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´╗┐Title: Frank Mildmay - The Naval Officer
Author: Marryat, Frederick, 1792-1848
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 "Frank Mildmay - The Naval Officer" ***

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Frank Mildmay, by Captain Marryat.

________________________________________________________________________

Captain Frederick Marryat was born July 10 1792, and died August 8 1848.
He retired from the British navy in 1828 in order to devote himself to
writing.  In the following 20 years he wrote 26 books, many of which are
among the very best of English literature, and some of which are still
in print.

Marryat had an extraordinary gift for the invention of episodes in his
stories.  He says somewhere that when he sat down for the day's work, he
never knew what he was going to write.  He certainly was a literary
genius.

"Frank Mildmay" was published in 1829, the first book to flow from
Marryat's pen.  It had been written while at sea, during a long search,
which Marryat considered ridiculous, for a non-existent island that
someone had reported seeing in mid-Atlantic.  While writing this book
Marryat decided that he would be better employed out of the Navy,
writing books.  The full title of this book was "The Naval Officer; or,
Scenes and Adventures in the life of Frank Mildmay".  A similar title
might have been applied to at least four others of his books.  For
people wishing to know how ships were handled in battles and other
engagements, from books by an experienced early nineteenth century naval
officer, they could not do better than to read them.

This e-text was transcribed in 1998 by Nick Hodson, and was reformatted
in 2003, and again in 2005.

________________________________________________________________________

FRANK MILDMAY, BY CAPTAIN FREDERICK MARRYAT.



CHAPTER ONE.

  These are the errors, and these are the fruits of mis-spending our
  prime youth at the schools and universities, as we do, either in
  learning mere words, or such things chiefly as were better unlearned.
  MILTON.

My father was a gentleman, and a man of considerable property.  In my
infancy and childhood I was weak and sickly, but the favourite of my
parents beyond all my brothers and sisters, because they saw that my
mind was far superior to my sickly frame, and feared they should never
raise me to manhood; contrary, however, to their expectations, I
surmounted all these untoward appearances, and attracted much notice
from my liveliness, quickness of repartee, and impudence: qualities
which have been of much use to me through life.

I can remember that I was both a coward and a boaster; but I have
frequently remarked that the quality which we call cowardice, in a
child, implies no more than a greater sense of danger, and consequently
a superior intellect.  We are all naturally cowards: education and
observation teach us to discriminate between real and apparent danger;
pride teaches the concealment of fear; and habit render us indifferent
to that from which we have often escaped with impunity.  It is related
of the Great Frederick that he misbehaved the first time he went into
action; and it is certain that a novice in such a situation can no more
command all his resources than a boy when first bound apprentice to a
shoemaker can make a pair of shoes.  We must learn our trade, whether it
be to stand steady before the enemy or to stitch a boot; practice alone
can make a Hoby or a Wellington.

I pass on to my school-days, when the most lasting impressions are made.
The foundation of my moral and religious instruction had been laid with
care by my excellent parents; but, alas! from the time I quitted the
paternal roof not one stone was added to the building; and even the
traces of what existed were nearly obliterated by the deluge of vice
which threatened soon to overwhelm me.  Sometimes, indeed, I feebly, but
ineffectually, endeavoured to stem the torrent; at others, I suffered
myself to be borne along with all its fatal rapidity.  I was frank,
generous, quick, and mischievous; and I must admit that a large portion
of what sailors call "devil" was openly displayed, and a much larger
portion latently deposited in my brain and bosom.  My ruling passion,
even in this early stage of life was pride.  Lucifer himself, if he ever
was seven years old, had not more.  If I have gained a fair name in the
service, if I have led instead of followed, it must be ascribed to this
my ruling passion.  The world has often given me credit for better
feelings, as the source of action; but I am not writing to conceal, and
the truth must be told.

I was sent to school to learn Latin and Greek, of which there are
various ways of teaching.  Some tutors attempt the _suaviter in modo_,
my schoolmaster preferred the _fortiter in re_, and, as the boatswain
said, by the "instigation" of a large knotted stick, he drove knowledge
into our skulls as a caulker drives oakum into the seams of a ship.
Under such tuition, we made astonishing progress; and whatever my less
desirable acquirements may have been, my father had no cause to complain
of my deficiency in classic lore.  Superior in capacity to most of my
schoolfellows, I seldom took the pains to learn my lesson previous to
going up with the class: "the master's blessing," as we called it, did
occasionally descend on my devoted head, but that was a bagatelle; I was
too proud not to keep pace with my equals, and too idle to do more.

Had my schoolmaster been a single man, my stay under his care might have
been prolonged to my advantage; but, unfortunately, both for him and for
me, he had a helpmate, and her peculiarly unfortunate disposition was
the means of corrupting those morals over which it was her duty to have
watched with the most assiduous care.  _Her_ ruling passions were
suspicion and avarice, written in legible characters in her piercing
eyes and sharp-pointed nose.  She never supposed us capable of telling
the truth, so we very naturally never gave ourselves the trouble to
cultivate a useless virtue, and seldom resorted to it unless it answered
our purpose better than a lie.  This propensity of Mrs Higginbottom
converted our candour and honesty into deceit and fraud.  Never
believed, we cared little about the accuracy of our assertions;
half-starved through her meanness and parsimony, we were little
scrupulous as to the ways and means provided we could satisfy our
hunger; and thus we soon became as great adepts in the elegant
accomplishments of lying and thieving, under her tuition, as we did in
Greek and Latin under that of her husband.

A large orchard, fields, garden, and poultry-yard, attached to the
establishment, were under the care and superintendence of the mistress,
who usually selected one of the boys as her prime minister and
confidential adviser.  This boy, for whose education his parents were
paying some sixty or eighty pounds per annum, was permitted to pass his
time in gathering up the windfalls; in watching the hens, and bringing
in their eggs when their cackling throats had announced their safe
accouchement; looking after the broods of young ducks and chickens, _et
hoc genus omne_; in short, doing the duty of what is usually termed the
odd man in the farm-yard.  How far the parents would have been satisfied
with this arrangement, I leave my readers to guess; but to us who
preferred the manual to mental exertion, exercise to restraint, and any
description of cultivation to that of cultivating the mind, it suited
extremely well; and accordingly no place in the gift of government was
ever the object of such solicitude and intrigue, as was to us schoolboys
the situation of collector and trustee of the eggs and apples.

I had the good fortune to be early selected for this important post, and
the misfortune to lose it soon after, owing to the cunning and envy of
my schoolfellows and the suspicion of my employers.  On my first coming
into office, I had formed the most sincere resolutions of honesty and
vigilance; but what are good resolutions when discouraged on the one
hand by the revilings of suspicion, and assailed on the other by the
cravings of appetite?  My morning's collection was exacted from me to
the very last nut, and the greedy eyes of my mistress seemed to inquire
for more.  Suspected when innocent, I became guilty out of revenge; was
detected and dismissed.  A successor was appointed, to whom I
surrendered all my offices of trust, and having perfect leisure, I made
it my sole business to supplant him.

It was an axiom in mathematics with me at that time, though not found in
Euclid, that wherever I could enter my head, my whole body might follow.
As a practical illustration of this proposition, I applied my head to
the arched hole of the hen-house door, and by scraping away a little
dirt, contrived to gain admittance, and very speedily transferred all
the eggs to my own chest.  When the new purveyor arrived, he found
nothing but "a beggarly account of empty boxes;" and his perambulations
in the orchard and garden, for the same reason, were equally
_fruitless_.  The pilferings of the orchard and garden I confiscated as
droits; but when I had collected a sufficient number of eggs to furnish
a nest, I gave information of my pretended discovery to my mistress,
who, thinking she had not changed for the better, dismissed my
successor, and received me into favour again.  I was, like many greater
men, immediately reinstated in office when it was discovered that they
could not do without me.  I once more became chancellor of the hen-roost
and ranger of the orchard, with greater power than I had possessed
before my disgrace.  Had my mistress looked half as much in my face as
she did into my hatful of eggs, she would have read my guilt; for at
that unsophisticated age I could blush, a habit long since discarded in
the course of my professional duties.

In order to preserve my credit and my situation, I no longer contented
myself with windfalls, but assisted nature in her labours, and greatly
lightened the burthen of many a loaded fruit-tree; by these means, I not
only gratified the avarice of my mistress at her own expense, but also
laid by a store for my own use.  On my restoration to office, I had an
ample fund in my exchequer to answer all present demands; and, by a
provident and industrious anticipation, was enabled to lull the
suspicions of my employers, and to bid defiance to the opposition.  It
will readily be supposed that a lad of my acuteness did not omit any
technical management for the purpose of disguise; the fruits which I
presented were generally soiled with dirt at the ends of the stalks, in
such a manner as to give them all the appearance of "_felo de se_," i.e.
fell of itself.  Thus, in the course of a few months, did I become an
adept of vice, from the mismanagement of those into whose hands I was
intrusted to be strengthened in religion and virtue.

Fortunately for me, as far as my education was concerned, I did not long
continue to hold this honourable and lucrative employment.  One of those
unhappy beings called an usher peeped into my chest, and by way of
acquiring popularity with the mistress and scholars, forthwith denounced
me to the higher powers.  The proofs of my peculation were too glaring,
and the amount too serious, to be passed over; I was tried, convicted,
condemned, sentenced, flogged, and dismissed in the course of half an
hour; and such was the degree of turpitude attached to me on this
occasion, that I was rendered for ever incapable of serving in that or
any other employment connected with the garden or farm; I was placed at
the bottom of the list, and declared to be the worst boy in the school.

This in many points of view was too true; but there was one boy who bade
fair to rival me on the score of delinquency; this was Tom Crauford, who
from that day became my most intimate friend.  Tom was a fine spirited
fellow, up to everything, loved mischief, though not vicious, and was
ready to support me in everything through thick and thin; and truly I
found him sufficient employment.  I threw off all disguise, laughed at
any suggestion of reform, which I considered as not only useless, but
certain of subjecting me to ridicule and contempt among my associates.
I therefore adopted the motto of some great man, "to be rather than seem
to be."  I led in every danger; declared war against all drivellers and
half-measures; stole everything that was eatable from garden, orchard,
or hen-house, knowing full well that whether I did so or not, I should
be equally suspected.  Thenceforward all fruit missed, all arrows shot
into pigs, all stones thrown into the windows, and all mud spattered
over clean linen hung out to dry, were traced to Tom and myself; and
with the usual alacrity of an arbitrary police, the space between
apprehension and punishment was very short--we were constantly brought
before the master, and as regularly dismissed with "his blessing," till
we became hardened to blows and to shame.

Thus, by the covetousness of this woman, who was the grey mare, and the
folly of the master, who, in anything but Greek and Latin, was an ass,
my good principles were nearly eradicated from my bosom, and in their
place were sown seeds which very shortly produced an abundant harvest.

There was a boy at our school lately imported from the East Indies.  We
nick-named him Johnny Pagoda.  He was remarkable for nothing but
ignorance, impudence, great personal strength, and, as we thought,
determined resolution.  He was about nineteen years of age.  One day he
incurred the displeasure of the master, who, enraged at his want of
comprehension and attention, struck him over the head with the knotted
cane.  This appeal, although made to the least sensitive part of his
frame, roused the indolent Asiatic from his usual torpid state.  The
weapon, in the twinkling of an eye, was snatched out of the hand, and
suspended over the head of the astonished pedagogue, who, seeing the
tables so suddenly turned against him, made the signal for assistance.
I clapped my hands, shouted "Bravo! lay on, Johnny--go it--you have done
it now--you may as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb;" but the ushers
began to muster round, the boys hung aloof, and Pagoda, uncertain which
side the neutrals would take, laid down his arms, and surrendered at
discretion.

Had the East-Indian followed up his act by the application of a little
discipline at the fountain-head, it is more than probable that a popular
commotion, not unlike that of Masaniello, would have ensued; but the
time was not come--the Indian showed a white feather, was laughed at,
flogged, and sent home to his friends, who had intended him for the bar;
but foreseeing that he might, in the course of events, chance to cut a
figure on the wrong side of it, sent him to sea, where his valour, if he
had any, would find more profitable employment.

This unsuccessful attempt of the young Oriental was the primary cause of
all my fame and celebrity in after-life.  I had always hated school; and
this, of all others, seemed [seem] to me the most hateful.  The
emancipation of Johnny Pagoda convinced me that my deliverance might be
effected in a similar manner.  The train was laid, and a spark set it on
fire.  This spark was supplied by the folly and vanity of a fat French
dancing-master.  These Frenchmen are ever at the bottom of mischief.
Mrs Higginbottom, the master's wife, had denounced me to Monsieur
Aristide Maugrebleu as a _mauvais sujet_; and as he was a creature of
hers, he frequently annoyed me to gratify his patroness.  This fellow
was at that time about forty-five years of age, and had much more
experience than agility, having greatly increased his bulk by the roast
beef and ale of England.  While he taught us the rigadoons of his own
country, his vanity induced him to attempt feats much above the cumbrous
weight of his frame.  I entered the lists with him, beat him at his own
trade, and he beat me with his fiddlestick, which broke in two over my
head; then, making one more glorious effort to show that he would not be
outdone, snapped the tendon Achilles, and down he fell, _hors de combat_
as a dancing-master.  He was taken away in his gig to be cured, and I
was taken into the school-room to be flogged.

This I thought so unjust that I ran away.  Tom Crauford helped me to
scale the wall; and when he supposed I had got far enough to be out of
danger from pursuit, went and gave information, to avoid the suspicion
of having aided and abetted.  After running a mile, to use a sea phrase,
I hove-to, and began to compose, in my mind, an oration which I intended
to pronounce before my father, by way of apology for my sudden and
unexpected appearance; but I was interrupted by the detested usher and
half a dozen of the senior boys, among whom was Tom Crauford.  Coming
behind me as I sat on a stile, they cut short my meditations by a tap on
the shoulder, collared and marched me to the right about in double quick
time.  Tom Crauford was one of those who held me, and outdid himself in
zealous invective at my base ingratitude in absconding from the best of
masters, and the most affectionate, tender, and motherly of all
school-dames.

The usher swallowed all this, and I soon made him swallow a great deal
more.  We passed near the side of a pond, the shoals and depths of which
were well-known to me.  I looked at Tom out of the corner of my eye, and
motioned him to let me go; and, like a mackerel out of a fisherman's
hand, I darted into the water, got up to my middle, and then very
coolly, for it was November, turned round to gaze at my escort, who
stood at bay, and looked very much like fools.  The usher, like a
low-bred cur, when he could no longer bully, began to fawn; he entreated
and he implored me to think on "my papa and mamma; how miserable they
would be, if they could but see me; what an increase of punishment I was
bringing on myself by such obstinacy."  He held out by turns coaxes and
threats; in short, everything but an amnesty, to which I considered
myself entitled, having been driven to rebellion by the most cruel
persecution.

Argument having failed, and there being no volunteers to come in and
fetch me out of the water, the poor usher, much against his inclination,
was compelled to undertake it.  With shoes and stockings off, and
trousers tucked up, he ventured one foot into the water, then the other;
a cold shiver reached his teeth, and made them chatter; but, at length,
with cautious tread he advanced towards me.  Being once in the water, a
step or two farther was no object to me, particularly as I knew I could
but be well flogged after all, and I was quite sure of that, at all
events, so I determined to have my revenge and amusement.  Stepping
back, he followed, and suddenly fell over head and ears into a hole, as
he made a reach at me.  I was already out of my depth, and could swim
like a duck, and as soon as he came up, I perched my knees on his
shoulders and my hands on his head, and sent him souse under a second
time, keeping him there until he had drunk more water than any horse
that ever came to the pond.  I then allowed him to wallow out the best
way he could; and as it was very cold, I listened to the entreaties of
Tom and the boys who stood by, cracking their sides with laughter at the
poor usher's helpless misery.

Having had my frolic, I came out, and voluntarily surrendered myself to
my enemies, from whom I received the same mercy in proportion, that a
Russian does from a Turk.  Dripping wet, cold,--and covered with mud, I
was first shown to the boys as an aggregate of all that was bad in
nature; a lecture was read to them on the enormity of my offence, and
solemn denunciations of my future destiny closed the discourse.  The
shivering fit produced by the cold bath was relieved by as sound a
flogging as could be inflicted, while two ushers held me; but no effort
of theirs could elicit one groan or sob from me; my teeth were clenched
in firm determination of revenge: with this passion my bosom glowed, and
my brain was on fire.  The punishment, though dreadfully severe, had one
good effect--it restored my almost suspended animation; and I strongly
recommend the same remedy being applied to all young ladies and
gentlemen who, from disappointed love or other such trifling causes,
throw themselves into the water.  Had the miserable usher been treated
after this prescription, he might have escaped a cold and rheumatic
fever which had nearly consigned him to a country church-yard, in all
probability to reappear at the dissecting-room of St. Bartholomew's
Hospital.

About this time Johnny Pagoda, who had been two years at sea,--came to
the school to visit his brother and schoolfellows.  I pumped this fellow
to tell me all he knew: he never tried to deceive me, or to make a
convert.  He had seen enough of a midshipman's life, to know that a
cockpit was not paradise; but he gave me clear and ready answers to all
my questions.  I discovered that there was no schoolmaster in the ship,
and that the midshipmen were allowed a pint of wine a day.  A
man-of-war, and the gallows, they say, refuse nothing; and as I had some
strong presentiments from recent occurrences, that if I did not
volunteer for the one, I should, in all probability, be pressed for the
other, I chose the lesser evil of the two; and having made up my mind to
enter the glorious profession, I shortly after communicated my intention
to my parents.

From the moment I had come to this determination, I cared not what crime
I committed, in hopes of being expelled from the school.  I wrote
scurrilous letters, headed a mutiny, entered into a league with the
other boys to sink, burn, and destroy, and do all the mischief we could.
Tom Crauford had the master's child to dry nurse: he was only two years
old: Tom let him fall, not intentionally, but the poor child was a
cripple in consequence of it for life.  This was an accident which under
any other circumstances we should have deplored, but to us it was almost
a joke.

The cruel treatment I had received from these people, had so demoralised
me, that those passions which under more skilful or kinder treatment had
either not been known, or would have lain dormant, were roused into full
and malignant activity: I went to school a good-hearted boy, I left it a
savage.  The accident with the child occurred two days before the
commencement of the vacation, and we were all dismissed on the following
day in consequence.  On my return home I stated verbally to my father
and mother, as I had done before by letter, that I was resolved to go to
sea.  My mother wept, my father expostulated.  I gazed with apathy on
the one, and listened with cold indifference to the reasoning and
arguments of the other; a choice of schools was offered to me, where I
might be a parlour boarder, and I was to finish at the university, if I
would give up my fatal infatuation.  Nothing, however, would do; the die
was cast, and for the sea I was to prepare.

What fool was it who said that the happiest times of our lives is passed
at school?  There may, indeed, be exceptions, but the remark cannot be
generalised.  Stormy as has been my life, the most miserable part of it
(with very little exception) was passed at school; and my mind never
received so much injury from any scenes of vice and excess in
after-life, as it did from the shameful treatment and bad example I met
with there.  If my bosom burned with fiend-like passions, whose fault
was it?  How had the sacred pledge, given by the master, been redeemed?
Was I not sacrificed to the most sordid avarice, in the first instance,
and almost flayed alive in the second, to gratify revenge?  Of the
filthy manner in which our food was prepared, I can only say that the
bare recollection of it excites nausea; and to this hour, bread and
milk, suet pudding, and shoulders of mutton, are objects of my
deep-rooted aversion.  The conduct of the ushers, who were either
tyrannical extortioners, or partakers in our crimes--the constant loss
of our clothes by the dishonesty or carelessness of the servants--the
purloining our silver spoons, sheets, and towels, when we went away,
upon the plea of "custom"--the charges in the account for windows which
I had never broken, and books which I had never received--the shameful
difference between the annual cost promised by the master, and the sum
actually charged, ought to have opened the eyes of my father.

