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´╗┐Title: Washed Ashore - The Tower of Stormount Bay
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 "Washed Ashore - The Tower of Stormount Bay" ***

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Washed Ashore; or, The Tower of Stormont Bay, by W.H.G. Kingston.


This is a fairly short book, and probably an easier read for the younger

Jack is a young member of a respectable family living in Stormount
Tower, on the south coast of England.  Unfortunately the silly boy got
himself involved with the smugglers, who got caught.  This of course
would have been a hanging offence, but Jack manages to go to sea aboard
the "Truelove", which, it is later heard, is lost at sea.

Folk at home long to see him again, but meanwhile there are some strange
goings-on, involving ghosts, kidnaps, strange noises, secret tunnels,
and smugglers' caves.

Eventually some of the local young men sail to the Pacific, hoping to
find where the "Truelove" had gone down, and hoping above all to find
young Jack.  After some misses they eventually manage to get some useful
information, and from this they are able to find Jack, and bring him
home to his family.





There was an old grey weather-beaten stone tower standing on the top of
a high rocky promontory, which formed the western side of a deep bay, on
the south coast of England.  The promontory was known as the Stormy
Mount, which had gradually been abbreviated into Stormount, a very
appropriate name, for projecting, as it did, boldly out into the ocean,
many a fierce storm had, age after age, raged round its summit and
hurled the roaring, curling waves into masses of foam against its base,
while the white spray flew in showers far above its topmost height.  To
the west of Stormount, the coast was rocky and fringed by numerous
reefs, while on the further side of the bay, also formed by a
promontory, less in height than that of Stormount, it consisted of
cliffs, broken considerably however by chines and other indentations,
and pierced here and there by caverns, some close down to the water, and
others high up and almost inaccessible from below.  Inland, the country
was sparsely cultivated--open downs and fern and gorse-covered heaths
prevailing.  The more sheltered nooks in the bay contained a few
fishermen's cottages, pitched here and there wherever the ground
favoured their erection, with very little regard to symmetry or order.
Nearer to the water were boat-sheds, and stakes, and spars, on which
nets were spread to dry or to be repaired.

But the old stone tower of Stormount claims our attention.  It was of
considerable circumference, three stories in height, the walls massive
and substantial, the strongest gales could not shake it, nor any blasts
find entrance.  The tower had been the donjon-keep of the ancient
castle, part of the wall of which attached to the tower, had of late
years been roofed over, and formed a portion of a dwelling-house and
offices, the main portion being in the keep itself.  The appearance of
the tower from the outside, though highly picturesque, was bleak and
comfortless, and gave a stranger the idea that it was more fitted for
the habitation of sea-gulls and other wild fowl, than for the abode of
man.  But those who had once entered within its portal came out with a
very different notion.  And on a stormy, long winter night, when the
wind whistled and the waves roared, and all was darkness around, and the
entrance to the bay, easily enough seen in daylight, was difficult to be
found, a bright light streamed forth from an upper window of the old
tower, sending its rays far off over the troubled ocean, cheering the
passers by, a warning to some of neighbouring dangers, a guide and
welcome to those who might be seeking shelter from the gale.

People are occasionally met with in this world very like that old
tower--rough and weather-beaten on the outside, yet with warm hearts and
genial dispositions, cheering and encouraging the wanderer, blessings to
all with whom they come into contact.  The old tower was inhabited, and
about its inmates we have still more to say than about the tower itself.
Five miles to the eastward of the tower was a Revenue Station, and
fifteen years or so before the time of our history commences, the
command was held by an old Lieutenant Cumming, who had obtained it, he
used with a touch of satire to tell his friends, as a recompense for
forty years' services and numerous wounds in fighting his country's

He was one day standing on the beach, when a cutter brought up in the
bay, and her boat soon afterwards came on shore with a passenger.  No
sooner did the old lieutenant see him than he hurried to the boat, and
grasping his hand as he stepped on shore, exclaimed, "Welcome, welcome,
old shipmate; I knew, Askew, that you would find me out some day; and so
you have; come along!"

Towards his cottage near the beach the old lieutenant and his friend
bent their steps, the former assisting the new comer, who having lost a
leg, walked with difficulty--a seaman following with a small
well-battered valise.  Didn't the old shipmates talk as they sat
together during their supper!  Many a battle they fought over again, and
Commander Askew had besides to talk of his own doings since last they
parted.  He told his friend how in lashing the enemy's bowsprit to the
mizen-mast of his own ship, his leg had been shattered, and how he held
on to the task till he had done it, and then sank fainting on the deck.
He did not utter an expression like a boast, though he thoroughly
possessed the characteristics of the true-hearted naval officers of the
old school, who feared God, did their duty like lions, and said very
little about it.  He spoke, too, of a promise he had made to a brother
officer, who lay dying in the cot next to him, and how he had fulfilled
it (the request was common in those days), "Jack, you'll keep an eye on
my wife and little girl, I know you will."

"Cheer up, Tom, don't be cast down about that matter, God knows that
I'll try and do the best I can for them."

That was all that passed.  John Askew did do his best.  He found his
late friend's widow dying, and the orphan girl, not a child, but a young
woman, without a friend in the world besides him.  He looked about to
find a husband for her.  To those eyes who could only see the pure
bright loving spirit beaming through her countenance, she appeared
plain.  In vain Jack looked for what he sought.  "Why don't you marry
her yourself?" said a friend.

Jack said that he was much too old for Margaret Treherne.  However, he
put the matter before her.  Her heart leaped with joy as she thought how
she should now be able to devote her life to the comfort of her generous
benefactor.  A truly happy couple were Captain and Mrs Askew.  He had
lately got his promotion to the rank of Commander, and was now in search
of a house in sight of the ocean he loved so well, where he might live a
retired life and bring up the two children God had given him.

"Fit up Stormount Tower," said his friend, half in a joke, "the rent
will be nominal, and you'll have as much of the sea as you can desire."

The next day the two brother officers walked over to inspect the tower.
The captain decided that he could soon make it comfortable, and
accordingly went on to see the proprietor, Mr Ludlow.  Mr Ludlow, who
resided on his somewhat extensive but barren estate, was glad to find a
tenant willing to help to keep the old walls from tumbling down, and who
might also prove a pleasant neighbour.  In a short time the old tower,
under the captain's directions, was put into a habitable condition, and
well caulked, as he observed, when he surveyed the work.  The furniture
was of a modest description, for the captain's means were small.  When
all was ready, he went away and returned with his wife and two
children--one a boy, four years old, and the other a little girl.  The
boy was named after his father, John, though he was generally known as
Jack Askew; the daughter was called Margaret, but more frequently spoken
of as Margery Askew.  An old follower of the captain's came with him--
Tom Bowlby was a sailor of the old school, and knew as little of the
shore as a whale does of the inside of Saint Paul's.  He loved the
captain as a father, and would have been ready to die to save his life.
He had saved it once, by interposing his own arm, which he lost in
consequence, and Captain Askew resolved that, should he ever have a
home, Tom should share it with him.

Jack Askew grew up a fine bold, generous-hearted boy, and what was
better still, fearing and loving God as did his father and mother.  In
his childhood's days, when not with his parents, he was under Tom's
entire charge; but as he grew older the old sailor found it impossible
to follow him in his distant rambles, and Jack, who was of a sociable
disposition, soon made the acquaintance of every individual of the
surrounding population.

While Lieutenant Cumming remained at the revenue station, Jack was
constantly out with him and his men in their boats; he was equally
intimate with a class of men living on the coast, who, though they
professed to be fishermen, either made smuggling their chief business,
or were ready on all occasions to help the smugglers.  Tom knew very
little about their proceedings; indeed, brought up as he had been, had
he done so, it is not likely that he would have looked on them with much
horror.  Captain Askew, of course, knew that there was a good deal of
smuggling on the coast, but, except in the case of a few notorious
characters, he did not know who were the individuals engaged in it.
Jack was a favourite with both revenue men and smugglers, and the latter
knew that, should he by chance learn anything of their proceedings, he
would not betray them.  He used to go off with them when they went out
fishing, sometimes with Tom, and sometimes alone, and soon became a very
expert boat sailor.  One thing is very certain, that his associates did
Jack no good.  We know from Scripture that "Evil communications corrupt
good manners," and, though undeservedly, he got the character of being a
wild lad, likely some day to get into trouble.

Such was the opinion formed of him by Mr Ludlow, his father's landlord,
who consequently seldom invited him to his house, nor did he encourage
any intimacy between him and his son, which he would probably otherwise
have done.  Mr Ludlow, who was a country magistrate, was a stern,
self-opinionated, and narrow-minded man, with very little of the milk of
human kindness in his composition.  He believed, among other things,
that he could put down smuggling by force, and he was engaged in an
effort to accomplish the task.  Stephen, his son, was rather younger
than Jack, a good-looking boy, but he was conceited, headstrong, and not
good tempered.

He occasionally went over to Stormount, where he was always welcomed,
but he and Jack were not especially good friends; indeed, their pursuits
were so different, that even then they did not see much of each other.
It happened one day that Jack, having betaken himself to the beach,
found some of his friends going off a in boat, and begged to go with
them.  One or two objected, others said--"Let him come, he's true as
gold, he'll not peach."

"Yes, yes, for do ye not see if we get into trouble, they'll not be hard
on us for his sake."

This decided the matter.  Jack did not hear these remarks, and went.
The boat sailed off till she was out of sight of land, when she met with
a long white lugger, and out of her received a quantity of goods, bales
of silk, and ribbons, and lace, and then returned towards the shore.
Night had come on--certain lights were seen, a signal that all was
right, and without hesitation the smugglers pulled in towards the beach.
Suddenly from behind a point two revenue boats darted out and gave
chase.  The smugglers' galley was put about and pulled away along the
coast.  Jack's hitherto peaceable friends were suddenly transformed into
fierce savages.  Their venture was a valuable one, and they swore that
sooner than yield it they would lose their own lives, or take those of
their opponents.  Jack heartily wished that he had learned the object of
their expedition, and had avoided coming.  He, by this time, knew enough
about the ways of smugglers to make him feel that he ought to have
suspected that his friends were about some unlawful work.

Scarcely had Jack left the tower than a post-chaise came rumbling up the
steep ascent which led to it.  Had it come five minutes sooner Jack
would not have gone down to the beach.  It contained an old friend of
his father's, Captain Summers, who had come to spend a few days at the
tower while his ship was refitting.  She was a South Sea trader,
generally sailing to the western coasts of America and the islands of
the Pacific.  Everybody in the household was so busy--Captain Askew in
talking to his friend, Mrs Askew and Margery in getting his room ready,
and Tom in preparing supper, that no one thought of Jack.  It was not
till they were seated at their evening meal that Jack was missed.  Tom
went out to make inquiries.  He was not very well pleased when he at
length learned that Jack had been seen with Bob Herring and some other
men going off in Bill Starling's galley, Bill being, as Tom well knew,
one of the most determined smugglers belonging to Stormount Bay.  "Well,
Bob Herring would give his life before any harm should come to the lad,
and Bill's a clever chap, and it's not likely that he'll be getting into
mischief," said Tom to himself as he returned homewards.

As long as daylight lasted Captain Askew or Tom had their eye at the
large telescope in the captain's own room, ranging over the ocean in
search of Bill Starling's galley, but no where was she to be seen, and
at length the captain became more anxious than he had ever before been
about Jack.  He had done his best to prevent Mrs Askew from being
alarmed, but was on the point of going out himself to make inquiries
about the galley, when a ring was heard at the gate, and Becky Bott, the
maid, came to say that blind Peter, the pedlar, wanted to see the
captain.  Blind Peter with his dog Trusty traversed the country round,
selling needles, thread, tape, and such like small wares.  Peter seldom
failed, when he required it, to obtain a crust of bread, and a piece of
cheese, and a glass of cider for himself, and a few bones for his dog.
He had always met with a kind reception at the tower, and seemed to have
taken a very great fancy to little Margery.  "It's her sweet gentle
voice I love to hear," he said one day talking to Becky.  "That's what
goes to my heart."

"What brings you here, Peter, at this time of night?" asked Captain
Askew, with some anxiety in his voice.

"I wish, captain, I could say it was pleasant news I've brought you, and
yet when there's evil it is better to know it, that we may find a
remedy," answered the blind man.  "I wouldn't like to frighten the
missus though--but it's just this--Master Jack has been taken with Bill
Starling, Bob Herring, and a lot of other chaps, by the coastguards'
men, with a cargo of contraband, and they are all now on their way to
Mr Ludlow's.  He's long been wishing for such a haul, and he'll commit
one and all of them to prison, and Master Jack too, if you don't go and
bail him out."

Peter's news caused a considerable amount of anxiety, for Mr Ludlow's
stern character was well known.  However, the only thing to be done was
to set off immediately to see him.  Fortunately the post-chaise which
brought Captain Summers was still at the public-house in the village,
and the postboy sufficiently sober to undertake to drive to the hall.
The two captains found Mr Ludlow seated in magisterial state, with the
prisoners before him, making out their committal for trial.

"I am very sorry for this, Captain Askew, very sorry," he remarked, as
they were introduced.  "The case is clear against all the party, and
your son was with them.  He is young, and may have been led astray by
others, but a severe example is necessary, and he must suffer with the
rest.  He will be sent to prison for a year, or to sea in a ship of
war."  In vain Captain Askew and his friend pleaded for Jack.  Mr
Ludlow would not listen to their explanations.  Captain Summers, as a
last resource, offered to take Jack away with him to sea, and, to his
surprise, Mr Ludlow at once agreed to the proposal.  Jack was
accordingly allowed to accompany his father and his friend home.

Jack, though he liked the thoughts of going to sea, was very sorry to
leave his father and mother and dear little Margery, but he bravely kept
up his spirits, that he might not grieve them more than he could help.

Not a word of complaint either did he utter against Mr Ludlow, or those
who had brought him into trouble.  "It will be a lesson to me through
life to avoid associating with those who are doing wrong," he remarked,
and he said but little more on the subject.

There was a void not likely soon to be filled in the old tower, and a
greater still in the hearts of its inmates, when Jack Askew went to sea.
They occasionally received letters from him, not very often though, and
they found that many he had written had not reached them.  The last
letter they received was dated from a port on the coast of Peru.  The
ship was about to sail among some of the wide-scattered islands of the
Pacific, whose then still savage inhabitants were said to be addicted to
the worst vices which disgrace humanity.  In vain they waited for
another letter--none came.  Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.  Still
they hoped, and hoped on, that tidings would come some day or other.

At length rumours arrived that Captain Summers' ship, the _Truelove_,
with all hands, had been lost on a coral reef.  Captain Askew would not
allow himself to believe the report, and he took a journey to London to
ascertain its truth.  "God's will be done, dear wife," he said when he
came back.  "He that gave has taken our child away."  Many a pious
parent has repeated the same words, yet with anguish of heart.  Still
they went on hoping against hope.  However, at length it became too
certain that the _Truelove_ had been lost, and that not a trace of her
crew had been discovered, although a brother captain of Captain Summers
had made every inquiry in his power, and a ship of war had been sent to
search for them.

Margery was now the sole earthly object round which the affections of
Captain and Mrs Askew ere entwined.  Tom Bowlby, too, had transferred
his love for her brother to her.  She was a bright sunny little
creature, with light auburn hair, deep blue eyes, and a pure rich
glowing complexion, which might have vied with that of the lily, had it
not been burnt by the sun and sea breezes.  No one who saw her, or heard
her joyous ringing laugh, or her voice so soft or gentle when moved by
pity or sorrow, could fail to love her.  She had learned to think of
Jack as of a brother gone on a long, long voyage, whom she should meet
again, not for years perhaps, but some day certainly, and so she ceased
to mourn for him.  The captain had seen so many of his companions
launched into watery graves, and knew so well that it is the fate for
which all who go to sea must be prepared, that he accepted his lot as
common to many another parent, though his gallant boy was not often out
of his thoughts.  He and Tom seldom, as was once their wont, talked over
their adventures and battles, for Jack and his doings was the theme on
which, when together, they loved to speak, in subdued tones though, and
often with faltering voices and tears springing unexpectedly to their

Margaret seldom spoke about her boy, but she did not think of him the
less, and there lingered yet in her mother's heart the hope--she knew it
was baseless, yet she dared not contradict it--that she should yet again
fold him to her heart on earth; she knew that she should meet him in
heaven.  One thing Margaret bethought herself that she would do.  She
might assist to save others from the fate which had befallen her own
dear boy.  The day on which the sad tidings reached her she had retired
to an upper chamber of the tower which overlooked the sea, to pray that
strength might be given her to bear her deep affliction.  To those who
pray aright, never are their petitions refused.  By labouring for the
good of others, the sorrow-stricken heart is greatly relieved.  "Surely,
if this tower could be seen by night as well as by day, it would show
the entrance to our sheltered bay," she said to herself.  She possessed
a large bright lamp; filling it with oil and trimming it carefully, she
placed it in the window as the shades of evening closed over the then
tranquil ocean.  Night after night, without fail, she did the same,
allowing no one, not even Margery, to share her task.  By and by a
reflector and more powerful burners were obtained, and the rays of the
lamp were thrown still further over the sea.  The fishermen out on the
waters soon learned whence the light came, and blessed the hand that
placed it there.



When the old tower of Stormount was being fitted for a modern
habitation, the original arrangements of the interior had been in a
great measure restored.  Entering at the gateway, a narrow passage led
to the foot of a spiral stair which ran up to the top of the building.
On each story there was a landing-place, into which the rooms opened.
Most of them were in shape like a slice of cake, the largest, used as a
sitting-room, almost semi-circular.  At each window there was a deep
recess--the windows themselves in the lower stories being very narrow,
having been made rather as loopholes for musketry than to let in light--
while in the upper story they were square and low, formed as ports for
such cannon as were used in the days of the Commonwealth.  Under the
ground-floor some of the inmates suspected that there were vaults, as at
two or three spots a hollow sound on stamping hard was elicited, but as
there was no apparent way down, the captain had not thought it worth
while to break up the pavement to examine them.  The dining-room,
kitchen, some offices and bedrooms were in the newer part of the

Captain Askew's own room was one of those on the upper story, looking
towards the sea.  It could not be called his study--for he was not a
reading man, and there were but few books in it,--but it contained
something of everything, arrayed in the most perfect order on shelves
arranged one above another, in cupboards, on tables, and in drawers.  It
was a workshop, a museum, a laboratory, a model room, a library, a
dressing-room in one.  Here he sat at work for a large portion of each
day, but not often alone, as his wife, or daughter, or Tom Bowlby was
constantly with him.  In two or three points the captain had changed
somewhat of late years.  He lived less for himself and more for others
than formerly.  He took delight in going out among the fishermen and
cottagers in the neighbourhood, with his Bible in hand, or with some
book on religion, and in reading and explaining the Scriptures.  He was
also engaged in making the model of a lifeboat, and inventing other
apparatus for saving life.

He had likewise been appointed a magistrate, for the especial object of
assisting the revenue officers in putting down smuggling, which it was
found difficult to do without a strong force of coastguards on shore and
numerous cutters afloat.  He most unwillingly undertook the office, but
having taken it, set about doing his duty, as he was accustomed to do
everything, thoroughly.  This of course made him enemies among those he
had hitherto looked upon as his friends; still, all but the worst
characters acknowledged that the captain was an upright man, and that
whatever he did, he would take no undue advantage of them.

Captain Askew sat in his room--the captain's room.  It was known by no
other name.  He was a strongly-built man, with a fine open countenance,
florid, or rather sunburnt, with blue eyes--Margery's were like them--
and hair sprinkled thickly with frost.  The loss of his leg had
prevented him from taking much rapid exercise, and he had grown slightly
stout in consequence, but he was still hale and active.  Margery stood
by his side watching his proceedings, and occasionally, when required,
helping him in his work.

They were interrupted by Becky Bott, who put her head in at the door,
saying, "Please, there's young master Stephen Ludlow a come to see you,
Miss Margery, with a book he says."  Having delivered her message, Becky
popped her head out of the room.

"I don't like that Stephen Ludlow, father, and I wish that he wouldn't
come here as he does," exclaimed Margery, pouting.  "He never cared for
dear Jack, and he has no right to come here, with his proud manners,
sneering at everything, and thinking himself the most important person
in all the country round."

"He is our landlord's son, little daughter, and it is our duty to treat
him with attention," answered the captain.  "I have not found his manner
un-courteous, though, being an only son, he possibly is spoilt a little
at home."

"He is spoilt a great deal, I suspect," cried Margery tossing her head
in scorn.

"Well, well, ask him if he has a mind to stop to dinner, then tell him
that you are engaged with me, and come back here," said the captain; "he
will find means of amusing himself in the meantime."

Margery found Stephen in the sitting-room.  He was a pale-faced boy,
with irresolution marked on every lineament of his countenance; the curl
of his lip, and a frown marked on his brow, were not pleasant traits.
"I have brought this book for you, Margery, as I thought you would like
it if you have never read it," he said, presenting a good thick volume,
with a somewhat awkward manner.

Margery took it coldly, saying, "Thank you, I'll try and read it, but I
have not much time to read by myself, as papa likes to be read to, and
so does mamma of an evening when she is at work.  Oh! by the by, I am to
ask you to stop and dine, dinner will soon be ready, and you can amuse
yourself in the meantime on the beach.  As I think of it, it is really a
pity that you should leave the book, I may never look into it."

"Oh! but this book is not like any other, it is full of adventure.  All
about a man living on a desert island, with a black called Friday, for I
don't know how many years.  If it isn't true, it ought to be, and so
you'd better read it," said the boy, pressing the book on her.

Margery had become interested with the description of the work, and no
longer refused to take it.  She thanked Stephen more graciously than
before, and, taking the book with her, hurried back to her father.
Stephen was satisfied; he liked Margery and the captain, and Mrs Askew,
better than most people, next to himself, and he thought that he could
pass the hour till dinner-time to his satisfaction on the beach, in
picking up shells and other sea curiosities.  So, leaving his pony in a
shed near the tower, which served as a stable, he strolled down to the

The tide was unusually low, and on turning to the right as he faced the
sea, he found that he could get along under the cliff on which the tower
stood, by means of a narrow ledge of rock and sand.  He had never been
there before, and he thought that he should like to see how the cliff
looked towering above him.  He forgot the danger he was running, should
the tide rise and cut off his retreat.  He went on and on till he got
completely under the cliff, and when he looked up it seemed to bend over
above his head, and to reach up to the sky.  The rocks were so wet that
it was evident the tide had only just gone down, so he thought that he
should have abundance of time to get further, and perhaps to get round,
so as to climb up the cliff on the west side.  Going on, as he happened
suddenly to look up, he fancied that he saw, high above his head, a
human face looking down on him out of the side of the cliff.  He was
startled--as well he might--for it seemed impossible that any one could
get to the spot.  When he looked again the face--if fact it was--had
disappeared, and he saw nothing which he could have mistaken for a face.
Still he went on; there was novelty in the expedition, and no apparent
danger, of which he was not fond, and he thought that it could only be a
very little way longer round.  Again he was startled, but this time it
was by a cry, and hastening on to the spot whence the sound came, he saw
a young girl, in the dress worn by the children of the fishermen,
holding on to a wet, seaweed-covered rock, on which she had fallen to
save herself from slipping off into the water.  He was not so devoid of
good feeling as not to wish to help her, so he ran on, and taking one of
her hands, he dragged her up and enabled her to reach a spot where the
footing was more secure.

She thanked him simply but warmly, and then looking at him earnestly,
she said, "You are young Master Ludlow, and I think this no place for
you: so get back the way you came, or ill may come of it: there is time
for you before the tide rises, but none to spare."

"Who are you?" said Stephen; "I don't know what you mean; I've done
nothing to offend anybody."

"Who I am does not matter," answered the girl, "It's enough that you are
the son of one who is trying to take the bread out of the mouths of poor
folks who never harmed him."

This remark was sufficient to give Stephen a notion of what she meant,
and being naturally timid, thanking her for her warning, he hurried back
as fast as he could scramble over the rocks.  He saw, indeed, that on
account of the tide there was no time to lose, for the tops of several
rocks which were before exposed were completely covered, and the ledge
along which his path lay was becoming narrower and narrower.  He began
to get alarmed.  It seemed a long way to the broad part of the beach.
He could not swim.  He wished he could, even a little, because he might
then swim from rock to rock.  He thought that he was very near the end,
when the tide came gliding treacherously up, till the water touched the
very base of the cliff before him.  There was no retreat either
backwards or up the cliff.  The rocks on which he stood were evidently
covered completely at half-flood, while by the marks on the cliff the
water must reach far above his head at high tide.  He ran on almost
shrieking out with terror till the water completely barred his further
progress.  He stood trembling on a rock, not daring to plunge in and
attempt to scramble across.  It would have been better for him had he
done so boldly at once, for every instant the water was deepening.

He was about to sink down in despair, when he heard a voice shouting to
him.  This roused him up, and he saw Tom Bowlby waving the stump of his
arm, and standing on a rock not twenty yards off.  "Jump in, young
master, and come over to me, the water is not up to your middle yet, and
it's all smooth sailing between you and me."

Still Stephen, paralysed with fear, would not obey, and at length Tom,
losing patience, dashed into the water himself, and hooking him through
the jacket by the iron hook which he had fixed to the end of his stump,
dragged him across, not, however, without having to swim a short
distance, and consequently giving poor Stephen a thorough wetting.  They
had two places of the same character to pass through, but by the
exertions of Tom, Stephen, more frightened than hurt, was at length
landed safely on the dry beach, and was able to accompany him on foot up
to the tower.  On their way Tom told him that he had seen him go down,
and hearing from a fishwife the direction he had taken, he had come
after him to bring him back.  On his reaching the tower, Stephen was
carried into a room which had never been used since its last occupant,
poor Jack, had slept in it; and while his own clothes were drying,
others were given him that he might appear at dinner.  He guessed at
once to whom they had belonged.  Tears came into Mrs Askew's eyes when
she saw him, and Margery treated him with more gentleness than she was
accustomed to do, forsooth to say, she had generally very little
patience with him, he was so far behind her idea of what a boy ought to
be.  She thanked him again for the book; she had read a few pages and
found them very interesting, but would tell him more about her opinion
when they next met, and she had read it through.  Stephen described the
appearance of the face in the cliff, and what the girl he had met had
said to him.  The captain seemed to think that the face might have been
in his fancy, but he was puzzled to account for the girl being where he
found her, and not wishing to accompany him, as it was evident that she
must have known of some way up from the beach.  The captain got a hint
which he resolved to make use of as opportunity should occur.

