, with our cutlasses in our teeth and all sorts of
combustibles under our arms.  The enemy did not like our looks, and as
retreat was open to them they could not resist the temptation of taking
advantage of it; so when we appeared through some of the headmost ports,
they retired over the stern.  To set fire to our grenades and other
fiery engines of destruction, and to heave them down below and to
scatter them fore and aft, was the work of little more than a minute.
The enemy scarcely understood what we were about, or they would have
tried to interrupt our proceedings.  The effect of our combustibles was
very rapid.  A number of inflammable things were scattered about; they
at once caught fire, and thick wreaths of smoke, followed by fierce
flames, darted upwards on every side.

"To the boats! to the boats!" sang out our commander.

It was time indeed to be into them, for the fiery element was already
surrounding many of the guns, which, being shotted, were going off as
the touch-holes became heated.  Almost enveloped in wreaths of smoke and
fiercely crackling flames, we rushed to the ports, aware that any moment
the ship might blow up and carry us high into the air.  Explosion after
explosion followed each other in rapid succession, giving us warning of
what might occur.  Our gallant leader got dreadfully burned.  I saw him
just as he was about to fall, I feared, into the flames.  I grasped his
arm, and together we leaped into the first boat we saw alongside.

"All hands quit the ship!" he shouted, before he would allow the boat to
shove off.

No one, we were assured, was left behind.  It was time to be free of
her.  Glad enough we were to pull away, and we soon had the satisfaction
of seeing the other three boats free of the ship and pulling out to sea.
Several of the crew of the boat had once belonged to the Syren.

"There goes the old girl.  She deserved a better fate," they exclaimed,
as they watched the conflagration.  "She keeps up her spirits to the
last, though," they added, as her guns were discharged one after the
other in rapid succession--some of them doing, I suspect, some damage on
shore, towards which their muzzles were pointed.  We were saved the
trouble of destroying the transport, for by some means or other she had
caught fire, and before the enemy could get on board to put it out or to
save any of her stores, she had burnt to the water's edge.  The enemy
kept popping away at us while we pulled off from the shore, for the
light of the burning frigate falling on the boats' sides made us
tolerably conspicuous targets.  However, we kept the ship as much as
possible between us and the rebels, and as they were likewise not
particularly good shots, we escaped with a very trifling amount of
damage.  Indeed, I should, before I had had experience in the matter,
have believed it scarcely possible that so much powder and shot could
have been expended with so small a result.  One man got a flesh-wound in
the right arm, and another had his head grazed, while the boats were
struck not more than half-a-dozen times in all.  Suddenly the firing
ceased.  There was a perfect silence.  Then the flames from the frigate
seemed to burn brighter than ever, and it appeared as if the whole
blazing mass was lifted bodily up into the air like a huge sky-rocket.
Fragments of masts and spars and planks darted above the rest, and then,
scattering around, very quickly again came hissing down into the water.
A deep groan escaped the bosoms of many of our men.  There was no
cheering--no sound of exultation.  An old friend had been destroyed;
they mourned for her, though they themselves had assisted in her
destruction.  War, and what war produces, is at the best very horrid
work.  I cannot, even now, think over all the havoc and destruction we,
as was our duty, were the means of producing, without feelings of regret
and shame.

It was nearly midnight when I got back to my craft.  The signal was soon
afterwards made to weigh anchor, when we made sail towards the mouth of
the harbour.  There had been a stiffish breeze all the time we had been
engaged in the destruction of the Syren, but it had not come on to blow
very hard, and the night was extremely dark.  The schooner's head was
off shore, and, overcome with fatigue, I had just thrown myself on a
locker, with my clothes on, to snatch a few moments' sleep, when Tom
Rockets roused me up with the information that a strange sail was
crossing our bows.  I instantly sprang on deck, and, catching sight of
the stranger, put up the helm in chase.  Away we flew through the
hissing, heaving seas after her, shrouded in a mass of foam.  I asked
Grampus what he thought her.

"A schooner, sir.  When I first saw her there was no doubt of it," was
his answer.  "An enemy's coaster."

Just as he spoke, a gleam of light breaking through the clouds showed us
the chase right ahead.  She had now very little chance of escaping from
us.  We were coming up with her hand-over-hand.  As we drew near I fired
one of our bow-chasers.  Still she held on, so I fired another, and this
time with some effect, for she at once put down her helm and hauled her
foresail to windward.  The tender had a jolly-boat belonging to her.  I
jumped into it with Tom Rockets and another hand, and soon stood in
safety on the deck of the prize.  She had, I saw, a number of hands on
board, and I felt somewhat surprised that they did not bundle me and my
two hands into the boat, and tell us to go back whence we had come.  She
was, however, only a quiet honest trader, so her master affirmed, from
Bedford, bound to Connecticut with fish and oil.  On counting her
people, I found that she mustered sixteen in all--stout, fierce-looking
fellows.  Some two or three of them said they were landsmen, and one
hailed as a Quaker and a non-combatant, but I did not like the looks of
any of them.  I sent Rockets to the helm, and told him to keep the prize
under the lee of the tender.  I found that the schooner had a large boat
on board.  I accordingly ordered the crew to lower her into the water.

"Now, my lads," said I, "tumble into her yourselves, and make the best
of your way to the shore.  It is a dark night, and not very pleasant
weather, I own, but it is either that or a prison, you know."

Before I had done speaking the rebels had begun to launch the boat, too
glad of the opportunity of getting on shore to consider the danger they
must run in reaching it.  The Quaker, however, did not appear at all to
relish the trip, and protested vehemently against being thus
unceremoniously sent adrift.  He protested that he was as quiet as a
lamb, and, that he would obey my orders as strictly as if he had taken
the oath of allegiance to King George.  I told him that might be, but
that "necessity has no law greater than itself."  Then he assured me
that he was a non-combatant; that to fight was against his principles,
and that he would not dream of lifting a finger against any man.

"I dare say not, friend," I answered, "but you wouldn't mind boring a
hole in a ship's bottom and letting her go down, or setting fire to her,
and letting her blow up with all hands on board, provided you could make
your escape unhurt, eh?"

I saw that I had by chance hit the right nail on the head, and that he
had, some time or other, done the very thing I suggested.  He said
nothing further.  Still he evidently did not like being turned adrift in
the boat.  I, however, was inexorable.  The enemy had so frequently
retaken vessels which had been captured from them, that I was, I own,
afraid to trust any of the prisoners I had just made.  I accordingly
bundled the Quaker in with the rest.  I must own that I acted a harsh
part.  It turned out a terrible night.  It was blowing very fresh, and
there was a heavy sea running, while it was more than usually dark.  I
scarcely reflected at the time on the dreadful risk to which I was
exposing the poor fellows.  In vain I afterwards endeavoured to discover
what became of them.  They might have reached the shore in safety, or
been picked up by some friendly vessel; but they might have been run
down, or their boat might have been swamped, and they all might have
perished miserably.  I pray they might have escaped.  If not, their
deaths were at my door.

As soon as the prisoners had shoved off, I sent the boat back to the
tender, and Grampus and two men returned in her.

"Grampus," said I, "I put you in charge of this craft.  I hope that it
is not the last of which you will get command."

He pulled the front lock of his hair when I made him this speech, and
looked round with a glance which showed that he did not over highly
appreciate the honour.

"I'll try to get her into harbour, sir, at all events," he answered, as
I stepped into the boat, and not without difficulty returned to the
tender, when, with my prize, I again made sail for Rhode Island.  An
hour afterwards I captured a whale-boat, from Connecticut to Bedford,
with four hogs-heads of salt.  As I could spare no people to man her,
after making the prisoners come on board, I took her in tow.  I was in
hopes of carrying her into harbour, but it soon came on to blow harder
than ever, and before long I had the dissatisfaction to find that I had
towed the prize under water, and, to avoid any mishap to ourselves, I
had quickly to cut her adrift.  When the morning broke, so heavy a gale
was blowing that, being unable to reach Rhode Island, I bore away for
the Seaconnet Passage, making a signal to my prize to do the same.  We
reached it not without difficulty.  I was well content to drop my anchor
not far from his Majesty's ship Kingfisher, which I found lying there.
Grampus came in soon after, and brought up near me.  I asked him if he
was sure that his ground tackle was good.  He answered, "Pretty well,"
but he wished that it were better.  An officer from the Kingfisher soon
after came on board, and advised us to look to our cables, for it was
coming on to blow harder than ever.  The caution was not needed.  I had
done all I could to secure the tender, and she seemed well able to ride
out the gale.  The prize, however, I saw was labouring heavily.  I
watched her anxiously, both on my own account and that of Grampus and
the men with him.

At noon, just as I was leaving the deck, I heard an exclamation from
Rockets, which made me pop my head pretty rapidly up the
companion-hatch, and, looking to leeward, I saw my prize, amid a mass of
foam, driving away at headlong speed towards the enemy's shore.  To help
her was impossible.  I was more sorry at the thought of losing Grampus
than of anything else.  Even should he and his companions escape with
their lives, they would, at all events, be made prisoners by the enemy,
and I might chance never to meet my old follower again.  First one cable
parted, then another.  Grampus made sail as quickly as he could, but he
could only show a very small amount of canvas with the gale there was
then blowing.  I watched the schooner anxiously through my glass.  Tom
Rockets stood by my side, as eager about her as I was.  On she drove.
She appeared to be almost among the breakers.

"She's lost, sir, she's lost!" exclaimed Tom.

"No, no," said I, taking another glance.  "Grampus is handling her like
a good seaman, as he is.  She keeps her luff, and is shooting out again
into clear water.  Hurrah!  Well done, Grampus!  She stands up to her
canvas bravely.  She is making for Fogland Ferry.  If she carries
nothing away she will reach it too."

Such were the exclamations to which I gave utterance as I watched the
progress of the prize.  More than once she appeared to be nearing the
land, and I thought that I could make out people following her course,
ready to take possession of her should she drift on shore.  Then, again,
she stood off clear of danger, and at length disappeared in the
distance.  By daylight next morning, the weather having moderated, I
once more made sail in quest of my prize, and as I drew near the wharf
at Fogland Ferry, to my great satisfaction, I found her safely moored
alongside of it.  We remained here some days, till at last, the weather
becoming finer, on the 27th of November I sailed with my prize for
Newport.  I was very anxious to carry her there in safety.  I had gained
her not without danger and difficulty, and she afforded a substantial
evidence that I had not been idle during my cruise.  Scarcely was I
clear of the land when I made out a large whale-boat, which I chased for
three hours and ultimately took.  She had on board a cargo of beef,
pork, cheese, and tallow.  However, it came on to blow harder than ever,
so, much against my will, I had to heave a cold shot into her, which
sent her to the bottom, and once more I was compelled to run for the
Seaconnet Passage.

Next day, that is, on the 28th, I once more put to sea, but in a short
time it came on to blow harder than ever.  Still, in my anxiety to reach
my destination, I did not like to put back, and kept hammering away in
the hopes of making good my passage.  Feeling that I must take ten
minutes of sleep, I went below, but scarcely had I thrown myself on a
locker when I was hove off it.  I sprang on deck, and found that a
squall had thrown the vessel on her beam-ends.  I sang out an order to
cut away topsail halyards, sheets, main and fore ties, peak halyards.
It was done, not without difficulty.  Still she would not right.  I put
the helm up.  She answered it, and away we floundered, almost
water-logged, to our former place of anchorage in the Seaconnet Passage.

On the 29th, getting all things to rights again, I once more sailed; and
this time, in spite of the gale, and not without difficulty, I reached
Newport with my prize.  I got some credit for my proceedings, and I felt
that I was amply rewarded by the way the admiral spoke to me.

"I have my eye on you, Mr Hurry, and it is, I feel, my duty to mark out
merit for reward," he observed, with a pleasant smile, one day when he
had invited me to dine with him.

I got three or four days' rest, and, on the 3rd, sailed once more on a
cruise.

I had not been out many days when a tremendous gale sprang up which
compelled me to lay-to.  During this time the little vessel shipped
several heavy seas, which I more than once thought would send her to the
bottom.  At last one heavier than its predecessors came rolling and
roaring towards us.

"Hold on, my lads!"  I sang out.

There was nothing else to be done.  It struck the vessel.

"She is sinking! she is sinking!" cried out several of the people, as
the sea washed over us.

She rose again; but our enemy had left us in a pretty state of wreck and
confusion.  The caboose was gone, and so was everything on deck not
thoroughly secured.  The water, too, in torrents was rushing down below.
Still our masts stood, and not a rope was carried away.  I immediately
ordered the pumps to be rigged, and had to keep all hands spell and
spell at work at them.  The gale, which had been blowing from the
north-east, now shifted to the north-west as hard as ever.  I had no
choice but to remain hove-to, and to work away at the pumps to keep the
vessel afloat.  Our caboose being gone, and as we had no stove below, we
were unable to light a fire to cook anything.  We were all, therefore,
compelled to live on raw meat.  The crew didn't seem to think this
anything of a hardship; indeed, seamen, when not hard pressed, will
often, to save themselves the trouble of cooking, or because they prefer
it, eat it in that state.

I have had many a hard time at sea, but that was as hard as any as long
as it lasted.  As soon as I could venture to make sail, I shaped a
course for Rhode Island, and, getting a better land-fall than I
expected, I reached it on the 12th of December.  When I went to report
myself to Sir Peter, he received me very kindly.

"You have had a pretty rough time of it, Mr Hurry," he remarked.

"Yes, sir," I replied, and I told him how the tender had been knocked
about, and what a hard time we all had had of it; but I made no
complaint, and finished by saying that I was ready to go again to sea in
her as soon as she had undergone the necessary repairs.

"No, no, my lad," he answered.  "I like your spirit; but she and you
have had enough of it just now.  You shall lay her up for the winter,
and probably before the spring we may have other work carved out for
you."

I was very glad to hear this, and very speedily got the tender
dismantled and laid up.  The admiral, of course, knew more than I did as
to what was going forward, and I guessed that none of us should have
long to remain idle.

On the 20th of December, 1778, the Bristol, Raisonable, Nonsuch,
Somerset, and a fleet of transports arrived from the Delaware River; and
on the 27th Sir Peter Parker shifted his flag to the Bristol, taking
with him the officers of the Chatham and a hundred seamen.  Sir Peter
Parker was now only waiting the arrival of Lord Howe, to proceed to the
West Indies to take the command there.  I looked forward to the time
with great satisfaction, for I had no doubt that the admiral would give
me every opportunity in his power of winning the step I so much coveted.

Two or three days after I joined, Delisle and another old shipmate,
O'Brien, made their appearance on board the Bristol, to which I found
that they had been appointed.  It was a pleasure to us all; for latterly
I had been so constantly on detached duty that we had seen but little of
each other.  We were, I may truly say, like brothers, regarding each
other with the most sincere and truest affection.  I doubt if any
friendship is greater than that of people thus situated.  We anticipated
all sorts of fun in the West Indies; for those were the palmy days of
the islands, when the planters, or rather their managers and the
merchants residing there, lived like princes, and treated all visitors
with unbounded hospitality.  It was in too many instances with them a
short life and a merry one.  Delisle had been there for a short time,
and so had several of our other shipmates, and the accounts they gave
were quite sufficient to make us long to go there.

On the 4th of January Lord Howe arrived at Rhode Island, and on the 15th
we sailed thence for our destination.  One thing only made me regret
leaving the American shores; the certainty that I should have no further
chance of again meeting Madeline Carlyon till the war was ended, and I
might obtain leave to go on shore to visit her no longer as the
professed enemy of her countrymen, but, as I trusted, an accepted suitor
and a friend of America and the Americans.  Though I may not be
constantly mentioning her, it must not be supposed that she was ever out
of my thoughts.  All my hopes and wishes for the future were wrapped up
in her; and often and often I had to struggle hard against the wish of
quitting the service, and of seeking her out without delay.  Of course I
very quickly saw the folly, not to say hopelessness, of such a
proceeding.  I had nothing but my profession to depend on; and if I were
to desert that profession, how was I to support a wife and as to joining
the ranks of the enemy and fighting against my countrymen, that, even in
my maddest moods, never entered my imagination.  However, I will not now
dwell further on the matter.

The first island we made was Antigua, where we arrived, without meeting
with any adventure worthy of note, on the 5th of February.  We found
there HMS Aurora, with Vice-Admiral Young's flag on board.  We sailed
again the next day with two transports under our convoy, and arrived at
Port Royal in Jamaica on the 15th.  Here Sir Peter Parker superseded
Vice-Admiral Gayton as Commander-in-Chief.  On the 18th we went
alongside the wharf at Kingston, and hove down to repair and clean the
ship's bottom.  We had now many opportunities of seeing this, one of the
most beautiful and picturesque of the West India islands, as well as of
engaging in the gaieties of the place.  With regard to the scenery,
others have often described it far better than I can pretend to do,
while the thought of Madeline kept me from entering into the somewhat
extravagant gaieties which were of daily occurrence.  The repairs of the
ship took us till the 20th of March, when we hauled out into the
harbour.

A short time after this, two ships came into port direct from England,
the Ostrich and Active.  Each of them had left a lieutenant behind them;
and Sir Peter appointed two of ours to fill up the vacancies, and in
their steads my friends Delisle and O'Brien obtained their commissions.
I was beginning to feel somewhat jealous of them, when the Chameleon
came in.  Several of her officers had been disabled, having been blown
up in a prize she had taken, and were now gone to the hospital.  Among
them was Lieutenant David Mackey, in whose room the admiral gave me an
acting order.

I was sorry to part with my old shipmates, still it was with great
satisfaction that I found myself raised to the rank I had longed to
obtain, as I had no doubt that I should soon be confirmed in it.  My
duty in the ship was, however, both disagreeable and severe.  In those
days, when the schoolmaster had made but little progress, in the Navy
especially, and not much on shore, it was difficult to obtain good and
steady warrant officers, and I was especially troubled with a drunken
boatswain, gunner, and carpenter.  Drunk or sober, they were constantly
insubordinate, setting a bad example to the crew, and quarrelling with
each other.  I determined, however, to master them, and compel them to
do their duty, or get them dismissed from the service.  As I was the
only officer in the ship directly over them, my task was not an easy
one.

Having run the ship over to water at Rockfort, I found, on my return to
Port Royal, that the admiral shifted his flag from the Bristol to the
Chameleon.  He had just been promoted from Rear of the Blue to Rear of
the Red.

My troubles and annoyances with my subordinates continued to increase.
Scarcely a day passed but what they were guilty of some neglect of duty,
which more than once placed the ship in a dangerous position.  I was
continually afraid that the gunner, by some carelessness in the
magazine, would blow her and all on board up into the air.  I have no
doubt that most of the catastrophes of that nature, which have from time
to time occurred, have been caused by the conduct of which he was
guilty.  Fortunately for me, I was thoroughly supported in my duty by
Captain Douglas of the Chameleon, who was in every respect the officer
and the gentleman, and I am much indebted to him for many kind and
favourable remarks he made respecting me to the admiral.  When a man is
endeavouring to do his duty, it is pleasant to be spoken of as an
active, zealous, intelligent officer, as I know he did of me.  The
misconduct of the gunner grew more and more unbearable, and at length I
was compelled to bring him, as also the boatswain and carpenter, to a
court-martial.  The result was that the former was broke, and rendered
incapable of again serving his Majesty; while the other two, who did not
deserve a less punishment, were severely reprimanded.  They would have
been broke likewise but for the difficulty which then existed of finding
intelligent and educated men to fill the posts they occupied.

The Camel, Captain Bligh, having come into harbour with one of her
lieutenants sick, I was appointed to her as acting-lieutenant, her
captain having done me the favour of applying for me to the admiral.  We
left the harbour on the 10th of June, and anchored next day in
Bluefield's Bay, where we found lying HMS Hind, Southampton, and Stork,
with a hundred sail of merchantmen.

On the 25th we proceeded with them to the Gulf of Florida.  The weather
was intensely hot, the sun struck down with unmitigated fury on our
heads, and in a few days seven cases of fever appeared on board.
Scarcely was a man taken ill than he became delirious, and in a few
hours he was dead.  Thus in six days we lost twenty seamen and seven
marines, together with Lieutenant Thomas Philipsmith of the marines, and
Mr John Eaglestone, master's mate.  It was a sad and weary time we had
of it.  Captain Bligh kept up his spirits in a wonderful way.  I messed
with him all the time I was on board, and he always spoke frankly and
openly to me; indeed, I should be most ungrateful did I not acknowledge
the kindness with which he treated me on all occasions.

"I hope we may do better when we get clear of the land," he remarked.
"This climate tries the poor fellows sadly."

It did indeed.  On the 28th the master, purser and surgeon were taken
ill, and a few days afterwards I was myself struck down, as were the
gunner, surgeon's mate, and fully sixty more men.  Thus, we had not
enough men to work the ship; and for some time Captain Bligh and one of
the only officers capable of doing duty had to take charge of the ship
watch and watch.  The weather also was constantly squally, with thunder,
lightning, and heavy rain, and this kept us in the gulf till the 20th of
July.

On the 28th, in latitude 32 degrees 30 minutes North and 74 degrees 19
minutes West, we parted company with the fleet, which was bound for
England, while we made sail back to Jamaica.

I pass over this period of my adventurous existence more rapidly than I
have described the former part of my sea-life, because it is full of
painful recollections.  I had often and often seen men struck down in
battle, without allowing my feelings in any way to be agitated; but it
went to my heart to see my brave shipmates carried off one after the
other with fever, without being in any way able to relieve their
sufferings, or to devise means to save them from death.  That fever,
"yellow jack" as we used to call it, is truly one of the most dreadful
scourges of the West Indies.  There is no avoiding him.  All ranks are
equally sufferers, for he picks off rich and poor alike, the strong and
weak, the brave man and the coward.  Still, I believe that the best way
to prevent his attacks from proving fatal is to live moderately but
well--not to be afraid, and to avoid exposure to rain and fogs.  It is
wiser to soak the clothes in salt water than to allow them to be wet
with fresh and to dry on the back.  However, it is very certain that, if
a man does not play tricks with his constitution when he is young, as do
so many young fellows in every variety of way when he is exposed to
similar baneful influences, he will better be able to withstand them.

On the 17th of August we made the Island of Hispaniola.  Two days after
that, as I was walking the deck as officer of the watch, the look-out at
the mast-head hailed to say that a sail was in sight.  We were then off
Cape Francois.

"Where away?"  I asked.

"Right ahead to the westward!" was the answer.

"What does she look like?" inquired the captain, just then coming on
deck.

"An English frigate, sir!" replied the look-out.

She might be, or she might be an enemy's cruiser, for I was aware that
they had already some large ships fitted out.  We were, as far as I knew
to the contrary, still at peace with France and Spain.  Weak as I was
from the fever, (though I had got over it far more rapidly than I could
have expected), I was so anxious to ascertain, as soon as possible, the
character of the ship in sight, that I went aloft myself to watch her
with my glass.  As we drew near each other, Captain Bligh ordered the
drum to beat to quarters, and the ship to be got ready for action.  The
nearer we got, the more convinced was I that the look-out was right, and
that the stranger was an English frigate.  In a short time she hoisted
English colours, and soon afterwards made the private signal, by which
we knew that she was his Majesty's frigate Minerva.  On getting within
hail we hove-to and exchanged civilities, which, as they cost nothing,
are very current coin.  We found that she had been out on a cruise for
some time, but, like us, had not made any captures.  Her captain was
deploring his ill-luck.

"Better than being taken oneself," remarked Captain Bligh.

"No fear of that," was the answer; "I shall take very good care that no
one--Frenchman, Spaniard or rebel--captures me.  As for the two first, I
don't suppose they will ever go to war again with us."

"Don't be too sure of that," said Captain Bligh.  "A pleasant cruise to
you, however, and a more fortunate one than we have had.  We are bound
back to Jamaica.  I hope we shall make a quick passage there."

Such, as far as I can recollect them, were the parting words of the two
captains.  Scarcely had we lost sight of the Minerva than we fell in
with a fleet of merchantmen from Saint Domingo.  We agreed that, if
there was but a war, what rich prizes they would prove, and we should,
without difficulty, have been able to take the greater number of them.
They sailed on their way, and we continued on our course for Jamaica.
We reached Port Royal without any further adventure on the 28th of
August.  Scarcely had we dropped anchor than a boat from his Majesty's
ship Niger boarded us.

"Grand news--glorious news!" cried a midshipman who came in her.  We all
asked him what he meant.  "Why, there's war with France, and a rattling
war it will be, too, from all accounts.  All the ships here are getting
ready for sea, and we shall pick up no end of prizes."

Captain Bligh stamped with his foot and turned round when he heard this.
And well he might, when he recollected the rich prizes we had let slip
through our fingers.  A vessel came in directly after us, which brought
the unwelcome intelligence that the Minerva had been taken by the French
frigate Concord only nine hours after we had spoken her.  Had we,
therefore, only come up a little later, the tables might have been
reversed, and we might have brought in the Concord as our prize.  The
Minerva was, as may be supposed, taken by surprise, her captain not
believing that a war had broken out with France, or I am very sure that
she would not have so easily become the prize of the enemy.

The circumstances I have mentioned were of course vexatious, but such is
the fortune of war, and I believe the knowledge that we had now a
foreign nation to contend with, instead of those whom we could not but
look upon as countrymen, afforded unmitigated satisfaction throughout
every ship in the British Navy.



CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

IN COMMAND OF DOLPHIN.--SENT TO WARN SHIPS.--CHASED.--CAPTURED BY
CHERMENTE.--CARRIED TO SAINT DOMINGO.--FIND OLD FRIENDS IN MISFORTUNE.--
ON OUR PAROLE.--TOM REMAINS WITH ME.

Pretty well worn out with fatigue, which the duties of the ship
entailed, as soon as we had made all snug I turned into my berth, hoping
to get some sleep.  Scarcely, however, had I closed my eyes and
forgotten for the moment all sublunary matters, than I felt some one
tugging at my shoulder, and on looking up I saw a midshipman standing at
my bedside.

"Sir," said he, "the admiral wishes to see you up at the Penn
immediately."

"I wish he didn't, though," I thought to myself.  "Couldn't he let a
poor careworn wretch have a few hours' quiet sleep after knocking about
for so many weeks at sea, and having been in the clutches of Yellow
Jack?"  I didn't say this, though.

"Very well," I answered, jumping up and putting on my coat with a yawn
which nearly gave me the lock-jaw.  "I'll be up there forthwith."

The Penn, it must be understood, is the name given to the residence
usually occupied by the head commander-in-chief on the station.  It is
beautifully situated on an elevated spot above the city of Kingston,
overlooking the noble harbour of Port Royal.

Ordering a boat to be manned, I pulled on shore, and climbed up to the
Penn.

"I'm glad to see you back, Hurry," said Sir Peter kindly.  "I know your
zeal for the service, and I have more work for you.  You know of the war
with France.  I must send you off at once to sea in quest of the
cruising ships to give them notice of the event, and to direct them
forthwith to return into port.  In the first place you will look out for
the `Druid' at the east end of the island, and give her notice of the
war, and then you will proceed to the Saint Domingo coast, where you
will find, probably, the greater number of merchantmen.  How soon can
you be ready?"

Of course I replied, "At once," wondering what craft I was to go in.

"Very well," said Sir Peter; "I expected as much of you.  You will take
command of the `Dolphin' schooner.  She is now in the harbour.  I am not
quite certain in what condition you will find her.  However, there is no
other disposable craft.  Fit her for sea as fast as possible.  Take
three or four hands with you; I cannot spare you more.  Let your two
followers you spoke to me about, be of the number.  Here is an order by
which you can obtain all the aid you require from the dockyard people
and others.  Good-bye; I hope to see you back shortly."

With these words I parted from the admiral.  It was now three o'clock in
the morning.  Hurrying on board the flag-ship, I got hold of Grampus and
Rockets with their bags, and accompanied by them and a couple of more
hands and a boy, I called for my own traps and bedding on board the
Camel, and then went alongside the Dolphin tender.  She looked certainly
in a very hopeless condition.  She had her lower-masts standing, but was
entirely unrigged, without stores or sails, or even ballast on board,
while her bottom was covered with grass a foot at least in length.
Still I knew that not a moment was to be lost; the service I was
required to perform was of the greatest importance, and I was not to be
deterred by difficulties.  I unmoored her immediately, got her alongside
the dockyard wharf, and began taking some ballast which I found there on
board before anyone was up.  Then I sent Grampus to rouse up the
authorities, whose aid I required.  Fortunately the sudden outbreak of
war kept people on the alert, so that I had less difficulty in getting
assistance than would have otherwise been the case.

Soon after daybreak the deck of the Dolphin presented a scene of
ant-like industry.  Gangs of negroes were hurrying backwards and
forwards with coils of rope and spars and sails; others were rolling
down kegs of water, and others casks of beef and pork and biscuit, and
packages of other comestibles, while the riggers were at work getting
the rigging over the mast-heads, setting it up, bending on sails, and my
own people were below, stowing away the various articles as they came on
board.  I made a list of essentials, and took good care to see that they
came on board and were stowed where they were to be found, or very
likely I should have gone to sea without them.  I saw to everything
myself, or sent Grampus to ascertain that people were losing no time in
executing my orders.  I left nothing to chance.  I met with no little
grumbling from some of the slow-going officials.

"What a hurry you are in, sir!" said one or two of them, who dared not,
however, openly disobey my authority.

"Yes, my friend," I answered, laughing, "that's natural to me; and just
now I am in as great a hurry as I ever was in my life; so be smart, if
you please, and keep your people moving."

That is the way I managed.  I did not swear or abuse them, but if I
found anyone slow I pulled out the admiral's order and said that the
work must be done faster.

"Impossible, sir!" answered another official to one of my demands; "it
cannot be done.  In two or three days we may get the matter settled for
you."

"Impossible!  In two or three days do you say?"  I exclaimed, looking
fixedly at him.  "In two or three hours you mean.  Impossible,--I don't
understand that word, nor does Sir Peter, depend on that.  If the things
are not on board in three hours I shall report you.  I don't want to be
severe, my friend, but I am in earnest."

The gentleman understood me, and within the time specified the stores
were on board.

In spite of all I could do, however, I could only get a mainsail,
foresail, fore-staysail, and jib.  I had no topsails and no square sail.
Thus, should I be chased by an enemy, I should be, I felt, like a bird
with clipped wings, I should have very little chance of escaping.  I got
some of the weeds scraped off the vessel's bottom, but still there were
more than enough remaining.  Such good speed did I make, that before
three o'clock in the afternoon of that very day I was ready for sea, or,
rather, I was in such a condition that I could put to sea, though the
urgent necessity of the case alone warranted me in so doing.

"Well, sir," observed Grampus, with the familiarity of an old shipmate,
"if we comes to meet with Harry Cane in our cruise, it's like enough
that we shall be nowhere."

Just before we got under weigh, Captain Lambert, of his Majesty's ship
Niger, came on board.  He shrugged his shoulders when he saw the
condition I was in.

"The admiral ordered me to get to sea as fast as I could," I remarked;
"I'm doing my best to obey him."

"That you are, Mr Hurry," he answered.  "You've done very well--very
well indeed, I say.  I wish you to keep a look-out for me off Saint
Domingo, and bring me any information you may have picked up.  I am
under orders to sail to-morrow morning to cruise off that island with my
own ship, and with the `Bristol' and `Lowestoffe,' and I shall have my
tender with me.  You will know the squadron by one of the three ships
having a poop, and from our being accompanied by a schooner.  Now good
luck to you.  I will not detain you."

"Thank you, sir," said I; "depend on it I will not disappoint you."

With a light breeze we stood out of the magnificent harbour of Port
Royal, leaving a fleet of merchantmen, which the news of the war with
France prevented from putting to sea.  I certainly was not given to be
much influenced by outward circumstances, but I did not feel at all in
my usual spirits, and could not help fancying that some calamity was
going to occur to me.  These sensations and ideas probably arose both
from my being overworked and from the unsatisfactory way in which my
vessel was fitted out; added to this, I knew that the seas would be
swarming with the enemy's privateers, both Americans and French, and
that I could neither fight nor run away.  I considered over the latter
circumstance, and bethought me that, if I fell in with any enemy, I
would, at all events, endeavour to escape by stratagem.  My men would, I
knew, support me.  Nol Grampus and Rockets I was sure I could trust, and
the others I had chosen because they were sharp clever fellows, and up
to anything.

It was not till the 3rd of September that I weathered the east end of
the island of Jamaica.  I cruised off Morant Point for some time,
keeping a very bright look-out for the Druid.  She was nowhere to be
seen.  Sir Peter had directed me not to lose much time in looking for
her.  She might have chased an enemy for leagues away and not be back to
her cruising ground for days.  Perhaps she might have taken some prizes
and returned to Port Royal.  As I began to lose all hope of seeing her
before nightfall, the wind came fair for me to proceed through the
windward passage.  I accordingly put up my helm, made all the sail I
could, and stood for the island of Heneago.

On the evening of the 6th I made Cape Tiberoon, on the west end of the
island of Saint Domingo, without having fallen in with any vessels, and
about eight o'clock the same evening I passed the Navasa, and carried a
fine breeze till the following morning, when I brought Donna Maria to
bear east at the distance of two or three leagues.  I had not liked the
look of the weather for some hours.

"What do you think of it?" said I to Grampus, as I saw the clouds
gathering thickly around us from all directions, while the sea assumed a
peculiarly dark, leaden, ominous colour.

"Why, sir, Mr Hurry, do you see, to my mind, the wider berth we give
the land the better," he replied, giving his usual hitch to his
trowsers.  "There's what they calls in these parts a whirlwind or old
Harry Cane coming on, or my name is not Nol Grampus."

I was too much afraid that Nol was right, and accordingly stood off the
land under all sail, keeping a look-out, however, on the signs of the
weather, so as to take in our canvas in time before the gale came on.  I
had not, notwithstanding this, made good much more than a league when it
fell a dead calm.  The sails flapped idly against the masts, and the
little vessel rolled from side to side, moved by the long, slow, heaving
undulations which rolled in from the offing.

"I'm not quite certain that you are right, Grampus, as to the coming
whirlwind, but we will shorten sail, at all events," I observed.

"Beg pardon, Mr Hurry, sir; but just do you follow an old seaman's
advice, and take all the canvas off her," he answered with earnestness.
"It's doing her no good just now, and we haven't another suit of sails
if we lose them.  When the wind does come, it is on one before a man has
time to turn round and save the teeth being whisked out of his mouth.
Come, my lads, be smart, and hand the canvas," he added, calling to
Rockets and the other men.

I was soon very glad that I was not above taking an old seaman's advice.
Scarcely ten minutes had passed, during which time the calm had been
more profound than ever, when, as suddenly as Grampus had foretold, the
whole ocean around us seemed covered with a sheet of seething foam, and
the whirlwind, in all the majesty of its strength, struck the vessel,
pressing her down till her bulwarks touched the water, and I thought she
would have gone over altogether.  I sprang to the helm and put it up,
while Grampus hoisted the fore-staysail just a foot or so above the
deck.  Even then the canvas was nearly blown out of the bolt-ropes; so
far she felt its power, however, and, her head spinning round as if she
had been a straw, away we drove before the hurricane.  Where were we
driving to was the question.  I anxiously consulted the chart.  We were
in that deep bay in the island of Saint Domingo, with Cape Donna Maria
to the southward, and Cape Saint Nicholas to the north, and I saw that a
slight variation in the course of the gale might hurl us on the coast,
where the chance of our escaping with our lives would be small indeed.
Happily the wind at present came out of the bay, or I believe my
ill-found little schooner would have gone to the bottom, as did many a
noble ship about that time.  The sea, even as it was, soon became lashed
into furious billows, which broke around us in masses of foam, which
went flying away over the troubled surface of the ocean, covering us as
would a heavy fall of snow.  Grampus and I stood at the helm, keeping
the little vessel as well as we could directly before the gale, but we
tumbled about terrifically, and more than once I caught him casting
anxious glances over his shoulder astern, as if he expected some of the
seas, which came roaring up after us, to break over our decks.

"What do you think of it, Grampus?" said I.

"Why, Mr Hurry, sir, I don't like the look of things," he answered.
"If one of them seas was to fall aboard of us, it would wash every soul
of us off the deck, and maybe send the craft in a moment to the bottom.
Still, I don't see as how there is anything we can do more than we are
doing.  If the schooner was to spring a leak just now, and that's not
unlikely, we should be still worse off, so we may be content with things
as they are."

I admired Nol's philosophy, though I kept an anxious look-out on the
larboard bow, dreading every instant to catch a sight of the shore, past
which I knew we should have a narrow shave, even should we be fortunate
enough to escape being driven against it.  The coolest man on board was
Tom Rockets.  He kept walking the deck with his hands in his pockets,
ready enough, I saw, for action, but certainly not as if a fierce
hurricane was raging around him.  Now and then he had to pull out his
hands to lay hold of the bulwarks as the craft gave a lively roll, or
plunged down into the trough of a sea; but as soon as she grew
comparatively steady, he began walking away as before.

On we drove.  The dreaded coast did not appear.  Still I could scarcely
hope that we had passed it.  The wind began to shift about at last.
Grampus said that it was the termination of the hurricane.  Still it
might play us a scurvy trick before it was over, and drive us on some
inhospitable shore.  I began now to look for further signs of the ending
of the storm.  It got round to the northward, and on we drove till we
caught sight of the coast.  It was a most unwelcome sight, though, for
should the little craft once get within the power of the breakers, which
were dashing furiously against it, I could not hope that a single man on
board would escape with his life.  Even Tom Rockets began to think that
the state of things was not so pleasant as it might be.  I saw that he
had taken his hands out of his pockets, and was holding on with the rest
of the people.  Away we drove--the threatening shore every minute
growing more and more distinct.

"What prospect is there, think you, Grampus, of the hurricane coming to
an end?" said I.  For from want of anything else to be done I was
obliged to keep my tongue going.

"I thought as how it was going to break but just now, Mr Hurry," he
answered, casting his eye all round the horizon.  "It seems,
howsomedever, to have breezed up again, and if it don't shift before
long, there's little chance of the schooner's living, or any of us
either for that matter, many hours more."

"We must meet our fate, then, like men, and Christians too, I hope," I
answered, looking at him.  "We have done all that men can do, I
believe."

"Yes, sir, that we have," he replied.  "We can do no more, and it isn't
the first time Nol Grampus has had to look Death in the face, so I hopes
that I shall not shrink from him.  Come he will, I know, some day,
sooner or later; and it matters little, as far as I can see, if he comes
to-day or to-morrow."

"Not if we put our trust in One who is able and willing to save our
souls alive," I observed.  "That makes all the difference whether death
should be feared or welcomed.  It is not what we suffer in this world
that we should dread, but what we may deserve to suffer in the next; in
the same way it is not what we enjoy here, but what we may be able to
enjoy through all eternity, that we should long for."

"Very true, sir--very true, Mr Hurry," replied Grampus; "but the worst
is, that we don't think of these things till just at such moments as the
present, when the flood has done, and the tide of life is fast ebbing
away."

Thus we talked on for some time.  I felt really with my old friend Nol,
that though there we all stood in health and strength, we might soon be
removed to behold the glories of the eternal world.

Suddenly Nol looked up.  Holding his hand to the wind, and casting his
eye on the compass--

"I thought so, sir," he exclaimed.  "There's a shift of wind.  It has
backed round again into the eastward."

Such was providentially the case.  I took the bearings of the land.  We
might now hope to drive on clear of it.  The sea was, however, getting
higher and higher, but the Dolphin proved to be as tight as a cork and
as buoyant, and I began to get rid of all my dread of her foundering,
provided her masts and rigging did not give way.

Considering the manner in which she was fitted out, however, I did not
feel quite easy on that score.  Still nothing more could be done, so we
had, as best we could, to wait events.  At length there was a lull.  I
expected that it would breeze up again.

"The gale has worn itself out, to my mind, Mr Hurry," observed Grampus,
after a careful survey of the sky and sea.

"I am sure I hope so," I answered; "I was getting somewhat tired of it,
and so I suspect was the schooner.  Sound the well, and see what water
she has made."

He sounded the well, and reported three feet.

"I thought so.  Rig the pumps, and let us try and get her clear while we
can."

All hands pumped away with a will, and soon got her free of water, when
the sea went, as it soon did, gradually down.  It showed me that the
leak had been caused by the way the little vessel had strained herself,
and that probably, had she been exposed much longer to the fury of the
hurricane, she would have foundered.  By night the gale had sufficiently
abated to enable me to set a reefed foresail, and once more to haul up
on my course.  I made but little progress during the night and following
day.  I was standing along the coast, towards the evening of the next
day, with the wind from the northward, when I discovered in-shore of me
what I took to be the masts of a vessel just appearing out of the water.
I conjectured that she had been sunk in the hurricane of the previous
day, and on the possibility that some of the crew might still be
clinging to her rigging, although I was on a lee-shore, I resolved to
bear down on her.  I pointed her out to Grampus, and asked his opinion.

"No doubt about it, sir," he answered.  "There may be some danger to us,
I'll allow, especially if it was to breeze up again, but where's the man
worthy of the name who refuses to run some danger for the sake of
helping his fellow-men in distress?  To my mind, sir, let us do what's
right, and never mind the consequences."

I've often since thought of the excellence of some of old Grampus'
remarks.

"Up with the helm, then!  Ease away the main and head sheets!"  I sang
out.  "We'll run down and have a look at the wreck."

I kept my glass anxiously turned towards the object I had discovered, in
the hopes of seeing some people clinging on to the rigging.  As we drew
near, I found that only a single mast appeared above water, as well as
her bowsprit, and that she had all her canvas set.  Not a human being
could be seen in any part of the rigging.  I got close up to her.  She
was a sloop of about seventy tons.  She had evidently been caught
totally unprepared by the hurricane, and every soul on board had been
hurried into eternity.  Finding that there would be no use in waiting
longer near the spot, for there was not the slightest probability that
anyone was floating on any part of the wreck in the neighbourhood, I
again hauled my wind, and stood to the northward.  At ten o'clock at
night a fresh gale sprang up, which compelled me once more to bring-to
under a reefed foresail.  I am thus particular in narrating details of
events which led to a most disastrous result.  Truly we cannot tell what
a day may bring forth.  I had fallen in with no merchantmen, which would
have been a most suspicious circumstance, had I not supposed that they
might have been lost in the hurricane, or run into port for shelter,
otherwise I should have supposed that they had fallen into the power of
the cruisers of the enemy.  On the 8th I passed Cape Nichola Mole, and
on the 9th made the island of Heneago, bearing nor'-nor'-east, four
leagues.  At eight o'clock in the evening I tacked, and stood off-shore,
with a fine breeze, with the intention of passing in the morning between
Heneago and the little Corcases, for the purpose of speaking his
Majesty's frigate Aeolus, stationed in that passage, and bearing her the
information that the war had broken out.  At five o'clock of the morning
of the 10th, the wind shifting round to the eastward, I tacked, and
stood to the northward, through the Corcases.  At daybreak Tom Rockets
was sent aloft to keep a look-out for any sail which might be in sight.
Soon afterwards he hailed the deck to say that he made out two sail on
the lee bow, just appearing above the horizon.  I went aloft with my
glass and soon discovered four altogether, one much smaller than the
others.  She was a schooner, the other three were ships.  I had little
doubt that it was a squadron, composed of the Bristol, Lowestoffe, and
Niger, with her tender, which were to sail the day after me, and which I
expected to fall in with in this neighbourhood.  They were still too
far-off to make out exactly what they were.  I came down, however, with
my mind perfectly at ease, and went to breakfast.  Grampus, who had
charge of the deck while I was below, watched them narrowly, and did not
differ with me as to their character.  I therefore stood towards them,
as I was anxious to communicate with them without delay.  My orders
directed me to speak all cruisers, and besides, as it may be supposed, I
was eager to get the duty I had been sent on accomplished, and to return
again to Port Royal.

When I came on deck again, I found that we had drawn considerably nearer
the strangers.  I scrutinised them again and again.  One of them had a
high poop, and I remembered Captain Lambert's remark to me the day I
sailed, that this was one of the marks by which I should know his
squadron.  I thus stood on boldly towards them.  As we drew nearer, I
saw Grampus eyeing them narrowly.  The expression of his countenance
showed me that he had considerable doubt on his mind as to their true
character.  We had now got within three miles of them.

"What do you think of them, Grampus?" said I, as I took the glass which
I had just before handed to him.

"I don't like their looks, sir," he answered.  "That headmost frigate is
English--so I take it from the look of her hull and the cut of her
canvas--but the others I can't make out by no manner of means.  I don't
think the `Bristol' or the `Lowestoffe' are among them."

I had come to the same conclusion that Grampus had; but I wished to
confirm my own opinion by his.  We stood on for five minutes longer.  My
suspicions of the character of the strangers increased.

"We are running into the lion's jaws, I suspect!"  I exclaimed; whereat
Grampus and Rockets opened their eyes to know what I meant.  "Hoist our
colours, and let us learn what they are without further delay."

Scarcely had we run our ensign up to the peak than up went the French
flag at that of the headmost frigate which at the same time fired a
warning gun at us.

"Up with the helm!  Ease off the main-sheets!  Keep her away!"  I
exclaimed.

The orders were quickly obeyed, and away we flew with a strong breeze
directly before the wind.  I had two very good reasons for endeavouring
to escape by keeping before the wind.  In the first place, a
fore-and-aft vessel has generally a great advantage over a square-rigged
ship on that point of sailing, and I might otherwise have drawn the
enemy's squadron towards the station of the Aeolus.  As she was so much
inferior in strength to it, she would easily have fallen into their
power, especially as, not being aware that war had broken out, she would
have been taken by surprise.

As soon as I put up my helm and kept away, the headmost of the strangers
crowded all sail in chase, making signals to the rest of the squadron to
follow her--undoubtedly not to allow me any prospect of escaping.  She
fired two or three shot, but she was still too far-off to hit me.  All
the other vessels hoisted French colours, and any lingering hope I might
have retained, that after all I might have been mistaken, and that the
strangers were English, now vanished.  Still my principle has always
been never to give in while life remains, and so I resolved to hold on
till I got completely under the enemy's guns, and then, when I found
that there was a strong probability of my being sunk, to haul down my
colours, but not till then.  I had heard of a small vessel escaping even
from under the very guns of a big enemy, and I intended not to throw
such a chance away.  I called my crew aft.

"My men," said I, "I won't ask you to stick to me to the last, because I
know you will.  Those ships astern are enemies: we'll do our best to
escape from them, and if we are taken and the chance is given us, we'll
endeavour to heave our captors into the water, and to re-take the
schooner, won't we?"

"Yes, sir, that we will," answered Grampus.  "I speak for the rest,
because I know their minds, and you are just the man to do the thing if
it is to be done."

I told the people that I was gratified at the good opinion they had
formed of me, and sent them back to their stations.  I did not like the
look of things.  The chances of escaping were very small, and the
prospects of a French prison in the climate of the West Indies was
anything but pleasant.

The breeze freshened, and we went tearing away through the smooth blue
sea, sending up the white sparkling foam on either side of our bows, and
leaving a long line of white astern; but I now sadly felt the want of a
square-sail and topsails.  Had I possessed them to set, I fancied that I
could easily have kept ahead of my pursuers.  My glass was seldom off
them, while I also kept it sweeping round ahead in the hopes, though
they were not very sanguine, of discovering the British squadron, for
which I had at first mistaken the enemy.  On we flew, but the sharp line
of the horizon on every side was unbroken by the slightest dot or line
which might indicate an approaching sail.  I watched the enemy.  It was
soon too evident that they were coming up with us at a speed which sadly
lessened our prospects of escape.  Still we kept beyond the range of
their guns.  Unless, however, fortune changed in our favour, this could
not long be the case.  Gradually I saw the chance of getting away
diminishing, and the conviction forced itself on me that we should all
be soon prisoners of war.  I called Grampus to me; he was of the same
opinion.

"Well, then," said I with a sigh, "our first duty is to destroy all the
letters and despatches with which I have been entrusted.  Bring them up
at once."

Grampus dived below, and returned with the despatches delivered to me by
Sir Peter Parker, as well as with some thirty or forty letters from the
merchants of Jamaica, addressed to the masters of their privateers
cruising off the island, with none of which I had hitherto fallen in.  I
tied the whole of the documents up in a piece of canvas, with a shot in
it ready to heave overboard when the last ray of hope had disappeared.
I stamped with rage as I saw my enemies overtaking me; I could not help
it.  My men, too, eyed them as if they felt that if they had been on
board a ship in any way able to cope with such opponents, they would
speedily have given a good account of them.  I scarcely knew what to
wish for.  A tornado was the only thing just then likely to serve me.
It might have sent the schooner to the bottom, but if she weathered it,
I hoped that I had a chance of escaping from the big ships, which were
very likely to be widely scattered before it.

The sky, however, gave no indication of any change of the sort.  Grampus
and Tom I saw pulling very long faces at each other, as much as to say,
"It's all up with us."  They were too right.  On came the headmost ship
with the Dolphin hand over hand, the flag of France flaunting proudly at
her peak.  A shot from one of her bow guns was a significant notice to
me to heave-to.  I did so with a very bad grace, and as I put down my
helm, I could not help wishing that France and all Frenchmen were swept
away into the ocean.

"They always have been, and always will be, an unmitigated nuisance to
old England!"  I exclaimed, as I took a turn on the deck, while my
little craft lay bobbing away slowly at our big opponent, which, having
also hove-to, was lowering a boat to board us.  Then I took up the
bundle of letters and hove them overboard, when down they sank, probably
to find a tomb in the stomach of some hungry shark.

"At all events, Messieurs Crapauds, you will not be much the wiser for
what is in them," I exclaimed with a feeling of no little bitterness.

If I did not feel inclined exactly to cut my own throat, I certainly had
a very strong wish to knock the fellows on the head whom I saw pulling
towards me.  It did not take me many minutes to pack up my own wardrobe.
My people, as is usual, put on all the clothes they possessed, one over
the other, and then we all stood ready to receive our most unwelcome
visitors.

Their boat was soon alongside, and a well-dressed, gentlemanly-looking
officer jumped on board, and announced to me in English that I was a
prize to the French frigate Chermente of thirty-two guns, Captain
McNamara, an Irishman in the French service.

"It is the fortune of war," he observed.  "You did your best to escape
us when you found out that we were not your friends.  You and your
people will come on board my ship; the schooner may be useful to us."

I could only bow to this polite speech, and say that I was ready to
attend him on board his ship.  The French seamen, however, did not seem
inclined to treat us with much ceremony, and several who came on board
rummaged about in every direction to pick up whatever they could find.

With a heavy heart I left the Dolphin, and was soon transferred to the
deck of the French frigate.  The squadron to which I had become a prize
consisted of the Dedaigneuse and Chermente, both of thirty-two guns, the
Active of twenty-eight, and the Providence privateer, which with the
Active they had taken the day before.  I cannot say much for the
discipline of the French frigate; for it appeared to me that the crew
were very much inclined to be insubordinate, in consequence of which the
officers had to exercise a considerable amount of severity in keeping
them under necessary discipline.

It was a bitter pill I was compelled to swallow.  For ten long years I
had been serving my country incessantly as midshipman and master's mate,
and now at the very moment when I felt sure that I was about to emerge
from the subordinate rank of a petty officer, and to obtain my
commission as a lieutenant, no longer to be subject to the midnight
calls of quartermasters and the unnumbered snubs which patient
midshipmen from their superiors take, I found all my hopes of my
promotion dashed to the ground, and myself an unhappy prisoner of war.

I had, however, plenty of companions to share my misfortune; on board
the two French frigates were most of the officers and crew of the
Active, as well as of the privateer.  Scarcely had I stepped on board
than who should I see walking the deck in melancholy mood but my old
friend and messmate Delisle, and by his side was Paddy O'Driscoll.  How
changed had soon become the light-hearted, jovial midshipman!  The
feeling of captivity was weighing heavily on his spirits.  Indeed, what
is there more galling to an officer than to see the ship to which he
lately belonged in the hands of his enemies, and himself compelled to
submit to any commands they may choose to issue?  They both, as they
turned in their walk, started at seeing me; for of course they did not
know that I was on board the vessel just captured.  They came forward
and shook hands warmly.

"I cannot welcome you on board this craft, my dear Hurry," said Delisle,
"though under other circumstances I should have been truly glad to fall
in with you."

"Bad luck to the day when we fell into the power of the Frenchmen!"
exclaimed O'Driscoll.  "And to think that an Irishman, or the son of an
Irishman maybe, should be their captain makes matters worse.  I'm
ashamed of my countryman, that I am, except that to be sure he has
behaved like a gentleman to us since we came on board, and so have all
his officers."

"What more could we expect?" said I.  "He did but his duty in capturing
us: perhaps before long the tables may be turned, you know.  There's a
larger squadron of our ships not far-off, and I don't give up all hopes
that these ships may fall in with them."

My two friends pricked up their ears at what I told them, though I
myself was very far from sanguine about the two squadrons meeting.
Should they meet I had no doubt which would prove victorious.  We of
course did not express our hopes to our captors, but we kept a constant
look-out for the British squadron.  Not a sail, however, appeared, our
hopes of obtaining our freedom grew less and less, and on the 11th of
the month sunk to zero when we entered the harbour of Cape Francois.  We
found there the French frigate Concorde and the late British frigate
Minerva which she had captured.  There were also several sail of French
Saint Domingo ships.  In my hurry and annoyance on quitting the Dolphin
I discovered that I had left behind me my chest of clothes.  They were
not of any great value, though, as I much wanted them, they were so to
me.  I therefore requested Captain McNamara to send for them.  He at
once politely complied with my wish, but the midshipman he sent soon
returned with the unpleasant information that the chest was in the
cabin, but was empty.  It appeared that after the Chermente's boat had
left the Dolphin, the people of the Dedaigneuse had boarded her, and
plundered her of everything of value.  When Captain McNamara heard of
this, he instantly sent on board that ship, and endeavoured to recover
my property; but all his trouble was in vain.  The French seamen were
far too knowing to give up anything they had once got possession of, and
after a good deal of trouble I was finally compelled to be content with
my loss, as I saw that there was no probability of recovering my
property.