I am aware how excellent many of these institutions are, and that there
are few so bad as the one I was sent to.  The history of my life will
prove of what vital importance it is to ascertain the character of the
master and mistress as to other points besides teaching Greek and Latin,
before a child is intrusted--to their care.  I ought to have observed,
that during my stay at this school, I had made some proficiency in
mathematics and algebra.

My father had procured for me a berth on board a fine frigate at
Plymouth, and the interval between my nomination and joining was spent
by my parents in giving advice to me, and directions to the several
tradesmen respecting my equipment.  The large chest, the sword, the
cocked-hat, the half-boots, were all ordered in succession; and the
arrival of each article, either of use or ornament, was anticipated by
me with a degree of impatience which can only be compared to that of a
ship's company arrived off Dennose from a three years' station in India,
and who hope to be at anchor at Spithead before sunset.  The
circumstance of my going to sea affected my father in no other way than
it interfered with his domestic comforts by the immoderate grief of my
poor mother.  In any other point of view my choice of profession was a
source of no regret to him.  I had an elder brother, who was intended to
have the family estates, and who was then at Oxford, receiving an
education suitable to his rank in life, and also learning how to spend
his money like a gentleman.  Younger brothers are, in such cases, just
as well out of the way, particularly one of my turbulent disposition: a
man-of-war, therefore, like _another piece of timber_, has its uses.  My
father paid all the bills with great philosophy, and made me a liberal
allowance for my age.

The hour of departure drew near; my chest had been sent off by the
Plymouth waggon, and a hackney-coach drew up to the door, to convey me
to the White Horse Cellar.  The letting down of the rattling steps
completely overthrew the small remains of fortitude which my dearest
mother had reserved for our separation, and she threw her arms around my
neck in a frenzy of grief.  I beheld her emotions with a countenance as
unmoved as the figure-head of a ship; while she covered my stoic face
with kisses, and washed it with her tears.  I almost wondered what it
all meant, and wished the scene was over.

My father helped me out of this dilemma; taking me firmly by the arm, he
led me out of the room; my mother sank upon the sofa, and hid her face
in her pocket-handkerchief.  I walked as quickly to the coach as common
decency would permit.  My father looked at me, as if he would inquire of
my very inward soul whether I really did possess human feelings?  I felt
the meaning of this, even in my then tender years; and such was my sense
of propriety, that I mustered up a tear for each eye, which, I hope,
answered the intended purpose.  We say at sea, "When you have no decency
sham a little;" and I verily believe I should have beheld my poor mother
in her coffin with less regret than I could have foregone the gay and
lovely scenes which I anticipated.

How amply has this want of feeling towards a tender parent been recalled
to my mind, and severely punished, in the events of my vagrant life!



CHAPTER TWO.

  Injuries may be atoned for and forgiven: but insults admit of no
  compensation.  They degrade the mind in its own esteem, and force it
  to recover its level by revenge.

  JUNIUS.

There are certain events in our lives poetically and beautifully
described by Moore as "green spots in memory's waste."  Such are the
emotions arising from the attainment, after a long pursuit, of any
darling object of love or ambition; and although possession and
subsequent events may have proved to us that we had overrated our
enjoyment, and experience have shown us "that all is vanity," still
recollection dwells with pleasure upon the beating heart, when the
present only was enjoyed, and the picture painted by youthful and
sanguine anticipation in glowing and delightful colours.  Youth only can
feel this; age has been often deceived--too often has the fruit turned
to ashes in the mouth.  The old look forward with a distrust and doubt,
and backward with sorrow and regret.

One of the red-letter days of my life was that on which I first mounted
the uniform of a midshipman.  My pride and ecstasy were beyond
description.  I had discarded the school and school-boy dress, and, with
them, my almost stagnant existence.  Like the chrysalis changed into a
butterfly, I fluttered about, as if to try my powers; and felt myself a
gay and beautiful creature, free to range over the wide domains of
nature, clear of the trammels of parents or schoolmasters; and my heart
bounded within me at the thoughts of being left to enjoy, at my own
discretion, the very acme of all the pleasure that human existence can
afford; and I observe that in this, as in most other cases, I met with
that disappointment which usually attends us.  True it is, that in the
days of my youth, I did enjoy myself.  I was happy for a time, if
happiness it could be called; but dearly have I paid for it.  I
contracted a debt, which I have been liquidating by instalments ever
since; nor am I yet emancipated.  Even the small portion of felicity
that fell to my lot on this memorable morning was brief in duration, and
speedily followed by chagrin.

But to return to my uniform.  I had arrayed myself in it; my dirk was
belted round my waist; a cocked-hat, of an enormous size, stuck on my
head; and, being perfectly satisfied with my own appearance at the last
survey which I had made in the glass, I first rang for the chambermaid,
under pretence of telling her to make my room tidy, but, in reality,
that she might admire and compliment me, which she very wisely did; and
I was fool enough to give her half a crown and a kiss, for I felt myself
quite a man.  The waiter, to whom the chambermaid had in all probability
communicated the circumstance, presented himself, and having made a low
bow, offered the same compliments, and received the same reward, save
the kiss.  Boots would, in all probability, have come in for his share,
had he been in the way, for I was fool enough to receive all their fine
speeches as if they were my due, and to pay for them at the same time in
ready money.  I was a gudgeon and they were sharks; and more sharks
would soon have been about me, for I heard them, as they left the room,
call "boots" and "ostler," of course to assist in lightening my purse.

But I was too impatient to wait on my captain and see my ship so I
bounced down the stairs, and in the twinkling of an eye was on my way to
Stonehouse, where my vanity received another tribute, by a raw recruit
of marine raising his hand to his head, as he passed by me.  I took it
as it was meant, raised my hat off my head, and shuffled by with much
self-importance.  One consideration, I own, mortified me--this was that
the _natives_ did not appear to admire me half so much as I admired
myself.  It never occurred to me then, that middies were as plentiful at
Plymouth Dock, as black boys at Port Royal, though, perhaps, not of so
much value to their masters.  I will not shock the delicacy of my fair
readers by repeating all the vulgar alliterations with which my
novitiate was greeted, as I passed in review before the ladies of North
Corner, who met me in Fore Street.  Unsophisticated as I then was, in
many points, and certainly in this, I thought them extremely ill-bred.
Fortunately for me, the prayers of a certain description of people never
prevail, otherwise I should have been immediately consigned to a place,
from which, I fear, all the masses of France and Italy would not have
extricated me.

I escaped from these syrens without being bound to the mast, like
Ulysses; but, like him, I had nearly fallen a victim to a modern
Polyphemus; for though he had not one eye in the middle of his forehead,
after the manner of his prototype, yet the rays from both his eyes
meeting together at the tip of his long nose, gave him very much that
appearance.  Ignorance, sheer ignorance, in this, as in many other
cases, was the cause of my disaster.  A party of officers, in full
uniform, were coming from a court-martial.  "Oh, oh!" said I, "here come
some of us."  I seized my dirk in my left hand, as I saw they held their
swords, and I stuck my right hand into my bosom as some of them had
done.  I tried to imitate their erect and officer-like bearing; I put my
cocked-hat on fore and aft, with the gold rosette dangling between my
two eyes, so that in looking at it, which I could not help doing, I must
have squinted.  And I held my nose high in the air, like a pig in a
hurricane, fancying myself as much an object of admiration to them as I
was to myself.  We passed on opposite tacks, and our respective
velocities had separated us to the distance of twenty or thirty yards,
when one of them called out to me in a voice evidently cracked in His
Majesty's service--"Hello, young gentleman, come back here."

I concluded I was going to be complimented on the cut of my coat, to be
asked the address of my tailor, and to hear the rakish sit of my hat
admired.  I now began to think I should hear a contention between the
lords of the ocean, as to who should have me as a sample middy on their
quarter-decks; and I was even forming an excuse to my father's friend
for not joining his ship.  Judge then of my surprise and mortification,
when I was thus accosted in an angry and menacing tone by the oldest of
the officers--"Pray, sir, what ship do you belong to?"

"Sir," said I, proud to be thus interrogated, "I belong to His Majesty's
ship the _Le ---_" (having a French name, I clapped on both the French
and English articles, as being more impressive.)

"Oh, you do, do you?" said the veteran, with an air of conscious
superiority; "then you will be so good as to turn round, go down to
Mutton Cove, take a boat, and have your person conveyed with all
possible speed on board of His Majesty's ship the _Le ---_" (imitating
me); "and tell the first lieutenant it is my order that you be not
allowed any more leave while the ship is in port; and I shall tell your
captain he must teach his officers better manners than to pass the
port-admiral without touching their hats."

While this harangue was going on, I stood in a circle, of which I was
the centre, and the admiral and the captains formed the circumference:
what little air there was their bodies intercepted, so that I was not
only in a stew, but stupefied into the bargain.

"There, sir, you hear me--you may go."

"Yes, I do hear you," thinks I; "but how the devil am I to get away from
you?" for the cruel captains, like schoolboys round a rat-trap, stood so
close that I could not start.  Fortunately, this my blockade, which they
no doubt intended for their amusement, saved me for that time.  I
recollected myself, and said, with affected simplicity of manner, that I
had that morning put on my uniform for the first time; that I had never
seen my captain, and never was on board a ship in all my life.  At this
explanation, the countenance of the admiral relaxed into something that
was meant for a smile, and the captains all burst into a loud laugh.

"Well, young man," said the admiral--who was really a good-tempered
fellow, though an old one--"well, young man, since you have never been
at sea, it is some excuse for not knowing good manners; there is no
necessity now for delivering my message to the first lieutenant, but you
may go on board your ship."

Having seen me well roasted, the captains opened right and left, and let
me pass.  As I left them I heard one say, "Just caught--marks of the
dogs' teeth in his heels, I warrant you."

I did not stop to make any reply, but sneaked away, mortified and
crest-fallen, and certainly obeyed this, the first order which I had
ever received in the service, with more exactness than I ever did any
subsequent one.

During the remainder of my walk, I touched my hat to every one I met.  I
conferred the honour of salute on midshipmen, master's mates, sergeants
of marines, and two corporals.  Nor was I aware of my over complaisance,
until a young woman, dressed like a lady, who knew more of the navy than
I did, asked me if I had come down to stand for the borough?  Without
knowing what she meant, I replied, "No."

"I thought you might," said she, "seeing you are so damned civil to
everybody."  Had it not been for this friendly hint, I really believe I
should have touched my hat to a drummer.

Having gone through this ordeal, I reached the inn at Plymouth, where I
found my captain, and presented my father's letter.  He surveyed me from
top to toe, and desired the pleasure of my company to dinner at six
o'clock.  "In the meantime," he said, "as it is now only eleven, you may
go aboard, and show yourself to Mr Handstone, the first lieutenant, who
will cause your name to be entered on the books, and allow you to come
back here to dine."  I bowed and retired; and on my way to Mutton Cove
was saluted by the females with the appellation of "royal reefer"
(midshipman), and a "biscuit nibbler;" but all this I neither understood
nor cared for.  I arrived safely at Mutton Cove, where two women, seeing
my inquiring eye and span-new dress, asked what ship they should take
"my honour" to.  I told them the ship which I wished to go on board of.

"She _lays_ under the _Obelisk_," said the elder woman, who appeared to
be about forty years of age; "and we will take your honour off for a
shilling."

I agreed to this, both for the novelty of the thing, as well as on
account of my natural gallantry and love of female society.  The elder
woman was mistress of her profession, handling her scull (oar) with
great dexterity: but Sally, the younger one, who was her daughter, was
still in her novitiate.  She was pretty, cleanly dressed, had on white
stockings, and sported a neat foot and ankle.

"Take care, Sally," said the mother; "keep stroke, or you will catch a
crab."

"Never fear, mother," said the confident Sally; and at the same moment,
as if the very caution against the accident was the cause of it, the
blade of her scull did not dip into the water.  The oar meeting no
resistance, its loom, or handle, came back upon the bosom of the
unfortunate Sally, tipped her backwards--up went her heels in the air,
and down fell her head into the bottom of the boat.  As she was pulling
the stroke oar, her feet almost came in contact with the rosette of my
cocked-hat.

"There now, Sally," said the wary mother; "I told you how it would be--I
knew you would catch a crab!"

Sally quickly recovered herself, blushed a little, and resumed her
occupation.  "That's what we call catching a crab in our country," said
the woman.  I replied that I thought it was a very pretty amusement, and
I asked Sally to try and catch another; but she declined, and by this
time we had reached the side of the ship.

Having paid my naiads, I took hold of the man-rope, as I was instructed
by them, and mounted the side.  Reaching the gangway, I was accosted by
a midshipman in a round jacket and trousers, a shirt none of the
cleanest, and a black silk handkerchief tied loosely round his neck.

"Who did you want, sir?" said he.

"I wish to speak with Mr Handstone, the first lieutenant," said I.  He
informed me that the first lieutenant was then gone down to frank the
letters, and when he came on deck, he would acquaint him with my being
there.

After this dialogue, I was left on the larboard side of the quarter-deck
to my own meditations.  The ship was at this time refitting, and was
what is usually called in the hands of the dockyard, and a sweet mess
she was in.  The quarter-deck carronades were run fore and aft; the
slides unbolted from the side, the decks were covered with pitch fresh
poured into the seams, and the caulkers were sitting on their boxes
ready to renew their noisy labours as soon as the dinner-hour had
expired.  The middies, meanwhile, on the starboard side of the
quarter-deck, were taking my altitude, and speculating as to whether I
was to be a messmate of theirs, and what sort of a chap I might chance
to be--both these points were solved very speedily.

The first lieutenant came on deck; the midshipman of the watch presented
me, and I presented my name and the captain's message.

"It is all right, sir," said Mr Handstone.  "Here, Mr Flyblock, do you
take this young gentleman into your mess; you may show him below as soon
as you please, and tell him where to hang his hammock up."

I followed my new friend down the ladder, under the half-deck, where sat
a woman, selling bread and butter and red herrings to the sailors; she
had also cherries and clotted cream, and a cask of strong beer, which
seemed to be in great demand.  We passed her, and descended another
ladder, which brought us to the 'tween decks, and into the steerage, in
the forepart of which, on the larboard side, abreast of the mainmast,
was my future residence--a small hole which they called a berth; it was
ten feet long by six, and about five feet four inches high; a small
aperture, about nine inches square, admitted a very scanty portion of
that which we most needed, namely, fresh air and daylight.  A deal table
occupied a very considerable extent of this small apartment, and on it
stood a brass candlestick, with a dip candle, and a wick like a
full-blown carnation.  The table-cloth was spread, and the stains of
port wine and gravy too visibly indicated, like the midshipman's dirty
shirt, the near approach of Sunday.  The black servant was preparing for
dinner, and I was shown the seat I was to occupy.  "Good Heaven!"
thought I, as I squeezed myself between the ship's side and the
mess-table; "and is this to be my future residence?  Better go back to
school; there, at least, there is fresh air and clean linen."

I would have written that moment to my dear, broken-hearted mother, to
tell her how gladly her prodigal son would fly back to her arms; but I
was prevented doing this, first by pride, and secondly by want of
writing materials.  Taking my place, therefore, at the table, I mustered
up all my philosophy; and, to amuse myself, called to mind the
reflections of Gil Blas, when he found himself in the den of the
robbers, "Behold, then, the worthy nephew of my uncle, Gil Perez, caught
like a rat in a trap."

Most of my new associates were absent on duty; the 'tween deck was
crammed, with casks, and cases, and chests, and bags, and hammocks; the
noise of the caulkers was resumed over my head and all around me; the
stench of bilge-water, combining with the smoke of tobacco, the effluvia
of gin and beer, the frying of beef-steaks and onions, and red
herrings--the pressure of a dark atmosphere and a heavy shower of rain,
all conspired to oppress my spirits, and render me the most miserable
dog that ever lived.  I had almost resigned myself to despair, when I
recollected the captain's invitation, and mentioned it to Flyblock.
"That's well thought of," said he; "Murphy also dines with him; you can
both go together, and I dare say he will be very glad of your company."

A captain seldom waits for a midshipman, and we took good care he should
not wait for us.  The dinner was in all respects one "on service."  The
captain said a great deal, the lieutenants very little, and the
midshipmen nothing at all; but the performance of the knife and fork,
and wine-glass (as far as it could be got at), were exactly in the
inverse ratio.  The company consisted of my own captain, and two others,
our first lieutenant, Murphy, and myself.

As soon as the cloth was removed, the captain filled me out a glass of
wine, desired I would drink it, and then go and see how the wind was.  I
took this my first admonitory hint in its literal sense and meaning; but
having a very imperfect idea of the points of the compass, I own I felt
a little puzzled how I should obtain the necessary information.
Fortunately for me, there was a weathercock on the old church-steeple;
it had four letters, which I certainly did know were meant to represent
the cardinal points.  One of these seemed so exactly to correspond with
the vane above it, that I made up my mind the wind must be west, and
instantly returned to give my captain the desired information, not a
little proud with my success in having obtained it so soon.  But what
was my surprise to find that I was not thanked for my trouble; the
company even smiled and winked at each other; the first lieutenant
nodded his head and said, "Rather green yet."  The captain, however,
settled the point according to the manners and customs, in such cases
used at sea.  "Here, youngster," said he, "here is another glass for
you; drink that, and then Murphy will show you what I mean."  Murphy was
my chaperon; he swallowed his wine--rather _a gorge deployee_, put down
his glass very energetically, and bowing, left the room.

When we had got fairly into the hall, we had the following duet:--"What
the hell brought you back again, you damned young greenhorn?  Could you
not take a hint, and be off, as the captain intended?  So I must lose my
wine for such a young whelp as you.  I'll pay you off for this, my tight
fellow, before we have been many weeks together."

I listened to this elegant harangue with some impatience, and much more
indignation.  "I came back," said I, "to tell the captain how the wind
was."

"You be damned," replied Murphy: "do you think the captain did not know
how the wind was--and if he had wanted to know, don't you think he would
have sent a sailor like me, instead of such a damned lubberly whelp as
you?"

"As to what the captain meant," said I, "I do not know.  I did as I was
bid--but what do you mean by calling me a whelp?  I am no more a whelp
than yourself!"

"Oh, you are not, a'n't you?" said Murphy, seizing me by one of my ears,
which he pulled so unmercifully that he altered the shape of it very
considerably, making it something like the lee-board of a Dutch schuyt.

This was not to be borne; though, as I was but thirteen, he seventeen,
and a very stout fellow, I should rather not have sought an action with
him.  But he had begun it; my honour was at stake, and I only wonder I
had not drawn my dirk, and laid him dead at my feet.  Fortunately for
him, the rage I was in made me forget I had it by my side: though I
remembered my uniform, the disgrace brought upon it, and the admiration
of the chambermaid, as well as the salute of the sentinel; all which
formed a combustible in my brain.  I went off like a flash, and darted
my fist (the only weapon I had been most accustomed to wield) into the
left eye of my adversary, with a force and precision which Cribb would
have applauded.  Murphy staggered back with the blow, and for a moment I
flattered myself he had had enough of it.