Margery ran off as soon as dinner was over to read more of the book
Stephen had lent her, and when she returned to the sitting-room to wish
him good-bye, as he was about to leave on his return home, she told him
that it was a delightful book, and that she was sure she should like it
better than any she had ever read.  Stephen did not appear at all the
worse for his ducking and fright.  Tom brought his pony round to the
door, and as he helped him to mount, he advised him to hurry home.--"A
storm's brewing, young gentleman, d'ye see, and a wetting with fresh
water will do ye more harm than the one with salt ye got this forenoon,"
he remarked.

"I don't just want to be reminded of that," answered Stephen, in a tone
which showed his annoyance.  "But if there is rain coming, I think I had

"Put spurs to your pony, Master Ludlow, and get home as fast as you
can," said the captain, who at that moment appeared at the door.

Stephen took the observation as a hint to him to be off, and he was too
proud, fancying this, to return into the house as he was about to do.

"Ah!--he'll never be what our Jack was," sighed Tom, as Stephen rode
off.  Dark clouds were coming up thickly from the south-west, the
advanced guard of a dense mass rising rapidly out of the horizon.
Stephen, looking round occasionally to see if the clouds were likely to
overtake him, galloped on down the steep path which led from the tower
to the more level country over which his road lay.  He had not gone far
when the voice of some one from behind a hedge cried out, "Who goes
there?  Stop, I charge you!"

Stephen was at first not a little alarmed, but directly afterwards he
saw Blind Peter, the pedlar, emerge from his concealment, led by his
little dog.  Stephen had known Blind Peter all his life, and as soon as
he saw him he answered, "I am Stephen Ludlow.  What do you want?"

"I warn you that you are in danger, young gentleman," said Blind Peter.
"I have been waiting for you all the morning.  I thought that I should
know the tread of your pony's hoof, with your light weight on his back.
Don't go back the way you came, or evil may come of it.  Take the round
by Fairleigh farm.  Be advised, young sir, be advised."

Stephen was timid, but he was obstinate, and as the rain was likely soon
to fall he was in a hurry to get home.  He therefore was disinclined to
believe Blind Peter.  "For what can any one want to hurt me?" he asked.

"Ask your father, young sir.  He may guess better than you can," replied
Peter, "But, I say again, go by Fairleigh.  Be advised.  The round will
not increase your ride by more than twenty minutes, and a wet jacket is
of less consequence than a broken head."

At the mention of a broken head, Stephen turned pale.  He remembered the
warning he had from the girl in the morning, and he now no longer
hesitated to take Blind Peter's advice.  Scarcely, however, thanking the
pedlar, he turned his pony's head down a road to the left, and galloped
on at full speed.

"He's a poor-spirited creature, or he would have had a word of thanks,
or may be a piece of silver for the poor blind man," said Peter to
himself, shaking his head as he spoke, and then hastened on towards the
tower.  He had not gone far when down came the rain, driven by a heavy
gale which dashed it furiously in his face.  Still he struggled on, his
faithful dog pulling at his leading-string to induce him to walk faster,
the animal's instinct telling him that the storm had but commenced, and
that it was increasing in strength.

Captain Askew had been watching the storm after Stephen left from the
window of his room in the tower, occasionally sweeping the horizon with
his glass, to see what vessels were passing up and down the Channel, and
exposed to its rage.  Then he returned to his work, in which he was much
interested, and then he went back to the window again.  At length he
remained longer than he had before done at the window, earnestly looking
through his glass.  "She'll be lost to a certainty if they don't succeed
in getting up jury-masts," he exclaimed.  "No chance of that either,
she's driving right ashore.  She'll anchor, but the ground will not hold
her.  I must get some of our fellows to go off to her with me.  They've
courage enough, if they can be stirred up."

He was watching all this time a large ship, which, totally dismasted,
was being driven towards the coast.  He quickly put on his
foul-weather-dress, as he called it, with water-proof boots, and a
sou'-wester, and went to his wife's room.  He put his head into the room
and said, "Margaret, I am wanted out there.  God protect you and
Margery.  I pray that I may be soon back--so will you, I know, dear
wife--good-bye."  He did not stay to say more, and before she could ask
any questions he had hurried from the room.

Tom saw his master leaving the house.  "I know what you're after," he
said to himself, and with a rapidity which few but sailors can exercise,
he had stepped into his rough-weather clothing, and was hurrying after
him.  Though the captain was superior to Tom in most things, Tom having
two real legs, and the captain only one, Tom went over the ground the
fastest, and soon caught him up.  "You are not going without me, sir, I
hope," said Tom, in a tone which showed that his feelings were deeply
hurt.  "Did you ever go without me, sir, where there was anything to be
done, and the chance of a knock on the head?"

"No!  Tom--but you see in this sort of work two hands are wanted, and
you haven't got two, and that's the long and the short of it," answered
the captain.

"One of them was lost in saving my life.  I don't forget that either."

"That's nothing, sir," answered Tom.  "If I haven't two hands, I've got
a strong set of teeth, which are pretty well as useful as a hand; and
who can say that my on arm isn't as good as the two arms of many a man."

"Not I, Tom, not I!" answered the captain; "but it's just this--if
anything was to happen to me, what would my wife and child do without
you, Tom, to look after them?"

Tom still, however, argued the point.  They were walking as fast as the
captain could move down to the beach.  Suddenly the latter stopped,
looked Tom full in the face, and said--"It's just this.  Are you
captain, or am I?"

"You, sir," answered Tom, touching his hat mechanically, as he was wont
in the days of yore.

"Then stay, and do as I order you," said the captain, walking on.  "But
I'll tell you what, Tom; you may go and look out for volunteers, and
then come and help to launch the boat."

The appearance of the captain at the boat was the signal for the inmates
of the neighbouring huts to come out to know what he wanted.  He showed
them the ship driving towards the coast--urged them to come and help him
save the lives of those on board; and when he saw that his appeal made
but little impression, talked of the salvage money they would receive,
and other recompense from those they might save, and from their friends.
First one man volunteered--then another, and another, from various
motives.  Tom had collected more from other quarters, till a fine crew
was formed.  Once having said they would go, they were not the men to
draw back; but they might have been excused had they done so, for it was
very evident that the undertaking was one full of dangers of the most
formidable character.

The boat, one of the finest of her class on the coast, and fitted with a
double row of empty kegs on either side to give her buoyancy (one of the
earliest attempts at a life boat), was now hauled up in a cove on the
west side of the bay.  The captain had ordered as many ropes as could be
collected to be brought down.  These were now coiled up carefully at the
bow and stern, ready for immediate use.  The oars were secured by ropes
to the sides of the boat, so that they could not be washed away, but
would swing fore and aft.  "All ready, lads?" cried the captain, "Now
altogether, shove, and off she goes!"  The united strength of her crew,
and some twenty other men, quickly launched her on the water of the
comparatively sheltered bay.  "Remember!" cried the captain, standing up
in the stern-sheets, and looking back at Tom.  "Shove off, lads!  Give
way!  We shall be wanted out there before long."

Bravely the men bent to their oars.  Not many minutes had passed when
the boat got from under the shelter of the headland, and exposed to the
full force of the storm.  It seemed scarcely possible that a boat could
live amidst the foaming, roaring seas which came rolling in towards the
beach.  Her head was put at them, and on she went--now hid from view by
the seething mass of water--now reappearing on the summit of a wave.  On
she went, in the teeth of the gale--on--on--rising and falling, every
instant in danger of being swallowed up by the fiercely-leaping seas.
Many of those who stood on the beach, cried--"The Lord have mercy on



Two persons were watching the storm and the progress of the solitary
boat over the foaming water, from one of the windows of the old tower.
Both, as they watched, were praying that He who rules the wind would
protect the husband and the father, and those with him, from the dangers
to which they were exposed.  Mrs Askew looked through the telescope at
the boat, a mere speck in the troubled ocean, till her eyes grew dim and
her heart sank with anxiety, and she was compelled to relinquish her
post to Margery.

The dismasted ship was some way to the south-west.

"The boat goes on bravely!" cried Margery.

"Now she is on the top of a wave--now she sinks into the trough--she is
rising again though--yes, yes, there she is!  But the ship--they will
grieve to be too late; yet she is driving fearfully near those dark
rocks! and I heard papa say that not a human being would escape from the
ship that once strikes them."

"Heaven have mercy on them!" ejaculated Mrs Askew.  "How many have
mothers and sisters, or wives and daughters expecting them at home--poor
people, poor people!"

"But perhaps the wind will change, and the ship may be driven along the
coast and into the bay, and they may yet be saved!" exclaimed Margery,
who was naturally more sanguine than her mother.

"I fear that there is no likelihood of that," said Mrs Askew.  "See!
the boat is still a long way off, and she makes but slow progress--while
the ship is driven on to destruction with even greater speed than at

That the above remarks may be clearly understood, it should be mentioned
that the ship was a considerable way to the west of Stormount Bay, and
that she was driving almost directly on the coast, so that the boat,
after pulling out some way to sea to get clear of the cape, had to steer
almost parallel with the coast to cut off the ship, their courses being
almost at right angles to each other.  All the time, though they looked
occasionally towards the ship, the eyes of either the mother or daughter
were scarcely for a moment off the boat--difficult as it was to keep her
in view.  Often they gasped for breath, and their hearts sank within
them, when she was concealed by the foaming waves; and more than once
they could with difficulty refrain from crying out with agony of spirit
as she remained longer than before hidden from view.  Still, there she
was; but as yet she had encountered only a portion of the dangers she
had to go through; the greatest was in getting alongside the ship, and
next to that was the return through the breakers which were dashing on
the shore.

The brave men on board might venture on yet greater danger, should the
ship strike, in attempting to go close to the wreck.  Both Mrs Askew
and Margery knew enough of the state of the case to be aware of this,
for there was no lee side on which the boat could approach; and yet they
knew that if the captain saw the faintest possibility of saving the
lives of any of his fellow-creatures, he would make the attempt.

"I can still see the boat, mother--I can still see the boat!" cried
Margery, when Mrs Askew, pale and trembling, had resigned the telescope
to her daughter, unable longer to discern the boat, and tinder the
belief that it had been overwhelmed by the seas.  "She floats--she
floats; but she is still a long way from the ship!"

"The ship! where is she?" exclaimed Mrs Askew.  "I do not see her."

Both, without the glass, looked out in the direction where the big ship
had just before been seen floating.

"Oh! mother, the ship is not there!" cried Margery.

"Gone! gone! is it so?" exclaimed Mrs Askew; "The Lord have mercy on
those now struggling out there for their lives amid the raging waves!"

The ship had indeed gone down; and it seemed impossible that any but the
strongest swimmers could keep afloat till the boat should reach the
spot.  Still they watched for an occasional glimpse of her, for they
were certain that the captain would not return till he had been
compelled to abandon all hope of saving life.  Since he had gone out the
rain had cleared off, but at the moment the ship disappeared a thick
driving rain came sweeping on over the ocean, soon shutting out the boat
from view.  In vain the lady and her daughter waited till the veil of
mist should clear off; and at length their anxiety became too great for
endurance.  They thought that Tom would come in to relieve this
impatience, but he did not appear.

"Come, dearest, come! we must go down to the beach," said Mrs Askew,
taking Margery's hand.

Their cloaks and hats were soon put on, and together they hastened down
to the shore, where they saw a group of men, with Tom in the midst.  In
spite of the rain driving in their faces, they pressed on.  The men were
eagerly looking out over the sea.  Some held coils of rope in their
hands, others long poles, while Tom had fastened a number of cork
net-floats together to form a life-buoy.  They drew aside as they saw
the lady and her daughter.

"No fear, marm!" exclaimed Tom, when he observed their alarmed looks.
"We doesn't think anything has happened to the captain, do you see, but
it's just as well to be ready for whatever does happen, and there's no
saying what that may be."

So poor Mrs Askew and Margery thought; and they were thankful that
their friends were making such preparations, as seemed to them, for the
worst.  Indeed, they might well do so.  The huge billows came rolling in
towards the shore, breaking with a loud roar on the beach into masses of
foam, and then rolling back again, looking as if it must sweep off
everything it might encounter.  Mrs Askew found that some parties of
men had gone along the coast to the eastward with ropes, on the
possibility of some of the wreck driving on shore in that direction, for
they were not aware that the ship had gone down, the mist having come on
almost at the moment of the catastrophe.  Some of them shook their heads
behind the lady's back when they heard of it.  The captain would be
tempted to go looking about round the spot till darkness should come on,
and then the return on shore would be doubly hazardous.  One thing was
certain, that he would select the spot where they were for running in
the boat, as it was the only one for miles along the coast affording the
slightest chance of safety.  This was owing to its being sheltered by
the cape from the south-west, a small bay being formed within the bay.
Still the sea rolled in even there with great force, and the landing was
an undertaking of great difficulty and risk.  Mrs Askew heard the men
say that in one respect the boat would gain by the delay, as the tide
was on the point of turning, and would set up Channel with the wind,
thus enabling her to return more speedily, while the sea might not
possibly break so much as it had hitherto been doing.  Tom wanted Mrs
Askew and Margery to return to the tower; but, though the rain pelted
down, and the wind blew against them so that they could scarcely stand,
they persisted in awaiting the expected return of the boat.

Now the mist cleared off a little; they peered anxiously out, but no
boat was to be seen.  Now it settled down thicker than ever, and all
they could see was billow after billow crested with foam come rolling
in, and breaking with loud roars on the beach, making the very ground
beneath their feet tremble.  They stood with their hands clasped
together, Margery partly sheltered by her mother's cloak.  As they could
see but a short distance, they listened the more attentively, in the
hope of hearing some sound which might give them notice of the approach
of the boat.  At length Margery started, and bent forward; either her
quick ears had distinguished a shout amid the roar of the waters, or she
fancied that she heard one.  She waited for some time.  "Oh! yes,
mother, it is--it is!  I hear a voice--it is papa's!  He is shouting!
He is telling the men to do something!  I know it is him!" exclaimed
Margery, darting forward.  Was it the little girl's fancy, or not?
Surely not her fancy, though no one else heard the voice.

Suddenly the mist again for an instant cleared away, and revealed the
boat on the summit of a billow, close in with the shore.  Now is the
time for the men on the beach to exert themselves if they will save the
lives of their friends, though the risk of losing their own is very
great.  The strongest secure the ropes round their waists, and prepare
to rush into the sea that they may seize the boat as she touches the
beach, before the sea can draw her back again or those in her.

On comes the boat--the captain steers her with consummate skill; the
brave crew exert themselves to the utmost, yet with difficulty can they
prevent her from being turned broadside to sea, and rolled over on the
beach.  Those who are watching hold their breath with anxiety.  Margery
and her mother stand trembling.  Tom can do but little except hold on to
the end of one of the ropes.  The boat draws nearer--then down she
comes.  The sea follows, ready to sweep all out of the boat, as if
disappointed of its prey; but those on shore each grasp a man.  Tom
seizes his master with his hook, and drags him up the beach.  Others
attend to the boat.  She is quickly hauled up, and all are safe.
Margery and her mother were soon in the captain's arms: they were
recompensed for all they had suffered by seeing him safe.  But where
were those they had gone out to rescue?  Were none preserved?  Yes! one
person had been discovered alone, of the numbers who had been on board
the ship--a black boy, but he could speak but a few words of English,
and could give no account of the ship.

The captain, with his wife and daughter, and Tom leading the young
stranger, now hurried up towards the tower.  The captain stopped,
however, for a moment before he went.  "Thank ye, lads, for what you've
done!" he said; "it was your best, and you could do no more; and one
life saved is better than none.  As soon as you've shaken yourselves
dry, come up to the tower, and such fare as I can offer you I'll give it

"Thank ye, sir, thank ye!" answered the crew of the boat, "we'll come by
and by, if it's only to drink yours and the missus's health."

Before entering the tower, the captain gave a glance over the ocean.
The mist had again cleared off completely, and his keen eye discovered
far out a small object--what it was he could not determine.  He pointed
it out to his daughter.  Throwing off her wet cloak, she hurried to the
telescope, that she might ascertain what the object was.  She looked
eagerly, as it was, probably, she thought, a part of the wreck.  After
watching it a short time, it became evident to her that it was being
drifted by the tide and wind towards the shore.  She called her father,
who by this time had put on his dry clothes.  He asked her to point out
the spot where she had first seen it.  "Yes--yes, it may possibly drift
into the bay!" he exclaimed; "but it will be midnight before it can
reach the shore.  I must go out, however, and set men to watch, for it
is large enough to support a dozen or more people, though it is scarcely
possible that they should have clung on in that heavy sea out there."

Once more the Captain and Tom, habited in their foul-weather clothes,
repaired to the beach.  Darkness was coming on, and the object they were
in search of was only for an instant at a time visible as it rose to the
foaming summit of a wave.  It however remained long enough in sight to
enable them to point it out to the men at the huts, several of whom
agreed to remain with the captain and Tom on the shore, with ropes, to
assist any one by chance clinging to the piece of wreck.

Again Mrs Askew and Margery were left in a state of anxiety, for they
knew the danger that must be run in the attempt to draw a person out of
such a raging sea.  Margery insisted on running down to take her father
some food--for he had had none since dinner--and, of course, Becky
offered to go, but at that moment Blind Peter came to the door, and he
undertook to convey some supper for the captain and Tom; and the black
boy, seeming to comprehend the matter, begged by signs to be allowed to
accompany him, and to carry the baskets.  To Blind Peter day and night
were the same, and with every inch of the ground he was well acquainted,
so that he had no difficulty in finding the captain and his companions--
guided to them by the sound of their voices.  Blind Peter was
recompensed for his want of sight by the most acute sense of hearing.
Accustomed also to be out in all weathers, he cared nothing for the
pelting of the storm, or for the clouds of spray which beat over those
who stood on the beach, and expressed his intention of remaining till
the piece of wreck should reach the shore.

"Then you must share with us the provender you have brought, friend
Peter," said the captain, taking a seat on some rocks rather more out of
the reach of the spray than where they had been standing.  Some lighted
their pipes, and others produced bottles of spirits from their pockets,
and, being all of them well clothed to resist the weather, they made
themselves as comfortable as circumstances would allow.  Occasionally,
one or two got up and ran along the beach, to try to ascertain if the
wreck could be seen.  Suddenly, Blind Peter started up, exclaiming, "I
hear something floating on the water!  There is a voice, too, faint,
calling for help."

The captain, and Tom, and the other men, with their ropes, hurried after
Peter along the beach.  He stopped, pointing over the sea.  The moon,
which had hitherto been obscured, at that moment broke forth from behind
a cloud, and revealed a small raft floating among the breakers.  Again
the moon was hidden by the cloud, and then once more it appeared, and
this time the raft was seen more distinctly, and on it appeared a human
form, grasping the planks firmly with one hand as he lay along then he
waved the other to show that he was alive.  No sooner was he seen than
the agitation of the young black became very great; and taking the end
of a rope from one of the men, he fastened it round his own body, and
intimated that he would swim off with it to the raft.  There was no time
to be lost, for any moment the lad--for lad he evidently was--might be
swept off by the breakers, or the raft might be thrown violently on the
shore, and he crushed beneath it.  The captain and Tom also fastened
ropes round their waists, as sailors well know how to do, and rushed
into the surf to help the brave black boy.  The raft came on towards
them; the black boy sprang on it, and seized the lad, who seemed at that
moment to have lost all consciousness.  An instant longer, and he would
have been swept away.  The receding waters rushed back with the raft.
The black boy, though an excellent swimmer, could scarcely support his
friend as those on shore hauled him in, when the captain and Tom rushed
to his aid.  The captain stuck his timber-toe in the sand, Tom caught
the stranger's jacket with his iron hook, and all three brought him at
length safely up the beach out of the reach of the surf, which came
hissing after them as if angry at the loss of its prey.

"Now, lads, carry him up among you to the tower; a warm bed and some hot
grog is what the lad now wants!" cried the captain, who possibly felt
that it was high time for himself to get to a warm bed, for he was not
so strong as he had been, and he had gone through great exertions.

It was too evident, that if the raft had had more occupants, the lad was
the only survivor.  The light of the moon, as it shone on him as the
seamen bore him up to the tower, showed that he was dressed in a sea
officer's uniform jacket, such as is worn by midshipmen--to which rank,
from his youth, it seemed probable that he belonged.  Tom had hurried on
before, so that when the party arrived, Mrs Askew, Margery, and Becky,
were busily preparing and warming Jack's bed for the young stranger.
The warmth and rubbing soon brought him to consciousness; but Mrs
Askew, observing his exhausted condition, would not let him speak to
give any account of himself until he had had some sleep, without which
it was evident that food would do him but little good.  The captain
pretended to be very indignant at being popped into bed as soon as he
got home, "like a little boy who had tumbled into the water," he said;
but he was not sorry to drink a glass of hot grog which Margery brought
him, after which he fell fast asleep.

Mrs Askew watched by the side of the young sailor lad, who now also
slept soundly.  She thought of her own dear boy, who might have been as
this lad was--washed ashore on some strange land; and as she would have
wished him to have been treated, so she desired to treat the young
stranger.  He was older than Jack would now be--stouter and fairer--not
like him, indeed, except in possessing an honest and innocent
countenance.  She did not for a moment suppose that he was her own boy
come back to her, and yet, as she watched him, her heart strings began
strangely to coil round him, and she felt that he could never be a
stranger to her.  She was sure that he would be worthy of her regard--
judging by the expression of his countenance--this opinion being
strengthened by hearing of the affection shown to him by the young
negro.  She sat up with some food ready to give him when he should
awake, and it was not till daybreak, after he had taken it, that she
would allow Becky to take her place.  When she opened the door she found
the black boy coiled up close to it, on a rug.  He had left the snug bed
provided for him that he might be near the lad, to whom he was evidently

Margery was the first of the family on foot; she longed to hear more
about the young stranger, but he was still asleep, and there was no one
else to tell her--the black boy was about, but he could not exchange
many words with her--so, to employ the time, they looked through the
telescope to ascertain if any more pieces of the wreck were floating
about near the shore, but nothing was to be seen.  The wind had
considerably abated, and the sun was shining brightly on the sparkling
waves; though she could not forget that they danced over the graves of
so many of her fellow-creatures who that time the day before were full
of life and strength, and that probably the only survivors were the
black boy and the young lad, now sleeping safely in the tower, who had
been on the last night washed ashore.



"I want to know your name and all about you," said Margery, addressing
the young stranger, who, having eaten a very good breakfast, and
obtained permission to use his tongue, had had his clothes dried, and
having dressed in them, looked every inch a midshipman, and spoke like
one also.

"Why, you see, Miss Margery, for I understand that is what you are
called, that matter is quickly settled.  My name is Charles, or rather
Charley Blount.  My father and mother are dead, and I was sent away
early to sea, and have been at sea ever since, and as I am very fond of
it I know more about it than most lads of my age.  I was on my fifth
voyage home from India in the `Durham Castle,' and expected before long
to become a mate, when just in the chops of the Channel, our rigging
being slack, we lost all our masts, and at the same time the ship sprung
a leak.  We little knew how bad it was, but instead of getting up
jury-masts, with which we might have steered the ship up Channel, the
crew were compelled to work at the pumps; but the leaks gained on us,
and so the poor old ship went down, with upwards of a hundred people on

"Dreadful!" exclaimed Margery.  "But how did you escape from the ship?"

"A few of us, when we found that nothing could save the ship, hurriedly
put together a small raft, but very few of the rest seemed inclined to
venture on it.  Just as the ship was going down I sprang on to it with
five others; they lost their hold, and were washed off; I retained mine,
and was washed on shore, and now I think that I have told you all about
myself that you will care to know."

"Oh no! not by half!" answered Margery.  "I want to know why the black
boy is so much attached to you, and how it was that papa when he picked
him up did not see you?"

"That I can easily account for," answered Charley, "as the ship went
down a thick fog came on, and I had drifted by up Channel; that is to
say, nearly east, before the boat coming more from the north had reached
the spot; and as to honest, faithful Crambo, I once upon a time picked
him out of the water as he last night helped to pick me out, and he has
ever since stuck by me, and I assure you that I value his friendship."

"Oh yes!  I can easily understand that," said Margery.  "I am reading
about a very interesting person, a great traveller, who had a black
servant called Friday, and they lived together on a desert island for a
long time--it must have been very delightful--but at last they got away.
I have not read the book through yet, but when I have I will tell you
more about it, and perhaps Stephen Ludlow will lend it to you.  I will
ask him, for I am sure that you will like it."

"Perhaps I may have read it, Miss Margery, already," said Charley,
smiling.  "If it is the `Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe,' I

"Yes, yes! that is the very book!" exclaimed Margery, "how could you
guess so quickly?"

"Because I know of no other book with a man Friday in it, or one so
interesting," said Charley; "but I must tell you one thing.  Friday is
always spoken of as a black, but that is a mistake, as the inhabitants
of all the islands in the part of the Pacific where Robinson Crusoe is
supposed to have been wrecked are light brown people; some are very
light.  Many of them are civilised, and have become Christians, but in
those days they were perfect savages, and some of them were cannibals."

"How dreadful!" exclaimed Margery.  "But have you been out in those

"Yes!" answered the midshipman, "I once came home that way, and we
touched at several islands.  They are very beautiful, and I should much
like to go out there again."

"So should I," said Margery, and she sighed.  She would like to have
told him all about Jack, but he was as yet too great a stranger to her
to allow her to speak to him on a subject which was to her almost
sacred, so she said nothing; she did not even tell him that she had had
a brother Jack, who had gone to sea and been lost.

Charley Blount soon became a great favourite of the inmates of the
Tower, as also with most of the neighbours.  His history seemed a sad
one, and yet he was as merry and happy a fellow as ever lived.  He had
but few friends on whom he had any claim, and they were in India; the
only one he had had in England, an aunt, was dead.  She was the sister
of his father--a maiden lady of true piety, who had indeed instructed
him in the way he should go, and Charley Blount had not departed from
it.  This was the reason he was so merry and happy.  His happiness was
within himself.  Captain Askew delighted in him.  He seemed to him what
his own boy would have been, and it was with inward satisfaction he
heard that he had no friends in England to whom he could go.