On the 14th my brother-officers lately belonging to the Active and I
were politely informed that we were to be conducted on shore to give our
parole that we would not attempt to make our escape.  After a short
consultation, we all agreed that, although to get away from the lion's
jaws into which we had fallen was not altogether impossible, it was very
unlikely that we should succeed, and that by not giving our parole we
should be subject to a vast deal of annoyance, it was wiser at once to
give it, and to wait patiently till we were exchanged.  Constant
confinement in a prison in the West Indies, or on board a guard-ship in
harbour, it was suggested was very likely to release us; but it would be
into another world, to which we had just then no inclination to go if we
could help it.  We were received on shore by a guard of ill-favoured
blacks--"regular blackguards," as O'Driscoll observed--between whom we
were conducted to the residence of his Excellency Governor D'Argu.  We
were kept waiting for some time in a balcony which ran round the house,
subject to the inspection and remarks of a number of black and brown
urchins, who made us feel some of the bitters of captivity by jeering
and pointing at us, while we had not even the power to drive them away.
At length an officer came into the balcony and asked us into a large
room, furnished only with mats, a few chairs, and some marble tables, on
which stood some red earthenware jars, full of water, and some decanters
of claret, looking very cool and pleasant.  The great man was seated at
a table at one end of the room.  He received us, I thought, at first
very grumpily.  He did not understand English, but I recognised the
polite officer who had boarded the Dolphin when I was captured, and who
appeared to be there in the capacity of an interpreter.  The governor
enquired our respective ranks.  I fully expected to be classed among the
midshipmen, and to receive my pay and treatment accordingly; but I
fortunately had in my pocket the appointment given me by Sir Peter
Parker as acting-lieutenant of the Camel.  I bethought me of exhibiting
it, and, much to my satisfaction, it was acknowledged, and I was told
that I should be treated in all respects as a lieutenant, especially as
I had been in command of a vessel when captured.  I was surprised indeed
to find a considerable sense of justice in all the proceedings of our
captors at this time.  Perhaps the bitter feeling they afterwards
entertained for the English, when they had sustained numberless defeats,
had not then sprung up.  My friend, the second captain of the Chermente,
having explained to us the alternative to which we should be subject if
we refused to pledge our words of honour, told us that we should be at
liberty to go on shore whenever we liked, and to walk about within a
distance of a mile from the shore.  Some of us complained of the
narrowness of the circle to which we were confined.  The governor looked
quietly up, and remarked that we might consider ourselves fortunate that
it was no narrower.  The observation was interpreted for our benefit,
and no further remark was made on the subject.  We all went through the
ceremony required of us, and then, without loss of time, were once more
marched down to the boats and conveyed on board the Chermente, where all
the rest of the prisoners were collected.  Most of the men were sent
away in a cartel.  Nol Grampus parted from me with great reluctance, but
when Tom Rockets was told he must go, he turned round towards me and
exclaimed--

"Mr Hurry, sir, do you want to part with me?  I've sailed with you
since I was a boy, and, come foul weather or fair, if I have my will
I'll follow you still.  Just tell these mounseers that you want a
servant to tend on you, and that you can't do without me, and then maybe
they'll let me stay."

I tried to persuade Tom that it would be better for him to go away, but
all I could say would not turn him from his purpose, and so I made his
wishes known to the governor.  To my surprise, he was allowed to remain
in the capacity of my servant, on my pledging my word that he would not
attempt to escape.  I afterwards found that a considerable number of
seamen were detained by the French, to be exchanged afterwards when more
Frenchmen were taken prisoners.  On the outbreak of the war on this
station, at all events, the French had, I believe, the advantage in that
respect.  Afterwards, however, it was all the other way, and we English
had more prisoners than we could well look after.

We spent a week on board the Chermente while, I suppose, our captors
were considering what was to be done with us.  Now I must say that,
though I have no love for the French, or French manners or customs or
ideas, still I should be very ungrateful if I did not acknowledge the
kindness and attention we all received from Captain McNamara and his
officers.  O'Driscoll said it all arose from his father being an
Irishman.  However, as his officers were not Irishmen, I am inclined to
believe that a portion of the nation are capable of great courtesy and
kindness, and I am not at all disposed to utter a sweeping condemnation
against them, like an old master in the service whom I once knew.  My
worthy messmate was taken prisoner and kept in France some eight or ten
years or more.  When at last he was released, and an officer was wanted
for some special purpose who spoke French well, he was applied to, it
being supposed that by that time he would have acquired a perfect
knowledge of the language.  "What!" he exclaimed, with an indignant
expression, "do you suppose that I would so far forget what was due to
my nation and my profession as to go and learn the humbugging ugly
language of the enemies of my country?  No, indeed, I did my best not to
learn a word, and I am proud to say that I know as little of French now
as when I was first taken prisoner."  Though I may have laughed at my
worthy friend's want of worldly wisdom, I could never help admiring his
sturdy, uncompromising patriotism.



CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

ORDERED TO PROCEED TO OU TROU.--ESCAPE FROM OUR BLACK GUARDS.--KIND
RECEPTION AT A COUNTRY-HOUSE.--OUR GUARDS RE-APPEAR.  MEET DELISLE.--
AGAIN WELL ENTERTAINED BY A PLANTER.--ADVENTURES ON THE ROAD.--REACH OU
TROU.--PUT UP IN A STABLE.--BAD TREATMENT OF PRISONERS OF WAR.

Hitherto we had been treated with kindness and attention by the officers
of the French frigate, but a change in our lot was about to occur.  On
the 20th September we were suddenly ordered to go on shore, and when
there we found that we were to prepare for an immediate start to a place
called Ou Trou, thirty miles away in the interior.  Having been marched
up to the governor's house, we were told to be ready to commence our
journey by three o'clock, and were then allowed to go about our
business.  We accordingly, feeling the necessity of fortifying the inner
man, went to the first inn of which the place could boast, called the
Dutch Hotel, and ordered the best dinner it could turn out.  "Plenty of
wine!" was the general cry, at which Mynheer von Tromp grinned
furiously.  We were just the customers he liked, and promised to fulfil
our wishes to the utmost of his power.  In the meantime we strolled
about the town.  There was very little to attract us in it, and our
footsteps took us involuntarily to a spot whence we could obtain a good
view of the ocean, which we feared that we were destined for so long a
time not again to see.  Alas! how many of us were destined never again
to behold that ocean we loved so well!  As Delisle and I sat together
and looked out on the bright blue expanse spread before us, and dotted
here and there with white sails glancing in the sunbeams, and observed
the unfrequented shore and the fishermen's boats drawn up on the beach,
we agreed how easy it would have been, had we not given our parole, to
have made our escape, and as to danger, we settled that we would have
run it willingly for the sake of escaping from our confinement.  We
would have put off in one of the canoes and pulled away right out to sea
till we were picked up by an English cruiser or merchantman.  While we
were sitting admiring the scene several negroes passed us, great, big,
burly fellows, laughing and singing at the top of their voices.  Each
couple of them carried a burden resting on two poles.  We soon suspected
their errand.  On reaching the beach, close to the water, they threw
down their burdens and began digging away with short spades they carried
at their waists.  They did not cease laughing and shouting, and had soon
dug a shallow hole big enough to contain a dozen people.  The burdens
which they had borne to the spot were quickly tumbled in.  Before the
operations were concluded other big, half-naked negroes arrived with
more corpses, which were treated in the same unceremonious manner, and
then all were speedily covered up, and the black monsters went stamping
and dancing, singing all the while, carelessly over the huge grave.

"Who can they be?"  I asked of Delisle; "I mean the poor fellows who lie
buried down there at our feet."

My messmate spoke French, so he called one of the negroes as they passed
and made the inquiry of him.  The black fellow grinned horribly.

"English seamen.  Taken prisoners lately.  They have the fever among
them.  Yellow Jack.  They are dying like rotten sheep.  No matter.  They
are all heretics, so we bury them here.  They are not fit for
consecrated ground.  Bah!" was the answer, delivered with a broad grin,
as if the speaker had uttered a good joke.

Delisle turned away and came back to me.

"Let us return to the inn," said I.  "It must be dinner-time; I cannot
enjoy this spot any longer."

All our party quickly assembled at the hotel, and we soon forgot the
unpleasant scene we had witnessed.  Mynheer had not forgotten our order
to have an abundance of liquor ready, though I cannot say much for the
delicacy of the viands he placed before us.  I know that the bottles
circulated round the table very rapidly, and that the wine was
pronounced very good.  It possessed, I remember, the quality of being
very strong, so that we soon forgot, thanks to its fumes, all the
misfortunes which had been oppressing our spirits, and soon hilarity and
fun reigned among us.  While we held up our sparkling glasses, and the
joke and laugh went round, no one would have supposed that we were a
party of forlorn prisoners about to be marched off to a solitary abode
in the midst of a half-barbarous island.  Toasts and sentiments were
uttered, and even songs were sung, and, for my own part, I know that I
entirely forgot where I was or what I was about to do.  While our revels
were at their height a black officer made his appearance at the door.

"Messieurs, it is time to begin your journey.  Your mules are at the
door.  You must mount at once and proceed."

The order was more easily given than obeyed.  With regard to the matter
of mounting and sticking on, that, in whatever condition a seaman is, he
can generally accomplish; but the guiding a horse, mule, or donkey is a
very different affair, and beyond often the power of a sober sailor,
much more of a drunken one.

"Oh, bad luck to the blackguards! we are not going to have our
conviviality cut short by them or any like them!" exclaimed O'Driscoll,
filling up his glass with Burgundy as some of the party were about to
rise from their chairs.

"Let's sit down and be merry yet awhile longer--we shall not get such
liquor as this at the town where we are to take up our abode."  He
little knew what a true word he was speaking when he said that.  His
example was infectious, and, captain and all, we sat down and filled up
our glasses.  A toast was proposed, succeeded by a tremendous rapping on
the table.  Before it had ceased the door was swung open and a nigger
officer marched into the room in a furious rage.

"For what you disobey orders?" he exclaimed, in very tolerable
nigger-English; "you come out at once and mount, or I get the whip in
among you and make you fly!"

"Ho, ho, Quasho, you've got an English tongue in your head! where did
you pick that up, you rascal--you run-away slave from Jamacy, I guess--
eh, eh?" cried O'Driscoll, turning round and looking at the fellow with
an expression of supreme contempt.

I fully expected to see the anger of the negro become ungovernable;
instead of that, however, he prepared to back out of the room, and as
far as a negro can turn pale, he did so, and seemed at once to lose all
power of speech.

"You've hit the right nail on the head, O'Driscoll," observed Delisle;
"however, there is no use in exciting the anger of the people, we may
suffer for it in the end."

Others were of the latter opinion; and at last we all rose, and paying
the landlord's somewhat extortionate demand with the best grace we
could, considering the hole it made in our pocket, went out to inspect
our beasts.  They were tolerably strong animals, and two or three looked
as if they had some go in them, at all events.

"I say, Hurry, just keep an eye on those two beasts," said O'Driscoll,
pointing at two of the best mules.  "No one else seems to know one brute
from another."

Such was the case, for all hands, except Delisle, were more than three
sheets in the wind.  Poor Robson, one of the lieutenants, was one of the
worst.  Two negroes mounted on mules appeared to serve as our escort or
guard.  They were armed with long, formidable-looking pistols stuck in
their belts, with hangers by their sides.  Had we wished to get away, or
had we known of any place to which we could fly, we should have used
wondrous little ceremony in disposing of them.

"Mount, gen'men, mount!" exclaimed the black officer.

"More easily said than done, old codger," hiccoughed Robson, essaying to
get across the back of a restive mule.  "I should like to see your
nigger grand excellency with three bottles of Burgundy under your belt
attempting to do that same.  However, to men of courage nothing is
impossible--so here goes.  Heave ahead, my hearties!"  Making a spring,
he threw himself on to the top of the saddle, but with an impetus so
great that he toppled over completely and came down on his nose on the
opposite side.

One of our black escort, seeing the catastrophe, hurried up to help the
fallen officer.  Robson seeing him coming, and not comprehending his
intentions, tackled him at once as if he had been an enemy, and the
moment he came within reach began pommelling him away most vehemently.
This naturally excited Sambo's anger, and forgetting his habitual dread
of white men, he paid him back much in the same coin.  The spectators
meantime shouted with laughter, urging on the combatants.  Drunk as he
was, Robson soon, I saw, got much the best of it, and was punishing the
nigger most severely.  The latter did not like this treatment, and was,
I suspected, growing vicious.  Now one rolled in the dust, now the
other, but Sambo was generally the sufferer.  Fearing that he might make
use of a long knife I saw stuck in his belt, I made signs to Tom
Rockets, who not having had the means of procuring Burgundy, was happily
sober, to go in and put an end to the combat.

Poor Tom had better not have interfered, for Sambo, mistaking him for
his first antagonist, began pommelling away most furiously at his head,
while Robson, not comprehending the cause of his interference, attacked
him on the other side.

"Who are you, you son of a sea-cook, who ventures to interfere in the
quarrels of two gentlemen, I should like to know?" he hiccoughed out;
"let me tell you, I don't allow such proceedings!"

"My eyes, two gentlemen!" exclaimed Tom, fairly nonplussed; "you is an
officer, sir, but a rum sort of gentleman is t'other, I should think."

Tom bore his hammering for some time, when, getting a fair lick at
Sambo, he sent him spinning away ten yards off with a blow of his
ox-like fist.  Sambo looked very much astonished, scarcely comprehending
at first whence the blow had come, but it had the effect of teaching
him, I suspect, for the future, to respect the arm of a British tar, and
of putting an end to the combat, which, I fain must own, did not redound
much to the credit of my brother-officer.

"Come, sir," quoth honest Tom, seizing him by the leg, "just let me
hoist you aboard this here animal, you'll be more comfortable-like than
kicking away here on the ground."

Robson made no objection, but looked up with a smiling aspect in Tom's
face.

"Yeo-ho! heave-ho!" sang out my follower, and the lieutenant was quickly
seated on the back of the quadruped, though, I suspect, he sat there
with no great amount of comfort, for he held on tightly by the pommel
with both hands, as if he expected soon to be tossed off again.  Perhaps
he had in his recollection the occurrence of some such accident in
former times.

After this there was a general cry of "Heave ahead, my hearties, heave
ahead!"  And we all mounted as best we could.  Our two black guards got
on their steeds in no very good-humour with affairs in general, and us
in particular, though their mules were the greatest sufferers.

How the authorities could suppose that two niggers, albeit armed with
the longest hangers, and the biggest pistols ever used, could keep in
order a party of half-drunken British officers rendered reckless by
vexation, I do not know.  It made us fancy that they had very few men to
spare for any service but that of actual warfare.

They had our word that we would not run away, but certainly we had given
no pledges that we would not indulge ourselves in any frolic which might
be suggested to our fertile imaginations.

The word at last was given, and off set our cavalcade from the town of
Cape Francois, the negroes shouting and the mules kicking and snorting
and making all sorts of wonderful noises.  We did not leave the place
with any especial regret, but we should have done so had we known where
we were going.  Robson, whose head was pretty strong, soon recovered his
equilibrium, and he, Delisle, O'Driscoll, and I rode together.  I am no
great hand at describing scenery.  I remember it was wild in the
extreme--blue ranges of hills and deep valleys, and plains partly
cultivated, but mostly left in a state of nature overgrown with giant
ceybas, between which were seen in rich profusion every species of
parasitical plant twining and twisting and hanging in drooping wreaths,
which monkeys converted into swings, while humming-birds at the pendant
ends built their tiny nests.  Then there were mango thickets, which as
we journeyed among them, with their dense foliage, shut out the view on
every side, and tall palm-trees towering up proudly here and there in
the plain.  There were rice and sugar plantations also, and their houses
of one storey and red-tiled roofs and broad verandahs, and gangs of
negroes as they trudged, laughing and shouting, to their work at the
baking-house or mills for crushing the canes, and in the wide savannahs
there were cattle grazing and herds of long-eared, fine mules, which put
our sorry steeds to shame.

"I say, this is terribly slow work," quoth O'Driscoll, ranging up
alongside me; "what do you say to giving our nigger friends the go-by?
We can't come to much harm.  We've got the bearings of Ou Trou, I
fancy--indeed, I don't think that there is any other town in that
direction.  At all events, we may meet with some adventure, and it will
be pleasanter than jogging along at this rate."

The proposal was one which jumped amazingly with the fancy of all the
party.  We had not long to wait before we had an opportunity of putting
our scheme into execution.  We four were ahead of the rest of the party.
Suddenly we came upon a spot where four roads branched off in different
directions.

"Away we go, my boys," shouted O'Driscoll, and to the astonishment of
our guard we struck our spurs into the sides of our mules, and off we
galloped, each by a separate road, or rather track, for road, properly
so-called, there was none.  We had agreed to reunite after riding on for
twenty minutes or so, but we forgot that such a determination might not
be so easily accomplished as designed.  Our black guard pulled up,
shouting lustily, and tugging at and scratching his woolly locks,
uncertain in which direction to pursue us.  In vain he shouted, and
shrieked, and swore.  The extraordinary mixture of nigger and French
oaths in which he gave vent to his fury had no effect on us.  He might
as well have tried to stop a fly-away eagle with them.  We turned round
and shook our hands and laughed at him.  After going on for a little
time I discovered that he did not pursue me, so when my mule began to
show signs of fatigue I pulled up and rode on leisurely.  Not long
after.  I heard a tramping behind me, and expected to find that it was
the negro, but on looking back I made out O'Driscoll in chase of me.  I
having accordingly hove-to, he came up to me, laughing heartily.

"Well, faith, we have clean done the niggers!" he exclaimed.  "We may
now ride on leisurely and see what fortune has in store for us.  I
intend to throw care to the dogs and to forget that I am a prisoner of
war.  What's the use of moaning and groaning, and sighing and dying?
But oh, Molly Malone!  Molly Malone, what will ye do when ye hear that
your own faithful Patrick may chance to be kept so many long years away
from you?  Ay, there's the rub, Hurry.  Now you, you happy fellow, don't
care for anybody.  It's all the same to you where you may be, but should
Molly, now, think I was never coming back and go and marry some one
else, it would be a bitter pill to swallow."

Paddy went on conjuring up all sorts of melancholy pictures in which
Miss Molly Malone played a conspicuous part, till his feelings fairly
got the better of him and he began to blubber outright.  This was too
much.  I doubt not the Burgundy helped the tears to flow.  My own
feelings and thoughts I kept to myself and did my best to comfort him,
and in another three minutes he was roaring at the top of his voice with
laughter.

"Hillo, what's that ahead?  A stately mansion, as I am a gentleman!" he
exclaimed, as a red-tiled building of a single storey appeared before
us.  "We'll go and request the hospitality of the noble owner.  I have
no doubt that he will be enchanted to afford it when he discovers that
we are officers and gentlemen."

We turned aside through a gateway which led to the mansion.  It was a
large, low edifice surrounded by a broad verandah, a flight of stone
steps leading to the principal entrance.  As we rode up a thin old
gentleman, with a powdered wig, long-tailed coat, silk breeches and
diamond buckles, appeared at the top of the steps and summoned a troop
of negroes, who rushed forward to assist us to dismount and to hold our
mules.

"This is treating us with proper respect," observed O'Driscoll, assuming
an air of as much dignity as he could command, and, mounting the steps,
he commenced an address, which the old gentleman, in spite of his
politeness, showed that he could not possibly comprehend.  I could
command a few sentences in French by this time, so I tried to explain
that we were travelling towards Ou Trou, and that we were uncertain of
our way.  He said something about commissionaires.  I suspect he took us
for Americans.  However, he politely invited us into a large airy room
covered with mats, and made us sit down on a cool cane-bottomed sofa and
had sweetmeats and cakes and delicious cool wine and water brought in,
and then he produced a bundle of unexceptionable cigars, and we were
speedily made very happy and comfortable.  We smoked and laughed and
talked away, but I doubt that our host understood anything we said.
This was all very pleasant, and we enjoyed it amazingly.  At length the
ladies of our host's family arrived.  They had been driving round the
estate--it was a large sugar one--in a volante, jogging and jolting, I
doubt not, for the roads, if so they might be called, were execrable--a
fine thing for the bile, as O'Driscoll observed.

The ladies looked as if their drive had agreed with them, for they were
full of life and animation and courtesy and kindness.  A French creole
is really a very handsome creature--I mean those of the softer sex.  The
men are generally dried-parchment, shrivelled-up-looking little
monstrosities.  I cannot account for the difference.  We made out that
there was _madame la mere_ and three daughters, and a brace of cousins.
They must have had a couple of volantes or more, for the mother would
have amply filled the half of one at least, and two of the daughters
would have required a capacious vehicle to convey them, independent of
hoops, with which they had not encumbered themselves.

They speedily threw themselves into chairs and sofas, and coffee was
brought to them, and then cigars, which they lighted, without ceremony,
from small lumps of hot charcoal handed to them by a little black
slave-girl.

In a short time some young men came in.  They appeared to be brothers
and cousins of the young ladies, or perhaps there was a lover or so
among them.  One went to a spinet which stood at the end of the room,
and another brought in a violin and began to strike up a dancing air.
Then, to show that we were civilised beings, O'Driscoll and I rose to
our feet, and each offering a hand to a young lady, we commenced a
minuet to the air which was being played.  We flattered ourselves that
we performed our parts to admiration, though our knowledge had been
picked up during a few evenings spent on shore at New York during our
last stay there.  To the minuet succeeded a regular country-dance.  Here
O'Driscoll felt that he could show off in right good style, and
accordingly frisked and frolicked and jumped about in the most vehement
way imaginable.  He soon danced himself into the good graces of all the
lady part of the community, who seemed to admire his red hair and ruddy
cheeks, which formed so great a contrast to their own complexions.  I
heard them remarking that he was a _joli garcon_ and a _bon garcon_, and
the more impudent he looked, and the more he frolicked, the more they
admired him.  I came in for some share of their commendations, I flatter
myself, though not perhaps to so large a one as he did, but whether or
not from the same cause I will not pretend to say.  Evening was drawing
on and our contentment and hilarity were at their height--as to being
prisoners, we forgot all about that--when who should pop his head in at
the door but the ugly black rascal who had acted as our guard, the
fellow with the long pistols and hanger.  We endeavoured to ignore his
acquaintance and laughed heartily in his face, when he said that he had
come to carry us off.

"Pooh, pooh!" exclaimed O'Driscoll, going up to him, and, shaking him by
the shoulders, turned him about to shove him out of the room; but an
harangue he uttered appeared to have a considerable effect on our host.
What he said I do not know.  Our host's manner at once changed towards
us.

"It appears, gentlemen," said he, coming up to us, "that you are setting
at defiance the authorities of the island.  I cannot sanction such a
proceeding.  I took you for very different people to what I now find
that you are.  I regret it, but I must give you back into custody."

Such was the import of the old gentleman's address as far as we could
comprehend it.  It made us look very blue and feel very foolish.  The
worst of it was, that even our fair friends began to turn up their noses
at us.  Suddenly O'Driscoll slapped his leg with vehemence.

"I'll bet a thousand dollars that black scoundrel has been telling a
parcel of lies about us, which has so suddenly made our friend, Monsieur
Shagreen here, so suddenly change his opinion of us.  I'll ask him, and
assure him that the blackamoor is not to be trusted."

On this O'Driscoll held forth to the old gentleman, who, however, as he
could not make head nor tail of what was said to him, was not much
edified.  Had we been able indeed to speak French fluently, I have no
doubt that we should have got the better of the nigger.  As it was he
got the better of us, and finally got us again under his guardianship.
The only consolation was that we obtained the sympathy of the ladies,
who, when they really understood our painful position, at once exhibited
a delicacy and kindness which we had not expected when we were first
introduced to them.  They quickly disappeared, and came back with a
variety of articles which they thought might conduce to our comfort.
Blessings on the sex, whether black, brown or white, wherever they are
found!  The negro fumed and foamed and talked very big, I doubt not,
though what he said we could not clearly comprehend.  He seemed also
disposed to prevent us from receiving the gifts which the ladies
offered.  This made them, we saw, very indignant; but they quickly
managed to get round him, and, either by threats or bribes, induced him
to promise that he would treat us with kindness.  They stowed all their
gifts, which consisted chiefly of eatables, into some grass bags, which
were slung across our mules' backs in front of us.  The negro showed by
his impatient gestures that he wanted to be off, so, bidding our kind
hostesses farewell and expressing our gratitude as best we could, we
descended the steps to mount our beasts.  Our host's leave-taking was
far more formal than his reception of us.  He was evidently a
kind-hearted, generous man, but could not shut out of his sight certain
visions of offended dignitaries angry at the entertainment he had
afforded to the enemies of La Belle France.

We were sorry that we could not more clearly explain to him our sense of
his hospitality.  He waved his hand as we mounted, but declined to take
ours, and showed to the bystanders by every means in his power that he
was heartily glad to be rid of us.

"Never mind, we'll not be offended," said O'Driscoll, as we rode on.
"He is a fine old gentleman, and I dare say, if it were not for his fear
of the powers that be, he would have been as polite as ever to us."

We had gone on some miles when the clattering of an animal's hoofs
attracted our attention, and to our satisfaction we saw Delisle coming
along a track to our right.  He had lost his way and met with all sorts
of adventures; but, as he spoke French well, he easily got out of them.
He also had been entertained very kindly by a creole family, who took
him for a French officer, but threatened if any heretical Englishman
came into their power they would do for him.  At that time the Roman
Catholic inhabitants of the French colonies were bigoted in the
extreme--though surpassed probably by the Spaniards and Portuguese, who
even then would have thought they were doing God service to burn a
heretic.

It was now growing dark, or rather the sun was on the verge of the
horizon, and we knew that in another ten minutes day would have changed
into night, so rapid is the transition in those latitudes from light to
darkness.  We began to wonder what had become of Robson.  Half-seas-over
as he had been, as we grew more sober and capable of reflection we began
to fear that he had met with some accident.  Still, as we should not
find him by stopping still, and our guard would not let us go out of our
road again--at least, the instant we gave signs of such an intention he
began tapping away at his hanger or presenting one of his long pistols
as a signal to us to keep in our straight course--on we jogged,
therefore, as fast as our mules could trot, for we had yet a long
distance to accomplish before we could reach Ou Trou, and were anxious
to be there.  Fortunately, before long the moon rose.  Oh! what a
magnificent pure orb she looked floating in the clear ether--a pure,
chaste globe, one could see its roundness--not like the patch of red
putty she generally seems in northern climes stuck on to a black board.
The dark outlines of the hills and tall trees stood clearly defined
against the bright sky, and in the damper and more sheltered spots
fire-flies were darting about and filling the air with their brilliant
flashes, while the shrill cries of frogs and night-birds and whirr of
beetles resounded on every side.  We were riding on, listening to these
varied sounds of animated nature, when we saw some dark objects, which
appeared like human beings, lying on the grass by the road-side.

"What can they be?" exclaimed Delisle.  "Dead men, I fear."

We rode on--O'Driscoll was ahead.  He dismounted.

"Very noisy dead men, for they snore most confoundedly loud," he cried
out.  "As I am a gentleman, here's Robson, and he has chosen the fat
stomach of a greasy nigger for his pillow!  I hope he enjoys the
odoriferous, sudoriferous resting-place.  His dreams must be curious,
one would think.  What is to be done with him, I wonder?"

By this time we had all assembled round our fallen shipmate.  We in vain
tried to rouse him.  A few inarticulate grunts were the only answers he
could give to our often-repeated remonstrances.  The negro was much in
the same condition; but it was evident that he had had sense enough
before falling into repose to allow the ruling passion to have sway, and
he had contrived to pick our friend's pocket of his purse and watch,
which he held firmly in his grasp.  The negro guard, when he came up,
wanted to prevent our recovering Robson's property, and pretended that
it belonged to his compatriot and that we had no right to it.

We guessed, as was the case, that Robson had been hospitably entertained
at some farm, when, having taken on board a further supply of liquor, he
had been completely overcome, and that the negro had been sent to guide
him on his way.  Probably our shipmate had been treating him in return,
and, when pulling out his purse to pay the reckoning, had excited his
cupidity.  Happily for Robson his guide was too far gone by this time to
run off with his booty, and so both had come to the ground together, the
robber and the robbed levelled by that arch destroyer of the human
intellect--strong drink.  Oh, when I now come to think of it, how
disgusting was the scene!--though I did not trouble my head much about
the matter myself in those days.  Robson was a gentleman, and had
refined ideas and pleasant, agreeable manners, and yet, when once wine
thus got the better of him, he would thus sadly demean himself.  After
some pulling and hauling we got him up, and having caught his mule,
which was quietly grazing near, wiser than his rider, we put the biped
on his back.  Delisle went ahead and O'Driscoll and I propped him up on
either side--the negro we hauled up on a hank and left to recover and
make the best of his way home.  We had difficult work to keep Robson
steady, for the bumping of the mule brought him sufficiently round to
make him fancy that he could take care of himself, and he every now and
then made an attempt to do something which he was utterly unable to
accomplish.  Certainly one of the most trying things to the patience is
to conduct a drunken man along a straight road.  Our guard also was
continually urging us to go faster, which we were utterly unable to do.
Fortunately, before long we came in sight of a house belonging
apparently to a large coffee estate, and standing near the road.  Bright
lights were gleaming from within, and the sounds of music and revelry
came forth through the open windows.  It was a sight tempting indeed to
poor forlorn creatures like ourselves, who had little chance of seeing
such again for many a long day.

"What say you?" cried O'Driscoll.  "Perhaps we may kill two birds with
one stone.  We may get these merry people to take care of Robson and at
the same time to entertain us, if Sambo there don't interfere.  We'll
try at all events.  Delisle, my boy, come along and interpret for us,
will you?"

Delisle, who on most occasions was one of the most quiet and best
behaved men in existence, albeit a perfect fire-eater on occasion,
entered at once into the fun of the thing and followed his countryman
under the balcony, when the latter began to cry out--

"Oh messieurs! oh mesdames! ici, ici! un pauvre garcon se va mourire!"

Several ladies came into the balcony and looked over, curious to
ascertain what was the matter.  When they saw us bearing Robson in our
arms, some of them cried out that a stranger had come with a dead man.
Others said that he was only sick; and then some gentlemen came and
looked out, all dressed in knee-breeches, long silk waistcoats and
coats, and with swords by their sides--a very respectable-looking
assemblage.  They all talked away and consulted for some time, and the
upshot of the matter was that several of them came down, and calling us
round to the front door, assisted us to carry Robson up the steps and
into a quiet room, away from the scene of revelry.  There we put him to
bed, one of the gentlemen recommending a tumbler of _eau-sucre_ as the
best medicine we could give him.  He took a huge draught of it.

"Superb nectar! finest grog I've tasted for a long time?" he exclaimed.
"Give me more of it."

We gave him another huge jorum.  He sucked it down with great
satisfaction, and it undoubtedly cooled the fever which was raging in
his inside.  Our French friends, we flattered ourselves, did not find
out his real condition; and when we had made him comfortable they
invited us all to the room in which they were holding their revels.
Sambo, our guard, for some reasons best known to himself, made no
objections to the proceeding.  Perhaps he judged that it was the best
way of disposing of us.  Perhaps he had some acquaintance--I won't say
of the fair sex--among the sable inmates of the mansion, with whom he
had no objection to pass a short time while we were amusing ourselves in
the society of the masters and mistresses.

We danced, and ate sweetmeats, and drank coffee and claret-and-water and
smoked cigars and cigarettes to our hearts' content, and laughed and
talked to the nut-brown maids who composed the female portion of the
party, for there was not a white face among them.  We were quite
disappointed when our black guard put his head into the room and sang
out--

"Allons, messieurs, allons?"

"I should like to _allons_ you and your ugly mug?" exclaimed O'Driscoll,
eyeing the negro with no friendly look.  But there was no help for it.
The black fellow was our master; we had passed our word of honour not to
attempt to escape, and to behave ourselves orderly, and we felt that we
had already verged on the bounds of propriety in what we had done.  Our
polite hosts promised to take very good care of Robson and to forward
him on with an escort the next day, should he have recovered his
strength.

Once more, therefore, we were in the saddle and proceeded through
forests and among mountains and by plantations, guided by the light of
the moon, till, very sore and very tired, we arrived, past midnight, at
a place which our guard informed us was Ou Trou.  We said that we wished
to lodge at the best inn, on which he chuckled audibly, and told us that
we had better take up our abode for the night in a shed hard by among
some piles of Indian-corn straw.  We agreed that we had often been
compelled to sleep on far more uncomfortable couches, and that the next
morning we would set out to explore the town and choose lodgings.  With
this comfortable reflection, after our guard had disappeared into a
neighbouring shed with our weary beasts, we, not less weary, I suspect,
fell asleep.

We were awakened at an early hour the next morning by the sound of
English voices, and, getting up from our straw couches, we found several
of the officers lately belonging to the Minerva, who also had been sent
to this place, and, hearing of our arrival, had come to look for us.
They gave us an account of the way in which their ship had been taken.
We were not aware that they had been captured, and together we bemoaned
our hard fate in thus being made prisoners at the commencement of a war
which probably would be a long one.  Having stretched ourselves, we
looked out at the door of our shed.  The prospect was very rural and
very tropical, but, as just then we wanted some of the civilised
comforts of life, a few substantial houses would have been more
gratifying to our sight.  However, at that moment a voice was heard
indulging in a half-French, half-negro song, and a jolly fat blackamoor
appeared, with a white apron on, a bowl under one arm and a towel over
the other.

"Ah, there comes our perruquier.  He's a capital fellow.  You'll want
his aid, some of you.  Venez ici, Antoine!" sang out one of our friends.

Antoine, nothing loth, turned aside to us, for every new chin added to
his wealth; and he very soon had us shaven and shorn as clean as the
friar the old nursery song tells about, and all the time he was talking
and laughing and singing in the most cheery way imaginable.  Our friends
then brought us some milk and bread for breakfast, and, hungry as we
were, we were right glad to partake of it.  This done, we sallied forth
to inspect the town, as we had hitherto persisted in calling it.  What
was our disappointment and disgust to find that it was not superior to a
village of very poor pretensions, and that there was scarcely a house
fit, in any way, for us to occupy.  There were, however, three shops,
great rivals, each trying to ascertain what atrociously bad articles
they could pass off on their customers, and how high the price they
might venture to demand.  Thoroughly disappointed, we returned to our
shed to rest during the heat of the day.  In the afternoon we again
sallied out, and succeeded in securing a tumble-down looking house, with
three rooms in it and several out-houses adjoining.

This miserable place, then, was to be our abode for weeks and months,
perhaps for years!  We were all of us but scantily supplied with
clothes; we had but few books, and but a scarcity of writing materials,
and no fowling-pieces, so that we could not even look forward to the
prospect of obtaining some sport to enable us to pass the time, and to
assist in furnishing our ill-supplied table.  Altogether, our prospect
was gloomy and disheartening in the extreme, nor could any of us
discover a ray of light in the distance to cheer our spirits.  Happily,
sailors are not apt to moan and groan except when they are more
comfortable than they have ever been before in their lives on shore,
surrounded by their families and all the luxuries of civilisation; and
then if they want their promotion, or can manage to dig up a grievance,
they grumble with a vengeance.  However, when real difficulties and
dangers and troubles come, no men look up to them better; and so we
resolved to be as happy as we could, but I must say that I never in my
life had as much difficulty in making the best of it as I had on this
disastrous occasion.  Bitter, bitter indeed is the lot of a prisoner of
war!



CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

OUR QUARTERS AT OU TROU.--MY ASTHMATIC COMPANION.--ILLNESS AND DEATH OF
CAPTAIN WILLIAMS.--THE MELANCHOLY BURIAL-GROUND.--TRY TO KILL TIME, BUT
IT KILLS MOST OF MY COMPANIONS.--STARTLING NEWS.--LIFE IN THE VILLAGE.--
OUR CONDITION BECOMES WORSE.--DEATH OF MORE OF MY COMPANIONS.--ORDERS
FOR OUR RELEASE ARRIVE.

Our mansion at Ou Trou consisted of three rooms, for which the
liberal-minded copper-coloured owner insisted on our paying nineteen
dollars a month.  This was to serve as the habitation of twenty officers
ranking as lieutenants.  The midshipmen had another house appropriated
to them of much the same character.  Ours had out-houses connected with
it, rather more extensive than the building itself, and as it was
impossible for us all to stowaway in the house, especially in such a
climate as that of Saint Domingo, we came to the resolution of drawing
lots to determine who should occupy the outer buildings.  An inspection
of a comfortable barn in England will give no idea of these unattractive
edifices.  To increase their undesirableness as abodes for men, most of
them were already occupied by mules or horses or cows or donkeys.  When
we gave signs of our intention to dispossess them, the owner asserted
that we had no power to do so; they were the first tenants, and had the
right of occupation in their favour.

"Now, gentlemen, are you all ready?" exclaimed the senior officer
present; "we must settle this important matter.  Four persons in each
room is as many as they can possibly contain, the remainder must abide
by the lot which falls to them.  Two in the stable where the old horse
now lives, two in the cow-shed, two in the tumble-down barn, and two in
the large stable, where the mules and donkeys have till lately held
their revels."

This last edifice was in tolerable repair, and, provided its four-legged
inhabitants were turned out, we considered would make a very tolerable
abode.  One after the other of us drew lots.  Lieutenant Manby of the
Minerva found himself the occupier of the shed with the old horse, and I
was beginning to hope that I might obtain a berth in the house, when, lo
and behold!  I found that I was destined to share my abode with him.  He
was, as everybody who knew him would agree, a first-rate excellent
fellow, so with regard to my human companion I had reason to consider
myself fortunate; but the old horse, with the thermometer often at a
hundred, was a considerable drawback to any comfort we might hope to
find in our abode.  Our landlord probably suspected that we should turn
him out, so the very first night that we retired to our new abode the
fellow made his appearance and told us to remove him at our peril.

"But the horse may eat us!" urged Manby.

"More likely that you will eat the horse," answered the Frenchman, who
was a bit of a naturalist.  "He is graminivorous; you are carnivorous.
He can't eat you, but you can him."

"He may bite, though!"  I suggested.

"No, he has no teeth; he is too old for that," replied the Frenchman,
laughing.

"Ah! but his odour; that isn't pleasant to delicate olfactories," I
observed humbly.

"Oh, that's nothing when you are accustomed to it," replied the tyrant,
grinning from ear to ear.  "You are too particular.  Just let him take
his side of the building, and do you take the other, and you will be
completely at your ease."

As it was useless arguing with so pertinacious a disputant we were
compelled humbly to submit.  The horse had one stall--we took possession
of the other.  To make ourselves as comfortable as circumstances would
allow, we collected all the hay and straw and reeds, so as to form a
thick layer of dry materials between our bodies and the damp ground--for
damp it was, in spite of the heat of the climate.  It was too late in
the day for us to attempt more, and, weary in mind and body, we climbed
up into our nests, and were soon asleep.  I was awoke by the wheezing
and coughing of the asthmatic old horse, and, looking up, I saw what
appeared to me an extraordinary phenomenon.  Suddenly the air around us
was filled with bright sparkles of light.  Now they flashed on one side,
now on the other; now the whole space above our heads was illuminated;
then all was darkness; then the lights--thousands of them there appeared
to be--burst forth once again, more brilliantly than ever.  I could not
help rousing up Manby, to ask him what he thought about the matter.

"The matter, Hurry!" he answered, yawning; "why, that our stable stands
in a particularly damp situation, and that the place is full of
fire-flies.  You'll hear frogs croaking before long, and see great big
water-snakes crawling about, and reptiles of all sorts.  The snakes,
they tell me, are harmless; but it is not pleasant to awake and find one
encircling one's neck.  However, we shall soon get accustomed to them,
so people say, and that's a comfort.  I don't know whether it is
pleasanter to be asleep or awake.  Just now, when you roused me up, I
was dreaming that I was a horse, and that ugly copper-skinned landlord
of ours was trying to put a saddle on my back to take a long ride, but I
would not let him, and so he was thrashing me unmercifully.  I dare say
he would treat his beast much in the same way if left to himself."

"Do not let us be talking of our dreams.  Our waking thoughts are
sufficiently unpleasant," I observed.

After a time we managed to go to sleep again, but for some weeks
scarcely a night passed without our being disturbed by unusual noises or
by the visits of snakes or reptiles of some sort.  Once we were invaded
by a whole army of land-crabs, which were passing across the island, and
it was some time before we could persuade them to turn aside from our
door.  Many paid the penalty of their temerity with their lives, and
were cooked next morning for breakfast.  By-the-bye, in the cooking
department we were at first sadly deficient, but from the instruction we
received from some of our French masters, we soon became great adepts in
the art, and were independent of any help.  One reason why we did not
succeed at first was the scanty supply of food with which we were
furnished.  The Frenchmen, however, showed us where we might go out into
the woods near the village, and gather vegetables and roots and nuts of
all sorts for ourselves.  After that we were never in want of the bare
necessaries of life.  We received an allowance from the French
Government for our subsistence.  The lieutenants received three
shillings a day; the purser, master and surgeons only two; and the
midshipmen but one shilling; on which, poor fellows, it was scarcely
possible for them to exist.  The captains were allowed more, I believe,
and had a house found them some little way from Ou Trou, where they were
able to live in somewhat less discomfort than we did.  They used,
however, their best exertions to lessen the inconveniences we were
doomed to suffer; but the authorities paid but little attention to their
representations.  The residence hired by the midshipmen was even smaller
and in a more dilapidated condition than ours, and from the smallness of
their allowance, considering that their appetites were fully as good as
ours, they were truly very badly off, poor fellows.  We of the
lieutenant's rank accordingly consulted together, and agreed to have our
mess in common for them and for ourselves.  The midshipmen gratefully
accepted our offer, and each of us threw his pay into a common stock and
appointed two caterers to make the necessary arrangements and to
contract with one of the copper-coloured French shopkeepers to supply us
with breakfast and dinner and to do our washing.  These arrangements
being made, we flattered ourselves that all would go on swimmingly.
Certainly our provisions were better and more abundant than we had
expected; but we fancied that we had fallen in with a liberal-minded
man, who was anxious to treat us well.  We had a dreary time of it,
however.  Day after day passed away much in the same way.  We had no
shooting or fishing--no musical instruments--so that we had not even
music to relieve the monotony of our existence.  We had but few books
also; some of us read them; but, generally speaking, under the relaxing
influence of the climate, we felt very little inclined for any literary
pursuit.  A few games were invented which served to kill time, but
killing time is not a pleasant or inspiriting occupation, especially
when a man reflects that time is sure to kill him in the end.  We walked
about the neighbourhood of our dreary abode as far as we were allowed to
go, but we soon got weary of the negro huts, and the palm-trees and the
rice fields and the coffee plantations, and the cocoa-nuts and plantains
and bananas, and the monkeys and opossums and racoons, and parrots and
humming-birds.  I dare say, if we had not been prisoners and compelled,
as it were, to see the wonderful productions of animal and vegetable
life, we should have been highly interested in them--at least, we ought
to have been.  One or two of our surgeons, who had a little turn for
natural history, contrived to pass their time by collecting specimens,
and examining into the nature and habits of the animals which abounded
in the country; but naval officers, especially in those days, did not
trouble their heads much about such matters, and were somewhat inclined
to look down upon those who did.  We talked of our prospects--they were
gloomy enough; we tried sometimes to sing, but for that we had not much
spirits; and so the days passed away.  It would have been surprising,
even in a healthy climate, if disease had not attacked us under similar
circumstances.  For some time it stood aloof, but it came at last, and
made ample amends for its delay by its violence.  We had been about a
month at Ou Trou, when one day we were all seated at dinner in a sort of
courtyard, which being in shade served us as our mess-room and
drawing-room, unless the weather was bad, when we had to retire into our
hot, stifling little house.  We were all in tolerably fair spirits that
day.  O'Driscoll had been telling some of his good stories, more than
one song had been sung, and jokes were flying about, far more than was
usually the case.  There were a few absentees in consequence of
sickness, and we heard also that Captain Williams, lately commanding the
Active, was ill.  Poor man! he severely felt the loss of his ship,
though, having been compelled to yield to a vastly superior force, no
blame was attached to him.  His spirits, it was said, had never risen
again since he was taken prisoner, and he was thus but ill able to
combat with the baneful effects of the climate and the irksomeness of
imprisonment.  Just then, however, few of our party were thinking about
anything but the present moment and the unusually good dinner we had
been enjoying, when who should make his appearance near the head of the
table but Monsieur Roquion our purveyor, with a smiling countenance and
a long bill in his hand.

Our caterers inquired why he had come.

"For to present my litte _compte_ to you, gentilmen," he answered, for
he indulged occasionally in a few words of English, especially when he
wanted to say anything very disagreeable.

One of the caterers took the bill, and we saw them both looking over it
together, and pulling wonderfully long faces.

"What is the matter?" asked Delisle.  "Anything wrong with the account?
Let us know the worst.  It cannot be very bad, I hope."

"Only our excellent friend here has brought us in a charge of a hundred
dollars more than we expected to have to pay, or than we ought to pay,"
was the answer.

"Never mind; we'll contest it, and the fellow will have to go without
the money, I hope."

Monsieur Roquion understood the remark, for he grinned widely from ear
to ear.

"Go and get us a proper account, Master Yellow-face," said our chief
caterer.  "This little bill of yours is too much by half."

I don't know if the worthy understood what was said, but he refused to
take back the account, and, after grinning at us a little longer, took
his departure.

We finished our dinner without much concern about Monsieur Roquion and
his bill; but we had unfortunately come to the end of our stock of wine
and tea, and a few other luxuries, and where to obtain them except from
Monsieur Roquion was a puzzle.  The next morning we determined to try,
so we went to his shop to order what we wanted; but he instantly met us
with a hint that "_Le petit compte_ must first be settled."

We appealed to the commandant--a personage of whom I have not hitherto
spoken, because I had nothing to say in his favour, but very much to the
contrary.  He replied that the demand was a just one.  We suspected that
he was to come in for his share of the spoil.  We at length got angry,
and said that we were cheated and would not pay.  Thereat he grinned
broadly, and informed us that it was his duty to see justice done to
Monsieur Roquion, and that he should stop a portion of our allowances
till the debt was paid.  We protested loudly against this decision; but
he only grinned the more, and with a bland smile informed us that might
made right, and that we might take what course we liked.

We could do nothing but submit; and the next pay-day we found that he
had determined to stop half our allowance.  So we found ourselves
reduced to eighteen-pence a day, while the poor midshipmen had only
sixpence--a sum on which they could barely exist.  We did our best to
help them out of our own pittance; but to all of us it was like falling
from affluence to penury.  Misfortunes, it is said, never come alone.
Certainly at that time we experienced plenty of them.  We were all
sitting together discussing what was best under our circumstances to be
done, when Delisle, who had gone to see Captain Williams, came back with
the report that he was much worse, and wished to see his son, who was a
midshipman, and had been living with the others.  Delisle went for the
boy; and as he passed by, on his return, I saw that he looked especially
sad.  That evening notice was brought us that Captain Williams was dead,
and his poor young midshipman son was left an orphan; and a prisoner in
that far-off pestiferous land.  Delisle brought the boy back with him,
and with all the kindness of his heart endeavoured to console him.

In that climate decomposition follows death so rapidly that, almost
before the human form is cold, it is necessary to commit it to the
grave.  We agreed, therefore, that early next morning we would all go
and pay the last respects to the late unfortunate captain of the Active.
Accordingly, snatching a hasty breakfast of dry bread and milk--for
that was all the food the present low state of our finances would allow
us to indulge in--we sallied forth, taking poor little Williams with us,
whom we intended should act as chief mourner.  When we arrived at the
house, and went into the room where Delisle had last seen the body, it
was no longer there.  We searched about, but nowhere could we see it.
In another room we found Captain Stott, late of the Minerva.  His
health, like that of his brother captain, had given way, and he looked
very ill and wretched.

We told him that we had come to assist in burying poor Captain Williams.

"You have come, then, too late, gentlemen," he answered with a deep
sigh.  "Two ill-conditioned negroes came this morning with a guard of
three or four soldiers, and informed me that they had come to remove the
body.  I protested vehemently, and, had I possessed force, would have
prevented them, but it was in vain.  The wretches, with taunts and
sneers at our being heretics and unworthy of Christian burial, carried
away the body of my friend and brother-officer, and, I conclude, have
thrown him into the ground in some out-of-the-way place."

Captain Stott was too ill, or he would have followed the barbarians in
spite of the soldiers.  Two or three other people tried to do so, but
were driven back with angry threats, and at last gave up the attempt.
We were very indignant when we heard this, and resolved at once to go
and try and find out where the wretches had buried the captain.  We
ascertained the direction they had taken and pursued them.  We should
soon have been at fault in that trackless part of the country, but we
fell in with a little negro boy to whom I had been kind on more than one
occasion, and he told us that he had followed the men at a distance, and
undertook to show us the spot where our countryman had been buried.  It
was not far-off, and when we reached it our indignation became greater
than ever.  The authorities had evidently studied how they could most
insult and annoy us.

In a piece of waste ground where offal and rubbish was cast, and where
the bodies of the few malefactors who were ever brought to justice, as
well as those of dogs and other animals, were deposited, they had
ordered our poor friend to be interred.  He had been placed there,
fastened up in a piece of canvas, without a coffin and without ceremony
of any sort.  We stood with mournful countenances and with hearts full
of bitterness and indignation over the foul spot, discussing among
ourselves whether we ought not to dig up the body and carry it to the
churchyard of Ou Trou, there to bury it among others who at all events
had called themselves Christians.  Our intentions must have been
suspected, for in a few minutes a guard of soldiers made their
appearance, and, threatening us with their pikes or halberds, made us
desist.  We then determined to go at once to the commandant.  He
received us with a look of haughty contempt.  He remarked that our
countryman was a heretic--that the priests considered that he had died
out of the pale of their true Church like a dog, and that like a dog he
must be buried.

"Does the holy religion of Christ teach you thus to treat your enemies?"
exclaimed Delisle, indignantly.  "We are Christians, as you call
yourselves, and have, as such, a right to Christian burial."

"I know nothing about that matter," answered the commandant.  "The
priests say that you are not, that you are cut off from the only true
Church, and are thus condemned to everlasting punishment.  This being
the case--and I am bound to believe it--what matters it where your
bodies are placed?"

Such was the tenor of the reply we received from an officer holding a
commission under the government of a nation which prided itself on being
the most enlightened and civilised in the world.

Though in France the outward signs of religion were still adhered to,
the _savants_ and _literati_ were already paving the way by their false
philosophy for that terrific outbreak of popular fury which deluged
their country in blood, and well-nigh rooted out all that was noble and
good and worthy in the land.  At this time in Saint Domingo, and
probably in the other French dependencies, there was an ostentatious
show of religion which was sadly belied by the manners and customs of
the people.  At all events, a person bearing his Britannic Majesty's
commission was entitled, as a prisoner of war according to the law of
nations, to all the respect due to his rank as an officer and a
gentleman.

We returned to our home, wondering who next among us would be carried
off to be put into that revolting receptacle of the dead.  We had now
seriously to turn it in our minds how we should be able to exist.  A
bright idea struck me--I would become a gardener.  There was a
considerable portion of ground attached to our mansion.  I had had some
little experience before in my life; others also knew something about
the art, and so we hoped that our united stock of knowledge would
produce us a good supply of vegetables.  We had unfortunately but little
money to purchase tools, or seeds or plants, but we did not disdain to
turn beggars.  We borrowed what tools we could, and manufactured spades
and hoes and rakes out of wood.  They were not very neat, but they
answered our purpose.  Seeds cost but very little; many were given us,
others we bought.  The poor unsophisticated, ignorant blacks were very
kind-hearted, and gave us all they could spare.  Thus our garden became
our greatest source of amusement, and at the same time a most profitable
employment.

Often for days together we had no other food but that which our garden
produced.  We had yam, cassava, choco, ochro, tomatoes, Indian kale,
Lima beans, potatoes, peas, beans, calalue, beet-root, artichokes,
cucumbers, carrots, parsnips, radishes, celery and salads of all sorts;
nor must I forget the magnificent cabbage-trees some two hundred feet
high--not that we planted them, by-the-bye--or the fruits, the
cocoa-nut, plantain, banana, the alligator pear, the cashew, papaw,
custard apples, and others too numerous to mention; the recollection of
which even now makes my mouth water, as it did sometimes then, when we
saw but could not obtain them.  If it had not been for our garden I
believe that we should one and all of us have succumbed to that fell
climate.  In vain we endeavoured to learn how the war was going on.  No
news was ever allowed to reach us but what was of the most disheartening
nature, and Monsieur Roquion always contrived to bring it with a grin on
his countenance which we knew meant mischief, though we could not make
up our minds to believe him or not.  One day he came in with a smile on
his countenance, and shrugging his shoulders--

"Very sorry for you, as we do not here benefit by your loss," he
remarked, endeavouring to put on a look of perfect sincerity.  "You
have, undoubtedly, heard the sad news.  Your brave Admiral Keppel has
been defeated in the channel.  Most of his ships have been sunk or
taken, and he himself has been captured and is a prisoner in France."

Days and days passed away and we heard no more, and though we used every
exertion to discover the truth, no one we met could contradict it.  Next
we heard that the successful French fleet had pursued Admiral Byron on
his voyage to America, had brought him to action and completely
dispersed and destroyed his fleet.  We daily talked the matter over
among ourselves.  We could scarcely believe that the sun of England had
set so low, and yet what right had we to doubt the truth of what we
heard?  We had ourselves been captured by the enemy, and might not
others have been equally unfortunate?

Then we heard that the French had blocked up Lord Howe in New York, and
that the American patriots had triumphed over the British army and were
everywhere successful.  How earnestly we longed for letters which might
inform us of the truth! but our cunning captors took care that we should
not get them.  Perhaps they themselves believed the reports they spread
among us.  One thing we knew, that in spite of all their reverses, the
English were not likely to give in without a desperate and prolonged
struggle, and that, therefore, our captivity might be continued to an
indefinite period.  I therefore considered if I could not make myself
more comfortable than I had hitherto been.  I called Tom Rockets to my
councils.  He, faithful fellow, had been constantly in attendance on me.

"To my mind, sir, the best thing to do would be to keep chickens," he
observed with a look of simple earnestness.  "My old mother used to keep
them, and I helped her to feed them, and I know all their ways; and if
we could get a few we could keep them in this here stable of yours, sir,
and they would well-nigh feed themselves."

I thought Tom's proposal so good a one that I forthwith put his plan
into execution.  I had made several friends among the negroes by
stopping and talking to them and exchanging a joke occasionally.  Not
that what I said was always very comprehensible to them, nor were their
replies to me, but they understood my signs as I did theirs, so that we
got on very well.

"Now, Tom," said I, "we will go out and buy these same chickens.  You
know a laying hen from an old cock, I suppose?"

"Lord love ye, yes, sir," was Tom's answer, with a grin.  "And if so be
ye wants any of the rhino, I've saved three dollars, which will go far
to buy them; and you know, Mr Hurry, sir, it will be an honour and
pleasure to me if you will take them.  I've no use for them, and may be,
if they stop burning in my pocket, I shall only drink them up some day."

I thought this too probable, but still I was unwilling to take the
honest, generous-hearted fellow's money.  I had myself scraped together
a couple of dollars, with which I expected to be able to purchase a cock
and five or six fowls, and I thought that would be enough.  Tom and I
accordingly set out on our expedition, with our dollars in our pockets.
Before long we reached the hut of an old negro and his wife, where I had
seen some good-looking fowls.  Looking about, however, we saw none of
them.  As we were going away old Quasho made his appearance, followed by
Quashie, his better half.  In vain, however, did we tell them we wanted
some fowls; I had forgotten the French word, and they did not understand
us.