But no--alas, this was a day of disappointments! he had only retreated
to take a spring; he then came on me like the lifeguards at Waterloo,
and his charge was irresistible.  I was upset, pummelled, thumped,
kicked, and should probably have been the subject of a coroner's inquest
had not the waiter and chambermaid run in to my rescue.  The tongue of
the latter was particularly active in my favour: unluckily for me, she
had no other weapon near her, or it would have gone hard with Murphy.
"Shame!" said she, "for such a great lubberly creature to beat such a
poor, little, innocent, defenceless fellow as that.  What would his
mamma say to see him treated so?"

"Damn his mamma, and you too," said Pat, "look at my eye."

"Damn your eye," said the waiter: "it's a pity he had not served the
other one the same way; no more than you deserve for striking a child;
the boy is game, and that's more than you are; he is worth as many of
you as will stand between this and the iron chair at Barbican."

"I'd like to see him duck'd in it," said the maid.

While this was going on, I had resumed my defensive attitude.  I had
never once complained, and had gained the good-will of all the
bystanders, among whom now appeared my captain and his friends.  The
blood was streaming from my mouth, and I bore the marks of discipline
from the superior prowess of my enemy, who was a noted pugilist for his
age, and would not have received the hit from me, if he had supposed my
presumption would have led me to attack him.  The captain demanded an
explanation.  Murphy told the story in his own way, and gave anything
but the true version.  I could have beaten him at that, but truth
answered my purpose better than falsehood on this occasion; so, as soon
as he had done, I gave my round unvarnished tale, and although defeated
in the field, I plainly saw that I had the advantage of him in the
cabinet.  Murphy was dismissed in disgrace, and ordered to rusticate on
board till his eye was bright.

"I should have confined you to the ship myself," said the captain, "but
the boy has done it for me; you cannot appear on shore with that black
eye."

As soon as he was gone, I was admonished to be more careful in future.
"You are," said the captain, "like a young bear; all your sorrows are
before you; if you give a blow for every hard name you receive, your
fate in the service may be foreseen: if weak you will be pounded to a
mummy--if strong, you will be hated.  A quarrelsome disposition will
make you enemies in every rank you may attain; you will be watched with
a jealous eye, well knowing, as we all do, that the same spirit of
insolence and overbearing which you show in the cockpit, will follow you
to the quarter-deck, and rise with you in the service.  This advice is
for your own good; not that I interfere in these things, as everybody
and everything finds its level in a man-of-war; I only wish you to draw
a line between resistance against oppression, which I admire and
respect, and a litigious, uncompromising disposition, which I despise.
Now wash your face and go on board.  Try by all means to conciliate the
rest of your mess-mates, for first impressions are everything, and rely
on it, Murphy's report will not be in your favour."

This advice was very good, but had the disadvantage of coming too late
for that occasion by at least half an hour.  The fracas was owing to the
captain's mismanagement, and the manners and customs of the navy at the
beginning of the nineteenth century.  The conversation at the tables of
the higher ranks of the service in those days, unless ladies were
present, was generally such as a boy could not listen to without injury
to his better feelings.  I was therefore "hinted off;" but with due
respect to my captain, who is still living, I should have been sent on
board of my ship and cautioned against the bad habits of the natives of
North Corner and Barbican; and if I could not be admitted to the
mysterious conversation of a captain's table, I should have been told in
a clear and decided manner to depart, without the needless puzzle of an
innuendo which I did not and could not understand.

I returned on board about eight o'clock, where Murphy had gone before
me, and prepared a reception far from agreeable.  Instead of being
welcomed to my berth, I was received with coldness, and I returned to
the quarter-deck, where I walked till I was weary, and then leaned
against a gun.  From this temporary alleviation, I was roused by a voice
of thunder, "Lean off that gun."  I started up, touched my hat, and
continued my solitary walk, looking now and then at the second
lieutenant, who had thus gruffly addressed me.  I felt a dejection of
spirits, a sense of destitution and misery, which I cannot describe.  I
had done no wrong, yet I was suffering as if I had committed a crime.  I
had been aggrieved, and had vindicated myself as well as I could.  I
thought I was among devils, and not men; my thoughts turned homeward.  I
remembered my poor mother in her agony of grief on the sofa; and my
unfeeling heart then found that it needed the soothings of affection.  I
could have wept, but I knew not where to go; for I could not be seen to
cry on board of ship.  My pride began to be humbled.  I felt the misery
of dependence, although not wanting pecuniary resources; and would have
given up all my prospects to have been once more seated quietly at home.

The first lieutenant came on board soon after, and I heard him relating
my adventure to the second lieutenant.  The tide now evidently turned in
my favour.  I was invited down to the gun-room; and having given
satisfactory answers to all the questions put to me, Flyblock was sent
for, and I was once more placed under his protection.  The patronage of
the first lieutenant, I flattered myself, would have ensured me at least
common civility for a short time.

I had now more leisure to contemplate my new residence and new
associates, who, having returned from the duty of the dockyard, were all
assembled in the berth, seated round the table on the lockers, which
paid "the double debt" of seats and receptacles; but in order to obtain
a sitting, it was requisite either to climb over the backs of the
company, or submit to "high pressure" from the last comer.  Such close
contact, even with our best friends, is never desirable; but in warm
weather, in a close, confined air, with a manifest scarcity of clean
linen, it became particularly inconvenient.  The population here very
far exceeded the limits usually allotted to human beings in any
situation of life except in a slave-ship.  The midshipmen, of whom there
were eight full grown, and four youngsters, were without either jackets
or waistcoats; some of them had their shirt-sleeves rolled up, either to
prevent the reception or to conceal the absorption of dirt in the region
of the wristbands.  The repast on the table consisted of a can or large
black-jack of small beer, and a japan bread-basket, full of sea-biscuit.
To compensate for this simple fare, and at the same time to cool the
close atmosphere of the berth, the table was covered with a large green
cloth with a yellow border, and many yellow spots withal, where the
colour had been discharged by slops of vinegar, hot tea, etcetera,
etcetera; a sack of potatoes stood in one corner, and the shelves all
round, and close over our heads, were stuffed with plates, glasses,
quadrants, knives and forks, loaves of sugar, dirty stockings and
shirts, and still fouler table-cloths, small tooth-combs, and ditto
large, clothes brushes and shoe brushes, cocked-hats, dirks, German
flutes, mahogany writing-desks, a plate of salt butter, and some two or
three pairs of naval half-boots.  A single candle served to make
darkness visible, and the stench had nearly overpowered me.

The reception I met with tended in no way to relieve these horrible
impressions.  A black man, with no other dress than a dirty check shirt
and trousers, not smelling of amber, stood within the door, ready to
obey all and any one of the commands with which he was loaded.  The
smell of the towel he held in his hand to wipe the plates and glasses
with, completed my discomfiture; and I fell sick upon the seat nearest
at me.  Recovering from this, without the aid of any "ministering
angel," I contracted the pupils of my eyes, and ventured to look around
me.  The first who met my gaze, was my recent foe; he bore the marks of
contention by having his eye bound up with brown paper and a dirty silk
pocket-handkerchief; the other was quickly turned on me; and, with a
savage and brutal countenance, he swore and denounced the severest
vengeance on me for what I had done.  In this, he was joined by another
ill-looking fellow, with large whiskers.

I shall not repeat the elegant philippics with which I was greeted.
Suffice it to say that I found all the big ones against me, and the
little ones neuter; the caterer, supposing I had received suitable
admonition for my future guidance, and that I was completely bound over
to keep the peace, turned all the youngsters out of the berth.  "As for
you, Mr Fistycuff," said he, addressing himself to me, "you may walk
off with the rest of the gang, so make yourself scarce, like the
Highlander's breeches."

The boys all obeyed the command in silence, and I was not sorry to
follow them.  As I went out he added, "So, Mr Rumbusticus, you can obey
orders, I see, and it is well for you; for I had a biscuit ready to shy
at your head."  This affront, after all I had suffered, I was forced to
pocket; but I could not understand what the admiral could mean, when he
said that people went to sea "to learn manners."

I soon made acquaintance with the younger set of my mess-mates, and we
retreated to the forecastle as the only part of the ship suitable to the
nature of the conversation we intended to hold.  After one hour's
deliberation, and notwithstanding it was the first night I had ever been
on board a ship, I was unanimously elected leader of this little band.
I became the William Tell of the party, as having been the first to
resist the tyranny of the oldsters, and especially of the tyrant Murphy.
I was let into all the secrets of the mess in which the youngsters were
placed by the captain to be instructed and kept in order.  Alas! what
instruction did we get but blasphemy?  What order were we kept in,
except that of paying our mess, and being forbidden to partake of those
articles which our money had purchased?  My blood boiled when they
related all they had suffered, and I vowed I would sooner die than
submit to such treatment.

The hour of bed-time arrived.  I was instructed how to get into my
hammock, and laughed at for tumbling out on the opposite side.  I was
forced to submit to this pride of conscious superiority of these
urchins, who could only boast of a few month's more practical experience
than myself, and who, therefore, called me a greenhorn.  But all this
was done in good-nature; and, after a few hearty laughs from my
companions, I gained the centre of my suspended bed, and was very soon
in a sound sleep.  This was only allowed to last till about four o'clock
in the morning, when down came the head of my hammock, and I fell to the
deck with my feet still hanging in the air, like poor Sally, when she
caught the crab.  Stunned and stupefied by the fall, bewildered by the
violent concussion and the novelty of all around me, I continued in a
state of somnambulism, and it was some minutes before I could recollect
myself.

The marine sentinel at the gun-room door, seeing what had happened, and
also espying the person to whom I was indebted for this favour, very
kindly came to my assistance.  He knotted my lanyard, and restored my
hammock to its place; but he could not persuade me to confide myself
again to such treacherous bedposts, for I thought the rope had broken;
and so strongly did the fear of another tumble possess my mind, that I
took a blanket, and lay down on a chest at some little distance, keeping
a sleepless eye directed to the scene of my late disaster.

This was fortunate; for not many minutes had elapsed, when Murphy, who
had been relieved from the middle-watch, came below, and seeing my
hammock again hanging up, and supposing me in it, took out his knife and
cut it down.  "So then," said I to myself, "it was you, was it, who
invaded my slumbers, and nearly dashed my brains out, and have now made
the second attempt."  I vowed to Heaven that I would have revenge; and I
acquitted myself of that vow.  Like the North American savage, crouching
lest he should see me, I waited patiently till he had got into his
hammock, and was in a sound sleep.  I then gently pushed a shot-case
under the head of his hammock, and placed the corner of it so as to
receive his head; for had it split his skull I should not have cared, so
exasperated was I, and so bent on revenge.  Subtile and silent, I then
cut his lanyard: he fell, and his head coming in contact with the edge
of the shot-case, he gave a deep groan, and there he lay.  I instantly
retreated to my chest and blanket, where I pretended to snore, while the
sentinel, who, fortunately for me, had seen Murphy cut me down the first
time, came with his lanthorn, and seeing him apparently dead, removed
the shot-case out of the way, and then ran to the sergeant of marines,
desiring him to bring the surgeon's assistant.

While the sergeant was gone, he whispered softly to me, "Lie still; I
saw the whole of it, and if you are found out, it may go hard with you."
Murphy, it appeared, had few friends in the ship; all rejoiced at his
accident.  I laid very quietly in my blanket while the surgeon's
assistant dressed the wound; and, after a considerable time, succeeded
in restoring the patient to his senses: he was, however, confined a
fortnight to his bed.  I was either not suspected, or, if I was, it was
known that I was not the aggressor.  The secret was well kept.  I gave
the marine a guinea, and took him into my service as _valet de place_.

And now, reader, in justice to myself, allow me to make a few remarks.
They may serve as a palliative, to a certain degree, for that
unprincipled career which the following pages will expose.  The passions
of pride and revenge, implanted in our fallen natures, and which, if not
eradicated in the course of my education, ought, at least, to have lain
dormant as long as possible, were, through the injudicious conduct of
those to whom I had been entrusted, called into action and full activity
at a very early age.  The moral seeds sown by my parents, which might
have germinated and produced fruit, were not watered or attended to;
weeds had usurped their place, and were occupying the ground which
should have supported them; and at this period, when the most assiduous
cultivation was necessary to procure a return, into what a situation was
I thrown?  In a ship crowded with three hundred men, each of them, or
nearly so, cohabiting with an unfortunate female, in the lowest state of
degradation; where oaths and blasphemy interlarded every sentence; where
religion was wholly neglected, and the only honour paid to the Almighty
was a clean shirt on a Sunday; where implicit obedience to the will of
an officer was considered of more importance than the observance of the
Decalogue; and the Commandments of God were in a manner abrogated by the
Articles of War--for the first might be broken with impunity, and even
with applause, while the most severe punishment awaited any infraction
of the latter.

So much for the ship in the aggregate; let us now survey the
midshipmen's berth.  Here we found the same language and the same
manners, with scarcely one shade more of refinement.  Their only
pursuits, when on shore, were intoxication and worse debauchery, to be
gloried in and boasted of when they returned on board.  My captain said
that everything found its level in a man of war.  True; but in a
midshipman's berth it was the level of a savage, where corporal strength
was the _sine qua non_, and decided whether you were to act the part of
a tyrant or a slave.  The discipline of public schools, bad and
demoralising as it is, was light, compared to the tyranny of a
midshipman's berth in 1803.

A mistaken notion has long prevailed, that boys derive advantages from
suffering under the tyranny of their oppressors at schools; and we
constantly hear the praises of public schools and midshipmen's berths on
this very account--namely, "that boys are taught to find their level."
I do not mean to deny but that the higher orders improve by collision
with their inferiors, and that a young aristocrat is often brought to
his senses by receiving a sound thrashing from the son of a tradesman.
But he that is brought up a slave, will be a tyrant when he has the
power; the worst of our passions are nourished to inflict the same evil
on others which we boast of having suffered ourselves.  The courage and
daring spirit of a noble-minded boy is rather broken down by ill-usage
which he has not the power to resist, or, surmounting all this, he
proudly imbibes a dogged spirit of sullen resistance and implacable
revenge; which become the bane of his future life.

The latter was my fate; and let not my readers be surprised or shocked,
if, in the course of these adventures; I should display some of the
fruits of that fatal seed, so early and so profusely sown in my bosom.
If, on my first coming into the ship, I shrank back with horror at the
sound of blasphemy and obscenity--if I shut my eyes to the promiscuous
intercourse of the sexes, it was not so long.  By insensible degrees, I
became familiarised by vice, and callous to its approach.  In a few
months I had become nearly as corrupt as others.  I might indeed have
resisted longer; but though the fortress of virtue could have held out
against open violence, it could not withstand the undermining of
ridicule.  My young companions, who, as I have observed, had only
preceded me six months in the service, were already grown old in
depravity; they laughed at my squeamishness, called me, "milksop" and
"boarding-school miss," and soon made me as bad as themselves.  We had
not quite attained the age of perpetration, but we were fully prepared
to meet it when it came.

I had not been two days on board, when the youngsters proposed a walk
into the main top.  I mounted the rigging with perfect confidence, for I
was always a good climber; but I had not proceeded far, when I was
overtaken by the captain of the top and another man, who, without any
ceremony or preface, seized me by each arm, and very deliberately lashed
me fast in the rigging.  They laughed at my remonstrance.  I asked what
they meant, and the captain of the top said very civilly, taking off his
hat at the same time, "that it was the way all gemmen were sarved when
they first went aloft; and I must pay my footing as a bit of a
parkazite."  I looked down to the quarter-deck for assistance, but every
one there was laughing at me and even the very little rogues of
midshipmen who had enticed me up were enjoying the joke.  Seeing this
was the case, I only asked what was to pay.  The captain of the top said
a seven shilling bit would be thought handsome.  This I promise to give,
and was released on my own recognisances.  When I reached the
quarter-deck I paid the money.

Having experienced nothing but cruelty and oppression since I had been
on board, I sorely repented of coming to sea; my only solace was seeing
Murphy, as he lay in his hammock, with his head bound up.  This was a
balm to me.  "I bide my time," said I; "I will yet be revenged on all of
you;" and so I was.  I let none escape: I had them all in their turns,
and glutted my thirst for revenge.

I had been three weeks on board, when the ship was reported ready for
sea.  I had acquired the favour of the first lieutenant by a constant
attention to the little duties he gave me to perform.  I had been put
into a watch, and stationed in the fore-top, and quartered at the
foremast guns on the main deck.  I was told by the youngsters that the
first lieutenant was a harsh officer, and implacable when once he took a
dislike; his manners, however, even when under the greatest excitement,
were always those of a perfect gentleman, and I continued living on good
terms with him.  But with the second lieutenant I was not so fortunate.
He had ordered me to take the jolly-boat and bring off a women whom he
kept; I remonstrated and refused, and from that moment we never were
friends.

Murphy had also recovered from his fall, and returned to his duty; his
malice towards me increased, and I had no peace or comfort in his
presence.  One day he threw a biscuit at my head, calling me at the same
time a name which reflected on the legitimacy of my birth, in language
the most coarse and vulgar.  In a moment all the admonitions which I had
received, and all my sufferings for impetuosity of temper, were
forgotten; the blood boiled in my veins, and trickled from my wounded
forehead.  Dizzy, and almost sightless with rage, I seized a brass
candlestick, the bottom of which (to keep it steady at sea) was loaded
with lead, and threw it at him with all my might; had it taken effect as
I intended, that offence would have been his last.  It missed his head,
and struck the black servant on the shoulder; the poor man went howling
to the surgeon, in whose care he remained for many days.

Murphy started up to take instant vengeance, but was held by the other
seniors of the mess, who unanimously declared that such an offence as
mine should be punished in a more solemn manner.  A mock trial (without
adverting to the provocation I had received) found me guilty of
insubordination "to the oldsters," and setting a bad example to the
youngsters.  I was sentenced to be _cobbed_ with a worsted stocking
filled with wet sand.  I was held down on my face to the mess-table by
four stout midshipmen; the surgeon's assistant held my wrist, to
ascertain if my pulse indicated exhaustion; while Murphy, at his own
particular request, became the executioner.  Had it been any other but
him, I should have given vent to my agonising pain by screams; but like
a sullen Ebo, I was resolved to endure even to death, rather than
gratify him by any expression of pain.  After a most severe punishment,
a cold sweat and faintness alarmed the surgeon's assistant.  I was then
released, but ordered to mess on my chest for a fortnight by myself.  As
soon as I was able to stand, and had recovered my breath, I declared in
the most solemn manner, that a repetition of the offence should produce
the action for which I had suffered, and I would then appeal to the
captain for justice "and," said I, turning to Murphy, "it was I who cut
down your hammock, and had very nearly knocked out your brains.  I did
it in return for your cowardly attack on me; and I will do it again, if
I suffer martyrdom for it; for every act of tyranny you commit I will
have revenge.  Try me now, and see if I am not as good as my word."  He
grinned, and turned pale, but dared do no more, for he was a coward.  I
was ordered to quit the berth, which I did, and as I went out one of the
mates observed that I was "a proper malignant devil, by God."

This violent scene produced a sort of cessation from hostilities.
Murphy knew that he might expect a decanter at his head or a knife in
his side, if I was provoked; and that peace which I could not gain from
his compassion, I obtained from his fears.  The affair made a noise in
the ship.  With the officers in the gun-room I lost ground, because it
was misrepresented.  With the men I gained favour, because they hated
Murphy.  They saw the truth, and admired me for my determined
resistance.