"Then, Charley, you must make this old Tower your home, as long as you
can keep off the salt water," he answered.  "We are grave, old-fashioned
people, but we'll do our best to make your stay with us pleasant."

Charley assured his friends that he knew when he was in good quarters,
and that he should be in no hurry to go away.  It naturally occurred to
the captain that his young guest would like a companion occasionally, so
he sent a note inviting Stephen Ludlow to come over and spend a day at
the tower, hoping also that Mr Ludlow would invite Charley in return.

Margery was very anxious to see Stephen to thank him for his book, and
to tell him how much she liked it.  An idea had also occurred to her
which she proposed broaching to him on the first opportunity.

Blind Peter was the general messenger as well as the purveyor of small
wares in the neighbourhood, and as he happened to call that day, Becky
took the captain's note down to him to carry.

"It's just to ask the young master at Ludlow to come over for a day,"
she observed, as she gave it to him.

"Then just, Becky, do you give him a hint not to wander away from the
Tower while he is here, and tell him to go back by the way he went the
last time, mind that," said Peter.

"I'll do as you tell me, Master Peter," answered Becky.  "But what's in
the wind that makes you say that?  You know I am not a woman to go and
prattle about other people's affairs, but I should just like to know,
that I should, Master Peter."

Blind Peter turned his sightless orbs towards Becky, while a smile
played round his lips.

"I'll tell you what, Becky," he answered, "there's an old saying, that a
secret is no longer a secret if it's in the keeping of more than one
person; so, do ye see, I think as I've got it I'd better keep it.  Not
but what I own that you are a right sensible woman, Mistress Becky, and
it's for your good as much as for my own that I don't tell it to you."

Becky was not satisfied, but she knew Peter of old, and that, as she
said of him, "he was as close as wax, and if he was determined not to do
a thing no mortal power could make him do it."  She made up her mind to
abide her time, in the hope that after all she might discover the
secret.  Blind Peter having received the note, set off on his journey,
promising to deliver it either that night or the following morning.

Peter's reception at the hall was always very different to that at the
tower, yet he did not refuse the crust of bread and mug of water offered
to him at the former, but meekly took it, and went on his way with a
thankful heart.  On this occasion, having delivered the note at the
hall, and finding that both Mr Ludlow and his son were out, he
continued his journey.  It was towards evening, as he was within a mile
or so of the little public-house, near the coast, at which he intended
to sleep, that he was overtaken by a man in a cart.

"Ah, Peter! is that you?" said the driver.  "Just get in, and I'll put
you and your dog and your wares down wherever you may wish to stop."

"Thank you for your offer, Dick Herring--for I know you by your voice,--
but my legs are well accustomed to carry me; and they'll do so as long
as I need their services, I hope."

"Oh, nonsense, man; there's a storm brewing, and you'll be wet to the
skin, if you keep to your legs; but just do you get in, and I'll whisk
you along to your journey's end in no time," answered Dick Herring.

"That's kind of you, Dick, anyhow," said Peter; "but as to the storm, I
don't feel as if one was coming, and I'm not often deceived."

"Just now you are, though, depend on't, mate.  Come, step in, I want to
do you a service, and it isn't the like of me that would do you a harm,"
said Herring, in a persuasive tone.

Peter, who was in reality very tired from his long walk, was glad to
have a lift, and his doubts as to Herring's intentions, which from
certain circumstances known to him he entertained, having been quieted,
he stepped up to the cart to get in.  In an instant he felt himself
lifted up by strong arms, and placed on a seat next to another man who
had not before spoken, and the cart drove on at a rapid rate.

In vain he begged that poor old Trusty might be lifted in with him.
"The dog has four legs, and can run as fast as the horse; we can't stop
for him," said the man, in a gruff and feigned voice, though Peter
thought that he recognised it as that of a notorious smuggler living not
far off.

"I told you, Peter, that I'd whisk you along pretty quickly over the
road, and I am doing so, you'll allow," observed Herring, in a tone
which the blind man did not like, but he said nothing.  He was, however,
after some time, convinced that they had gone much farther than the two
miles which he calculated would take him to the inn where he had
proposed sleeping.  He became aware, too, that the cart had altered its
direction, by the feeling of the wind on his face.  On they went at a
rapid rate for some time, when Peter inquired why they were conveying
him from the place to which he wished to go.

"We've a good reason, Master Peter," answered Dick Herring, in a still
more disagreeable tone than before; "you know a thing or two more than
you ought to know, and we intend to keep you out of harm's way for a day
or two; and that's the fact, if it pleases you to know it."

Peter was aware that expostulation was useless, so he resigned himself
to his fate, believing that Herring, though a daring smuggler and
utterly lawless, would do him no personal harm.  He felt the cart go up
and down several rough places, and he was certain that it doubled
several times, and had made a full circuit more than once.  The object
of the smugglers, it was evident, was to mislead him and to make him
suppose that he had gone a long distance.  He kept his own counsel,
however, and in a short time the cart stopped, and he was told to get
out.  He called Trusty to come and lead him, but no Trusty came.

"The dog couldn't quite keep up with us, and maybe he has lost his way,"
said Herring.  "But never do you mind, Peter, I'll lead you; here, take
my arm."

Poor Peter did as he was directed, and then he found himself going up
some very rough stone steps, and then he knew by the change of air that
he had been led through a doorway into a room, and that there were
people in it, though they did not speak; and then Dick led him into
another room, and told him to sit down on a chair, and that he must make
up his mind to remain there for some days to come, and that if he
promised to be quiet and to behave well, he should be well treated.
Saying this, the smuggler walked out of the room, and bolted the door
behind him.

Peter immediately got up and felt about the room.  It contained, he
ascertained, a low pallet bed, a table and a chair, and had a small
lattice window, with a bar across it; but it was so small that even
without the bar he could scarcely have got through it had he wished.  He
opened the window gently.  He could hear the sough of the sea on the
beach, far down below him.  "I thought as much," he said to himself,
"they have brought me to old Dame Herring's cottage, upon Eastdown
Cliff.  I was here as a boy more than once, and could find my way from
it easy enough, if I had Trusty's help to keep me from any pits or holes
dug of late.  I know the reason why this has been done.  They suspect
that I know what I do know, and perhaps more, and they want to keep me
out of the way till they have carried out their undertaking.  However,
they might have treated me worse; so I'll not complain, but try and take
matters easily."

Saying this he took off his wallet and the knapsack which contained his
wares, and threw himself at his length on the bed, intending to go to
sleep.  He had not lain there very long when the door opened and some
person looked in, and placing something on the table retired again,
bolting the door.  In a short time several people came into the larger
room, most of whom Peter knew by their heavy tread were men in large

"Well!  Mother Herring, do you promise us success in our venture, we've
been waiting long enough for it?" said one of the new comers in a gruff

"If you do as I bid you this time you will succeed," answered an old
woman, whom by her cracked, harsh voice, Peter, even had she not been
named, would at once have recognised.  "But, as I before told you, if
you want to make all secure, get hold of the son of old Ludlow.  He
dotes on the boy, and you would have the father in your power, if you
could get hold of the son."

"So we should, long ago, if it hadn't been for blind Peter;
howsomedever, we can keep him quiet for some time."

"I mind the time before the captain came to the Tower, the matter was
much more easier than it now is," said an old man, whom Peter knew as a
daring smuggler all his life.  "That was a first-rate place, I believe

"Then why not get rid of the captain and his family?" croaked out old
Mother Herring; "what business has he to come interfering with people's

"More easily said, Mother Herring, than done," exclaimed another of the
party.  "The captain is a tough old bird, not to be driven from his
perch in a hurry."

"Ha! ha! ha!  May be I'll put you up to a trick or two, my sons, that'll
make the place too hot to hold him," croaked out the old woman.  "Just
you be guided by me, and all will go right, depend on that;" and she
gave way to a fit of laughter which almost choked her.

Peter did not hear more of consequence just then, but he had heard
enough to show him that the smugglers were prepared to run a cargo of
contraband goods on the coast, and in case of failure they wished to get
young Stephen Ludlow into their power, that they might make terms with
his father.  Had it not been for Peter, who had been long aware of their
object, they might ere this have accomplished it, and he now guessed
that they had discovered that it was owing to him that they had not
hitherto succeeded.  At length Peter, being very tired from his long
walk, to sleep.  He had a notion that the people in the next room were
taking supper, and indulging in a carouse, of the materials for which
their calling afforded them an ample supply.

The smugglers were drinking when Peter went to sleep, and when he again
woke some were still at the table, and talking loudly and wildly, though
others had, apparently overcome by the liquor, dropped off to sleep.
They spoke as men do when the wine is in their heads, without fear or
caution.  The wildest proposals were made to carry out their objects.
One man suggested that if they could get rid of their two principal
opponents, Mr Ludlow and Captain Askew, they would have no one to
interfere with them.  The idea was taken up by others, who did not
scruple to talk of murder; though, tipsy as they were, when they spoke
of so awful a deed, they sank their voices so low that Peter did not
clearly hear all they said.  His ear, however, caught one or two ominous
expressions, such as--"over the cliff," "sink him out at sea," "entice
him from the house," "the sooner the better."  These words convinced him
that the speakers would not scruple to commit the most atrocious crime
if they fancied it would advance their interests.  They made him also
very anxious to get away to warn those who were threatened of their

But how to get away was the question.  He might fancy that no one was
observing him, and yet be watched the whole time.  One thing he hoped
was that Herring and his associates, trusting to his blindness, fancied
that he did not know where he had been carried to, and that he could not
possibly get away.  By degrees the speakers dropped off, and the loud
snores which came from the room showed that the occupants were mostly
asleep.  He hoped that all might be so.  Considering what he should do
kept him broad awake.  He had not remained so long, when his attention
was drawn to a scratching under the window.  The night was warm, and the
lattice had been left open.  He went to the window and put out his hand,
and directly he did so he felt it licked by the tongue of his faithful
Trusty.  He put down his hand still further, and calling the animal by
name, it leaped up and he was able to drag it in.  Poor Trusty showed
his delight at meeting his master by jumping up and licking his face and
hands all over.  "But can you help me out of this, good Trusty?" said
Peter, whispering in the dog's ear.

Trusty, as if he understood the meaning, immediately went to the window,
and leaped up on the sill.

"He thinks that I can get out," said Peter to himself.  "He is seldom
wrong--I will try."  Suiting the action to the word, he put his head out
between the bars.  "Where my head can go my body can follow, but my body
must go first just now."

After twisting his body a variety of ways, he worked his way between the
bars, to which he held on while he lowered himself to the ground.  The
leading-string was still attached to Trusty's collar, and taking it in
his hand, he said, "Go on, Trusty."  Trusty, pulling hard, led the way,
as if he was conscious that there was danger in delay, and Peter set off
as fast as he could venture to move.

No sound came from the cottage, and he had every reason to hope that he
should completely effect his escape.  Trusty, that good sagacious dog,
worthy of his name, pulled on as if he well knew that it was important
to leave old Dame Herring's cottage far behind before daybreak.  Peter
decided on going first to the tower, that he might consult with the
captain, to whom he knew he could speak as to a friend.  Should he go to
Mr Ludlow, he was afraid that the magistrate would perhaps immediately
send off to Dame Herring's Cottage, and attempt to apprehend the whole
body of smugglers.  "If he does, what will be the advantage?  None at
all.  I know what I heard, but I cannot swear to the voices of any one
of them and they will all escape, and revenge themselves on me; not that
I care for that if I can do others a service, but it's hard to suffer
and do no good to any one."

The captain was an early riser.  He had scarcely been a minute on foot
when he heard blind Peter knocking at the door.  Peter was admitted, and
his story soon told.  "I will consider what is to be done, and will give
due warning to Mr Ludlow," answered the captain.  "But one thing is
certain, Peter, that you must lie by for a while, and take up your abode
in the tower.  The ruffians would treat you with little ceremony if they
were to catch you as you were wandering about the country, but they
would scarcely venture to molest you while you are here--indeed, there
is no reason that they should know that you are here."

There was a small vacant room on the ground-floor of the Tower--into
this the captain conducted Peter, and told him that he must consider
himself a prisoner there till the smugglers were captured or driven out
of the country, and it was safe for him again to go out by himself.  He
promised him, however, that he should not be without visitors, and that
Margery and Charley Blount should come and read to him.

Captain Askew, having made these arrangements for the safety of the poor
blind man, considered how he could warn Mr Ludlow of the danger
threatening Charley Blount was the best messenger he could select.  The
hall was nine miles off, but Charley said that the distance was nothing,
and that he would be there and back by dinner-time; so having received
his instructions he set off, with a stout stick in his hand, in high
spirits, observing that should the smugglers wish to stop him, they
would have to run very fast before he was caught.



About an hour after Charley Blount had left the Tower, Stephen Ludlow
trotted up on his pony, not having met the young sailor on the way.  He
said that he had come over early, to spend the day, and that if he was
asked to sleep he might do so.  Of this the captain was very glad as he
did not wish him to run the risk of going back alone, and at the same
time he had not sufficient confidence in his discretion to tell him what
he had learned from Blind Peter; so he said, "I am very glad to receive
you, my young friend; but I must exact a promise that you will not go
beyond the open beach, or the downs in sight of the windows of the
Tower, unless with Tom or me.  I have my reasons, which I need not
mention now."

Stephen thought this rather odd, but as he wished to stay, he readily
gave the required promise.  Margery had for some time been wishing to
see him, to talk to him about the book he had lent her, and which she
had now read completely through.

"Oh, Stephen!" she exclaimed, when she saw him, "it is such a delightful
book.  I have never read anything I have liked half so much.  It has
given me an idea--but I cannot talk to you about it here.  You must come
out on the beach, and we will sit on a rock and look out over the sea,
and then I shall be able to say all I wish."

So they went out together, and easily found a spot to suit Margery's

"Well, Margery, what is it that you have to tell me about my old book?"
said Stephen, in a tone which would have told her, had she not been
herself so engrossed in her subject, that she was not likely to have a
very sympathising hearer.

"Pray do not speak of it in that way, Stephen," she answered.  "It's a
dear, delightful book, at all events; and since I read it I have been
thinking more than ever of dear Jack.  You know that he went away in a
ship to the Pacific Ocean, and the ship was wrecked, just as Robinson
Crusoe's was, and though he was not a supercargo, he was a midshipman,
and I don't suppose there is much difference; and at all events, if
Robinson Crusoe was saved, and lived on a desert island for many years,
though everybody else in the ship was lost, why should not dear Jack
have been cast on some island, and be still alive, though not able to
get away, or I am sure that he would, and would come home and tell us
all about it; for he knows how we all love him and think about him every

"What a strange idea!" said Stephen, somewhat coldly.  "I thought that
it was settled that Jack was dead long ago.  Do you really believe that
he is alive?"

"Of course I do," answered Margery, with some little impatience in her
tone; "it was only those who don't care about him settled that he was
dead.  I have always, always, been sure that he is alive, over the sea
there, a long, long way off; but he will come back when we can send for

"Very strange!" muttered Stephen.  "But what, Mrs Margery, would you
have me do?"

"Stephen, you knew dear Jack well," she answered, fixing her large blue
eyes on him; "you used to call him your friend, and friends ought to
help each other.  If I was a boy, whether or not I was Jack's brother--
if I was his friend,--I know what I would do: I would go out and look
for him."

"But where would you look?" asked Stephen.  "The Pacific is a very wide
place, even on the map; and I have a fancy that in reality it is wider
still.  There are many, many islands no one knows anything of."

"Ah! that is the very thing I have been thinking of," exclaimed Margery.
"I am certain that Jack is living on one of those very islands."

"How can you, Margery, be certain of any such thing?" said Stephen, in
his usual cold tone, which contrasted curiously with the enthusiastic
manner of little Margery.

"How can you ask that question, Stephen?" she exclaimed, half angry that
he should venture to doubt the correctness of her most cherished belief.
"Robinson Crusoe was wrecked on a desert island and so Jack may be, and
I want you to go and look for him, and bring him home!  There!  I will
not be refused!  You are old enough and big enough to go,--bigger than
Jack was--and you have plenty of money; and your papa always lets you do
just what you like, so you say; and besides, you often speak to me of
Jack as your old friend; and if he was your friend I ask you to prove it
by bringing him home."

When Stephen heard this he first thought that Margery was joking, but
the matter was too serious for that; then the idea occurred to him that
she had gone out of her mind; but she looked so calm, and quiet, and
earnest, that he banished it immediately, and promised to think over her
proposal, and speak to his father.  He, however, very well knew the
answer his father would give, and he himself had no wish to go wandering
about the world in search of one for whom he cared but little.  Had
Margery known what was passing in his mind how she would have despised
him.  But she did not; she fancied that he must be as enthusiastic as
she herself was, and that it was only necessary to mention her idea for
him to take it up warmly.  She therefore was prepared to wait patiently,
under the belief that Stephen would soon be able to give a favourable
answer to her request.

Margery's belief that Jack was still alive received a very remarkable
and curious confirmation that very day, after she had parted from
Stephen.  She was on her way to the village to carry some food to a sick
child, when she encountered a rough sailor-like man, who, taking off his
hat, begged for assistance, as he was on his way to join his ship at
Plymouth, and had spent all his money; and if he did not make haste she
would sail without him.  He had come last from the Pacific, and
complained that he had had but very little time on shore to amuse
himself.  The mention of the Pacific made Margery instantly ask him if
he thought it possible that her brother Jack might be living, cast away
on one of the numerous islands of that vast ocean.

"It is a very strange question for you to put to me, Miss, for a curious
thing happened as we were steering southward from Vancouver's Island, on
our way home.  What should we see but a small boat floating, all alone,
hundreds of miles, for what we knew, from any land.  We made towards her
and picked her up, for there was a man in her, or what once had been a
man, for he was lighter than a baby, and that I found out, for I lifted
him upon deck myself.  He was still alive, though the life was going
fast out of him, and he couldn't speak above a whisper, and only a few
words then.  He had been living on fish, we guessed, may be for weeks,
by the number of scales we saw at the bottom of the boat.  Now this is
what he told me.  His name was David King.  He had been shipwrecked with
another young man--a gentleman's son, I know he said, and they were the
only survivors of all the crew.  He had gone out fishing in their boat,
and had been blown off the island.  I made out this by fits and starts,
as it were, for he couldn't speak without pain, it seemed.  Poor fellow!
he was far gone, and though the doctor poured all sorts of things down
his throat, it was no use, he never lifted up his head, and before the
evening he was dead.  Maybe if we had seen him a day or two before he'd
have lived, and been able to tell us more about himself."

Margery was, of course, deeply interested with this account of the
sailor.  She imprudently gave him all the money she possessed, and then
begged him to come up to the Tower that he might repeat the story to her
father.  He, however, was in a hurry to proceed on his journey, and
declined coming, possibly not aware of the importance which might have
been attached to his narrative, and perhaps selfishly indifferent in the
matter.  Margery at length hurried home and told her father, and he and
Tom went down to look for the sailor, but he had disappeared, and
notwithstanding all their inquiries they could gain no trace of him.
The captain, indeed, suspected that the man was some begging impostor,
who had heard of the loss of his son, and had concocted the tale for the
sake of getting money out of the young lady.  This was especially Mr
Ludlow's opinion of the matter.

Charley Blount stepped boldly out towards Ludlow Hall, singing as he
went, not from want of thought, but from joyousness of heart.  He
reached the hall without interruption.  Mr Ludlow was much pleased with
his manner and appearance, thanked him warmly for bringing the message,
and said that he would accompany him back to the Tower, with a couple of
men on horseback.  Charley, like most sailors, could ride; that is to
say, he could stick on and let his horse go.  He did so on the present
occasion.  They had got within two miles of the Tower, when a number of
men, rough-looking fellows, were seen standing in the road before them.

As Mr Ludlow and his party drew near, their gestures became
threatening, and it was evident that they meant mischief.  The squire
was not a man to be turned aside from his purpose.  "Charge the fellows,
and if they attempt to stop us, fire at them," he exclaimed, putting
spurs to his horse.  Charley and his men followed his example.  Those
most frequently succeed who bravely face dangers and difficulties--the
timid and hesitating fail.  Mr Ludlow dashed on.  The smugglers, for
such there could be no doubt that they were, had black crape over their
faces, and most of them wore carters' smock frocks, which still further
assisted to disguise them.  This made it yet more evident that they had
collected with evil intentions.  There could no longer be any doubt
about the matter when two or three of them stretched out their arms to
stop the horses, but when they saw the pistols levelled at their heads,
most of them sprang hurriedly back again.  One, however, more daring
than the rest attempted to seize Mr Ludlow's rein.  Fortunately for the
ruffian the magistrate's pistol missed fire, but he dealt the man's
wrist so heavy a blow with the butt-end of his weapon that the smuggler
was glad to let go his hold lest he should have had another such a blow
on his head.  Charley laid about him with his thick walking-stick, and
in a few seconds the whole party were out of the reach of the smugglers.
They galloped on, however, without pulling rein till they reached the

"Never in the whole course of my life have I been subject to so daring
an outrage, Captain Askew," exclaimed Mr Ludlow, as he dismounted--"It
is more like the doings of ancient days than what we have a right to
expect in the nineteenth century.  I dread to hear what has happened to
my boy.  Has he reached you safely?"

Stephen, who had just come up from the beach, answered the question for

"So far the smugglers have gained no advantage over us," observed Mr
Ludlow, addressing Captain Askew.  "But with your leave, my good
neighbour, I will take up my abode here with you for a night, that we
may the better consult as to the further steps it may be necessary to
take to put a stop to these proceedings.  I have written to Captain
Haultaught, the new inspecting commander of the district, requesting him
to meet me here with two or three of his lieutenants, and it will be
very strange if we cannot manage to get to windward, as you would say,
of these smuggling gentlemen."

Captain Askew could only say that he was happy to put his house at the
disposal of Mr Ludlow and those he thought fit to invite, on a public
matter of so much importance.  He had forgiven, and he believed from his
heart, the unfeeling way in which Mr Ludlow had acted towards Jack,
under what, he acknowledged, might have been his stern sense of justice;
yet he, as a father, could not but remember that he was indirectly the
cause of Jack's loss.  He felt this, but did not allow his feelings in
any way to bias his conduct.  Tom and Becky were therefore directed to
make all necessary preparations to do honour to the guests present and
expected.  Mrs Askew and Margery were also not idle in arranging the
provisions and the rooms for the guests.  Tom was a man of a single
idea; that was, that it was his business to obey the captain in all
things without questioning.  He had learned that lesson at sea and it
would have been impossible for any one to persuade him out of it.
Becky, however, not having been under similar discipline, did not
consider herself bound to obey in the same way as did Tom.

She therefore grumbled very much when she heard that Mr Ludlow was to
remain during the night.

"It's bad enough to have the young cub come prowling about the house,
but when the old wolf comes and sits down in the hall, it bodes ill luck
to the family," she muttered to herself, though loud enough for her
mistress to overhear her.

Mrs Askew made no remark, but of course knew to what she alluded.

"I'd be ashamed to show my face inside the doors, if I were he, after
sending the only son of the house away over the sea to die in foreign
lands, and then to come up laughing and talking as if he had never done
any harm to any one of us."

"We are taught to forgive our enemies not only seven times, but seventy
times seven, Becky," observed Mrs Askew, feeling that she ought at
length to check her attendant.  "Even had Mr Ludlow wantonly or
intentionally inflicted an injury on us, it would be for us to receive
him as a guest.  What he did was under a sense of duty, and we have no
right to complain."

"A sense of duty, indeed," muttered Becky, "what would he have said if
his precious son had been packed off to sea like poor dear Master Jack?
I should care little if the food I have to cook should choke him.  I
only hope that he'll not get a wink of sleep in the bed I have to make
for him.  Towards the boy I have no ill will; but I only hope when he
grows bigger that he'll not be thinking he's worthy of our Miss
Margery--that's what I have to say."

The last words were addressed to Tom, Mrs Askew having left the room.

"What need have you or I to trouble our heads about the matter, Mistress
Becky," he observed.  "What the captain thinks fit is fit, that's what I
have to say."

"I don't gainsay that, Mister Tom," answered Becky, "but what I ask is,
why this Mr Ludlow, who has behaved so shamefully to the captain and
the missus, dares to come to the Tower, and why they let him?"

"Why, to my mind, Mistress Becky, it's just this--the captain's a
Christian of the right sort, and real Christians don't bear malice, and
so, do you see, the captain doesn't bear malice," answered Tom, giving a
tug to the waistband of his trousers, a nautical trick he had never
lost.  "If he was a make-believe Christian, like too many folks, I can't
say what he might do.  Becky, does you say your prayers?  Now I do,
since the captain taught me, and I know that I axes God to forgive me my
trespasses as I forgive others as trespasses against me; and I'll
moreover make bold to declare that the captain says that prayer every
night of his life, and has said it too, blow high or blow low, ever
since he was a little chap on his mother's knee.  There, Mistress Becky
you have what I calls the philosophy of the matter, and if I'm not right
I don't know no better."

Becky acknowledged that Tom's arguments were unanswerable, though she
did not altogether comprehend them.  She resolved, however, to dress the
dinner as well as she could, and to make up a comfortable bed for the

Everything went off as satisfactorily as could have been desired.  Mr
Ludlow did his best to be agreeable, and Stephen was pleasanter than
usual, and listened with interest to the accounts Charley Blount gave of
his voyages, and the countries he had visited.  The inspecting
commander, however, did not arrive.  Late in the evening a revenue
cutter came off the coast, and put on shore a very stout lieutenant, who
came puffing up to the Tower, and announced himself as Lieutenant
Dugong, of the Coast Guard.  The captain received him cordially, but
Becky surveyed him in despair.

"He'd break down the strongest bed in the house if there was one to
spare for him," she exclaimed, when she and Tom were next alone.  "What
can you do with people like him, Mr Tom, at sea?  What sort of
bedsteads have they got to sleep on?"

"Why, Mistress Becky, that depends whether they are berthed forward or
aft," answered Tom.  "If forward, they swing in a hammock; and if aft,
in a cot.  We'll soon sling one or t'other for this here Lieutenant
Dugong, and depend on't he'll have no cause to complain."