"I think as how I can make them know what we wants, sir," said Tom and
he began crowing away at the top of his voice; then he cackled most
lustily and began running about as a hen does before she begins to lay
an egg, and finally, having provided himself with a round stone, he
produced it as if he had just deposited it in a nest.  Then he pulled
out one of his dollars and held it up before them.  Quasho and Quashie
clapped their hands with delight at the significance of the action, and
away they scuttled into the woods, soon returning with a couple of hens.

"Bons, bons!" cried Tom, taking them, but not giving up the coin.  Again
he crowed and again he cackled, and gave the old couple a shove to
signify that they were to go off and bring more fowls.  It did not suit
them, it appeared, to comprehend what he wanted, but Tom was not to be
done, so at last Quasho exclaimed--

"Jiggigery, niggery, hop," or some words which so sounded, and away
scuttled the old lady, bringing back a couple more hens.

Tom, having secured them by the legs under his arm, allowing them to
peck away at his back, attempted the same manoeuvre, but the old people
put on such a look of dull stolidity that I was certain they would give
no more fowls for the dollar.  I told him, therefore, to give up the
dollar, and we continued on our way to another hut, where, for another
dollar, we got the same number of fowls.  Three dollars were thus
expended, and, with our newly-acquired farm produce, we returned in
triumph to my stable.

Manby was highly amused at the notion of my turning egg and chicken
merchant, which I told him it was my intention to do.  In that country
food of all sorts for my fowls was easily procured, so I had no
difficulty in collecting an ample supply.  This became one of my chief
occupations.  Tom Rockets and I used to go out into the woods with bags,
and come back loaded with nuts and seeds and roots for my pets.  The
consequence of their being thus amply supplied with provisions was that
they quickly took to laying eggs, and thus in a short time I had four or
five eggs every morning.  Some of these Tom and I ate, and others we
sold or exchanged for meat.  They, with the produce of our kitchen
garden, enabled us to be pretty well independent of the provisions
furnished us by the authorities.  Thus, what I at first thought a
misfortune turned out to be a real benefit, because the necessity of
procuring food made me exert myself, and afforded me an occupation of
interest.  I gave them all names, and I knew each of them, and they soon
learned to know me and to come at my call.  Whichever I summoned came
flapping up to me, cackling or crowing as the case might be, whether
cock or hen.  I was rather proud of the nickname which my messmates gave
me of "the farmer."  Often, when they were almost starving after our
mess was broken up, I was able to supply myself and Tom with a
comfortable breakfast and dinner.  Never, indeed, were dollars better
expended.  I have already mentioned the various reports of disasters to
the British arms, both by sea and land, which reached us from time to
time.  Soon after I got my fowls we were told, as an undoubted fact,
that Jersey and Guernsey had been taken by surprise, and that every man,
woman, and child in them had been destroyed on account of their loyalty
to England; but the most terrific and heart-rending news came at last.
It was that England herself had been invaded; that the enemy, having
gained a secure footing in the country, had won three or four pitched
battles, and had finally taken London, after a terrific resistance, when
half the population were slain.  Probably, under other circumstances, we
should not have believed this last report unless it had been fully
authenticated, though, unguarded as the shores of England at that time
were, we knew that it was possible; but, dispirited and ill as many of
us were, we were fully prepared to give credence to any story even of a
less probable character.  For two or three weeks we were left in the
most dreadful state of doubt and uncertainty as to whether England still
existed or not as an independent nation.  Some of us fully believed that
liberty no longer was to be found except in the highlands of Scotland
and among the mountains of Wales.

The first gleam which banished these dreadful surmises was the
announcement which reached us on the 5th of November, that Captain
Philips, of the 60th Regiment, and Mr Rankin, a passenger in the
Minerva, were forthwith to be set at liberty.  They received permission
to go at once to Jamaica under a flag of truce.

We could scarcely believe this information when we heard it, and it was
only when we saw them setting off with joyful countenances, bidding us
all farewell, that we were convinced of its truth.  It also assured us
that the various accounts we had from time to time heard of the
disasters which had befallen the power of Great Britain were very
contrary to what was the case.  The invasion of England had long been a
favourite scheme of the French, and I thought then, as I have since,
that some ambitious general or sovereign will find it one of the very
best cards he can possibly play to make the attempt for the purpose of
gaining supreme power in the country, or of securing the position he may
before have obtained.

Death was now busy among us.  On the 20th of November Captain Stott's
steward died--a faithful fellow, who had willingly followed his master
into captivity.  Near the village was a wide savannah--an extensive
open, level space, destitute of trees, and overgrown in most parts with
a rank vegetation, and dotted with pools of water, among which snakes
and venomous reptiles of all sorts delighted to roam.  Here the poor man
was carried by a couple of blacks and cast into a hole they dug for the
purpose.

Very soon after this event, which I find recorded in my journal, I most
unexpectedly received a box containing linen and clothes, sent me by a
friend at Jamaica.  In the pockets of some of the clothes I discovered a
packet of letters.  Two of them were from home.  What a thousand
thoughts and feelings and regrets did their contents conjure up!  Many,
many months had passed away since I had heard from any of my relations
and friends in Old England, and I had begun almost to fancy that I was
forgotten, and should never receive any more letters.  I read these over
and over again, and then I went in search of Delisle, that I might have
the pleasure of reading them to him.  He and I were like brothers, and
like a brother he entered into all my feelings, and was almost as much
interested in the contents of my letters as I was myself.  One of them
was from my sister Lucy--a sweet, good, pretty girl.  I described her to
him, and, poor fellow, from my portrait, (I am sure it was not
overdrawn, though), he fell in love with her.  He was ever afterwards
talking of her, and constantly asking to see her letters, and I agreed
to introduce him when we got home, whenever that might be, and he
promised, if she would have him, to marry her.  So it was settled
between us.  No one will find fault with him or me for what we did.

I must not forget another important letter from the friend who sent the
box.  In it he told me that the admiral had most kindly kept a vacancy
open for me as a lieutenant on board the Ostrich, but at last, when he
could not arrange my exchange, he had been reluctantly compelled to fill
it up.  This, of course, added to my annoyance at having been made
prisoner.  The parcel of clothes was very valuable, for I found that
they would fetch a high price in the place, and as in that warm climate
a very small supply was sufficient, I resolved on selling the greater
portion of them.  This I forthwith did, at a price which enabled me to
pay all my debts at the hucksters' shops, and gave me a good sum
besides.  I thought that it would have been inexhaustible, and
accordingly feasted sumptuously for several weeks, and entertained my
friends freely in my stable, or rather in front of it, where, under the
shade of a grove of cocoa-nut trees, I used to spread my board.

On the 2nd of December, Mr Camel, who had been purser of the Active,
and the son of Captain Williams, were sent to Jamaica on their parole in
a cartel, but no one else of our party was allowed to leave the place.
Reports had just been going about to the effect that we were all to be
forthwith exchanged, and therefore, when we found that they were false,
an overpowering despondency sprung up among us.  To increase the misery
of our condition, a report reached the commandant, invented by some
malicious person, or perhaps by the authorities themselves, to increase
the harsh treatment to which we were subjected, to the effect that we
had formed a plot to set fire to the village, and that, taking advantage
of the confusion thus created, we intended endeavouring to make our way
to the sea, and then to seize some small vessel and escape in her to
Jamaica.  It was not likely that a number of officers who had given
their parole to remain quiet would be guilty of an act so dishonourable
as to endeavour to escape.  It was, however, believed, and we were in
consequence even more severely treated than before.  I say believed, but
I should be more correct if I said that the authorities pretended to
believe it.  We had now a guard constantly set over us, and whenever we
went out we were narrowly watched.  The food with which we were
furnished was worse than ever, and when we complained of the purveyors
or hucksters the commandant replied that he could not interfere, and
that we must take what was offered us, and be thankful that it was no
worse.  Often many of our poor fellows had not the bare necessaries of
life, and it was only by great exertion that I was able to procure them,
as I have described, for myself and a few of my more intimate friends.
I had not supposed that so degenerate a race of Frenchmen existed, for
when they saw us all rapidly sickening and advancing towards the grave,
instead of relaxing their system of tyranny, they only increased their
ill-treatment, and made us believe that they really wished to put us to
death by inches.

On the 4th, poor young Bruce, a midshipman of the Minerva, died, and was
buried in the savannah among many of our countrymen who had already
fallen victims to disease.  Captain Stott, we heard, was sinking fast,
and on the 15th he too succumbed to sickness and, I truly believe, a
broken heart.  Some of his friends attended him to the last, and a large
body of us went up to keep guard, to prevent his body being carried
away, as had been the case with Captain Williams.

As soon as he was dead, we lieutenants carried him to our own house and
in the morning we sent a deputation to the commandant, saying, that as
Captain Stott was one of the oldest officers in his Majesty's service,
we considered that he ought to be buried with as much form and ceremony
as circumstances would allow in the public cemetery of the place.  Our
request was, however, peremptorily refused.  We all of us, accordingly,
assembled in our uniforms, and bore the body of the old captain to the
savannah, where, at a lonely spot, we dug a grave with such implements
as we possessed, and, prayers being said, deposited him in it near his
midshipman and steward.

There they rest, in that scarcely known locality, free from that trouble
and care which has followed many of those who attended them to their
graves.  Some of those were, however, soon to be laid to rest alongside
them.  Perhaps it was through some feeling of humanity that, a few days
afterwards, the son and nephew of Captain Stott--two little fellows
scarcely more than ten years old--were allowed to go to Jamaica under
charge of Mr Varmes, purser of the Minerva.  Bartholomew, one of the
lieutenants of the same ship, was very ill of the fever.  He had
scarcely been able to creep to the burial of his late commander, but
still he had some hopes of recovery.  Our medical man had very little
experience of the nature of the fell disease which was attacking us, so
that those taken ill had but a small chance of getting well.

I was sitting one day by the side of poor Bartholomew, endeavouring to
afford him what consolation I could.  Alas! with regard to his worldly
prospects there was little I could offer.  I tried to point to higher
things--to the world to come.  Unfortunately men do not think enough of
that till they are on its very threshold.  He was expressing a hope that
he should get better, and I entertained the same; suddenly the door of
the room was thrown open, and Adams, another of the Minerva's
lieutenants, rushed into the room with an animated countenance--

"Cheer up, Bartie, old fellow!" he exclaimed.  "An order has just
arrived for our release.  I have seen it, and we are to set off at once
for Jamaica."

"Hurrah!" exclaimed the other lieutenant, lifting himself up in his bed.
"Then I shall not have to leave my bones in this horrid hole.  Hurrah!
On, my fine fellows, on!"

He waved his hand above his head as if he had his sword in it, and was
leading a party of boarders.  I heard a rattling sound.  I looked at his
countenance.  An awful change had come over it.  Before I could even
support him he fell back in his bed and was dead.  Adams and I stood for
a moment like persons petrified, so sudden and shocking was the event.
We bore him at sunset to our field of the dead in the savannah, and
there the hands of his friends and brother-officers laid him beside the
grave of his late captain.  Adams, however, got away and reached Jamaica
in safety.  Thus ended, in gloom and almost hopeless despondency, that,
to us prisoners, ever memorable year of 1778.  For what we could tell to
the contrary then, we might have to remain till peace was restored, or
till England succumbed to the enemies gathering round her.

Proud of our country as we were, and confident of the bravery of her
sons, what had we to hope for?  Although at sea the ancient supremacy of
our flag had been ably upheld, on shore, either from want of good
generals or from our pernicious military system--perhaps from both
causes combined--no brilliancy had been shed on the British arms;
indeed, we only heard of defeats, ill-conducted expeditions, and
disasters of all sorts, which often made our hearts sink to the very
depths of despondency.



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.

ATTACKED WITH FEVER.--MAMMY GOBO, MY BLACK NURSE.--RECOVERY.--DEATH OF
DELISLE.--SAIL FOR JAMAICA.--PROMOTED.--JOIN THE PORCUPINE.--CHASE.--A
MISHAP.--BECALMED.--PROVISIONS RUN SHORT.--SUFFERINGS.--A FRESH BREEZE
BRINGS US RELIEF.--JAMAICA AGAIN.

I had long held out against the attacks of that arch enemy, the yellow
fever, to which so many of my companions in misfortune had succumbed.
Several vacancies having occurred in the house, Manby had gone there and
left me to the society of Tom Rockets and my cocks and hens.  I,
however, had got so accustomed to the place that I had no wish to go
elsewhere.  Impunity had made me fancy that I was proof against the
fever.  It found me out, however.  In an instant I was struck down.  I
entreated that I might be left where I was.  Tom made me up as
comfortable a bed as he could, and covered me with a boat-cloak and a
blanket.  Strange as it may seem, in that climate I felt excessively
cold, and thought that nothing would warm me.  Hour after hour I lay
shivering as if nothing could ever make me warm again, and expecting all
the time that I was about to die, and thinking that those I loved most
on earth would perhaps never gain tidings of my fate.  Then I felt so
hot that I had a longing to jump into the nearest stream to cool my
fevered blood.  Poor Tom sat by my side, often wringing his hands in
despair, not knowing how to treat me, and yet anxious to do all in his
power to be of assistance.  At length one day he jumped up as if a
bright thought had just struck him, and out he ran, leaving me alone.  I
scarcely expected that I should be alive when he came back, so weak and
wretched did I feel.  An hour or more passed when he reappeared,
accompanied by an old black woman with whom I had occasionally exchanged
a joke in passing, and I believe bestowed on her some trifle or other,--
Mammy Gobo I used to call her,--little thinking the service she would be
to me.  She felt me all over and looked at my tongue, and then off she
trotted.  She soon, however, came back with some pots and herbs and some
bricks.  She first made Tom dig a hole, in which she lighted a fire and
at it heated some bricks.  These she applied at once to my feet, and,
putting on her pots, formed some decoctions with the herbs, which she
made me swallow in large quantities.  Had she not providentially come, I
believe that I should have died that very night.  As it was, I was
evidently a subject requiring all her care and skill.  She seemed
anxious to bestow both on me.  All night long she sat up by my side, and
all day she watched over me.  It appeared to me that she never slept.
If I opened my eyes they were certain to fall on her jolly ugly visage,
with her large eyes turned full upon me, seemingly to inquire what I
wanted.  When at last she began to go away occasionally for half an hour
at a time to collect more herbs, or for some other purpose, Rockets was
always ready to take her place, and attended me with all the affection
of a true and warm friend.  Strong as my constitution was, I am very
sure that had I not been watched over by Mammy Gobo and Tom I should not
have recovered--that is to say, I felt then, and I feel more strongly
now, that they were the instruments, under a merciful Providence, by
which I was preserved so long from destruction while hanging between
life and death, and ultimately of my recovery, though it was long before
that took place.  Probably in consequence of his constant attendance on
me, before I had begun to recover, Tom himself was attacked with the
fever, and there he lay in the stall next to me, moaning and groaning,
and occasionally raging with delirium.  I ought to have mentioned that
some time before this our old horse had been removed to a place of
superior accommodation--I suspect to our tumble-down, rickety stable;
but, as we wanted his room more than his company, we did not complain of
this.  Mammy Gobo was no respecter of persons, and I was glad to find
that she attended on Tom with as much care as she had done on me.  The
poor fellow was very grateful.

"Ah, sir," he said, "though that 'ere nigger woman has got a black skin,
to my mind she has as good and red a heart in her body as any
white-faced person.  It's just the painting of the outside which ain't
altogether according to our notions; but after all, sir, beauty is, as
you know, sir, only skin deep."

I fully agreed with him on this point, and at that moment poor Mammy
Gobo was more welcome to our sight than the most beautiful creature in
existence.  What cooling drinks she concocted out of herbs and simples,
and what delicious messes out of various sorts of vegetables and fruits
and roots, the productions of that fruitful climate!  However, Mammy
Gobo could not always attend on us, for she had several other patients
and had to look after her own affairs at home.  During her absence our
poor chickens fared but ill, for we could not go out to collect food for
them, and the supply we had before stored up was soon expended.  They,
in consequence, had to go forth to forage for themselves.  At first they
came back regularly enough, but then we remarked that one was missing;
then next day another did not make its appearance, and so on the third
day two were missing.  In a few days half our stock were lost.  We told
Mammy Gobo of what had occurred, and she said she would try and find out
who had robbed us.  When, however, she was present, all the chickens
came back.  We certainly did not suspect her of being the thief, but we
felt sure that the real thieves watched her movements and ran off with
our fowls when she was out of the way.  We were compelled also to kill
several of our stock of chickens for food, Mammy Gobo having especially
prescribed chicken-broth when we became somewhat convalescent.  They
were now reduced to a very small number.  One by one they also
disappeared till none remained, and then we were indeed in a very
miserable and forlorn condition.  We were still too ill, however, to
think much of the future, but we found it impossible to supply even our
present wants; and had not the kind-hearted black woman catered for us,
assuring the hucksters that I was certain to recover and pay them, I
believe that we should have starved.

At last I was able to get about a little, though the fever was still on
me, and I managed to crawl to the house to see some of my
brother-officers.  The greater number of them were sick, or had been ill
and nearer death's door.  I inquired for my old shipmate and friend,
Delisle.  "He is ill in that room," was the reply.  I went forthwith to
him.  A few short weeks of sickness had made a great change in his
countenance.  He took my hand when I approached the wretched pallet on
which he was stretched.

"I am glad to see you recovering, my dear Hurry," he said in a low,
feeble voice.  "It is all up with me, though.  I shall never be a
post-captain--never command a ship--my last battle is fought.  I must
yield to God's will.  It seems hard, though.  You know all about my
friends.  If you ever reach home, go and tell them about me.  I can't
talk more.  I am weak--very weak--couldn't hail the maintop if I was to
try.  Oh, it's hard, very hard, to be thus cut off by the arm of this
vile climate--very, very."

He was silent.  I tried to console him, to raise his spirits, for I was
certain they had a good deal to do in enabling a person to recover.  In
vain were all my efforts.  He sank slowly, and before morning one who
had long been my friend and the companion of my Orlopian days on board
the Orpheus, and lately my messmate also in the Bristol, was no more.
The blow prostrated me in body and spirits, and I felt inclined to give
in, and lay my head down beside his.  Soon after daylight we sallied
forth with the body of our brother-officer, and took our way towards the
dreary savannah.  We were followed by some of our guards and other
individuals, anxious, we concluded, to watch our proceedings.  Our party
was but small, for alas! the greater number of the lieutenants were
unable from sickness to attend the funeral.  We were a melancholy
party--pale, haggard, and squalid.  We placed the body on the grass.
What a fine, handsome young fellow he looked!  We began to dig his
grave.  Without consideration, we began to dig it east and west.  When
we had proceeded some way in our work, our French masters interfered and
said that we ought to dig it north and south, that only Christian men,
good Catholics, should be buried east and west, that they might be ready
to rise when summoned by the sound of the last trump.  We resolved,
however, not to give in to so absurd a demand, and continued our
labours.  Again the Frenchmen interfered.  On a further consultation one
of our party recollected that graves were usually placed east and west
in England, and so we told our tyrants that we were only following one
of our own national customs, and to it we intended to adhere.  From our
not recollecting the custom, all our other countrymen had been buried
north and south.  After some further dispute about the matter we were
allowed to proceed, and thus poor Delisle rests in the position which is
considered most orthodox, though I cannot say that I should be inclined
to attach much importance to the matter.  Sad and sick, I went back to
our stable.  The exertion I had gone through almost finished me.  The
other lieutenants wanted me to go to their house, but I had no spirits
for society.  I preferred my own wretched abode and the companionship of
Tom Rockets and the old black woman.  Never did one brother mourn for
another more sincerely than I did for Gerard Delisle.  Thus the days and
weeks and months drew slowly along till April arrived.  That month was
passed much as the others till on the 28th, a day not likely to be
forgotten by me.  Several of my friends had come in to see me, and they
were all sitting about in the stable.  We were bemoaning, as we often
did, our hard fate.

"As for me," I exclaimed, "I fully expect to lay my bones in that dark,
dreary savannah!  What hope have I of ever getting away?"

Suddenly a voice was heard outside the door shouting lustily.  We
thought it was one of our friends running about in the delirium of
fever, when in rushed Lieutenant Moriarty with an open letter in his
hand of a very official appearance.

"It was directed to me, so I broke the seal.  You and Manby and I are
free.  Hurrah, boys, hurrah!" he exclaimed.  "Hurrah, hurrah!"

I thought at first that he was mad, and could not believe him till he
let me inspect the letter.  It was from General D'Argue, informing us
that, in consequence of a request from Sir Peter Parker, we had leave to
embark on board a cartel for Jamaica.  I turned the document over and
over again in my hand.  There could be no doubt about its genuineness.
Ill and weak as we all were, for we still had the fever on us, we
resolved to set off the moment we were able.  After the first ebullition
of our feelings was over, we recollected what must be the sensation of
the friends we were leaving behind, and Moriarty did his best to soothe
them by assuring them how rejoiced we should be if they were able to go
likewise.  Some of them, I thought, looked compassionately on me, for I
was at that time confined to my bed, such as it was, and, as I thought,
utterly unable to walk.  The news of my liberty, however, worked more
wonders towards my cure than all the physic the first of doctors could
have given me, or the decoctions of good Mammy Gobo.  The next day,
however, when it was known that I had got my liberty, the hucksters,
shoemakers, and washerwomen poured in their bills on me, which, though
not of any great amount, I found totally beyond my means to pay.  I
promised them that I would transmit the amounts the instant I got back
to Jamaica; but they said that would not do, and that if I could not pay
them they must appeal to the authorities, and that I must be detained.
I was in despair.  I was eager to be gone.  I felt that I should not
live if I remained.  In my dilemma Lieutenant Lawford, who had a letter
of credit on a merchant at Cape Francois, came forward in the most
liberal and generous way, and supplied me with fifty dollars, which was
all I required to satisfy the demands of my creditors.  My mind being
thus relieved, I felt myself strong enough to get up and assist in
making the preparations for our journey.  We engaged a carriage to
convey us to the coast, for none of us were in a fit state to ride on
horseback.  I will not dwell on the sad countenances and the depressed
spirits of our brother-officers whom we left behind.

On the morning of the 30th of April, with a buoyancy of spirits to which
I had long been a stranger, I with my companions got into the rickety
vehicle which was to convey us the first part of our journey, Tom
Rockets being perched on a seat behind.  We arrived at about eight
o'clock at the village of Lemonade--an attractive name on a hot day--and
near there found a boat in readiness to carry us to Cape Francois.  How
delicious the sea-breeze smelt!--how refreshing to our parched skins and
stagnant blood!  It appeared to me to drive away at once all the remains
of the fever.  I felt like a new being, strong and hearty, in a moment.
I found, however, when I attempted to exert my strength, that I had very
little of that left.  Once more we found ourselves in the
far-from-delectable town of Cape Francois.  As the cartel was not ready,
we had to take up our abode at a tavern, where we were joined by two
other naval officers who had been imprisoned in another part of the
island.  We had some difficulty in amusing ourselves during our stay,
but every day we were picking up health and strength, and at length, on
the 8th, we all five embarked, with two masters of merchantmen who had
lost their vessels, and thirty seamen, on board the cartel, and
commenced our voyage to Jamaica.  On the 10th we put into Saint
Germains, another part of Saint Domingo, where we received some more
released prisoners, and on the following day we bid what I hoped would
prove an eternal adieu to the most inhospitable of islands.  With the
exception of the houses we had stopped at on our way to Ou Trou, we had
not been received into the abodes of any of the white inhabitants of the
country.  Some of the coloured people would willingly have treated us
kindly, but they were kept in awe by the authorities, and thus the only
real kindness we received was from the poor unsophisticated blacks.  For
my own part, I have felt ever since deeply grateful to Mammy Gobo and
her ebony-skinned countrymen and countrywomen, and have been most
anxious to do them all the good in my power.  With regard to the French
residents, all I can say is that I recognised among them none of the
supposed characteristics of the French nation.  Instead of proving
hospitable and polite, I should say that I never saw a greater set of
bears in my life.

Our voyage was short and merry, though one of the subjects which
afforded us most amusement was our own forlorn, half-starved, almost
naked condition.  We were all much alike, so we could afford to laugh at
each other.  The weather held fine and our voyage was speedy, and on the
ever-to-be-remembered 13th of May we sighted the entrance of Port Royal
harbour, where we dropped anchor in the afternoon.  I found that I had
been absent exactly nine months and three days.  In spite of my
tatter-demalion appearance and my consciousness that I was much like the
wretched apothecary who supplied the love-lorn Romeo with the fatal
potion, as soon as I got on shore I hastened up to pay my respects to
Sir Peter Parker.  He received me, as I knew he would, with the greatest
kindness, and when I apologised for my ragged appearance he laughed and
assured me that he would much rather see an officer in a threadbare
uniform, worn out in active service, than in one shining and bright in
consequence of want of use.

"You'll stay to dinner with me, Mr Hurry," said the admiral.  "We must
try to put some more flesh on those bones of yours."

I looked at my tattered garments.

"Oh, never mind those; they are honourable, like a flag well riddled,"
he observed.  "I want you, besides, to tell me all that happened to you
during your captivity."

Dinner was soon afterwards announced, and during it I gave the admiral
an account of the chief events which had happened while I was at Ou
Trou.  He was very indignant when he heard of the way we had been
treated, and especially of the mode in which Captains Williams and Stott
had been buried.  I made him laugh at some of our contrivances, and
particularly at my having turned hen keeper.  I described also to him
our residence in the stable with the old horse.  I declared that I had
tried to teach the horse my language, and, not succeeding, had
endeavoured to learn his, and that I was in a fair way of succeeding
when he was removed from our habitation.  This really was the case; I
had made great friends with the old animal, and I was beginning to know
exactly the meaning of all the noises he made.  The admiral was highly
amused with all I told him.  He put me, in return, in high spirits by
informing me that, on hearing I was captured, he had directed that I
should be rated as a mate of the Bristol, and kept on her books, and
that, in consequence, I was entitled to a share of prize-money, which,
as she had been very successful, would be of some amount.  Several
officers, post-captains and others, were present, as were three or four
civilians, planters and merchants.  The latter invited me to their
houses, and one of them, Mr Martin, insisted that I should drive back
with him, and make his house my home till I got a ship.

"That he has got already," said the admiral, presenting me with a paper,
which I found was my commission as lieutenant, and that I was appointed
to the Porcupine sloop-of-war of fourteen guns, commanded by Captain
John Packenham.  I could not find words to express my thanks to the
admiral, but he said, "Pooh, pooh; we want active, intelligent, gallant
young men not afraid of a gale of wind, or of an enemy ashore or
afloat," he answered.  "You have fairly won your promotion, and I
congratulate you on obtaining it."

With these kind words I parted from the admiral, and took my seat in my
new friend's carriage.

"We have time to see old Stukely this evening, and ascertain the amount
you have got to your credit.  It won't make you sleep the worse," said
he, as we drove along.

"Forty or fifty pounds, probably," I remarked.  "It would make me feel
as rich as a king."

"We will see, we will see," he replied.

To the agent's we went.  He was a friend of Mr Martin's, so without
more ado he turned to his books.

"Hurry?  Hurry of the Bristol?" he muttered.  "A trifle, I know."

I bethought me, "It won't be ten pounds after all, perhaps."

"Oh, yes, here I have it.  Three hundred pounds, Mr Hurry!  You can
draw it whenever you like: our friend here will assure me of your
identity."

I couldn't help throwing up my cap for joy.

"Well, I am rich," I exclaimed; "like that old fellow Croesus I once
read of at school.  Thank you, sir--thank you.  Hurrah, hurrah!"  I
burst out into a loud fit of laughter.

At first Mr Martin smiled at my joy, but he soon began to look grave,
as did the agent, for they perceived that I was over-excited--that, in
truth, the admiral's good wine and my unexpected good fortune, acting on
a frame shattered by sickness, had upset me, and they seemed to think
that there was every probability of a return of my fever.

"I am very glad to hear that you have got this little sum.  It will help
to supply you with an outfit," observed Mr Martin, wishing to calm me
down a little.

"Enough for an outfit!--enough to fit out a prince or found a kingdom,"
I exclaimed vehemently.  "Ha, ha, ha!"

"Well, never mind that just now," said my kind friend; "just get into my
barouche, and come along to my house in the meantime.  To-morrow we will
talk about these matters."

I made no resistance, and, getting into his carriage, we soon reached
his cool and comfortable mansion in the neighbourhood of Kingston.  I
was immediately put to bed, and off I went into a sleep so sound that an
earthquake or an hurricane would scarcely have awoke me.

It was late in the day when I at length opened my eyes, feeling quite a
new being.  A thorough sound sleep, with my mind at ease as to my
prospects, was all I required to restore me to health.  This I had not
got since I left Ou Trou.  As soon as I had dressed and breakfasted I
set off for Port Royal harbour, and joined my ship, as happy a fellow, I
may truly say, as ever crossed salt water.  I was most kindly received
by my new shipmates, who seemed to vie with each other in trying to make
amends to me for the sufferings I had undergone.  I had very little time
to be idle, or to amuse myself on shore.  That I suspect was the better
for me.  The ship was all ready for sea, and on the 18th of the month,
just four days after I got back to Jamaica, we sailed on a cruise, in
company with his Majesty's frigate Hinchinbrook, commanded by Captain
Parker, the admiral's son, off Cape Saint Antonio.  I found that the
Camel, which had been sent to accompany a fleet through the gulf, had on
her return, when off Cape Saint Antonio, seen a considerable number of
Saint Domingo ships.  One she had taken which was very valuable, but,
being a slow sailer, the others had escaped her.  Her captain informed
Sir Peter that he was certain if a couple of ships would sail
immediately the fortunes of all on board would be made.  In consequence
of this the admiral despatched the Hinchinbrook and my ship the
Porcupine, directing us not to wait to fill up with provisions or water,
but to proceed at once to the locality where these rich prizes were to
be found.

On the 25th we arrived off our station.  The next day a stranger was
reported in sight--a schooner.  We made all sail in chase.  How
delightful it was to feel myself once more on board ship, bowling away
with a fine breeze through the free sparkling waters, with England's
time-honoured flag above my head.  I could scarcely refrain from
shouting with pleasure, and I do not think that anybody would have been
much astonished had I done so, for I should have replied, "Let me tell
you, old fellows, if any of you had been shut up in a dull village in an
abominable climate, half-starved, ill-treated and insulted, hearing
constantly that old England was conquered, that her fleets were
destroyed, and her people led into captivity, with your companions and
friends dying about you, and, when dead, buried like dogs, you would
shout when you found yourselves at liberty, and able once more to do
battle with the enemies of your country."

Whether the schooner was American or French we could not at first
determine, but that she was an enemy there could be no doubt.  The
prospect of prize-money is always pleasant, though when obtained, in too
many cases, it is spent in folly and extravagance.  All hands were in
high spirits; a good beginning to a successful cruise we thought it
would prove.  Cape Antonio bore at the time south-east.  We had almost
got the chase within range of our guns, when a grating sound was heard,
and a shock was felt which sent most of the ship's company toppling down
on their noses; the water surged up alongside, and we found that we were
on shore.  Here might be a speedy conclusion to all our hopes of
prize-money--not that we cared for the paltry sum the vessel in sight
might have given us, but for what we might obtain by our cruise
altogether.  Not a moment was lost in clewing-up everything, lowering
boats, and in laying out anchors; but, notwithstanding, we stuck hard
and fast.  British seamen, however, do not give way to despair in a
hurry.  Fresh anchors and warps were laid out.  We sounded round the
ship to see where most water was to be found.  Then we worked away with
our purchases.  We had no wish to start our water or to heave our guns
and provisions overboard till the last extremity.  Fortunately the wind
fell.  We hove away with a will.  "Hurrah, hurrah?" was the cry fore and
aft; "she moves, she moves!"  Our success encouraged us.  The
Hinchinbrook, before we got on shore, was out of sight; so was the chase
by this time.  At length our efforts were rewarded with success, and
once more we had deep water under our keel.  What was satisfactory,
also, we had suffered little or no damage.

For the next fortnight we were employed chiefly in chasing and speaking
a vast number of Spanish merchantmen bound to the Havannah, and as we
little suspected all the time that war had been declared between England
and Spain, we allowed them to proceed.  This was provoking enough, for,
they would have proved very rich prizes.  We spoke also his Majesty's
ships Winchelsea, Camel, Lynne, and Druid, with a convoy from England
for Jamaica, and on the 15th of June, the period of our cruise being up,
and our provisions, moreover, growing short, we left our station and
made sail for Port Royal.

On the 1st of July, judging by our reckoning that we were within a few
leagues of Jamaica, our surprise was very considerable when we struck
soundings on the Misteriosa bank, about a hundred leagues to the
westward of where we supposed ourselves to be.  Captain Packenham sent
forthwith for the purser, and in consequence of the report he gave we
were immediately put on half allowance, having, even at that rate,
provisions to last us only for fourteen days.  There we were, dead to
leeward, while light winds and frequent calms occasioned our progress to
be very slow.  We kept at it, however, making every inch of ground we
could.  Still by the 12th, being at a considerable distance from land,
we were of necessity put on yet further reduced allowance of a biscuit a
day, an ounce of pork and half a pint of water.  I, who just then
required sustenance more than most of my companions, felt the want of
substantial food very much.  The Hinchinbrook, with which we were still
in company, was also short of provisions, and could ill spare any to
supply our wants.  We now both of us felt the inconvenience of having
sailed in so great a hurry.  It had been calculated that we should take
a week to get to our station; that we should cruise there a couple of
weeks, and take a week to return.  Things were now growing extremely
serious, though the men bore their want of food very well, but we could
not help seeing clearly that the time might shortly come when we should
really have nothing whatever on board.  On the 15th, believing that we
could not possibly reach a port, we stood to the northward and kept in
the latitude of Jamaica, hoping thus to fall in with a fleet of
merchantmen under convoy of some ships of war, which we knew were to
sail from Jamaica about that time.  We had look-outs stationed at each
mast-head, eagerly on the watch for any strange sail, friend or foe,
from which we might have obtained relief.  We should certainly have
attacked any foe, even twice our force, for the sake of obtaining food
from them.  I believe that, so desperately we should have fought, we
should have conquered.  Men are like wild beasts when hungry.  There is
nothing they will not dare and do.  Still we were doomed to
disappointment.  On the 30th of July, all our bread and water being
expended, we were reduced to an allowance of one ounce of pork for each
man daily.  It did just to keep body and soul together.  We were
compelled to send each day on board the Hinchinbrook for a small cask of
water, which was all they could spare us.  Even of this small allowance
we felt that we might any day be deprived, should we, as was very
probable, be separated from our consort by a gale of wind.  On the 2nd
of August the faces of the purser and his clerks were longer than usual.
The ounce of pork was diminished to half an ounce, and then some of the
messmen found that they were getting only a quarter of an ounce, I
guessed, by the countenances of the men as they went forward, but they
said nothing.  They very well knew that the present state of things
could not be helped.  Very soon the purser came aft to the captain who
was on the quarter-deck--

"Sir, I have to report that there is not a pint of water or an ounce of
bread or biscuit, or anything eatable on board," was his very
unsatisfactory announcement.

The captain stood as cool and unmoved as if he was hearing an account of
any ordinary occurrence.

"You have some tallow candles and oil, and some raisins, and a few other
little things of that sort?" he remarked.

The purser said there was a small supply on board.

"Very well, they will serve to keep all hands alive for a day or two,
and by that time we may hope to fall in with assistance," he answered.

He then called us all round him, and officially announced what the
purser had told him.

"I'll let the people know the state of things," he added, and directed
that they should be summoned aft.

Their pale, thin faces, and the slow way in which many of them walked,
showed that the want of sufficient food was already telling on their
strength.

"My lads," said Captain Packenham, "we put to sea in a hurry, and we
expected to be back before our provisions were expended, but we are
mistaken.  We are short of food, but many ships have been in a worse
case.  We have done our best to get back to Jamaica, and as we cannot
get there, I hope we may fall in with some vessels or other from which
we may get a supply of provisions, either friends to give them to us, or
enemies from which we may take them, and, hungry as we are, I would not
fear to lay you alongside an enemy's ship, for I am very certain you
would take care to provide yourselves with a good supper at the end of
the fight."

The crew warmly cheered this speech, though the voices of many of the
poor fellows sounded hollow and faint.  They knew, however, that, badly
off as they might be, not an officer would touch a mouthful of food
while they were without it.  How eagerly we all looked out for a sail
which might bring us relief!  There was no necessity to hail the
mast-heads to ascertain that the men stationed there were doing their
duty.  I certainly did not wish myself back at Ou Trou, but I never
suffered such pangs of hunger there as I was now doing.  We had two or
three prophets of disaster on board, and they were continually citing
instances where the whole crew of a ship had died from starvation, or
perhaps where only one or two had survived to tell the tale of their
misfortunes.  Water was our greatest want.  The wind was light, almost a
calm, and the sun shone forth on the calm shining sea with intense fury,
the very pitch in the teams of our decks bubbled up, and if we had a
beef steak we might have cooked it on the capstan-head.  We put on our
sword-belts, and drew them tighter and tighter round our waists.  The
men used their handkerchiefs for the same object.  But all would not do.
Tight as we drew them we could not stop the gnawing pangs which
attacked us.  Those on watch had, of course, to keep the deck.  The rest
of the officers lay down in their cabins, but I could not remain in
mine.  I was soon again out of it, and climbing up aloft eagerly to scan
the horizon, in the hopes of finding a sail in sight.  In vain I looked
round; not a speck was to be seen above the horizon.  At length the sun
went down, and darkness came on, and there the ship lay becalmed, with
her crew of starving men.  Anxiously all that night passed away--the
calm continued.  We had indeed practical experience of how hard hunger
and thirst is to bear.  We could see the Hinchinbrook at a little
distance from us, rolling her polished sides in the water, over which
the moonbeams were now playing.  She was now in as bad a condition as we
were, and could no longer render us any assistance.  The sun again rose,
and then the two ships lay with their sails idly flapping against the
masts.  A hurricane would at that time have been welcomed--anything to
move us on.  There was no piping to breakfast that day.  The boatswain
put his whistle to his mouth, but instantly let it fall again.  The men,
however, were mustered at divisions, and then they were set on to do all
sorts of work, to keep their minds employed if possible, although their
jaws were to be idle.  At dinner-time as much of the oil and tallow
candles as could be spared was served out, but some of the men could not
touch the greasy compound, even though about a thimbleful of rum was
offered at the same time to wash it down.

"Stay a bit," observed the surgeon, "in two or three days they will take
it eagerly enough."

It was not from hunger we suffered so much as from thirst.  That was
terrible.  Hour after hour passed by.  No relief appeared.  I began
almost to wish that I had laid my head down alongside my poor friend and
old shipmate, Delisle, in the desolate savannah near Ou Trou.  The
thought was wrong--rank ingratitude to the merciful providence which had
preserved me--but it was human, I fear.  How admirably our gallant
fellows behaved!  Scarcely a murmur or a grumble was heard.  Again the
sun went down.  That night was one of great suffering among many of the
crew.  Some tried to keep up their own spirits and those of their
messmates by singing and cutting jokes and telling stories.  Still it
would not do.  They soon broke down.  The surgeons kept going about,
administering stimulants to those who appeared sinking, but their store
of medicine was soon exhausted, and they could do no more.  Day came
again, but no relief was brought us.  I with others climbed aloft.  Not
a sail was in sight.  In vain--in vain we scanned the horizon, the calm
continued, and the ships floated idly on the smooth, sullen, treacherous
water.  Yet who that could by any possibility have seen those two fine,
well-appointed men-of-war would have supposed that so much suffering,
alarm, and dread existed on board them!  Death had not yet visited us,
but we could not tell when he would commence his work of destruction.
Any moment he might begin to strike, and we knew that he would not cease
till he had made an end of all.  The men were piped to divisions, but
scarcely an attempt was made to find employment for them.  They lay
listlessly along the decks, some could scarcely walk.  The voices of the
officers, as they issued their orders, sounded hollow and strange.  I
felt sure that many would not last out another day.  The hours still
drew slowly on, without bringing us any relief.  Captain Packenham had
retired to his cabin to conceal the pain he was suffering.  The first
lieutenant and I still kept the deck, but I began to feel that I must
soon go below, or I should fall where I stood.  The greater part of the
crew were completely prostrate.  Some few of the stronger men continued
every now and then to go aloft to take a look-out round the horizon, to
learn if any sail were in sight.  I turned to my brother-officer--

"What think you, Staunton, of our prospects?" said I.

"The Jamaica fleet ought to be here by this time," he answered.

"But if they have been delayed, or have already passed or steered
another course, what are we to do?"  I urged.

"Starve to death," he answered, in a hollow voice.  "A day--a few
hours--will settle the point."

We neither of us spoke again for long after that.  The ship's head kept
going round and round the compass.  Some of the people were too weak
even to endeavour to crawl into the shade.  We supported ourselves as
long as we could against the bulwarks, but at length had to sit down on
a gun-carriage, our knees refusing any longer to hold us up.  The day
was drawing on.  I felt with Staunton that another day would settle the
question of life or death for most of us.  One by one the men had come
down from aloft, giving up all hope of seeing a sail approaching to our
relief.  Weak as they were, we could not insist on any of the poor
fellows remaining up there, except as volunteers.

I was thinking over all I had gone through at different parts of my
life, and how often I had been mercifully preserved.  "I'll not give in
even now," I said to myself.  "I'll go aloft, and have another
look-out."  Suddenly I felt my strength returning.  I got up, and,
slinging my glass over my shoulder, went up the fore rigging.  It
appeared to me that I was as strong and active as ever.  I gained the
foretop mast-head.  I unslung my glass and looked out.  There, right
away to the westward, was a long, dark line in the horizon, which could
be caused I knew alone by a fresh breeze, and even as I looked and
hailed the welcome sign of deliverance, several dots appeared above it,
the loftier sails, as I well knew, of approaching ships.  I rubbed my
eyes.  Again I looked to assure myself of the reality of what I fancied
I saw, and that I might not be deceived by some phantom of the brain.
No, I was certain that I was right; there were the approaching sails.
With a strong breeze they came on quickly towards us.

"Several sail in sight!"  I shouted out, and my voice was scarcely
weaker than usual.  I waved my hand and pointed in the direction I saw
them.

The effect was electrical.  Men who seemed before almost at their last
gasp rose to their feet.  The officers came hurrying on deck.  Captain
Packenham himself appeared.  Many mounted the rigging and joined me
aloft to assure themselves that I was not deceived.  There could be no
doubt about the matter.  All saw the approaching ships.  Royals,
topgallant sails, topsails appeared one after the other above the
horizon.  They might be the ships of the expected Jamaica fleet, or they
might be enemies.  By that time the sea was swarming with them.  In that
case we should have to fight for what we wanted.

"No matter," was the cry of all on board, "we are ready and able as ever
to meet a foe."

The prospect of relief roused everyone, and though our cheeks were thin
and our strength was feeble, our spirits rose and we felt that we could
fight as well as ever.  Anxiously we watched the approaching strangers.
As we rose their courses out of the water we felt pretty certain from
their appearance that some of them were men-of-war.  At length we made
out their colours.  They were English.  They might, however, have been
hoisted to deceive us.  Not to be taken by surprise we went to quarters.
We now clearly ascertained that the two headmost ships were frigates
and the rest merchantmen.  They soon showed the private signals.  They
were the Aeolus and Prudente frigates with the long-expected convoy for
England.  We hoisted signals of distress, and, lowering our boats, they
were alongside them by the time they hove-to near us.

The different way in which we were treated by the officers of the two
frigates was very remarkable.  Captain Waldegrave of the Prudente aided
us in the most kind and compassionate way, and he was warmly seconded by
two of his lieutenants, Campbell and Ferris, who exerted themselves to
the utmost to bring provisions on board without an instant's delay.
They sent us their own dinners which had just been dressed, and also all
the cooked meat on board, so that we were able at once to satisfy the
cravings of hunger.  They despatched also all the delicacies they could
think of, likely to be of use to us from their own private stores.  The
officers of the other frigate, on the contrary, treated our sufferings
with heartless indifference, and seemed much vexed at having to give up
some of their provisions towards supplying our wants, and at the delay
which we caused them.

The masters of the merchantmen seemed to vie with each other which
should afford us most voluntary assistance, and among others we were
especially indebted to Captain Louis of the Augustus Caesar, a large
London ship, who sent us wine, tea, sugar, sheep, fowls--indeed,
everything we could possibly require.  Altogether from them and the
men-of-war we were supplied with provisions for three weeks.  Delightful
indeed was the change from actual starvation to the abundance we now
enjoyed.  With right good-will did we cheer the fleet which had so amply
relieved our distress as we parted from them and made sail once more for
Jamaica.

The following day, the 6th of August, we saw the Island of the Grand
Caymayne.  Here we anchored for a few hours and were then ordered by
Captain Parker to proceed direct for Jamaica with despatches for his
father.  One of the ship's company was destined never to reach it.  The
captain of the maintop, a fine active fellow, fell from aloft, and,
striking part of the rigging, bounded overboard.  The ship was instantly
hove-to, a boat was lowered and pulled towards the spot where he fell.
Some thought they saw his head floating above the waves.  In vain we
looked about for him.  Either stunned by his fall he sank at once, or a
shark, one of those ravenous monsters of the deep, had made him his
prey.  Poor John Nettlethorp!  There were mourning hearts in your quiet
home in Devonshire when the ship returned and your fate was told those
who had long-expected to see you once again.

On the 19th we reached Port Royal.  We found everybody in the greatest
excitement making preparations to receive Count D'Estaign, who, with a
powerful fleet and army, was hourly expected to make an attack on the
island.  None of England's colonies can boast of more loyal and devoted
inhabitants than does Jamaica, as they have given abundant proof of on
numberless occasions.

  "Yes, gentlemen of England, who stay at home at ease,
  Ah! little do you think upon the dangers of the seas."

Little also, say I, do you dream of all the racketing and knocking about
your naval defenders have to go through in time of war that you may stay
at home at ease!

My journal will give you some idea of what seamen have to endure.  In
harbour one day, at sea for weeks, then to encounter storms and
ship-wrecks, battles and wounds, famine and sickness, extremes of heat
and cold, pain and suffering, defeat sometimes and imprisonment, with
the many ills which make the heart sick, and when at length we return
into port, instead of obtaining rest we have to refit ship, take in
stores and provisions, and seldom enjoy a moment of leisure till we are
once more ready for sea.  I was very far, even in the days of which I
speak, of complaining of this.  I chose my profession.  I loved it.  I
delighted in action, and all I wish to impress on my readers is the
nature and duties of a sailor's life.  Still, had I again to begin my
existence in this sublunary world and once more to choose my profession,
above all others I would select that of an officer in the glorious navy
of old England.



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

EXPECTED ATTACK FROM COUNT D'ESTAIGN.--WAR WITH SPAIN.--EXPEDITION
AGAINST SAINT FERNANDO D'OMOA.--VISIT FROM KING OF THE MOSQUITO SHORE.--
CANNONADE THE TOWN.--SET IT ON FIRE.--STORM THE TOWN.--ROCKETS AND HIS
TWO CUTLASSES.--GIVES ONE TO SPANIARD TO FIGHT WITH.--RICH GALLEONS
CAPTURED.--I HAVE COMMAND OF THE SAINT DOMINGO.--NEARLY LOST.

That summer of 1779 was a busy time for the right loyal and patriotic
people of Jamaica, and I believe that even had the Count D'Estaign, with
his twenty-six line-of-battle ships and nine or ten thousand troops,
made his appearance, he would have found it no easy task to gain a
victory.

After our return from our starvation cruise we remained but a day in
harbour, and again sailed for Old Harbour with despatches for the
Penelope.  Having delivered them we were returning when we fell in with
a small schooner.  She made a signal to us to heave-to, and an officer
came on board who brought us the news that war with Spain had broken
out, and directed us to go in search of the Penelope and acquaint her
with the fact.  We overtook her the following day, and of course we all
regretted that we had not been aware before of the war, as we had
allowed so many Spanish vessels to pass us which, had we captured, would
have proved rich prizes.

Once more we got back to Port Royal, and had to go alongside the wharf
to heave down and repair the ship.  Sir Peter had made every preparation
to receive the enemy.  An advanced squadron was kept cruising off the
coast, while the entrance of the harbour was rendered impracticable by
strong booms laid across it, and by forts armed with heavy guns on
either side.

On the 11th, however, notice was brought us that Count D'Estaign had
sailed for America, where, having been severely handled at the siege of
Savannah, he returned to Europe with the greater part of his force,
sending some, however, back to the West Indies.  They had, however,
already done us some mischief by the capture of the Islands of Saint
Vincent and Grenada, with other places of less importance, while they
had also made not a few prizes on their voyage.

Sir Peter Parker was now designing an attack on the fort of Saint
Fernando D'Omoa.  He had been informed that the Spaniards had threatened
to attack the bay-men on the Mosquito shore and Bay of Honduras, and
that they had already landed at Saint George's Quay, which place they
had plundered, and treated the inhabitants with the greatest cruelty.
To protect this settlement from further insults, the instant she was
ready for sea, the Porcupine was directed to take on board
Captain-Commandant Dalrymple and a small party of the Loyal Irish, and
to proceed to the Black River on the Mosquito shore.  We sailed on the
12th of September, but, having carried away our mainmast, we had to
return to replace it, so that it was not till the 20th that we could
make a fair start.  We reached our destination off the mouth of the
river on the 27th.  This is one of the most dangerous situations in
which a ship can bring up, as the bay is completely open to the north,
the quarter from which the winds are most prevalent.  The only safe
proceeding, as the anchorage is none of the best, is at once to run to
sea.  A bar, on which a tremendous surf breaks, stretches across the
mouth of the river, so that, except in calm weather and a slack tide,
the landing is dangerous in the extreme.  Of this we had a sad proof
soon after we arrived there.  Everything being made snug, to obtain
fresh provisions was our first consideration.  For this purpose a boat
was despatched under the command of Mr York, a master's mate, with
directions to enter the river and to procure fresh beef and other
eatables.  All sorts of commissions were likewise given him.

"Give my compliments to King Hodge-podge, and tell him that I'll knock
up his quarters before long," sang out one of his messmates.

"Take care of those rollers there, Mr York," I observed.  "They are apt
to play people a scurvy trick every now and then."

"Ay, ay, sir," he answered; and then in a lower tone he added, "I've
crossed such bars as that fifty times, and I should think I knew by this
time how to handle a boat on one of them."

I pretended not to hear the remark, and the boat pushed off from the
ship's side.  Away she pulled towards the bar.  I could not help
following her with my glass.  The bay was calm, but the current was
running out strong, and a slow, smooth, rolling swell came in from the
offing.  The boat glided swiftly on towards the mouth of the river.
Just before she reached the bar I had observed two or three rollers
break with great fury on it.  I called the attention of Captain
Packenham and some of my brother-officers to what I had remarked.  I
fancied that I could see York looking back in triumph, as much as to
say, "You see I don't fear the bar you speak of."  Then on glided the
boat.  A huge roller rose between us and her so suddenly, it seemed to
come from the very depths of the sea.  On it went; others followed; but
where was the boat?  A cry of horror escaped from all those looking on.
With my glass I made out through the mass of foam a black object and
several smaller ones floating near, but they rapidly disappeared.  There
could be no doubt that the boat was swamped.  The instant this was
ascertained the captain ordered all the boats to be lowered that they
might go in and endeavour to pick up any of the crew who might be
carried out to sea.  I went in one of them.  Our orders were especially
not to venture on the bar.  We were not long in reaching the place.  We
looked eagerly about for any traces of our lost shipmates.  Even the
boat had been rolled over and over till not a plank remained holding
together.  An oar came floating out towards us, and as I watched it I
saw one end rise up suddenly as if the other had been pulled at
violently.  We pulled up to it, and as we got near I saw a dark
triangular fin gliding away through the blue bright water.  I now saw
clearly what had been the fate of any of the crew who might have hoped
to save themselves by swimming.  We returned with sad hearts on board,
but sailors cannot mourn long even for their best friends.  The fate of
those who have been taken may be theirs to-morrow.

A few days after this Captain Packenham invited me to accompany him on
shore to pay a visit to the Intendant of Black River.  We took care,
warned by the accident which I have described, to have a black pilot,
and under his guidance we safely crossed the dangerous bar.  Once in and
able to draw our breaths freely, we were delighted with the beauty of
the scenery which on every side met our eyes--woods and green fields,
and hills and valleys, diversified the banks of the river, which
branched off in different directions, and added much to the
picturesqueness of the landscape.  From the accounts we received of the
barbarities committed by the Spaniards, we longed to meet them, to
chastise them as they deserved.  They had just before this made an
attack on the settlement, where they had destroyed a large amount of
property, and carried off a number of prisoners, both men and women, to
Merida, the capital of Yucatan.  Thence they were afterwards shipped to
Havannah, where, if they were no better treated than we were at Saint
Domingo, their fate was hard indeed.  On the 5th of October we were
highly honoured by a visit from his Indian Majesty of the Mosquito
shore--King Hoco-poco we used to call him--I forget his name.  He came
accompanied by a long retinue of princes, generals, and chiefs of all
sorts, rejoicing in very curious names, very dark skins, and a very
scanty amount of clothing.  We received his Majesty with all the honours
we were able to pay him, by manning yards and firing a salute of
twenty-one guns.  We had also a feast spread for his entertainment, with
an abundance of liquor, which he seemed to consider much more to the
purpose.  He and his chiefs indulged very freely in the potent beverages
placed before them, and at length they returned on shore, highly
delighted with the entertainment, vowing eternal friendship to England,
and excessively drunk.  The accounts of the atrocities committed by the
Spaniards, which we had just received, induced Captains Packenham and
Dalrymple to come to the resolution of making an attack on one of their
settlements.  We accordingly beat up for volunteers, and in a very short
time collected a hundred Indians and Black River volunteers, under the
command of an Indian general named Tempest.  Having embarked our army,
we sailed on the 6th of October from the Mosquito shore with light
westerly winds.  On the next day three strange sail were seen from the
mast-head to the northward.  They very soon also discovered us, and made
all sail in chase.

"Are they friends or foes?" was the question we asked each other.

Captain Packenham was not a man to run away from either one or the
other, so we backed our main-topsail, and lay-to for them.  We watched
them with no little anxiety till they drew near.  I forgot to say that
my old friend O'Driscoll had joined the ship as a supernumerary, and
that I had once more with me my faithful companions in many an
adventure, Nol Grampus and Tom Rockets.  Nol did not look a day older
than when I first came to sea.  Rockets was now grown into as stout,
active and strong a seaman as any in his Majesty's service.  I could not
so often have a yarn with my old followers as I used to when I was a
midshipman, but I frequently exchanged words with them, and never failed
to take them on any expedition on which I was sent.