Sent to Coventry by the officers, I sought the society of the men.  I
learned rapidly the practical part of my duty, and profited by the
uncouth criticism of these rough warriors on the defective seamanship of
their superiors.  A sort of compact was made between us: they promised
that whenever they deserted, it should not be from my boat when on duty,
and I promised to let them go and drink at public-houses as long as I
could spare them.  In spite, however, of this mutual understanding, two
of them violated their faith the night before we went to sea, and left
the boat of which I had charge; and as I had disobeyed orders in letting
them go into a public-house, I was, on my return to the ship, dismissed
from the quarter-deck, and ordered to do my duty in the fore-top.



CHAPTER THREE.

  The might of England flush'd
  To anticipate the scene;
  And her van the fleeter rush'd
  O'er the deadly space between.
  "Hearts of oak!" our captains cried; when each gun
  From its adamantine lips
  Spread a death-shade round the ships,
  Like the hurricane eclipse
  Of the sun.
  CAMPBELL.

Considering my youth and inexperience, and the trifling neglect of which
I was accused, there are few, even of the most rigid disciplinarians,
who will not admit that I was both unjustly and unkindly treated by the
first lieutenant, who certainly, with all my respect for him, had lent
himself to my enemies.  The second lieutenant and Mr Murphy did not
even conceal their feelings on the occasion, but exulted over my
disgrace.

The ship was suddenly ordered to Portsmouth, where the captain, who had
been on leave, was expected to join us, which he did soon after our
arrival, when the first lieutenant made his reports of good and bad
conduct during his absence.  I had been about ten days doing duty in the
fore-top, and it was the intention of Mr Handstone, to which the
captain seemed not disinclined, to have given me a flogging at the gun,
as a gratuity for losing the men.  This part of the sentence, however,
was not executed.  I continued a member of the midshipmen's mess, but
was not allowed to enter the berth: my meals were sent to me, and I took
them _solus_ on my chest.  The youngsters spoke to me, but only by
stealth, being afraid of the oldsters, who had sent me to the most rigid
Coventry.

My situation in the fore-top was nearly nominal.  I went aloft when the
hands were called, or in my watch, and amused myself with a book until
we went below, unless there was any little duty for me to do which did
not appear above my strength.  The men doated on me as a martyr in their
cause, and delighted in giving me every instruction in the art of
knotting and splicing, rigging, reefing, furling, etcetera, etcetera;
and I honestly own that the happiest hours I had passed in that ship
were during my seclusion among these honest tars.

Whether my enemies discovered this or not, I cannot say; but shortly
after our arrival I was sent for by the captain into his own cabin,
where I received a lecture on my misconduct, both as to my supposed
irritable and quarrelsome disposition, and also for losing the men out
of the boat.  "In other respects," he added, "your punishment would have
been much more severe but for your general good conduct; and I have no
doubt, from this little well-timed severity, that you will in future
conduct yourself with more propriety.  I therefore release you from the
disgraceful situation in which you are placed, and allow you to return
to your duty on the quarter-deck."

The tears which no brutality or ill-treatment could wring from me, now
flowed in abundance, and it was some minutes before I could recover
myself sufficiently to thank him for his kindness, and to explain the
cause of my disgrace.  I told him, that since I had joined the ship I
had been treated like a dog; that he alone had been ignorant of it, and
that he alone had behaved to me with humanity.  I then related all my
sufferings, from the moment of that fatal glass of wine up to the time I
was speaking.  I did not conceal the act of cutting down Murphy's
hammock, nor of throwing the candlestick at his head.  I assured him I
never gave any provocation; that I never struck without being first
stricken.  I said, moreover, that I would never receive a blow or be
called an improper name without resenting it, as far as I was able.  It
was my nature, and if killed, I could not help it.  "Several men have
run away," said I, "since I came into the ship, and before, and the
officers under whose charge they were, only received a reprimand, while
I, who have just come to sea, have been treated with the greatest and
most degrading severity."

The captain listened to my defence with attention, and I thought seemed
much struck with it.  I afterwards learnt that Mr Handstone had
received a reprimand for his harsh treatment of me; he observed, that I
should one day turn out a shining character, or go to the devil.  It
appeared pretty evident to me, that however I might have roused the
pride and resentment of the senior members of the mess by my resistance
to arbitrary power, that I had gained some powerful friends, among whom
was the captain.  Many of the officers admired that dogged, "don't care"
spirit of resistance which I so perseveringly displayed, and were forced
to admit that I had right on my side.  I soon perceived the change of
mind by the frequency of invitations to the cabin and gun-room tables.
The youngsters were proud to receive me again openly as their associate;
but the oldsters regarded me with a jealousy and suspicion like that of
an unpopular government to a favourite radical leader.

I soon arranged with the boys of my own age a plan of resistance, or
rather of self-defence, which proved of great importance in our future
warfare.  One or two of them had nerve enough to follow it up: the
others made fair promises, but fell off in the hour of trial.  My code
consisted of only two maxims: the first was always to throw a bottle,
decanter, candlestick, knife, or fork at the head of any person who
should strike one of us, if the assailant should appear too strong to
encounter in fair fight.  The second was, never to allow ourselves to be
unjustly defrauded of our rights; to have an equal share of what we paid
equally for; and to gain by artifice that which was withheld by force.

I explained to them that by the first plan we should ensure civility at
least; for as tyrants are generally cowards, they would be afraid to
provoke that anger which in some unlucky moment might be fatal to them,
or maim them for life.  By the second, I promised to procure them an
equal share in the good things of this life, the greater part of which
the oldsters engrossed to themselves: in this latter we were much more
unanimous than the former, as it incurred less personal risk.  I was the
projector of all the schemes for forage, and was generally successful.

At length we sailed to join the fleet off Cadiz, under the command of
Lord Nelson.  I shall not pretend to describe the passage down Channel
and across the Bay of Biscay.  I was sea-sick as a lady in a Dover
packet, until inured to the motion of the ship by the merciless calls to
my duties aloft, or to relieve the deck in my watch.  We reached our
station, and joined the immortal Nelson but a few hours before that
battle in which he lost his life and saved his country.  The history of
that important day has been so often and so circumstantially related,
that I cannot add much more to the stock on hand.  I am only astonished,
seeing the confusion and _invariable variableness_ of a sea-fight, how
so much could be known.  One observation occurred to me then, and I have
thought of it ever since with redoubled conviction; this was, that the
admiral, after the battle began, was no admiral at all: he could neither
see nor be seen; he could take no advantage of the enemy's weak points
or defend his own; his ship, the _Victory_, one of our finest
three-deckers, was, in a manner, tied up alongside a French eighty-gun
ship.

These observations I have read in some naval work, and in my mind they
receive ample confirmation.  I could not help feeling an agony of
anxiety (young as I was) for my country's glory, when I saw the noble
leaders of our two lines exposed to the united fire of so many ships.  I
thought Nelson was too much exposed, and think so now.  Experience has
confirmed what youthful fancy suggested; the enemy's centre should have
been _macadamised_ by our seven three-deckers, some of which, by being
placed in the rear, had little share in the action; and but for the
intimidation which their presence afforded, might as well have been at
Spithead.  I mean no reflection on the officers who had charge of them:
accidental concurrence of light wind and station in the line, threw them
at such a distance from the enemy as kept them in the back ground the
greater part of the day.  Others, again, were in enviable situations,
but did not, as far as I could learn from the officers, do quite so much
as they might have done.  This defect on our part being met by equal
disadvantages, arising from nearly similar causes, on that of the enemy,
a clear victory remained to us.  The aggregate of the British navy is
brave and good; and we must admit that in this day "when England
expected every man to do his duty," there were but few who disappointed
their country's hope.

When the immortal signal was communicated, I shall never, no never,
forget the electric effect it produced through the fleet.  I can compare
it to nothing so justly as to a match laid to a long train of gunpowder;
and, as Englishmen are the same, the same feeling, the same enthusiasm,
was displayed in every ship; tears ran down the cheeks of many a noble
fellow when the affecting sentence was made known.  It recalled every
past enjoyment, and filled the mind with fond anticipations which, with
many, were never, alas! to be realised.  They went down to their guns
without confusion; and a cool, deliberate courage from that moment
seemed to rest on the countenance of every man I saw.

My captain, though not in the line, was no niggard in the matter of
shot, and though he had no real business to come within range until
called by signal, still he thought it his duty to be as near to our
ships engaged as possible, in order to afford them assistance when
required.  I was stationed at the foremost guns on the main deck, and
the ship cleared for action; and though on a comparatively small scale,
I cannot imagine a more solemn, grand, or impressive sight, than a ship
prepared as ours was on that occasion.  Her noble tier of guns, in a
line gently curving out towards the centre; the tackle laid across the
deck; the shot and wads prepared in ample store (round, grape, and
canister); the powder-boys, each with his box full, seated on it with
perfect apparent indifference as to the approaching conflict.  The
captains of guns, with their priming boxes buckled round their waists;
the locks fixed upon the guns; the lanyards laid around them; the
officers, with their swords drawn, standing by their respective
divisions.

The quarter-deck was commanded by the captain in person, assisted by the
first lieutenant, the lieutenant of marines, a party of small-arm men,
with the mate and midshipmen, and a portion of seamen to attend the
braces and fight the quarter-deck guns.  The boatswain was on the
forecastle; the gunner in the magazine, to send up a supply of powder to
the guns; the carpenter watched and reported, from time to time, the
depth of water in the well; he also walked round the wings or vacant
spaces between the ship's side and the cables, and other stores.  He was
attended by his mates, who were provided with shot-plugs, oakum, and
tallow, to stop any shot-holes which might be made.  The surgeon was in
the cockpit with his assistants.  The knives, saws, tourniquets,
sponges, basins, wine and water, were all displayed and ready for the
first unlucky patient that might be presented.  This was more awful to
me than anything I had seen.  "How soon," thought I, "may I be
stretched, mangled and bleeding, on this table, and have occasion for
all the skill and all the instruments I now see before me!"  I turned
away, and endeavoured to forget it all.

As soon as the fleet bore up to engage the enemy, we did the same,
keeping as near as we could to the admiral, whose signals we were
ordered to repeat.  I was particularly astonished with the skilful
manner in which this was done.  It was wonderful to see how
instantaneously the same flags were displayed at our mast-heads as had
been hoisted by the admiral; and the more wonderful this appeared to me,
since his flags were rolled up in round balls, which were not broken
loose until they had reached the mast-head, so that the signal officers
of a repeater had to make out the number of the flag during its passage
aloft in disguise.  This was done by the power of good telescopes, and
from habit, and sometimes by anticipation of the signal that would be
next made.

The reader may, perhaps, not be aware that among civilised nations, in
naval warfare, ships of the line never fire at frigates, unless they
provoke hostility by interposing between belligerent ships, or firing
into them, as was the case in the Nile, when Sir James Saumarez, in the
_Orion_, was under the necessity of sinking the _Artemise_, which he did
with one broadside, as a reward for her temerity.  Under this _pax in
bellum_ sort of compact we might have come off scot-free, had we not
partaken very liberally of the shot intended for large ships, which did
serious damage among our people.

The two British lines running down parallel to each other, and nearly
perpendicular to the crescent line of the combined fleets, was the
grandest sight that was ever witnessed.  As soon as our van was within
gun-shot of the enemy, they opened their fire on the _Royal Sovereign_
and the _Victory_; but when the first-named of these noble ships rounded
to, under the stern of the Santa Anna, and the Victory had very soon
after laid herself on board the Redoubtable, the clouds of smoke
enveloped both fleets, and little was to be seen except the falling of
masts, and here and there, as the smoke blew away, a ship totally
dismasted.

One of these proved to be English, and our captain, seeing her between
two of the enemy, bore up to take her in tow: at the same time, one of
our ships of the line opened a heavy fire on one of the French
line-of-battle ships, unluckily situated in a right line between us, so
that the shot which missed the enemy sometimes came, on board of us.  I
was looking out of the bow port at the moment that a shot struck our
ship on the stern between wind and water.  It was the first time I had
ever seen the effect of a heavy shot; it made a great splash, and, to
me, as I then thought, a very unusual noise, throwing a great deal of
water in my face.  I very naturally started back, as I believe many a
brave fellow has done.  Two of the seamen quartered at my guns laughed
at me.  I felt ashamed, and resolved to show no more such weakness.

This shot was very soon succeeded by some others not quite so harmless:
one came into the bow port, and killed the two men who had witnessed my
trepidation.  My pride having been hurt that these men should have seen
me flinch, I will own that I was secretly pleased when I saw them
removed beyond the reach of human interrogation.  It would be difficult
to describe my feelings on this occasion.  Not six weeks before, I was
the robber of hen-roosts and gardens--the hero of a horse-pond, ducking
an usher--now suddenly, and almost without any previous warning or
reflection, placed in the midst of carnage, and an actor of one of those
grand events by which the fate of the civilised world was to be decided.

A quicker circulation of blood, a fear of immediate death, and a still
greater fear of shame, forced me to an involuntary and frequent change
of position; and it required some time, and the best powers of
intellect, to reason myself into that frame of mind in which I could
feel as safe and as much unconcerned as if we had been in harbour.  To
this state I at last did attain, and soon felt ashamed of the
perturbation under which I had laboured before the firing began.  I
prayed, it is true: but my prayer was not that of faith, of trust, or of
hope--I prayed only for safety from imminent personal danger; and my
orisons consisted of one or two short, pious ejaculations, without a
thought of repentance for the past or amendment for the future.

But when we had once got fairly into action, I felt no more of this, and
beheld a poor creature cut in two by a shot with the same indifference
that at any other time I should have seen a butcher kill an ox.  Whether
my heart was bad or not, I cannot say; but I certainly felt my curiosity
was gratified more than my feelings were shocked, when a raking shot
killed seven and wounded three more.  I was sorry for the men, and, for
the world, would not have injured them; but I had a philosophic turn of
mind; I liked to judge of causes and effects; and I was secretly pleased
at seeing the effect of a raking shot.

Towards four p.m. the firing began to abate, the smoke cleared away, and
the calm sea became ruffled with an increasing breeze.  The two hostile
fleets were quiet spectators of each other's disasters.  We retained
possession of nineteen or twenty sail of the line.  Some of the enemy's
ships were seen running away into Cadiz; while four others passed to
windward of our fleet, and made their escape.  A boat going from our
ship to one near us, I jumped into her, and learned the death of Lord
Nelson, which I had communicated to the captain, who, after paying a
tribute to the memory of that great man, looked at me with much
complacency.  I was the only youngster that had been particularly
active, and he immediately despatched me with a message to a ship at a
short distance.  The first lieutenant asked if he should not send an
officer of more importance.  "No," said the captain, "he shall go; the
boy knows very well what he is about!" and away I went, not a little
proud of the confidence placed in me.

Further details of this eventful day are to be found recorded in our
national histories; it will, therefore, be needless to repeat them here.
When I met my mess-mates at supper in the berth, I was sorry to see
Murphy among them.  I had flattered myself that some fortunate shot
would have for ever divested me of any further care on his account; but
his time was not come.

"The devil has had a fine haul to-day!" said an old master's mate, as he
took up his glass of grog.

"Pity you, and some others I could name, had not been in the net!"
thinks I to myself.

"I hope plenty of the lieutenants are bowled out!" said another; "we
shall stand some chance then of a little promotion!"

When the hands were turned up to muster, the number of killed amounted
to nine, and wounded to thirteen.  When this was made known, there
seemed to be a general smile of congratulation at the number fallen,
rather than of their regret for their loss.  The vanity of the officers
seemed tickled at the disproportionate slaughter in a frigate of our
size, as compared to what they had heard the ships of the line had
suffered.

I attended the surgeon in the steerage, to which place the wounded were
removed, and saw all the amputations performed, without flinching; when
men who had behaved well in the action fainted at the sight.  I am
afraid I almost took a pleasure in observing the operations of the
surgeon, without once reflecting on the pain suffered by the patient.
Habit had now begun to corrupt my mind.  I was not cruel by nature; I
loved the deep investigation of hidden things; and this day's action
gave me a very clear insight into the anatomy of the human frame, which
I had seen cut in two by shot, lacerated by splinters, carved out with
knives, and separated with saws!

Soon after the action, we were ordered to Spithead, with duplicate
despatches.  One morning I heard a midshipman say, "he would do his old
father out of a new kit."  I inquired what he meant, was first called a
greenhorn for not knowing, and then had it explained to me.  "Don't you
know," said my instructor, "that after every action there is more
canvas, rope, and paint expended in the warrant-officer's accounts than
were destroyed by the enemy?"

I assented to this on the credit of the informer, without knowing
whether it was true or false, and he proceeded.  "How are we to have
white hammock-clothes, skysail masts, and all other finery, besides a
coat of paint for the ship's sides every six weeks, if we don't expend
all these things in action, and pretend they were lost overboard, or
destroyed?  The list of defects are given in to the admiral, he signs
the demand, and the old commissioner must come down with the stores,
whether he will or not.  I was once in a sloop of war, when a large
forty-four-gun frigate ran on board of us, carried away her jib-boom,
and left her large fine-weather jib hanging on our foreyard.  It was
made of beautiful Russia duck, and, to be sure, didn't we make a gang of
white hammock-cloths fore and aft, besides white trousers for the men?
Well now, you must know, that we make _Uncle George_ suffer for the
stores, so I mean to make dad suffer for my traps.  I mean to lose my
chest overboard, with all my `kit,' and return home to him and the old
woman just fit for the fashion."

"And do you really mean to deceive your father and mother in that way?"
replied I, with much apparent innocence.

"Do I? to be sure I do, you flat.  How am I to keep up my stock, if I
don't make the proper use of an action like this that we have been in?"

I took the hint: it never once occurred to me, that if I had fairly and
candidly stated to my parents that my stock of clothes were insufficient
for my appearance as a gentleman on the quarter-deck, that they would
cheerfully have increased it to any reasonable extent.  But I had been
taught artifice and cunning; I could tell the truth where I thought it
served my purpose, as well as a lie; but here I thought deception was a
proof at once of spirit and of merit; and I resolved to practise it, if
only to raise myself a trifling degree in the estimation of my unworthy
associates.  I had become partial to deception from habit, and preferred
exercising my own ingenuity in outwitting my father, to obtain what I
needed by more straightforward and honourable measures.

The ship needed some repairs, and by the indulgence of the captain, who
was pleased with my conduct, I, who required so much instruction in the
nature and cause of her defects, was allowed to be absent while they
were made good.  By this oversight, I lost all that improvement which I
should have gained by close attention to the unrigging or shipping of
the ship; the manner of returning her stores; taking out her masts and
ballast, and seeing her taken into dock; the shape of her bottom, and
the good or bad qualities which might be supposed to accelerate or
retard her movements.  All this was sacrificed to the impatience of
seeing my parents; to the vain glory of boasting of the action in which
I had been present; and, perhaps, of being encouraged to tell lies of
things which I never saw, and to talk of feats which I never performed.
I loved effect; and I timed the moment of my return to my father's house
(through a correspondence with my sister) to be just as a large party
had sat down to a sumptuous dinner.  I had only been absent three
months, it is true; but it was my first cruise, and then "I had seen so
much, and been in such very interesting situations."



CHAPTER FOUR.

  'Twill be time to go home.  What shall I say I have done?  It must be
  a very plausive invention that carries it.  I find my tongue is too
  fool-hardy.  SHAKESPEARE.

Reaching the well-known mansion of my father, I knocked softly at the
front door, was admitted, and without saying a word to the servant,
rushed to the head of the dining-room table, and threw my arms round my
mother's neck, who only screamed, "Good heavens, my child!" and fell
into hysterics.  My father, who was in the very midst of helping his
soup, jumped up to embrace me and assist my mother.  The company all
rose, like a covey of partridges: one lady spoiled a new pink satin gown
by a tip of the elbow from her next neighbour, just as a spoonful of
soup had reached "the rosy portals of her mouth;" the little spaniel,
Carlo, set up a loud and incessant bark; and in one minute the whole
comely arrangement of the feast was converted into anarchy and
confusion.