As may be supposed, every room in the Tower was occupied.  Tom took
charge of Blind Peter, and Charley Blount was put into the room he had
occupied on the ground-floor, and the stout lieutenant had another small
room on the same floor, while Stephen was placed in a small one near the
first landing, and his father had a room not far off.

The whole family and their inmates retired to rest and to sleep.  No one
in the old Tower was awake.  The hour of midnight had been struck by a
clock constructed by the captain.  The evening had been calm, but now
the wind began to moan and sigh and whistle round the walls, and through
any crevice into which it could find an entrance, while the dash of the
sea on the beach grew every instant louder and louder, and ever and anon
the shriek of some wild fowl startled from its roost was heard, as it
flew by to find another resting-place; giving the notion to the ignorant
and superstitious that spirits of evil were flying about intent on

The clock struck one when Stephen Ludlow awoke with a start, and saw
standing close to his bed a figure clothed in white, and from it
proceeded a curious light, which, while thrown brightly on him, darkened
everything else around.  His first impulse was to hide his head under
the bed-clothes, but then he was afraid that the creature might jump on
him, and so he remained staring at it, till his hair stood on end, and
yet not daring to scream out.  At length it stretched out an arm, with a
long thin hand at the end of it, shook a chain, which rattled and
clanked on the floor, and growled forth, "Out of this! out of this! out
of this!"

Stephen's teeth chattered.  He could not speak--he could not move.  He
thought for a moment, and hoped that the apparition might be merely the
phantom of a dream; but he pinched himself, and became too truly
convinced that it was a dreadful reality.  There it stood glaring at
him; he was too frightened to mark very minutely its appearance.  "Out
of this! out of this! out of this!" again repeated the phantom, slowly
retiring towards the door--a movement which would have been greatly to
Stephen's relief had he not felt sure that it would come back again.
His eyes followed it till it glided out of the door as noiselessly as it
had entered.  Poor Stephen kept gazing towards the open door, which he
dared not get out of bed to shut, lest he should encounter the phantom
coming back again.

About the same time that Stephen saw the phantom, Charley Blount was
awakened by a strange noise in his bed-room of clanking of chains and
horrible groans; then all was silent, and a voice exclaimed--

"Out of this! out of this! out of this!"

"What do you mean by `Out of this! out of this! out of this'?" cried
Charley, quietly leaning out of his bed, and seizing one of his heavy
walking shoes.  "Explain yourself, old fellow, whoever you are."

"Out of this! out of this! out of this!" repeated the voice.

"That is no answer to my question," said Charley, undaunted, and peering
into the darkness, in the direction from whence the voice appeared to

"Out of this! out of this! out of this!" said the voice.

"I say, you had better get out of this, or I'll be trying the thickness
of your skull with my walking-stick."

There was a loud groan and a clanking of chains; a light flashed in
Charley's eyes, and at the same moment he saw at the further end of the
room, near the door, a tall figure in white.  The instant he saw it the
young sailor's shoe was flying across the room, and he following it with
his stick in his hand; the ghost, if ghost it was, made a rapid spring
through the doorway, and fled along the passage.  Charley, having no
light, could not follow, so he returned to his room, and took his post
behind the door, hoping that if the ghost should come back he might have
the satisfaction of trying the strength of his stick on its head,
supposing ghosts to have heads.  In this case, at all events, it showed
that it possessed some sense, as, though he waited till he was almost as
cold as the ghost might be supposed to be, it never came back, so he
picked up his thick shoes, and with them and his trusty stick by his
side, ready for any emergency, got into bed again.

Meantime, Lieutenant Dugong had been sleeping soundly in a cot formerly
used by the captain, which Tom had slung for him in the unused room.  He
was contentedly snoring away, when suddenly he felt a tremendous blow
under his back, which almost sent him flying out of his cot, which
immediately afterwards was violently shaken from side to side.  "Hullo!
what's got hold of the ship now?" he cried out, only half awake.
"Steady, now!  Steady!  All comes from bad steering."  However, directly
afterwards awaking, he struck out right and left with his fists, hoping
to catch those disturbing him.

A loud, hoarse laugh followed, and the next moment a light flashed in
the room, and a figure in white appeared before him, and he heard, amid
rattling of chains and groans, the words, "Out of this! out of this! out
of this!"

"Get out of this indeed!  I'll see you at the bottom of the Red Sea
first!" exclaimed the fat lieutenant, "I've done my duty; and so if you
are a ghost I don't fear you; and if you are not, just wait a bit, and
I'll give you such a drubbing that it will be a long time before you
venture again to awake a naval officer out of his first sleep."

Whether or not the ghost understood this address it is difficult to say;
but at all events, as the gallant officer began to get out of his cot,
an operation he could not very rapidly perform, it vanished from his
sight, so he drew in his stout legs again, rolled himself up, and under
the impression that he was suffering from nightmare from having taken
too much lobster at supper, was in two minutes fast asleep, to be
awakened again in a minute by the loud report of a pistol, which made
him start up and look about him in earnest, not to see anything,
however, for it was nearly dark, as a faint glimmer of starlight alone
came through the long, narrow, and only window in the room.

What befel the other inmates of the Tower on that memorable night must
be narrated in another chapter.



How the slumbers of several of the inmates of the old Tower of Stormount
Bay were disturbed has already been described.  The ghosts, if ghosts
they were--for that may be doubted--were of a daring character, for they
ventured to appear even to Mr Ludlow.  He was awakened by a groan close
to his head, a chain clanked, and a deep voice uttered the words, "Out
of this! out of this! out of this!"

Though broad awake by this time he made no answer, but endeavoured to
pierce through the gloom with his eyes to ascertain who was in the room.
A minute or more passed by, and he also suspected that he had been
dreaming; at the same time he quietly stretched out his hand to take
hold of a pistol which he had placed on a chair by his bedside--a
dangerous, and in most instances very useless practice.  He kept his
finger on the trigger, peering into the dark in the hope of seeing the
person who was attempting, he suspected, to play off some trick on him.
His hand began to ache with holding the pistol in an uncomfortable
position.  Suddenly a bright light flashed in his face, and a voice
groaned, "Out of this! out of this! out of this!"  He pulled the
trigger, aiming at the point whence the voice came, but the cap alone
exploded, a hoarse laugh at the same time bursting forth, when a fearful
looking figure for an instant appeared, surrounded by a blue flame, and
then again all was dark and silent.

Mr Ludlow was a man of nerve; springing from his bed he rushed towards
the spot where he had seen the figure, but nearly fractured his head
against the wall.  He sprang to the other side, but only upset some
articles of furniture which seemed to have been placed purposely in the
way; and at length, after groping about for some time, he was glad to
get back, utterly baffled, to his bed.  He had no matches in the room,
or he would have lighted a candle and gone in search of the disturbers
of his slumbers.  He could not go to sleep again very easily, so he lay
wondering who could have played the trick.  "Not Stephen, my own son,"
he thought, "but that other boy, Charley Blount; he seems up to
anything.  Still he would not have the audacity to come into my room and
attempt to frighten me."

Thus thinking, he was dropping off to sleep when a deep groan awoke
him--he listened, all was silent; he thought that he must be mistaken,
but he tried to keep awake to listen, directing his eyes at the same
time towards the door.  Once more there was a groan, and directly
afterwards, at a spot where a gleam of starlight came through the
window, he caught a glimpse of a tall figure gliding across the room.
He fired at the instant; this time his pistol went off.  There was a
hoarse laugh as before; but when he sprang up, hoping to seize his
untimely visitor, the figure had disappeared, and he ran his head
against the edge of the door which had been left open.  So unusual a
sound as the report of a pistol in a quiet household at midnight soon
brought most of the inmates to his room.  The captain came stumping down
in a red nightcap and an old pea-coat; Tom had quickly slipped into a
pair of trousers, and had a yellow handkerchief round his head; Becky
appeared, her countenance ornamented with huge curlpapers, in a flannel
petticoat and piece of chintz curtain over her shoulders; while the
stout lieutenant, unable to find his garments in the dark, had groped
his way up wrapped in a blanket, when coming suddenly in front of Becky,
she shrieked out, "A ghost! a ghost! a ghost!" and ran off, nearly
upsetting her master in her flight.

"Stop! stop!  I'm not a ghost, my good woman," cried out the lieutenant;
"I only wish that you would tell me where I could find any of the
gentlemen, and I would break their heads for them, for not a wink of
sleep have they allowed me for the last two hours."

The captain and Tom having brought lights, search was made throughout
Mr Ludlow's room, and in the other rooms where the noises had been
heard, but not a trace of any one having been in them could be
discovered.  Still, both the captain and magistrate were convinced that
not only one person, but several, must have been in the house during the
night for nearly two hours, and probably were still there, for the front
and the side doors were closed, and no windows were found open by which
they could have escaped.  The lieutenant was rather more doubtful as to
the character of their visitors, and Becky and Tom shook their heads and
declared that they did not believe mere mortals could play such pranks,
and get away without being discovered.  "If my visitor was a ghost, we
shall find the pistol bullet, but I rather suspect that the fellow
withdrew it while I was asleep, or he would not have ventured to have
remained in the room after he knew I had a fire-arm," acutely observed
Mr Ludlow.

On examining the room, not a trace of a bullet could be discovered,
though a piece of paper in which it had been wrapped was picked up
unburnt.  This confirmed the magistrate in the opinion that his surmise
was correct, and it proved also the daring character of the people who
had played the trick.  How they had managed to get into the Tower was
the question.  The magistrate was puzzled, so was everybody else.
Neither the captain nor Tom, who knew the building better than anybody
else, could solve the mystery.  Charley, hearing their voices, came out
of his room, and Stephen crawled out of his, still pale and trembling,
and both had accounts to give of their ghostly visitant.  Stephen gave
the most dreadful account of the ghost he had seen, of the spiritual
character of which he seemed to have no doubt.  "Tut! boy, ghosts, if
there were such things, would not spend their time in trying to shake a
stout gentleman like myself out of his cot, in drawing bullets out of
pistols, in using dark lanterns, and groaning and growling with the
rough voices of boatswain's mates," exclaimed Lieutenant Dugong, with a
look of contempt at poor Stephen.  "The people who have been in here
deal in spirits, I have no doubt, for they are smugglers, and pretty
stupid ones too, if they fancy that by such mummeries they can frighten
officers and gentlemen as we are."

"You don't mean to say, Mr Dugong, that those are not ghosts which we
have been seeing to-night," exclaimed Stephen.

"I wish as how I thought they weren't," cried Becky, "for it's awful to
think that the old Tower where we've lived so long in peace should be

"Fiddlestick, woman, with your haunted Tower!" said the magistrate, who
was apt soon to lose his patience; "I suspect that you and your
one-armed companion there, who looks as scared as if he had a real
goblin at his heels, have been leaving some door or window open by which
these ghosts, as you call them, have found an entrance, and if they have
not got out by the same way they came in they must still be somewhere
about the building, and you must be held responsible for any mischief
they may commit--you hear me, sirrah!"

"Beg pardon, sir, and no offence, I do hear you," said Tom, stepping
forward and giving a pull to his red nightcap, and a hitch to his wide
trousers: "but I've served his Majesty--that's three on 'em and her
Majesty, that's Queen Victoria--man and boy for better than forty years,
afloat in all seas, and all climes, and never once have I been told that
I wasn't attending to my duty, and doing the work I was set to do as
well as I could.  Now I know it's my duty to see that all the doors and
windows are fast at night, not to keep out robbers, because we've no
reason to fear such gentry down here, but to prevent Mister Wind from
making an entrance, and I say it, and again I begs pardon, I did close
the doors and windows as securely as I ever did in my life."

"Oh! very well, very well, my good man, I do not doubt your honest
intentions, but assertions are not proofs; if you were to set about it,
and find the ghost, I should be better pleased," said the magistrate.

"I really think, Mr Ludlow, that you are somewhat hard upon Tom,"
interposed Captain Askew; "I can answer for his doing his best to find
the ghost if he is to be found, and if not I will leave him in charge of
the deck while we turn in again; and you may depend on it no ghost will
dare to show his nose while he is on duty."

This proposal was agreed to, and, as after a further search no trace of
the nocturnal visitors was discovered, the family once more retired to
rest, and Tom, with Mr Ludlow's pistols in his belt, and a thick stick
in his hand, kept watch--walking up and down the passages, and into all
the empty rooms, and should he see anything he was immediately to call
the captain and the rest of the gentlemen.  Once, as he was walking
slowly along a passage on the basement story, he saw on the ceiling a
faint gleam of light, as if it had been cast from somewhere below, but
as he proceeded it vanished, and though he looked about carefully he
could not discover the spot whence it had come.  He however noted it,
that he might prosecute his examination in the morning.  He was walking
on, when a deep groan came from almost beneath his feet, as it seemed.
Tom was not altogether free from superstition, but though he did not
disbelieve in ghosts and other foolish notions, he was too brave to be
frightened by anything, and consequently cool and capable of reflection.

"Ho! ho!" he thought, "if that was a ghost which groaned, he has got a
light to light himself about with anyhow; and he must be stowed away in
some hollow hereabouts, under the floor or in the wall, and there he
shall remain till morning light if he doesn't want a broken head or an
ounce of lead sent through his body."  So he posted himself in the
passage to watch the place whence the sound had come.  After waiting for
some time he took a short turn, when directly his footsteps sounded
along the passage there was another groan.  "Ho! ho! old mate," he
muttered, not aware that Hamlet had used the expression before him;
"groan away as much as you like, you'll find it a tough job to work your
way through the hard rock, I suspect, and I'm not going to let you
frighten me away from my post, let me tell you; the pistol has got a
bullet in it this time, understand."

The ghost evidently considered discretion the best part of valour, for
after this not a groan or any other sound was heard.  Tom watched all
the night, hoping that somebody or something might appear, that he might
get a shot at it; but not even a mouse crept out of its hole, nor were
the inmates of the Tower again disturbed.  Everybody was on foot at an
early hour, and the old Tower was thoroughly examined inside and out,
but no possible way by which the visitors could have entered could be

Tom's account of his having seen a light and heard a groan was
disbelieved; it was thought that his imagination had deceived him.
"Maybe it did," muttered Tom to himself, "howsomdever, I'll keep a
bright look-out thereabouts, and I've a notion that some day I'll catch
the mole coming out of his hole."

The next day the inspecting commander of the coastguard, and another
magistrate and two more lieutenants arrived, and a grand consultation
was held.  Plans were resolved on by which it was hoped that the
smugglers would be completely put down.  It did not occur to them,
possibly, that while the temptation to smuggling was so great that would
be a very difficult matter.

Margery had never seen so many people at the lower before, but she acted
with as much propriety as if she were every day accustomed to receive

It was supposed at length that the anger of the smugglers against Blind
Peter would have passed away; and at all events, as he could not for
ever be kept a prisoner, he begged that he might be allowed to go out
again with his faithful dog Trusty.  "There is One watches over me and
takes care of me, and He has sent that good dog and given him sense to
guide my steps, and so I trust in Him and do not fear what can happen to
me," he observed, when one morning, not without Captain and Mrs Askew
feeling some misgivings, he went forth from the Tower.  He had, as
usual, his pack on his back and his staff in his hand, as he wound his
way down the hill to the hamlet on the seashore.  As it was not his
custom to tell the people whence he had last come, they, naturally
supposing that he had been at a distance, asked him if he had heard of
the awful doings up at the Tower since he had last been there?  "What
are they, Maggy Scuttle?" he inquired of the old woman who asked the

"Terrible!  Peter, terrible!" she answered, shaking her head; "not but
what the captain is a good man, and a charitable man, and a kind man;
that I'll allow.  He comes down here and reads to us out of a book, and
preaches to us, and talks to us about our souls; but do all he can, he
can't keep the devil out of his house.  It's haunted; no doubt about
that.  They say that ghosts and hobgoblins, and all sorts of bad spirits
go wandering up and down night after night, and won't let the people in
the Tower sleep.  It's believed that the captain is so vexed that he'll
give up the Tower and go away, and 'twill then soon turn back into the
ruin it was when he came to it."

"I hope not," said Peter, "he's a good customer of mine and a good
neighbour to you, and so we shall both be the losers; and as for the
ghosts, he's not a man to be frightened by such nonsense.  I don't
believe in ghosts, and I'll tell you why--I couldn't see them in the
first place; I couldn't feel them, because they are spirits; and if they
are spirits, I couldn't hear them, because, do ye see, spirits haven't
got the power of speaking; they've no throat nor lungs, nor tongue, nor
lips.  I've thought of these things as I go along on my solitary way
with my good dog Trusty to guide me, for there is nothing to draw off my
thoughts such as those who can see have, by what is passing around.  My
idea is this--that God made everything in order, and keeps everything
that He alone has to do with in order--though He leaves man free to do
what he likes--be it good or evil.  Now God alone can have to do with
spirits or ghosts, and I'm very sure that He wouldn't let them play the
pranks and foolish tricks all the ghosts or spirits or hobgoblins, and
such like things I've ever heard of, are said to have played.  I've
never yet met a man who has seen a ghost; and what's more, I'm very
certain that I never shall."

"What do the people up at the Tower say to the ghosts, which have been
appearing there night after night I'm told?" asked Dick Herring, who had
the moment before walked into old dame Scuttle's, but unseen by Peter.

"They say, Master Herring, that the ghosts are clever ghosts to get into
the Tower as they did; but they are not so clever as they fancy
themselves, and that if they don't look sharp they'll be trapped one of
these days.  You've seen a mole-trap, Master Herring, such as the
farmers use--when the mole is caught the end of the stick flies up with
him, and there he hangs dangling in the air.  Perhaps your ghosts
wouldn't approve of a fate like that!"

"I don't see what you're driving at, Master Peter," answered Dick
Herring, in a growling, displeased tone; "but I'll tell you what, those
who know more than they ought to know are likely to come to grief some

"Maybe, Dick, if they make a bad use of what they know," said the blind
man, turning his face towards the smuggler; "and I have something to
tell you--there is One who watches over the poor blind man, who puts his
trust in Him; and He is able to keep him from all harm."

"That's what you say, Master Peter, you'll have to prove it some day,
maybe," growled out the smuggler, anxious, however, to change the
subject of conversation.

"I have proved it," answered Peter, with a firm voice; "and now
good-bye, Dick, I must be round and see who wants anything from my

And the blind man went fearlessly on his way, showing that the
confidence he spoke of in God's protecting providence was real, and not

The subject of the ghosts had by this time pretty well been dropped by
the inmates of the Tower, although it was still a matter of wonder how
they, or rather the people who acted them, could have got inside.
Stephen had come over again to see them, attended by a groom, for he was
not allowed to ride about by himself.  He said that he must go back
early; indeed, it was clear that nothing would tempt him to spend a
night in the Tower--and he wondered how Charley Blount could venture to
sleep on by himself after the dreadful sights he had seen.  "I never
have found that sights or sounds could do a man any harm, and so I do
not mind them any more than the Scotch Quaker, who, when a fellow was
one day abusing him, observed quietly, `Say what ye like, friend, with
your tongue, but dinna touch me.'  If the ghost had come with a dagger,
or pistol, or bowl of poison, I should have had good reason for wishing
him to keep his distance."

"Oh!  Charley, you are so fool-hardy," drawled out Stephen; "I, for my
part, don't see any fun in trifling with such serious matters."

Charley Blount burst out into a hearty fit of laughter.  "Why, Stephen,
I thought from what I have heard, that you were more of a man than to
believe in such nonsense," he exclaimed.

"What is it that you have heard that makes you think so?" asked Stephen.

"That you were going to persuade your father to let you go to the South
Seas, that you might try and find out what has become of Jack Askew."

"Yes, I know that is what I thought of doing," answered Stephen; "that
is to say, Margery wished me to go; but, in the first place, I know that
my father wouldn't let me go; and in the second, I don't think that I
should like the sea, and my health wouldn't stand it, and altogether I
have made up my mind not to go."

"Have you told Margery this?" asked Charley; "at present she fully
believes that you are going and that you are certain to find her brother
alive in some desert island, like that Robinson Crusoe lived in; as you
knew him so well, she thinks that you are more likely than any one else
to find him out."

"Oh! that is a mere fancy of Margery's," answered Stephen, in a tone
which showed great indifference to the subject.  "It is a hundred to one
that Jack is alive, in the first place, and equally unlikely that I
should stumble on him, even if he is.  The captain does not think so, or
he would go out himself, or send out, I should think."

"As to that I do not know, but I do know that you ought to tell Margery;
at least, I know that I would, if I had made up my mind as you seem to
have done."

"You had better go, then, instead of me, if you think so favourably of
the little girl's wild scheme," said Stephen, in a sneering tone, which
somewhat tried Charley's temper.

"She has not asked me," he answered; "it would make them all very happy
if Jack was to be found, and I should think no trouble too great if I
could bring him back, that is all I say."

"Oh! you are very generous," sneered Stephen who would have been very
glad to please Margery if he could have done so without any risk or
trouble to himself.

There are a good many people in the world of similar character: the test
of love or friendship is the amount of self-sacrifice which a person is
ready to make for the object of his regard.  Stephen had at length, at
Charley's instigation, to confess to Margery that he had no intention of
becoming a sailor for the sake of trying to find Jack.  Her countenance
expressed as much scorn as its sweetness would allow, as she answered,
"Oh!  I feared that you did not care for him, and am certain that you do
not care for me.  Here is the book you were polite enough to lend me,
and I suppose that you will not very often come over to the Tower, as we
shall have no longer that subject to talk about."

Stephen could say nothing, but looked very sheepish, and soon afterwards
ordered his horse and rode homewards.

The next morning the family assembled in the breakfast-room for prayers;
but Margery, usually the first on foot, had not made her appearance.
She slept in a little room on the first floor, with a window looking out
over the sea; it was prettily papered, and had white dimity curtains,
and everything in it looked fresh and nice, like herself.  Charley ran
up and knocked at the door, but got no answer; then Becky went to the
room, the door was not locked and her heart sank with an undefined alarm
when she found the room empty.  She scarcely dared to return to the
breakfast-room to tell Captain and Mrs Askew, fearful of the effect the
announcement might have on her mistress.  She hunted about the room.
The little girl had slept in the bed, but neither her night things nor
her day clothing were there.  Several other articles appeared to have
been removed from the room.  Becky had an observant eye, and quickly
discovered this; otherwise she might have supposed that she had merely
gone out unobserved to take a morning walk.  As to her having gone away
of her own accord, without saying anything to her father and mother, or
allowing even a suspicion that any plan was running in her head, that
was so unlike dear little, loving, tender-hearted Miss Margery that
Becky dismissed the notion as altogether improbable; but then again, how
could anybody have got into the house to carry her off?  Poor Becky,
with grief and perplexity, would have sat down on the bed and cried her
eyes out, but she felt conscious that the so doing would not assist in
discovering what had become of Margery; so at length, mustering courage
for announcing what she would, she told Tom, rather have cut out her
tongue than have had to do, she slowly returned to the breakfast-room.
Her prolonged absence had produced some anxiety, and she met Mrs Askew
coming to see what was the matter.  Becky's face alarmed her.

"Is my child ill? is she dead? oh! speak--speak--tell me the worst!" she

"Oh! don't take on so, marm, Miss Margery isn't ill, and she isn't dead,
that I know on; but, oh dear! marm, she isn't there," she answered,
bursting into tears.  It is needless further to describe the sorrow and
consternation which everybody in the house felt when this fact became
known, and very soon it was ascertained to be a fact, for, hunting high
and hunting low, not a trace of dear little Margery could be discovered.



Captain Askew was a man of action, and, while the search for Margery was
being carried on in the Tower, he hurried down to the hamlet, to
ascertain if she had been seen by any one there, or if any one could
give him any clue by which to trace her.  He went, in the first place,
to Dick Herring's cottage, for though of late Dick had always met him
with a sulky, surly expression on his countenance, they were once good
friends, and he thought that under the present circumstances the heart
of even the rough smuggler would be softened; but Dick was away, and
Susan, his wife, said that she did not know when he would return--she
never did know.  Their daughter Polly, whom he met bringing in a bucket
of fresh water from the neighbouring spring, also said that she had not
seen Miss Margery, though the captain fancied that there was an odd
expression on her countenance when she spoke.  He therefore
cross-questioned her, but not a word to show that she could even guess
what had become of Margery could he elicit.  He next went to Molly
Scuttle's cottage, but the old woman could give him no information; she
could only suggest that the ghosts must to a certainty have had
something to do with it.  When he replied that he did not believe in
such things, she answered that they had evidently carried off his
daughter to punish him for his incredulity, and to prove their existence
to him.  He hurried round from cottage to cottage, but the people only
opened their eyes and mouths wide with astonishment, and gave him no
information likely to be of the slightest use.  Disappointed, he
returned to the Tower.  There the search had continued with unabated
diligence; Tom had made a discovery, but it seemed doubtful to what it
would lead.  He had found one of the little girl's slippers in the dark
passage on the ground-floor, near the spot where he had fancied that he
had seen the light and heard the groan on the memorable night when the
pretended ghosts had appeared.  How it had come there, however, was the
question.  He carried it to Becky to consult with her on the subject.
It was not likely to have been dropped by Margery, because had she been
walking she would naturally have stopped to put it on again.  Indeed it
was absurd to suppose that she had run away of her own free will; it
therefore seemed most probable that she had been carried along by some
one, and that her slipper had fallen off unobserved.  Still the
questions, how those who had committed the outrage had got into the
house, and how they had got out again, remained unanswered.  Becky could
solve neither.  She was of opinion, "though she would not like to tell
the captain or the missus, that the ghosteses had done it, and that they
hadn't got in by either of the doors or windows, but somehow or other
out of the ground, for that's where them things, I have heard say,
always comes from; but it's dreadful to think that poor, dear, sweet
Miss Margery should have been carried off into such a place as they
lives in," she observed to Tom in a low voice.

"That's all nonsense, Becky," responded Tom.  "The captain says as how
there's no such things as ghosteses, and therefore it's my belief that
there isn't; besides, don't you know that this here old Tower stands on
the solid rock?  Why there isn't an inch of ground all round it, into
which I could run a spade if I tried ever so much, and I should like to
see the ghost who could work his way through that: it's all very well
for them as is put under the soft black mould of a churchyard, of
course, if they has a mind to take a turn or two about the world at
midnight, there'd be nothing to prevent them that I sees, except that
the captain says it's impossible."