"I hopes as how them strangers are friends, old ship," I heard Tom
remark to Grampus.  "Three to one is long odds if they ain't, and I
suppose our captain intends to fight, as he don't seem inclined to run.
I only hopes as how he will fight, and sink rather than give in.  I've
no fancy to be made prisoner, and to be kept on short commons among
blackamoors, as we was at Ou Trou."

"No fear, my boy," answered Grampus.  "Our skipper has got some dodge or
other in his brain-box, and depend on it he'll make the `Porcupine'
stick up her quills all in good time.  You'll see."

I could not help telling the captain the opinion the crew formed of him,
which was a very just one.  Neither he nor I had much doubt that the
ships in sight were British.  We hoisted British colours, so did they;
and in a short time we were all paying compliments to each other, they
being his Majesty's ships Charon, Lowestoffe, and Pomona, under the
command of the Honourable Captain Luttrell.  He confirmed the account we
had received of the attack of the Spaniards on the British territories,
and informed us also that he had been in quest of two Spanish galleons
which had taken shelter under the strongly-fortified town of San
Fernando D'Omoa.  He had wished to attack the place, but, it being
remarkably strong, he had considered that, with the force under his
command, he could scarcely hope for success.  Now, however, with the
reinforcements we brought him, he considered that he would have a fair
chance of taking it.

Having called a council-of-war, all the captains agreed that the exploit
might be accomplished.  Accordingly, we made sail for the westward.
There was a general satisfaction throughout the fleet when it was known
that an attack on the fortress was to take place.  As with light and
variable winds we moved slowly on to the westward, the ships' companies
were employed in making scaling-ladders, fascines, and all the other
requisites for a siege.  Our whole force consisted of the following
ships and vessels:--

+==========+=====+====+
|          |Guns.|Men.|
+----------+-----+----+
|Charon    |   44| 300|
+----------+-----+----+
|Lowestoffe|   32| 220|
+----------+-----+----+
|Pomona    |   28| 200|
+----------+-----+----+
|Porcupine |   16| 100|
+----------+-----+----+
|Racehorse |    8|  50|
+----------+-----+----+
|Peggy     |    6|  15|
+==========+=====+====+

All the above together with 100 Indians and Volunteers, and 12 Loyal
Irish--no very mighty armament for the attack of so strong a place.  But
British sailors hold to the belief that what men dare they can do; so we
went on, never doubting of success.  We anchored to wood and water at
the Bay of Truxillo, and then sailed on, touching at various other
places till, on the evening of the 16th, we anchored in Porto Carvalho
Bay, not far from the place we had come to attack.  Night had set in
before we approached the land, so that there was little fear that the
enemy would obtain notice of our approach.  All of us were in high
spirits at the thoughts of fighting the Spaniards, and O'Driscoll and I
agreed that it was far better than having to make war on the Americans,
whom, rebels as they might be called, we could not help looking on as
our brothers and cousins.

All arrangements had in the most judicious way been previously made, so
that we were ready, directly the anchors were dropped, about nine
o'clock at night, to commence landing our forces.  Everything was done
with the most perfect order and in complete silence.  The boats from all
the ships were lowered, and about three hundred seamen and marines, with
about a hundred and fifty Indians, volunteers and regulars, were
embarked in them.  The oars were let fall in the water, and together
they pulled in for the shore.  I watched the boats as long as they could
be seen through the darkness, like some sea-monsters gliding noiselessly
towards their prey.  O'Driscoll accompanied the shore expedition.  On
landing, the Indians, who were sent forward, attacked the enemy's
look-out houses, and, having killed a Spaniard and taken two more
prisoners, returned in triumph.  At midnight the army began their march
to the westward, and the ships at the same time weighed and stood along
shore.  On Sunday morning, the 17th, the ships lay becalmed about a
league off shore, when the troops halted to report themselves.  No time,
however, was lost.  They had hoped to have arrived before the place just
at daybreak, when they would certainly have surprised it, and even now
it was hoped that the enemy would not have heard of their approach.  On
the summit of a high hill, overlooking the fortress, stands the
governor's house--a very important post.  Towards it they hurried, and
before ten o'clock reached its base.  Up the hill like a swarm of ants
they rushed, and in spite of all opposition quickly carried it.  The
garrison were now, of course, on the alert to receive us.  It was not,
however, till three in the afternoon that the wind allowed us to stand
into the harbour, when we made the signal to the forces on shore that we
were ready to co-operate with them.  As we took up our stations,
directly opposite the town, we commenced a heavy cannonade, which was
warmly returned by the enemy from a battery of between twenty and thirty
heavy guns.  In a short time the effect, of our fire was very visible.
Flames burst forth from different parts of the town, which was soon
burning furiously in every quarter, and it seemed to us very evident
that it would soon be entirely burnt to the ground.  As the unfortunate
inhabitants were afraid of leaving the town, for fear of falling into
the hands of the Indians, from whom they could expect no quarter, many
of them, we had too much reason to believe, were burnt to death.

During the heat of the engagement the Lowestoffe, in her eagerness to
get close up to the fort, ran on shore, and was considerably galled
while she remained there by the enemy's fire.  The rest of the squadron
lending her assistance, she soon got off.  All the ships were, however,
much cut up both in spars and rigging, while a considerable number of
men had been killed and wounded.  The commander, in consequence, finding
that we had produced no impression on the enemy's works, threw out a
signal for the ships to haul off for the night.  As we sailed out of the
harbour, the Spaniards, fancying that we were about to abandon the
enterprise, made a sortie, and furiously attacked the forces on shore.
They were, however, repulsed with much loss, and again took shelter
within their works.  At night a lieutenant was sent in command of a
hundred men, to try and open a communication with the forces on shore,
but the enemy were too much on the alert to render the attempt
practicable.

We were under no little apprehension all the time as to the fate of the
forces on shore, for we could see that a furious attack was being made
by the Spaniards on Governor's Hill, and its result it was impossible to
ascertain.  At daylight we once more stood in, when we had the
satisfaction to discover that our forces still held Governor's Hill, and
had thrown up works on it from which they were bombarding the town.  As
the wind would not allow us to get in close to the forts, we hove-to
main-topsails to the masts, and employed ourselves in firing random
shots at the enemy's works while the Lowestoffe repaired damages.  At
five in the afternoon, seeing a British Union Jack flying close to the
woods at the water's edge, the Porcupine was directed to run in and land
her guns.  This was done under a heavy fire from the fort.  I was among
those sent on shore, and I was ordered to take fifty men under my
command, and with four guns to lead them up through the town of Omoa to
the top of an exceedingly high hill on the other side of it.  The
enterprise was of no slight danger and difficulty, but it pleased me the
more.  I had Grampus and Rockets with me.  Placing our guns on light
carriages between us, away we rattled as fast as our legs could move.
The faster our speed, the greater would be our safety.  Where we were
going the enemy could not guess; they never thought that we were about
to scale the rocky height before us; they did not know what tricks
blue-jackets could play on shore.  They kept peppering away at us as we
proceeded, and now and then one of my men was hit; one poor fellow was
killed, three were wounded.  A fine fellow, Jackson, who was near me as
we dashed through the town, caught sight of a dog running through the
streets, evidently having lost his master.

"I'll have that 'ere animal," he exclaimed, springing on towards him.

The dog turned tail and ran off, but Jack was too nimble for him, and
catching him up under his arm, and holding his head so that he could not
bite, he was bringing the animal in triumph when a shot struck him on
the arm.  He staggered on notwithstanding.

"Jackson, my man, I'm afraid you are badly hurt," I exclaimed, as I saw
the blood streaming down his side.

"Never fear, sir," he answered, "I've got the dog; I wanted him for you.
Take him, sir."

I had a piece of rope in my pocket, which I fastened round the dog's
neck and led him on.  Jackson was a severe sufferer, for he lost his arm
in consequence of his wound.  On we hurried, and, climbing the height,
dragged up our guns after us.  Before the enemy guessed what we were
about, we had them on the top of the hill ready to open on the fort.
With the same rapidity we threw up the necessary earthworks and soon
began firing away with a right good will down into the fortress.  The
Spaniards showed us that two could play at the same game.  All night
long we blazed away, doing no little mischief to the enemy.  They,
however, in return, dismounted one of our guns.  On the morning of the
19th three fresh batteries were opened from our works on Governor's
Hill, and our hopes increased of speedily taking the place.

I enjoyed from my elevated position a full view of the whole surrounding
sea and country.  Below me was the town, still burning in places and
smouldering in others.  On one side was Governor's Hill, with the
batteries blazing away at the devoted fort which lay below the town, and
was replying from all sides to the fire directed towards it from the
land and sea.  Now the ships, with the exception of the Porcupine, stood
in to attack the fort in more serious earnest.  Boats came passing and
re-passing to her, and, as I found was the case, as all our guns were on
shore, Captain Packenham with the greater part of the ship's company
went on board the other ships to assist in fighting them.  The ships
stood in very close to the walls of the fort before they dropped their
anchors, and then commenced a heavy cannonade, the effects of which soon
became apparent by the crumbling away of the works on every side.
Night, however, put a stop to the work of destruction.  Darkness had
just closed in when I received orders to leave my exalted post and to
join the party destined to storm the works at daybreak on the following
morning.  This was just according to my taste.  I had never a fancy to
know that work was being done and not to be engaged in it.

It was nearly midnight before I joined O'Driscoll and my other friends.
I found them sitting round their watch-fires, not so much on account of
the cold as to keep off the mosquitoes, and enjoying a good supper,
which they ate as they cooked.  We had no cloaks, so we sat up all night
discussing the probabilities of our success on the morrow.  We talked
and laughed and joked as if there was nothing particularly serious to be
done.  Adams, one of our midshipmen, was the merriest of the merry.  He
above all of us was making light of the difficulties and dangers to be
encountered.  Towards morning our voices grew lower and lower, and at
length no one spoke.  I sat also silent, looking up at the dark sky
studded with a thousand stars, wondering to which of them I should wing
my flight should I lose my life in the coming struggle.  I dozed off for
a few moments, it seemed to me, and then the drum beat to arms and I
sprang to my feet.  At the same moment the ships re-commenced their
cannonade.  Every arrangement had already been made, so that each man of
the expedition knew his station.  Not an instant, therefore, was lost.
We hurried to our ranks.  I had a hundred men under me.  Of course
Grampus and Rockets were among them.  Grampus had armed himself with a
musket and cutlass, but Rockets had managed to get hold of two
cutlasses.  I asked him why he had thus encumbered himself.

"Why, sir, you see as how one on 'em may be broken, and then I shall
have t'other for fighting with," he answered with his usual simplicity.

Down the hill we rushed, the marines and Loyal Irish on either flank.
Nothing stopped us.  It seemed scarcely a minute from the time we were
on our feet till we were close under the walls.  The fascines were
thrown into the ditches, and the ladders being planted against the
walls, up we climbed, as O'Driscoll observed, like ants attacking a
sugar cask.  We had already mounted the walls and were leaping down into
the town before the enemy knew what we were about.  As soon as they were
aroused they made a stout resistance and poured a heavy fire on us.
Several men near me were killed or wounded.  Poor young Adams was
cheering on his party placed under his orders.  A bullet struck him.
His sword was uplifted, his cheerful voice was still sounding on my ear
when I saw him fall over, and before he reached the ground he was dead.
Our men poured over the walls, and on we rushed among the buildings in
the fortress.  We encountered a body of Spaniards led on by an officer
who apparently had only that instant been roused out of bed, for he had
neither his coat buttoned, a hat on his head, nor a sword in his hand.
Another party of men on my left engaged my attention, and I was about to
attack them when I saw Tom Rockets rushing towards the unarmed officer.
I thought Tom was going to cut down the Spaniard, and so I dare say did
the latter, but instead of that I heard him sing out, "Senor Don
Officer, you no habby cutlash-o, I've got two-o!  Take one of mine, old
boy; let's have fair play and no favour.  Stand aside, mates, and we'll
have it out like men!"

On this, to the very great astonishment of his enemy, he presented him
with one of his cutlasses, and made a sign that he was ready to begin
the fight.  The Spaniard, however, had no notion of fighting with so
generous and brave a fellow.  Probably, also, he found the Englishman's
cutlass rather an awkward weapon to use, so he made signs to him to take
it back, and that he would yield himself up as a prisoner of war.  Tom
thereupon took back the cutlass, and, shaking the Spaniard by the hand,
assured him that he should be ready to have the matter out, if it so
pleased him, as soon as the public fighting was disposed of.  So sudden
had been our attack, and so unexpected by the Spaniards, that we had
even fewer men killed and wounded than on the previous days.  The
Spanish officer and his men having yielded, I left them under charge of
Tom and some of my people, while I pushed on, accompanied by Grampus,
towards the summit of the fortress, on which stood a flag-staff with the
Spanish flag flying.  The Spaniards rallied bravely round it, but,
charging them cutlass in hand, with loud huzzas we put them to flight,
and very soon Nol Grampus had hauled down their flag and hoisted our own
glorious ensign in its stead.  It was a signal to the ships to cease
their fire, which was becoming somewhat annoying to us as well as to our
foes.  In a few minutes all the defenders of the fortress were scattered
far and wide, or had thrown down their arms and sued for mercy.  Thus
the important fortress was won.  The first thing I did was to look-out
for Tom Rockets, whom I found guarding the Spanish officer, and
endeavouring to assure him of his friendship and protection.  Some of
the prisoners were carried on board the ships, others were shut up under
a guard in the fortress, and others were allowed to take their
departure.  Besides two richly-laden galleons and a dhow with dry goods
in the harbour, we found in the fort twenty thousand dollars, a vast
quantity of quicksilver, three or four hundred slaves who had been
lately landed, and were to have been sent into the interior, and sixty
thousand pounds' worth of silk, cables, anchors, and other naval
stores,--the whole not being of less value than a million sterling.

On my return on board I acquainted Captain Packenham with Tom Rockets'
gallantry.  He was much amused, and at once sent for the brave fellow to
come to him on the quarter-deck.  Tom approached, hat in hand, looking
somewhat sheepish, as if he was afraid of getting scolded for having
done something wrong.  When, however, the captain praised him for his
conduct, he gave a hitch to his trowsers and a twist to his hat,
exclaiming--

"It's all right then, sir?  I thought as how perhaps I ought to have
knocked the Spanish gentleman over; but you see, sir, I didn't like to
take the life of a man who hadn't even a cutlash to fight with."

Captain Packenham assured him that he had done perfectly right, and that
he would look after his interests.  He spoke to the commodore about him
that very afternoon, and it was agreed to give him a boatswain's
warrant; but Tom at once declined the offer, saying that he had only
done his duty, and did not want any reward.

After Captain Packenham's return from the commodore's ship, he told me
that he was going home at once with despatches, and that I was to be
removed from the Porcupine into the Charon in order that I might with
some of her crew take charge of the Saint Domingo, one of the galleons
we had just captured.  I had placed under me a mate, three midshipmen,
and thirty-six of the best seamen of the Charon, including my two
followers, for whom I got leave to accompany me.  I had now a new
follower, the dog I had captured in the burning town.  I gave him the
name of Omoa, to which he soon answered and became greatly attached to
me.  I at once set to work to get the prize ready for sea; but she had
much to be done to her, and it was not till the 8th of November that,
having scaled guns and bent sails a few days before, I warped out of the
harbour, and made sail in company with the other ships of the squadron,
leaving the Porcupine and the captured dhow for the defence of the fort.

I must remark that a short time afterwards, the place being attacked by
a thousand regular troops, the men we had left there in garrison were
compelled to make their escape on board those two vessels.  And now
commenced one of the most unpleasant and anxious voyages I ever made in
my life.  I did not think it was to be so at the time, though.  On the
contrary, I was highly delighted at obtaining the command, when I got on
board, and discovered that the galleon was the richest-laden vessel we
had captured, and that several thousand pounds would come to my share
alone if I succeeded in carrying her safely into port.  Not, I must say,
that I thought about the money for itself.  I never was mercenary.  I
should have been considered wiser had I been so, but my thoughts
instantly flew to Madeline Carlyon.  I pictured to myself peace restored
between the revolted provinces of America and England, and I, with
wealth at my disposal, able to go over and claim with a good grace the
hand of the only girl for whom I had ever felt that deep affection which
would induce me to marry.  She was always in my thoughts, and now that I
felt that, with the required wealth within my grasp, there was a
possibility of our being united, I began in my imagination to realise
the happiness I anticipated.  Whatever dangers or difficulties I was in,
I always thought of her.  She, though far away, spurred me on to
exertion.  She--in the tempest, on the lee-shore in unknown seas, in
darkness and surrounded with rocks and shoals--was ever present, and I
believe that, had it not been for her, I should more than once in
despair have given up the struggle with the adverse circumstances which
well-nigh overwhelmed me.

It was soon seen that the bulky old galleon would not keep way with the
men-of-war, so the Lowestoffe took us in tow, not much to the
satisfaction of those on board.  Thick squally weather with rain came
on, and away we went plunging after her.  For two days this continued,
and during the time I could scarcely ever leave the deck.  At last I
went below on the night of the 10th, but hardly had I turned in and got
my eyes well closed when I was aroused up again by a terrific uproar,
and, rushing on deck and hurrying for'ard, I found that the Lowestoffe
was taken aback and was making a stern-board right down upon us.
Fortunately an axe was at hand.  With a couple of strokes I cut the
hawser, and, putting up the helm, we were just able to run to leeward
out of her way.  Soon after this the commodore made the signal to tack,
and the wind then shifting and a heavy gale coming on, I lost sight of
the squadron.  Directly after this I made out the land on the lee bow
bearing east-south-east, three or four miles off.  Whether I could
weather it was the question; but I made all the sail I could venture to
carry.  I stood as close-hauled as I could, watching with no little
anxiety the unwelcome coast.  The vessel looked up to the gale in
gallant style, and at length I was able to bring-to under my foresail.

Thus I remained all night.  At six in the morning made sail under the
courses to the north-east, and at eight wore and saw the land bearing
south by south, distant five or six leagues.  At noon was again obliged
to bring-to under the foresail, it blowing hard with a thick fog and
squalls.

On the 11th, the wind continuing to blow as hard as before, I saw the
island of Rattan.  At 5 p.m. I fired six guns as signals for a pilot,
but night coming on with the accustomed bad weather, I wore and stood
out to sea.  The next morning I bore away for Truxillo, on the Spanish
main.  At 10 a.m., being close in-shore, the wind shifted, and blew a
heavy gale with very thick weather, which obliged me to stand to the
eastward.  At noon, though we lost sight of the land, I found that we
were in very shoal water, and as may be supposed I became very anxious
when I found that there was no one on board who had ever been there
before, or was at all acquainted with the coast.  All we knew was that
it was considered a very dangerous and difficult one.  Since we left
Omoa, from not having even seen the sun, I had been unable to take an
observation, nor had I any chart of the Gulf of Honduras in the ship.
My officers, as were all on board, were as well aware as I was myself of
the danger the ship was in, and a bright look-out was kept for the land.
At 2 p.m. we made out an island under our lee.  I soon saw by the way
the ship was setting that we should be unable to weather it.  My only
resource therefore was to attempt to run between it and the main.  I
kept the helm up, and stood for the channel.  I was under the
impression, as were my officers, that it was the island of Bonacca,
between which and the main a book of sailing directions we had on board
told us there was a passage; but as we neared it the characteristic
features which we discovered convinced us that we were mistaken, and
that it was the Hogsties.  Now we had been assured at Omoa that between
it and the main there was no passage.  We did not make this discovery,
however, before we had stood on too far to return.  Our eyes, however,
could not deceive us; a passage there certainly was, but whether a
shallow or intricate one we could not tell.  I kept the lead going and a
bright look-out in all directions; still it was work to try any man's
nerves.  There was a nasty broken sea running, and I felt sure that if
the ship struck on any of the numberless rocks under her bottom, not
many minutes would elapse before she must go down.  I kept her on,
notwithstanding this, under her foresail.  We were gradually shoaling
our water--sixteen fathom, twelve, ten, six, four had been announced.  I
drew my breath faster and faster.  It was not a moment I should have
liked anyone to put a trivial question to me; still I could make out a
channel of clear water ahead, and I did not despair.

"By the mark three," sang out the man in the fore-chains.

Matters were coming to a crisis.  If we shoaled the water much more we
could not hope to force the heavy galleon through.  Not only should we
lose all her rich cargo, but our lives also would be sacrificed, for the
few boats we had were in so bad a condition that they would scarcely be
able to carry even half the people we had on board.  For my own part, I
did not feel that I had many more hours, or I might say minutes, to
live, for I always held to the opinion that a captain should always be
the last to leave his ship, and not then till he has seen to the safety
of all those entrusted to his care.

On we glided--not very fast though.  I stood conning the ship; sometimes
we passed so close to shoals and rocks that we could have thrown a
biscuit on them, and still the lumbering old Saint Domingo floated free.

At length we were once more in four fathoms of water, then in five; but
still I did not feel that we were clear of danger; there might be other
reefs running across from the island to the main which might bring us
up.  I however began to breathe more freely, and the faces of my
officers wore a more satisfied expression.  Still we had many a turn and
twist to make, but with a leading wind we had little difficulty in doing
this.  "Breakers ahead!" sang out Grampus from forward.

"Starboard the helm," was my reply.

"Starboard it is," cried the man at the wheel.

"Breakers on the larboard bow!"

"Port the helm."

"Port it is," was heard along the deck, and so we glided by danger after
danger till all were passed, and I breathed freely at finding the ship
at length clear of the island.  I then once more hauled in for the land
to try and ascertain our situation; but the weather came on so thick
again with heavy squalls that I was compelled very soon to stand off
once more, still ignorant of where we were.

My difficulties were not over.  At 5 p.m. the mizen-yard was carried
away in a heavy squall, though happily no lives were lost by the
accident.  While we were endeavouring to repair the damage it fell a
stark calm, and the old galleon began to roll away awfully in the swell.
I at once ordered the lead to be hove, for I knew that there were
treacherous currents hereabouts.

I had soon proof of this.  The first cast gave us thirteen fathoms; very
soon we had ten, eight, and so on, till we shoaled the water to five
fathoms.  I guessed that we should very soon be on shore if this
continued, so I saw that I must resort to the only alternative of
anchoring, a dangerous proceeding in the uncertain weather we were
having.  Still I held on as long as I could, and hoped for a slant of
wind to enable me to beat off.  My hopes were in vain.  It was near
midnight, when a heavier gust than we had yet had struck the ship, and
soon the man with the lead gave notice that we had shoaled our water to
three fathoms.  Not a moment was to be lost, so I gave orders to clew up
all our canvas and to let go the best bow anchor.  This was done without
delay.  Our cable held on, but I soon discovered that a strong current
was setting past us to the east-south-east, at the rate of three knots
an hour, which, should our anchor not hold, would very soon send us on
shore.

I at last began to feel as if my anxiety would break me down, as all the
dangers with which we were surrounded were brought to my thoughts.  We
had a dark night, a heavy gale of wind, a lee-shore, a strong current,
untried and probably not over-good ground tackle, and a great
uncertainty as to our position.  Added to this, I had under my command a
vessel worth four hundred thousand pounds, and between thirty and forty
lives entrusted to my care.  Our anchor held, but not without dragging
slightly.  Anxiously I walked the deck and waited for break of day.  I
thought it would never come.  It did at last, however, and revealed a
sight sufficient to make the stoutest heart quake.  Scarcely more than a
cable's length from the ship appeared a ledge of rocks over which the
waves were washing with sullen roars, while the log hove overboard
showed me that there was a strong current setting towards a high rocky
bluff land dead to leeward of us.  Towards it the ship was surely though
slowly dragging her anchor.  One thing only could save us.  We must
without delay get sail on her.  We tried to weigh the anchor, but soon
abandoned the attempt as hopeless.  I called the officers round me, in a
few words explained our position, then sent every man to his station.
Nol Grampus stood, axe in hand, ready to cut the cable as I gave the
word.  Two good hands were at the helm.  The men were aloft, ready to
loose sails.  I waited till the ship's head tended off the land, then at
a wave of my hand the sails were let fall and sheeted home, down came
old Nol's gleaming axe, the end of the cable disappeared through the
hawse-hole, the sails filled, and away glided the big ship from the
threatening rocks.  Still she was not free from danger.  I held my
breath, as did every seaman on board, as we gazed at the bluff land it
was necessary to weather.  The current set strongly towards it, a shift
of wind might yet cast away the ship.  Down she seemed settling towards
it.  We were doing our utmost to avoid the danger; we could not carry
more sail, the ship was kept as close as possible to the wind.  Still we
had already escaped so many dangers before that I hoped we might this.
Higher grew the land frowning above us, nearer appeared the breakers.
In ten minutes I saw that our fate would be decided.  The wind remained
steady.  None of our gear gave way.  The surf broke under our lee as we
glided by; we were safe; and once more reducing sail we stood out to
sea.  We, however, were still in far from a pleasant position, or
rather, we could not tell in what position we were, and had every reason
to believe it a bad one.  Various were the opinions broached on board as
to our whereabouts.  Some thought we were in the Bay of Dulce; others
that the point we had just weathered was Point Manwick; while the
Spanish prisoners affirmed that we were certainly down in the bottom of
the Gulf of Honduras.  I could scarcely believe that the currents and
gales we had encountered, strong as they were, could in so short a time
have drifted us so far out of our course.  As the day drew on the
weather moderated, and the mists clearing away, we found ourselves
surrounded by a number of rocks and islands.  The Spaniards nodded their
heads and affirmed that they were right in their assertions.
Fortunately the sun came out to settle the question.  I was able to take
two altitudes, and found that we were abreast of the Island of Rattan.
Not long after this I got a sight of Truxillo Bay, the place the
commodore had appointed for the rendezvous.  I accordingly ran in and
anchored there at six o'clock, hoping to find the rest of the squadron
in the place, but, much to my disappointment and surprise, not another
ship was to be seen.  This being the case, I had to examine my officers,
to ascertain what I was next to do.  Much to my satisfaction I found
that I was forthwith to proceed home to Falmouth, and, having reported
my arrival to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, to await their
further orders.  In consequence of this I immediately proceeded to wood
and water the ship.  This was a long and tedious operation, for having
lost all our boats one after the other in the gale, I was obliged to
employ a couple of very frail canoes.  I persevered, however, and by
working hard managed to make progress in the task.  While some of the
crew were on shore cutting wood and filling the casks, others were
employed in towing them off in the canoes, which were likewise laden
with wood.  Though I worked myself, for the purpose of setting an
example, I found time to make an excursion or two a little way into the
interior.  I was accompanied by Martin, one of my master's mates, and a
great friend of mine.  We took our guns with us and my dog Omoa, who had
now become much attached to me.  The shores of this bay of Truxillo are
wild and desolate in the extreme.  Nature here revels in perfect
freedom, and gigantic trees of all sorts tower up on every side.  It is
a long way from any inhabited place; I had heard, however, that the
Spaniards once had a settlement here of considerable size, but it having
been attacked by the buccaneers and Indians, about a hundred years ago,
they were compelled entirely to abandon it; since which time nature had
resumed her original sway over the territory, and as we wandered through
the forest not a sign of human life or human industry did we for a long
time perceive.  At length, however, landing one day at a different part
of the bay to that which we had before explored, about a quarter of a
mile from the beach, we came suddenly upon a high-built wall.  A little
farther on we found ourselves walking over what had evidently been a
paved street of great length and breadth.  In another minute we found
ourselves with the walls of houses on either side of us, the vast trees
growing out from among them and forming a sheltering roof with their
boughs, showing for how long a period they must have been deserted.
There were churches too, which we discovered to be such by their
construction and the massiveness of their walls; many of them of
considerable size, and built of well-burnt bricks.  Altogether we were
struck by the elegance and substantial appearance of the different
buildings, so superior to those of modern architecture, and which
convinced us that we were standing in the midst of a once magnificent
and wealthy city.  Its wealth had proved its destruction, and now, like
many of the cities of the ancient world, it had become the habitation
alone of the wild beast of the forest, the birds of the air, and the
reptiles which creep on the earth.  I cannot properly describe my
sensations as I stood in the midst of that abandoned city; the scene was
so unusual and curious, there was so much beauty and elegance even in
the masses of ruins, and still more in the trees and shrubs which had
taken possession of these walls, once the abodes of men engaged in all
the active pursuits of life.  I could not help picturing to myself what
it must have been like; what scenes were going on within it, such as are
enacted in most cities in the present day, when sudden destruction
overtook it.  I learned a lesson, I drew a moral, and I received a
warning from the fate it told, from which I trust my readers will profit
likewise.



CHAPTER NINETEEN.

VISIT RUINS OF TRUXILLO.--THE COMMODORE RECEIVES ME AND MY GALLEON WITH
JOY.--FEARFUL SICKNESS ON BOARD SQUADRON.--THE ISLAND OF RATTAN.--
CAPSIZED IN A SQUALL.--SHIP RIGHTS.--BEAT OFF A PRIVATEER.--REACH
JAMAICA.--THE SAINT DOMINGO CONDEMNED, AND CARGO PLACED ON BOARD THE
ROTTEN LEVIATHAN.--REJOIN THE CHARON.--SAIL WITH CONVOY.--PIRATICAL
EXPLOITS.--SINKING OF LEVIATHAN, AND MY HOPES OF PRIZE-MONEY LOST.--
REACH THE DOWNS, AND START FOR FALMOUTH.

Whenever the duties of the ship would allow me to go on shore, I
repaired to the ruins of Truxillo, for I was never weary of wandering
among its deserted streets and exploring its shattered edifices.
Meantime the repairs of the ship went on as expeditiously as possible,
and by the 16th of November we had set up our rigging, got all the wood
and water we could stowaway on board, and made every other requisite
preparation for encountering a winter passage to England.  I had
arranged to sail the next day, when at noon it was reported to me that a
brig was seen standing into the bay.

"Make the signal for the people to hurry on board," was my reply as I
went on deck.

Having examined the stranger through the glass, I thought she looked
suspicious, so I hoisted the private signal and waited with some little
anxiety to ascertain if it was answered.  The fact that we had got
possession of the Saint Domingo, with all her wealth on board, would be
known to the Spaniards, and if they should discover that she was
separated from the rest of the fleet, they would very naturally send in
quest of her.  The signal was not answered.  "My lads, I suspect we
shall have a fight for it," I sung out, as I gave the order to prepare
for action, resolved to put the ship in as good a state of defence as
circumstances would allow.  The ship was armed with sixteen
four-pounders, and four six-pounders, besides swivels and cohorns.  I
first got springs on my cables, so as to have complete command over the
ship, and as I had not men sufficient to fight all the guns, I ran them
all over on one side, in order to make the first broadside as formidable
as possible.  I hoped thus to sink or disable our antagonist, or to make
her sheer off.  Should she, however, venture to board, I had no fear, as
I felt certain that my men would not fear to encounter twice their
number.  They were full of fight, and the way they went about their
preparations gave me every confidence that we should succeed.  The brig
approached us with a great deal of caution.  If we did not like her
looks, she evidently did not like ours.  I knew that it would be best to
show I was ready for her, so as soon as she was within range of my guns
I hoisted my colours and fired a shot ahead of her.  The next was a
moment of suspense, and I believe my people were not a little
disappointed when she hoisted an English ensign and fired a gun to
leeward.  Having sailed close past us and hailed, she brought up at a
short distance from me.  She then lowered a boat, and Lieutenant
Butcher, whom I had before met, came on board, and informed me that the
commodore had hired the brig and sent him in charge of her to look-out
for the Saint Domingo, which he had heard had been lost on the
Solomadinas, the most dangerous rocks on the coast.

"A ship we spoke informed us that you had been seen to go on shore, and
we hoped that though the galleon might be lost, we might save some of
your lives," he added; "however, I am heartily glad to find you all
alive and the old craft afloat."

"Not more glad than I am, that we have escaped all the dangers we have
encountered," I replied, and I told him of all the narrow escapes we had
had.

He then informed me that the Charon and Lowestoffe had several times
nearly been lost, and were now at Port Royal Harbour, in the Island of
Rattan.

To that place I found that I was at once to proceed.  I will not
describe all the incidents which occurred before I got there.  I must
try and hurry on with my adventures, or I shall never bring them to an
end.

By the 19th I got off the harbour, and, making a signal for assistance,
some boats came out to help tow me in, and by six o'clock I was safely
moored under the guns of the squadron.  The commodore was delighted to
see me.  I did not flatter myself so much because of my own merits, as
on account of the richly-freighted old galleon.  However, I was not
addicted to trouble myself as to the cause of any attention I might
receive, or any compliments which might be paid me; but I always
received them with a good grace, as if they were invariably due to my
own especial merits.  The commodore told me that he should at once send
me on to Jamaica, under convoy of the Lowestoffe, and gave me directions
to get ready again for sea.  I had a number of visitors on board, who
came to congratulate me on my escape, and to have a look at the galleon,
which was much such a craft as some of the followers of Columbus might
have sailed in to conquer the New World.  I found the squadron in a very
sickly state.  No less than two-thirds of the crews were living on shore
in huts and tents, suffering from sickness, and since the time they had
left Omoa they had buried upwards of a hundred men, the master of the
Lowestoffe being among them.  Altogether I know in a very short time
they lost one hundred and twenty men--while I had not lost one on board
the galleon.  Rattan itself was not supposed to be unhealthy, but at
this time there were no inhabitants on it.  When the war broke out with
Spain, one of her first acts was to attack our settlements on the coast
of Honduras, and totally to put a stop to our logwood trade.  The
merchants and traders connected with that business accordingly earnestly
solicited the commodore to take possession of the Island of Rattan,
which is admirably placed to guard the entrance to the Gulf of Honduras.
It had belonged to the English in the late war, but by the treaty of
peace made at its termination it was restored to the Spaniards, or
rather abandoned, and all the works on it had been destroyed.  In
consequence, however, of the requisition of the merchants which I have
spoken of, the commodore, on the 25th of November, 1779, again took
possession of it in the name of his Britannic Majesty, and immediately
set to work to put the place in as good a state of defence as
circumstances would allow.  A number of logwood cutters and other
settlers, as well as some merchants and traders, had already arrived
there.  These were at once regularly drilled and taught the use of their
arms.  Each of the ships of the squadron also launched two of their
guns, which we mounted on the works for the defence of the harbour,
while they were furnished likewise with an abundant supply of ammunition
and stores of all sorts.  The harbour of Port Royal is, without doubt,
as good a one as any in the West Indies, and so well formed is it by
nature for defence, that with a small amount of art employed on it, I
should think that it might be made perfectly impregnable from any attack
by sea.  At the time of which I speak the island was entirely
uncultivated, and produced only the trees and shrubs nature had planted
there; but from what I saw of the soil and from what others who knew
more about agricultural affairs than I did, I had no doubt that in a few
years it would become a very flourishing spot, and amply repay the
planters who might settle on it.  Just now it was serving as the
burial-place of many poor fellows, who were carried off day after day by
the malignant fever which had got among them.  It was sad to go on shore
to visit the sick and dying, and all the time to feel that one could be
of no use to them.  I had seen a good deal of that sort of thing lately,
but it had not hardened my heart.  At last I scarcely went on shore at
all.  Nothing I found so depressing to my spirits as to see the long
rows of graves beneath which so many of my poor countrymen were
sleeping, and still more to see them day by day increasing in number.

While I was getting ready for sea, the Charon, having taken on board the
whole cargo of the Saint Joseph galleon, sailed with the purpose of
proceeding at once to England, leaving the Pomona at Rattan, to bring
off the sick as soon as it was deemed practicable and safe to remove
them.

On the 26th of November, having taken leave of the commodore and saluted
him with three hearty cheers, such as he well deserved, and having on
board several passengers, some of whom were taken prisoners at Omoa, I
put to sea in company with the Lowestoffe.  Scarcely had I done
breakfast next morning, and was congratulating myself on having a
pleasant run to Jamaica, when Nol Grampus entered my cabin with the
pleasing intelligence that the Saint Domingo had sprung a leak.
"Allowing to her being manned by heretics, as the Spaniards would say,"
I exclaimed petulantly as I hurried out, and with the carpenter
endeavoured to ascertain where the injury was to be found.  At the same
time I set both the pumps going; but do all we could, we could not keep
the leak under.  At length I most unwillingly gave orders to hoist the
signal of distress.  As soon as it was seen on board the Lowestoffe her
boats were sent to my assistance.

On inquiring among the Spanish prisoners I found from them that she had
been struck by lightning in the harbour of Omoa, and had been injured in
some place aft.  On examining I discovered the injury to exist under the
larboard counter, and having got some lead nailed on over the leak, I
soon had the pleasure of seeing the water sensibly decrease.  One danger
over, it was not long before I had to encounter another of a still more
serious nature, and I had great reason to fear that after all I had gone
through I should still not succeed in carrying my prize into port.  Had
I been followed by the curse of some revengeful old witch I could
scarcely have been compelled to encounter more difficulties and mishaps;
such a witch as Shakespeare describes as sailing in a sieve, and like a
rat without a tail doing something dreadful.

On the 29th the wind was favourable and light, and the big galleon was
gliding swiftly over a smooth, laughing sea, when, the decks having been
washed down, I was taking a turn, as was my custom before breakfast,
with Martin.

"Fine weather, sir," he remarked.  "After all our mishaps there seems a
fair prospect of our getting into port in safety."

"There's many a slip between the cup and the lip, and for my part I
never again will make sure of a thing till I have got it in my hand, and
then I should look very sharp that it does not jump out again," was my
answer, for I was, I own, beginning to be discontented with sublunary
affairs in general.

"Oh, no fear now, I think, but what we shall get the rich old galleon
safe into port at last, and some day touch the prize-money she will
bring us," remarked Martin, rubbing his hands at the thought of the
wealth he was about to obtain, and the way in which he would very soon
manage to get through it.

"Breakfast ready, sir," said Tom Rockets, coming up to me and touching
his cap.  He was doing the duty of Jenker, my steward, who had broken
his leg in one of the many gales we had encountered.

I invited Martin to breakfast with me.  When we left the deck the wind
was light and the sky had scarcely a cloud floating on it to dim its
splendour.  We had finished a plate of scraped salt beef, and had begun
upon a salt herring, (what would I not have given for a fresh, juicy
mutton chop!)  I had just taken a cup of coffee and Martin was helping
himself, holding up the coffee-pot, when I saw it and him and the
breakfast-things gliding away to leeward, and felt myself following
them.  There was a terrific roaring sound and a loud rush of waters
almost overwhelming the shouts and cries of the people on deck.  Over
went everything in a confused mass.  I rushed out of the cabin, followed
by Martin, to ascertain what had occurred, though I had no doubt about
the matter.  The ship had overset in one of the sudden squalls to which
these seas are liable.  There she lay like a log, with her sails almost
in the water.  She appeared to me to be going lower and lower every
instant.  Nothing could exceed the confusion the deck presented.  The
crew were rushing about and letting go any ropes they could lay hands
on, in accordance with the orders of the officer of the watch to take in
sail.  The lady passengers were shrieking out for help as they paddled
about to leeward, and the men were in vain endeavouring to afford it,
shouting and striking out in the water and endeavouring to climb up
towards the weather bulwarks.

"There go all our hopes of wealth," I thought to myself as I saw the
condition of the ship.  Strange that that should be the first idea which
came into my head.  I did not think that the ship would swim many
minutes longer.  I looked out for the Lowestoffe.  She was not far-off,
and was lowering her boats, to come to our assistance.  Only one chance
of saving the ship remained.  We must cut away the masts.  I gave the
necessary order.  While some of the crew set to work on the rigging with
their knives, I sung out for an axe.  One had fallen overboard the day
before.  Another was not to be found.

"Can no one find an axe?"  I sung out, not a little enraged.  "Bear a
hand, then."

Rockets was searching in one direction, Nol Grampus in others, with
several of the rest of the men, while I felt almost frantic, expecting
the ship to fill and go down every instant.  The officers were hurrying
about for the same object.  Were the ship to go down, I felt many lives
might be lost, for the frigate's boats could scarcely save all hands
with the passengers.  The confusion and noise was increased, it must be
remembered, by the roaring of the wind and the dashing of the seas over
us.

At last Grampus appeared with a couple of axes.  I seized one and sprung
to the mainmast.  He rushed forward.  I had lifted up my gleaming
weapon, and was about to give the fatal stroke, when there was a sudden
lull of the wind, and the stout old galleon, no longer feeling its
pressure, sprang up and righted herself in an instant, sending a dozen
of the crew across the deck and all the passengers spinning about in
every direction.  Except a little of the standing rigging cut, a few
shins broken, and a complete ducking received by all the passengers, no
damage had occurred.  We soon got the lady passengers put to rights, and
seated on the hencoops, where they had been taking their breakfast, the
coffee-cups picked up, the men restored to their legs, and their cigars
re-lighted, and everything in its proper place, while the boats which
had been coming to our help returned to their frigate.

"All's well that ends well," was Martin's observation when we again sat
down to a fresh supply of coffee, red herrings, and biscuits.

Nothing else occurred till the 5th of December, when one of the Spanish
prisoners was found dead in his bed in the gun-room.

On the 8th we made Jamaica, but were beating away under the south-west
end of the island, till the 15th, when I carried away my
fore-topsail-yard, and had to put into Bluefields Bay to repair the
loss.

On the 16th we sailed again with the Lowestoffe.  In the evening, as we
were pretty close in with the shore, the Lowestoffe signalised that a
suspicious schooner was in sight and made sail in chase.  Scarcely had
we sunk her courses below the horizon when another vessel appeared from
under the land, standing towards us.  She was also a schooner, and we
were not long in making up our minds that she was an enemy's privateer.
I did not fear her though.  We loaded and ran out all our guns and
prepared for the encounter.  I knew that my men would not yield while
the galleon kept afloat, and so I did not watch the Lowestoffe's
departure with so much anxiety as I might otherwise have done.  Tom
Rockets and others were tightening in their waist-bands, fastening
handkerchiefs round their heads, feeling the edges of their cutlasses,
and making all the other usual preparations for a fight.

The stranger came on boldly towards us.  I had no doubt of the character
of the schooner, but as she sailed two knots to our one there was no use
in attempting to try and escape her.  It was not long before she got
within gun-shot and exhibited her true character by running up the
Spanish ensign and by firing one of her bow-chasers at us.  As our guns
would not carry so far as hers I let her come on considerably nearer
before I returned the compliment.  The privateer, thinking that they
were going to make an easy victory of us, fired again, but the shot, as
had the first, flew wide of us.  I saw that my people were impatient to
fire in return.

"Hold fast, my lads," I cried out.  "Let her come on a little nearer,
and we'll show her that she has caught a Tartar for once in a way."

I waited for another ten minutes, but as I saw the way in which the
well-armed daring little craft approached us I could not help thinking
to myself, "I wonder whether this will be another slip between the cup
and the lip."  I, of course, did not show what I thought.  I now judged
that we had got her well within range of all our guns.  Again she fired,
and the shot flew through our rigging.

"Now give it her, my lads," I sung out.  "Blaze away!"

The men were not slow to obey the order.  Our broadside told with
fearful effect.  Many of our shot tore along her decks, killing and
wounding a considerable number of her crew.  Notwithstanding this the
schooner stood after us.  From the spirited way in which she came on I
thought that she must be American, and, knowing the rich prize we should
prove, had determined at all risks to get hold of us.  She only carried
six guns, but they were heavier than ours, and while her crew were amply
strong to man them, mine could not fight more than half the guns we had.
The contest, therefore, was much more equal than at first appeared to
be the case.  Still I had not much fear as to the results, especially if
the privateer really was Spanish, for however bravely or furiously
Spaniards come on, and however much bravado they make, I have always
found that they never can withstand English pluck and determination.  As
soon as we had fired our first broadside we loaded again as fast as we
could, while the schooner gave us the contents of her three guns from
one side, and was about to keep away and run under our stern to fire the
three on the other--the first having done us no little damage, wounded
one of our masts, and cut a poor fellow almost in two--but just as she
was on the point of firing we let fly four or five of our after guns
right down upon her, and one of the shot striking the helmsman, knocked
him over, and before another man could take his place the schooner had
flown up again into the wind.  Her starboard broadside not being loaded,
we were able to give her another dose before she was ready to fire, and
in the meantime the report of the guns being heard on board the
Lowestoffe, she was seen standing towards us under all sail.

The privateer had now had quite sufficient taste of our quality, and
greatly to my vexation and to that, I believe, of everyone on board, she
hauled her wind and stood away from us on a bow-line, a point of sailing
on which we had no chance of overtaking her.  We gave her, however, a
parting salute and three cheers and many a hearty wish that she had
stopped to receive the thrashing we all felt confident we should have
bestowed on her.

The Lowestoffe soon came up and chased her for a few miles, having in
the course of it recaptured a prize which the privateer had just before
taken.  Had not the captain of the Lowestoffe been apprehensive that
some more of these privateering gentlemen might try to get hold of my
tenderly-loved galleon, he would probably have continued the chase and
captured the schooner herself, but remembering that a bird in the hand
is worth two in the bush, he wisely would not allow himself to be
tempted on, but returned to keep ward and watch over me.

"You said, sir, that there was many a slip between the cup and the lip,"
observed Martin, as on the morning of the 18th December, 1779, we
sighted the entrance to Port Royal Harbour, Jamaica, and with a fair
breeze stood into it with our rich prize, followed closely by our
faithful guardian the Lowestoffe.

"Yes, my boy, but we have not touched the rhino yet, and even then it
may be long before the sweets reach our mouth," was my answer.  "So I
have always found it to be, and so I always expect to find it.  These
bales of indigo which are said to be worth so much, are rather
cumbersome articles to put into our pockets and walk off with.  The ship
has to cross the Atlantic and the cash has to pass through the hands of
merchants, and brokers, and prize-agents before we touch it."

I little thought at the time how necessary my warning was, and how well
it was not to reckon too much on the riches which might so easily take
to themselves wings and flee away.  Still, as I have before said, I
could not help believing that I should some day or other possess the
portion which was my due; and over and over again I conjured up the
delightful picture when I should find myself once more in America, no
longer as an enemy to her sons, but as the affianced husband of Madeline
Carlyon and the friend and companion of her kindred and people.

In high spirits, therefore, and with no small amount of pride in my
heart, I sailed up the harbour and saluted Sir Peter Parker with
thirteen guns, which compliment he returned with eleven.  After this
expenditure of gunpowder I hurried up to pay my respects to him, and was
received with all his usual kindness and urbanity.  To my astonishment,
and somewhat, I own, to my disappointment, I found my own ship, the
Charon, at anchor among the rest of the fleet.  I thought that she had
long ago sailed for England.  On going on board I soon was made
acquainted with the cause of her return.  On her passage through the
Gulf of Florida she had spoken HMS Salisbury, from which ship Captain
Luttrell gained the information that many very disparaging reports
reflecting on his honour were circulating in Jamaica respecting his
conduct at the taking of Omoa.  This made him at once resolve to return
to the island, to vindicate his character.  He immediately demanded a
Court of Inquiry, which was held on board the Niger, when he was
honourably acquitted of one and all the malicious charges alleged
against him.  Officers, especially in the navy, would always do well to
imitate the commodore's conduct in this particular.  All men may have
dirt thrown at them, but the honourable man will never allow it to
remain a moment longer than can be avoided, lest it should leave a stain
behind.

Captain Luttrell's return to Jamaica had a considerable influence on my
fortunes.  I was in high feather at having so far escaped all the
dangers of the voyage with the old Galleon, and was making every
preparation to fit her yet further for encountering the passage in
mid-winter across the Atlantic.  During this period I had not altogether
an unpleasant time of it, for the merchants and planters of Kingston
were proverbially hospitable, and I had many friends among them, so that
every moment I could spare from my duties on board ship was occupied in
receiving the attentions and civilities they showered on me.  This was
all very agreeable.  I made haste to enjoy the moments as they passed,
for I expected to be at sea and far away in a very few days.  My
pleasure was, however, of shorter duration even than I anticipated.  I
met O'Driscoll one day, who had just come from the admiral.

"I say, Hurry, my boy," he began; "do you know what they talk of doing
with your old galleon?"

"Send her to sea at once, before her repairs are finished," I answered.
"It's the way they too often do things."

"Not a bit of it," he replied.  "They say that she is not fit to go to
sea, so they propose transferring her cargo to the old `Leviathan,'
which to my certain knowledge is very much out of repair, and sending
her home with it."

"Some abominable job!"  I exclaimed, stamping with rage.  "It's too bad,
after all I have gone through, to deprive me of the credit I ought to
have gained.  I won't believe it."

I soon found, however, that O'Driscoll's account was too true.  A survey
was held on the Saint Domingo, and she was condemned as unfit to proceed
on her voyage to England.  Her cargo, consisting of twelve hundred and
thirty-two saroons of indigo, and a large quantity of sarsaparilla and
hides, was put on board HMS Leviathan, and her captain was to have three
thousand pounds freight.  I protested as loudly as I could against this
decision.  I asserted that the Saint Domingo was far more calculated to
take home so valuable and bulky a cargo than the Leviathan, or any other
man-of-war, and I undertook, with twenty of my people, who had been in
her already for three months, to carry her across the Atlantic in
safety.  All I could say was of no avail.  Not only I, but many other
officers said the same thing.  The affair was decided against us, and I
saw, with no small regret, the whole of the Saint Domingo's cargo
transferred to the rotten old Leviathan.

On the 16th of January, 1780, having given up the hull of the Saint
Domingo to our agent at Jamaica, I joined the Charon, with my two
followers, for the first time since my appointment to her.  On the next
day we sailed from Port Royal, in company with his Majesty's ships Ruby,
Lyon, Bristol, Leviathan, Salisbury, James, Resource, Lowestoffe,
Pallas, Galatrea, Delight, and about ninety sail of merchant vessels.
Except the capture of a Spanish privateer, and a vessel laden with
mahogany, nothing particular occurred till the 9th of February, in
latitude 29 degrees north, and longitude 72 degrees west, when the
admiral and his squadron put about to return to Jamaica, leaving us and
the Leviathan in charge of the convoy, to pursue our way to England.

We had hard work enough in keeping our convoy together, and in whipping
up the laggards.  In spite of the danger they ran of being picked up by
privateers, some were continually getting out of the order of sailing.
The Leviathan kept ahead, and led as well as she could, while we did the
duty of huntsman, or of whipper-in.  One night when it was my watch on
deck, as I was keeping a bright look-out in all directions, I saw the
flash of a gun on our lee quarter, and the sound directly after reached
my ears.  It was, it struck me, from a petronel, or some small piece of
ordnance such as merchantmen carried in those days.  I reported the
circumstance to Captain Luttrell, who ordered me at once to make sail in
that direction.  One or two other shots followed, and I could just
discern the flashes of pistols, though the reports did not reach our
ears.  The night was very dark, but we were able to steer clear of some
of the convoy, which had been near us on our lee quarter.  I had
carefully taken the bearings of the spot where I had seen the flashes.
We were not long in getting up to it.  There was a large barque under
sail, steering somewhat wildly, but still keeping after the fleet.  We
hailed as we got close to her, but received no answer.  A second time we
hailed, still louder, but there was no reply.  We then fired a shot
across her bows, but she stood on as before.  On this the captain
directed me to take a boat and board her.  There was not much sea, but
in the wild way in which she was steering about, and in the extreme
darkness, this would, I knew, be no very easy matter.  However, singing
out for volunteers, I soon had eight good hands to man a boat, and away
we pulled towards the barque.  As we got near I again hailed.  As
before, there was no reply.  At last, watching the proper moment, I
pulled in towards her, and hooked on to her mizen-chains.  We soon, with
lanterns in hand, scrambled on board.  As I was hurrying along the deck,
I stepped on some substance which very nearly made me measure my length
on it.  I called to Tom Rockets, who was of course near me, to throw the
light of his lantern on the spot.  It was blood.  There could be no
doubt of it.  The deck in several places was moist with the same, but
yet no one had we seen.  Aft there was no one.  The helm was lashed
amidships, and the ship was left to steer herself.  Ordering a hand to
the wheel, to keep her close after the Charon, I again traversed the
deck to examine her forward.  On my way I stumbled over two human forms.
The light of the lantern, which fell on their countenances, showed me
that they were not Englishmen--dark-bearded, swarthy fellows, dressed in
true buccaneer style.  I had little doubt that they were pirates, or
belonging to the crew of one of the Spanish privateers, most of which
deserved no better character.  Farther on were two or three English
seamen, so they seemed.  Here evidently had been a desperate fight, but
it was too clear which party had gained the victory.  Two other bodies
were found locked in a deadly embrace--an English seaman and a Spaniard.
One had been endeavouring to force the other overboard.  The Spaniard's
knife was sticking in the Englishman's throat, but the latter had not
died till he had strangled his antagonist.  A few moments sufficed to
reveal this tale of horror.  I looked out to endeavour to discern the
pirate.  I fancied that I could make out the sails of a fore and aft
vessel to leeward, but when I looked again I could see nothing of them.
I had now to examine the vessel below.  I went aft into the cabin.
There also had been a desperate struggle.  The master apparently had
been surprised in his cot, and lay half out of it, stabbed to the heart.
Several passengers had sprung out of their berths, it seemed, and been
shot or stabbed before they could reach the door of the cabin.  The
mate, I judged, and two other men, lay in a pool of blood just inside
the door.  They had retreated there, fighting for their lives.  The
table and chairs were upset and broken.  One of the pirates had fallen,
and so hurried had been the retreat of his companions that they had been
unable to carry him off.  He still breathed when I threw the light of
the lantern on his face, but the moment he was moved he fell back and,
with a deep groan, died.  I marched through the whole of the vessel; not
a living soul was found on board.  On returning on deck, I again looked
out for the pirate--not that I had much hopes of seeing her.  All
appeared dark to leeward, the Charon's stern lanterns only being visible
just ahead of me.  As I was peering into the gloom, suddenly a bright
light burst forth, as it seemed, out of the ocean.  Up it rose,
increasing in size, a vast mass of flame into the air.  I could
distinguish, with the greatest clearness, the masts and spars and canvas
of a schooner, lifting upwards high above the surface of the dark sea.
Then they seemed to separate into a thousand fragments, and to fall down
in showers of sparks on every side.  For a moment I was in doubt whether
what I saw was a reality or some hallucination of the mind, such as the
imagination of a sleeper conjures up, but from the exclamations I heard
around me I was soon convinced that the pirate crew who had effected all
the mischief we had witnessed had met with a sudden and just retribution
for their crimes, and that they and their vessel had been blown up.