Order was, however, soon restored: my mother recovered her composure--my
father shook me by the hand--the company all agreed that I was a very
fine, interesting boy--the ladies resumed their seats, and I had the
satisfaction to observe that my sudden appearance had not deprived them
of their appetites.  I soon convinced them that in this particular, at
least, I also was in high training.  My midshipman's life had neither
disqualified nor disgusted me with the luxuries of the table; nor did I
manifest the slightest backwardness or diffidence when invited by the
gentlemen to take wine.  I answered every question with such fluency of
speech, and such compound interest of words, as sometimes caused the
propounder to regret that he had put me to the trouble of speaking.

I gave a very florid description of the fight; praised some admirals and
captains for their bravery, sneered at others, and accused a few of
right down misconduct.  Now and then, by way of carrying conviction into
my auditors' very souls, I rammed home my charges with an oath, at which
my father looked grave, my mother held up her finger, the gentlemen
laughed, and the ladies all said with a smile, "Sweet boy!--what
animation--what sense--what discernment!"  Thinks I to myself, "You are
as complete a set of gulls as ever picked up a bit of biscuit!"

Next morning, while my recent arrival was still warm, I broke the
subject of my chest to my father and mother at breakfast; indeed, my
father, very fortunately for me, began by inquiring how my stock of
clothes held out.

"Bad enough," said I, as I demolished the third egg, for I still had a
good appetite at breakfast.

"Bad enough!" repeated my father, "why you were extremely well fitted
with everything."

"Very true, sir," said I; "but then you don't know what a man-of-war is
in clearing for action; everything not too hot or too heavy is chucked
overboard with as little ceremony as I swallow this muffin.  `Whose
hat-box is this?'  `Mr Spratt's, sir.'  `Damn Mr Spratt, I'll teach
him to keep his hat-box safe another time; over with it'--and away it
went over the lee gangway.  Spratt's father was a hatter in Bond-Street,
so we all laughed."

"And pray, Frank," said my mother, "did your box go in the same way?"

"It kept company, I assure you.  I watched them go astern, with tears in
my eyes, thinking how angry you would be."

"Well, but the chest, Frank, what became of the chest?  You said that
the Vandals had some respect for heavy objects, and yours, I am sure, to
my cost, had very considerable specific gravity."

"That's very true, sir; but you have no notion how much it was lightened
the first day the ship got to sea.  I was lying on it as sick as a
whale--the first lieutenant and mate of the lower deck came down to see
if the men's berths were clean; I and my Noah's ark, lay slap in the
way--`Who have we here?' said Mr Handstone.  `Only Mr Mildmay, and his
chest, sir,' said the sergeant of marines, into whose territory I
acknowledged I had made very considerable incroachments.  `Only!'
repeated the lieutenant, `I thought it had been one of the big stones
for the new bridge, and the owner of it a drunken Irish hodman.'  I was
too sick to care much about what they said."

"You forget your breakfast," said my sister.

"I'll thank you for another muffin, and another cup of coffee," said I.

"Poor fellow!" said my mother, "what he must have suffered!"

"Oh!  I have not told you half yet, my dear mother; I only wonder I am
alive."

"Alive, indeed!" said my Aunt Julia; "here, my dear, here is a small
trifle to help you to replenish the stock you have lost in the service
of your country.  Noble little fellow! what should we do without
sailors?"

I pocketed the little donation--it was a ten-pounder; finished my
breakfast, by adding a slice of ham and half a French roll to the
articles already shipped, and then continued my story.  "The first thing
Mr Handstone said, was, that my chest was too big; and the next thing
he said, was, `tell the carpenter I want him.  Here, Mr Adze, take this
chest; reduce it one foot in length, and one in height.'  `Ay, ay, sir,'
said Adze; `come, young gentleman, move off, and give me your key.'
Sick as I was, I knew remonstrance or prayer were alike useless, so I
crawled off and presented my key to the carpenter, who very deliberately
unlocked, and as expeditiously unloaded all my treasure.  The midshipmen
all gathered round.  The jars of preserves and the cakes of gingerbread
which you, my dearest mother, had so nicely packed up for me, were
seized with greediness, and devoured before my face.  One of them thrust
his filthy paw into a pot of black currant jelly, which you gave me for
a sore throat, and held a handful of it to my mouth, knowing at the same
time that I was ready to be sea-sick in his hand."

"I shall never bear the sight of jelly again," said my sister.

"The nasty brutes!" said my aunt.

"Well," I resumed, "all my nice things went; and, sick as I was, I
wished them gone; but when they laughed and spoke disrespectfully of
you, my dear mother, I was ready to fly up and tear their eyes out."

"Never mind, my dear boy," said my mother, "we will make all right
again."

"So I suppose we must," said my father; "but no more jelly and
gingerbread, if you please, my dear.  Proceed with your story, Frank."

"Well, sir, in half an hour my chest was ready for me again; but while
they were about it, they might have taken off another foot, for I found
ample space to stow what the plunderers had left.  The preserve jars,
being all empty, were given, of course, to the marines; and some other
heavy articles being handed away, I was no longer puzzled how to stow
them.  After this, you know, sir, we had the action, and then chest and
bedding and all went to the devil."

"Do they throw all the chests and bedding overboard on these occasions?"
said my father, with a cool and steady gaze in my face, which I had some
trouble in facing back again.

"Yes; always everything that is in the way, and my chest was in the way,
and away it went.  You know, sir, I could not knock down the first
lieutenant: they would have hanged me at the yard-arm."

"Thank Heaven, you did not, my love," said my mother; "what _has_
happened can be repaired, but _that_ could never have been got over.
And your books, what is become of them?"

"All went in the lump.  They are somewhere near the entrance of the Gut
of Gibraltar--all lost except my Bible: I saved that, as I happened to
be reading it in my berth the night before the action."

"Excellent boy!" exclaimed my mother and aunt both together; "I am sure
he speaks the truth."

"I hope he does," said my father, drily; "though it must be owned that
these sea-fights, however glorious for Old England, are very expensive
amusements to the parents of young midshipmen, unless the boys happen to
be knocked on the head."

Whether my father began to smell a rat, or whether he was afraid of
putting more questions, for fear of hearing more fibs, I know not; but I
was not sorry when the narrative was concluded, and I dismissed with
flying colours.  To my shame be it spoken, the Bible that assisted me so
much in my mother's opinion, had never but once been opened since I had
left home, and that was to examine if there were any bank-notes between
the leaves, having heard of such things being done, merely to try
whether young gentlemen did "search the Scriptures."

My demands were all made good.  I believe with the greater celerity, as
I began to grow very tiresome; my _sea_ manners were not congenial to
the drawing-room.  My mother, aunt, and sister were very different from
the females I had been in the habit of seeing on board the frigate.  My
oaths and treatment of the servants, male and female, all conspired to
reconcile the family to my departure.  They therefore heard with
pleasure that my leave was expired; and, having obtained all I wanted, I
did not care one pin how soon I got clear of them; so when the coach
came to the door, I jumped in, drove to the Golden Cross, and the next
morning rejoined my ship.

I was received with cheerfulness and cordiality by most of my shipmates,
except Murphy and some of his cronies; nor did one feeling of regret or
compunction enter my mind for the lies and hypocrisy with which I had
deceived and cheated my parents.  The reader will probably be aware that
except the circumstance of reducing the size of my chest, and the
seizure and confiscation of my jars and gingerbread, there was scarcely
a vestige of truth in my story.  That I had lost most of my things was
quite true; but they were lost by my own carelessness, and not by being
thrown overboard.  After losing the key of my chest, which happened the
day I joined, a rapid decrease of my stock convinced the first
lieutenant that a much smaller package might be made of the remainder,
and this was the sole cause of my chest being converted into a razee.

My fresh stock of clothes I brought down in a trunk, which I found very
handy, and contrived to keep in better order than I had formerly done.
The money given me to procure more bedding, I pocketed: indeed I began
to grow cunning.  I perceived that the best-dressed midshipmen had
always the most pleasant duties to perform.  I was sent to bring off
parties of ladies who came to visit the ship, and to dine with the
captain and officers.  I had a tolerably good address, and was reckoned
a very handsome boy; and though stout of my age, the ladies admitted me
to great freedom, under pretence of my being still a dear little darling
of a middy, and so perfectly innocent in my mind and manners.  The fact
is, I was kept in much better order on board my ship than I was in my
father's house--so much for the habit of discipline; but this was all
outside show.  My father was a man of talent, and knew the world, but he
knew nothing of the navy; and when I had got him out of his depth, I
served him as I did the usher: that is I soused him and his company head
over heels in the horse-pond of their own ignorance.  Such is the power
of local knowledge and cunning over abstruse science and experience.

So much assurance had I acquired by my recent success in town, that my
self-confidence was increased to an incredible degree.  My apparent
candour, impudence, and readiness gave a currency to the comings of my
brain which far surpassed the dull matter-of-fact of my unwary
contemporaries.  Of my boyish days, I have now almost said enough.  The
adventures of a midshipman, during the first three years of his
probationary life, might, if fully detailed, disgust more than amuse,
and corrupt more than they would improve; I therefore pass on to the age
of sixteen, when my person assumed an outline of which I had great
reason, to be proud, since I often heard it the subject of encomium
among the fair sex, and their award was confirmed even by my companions.

My mind kept pace with my person in every acquirement save those of
morality and religion.  In these, alas!  I became daily more and more
deficient, and for a time lost sight of them altogether.  The manly
athletic frame and noble countenance with which I was blessed, served to
render me only more like a painted sepulchre--all was foul within.  Like
a beautiful snake, whose poison is concealed under the gold and azure of
its scales, my inward man was made up of pride, revenge, deceit, and
selfishness, and my best talents were generally applied to the worst
purposes.

In the knowledge of my profession I made rapid progress, because I
delighted in it, and because my mind, active and elastic as my body,
required and fed on scientific research.  I soon became an expert
navigator and a good practical seaman, and all this I acquired by my own
application.  We had no schoolmaster; and while the other youngsters
learned how to work a common day's work from the instruction of the
older midshipmen, I, who was no favourite with the latter, was rejected
from their coteries.  I determined, therefore, to supply the deficiency
myself, and this I was enabled to do by the help of a good education.  I
had been well grounded in mathematics, and was far advanced in Euclid
and algebra previous to leaving school: thus I had a vast superiority
over my companions.

The great difficulty was to renew my application to study, after many
months of idleness.  This, however, I accomplished, and after having
been one year at sea, kept a good reckoning and sent in my day's work to
the captain.  The want of instruction which I first felt in the study of
navigation, proved in the end of great service to me: I was forced to
study more intensely, and to comprehend the principles on which I
founded my theory, so that I was prepared to prove by mathematical
demonstration, what others could only assert who worked by "inspection."

The pride of surpassing my seniors, and the hope of exposing their
ignorance, stimulated me to inquiry, and roused me to application.  The
books which I had reported lost to my father, were handed out from the
bottom of my chest, and read with avidity: many others I borrowed from
the officers, whom, I must do the justice to say, not only lent them
with cheerfulness, but offered me the use of their cabin to study in.
Thus I acquired a taste for reading.  I renewed my acquaintance with the
classic authors.  Horace and Virgil, licentious, but alluring, drove me
back to the study of Latin, and fixed in my mind a knowledge of the dead
languages, at the expense of my morals.  Whether the exchange were
profitable or not, is left to wiser heads than mine to decide; my
business is with facts only.

Thus, while the ungenerous malice of the elder midshipmen thought to
have injured me by leaving me in ignorance, they did me the greatest
possible service, by throwing me on my own resources.  I continued on
pretty nearly the same terms with my shipmates to the last.  With some
of the mess-room officers I was still in disgrace, and was always
disliked by the oldsters in my own mess; with the younger midshipmen and
the foremast men I was a favourite.  I was too proud to be a tyrant, and
the same feeling prevented my submitting to tyranny.  As I increased in
strength and stature, I showed more determined resistance to arbitrary
power: an occasional turn-up with boys of my own size (for the best
friends will quarrel) and the supernumerary midshipmen sent on board for
a passage, generally ended in establishing my dominion or insuring for
me a peaceable neutrality.

I became a scientific pugilist, and now and then took a brush with an
oldster; and although overpowered, yet I displayed so much prowess, that
my enemies became cautious how they renewed a struggle which they
perceived became daily more arduous; till, at last, like the lion's
whelp, my play ceased to be a joke, and I was left to enjoy that
tranquillity which few found it safe or convenient to disturb.  By
degrees the balance of power was fairly established, and even Murphy was
awed into civil silence.

In addition to my well-known increase in personal strength, I acquired a
still greater superiority over my companions by the advantage of
education; and this I took great care to make them feel on every
occasion.  I was appealed to in all cases of literary disputation, and
was, by general consent, the umpire of the steerage.  I was termed "good
company,"--not always to the advantage of the possessor of such a
talent; for it often tends, as it did with me, to lead into very bad
company.  I had a fine voice, and played on one or two instruments.
This frequently procured me invitations to the gun-room, and excuses
from duty, together with more wine or grog than was of service to me,
and conversation that I had better not have heard.

We were ordered on a cruise to the coast of France; and as the junior
port-admiral had a spite against our captain, he swore by God that go we
should, ready or not ready.  Our signal was made to weigh while lighters
of provisions and the powder-boy with our powder were lying alongside--
the quarter-deck guns all adrift, and not even mounted.  Gun after gun
from the _Royal William_ was repeated by the _Gladiator_, the flag-ship
of the harbour-admiral, and with our signal to part company.

The captain, not knowing how the story might travel up by telegraph to
London, and conscious, perhaps, that he had left a little too much to
the first lieutenant, "tore the ship away by the hair of the head"--
unmoored, bundled everything in upon deck out of the lighters--turned
all the women out of the ship, except five or six of the most
abandoned--and, with a strong northerly wind, ran down to Yarmouth
Roads, and through the Needles to sea, in a state of confusion and
disaster which I hope never to see again.

The rear-admiral, Sir Hurricane Humbug, stood on the platform looking at
us (I was afterwards told), and was heard to exclaim, "Damn his eyes"
(meaning our captain), "there he goes at last!  I was afraid that that
fellow would have grounded on his beef bones before we should have got
him out!"

"The more haste the less speed," is oftener true in naval affairs than
in any other situation of life.  With us it had nearly proved fatal to
the ship.  Had we met with an enemy, we must either have disgraced the
flag by running away, or been taken.  No sooner clear of the Needles
than night came on, and with it a heavy gale of wind at
north-north-west.  The officers and men were at work till four in the
morning, securing the boats, booms, and anchors, clearing the decks of
provisions, and setting up the lower rigging, which, by the labour of
the ship, had begun to stretch to an alarming degree; by great exertion
this was accomplished, and the guns secured before the gale had
increased to a hurricane.

About nine the next morning, a poor marine, a recruit from Portsmouth,
unfortunately fell overboard; and though many brave fellows instantly
jumped into one of the quarter-boats, and begged to be lowered down to
save him, the captain, who was a cool calculator, thought the chance of
losing seven men was greater than that of saving one, so the poor fellow
was left to his fate.  The ship, it is true, was hove-to; but she
drifted to leeward much faster than the unfortunate man could swim,
though he was one of the best swimmers I ever beheld.

It was heart-breaking to see the manly but ineffectual exertions made by
this gallant youth to regain the ship; but all his powers only served to
prolong his misery.  We saw him nearly a mile to windward, at one moment
riding on the top of the mountainous wave, at the next, sinking into the
deep valley between, till at last we saw him no more!  His sad fate was
long deplored in the ship.  I thought at the time that the captain was
cruel in not sending a boat for him; but I am now convinced, from
experience, that he submitted only to hard necessity, and chose the
lesser evil of the two.

The fate of this young man was a serious warning to me.  I had become
from habit so extremely active, and so fond of displaying my
newly-acquired gymnastics, called by the sailors "sky-larking," that my
speedy exit was often prognosticated by the old quarter-masters, and
even by the officers.  It was clearly understood that I was either to be
drowned or was to break my neck; for the latter I took my chance pretty
fairly, going up and down the rigging like a monkey.  Few of the topmen
could equal me in speed, still fewer surpass me in feats of daring
activity, could run along the topsail-yards out to the yard-arm, go from
one mast to the other by the stays, or down on deck in the twinkling of
an eye by the topsail halyards; and, as I knew myself to be an expert
swimmer, I cared little about the chance of being drowned; but when I
witnessed the fate of the poor marine, who I saw could swim as well if
not better than myself, I became much more cautious.  I perceived that
there might be situations in which swimming could be of no use; and
however beloved I might have been by the sailors, it was evident that,
even if they had the inclination, they might not always have the power
to relieve me; from this time, I became much more guarded in my
movements aloft.

A circumstance occurred shortly after we got to sea which afforded me
infinite satisfaction.  Murphy, whose disposition led him to bully every
one whom he thought he could master, fixed a quarrel on a very quiet,
gentlemanly young man, a supernumerary midshipman, who had come on board
for a passage to his own ship, then down in the Bay of Biscay.  The
young man, resenting this improper behaviour, challenged Murphy to
fight, and the challenge was accepted; but as the supernumerary was
engaged to dine with the captain, he proposed that the meeting should
not take place till after dinner, not wishing to exhibit a black eye at
the captain's table.  This was considered by Murphy as an evasion; and
he added further insult by saying that he supposed his antagonist wanted
Dutch courage, and that if he did not get wine enough in the cabin, he
would not fight at all.

The high-spirited youth made no reply to this insolence; but, having
dressed himself, went up to dinner; that over, and after the muster at
quarters, he called Mr Murphy into the steerage, and gave him as sound
a drubbing as he ever received in his life.  The fight, or set-to,
lasted only a quarter of an hour, and the young supernumerary displayed
so much science, and such a thorough use of his fists, as to defy the
brutal force of his opponent, who could not touch him, and who was glad
to retreat to his berth, followed by the groans and hisses of all the
midshipmen, in which I most cordially joined.  After so clear a proof of
the advantages of the science of self-defence, I determined to acquire
it; and, with the young stranger for my tutor, I soon became a
proficient in the art of boxing, and able to cope with Murphy and his
supporters.

There was a part of my duty which, I am free to confess, I hated: this
was keeping watch at night.  I loved sleep, and, after ten o'clock, I
could not keep my eyes open.  Neither the buckets of water which were so
liberally poured over me by the midshipmen, under the facetious
appellation of "blowing the grampus," nor any expostulation or
punishments inflicted on me by the first lieutenant, could rouse my
_dormant_ energies after the first half of the watch was expired.  I was
one of the most determined votaries of Somnus; and for his sake endured
every sort of persecution.  The first lieutenant took me into his watch,
and tried every means, both of mildness and coercion, to break me of
this evil habit.  I was sure, however, to escape from him, and to
conceal myself in some hole or corner, where I slept out the remainder
of the watch; and the next morning I was as regularly mast-headed, to do
penance during the greater part of the day for my deeds of darkness.  I
believe that of the first two years of my servitude, one-half of my
waking hours, at least, were passed aloft.