"Oh, dear!  Tom, don't go on to talk in that way; it makes me all over
in a cold shiver to think what has become of poor dear Miss Margery."

Neither Tom nor Becky were possessed of any education of the most
ordinary sort, so they may be excused talking the nonsense to which it
must be confessed they gave utterance on the subject.  Poor Mrs Askew
was bewildered with grief and dismay and anxiety as to what had become
of her beloved child.  Charley could not believe that Margery would be
guilty of any foolish act, yet when he remembered her conversation in
the morning with Stephen about going to look for her brother in the
South Seas, and her indignation on finding that he would not go, he
thought it just possible that she might have set off by herself with
some wild scheme of the sort in her head; and yet such a proceeding was
so unlike herself that he dismissed the idea as soon as he had conceived
it, and did not even mention it to Captain Askew.  If she had gone, it
was not likely that she would get far without being discovered, and they
would soon hear of her.  Although Captain Askew was himself a
magistrate, it was necessary to give information of the strange event to
Mr Ludlow, that he might assist in discovering the perpetrators of the
outrage, and Charley Blount volunteered to go over to the Hall for that
object.  Some time had already been spent in fruitless search, so
Charley, after he had snatched a hurried breakfast, set off as fast as
his legs could carry him.  He was a good runner at all times, but on the
present occasion, believing that the faster he went the sooner dear
little Margery might be recovered, he ran as he had never before run in
his life.  Had he been dilatory he might never have reached the Hall at
all, for those who were on the watch for any one leaving the Tower,
believing that he would have gone at an ordinary speed, happily missed

Mr Ludlow was highly indignant at what he heard, and sorry too, for
even he admired little Margery, and he at once proposed sending to
London for a detective officer.  "One of those sharp-witted gentlemen is
far more likely than are we thick-headed country-folks to discover how
she little girl has been spirited away," he observed.  "Of one thing I
am certain, that the smugglers are at the bottom of it, and of another,
that if they have not a confederate in the house--and old Tom and Becky
look honest enough--they have the means of getting in unknown to us.  I
will write for the officer, and then you and Stephen shall ride over
with me and we will look into the matter."

Captain Askew was very grateful to Mr Ludlow for coming over so
speedily, but though they again made a thorough examination, as they
supposed, of the whole tower, they could not throw any fresh light on
the mysterious subject.

"The detective officer, when he arrives, will soon ferret out the truth,
however, depend on that," observed Mr Ludlow, as he and Stephen mounted
their horses to ride back.  But neither the captain nor Charley were
inclined to wait till the said detective should arrive to win back what
they valued so much.  Charley thought again and again over the subject,
and talked to Tom about the light, and the groan, and the dear little
slipper, and suddenly Tom slapped his leg and said that he remembered
when the Tower was being put in order that one of the workmen had told
him that there was a vault or cellar under a part of it, from which a
passage was said to lead down to the seashore.  He was not certain
whether the captain had heard the account, at all events he did not
appear to have believed it, and of course had forgotten it altogether.
Tom confessed that he was very stupid not to have thought of it before,
though he was not even then much inclined to believe in the truth of the

Charley thought differently, and resolved at once to search for the
opening--if such existed--to the vault.  He charged Tom not to tell the
captain, as it would be a disappointment to him should they fail to make
the discovery they hoped for.  At that very juncture blind Peter, having
heard a rumour of the supposed abduction of Miss Margery, came to the
Tower to learn whether or not the story was true.

Charley immediately took him into his counsels.  Peter thought over the
subject.  Yes, he had heard the account of the vault under the Tower,
and what was more, he knew an old mason residing about two miles off who
had worked there, and who was, he rather thought, the very man who had
told him of it.  He would go off at once and fetch John Trowel and his
tools, and they would very soon burrow into the molehill if one existed.

Charley and Tom occupied the time of Peter's absence in preparing with a
rope and a lantern to explore the cavern they hoped to find.  They
forgot at first that they might possibly encounter opposition, as it was
certain that if the cavern did exist it had had occupants, and probably
had still, who would not welcome any intrusion on their privacy.
Charley, however, at length thought of this.  It did not for a moment
make him hesitate about carrying out his plans, but he thought that it
would be wise to provide himself and Tom with arms.  The captain had a
brace of pistols and a fowling-piece, and Tom had an old French cutlass
which he had taken from the enemy, and treasured as a trophy of his
fighting days.  Charley at once went up to the captain, who was writing
to the officers of the coastguard, and to others who might possibly hear
something of his little girl.  "Any news? any news?" he asked, as
Charley entered.

"No, sir, but if we could find our way into some of the smugglers'
hiding-places, we might learn more than we do now, and as I would rather
have a weapon in my hand than trust to my fists with such gentry, I beg
that you will lend me your firearms."

The captain made no answer, but pointed to them over the fireplace,
where they hung, with a flask of powder and a bag of bullets.

Charley hurried off to avoid having any questions asked him.  Tom was
delighted to get the weapons, and declared that, although he had but one
arm, he could use his cutlass as well as any man.  He then put on a belt
that he might stick a pistol in it, and advised Charley to do the same,
that he might hold the gun ready for use.  At last old John Trowel
arrived with Peter.  He remembered perfectly all about the vault, had
once been down it, and thought that he could find the entrance without
difficulty, though it had been been blocked up; but as to a passage
leading down to the beach--of that he could not speak with any

"No time is to be lost, though!" exclaimed Tom, when he heard this.
"Come along, and mind you make as little noise as possible."

The old mason went at once up to the very spot where Tom had seen the
light, and he began immediately to work there, scraping away the mortar
from between the stones, Charley and Tom helping him, while blind Peter
held the lantern.  They worked on patiently, knowing that by such means
people have frequently let themselves out through the thick walls of a
prison.  More than half-an-hour had been thus employed when Charley felt
the stone on which he stood move; jumping off it, with but little
difficulty he lifted it up, when a regular wooden trap-door appeared
below.  This it was soon found was made to open downwards and how to
force it open without making a noise was the question.

Again Charley had to hurry off to the captain's room to borrow a
centrepiece, a small saw and a file, and by labouring with these
steadily the bolt which held up the trap was cut round, and Tom then
having securely fastened a rope to it, the trap was noiselessly lowered
and a dark vault appeared below.  There could now be little doubt by
which way the pretended ghosts had found their way into the Tower.  On a
lantern being lowered a ladder was seen, on to which Charley immediately
jumped, and fearlessly descended into the vault.  As a sailor, he knew
the importance of securing a fresh hold before letting go of the first,
so he held on to the beam above till he had found a firm rest for his
feet.  He thus descended for a considerable depth, while Tom let down
the lantern by a rope that he might see the nature of the place into
which he had got.  He at length reached the bottom, and taking the
lantern from the end of the rope, commenced an examination of the place
in which he found himself.  It was a large roughly-hewn vault, which
looked as if it had been the quarry from whence the stone with which the
fortress was built had been taken.  Around it were cells, where some
rusty iron bars and ring bolts let into the rock showed that it had been
the prison of the castle, and Charley shuddered as he thought of the
unhappy people who had once been confined there, where not a gleam of
light nor the slightest sound could pierce through the solid rock.  As
soon as Tom found that Charley had reached the bottom, he also
descended--holding his cutlass in his teeth--as actively as most men
could have done with two hands.  Peter and old John Trowel were directed
to wait above.  Peter said that from his acuteness of hearing he should
be able to judge what progress they were making, and to let Captain
Askew know where they were gone.

Blind Peter and old John waited on the top of the ladder leading down
into the vault, expecting the return of Tom or Charley, or else to
receive some signal from them announcing the progress they had made.
Peter listened attentively--"I hear them going round and round the vault
to look for the passage," he observed to old John.  "It must be a large
place, larger than I thought for, and they don't seem to be able to find
the passage."

"Maybe there's no passage to find," said John sagaciously.

Still they did not come back, and Peter declared that he could no longer
hear their footsteps.  They waited and waited, but the explorers did not
appear.  Old John suggested that there might be some pit or hole into
which they had tumbled, and perhaps nothing would ever again be heard of
them; but the idea was too terrible to entertain, for Peter had a
sincere regard for Tom, and Charley's blithe voice and kind manners had
won his heart.  They ought at once to have gone to Captain Askew, and
procured proper assistance, with lights, ropes, and ladders.  Old John
was scarcely able to descend the ladder, and did any hole exist, the
blind man would most probably have fallen into it.  Notwithstanding this
he proposed descending, till old John persuaded him to give up the idea,
and at length, when it would very likely be too late to save the lives
of the explorers, they agreed to summon the captain.  Captain Askew
could scarcely understand the account he heard.  That there was a vault
under the Tower he was ready to believe, as he now remembered hearing
the report that one existed, but that his young friend Charley and old
companion Tom should have gone into it and been irretrievably lost he
would not believe.  He would immediately have descended himself to look
for them, but that his timber-toe and a rickety ladder did not suit each
other.  He considered whom he could summon in the village, but they were
all more or less connected with the smugglers.  He however determined to
ask the assistance of some of the most trustworthy among them.  He took
his hat and was hurrying down the hill when he met one of the men of the
coastguard going his rounds.  He at once agreed to accompany the
captain, but said that by the delay of twenty minutes or so he could
obtain the assistance of two or three of his mates, and as he could be
of little use by himself, the captain begged him to get them as soon as

The captain then went back to the Tower, and found blind Peter and old
John waiting at the trap-door.  They had heard sounds, they said, but
had got no answer to their shouts.  In vain the captain also hailed as a
sailor alone can, though his voice had perhaps lost something of its
strength.  All remained silent below, and his fears for the safety of
his friends increased to a painful degree.  At last the coastguard men
arrived--stout fellows, well armed--with their lanterns and ropes; they
were not likely to be baffled in the search.  As, however, they stood
over the entrance of the dark abyss, the countenances of most of the
party turned pale.  They were ready to face smugglers or pirates,
Russians, Frenchmen, Turks, or savages of every description, all the
enemies of their country; but they had heard of the Tower being haunted,
and suppose any of the ghosts, or spirits, or imps, who frequented the
spot, should start up and confront them!  The captain saw what they were
thinking about.  Following the system he had always adopted where danger
was to be incurred, he exclaimed, "Lower me down first, my lads, I'll
see what is to be seen."  Suiting the action to the word he fastened a
rope round his waist, and, with the help of it and the ladder, soon
reached the bottom.  The men now followed without hesitation, the
captain leading the way, and looking round and round the vault.  "It is
very extraordinary," he exclaimed at length.  "I can scarcely believe
that they came down here, there is no hole into which they could have
fallen, no outlet through which they could have passed."

"It's vary terrible, vary terrible indeed, sir," said Sandy MacGregor,
an old Scotchman and the chief boatman.  "It's the spirits or the bogies
ha' carried them off, there's na doubt about that, and it's only to be
hoped that they'll na come and carry us awa' too."

The fear thus expressed very soon communicated itself to the other men,
and had a rat started up, although they would not have deserted the
captain, their knees would certainly have shaken as they had never done
in the presence of a mortal foe.

"Nonsense, my man," exclaimed Captain Askew.  "There are no spirits in
this vault to hurt us, and depend on it if our friends have been carried
away spirits have had nothing to do with it; still, I tell you, I cannot
account for it."

It was indeed strange.  Every cell, every nook and corner was examined.
The sides of the vault were either solid rock or masonry.  There was no
place through which two people could have passed by any visible means.
At length, most unwillingly, Captain Askew told the men that he should
return into the Tower.  The order was obeyed with wonderful alacrity,
and they were well pleased when he told them that he would be the last
man up.  They were all soon out of the vault, and ready to assist him up
in the way he had gone down.  He had to confess himself thoroughly
baffled.  When he talked the subject over with Mrs Askew, they could
neither of them account for the way in which their dear child had been
so cruelly carried off, nor how Tom nor Charley had disappeared, and yet
they were fully convinced that human agency alone had been at work.

Meantime Becky had taken charge of the coasts guard men, and blind Peter
and John, and was able, in spite of her grief, to serve them with bread
and cheese and cider.  As they continued to discuss the matter, Peter
was the only one who persisted in asserting that human agency alone had
been employed, while Sandy MacGregor as strongly maintained that spirits
of a very disreputable nature had a finger in the pie.  That, however,
like other matters of mystery, was one day to receive a solution.



As soon as Charley was joined by Tom, he commenced a more thorough
examination of the vault; but no outlets could they discover, and they
began to doubt whether their nocturnal visitors could have got through
it into the Tower.  Could there be another passage independent
altogether of the vault?  They went round and round and could find no
door or trap, or opening of any sort.

"I doubt if we are right, after all," observed Charley; "we must try and
find some other way down--for way there is, of that I am certain."

"We are right; still, though," answered Tom, "that ladder has had other
feet on it of late besides ours; and just let me see how the bolt of the
trap-door could have been fastened from below if there wasn't some one
to do it.  It wasn't the ghosteses, I suppose, Mister Charles? and look
here--what's this?" he added, as stooping down he picked up another
small slipper, the fellow to the one which was known to be Margery's.

The sight of it induced Charley to renew his search, and directly
afterwards he discovered in one of the cells a ring, which looked, he
thought, as if it was intended to serve as a handle to a stone door.  He
pulled it with all his strength, and slowly turning on a pair of heavy
rusty hinges it opened, and showed a flight of steps cut in the rock,
and leading downwards.

"Come along," he whispered to Tom, "we shall soon solve the mystery."

He led, Tom following, and holding the lantern with a torch ready to
light at the end of his hook arm, while he held a pistol in his other
hand.  At first they descended by very steep steps cut in the rock, then
the passage was almost on a level and turned and twisted considerably,
showing that it had been formed in the first place by nature, and had
been simply enlarged by the hand of man.

Charley was, however, thinking all the time far more of little Margery,
and how frightened she must have been when carried along it, than of the
way in which the passage had been formed.  He was expecting also every
instant to find himself confronted by a number of fierce smugglers, who
would naturally be exasperated at having their long-concealed haunt at
length discovered.  There could be no longer any doubt as to who
represented the ghosts, nor how they had entered the Tower and so
speedily disappeared.  The passage was somewhat slippery from the
moisture which here and there trickled through the rock, and was clearly
not often traversed, which it would have been had the vault above been
used as a store-house.

It was pretty evident from the words the smugglers had used that their
object was to get rid of the inhabitants of the Tower that they might
occupy the vaults as a store-house, and have free egress from it for
their goods.  They had probably hoped, could they have attained their
object, to have baffled the revenue officers for years to come.  They
must have felt that they had been completely defeated, and, either in
revenge or in the hopes of making some terms with Captain Askew, had
carried off Margery.  Still, Charley could not believe, that, savage and
lawless as they might be, they would wish to injure the innocent little
girl, and was nearly sure that he was on the right track to recover her.

Charley now proceeded very cautiously, for he thought it possible that
the passage might lead to the edge of a precipice to be descended only
by a ladder, and an incautious step in advance might send him tumbling
headlong down; and he had the sense to know that people even when
engaged in the best of enterprises must guard against accidents and
failure, and that they have no right to expect success unless they do
their best to secure it.  Tom wanted to lead, but Charley would not let

"No," he answered, "make fast the rope you've got round my waist, then
if I slip you'll haul me up."

Tom did so, and they once more advanced.  They had gone some way further
when Charley again stopped and listened.  He heard a low, murmuring
sound--it was that of human voices.  He and Tom crept on more cautiously
than ever.  A gleam of light shone on them as if through a crevice.
There was evidently either a door or a curtain hung across the passage.
This would enable them perhaps to see what was going on within, before
entering.  Shading their lantern and making as little noise as possible,
they got close up to what seemed to be a door or a number of planks
nailed together, and placed so as to lean against the entrance.  Charley
was afraid that while searching for a hole to look through he might
knock it over.

At length he found a chink through which he could look into what
appeared to be a cavern of some size, but the hole allowed him the
command only of a very limited range of vision.  In front of him were
two men seated on casks at a rough table, made apparently of pieces of
wreck.  There was a lantern on the table, and they had account-books and
some piles of money, with a bottle or two and some tin mugs.  From the
way in which they were occupied, Charley supposed that they were
principal men among the smugglers, settling their accounts.  They were
both strangers to him.  He was afraid to ask Tom whether he knew them,
for fear of his voice being heard.  The plan he at once formed was to
rush out on them, seize and bind them, and hold them as hostages till
Margery should be given up; for it did not occur to him that a young lad
like himself and a one-armed man were scarcely likely to overpower two
stout, hardy ruffians like those before him.  He drew Tom back a little
distance where it was safe to speak, and asked him if he would make the
attempt.  The old sailor was ready for anything.  It would certainly be
a grand matter to capture the leaders of the gang.  He only wished that
the captain was there to lead them, then there would be no doubt about

Charley's chief anxiety was with respect to Margery.  If she was in the
cavern, and any of their pistols were discharged, she might be hurt.  As
regarded the risk he and Tom ran, he did not reflect a moment.  The
outlaws were to be captured, and he had undertaken the task of seizing
them if he could.

"Now, Tom, are you all ready?" he asked; "I will take the man on the
right side, you the man on the left--knock them over and hold our
pistols to their heads, while we march them up the passage into the

"Yes, I'm ready, Mr Charles," answered Tom.  "But leave the gun where
we are, it will be only in our way, and I'll stick to my cutlass.  We
must be sharp about it, though, for they don't look like fellows who'd
stand child's-play; and yet I've known in the war time, two staunch
fellows take a ship out of the hands of a prize crew of ten men: and so
I don't see why we shouldn't be able to clap into bilboes two big
ragamuffins like those there.  Come on!"

The hearts of the bravest must beat quick when they are about to engage
in a desperate struggle with their fellow men.  Charley Blount felt his
beat a great deal quicker than usual when he and old Tom were about to
rush on the two smugglers in the cavern, and, as they hoped, overpower
them.  They got close up to the door, and pressing with all their might
against the upper part, sent it flat down before them on the floor of
the cavern, and rushing over it threw themselves instantly on the
smugglers, who, astonished at the sudden noise, had not time to rise
from their seats when they felt their throats seized, and saw the
muzzles of a brace of pistols presented at their heads.

Nothing could have been better done, and the two smugglers would have
been made prisoners, but at the same moment a dozen stout fellows, who
had been sleeping round the cavern, and had sprang to their feet at the
noise of the falling door, came round them; the muzzles of the pistols
were knocked up, Tom's going off and the bullet flattening against the
roof of the cavern, and they found their arms pinioned, and instead of
capturing others were themselves made captives.  Charley felt bitterly
disappointed and crestfallen, but not for a moment forgetting the object
of his expedition, he looked round the cavern for Margery.  She was not
to be seen.  "Where have you carried the little girl to?" he asked; "we
came to fetch her.  You had no business to carry her off.  Take her back
to her father and mother, and you may do what you like with us."

"You are von brave young rogue, _mon jolie garcon_!" exclaimed the man
(the captain of a French lugger), whom Charley had seized.  "You have no
fear, it seems, for ghosts nor for men; but you give me von terrible
gripe of my neck.  Ah, not you tink we do wid you?"

"I don't know, and don't care," answered Charley, recklessly; "only give
me back Miss Margery--that's what I want."

"Ah! is it?  She long way from dis, _mon garcon_," said the captain, in
a mocking tone; "Vould you like go see her?"

"Yes, I would," answered Charley; "and let me tell you that if a hair of
her head has been injured, you will all have to pay dearly for it."

"Vary well, vary well," said the Frenchman, still mocking at Charley;
"Ve vill take you wid us, eh?"

"Come, enough of this, mounseer," growled out the other man, who was
only then recovering from the effects of the iron grip Tom had taken of
his throat.  "If we don't look out, mates, we shall have a whole gang of
the coastguard down on us while we stay chattering here.  Just settle
what's to be done with the old man and the lad, and then the sooner we
are away from here the better."

"Give us up the little girl, and neither coastguard nor police shall
molest you if we can help it," exclaimed Charley.

"Then no one is following you?" asked the man.

"No," answered Charley, without thinking of the consequences of his

"Then come with me, lads, and we'll stop up the entrance to our burrow
in a way which will give plenty of work to any one to find it!"
exclaimed the man; "but we'll put irons first on the claws of this young
fighting-cock and his companion."

The smugglers were deaf to all Charley's expostulations, and he and Tom
speedily found their hands in heavy manacles, which would effectually
prevent them from making their escape.  Tom did not at first deign even
to speak, but now lifting up his manacled hands he exclaimed, "Thank ye,
mates, for these pretty gloves; we had intended to put your hands into
some like them before the night is over, and just let me advise you, or
you'll be caught as it is."

Charles and Tom were left standing by themselves to indulge in
meditation, while one-half of the smugglers hurried off to stop the
entrance to the passage, and the other half packed up the goods which
lay about the cavern, ready to carry them off.

Charley's meditations were not altogether pleasant, but though
grievously disappointed at the failure of his expedition, he kept up his
spirits with the hope that something might still turn up to enable him
either to see Margery, or to learn where she was.  He was, however,
greatly concerned with the thought of the additional anxiety Captain and
Mrs Askew would feel when he and Tom did not return.  "Of course the
vault will be explored, and if the smugglers stop up the passage as they
intend the entrance to it will not be found, and no one will be able to
guess what has become of us."

The smugglers were not long about the work, and as soon as they returned
they blindfolded Charley's and Tom's eyes, the Captain observing that
though they had found their way into the cavern, they should not be able
to boast that they knew their way out again.  Most of the men were
strangers, and by their appearance French; but Charley thought that he
recognised the countenances of a few, though as there was but a dim
light in the cavern, and they kept out of his way, he could not be
certain.  As they led him along he heard them muttering in angry tones,
and, as he thought, consulting what they should do with him and Tom.

"He knows too much already," said one.

"Dead men tell no tales," growled another.

"A slip over the cliff--nothing could be proved against us," muttered a

Similar pleasant remarks continued to be made while he was led up and
down passages, and, he was convinced, more than once turned completely
round, till at last a rope was fastened round his waist, and he felt
himself lowered down what he concluded was the side of a cliff, for the
wind blew strongly against him.  He was then led along the bench to the
westward; this he knew by hearing the surf beating on his left hand, and
feeling the wind on his left cheek.  He heard the footsteps of several
people, but he could not ascertain whether Tom was of the party, and he
began to be afraid that they were separated from each other.  The way
was very rough, and he had great difficulty in keeping his feet.  The
wind too was getting up, and he heard the men grumbling at having to
lead him along, and at being unable to embark; from which he concluded
that their original intention had been to send him and Tom off to the
coast of France with the French captain.

After going a considerable distance, the wind still increasing, he found
that they turned inland up a steep ravine.  He was now in a part of the
country with which he was unacquainted, he supposed, but still he
endeavoured to remember each turn he took, that if necessary he might be
able to retrace his steps.  More than once, as he went along, he thought
that he heard Tom's voice, and he was about to shout to him, but the
muzzle of a pistol pressed against his cheek, and a hint from a gruff
voice, that if he hallooed his brains would be blown out, warned him
that it would be wiser to hold his tongue.

Poor Charley had never taken so unpleasant a walk in his life; he had
attacked the smugglers first certainly, and--though he did not know it,
as he had no warrant--in an illegal manner, and they could if they had
chosen have brought an action against him and Tom for an assault and
battery; but, on the other hand, as they were themselves engaged in
illegal transactions, this they could not venture to do, as it would
have brought their own misdeeds to light.

On the party went, now turning rapidly to the right, now to the left,
till Charley felt convinced that they were attempting to mislead him.
At last, strong as he was, he was almost ready to drop with fatigue.
The men who held him were frequently changed, as if they too were
knocked up with their work.  Suddenly they stopped, declaring they could
go no further, and that there could not be a more convenient place for
getting rid of their prisoners.

"Heave them over the cliff!" said one, in a low, savage tone.  "The
water is deep, and they will be soon washed out to sea."

"Not so certain of that," said another; "better make some stones fast to
their feet to sink them."

"Just to prove that they came to their end by foul means!" observed a
third with a sneer.  "No, no, heave 'em over here, they'll never speak
again after they reach the bottom, and no one will be able to tell but
what they fell over of themselves."

This agreeable discussion afforded Charley the first intimation that old
Tom was near him, and directly afterwards he heard his voice saying, "Do
what you like with me, mates, but let that young lad go free.  How would
you like to have one of your own boys or young brothers treated as you
threaten to treat him?  There's life and work and happiness in him, and
you'd just knock it all to pieces for the sake of a paltry revenge.
What good can killing the boy do to any of you?  Why, I'll tell you--
murder will out, and you'll all be hanged, every one of you."

"Hold your jaw!" exclaimed one of the smugglers; "we've made up our
minds, and you'll both go the same way."

Neither Charley nor Tom were of a disposition to beg for their lives;
besides, they believed that if the ruffians had determined to kill them,
no entreaties would make them alter their minds.  Charley, not to lose
precious time, tried to prepare himself for death; he thought of the
sins he had committed, and endeavoured to repent of them; he forgave all
his enemies, even those who were about to kill him, and then, claiming
no merit for anything he had ever done, he cast himself at the feet of
One he knew to be full of love, and mighty to save.  Such is the way a
true Christian and a brave man would prepare himself for that great
change which must come on all of us.

"Are you going to say your prayers, young man, before we heave you off?"
asked a smuggler, in a gruff voice.

"I have said them, thank you," answered Charley, calmly.  "Tom, have you
said yours?  Have you made your peace with Heaven in the only way it can
be made?"

"Yes, Mr Charles, I've done that for many a day.  When I first came to
live on shore with the captain, `Tom,' says he, `we must all die, and as
we know not the day we should always be ready,' so he showed me the way
to be ready, and I've kept ready ever since."

"Now, friends," said Tom, addressing the smugglers, "what do you intend
to do?  I've again to tell you that you'll gain nothing by committing a
cruel murder, and you'll repent of it as long as you live, and longer,
far longer."

"Stop his canting mouth, and over the cliff with him! let him preach to
the lobsters and crabs if he's a mind!" exclaimed one of the smugglers,
and others joined in the vindictive cry.