The next morning a midshipman and ten men were sent to relieve me, and
to take charge of the barque, which proved to be a vessel bound for
Bristol.  Sad was the tale she would have to convey to the wives and
families of her officers and crew.  On the 20th a signal of distress was
seen flying on board one of our convoy.  A couple of boats were manned,
and I pulled away to her assistance.  As we got near we saw the crew
waving to us, some in the rigging, and some leaning over the sides.  Her
boats, I concluded, had been knocked to pieces in a gale.  At all events
none were lowered.  The people waved and shouted more vehemently than
ever.  They had good reason for so doing.  I saw by the way that the
vessel was labouring, and by her depth in the water, that she was on the
point of sinking.  Already she had given one or two ominous rolls.  I
cried out to my men to pull up alongside as fast as they could.  We were
soon up to her.  "Leap, leap!" was the shout.  I was afraid that the
boats might get foul of some of the rigging, or be drawn into the
vortex.  Not a moment was to be lost.  The merchantman's crew saw their
danger, and threw themselves headlong over the bulwarks.  The deck was
already almost awash with the sea.  Some reached the boats unhurt,
others got much bruised, and two poor fellows plunged into the water.
One of them sank before we could get hold of him, and the other we had
considerable difficulty in saving from the vortex made by the foundering
ship.

"Shove off! shove off!"  I had to cry out.  "Give way--give way, my
lads!"

We had barely time to get clear of the vessel before she gave a terrific
roll, her stern lifted, and down she went, as if dragged by some
invisible power towards the depths of the ocean.  We hurried back to the
Charon, without attempting to pick up anything, for the weather was
coming on bad, and the boats were already as full as they could hold.  I
could not help remarking how little the men seemed to care for the loss
of their ship.  Most of them grumbled about losing their bags, but as to
any thought of gratitude for their preservation, it did not seem to
occur to them that there was any necessity for feeling it.  Had no other
ship been near, or had their vessel gone down in the night, not one of
them would have been saved.

"Oh, they are a precious rough lot, are my men," observed the master.
"There's nothing they wouldn't do, and nothing they care for."

I thought as he spoke that he was precious rough himself, and that it
was very much owing to him, and men like him, that merchant-seamen are
so often little better than barbarians--without a thought of religion,
or a knowledge of a future life.  Several more days passed by, and we
were making good progress.  I little guessed what was in store for us.
Often, as I kept my midnight watch, my thoughts flew to Madeline
Carlyon, and I delighted to picture to myself the happiness which I
anticipated when I should one day be united to her.  Of course I could
not tell how or when that was to be, but I had so often and so long
dwelt on the subject that I began to consider my union with her as a
settled thing, that was to be a reality.  Of one thing I was most
certain, that she fully returned the affection I had bestowed on her.  I
pictured to myself how delightful it would be to bring her over to
England as my wife--to introduce her to my father and mother and my
relations, and to witness the admiration I was certain they would bestow
on her.  However, I did not intend to trouble my readers with a minute
account of my own private thoughts and feelings, and yet, had I
neglected to speak again of Miss Carlyon, I might have been accused of
having heartlessly forgotten one for whom I had before expressed so
ardent an affection.  Most of my hopes of the successful termination of
my love were based, it must be remembered, on the fortune which floated
within the ribs of the huge Leviathan, and then my feelings may well be
imagined, when, on the morning of the 24th of February, I saw a signal
of distress flying on board her.  I instantly communicated the
circumstance to Captain Luttrell, who ordered all our boats to go to her
aid.  What was the matter we could not tell.  Some thought a fire might
have broken out among her cargo--others that she had sprung a leak.  At
all events it was very evident that her demand for relief was urgent.
The boats were speedily lowered.  Several of the merchantmen were
sending off theirs also, and away we pulled towards her as fast as we
could.  I was the first on board.  I found all the men with their bags
on deck, and the officers collected with traps of all sorts.  I did not
see the captain and first lieutenant.  The second lieutenant I knew, and
spoke to him.

"We have been holding a council of war, and it has been resolved to
abandon the ship, as there does not appear to be the slightest prospect
of being able to keep her afloat a day or perhaps an hour longer," he
remarked with a look in which I thought that there was some little
amount of shame mingled.  "You see, it would not do to risk the lives of
the people, or our own either, on the mere chance of keeping the old
ship afloat a few days longer at most.  The cargo they have put into her
is more than she can carry--that is very evident."

"Yes, indeed--that ought to have been known before?"  I exclaimed,
stamping with my foot vehemently on the deck.  I could not for the life
of me help the action.  "And is this valuable cargo to be allowed to
sink to the bottom of the sea without anyone straining a muscle to save
it?  That shall not be, and though every body else is afraid of
remaining on board, I'll undertake to stay by her and do my best to keep
her afloat."

"You'll make your offers to your own captain, sir," said the captain of
the Leviathan, who just then appeared on deck.  "If he thinks fit to
accept them, he must be answerable for your life.  My officers and I
have come to the decision that to remain on board is certain
destruction.  No human power can keep the ship afloat."

To all this I of course said nothing.  I had been too long a midshipman
not to know that the less a subordinate differs with his superior
officer the better.  I therefore merely stated that the boats I
commanded were at the captain's disposal, to convey him and his people
on board the Charon, or any of the vessels in the convoy.

The captain, I thought, looked not a little sheepish, though he tried to
brazen it out by as pompous a manner as he could assume.  For want of
sufficient courage and energy he was not only losing three thousand
pounds, which he would have received on arriving in England, but
allowing a number of other people to lose the hard-won wealth which
might have been theirs.  It was a very bitter subject to think of, I
know.  The captain had made up his mind to abandon the ship, and
accordingly every boat alongside as well as their own was filled with
the men and their bags, and the officers and their private effects.
Many preferred taking passages in the merchantmen rather than be crowded
up and subject to the discipline of a man-of-war.  The captain of the
Leviathan resolved on going on board the Charon, and when he got there
it struck me that Captain Luttrell received him with an expression of
scorn on his countenance which I thought he fully deserved.  The men who
had been in the boats declared that from what they saw of the old ship
she would, with a good crew on board, be able to swim for many a day to
come.  I of course did not keep silence, but complained bitterly among
my shipmates of the cowardice which had caused so valuable a cargo to be
deserted.  Finding that I could get plenty of support I resolved to ask
Commodore Luttrell to let me go on board and try and save the cargo.
When I expressed my intention the whole ship's company begged that they
might be allowed to go with me.  I told them that I would take as many
as I could.  The commodore, who had been hearing all the reasons given
by the captain of the Leviathan for deserting her, at first tried to
dissuade me from going, but when he found that I persisted, in his usual
kind way he told me that I might take fifty men, and that he heartily
wished me success in my enterprise.  By the time I had selected my crew
and got the boats in the water it was quite dark.  My object was to try
and keep the ship afloat during the night, and in the morning to
endeavour to discover where the worst leaks were to be found.  I had but
two boats, so that I could only take part of my crew at a time--the
boats were to return for the rest.  We shoved off with the full
intention of saving the old ship.  I felt sure I could do it.  Nol
Grampus and Tom Rockets were with me, and all were men I knew I could
trust.  The night was somewhat dark, and there was a good deal of sea
on, so that the danger we had to encounter was not small.  As we drew
near the abandoned ship I saw that she was tumbling about and rolling in
a fearful manner.  Even in daytime, when we could have watched her
movements and better calculated the proper moment to pull up alongside
and hook on, the risk would have been very great, and now it was
positively terrific.  Now the ship came down with a roaring slush into
the sea, as if she was never coming up again, and then suddenly she rose
and away she rolled over on the other side, lifting her keel almost out
of the water.  Still to go back was impossible--I could not bring myself
to do it.  At every risk I determined to get on board.  I watched
anxiously for the moment.  She seemed to be rolling away from us, and I
calculated that we should have time to spring on board just as she
returned.

"Now, my lads, give way!"  I sang out.

They did give way, poor fellows.  A sea sent us closer up alongside than
I expected.  Over again rolled the vast lumbering hull--down--right down
upon us it came.  Oh, mercy!  A cry of horror rose--shrieks for help.
The boat was dashed to fragments and pressed under the ship's bilge.  I
found myself struggling in the waves with my poor fellows around me.  I
made a desperate effort to reach the main-chains.  Now I was driven
back, and all I could see was the dark hull of the old ship rolling
above me, and I seemed to be sinking down into total darkness.  Then the
sea lifted me in its rough embrace just as I thought my last moment had
come, and carried me right up to the very spot at which I was aiming.
My struggles had so much exhausted my strength that I do not think I
could have grasped it, but a strong arm seized mine and lifted me up,
and a voice I recognised as that of Nol Grampus exclaimed--

"All right, mate, here you are!"

Tom Rockets had just before reached the same place, and together they
hauled me up out of the water.  Some of the other men had climbed up by
the main-chains, and others by the mizen-chains; but when we all at last
got on deck and I began to muster them, I found that seven poor fellows
were missing.  There was no time to grieve about their loss.  Our
business was to try and get the crew of the other boat--the jolly-boat--
on board, and to set to work to see if the ship herself could be kept
afloat.  Warning them of what had happened, we stood by with ropes to
tell them to approach at the proper time.  I waited till the ship was
actually rolling over on that side, and then singing out to them they
got alongside just as she was on an even keel.  They were not many
moments in scrambling on board.  The boat's falls were happily rove, so
we hooked on and hoisted her up out of harm's way.  Not a boat belonging
to the ship remained, and here was I in a sinking craft, with only
twenty-two men instead of the fifty I had expected to have to stand by
me--a dark night--a heavy sea--a gale brewing--not far from an enemy's
shore--not that that mattered much, by-the-bye.  Still, thinking about
our condition would do no good--action was what was required.  My first
care was to sound the well.  There were nine feet of water in the hold.
It was no wonder she tumbled about in the strange way she was doing.  It
was only surprising that she kept afloat at all.  Grampus proposed
returning to the Charon for more people; but as I thought very likely,
when Captain Luttrell heard that so many had been lost, he would not
allow any more to come, I would not let him go.  Besides, I had no fancy
to be left in a sinking ship, without even a boat to take my people and
me off, should she, without more warning, go down.  Instead of that I
made my men a speech--a very short one, though--told them that if we set
to work with a will we might yet, without further aid, keep the old
Leviathan at the top of the water till the morning, when more hands
would come to our assistance, and we might probably save some of the
rich cargo on board.  They at once saw the justness of my remarks, and
they knew that the Charon had no other boats remaining in which the rest
of those who had volunteered could come to our assistance.  Accordingly,
having trimmed sails as well as could be done to keep way with the
convoy, I ordered the pumps to be manned, and we all set to with a will.
Everyone worked as if they felt their lives depended on it; so they
did, I was convinced, for had we relaxed for ten minutes the old ship
might have given one plunge too much and gone down.  I took my spell
with the rest, or rather, I may say, that I and all the rest laboured
away with scarcely an interval of rest.  After two hours' hard pumping I
sent Grampus to ascertain whether we had in any way diminished the water
in the hold.  All we had done was to get it under about a foot.  From
the quantity of water we had pumped out I therefore knew that the leak
or rather leaks must be very bad ones.  Still, if I had had my fifty men
with me, I should have been able, I was sure, unless the weather came on
very bad, to keep the leaks under.  However, I resolved to keep up my
own spirits and those of the people with me as well as I could.  Now and
then I shouted out a few words of encouragement, then I sang a few
snatches of some well-known song, or cut a joke or two suited to the
taste of my followers.  This kept them in good spirits and prevented
them from thinking of the dangerous predicament in which we were placed.
Hour after hour dragged its heavy footsteps along, and often I felt so
weary that I thought I must throw myself down on the deck and give in.
Then I would take a few minutes' rest, sitting on a gun, and go at it
again.

Everything contributed to make me persevere, and not the least, I must
own, was my anger and disgust at the shameful and cowardly way in which
the ship had been abandoned.  Oh, how I wished for daylight! and yet
daylight I knew was far-off.  I kept Grampus and Rockets near me that I
might send them, as might be necessary, to ascertain the state of
affairs in different parts of the ship.  In a small craft I might more
easily have known what was going forward, but in a huge lumbering ship
like the Leviathan I could not tell what might be occurring.  When the
condition of a ship has become desperate, sailors have very often broken
into the spirit-room, and, getting drunk, have allowed her to sink with
them.  I had my fears that my poor fellows, when they became weary,
would be guilty of some similar excess.

"Well, Grampus, how is the ship getting on?"  I asked, after he had
returned from one of the trips on which I had despatched him.

"The old craft is sucking in almost as much water as our fine fellows
drive out of her, sir, but for all that there isn't one of them shirking
his duty," he answered, in a cheerful voice.  "If we could have a glass
of grog apiece served out among us, I don't think as how it would do us
any harm."

"I'll see to it," I replied.  "Here, give me a spell; I'll get some
myself from the spirit-room."  Searching about I found a can, and
lantern in hand I descended to the lower regions of the ship.  As I
groped my way there, the strange noises which assailed my ears--the
creakings, the groans, the wash of the water--almost deafened me.  I
felt strongly inclined to turn back, for I could not help fancying that
the ship was that instant about to go down.  The air, too, was close and
pestiferous, as if all the foul vapours had been forced up from the
inward recesses of the hold.  She continued pitching and rolling in a
way so unusual that I could scarcely keep my legs.  This was owing to
the unseamanlike mode in which the cargo had been stowed: indeed, a ship
of war was not calculated to carry a cargo at all, in addition to her
own stores, water and ammunition.

At length I filled my can and returned with it on deck, filling it up on
my way at one of the water-casks.  Then I went round and served it out
to the people, and never was grog more thankfully received.  It did them
all a great deal of good, and I am certain that on this occasion, by
pouring the spirit down their own throats, they were enabled to get a
great deal more of the water out of the ship.  I took very sparingly of
it myself, for I never was in the habit of taking much liquor of any
sort, and I felt the vast importance, under present circumstances
especially, that it was for me to keep my head cool.  Not only on this
occasion, but on all others did I feel this; indeed, though the licence
of the times allowed a great deal of hard drinking on shore, I held the
vice in just abhorrence.  In the navy especially, more men have been
ruined body and soul by drunkenness than by any other way, and many a
fine fellow who would have been an ornament to his profession have I
seen completely lost to it and to his country by giving way to the vice.
I will say that I considered it very creditable to my fellows that,
although they might at any time have found their way to the spirit-room,
they never for a moment left the pumps, and only took the grog I served
out to them.

Even the longest night must have an end.  It was with no little
satisfaction and gratitude also that I hailed the first faint streaks of
light in the eastern sky.  As the light increased, and I saw that we
were surrounded by a number of vessels, with the Charon at no great
distance, my spirits rose, and instead of wishing at once to abandon the
Leviathan I bethought me that it still might be possible to get some of
her cargo out of her before she went to the depths below, if go she
must.  Grampus agreed with me that this object might be effected.  I
signalled my intentions accordingly to the Charon, and very soon I had
the satisfaction of seeing the commodore speaking a number of the
merchantmen.  They quickly replied, and he then signalled to me to set
to work and get up the cargo as fast as I could.  I could have wished to
be supplied with more men, but, weak-handed as I was, after my faithful
fellows had taken such food as could be found for breakfast, we set to
work and rigged tackles and cranes to hoist up the indigo and
sarsaparilla and anything on which we could lay hands.  It was heavy
work, for the old ship was still rolling very much, and we were all
pretty well knocked up with what we had gone through in the night.  The
appearance of half-a-dozen boats or more, however, pulling towards us
gave us fresh spirits.  We sang away cheerily as we got saroon after
saroon of indigo up on deck.  This was, however, only part of the
labour; the greatest difficulty was to lower them into the boats.  The
wind fortunately fell, and I was able to get up altogether during the
day no less than 123 saroons of indigo, valued at sixteen thousand
pounds.  Why more assistance was not given me I cannot say.  I do not
like to dwell on the subject.  In the evening the masters signalled to
their boats to return, and my people and I were left alone once more on
board the rotten old ship, with only the jolly-boat in which to make our
escape should she go down.  As the sun set the sky looked very windy,
and there was considerably more sea than there had been all day.  I
called Grampus to my councils.  He agreed with me in not at all liking
the look of the weather.  The people were ready to stay by me as long as
I thought fit to remain on board, but they had already begun to express
a wish to return to the Charon.

Taking all things into consideration I resolved to follow this course,
and with a heavy heart ordered the people into the jolly-boat.  I was
the last man to quit the ship, and as I went down the side I certainly
did not expect to see her afloat the next morning.  I had no time,
however, for sentimental regrets, for the sea was getting up, the sky
was looking very wild and windy, and darkness was fast coming on.  The
boat also was much overcrowded.  We, however, left the Leviathan's side
without an accident, and pulled slowly towards the Charon.  She lay
across the sea, and was rolling considerably when we got near her.  We
pulled up under her quarter.  The bowman stood up, boat-hook in hand, to
catch hold of the rope hove to us, when, losing his balance, he was
pitched overboard.  In vain his mates forward tried to catch hold of
him; the next sea, probably, struck his head against the ship's side,
and he sank from our sight.  While we were endeavouring to save him,
indeed, the boat herself very nearly capsized, when probably all or most
of us in her would have lost our lives.  Happily, however, as it was, we
managed to scramble on board, and the jolly-boat was hoisted up safe.

The commodore, as did my brother-officers, complimented me very much on
what I had done, but as I had been left alone, I thought very unfairly,
in my glory, I cannot say that I valued their compliments at a very high
rate.  I knew that I had done my duty at all events, and that was enough
for me.  Captain Luttrell, however, of his own accord agreed to remain
by the Leviathan till the morning, in the hopes of being able to get
more of her cargo out of her.  Out of spirits at the loss of so many
poor fellows, and after all at having done so little, I entered the
gun-room.  Supper was placed before me; I could scarcely touch it.
Getting rid of my wet clothes, I threw myself at last into my berth, and
scarcely had my head touched my pillow than I was fast asleep.  Still
the thought of the Leviathan haunted me, and I continued dreaming of the
scenes I had gone through during the time I had been on board her.  At
last I awoke, and, slipping on my clothes, found my way on deck.  There
she lay--a dark, misty-looking object--rolling away even more violently
than before, so it seemed to me.  Still she was afloat, and while she
remained above water I still had hopes of saving more of her cargo.  As
I gazed at her a strange sensation came over me.  I know that I began to
talk loudly and to wave my hand, and to play all sorts of antics.  How
long I was doing this I do not know, when one of my brother-officers put
his hand on my shoulder and said, "You have had hard work, Hurry; bed is
the best place for you."  I let him lead me below without a word of
remonstrance.  It struck eight bells in the morning watch when I once
more awoke.  I hurried on deck; the sky was dark and lowering--the
leaden seas tumbling about with snow-white crests, from which the foam
flew away to leeward, blown by a strong gale, which seemed every moment
increasing.  We were still close to the Leviathan.  I kept gazing at her
with a sort of stupid stare I dare say it looked like.

"It will not do, Hurry," said Captain Luttrell.  "We must give it up.  I
cannot risk your life or those of any of our people on board the old
ship again."

I was scarcely inclined to acquiesce in his remark.  I wanted to make
another effort to save the ship, and regretted that I had not remained
on board all night.  Just then she made two or three rolls heavier than
usual--a sea appeared suddenly to lift up her stern--she made a plunge
forward.  I watched, expecting her to rise again--but no.  It was her
last plunge.  Like the huge monster from which she took her name, she
dived down beneath the waves; the waters washed over her decks;
gradually her masts sank till the pennant alone was to be seen streaming
upwards for an instant, till that also was drawn down to the depths of
the ocean.  I could not help uttering a groan of grief, not for the
wealth which I thus saw engulfed beneath the waves, but for the
destruction of all the hopes I had been so fondly cherishing.

The signal was now made for the convoy to continue on their course.  The
bad weather which had been brewing now coming on, ship after ship parted
company from us, and at length, after a passage of six weeks, we reached
the Downs on the 21st of March without a single one of the convoy with
us.  I had been absent from home just five years and a half.  I had left
it a boy--if not in age, in habits and feelings; I had come back an
officer--bearing his Majesty's commission as lieutenant, with ideas
expanded and feelings wonderfully changed.  Without any difficulty, the
moment I applied for leave Captain Luttrell granted it, and, taking Tom
Rockets with me, I set off immediately for London on my way to Falmouth.



CHAPTER TWENTY.

ADVENTURES ON THE ROAD.--WELCOMED AT HOME.--CONFESS MY LOVE FOR THE
LITTLE REBEL.--TOM'S GRIEF FOR HIS MOTHER'S DEATH.--HEAR OF CAPTAIN
COOK'S DEATH.--VISIT TO LONDON.--THE GORDON RIOTS.--ENCOUNTER WITH THE
MOB.--SAVE AN OLD GENTLEMAN IN HIS CARRIAGE.--GIVE HIM MY NAME.--WONDER
WHO HE CAN BE.--JOIN THE CHARON, CAPTAIN THOMAS SYMONDS.--SAIL FOR WEST
INDIES.

Seldom, I suspect, have two rough-looking subjects made their appearance
at an inn in the great City of London than Tom Rockets and I must have
seemed when we arrived there by the Deal heavy coach on the evening of
the 22nd of March, 1780.  Our faces were of the colour of dark copper,
and our beards were as rough and thick as holly bushes, while Tom
sported a pig-tail and love-locks, which he flattered himself would
prove the admiration of all the belles in his native village.  They, at
all events, drew forth not a few remarks from the little errand-boys in
the streets of London, as we heard such remarks as, "There go two sea
monsters!"  "Where can those niggers have come from?"  "Look there, at
that sailor man with a bit of a cable fastened on to his pole!"  More
than once Tom turned to try and catch hold one of the little jackanapes,
but he was off so fast down some lane or other that even Tom could not
overtake him.  I advised him to give up the attempt, and to take their
impertinence coolly.  I kept Tom by me wherever I went, for I felt
pretty certain that, should I once lose sight of him, he might never
find his way back to me.

I cannot stop to describe all the sights we saw, and the places we
visited in the mighty metropolis.  The town was talking a great deal of
a duel which had taken place the very morning of our arrival in Hyde
Park between Lord Shelbourne and Colonel Fullerton.  The quarrel was
about some reflection which the latter gentleman had cast upon his
lordship.  On the second shot the colonel hit Lord Shelbourne, who fell
to the ground, but the wound was not considered dangerous.  I bethought
me of the duel I had fought when I was a boy, and that these two great
people were very little wiser than I was then.

As soon as we could get places in the old coach we started for Falmouth,
intending to visit the remainder of the sights on our way back to the
ship.  Away we rumbled, one fine morning, on board the big coach, as Tom
called it, with a guard behind well armed with a huge blunderbuss and a
brace of horse pistols.  We stopped to change horses at an inn about
thirty miles from London.  A long line of horses, with packs on their
backs, were collected in front of the stables to be watered.  Twenty men
or so were lounging about, apparently belonging to them.  Presently
there was a cry of, "The Custom-house officers! the Custom-house
officers!"  The men ran up from all directions, unloosed the halters,
leaped on the backs of some saddle-horses standing ready, and the whole
party began to move along the road.  They had not gone many yards when
another party of horsemen were seen galloping up from the direction in
which they were going.  The smugglers--for such the guard told us they
were--turned round and dashed by us, but they were again met by another
party of Custom-house officers.  Swords were drawn, pistols were fired,
the bullets came flying about the coach, greatly to the alarm of some of
the passengers, who cried out and begged the combatants to desist.  Our
horses kicked and plunged, and nearly upset the coach.  Tom and I could
not help wishing to join the skirmish, and had jumped off for the
purpose, though I had scarcely made up my mind with which party to side,
when some of the smugglers threw down their arms and cried peccavi,
while the rest tried to escape across the country over the hedges and
ditches.  Some were caught, but several effected their escape.  I was
well satisfied, when I had time to reflect on the matter, that I had not
had time to mix in the affray.  Altogether, thirty horses were captured,
as were several of the smugglers, some of whom were wounded, as were
five or six of the horses.  We were, when passing through Devonshire,
attacked by a party of highwaymen, but they, finding several armed men
on the top of the coach who did not look as if we would stand any
nonsense, thought it was wiser not to make any further attempt at
robbing us.  These trifling circumstances were the only events which
occurred to us worthy of notice till we reached Falmouth.  Tom
accompanied me to my father's house, for I wanted to show him to them
all, and also to ascertain whether his mother was living before I let
him go home.  We had been so long without hearing that I could not tell
what might have occurred during our absence; my knees positively
trembled as I approached the dear old red-brick house, and I felt as if
I could scarcely walk up the flight of stone steps in front of it.  The
door was open.  A little child was playing on the steps, and when he saw
us he ran into the house, crying out--

"Oh, Grannie, Grannie! dear me, dear me! there are two big ugly
blackamoors a-coming!"

Tom made a face, and looked at himself as if he did not much like the
compliment, though he might have felt he deserved it.  I should have
caught up the little fellow and kissed him heartily, for I guessed that
he must be one of my dear sister Mary's children, and the first kindred
thing I had seen for many a long year.  The cry brought out a neat, trim
old lady, in a mob cap.  She gave me an inquiring glance through her
spectacles, and then, hurrying forward, caught me in her arms and kissed
me again and again on both cheeks in spite of my huge beard and
whiskers.

"My boy, my boy! you've came back at last to your old father and mother,
bless Heaven far it?" she exclaimed, holding me at arms' length to
examine my features, and then drawing me to her again.  Tom pulled off
his hat, and scraped his feet, and hitched up his trousers, and looked
as if he expected to receive a similar welcome.  Poor fellow! his heart
yearned, I dare say, to have the arms of his own old mother round his
neck.  My mother looked at him to inquire who he was, and when I told
her, an expression of sorrow crossed over her features, and I too truly
guessed that she had some sad tidings for him.  She, however, summoned a
maid-servant, to whom she whispered a few words, and then told her to
take him into the kitchen and make him comfortable.  My father was out,
but while I was sitting in the parlour I heard him come in.  My mother
went out to tell him that I had arrived, and he came hurrying in with
steps far more tottering than was formerly his wont.  He wrung my hand
with both of his for more than a minute.  From the tremulous motion of
his fingers, and the tone of his voice and his general appearance, with
sorrow I observed that he was much broken and aged.  Still his playful
humour had not deserted him, and he soon began to amuse himself by
cutting jokes on my swarthy features and unshorn visage.  Mary's little
boy, Jack, in a very short time, became perfectly reconciled to my
looks, and came and sat on my knee and let me dance him and ride him,
and listened eagerly to the songs I sang him and the stories I told.
Though I had not had a child in my hands for I don't know how many
years, it all came naturally, and the little chap and I became great
friends.  Only my sister Jane, the one just above me in age, was at
home.  All my brothers were scattered about, some in England, others in
different parts of the world seeking their fortunes.  I was in a great
hurry to talk to Jane about Madeline.  I knew that she would sympathise
with me.  I had not written home a word about her, for I knew that it
would never do to say that I had fallen in love with the daughter of a
rebel, as my feelings and motives and reasons would not fail to be
misunderstood.  I thought that I would first interest Jane, and then
that we could win over my mother to listen to what we had to say, and
then that my father would easily be brought round.  Of course I knew
that two important events must occur before anything I could say or do
would be of any use.  The abominable war between England and the United
States must cease, and I must become possessed of a competence to
support a wife as I felt Madeline ought to be supported.

I had not been long in the house before the news of my arrival had
spread among our friends and neighbours.  Many came in to see the
long-absent sailor, as the ladies called me, and some to inquire about
their relatives, my old shipmates and comrades.  Of too many, unhappily,
I could give but a bad account.  Some had died of fever, others had been
killed fighting with the enemy, and many, knocked up by hard work and
disease, would, I thought, never return, or, if they found their way
home, it would be but to die.  I tried, however, to make the best of all
the accounts I had to give, but I strained my conscience not a little a
times to do so.  This was a moral cowardice, I own.  I could not stand
the tears and sorrowful faces of friends when I would have wished to
have had smiles and laughter.  Still there can be no doubt that the
truth should be spoken on all occasions, and I should, at every cost,
have had it out at once.  After all, the worst was to have to tell poor
Tom that his mother was dead.  For the life of me I could not do it, so
I got Jane to go and break the sad news to him.  I knew that the good
girl would do it as gently as it could be done.  She screwed up her
courage, and went into the kitchen and sat down, and began to tell him
how she was always talking of him, and hoping that he was a good lad,
and then how ill she had been.  At last Tom got up--

"Oh, Miss Jane!" said he, almost choking, "I know by your looks what you
are going to tell me.  Bless you for your kindness.  The old lady has
gone to heaven; that's it, I know.  She was a good mother to me, and I
don't care who knows, I would sooner by half have died myself.  Bless
you, miss!  Bless you, miss!"

Then Tom sat down, and, putting his hands on the kitchen table, hid his
face in them, and by the working of his brawny shoulders I knew how much
he was affected.  We left him to the care of our old cook, Betsy
Treggle, who, we knew, could minister to his sorrow better than we
could, and returned into the parlour.

"Sailors have got hearts, I see," observed my mother.

"I should think so, mother," said I; "the sea does not wash them away;
and yet there isn't a braver fellow ever stepped the deck of a ship than
the same Tom Rockets, who seems to be almost pumping his heart out
yonder."

Then I gave them all an account of his adventure at the taking of San
Fernando D'Omoa, when he handed the Spanish officer a cutlass to fight
with him.  In the first few days I was at home I was made more of than I
ever had been before in my life.  Tom stayed on with us.  He had now no
home to go to--no friends for whom he cared.  He recovered his spirits
and became as great a lion among his class as I was among mine--indeed,
I suspect a far greater, as he made more than I could of all the
adventures he had gone through, and was eager to tell about.  The days
passed by very pleasantly, but I felt a weight oppressing me, and could
not rest till I had unburdened my mind to Jane about Madeline early on.
At last I got her alone quietly, and told her all that had happened from
beginning to end, and all my hopes and fears and wishes.  She listened
attentively.  Her countenance changed its expression frequently as I
went on.  I looked at her earnestly to try and discover what she
thought.

"Oh, brother," she exclaimed at last, "I doubt not that she is a dear
charming girl.  I doubt not that you love her, and that she is deserving
of your love, but she is the daughter of a rebel.  She is living among
rebels; she will not leave them; but for you to go to them, to wed with
her would assuredly bring dishonour and disgrace upon your name."

"Why, Jane, I did not expect you to speak thus," I exclaimed.  "You are
hard upon me.  I would not wish to go and live with rebels; but the
Americans will not be rebels much longer.  We are pressing them hard by
land and sea, and they will soon come to terms.  If they do not give in
I think we shall give up, for everybody is heartily sick of the war.
Nobody is gaining anything, and everybody is losing by it.  Fighting the
French and the Spaniards is a very different thing.  Everybody feels
that.  It's all natural, you know."

"I'm sure that I shall be glad to hear that the war is over," said Jane,
with a sigh, "but surely the Americans must be very wicked people to
behave as they have done to their lawful sovereign King George."

"They say that he has been a very ill-advised King to behave as he has
done to them," I replied.  "You see, dear Jane, that there are two sides
to every question; but do not let us discuss that matter just now.
You'll say that, for the sake of Madeline Carlyon, I am siding too much
with the Americans, but that is not the reason.  I have been on the
spot.  I know the feelings of both sides.  I have seen how things have
been managed.  I am sure the war can bring no honour or profit to
England, and I heartily wish that it was ended one way or the other."

"So do I, brother, believe me," said Jane warmly; "and then, if Miss
Carlyon is all you describe her, I for one will cordially welcome her as
a sister if you can persuade her to come over here to visit our kith and
kin."

I jumped up and gave Jane a hearty kiss when she said this.

"Just like my own good sister," said I at the same time, and in a moment
I pictured to myself the happiness which would be mine, when perhaps in
that very room I might be introducing Madeline to my family.  I forgot
that I was still a poor lieutenant--that the wealth I had so nearly
possessed, and had fought so hard to obtain, had gone to the bottom in
the old Leviathan--that I had saved but a few hundred pounds of
prize-money--that England and the American States were still actively
engaged in war--that the Atlantic still rolled between her and me, and
that her kindred would probably exert their influence to make her give
up all thoughts of one fighting on the side of their enemies.  I was
young, and hope was bright, and difficulties and impediments were
speedily kicked away.  Before another day Jane and I were talking away
as if my marriage with Madeline Carlyon was a settled thing.  At last we
told our mother, dear old soul!  She didn't see how it could be exactly,
but then that was her fault; and though she used to have some idea
formerly that the Americans were red, and wore leathern cloaks and
petticoats covered with beads and feathers, and painted their faces,
yet, as I assured her that Miss Carlyon was quite fair, and spoke
English like an English girl, she would be very glad to receive her as a
daughter, and for my sake love her very much.  The toughest job was to
tell my father.  I was half afraid how he would take the matter.  He did
not scold me, or say I had been acting foolishly, but merely smiled and
remarked that he had heard of midshipmen falling in love before, and
that he had no doubt that Miss Carlyon was a very charming young lady;
but that when I brought her over as my wife he should be able to
pronounce a more decided opinion on the matter.  There was, however, a
touch of irony in his tone which I did not altogether like.  However, he
used after that to listen very patiently when we were all talking about
her, and, I flattered myself, began to take an interest in my project.
The days flew by very rapidly.  I was invited out everywhere, and became
quite a lion, not only because I had been in so many engagements and
storms and dangers of all sorts, and had had so many hair-breadth
escapes, but more especially because I had actually seen and conversed
with General Washington.  The young ladies, however, looked upon me as a
very insensible sort of a person, especially for a naval officer, and
could not in any way make me out.  Of course, neither Jane nor my mother
and father said a word about Miss Carlyon, and so we let them wonder on
till I believe that I completely lost my character among them.  Six
weeks thus passed rapidly away.  The time thus spent was interesting to
me, but no events occurred of sufficient importance to describe to my
readers.  My regular employment was to search the public papers for news
from America, to see how affairs were going in that country; and though
most naval officers would have been anxious for a continuance of the
war, my great wish was to discover signs that there was a probability of
its being brought to a conclusion.

Since I had known Captain Cook I had always taken great interest in his
adventures, and just now the sad news arrived of his death on the island
of Hawaii, one of a group of newly-discovered islands in the Pacific
Ocean called the Sandwich Islands.  Four of his marines were killed at
the same time.  At first the natives treated him and his people as
divinities, but on some misunderstanding they furiously set upon Captain
Cook, and killed him with their clubs as he was retreating to his boat.
The Resolution and Discovery proceeded on their voyage under the command
of Captain Clerke, but he soon after dying at sea, Mr King took command
of the expedition.  Captain Clerke was a very gallant fellow.  I knew
him well.

At last my leave was nearly up, and I had to set off to rejoin my ship,
allowing myself a few days to spend in London.  Jane advised me to stop
at Bristol to visit our great-uncle, Sir Hurricane Tempest, but I
replied that I did not think the old gentleman would care about seeing
me, and I certainly should not find any pleasure in seeing him.

"You don't know," she answered, laughing; "he might take a fancy to you
and make you his heir.  He has asked me to visit him, and I think I
will, some of these days."

"I hope that you will, Jane, dear," said I.  "You are far more likely to
win an old man's heart than I am.  I am as likely to become his heir as
Sultan of the Turks."

Jane still further urged the point, but I only laughed and went on to
London without stopping to see him.

On arriving in London, accompanied by Tom Rockets, I went to the house
of a relative of ours in Bloomsbury Square, one of the most fashionable
and elegant quarters of London.  He and his wife were very grand people,
but they had a fancy for patronising celebrities small and great, and
having by some chance heard that I had seen a good deal of service, and
could talk about what I had seen, they begged I would come and see them,
and make their house my home.  I took them at their word, though I think
they were somewhat astonished when Tom and I arrived in a coach with our
traps stored inside and out of it.  They looked, at all events, as if I
had tumbled from the moon.  However, I made myself perfectly at home,
and we soon became great friends.  I was on the point of leaving them
when a letter reached me from Captain Luttrell, prolonging my leave, and
I found that I might have remained three weeks longer at home.  When
they heard of it, they most kindly invited me to remain on with them.  I
amused myself pretty well, after I had seen all the sights of London, by
wandering about and examining the outside, as it were, of the huge
metropolis.  One of the places at which I found myself was the suburb of
Tyburn, to the north of Hyde Park.  It was a considerable distance from
London itself, and well it might be, for here was the place of execution
of all ordinary malefactors.  One day I was passing this spot when I saw
four carts approaching.  In each of them were three persons sitting,
with their arms closely pinioned.  On each side of the carts rode public
officers, the sheriffs, city marshals, the ordinary of Newgate, and
others.  I asked a bystander where they were going and what was to be
done to them, for I did not know at the time that I was near Tyburn.

"Why, of course, they are all going to be hung," was his reply.  "We are
pretty well accustomed to such sights about here."

"Are they all murderers?"  I asked, thinking, perhaps, that they were a
gang of pirates.

"No--oh no!" said my friend.  "They are mostly guilty of robbery,
though.  You will hear what they have to say for themselves before they
are turned off; I will learn for you, if you have a curiosity to know."

He went away, and soon returned with a paper on which were written the
names of the malefactors and their crimes.  One had stolen some wearing
apparel; another had robbed a gentleman of his watch on the highway; a
third had purloined some silks and ribbons from a shop, and so on.  None
of the crimes, that I remember, were attended with violence, and most of
the criminals were mere lads, from seventeen to twenty years of age, and
only one or two above it.  I remarked this to my companion.

"Yes," he observed.  "The older ones are too knowing to be caught."

The poor lads seemed terribly agitated and cast down at their
approaching fate, and shed abundance of tears.  One after the other was
led up to the fatal drop and cast off.  I could not stop to see the end,
but hurried away.  I had seen hundreds of my fellow-creatures die, but I
hoped that I might never again see any put to death as these were.

After this I went down to Chatham to see how the ship was getting on,
and then returned to London.  I found the city in a complete state of
uproar and confusion.  It was on a Friday, the 2nd of June, when Tom and
I made our way towards the Houses of Parliament, for I had heard that
Lord George Gordon was going with a large body of people to present a
protest against the repeal of any of the penal laws against the Roman
Catholics.  I wanted to see the fun.  There must have been twenty
thousand people at least, who arrived in three different bodies before
the Houses of Parliament.  Here they behaved very orderly, and dispersed
after being addressed by some of the magistrates; but the mob in other
places broke out into all sorts of excesses, and as we went home we
found them busily employed in demolishing a Romish Chapel in Duke
Street, near Lincoln's Inn Fields.  They hauled out all the ornaments,
and what they thought of no value they trampled under foot, but the rest
they made off with.  Several houses, either belonging to Romanists, or
inhabited by persons supposed to be favourable to them, we saw
completely gutted.  The same sort of work went on for several days.  At
last I got so completely mixed up with one of the mobs that I could not
get free of them.

"Here, you look a likely man to lead us!" exclaimed a fellow standing
near me.  "Where shall we go next?"

I did not answer him, but endeavoured to get away.  This did not suit
him.

"What does the captain say?" he exclaimed.

"To Sir George Saville's, to Sir George Saville's!" cried some one.

"Hurrah for Sir George Saville's in Leicester Fields!  He was the very
man who brought the Romish Bill into Parliament.  Down with his house,
down with it!" shouted another fellow.  "Lead on, captain--lead on!"

I at once saw that this was a trick that the real leader of the mob
might be screened.  I was determined to escape or I might be ruined.  I
told Tom to keep his eye on me, and to follow my movements.  The mob
began to move on, destroying one or two houses on their way.  We at last
passed the entrance to a narrow lane.  Leaping aside, I darted down it.
Tom followed.  None of the mob missed me.  I had got some way along the
lane when a big, ill-favoured-looking fellow rushed out of a house with
a thick stick in his hand, evidently with the intention of joining the
rioters.  Seeing a gentleman, and probably thinking I was a Romanist
escaping from the mob, he immediately turned on me and aimed a blow at
my head.  I was just turning a corner, and he did not see Tom Rockets,
but Tom saw him, and with a stroke of his fist felled him to the ground.
Some other persons in the neighbouring houses saw the transaction, and
the fellow quickly recovering there was a hue and cry made after us, the
people rushing from their doors just as dogs are seen to run out from
their kennels, yelping and barking when a stranger cur passes through
the village.

As we were unarmed we could do nothing to defend ourselves, and had to
trust to our heels for safety.  Our pursuers were very likely, I knew,
to tear us in pieces without asking any questions, and before we had
time to explain who we were.  I never ran faster in my life.  How we
were to escape them I could not tell.  On we went: I sang out to Tom to
stick by me, for if I should lose him I was afraid he might never find
his way home again.  We were distancing our pursuers.  I made as many
turns as I could, so as to cause them to lose the scent; but there were
knowing fellows among them, and I conclude that they found as great an
interest in the chase as a foxhunter does when following the hounds.  At
last I saw before me a large mob.  There is safety in numbers, I thought
to myself, so I called to Tom to dash in among them.

"Hurrah! hurrah! have you caught the fellow?"  I sang out.

"No, he's slipped out of his kennel, but we'll take care that he does
not burrow in it again," replied some of the people.

I guessed that they referred to the unfortunate inmate of the mansion
into which numbers of them were forcing their way, while pictures,
books, and pieces of furniture were being thrown out of the windows.  I
pretended to be very eager to get into the house, but making my way
round on the opposite side, followed by Tom, we got free; and when I
looked back I saw that no one was following us.  We now walked along as
composedly as we could, but it was not without difficulty that we found
our way into Bloomsbury Square.  As we got there we saw a mob following
at our heels, and we naturally thought they were after us.  We had to
run for it to reach my relative's house.  On came the mob.  One of the
finest houses in the square belonged to my Lord Mansfield.  They rushed
towards it, and began thundering at the door.  They soon broke it open,
and in they poured.  In an instant the place became the scene of the
most dreadful havoc and destruction.  Again did I see pictures, clothes,
books, furniture of the richest sorts, ruthlessly destroyed.  I could
scarcely have supposed that the work could have been done so rapidly.
Then the most daring of the ruffians broke into the wine-cellar, and we
saw them coming out with bottles and jugs and glasses, and distributing
the rich liquor to the rabble outside.

What had become of my lord and his lady all this time we could not tell;
we had great fears that they had fallen victims to the blind fury of the
ignorant populace.  I wanted to go out, but my relative would not let
me.  What the drunken mob might next have done I do not know, when a
fresh party were seen entering the square; but they were a body of the
royal guards with a magistrate at their head.  He boldly approached the
mob, and, halting the soldiers at no great distance from them, began to
read the Riot Act.  He finished it without faltering, the mob continuing
as before their work of destruction.  "Men," he shouted, "I have warned
you.  I am going to give the order to the troops to fire if you do not
desist.  Once again I warn you--your blood be on your own heads--Fire!"

No sooner was the fatal command given than the soldiers levelled their
muskets and let fly in among the rabble.  Several fell; there were
shrieks and cries and curses; but the people were too eager in their
thirst for plunder to be driven off from the work they had in hand.
Again the order was given to fire; but the humane magistrate ordered the
troops to fire over the heads of the people.  Some on this began to move
off, but others continued their task of plunder and destruction.  No one
thought of attacking the soldiery.  It showed the class of people
composing the rioters--the very scum of the populace.  This last fire of
course did not produce any effect, and the mob began to proceed to
greater extremities, and set fire both to the out-houses and stables, as
also to the mansion itself, when they had possessed themselves of
everything they thought of value.  Only after repeated volleys from the
soldiery were they driven off, and not till they had completed the work
of destruction they had commenced.  This did not take them long, and at
last, several of their number having fallen, a panic seized them, and
away they went helter-skelter in every direction out of the square.  I
could not resist the temptation of sallying out to see what they would
next do, in spite of the warnings of my relative, who advised me to keep
in the house.  I laughed at the idea of there being any danger, and said
that Tom and I would very soon be back again.

The troops stood their ground in readiness to march in any direction to
which they might be sent.  Some of the mob went off towards the east,
and I went after them, hearing that they were about to attack some of
the prisons, and having a fancy to see how they would proceed about the
undertaking.  Tom and I had gone about half a mile or more, when, coming
along a street which crossed that we were in, I saw a coach driving
somewhat fast.  Some of the rioters saw it also, and some seizing the
horses' heads, others proceeded to open the door, crying out that the
person inside was a papist escaping from justice.

"Papist!  I am no papist," cried out an old gentleman from the interior;
"let my carriage proceed on, scoundrels, or I'll break some of your
heads for you."

This threat had no effect; indeed, from the appearance of the fellows I
had no doubt that their only object in attacking the carriage was for
the sake of robbing the inmate.  I had this time taken care to come out
provided with a stout bludgeon and a sword.  I knew pretty well the sort
of coward hearts to be found in that sort of gentry, so telling Tom what
I proposed doing, I sang out, "To the rescue! to the rescue!--off
scoundrels, off!" and, drawing my sword, I rushed furiously at them, as
if I had twenty stout fellows at my back.  The desired effect was
produced.  They did not stop to see who was coming, but took to their
heels and left the carriage free.  I assisted back the old gentleman,
who had been dragged half out of it, and, shutting the door, told the
coachman to drive on as hard as he could go.

"Stop, stop!  I want to know your name, young man, to thank you for your
bravery," exclaimed the old gentleman vehemently.

"Hurricane Hurry, at your service, sir, a lieutenant in his Majesty's
Navy," I answered.  "I hail from Falmouth, sir--but I won't stop you,
sir, the mob are coming back, and to a certainty they won't let you off
as easily as before.  Drive on, coachman, drive on for your life: I can
tackle them if they attack me."

The coachman needed no second warning, but, lashing on his horses, drove
furiously along the street, though the old gentleman put his head out of
the coach window and ordered him to stop, as he had another word to say
to me, and wanted me to get into the coach with him.  I would gladly
have done as he desired, as there was no object in exposing myself and
Tom to the fury of the mob, and was running after the coach, when,
looking over my shoulder, I saw some of the ruffians so close on my
heels that I was obliged to turn round and defend myself, or I might
have received a knock on the head which would probably have quieted me
for ever.  Knowing that there was nothing like a sudden onslaught, I
turned suddenly round, and, seconded by Tom, made so furious an
onslaught on the scoundrels that they one and all fled, as if a body of
dragoons were upon them.  The old gentleman, who was still looking out
of the window, calling first to the coachman and then to me, must have
seen this last manoeuvre of mine.

After Tom and I had with loud shouts pursued the mob a little way, we
once more turned round and set off in order to overtake the coach.  It
had, however, by that time got out of sight, and though we followed in
the direction I supposed it had gone, we did not again see it.

"Never mind," said I, "I should have liked to have known who the old
gentleman was; he looked like somebody of consequence.  However, I am
very glad to have been of service to him."

After this adventure I began to reflect that it would be wiser to return
home.  I could not tell what might next happen.  The day was drawing to
a close.  As we looked eastward, we saw the whole sky glowing with a
lurid glare, which I afterwards found was produced by the conflagration
of Newgate prison, which, after the mob had broken into and released all
the prisoners, they set on fire.  My relative was very glad to see me
back safe, and on hearing of my adventures said that Tom and I were very
fortunate to have escaped with our lives, and positively prohibited our
again quitting the house.  During the next day flames were seen bursting
forth in every direction.  Most of the prisons, as also many private
houses, were broken open and burnt to the ground, and several hundred
people were shot by the military, while perhaps an equal number died
from drinking inordinately of spirits which they procured at the
distillers', into which they broke, or were burnt to death in the ruins
of the houses they set on fire.  At length, however, so many troops,
regular and militia, poured into London, that the rioters were
completely overcome, and numerous arrests took place.  Among others,
Lord George Gordon was apprehended and committed a prisoner to the
Tower.

Not long after this, I bade my kind friends in London good-bye, and
joined my ship at Chatham.  I ought to have said that they were very
much interested in the account I gave them of the way I had rescued the
old gentleman in the coach.  Who he could be they could not guess, but
they said that they would make inquiries, and if they could hear they
would let me know.  I felt no little curiosity to obtain this
information; but day after day passed by and I heard nothing about the
matter.  There was something in his look and in his eagerness to speak
to me which struck me forcibly at the time, and over and over again his
countenance recurred to me; but whether I had ever seen it before, or
why it made so deep an impression on me, I could not tell.  There was
nothing very remarkable in saving an old gentleman from a mob, when mobs
were parading all parts of London, and undoubtedly many old gentlemen,
physicians and others, were driving about in their coaches, called out,
however unwillingly, by urgent business.  Hearing nothing, my curiosity
at length died away, and I thought no more about the matter.  I must
remark that Lord George Gordon was afterwards brought to trial, but
acquitted of having in any way participated in the riots and plundering
and destruction of property which had occurred, as also that any of the
disorders had occurred in consequence of his instigation or counsel.  He
undoubtedly was influenced in his proceedings by a warm affection for
the Protestant faith, though it may be doubted whether he took the
wisest course to support it.  He wished that the multitudes he assembled
should merely produce a moral effect on the Houses of Parliament.  The
ruffians and robbers of London took the opportunity, on finding large
masses of people assembled, to create disturbances, and to incite the
more ignorant masses to commit all sorts of outrages in order that they
might have greater licence and opportunities of plunder.  In this they
unhappily succeeded, and brought no small amount of opprobrium and
disgrace on the Protestant cause.  I have now said, I think, enough
about my adventures on shore.

On the 16th of June Captain Luttrell was superseded in his command of
the Charon by Captain Thomas Symonds, whose son was appointed third
lieutenant of the ship.  On the 1st of July we dropped down to
Sheerness, where we got in our guns.  On the 12th we removed to the
Little Nore, where the purser, surgeon, lieutenant of marines, gunner
and carpenter quitted the ship.  On the 24th we sailed from the Nore,
and on the 25th anchored in the Downs.  We quitted it with a convoy on
the 28th, and arrived at Spithead the following morning.  Here the first
lieutenant was superseded by Mr Thomas Edwards.  On the 6th of August
we sailed from Spithead, and on the 7th anchored in Plymouth Sound.
Here we remained till the 9th, when we proceeded down channel.  On the
10th we took our departure from the Lizard, and once more I bade adieu
to the British shore.  I will not say that I quitted it with regret.  I
dearly loved England, in spite of all her faults, but I believed that I
might on the other side of the Atlantic have a prospect of meeting with
Madeline Carlyon, or at all events of hearing of her, and that alone was
ample inducement to me gladly to encounter all the dangers and hardships
to which I might be exposed.

Many others have, I suppose, thought and felt and hoped as I did, and
many others have been disappointed.

"Hurrah for the West Indies--Spanish galleons--dark-eyed Creoles and
prize-money!" was the general toast on board the Charon.



CHAPTER TWENTY ONE.

PUT INTO CORK HARBOUR.--SAIL WITH CONVOY.--CAPTURE OF THE COMPTE
D'ARTOIS.--ARRIVE OFF CHARLESTON.--BRITISH TROOPS MADE PRISONERS.--SAIL
FOR NEW YORK.--HEAR OF MADELINE THROUGH MY HOSTESS THE DUTCH WIDOW.--
RECEIVE GENERAL ARNOLD AND HIS MEN ON BOARD FLEET.--IN COMMAND OF
ARROW.--REACH THE CHESAPEAKE.--HEAR OF HURRICANE IN THE WEST INDIES.--
LOSS OF THUNDERER, 74, AND OTHER SHIPS.

Instead of at once proceeding on her voyage across the Atlantic, the old
Charon was, we found, ordered to put into Cork harbour.  We arrived at
that port on the 11th of August, 1780, and found there HM's ships
Lennox, Bienfaisant, Licorne, and Hussar, with a hundred sail of
transports.

Before I recount the events of our voyage I may as well make a few
remarks about the ship and my brother-officers.  Captain Symonds was
himself a thorough sailor, and he showed his love of his profession by
sending four of his sons into the navy.  His eldest son, Jermyn John
Symonds, was, though very young, our third lieutenant,--a fine, handsome
fellow.  He was afterwards, when in command of the Helena sloop-of-war,
lost with all his crew in her on the coast of Holland.  Another son,
William, (see Note 1), though at that time a mere child, was, I believe,
borne on our books as a midshipman.  It was with no small satisfaction
that I welcomed my old friend Paddy O'Driscoll, who came on board as a
supernumerary, to rejoin his ship on the American station.  I welcomed
him the more gladly as so few of my old shipmates I was ever likely to
meet again.  Where were they?  The deep sea--West India marshes--the
shot of the enemy best could tell.  But avast!  I have bad enough of
sentiment in these pages.  I must not indulge in this vein.  The rest of
our officers were fine, gallant fellows, knowing their duty, and ready
and able on all occasions to do it.  What more can you ask of a man?
Having a gentleman, and a kind, good man as our captain, our ship was a
very pleasant and happy one, and that is more than can be said of many
ships in my day.  Captains were of necessity despots, and as they had
very rough, untutored, disorderly subjects to deal with, too often very
cruel, hard-hearted despots they were.

The day after our arrival at Cork we once more weighed and stood out of
the harbour with the Bienfaisant, Captain McBride, having under our
charge about seventy sail of victuallers bound for America.  That ship
and the Licorne had orders to escort us sixty leagues to the westward.
We lay-to all night outside the harbour, waiting for the rest of the
squadron to join us, which the Licorne and Hussar had been directed to
bring up.  We had drifted pretty well down to the old Head of Kinsale
when, as the morning of the 13th of August broke upon us, we saw
standing right into the fleet a large two-decked ship.

"If that fellow is an enemy he certainly does not seem to know what he
is about," observed Mr Edwards to me.  "Does he expect to carry off
some of our flock without our even barking at him?  But see, Captain
McBride is speaking us.  What does he say?"

The signal midshipman on duty replied that he was ordering us to come
within hail.  We accordingly made sail towards the Bienfaisant, when
Captain McBride directed us to join with him in chasing the stranger.
Not till then apparently did she make us out from among the fleet of
vessels crowding round us, shrouded, as we were, with the grey mists of
the morning.  We were all scrutinising her through our glasses, for it
was still very uncertain what she might prove.  Even when we stood out
from among the fleet of merchantmen she gave no signs of any strong
disposition to evade us, but steadily continued her course.

"She must be some English privateer.  No Frenchman with a head on his
shoulders would run it so near the lion's den," remarked Edwards.

"Faith, then, I don't believe he's got a head on his shoulders.  That's
a French ship, depend on it," observed O'Driscoll.

Some time longer passed before we got near the chase, for the wind was
light.  At half-past seven, to our great satisfaction, we saw her
shorten sail and get ready, it appeared, to receive us.  On this the
Bienfaisant hoisted her colours and fired a shot ahead of her.  We also
hoisted our colours.  The chase on this hoisted a blue ensign and
hove-to with main-topsail to the mast.  On our getting within hail of
her, we and the Bienfaisant did the same, when Captain McBride spoke her
and inquired her name.

"HMS `Romney,'" was the answer.  "Last from Lisbon."

"I told you so," observed Mr Edwards, when the words reached us.
"She's a fifty-gun ship, I know, though I never saw her that I know of."

"But that ship carries more than fifty-guns if I mistake not," I
replied.  "Listen!  Captain McBride is again speaking her."

"What does she say?" asked Edwards, as some words, the import of which
we could not make out, came wafted over the water towards no.

Our people, I ought to have remarked, were all at their quarters ready
for friend or foe--and grim, determined-looking veterans many of them
looked, with their sun-burnt faces and bearded chins.

"What does she say?" exclaimed O'Driscoll.  "Why, listen!--that she's
French, and going to fight for the honour of la belle France.  See, our
consort's beginning the game."