I took care, however, to provide myself with books, and, on the whole,
was perhaps better employed than I should have been in my berth below.
Handstone, though a martinet, was a gentleman; and as he felt a great
interest in the young officers in the ship, so he took much pains in the
instruction and improvement of them.  He frequently expostulated with me
on the great impropriety of my conduct; my answer invariably was, that I
was as sensible of it as he could be, but that I could not help it; that
I deserved all the punishment I met with, and threw myself entirely on
his mercy.  He used frequently to call me over to the weather side of
the deck, when he would converse with me on any topic which he thought
might interest or amuse me.  Finding I was tolerably well read in
history, he asked my opinion, and gave me his own with great good sense
and judgment; but such was the irresistible weight of my eyelids, that I
used, when he was in the midst of a long dissertation, to slip down the
gangway-ladder, and leave him to finish his discourses to the wind.

Now, when this occurred, I was more severely punished than on any other
occasion; for, to the neglect of duty, I added contempt both of his rank
and the instruction he was offering to me.  His wrath was also
considerably increased when he only discovered my departure by the
tittering of the other midshipmen and the quarter-master at the conn.

One evening I completed my disgrace with him, though a great deal might
be said in my own favour.  He had sent me to the fore-top-mast-head, at
seven o'clock in the morning, and very unfeelingly, or forgetfully, kept
me there the whole day.  When he went off deck to his dinner, I came
down into the top, made a bed for myself in one of the top-gallant
studding-sails, and, desiring the man who had the look-out to call me
before the lieutenant was likely to come on deck, I very quietly began
to prepare a sacrifice to my favourite deity, Somnus; but as the
look-out man did not see the lieutenant come up, I was caught napping
just at dusk, when the lieutenant came on deck and did me the honour to
remember where he had left me.  Looking at the fore-top-mast-head, he
called me down.

Like Milton's devils, who were "found sleeping by one they dread," up I
sprung, and regained my perch by the topsail-tie, supposing, or rather
hoping, that he would not see me before the mast, in the obscurity of
the evening; but he was too lynx-eyed, and had not presence of mind
enough _not_ to see what he should not have seen.  He called to the
three men in the top, and inquired where I was?  They replied at the
mast-head.  "What!" exclaimed Handstone, with an oath; "did I not see
him this moment go up by the topsail-tie?"

"No, sir," said the men; "he is now asleep at the mast-head."

"Come down here, you lying rascals, every one of you," said the
lieutenant, "and I'll teach you to speak the truth!"

I, who had by this time quietly resumed my station; was ordered down
along with them; and we all four stood on the quarter-deck, while the
following interrogations were put to us:--

"Now, sir," said the first lieutenant to the captain of the top, "how
dare you tell me that that young gentleman was at the mast-head, when I
myself saw him `shining' up by the topsail-tie?"

I was sorry for the men, who, to save me, had got themselves into
jeopardy; and I was just going to declare the truth, and take the whole
odium upon myself, when, to my utter astonishment, the man boldly
answered, "He _was_ at the mast-head, sir, upon my honour."

"Your honour!" cried the lieutenant, with contempt; then, turning to the
other men, he put the same question to them both in succession, and
received the same positive answers; so that I really began to think I
had been at the mast-head all the time, and had been dreaming I was in
the top.  At last, turning to me, he said, "Now, sir, I ask you on your
honour, as an officer and a gentleman, where were you when I first
hailed?"

"At the mast-head, sir," said I.

"Be it so," he replied; "as you are an officer and a gentleman, I am
bound to believe you."  Then turning on his heels, he walked away in a
greater rage than I ever remember to have seen him.

I plainly perceived that I was not believed, and that I had lost his
good opinion.  Yet, to consider the case fairly and impartially, how
could I have acted otherwise?  I had been much too long confined to the
mast-head--as long as a man might take to go from London to Bath in a
stage-coach; I had lost all my meals; and these poor fellows, to save me
from further punishment, had voluntarily exposed themselves to a
flogging at the gangway by telling a barefaced falsehood in my defence.
Had I not supported them, they would certainly have been flogged, and I
should have lost myself with every person aboard; I therefore came to
that paradoxical conclusion on the spot, namely, that, as a man of
honour and a gentleman, I was bound to tell a lie in order to save these
poor men from a cruel punishment.

I am sensible that this is a case to lay before the bench of bishops;
and though I never pretended to the constancy of a martyr, had the
consequences been on myself alone, I should have had no hesitation in
speaking the truth.  The lieutenant was to blame, first, by too great a
severity; and, secondly, by too rigid an inquiry into a subject not
worth the trouble.  Still my conscience smote me that I had done wrong;
and when the rage of the lieutenant had abated, so as to insure the
impunity of the men, I took the earliest opportunity of explaining to
him the motives for my conduct, and the painful situation in which I
stood.  He received my excuses coldly, and we never were friends again.

Our captain, who was a dashing sort of a fellow, contrived to brush up
the enemy's quarters, on the coast of France.  On one of our boat
expeditions, I contrived to slip away with the rest; we landed, and
surprised a battery, which we blew up, and spiked the guns.  The French
soldiers ran for their lives, and we plundered the huts of some poor
fishermen.  I went in with the rest, in hopes of finding plunder, and
for my desserts caught a Tartar.  A large skate lay with its mouth open,
into which I thrust my forefinger, to drag him away; the animal was not
dead, and closing his jaws, divided my finger to the bone--this was the
only blood spilt on the occasion.

Though guilty myself, I was sorry to see the love of plunder prevail so
extensively among us.  The sailors took away articles utterly useless to
them; and, after carrying them a certain distance, threw them down for
others equally useless.  I have since often reflected how justly I was
punished for my fault; and how needlessly we inflicted the horrors of
war on those inoffensive and unhappy creatures.  Our next attempt was of
a more serious nature, and productive of still greater calamity to the
unoffending and industrious, the usual victims of war, while the
instigators are reposing in safety on their down beds.



CHAPTER FIVE.

  My life is spanned already:
  ...
  Go with me, like good angels, to my end.
  "HENRY VIII."

  Danger, like an ague, subtly taints
  Even then when we sit idly in the sun.
  "TROILUS AND CRESSIDA."

I had never been able to regain the confidence and esteem of the first
lieutenant since the unfortunate affair of the mast-head.  He was
certainly an excellent and a correct officer, too much so to overlook
what he considered a breach of honour.  I therefore easily reconciled
myself to a separation which occurred very soon after.  We chased a ship
into the Bay of Arcasson, when, as was customary, she sought safety
under a battery; and the captain, according to our custom, resolved to
cut her out.  For this purpose the boats were manned and armed, and
every preparation made for the attack on the following morning.  The
command of the expedition was given to the first lieutenant, who
accepted of it with cheerfulness, and retired to his bed in high
spirits, with the anticipation of the honour and profit which the dawn
of day would heap upon him.  He was proverbially brave and cool in
action, so that the seamen followed him with confidence as to certain
victory.  Whether any ill-omened dreams had disturbed his rest, or
whether any reflections on the difficult and dangerous nature of the
service had alarmed him, I could not tell; but in the morning we all
observed a remarkable change in his deportment.  His ardour was gone; he
walked the deck with a slow and measured pace, apparently in deep
thought; and contrary to his usual manner, was silent and melancholy,
abstracted, and inattentive to the duties of the ship.

The boats prepared for the service were manned; the officers had taken
their seats in them; the oars were tossed up; the eyes of the young
warriors beamed with animation, and we waited for Mr Handstone, who
still walked the deck, absorbed in his own reflections.  He was at
length recalled to a sense of his situation by the captain, who in a
tone of voice more than usually loud, asked him if he intended to take
the command of the expedition?  He replied, "Most certainly;" and, with
a firm and animated step, crossed the quarter-deck, and went into his
boat.

I, following, seated myself by his side; he looked at me with a
foreboding indifference; had he been in his usual mood, he would have
sent me to some other boat.  We had a long pull before we reached the
object of our intended attack, which we found moored close in shore, and
well prepared for us.  A broadside of grape-shot was the first salute we
received.  It produced the same effect on our men as the spur to a fiery
steed.  We pulled alongside, and began to scramble up in the best manner
we could.  Handstone in an instant regained all his wonted animation,
cheered his men, and with his drawn sword in his hand, mounted the
ship's side, while our men at the same time poured in volleys of
musketry, and then followed their intrepid leader.

In our boat, the first alongside, eleven men, out of twenty-four, lay
killed or disabled.  Disregarding these, the lieutenant sprang up.  I
followed close to him; he leaped from the bulwark in upon her deck, and
before I could lift my cutlass in his defence, fell back upon me,
knocked me down in his fall, and expired in a moment.  He had thirteen
musket-balls in his chest and stomach.

I had no time to disengage myself before I was trampled on, and nearly
suffocated by the pressure of my shipmates, who, burning to gain the
prize, or to avenge our fall, rushed on with the most undaunted bravery.
I was supposed to be dead, and treated accordingly, my poor body being
only used as a stop for the gangway, where the ladder was unshipped.
There I lay fainting with the pressure, and nearly suffocated with the
blood of my brave leader, on whose breast my face rested, with my hands
crossed over the back of my head, to save my skull, if possible, from
the heels of my friends and the swords of my enemies; and while reason
held her seat, I could not help thinking that I was just as well where I
was, and that a change of position might not be for the better.  About
eight minutes decided the affair, though it certainly did seem to me, in
my then unpleasant situation, much longer.  Before it was over I had
fainted, and before I regained my senses the vessel was under weigh, and
out of gun-shot from the batteries.

The first moments of respite from carnage were employed in examining the
bodies of the killed and wounded.  I was numbered among the former, and
stretched out between the guns by the side of the first lieutenant and
the other dead bodies.  A fresh breeze blowing through the ports revived
me a little, but, faint and sick, I had neither the power nor
inclination to move; my brain was confused; I had no recollection of
what had happened, and continued to lie in a sort of stupor, until the
prize came alongside of the frigate, and I was roused by the cheers of
congratulation and victory from those who had remained on board.

A boat instantly brought the surgeon and his assistants to inspect the
dead and assist the living.  Murphy came along with them.  He had not
been of the boarding party; and seeing my supposed lifeless corpse, he
gave it a slight kick, saying, at the same time, "Here is a young cock
that has done crowing!  Well, for a wonder, this chap has cheated the
gallows."

The sound of the fellow's detested voice was enough to recall me from
the grave, if my orders had been signed: I faintly exclaimed, "You are a
liar!" which, even with all the melancholy scene around us, produced a
burst of laughter at his expense.  I was removed to the ship, put to
bed, and bled, and was soon able to narrate the particulars of my
adventure; but I continued a long while dangerously ill.

The soliloquy of Murphy over my supposed dead body, and my laconic
reply, were the cause of much merriment in the ship.  The midshipmen
annoyed him by asserting that he had saved my life, as nothing but his
hated voice could have awoke me from my sleep of death.  The fate of the
first lieutenant was justly deplored by all of us, though I cannot deny
my Christian-like acquiescence in the will of Providence in this as well
as on a former occasion, when the witnesses of my weakness had been
removed for ever out of my way.  As I saw it was impossible to regain
his good opinion, I thought it was quite as well that we should part
company.  That he had a strong presentiment of his death was proved; and
though I had often heard these instances asserted, I never before had it
so clearly brought home to my senses.

The prize was called _L'Aimable Julie_, laden with coffee, cotton, and
indigo; mounted fourteen guns; had, at the commencement of the action,
forty-seven men, of whom eight were killed, and sixteen wounded.  The
period of our return into port, according to our orders, happened to
coincide with this piece of good fortune, and we came up to Spithead,
where our captain met with a hearty welcome from the admiral.  Having
delivered his "butcher's bill," i.e. the list of killed and wounded,
together with an account of our defects, they were sent up to the
Admiralty; and, by return of post, we were ordered to fit foreign: and
although no one on board, not even the captain, was supposed to know our
destination, the girls on the Point assured us it was the Mediterranean;
and this turned out to be the fact.

A few days only were spent in hurried preparation, during which I
continued to write to my father and mother.  In return I received all I
required, which was a remittance in cash.  This I duly acknowledged by a
few lines as the ship was unmooring.  We sailed, and soon after arrived
without accident at Gibraltar, where we found general orders for any
ship that might arrive from England, to proceed and join the admiral at
Malta.  In a few hours our provisions and water were complete; but we
were not in so much haste to arrive at Malta as we were to quit
Gibraltar--hugging the Spanish coast, in hopes of picking up something
to insure us as hearty a welcome at Valetta as we found on our last
return to Portsmouth.

Early on the second morning of our departure we made Cape de Gaete.  As
the day dawned we discovered four sail in the wind's eye, and close in
shore.  The wind was light, and all sail was made in chase.  We gained
very little on them for many hours, and towards evening it fell calm.
The boats were then ordered to pursue them, and we set off, diverging a
little from each other's course, or, as the French would say, _deploye_,
to give a better chance of falling in with them.  I was in the gig with
the master, and, that being the best running boat, we soon came up with
one of the feluccas.  We fired musketry at her: but having a light
breeze, she would not bring-to.  We then took good aim at the helmsman,
and hit him.  The man only shifted the helm from his right hand to his
left, and kept on his course.  We still kept firing at this intrepid
fellow, and I felt it was like wilful murder, since he made no
resistance, but steadily endeavoured to escape.

At length we got close under the stern, and hooked on with our
boat-hook.  This the Spaniard unhooked, and we dropped astern, having
laid our oars in; but the breeze dying entirely away, we again pulled
alongside, and took possession.  The poor man was still at the helm,
bleeding profusely.  We offered him every assistance, and asked why he
did not surrender sooner.  He replied that he was an old Castilian.
Whether he meant that an earlier surrender would have disgraced him, or
that he contemplated, from his former experience, a chance of escape to
the last moment, I cannot tell.  Certain it is that no one ever behaved
better; and I felt that I would have given all I possessed to have
healed the wounds of this patient, meek, and undaunted old man, who
uttered no complaint, but submitted to his fate with a magnanimity which
would have done credit to Socrates himself.  He had received four
musket-balls in his body, and, of course, survived his capture but a
very few hours.

We found, to our surprise, that this vessel, with the three others, one
of which was taken by another of our boats, were from Lima.  They were
single-masted, about thirty tons burthen, twelve men each, and were
laden with copper, hides, wax, and cochineal, and had been out five
months.  They were bound to Valentia, from which they were only one
day's sail when we intercepted them.  Such is the fortune of war!  This
gallant man, after a voyage of incredible labour and difficulty, would
in a few hours have embraced his family, and gladdened their hearts with
the produce of honest industry and successful enterprise; when, in a
moment, all their hopes were blasted by our legal murder and robbery;
and our prize-money came to our pockets with the tears, if not the
curses, of the widow and the orphan!

From some information which the captain obtained in the prize, he was
induced to stand over towards the Balearic Islands.  We made Ivica, and
stood past it; then ran for Palma Bay, in the island of Majorca; here we
found nothing, to our great disappointment, and continued our course
round the island.

An event occurred here, so singular as scarcely to be credible; but the
fact is well attested, as there were others who witnessed it beside
myself.  The water was smooth, and the day remarkably fine; we were
distant from the shore more than a mile and a quarter, when the captain,
wishing to try the range of the main deck guns, which were long
eighteen-pounders; ordered the gunner to elevate one of them, and fire
it towards the land.  The gunner asked whether he should point the gun
at any object.  A man was seen walking on the white sandy beach, and as
there did not appear to be the slightest chance of hitting him, for he
only looked like a speck, the captain desired the gunner to fire at him;
he did so, and the man fell.  A herd of bullocks at this moment was seen
coming out of the woods, and the boats were sent with a party to shoot
some of them for the ship's company.

When we landed we found that the ball had cut the poor man in two; and
what made the circumstance more particularly interesting was that he was
evidently a man of consequence.  He was well dressed, had on black
breeches and silk stockings; he was reading Ovid's Metamorphoses, and
still grasped the book, which I took out of his hand.

We have often heard of the miraculous powers ascribed to a chance shot,
but never could we have supposed that this devilish ball could have gone
so far, or done so much mischief.  We buried the remains of the
unfortunate gentleman in the sand; and having selected two or three
bullocks out of the herd, shot them, skinned and divided them into
quarters, loaded our boat, and returned on board.  I had taken the book
out of the hand of the deceased, and from his neck a small miniature of
a beautiful female.  The brooch in his shirt I also brought away; and
when I gave an account to the captain of what had happened, I offered
him these articles.  He returned them all to me, desired me to keep them
until I could see any of the friends of the deceased, and appeared so
much distressed at the accident, that we never mentioned it afterwards;
and in the course of the time we were together, it was nearly forgotten.
The articles remained in my possession unnoticed for many years.

Two days after, we fell in with a vessel of suspicious appearance; and
it being calm, the boats were sent in chase.  They found her, on their
approach, to be a xebeque, under French colours; but these were very
soon hauled down, and showed no others.  As we came within hail, they
told us to keep off, and that if we attempted to board they should fire
into us.  This was not a threat likely to deter a British officer, and
particularly such fire-eaters as ours.  So to it we went, and a
desperate struggle ensued, the numbers being nearly equal on both sides;
but they had the advantage of their own deck and bulwarks.  We got on
board, however, and in a few minutes gained possession, with a loss on
our side, of sixteen; and on that of our opponent's of twenty-six killed
and wounded.  But great was our sorrow and disappointment when we
discovered that we had shed the blood of our friends, while we had lost
our own.  The vessel, it appeared, was a Gibraltar privateer; they took
us for French, our boats being fitted with tholes and grummets for the
oars in the French fashion; and we supposed them to be French from their
colours and the language in which they hailed us.  In this affair we had
three officers killed or wounded, and some of our best men.  The
privateer was manned by a mixed crew of all nations, but chiefly Greeks;
and although ostensibly with a commission signed by the Governor of
Gibraltar, were no doubt little scrupulous as to the colours of any
vessel they might encounter, provided she was not too strong for them.

After this unfortunate mistake we proceeded to Malta: the captain
expecting a severe rebuke from his admiral, for his rashness in sending
away his boats to attack a vessel without knowing her force.
Fortunately for him, the admiral was not there; and before we met him,
the number of prizes we had taken was found sufficient in his eyes to
cover our multitude of sins, so the affair blew over.

While we lay in Malta Harbour, my friend Murphy fell overboard one
night, just after all the boats were hoisted in; he could not swim, and
would have been drowned if I had not jumped overboard and held him up
until a boat was lowered down to our assistance.  The officers and
ship's company gave me more credit for this action than I really
deserved.  To have saved any person under such circumstances, they said,
was a noble deed; but to risk my life for a man who had always, from my
first coming into the ship, been my bitterest enemy, was more than they
could have expected, and was undoubtedly the noblest revenge that I
could have taken.  But they were deceived--they knew me not: it was my
vanity, and the desire of oppressing my enemy under a weight of
obligation, that induced me to rush to his rescue; moreover, as I stood
on the gangway witnessing his struggles for life, I felt that I was
about to lose all the revenge I had so long laid up in store; in short,
I could not spare him, and only saved him, as a cat does a mouse, to
torment him.

Murphy acknowledged his obligations, and said the terrors of death were
upon him; but in a few days forgot all I had done for him, consummated
his own disgrace, and raised my character on the ruins of his own.  On
some frivolous occasion he threw a basin of dirty water in my face as I
passed through the steerage; this was too good an opportunity to gratify
my darling passion.  I had long watched for an occasion to quarrel with
him; but as he had been ill during our passage from Gibraltar to Malta,
I could not justify any act of aggression.  He had now recovered, and
was in the plentitude of his strength, and I astonished him by striking
the first blow.  A set-to followed; I brought up all my scientific
powers in aid of my strength and the memory of former injuries.  I must
do him the justice to say he never showed more game--but he had
everything to contend for; if I was beaten I was only where I was
before, but with him the case would have been different.  A fallen
tyrant has no friends.  Stung to madness by the successful hits I
planted in his face, he lost his temper, while I was cool; he fought
wildly, I stopped all his blows, and paid them with interest.  He stood
forty-three rounds, and then gave in with his eyes bunged up and his
face so swollen and so covered with blood, as not to be known by his
friends, if he had had any.