Charley and Tom on this found themselves dragged along by the shoulders
till their feet were over the cliff.

"Now, over with them, let them drop!" cried one of the men.

"No, no," exclaimed another, "let them grip on to the edge with their
hands.  They'll have time to think about that where they're going, and
pleasant thoughts to them!"

This last sally of wit produced a roar of laughter from the savage
smugglers who, passing their lives in systematically outraging the laws
of their country, seemed no longer to be moved by any of the better
feelings of our nature.  Still Charley and Tom felt grateful for the few
moments of existence allowed them, and clutched the edge of the cliff
with all the energy of despair.  No sooner had they been lowered into
their perilous position than they heard the smugglers, with heartless
indifference to the agony they were suffering, moving off, some actually
laughing, as if enjoying their misery, though none of them apparently
were so utterly inhuman as to wait to see them dashed to pieces by their

Charley, light and strong, felt that he could hold on for some time, but
at the same time was afraid of struggling and endeavouring to get up on
the cliff lest he should lose his gripe altogether.  Tom had stuck his
hook into the earth, but he in the same way knew that in attempting to
climb up on to the top of the cliff, he might slip, and fall to the
bottom.  Their hope was that somebody might come by and help them, but
that was very unlikely.

"Hold on, Mr Charles, hold on, my lad!" cried Tom.  "If I could but
just get the point of a rock to put my knee on, I would soon be on the
firm ground and have you safe in a moment."

"I'm doing my best to hold on," answered Charles, "but the edge is
terribly crumbling; I would make the attempt to get up, but I am nearly
certain that I should fail."

"Then don't try, Mr Charles," said Tom, "I'll shout, and may be one of
the coastguard men or somebody else will hear us.  Help, ahoy! help!
help ahoy!" he shouted in a voice which age had not weakened, and which
might have been heard nearly half a mile off, had any one been near

Charley then joined him in shouting, but no answer came, and Charley
felt as a person does in a dreadful dream, every instant growing weaker
and weaker.

"Tom, I don't think that I can hold on many seconds longer," he at last
said; "good-bye--I must let go--the earth is crumbling away--I am

At that instant Tom, feeling that Charley's safety depended on his being
able to get on the ground above, made a desperate effort--his hook
became loosened, in vain he tried to dig his fingers into the earth, and
at the same moment that Charley gave his last despairing cry and lost
his hold he lost his; down he came, but not as he expected, on the hard
rock a hundred feet below him, but into a shallow pool not five feet
from where he had been so long hanging.

"Why, where am I?" exclaimed Charley, who, at the same time, had lodged
safely on a green mound close to the pool, and tearing off the
handkerchief from his eyes he looked about him; "after all, those
smugglers are not so bad as we thought them."

"We are at the bottom of a chalk-pit, Mr Charles," answered Tom, "the
fellows have played us a somewhat scurvy trick, but I cannot but say
that it was better than sending us over the cliff and breaking our
necks; howsomdever, the sooner we get out of it the better as I'm wet to
the skin, and would like to take a brisk walk homeward to get dry."

A bright moon was shining, though obscured occasionally by the fast
driving clouds which came up from the south-west, and by its light they
had no difficulty in clambering out of the pit.  They were on the top of
some downs, at some distance from the edge of the cliff.  However, they
could see the now foam-covered sea, and distinguish vessels far off
running up the Channel before the gale, and thus could take a tolerably
direct road homeward, though neither of them had before been thus far
from the Tower.  They hurried on, being certain that the smugglers could
not leave the coast, and hoping that even if one could be captured he
would give information where Margery was to be found.

"Margery! poor dear little Margery, she to be all this time in the power
of these ruffians!"  Charley kept saying to himself as he and Tom
hurried on.



Tom and Charley had gone through so much that they could not calculate
at all what hour of the night it then was.  They had not noted the hour
when they commenced their adventure, but remembered that it was then
daylight; they had had no dinner, and they felt very hungry.  They were
hurrying along a path which led through a hollow, when on the hill above
them they saw a female figure.  She stopped and looked about, either to
find the path or in expectation of some one.  What could she want at
that hour of the night, in so lone a place?  They were under the shadow
of a stone wall, and she evidently did not see them.  They hesitated
whether to remain concealed, as it occurred to both that her appearance
there was in some way or other connected with the smugglers.  However,
after waiting a minute, she came down the hill with the light step of a
young girl; when, catching sight of them, instead of retreating she came
boldly forward.  "Oh, Tom, oh, Mr Charles, I am so glad to see you all
right!" she exclaimed, as she got near enough for them to recognise the
features of Polly Herring, the smuggler's daughter.  "I heard that
something dreadful was going to happen, and I came along to try and stop

"And you thought, Polly, that your father was in it, and may be James
Trevany, and you did not wish them to get into trouble.  Was not that
it, Polly?"

"Yes!  Tom, that was one reason," answered the girl, frankly; "another
was that I wanted to save you and Mister Charles from coming to harm;
and now I'll ask you, if father or James get into trouble, to speak a
good word to the captain to help them out of it."

"The captain is a just man, and will return kindness with kindness, no
doubt of that," answered Tom.  "But I say, Polly, if any one can find
out where Miss Margery is, you can, for I am as certain as I stand here
that your father, or James, or some of your friends, had a hand in
carrying her off.  Come, speak the truth, girl; you'll gain more by
helping us to find her than by any other way."

"Yes! it was a cruel shame to carry her away," she muttered, in a low
voice; "but I dare not indeed I dare not."

"Dare not do what, Polly?" asked Tom, in a soothing tone.

"Tell where she is, or help you to get her," answered the girl,

"Then you do know where she is, Polly, and may be who took her away, and
all about her," said Tom.  "Now what I've got to say is this, that just
do you do what's right, and never do you fear what any one can do to

The girl still hesitated.

"Just let me ask you a question, Polly," continued Tom.  "Is your father
in trouble, or James?  Tell me that."

"Yes! the revenue men have got some information against them, and are
after them both."

"Then depend on't, Polly, the best thing for them is to give up Miss
Margery before they are caught," said Tom; "they'll gain nothing by
giving her up afterwards.  The law doesn't make terms with people."

"But they're terrible people who've got her," answered Polly.  "They'd
as soon shoot you, or me, or anybody, as look at us, if we came near

"We don't fear terrible men," said Tom, laughing, "just do you put us in
the way of getting back Miss Margery, and we'll say as many good words
as we can for thy father, Polly, and for James too, if he needs them."

"But you'll do no harm to those who have got her, and all you'll say is
that Polly Herring, Dick Herring's daughter, helped you to get her
back," said the girl, in a tone which showed that she still feared the
consequences of what she was about to do.

Charley had not before spoken, but he now thanked her, and urged her to
lose no time in restoring Margery to them.

"Come on, then," she said, in a firm voice; "it's a long way from here,
but you may be there and back at the Tower with the little girl before
daybreak."  These words made Charley's affectionate heart beat with joy.
Polly added, however, "We must be careful, though, for if we were to
fall in with any of our people it would go hard with you and me too."

Polly had well-knit limbs, and, being accustomed to active exercise, led
the way at a rapid rate.  She seemed well acquainted with the road, for
she never stopped or hesitated as to which path to take, and Charley
soon totally lost the direction in which he was going, and Tom had no
little difficulty in keeping up with her.

They had thus gone on for some distance, when Polly stopped and stood as
if listening.

"I hear some coming; we must hide, and quick too, for if they are those
I fancy, and they catch us, our lives are not worth much."

A high bank with a hedge on the top of it was on one side, and as she
spoke she led the way through a gap, and the adventurers found
themselves perfectly concealed from any one passing along the road.
Scarcely had they got behind the hedge, when a party of five or six men
appeared, talking in subdued tones, but high enough to allow some of
their words to be heard.  They were uttering oaths and breathing
vengeance against the revenue officers and others, by whom their plans
had been defeated.  From the mood they were in, Charley felt that it
would have been very unpleasant to have again encountered them.  Polly
waited for some time before she ventured into the road, and then she led
on, without speaking, as fast as ever.  The ground became very rough,
and they went up and down hill till the sound of the surf told that they
were once more approaching the sea.

As they were ascending a steep, rocky hill, covered with loose stones, a
light appeared before them.  They crept on cautiously, imitating Polly's
way of proceeding.

"They have taken her there," she whispered, pointing to a cottage, the
dim outline of which could be seen.  "This very night, if the weather
had been fine, they would have carried her across the Channel.  There's
no time to lose, for they won't let her stay long, and if we don't get
her to-day, to-morrow she may be far off from this."

Again she moved on, till she reached a low stone wall, which formed a
fence to the garden of the house.  "Stay still as death here," she
whispered.  "There's a terrible woman lives there.  If she was to find
out what I was about she'd kill me though I am her own flesh and blood,
and you too, and, may be, in her rage, the little girl too."  Saying
this, Polly stole on towards the cottage.

Charley had expected that he should have been called on to run some
personal risk, and to carry off Margery from the grasp of half-a-dozen
fierce smugglers or so, and he felt somewhat disappointed at the
inactive part he was called on to play.  From the words Polly had
dropped he guessed that the cottage was the one inhabited by old Dame
Herring, who was looked upon by the inhabitants of the country for miles
round as a witch, and known to be a very bad character.  She took
advantage of her evil reputation, and practised on the credulity of the
people.  It is not necessary to mention her bad practices.  A few years
before she would very probably have been burnt as a witch; she now ran a
risk of being ducked in a horse-pond.

Polly seemed to be a long time absent.  Tom had the gift of patience,
and was accustomed to wait, and so, though he was fully as anxious as
Charley to have Margery safe under his charge, he made no complaint; but
Charley began to lose patience, and to wonder what could have become of
Polly, contemplating even going to look for her.  Those who have had
experience in life know that it is much more difficult to wait for an
event than to rush forward to meet it; passive courage is therefore
often the greatest.  Still, when difficulties occur, the wisest course
is boldly to face them at once.  To the eyes of the multitude the
soldier who rushes onward into the thickest of the fight may appear the
bravest, and yet he may be a positive coward, urged forward by despair.
The truly brave is he who can stand undaunted to meet the shock of the
onset.  Charley had to wait and wait till his patience was taxed to the
utmost.  At length his ear caught a light footstep approaching, and
Polly came up to him.  "I couldn't get the little girl out, for she is
shut up in a room by herself," she whispered.  "I had to wait till they
were all asleep, and then I crept out to tell you.  Still, I think if
you are careful you may manage to get her.  I will show you the window
of the room where she is shut up, and if you can climb in and awake her
without making any noise you may do it; but understand that there are
several men sleeping in the cottage with loaded pistols under their
heads, which they are very quick to use; and remember that the slightest
noise will alarm them.  Come along, but you must wait ten minutes to let
me get into the cottage before you begin your business."

Charley and Tom, of course, promised to attend to Polly's injunctions,
and eagerly followed her through the garden to the back of the cottage.
She showed them the window, which seemed a very small one, about eight
feet from the ground; and then, with her finger on her lips, disappeared
round the corner.  Charley waited what he considered a very long ten
minutes, but Tom, who could calculate better, held him tight, as a sign
that it was not yet time to move, and at last bent his back with his
head against the wall, and signed to him to get on the top of it.  This
Charley did with alacrity, and grasping the window-sill, drew himself up
till he got his knees on it, and he was then able without noise to open
one side of the lattice window.  There was barely room for him to creep
through, but he managed to do so without making any noise, and at length
he stood inside.  He looked round anxiously into the room.  At that
moment a gleam of moonlight burst through the passing clouds, and showed
him a small bed, and Margery, completely dressed, sleeping soundly and
peaceably on it.  He was afraid if he awakened her suddenly she might
speak or cry out; so taking off his shoes he crept softly up to her, and
kissing her brow, whispered low in her ear, "Margery, Margery, don't
speak--a friend--Charley has come for you, to take you home."

She opened her eyes, which Charley could see, for the moonbeam cast its
light directly on her countenance; a sweet smile came across it, and he
thought that she had never looked more lovely; but she evidently thought
that she was dreaming.

"Dear Margery, wake up; Charley has come to take you away from this
place," he repeated.

"Is it possible?" she asked, in the same low voice in which he spoke,
and took his hand.  The touch assured her.

"Yes, yes!  I am ready; oh, thank you, thank you!"

Charley helped her to rise, and to step softly across the room.  He then
got through the window, and holding on, as only a sailor or a cat could,
to nothing, helped her through and lifted her down to Tom, who couldn't
refrain from giving her a hearty kiss in his joy at recovering her.
Charley then put on his shoes, and dropped noiselessly to the ground.
"They brought me here without shoes, and would give me none for fear I
should run away," she whispered; "but I will try to walk without them."

"Not for worlds, Margery," answered Charley.  "We'll carry you all the
way, never fear."

"Aye, aye, Miss Margery," said Tom; "I've carried you many a mile when
you was a baby and you was no heavier than a feather, and I've still
strength left in my old arms to carry you now that you are a young lady
nearly grown, I may say."

Margery could only murmur her thanks, as Tom bore her in his arms across
the garden and down the hill at a rapid rate, Charley bringing up the
rear, and ready to do battle should they be pursued.

Polly had so far proved faithful, and Charley hoped sincerely that the
part she had played in the affair might not be discovered by her
associates.  Still, he cast many an anxious glance behind him as they
descended the steep, rough hill side, lest any of the smugglers should
have been aroused, and have come in pursuit.  Their chief difficulty was
to find the way; but they guessed pretty correctly the direction of the
Tower, the moon still affording them the assistance of her light.  They
did not even stop to rest, Tom declaring that Miss Margery was still
almost as light as a feather, if not quite as light as when she was a
baby.  They had thus made good progress, when Charley said that he heard

"May be," answered Tom; "but they must be stout fellows who will dare to
take our Miss Margery from us."

"I am not at all afraid of anybody now," said Margery.  "I am sure,
Charley, that you and Tom would not let them take me from you."  Charley
of course promised that no one should, and as they did not believe that
any smugglers would venture to interfere with them, should any be met,
they continued their course.  However, before they had gone much
further, two very suspicious-looking personages overtook them and asked
various questions, as to whence they had come and where they were going.

"Easily answered, mates," said Tom; "we are coming from the place we
last stopped at, and we are going home, and our business is nobody
else's, do ye see?"

Whatever had been the intentions of the men, Tom's firm bearing, and
Charley's determined air, as he brought up the rear, following Tom as a
bull-terrier does the heels of his master, ready to fly at any one
venturing to interfere with him, made them alter their purpose.

"I thought as how those piratical craft would sheer off if we showed a
bold front," said Tom, as the men turned down a lane on one side.  "It's
a great point to show an enemy that you are wide awake and not afraid of
him.  Mind you that, Master Charley.  There's a great enemy, too, who is
always going about seeking whom he may devour; and if he finds that we
are prepared for him, and know how to resist him, he'll be off like a

At length the door of the Tower was reached.  Becky, who opened it,
instead of welcoming them as they might naturally have expected that she
would, stared wildly at them, and then throwing her apron over her head
ran back screaming, "There are ghosts--there are ghosts--there are
ghosts at the door!"

"No we ain't," said Tom, bluntly, as he entered; "but we've brought back
Miss Margery all right, and she'll be glad of some grub presently, and
so shall we by and by I'm thinking,--eh, Master Charley?  But just do
you first, as soon as you have got your five senses back, run up and
tell the captain and missis.  They'll not be sorry to hear the news, at
all events."

In another minute Margery was in her parents' arms, and they were
thanking Heaven that she had been safely restored to them.

Little Margery had kept up her courage wonderfully, from the moment she
was seized till her return home.  She said that she was awake and
thought that she saw Becky collecting her clothes, when suddenly she was
taken up in the arms of a woman; she supposed her mouth was gagged and
her eyes blinded, and she was carried swiftly along, down into some damp
place and along passages into the open air, and finally into the cottage
where Charley had found her.  She had had no fear about being ill
treated, for she did not think any one would hurt a little girl like
herself.  She was very grateful, however, to Charley and Tom for all the
risk they had run to rescue her.

Tom and Charley's adventures created great surprise, for the captain
could not conceive how they could have got out of the vaults; and it was
not until they had all together paid another visit to it that they
discovered the aperture lately blocked up with loose stones, and then at
length guessed that it had been done by the smugglers to cut off
pursuit.  The result of the whole proceeding was the very reverse of
what the smugglers had expected.  In their foolish ignorance they
fancied that they could frighten away a sensible man, like Captain
Askew, from the Tower by their notable scheme of making it be supposed
that it was haunted.

We may be surprised at their gross representations of ghosts and
spirits, but which were undoubtedly exact imitations of their own
conceptions of such things; nor does it at all follow, that because some
of them ventured to appear in the character of ghosts, they did not
firmly believe in their existence.  Probably their own superstitious
fears would as easily have been worked on as they hoped to work on those
of others.

A considerable amount of the property of the gang, which they had not
time to remove, was seized when they left their chief stronghold and
place of rendezvous on the coast, where they had long defied the
vigilance of the revenue officers, and many of them were driven away
from the coast.  The entrance to the cave from the sea was carefully
blocked up, so that no one could again undermine the Tower, and attempt
to play off such tricks on the inmates.

Mr Ludlow, accompanied by Stephen, rode over to the Tower to
congratulate his tenants on the recovery of their daughter.  "I am very
glad to see the young lady back, and safe, and well; but," he added, "I
have a bone to pick with her.  What do you think, captain?  She has
actually been endeavouring to persuade my only son to go to sea, that he
may spend his life in searching for your poor boy, whom she asserts is
still alive in some island of the Pacific, either in consequence of
reading a child's book, or from some cock-and-bull story which she heard
from an old sailor one day, who was never afterwards to be found to
corroborate the truth of his narrative.  I wish bygones to be bygones,
and I would rather not have alluded to the subject, but I really do not
know what powerful influence she may exert over him, though I cannot say
that at present he has any fancy for the undertaking; but I wish, at all
events, to nip the project in the bud."

As may be supposed, Captain Askew was not a little astonished at this
address, while he could not but be sensible of the want of feeling of
the man who could thus coldly speak of his long-lost son, that son who
had been banished in consequence of Mr Ludlow's own stern decree.  "I
was not aware that my little Margery entertained any such notion," he
answered mildly.  "Did she, I should have supposed that your son,
Stephen, however much she may esteem him as a friend, was the very last
person she would have selected for the scheme."

"Oh, the foolish boy lent her a book, a copy, I believe, of Defoe's
`Robinson Crusoe,' and as he describes a person living on an island for
a number of years by himself, she has taken it into her head that her
brother may have escaped shipwreck, and be still alive on one of the
many islands which I understand stud parts of the Pacific."

"I have only to repeat that my daughter has not mentioned the subject to
me, and I will undertake that she does not induce your son to act
contrary to your wishes," answered Captain Askew.

"Very well, neighbour, I will trust to your word," said Mr Ludlow, in
his usual supercilious manner, which, to a man of a temper less mild
than the captain, would have been very galling.  "I, of course, have
other designs for him than to lead the life of a sailor."

When Mr Ludlow and Stephen had taken their departure, he could not help
repeating to himself, "he may be alive on one of the many islands which
stud parts of the Pacific.  The sailor's story may be true, or it may be
only dear Margery's fancy.  It is but natural that she should indulge in
it; I would that I had health and strength, and the means to go out and
search for the dear boy--dear whether alive or dead."

That evening the captain spoke of their boy to his wife.  He would not
venture to raise her hopes.  He scarcely hinted at the possibility of
his having escaped from the wreck, and yet he spoke of such things
having happened to others.  Margaret's reply was, "God's will be done.
He knows what is kept for us in all respects."

In the meantime, Stephen had told Margery that his father objected
decidedly to his becoming a sailor, that he might go and look for her
brother Jack; an announcement which the young lady received with much
dignity, and an expression of contempt on her pretty countenance which
it was not wont to wear.

"Of course, Mr Stephen Ludlow, you are right in doing what your father
wishes," she observed; "and now I think over the matter you are not at
all fitted to become a sailor.  Sailors are true friends--generous,
brave, kind, and liberal; I was mistaken when I supposed that you were
likely to possess those qualities.  Good-bye.  I do not want to quarrel
with you, but now you know what I think."

Margery was not aware how severe her words might have sounded.  Stephen
did not fully understand their meaning, but he felt very sheepish, and
had an idea that it would probably be some time before he again paid a
visit to Stormount Tower.  Margery had, however, far from abandoned her
idea.  She had for some time naturally thought that Charley Blount would
be the proper person to perform her behests, and she felt certain that
he would very gladly undertake the task she might assign him.  She put
the matter before him, and to her great delight he at once undertook her

"I cannot say that your brother Jack is alive," he observed; "but this I
promise, that if he is I will do my utmost to find him and bring him



"May Heaven bless and prosper you, my boy!" said Captain Askew, as
Charley Blount was prepared to start for Liverpool, where he expected to
get a berth on board some ship bound for the shores of the Pacific.  He
had letters of introduction to Jack's old friend, now Captain Cumming,
who resided at Birkenhead, on the other side of the Mersey, and to other
friends of Captain Askew, so that his way would be likely to be made

His parting with the inmates of the Tower need not be fully described.
Neither Mrs Askew nor Margery dared trust themselves with words.  Becky
gave him a hug, such as he was not accustomed to receive as she
whispered, "Bring him back, Mr Charley, bring him back, oh do!"

"If the lad's above board you'll find him out, I know you will, Mr
Charles," said old Tom, heartily wringing his hand.  He modestly replied
that he would do his best; and that, with a person of spirit and energy,
signifies a good deal.

He was not going altogether without pecuniary means.  Captain Askew had
raised every shilling he could for the undertaking, and he felt sure
that Captain Cumming would get friends at Liverpool to help him yet
further.  He soon reached that city, and when his object became known,
although many declared that it was visionary, he had, from the
liberality of merchants and others, ample supplies placed at his
disposal, which he was to employ as he considered best.  He without
delay obtained a berth on board the _Southern Cross_, Captain Harper, as
fourth mate, with the understanding that he should be allowed to quit
the ship after she had reached the coast of Peru, where she was to take
a fresh cargo on board.

The _Southern Cross_ was a well-found ship, Captain Harper, an upright
man and a good seaman, and with the other officers and the crew, Charley
was on his first acquaintance tolerably well pleased.

He enjoyed the sensation, which few but seamen can enjoy after some time
spent on shore, when he once more trod the deck moved by the buoyant
waves, as the good ship pursued her southward course over the Atlantic,
and he thought of the enterprise in which he was engaged.  Most of his
shipmates, as many people on shore had done, thought his undertaking
preposterous, and said that to search for a lad he had never seen, among
the thousand and one isles of the Pacific, and who probably had been
drowned, or eaten by the savages years ago, was more ridiculous than
looking for a needle in a bundle of hay.  Charley, however, kept, if not
to his own opinion, to that which Margery, at all events, entertained,
and got two young shipmates, midshipmen, to join him in it.  Hugh Owen,
an enthusiastic Welshman, and Edward Elton, a quiet and unpretending
English lad who had been three years at sea.  He was pale-faced and
small of his age, his eyes were blue and his features regular, and in a
crowd he would have been the last selected to do a daring deed; and yet
no bolder or braver lad was to be found on board, and there was no act
of heroism of which those who knew him would not have believed him

Charley Blount was not much senior to either of the lads, but having
been to sea longer, was their superior in rank.  Off duty he treated
them as equals, and the three young men soon formed a sincere friendship
for each other.

The Falkland Islands were visited to obtain a supply of fresh provisions
and water, and then the ship steered west round Cape Horn into the
Pacific.  Just, however, as that mighty headland was sighted there
sprang up a fierce gale from the westward, which drove the _Southern
Cross_ back into the Atlantic, the huge billows rising up like mountains
to bar her progress.  But her captain well knew that perseverance alone
could overcome this as it can conquer most difficulties, and she was
kept under close-reefed sails, now with her head to the south, now to
the north, ready to take advantage of any slant of wind which might
enable her to work her way to the westward.  The wind had fallen, and
once more sail was made.

It was night, and Charley Blount had a watch on deck, when without
warning down came the gale on the ship with greater fury than before.
With a crack like a clap of thunder the main-topgallant-yard parted and
hung by the lifts, dashing furiously against the topsail, and
threatening to carry away the topmast.  "It is my duty to clear that,"
exclaimed Charley, not waiting to be ordered or asked to go, for it was
a task of the greatest peril, which only volunteers alone would be
expected to attempt.  Seizing an axe, he flew aloft.

"Heaven protect the bold fellow!" exclaimed the captain, who had hurried
on deck.

Young Elton had also come, up from below.  One part of the task was done
when Charley's axe was torn from his grasp, and he was seized by the
coils of a loose rope, lashing furiously, while the remaining part of
the spar came whirling round his head.  His terrific position could be
seen from the deck, and the great danger any one would incur in going
near him could be equally well perceived.  Not a moment, however, did
young Elton hesitate.  Scarcely had the accident happened than he was
flying up the ratlines amid the clouds of spray which drove across them.
The ship was heeling over and pitching into the seas as if never to
rise again, the masts were bending and straining, and the broken spar
was flying round, now in one direction, now in the other, and
threatening to render the brave young Elton's attempt useless, by
hurling Charley Blount to destruction before he could release him, while
the least want of vigilance would have proved equally fatal to himself.
He had, amid the darkness of the night and the heeling of the ship to
watch the movements of the threatening spar, and to dart forward as it
receded and left a spot for an instant free from its attacks.  His first
aim was to release Charley, whom the rope was encircling every instant
more closely in its deadly embrace.  He watched his opportunity; he
sprang along the yard, and with two blows of his axe the rope was
severed, and Charley was released, and able to join him in the still
more difficult task of clearing away the broken spar.  Together they
climbed the mast.  "Stand from under!" was the cry, but there was no
need of it.  Again their sharp axes were at work; the spar fell clear of
the ship into the foaming ocean, the topmast was saved, and loud cheers
greeted the young seamen as they descended safely on deck.

This incident united Charley Blount and Elton in still closer
friendship, and gained the support more completely of the enthusiastic
Hugh Owen, who became now more than ever eager to follow their fortunes.