As he spoke, a volley of musketry was opened from the deck of the
Bienfaisant, which was replied to in the most spirited way by the other
ship, she at the same time hoisting French colours, and firing her
stern-chasers at us.  The Bienfaisant now ranged up alongside and fired
her broadside right into the enemy.  The Frenchman then fired hers, and
by the way her shot flew we judged that her object was to cripple her
opponent.  We now stood on after the Bienfaisant, and as we ranged up
fired our guns with terrible effect right across our enemy's decks.
Then on we stood, while our consort had in the meantime tacked and
reached the place we had before occupied.  In a short time she once more
ranged up alongside the Frenchman, and poured a heavy broadside into
him.  Thus we continued, alternately changing places with each other.
We suffered wonderfully little damage for some time.  The Frenchman's
great aim was to wing us.  He evidently fought not for victory, for he
must have seen that was almost hopeless, but to escape capture.  Never
was a ship better handled or fought with more gallantry.  For some time
no one was hurt on board the Charon.  At last one poor fellow got hit,
and soon afterwards some blocks and splinters came rattling down from
aloft.  The mizen-topsail yard came down by the run, and I saw that it
had been shot away in the slings.  Tremendous was the pounding we were
giving our enemy, but still he showed not the slightest intention of
giving in.  His deck was already covered with the dead and wounded, and
the ship herself was in a very battered condition.

"That man is one of the bravest officers I ever encountered," observed
Captain Symonds, pointing to the captain of the French ship, whom we
could see moving about, encouraging his people.

"I wonder whether he intends to give in at all!" said Mr Edwards as we
prepared to pour another broadside into him.

"Not a bit of it; he has as much pluck as at the first left in him,"
exclaimed O'Driscoll, as the thunder of our artillery once more ceased.

I could not help longing that, for the sake of the lives of his people,
the French captain would give in.  The action had now lasted from a
quarter to eight to half-past eight.  Of course the time appeared very
much longer.  The Bienfaisant was about to pour in another of her
broadsides which had already produced such fearful effects.  The deck of
the Frenchman was truly a shamble; not a spot appeared free from some
dead or wounded occupant.  Just then the crew, fearful of encountering
another iron shower, fled from their guns.  Down came the Fleur-de-lys
of France.  Shouts arose from the deck of the Bienfaisant, which were
loudly and joyfully echoed from ours.  All three ships were now hove-to.
On hailing our prize we found that we had captured "Le Compte
D'Artois," a private ship of war of sixty-four guns and seven hundred
and fifty men, commanded by Monsieur Clenard.

A boat from each ship was sent on board.  I went in the Charon's.  The
brave captain of the Compte D'Artois came forward and delivered his
sword to the lieutenant of the Bienfaisant.  He was desperately wounded
in the mouth, and he looked very sad; he had reason so to be, for his
brother, a colonel of the Legion of Artois, lay dead on the deck, having
been wounded early in the action, while he had lost no less than one
hundred and nineteen killed and wounded of his brave crew.  All his
property, too, had probably been embarked in the enterprise.  Many other
people in the same way lost their fortunes during the war.  They thought
that they had only to fit out a ship of war and that they were certain
to gain great wealth.  They forgot that two might play at the same game,
and that they were just as likely to fall into the hands of their
enemies as to capture them.  Poor monsieur had another brother on board.
I did not exaggerate when I said that the deck of his ship was like a
perfect shamble.  So quickly had the poor Frenchmen been struck down
that the survivors had not had time to carry them below, and there they
lay, some stark and stiff, others writhing in their agony.  It was
enough to move the compassion even of their greatest enemies.  We at
once set to work to do all we could to help them and to relieve the
wounded from their sufferings.  Every one felt also much for poor
Monsieur Clenard, for a braver man never commanded a ship or fought her
longer, till not a prospect of escape remained for him.  Strange as it
may appear, we had only one man wounded, while the Bienfaisant had only
two killed and two wounded.  This extraordinary difference in the
Frenchman's loss and ours arose from two causes.  He wished to escape,
and fired high to try and destroy our spars and rigging; and also his
crew, collected chiefly from the merchant service, and from boatmen and
fishermen who had never till lately handled a gun, and having also a
considerable proportion of landsmen among them, were in no way a match
for our well-trained and hardy seamen.  The ship was handled as well as
she could be, while nothing could exceed the gallantry of her officers;
her crew also fought with the greatest bravery, as indeed Frenchmen
generally will fight, though perhaps not with the same bull-dog
determination as the English.  We agreed that when the French had had
more practice, and had learned a few lessons from us, they would prove
much tougher customers than they had hitherto been.

There was great cheering and congratulation on board the ships of the
convoy as they came up, and in a short time the rest of them joined us
with the Licorne and Hussar.  In the interval the crew of the Compte
D'Artois were transferred to the Bienfaisant, and she and her prize
stood away for Crookhaven in Ireland.  We, meantime, with the other two
ships and the convoy, made sail for the westward.  We had generally on
the passage moderate gales and fine pleasant weather.

On the 12th a strange sail was seen to leeward, beating up towards us.
She was after a time made out to be a ship of some size, probably
watching her opportunity to pick off any stragglers in the fleet.  To
prevent this Captain Symonds ordered the Hussar to chase her away, we
making as if we were about to follow.  Seeing this, the stranger put up
her helm and ran off before the wind, while the Hussar crowded all sail
in chase.  We watched her with no little interest, for the stranger was
evidently a big ship, and, if the Hussar brought her to action, would
very likely prove a powerful antagonist--not that odds, however great,
were much thought of in those days, and I will take upon myself to say
that there was scarcely an officer in the service in command of a
fifty-gun frigate who would not have considered himself fortunate in
having an opportunity of engaging an enemy's ship of sixty guns or more.
In a short time the sails of the chase and her pursuer disappeared
below the horizon.  The night closed in and passed away; the next day
drew on and we saw nothing of the Hussar.  Another day passed away and
she did not make her appearance.  Conjectures as to what had become of
her now formed the general subject of conversation on board, but, like
all conjectures, when there is no data on which to build up a
conclusion, we always left off where we began, and waited till she came
back, if ever she should do so, to tell her own tale.

O'Driscoll and I had now become great friends.  I own that I wanted some
one to whom I could talk to about my love for Madeline.  With all his
fun and humour and harum-scarum manner, he was a thoroughly honourable
right-minded fellow, and I knew that I could trust him.  He was
delighted with the romance of the affair.

"If you can but point our where she is, by hook or by crook, I'll help
you to win her," said he, in his full rich irish brogue.  "You've
already a pretty lot of prize-money, and please the pigs you'll pick up
not a little more before long.  Where there's a will there's a way,
that's one comfort; and, by my faith, what I've seen of some of those
little rebel colonists, they are well worth winning."

It may amuse my sober-minded readers, when they reflect on all the
difficulties, not to say impossibilities, which existed in my way, to
think that O'Driscoll and I should ever dream of overcoming them.  But
they must remember that we were both very young, and that in the navy
such things as impossibilities are not allowed to exist.  During how
many a midnight watch did my love serve me as a subject for
contemplation, and, when I was occasionally joined by O'Driscoll, for
conversation also!  Although I was on excellent terms with the rest of
my brother-officers, I never felt inclined to open out to any of them.
Perhaps it was a weakness in me to do so even to O'Driscoll, and, as a
general rule, I think a man is wise to keep such thoughts to himself.

Day after day passed by and our missing consort did not make her
appearance.  A whole week elapsed, and we began to entertain serious
apprehensions about her, and to fear that she had been captured.  Our
course had been so direct, and the weather so fine, that she would have
had no difficulty, we considered, in rejoining us.  At length a sail
appeared standing towards the fleet.  She was not one of the convoy, for
all were together.  Every glass on board was turned towards her.  As the
stranger drew nearer and nearer we were more and more puzzled to make
out what she was.

"I see, I see!" exclaimed O'Driscoll at last.  "She is a frigate and
under jury-top-masts.  She has been in a smart action.  I see the
shot-holes through her canvas.  There can be no mistake about the
matter.  She is the `Hussar,' I believe, after all."

On she came towards us, and the Hussar she proved to be; but the trim
little frigate which she had been when she left us a week before was now
sadly shorn of her beauty.  As soon as she came up with the fleet
Captain Symonds sent me on board to inquire what had happened.  The
story was soon told.  She had fought a very desperate and gallant
action, which, by-the-bye, I have never seen recorded in any naval
history.  She, it must be remembered, was only an eight-and-twenty gun
frigate.  The stranger after which she had been sent in chase, when she
had drawn her completely away from the squadron, backed his main-topsail
to the mast and waited, prepared for battle, till she came up.  The
enemy was soon made out to be a French forty-gun frigate, but that
disparity of fores did not deter her gallant captain from proceeding to
the attack.  Ranging up within pistol-shot she opened her broadside, to
which the Frenchman quickly replied in the same way with equal spirit.
As was the case in our action with the Compte D'Artois, the Frenchmen
fired high, evidently with the idea that, by crippling their opponent,
they might have her at their mercy.  This system might under some
instances be very good, but, unfortunately for them, they frequently
themselves got so completely thrashed before they had succeeded in
accomplishing their purpose, that they had to cry peccavi and haul down
their flags.  The gallant little Hussar had no intention of running
away, and therefore poured her broadsides into the hull of the
Frenchman, committing great havoc along his decks.  The action was
continued for some time with great guns and musketry, every man in the
English frigate striving his utmost to gain the victory.  Numbers of the
gallant fellows were struck down--some never to rise again, others
desperately wounded.  Each attempt of the Frenchman was bravely
repulsed, and every shot fired was responded to with still greater
vigour.  Still the captain of the Hussar could not help watching the
progress of the fight with the greatest anxiety.  Already two of her
top-masts had been shot away, her lower-masts were wounded, and five or
six of her crew lay dead, while as many more were hurt.  Still he had
determined not to give in as long as his ship would float.  The
Frenchmen had already suffered severely, but it was impossible to say
how long their endurance might last.  He had no doubt that they had lost
far more in killed and wounded than he had, and he saw that they had
some shot between wind and water, and that their rigging was much cut
up.  All this gave him hopes that he might yet come off victorious.
Again he ranged up alongside his big antagonist and received her fire
while he delivered his own.  Down came his mizen-top-mast by the run--
several more of his crew fell to the deck--his rigging hung in
festoons--his canvas was full of shot-holes.  He thought to himself,
"Ought I to sacrifice the lives of my people in a hopeless contest?  But
is it hopeless?  No, it is not.  Hurrah, my brave fellows!  One
broadside more, and we shall do for the enemy!" he shouted loudly.  The
combatants were standing on a bow-line alongside each other.  Once more
the Hussar fired.  The Frenchman returned her broadside, and then,
before the smoke cleared off and the English had time to reload to rake
her, put up her helm and ran off before the wind.  The Hussar was not in
a condition to follow.  She, however, kept firing at the Frenchman as
long as her shot could reach him, and then hauled her wind and stood
away to the westward after us.  She had seven killed and six badly
wounded, besides other hurts.  She had lost her three top-masts, while
her lower-masts were disabled.  Fortunately the weather was fine, for
had she encountered a gale of wind her condition would have been bad
indeed.  I have never, as I have said, seen an account of this very
gallant action in any naval history, and I therefore give it as it was
described to me by the officers of the Hussar.

On the 14th of October we arrived off Charleston, South Carolina, with
our whole convoy, after a favourable passage of nine weeks, and we were
congratulating ourselves on its successful termination, little thinking
what was to be the fate of many of the ships of the fleet.  Charleston
stands on a broad neck of land, with Cooper's river on one side and
Ashley river on the other.  They flow into a wide sheet of water, which
forms the harbour of Charleston, but which is shallow, and has a bar at
its mouth, on which there is very little water.

This, on our arrival, we could not cross, and the convoy had
consequently to anchor outside.  Charleston had, after a brave defence
on the 12th of May, been captured from the Americans under General
Lincoln by Sir Henry Howe and Lord Cornwallis.  The latter on our
arrival commanded the army which held it.  Sir Henry, with part of his
forces, had gone to New York.  The capture of Charleston was considered
a very fortunate circumstance, and it was believed that in consequence
the whole of the Carolinas would yield to our arms.  Never perhaps were
people more mistaken.  The day of our arrival at Charleston I
accompanied Captain Symonds on shore.  We went to the house where a
friend of his, Colonel Balfour, had taken up his quarters.  He most
kindly received us, and invited us to his table whenever we were on
shore.  We slept, however, at one of the largest houses in the place,
occupied by Lord Cornwallis.  His lordship had just returned from an
unsuccessful expedition to North Carolina, where a force of nearly a
thousand men, regulars and royalists, under Colonel Ferguson, who was
killed, had been taken prisoners by the Americans; many also lost their
lives with their leader.  Colonel Ferguson had made a foray into North
Carolina, and in his retreat had been surprised among the fastnesses of
the mountains by an overwhelming force of the most hardy and brave of
the irregular troops of the neighbouring districts, especially
accustomed to the sort of warfare in which they were called on to
engage.  Colonel Ferguson was a very brave and good officer, and Lord
Cornwallis took his defeat and death very much to heart.  As we had
executed some of the rebels who, after receiving royal passes, were
taken in arms against us, so now the Americans in retaliation hung
several of the royalists who were captured on this occasion.  In
consequence of this there was, we found, a great deal of bitter feeling
in the town against the rebels, and in no time had the contest been
carried on in so sanguinary a way as at present.

We were aroused at daybreak by the sound of a terrifically heavy gale
which had sprung up, and in going down to the harbour we found that the
bar was perfectly impassable, while the ships at anchor off it were in a
great state of confusion.  Some were striking top-masts and letting go
fresh anchors, in the hopes of riding out the gale, while others were
slipping or cutting their cables, and running out to sea, several of
them getting foul of each other and committing all sorts of damage.  It
was not till the 20th that the weather moderated sufficiently to enable
us to get off to rejoin our ship.  By degrees some of the ships of the
convoy which had run to sea came back, but several never returned,
having been captured by the enemy or lost.

On the 22nd we again sailed from Charleston with a convoy of fifty sail
of transports, bound for New York.  On our passage we captured a rebel
privateer of eight guns and fifty men, and took a merchant brig bound
from London to Charleston with bale goods.  We found at Sandy Hook,
where we arrived on the 4th of November, Sir George Rodney, with eight
sail of the line and several frigates, waiting for a wind to sail for
the West Indies.  The following day we proceeded through the Narrows up
to New York, where we set to work to refit the ship for sea,--an
operation she very much required.  I need not say that I employed my
time on shore in endeavouring to gain intelligence of Miss Carlyon and
her family.  In making my inquiries I had, however, to exert great
caution, for I knew that I might very easily bring upon myself the
suspicion of corresponding with the enemy for treasonable purposes.
When I slept on shore I went to the house of a worthy Dutch widow, where
I had before lodged.  I did my utmost to ingratiate myself with her, for
I knew that if any one could obtain the information I required she would
do so.  Old women, I have found, nearly always are ready to listen with
complacency and attention to the love tales of young men or young women,
and so my kind hostess not only listened to as much of mine as I thought
it necessary to tell her, but gladly promised to assist me to the best
of her ability.

"And now, my dear Mrs Von Tromp, what news have you for me?"  I asked
eagerly one day as I walked into her little back parlour where she
received her select visitors.  Considering her origin, she spoke
excellent English.

"Listen!" she replied; "I have not learned much for you, but what I have
learned you may believe is the truth.  I lately had a talk with a
Virginian gentleman.  Do not be afraid, sir, for he is a neutral; no
rebel I ever talk with.  He knows the family of the lady you want to
hear about.  He heard them speaking of her not long ago; she is
unmarried, and they thought she would remain so.  She was then in
Virginia with her father, who is a very active rebel, you know."

Not listening to her last remark, the thought at once struck me that I
would write to her to assure her of my constancy, and would try to send
my letter by means of the gentleman Mrs Von Tromp mentioned.  My good
hostess was, however, terrified when I made the proposal.

"Oh, dear--no, no, it would never do!" she explained.  "It would be a
great deal too dangerous to attempt.  The letter would be intercepted,
and we should be accused of corresponding with the enemy, and some of us
would be hung to a certainty.  Just think, how should you like to suffer
the fate of poor Major Andre?  Ah, poor young gentleman! he was, indeed,
a fine, handsome man--or almost a boy, I might say--he looked so young;
he was so civil and polite and kind.  I can't think of his cruel death
without crying, that I can't."

Major Andre had been captured by the Americans, having crossed into
their territory for the purpose of communicating with General Arnold,
who succeeded in escaping from them and joining the British forces.  He
was considered as a spy, and as such, tried, condemned, and had just
before this been executed--his hard fate creating much commiseration
even in the bosoms of his enemies.  He was fully as brave, talented,
polite, and accomplished in every way as the widow described him.  I
assured her that I had no wish to share his lamentable fate, but that,
as I was not holding any treasonable correspondence with the enemy, I
could not be found guilty of so doing.  I argued the subject with her
for some time.

"Ah, you know the way to an old woman's heart as well as to that of a
young one!" at last exclaimed the good-natured dame.  "I cannot refuse
you.  Write the letter, and I will do my best to forward it.  But be
careful what you say.  Nothing but love, remember, nothing but love--
don't forget that."

"No fear, no fear," I answered, laughing.  "I'll stick to my text,
depend on it."

"I don't doubt you, and a pretty long one it will be, I suspect," she
remarked, as I got up to go off to my room.  "When it is ready, bring it
to me.  I will do my best, and if it does not reach its destination,
that is no fault of mine."

I hurried up-stairs to the room I slept in, and was soon deeply immersed
in the occupation of writing a letter to Madeline.  I had no fears how
it would be received, so I seized my pen, and, after a few moments'
thought, wrote on.  Once having begun, my pen flew rapidly over the
paper, but not so rapidly as my thoughts.  When I had covered the sheet
I had not said one quarter of what I wished to say.  I took another and
another.  At last I finished and folded them up.

"Umph!" said the widow, when I took the package to her.  "You will want
a special courier and a pack-horse to carry this document--but don't
frown now, I am only joking.  I am sure that the young lady is well
worthy of the letter, and that you have not said a word more than she
will be glad to hear."

I was not in a humour to quarrel with Madame Von Tromp for anything she
might say.  Leaving my precious letter with her, I hurried away to
attend to my duties on board my ship.  At this time Admiral Arbuthnot's
squadron was lying in Gardner's Bay, at the other end of Long Island.
On the 9th, Sir Henry Howe having some important despatches to send to
the admiral, the gallant little Hussar was directed to get under weigh
to convey them.

Little did I think at the time that, after all she had gone through, we
should see her no more.  I have already described the dangerous passage
of Hell Gate, where already, in consequence of the fearful rapidity of
the currents, so many vessels had been lost.  I watched the Hussar get
under weigh.  I had hoped to take the trip in her, for I had some old
friends on board different ships in the squadron whom I wished to see,
and I was rather annoyed at not being able to get leave to go.  That was
one of the numberless instances where I have discovered how little we
mortals know what is good for us.  To make a long story short, for I
cannot now stop to give a full description of the accident, in going
through that justly-dreaded passage the Hussar met with baffling winds,
and, the currents catching her, sent her bodily on the rocks.  Thus she
became utterly helpless.  No seamanship could avail her.  The short,
chopping, boiling sea dashed over her and beat her to pieces.  Before
hawsers could be got to the shore, by which her crew could make their
escape, several of the poor fellows had been drowned.  In the boisterous
and bitterly cold weather of that season many of them suffered much
before they got back to New York.

Once more we were ready for sea, and on the 2nd of December we hoisted
Admiral Arbuthnot's flag, and, proceeding to Statten Island, we were
joined by HMS Thames, Charlestown, Medea, Amphitrite, Fowey, Hope,
Bonetta, Swift, and several armed vessels.

I was just now speaking of the death of Major Andre, who was captured by
the Americans when communicating with General Arnold.  That officer had
deserted the liberal cause, and, having succeeded in reaching the
British lines in safety, had now been appointed a brigadier-general in
our army.  On the 3rd we received him on board with two troops
distributed among the ships of the squadron.  All we knew was, that some
expedition of importance was to be undertaken, but on what part of the
coast the descent was to be made did not transpire.  I do not believe
that the commanders on our side put much confidence in General Arnold,
and of course the Americans, whose cause he had so basely betrayed,
perfectly detested him.  Had he, by the chances of war, fallen into
their hands, they would have treated him as they had done poor Andre.

We sailed from New York on the 12th of December.  In order to deceive
the enemy, and to make them believe that an expedition of very great
importance was about to be undertaken, we kept the admiral's flag flying
till we were out of sight of land.  A course was steered to the
southward; it was then understood that we were bound for the Chesapeake,
and it was supposed that a landing would be made somewhere on the shores
of Virginia.  I scarcely knew whether to grieve or to rejoice at the
prospect thus held out to me.  Of course, I could not but regret that my
countrymen were about to carry the war into the very part of the country
where Madeline, I believed, was residing; at the same time, under the
supposition that such would be done, I rejoiced at the thoughts that I
might meet her, or might render her or her family assistance.  Still I
would not venture to reckon much on the prospect of our meeting.
Numberless circumstances might intervene to prevent it.  I might not
even be sent on shore.  I might not go near where she might be residing,
or, what was probable, her friends might gain tidings of the expedition,
when she would, with other ladies, move away more into the interior.
Still, notwithstanding these considerations, I could not help indulging
myself in the belief that, by some means or other, we should meet once
again, or, at all events, that I should gain tidings of her, and be able
to communicate with her.  The very idea gave buoyancy to my step and
manner, and made many of my companions inquire what had put me in such
unusual spirits.

O'Driscoll had returned on board, having again joined the ship as a
supernumerary, and as an old tried friend he entered, and, I believe,
heartily, into all my hopes and fears.  Some of his plans and proposals,
however, though very much in accordance with the notions of Irishmen in
those days, were not such, even with all my harum-scarum habits, which I
could by any possibility adopt.

"Hurry, my boy, I have been thinking over this affair of yours," said
he, as we were walking the deck together.  "I don't like
shilly-shallying in matters of this sort--I never did.  The lady loves
you, and you love the lady--well, then, to my mind, the first difficulty
is got over, because, according to my notion, where there's a will
there's a way.  You'll find her out, that's certain.  Then the next
thing to be done is to get her to run away with you.  She'll go, depend
on that.  You take her prisoner, you know!  Bring her aboard; we'll get
a chaplain to splice you.  You can take her up to New York; she'll be
safe there.  And then we come to another little matter; I've arranged
that in a satisfactory way.  You've some prize-money.  I've saved a good
mint one way and another, and, old fellow, I don't want it--my purse is
yours.  Old messmates don't stand on ceremony about such matters.  My
own dear little Kathleen, the only creature I wanted it for, went to
glory while I was last at sea.  When I got home I was desolate.  I've no
kith nor kin I care for, and if you don't take the money it's likely
enough I'll heave it into the sea one of these days, or pitch it where
it won't do any one any good, so don't think that I am doing you any
wonderful favour if you take it.  The truth is, Hurry, I'd be more than
paid ten times over in having the pleasure of helping you to run off
with the lady.  I'm in my element in an affair of this sort--there's
nothing I like better, barring a good stand-up scrimmage, and that's
generally too soon over.  Now, Hurry, just do as I say.  Promise me!"

I was struck dumb; so rapidly did he pour out his proposals that I could
not answer him.  He took my silence for consent, and ran on.  At first I
was somewhat inclined to resent his remarks, but his generosity and
evident unconsciousness that he was proposing anything in any way
incorrect completely disarmed my anger, and, when he ceased speaking,
greatly to his surprise, I burst out into an uncontrollable fit of
laughter.

"I am most thankful, my dear O'Driscoll, for your kind sympathy, and for
the assistance you so liberally offer me," I exclaimed, as soon as I
could recover myself.  "But supposing I could or would persuade her to
leave her home, and the protection of her family, just consider all the
hardships, inconveniences, and danger she would be exposed to on board
ship before I could place her in safety; and then, how could she,
delicately brought up, live on a lieutenant's pay, even with such
prize-money as I might save, and your aid, my kind fellow!"  I added.
"No, no! the thing is out of the question."

"Faith, I hadn't thought all about those little obstructions to
matrimonial felicity," he answered.  "Still I can't give up the idea, in
case the chance should offer, of your running away with the young lady.
It seems such a natural thing to do.  There's a fine fellow, be
prepared, that's all--and only just let me help you."

"Well, well!  I have no friend on whom I can more fully rely than you,"
I replied.  "I promise you that I will not fail to apply to you if I see
that you can in any way help me."

"That's all right," said he, fully satisfied.  "I knew that you would,
before long, come into my views."

Our passage to the south was very tedious, for we had light winds, sad
were also constantly compelled to heave-to for the laggards.

Soon after the conversation I have mentioned, on the 23rd of December,
it being still calm, one of the leading ships signalled that a ship and
four small sail were in sight to the southward, and that they had all
the appearance of enemies.  We, accordingly, crowded all sail in chase,
but scarcely had we got beyond the van of the fleet when it became
evident that, at the rate we were progressing, we should not come up
with the chase before dark.  We had, in company, a small privateer
schooner fitted with long sweeps, and which rowed remarkably well.
Captain Symonds directed her by signal to come within hail, and then
ordered me to take thirty men and go on board her and to proceed in
chase of the strangers.

"If they prove to be enemies," said he, "bring them to action, and keep
them engaged at long range, knocking away their spars, if you can, so
that they cannot escape till we come up.  If we take the ship, as I have
no doubt we shall, I will give you the command of her to take her to New
York.  She is evidently a big craft, and will be worth not a little."

I suspect that it was with no good grace that I thanked the captain for
the confidence he placed in me.  He looked surprised, I thought, but
said nothing.  Under other circumstances I should have been well pleased
with the task confided to me, but now, when I had set my heart on
landing on the shores of Virginia, suddenly to find that I might have to
go back to New York was a sore trial to me.  Little do we know, however,
what is the best for us.  As soon as the Arrow privateer came up, I and
my crew went on board, and, getting out all the long sweeps, away we
pulled in chase of the strangers.  Every man put his full strength into
the work, and we sent the little vessel along at the rate of fully three
knots an hour.  We felt as if we were going at a great speed, and we
rapidly neared the strangers.  Little did I think in those days that in
my old age I should see vessels sent along in a dead calm without the
slightest exertion of human agency at four or five times that speed.  We
kept minutely examining the strangers as we drew near.  One was a
man-of-war--of that there was no doubt; the others were merchantmen,
probably, under her convoy.  Still she did not show her colours.  The
Arrow carried a couple of unusually long guns, and I fully expected to
commit great execution with them.  They were all ready.  Nol Grampus had
charge of one of them.  We had got within range of the ship.  I hoisted
English colours.  The ship showed none in return.  I waited a minute
longer.  The word "fire" was on my lips when up went the British ensign
at her peak.  Still I was not convinced till she made the private
signal.

Never perhaps in my life before had I been so satisfied at finding a
friend instead of an enemy.  She proved to be HMS Royal Oak, the other
vessels being prizes she had taken.  Two days after this we took two
other prizes, the charge of which was given to Lieutenants Seymour and
Bruton.  Their absence of course gave me much more work to do--not a bad
thing, perhaps, under my circumstances.  The following day a heavy gale
of wind sprang up, and we separated from the fleet as well as from our
prizes.  We were knocking about for three days somewhat concerned for
the fate of the convoy.  There were so many privateers cruising about,
that it was likely some of them could be picked off, and if any of the
transports were taken or lost, the whole plan of the expedition might be
disconcerted.  General Arnold especially was in a state of considerable
anxiety for several reasons.  If this, his first expedition, should
fail, he could scarcely expect his new friends to trust him again, while
if by any accident he should fall into the hands of those whose cause he
had betrayed, he knew full well the fate which awaited him.  He was, I
believe, a man possessed of considerable military talents and of general
ability, but he wanted principle; and his extravagant habits placed him
in difficulties from which he saw no ordinary way of extricating
himself.  He had just put forth an elaborate address to the inhabitants
of America, not only excusing his conduct, but taking great credit for
the motives which had induced him to join the King's arms.  He stated
that he had taken up arms to redress grievances, and that those
grievances no longer existed, because Great Britain, with the open arms
of a parent, offered to embrace the colonists as children, and grant
them the wished-for redress.  Her worst enemies, he told them, were in
the bosom of America.  The French alliance, he assured them, was
calculated not only to ruin the mother-country, but the colonies
themselves; and that the heads of the rebellion, neglecting to take the
sentiments of the people at large, had refused to accept the British
proposals for peace; that for his part, rather than trust to the
insidious offers of France, "I preferred," he continues, "those of Great
Britain, thinking it infinitely wiser and safer to place my confidence
in her justice and generosity than to trust a monarchy too feeble to
establish your independency, so perilous to her distant dominions; the
enemy of the Protestant faith, and fraudulently avowing an affection for
the liberties of mankind while she holds her native sons in vassalage
and chains."  He winds up by stating his conviction that it was the
generous intention of Great Britain not only to leave the rights and
privileges of the colonies unimpaired, together with their perpetual
exemption from taxation, but to superadd such further benefits as might
be consistent with the common prosperity of the empire; and then he
says, "I am now led to devote my life to the reunion of the British
Empire as the best and only means to dry up the streams of misery that
have deluged this country."

We had numberless copies of this address on board, ready to be
distributed throughout the country whenever we should effect a landing.
That was far from a pleasant time we had on our voyage.  Not only had we
the effects of the gale to dread, but we were aware that a French
squadron was not far-off; and we were kept constantly on the look-out in
the unpleasant expectation of falling in with them, and having to take
to flight or of undergoing a still worse fate, and of falling into their
hands.  Many people, in my day especially, had an idea that ships were
fated to be lucky or unlucky, either because they were launched on a
Friday, or that their keel was laid on a Friday, or that they were
cursed when building or when about to sail, or had a Jonas on board, or
for some other equally cogent reason.  I always found that a bad captain
and master and a careless crew was the Jonas most to be dreaded, and
that to ill-fit and ill-find a ship was the worst curse which could be
bestowed on her.  I should have been considered a great heretic if I had
publicly expressed such opinions in my younger days; indeed, I probably
did not think of them as I do now.  The Charon was considered a lucky
ship, or, in other words, Captain Symonds was a careful commander, and
so few on board had any fear of our falling in with an overpowering
enemy or meeting with any other mishap.  They could not as yet be proved
to be wrong; the gale abated on the 28th.  The following day the weather
became moderate and fair, and we rejoined the fleet off the capes at the
entrance of the Chesapeake.  We found the squadron augmented by the
arrival of two or three ships from the West India station.  These were
to have joined to take part in the operations about to be commenced, but
the terrific hurricane which had lately raged over those regions had
either totally destroyed or disabled so many, that no others were then
in a fit condition to proceed to our assistance.  Several of the
officers came on board of us, among them many old friends of mine, and
from them I gathered some accounts of that tremendous visitation.

It first broke on the Island of Jamaica, at the little seaport town of
Savannah-la-Mer.  That hapless place, with the adjacent country, was
almost entirely overwhelmed by the sea, which rushed in over it with
tremendous force, driven on by the fury of a tempest whose force has
rarely been surpassed.  The gale began at about one o'clock in the
afternoon from the south-east, increasing in violence till four p.m.,
when it veered to the south, then reaching its height, and continued
thus till eight, when it began to abate.  Terrible was the havoc
committed in these few hours.  The waves, raised to a height never
before witnessed, foaming and roaring, rushed with irresistible
impetuosity towards the land, sweeping into the bay and carrying before
it every building it encountered; numbers of the inhabitants it overtook
being drowned, while the rest fled shrieking before it for safety to the
Savannah.  There the ruins only of houses remained to afford them
shelter.  To add to the horror of the scene, lightning of the most vivid
description flashed from the skies--the wind and waves howled and roared
in concert--darkness came on, and the earth itself shook and trembled as
if about to swallow up those whom the waters or their falling
habitations had spared.  The smaller vessels at anchor in the bay were
driven on shore and dashed to pieces, and the largest were torn from
their anchors and carried up far into the morass, whence they could
never be removed.  One ship, the Princess Royal, was hove on her
beam-ends, but again righted by the earthquake or by the force of the
wind, and was left fixed firmly in the ground.

With the morning light the scene of destruction presented to the eyes of
the survivors was truly heart-rending.  The ground where the town had
stood was strewed with the mangled forms of the dead and dying,
scattered among the fragments of their dwellings.  Scarcely a roof
remained whole or a wall standing.  Of all the sugar-works none
remained; the plantain walks were destroyed; every cane-piece was
levelled; and some hundred people, whites and negroes, were killed.  In
Montego Bay, and indeed throughout the island, the consequences of the
tempest were equally disastrous.  But if people on shore suffered thus,
still more melancholy was the fate of the numerous fleets which came
within its influence.  Those of England, France, and Spain equally
suffered; many being wrecked, and others foundering with all hands.

The hurricane did not reach the Leeward Islands till the 19th.  It raged
at Bridgetown, Barbadoes, from the 10th to the 16th, with no less fury
than elsewhere.  The evening of the 9th was particularly calm, though a
glow of an unusual red appeared in the sky, and heavy rain began to
fall.  On the morning of the 10th the hurricane began, and by the
afternoon the Albemarle frigate and all the merchantmen in the bay
parted from their anchors and drove to sea.  By night the fury of the
tempest had reached its utmost height, and dreadful were the
consequences.  It is impossible to describe the scenes of horror and
distress occurring on every side.  A friend of mine was at the house of
the governor, which was a circular building with very thick walls.  The
roof, however, soon began to fall in, and the family were compelled to
take shelter in the cellar.  The water, however, speedily found its way
there, and, rising four feet, drove them into the open air, through
showers of tiles and bricks and timber falling on every side.  They at
last took shelter under a gun-carriage, but several guns were
dismounted, and every instant they dreaded being crushed by the one
under which they were sitting.  They were close, also, to the powder
magazine.  A flash of lightning might destroy them in a moment.  The
armoury had been already blown down, and all the arms and stores and
other things in it were scattered around.  No place seemed safe, for
whole roofs were lifted up, and beams were blown about like feathers,
and darted with violence to the ground: so that the roar of the
elements, the crashing made by the falling houses, and the shrieks of
the inhabitants, were almost more than human courage could bear.

All waited anxiously looking for the dawn of day, but the light only
exhibited a scene which made them wish that it were again dark.  Only
ruin and desolation were visible on every side; houses overthrown, trees
and plantations levelled, the ground strewed with dead bodies, and the
shore covered with wrecks.  At the other islands life and property
suffered equally.  At Saint Pierre, in Martinique, the new hospital of
Notre Dame was blown down, overwhelming 1600 patients, and 1400 other
houses were destroyed.  In Fort Royal Bay four ships foundered, and
every soul perished.  At Saint Lucia the destruction was very great.
His Majesty's ship Amazon was driven to sea and most miraculously
escaped foundering.  She was commanded by the Honourable Captain William
Clement Finch.  An old friend of mine, one of the lieutenants, gave me
the following account:--

"We saw by the look of the weather that a hurricane was coming on, but
while we were making everything snug it was down upon us, and we were
driven from our anchors, happily out to sea, instead of on the shore.
We at once got the ship under storm staysails, and as long as the canvas
held she behaved admirably; but as night drew on the gale increased and
every stitch of canvas was blown from the bolt-ropes.  It is impossible
to describe the terrific fury of the gale by this time.  One thing was
very clear, that if we did not cut away the masts they would either go
by the board, or she herself, from her terrific labouring, would go
down.  The captain evidently did not like to cripple the ship by cutting
away the masts, and kept waiting in the hopes that the gale was at its
height and would soon abate.  Vain was the hope.  The gale, on the
contrary, kept increasing.  At last he sent them aloft to cut away the
main-topmast.  Quick as lightning they flew to obey the order, for they
well knew how much depended on its execution.  Scarcely were they aloft
when the hurricane struck us with greater fury than ever.

"`Down, down, for your lives!' shouted the captain; `the mainmast must
go.'

"While we were waiting for the men to come down--and never did a few
moments of my life appear so long, for I knew that every single one was
of importance--a terrific gust struck the ship.  Over she heeled; down,
down she went.

"`She's gone, she's gone!' shrieked out many on deck.

"I hoped that she would lift again, but she did not.  Lower and lower
she sank.  All who were on deck, captain, officers and crew, who could
manage it, clambered up on the ship's side.  Some poor fellows who were
to leeward, and unable to haul themselves up to the weather side, were
washed off by the foaming sea, and, unable to help them, we saw them
drowned before our eyes.  We felt that in another moment their fate
might be ours, for so far gone was the ship that the wheel on the
quarter-deck was already under water, and to our dismay we saw that the
ship was settling down every moment lower and lower.  All the time she
kept moving about terrifically, and all we could do was to cling on and
watch for our approaching dissolution.  Higher every instant rose the
water, and it had now reached the after part of the carronade slides on
the weather side.  All hope was now gone.  No ship with a heavy armament
like ours had ever floated in such a position.  Those who could or dared
pray prayed; the rest waited in dull or hardened indifference for their
fate.  There was a tremendous deafening crash.  I thought our last
moment had come, but no, at that instant I saw the masts breaking away
like mere faggots; the bowsprit, spanker-boom, everything went, and with
a spring the ship righted so much that the lee gunwale rose even with
the water's edge.

"`Now, my lads,' shouted out our captain in a tone which animated all
hands; `now's our time!  Overboard with the guns; we shall yet keep the
ship afloat.'

"We all scrambled back on the deck, and everybody, fore and aft, set to
work with a will to obey the captain's orders.  Capstan-bars, handspikes
and axes were in requisition for active service.  First we got the lee
quarter-deck guns and carronades overboard; then we hurried forward and
launched one of the forecastle guns into the sea, and cut away the sheet
anchor.  All the weight we took off the lee-side had so good an effect
that still more of the ship's side rose above water, and we found that
we could get at the lee-guns on the main deck.  What was of equal
importance also, we were able to reach the pumps.  The first thing was
to get the lee main deck guns overboard.  It was some of the most trying
work we had yet to perform.  As I looked aft, and then glanced forward,
I could not help perceiving, as I believed, that the ship was going down
stern foremost.  Others were under the same impression.  Still a daring
body, led by the gallant Packenham, our first lieutenant, worked away
with such determination that one gun after the other was sent plunging
into the ocean.  Meantime the pumps were rigged, and we made a desperate
attempt to free the ship from water.  Already it was above the cable on
the orlop deck, and there was an immense quantity between decks.  Our
previous unexpected success encouraged us to proceed.  No men ever
worked with a better will than did our people; still, it's my belief
that seamen always will thus work when a good example is set them.  We
were evidently diminishing the water, and the ship was no longer
sinking, when an accident occurred which made us again almost abandon
hope.  On examination, it proved to be that the stump of the mainmast
had worked out of the stop and been driven against one of the
chain-pumps.  The carpenter and his mate and crew hurried below to see
what could be done, but scarcely were they there when the cry arose that
the other pump was useless.  Still they were undaunted.  While the stump
of the mast was being secured, they laboured away to repair the damage.
At length one of the pumps was put to rights: a cheerful shout announced
the fact.  Then we set to work on the other, which was in time cleared,
and once more the water flowed out at the lee scuppers in a full stream.
The ship was strong, and tight as a corked bottle.  Wonderful as it may
seem, not a leak had been sprung.  The ship having at length been got
somewhat to rights, the crew were mustered, when it was found that
twenty men had been drowned or seriously disabled.  In a few hours she
was cleared of water, but there we lay, a helpless wreck on the ocean,
an easy prey to the smallest enemy.  Our safety existed, we knew, in the
fact that every other vessel afloat must be in nearly an equally bad
condition.  When the weather moderated we rigged jury-masts, and after
great exertion got back into harbour, thankful to heaven for our
providential preservation from a fate to which so many of our fellow-men
had been doomed."

Of his Majesty's ships alone, a great number were lost or dismasted.
The Thunderer, 74, Captain Walshingham, which had just arrived at the
station with a convoy from England, was lost with all hands.  The
Scarborough, of 20 guns, was also lost with all hands.  The Stirling
Castle, 64 guns, was lost, only the captain, Carteret, and fifty people
escaping.  The Phoenix, 44--Deal Castle, 24--Endeavour brig, 14, were
lost, part only of the crews escaping.  The Berwick, 74--Hector, 74--
Grafton, 74, Captain Collingwood--Trident, 64--Ruby, 64--Bristol, 50--
Ulysses, 44, and Pomona, lost all their masts, while the two first had
also to throw all their guns overboard.  They formed the squadron which
had sailed from Port Royal with the trade for Europe, under Rear-Admiral
Rowley.  He, with five only of his ships in a most shattered condition,
returned to Jamaica, while the Berwick separated from him, and, almost a
wreck, arrived under jury-masts in England, no one expecting that she
would keep afloat till they got there.

Again I must sing, as I often have to do--

  "Ye gentlemen of England, who live at home at ease,
  Ah! little do you think upon the dangers of the seas."

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note 1.  Afterwards Sir William Symonds, Surveyor of the Navy.  Another
son was the late Admiral Thomas Symonds, several of whose sons are or
were in the Navy.  Captain Thomas Symonds here spoken of was also the
son, I believe, of a naval officer.  His brother was Dr Symonds,
Professor of Modern History in the University of Cambridge.



CHAPTER TWENTY TWO.

OLD NOL'S DREAM.--THE CHARON ON SHORE.--AFLOAT AT LAST.--EXPEDITION UP
THE CHESAPEAKE.--SENT ON SHORE.--CAPTURE GUIDES AND HOSTAGES.--VISIT
HAMPTON.--KINDLY RECEIVED BY MADELINE'S FRIENDS.--HER LIKENESS BUT NOT
HERSELF.--WARNED OF APPROACH OF AN ENEMY.--WE RETREAT, AND REGAIN OUR
SHIP.

With a proud confidence that we were sailing on to victory, and as all
hoped and believed to bring the war to a conclusion, the squadron
entered the Chesapeake on the evening of the 30th of December.

The Charon, however, did not make a good beginning.  The lead was kept
going, and with a fair and light breeze we were running quietly on.
Suddenly, just as eight bells had struck, there was a shock felt--not a
very violent one, happily--but the cause we knew too well; the ship was
on shore on the Willoughby Shoal.  The canvas was furled, and an attempt
instantly made to get her off; but there did not then appear much chance
of our efforts proving successful.  We had been toiling away for two or
three hours, and still the ship stuck fast.

"I don't like this here event by no means at all, Tom," I heard Nol
Grampus observe to Tom Rockets.

Nol, though a sensible fellow in the main, was a thorough old salt, and
with all the usual prejudices of his class.

"To my mind ill-luck has set in against us.  I had a dream t'other
night.  I thought as how, while we was a-standing on under all sail,
thinking ourselves all right and free from danger, far away from land, I
saw a big fish--she was a whopper, depend on that--a-swimming along over
the sea.  I looked at her, and she opened her mouth and made right at
the ship.  Her upper jaw reached far up above the main-top mast truck,
and the lower one, I'd no doubt, dipped far away down below her keel.
Well, as I was a-saying, on she came, roaring away like a young
porpoise, and heaving the foam right over our mast-heads.  I knew what
would happen, and so it did.  Just as easily as the big shark in Port
Royal harbour would swallow a nigger boy, she made a snap at the ship
and bolted us all, masts and spars and hull, and I felt as how we was
all a-being crunched up in her jaws.  I woke with a start, which made me
almost jump clean out of my hammock, all over in a cold sweat, and right
glad I was to find that it wasn't true; but, d'ye see, Tom, as to going
to sleep again, I couldn't for the life of me, but lay awake a-kicking
up my toes and turning the matter over in my mind.  Says I to myself,
`There's some harm a-coming to the old barkie of some sort or other, or
my name's not Nol Grampus.  When we gets ashore this evening,' says I to
myself, `this is the beginning on it,' and you'll see my words comes
true, Tom."

There was not light enough to allow me to observe Rockets' countenance,
but I felt very sure, from the exclamations in which he indulged, that
he was taking in the whole matter with open-mouthed credulity, scarcely
understanding that Grampus was only describing his dream, and that he
had fully made up his mind that some dreadful accident was about to
happen to the ship.  The scene I have been describing took place during
one of the cessations from labour, while the captain and first
lieutenant and master were considering what means could next be adopted
to get the ship afloat again.  I was anxious that Nol's remarks should
not be heard by the rest of the crew, for I knew by experience how
greedily such an idea as the one he had expressed--that the ship was
doomed--might be taken up by the crew, and perhaps produce the very
event he had predicted.  I was about to step forward and interfere, when
the order was issued to carry out another anchor astern, and Grampus and
his listener had to go about their duty.  All night long we were toiling
away, getting out all our anchors, starting the water, even lowering
some of the guns into the boats.

"I told you so; I knew how it would be," I heard Grampus remark just as
he happened to meet Tom, while I was passing.  "Ill-luck has come to the
ship, and ill-luck will stick to her, unless so be we gets a parson
aboard and manages to heave him into the sea.  That'll set things to
rights again, may be."

I was amused at the old man's recipe for averting the doom from the
ship.  It was not, however, new to me, for I had before heard a similar
proposal made under like circumstances.  Never did a set of men labour
and toil more perseveringly than did our crew that night.  Still the
ship stuck fast.  It became at last a matter of doubt whether we should
have to throw all our guns overboard, and perhaps our provisions and
ammunition; and if so, all hopes of gaining prize-money or of doing
anything in the way of fighting was over for a long time to come.
Captain Symonds of course was unwilling to resort to this alternative
till the last.  Grog was served out to all hands, and then we set to
again with a will.  Hour after hour passed; as yet the weather remained
moderate, but we could not conceal from ourselves the disagreeable fact
that, should it come on to blow, in the position in which we were
placed, the ship would too probably be knocked to pieces.  We were all
so busily employed that the hours did not pass so heavily as they would
otherwise have done.  We were in constant movement ourselves, and had to
keep the ship in constant movement to prevent her from forming a bed for
herself in the sand.  The tide, which was ebbing when we got on shore,
at last turned and began to flow.  Slow enough it came in to suit our
impatience.  At length dawn appeared.  The crokers were of opinion that
the clouds looked threatening.  "If a gale springs up, the old ship will
leave her bones here, that's very certain," I heard one or two of them
remark.  I watched the current as it came sweeping by us; the water was
evidently rising round the ship.  Again all the strain we could command
was put on the hawsers.  None but a seaman can understand the
satisfactory sensations we experienced as her vast hulk yielded to our
efforts.  We felt that she was gliding off the bank.  "She moves, she
moves! hurrah, hurrah!" was shouted fore and aft.  Her speed increased,
round went the capstan right merrily.  Again and again the men shouted.
She was clear of the bank.  One after the other the anchors were
weighed, sail was made on the ship, and rapidly we glided up the mighty
Chesapeake.  We proceeded up as high as Newportneuse, and so suddenly
and unexpectedly did we come on the enemy that a considerable number of
merchantmen were unable to make their escape.  As soon as we had brought
up, the boats were lowered, and away we went in chase.

The moment the crews made out who we were, they cut their cables and
ran, while we in hot speed went after them.  Some few gave it up as a
hopeless case and hauled down their colours; others ran on shore, and
their crews set them on fire, or we did so, to prevent any one from
benefiting by them.  They were mostly loaded with Virginian tobacco.  No
one in the fleet wanted a good supply of the fragrant weed after that.
We took or destroyed a dozen or more brigs and schooners.  It might have
been necessary, but it was cruel work, and I did not think it was the
best way to make the planters of Virginia love us the more.  Such was
the way our expedition commenced operations.

Before I proceed I must recommend my readers to look at a map of
Virginia bordering the southern or rather western side of the
Chesapeake, and examine the scene of the operations which, under the
directions of General Arnold, we were about to commence against the
rebels.  To the east will be found that large estuary of the Atlantic
running nearly north and south, and known as Chesapeake bay, or gulf, or
river.  It forms the eastern boundary of Virginia.  Flowing into it from
the west the river Potomac bounds the State on the north, while a vast
marsh, known by the unattractive name of the Dismal Swamp, separates it
on the south from North Carolina.  Between the Potomac and the Dismal
Swamp several other rivers and creeks are to be found.  The largest is
James river, with Portsmouth and Gosport near the mouth.  Running into
it on the north is Hampton creek, on which stands the town of Hampton,
and a little to the north of it again is York river and York Town, which
was to become the scene of operations of a character most disastrous to
the royal cause.  York Town stands on an elbow of York river, between it
and James river.  Some way up James river is the town of Richmond, the
capital of the State of Virginia.  The country was, at the time of which
I am speaking, as densely populated and as well cultivated as any part
of the province of North America.  The Dismal Swamp is an exception to
the fertility of the surrounding country.  It is a vast quagmire,
composed of vegetable matter and the decayed roots of trees and plants.
On the surface appear in rich luxuriance every species of aquatic
plants, from the delicate green moss to the tall cypress.  It covers, I
was told, an area of a thousand square miles, and is forty miles long
and twenty-five broad, having, however, in the centre, a lake of some
size fringed to the very borders with dense masses of trees which extend
even into the water itself.  The water is perfectly level with the
banks, and sometimes overflows them.  Altogether, from its uninhabitable
and impassable character, and the sombre appearance of its vegetable
productions, it well deserves the name given to it.

The last day of the year 1780 had now arrived.  Captain Symonds sent for
me and informed me that I had had the honour of being selected for some
important duty, and that he could fully rely on my carrying it out with
my usual zeal, energy, and discretion.  I bowed, and replied that I was
always anxious to do my duty; but my heart, I confess, did beat rather
quickly and anxiously in consequence of the possibility I at once saw of
realising the hopes I had so long entertained, I need not, however,
again revert to that subject.

"Some intelligent pilots are required to conduct the men-of-war and
transports up James river, as also some guides are wanted for the army
when they land," said my captain.  "Now you see, Mr Hurry, as they
won't come simply because they are wanted, you are to go on shore and
catch them.  Captain Hawthorne of the 80th Regiment, with two
detachments, one from the Queen's Rangers and one of his own men, will
accompany you.  You will have altogether fully three hundred men.  With
their courage and discipline they will be a match for a thousand or two
thousand rebels, and I expect that you will carry out your instructions
with credit to yourself and advantage to the service."

I bowed, and the captain continued: "It is believed that the enemy have
secured some of their vessels in Hampton creek.  You are to find out
where they are, and, if you can, take possession of them and bring them
away.  If not, burn or destroy them; at all events, acquaint yourself
sufficiently with the country to enable you to lead an expedition up the
creek to capture them.  With regard to the inhabitants, you are to treat
them with civility and in a conciliatory manner.  If necessary, of
course you will coerce them, but as much as possible show them that we
come as friends rather than as foes."

Having assured the captain that I fully comprehended my directions, and
would endeavour to carry them out to the full, I took my departure, to
prepare for the expedition.

I had a hundred picked men with me, including Nol Grampus and Tom
Rockets, whom I kept by me as my bodyguard.  We got the soldiers all on
shore by seven o'clock in the evening at Newportneuse, where I joined
them with the blue-jackets.  Meeting with no opposition, we were under
the impression that our landing was unnoticed.  Forming on the shore we
began our march at about eight o'clock in good military order, the
Rangers in front, the seamen in the centre, and the 80th in the rear,
with advanced and flanking parties from the Rangers.  I felt that we
were in an enemy's country, that any moment we might be attacked, and
that such precautions as we were taking were in no way derogatory to
those who would desire to be considered brave men.  Others, as will
afterwards be seen, held a different opinion and suffered accordingly.
Captain Hawthorne, however, fully agreed with me in the wisdom of
adopting the precautions I proposed.  We advanced in perfect silence,
feeling our way, for we were ignorant of where the path we were
following would lead us.  Road, properly so-called, there was none.
After proceeding half a mile or so through a tolerably open country we
reached a thick wood, extending so far before us on either side that it
was in vain to hope to pass round it.  Whether or not it was full of
lurking enemies we could not tell.  There was nothing to be done but to
penetrate through it.  There was something solemn and rather depressing
in the deep silence of that gloomy forest, with the tall gaunt trees
towering above our heads and shutting out the sky itself from view.  In
some places it was so dark that we could scarcely discover our way, and
as we marched on we went stumbling into holes and over fallen trunks of
trees and branches, and more than once I found myself up to my middle in
the rotten stem of some ancient monarch of the forest long recumbent on
the ground.  Some of the men declared that the wood was full of
rattle-snakes, and that they heard them rattling away their tails as
they went gliding and wriggling along over the ground, rather surprised
at having their haunts invaded by the tramping of so many hundred feet.
Others asserted that there were ghosts and hobgoblins and evil spirits
of all sorts infesting the locality; indeed, I suspect that there was
scarcely a man among them who would not more willingly have met a whole
army of mortal enemies rather than have remained much longer in that
melancholy solitude.  Every moment I expected to hear the sharp crack of
the enemy's rifles and to see the wood lighted up with the flashes, for
I could scarcely suppose that they would allow us to pass through a
place, where, without much risk to themselves, they might so easily
molest us and probably escape scot-free.  On we marched, or rather
stumbled and groped our way, till at length we emerged from the wood
into the clear light which the starry sky and pure atmosphere afforded
us.  We were now among fields and fences, which gave us intimation that
some human habitations were not far-off.  In a short time we saw before
us a good-sized mansion standing in the middle of a farm, with various
out-houses.  Our first care was to draw up our men closely round it.
Hawthorne and I, with about twenty followers, then approached the front
door and knocked humbly for admission.  Soon we heard the voice of a
negro inquiring who was there.

"Some gentlemen who wish to see your master on important business," I
answered.

"Ki! at this hour!  Come again to-morrow, den; massa no see nobody
to-night."

"It is business which cannot be put off," said I.  "Open, Sambo, you
rascal, or I shall be apt to break your head or your shins rather before
long if you are not quick about it."

Still Sambo seemed to have his suspicions that all was not right, and
very soon we heard somebody else come to the door and a discussion
commence as to who we could be.  Again I knocked and began to lose
patience.

"Open, friend!"  I exclaimed; "we are not robbers, nor are we officers
of the law, but we have a matter in which we want your assistance, but
cannot delay."

Soft words often have an effect when rough ones would fail.  The bolts
were withdrawn, and, the door opening, a gentleman in a dressing-gown
and slippers, his wig off, his waistcoat unbuttoned, and his whole
appearance showing that he had made himself comfortable for the evening,
stood, candle in hand, before us.  He held up the light and peered
before him into the darkness to ascertain who we could be.  When his eye
fell on our uniforms and the red-coats of the soldiers his countenance
assumed a most ridiculously scared appearance, and with a groan of
terror he let the candlestick fall from his hands.  The expiring flame,
as the candle reached the ground, showed me a female arm stretched out.
It hauled him through a doorway, and the door was slammed and bolted in
our faces.  Directly afterwards we heard a window thrown up, and a voice
exclaimed--

"Fly, Ebenezer, love! fly and hide thyself, or these red-coated villains
will be the death of thee!"