I had hardly a mark; most of our midshipmen were absent in prizes; but
the two seniors of our berth, an old master's mate past promotion, and
the surgeon's assistant, who had held my wrist when I was cobbed, were
present as the supporters of Murphy during the combat.  I always
determined, whenever I gained a battle, to follow it up.  The shouts of
victory resounded in the berth--the youngsters joined with me in songs
of triumph, and gave great offence to the trio.  The young Esculapius, a
white-faced, stupid, pock-marked, unhealthy-looking man, was fool enough
to say that although I had beaten Murphy, I was not to suppose myself
master of the berth.  I replied to this only by throwing a biscuit at
his head, as a shot of defiance; and, darting on him before he could get
his legs from under the table, I thrust my fingers into his neckcloth,
which I twisted so tightly, that I held him till he was nearly choked,
giving his head, at the same time, two or three good thumps against the
ship's side.

Finding that he grew black in the face, I let him go, and asked if he
required any further satisfaction, to which he replied in the negative,
and from that day he was always dutiful and obedient to me.  The old
superannuated mate, a sturdy merchant seaman, seemed greatly dismayed at
the successive defeats of his allies, and I believe would have gladly
concluded a separate peace.  He had never offered to come to the
assistance of the doctor, although appealed to in the most pitiable
gestures.  This I observed with secret pleasure, and would the more
willingly have given him a brush, as I saw he was disinclined to make
the attempt.  I was, however, determined to be at the head of the mess.
At twelve o'clock that night I was relieved from the first watch, and
coming down I found the old mate in a state of beastly intoxication.
Thus he went to his hammock, and fell asleep.  While he lay "dormant," I
took a piece of lunar caustic, which I wetted, and drew stripes and
figures all over his weather-beaten face, increasing his natural
ugliness to a frightful degree, and made him look very like a New
Zealand warrior.  The next morning, when he was making his toilet, my
party were all ready prepared for the _eclaircissement_.  He opened his
little dirty chest, and having strapped an old razor, and made a lather
in a wooden soap-box which bore evident marks of the antique, he placed
a triangular piece of a looking-glass against the reclining lid of the
chest, and began the operation of shaving.  His start back with horror,
when he beheld his face, I shall never forget: it outdid the young
Roscius, when he saw the ghost of Hamlet.  Having wetted his forefinger
with his tongue, the old mate tried to remove the stain of the caustic,
but the "damned spot" still remained, and we, like so many young imps,
surrounded him, roaring with laughter.

I boldly told him that he bore my marks as well as Murphy and the
doctor; and I added, with a degree of cruel mockery which might have
been spared, that I thought it right to put all my servants in black
to-day.  I asked whether he was contented with the arrangement, or
whether he chose to appeal against my decree; he signified that he had
no more to say.

Thus, in twenty-four hours, I had subdued the great allies who had so
long oppressed me.  I immediately effected a revolution; dismissed the
doctor from the office of caterer, took the charge on myself, and
administered the most impartial justice.  I made the oldsters pay their
mess, which they had not correctly done before; I caused an equal
distribution of all luxuries, from which the juniors had till then been
debarred; and I flatter myself I restored, in some degree, the golden
age in the cockpit.  There were no more battles, for there was no hope
of victory on their part, nor anything to contend for on mine.  I never
took any advantage of my strength further than to protect the
youngsters.  I proved by this that I was not quarrelsome, but had only
struggled for my own emancipation--that gained, I was satisfied.  My
conduct was explained to the captain and the officers; and being fully
and fairly discussed, did me great service.  I was looked upon with
respect, and treated with marks of confidence not usual towards a person
so young.

We left Malta, expecting to find our commander-in-chief off Toulon; but
it seldom happens that the captain of a frigate is in any hurry to join
his admiral, unless charged with despatches of importance.  This not
being our case, we somehow or other tumbled down the Mediterranean
before a strong Levanter, and then had to work back again along the
coast of Spain and France.  It is an ill wind, they say, that blows
nobody good; and we found it so with us; for off Toulon, in company with
the fleet, if we did take prizes they became of little value, because
there were so many to share them.  Our captain, who was a man of the
most consummate _ruse de guerre_ I ever saw or heard of, had two reasons
for sending his prizes to Gibraltar.  The first was, that we should, in
all probability, be sent down there to receive our men, and have the
advantage of the cruise back; the second, that he was well aware of the
corrupt practices of the Admiralty-Court at Malta.

All the vessels, therefore, which we had hitherto captured, were sent to
Gibraltar for adjudication, and we now added to their number.  We had
the good fortune to take a large ship laden with barilla, and a brig
with tobacco and wine.  The charge of the last I was honoured with: and
no prime minister ever held a situation of such heavy responsibility
with such corrupt supporters.  So much was the crew of the frigate
reduced by former captures and the unlucky affair with the Maltese
privateer, that I was only allowed three men.  I was, however, so
delighted with my first command, that, I verily believe, if they had
only given me a dog and a pig I should have been satisfied.

The frigate's boat put us on board.  It blew fresh from the eastward,
and I instantly put the helm up, and shaped my course for the old rock.
The breeze soon freshened into a gale; we ran slap before it, but soon
found it necessary to take in the top-gallant sails.  This we at last
accomplished, one at a time.  We then thought a reef or two in the
topsails would be acceptable; but that was impossible.  We tried a
Spanish reef, that is, let the yards come down on the cap; and she flew
before the gale, which had now increased to a very serious degree.  Our
cargo of wine and tobacco was, unfortunately, stowed by a Spanish and
not a British owner.  The difference was very material to me.  An
Englishman, knowing the vice of his countrymen, would have placed the
wine underneath, and the tobacco above.  Unfortunately it was, in this
instance, the reverse, and my men very soon helped themselves to as much
as rendered them nearly useless to me, being more than half seas over.

We got on pretty well, however, till about two o'clock in the morning,
when the man at the helm, unable to wake the other two seamen to fetch
him a drop, thought he might trust the brig to steer herself for a
minute, while he quenched his thirst at the wine-cask: the vessel
instantly broached to, that is, came with her broadside to the wind and
sea, and away went the mainmast by the board.  Fortunately, the foremast
stood.  The man who had just quitted the helm had not time to get drunk,
and the other two were so much frightened that they got sober.

We cleared the wreck as well as we could, got her before the wind again,
and continued on our course.  But a British sailor, the most daring of
all men, is likewise the most regardless of warning or of consequences.
The loss of the mainmast, instead of showing my men the madness of their
indulgence in drink, turned the scale the opposite way.  If they could
get drunk with two masts, how much more could they do so with one, when
they had only half as much sail to look after?  With such a rule of
three there was no reasoning; and they got drunk, and continued drunk
during the whole passage.

Good luck often attends us when we don't deserve it:

  "The sweet little cherub that sits up aloft,"

as Dibdin says, has an eye upon us.  I knew we could not easily get out
of the Gut of Gibraltar without knowing it; and accordingly, on the
third day after leaving the frigate, we made the rock early in the
morning, and, by two o'clock, rounded Europa Point.  I had ordered the
men to bend the cable, and, like many other young officers, fancied it
was done because they said it was, and because I had ordered it.  It
never occurred to me to go and see if my orders had been executed;
indeed, to say the truth, I had quite as much as I could turn my hand
to: I was at the helm from twelve o'clock at night till six in the
morning, looking out for the land; and when I ordered one of the men to
relieve me, I directed him how to steer, and fell into a profound sleep,
which lasted till ten o'clock; after which I was forced to exert the
whole of my ingenuity in order to fetch into the Bay, and prevent being
blown through the Gut; so that the bending of the cable escaped my
memory until the moment I required the use of the anchor.

As I passed under the stern of one of the ships of war in the Bay, with
my prize colours flying, the officer on deck hailed me, and said I "had
better shorten sail."  I thought so too, but how was this to be done?
My whole ship's company were too drunk to do it, and though I begged for
some assistance from his Majesty's ship, it blew so fresh, and we passed
so quickly, that they could not hear me, or were not inclined.
Necessity has no law.  I saw among the other ships in the bay a great
lump of a transport, and I thought she was much better able to bear the
concussion I intended for her than any other vessel; because I had heard
then, and have been made sure of it since, that her owners (like all
other owners) were cheating the government out of thousands of pounds a
year.  She was lying exactly in the part of the Bay assigned for the
prizes; and as I saw no other possible mode of "bringing the ship to
anchor," I steered for "the lobster smack," and ran slap on board of
her, to the great astonishment of the master, mate, and crew.

The usual expletives, a volley of oaths and curses on our lubberly
heads, followed the shock.  This I expected, and was as fully prepared
for as I was for the fall of my foremast, which, taking the foreyard of
the transport, fell over the starboard quarter and greatly relieved me
on the subject of shortening sail.  Thus, my pretty brig was first
reduced to a sloop and then to a hulk; fortunately her bottom was sound.
I was soon cut clear of the transport, and called out in a manly voice,
"Let go the anchor."

This order was obeyed with promptitude: away it went sure enough; but
the devil a cable was there bent to and my men being all stupidly drunk,
I let my vessel drift athwart-hawse of a frigate; the commanding officer
of which, seeing I had no other cable bent, very kindly sent a few hands
on board to assist me; and by five o'clock I was safely moored in the
Bay of Gibraltar, and walked my quarter-deck as high in my own
estimation as Columbus, when he made the American islands.

But short, short was my power!  My frigate arrived the next morning.
The captain sent for me, and I gave him an account of my voyage and my
disasters; he very kindly consoled me for my misfortune; and so far from
being angry with me for losing my masts, said it was wonderful, under
all circumstances, how I had succeeded in saving the vessel.  We lay
only a fortnight at Gibraltar, when news arrived that the French had
entered Spain, and very shortly after orders came from England to
suspend all hostilities against the Spaniards.  This we thought a bore,
as it almost annihilated any chance of prize-money; at the same time
that it increased our labours and stimulated our activity in a most
surprising manner, and opened scenes to us far more interesting than if
the war with Spain had continued.

We were ordered up to join the admiral off Toulon, but desired to look
into the Spanish port of Carthagena on our way, and to report the state
of the Spanish squadron in that arsenal.  We were received with great
politeness by the governor and the officers of the Spanish fleet lying
there.  These people we found were men of talent and education; their
ships were mostly dismantled, and they had not the means of equipping
them.



CHAPTER SIX.

  _Par_.  You give me most egregious indignity.

  _Laf_.  Ay, with all my heart; and thou art worthy of it.

  "ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL."

Naturally anxious to behold a country from which we had hitherto been
excluded for so many years, we all applied for leave to go on shore, and
obtained it.  Even the seamen were allowed the same indulgence, and went
in parties of twenty and thirty at a time.  We were followed and gaped
at by the people; but shunned at the same time as "hereticos."  The inns
of the town, like all the rest of them in Spain, have not improved since
the days of the immortal Santillana--they were all more or less filled
with the lowest of the rabble and a set of bravos whose calling was
robbery, and who cared little if murder were its accompaniment.  The
cookery was execrable.  Garlic and oil were its principal ingredients.
The olla podrida, and its constant attendant, the tomato sauce, were
intolerable, but the wine was very well for a midshipman.  Whenever we
had a repast in any of these houses, the bravos endeavoured to pick a
quarrel with us; and these fellows being always armed with stilettos, we
found it necessary to be equally well prepared; and whenever we seated
ourselves at a table, we never failed to display the butts of our
pistols, which kept them in decent order, for they are as cowardly as
they are thievish.  Our seamen, not being so cautious or so well
provided with arms, were frequently robbed and assassinated by these
rascals.

I was, on one occasion, near falling a victim to them.  Walking in the
evening with the second master, and having a pretty little Spanish girl
under my arm,--for, to my shame be it spoken, I had already formed an
acquaintance with the frail sisterhood,--four of these villains accosted
us.  We soon perceived, by their manner of holding their cloaks, that
they had their stilettos ready.  I desired my companion to draw his
dirk, to keep close to me, and not to let them get between us and the
wall.  Seeing that we were prepared, they wished us "_buenos noches_"
(good night), and, endeavouring to put us off our guard by entering into
conversation, asked us to give them a cigar, which my companion would
have done, had I not cautioned him not to quit his dirk with his right
hand, for this was all they wanted.

In this defensive posture we continued until we had nearly reached the
plaza or great square, where many people were walking, and enjoying
themselves by moonlight, the usual custom of the country.  "Now," said I
to my friend, "let us make a start from these fellows.  When I run, do
you follow me, and don't stop till we are in the middle of the square."

The manoeuvre was successful; we out-ran the thieves, who were not aware
of our plan, and were encumbered with their heavy cloaks.  Finding we
had escaped, they turned upon the girl, and robbed her of her miserable
earnings.  This we saw, but could not prevent, such was the police of
Spain then, nor has it improved since.

This was the last time I ventured on shore at night, except to go once
with a party of our officers to the house of the Spanish admiral, who
had a very pretty niece, and was _liberale_ enough not to frown on us
poor heretics.  She was indeed a pretty creature: her lovely black eyes,
long eyelashes, and raven hair, betrayed a symptom of Moorish blood, at
the same time that her ancient family-name and high good-breeding gave
her the envied appellation of _Vieja Christiana_.

This fair creature was pleased to bestow a furtive glance of approbation
on my youthful form and handsome dress.  My vanity was tickled.  I spoke
French to her: she understood it imperfectly, and pretended to know
still less of it, from the hatred borne by all the Spaniards at that
time to the French nation.  We improved our time, however, which was but
short, and, before we parted, perfectly understood each other.  I
thought I could be contented to give up everything, and reside with her
in the wilds of Spain.  The time of our departure came, and I was torn
away from my Rosaritta, not without the suspicions of my captain and
shipmates that I had been a too highly favoured youth.  This was not
true.  I loved the dear angel, but never had wronged her; and I went to
sea in a mood which I sometimes thought might end in an act of
desperation; but salt water is an admirable specific against love, at
least against such love as that was.

We joined the admiral off Toulon, and were ordered by him to cruise
between Perpignan and Marseilles.  We parted from the fleet on the
following day, and kept the coast in a continued state of alarm.  Not a
vessel dared to show her nose out of port: we had her if she did.
Batteries we laughed at, and either silenced them with our long
eighteen-pounders, or landed and blew them up.  In one of these little
skirmishes I had very nearly been taken, and should, in that case, have
missed all the honour and glory and hair-breadth escapes which will be
found related in the following pages.  I should either have been sabred
in mere retaliation, or marched off to Verdun for the remaining six
years of the war.

We had landed to storm and blow up a battery, for which purpose we
carried with us a bag of powder and a train of canvas.  Everything went
on prosperously.  We came to a canal which it was necessary to cross,
and the best swimmers were selected to convey the powder over without
wetting it.  I was one of them.  I took off my shoes and stockings to
save them; and, after we had taken the battery.  I was so intent on
looking for the telegraphic signal-box, that I had quite forgotten the
intended explosion, until I heard a cry of "Run, run!" from those
outside, who had lighted the train.

I was at that moment on the wall of the fort, nearly thirty feet high,
but sloping.  I jumped one part, and scrambled the other, and ran away
as fast as I could, amidst a shower of stones, which fell around me like
an eruption of Vesuvius.  Luckily I was not hit, but I had cut my foot
in the leap, and was in much pain.  I had two fields of stubble to pass,
and my shoes and stockings were on the other side of the canal--the
sharp straw entered the wound, and almost drove me mad, and I was
tempted to sit down and resign myself to my fate.  However, I
persevered, and had nearly reached the boats which were putting off, not
aware of my absence, when a noise like distant thunder reached my ears.
This I soon found was cavalry from Cotte, which had come to defend the
battery.  I mustered all my strength, and plunged into the sea to swim
off to the boats; and so little time had I to spare, that some of the
enemy's chasseurs, on their black horses, swam in after me, and fired
their pistols at my head.  The boats were at this time nearly a quarter
of a mile from the shore; the officers in them fortunately perceived the
cavalry, and saw me at the same time: a boat laid on her oars, which,
with great difficulty, I reached, and was taken in; but so exhausted
with pain and loss of blood, that I was carried on board almost dead; my
foot was cut to the bone, and I continued a month under the surgeon's
care.

I had nearly recovered from this accident, when we captured a ship, with
which Murphy was sent as prize-master; and the same evening a schooner,
which we cut out from her anchorage.  The command of this latter vessel
was given to me--it was late in the evening, and the hurry was so great
that the keg of spirits intended for myself and crew was not put on
board.  This was going from one extreme to the other; in my last ship we
had too much liquor, and in this too little.  Naturally thirsty, our
desire for drink needed not the stimulus of salt fish and calavances,
for such was our cargo and such was our food, and deeply did we deplore
the loss of our spirits.

On the third day after leaving the frigate, on our way to Gibraltar, I
fell in with a ship on the coast of Spain, and knew it to be the one
Murphy commanded, by a remarkable white patch in the main-topsail.  I
made all sail in chase, in hopes of obtaining some spirits from him,
knowing that he had more than he could consume, even if he and his
people got drunk every day.  When I came near him, he made all the sail
he could.  At dusk I was near enough almost to hail him, but he stood
on; and I, having a couple of small three-pounders on board, with some
powder, fired one of them as a signal.  This I repeated again and again;
but he would not bring-to; and when it was dark, I lost sight of him,
and saw him no more until we met at Gibraltar.

Next morning I fell in with three Spanish fishing-boats.  They took me
for a French privateer, pulled up their lines, and made sail.  I came up
with them, and, firing a gun, they hove-to and surrendered.  I ordered
them alongside; and, finding they had each a keg of wine on board, I
condemned that part of their cargo as contraband; but I honestly offered
payment for what I had taken.  This they declined, finding I was
"_Ingles_," too happy to think they were not in the hands of the French.
I then gave each of them a pound of tobacco, which not only satisfied
them, but confirmed them in the newly-received opinion among their
countrymen, that England was the bravest as well as the most generous of
nations.  They offered everything their boat contained; but I declined
all most nobly, because I had obtained all I wanted; and we parted with
mutual good will, they shouting, "Viva Inglaterra!" and we drinking them
a good passage in their own wine.

Many days elapsed before we reached Gibraltar: the winds were light, and
the weather fine; but as we had discovered that the fishing-boats had
wine, we took care to supply our cellar without any trouble from the
excise; and, from our equitable mode of barter, I had no reason to think
that His Majesty King George lost any of his deserved popularity by our
conduct.  When we reached Gibraltar, I had still a couple of good kegs
wherewith to regale my mess-mates; though I was sorry to find the
frigate and the rest of her prizes had got in before us.  Murphy,
indeed, did not arrive till the day after me.

I was on the quarter-deck when he came in; and, to my astonishment, he
reported that he had been chased by a French privateer, and had beaten
her off after a four hours' action--that his rigging had suffered a good
deal, but that he had not a man hurt.  I let him run on till the
evening.  Many believed him; but some doubted.  At dinner in the
gun-room, his arrogance knew no bounds; and when half drunk, my three
men were magnified into a well manned brig, as full of men and guns as
she could stuff!