At length the ship got to the westward of the Cape, but she had been
driven far to the south, and it was some time before the wind allowed
her to steer a northerly course.  She had already got into warm
latitudes, when a high, cocoa-nut-covered, reef-bound island was
discovered ahead.  The savage character of the inhabitants of the isles
of the Pacific had frequently been the subject of conversation on board,
among those who had never before been in that part of the world, and it
was naturally supposed that those living on the island in sight were
deserving of the same description.  As they coasted along, however, they
could distinguish with their glasses numerous neat white buildings, and
a wide extent of cultivated ground, and here and there towers and
steeples, and edifices which had the appearance of ordinary
school-houses; indeed, the land wore a wonderfully civilised aspect.

The captain, ordering the chief mate to keep the ship standing on and
off, invited as many as two boats would contain to accompany him on
shore.  He carried an assortment of goods, not beads and looking-glasses
and spear-heads, as would once have been the case, but cottons, and
useful cutlery, and writing materials, and leather, and other articles
in demand among civilised people.  The boats arrived at a
well-constructed wharf, where several decently-clothed natives stood
ready to receive them.  They were greeted with the salutation of
"Blessings be on your head!" and one stepped forward and introduced
himself as the trading-master, and requested to know what articles they
wished to purchase.  The captain gave a list of what he wanted, which
were very soon brought down, and, the trade-master acting as
interpreter, equitable bargains were soon struck, and all that was
required by the voyagers was obtained at a reasonable rate.  They were
then allowed to visit any part of the island they chose with licensed
guides.  They expressed their surprise to the native interpreter at the
state of things.

"Yes! great indeed is the change," he answered.  "Thirty years ago we
were among the most degraded of savages; but the good missionaries came,
and though we would have driven them away, they persevered in remaining
till they had taught us better things; and now you see us sitting
clothed and in our right minds."

On inquiry, Charley found that there was not a heathen native in the
whole island.  There were churches always regularly attended, school
houses, printing presses, lecture halls, a well-constituted government,
and a perfectly educated native ministry.  Not only were there no
heathen, but, as far as human discernment could discover, true Christian
principles were professed and practised by a large majority of the
population.  Few islands were in a more satisfactory state than this
one; at the same time Charley heard that the inhabitants of a very
considerable number had become Christians by the instrumentality of
English missionaries, and still more by that of Christian natives, eager
to impart to their countrymen the glad tidings they had themselves

"It was to this island, many years ago, that a native missionary swam on
shore with a few books, wrapped up in a cloth, on his head.  Our savage
fathers stood on the rocks with clubs and spears, ready to kill him, but
his life was preserved by the mercy of God, who loved our souls though
we knew Him not.  At first no one would listen to what the missionary
had to say, and laughed him to scorn; but by degrees one stopped to
hear, and then another and another, and found what he said to be very
good, till by degrees as they understood more clearly the tidings he
brought, hundreds flocked in and believed, and were converted."

Captain Harper corroborated all Charley had heard, and stated that
whereas once it was dangerous at most of the islands to land unless in a
strong body, well armed; now, throughout the whole of the eastern
groups, the inhabitants were as kind and courteous to strangers and as
well conducted as any people he had met on the face of the globe.  One
day after they had left the island, the officers of a whaler becalmed
near them came on board, and complained bitterly of the altered state of
things, abusing the missionaries for being the cause of the change to
which they so much objected.

The surgeon of the ship, who ought to have known better, was especially
very indignant with them.

"Once we could go on shore, and for a few beads or a knife not worth
twopence buy as many provisions as we required, or any other article,
and we could play all sorts of pranks with the natives, and nobody
interfered with us.  Now, if we ask them to buy or sell, or to dance, or
to do anything else on a Sunday, they won't do it, and we can have no
fun of any sort; and they say that we have lost our religion, and pull
long faces at us, and ask us all sorts of strange questions about our
souls.  As a fact, these savages know more about religion than we do;
and they can write books, and print and bind them, and some of them can
preach for an hour at a time; indeed, I don't know what they can't do.
The missionaries have done it all--spoilt them, I say; they were jolly
fellows as savages, but they are desperately stupid now.  To be sure,
they did now and then murder a whole ship's company if they had the
chance, and roast and eat them too, and they would steal anything they
could lay hands on; and they were always fighting among each other; and
they worshipped curious logs of wood and stumps of trees, and figures
made out of rags, matting, and feathers; but we had nothing to do with
that, it was rather fun to see them."

And so the surgeon of the whaler ran on, not at all aware that he was
condemning himself and his companions, and their practices, and praising
the long-benighted savages.

Charley observed that he could not help thinking that the change was for
the better, and he could not help asking himself, "Where will the white
man and where will the brown man be found standing at the day of

He inquired of the doctor if he had heard of any young Englishman
residing among the natives, or on any island in the eastern Pacific.

The doctor laughed, and said that there were a good many who had native
wives, and were the prime ministers and privy councillors of the kings
and princes who ruled the islands, especially those which still remained

Charley scarcely wished to find Margery's brother among these unhappy
men.  No! he was certain that if he was alive he was living on some
unfrequented island, unable to get away.  The _Southern Cross_ touched
at several islands, for the captain had a roving commission, to go where
he thought best.  At each of them Charley left on shore a number of
cards on which he had written, "Jack Askew, a friend of your father's,
Charley Blount, is looking for you.  Send word to Callao, on the coast
of Peru, and he will assist you to return home."

Captain Harper gave every assistance to Charley, but not a trace could
they discover of the missing one.  Two uninhabited islands had been
visited; a third was sighted.  Charley's heart beat high in anticipation
of finding him whom he sought.  Yet, why he expected to find Jack there
more than at any other place he could not tell.

On the island, though it was a small one, there was a mountain and three
or four lesser heights, which might prevent a person on the opposite
side from seeing a ship; the captain, therefore, though he could not
spare much time, agreed to sail partly round it, and to land Charley,
Elton, Owen, and some of the men, to explore it.  They landed in high
spirits, on a sandy beach, and pushed on to the highest point whence
they could survey the whole island, and where a flag they carried could
be seen by any inhabitant on it.  They reached the summit of the
mountain.  There were valleys and rocks and cascades, and cocoa-nut and
other tropical trees and plants; indeed it was very like the description
of Robinson Crusoe's island.  They waved the flag and shouted, though
shouting was of no use, as no one in the valley could have heard them.
At length they descended towards the east, the point from which the ship
was to take them off.  Still they hoped that some one might appear.

"He may have been all the time watching the ship, and not have looked up
towards the mountain," observed Owen, who had assumed the fact of Jack's
existence, even more than Charley himself.  They reached the beach
without meeting the trace even of a human being.  All the party looked
blank at each other; it was very clear that that was not Jack's island.

Disappointed they returned on board.  "Don't let us despair," cried
Charley.  "There may be, in the latitude where the _Truelove_ was lost,
fifty other islands, and Jack can only be in one of them, so that we
cannot hope to find him in a hurry."

"No! of course not," cried Owen; "but we will find him notwithstanding
that.  Just let us get our little schooner fitted out and we'll visit
every one of them, and twice as many if necessary."

Captain Harper had most liberally and kindly done his best for Charley's
object.  Captain Askew's friends at Liverpool had promised a reward of a
hundred pounds to any man or ship's company, half to go to the master,
who should discover and bring off young Askew, and half that amount for
the discovery of any of the crew of the ill-fated ship.  This
information he gave to every whaler and other vessel the _Southern
Cross_ fell in with.  Whalers especially, visit so many out-of-the-way
spots while searching for their prey, to obtain wood and water and
vegetables, essentials for the support of the health and life of the
crew, that it was possible some of them might be tempted to make a more
thorough examination of islands near which they might find themselves,
than they would otherwise do.  At length Callao was reached, and Charley
with his two friends obtained their discharge.

The next thing was to find a vessel suited for their purpose.  After
inspecting a number, a beautiful little Spanish schooner, of about
eighty tons, which had just come into the harbour, was purchased, and a
motley crew engaged.  The crew consisted of one Englishman, who had been
twenty years from home, a negro, a Tahitian, and a native Indian; but
still they all pulled wonderfully well together.  Charley Blount was
captain; Elton, first mate; and Hugh Owen, second.  The schooner had
been called the _Boa Esperanza_, and so they called her the _Good
Hope_--an appropriate name.

Never had a happier party put to sea.  They were in prime health and
spirits, and had a good object in view, so that they could venture to
pray for the success of their expedition.  They had an ample crew for
the size of the vessel; she was well-found, and sailed like a witch, and
was altogether a first-rate little craft.

The _Good Hope_ went out of harbour at the same time as the _Southern
Cross_, the latter steering south on her homeward voyage, the former
west, to explore all the islands known and unknown in that direction.
Charley had given his utmost attention to navigation since he left
England, and from the time Elton and Owen had agreed to accompany him,
they had also studied the subject more carefully than before.  They
were, therefore, all three very fair navigators; indeed a good knowledge
of navigation was very necessary for the work in which they were about
to engage.

Away went the _Good Hope_ on her adventurous and perilous voyage.  The
Pacific, though often calm, shows that it does not deserve its name at
all times.  After they had been a week out, the weather gave signs of
changing: dark clouds appeared in the west, though the wind was still
blowing from the east.  They continued their course to reach an island
which rose high out of the sea ahead.  With the fair wind they then had
they rapidly neared the island.  Their glasses showed them that it was a
beautiful spot, very like the island they had before visited, but
larger.  Just, however, as they got abreast of it, the gale, which had
for some time been brewing, broke on them with great fury.  Fortunately
they were able to run back for shelter under the lee of the island,
where, though they still felt the wind, the sea was comparatively
smooth.  Great vigilance was, at the same time, necessary, lest the wind
changing suddenly she might be driven on the reefs which surrounded the
island.  Still they kept as close as they could, looking out for an
opening through which they might pass and anchor inside.

Hugh Owen had a remarkably sharp pair of eyes, and was the first to
espy, some way to the northward, a space of clear water with a sheltered
bay beyond.  The schooner was steered towards the spot.  Owen was right.
A slant of wind enabled them to stand through the passage.  The sea
dashed in foam over the coral reefs on either hand; careless steering,
the parting of a rope, or a sudden change of wind would have hurled them
to destruction.  The dangers were passed, and she rode safely in a
little bay, which had a sandy beach, and a fringe of rocks and trees
above.  No huts or dwelling-places could be seen, yet it seemed scarcely
possible that so fine an island should be uninhabited.  Still people
might exist on the other side of the island, or more inland.

They had been advised not to venture on shore on any island, unless the
inhabitants had become Christians, without arms.  Owen and Elton
proposed on this occasion going without them, as they were heavy to

"No, no!" said Charley.  "A rule is a rule, which, if a good one, should
never be broken through."

This was the first island where, by their calculations, they had the
slightest chance of finding Jack Askew, at least, it was about the
longitude that the _Truelove_ was supposed to have been lost.

Owen took charge of the schooner while Charley and Elton and three men
went on shore, all sufficiently armed with rifles, pistols in their
belts, and cutlasses by their sides.  They hoped by starting early in
the day to accomplish the tour of the island before dark.  Having drawn
up their boat on the beach, they pushed on for the highest point of land
in the neighbourhood.  On reaching it they saw in the valley below, on
the further side, wreaths of smoke ascending from among a grove of
trees.  Charley and Elton agreed that there must be inhabitants, but
wisely determined not to approach them without first ascertaining, if
possible, their disposition.  They therefore continued along the height,
so as to avoid the valley, proposing to cross over by a route which
appeared open to the opposite side of the island.

As they advanced they saw more signs of the island being inhabited:
tracks leading in various directions, ruined huts, and marks of fires
and native ovens.  Some natives were also seen in the distance, but
whether or not they were observed they could not tell.  Charley and
Elton speculated as they went on as to the probability of Jack being on
the island.  Wherever they went, in all conspicuous places they left the
cards, with a notice that the schooner, on the east side of the island,
was waiting for him, hoping that possibly he might see one of them,
should they themselves miss him.

At length they reached the west side of the island, where the full
strength of the gale was felt, and they were thankful that their vessel
lay snugly in harbour, and sheltered from its fury.  Here they found a
group of huts and patches of cultivated ground, for the production of
the taro root, but the inhabitants had hastily fled.  This was
unsatisfactory, as they must have had cause to dread the appearance of
white men.  They saw, therefore, that it would be prudent to return by
the most direct route to the bay, where it would be safer to attempt
establishing friendly relations with them; for should they fail, unless
they could fight their way, they would probably be cut off.  Keeping
close together, they therefore marched rapidly westward.

Several times they saw natives armed with bows, spears, and clubs,
hovering on either side, but none of them came within speaking distance.
They seemed to increase in numbers as the party approached the bay, and
Charley felt thankful when they came in sight of the schooner.  Their
first care was to get the boat afloat, that they might retreat if
necessary.  They had brought a number of useful articles for barter--
knives and pieces of cotton cloth, and handkerchiefs, and nails, and
some of them they placed on the rocks, beckoning the natives with
friendly gestures to approach and take them.  No sooner had Charley and
his party retired to the boat, than nearly forty savages started up from
behind the rocks and rushed towards the goods, eagerly seizing them, and
as quickly retreating again under shelter.  After this, nothing could
tempt the savages from their cover.  One thing was certain, that Jack
could not be on the island, or the savages would have learned to treat
white men in a different manner.  Charley, therefore, determined to
return to the schooner.  No sooner, however, had his men begun to shove
off the boat, than the savages, fearing to lose the treasures they
possessed, made a furious rush in a body towards her, flourishing their
war-clubs, and holding their spears ready to throw.

"Shove off, lads, shove off, for your lives!" cried Charley, seizing an
oar.  "Let not a shot be fired unless I give the word."

The savages, however, seeing that their expected prize was about to
escape them, rushed on with greater speed, some hurling their spears,
others, with clubs uplifted, threatening the destruction of all in the



Charley Blount's great wish was to avoid injuring any of the natives.
In spite, therefore, of the spears which came flying around him, and the
array of warriors with their war-clubs, he refrained from firing, and
directed all his efforts to get the boat completely afloat.  Just as a
savage had got one hand on the stern and with the other was about to
deal a blow with his club which would have killed Charley, the boat
glided off into deep water, and the savage warrior toppled down with his
nose in the surf.  He was up again in a moment, but blinded by the salt
water, and not seeing that the boat had escaped him, struck out with his
club and again fell over as before, and would possibly have been
drowned, had not some of his companions hauled him up and set him again
on his legs.  This circumstance assisted the escape of the boat, which
was now getting away from the shore.  Charley, anxious not to injure any
of the savages, had ordered his men not to fire till the last extremity.
Not a shot therefore was fired, and the boat got well off out of

The question was now, how to show the savages that the white men
possessed power, but had mercifully not employed it against them.  They
had on board an empty cask, in which some of the articles left with the
savages had been brought off.  This was ballasted and put in the water
with a short flag-staff, and a handkerchief as a flag fixed in it.
Pulling away a short distance Elton and Charley, and one of the men, who
was a good shot, repeatedly fired and hit it, till at last the flag and
staff were shot away to the astonishment of the natives, who stood
looking on.  Fortunately, a tree grew near the beach on one side, where
there were no natives.  Charley next made this his target, and the white
splinters which flew out on either side must have convinced the savages
that the missiles which produced them would have made, with greater ease
very disagreeable holes in their bodies.  Charley now once more pulled
in towards the beach; the savages ran off.  He had a few more articles
left; he landed, spread them out, and then, returning to the boat,
beckoned to the people to come and take them.

At length they seemed to comprehend his humane intentions, for several
of them, leaving their clubs and spears on the bank above, approached
the water, holding out their hands as if to welcome the strangers.
Charley, on seeing this, telling Elton to be ready to support him if
necessary, leaped boldly on shore, and advanced with extended hands
towards the savages.  They understood him, and now seemed to have
banished their fears, and to have no treacherous intentions.

His first object gained, he endeavoured to make them understand that he
was looking for one of his own countrymen.  By signs he showed how a
vessel had been wrecked, and that two of the people had swam on shore,
and how he was looking for them; but they shook their heads, and he felt
certain that this was not the island where Jack was to be found.  While
he was speaking several of the people brought down cocoa-nuts,
plantains, taro, and other roots and fruits in baskets, as a proof of
their friendly feelings, and showing, also, that they knew what the
wants of white men were.  How different, however, would have been the
conclusion of the intercourse with these people, if the schooner's crew
had fired on the first alarm, and the blood of the poor savages been

The _Good Hope_ laid at anchor for two days, when, the gale abating, she
again sailed.  There was still a good deal of sea, but as Captain Blount
found that he could lay his course, he was unwilling to delay any
longer, and, like most sailors, he believed that his craft could do
anything.  He ought before to have been called captain, though it must
be owned that he was rather a young one, and captain of a somewhat small
craft.  He and his companions regretted that they had not brought an
interpreter with them, that they might communicate without difficulty
with the natives.

"We might have obtained some information from the poor savages we last
visited about other islands lying to the westward," observed the
captain; "I suspect, too, that they would have had to tell us, that some
former visitors had taken them unawares and killed some of them, and so
they had thought all white men were enemies, and had determined to kill
the next they could get in their power."

"Yes, indeed," said Elton, "how different these are from the inhabitants
of the first island we visited; I have been thinking that I should like
to tell some of their missionaries of these poor people, and get them to
send one of their number to instruct them."

"What, do you think that you could hope to make Christians out of such
naked savages as those are?" exclaimed Hugh Owen, who had not turned his
mind to the subject.

"Of course; those well-behaved, well-clothed people we saw, were quite
as wild and ignorant as the naked savages we have just left, but a very
few years ago.  Not fifty years since there was not an island in the
wide Pacific which had risen out of a state of the most complete
savagedom.  Now, in the eastern part of the ocean, whole groups have
embraced Christianity.  The Sandwich Islands are rapidly advancing in
civilisation, and King George of Tonga, himself a man of much talent,
though once a savage, ruled over a large population of enlightened men,
a large number of whom possess a better knowledge of the Scriptures, and
would be able to give better reasons for the faith that is in them than
would nine-tenths of the population of any country in Europe, England
not excepted."

"Who told you that?" asked Owen; "I have heard a very different

"I heard it from my late captain, who spent three years cruising among
the islands of all parts of the Pacific," answered Elton.  "Captain
Harper, too, said the same thing, and neither of them can be accused of
being in the interest of the missionaries."

"Certainly not; I fully believe the facts," exclaimed Charley.  "If I
had not undertaken to carry Jack back to his family, I should like to
volunteer to convey missionaries to all these islands.  I could not wish
for a better employment for the little schooner or for myself."

"The very thought that was in my head," said Elton.  "When our present
enterprise is accomplished, I will offer my services for the work.  I
think that a sailor could scarcely be engaged in a better."

Faithfully did young Elton keep his promise.

Just then the man on the look-out exclaimed that he saw an object
floating on the water ahead, but what it was he could not make out.  As
the schooner got nearer, the object was pronounced to be a raft, and to
have living people on it.  On getting still nearer, it was seen to be
not a raft, but one of the double canoes of those seas, which consist of
two canoes joined together by a platform.  This platform extends across
the entire width of both canoes and the greater part of their length.
Several people were on the deck.  Some were kneeling, one was standing
up, and others were lying at their length, their heads propped up, as if
in a state of exhaustion.  As the schooner hove-to close to them, those
on board her were startled by hearing, among sounds strange to their
ears, the name of Jehovah clearly pronounced.

The people were dark-skinned, undoubtedly natives, though clothed in
garments, either of native cloth or cotton, several of them wearing
hats.  They, however, it was evident, did not regard the appearance of
the schooner with satisfaction, and several of them hung down their
heads with apprehension at seeing her.  As there was still too much sea
to allow of the schooner going alongside of the canoe, a boat was
lowered, and Elton and two men pulled up to her.

"We are friends; we, too, worship Jehovah," he shouted, holding up his
hands as if in prayer.  In an instant the aspect of the whole changed.
Those who had been hanging down their heads lifted them up with a smile
on their countenances, and the man who was standing in the midst of them
exclaimed in return, "Yes, yes; friends--all who worship Jehovah are our

Elton was soon on board the canoe.  The condition of the crew was truly
piteous.  Their last drop of water was exhausted--their last
taro-root-their last cocoa-nut,--yet they were not desponding.  They had
done their utmost: they had prayed earnestly for deliverance, and were
calmly waiting the result.  Their canoe was in so battered a condition,
that before Elton asked them any questions he advised that they should
remove at once on board the schooner.  Though only one of them spoke a
little English, several of them understood what he said.  They gladly
assented to his proposal, begging him to take the most feeble first.
These were quickly conveyed to the deck of the schooner, where Charley
and Owen were ready with food and water to administer to them.

It took several trips before they were all safely placed on board the
schooner, and, not long after the last party left the canoe, she slowly
settled down to her platform, from which all on it would soon have been
washed away, even with the sea there was then running.

When the whole party had been carefully attended to, Charley inquired by
what means they had been brought into the condition in which they had
been found.  The chief man among them answered in broken but still
intelligible English, that he was a native missionary, that he and his
companions, two of whom were catechists and one a schoolmaster, had
started to visit an island to the westward, which they had expected to
reach in a couple of days, but that they were caught in a gale, and
their mast and sail being carried away they were driven past it, and
onward before the gale utterly unable to return, or even to stop their
frail vessel.

Day after day they had been driven on, anxiously looking out for reefs
ahead, knowing that if driven on one, their canoe must be dashed to
pieces.  Their rudder and oars had been lost, so that they had no power
of directing their vessel.  Several islands were passed on which they
might have landed if they had had their paddles to guide the canoe to
the shore.  "One of them," said the missionary, "we passed so close,
that we could clearly see a man on shore.  It was a small low coral
island, with a lagoon, or lake in the centre, and cocoa-nuts and other
trees growing round it.  By his dress and appearance we judged the man
to be a white.  We also saw a hut of some size built under the trees.
He waved his hands wildly, as if entreating us to take him off, and
seemed to be shouting, and then he went down on his knees and lifted up
his hands, as if imploring mercy.  Helpless ourselves, we could render
him no aid."

"That must have been Jack!" cried Charley and his two friends in the
same breath.  "If we had not heard this, we might easily have overlooked
such a spot.  We might have run past it at night, or within ten miles,
and not have seen it.  What a dull and solitary life the poor fellow
must have dragged out in such a place."

"If a man's mind is at peace, and he can converse with his God, he need
not be sad or solitary," observed the missionary, calmly.

The young men then inquired how far off he should suppose the island to

The missionary answered that they had passed it about ten days before;
that at that time they had been driving very fast before the gale, but
after it had abated, much slower.  So eager were Charley and his friends
to follow up their search, that they debated whether or not they should
continue their course to the west, and look for the island which had
been described.

Elton was opposed to this while they had so many strangers on board.
"No, no," he exclaimed; "do not let us be carried away by our zeal in
the cause of our lost countryman; we have another duty to perform.  We
were but lately wishing that we could send a missionary to the ignorant
inhabitants of the island we have lately left.  Here is one presented to
us--a man in every way fitted for the work.  Let us put the matter
before him."

They did so.  Directly the missionary had heard the account they gave of
the wild islanders, he, without hesitation, expressed his readiness to
go among them, and said he was sure that all his companions would be
ready to join him in the work.  He was not mistaken in the zeal of his
friends, "When souls are to be saved, and the glorious tidings of
salvation to sinners to be conveyed, we are ready to go," they answered.

The schooner was therefore at once put about, and a course at once
steered for the island.  They were all curious to see how the wild
natives would take their speedy return, and whether the missionary would
be able to communicate with them, though he seemed to have no doubt on
the subject.  The next day the schooner dropped her anchor in the
sheltered bay she had lately left.  The natives were seen assembling
from all quarters, and soon a large number collected on the beach.

Charley and Elton, Mark, the missionary,--for so he was called--and two
other natives, went in the boat.  Instead of pulling at once for the
beach, the missionary begged to be landed at a point where some trees
grew.  From these he cut down some branches and distributed them among
the party, when the boat was steered in for the place where the natives
were collected.  The branches were waved as the boat approached the
beach, when the natives were seen cutting down branches and waving them
in return.  "It's all right," exclaimed the missionary, in a cheerful
voice; "we shall be friends."

He then shouted to the natives, who replied in the same language; and
without landing, as the stem touched the sand, he began an address,
which appeared from his tones to be full of eloquence.  They listened to
it with profound attention, and then several of them stretched out their
hands, and gave indubitable signs that they were eager to welcome him on
shore.  He and his companions accordingly landed, and were surrounded by
the natives, who appeared as eager to listen as before.  Captain Blount
determined, however, to remain till the following day, as he had heard
that these island savages were seldom to be trusted, and that, though
they might appear friendly at one time, the next instant they might turn
round and destroy those who had trusted them.

The night was an anxious one to Charley and his friends, as well as to
the natives on board; but the next morning, when they went on shore,
Mark gave so good a report of the islanders, that the whole of the
strangers agreed to land and remain.  Mark, however, recommended one
young man, who understood English, though he could not speak it, to
continue on board the _Good Hope_, that he might tell the natives of any
islands they might visit who the strangers were, and also to assist in
discovering the small coral island where the solitary white man had been
seen.  Captain Blount gladly accepted the offer.

"Tell my friends," said Mark, "that we have begun the work, but some
years may pass away before all the inhabitants of even this small island
understand the Glad Tidings, which they at present appear to receive so
readily.  When the work is accomplished, then I may return home."

Charley found that Mark, who was thus ready to devote himself to the
work of the Gospel, was the son of a powerful chief or prince, and that
he had thus literally given up much and all for its sake.

Both officers and men of the _Good Hope_ had enough to do in keeping a
proper look-out ahead for the numerous dangers in their course.  Those
who have only sailed in seas navigated for centuries with excellent
charts of every rock, shoal, and current, are scarcely aware of the
anxiety those experience who have to sail across an unknown ocean where
numberless small islands exist, and reefs, some under the water and some
just above it, on which the incautious voyager may run his ship and lose
her, with little or no warning.  At night, except when there was a moon,
the schooner was hove-to, lest she should run on a reef, or past Jack's
supposed island.  The native, who said that his name was Peter, was as
eager as any one, and was constantly aloft looking out for it.