We stood very quietly waiting the result.  I knew pretty well what it
would be.  In two minutes a voice was heard outside the window--

"Oh, mercy, mercy!  Bridget, let me in again, let me in!" it said.  "The
house is surrounded by armed men, and thy unhappy husband is truly
caught in the snares of the enemy."

We had no time to spare, so I thought it best to catch our friend and
see what we could make of him.  I accordingly knocked at the door and
desired to be admitted.

"Oh, mercy, mercy! oh dear, oh dear!" was the only answer I got.

"Well, my friends, I can wait no longer," I exclaimed, in a voice which
showed that I would not be trifled with.  "I have something to
communicate to you, and if you come out peaceably it will save trouble,
and be better for all parties.  You have my word that no harm whatever
is intended you."

There was some discussion inside.  I knocked pretty loudly two or three
times with the hilt of my sword.  The hint was taken, and at length the
door was slowly and cautiously opened, and the worthy farmer and his
portly dame stood before us.  I asked him his name.

"Ruggles," he answered, looking as if he did not love me certainly,
"Ebenezer Ruggles, and that's my wife Bridget.  And now, stranger, what
is it you want of us?"

"Why, my friend, all I want you to do is to guide a party of his
Majesty's troops and blue-jackets by the nearest and best road to the
town of Hampton, and to give me such other information as I may
reasonably require," I replied, somewhat sternly.  "I have lost some
time already, so put on your hat and great coat and come along."

"What! you are going to carry my husband off, are you?  He'll not go; I
tell you that he shan't!" exclaimed Mrs Bridget, walking up in front of
him, like a turkey hen defending her young.  "Whatever you want to know
I'll tell you, but you shan't take away my good man from me.  He'd catch
his death of cold, I know he would.  Here, Jeremiah!  Boaz!  Timothy!
Luke!  Sarah!  Martha!  Jane! come and stop your dear father from being
shot, murdered, drowned, hung up as a Tory!  Oh, dear, oh, dear!  I
don't know what will happen to him."

As she spoke, a number of children streamed in from an inner room, the
smaller ones in their night-gowns, and all more or less in _deshabille_,
as if they had been hurriedly summoned out of their beds.  They looked
at me, and the soldiers and sailors behind me, and then threw themselves
shrieking and crying round their father's neck.  As I knew that we
should take very good care of the poor man, I could not stand this scene
very long, and had at last to tell him that he must put an end to it, or
that I must order the soldiers to separate him from his children and to
carry him off by force.

"Oh, you cruel, hard-hearted slave of a tyrant!" exclaimed their mother,
advancing boldly towards me; "you will not take him away--you will not--
you dare not!  You'll have his life to answer for if you do."

"Come, come, madam," said I, "we must end this business at once.  Your
husband must accompany me at all events.  No harm will happen to him, so
don't be alarmed.  Now, sir, put on your hat and accompany me."

I had a strong suspicion that she wished to gain time, and had perhaps
sent off some one to try and bring down the enemy on us.

Again there was a furious chorus of hugging and shrieking and crying and
kissing.

"Don't go--you shan't go--Papa, you mustn't go--we won't let you go--
hard-hearted, cruel tyrants!"

Such were the phrases which reached my ears, but Ebenezer Ruggles saw
that I was in earnest, and, signing to his wife, she brought him a thick
pair of shoes, a great coat, a stick and his hat, and then, in spite of
the renewed cries of his children, he signified, in a manly, fearless
way, that if we compelled him he would accompany us without resistance.
I accordingly took him by the arm, and succeeded at last in separating
him from his wife and children, and leading him out of the house.  Even
after we had got some distance off we heard the cries of poor Dame
Bridget and her disconsolate brood.  Ebenezer bore the trial very well.

"Now, friend Ruggles," said I, "you must understand that, if you guide
us right and play us no tricks, we will restore you safe to your wife
and family, but if you lead us into any difficulty I shall be under the
disagreeable necessity of shooting you through the head."

"Oh! if that's the case, then, I must tell you that you have come two
miles out of the road to Hampton," quoth Mr Ruggles.  "If you had gone
on, you would have run your noses against a pretty strong force of our
States' army, who would have made mince-meat of you, I guess."

"They must have been pretty strong to impede the progress of a thousand
men," said I.  "However, lead us by the best road and you shall be well
rewarded."

"That's reasonable," said Ruggles; and forthwith turning round, away he
trudged alongside me at the rate of nearly four miles an hour.  He led
us back right through the dark wood and into the open country, and at
last we reached a fine broad open road.  Along that we marched at a
great rate.  We soon, however, came to a house.  We instantly surrounded
it, and, very much to the surprise and alarm of the inhabitants, made
them prisoners.  I rather think that our friend Ruggles was not sorry to
have a companion in his misfortunes.  We soon had several.  Every house
we came to we surrounded, and had to capture the inhabitants, that they
might not escape to give the alarm through the country.  I cannot
describe all the scenes that occurred.  Some were rather amusing, as we
knew that we were not going to injure the poor people.  Others were
painful, from the dreadful alarm into which both men and women were put
when we appeared at their doors.  Still greater was it when they found
that they had to accompany us on our march.

The night was drawing on, and there were as yet no signs of the town for
which we were bound.  Every moment, of course, increased the probability
of our being attacked, for, notwithstanding all our precautions, we
scarcely hoped to have prevented some of the people getting off, who
might give notice of our advance.  I began to suspect that Mr Ruggles
was playing us false.  I told him so.  He assured me that we were close
upon Hampton.  I cocked my pistol to his ear, to remind him what would
be the consequence should he be playing us false.  He stood firm, and my
confidence in him was restored.  In five minutes he asked me to halt my
people, and assured me we were close upon the town.  Just then the
advanced guard fell back, and reported that they had suddenly found
themselves at the entrance of a town.  We accordingly formed our force
into three divisions.  One party went round to the other side, one
remained where we then were, and a third, which I led, entered the town.
Having made a rapid survey of the place, Captain Hawthorne and I placed
a strong body of men at each end of the principal streets, and the
outskirts of the town being at the same time strictly watched, we felt
now that no one could escape or enter the place without our knowledge.
These arrangements being made, we commenced a series of visits to the
abodes of all the principal inhabitants.  So silently had we proceeded
that many of them were not aware that the town was in our hands, and
their dismay may be more easily conceived than described when they found
armed men knocking at their doors, and in some instances breaking them
open.  One of the first houses we visited was that of an oldish
gentleman--the richest merchant, we were told, in the town.  We knocked
at first gently, and then louder and louder, till we heard some one
coming along the passage, and a negro voice inquired who was there and
what was wanted.  The usual answer, "Your master--business of
importance--quick--quick!" made the poor black without further
consideration open the door, when in we rushed, and he, stepping back,
tumbled head over heels, and upset two or three of the first men who got
in.  Amid shouts of laughter from us, and shrieks and cries from a whole
posse of negroes who ran out from their own dormitories, we hurried up
to the principal staircase.  The hubbub, as well it might, roused the
master of the house and his better half from their drowsy slumbers--so
we concluded--for a gruff voice in tones irate began scolding away from
the top of the stairs at the blacks, demanding why they made so terrific
a noise--joined in occasionally by other far sharper notes.

"The blacks are not to blame, old gentleman," exclaimed Hawthorne,
springing up the stairs.  "How do you do!  We call upon you at rather an
unseasonable hour, I own, but our stay in the place is short you will
understand.  We will have a little conversation together on public
affairs, and then I must trouble you for the keys of your stores, or an
order for the delivery of such provisions as we may require, for which I
am directed to offer you payment."

The old gentleman, not comprehending who we were, was almost struck down
at first on hearing this address, but, after a time, recovering himself,
he begged leave to slip on some more clothes, and promised that he would
then come down into his sitting-room and speak to us.

We heard him and the sharp-voiced lady discussing matters up-stairs.

More than once Hawthorne had to sing out--

"We are in a hurry, sir--we are in a hurry," before his better half
would let him appear.

I left Hawthorne and him to settle matters while I with my men proceeded
to other houses.  We had given strict orders that no violence whatever
was to be used towards any of the inhabitants, and I fully believe that
the lieutenants and midshipmen under us did their best to repress
anything of the sort.  Still it was necessary to keep a watch on all
parties.  Of course I was obeying the orders I had received in what I
did, and had no choice; but, at the same time, I must own that I felt
excessive repugnance in thus having to disturb and frighten out of their
senses the inhabitants of a quiet town, who had in no way done anything
to offend us.  I resolved, however, to make amends to them by every
means in my power, by treating them with the utmost delicacy and
kindness.  We had already seized on a dozen or more of the principal
people, and marched them off to the square in the centre of the town,
where they were kept under a strong guard as hostages for the good
behaviour of the rest, and as a guarantee for our safety while we
remained in the place.  Not slight was the alarm and agitation when they
were told that the instant any attempt was made, either by any of their
fellow-townsmen or by any of the enemy's troops outside, to re-take the
place, their lives would be forfeited, while a pistol was kept presented
at the head of each of them to carry this threat into execution.
Having, in my rounds, visited the square, and comforted our prisoners as
much as I could venture to do, I again went on with my domiciliary
visits.  At the next house at which I stopped the door was instantly
opened by the black servant.

"Oh, massa officer! oh, massa officer! you frighten de poor young ladies
till all die!" he exclaimed as we entered the hall.  "Oh, ki! oh, ki!
dey kick and squeal on de sofa like little pigs going to have dey throat
cut.  Oh, ki! oh, ki! what shall we do?"

"Where are the ladies?"  I asked.  "I will try what I can do to banish
their alarm."

"Dis way, den, sare--dis way," said the negro, ushering me in a great
hurry into a large and handsomely-furnished room, lighted by several
candles.  There were several sofas.  On two of them lay two ladies,
apparently in hysterics, while several other ladies and female
attendants, black and brown, were bending over them and applying
restoratives.

"There, sir! that is what you and your people have done!" exclaimed an
elderly and rather portly lady, turning round and advancing towards me
while she pointed at the younger females, whom I took to be her
daughters, on the sofa.

Some of my men were following me.  When the ladies saw them they
shrieked louder than ever, so I ordered them all to go outside the house
with the exception of Tom Rockets, and then addressed myself to the lady
who had thus spoken to me--

"I regret excessively the cruel necessity thus imposed on me, madam,"
said I, "but accept the honour of an officer and a gentleman that no
harm shall be done to any member of your family.  Let me entreat the
young ladies to calm their fears.  My people are under perfect command,
as you may have seen by the way they obeyed my orders, so that you need
be under no apprehension either from them."

"I'll trust you, sir; I'll trust you," said the lady, frankly putting
out her hand.  "There is something in your countenance and manner which
assures me that you speak the truth."

I could only bow to this pretty compliment--I hope it was deserved.
These words had great effect in calming the agitation of the young
ladies, and in a few minutes they were able to dismiss the negro girls
and the scent bottles and the plates of burnt feathers, and to sit up
and enter into conversation.  The room was still too dark to enable me
to see much of their countenances, but I thought their voices sounded
very pleasant and sweet, and I pictured them to myself as very charming
young ladies.

"The hour is somewhat unusual for tea," observed the lady of the house,
"but I doubt not after your long march you will find it refreshing."

I thanked the lady very much, and assured her that I should particularly
enjoy a cup of tea.  She accordingly gave the order to an attendant
slave, and in a short time a whole troop of black girls came in with urn
and teacups and candles, and in a twinkling a table was spread, and all
the party drew round it.

As I was approaching the tea-table, I started and stood like one
transfixed, for there appeared before me, with the light of a candle
falling full on her countenance, a young lady the very image of Madeline
Carlyon.  "It must be her," I thought; and yet my heart told me that it
could not be, for she did not appear to recognise me.  The young lady,
however, saw my confusion, and looked up with an inquiring glance at my
countenance.  Women have, I suspect, very sharp eyes in discovering
where anything connected with the heart of the opposite sex is
concerned, and are generally equally clever in concealing what is
passing in their own.  She kept looking at me, and I looked at her for a
minute or more without speaking.  More than once I made a move towards
her as if the lady I saw before me must be Madeline, and then the
expression of her countenance showed me I was mistaken.

At last I was aware that I was making myself somewhat remarkable or, as
some of my friends would have said, very ridiculous; so, trying to
overcome my agitation, I drew my chair to the table and sat down.  I
watched the young lady, and observed that she still cast an inquiring
glance at me, as much as to say, "For whom do you take me?"  On the
strength of this I thought I would venture to inquire if she was in any
way related to Madeline.  Just as I was going to speak, a cup of tea was
handed to me.  I first emptied half the contents of the sugar-bason into
it, then said I took very little sugar, and asked for a spoonful.  Then
I threw off the tea as if it were a doctor's dose, and passed my cup for
some more.  At last I mustered courage to look across the table and to
say, "I beg pardon--I fear that I must have appeared very rude, but your
resemblance to a young lady whom I know is so very striking that I
should suppose you to be her sister if I was not aware that she has
none."

"Then you must be Mr Hurry!" she said quickly.  "I am considered very
like my cousin, Madeline Carlyon.  She has spoken to me about you--of
your kindness and generosity--oh, how very fortunate!"

The countenances of all the party were turned towards me, and they
looked at me with an expression of interest and pleasure.  The elder
lady got up and, taking my hand, exclaimed--

"We welcome you indeed most cordially, Mr Hurry.  Our kinswomen have
spoken most warmly of you, and we consider ourselves most happy in
having met you, though you come in the guise of an enemy."

I had not said all this time who I was, it must be understood.  It made
my heart bump away very hard when I found the manner in which Madeline
had spoken of me to her relatives.  I made as suitable a reply as I
could to all the complimentary things which were said to me; and then,
as soon as I could, I inquired in a trembling voice where Madeline
Carlyon then was, and how she was.  I felt very sure that my secret was
out, and that there was no use in disguising my sentiments.

"She is now residing with her father not very far away from here.  They
were, however, to stay with some friends in the neighbourhood, and we
are not quite certain where they may be at this present moment,"
answered the elder lady.  "We will, depend on it, take care to let her
know that we have seen you, and she will rejoice to hear of the
courteous way in which you treated us, even when you were unaware who we
were."

I expressed my thanks, and then remarked that even then I did not know
their names.

"Langton is my name," said the lady.  "These are my daughters, and that
young lady is my niece, and the other is her sister.  They are Carlyons.
Grace is indeed very like her cousin, and some curious mistakes have
occurred in consequence."

I need not repeat more of our conversation.  In a few minutes I felt
perfectly at home, and I must own had almost forgotten the errand on
which I had come to the place.  Tea was over, and I was about to ask for
paper and a pen to write to Madeline when the sound of a bugle recalled
me to the stern reality of my duties.  I started up.  I longed to send a
message to Madeline--yet what could I say?  I felt that all reserve must
be thrown to the winds.  I took Mrs Langton's hand: "Tell her--tell her
that I am true," I exclaimed.  "Oh, that this dreadful war were brought
to an end!"

Again the bugle sounded; Tom Rockets put his head in at the door.  He
had been carried off to be tended on by the slaves below.

"We must be off, sir," said he; "the red-coats are forming outside, and
from what I can make out there is likely to be a scrimmage."

I shook the ladies warmly by the hand.  In vain I endeavoured to get
them to tell me where they believed Madeline Carlyon then was.  One
spoke, then another; mentioning the names of different places, which of
course I did not know, nor could I conceive by their descriptions in
what direction they were to be found.  Several shots were heard; again
the bugle sounded.  I dared not remain another moment.  I tore myself
away, still ignorant of a point I would have given much to ascertain,
and rushed out.  My own men had formed outside the house; the other
different parties who had been carrying on the examination of the town
were hurrying into the square from all quarters.  Some of them brought
us the information that our advanced guard was attacked.

"Then the hostages must answer for it," said Captain Hawthorne.

The no-little-alarmed old gentlemen we had in our power entreated that
they might be allowed to try and stop the attack.  We, of course, were
glad enough of this, and we let them go to the front in charge of a
strong body of our men.  In a short time they returned, well contented
to find that the attack had been made merely by a hundred volunteers or
so, who on finding our strength had retreated.  We knew, however, that
they would not go far-off, and felt the unpleasant assurance that we
should, in all probability, be continually harassed during the whole of
our march back, and perhaps even have to fight our way through a crowd
of active enemies.

Under these circumstances Hawthorne and I agreed that we should, without
a moment's delay, commence our march.  It was now about two o'clock in
the morning.  We had performed the service we had come on, and gained
all the information we required.  We had ascertained that the
surrounding country would supply us amply with provisions; that the
vessels which had taken refuge in the creek could not be cut out without
a strong force, and that the people were, if not actually in arms
against us, far from favourable to the royal cause, as Arnold had led us
to suppose they would be.  We had also distributed large numbers of his
address.  Discharging some of the more elderly of our prisoners, we
began our march, carrying with us the younger men and those whom we had
picked up on the way.  We soon found that our retreat was to be anything
but pleasant.  Scarcely had we got clear of the town when the crack of
rifles showed us that an enemy was in our rear.  Our road led us through
numerous woods more or less dense.  We had got to about the centre of
the first, when on either flank bright jets of flame were seen darting
out like the flashes of fire-flies from among the trees.  I could almost
have fancied that they were fire-flies had not the flashes been
accompanied by sharp reports, and had we not felt the bullets whizzing
about our ears.  By proceeding, however, in the careful way in which we
made our advance, we kept the enemy at bay, and they saw that we were
not a force to be trifled with.  It would have been useless barbarity to
have punished our prisoners for what they could not help, but we told
them that we should hold them responsible if any serious attack was made
on us.  Still it was somewhat provoking to have our men hit without
being able to go in pursuit of our nimble adversaries, for, of course,
they were off and away the instant we made a movement towards them.
Thus we proceeded as rapidly as the nature of the ground would allow.
Whenever we reached the habitation of one of our prisoners, we thanked
him for the assistance he had afforded us, and allowed him to remain, on
his undertaking not only not to act against us that day, but to do his
best to prevent his countrymen from attacking us.  This was very
judicious; for although, I believe, fresh skirmishers came on, the old
ones gradually withdrew, and thus we never had, at a time, any very
large force with which to contend.  Several of our men had been wounded,
but none had been killed that we were aware of.  However, when, at seven
o'clock in the morning, we reached the place of debarkation, we found
that, exclusive of the wounded, one seaman and six soldiers were
missing.  What had become of them we could not tell, but as they were
not seen to fall, it is more than probable that they deserted to the
enemy.  When I returned on board the Charon, Captain Symonds was pleased
to say that the general was highly satisfied with the way the expedition
had been conducted.  Whatever may be thought of General Arnold, I may
here remark that he was a first-rate soldier and a clever man, as was
proved by all the expeditions he planned and the exploits he performed.

Thus ended the year 1780.  Who could then tell the important events the
following one was to bring forth?



CHAPTER TWENTY THREE.

ADVANCE OF ARMY UP JAMES RIVER.--I COMMAND A FLOTILLA OF BOATS UP
NANSIMOND RIVER.--A DARK NIGHT.--SURROUND A HOUSE.--INTERVIEW WITH
MADELINE.--WARNED OF PLAN TO CAPTURE US.--O'DRISCOLL AT HOME.--RAPID
PULL FOR LIBERTY.--MACKEY'S MILLS.--PEOPLE WIDE-AWAKE.--HOT FIRE.--
REGAIN SHIP.

The new year of 1781 commenced with the advance of the whole army, under
General Arnold, up the banks of the James river, protected by three
ships of war--the Charlestown, Bonetta, and Swift.  No attack was made
on us; indeed, there was no force of the enemy, it was believed, in the
neighbourhood in any way capable of impeding our progress.  That evening
I was again sent for, and, in order to ascertain that important fact, I
was directed to take command of five boats and to proceed up the
Nansimond river.  "You will learn, also, what shipping is in the river,"
said my captain; "and, Mr Hurry, you will not forget to see how they
can best be cut out."  Having received this brief professional
admonition, I took my departure.

I had the Charon's cutter, the Thames's long-boat, and three other
boats, each commanded by a lieutenant or master's mate.  I gave them
all, in the clearest way, their instructions, for I felt that we were
about to engage in an expedition which might prove extremely hazardous,
though but little honour was to be reaped from it.  The Nansimond river
is about twenty-five miles long, and generally about half a mile wide;
but in some places, as high up as the west branch, it narrows to about
fifty yards.  Not far from the entrance is the town of Nansimond, and
higher up a place called Mackey's Mills.  Nearly at the source is a town
or village called Suffolk.  This information I had obtained from the
prisoners we had taken on our previous expedition.

Darkness had long settled down before my five boats collected alongside
the Charon.  Never was I out in a more pitchy night.  Dense clouds
covered the sky, and not a star was visible.  On first stepping into my
boat, after leaving the light of the cabin, I could see nothing.

"You all understand what we are to do, gentlemen?" said I to the
officers under me.  "Follow closely in my wake.  Let not a word be
spoken.  If we are discovered and attacked, we are to put about and pull
down the stream; if not, wait till I give the order to return.  Shove
off!"

Our oars were muffled, so that not a sound was heard as we pulled away
through the darkness towards the mouth of the Nansimond river.  We had a
pilot with us who professed to know the navigation, and we believed that
we could trust him.  By degrees my eyes began to grow accustomed to the
darkness, and I could distinguish the outline of the shore.  We entered
the river about ten o'clock, and slowly groped our way up the stream,
one boat following the other in line, like a long snake wriggling its
way through the grass.  On we pulled.  Sharp eyes, indeed, must have
been those which could have discovered us from the shore.  But few
lights were streaming from the windows of the houses of Nansimond as we
passed that town.  Early hours were kept by the colonists in those
primitive days, and most of the inhabitants had retired to rest--not
aware that an enemy was so close to them, or dreaming of danger.  As
long as we continued in the wider part of the river we had no fear of
being detected.  However, as our object was to obtain information, I
resolved to land near the first house we could see on the shore.  My
plan was then to surround it, keep all the inmates captive, carry them
up the river with us, and land them again on our return, so as to
prevent them from giving notice of our expedition, much in the same way
that we had done on our march to Hampton.  The darkness, however, made
this no easy matter, for not the sign of a house could we distinguish on
the shore.  Sometimes we pulled towards one bank and sometimes towards
the other, but to no purpose.  If houses there were, they must have been
among the trees, and the inhabitants must have gone to bed and
extinguished all their lights.  At last I resolved to land, and, with
part of one boat's crew, to explore the country on foot.  Grampus,
Rockets, and two other men accompanied me, while the boats pulled slowly
along, ready to come to my assistance should I be surprised.  I walked
two or three miles in this way, stumbling along through woods and swamps
and other impediments; but, though we crossed several ploughed fields,
no houses could we discover.  At last, from very weariness, I was
compelled to take to the boat again.  Several times we landed, but with
the same want of success as at first.  We came in time to Mackey's
Mills.  I had made up my mind to catch Mr Mackey, at all events, and
make him serve our purpose.  Accordingly we landed, and having lighted
our lanterns to save ourselves from tumbling into the mill-dams or
traps, which we supposed would everywhere abound, we surrounded the
buildings, and proceeded to search for the miller and his men; but
neither Mr Mackey nor any of his people were to be found.  The mill
appeared to be deserted, so we had our trouble for nothing.  Once more
we took to the boats.  The river was here, for some distance, very
narrow, but it widened out again as we proceeded upwards.  Again and
again we landed, always keeping the most profound silence.  I had duly
impressed on the minds of the people the fact that our lives and the
success of the enterprise depended on our so doing.  We were all,
however, beginning to get rather vexed at our want of success,
especially as we had no safety-valve in the expression of our feelings.
At times it appeared as if the river flowed through the centre of some
large forest.  On either side the tall trees rose up, forming a dark
wall, with the sky overhead and the smooth black current of the river on
which we floated flowing beneath.  I trusted that none of the enemy had
discovered us, for I thought to myself, if they have, this is just the
place they will select to attack, and very little chance we shall have,
in that case, of successfully running the gauntlet and getting off
scot-free.  However, our business was to push up the river as far as we
could go till we discovered the vessels we were to look for, taking
care, only, that we had time to return before daylight should discover
us to our foes.  On we went, till we reached a part of the river called
the West Branch.  It appeared to me that the night had become less dark
than at first.  Perhaps it was that the banks were freer from trees.  We
kept carefully examining either shore.  I fancied as we pulled on that I
could distinguish a rough sort of landing-place.

"A house will not be far-off from it," I said to myself, so I gave the
order to pull in for it.  My eyes had not deceived me.  There was a
regular formal landing-place, and not three hundred yards from it I
thought that I saw a house.  Leaving two men in each boat I drew up my
party and gave the order to advance that we might immediately surround
the house, if such, as I suspected, there was.  With the same
precautions which we had hitherto used we advanced as rapidly as we
could venture to move towards what I took to be a building.  I soon
found that I was not mistaken.  The barking of a dog also told me that
the place was inhabited, and at the same time warned us that the inmates
were very likely to be aroused by our approach.  I had charged all those
under my command on no account to use violence, whatever might occur,
unless in our own defence, should we be attacked by the enemy.

As we drew near I saw that the house was a large one, and that it had
all the appearance of a gentleman's country seat.  We found ourselves
also in a good road leading apparently into the interior.  I therefore
called a halt, and, leaving some of the men where we were, I led the
rest round so as closely to surround the premises on the land side.  I
also bethought me of placing a guard to watch the approach by the river,
for I thought it very likely that if any one wished to escape there
would be a boat concealed under the banks by which they might effect
their object.  While I was making these dispositions the barking of the
dog continued, but as he did not rush out on us I concluded that he was
chained.  He had, however, aroused the inmates, for as I passed through
the garden I saw a light in one of the rooms down-stairs and other
lights, passing the windows of the upper storey.  From the situation of
the lower room down-stairs I suspected that it must be the drawing-room
or one of the sitting-rooms, and, halting my men under the shadow of a
shrubbery, with directions to remain there till I summoned them, I
approached the window for the purpose of trying if I could see any of
the people within.  There were two windows to the room.  The blind
before one of them was drawn down, so I went to the other.  The lower
shutter to that was also closed, but by standing up on the window-sill I
could look into the room.  What was my surprise to see a lady sitting at
a table, on which stood a lamp, with a book in her hand, reading.  Her
back was towards me, but from her figure and dress I thought she was
young.  What surprised me was to find a lady sitting up at that hour,
for it was now between two and three o'clock in the morning.  Something
unusual must, I suspected, be going on in the house.  I was afraid that
the sudden appearance of a body of armed men would seriously frighten
the lady, and so I resolved to enter the house alone and take my chance
of meeting with opposition from any man who might be there.  A door
opened into the garden.  It was not bolted.  I lifted the latch and
entered.  A light stood in the hall.  I was not mistaken as to the
character of the house; it was evidently that of people of fortune.  On
my right hand was a door which I conceived led into the room where I had
seen the lady.  An impulse I could not resist induced me to open it.
The noise caused by my so doing made the lady turn her head.  Her
countenance was very pale and tearful.  She looked up at me; her eye
brightened: I sprang forward and threw myself at her feet.  Madeline
Carlyon was before me.  So astonished and overcome by numberless
conflicting feelings was she that I thought she would have fainted.  She
uttered my name in a tone of doubt and hesitation, as if she did not
believe in the reality of what she saw before her.  I took her hand and
pressed it to my lips.

"It is I, Madeline, who have never ceased thinking of you since we
parted," I exclaimed,--"one whose only wish has been to find means to
make you his own when the blessings of peace have been restored to our
country--one whose earthly hopes are all centred in you.  You are
indulging in no dream--no fancy--I am really and truly before you."

However, I need not repeat all I said on the occasion.  I had no great
difficulty in persuading Madeline that I was really before her; but when
she inquired how it was that I came to be there, unwilling indeed I felt
to tell her that I had come in hostile guise.  At last, however, I had
to confess the truth.

"Then I understand it all," she exclaimed hurriedly.  "Oh, believe me,
you are beset with dangers.  I ought not to betray the councils of my
countrymen, and yet I cannot let you fall into the trap which has been
laid for you.  Your arrival in the river was immediately known, and a
plan was forthwith formed to cut you off.  The whole country has been
for some hours alarmed.  My own father heads the force, consisting, I
heard, of more than four hundred men, who are about to take post at
Mackey's Mills to cut off your retreat.  Silently as you may have come
up the river, your progress has been, without doubt, closely watched.
Perhaps even now your presence here is known, and anxiety on my father's
account prevented me from retiring to rest, and little did I think who
was in command of the British boats.  I knew not even that you were on
the coast.  But I must not lose time in talking.  What advice can I give
you?  Stay, oh, let me consider!  The party must already have nearly
reached Mackey's Mills.  They will be there before you can possibly pass
that narrow part of the river.  Oh, this cruel, cruel war!  What ought
to be done?  I am sure that my father himself would deeply grieve to
find that stern duty had compelled him to injure you, and yet how could
even I ask him to act otherwise than he will do?  I know that I ought
not, as a patriot, to give you the warning that I now do.  Let me
collect my thoughts and consider by what plan I can best secure your
safety.  It would be useless, I fear, to advise you to deliver
yourselves up as prisoners of war, and thus avoid bloodshed.  Yet how
can you escape from the trap into which you have run?  You smile and
shake your head.  I know--I know.  You would say that you must try to
fight your way through a host of rebels rather than yield yourselves
prisoners.  Your safety consists in the rapidity of your movements."

She was silent for some minutes and then continued--

"There are, as high up as Suffolk, several vessels--a ship, a sloop, and
a brig.  Let it be known by any people whom you can fall in with that
you are aware of this fact, and it will naturally be supposed that you
have gone up the river to bring them off or to destroy them.  The plan
was to detain you by various stratagems in the river till daylight, when
it was expected that you would easily be cut off and destroyed if you
should attempt to fight your way through the crowds of riflemen lining
each bank of the river, or otherwise that you would be compelled to give
yourselves up as prisoners.  I fear me much, I repeat, that this latter
course you will not follow--I know you will not.  Then you have only
your speed on which to rely.  You will have to run a terrible gauntlet
between well-practised sharpshooters.  Start without a moment's delay.
The militia will, I fear, have reached Mackey's Mills before you can get
there; but if, as I hope, they will believe that you have gone up the
stream, they may not be on the watch for you, and you may push by
without being perceived."

Such was the tenor of the words the agitated and alarmed girl poured
out.  I felt sure that I could follow no better plan than the one she
suggested.  Still it was heart-breaking thus to leave her.  I have not
intruded any part of our conversation on my readers relating more
especially to ourselves.  She had said all that I could wish to assure
me that her heart was still mine, and I had poured out my own
long-pent-up feelings into her ears.  I had been sitting by her side.
She started.  A sound was heard in the house--scuffling of feet--a loud
scream--people running here and there.  The dog barked loudly outside.
Two black girls rushed into the room.

"Oh, missie, missie! murder, murder! thieves, thieves!" they cried out.
"Dey be here--dey be everywhere!"

Just then they caught sight of me.  Instead of screaming, they stood as
if petrified.  At last, pointing at me, they exclaimed, "Oh, missie, who
dat?"

The question was a difficult one to answer, but Madeline showed her
presence of mind by replying calmly--

"A friend who little expected to find me here, but he will take care
that no harm happens to any one in this house.  We may be thankful that
he and his followers are here to protect us.  Now go and tell the rest
of the people who remain in the house that they must not be alarmed.
Let them assemble in the hall.  I will go and speak to them after I have
seen Mrs Elbank and Miss Porter.  Go--run!  Be good girls, and do as I
tell you."

The quick, firm manner with which she spoke had a wonderful effect on
the negresses, and instinctively off they ran, perfectly satisfied, to
obey her orders.  She explained, briefly, that Mrs Elbank was an old
lady, the owner of the house where she and her father were staying.

As soon as the girls had disappeared she took my hand with perfect
frankness and maiden modesty, while she looked up into my face with an
expression which showed me the true feelings of her heart.

"Farewell, farewell!" she exclaimed.  "Let me entreat you not to remain
a moment longer.  Every instant's delay may produce danger, and, too
probably, bloodshed.  Should, by any chance, the militia discover that
you are here, they would come back with an overwhelming force and cut
you off.  Go--oh, go!"

As she spoke these words her feelings overcame her and her sobs choked
her utterance.  I would have given worlds to have been able to stay and
comfort her.  I did all I could.  I took her in my arms and imprinted a
kiss on her brow.  It might be the last, but I dared not think so.  No,
I felt that we should meet again.  "I obey you now, dearest," I cried,
in a tone intended to reassure her.  "Fear not, I shall escape the
danger you dread, and I will return perhaps before long."

I added some solemn words of comfort, and then I rushed from the room
and hurried into the garden where I had left my men.  I found from them
that O'Driscoll had captured an old negro servant, who, hearing the dog
bark, had come out to see what was the matter, and that, conducted by
him, he had entered the house where he now was.  This accounted for the
disturbance I had heard.  I accordingly went back to the front door,
which was obligingly opened by our friend the negro, who seemed by his
manner to have long-expected me.  With many bows he led me into a
handsome dining-hall, when what was my surprise to find O'Driscoll and
another officer seated at a table with an abundance of viands spread
before them, and wine of various sorts sparkling in decanters by their
side.

"Really, these rebels treat us very well," said O'Driscoll as I entered.
"When we caught that old gentleman he told us that supper was all
ready, and that he had been ordered to invite us in to partake of it,
and to beg us to remain as long as we felt inclined."

"I do not doubt it, Mr O'Driscoll," I answered sternly.  "But, sir, we
have duties to perform, and our orders were to proceed up the river as
far as we could go.  Now I have discovered that there are several
vessels at Suffolk, four miles above this.  We must go and try to cut
them out.  Thank the owners of the house for their hospitality, but we
cannot stay to benefit by it," said I to the negro, giving him a dollar.
"Keep that for yourself, and remember that all Englishmen are not
cannibals and savages."

Having directed O'Driscoll to call in the rest of the other parties
guarding the approaches to the house, we quickly assembled at the
rendezvous I had appointed outside the gates, whence we set off as fast
as we could for the boats.  I could not help having some dread lest they
should have been attacked during our absence, and if so, I knew that we
should at once be made prisoners.  I did not, however, express my fears
to any one.  The way to the boats appeared very long.  I thought more
than once that we must have mistaken our road.  Great was my relief
therefore, when I found that we had at length reached the spot where
they lay concealed.  I now called the other lieutenants round me, and
briefly explained to them the information I had obtained.  I did not
think it necessary to say whence I had obtained it.  They unanimously
concurred with me that we had done all that could be required of us, and
that our only proper course was at once to proceed down the river, and
to endeavour to pass our enemies before they could expect us, or were
prepared to impede our progress.

"Well, gentlemen, to our boats without delay," I said--not speaking,
however, above a whisper, for I thought it very likely that we might
have listeners in ambush.  "Rapidly and silently, like Indians on a war
trail, let us make the best of our way down the stream.  If any boat is
disabled, let the one ahead of her take her in tow.  If fired at, do not
attempt to fire in return, but pull away for our lives.  Now shove off."

Away we went.  I took the lead, keeping the centre of the river.
Strange as it may appear, I thought much more of the meeting I had just
had with Madeline, of all she had said to me, and of all I had said to
her, or wished that I had said, than of the terrific danger to which we
were exposed.  I use the word advisedly.  Let any one fancy what it
would be to pass down a channel fifty yards wide, each bank being lined
with four hundred, or, for what I could tell, twice that number of
sharpshooters.  The latter hours of the night continued as dark as had
been the earlier part; there was a slight rain, or rather mist, which
increased the obscurity, while the wind had got up, and its low moaning
among the trees assisted to conceal the sound made by the boats as they
clove their way through the water.  We had also come up with the flood;
the tide had now turned, and there was a strong current which much
assisted our progress.  These circumstances gave me hopes that we might
yet successfully run the gauntlet of our enemies.  There was another
circumstance to be dreaded, which might prove fatal to us.  Should the
enemy have time to collect any boats and attack us on the river, we
could scarcely hope to cut our way past them as well as the riflemen on
shore.  When any great danger is to be incurred, it is a great relief to
be able to speak.  This was now denied us, and each man was left to his
own thoughts.  Mine, I may say, were not gloomy--very far from it.
Sometimes they were bright and almost joyous.  On we went.  When I
brought my thoughts back to the present, I could not help feeling that
any moment we might see the flashes of a hundred rifles, and hear their
sharp cracks as they opened on us.  We had got to the southern end of
the West Branch, but, as yet, not a sound from the shore had been heard.
We were approaching the narrow reach, on the banks of which Mackey's
Mill is situated.  Most of us, I believe, felt an inclination to hold
our breath as we pulled on.  The current here was very strong.  I kept
as nearly as I could in the centre, the other boats following.  I could
just distinguish the dark outline of the building we had before visited
against the sky ahead of us, when a voice, I knew not whence it came,
shouted, "There they are!  Fire!"

In an instant the whole line of the shore burst into flame--rapidly
sounded the cracks of the rifles, and thickly about our heads flew the
bullets.  At that moment I thought I saw a canoe dart away down the
river, and I doubted not that our enemies had stationed her there to
watch for us.  Thicker and thicker came the leaden shower, several shots
going through the boats' sides, though as yet no one was hit.  Still I
had no notion of giving in.  "Now, my lads, give way for your lives!"  I
exclaimed in a loud whisper.  "Many a man has passed through hotter fire
than this unscathed."

I scarcely think I was speaking the truth when I said this.  So dark was
it, however, that I did not believe that we could be seen from the
shore, though the flashes of the firearms lighted up the dark woods, the
red-brick mill and its out-houses, and threw a lurid glare over the
whirling current as it hurried by its overhanging banks, while ever and
anon we could clearly distinguish the glancing arms and the figures of
our enemies as they stood drawn up along the banks, pouring their fire
down upon us.

On we pulled, silently as ever, and as fast as the men could lay their
backs to the oars.  We were, however, I knew too well, only at the
commencement of the narrow passage, and I could not tell what opposition
we might have to encounter before we got through it.  My boat was light,
and pulled easily, but some of the other boats were very slow--the
Thames's long-boat especially--and rowed very heavily, and I kept
anxiously turning round to ascertain that they were following me.  For
some time I could count them, one after the other in line, coming up
after me.  Then I turned my eyes on the banks of the river.  By some
means our enemies calculated our downward progress with great accuracy
if they did not see us, for, while some were blazing away, I could see
other bodies hurrying along the side of the river, to be ready, I
doubted not, to attack us as we came down; some were on foot, but others
were on horseback, who had much the advantage of us in speed.  At last I
found that I was getting ahead of the other boats, so I had to slacken
my speed till the next boat came up to me.  It was the Charon's cutter,
commanded by Mr Bruton.  When I looked back I found that the Thames's
long-boat was nowhere to be seen.  Bruton said she had only just dropped
astern, so begged leave to go and tow her up.  This I allowed him to do,
telling him that I would remain till he and the other boats came up.  I
began to fear, however, that the missing boat might have been cut off.
Away dashed the gallant fellows after her.  Whatever might happen, I
resolved not to attempt to escape myself unless I could bring off the
rest of the boats or the survivors of their people with me, though, from
the fastness of my own boat, I might possibly have effected that object.
My men behaved admirably, though exposed to so hot a fire; not a murmur
escaped them at the delay, while they lay on their oars waiting for the
appearance of the missing boat.  The other two boats I saw coming on,
and they soon caught me up.  Great was my relief to see Bruton, with the
Thames's boat in tow, at the same time emerge from the darkness.  Then,
once more, away we all went together down the stream.

I own myself that, under other circumstances, I should have very much
liked to have had a shot at our pertinacious foes, and I have no doubt
so would my followers, but the knowledge that Madeline's father was
among them restrained my arm, and I felt a curious satisfaction in being
fired at without attempting to injure my assailants in return, and that
I might hereafter be able to assure him that I had not knowingly lifted
my hand against him.

We were not long about doing what I have been describing.  Had we, I do
not believe one of us would have escaped the leaden shower rattling
through the air and splashing up the water on every side, literally
wetting our faces.  I could already feel several holes in the side of my
boat close to me; then there was a deep groan of suppressed pain, but no
one ceased rowing.  On we went.  A sharp cry from one of the boats
astern of me showed me too clearly that another of my people was
wounded.  Still the boats dashed on with unabated speed.  This success
made me hope that we might still escape.  We had passed, I thought, the
greater part of the narrow portion of the river.  I had not much fear,
when we could reach the wider parts, that we should get through unless
attacked, as I have said, by a flotilla of boats.

Never did I hear such a rattle or cracking of rifles as the four or five
hundred militia and irregulars kept up on us.  However, there was
nothing derogatory to their character as marksmen that they had hitherto
done so little execution, for had they been the best sharpshooters in
the world, their science would have availed them nothing through the
pitchy darkness which happily enveloped us.

At length I fancied that I could distinguish the stream widening away
before us, and, judging from the flashes of the fire-arms, the banks
were much farther apart than before.  I was not mistaken.  With a
satisfaction I can scarcely express I saw that all our boats had come
through, but still the enemy kept up a hot fire astern of us into empty
space, evidently not knowing where we were.  My men seemed inclined to
shout when they found themselves in the wide reach of the river, but I
restrained them, not knowing what enemies might be lurking about near us
on the water.  Then we continued pulling steadily on, till here and
there I saw a light gleaming on the shore, which I calculated must come
from the town of Nansimond.  If a flotilla of boats were on the watch
for us, I thought that we should probably here encounter them--not that
I any longer despaired of escaping from them, even should they attack
us.  I had directed the officers not to attempt to retaliate unless
actually boarded, but to employ all their energies in making their
escape.  This was, of course, the wisest policy.

On we went.  The town was passed.  No boats appeared.  We were
approaching the mouth of the river.  Daylight was now breaking.  I was
only too thankful that we had not delayed till then to make our way down
the river.  Either we should all have been taken prisoners, or few if
any of us would have survived the murderous fire to which we should have
been exposed.  At length we emerged from the river and finally arrived
on board the Charon at about ten in the morning with only two people
wounded, though the upper works of our boats were riddled like sieves.

Thus ended an expedition fraught with so much personal interest to me.
We all also gained credit for our exploit.  We had completely performed
the duty for which we had been sent, having made ourselves thoroughly
acquainted with the river, and ascertained that it would be impossible
to cut out the vessels which had run up to Suffolk unless a very strong
force, if not the whole army, was to proceed up for that purpose.  More
and more as I thought over what had occurred did I pray that the war
might soon cease, and that, if Englishmen must be fighting, they might
not be called on to cross their swords with their relatives and friends.



CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR.

SENT TO HAMPTON WITH FLAG OF TRUCE.--VISIT MY FRIENDS.--
DISAPPOINTMENT.--A FORAGING EXPEDITION, IN WHICH I OBTAIN A PRONG IN THE
LEG INSTEAD OF HONOUR.--A DISASTROUS ONE MADE BY MY SHIPMATES.--A SECOND
TRIP TO HAMPTON.--ATTEMPTS ON MY LOYALTY.--EXPEDITION PROPOSED UNDER
ARNOLD.--O'DRISCOLL ACCOMPANIES ME ON A TRIP UP THE RIVER TO WARN
MADELINE.--MEET COLONEL CARLYON.--NARROW ESCAPE ON OUR RETURN.

I was to have, I found, very little time for rest or reflection.  This,
I dare say, was the better for me.  Scarcely had I breakfasted when I
was again sent for to be despatched, as I was told, on special service.
My satisfaction, however, was great indeed when I found that I was to be
the bearer of a flag of truce to Hampton, with a letter to the patriot,
or, as we called him, the rebel general commanding the district.

I was quickly ready to start.  I should now be able to send a message to
Madeline, to assure her of my safety, and perhaps to make arrangements
to keep up a regular communication with her.  On one point only was I
somewhat puzzled.  How could I speak of her without allowing it to be
suspected that she had given me the warning by which I had escaped from
the trap laid to catch me?  I had heard of the stern treatment any of
the rebels had received who had been found guilty of treachery towards
their party, even from General Washington himself, and I knew not what
construction might be put on Madeline's conduct should it be discovered.
I determined, therefore, at all events to be very cautious how I spoke
of having met her.  These thoughts occupied my mind till I landed.  I
then hired a horse and a guide, and proceeded with Tom Rockets only as
my companion, mounted on rather a sorry jade, towards Hampton.  There
were not many white men to be seen on the road.  The negroes doffed
their hats and always addressed me in a civil and friendly way.

Without any adventure I reached Hampton.  Having then delivered my
despatches I sought out the house of my new friends, the Langtons, where
I hoped that I should be able to wait till the reply was ready.  As soon
as I entered the house I was shown into the drawing-room, where the
ladies received me with the greatest kindness.  Mrs Langton assured me
that, from the way I had treated the inhabitants of Hampton the other
night, I should always be received there as a friend.  They insisted on
having dinner got ready at once for me, and I found that they were
collecting all sorts of eatables sufficient to load my horse as well as
Rockets and our guides, which they thought might prove useful.

They had heard, I found, nothing of my expedition up the Nansimond
river, and as no one could know that I was one of those engaged in it, I
considered it prudent to say nothing about the matter, and I trusted
that Madeline would remember that, unless she betrayed her secret, none
of her friends were likely to discover it.  In the course of
conversation her cousins spoke frequently of her, and I sent her several
messages.  I hoped by their tenor that she would understand that I had
not mentioned our having met.  My great hope was that Mrs Langton,
guessing how things stood, would invite her to come to Hampton, and that
I might thus have the opportunity of meeting her, should I again be sent
on shore with a flag of truce.  None but those who have been knocking
about for months and years together at sea among rough uncivilised men
can fully appreciate the satisfaction which a sailor feels in spending a
few brief hours under the soothing influence of refined female society.

It was with a feeling of undisguised annoyance that at last I received
my despatches and had to mount my horse to return.  No one would have
supposed, as my friends bade me farewell, that I was serving on the side
of their enemies, and yet I am certain that no more sincere patriots
were to be found in America, only they had the sense not to confound the
individual with the cause with which circumstances compelled him to
side.

The army, with their guns, ammunition, and stores, had now safely
disembarked, and were on their march up the banks of James river.  The
first lieutenant of the Charon, with a detachment of our men, had
accompanied them.  I was therefore selected in his place to take command
of a party consisting of a hundred seamen and marines from the different
ships of war, and to go on shore and forage for the squadron.  The
marines were commanded by a Lieutenant Brown, and I had two navy
lieutenants besides under me.  No duty I could have been ordered to
perform would have been more distasteful, yet I had no choice but to
obey and carry it out to the best of my ability.  Having landed at
Newportneuse, we began our march at eight o'clock in the morning into
Elizabeth County.  Not having been brought up like some of my Highland
friends in the art of levying black mail on my lowland neighbours, I
could not help feeling as if I had suddenly turned into a robber when I
found myself entering a farm-yard, and, without a word of explanation,
quietly collecting the cattle and pigs, or sheep or poultry, and driving
them off.  We marched about ten miles inland as rapidly as we could, and
then, facing about, swept the country before us.  On espying a farm we
surrounded it, and then, rushing in, we took prisoners all the negroes
we could find, and made them drive out the cattle and sheep.  The pigs
and poultry we killed and placed them in some carts, which, with the
horses, we carried off.  Having possessed ourselves of everything of
value in the farm, notwithstanding the indignant protestations of the
farmer's wife, for the farmer himself was away with the army, I suspect,
we proceeded onto the next farm.  This was owned by an old man with
several sons, we were informed by one of the negroes.  The sons were all
fine young men, and were either in the militia or belonging to some
irregular troops.  We expected to find only the old man at home, but as
we drew near the outbuildings a fire was opened on us from some
loop-holes in the walls.  As I had no fancy to have my men shot down I
led them rapidly round to the front and charged into the farm-yard, over
some slight barricades which had been hastily thrown up.  At the same
moment a dozen to twenty men rushed out of some sheds on one side and
attempted to drive off a herd of cattle from a pen near at hand.  I,
with Rockets and some of my people, followed them so closely that they
were compelled to leave the cattle to defend themselves.  Most of them
seemed inclined to continue their flight, but an old man, whom I took to
be the owner of the farm, exerted himself to rally them, and shouting,
"On, friends, on!  Drive back the robbers!" charged up towards us.  I
was rather ahead of my men.  Some of his people fired.  I suspect the
muskets of the rest were not loaded.  Before I had time to defend myself
the old man had his bayonet through my leg, and had I not used my
cutlass pretty smartly the rest would have finished me or carried me off
prisoner before my men could come to my rescue.  When they did come up,
they quickly put the rebels to flight, and I was not sorry to find that
his friends had dragged off the brave old man without his receiving any
injury.  We were taught a lesson by this, to be more cautious in future
when plundering the farms, lest they might be found fortified and
prepared to receive us.  My wound was bad enough to prevent me from
walking.  Hunting about, we found a horse and a saddle fitted to him, by
which means I was able to continue my progress.  On arriving at several
farms we found that, although no attempt was made to defend them, all
the cattle had been driven off and the pigs and poultry concealed.  Now
and then the grunting of a pig or the cackling of a hen betrayed the
dust-hole or cellar in which they were imprisoned.  The men were, in
most instances, absent, but the women seldom failed to abuse us in no
measured terms for our behaviour, nor could I help feeling that we
deserved everything, that was said against us.  My men, I must say,
behaved very well.  In no instance did they offer any violence to the
villagers, and when they were abused they only laughed and retaliated
with jokes, which, if not refined, were harmless.

We continued our foraging labours, (some people might have called them
our depredations), till about three o'clock in the afternoon, when I
judged that it was necessary to commence our retreat.  From the
experience I had gained I felt pretty certain that we should be harassed
on our march by the enemy.  I therefore formed my people in the best
order I could for defence.  Our six butchers, with their axes, saws, and
knives, marched ahead as an advanced guard.  We had collected in all
fifty-seven head of cattle and forty-two sheep.  These were driven by
thirty negroes and closely surrounded by the seamen, who formed the
centre.  In the rear came the marines to cover our retreat, while on
each flank I placed four marines, who were occasionally relieved from
the rear.  Brown laughed at my precautions, and said that they were
absurd and useless, and so I found did my lieutenants, but I knew that I
was right, and kept to my plan.

Had the country been open our progress would have been easy, but instead
of that it was thickly wooded, so that our order of march was constantly
broken.  I kept riding about, doing all I could to keep the people and
the cattle together; but every now and then where the wood was thickest
I could see an ox, or a cow, and a couple of sheep, slyly impelled by a
cunning negro, stealing away between the trees; and perhaps, while I
sent some of the seamen in pursuit of them, others would break away in
an opposite direction.  Of course, when the negroes were overtaken, they
always pretended to be endeavouring by lusty strokes to drive the
animals back to us, and there was little use in attempting to punish
them.  Besides this inconvenience, every now and then, whenever we had
to pass any hilly or broken ground behind which an enemy could find
shelter, we were certain to be saluted with a shower of rifle-balls.  At
first I attempted to retaliate by sending some of the marines in
pursuit, but by the time they got up to the spot from whence the shots
were fired no enemy was to be seen, and I was only too glad to get them
back without having them cut off.  This showed me that our enemies,
though persevering, were not numerous.

Considering all the difficulties I had to encounter, it is not
surprising that when we arrived at the place of embarkation our stock
had been reduced to forty-three head of cattle, with a proportionate
diminution in our sheep, though our two carts with the pigs and poultry
arrived all safe.  We embarked at seven o'clock in the evening on board
some vessels sent to carry us and the result of our foraging expedition,
to our respective ships.  I had not lost a man, and with the exception
of my own hurt, no one was wounded.  I felt sure that my success was
attributable to the dispositions I had made, and the careful way I had
effected my retreat, and that seeing me so well prepared to receive them
had prevented the enemy from attacking me.  I expressed myself to this
effect when I returned on board, but was only laughed at for my pains,
and asked what I had to fear from a few despicable rebel boors, whom a
volley would in an instant put to flight.

"Very well," said I.  "If any of you have to perform the same work, and
do not take similar precautions, depend on it you will have to rue your
neglect."

"Oh, nonsense," was the answer.  "We know what the fellows are made of.
They are not worth powder and shot."

Greatly to my annoyance, the very next day I was again directed to land
with the same number of men for the same object.  It was satisfactory to
know that the way I conducted the expedition was approved of, but yet I
would gladly have got off the duty.  Just then, finding that a flag of
truce was to be sent to Hampton, I solicited the commodore to allow me
to go on that service.

"Yes," he replied.  "The inhabitants are acquainted with you; and when
you make your appearance they will understand our dispositions are
friendly."

I was much flattered by this compliment, and still more pleased to gain
the object I had in view.  The commodore told me to direct Lieutenant
Fallock, second lieutenant of the Iris, to take charge of the foraging
party in my place.  I earnestly advised him to use the same precautions
I had on the previous day, assuring him, from the experience I had had
in the numerous expeditions I had commanded in America, that the people
would never attack a force if well prepared for resistance, and that the
wise principle the people adopted was only to fight when they could
obtain some material advantage.  Fallock smiled scornfully.  I found
that Lieutenant Brown of the marines had been talking to him and telling
him of my over-cautious and tedious way of retreating, as he called it.
I found afterwards that Brown had advised him to take only forty marines
as amply sufficient to defeat any number of the enemy likely to assemble
to attack them.  The officers who had accompanied me had also told him
that, as we had not seen more than twenty rebels in arms at a time, he
was not at all likely to encounter more than that number, though it was
improbable that any would venture to attack him.  Having urged the point
as strongly as I could, I proceeded on my mission while Fallock and his
party prepared for their expedition.

"Don't be afraid, Hurry," said Brown, whom I met as I went down the
side, "we shall return in whole skins, and bring you back a good supply
of beef and mutton."

I hired a horse and proceeded as before, without any particular
adventure, to Hampton.  Having delivered my message to the proper
authorities I went to the Langtons.

I own that as I approached the house my heart beat many times quicker
than usual, for I could not help persuading myself that Madeline might
have gone there.  When the door was opened by the black servant I tried
to discover by his countenance whether my hopes were likely to be
realised.

"Is there anybody here?"  I asked with a trembling voice.

"Oh, yes; dere be all do young ladies and Madame Langton all at home.
Glad see you, sare," was the answer I got.

I did not venture to ask more.  The drawing-room door was opened.  I
held my breath.  Her likeness was there, but she was not.  I dared not
ask for her, and I too soon found that my hopes were vain.

I found myself, however, received by the family as an old friend.  They
had heard from Madeline.  She had, with the wisdom which I felt sure
belonged to her, not mentioned having seen me.  They had, however, from
other sources heard of the expedition up the Nansimond river, and of the
courteous way, as they expressed it, in which the English had behaved
while in possession of Mrs Elbank's house.  It was reported, however,
naturally enough, that though the boats had got off, nearly all the
people in them had been killed or wounded.  I assured my friends that on
this point they were under a mistake; but as I did not like to dwell on
the subject for fear of betraying myself, I left them still unconvinced
that they were in error.

As I was wishing my friends good-bye, a gentleman came in to whom I was
introduced.  When he heard who I was, he begged that I would delay my
departure for a few minutes, saying that he would have the pleasure of
accompanying me part of the way.  Having delivered a message to the
Langtons he left the house, requesting that I would remain till his
return.  His name, my friends told me, was Sutton, and they added that
he was a friend of Colonel Carlyon's.  When I heard this, all sorts of
ideas rushed into my head, and I could not help hoping that the meeting
would be productive of some important consequence, yet how that was to
be I could not tell.  Mr Sutton soon returned booted and spurred for a
journey.

"Perhaps I may go farther than I at first proposed," he observed, as we
mounted and rode out of the town.  "I am glad to meet you, Mr Hurry,
for I have heard of you for some time past, and you have won the regard
of many patriots by the way in which you have on several occasions
behaved towards those who have fallen into your power.  I, with the
sentiments I entertain, can only wish that you served a better cause, at
the same time that I would not seek to induce you, as an officer bearing
his Majesty's commission, to swerve from the allegiance you owe him."

When Mr Sutton said this I could not help feeling that he wished to try
me, so I considered some time before I replied.  I then said--

"This barbarous war must some day be brought to an end, and then without
any sacrifice of principle I may be able not only to express the
feelings I entertain for the people of America, but to act according to
them."

"Well said, sir," he answered; "we must all eagerly look forward to that
time, and, from the way you speak, I feel sure that no temptations would
induce you to quit the cause you serve, however much you may sympathise
with those opposed to it."

"I trust not, sir," said I firmly.  "The path of honour is a very clear
one; I have always endeavoured to walk in it."

"I know you have, and perhaps you may wonder why I just now volunteered
to accompany you.  Thus far I will tell you: I wished to make your
acquaintance, and I also considered that I might be of some service to
you.  Although you bear a flag of truce, so great is the exasperation
against all those serving in arms under the traitor Arnold, that I
thought it possible you might be insulted, if not injured, by some of
the more ignorant country people."

I thanked Mr Sutton for his kindness, though I suspected that he had
other reasons for wishing to accompany me which he did not explain.  Of
course I could not ask them.  He did not mention the names of either
Colonel Carlyon or his daughter, and, much as I longed to do so, I could
not bring myself to speak of them to one who to me, at all events, was a
perfect stranger.  He soon also began to talk of affairs in general, and
proved himself a very well-informed man and an entertaining companion.
I could not help fancying at times that he was endeavouring to draw me
out, and to assure himself of what my sentiments really were.  We passed
several parties of armed men, but when they saw him they doffed their
hats, or saluted him in military style, with every mark of respect.
When within about a mile of our usual landing-place he reined in his
horse.

"I can go no farther with you," he said; "I have no wish to fall into
the power of any of Arnold's followers.  Farewell, Mr Hurry.  We may
meet again, perhaps, before long, and when we meet I trust that it will
be as we now part--as friends."

I made a suitable reply; and then, turning his horse's head, he put the
animal into a full gallop, and was soon out of sight.  It was late when
I got on board.  A gloom, such as is always felt after a disaster has
occurred hung over the ship.  The foraging party, or rather a remnant of
them, had just returned.  They had a melancholy tale to tell.  Mr
Fallock had taken the same road I had gone on my expedition, and had
succeeded in collecting a considerable number of cattle, sheep, pigs and
poultry--indeed, forage of all sorts.  All went successfully with him
and his party till they commenced their return.  Instead, however, of
marching in the proper order I had proceeded, the cattle were not kept
well together, and the men were allowed to scatter about, and, when any
of the animals strayed, to follow them to a considerable distance from
the main body.  The seamen and marines thought it very good fun, and
went shouting and laughing along, the officers totally forgetting that
they were in an enemy's country.  They had proceeded some few miles
without being molested, and were congratulating themselves on their own
wisdom, and on my folly in having taken so many unnecessary precautions,
when suddenly the crack of a rifle was heard--then another and another--
and a band of horsemen were seen galloping up and cutting down the
stragglers, who in vain attempted to make a successful resistance.
Lieutenant Brown, calling to the men near him, charged the enemy, but
the horsemen, wheeling about, left the ground clear for a body of
footmen, who, as he advanced, opened a heavy fire on him.  He was seen
to fall, as were many of those with him; the rest attempted to fly, but
the horsemen were upon them, and, with the exception of one man who got
back to the main body, they were all cut down, or compelled to yield
themselves prisoners.  Another small party had, in the meantime,
attacked the rest of the stragglers, and had prevented them from falling
back on the main body, while the greater part of the cattle were
dispersed and driven off.  Lieutenant Fallock had, while this was going
forward, called in all the remaining seamen and marines round him, and
presented as bold a front as he could to the enemy.  In spite of his
diminished numbers, and the feeling that he had been, in consequence of
his own want of forethought and foolhardiness, surprised by an enemy he
despised, he fought with the greatest coolness and bravery.  Even in
numbers he saw that the Americans were inferior to what his party had
been at the commencement of the attack, but now he had lost several of
the seamen and the greater part of the marines, and the people with him
were falling thickly from the bullets of the concealed riflemen.  His
only chance of escape was to retreat in close order, and as rapidly as
he could till he got out of the wood.  This he did, facing about, and
delivering his fire whenever an enemy appeared.  Outside the wood he
made a bold stand, and drove back his foes, keeping up a hot fire on
them till he found that his ammunition was almost expended.  Then once
more he retreated.  He had escaped without a hurt, though several shots
had passed through his clothes, and many of his people were wounded.
With the remnant he at last succeeded in reaching the landing-place,
where the boats were in waiting for him.

The next day, when I went on shore to inquire for Brown, I found that he
had just died of his wounds.  Nine marines were killed, eleven were
taken prisoners unhurt, and several more were found on the ground
wounded, while of those who got off very few escaped unhurt.  Such was
the termination of this foraging expedition--the disaster arising
entirely from the folly of the officers, who would persist, as many had
before done, in despising their enemy, and refusing to take the proper
precautions to guard against surprise.  This is only one of many
instances of a similar folly which I observed throughout the American
war.  I speak of military officers especially.  There is something in
the character of Englishmen which makes them over-confident and
foolhardy, and they will require to be taught by some very severe
lessons before they learn the importance of caution.  This want of
caution in an officer, when entrusted with the lives of brave men, is a
very great fault, and shows great folly and an unfitness for command.
The vice, I am happy to say, is not so prevalent generally in the navy.
Most spirited and dashing enterprises are undertaken, and are
successful, for the very reason that forethought is employed and proper
precautions are taken to ensure success.  Young officers are too apt to
mistake want of caution for spirit and bravery, and to despise those who
are careful and anxious for the lives as well as for the health of those
entrusted to their care.  I am now an old man, but I find these
sentiments penned in my journal, written at the time of the occurrence I
have described, and they have been still more and more impressed by the
experience of fifty years.  Since then a long, long catalogue of
melancholy disasters might be chronicled, all contributing to sully the
glory of the British arms, which have arisen from those two causes--the
neglect of proper precaution, and a foolish conceited contempt of the
enemy.

Where a subject is matter of history I need but briefly touch on it and
I have therefore often skimmed over subjects of far more importance than
those I have described.  I will now give a sketch of the proceedings of
the troops under General Arnold, and the mode in which the ships of war
were employed in assisting them.  Having marched up James river,
supported by some small ships of war, as I have before mentioned, the
general reached Burds Landing on the 6th of January, and from thence,
with only fifteen hundred men, pushed on to Richmond, the capital of
Virginia--a distance of no less than one hundred and forty miles from
the Capes of Virginia.  He defeated all the forces sent against him, and
arriving in that city, destroyed or brought off large quantities of
stores, provisions, ammunition and some guns and stand of arms,
returning to Burds Landing with the loss only of three killed and
fifteen wounded.  This was one of the most important expeditions
undertaken into the interior of the country, for all the stores I have
mentioned were destined for the supply of the southern army of the
rebels opposing Lord Cornwallis in the Carolinas.  It was followed up on
the 12th by an expedition headed by Colonel Simcoe, who with his own
corps surprised two hundred rebel militia and killed or took prisoners
about fifty of them.  On the 14th the troops moved to the town of
Smithfield, where they captured forty hogs-heads of tobacco.  On the
15th the troops evacuated Smithfield, and the squadron moved down to
Newportneuse.  On the following day that very active officer, Colonel
Simcoe, was engaged in a skirmish with the rebels, the result of which
was that he made prisoners of an officer and fifteen privates of a
militia regiment.  The occupation of Portsmouth had now, I found, been
determined on.  It stands on a southern branch of that estuary called
Hampton Roads, into which James river empties itself.  Between it and
Smithfield is the Nansimond river with Mackey's Mills situated on its
bank, about half-way up, while higher still on the West Branch was the
house belonging to Mr Elbank, where I found Miss Carlyon on the night I
and my party so narrowly escaped being cut off.  The moment the above
information reached me, and I ascertained the direction the army was to
march, I became alarmed lest they should pass near Mr Elbank's house
and take possession of it.  I knew too well what had occurred on former
occasions, and if it was known to have been occupied by Colonel Carlyon,
it would too probably be destroyed, and the inmates alarmed and
inconvenienced, if not insulted and injured.  I had every reason to
believe that Miss Carlyon was still there with her friends, unless our
visit to the place had been a warning to them to quit it.  What could I
do to save her?  I thought rapidly over the subject.  I was not long in
coming to a resolution.  I must find some means of communicating with
her.  Could I trust any one with the message?  No--at every risk I must
go myself.  Any personal danger was of course not to be taken into
consideration, and I reflected that the cause I served could, not be
injured by any information I could give her.  Besides this, in a public
point of view, I and those under my command, in our late expedition up
the Nansimond, owed her a debt of gratitude for the warning she had
given us, which we, to the best of our power, were bound to repay.
Sometimes I thought that I would go openly to the commodore and ask his
leave to go up the river to Mr Elbank's, and then again I was afraid
that by some means or other Miss Carlyon's name might become known, and
that her party might hear that she had given the information by which my
companions and I had been preserved from the ambush laid for us.  That
would expose her to an annoyance to which I would on no account subject
her.  I easily persuaded myself that I alone could properly go.  Perhaps
the prospect of seeing her biassed me.  I knew that I could depend on
assistance.  Although O'Driscoll had been less cordial with me since the
night of our expedition, in consequence of the way I had spoken to him,
I knew that he would be delighted to accompany me if I asked him; so of
course would Tom Rockets.  We had picked up, some time before, a light,
fast-pulling canoe, which a couple of hands could send along at a great
rate.  The use of this I could command.  How to get leave to quit the
ship for a night was the difficulty.  Without leave I could not go.
Neither would I tell a falsehood to obtain leave.  I resolved,
therefore, to go frankly to Captain Symonds, to plead my constant good
conduct, and to beg that he would trust me and O'Driscoll and one man
away from the ship to carry out a matter of importance.  I went to him
accordingly.  He hesitated a good deal, as I knew he would.  He asked to
have the matter more fully explained to him.  I told him that I would
rather not explain it--that should it fail, no blame might be attached
to him.

"There must be blame if I allow you to leave the ship ignorant of where
you are going, and any ill results from your expedition," he answered.

I saw that he was right.

"Well, sir, then, as you desire it, I will tell you my object, and leave
it to your generosity to allow me to accomplish it," I answered, lifting
up my head and looking boldly at him, for I felt relieved of a
difficulty.  I told him briefly the state of the case.

"I do not hesitate a moment in giving you leave, and for such an object
will gladly share the blame, if blame there be," he replied with a
well-satisfied look.

It was amusing to witness O'Driscoll's delight at the thoughts of the
expedition.

"Arrah! now, that's just as it should be!" he exclaimed; "and, my dear
boy, now, if you could but clap the sweet girl into the boat and pull
off with her, you'd be placing her out of danger, plaising yourself and
doing the right thing."

I did not argue the subject with him, as I had already done so in vain,
but I let him run on.  From the alacrity with which he set about our
preparations it might have been supposed that he was the person most
interested in the result.  A light boat was easily procured.  Rockets
was of course ready to accompany us.  We resolved to go without arms,
but to wear our uniforms that we might not be accused of being spies.  I
wrote a letter, which I kept in my pocket, addressed to Colonel Carlyon,
informing him that my object in visiting the house where he was residing
was to request him to remove his family and friends from it, lest it
should become the scene of strife between the contending parties.
Should we be taken prisoners I intended to show this and to claim his
assistance to obtain our release.  We left the ship early in the
evening, and with a fair wind our light skiff flew quickly over the
water towards the mouth of the Nansimond river.  I never saw O'Driscoll
in such high feather.  Had I been inclined to be in low spirits he would
have kept them up.  Commend me to such a companion in all cases of this
sort, he joked, he told good stories, he sang and rattled on without
cessation.  It was sufficiently dark when we neared the mouth of the
river to enable us, with our sail lowered, to enter without much chance
of being seen from the shore.  Though the wind was fair, of course after
that we could not venture to carry sail, so we took it by turns to steer
while the other two pulled.  Lights were glimmering in Nansimond as we
passed, but we gave the town a wide berth, and then had little to
apprehend except from a stray boat, till we got up to Mackey's Mills.
We kept a sharp look-out, to avoid any boat crossing or coming down the
stream.  As we glided by the mills we could hear voices of people
speaking in them, but we kept near the opposite bank, and no one, we
fancied, saw us.  Of course our oars were muffled, and as we sat as low
as we could in our little boat, very sharp eyes would have been required
to make us out.  As long as there was a flood-tide we got on very well,
but it was high water before we got to Mackey's Mills, and in a short
time a strong current set against us.  It was hard work in some spots
pulling against it; not that I minded that, but I was anxious to hurry
on to perform my mission and to assure myself that Miss Carlyon had
retired to a place of safety.  We had just got into the broader part of
the stream, when, as I peered through the darkness ahead, I fancied I
saw a large object coming right down upon us.  I instantly steered the
boat over to the north shore, and in a whisper told O'Driscoll and
Rockets to cease pulling.  I was but just in time, for immediately after
a large boat full of people hove in sight.  We could hear them talking,
and we made out that they expected an attack that very night from the
English.  Had they seen us they would probably have supposed we had been
sent in advance, and would have shot us all down.  The circumstances
made us consider how we should manage to return, for they would
certainly be on the look-out for us.  Other boats also would be coming
down, which we might have some difficulty in avoiding.  Still, what I
had undertaken I was determined to accomplish.  We pulled on without
stopping.  No other boat was seen.  At length we reached what we
believed to be the place where we had landed on the night when I had met
Miss Carlyon.  I knew it by the peculiar outline of the trees--otherwise
it might have been easily passed.  O'Driscoll agreed with me that I was
right; so, running in under the bank, we effectually concealed our boat
in the bushes, and, clambering up, stood on the open ground with the
house we were in search of at no great distance from us.  After a short
consultation O'Driscoll consented to remain near the boat with Rockets,
while I proceeded alone to the house.  If I was well received I was to
summon him.  My heart beat pretty fast as I approached the door.  It did
not occur to me till my hand was actually on the knocker that it was
nearly midnight, and that in all probability the family would be in bed.
However, I knocked with tolerable distinctness, and then waited the
result.  I saw lights gleaming at the windows, and before long a voice
in negro accents asked who was there and what was wanted.

"A messenger with important information for Colonel Carlyon or his
daughter," I answered.  "I come alone, as a friend, tell your master."

"Admit him," said a voice.

The door was opened and I entered.  Before me stood an officer in
uniform, with a brace of pistols in his belt and a sword by his side,
evidently prepared for service.  I threw open my own cloak to show what
I was, and followed the officer into a well-lighted room on one side of
the passage.  Supper was on the table, and another gentleman was in the
room.  I instantly recognised him as my companion on my ride from
Hampton.

"Ah, Mr Hurry, I am glad to see you!" he exclaimed in a cordial tone,
stretching out his hand.  "I little expected to meet you again so soon.
What brings you here?"

Now I was prepared to warn Miss Carlyon and her lady friends of danger,
but I had no intention of giving information to a stranger of the
movements of the British army.  I felt myself placed at once in a
dilemma.  I need have had no scruples on the subject, as the enemy often
knew as much about the matter as anybody else.  I hesitated before
replying.

"I came to give some information to Colonel Carlyon, on which I expected
that he and his daughter only would act," I answered.  "I have never met
Colonel Carlyon.  Do I see him now?"

"You do," said the officer to whom I had first spoken.  "I am Colonel
Carlyon, and I am glad to welcome you, sir, to thank you for the
inestimable service you have more than once rendered those dearest to
me.  Whatever you have to communicate you may say freely before this
gentleman, my most intimate friend."

Feeling that I might trust to them, I, without further delay, told them
the object of my adventure.

"You have not come alone, though," he remarked, after thanking me
cordially for the information I had given him.

I told him that O'Driscoll and Rockets were waiting for me at the boat.
He insisted on sending for them, and in a very short time they made
their appearance, and while the negro took care of my follower, we were
soon pleasantly seated at supper.  I, as may be supposed, was hoping
that I might have an opportunity of seeing Madeline.  At last I mustered
courage to ask for her.  Her father hesitated, I thought, before he
replied.  At length he said--

"Yes, she will indeed wish to thank you personally for the risk you have
run, and the exertion you have made for her sake; but I know not whether
your meeting can be productive of advantage to either of you.  A wide
gulf separates one from the other.  I know not how it can be crossed.  I
would rather, sir, that you would not insist on this interview."

He spoke, it seemed to me, in a stiff and constrained manner.  I could
only repeat what I had before said to Madeline.  "This war must before
long come to an end, and then I will come and claim her for my wife," I
answered boldly.

"Well spoken, sir," said Mr Sutton, turning to me.  "With my opinions,
I can only regret that you have to wait till the war is terminated.  I
can answer for it that Madeline would not forgive us if we sent you away
without letting you see her.  When you have finished supper, if you go
into the drawing-room, you will probably find her there."

My heart gave a jump, and as to putting another mouthful down my throat
I found it impossible.  I got up and hurried into the room I had before
met her in.  She was there.  The old negro had taken good care to tell
her of my arrival.  I will not describe our meeting, and all we said,
and the hopes we indulged in.  I was amply repaid for what I had done
for her sake.  Her father and Mr Sutton were, I found, about to start
on some expedition, but the news I brought them made them alter their
plans.  The time too soon arrived that I must take my departure.  It was
with a pang I left her, not knowing when the uncertain chances of war
would again allow us to meet.

"Remember, should you ever desire to quit the standard you now serve
under, you will be welcomed in a land of freedom, and we shall not
expect you to turn your arms against your former comrades," said Mr
Sutton, as he wished me farewell.

I felt very much inclined to quarrel with him for the remark.  It
sounded strangely like asking me to turn traitor to my country, and I
was glad that Colonel Carlyon did not repeat the remarks of his friend.
We left the family about to prepare for their departure in the morning,
while we returned to the river.  O'Driscoll said nothing till we had
once more taken our seats in the boat, and then he expressed his
disappointment at what he called the tameness of the result of our
expedition.

"Arrah, now, I thought we should have had some little fun at all
events," he exclaimed.  "I was waiting to see you appear with the lady
in your arms, and to have the old colonel with his pistols popping away
after us while we were pulling like fury for life and liberty down the
river; and after all to have it end in a quiet pleasant supper, and some
matter-of-fact conversation, is very provoking.  However, your friends
gave us some capital Burgundy, and that is some consolation."

In this strain the eccentric Hibernian ran on till I had to hint that it
would be wiser not to speak, lest we might be overheard by any of the
enemy.  He then told me that Colonel Carlyon and Mr Sutton had given
him a pass that, should we fall in with any of their party, we might not
be stopped.  We, however, proceeded as cautiously as before, for we had
no wish that our expedition should become known.  We got as far as
Mackey's Mills without meeting with any adventure.  As before, we gave
it a wide berth, for we could hear the sound of voices, and it appeared
evidently occupied by a body of men.  However, as long as they all kept
talking together they were less likely to discover us.  We paddled,
therefore, quickly and cautiously on, but without any apprehension of
being found out.  We had almost lost sight of the mill, and were
congratulating ourselves on getting clear altogether, when the stillness
of the night was broken by a loud sharp voice exclaiming--

"There they go!  Give it them, lads, give it them!  After them, after
them!"

The next moment a sharp fire of musketry was opened on us, the flashes,
however, showing that we had passed the spot where our enemies were
posted.  The balls, however, fell round us unpleasantly thick.  Then
again there was another volley, and, by the flash of the pieces, we
could see a number of men hurrying into a boat, with, we had no doubt,
the intention of pursuing us.  Our skiff pulled well.  O'Driscoll and
Rockets, who were rowing, bent manfully to their oars.  Away we flew
over the water, and though the troops on the shore still continued to
fire, the bullets happily flew wide of us.  We had a good start of the
pursuing boat.  From the glimpse we got of her she was of some size, but
if, as we hoped, she was heavy in proportion to her size, that would be
in our favour.  At all events, all we could do was to pull away with all
our might, and to keep a straight course down the river.  We could hear
the shouts of our pursuers, and of the people hailing them from the
shore.  They only induced us to make greater exertions to keep ahead of
them.  On we dashed.  In a short time we felt sure that we were already
distancing them.  Their voices grew fainter and fainter.  We got into
the broad part of the river.  We had now another chance of escape.
Should they be overtaking us, we might slip on one side, and in the
darkness and eagerness of the chase they would probably pass by without
observing us.  Still that was not our wish.  We wanted to get out of the
river without being questioned.  On we went, till we could neither see
nor hear anything of our pursuers.  At last a few lights here and there
of some midnight watchers were seen glimmering from the town of
Nansimond.  We glided by it.  We reached the mouth of the river, and not
till then did we slacken our speed.  I then relieved O'Driscoll at the
oar.  I was duly grateful for the exertions he had made for me, but I
evidently did not hold a high place in his estimation.

"Ah, you English boys don't understand how to do things!" he observed,
with a sigh.  "In ould Ireland we'd have managed an affair of the sort
very differently."

Just at daylight we got on board our ship--I, at all events, being very
well contented with the result of our expedition.  I afterwards heard
that the Americans stated that they had pursued and chased a large
British flotilla out of the river with only a couple of boats, and that
we had lost twenty men in killed and wounded.  From so slight a source
does many a tale of wonder spring.



CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE.

OPERATIONS UNDER COLONEL SIMCOE.--SENT TO MACKEY'S MILLS.--MY FRIEND'S
HOUSE SACKED.--COLONEL CARLYON TAKEN PRISONER.--RENDER HIM A SERVICE.--
TROOPS EMBARK AT NIGHT.--MY LOYALTY QUESTIONED.--MILLS BURNT.--IN
COMMAND OF RATTLESNAKE.--SAIL WITH PRIZES.--A WINTRY VOYAGE.--NEW YORK
ONCE MORE.--SERVE ON BOARD CHATHAM.--MISMANAGEMENT OF THE WAR.--REJOIN
CHARON.

I must endeavour to get on more rapidly than heretofore with my account
of public matters.  On the 18th of January the British army marched from
Smithfield southward, and the squadron moved down to Newportneuse.
Among the most active of the English officers was Colonel Simcoe.  On
the 16th he surprised and took prisoners an American officer of militia
and fifteen privates.  From the report I heard I was much in fear that
Colonel Carlyon was the officer taken, but I had no means of
ascertaining whether or not such was the case.  At all events, I hoped
that his daughter was in a place of safety.

On the 18th the army reached Mackey's Mills, and I received orders to
proceed with a detachment of boats to supply them with bread and other
provisions.  I hoped now to gain the information I was so anxious to
possess.  Our present expedition was very different to those in which I
had before been engaged.  We now went up in daylight, with a force which
no enemy was likely to attack.  Mackey's Mills were reached soon after
noon, and when I had delivered the provisions I was ordered to remain to
assist in passing the troops across the river on their way to the attack
of Portsmouth.  The embarkation was not to take place till midnight, so
I had ample time to go up the river to ascertain whether the house where
Madeline had been residing had been attacked.  O'Driscoll was ready
enough to accompany me, to give me, as he observed, one chance more of
doing the proper thing; but, before I went, I was anxious to ascertain
whether Colonel Carlyon had indeed fallen into our hands.  I had, at the
same time, no reason to fear that he would be treated harshly or with
want of courtesy.  Only, if he was a prisoner, I naturally wished to see
him, that I might offer him all the assistance in my power.  Going on
shore, after some difficulty I found out Colonel Simcoe's quarters at a
farm-house a mile away from the mills.  I introduced myself to him, and
told him my errand--that I was acquainted with Colonel Carlyon's family,
and that I wished to be of service to him.  He replied that the officer
he had taken had refused to give his name and rank to the party who had
captured him.

"I understood that he and his men were surprised," I remarked.

"Not at all," was the answer.  "He was apparently covering the retreat
of another party who appeared to have some women and other encumbrances
among them.  To do the rebel gentleman justice, he fought very bravely,
and did not yield till he was completely overpowered."

I begged that I might see the prisoner, and, after some little
hesitation on the part of the colonel, he handed me the necessary order.
Thanking him for his courtesy, I set off for the cottage used as a
prison.  It was situated a quarter of a mile nearer the mills.  A strong
guard was posted in the neighbourhood, and a couple of sentries paced up
and down before it.  I showed my order to the lieutenant in charge of
the party and was at once admitted.  I looked round the chamber.  Near a
casement window, seated on a rough stool, with a cask serving as a
table, I beheld Colonel Carlyon.  He turned his head when I entered, and
I thought that his countenance brightened when he saw me.  He rose and
held out his hand.

"I regret, sir, to see you here as a prisoner," said I.  "Hearing that
an officer had been captured, I hastened, should it prove to be you, to
offer such services as I am able to render."

"The fortune of war, Mr Hurry.  I may be thankful that I have escaped
wounds or death," he answered in a cheerful tone.  "Believe me, I am
grateful to you for this attention, and I only wish that I had the means
of showing my gratitude."

He, of course, well knew that he might some day have the power of
showing it most effectually.  My first inquiry was, of course,
respecting the safety of his daughter, and he assured me that he had
every reason to believe that she and her companions had reached the
house of some relations in the interior, and that he should have
accompanied them had he not been so hotly pursued by Colonel Simcoe's
persevering and lightly-accoutred troops.  When he heard that I had made
preparations to go up to Mrs Langton's house he exclaimed--

"You may render me a great service by so doing.  In the hurry of our
departure, in consequence of your warning, a small desk was left behind.
It contains not only money and jewels of considerable value, but some
papers of the greatest importance.  I had but just discovered my loss
when I was taken prisoner, and the only person I could have entrusted to
go in search of it was killed in the same skirmish in which I became a
prisoner."

I naturally was much pleased with this opportunity of rendering a
service to Colonel Carlyon.  I had but little time, however, left in
which to perform it.  After he had explained to me in what part of the
house I was to look for the desk, I took my departure and hastened back
to the river, where I found O'Driscoll with Rockets and two other men
waiting for me.  The tide was favourable, so that we had no difficulty
in getting there.  The scenery wore so different an aspect by daylight
to what it had done in the dark that we could scarcely recognise the
spots we passed.  We landed and approached the house.  There, indeed,
was a melancholy change.  The shrubberies had been cut down, the garden
trampled under foot, and the house itself plundered and set on fire--I
think by accident--I scarcely believe it could have been done wantonly.
I began to fear, when I saw what had occurred, that I must give up all
hopes of finding the desk of which I was in search.  O'Driscoll and I
felt very indignant when we saw the destruction which had been wrought
by our troops.

"Well, after all, war is a dirty business!" he exclaimed, after
contemplating the scene of ruin for some minutes without speaking.
"Fighting in the open field, where hard blows are given and taken, and
man meets man on equal terms, is all very well in its way.  I don't
object to sacking a town which holds out when it should have given in,
but the burning down of old ladies' houses, and injuring the property of
people who could not have caused any offence, I cannot stand.  I should
like now to discover the officer who was commanding here and allowed
this.  I would pick a quarrel with him and call him out to a certainty."

My friend had certainly curious notions, not uncommon among his
countrymen in these days.  Sad, indeed, was the scene of havoc and
destruction which met our gaze on every side, not only about the house,
but in the fields and cottages in the surrounding country--war's
melancholy consequences.  We had no time to contemplate it.

"Come, O'Driscoll," said I, "we will search through the ruins for my
friend's case, but I scarcely expect to find it."

"Something like looking for a needle in a rick of hay," he answered;
"or, rather, far more hopeless, for it is very unlikely that the case
should have escaped being burnt or carried off."

O'Driscoll, Rockets and I hunted in different directions.  I first
endeavoured to find the room which Colonel Carlyon had described to me.
That portion of the house had not suffered so much as the rest; most of
the flooring of the room was burnt, but the fire had been extinguished
before the whole had been consumed.  I climbed up to it, not without
risk, for the burnt rafters gave way under my feet.  I knew the room
from the position of the window, which looked into a little courtyard.
A portion of the furniture had escaped, though blackened and disfigured.
My hopes revived as to finding the desk.  I hunted eagerly round.  It
was too evident that everything considered of value had been carried
away.  I was about to scramble down again by the way we had come up when
I bethought me of looking out of the window for the enjoyment of the
prospect, which was a very beautiful one.  Woods, fields, the terraced
garden, distant hills, and the river rushing by were well combined to
form it.  As I looked out, my eye fell on a heap of rubbish in one
corner of the courtyard, with burnt and broken pieces of furniture, and
I fancied that I saw the edge of such a case as I was in search of
sticking out from among them.  I quickly descended and found my way to
the spot.  I eagerly pulled out the object I had seen.  It was a
peculiarly old-fashioned, unattractive-looking case, and from its
outward appearance no one would have supposed that it contained objects
of value.  I felt sure that I was right, and that I had got the object I
was seeking.  I sang out to O'Driscoll, who after a little time heard my
voice and was delighted at my good fortune.  Calling Rockets, we then
hurried back to the boat.  There was no time to be lost, for night was
coming on; we had a long pull before us, and I was anxious to deliver
the case to Colonel Carlyon without delay.  After this I had to assist
in getting the boats ready for the embarkation of the troops.  Away we
pulled.  O'Driscoll was in high feather, laughing and joking to his
heart's content.

"You're in a fair way now, at all events, to win the lady, my boy," said
he.  "Only just keep moving, and put yourself under my guidance.  We
must soon knock this rebellion on the head, and then, do ye see, you can
step in and be of still greater service to the father and the family,
and claim your reward.  Oh! it's beautiful.  I see it all now as clear
as a pikestaff."

Certainly, we neither of us at the time thought what a different turn
affairs were to take from what he was then calculating on.  Yet, I must
own, I had even then my misgivings on the subject.  As soon as we
landed, I hurried as fast as my legs could carry me to the cottage where
Colonel Carlyon was kept a prisoner.  His satisfaction was very great
when I delivered the case to him, and the way in which he expressed his
gratitude was manly and cordial in the extreme.

"It is useless for a prisoner to make promises, which, should your party
finally triumph, he may never be able to fulfil," he observed with a
grave look.  "In the latter case, those taken with arms in their hands
may be hung, drawn and quartered as traitors, in accordance with the
time-honoured custom of our fathers.  If the patriots are victorious,
the prisoners will be liberated with all the honours which can be
showered on them, and I may have the satisfaction of proving that I am
not ungrateful for what you have done for me and mine."

I found some difficulty in answering properly to these remarks.  I could
not say that I wished the royal cause not to succeed, and yet I
certainly did not desire to see the Americans completely defeated and
humbled.  I therefore said--

"I trust that a peace, honourable to both parties, may ere long be
established, and that the Americans may gain to the full what they
consider their just rights."

"That will never be unless victory smiles on our arms," he replied with
a faint smile.  "We must conquer to obtain our rights.  What has
hitherto been denied will never be otherwise granted."

I looked at my watch.  I found that I must hasten back to the boats.

"Farewell, sir!"  I said.  "I have duties to which I must attend at
present, but I will endeavour, if possible, to see you again before I
return to my ship."

"Stay one moment," said he; "I would ask you to ascertain from our
friends at Hampton if they have received positive information as to the
safety of my daughter and her relatives.  When you gain it send me word,
and you will add to the weight of the debt of gratitude I already owe
you."

He said this in a stiff way, as if unwilling to give me the task.  This
I thought but natural.  Though I was conferring obligations on him, my
position as a poor lieutenant was unaltered, and I knew that he could
not desire to entrust his daughter's happiness to my charge, even should
peace be established.  It was almost the hour appointed for the
embarkation of the troops when I got down to the river.  So well had our
arrangements been made, that I doubt whether the enemy knew what we were
about.  There is something particularly exciting and wild in the
movement of a large body of armed men at night.  I could not help
remarking the scene in which I was taking so active a part.  Rapidly
flowed by the dark river; boats crowded with men and horses were
continually passing, while others were returning empty for a further
supply; people with torches were stationed on both banks of the river,
to enable the soldiers, as they came down, to take their proper places
in the boats, the lights from the flaming brands throwing a ruddy glare
over the stream, and making the tall buildings of the mills stand out
prominently from the dark forest in the background.  All night long the
work was going on, for it was a slow process to get across horses,
artillery and ammunition, provisions and baggage.  The first thing in
the morning, after his men had rested but a couple of hours, the
indefatigable Colonel Simcoe set off towards Portsmouth to summon the
town to surrender.  At 2 p.m. the army began their march, and arrived
before the place the following day, when the inhabitants, finding that
resistance was useless, surrendered at discretion.  I endeavoured to
ascertain where Colonel Carlyon and the other prisoners had been placed,
but was unable to discover any clue to their place of imprisonment.  As
soon as the rear of the army was out of sight, all the officers
commanding boats assembled on board a brig, which had been captured in
the Nansimond river, previous to returning to our ships.  It was with
much regret that I heard it proposed to burn Mackey's Mills, and to
ravage the country round, in consequence of the attack which had been
made on our boats.  I opposed the suggestion with all my might.  I said
that I thought it a wanton destruction of property, that would in no way
advance our cause, and would certainly exasperate the sufferers against
us.  Not only were my counsels disregarded, but several remarks were
made hinting pretty broadly that I was too friendly disposed towards the
enemy.  I had to stand a severe fire from several of my
brother-officers.  Some, among whom was O'Driscoll, began to joke, and I
took it very ill from him, as he knew the depth of my sentiments, and I
considered his conduct a breach of confidence.  Others went on from
joking to make more serious remarks, which I felt reflected on my
honour, so much so that I rose up and declared that if another
observation of the sort was ventured on by any present, I must insist on
settling the matter at another time and place.  Some held their peace
after this, but some continued to talk of officers showing lukewarmness
and want of loyalty to the king's cause, and to declare that such had
better declare themselves to be the rebels they were at heart.

The last man who spoke was a Lieutenant Dawson.  I was surprised that he
should venture to speak thus, for he was a man of whose spirit or
courage I had but a mean opinion.  My impulse was to throw a
pocket-pistol I seized hold of across the table at his head, but I
restrained my anger.  Though he was my junior in the service, we were
engaged on public duty together, and, under these circumstances, it was
a serious matter for one officer to strike another, even in those days.

"Mr Dawson, you must know what you say is false, sir," I exclaimed.
"Can any one here say that I have been slack in my duty--that I have
ever shown the white feather--that I have ever done anything derogatory
to the character of an officer and a gentleman?  If no one here condemns
me--then, sir, I shall make you eat your words, and acknowledge that the
insinuations on which you have ventured were most foul and unjust."

No one spoke.  Dawson looked confounded.

"No one condemns me," I added.  "That is well; but will no one speak in
my favour--will no one say that, to the best of his knowledge, I have
never failed in my duty, or acted otherwise than as a British officer
ought to act?"

"In faith, Hurry, I'll speak in your favour, my boy, and gladly too,"
cried O'Driscoll, with all the enthusiasm of which his warm heart was
capable.  "If every one fought as well, and did their duty as completely
as you do, we should have had this war over long ago--that's my belief;
and small blame to you if you think a pair of bright eyes in this
western hemisphere brighter than any to be found in the old country;
besides, you've never been in my part of Ireland, or you might be of a
different opinion.  Now, gentlemen, if any one has anything to say
against Mr Hurry, then let him say it to me.  I'll settle the matter
for him."

This diversion of O'Driscoll's completely silenced all opposition to me,
and Dawson, not wishing to come into a personal conflict with my
hot-headed though warm-hearted Irish friend, slunk out of the cabin.

I was, however, left in a decided minority with respect to an attack on
the mills, which it was determined forthwith to destroy.  I was of
course under the orders of the commanding officer of the brigade of
boats, who happened to be Lieutenant Edwards, first of the Charon, so
that I had no choice but to obey.  As soon as our crews had taken some
refreshment we pulled away in battle array for the mills.  A few
irregulars and armed peasantry, who had entered the place when the army
had quitted it, were speedily put to flight when we landed.  Piles of
brushwood were collected and heaped up inside the building in different
parts of it.  Fire was set to them, and rapidly the flames burst forth,
and, catching the dry wood-work of the mills, were soon seen climbing up
from storey to storey, twisting themselves in and out of the windows,
and encircling the beams and rafters in their deadly embrace.  I never
saw any building so rapidly consumed.  Higher and higher rose the
devouring flames; down came tumbling the roof and lofty walls; with loud
crashes the floors fell in; showers of bright sparks flew on every side,
and nothing but a mass of burning ruins--a huge bonfire--remained before
us.  The men shouted when they saw the destruction they had caused, like
mischievous schoolboys.  They little thought or cared to whom the
property belonged, or who were the sufferers.  They would just as
readily have burnt it had it belonged to royalists.  They enjoyed the
sight of the conflagration--the effects of their own handiwork.  Many of
the officers, too, shouted and clapped their hands, and seemed to take
as much pleasure in the mischief they were producing as the men; but
this might have been a mere exhibition of their loyalty and patriotism.
Having thus effectually destroyed the mills, our commanding officer
ordered us to march into the interior to forage, or, in other words, to
plunder any farms the army had spared, and to commit any other acts of
mischief the time would allow.  I need not enter into particulars.
Cattle we spared, as we could not carry them off, but we collected sheep
and pigs and fowls wherever we could find them.  To this, of course, I
could not object, as provisions were necessary; but at length we came to
the house of a gentleman--a colonel of militia we were told--and, though
no defence of it was attempted, it was proposed to burn it to the
ground.  Against this further wanton destruction of property I loudly
protested--

"It has lately been said that I am a friend of the rebels," I exclaimed.
"That I deny; but I do not deny that I am ashamed to see my countrymen
destroy the property of people who make no resistance, and who are
Englishmen as much as we are.  Such conduct can only cause a bitter
hatred to spring up in the breasts of the sufferers, which will make
them refuse ever again to become our fellow-subjects and friends."

Mr Edwards did not at all like my interference; but my remonstrance had
an effect, and though he allowed the house to be plundered, and the
furniture to be destroyed, he soon after ordered a retreat, observing
that he could not depend on my co-operation or assistance.  The owner of
the house, as it turned out, was in the neighbourhood, with a
considerable body of men, and he very nearly succeeded in inflicting a
severe retaliation on us by surprising and cutting off our party.
However, we discovered his approach in time to get into order, and,
though he and his men followed us for some way, we kept him at bay, and
reached the river without loss.  Lieutenant Edwards at once returned on
board our ship in the Charon's barge, leaving me in command of the
boats--directing me to land and forage at any convenient spot towards
the mouth of the river.  Here again, however much against my
inclination, I must obey orders.  We had observed a large farm a little
above the town of Nansimond.  As we proceeded down the river we suddenly
pulled in towards the shore.  Sixty men, without a moment's delay, ran
on and surrounded the farm before the inmates had time to drive away any
of the stock, or, indeed, had perceived our approach.  We soon collected
everything eatable on which we could lay hands, and were in our boats
and away again before any force had time to assemble from the
neighbourhood to attack us.  Such was the system of warfare which I
believe General Arnold recommended and encouraged--the most galling and
injurious to the unhappy colonists.  We got on board our ships by
midnight, with provisions sufficient to supply all the ships' companies
for a couple of days.

The Rattlesnake, a ship pierced for fourteen guns, but mounting ten
three-pounders and six swivels, had been captured at Portsmouth, and the
next morning I received orders to take command of her, to fit her for
sea, and to hold myself in readiness to proceed with charge of all the
rest of the prizes to New York.

The army was at this period employed in throwing up works for the
defence of Portsmouth, and in making excursions into the surrounding
country to crush, it was said in the despatches, any embers of rebellion
which might yet be smouldering there.  As I have before remarked, the
way taken to produce the desired result was anything but effectual.  I
was very nearly being deprived of my new command in a somewhat summary
way by the sinking of my vessel.  A terrifically heavy gale of wind
sprang up on the night of the 21st, and first driving one of the larger
prizes foul of her, which carried away my fore and cross-jack yards,
fore channels, both quarters and best bower-anchor, (such a grinding and
crushing and crashing I never before got on board any craft); scarcely
was she clear when another craft came thundering down aboard of me, and
very nearly completed the work which the other had commenced.  However,
I did manage to swim while several other vessels drove on shore and
were, with all their crews, lost.  For several days after that I was
employed in refitting my ship for sea.

On the 25th I proceeded with my convoy of prizes to Portsmouth, and when
there, General Arnold sent for me and informed me that the commodore had
assured him I should immediately sail in the Rattlesnake for New York
with despatches for Sir Henry Clinton.  After he had handed me his
despatches I took my departure.  He informed me of their contents that,
should I be compelled to throw them overboard, I might be able to give a
verbal report to Sir Henry of the wants of the army.  Those wants were
not a few.  More guns, ammunition, food and clothing,--all were
required.

On reaching Sewel's Point, where I brought up to receive the commodore's
despatches, I was surprised to receive an order to return immediately
and to give back those entrusted to me by General Arnold.  This order
originated, I afterwards discovered, in consequence of some
unaccountable disagreement which had arisen between the general and the
admiral.  General Arnold said nothing when I gave him back his
despatches, but he looked not a little angry and astonished.  When the
heads fell out it is not surprising that want of success was the result
of their undertakings.  My journal is full of various little incidents
which happened at this time.  The Charlestown and Hope captured in the
Chesapeake a rich fleet of eight rebel merchantmen bound for the
Havannah.  The lieutenant of the Swift was made prisoner in consequence
of an illegal use of a flag of truce.  Several officers and men were
blown up when chasing a rebel brig, and an artillery officer, heading a
foraging party, was killed.  The squadron was kept on the alert by an
account brought by the General Monk sloop-of-war of a French ship of the
line and two frigates having sailed from Rhode Island, it was supposed,
for the Chesapeake.

Once more, on the 31st, the old Charon, during a heavy gale of wind,
drove on shore, but by great and prompt exertion was got off.  To keep
her in countenance, when on the 5th of February I sailed with my prizes
under convoy of the Charlestown for New York, on going down the West
Branch I also got on shore, but succeeded in quickly getting off again.
I had no little trouble in keeping the prizes in order.  The Americans
left on board one of them persuaded the people to side with them, and
they ran her on shore, purposing to give her up to the rebels.  I went
in chase of her, fired several shots into her, and then, manning one of
my boats, boarded her, captured her crew, who had been unable to escape,
and got her off, made sail with my recaptured prize, and rejoined the
fleet at midnight, when I put the mutineers on board the Charlestown, to
be dealt with according to martial law.

On the 11th, at night, finding the "Langolee," one of my prizes, some
distance astern, and suspecting that she was about to give us the slip,
I dropped astern, and, taking her in tow, brought her into the middle of
the fleet.  At midnight, however, a heavy gust of wind compelled me to
cut the hawser and clap before it.  With the small crew I had I found no
little difficulty in handing my sails, which, after some time having
done, I struck topgallant yards and masts and lay-to under a
close-reefed mainsail.  Once having made the ship snug I endeavoured to
discover the whereabouts of the rest of the convoy, but not a trace of
them could I discover.  I hoped, however, with the morning light to make
them out.  When the cold-grey dawn spread over the ocean and I went
aloft not a sail was in sight.

"This is no great misfortune," said I to Grampus when I came on deck.
"The Rattlesnake is a prime sailer, and by taking advantage of the winds
we shall reach New York much sooner than if we had been obliged to whip
up the convoy.  We are a match, too, for any of the smaller rebel
vessels we are likely to fall in with, and we must run away from the
bigger ones."

"That may be, sir," answered the old man, "but d'ye see, sir, I've no
great opinion of this here craft if it was to come on any long course of
bad weather.  I've a notion she's an old craft, and I doubt much the
soundness of her timbers and planks."

I was rather inclined to laugh at Nol's prognostication, and thought no
more about his remarks.  Before, however, many hours had passed, the
gale, which had hitherto been blowing pretty steadily, increased in
fury; the sea ran very high, and the spray, as it broke on board, froze
hard on deck and sheathed the rigging in ice.  When short-handed this is
very trying, as double the strength is required to make the running
rigging work.  Happily we were under snug canvas, for I do not think we
could have made or shortened sail.  Towards evening Grampus came up to
me with a look of concern in his countenance.

"I told you so, sir," he said, touching his hat.  "The old ship has
sprung a leak.  She has not lost time in letting in the water, for there
are four feet already in the hold."

Immediately on hearing this appalling news I gave orders to man the
pumps, but it was at once found, to our further dismay, that they were
useless, for they were choked with ice.  Since the gale sprang up we had
been unable to light a fire.  In vain for a long time we tried.  Without
boiling water or a hot iron it was impossible to clear the pumps.  The
water was rapidly gaining on us.  There seemed every probability of the
ship sinking under our feet.  Such has been the fate of many poor
fellows--to have gone down in a cold, icy sea, hope and help far away.
Such was the risk I had often before run, but never before had the
expectation of it been brought so prominently before me.  Never before
had I, it seemed, so much to lose.  Never so much to which to look
forward with hope.  Our efforts to light the fire became more and more
frantic.  At last I bethought me of applying salt to the ice in the
pumps.  We fortunately had a good supply of it on board.  By forcing the
salt down with a long iron the ice was melted, and the pumps at length
got to act.  Frantically we pumped away with our two pumps.  We sounded
the well; the water had decreased.  This gave us courage to continue our
exertions.  At length we were able to keep the ship free.  Still the
gale continued, and I had my apprehensions, from the condition of the
ship, that another leak might yet be sprung and all our efforts prove
vain.  Even a winter gale of wind in those latitudes off the American
coast must come to an end, and this, by the morning of the 5th,
sufficiently abated to allow me to set the fore and main stay-sails.  I
then stood towards the land.  At noon Rockets came into my cabin, where
I had gone to snatch a few minutes' sleep, and reported a ship and two
schooners in sight.

"An enemy, I'll warrant," I said to myself testily.  "I shall be driven
out to sea again, or perhaps, after all, fall into their hands."

Still I stood towards them, ready to make all sail to escape should my
suspicions be realised.  I could not make them out.  When I got within
signalising distance I made the private signal, and great was my
satisfaction to find in answer that the ship was the Charlestown, and
the schooners two of the convoy.

The next day we made the high land of Neversink, and that evening
reached the entrance of New York harbour.  It was with the greatest
difficulty, however, that we could work our way into it, so full was it
of floating ice, through which it was often scarcely possible to steer.
The other prizes which had parted company with me in the gale arrived
all safe three days afterwards.  The accommodations of one of the
prizes, the Charity Brig, being much superior to those of the
Rattlesnake, I took up my quarters on board her.  I invited also some of
the more gentlemanly and pleasant of the midshipmen to live on board her
also, so that we were able to form an agreeable society among ourselves.
At New York there was none in which we could mix with any satisfaction.
Whenever I went on shore I did not fail to visit the house of my old
Dutch friend, the widow Von Tromp.  It was already so crowded with
soldier officers that I could not live there altogether, had I been so
disposed, but in truth I preferred remaining on board ship with my
brother-officers.  As I was allowed a guinea a day for my table I was
able to live in comparative luxury and comfort.

On the 10th we began to discharge our prizes, which were loaded with
tobacco.  On clearing the Rattlesnake I had indeed reason to be thankful
that I and those who had been with me on board were still in the land of
the living.  Her entire bottom was completely rotten, and all who saw
her were astonished that she had made the passage from Portsmouth to New
York.  It seemed a miracle that the water had been kept out of her.  Her
whole bottom had to be replanked before she was again fit to put to sea.
This is only one of the numberless escapes from destruction which I
have had during my life.

The widow Von Tromp was delighted to see me, and especially interested
in all I had to tell her.  I was amused with her notions about the war.
Her sympathies were evidently with the American party, but at present
she assuredly reaped no small profit from the custom which the military
brought to her house.  She tried sore to reconcile the two opinions--she
wished well to the patriots, and yet she was in no hurry to see the war
brought to an end.  Often since have I seen people on more serious
matters halting between two opinions.

"Ah me, Mr Hurry, I wish the war were ended and my dear friends from
the south would come back, but den dees nice young officers all go away
and I see dem no more!  Oh, it is vary sad, vary sad!" she used to
exclaim, after descanting on the liberality of her guests.  "But den you
come back, Mr Hurry; member dat.  You always come and see de widow Von
Tromp."

Of course I promised, and intended faithfully to fulfil my promise,
little dreaming at that time the course which events would take.

Having discharged faithfully and, as I hoped, to the satisfaction of all
concerned, the duty on which I had been sent, I requested the commanding
officer of the port that he would enable me and my people to return to
the Charon by the first opportunity.  Just as I had done so I called on
board the Chatham, now commanded by my old friend Captain Hudson, with
whom I sailed in the Orpheus.  He received me most kindly, and informing
me that two of his lieutenants were sick in the hospital, requested that
I would perform the duty of first lieutenant on board till I could
rejoin my own ship.  Anxious as I was, for private reasons, to get to
the south, I could not refuse his request.  I accordingly at once went
on board with my people and commenced the duty of first lieutenant, and
pretty hard duty it was; but it is a satisfaction to me to feel that I
never refused, during the whole course of my naval career, any duty
offered me, however hard or irksome it might have promised to be.

On the 18th of March we sailed from Sandy Hook for the southward, having
under our orders the following fleet, viz. Chatham, Roebuck, Raleigh,
Bonetta, Savage, Halifax, Vulcan, fire-ship, with a number of
transports, which had on board two thousand troops under the command of
General Phillips, who had not long before been released by a cartel
concluded a few months previously with the enemy.  We were going, I
found, to the assistance of General Arnold, who was under very serious
apprehensions of being overwhelmed by a French fleet with an expedition
on board, which it was supposed had sailed from Rhode Island to attack
him.

On the 18th we spoke the Pearl and Iris, from which ships we learned
that an action had been fought a few days before between the British
fleet, under Admiral Arbuthnot, and the French fleet from Rhode Island.
Although pretty fairly matched as to numbers the general opinion was
that the English ships should have done much more than they did.  They
drove back the French and prevented them from reaching the Chesapeake
before our arrival, but not a Frenchman was sunk or taken, whereas I
believe that Admiral Arbuthnot might have followed, cut up, and
dispersed the whole French squadron had he possessed the spirit which
should animate the bosom of every officer in the service.  His only
excuse was that some of the ships under his command had suffered in the
late hurricane, and that the crews were worn out in their exertions to
repair damages and put again to sea.  I would gladly see the accounts of
such engagements expunged from the annals of English history.

We arrived at Lynhaven Bay in the Chesapeake on the 28th, and found
Admiral Arbuthnot's squadron lying there repairing the damages of the
late action.  On the next day I rejoined the Charon, having been absent
from her nine weeks.  I was now in hopes of being able to get on shore
to make inquiries for Colonel Carlyon and his daughter, but as I found
that we were every moment expecting to sail in search of the French
fleet I was compelled to restrain my impatience and to endure as I best
could all the anxiety I felt about them.



CHAPTER TWENTY SIX.

A CRUISE.--LEAVE THE CHESAPEAKE.--NEW YORK.--PRESS-GANGS AT WORK.--CRUEL
SCENES.--EVIL TIDINGS FROM HOME.--BRITISH TAKE POSSESSION OF YORK
TOWN.--PREPARATIONS FOR DEFENCE.--A DANGEROUS TRIP.--MORE LOSSES--A
NARROW ESCAPE.--SLIGHT HOPES OF SUCCESS.

At this period of the American war both parties seemed so equally
balanced that it appeared doubtful which after all would come off
successful in the contest.  The superior discipline of the British, and
the experience and talent of their generals, had frequently obtained for
them the victory in the expeditions which had of late been undertaken.
General Arnold's plans had hitherto never failed in Virginia.  Lord
Rawdon had obtained a considerable advantage over General Greene in
South Carolina, while it was hoped, from the bravery and talent of Lord
Cornwallis, that he would carry everything before him in North Carolina.
He had been posted at Wilmington in the southern part of that province.
His supplies however failing, he took the bold resolution of marching
through North Carolina to join Generals Phillips and Arnold at
Portsmouth.  Sir James Wright held the town of Savannah in Georgia, and
Colonel Cruger the important post of Ninety-six in South Carolina.  New
York and the country in the immediate neighbourhood was in possession of
the British, and at that city Sir Henry Clinton, as Commander-in-chief
of the British Army in North America, held his head-quarters.

The British forces however, it will thus be seen, were broken into small
divisions and stationed at posts so much apart as to be of little mutual
assistance.  The war thus raged pretty equally in South Carolina, North
Carolina, and Virginia, and while the force seemed everywhere sufficient
for destroying considerable tracts of country, and accumulating a great
deal of spoil, it was wholly inadequate to the main purpose of bringing
matters to a conclusion.  Thus numbers of brave men lost their lives
without any equivalent result, and veteran battalions were worn down by
fruitless exertions of valour, and by a series of most brilliant
successes which produced no permanent result.  On the other hand,
although the French had landed a small army under the Marquis de la
Fayette, the American forces were mostly ill-disciplined and
disorganised, and although it cannot be said that they were favourable
to the English, they were discontented with the treatment they were
receiving from their own government, many of them being ill-paid,
ill-clothed, and often but scantily fed.  The unsuccessful attempt of
the French fleet to enter the Chesapeake was also a great damper to the
patriot cause.

At this time the American forces were separated into as many divisions
as the English.  General Greene commanded in the Carolinas, the Marquis
de la Fayette was in Virginia, and watched the banks of the James River,
to prevent the further advance of the British in that direction, while
General Washington himself remained with another army in the north, his
head-quarters being Newport in Rhode Island.  Soon after this General
Phillips died, and General Arnold, greatly to the disgust of our
officers, who did not at all like serving under him, would have had the
command, had not Lord Cornwallis arrived with his army from the south at
Portsmouth.

Such was the state of affairs on shore.  At sea the British arms were in
most instances victorious.  While the Marquis de la Fayette was hovering
about General Arnold in the hopes of cutting him off by land, the French
expedition to the Chesapeake, concerted at Rhode Island by Monsieur de
Ternay and the Count Rochambeau was, as I have described, defeated by
the fleet of Admiral Arbuthnot.  The British also were collecting a
large fleet to be ready to encounter one which was expected on the coast
of America from the West Indies under the Count de Grasse.

The war was no longer confined to one be