Such an island as it was described might very easily be passed by
without being observed.  Charley, Elton, Owen, or Peter was therefore
always on the look-out, for they would not trust one of the crew.  Their
difficulty was increased by a foul wind which sprung up from the
westward, and compelled them to tack across their course.  This greatly
increased the distance they had to go over, and completely baffled
Peter's calculations.

One night, having stood farther than before to the northward, a bright
light was seen in the distance, which was pronounced by all on board to
be a ship on fire.  Sad must be the fate of all on board if no
assistance arrived!  Making all sail, they stood towards the spot.  The
red glare increased, the reflection extending over the whole sky.  While
they looked, expecting every instant to see the supposed ship blow up or
the light suddenly cease by her sinking, Charley exclaimed that it was a
burning mountain.  His companions doubted the fact.  Still they thought
that it was a burning ship; the light was decreasing--again it blazed
up.  The sky over head appeared peculiarly dark.  "Hillo! what is this
coming down on us?" exclaimed Owen.

They felt the tops of their caps--they and the deck were gritty.  It was
a shower of ashes; the mystery was explained; the light was that of a
burning mountain.  As there was no object to be gained in going nearer
to it, and Peter gave them to understand that he had not seen it when on
board the canoe, they tacked and stood to the southward.  More than once
Charley thought of the remark people had made to him, that his
expedition was like looking for a needle in a bundle of hay.  "Never
mind," he repeated; "if the needle is in the bundle, by diligent
searching it may be found.  A solitary white man has been seen on an
island, we must first find out who he is."

The wind baffled them frequently, but still they perseveringly plied to
windward, though next night they were again in sight of the burning
mountain, which was to the north-east of the schooner, showing that they
had made but little way to the west.  Once more the wind turned in their
favour, and they rejoiced that they were able to make better way than
they had done for a long time.  It was getting dusk, but at sunset no
land had been seen ahead, and, eager to get on, they continued their
course without shortening sail.  Suddenly, Owen, who was forward on the
look-out, shouted at the top of his voice, "Breakers ahead!  Starboard!
Down with the helm!  Haul aft the sheets!  For your lives be smart about
it!"  All hands flew to the sheets.  The little vessel came up to the
wind, and turned aside from the danger with a rapidity no larger one
could have accomplished; but, even as it was, as she went about the
white spray was seen dancing up in the darkness close under her counter,
while beyond was a mass of foaming-breakers, among which had they been
thrown, in vain would they have struggled for their lives, their career
would quickly have been over.

Owen confessed afterwards that he was very weary, that he was fully
under the impression that he was keeping a very bright look-out, and
that certainly his eyes were wide open, but that it was on a sudden he
became aware, from hearing some unusual sound, that breakers were
dancing up directly ahead of the schooner.  In another minute her doom
would have been sealed.

Thankful for their merciful preservation, they agreed that at night two
people should be on the look-out, and that they should be relieved every
hour.  The appearance of the reef made it probable that they were in the
neighbourhood of other reefs and low coral islands, and they anxiously
waited for daylight in anticipation of discovering the particular island
of which they were in search.  Standing to the south they cleared the
reef, and once more, having shortened sail, they stood on their course.

The sun was just rising, a vast globe of fire, out of the purple ocean,
when Elton, who had gone aloft, shouted, "Land! land!  A low island,
with palm-trees on it!"  One after another, everybody on board went
aloft to look at the long-wished for island.  Peter came nodding his
head, with a pleased smile, exclaiming, "Dat is land! dat is land!" for
he had already learned some words of English.

The island, as the schooner drew near it, appeared to be of an oval
form, under a mile in length and half that in width, with a large lagoon
in the centre, having one entrance from the southern end and an outer
reef, on which the surf broke, curling upwards like a wall of snow, and
then falling back in wreaths of foam; the outer reef thus saving the
islet from being overwhelmed during every gale of wind which raged.
Inside the reef, the water was calm as a mirror and of the deepest blue;
then came a line of glittering white sand, and then a circle of green of
the brightest emerald, surrounding a basin of water even of a deeper
blue than that on the outside.

Carefully the schooner approached; frequently she hove-to and sounded,
but no bottom was to be found, and consequently there was little hope of
her being able to anchor.  She stood closer and closer in; with their
glasses the adventurers examined the island in every part, but no one
was seen moving.  Still Peter insisted that it was the island on which
the white man had been seen; indeed, he pointed out what certainly
appeared to be a hut under the trees.  The only way to ascertain whether
the man was still there was to land, and that was a work of some
difficulty.  The boat, fitted with empty casks and pieces of cork round
her sides to serve as a lifeboat, was lowered; the captain steered,
Elton and three other men rowed.  A narrow space of clear water
presented itself through the surf: "Give way! give way!" cried Charley,
and they dashed on, the water foaming and leaping up on either side, and
they were safe within the outer reef.

The safest landing was within the lagoon.  As they pulled up to it and
looked over the sides of the boat, so pure and transparent was the water
that they could see down to the very bottom, and beautiful indeed was
the sight they beheld.  Masses of varied coloured coral, sea-plants of
every conceivable tint and of the brightest shells--some with their
living inhabitants, others deserted--of the most lovely forms, while
fish of curious shapes and beautiful colours glided noiselessly in and
out amid the rocks and groves of this submarine fairy land.

Charley, however, was thinking of Jack, and was eager to land to
ascertain whether he was really an inhabitant of the islet, or whether
they had yet further to continue their search.  The whole party was soon
on shore, and hurrying up towards the spot where they expected to find
the hut.

"Jack Askew!  Jack Askew! are you there?" cried Charley, thinking that
this was the best way to bring out the inhabitant of the hut should
there be one, but there was no reply.  "Alas!" he said to himself, "I am
afraid that we have come too late to save him.  Dear Margery, how bitter
will be her disappointment; how it will grieve the hearts of the good
old captain and Mrs Askew to hear it!"

And Charley walked on in silence towards the hut, which just then
appeared between the cocoa-nut trees.



Was the hut deserted, or was the person whom Peter had seen waving his
hands as the canoe drove past still its occupant?  The hut was rudely
built, partly of pieces of coral but chiefly of drift-wood, and thatched
with the broad leaves of the pandanus, a species of palm growing on the
island.  Charley entered:--yes, it was inhabited.  On a rough bed of
dried leaves lay a young man; his cheeks were pale and hollow, his eyes
sunken, but he breathed.  "Water, water," he muttered; "oh mercy,

Happily, Charley had brought a flask with some weak brandy-and-water; he
poured a few drops down the sufferer's throat, while the men dispersed
to try to find water on the island.  Charley repeated his remedy, and by
the time the water was found the sufferer was able to sit up long enough
to take a refreshing draught of it.  He looked around him with a
surprised and bewildered air.  "Who are you all?" he asked at length, in
a low voice.  "Where do you come from?  I thought that I was left alone
to die."

"Friends and countrymen; but don't speak," answered Charley, for though
he was burning to learn if the sufferer was Jack Askew, he saw that he
was in so weak a state from famine and sickness that any agitation might
prove fatal.  Suppressing therefore his curiosity, his great wish was to
get him on board the _Good Hope_, where such food as was best fitted for
his weak state could be procured.  Still it seemed very important to
give him some hot food before an attempt was made to remove him.

"I will manage it," exclaimed Elton, producing a calabash.  "Let us get
a fire lighted first, and see if any shell-fish or crabs, or perhaps
even a young turtle may be found; I will make some soup, and though it
may be blackish, it will not be the less wholesome."

As soon as the fire was lighted, while the men went to search for the
fish, Elton collected a number of clean rounded stones from the beach
and placed them in the midst of it.  He then half-filled the calabash
with water, into which, by means of a cleft stick which served the
purpose of tongs, he put the red hot stones, and quickly made the water
boil.  By the time this was done the men returned with a very
respectable sized turtle, which they had caught in a pool, into which he
had been unwittingly washed.  Some strips were immediately cut off him
and put into the boiling pot.  As soon as their goodness was supposed to
be extracted, they and the stones were taken out with the cleft stick,
and hotter stones and fresh strips put in.  In a very short time a thick
and nutritious soup was formed, which, though it would have been
improved with salt, pepper, lemon, and a few other condiments, was well
calculated to restore the vital energies, aided with small doses of
brandy-and-water.  Such, at all events, were the only means that Charley
and Elton could think of for giving the sufferer the strength he
required.  Whether or not the turtle soup would have served the purpose
without the spirit, or the spirit without the soup, it may be difficult
to determine; at all events, the two combined had a most beneficial

In the course of two or three hours he was able to sit up of his own
accord, and then, gazing earnestly at those surrounding him, he asked,
"What made you come to look for me?  I have watched several ships pass,
but no one saw me; no one thought that on this little island there was a
human being longing to be at home with his friends, who must have long
thought him dead, perhaps forgotten him altogether."

Charley saw that now was the time to speak, and that if the stranger
should prove to be Jack Askew, the news he brought would do him good.
"But, my friend, do you think that a fond mother so easily forgets her
sailor son?--do you think a young loving sister forgets her brother?--do
you suppose that an old sailor father does not know that a person may be
cast on shore on a desert island in these little-known seas, and remain
for years undiscovered?"

"Why do you ask those questions?" asked the lad, leaning forward with
earnest eyes, and eagerly seizing Charley's arm--"How do you know that I
have a sailor father, a fond mother, and a young sister?"

"If you are Jack Askew I know it very well, for your parents and dear
little sister Margery have never ceased to think of you," answered

"I am!  I am!" exclaimed the lad, throwing his arms round Charley's
neck.  "You tell me that they are alive still, father and mother, and
Margery--dear, dear Margery!  And are they well?--do they ever expect to
see me?--can they believe that I am alive?  All you tell me nearly turns
my head with joy, but it won't kill me; I must live to go back to them."

Charley assured Jack that all were well, and that the only drawback to
their happiness was his absence.

"And Margery! dear, dear little Margery; you must tell me all about
her," exclaimed Jack, after a lengthened pause.  "Is she grown?--is she
as fair and bright and beautiful as she was?  You don't know how I loved
that little girl.  I have often dreamed of her as an angel coming to
look for me and take me home; and I have thought that she was flying
away with me, holding my hand, over the sea and over the land; and oh,
how bitter was the disappointment when I awoke and found that I was

"You see, Jack, that she was constantly praying for you, and going in
spirit to look for you, and her prayers were heard in heaven, as I am
sure that sincere prayers, rightly prayed, are heard," observed Charley.
"But you must not talk any more just now; have a little more soup, and
go to sleep, if you can, for a short time, and then we will go on

"Thank you; you are very kind indeed, quite like a brother; and I want
to know more about you--who you are, and why you came to look for me?"
said Jack.

"Time enough for that when we get on board," answered Charley; "we have
a somewhat long voyage before us, and it will be well to keep something
in store to talk about."

Jack made no reply, he was indeed too weary to speak.  Charley even now,
as he watched over him, felt far from sure that he would ultimately
recover, he was so thin and wan, and when he slept he looked more like a
dead person than one alive.

Two or three anxious hours passed away, and every moment, as Charley
watched the poor lad, he dreaded to see him heave his last sigh; but the
food he had swallowed began to take effect permanently on his system--a
slight colour spread slowly over his cheeks, his breathing became more
regular, and when he awoke there was a brightness in his eye and a
cheerfulness in his voice which Charley had not before observed.  He
wished that they could remain some days longer on the island, that Jack
might regain more strength before going on board; but the weather was
uncertain, and a gale might spring up and drive the schooner off, or
perhaps wreck her; and, besides this, Jack entreated that he might be
taken on board, and that no time might be lost in commencing their
homeward voyage.

Hugh Owen was feeling somewhat anxious at the long delay of the boat,
and was standing close in shore with the schooner to look for her, when
she emerged from the passage through the reefs.  His delight at seeing
Jack was very great, and he declared that he could scarcely believe his
senses when he found that what they had been so long talking about had
really come true.  By standing to the south they should be able to touch
at one of the Harvey or Society Island groups, where they were certain
of a hospitable reception, and of obtaining such provisions as they
might require.

To refit the schooner properly, and to obtain stores for their long
voyage home, it would be necessary to touch at Valparaiso, or some other
port on the coast of Chili.  It was a satisfaction to feel that wherever
they touched among the groups of islands which have been mentioned, they
would find civilised men and Christians ready to welcome them as
friends, instead of as formerly savages, who would have taken every
opportunity of murdering them and plundering their vessel.  Still, as
the noble-hearted Elton observed, as they looked over the chart of the
Pacific and noted the numberless islands which dotted it in often
thick-clustering groups, there must still exist a great deal of work to
be done, and that he trusted to be able to engage in doing it.

Some days passed before Jack was able to speak much, and even then not
beyond a whisper, or to listen to the account Charley had to give him of
his expedition, and the way it had been brought about.  Then, of course,
he also wanted to hear of the doings at Stormount Tower, and how Margery
had been carried off by the smugglers, and how Charley and Tom had
recovered her.  "Tom, dear old Tom, how I shall like to wring his horny
fist again; it's as honest a palm as any in England!" cried Jack.  "And
you, Charley, what a fine fellow you are; I don't like to talk of giving
Margery to any one, but I would rather give her to you, when the time
comes, than to anybody else in the world; and I suspect that she
wouldn't say nay if she was asked."

Charley said that he hoped so, and turned the conversation.

And now Jack was asked to narrate his own adventures, for hitherto the
subject had been avoided, and he seemed in no way inclined to allude to

"It has been a terrible time indeed, as you may guess," he observed;
"but now that it is over, I ought to think of it with gratitude to the
good God who has preserved me safe through all my dangers.  You know how
I sailed in the _Truelove_ with Captain Summers, and how, after touching
at Callao, we steered westward, to visit various islands on our way to
Japan.  We were in high spirits, for we thought nothing of the dangers
of the voyage, and only of seeing so many beautiful and strange islands
and their inhabitants.  A good look-out was always supposed to be kept
ahead, and we were running one night, in the first watch, believing that
the whole of our voyage would be as prosperous as the commencement, when
the cry arose, `Breakers ahead!  Breakers on the starboard bow!'
followed by `Breakers on the port bow!'  The helm was put down, the
sheets hauled flat, but before the ship could by any possibility come
about, she struck--then forged ahead, to strike again more heavily.

"Directly every one on board knew that there was not the slightest hope
of saving the ship, scarcely of escaping with our lives.  We had a long
night before us, and the wind was increasing.  The order was given to
lower the boats, but two were swamped and the hands in them carried
away.  We heard their shrieks, but could not help them; besides, we knew
that their fate would soon probably be ours.  Then the sea began to beat
over the ship, and soon made a clean breach across the waist, washing
away the captain and the first mate and several more of the men.  Just
then a bright light burst forth to the north-east; two or three of the
men who were clinging to the taffrail with me thought that it was a ship
on fire, but after watching it for some minutes we became convinced that
it was a burning mountain.  We argued that if there was a mountain there
was land; and I had heard that such lands were generally the most
fertile, and so we hoped that if we could reach it we should find

"There was a light burning in the cabin, and the captain's supper was on
the table; I managed to reach the companion-hatch, and slipped down
below.  I quickly snatched up whatever provisions I could find--a
compass, a quadrant, and navigation book, and returned with them on
deck.  A small boat hung astern; two of the men, David King and another,
agreed to lower her, for the water astern appeared occasionally to be
comparatively smooth, and we fancied that she might swim where a larger
boat might be swamped; at all events, we believed that the ship was
about to break up, and that this would be the only chance of saving our
lives.  There was no time to be lost; we put everything necessary we
could find into the boat, and, jumping in, lowered her down.  As she
touched the water, the other man, crying out that we should be swamped,
swarmed up the falls, and in an instant King and I were carried far away
from the ship.  I thought his words would come true, but we were driven
on right through the surf, and once more floated in smooth water.

"What would happen next we could not tell, so we lay on our oars,
waiting till daylight.  It was very long of coming; we thought that it
never would come--at least that we should never see it.  When it broke,
we could no longer see the burning mountain, nor any land in that
direction; nor could we have reached it had we seen it, for the wind was
blowing strong from the quarter in which the light had appeared.  Still
more anxiously we looked for the ship; not a portion of her remained
entire, but the numerous pieces of wreck which floated about near us,
told us plainly what had become of her and our shipmates.  We looked
about, hoping that some of them might be floating on bits of the wreck,
but no living being was to be seen.  In the distance we observed the
bodies of two poor fellows; we pulled up to them, knowing from the first
that they were dead; they were those of two men who had been holding on
to the ship when we left her.

"It would not do to remain where we were, and as we could not sail in
the direction we proposed, we agreed to run before the wind till we
could fall in with some island on which we could land.  For four anxious
days we ran on, till some palm-trees appeared ahead rising out of the
water, and we knew that we we approaching a coral island.  The wind had
happily fallen, but the surf ahead showed us our danger in time, and
putting down our helm we stood to the southward till we came to the end
of the island; keeping away again we found a passage through the reef,
by which we safely entered the lagoon.

"Here, for the present, we were safe from the dangers of the sea; the
island was uninhabited, and we found a spring of water, but provisions
were not likely to be plentiful.  There were cocoa-nuts for one part of
the year, and turtle and their eggs occasionally, and roots and
shell-fish; and after a time it occurred to King that we might be able
to catch some fish.  Having walked round and round the island, or
rather, almost round and back again, and considered how we should
procure food, our next care was to build a hut to shelter ourselves from
the sun by day, and the dews by night.

"And now commenced a solitary life, the end of which we could not see.
Years might go by before a vessel might pass that way, and if one should
pass, what little chance was there of our being seen!  Still, I do not
think a day went by without our talking on the subject, and looking out
for a sail.  King, poor fellow, was not much of a companion, as we had
few ideas in common; but we never grew tired of talking of the
probability of our getting away.  He had a wife and family in England
whom he longed to see, as much as I did my friends.  How many months or
years went by while he was with me I could not tell, for our life was a
very monotonous one.

"We had kept our boat in as good repair as possible, not with the hope
of making our escape in her, for she was too small for that, but for the
purpose of putting off to get on board any ship which might appear.  We
were, therefore, chary of using her, but occasionally we went out
fishing in her, when the supply we could get in the lagoon or from the
shore ran short.  One day I was ill, and King said that he would go out
by himself.  I warned him not to go, for from the appearance of the sky
I thought bad weather was coming on.  He laughed at my fears, said that
he would bring me back a good dinner, and rowed round to the eastward of
the island.

"He had not been gone long before my prognostications were verified; the
wind began to rise.  I went to the beach and beckoned him to return, but
he was busy hauling up fish and did not see me, or observe the altered
state of the weather; I shouted, but my voice did not reach him.  He had
already drifted out farther than usual; suddenly the movement of the
boat as she got into rough water made him look up.  By some carelessness
one of his oars slipped overboard, and before he could recover it the
squall had caught the boat, and whirling it round had sent her far from
it.  I saw his frantic gestures as he endeavoured to scull the boat back
toward the island.  Now he tried to paddle her with his remaining oar as
an Indian does a canoe, but in vain.  Every instant the gale was
increasing and driving her farther and farther away.

"I watched her with a sinking heart growing less and less to my sight,
till she was lost among the foaming seas in the distance.  I then for
the first time felt with full force my lonely position; I wrung my hands
like a child; I burst into tears; I bemoaned my hard fate, and thought
that I was forsaken of God and man.  Not only was my companion taken
from me, but the only means that I saw by which I could effect my
escape.  He might possibly reach some other shore; I should never leave
that on which I was drawing out my weary existence.  I see now, from
what you tell me, how short-sighted I was; that our kind Father in
heaven chooses His own way in carrying out plans for our benefit, and
that what I thought was my ruin would ultimately prove the means of my

"For several days after King had gone I could neither eat nor sleep, or
if I slept I dreamed that I saw him floating away, and tried to follow
and could not.  By degrees I recovered a portion of my tranquillity.
Still I watched more eagerly for any passing ship.  It might have been
nearly a year afterwards, one morning as I arose a sail hove in sight.
My heart leaped within me: I thought in my folly that those on board
were coming to look for me.  Oh how eagerly I watched her as her masts
rose out of the water!  On she came; I could see that she was a ship, a
large ship, a man-of-war by her square yards.  She must have sighted the
island, and I thought that she would approach to survey it more
carefully, when suddenly--perhaps some reef unknown to me intervened--
she turned aside, and after hovering in the distance to tantalise me the
more, she slowly stood away to the northward.  I was almost as much
overcome as when poor King was blown off the island.  I now passed my
days in a dull state of apathy; I had no books, no writing materials.
Had I, as I might when I visited the cabin, brought away a Bible I saw
on the captain's table which he had been reading for the last time, what
a blessing and a comfort it would have, proved to me!  I had a knife and
an axe, and I often began to make various articles, but I had not the
heart to finish them, for I always thought--`No one will see them, of
what use will they be?'  So the days passed on.  Two other vessels
appeared at long intervals, but passed at too great a distance to see
me.  One of them was becalmed off the island for some hours, and had I
still possessed the boat I could without difficulty have pulled off to
her.  At length I fell sick; I had long been ailing, and it is my belief
that had you not appeared at the moment you did, my career on earth
would soon have been over."

"God, who in His kind mercy had resolved that you should be saved, so
directed our movements for your speedy rescue; so that you owe us no
gratitude," observed Elton.  "But I am surprised at the description you
give of your sensations, I had thought that a solitary life on an island
might be made very pleasant and satisfactory."

"Oh, no, no!" cried Jack, "do not believe any such thing.  We are not
born to live alone, of that I became convinced.  An older man might have
found the life less irksome, but when I took it into my head that I
should never get away it became perfectly terrible.  Even had I not been
ill, I do not think that I could have survived many weeks longer."

Such was the outline Jack gave of his life on the island, but when once
he had begun the subject he described many adventures and other details
which showed that there had been rather more variety it his existence
than he had at first led his hearers to suppose, and that had he had
books and paper and pens, he might probably have kept up his spirits
better than he appeared to have done.

"Still, all is well that ends well!" exclaimed Jack, after he had one
day been talking on the subject.  "I now feel sure that what I have gone
through was for my ultimate benefit, and I can thank God for the
merciful way in which He has dealt with me."

The _Good Hope_ touched at several islands, the entire population of
which had become Christians not only in name but in deed, as they
evinced by their lives and their totally changed characters.  She got a
thorough refit at Valparaiso, on the coast of Chili, to prepare her for
her voyage round Cape Horn, and five months after Jack got on board she
sighted the shores of Old England.  Captain Blount felt sure that he
could pilot her safely into Stormount Bay, but the wind fell somewhat,
and the shades of evening came on before the schooner could beat up to
it.  Just then a fishing-boat was sighted, and a signal was made to her
that a pilot was wanted.  She was soon alongside, and a stout,
middle-aged man stepped on board.

"Can you pilot us into Stormount Bay, friend?" asked the captain.

"I should think I could, since I've sailed in and out of it, man and
boy, for pretty nigh forty years," answered the man.  "It makes no
matter night or day to us now either.  You see that bright light just
now, beaming out from the top of the cliff it seems?  That's the light
the lady who lives in the tower burns every night, that (as they say)
her lost son who went away to sea and has never since been heard of, may
see it when he comes up Channel, and find his way into the bay.  Poor
lad, I'd give pretty nigh all I'm worth to see him come back, for I was
the main cause, I fear, why he was sent away; and bless his honest old
father, he has never owed me a grudge for it, but on the contrary, has
done me all the kindness in his power,--he has taught me to be an honest

The fisherman might have run on much longer had not Jack, who overheard
him, exclaimed, "Nor do I owe you a grudge, Dick Herring; but tell me,
old friend, how are my father and mother, and sister Margery, and old
Tom, good old Tom?"

"Why, bless my heart!  Master Jack, is it you?  Well, it's hard to
believe my senses,--and you to be alive all this time!" exclaimed Dick
Herring, seizing Jack's hand and wringing it nearly off.  "They're all
well, every one on 'em, and they will be glad to see you, that they

Dick now recognised Charley, and right proud he was to pilot the _Good
Hope_ into Stormount Bay, nor would he receive a shilling reward, not
even a glass of grog to drink Jack's health, for since he had given up
smuggling and all its accompanying sins, he had become a strict
temperance-league man.

"No, Master Jack, I won't drink your health, but I'll pray for it, and
that'll do us both more good," he observed.

Little did Mrs Askew suppose whose vessel her lantern was guiding into
Stormount Bay that night.  The schooner's anchor was dropped and her
sails furled before nine o'clock.  The voyagers had purposed waiting
till the morning before going on shore, but Jack's impatience would
brook no delay.  Charley went first and announced himself to Becky, who
immediately exclaimed under her breath, "Is he come, Master Charles?"

"Never mind," answered Charley, "Do you go in and say Charley Blount has

Somebody heard his voice, and that somebody, forgetting that he was not
Jack himself, rushed into his arms.  "Has Jack come? has Jack come?
Dear Charley, have you brought him?" exclaimed Margery.

"I can't keep you in suspense, my sweet Margery, he has come, and is not
far off," answered Charley and before he could say more, Tom, who had
followed Becky to the door, darted out into the darkness, and was soon
heard exclaiming, "Come in, come in, my dear boy, joy does no harm to no

Mrs Askew, who had been sitting at her work opposite Captain Askew, who
was reading the newspaper by a bright light, hearing an unusual
commotion, rose from her seat, as he also did from his.

"What is it all about, Margery?" cried the captain, stumping to the

"Good news, father, good news!" cried Margery.  "Charley has come back
safe, and he has--"

"Has he brought our boy--has Jack been found?" asked the captain, his
voice trembling with eagerness.

"Yes, dear father, he has, he has!" cried Margery.

"Then let me have him here, and thank God!" cried the old sailor,
stretching out his arms; and Jack, who had been hauled in by Tom,
overheard him, and in another second, bounding up the stairs, was folded
in those arms, with his mother and Margery clinging to his neck and
weeping tears of joy.

The evening was indeed a happy one, and not till a late hour did any of
the inmates of Stormount Tower think of retiring to rest.

While Mrs Askew lived, the light in the Tower was always, as before,
lit at night, and on her death a lighthouse was built in its place.
Charley Blount at a very early age, got command of a fine trader to
India and Australia, and on the death of her parents Margaret Askew
became his wife, while Jack was chief mate with Captain Blount for many
years; and when the latter came to live on shore, Jack took command of a
fine ship he had built, called _The Stormount Tower_.


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