Sick of all this nonsense, I then simply related the story as it had
occurred, and sent for the quarter-master, who was with me, and who
confirmed all my statement.  From that moment lie was a mark of contempt
in the ship.  Every lie was a Murphy, and every Murphy a liar.  He dared
not resent this scorn of ours; and found himself so uncomfortable, that
he offered no objection to the removal proposed by the captain; his
character followed him, and he never obtained promotion.  It is a
satisfaction to me to reflect that I not only had my full revenge on
this man, but that I had been the instrument of turning him out of an
honourable profession which he would have disgraced.

This was no time for frigates to be idle; and if I chose to give the
name of mine and my captain, the naval history of the country would
prove that ours, of all other ships, was one of the most distinguished
in the cause of Spanish freedom.  The south of Spain became the theatre
of the most cruel and desolating war.  Our station was off Barcelona;
and thence to Perpignan, the frontier of France on the borders of Spain.
Our duty (for which the enterprising disposition of our captain was
admirably calculated) was to support the guerilla chiefs; to cut off the
enemy's convoys of provisions, either by sea or along the road which lay
by the sea-shore; or to dislodge the enemy from any stronghold he might
be in possession of.

I was absent from the ship on such services three and four weeks at a
time, being attached to a division of small-arm men under the command of
the third lieutenant.  We suffered very much from privations of all
kinds.  We never took with us more than one week's provision, and were
frequently three weeks without receiving any supply.  In the article of
dress, our "catalogue of negatives," as a celebrated author says, "was
very copious;" we had no shoes nor stockings, no linen, and not all of
us had hats; a pocket-handkerchief was the common substitute for this
article; we clambered over rocks, and wandered through the flinty or
muddy ravines in company with our new allies, the hardy mountaineers.

These men respected our valour, but did not like our religion or our
manners.  They cheerfully divided their rations with us, but were always
inexorable in their cruelty to the French prisoners; and no persuasion
of ours could induce them to spare the lives of one of these unhappy
people, whose cries and entreaties to the English to intercede for or
save them were always unavailing.  They were either stabbed before our
faces, or dragged to the top of a hill commanding a view of some
fortress occupied by the French, and, in sight of their countrymen,
their throats cut from ear to ear.

Should the Christian reader condemn this horrid barbarity, as he
certainly will, he must remember that those people were men whose every
feeling had been outraged.  Rape, conflagration; murder, and famine had
everywhere followed the step of the cruel invaders; and, however we
might lament their fate and endeavour to avert it, we could not but
admit that the retaliation was not without justice.  In this irregular
warfare, we sometimes revelled in luxuries, and at others were nearly
starved.  One day, in particular, when fainting with hunger, we met a
fat, rosy-looking capuchin: we begged him to show us where we might
procure some food, either by purchase or in any other way; but he
neither knew where to procure any nor had he any money: his order, he
said, forbade him to use it.  As he turned away from us in some
precipitation, we thought we heard something rattle; and as necessity
has no law, we took the liberty of searching the padre, on whose person
we found forty dollars, of which we relieved him, assuring him that our
consciences were perfectly clear, since his order forbade him to carry
money; and that as he lived amongst good Christians, they would not
allow him to want.  He cursed us; but we laughed at him, because he had
produced his own misfortune by his falsehood and hypocrisy.

This was the manner in which the Spanish priests generally behaved to
us; and in this way we generally repaid them when we could.  We kept the
plunder--converted it into food--joined our party soon after, and
supposed the affair was over; but the friar had followed us at a
distance, and we perceived him coming up the hill where we were
stationed.  To avoid discovery we exchanged clothes, in such a manner as
to render us no longer cognisable.  The friar made his complaint to the
guerilla chief, whose eyes flashed fire at the indignant treatment his
priest had received; and it is probable that bloodshed would have ensued
had he been able to point out the culprit.

I kept my countenance though I had changed my dress, and as he looked at
me with something beyond suspicion, I stared him full in the face with
the whole united power of my matchless impudence, and in a loud and
menacing tone of voice, asked him in French if he took me for a brigand.
The question, as well as the manner in which it was put, silenced, if
it did not satisfy, the priest.  He seemed to listen with apparent
conviction to the suggestion of some of our people, that he had been
robbed by another party, and he set out in pursuit of them.  I was quite
tired of his importunities, and glad to see him depart.  As he turned
away, he gave me a very scrutinising look, which I returned with
another, full of well dissembled rage and scorn.  My curling hair had
been well flattened down with a piece of soap, which I had in my pocket,
and I had much more the appearance of a Methodist parson than a
pickpocket.

Some time previous to this, the frigate to which I belonged had been
ordered on other services; and as I had no opportunity of joining her, I
was placed, _pro tempore_, on board of another.  But as this chapter has
already spun out its length, I shall refer my reader to the next for
further particulars.



CHAPTER SEVEN.

  The shout
  Of battle now began, and rushing sound
  Of onset
  ...
  'Twixt host and host but narrow space was left.
  MILTON.

From the deservedly high character borne by the captain of the frigate
which I was ordered to join, he was employed by Lord Collingwood on the
most confidential services; and we were sent to assist the Spaniards in
their defence of the important fortress of Rosas, in Catalonia.  It has
already been observed that the French general St. Cyr had entered that
country, and, having taken Figueras and Gerona, was looking with a
wistful eye on the castle of Trinity, on the south-east side, the
capture of which would be a certain prelude to the fall of Rosas.

My captain determined to defend it, although it had just been abandoned
by another British naval officer, as untenable.  I volunteered, though a
supernumerary, to be one of the party, and was sent: nor can I but
acknowledge that the officer who had abandoned the place had shown more
than a sound discretion.  Every part of the castle was in ruins.  Heaps
of crumbling stones and rubbish, broken gun-carriages, and split guns,
presented to my mind a very unfavourable field of battle.  The only
advantage we appeared to have over the assailants was that the breach
which they had effected in the walls was steep in the ascent, and the
loose stones either fell down upon them or gave way under their feet,
while we plied them with every kind of missile.  This was our only
defence, and all we had to prevent the enemy marching into the works, if
works they could be called.

There was another and very serious disadvantage attending our locality.
The castle was situated very near the summit of a steep hill, the upper
part of which was in possession of the enemy, who were by this means
nearly on a level with the top of the castle, and on that eminence,
three hundred Swiss sharpshooters had effected a lodgement, and thrown
up works within fifty yards of us, keeping up a constant fire at the
castle.  If a head was seen above the walls, twenty rifle-bullets
whizzed at it in a moment, and the same unremitted attention was paid to
our boats as they landed.

On another hill, much to the northward, and consequently, further
inland, the French had erected a battery of six 14-pounders.  This
agreeable neighbour was only three hundred yards from us, and, allowing
short intervals for the guns to cool, this battery kept up a constant
fire upon us from daylight till dark.  I never could have supposed in my
boyish days that the time would arrive when I should envy a cock upon
Shrove Tuesday; yet such was case when in this infernal castle.  It was
certainly not giving us fair play; we had no chance against such a
force; but my captain was a knight-errant, and as I had volunteered, I
had no right to complain.  Such was the precision of the enemy's fire,
that we could tell the stone that would be hit by the next shot, merely
from seeing where the last had struck, and our men were frequently
wounded by the splinters of granite with which the walls were built, and
others picked off, like partridges, by the Swiss corps on the hill close
to us.

Our force in the castle consisted of a hundred and thirty English seamen
and marines, one company of Spanish, and another of Swiss troops in
Spanish pay.  Never were troops worse paid and fed or better fired at.
We all pigged in together, dirty straw and fleas for our beds; our food
on the same scale of luxury; from the captain downwards there was no
distinction.  Fighting is sometimes a very agreeable pastime, but excess
"palls on the sense:" and here we had enough of it, without what I
always thought an indispensable accompaniment, namely, a good bellyfull;
nor did I conceive how a man could perform his duty without it; but here
I was forced, with many others, to make the experiment, and when the
boats could not land, which was often the case, we piped to dinner _pro
forma_ as our captain liked regularity, and drank cold water to fill our
stomachs.

I have often heard my poor uncle say that no man knows what he can do
till he tries; and the enemy gave us plenty of opportunities of
displaying our ingenuity, industry, watchfulness, and abstinence.  When
poor Penelope wove her web, the poet says:--

  "The night unravelled what the day began."

With us it was precisely the reverse: the day destroyed all the labours
of the night.  The hours of darkness were employed by us in filling
sand-bags, and laying them in the breach, clearing away rubbish, and
preparing to receive the enemy's fire, which was sure to recommence at
daylight.  These avocations, together with a constant and most vigilant
watch against surprise, took up so much of our time that little was left
for repose, and our meals required still less.

There was some originality in one of our modes of defence, and which,
not being _secundum artem_, might have provoked the smile of an
engineer.  The captain contrived to make a shoot of smooth deal boards,
which he received from the ship: these he placed in a slanting direction
in the breach, and caused them to be well greased with cook's slush; so
that the enemies who wished to come into our hold, must have jumped down
upon them, and would in an instant be precipitated into the ditch below
a very considerable depth, where they might either have remained till
the doctor came to them, or, if they were able, begin their labours _de
novo_.  This was a very good bug-trap; for, at that time, I thought just
as little of killing a Frenchman as I did of destroying the filthy
little nightly depredator just mentioned.

Besides this slippery trick, which we played them with great success, we
served them another.  We happened to have on board the frigate a large
quantity of fish-hooks; these we planted, not only on the greasy boards,
but in every part where the intruders were likely to place their hands
or feet.  The breach itself was mined, and loaded with shells and
hand-grenades! masked guns, charged up to the muzzle with musket-balls,
enfiladed the spot in every direction.  Such were our defence; and,
considering that we had been three weeks in the castle, opposed to such
mighty odds, it is surprising that we only lost twenty men.  The crisis
was now approaching.

One morning, very early, I happened to have the look-out.  The streak of
fog which during the night hangs between the hills in that country, and
presses down into the valleys, had just begun to rise, and the stars to
grow more dim above our heads, when I was looking over the castle-wall
towards the breach.  The captain came out and asked me what I was
looking at.  I told him I hardly knew; but there did appear something
unusual in the valley, immediately below the breach.  He listened a
moment, looked attentively with his night-glass, and exclaimed, in his
firm voice, but in an undertoned manner, "To arms!--they are coming!"

In three minutes every man was at his post; and though all were quick,
there was no time to spare, for by this time the black column of the
enemy was distinctly visible, curling along the valley like a great
centipede; and, with the daring enterprise so common among the troops of
Napoleon, had begun in silence to mount the breach.  It was an awful and
eventful moment; but the coolness and determination of the little
garrison was equal to the occasion.

The word was given to take good aim, and a volley from the masked guns
and musketry was poured into the thick of them.  They paused--deep
groans ascended!  They retreated a few paces in confusion, then rallied,
and again advanced to the attack; and now the fire on both sides was
kept up without intermission.  The great guns from the hill fort, and
the Swiss sharpshooters, still nearer, poured copious volleys upon us,
and with loud shouts cheered on their comrades to the assault.  As they
approached and covered our mine, the train was fired, and up they went
in the air, and down they fell buried in the ruins.  Groans, screams,
confusion, French yells, British hurras, rent the sky!  The hills
resounded with the shouts of victory?  We sent them hand-grenades in
abundance, and broke their shins in glorious style.  I must say that the
French behaved nobly, though many a tall grenadier and pioneer fell by
the symbol in front of his warlike cap.  I cried with rage and
excitement; and we all fought like bull-dogs, for we knew there was no
quarter to be given.

Ten minutes had elapsed since the firing began, and in that time many a
brave fellow had bit the dust.  The head of their attacking column had
been destroyed by the explosion of our mine.  Still they had re-formed,
and were again half-way up the breach when the day began to dawn; and we
saw a chosen body of one thousand men, led on by their colonel, and
advancing over the dead which had just fallen.

The gallant leader appeared to be as cool and composed as if he were at
breakfast; with his drawn sword he pointed to the breach, and we heard
him exclaim, "_Suivez moi_!"  I felt jealous of this brave fellow--
jealous of his being a Frenchman; and I threw a lighted hand-grenade
between his feet--he picked it up, and threw it from him to a
considerable distance.

"Cool chap enough that," said the captain, who stood close to me; "I'll
give him another," which he did, but this the officer kicked away with
equal _sang froid_ and dignity.  "Nothing will cure that fellow,"
resumed the captain, "but an ounce of lead on an empty stomach--it's a
pity, too, to kill so fine a fellow--but there is no help for it."

So saying, he took a musket out of my hand, which I had just loaded--
aimed, fired--the colonel staggered, clapped his hand to his breast, and
fell back into the arms of some of his men, who threw down their
muskets, and took him on their shoulders, either unconscious or
perfectly regardless of the death-work which was going on around them.
The firing redoubled from our musketry on this little group, every man
of whom was either killed or wounded.  The colonel, again left to
himself, tottered a few paces further, till he reached a small bush, not
ten yards from the spot where he received his mortal wound.  Here he
fell; his sword, which he still grasped in his right hand, rested on the
boughs, and pointed upwards to the sky, as if directing the road to the
spirit of its gallant master.

With the life of the colonel ended the hopes of the French for that day.
The officers, we could perceive, did their duty--cheered, encouraged,
and drove on their men, but all in vain.  We saw them pass their swords
through the bodies of the fugitives; but the men did not even mind
that--they would only be killed in their own way--they had had fighting
enough for one breakfast.  The first impulse, the fiery onset, had been
checked by the fall of their brave leader, and _sauve qui peut_, whether
coming from the officers or drummers, no matter which, terminated the
affair, and we were left a little time to breathe, and to count the
number of our dead.

The moment the French perceived from their batteries that the attempt
had failed, and that the leader of the enterprise was dead, they poured
in an angry fire upon us.  I stuck my hat on the bayonet of my musket,
and just showed it above the wall.  A dozen bullets were through it in a
minute: very fortunately my head was not in it.

The fire of the batteries having ceased, which it generally did at
stated periods, we had an opportunity of examining the point of attack.
Scaling-ladders and dead bodies lay in profusion.  All the wounded had
been removed, but what magnificent "food for powder" were the bodies
which lay before us!--all, it would seem, picked men; not one less than
six feet, and some more: they were clad in their grey _capots_, to
render their appearance more _sombre_, and less discernible in the
twilight of the morning: and as the weather was cold during the nights,
I secretly determined to have one of those great-coats as a _chere amie_
to keep me warm in night-watches.  I also resolved to have the colonel's
sword to present to my captain; and as soon as it was dark I walked down
the breach, brought up one of the scaling-ladders, which I deposited in
the castle; and having done so much for the king, I set out to do
something for myself.

It was pitch dark.  I stumbled on: the wind blew a hurricane, and the
dust and mortar almost blinded me; but I knew my way pretty well.  Yet,
there was something very jackall-like, in wandering about among dead
bodies in the night-time and I really felt a horror at my situation.
There was a dreadful stillness between the blasts, which the pitch
darkness made peculiarly awful to an unfortified mind.  It is for this
reason that I would ever discourage night-attacks, unless you can rely
on your men.  They generally fail: because the man of common bravery,
who would acquit himself fairly in broad daylight, will hang back during
the night.  Fear and darkness have always been firm allies; and are
inseparably playing into each other's hands.  Darkness conceals fear,
and therefore fear loves darkness, because it saves the coward from
shame; and when the fear of shame is the only stimulus to fight,
daylight is essentially necessary.

I crept cautiously along, feeling for the dead bodies.  The first I laid
my hand on, made my blood curdle.  It was the lacerated thigh of a
grenadier, whose flesh had been torn off by a hand-grenade.  "Friend,"
said I, "if I may judge from the nature of your wound, your great-coat
is not worth having."  The next subject I handled, had been better
killed.  A musket-ball through his head had settled all his tradesmen's
bills; and I hesitated not in becoming residuary legatee, as I was sure
the assets would more than discharge the undertaker's bill; but the body
was cold and stiff, and did not readily yield its garment.

I, however, succeeded in obtaining my object; in which I arrayed myself,
and went on in search of the colonel's sword; but here I had been
anticipated by a Frenchman.  The colonel, indeed, lay there, stiff
enough, but his sword was gone.  I was preparing to return, when I
encountered, not a dead, but a living enemy.

"_Qui vive_?" said a low voice.

"_Anglais bete_!" answered I, in a low tone: and added, "_mais les
corsairs ne se battent pas_."

"C'est vrai," said he; and growling, "_bon soir_," he was soon out of
sight.  I scrambled back to the castle, gave the counter-sign to the
sentinel, and showed my new great-coat with a vast deal of glee and
satisfaction; some of my comrades went on the same sort of expedition,
and were rewarded with more or less success.

In a few days, the dead bodies on the breach were nearly denuded by
nightly visitors; but that of the colonel lay respected and untouched.
The heat of the day had blackened it, and it was now deprived of all its
manly beauty, and nothing remained but a loathsome corpse.  The rules of
war, as well as of humanity, demanded the honourable interment of the
remains of this hero; and our captain, who was the very flower of
chivalry, desired me to stick a white handkerchief on a pike, as a flag
of truce, and bury the bodies, if the enemy would permit us.

I went out accordingly, with a spade and a pick-axe; but the
_tirailleurs_ on the hill began with their rifles, and wounded one of my
men.  I looked at the captain, as much as to say, "Am I to proceed?"  He
motioned with his hand to go on, and I then began digging a hole by the
side of a dead body, and the enemy, seeing my intention, desisted from
firing.  I had buried several, when the captain came out and joined me,
with a view of reconnoitring the position of the enemy.  He was seen
from the fort, and recognised; and his intention pretty accurately
guessed at.

We were near the body of the colonel, which we were going to inter; when
the captain, observing a diamond-ring on the finger of the corpse, said
to one of the sailors, "You may just as well take that off; it can be of
no use to him now."  The man tried to get it off; but the rigidity of
the muscles after death prevented his moving it.  "He won't feel your
knife, poor fellow," said the captain; "and a finger more or less is no
great matter to him now: off with it."

The sailor began to saw the finger-joint with his knife, when down came
a twenty-four pound shot, and with such a good direction that it took
the shoe off the man's foot, and the shovel out of the hand of another
man.  "In with him, and cover him up!" said the captain.

We did so; when another shot, not quite so well directed as the first,
threw the dirt in our faces, and ploughed the ground at our feet.  The
captain, then ordered his men to run into the castle, which they
instantly obeyed; while he himself walked leisurely along through a
shower of musket-balls from those cursed Swiss dogs, whom I most
fervently wished at the devil, because, as an aide-de-camp, I felt bound
in honour as well as duty to walk by the side of my captain, fully
expecting every moment that a rifle-ball would have hit me where I
should have been ashamed to show the scar.  I thought this funeral pace,
after the funeral was over, confounded nonsense; but my fire-eating
captain never had run away from a Frenchman, and did not intend to begin
then.

I was behind him, making these reflections, and as the shot began to fly
very thick, I stepped up alongside of him, and by degrees brought him
between me and the fire.  "Sir," said I, "as I am only a midshipman, I
don't care so much about honour as you do; and therefore, if it makes no
difference to you, I'll take the liberty of getting under your lee."  He
laughed, and said, "I did not know you were here, for I meant you should
have gone with the others; but, since you are out of your station, Mr
Mildmay, I will make that use of you which you so ingeniously proposed
to make of me.  My life may be of some importance here; but yours very
little, and another midshipman can be had from the ship only for asking:
so just drop astern, if you please, and do duty as a breastwork for me!"

"Certainly, sir," said I, "by all means;" and I took my station
accordingly.

"Now," said the captain, "if you are `_doubled up_,' I will take you on
my shoulders!"

I expressed myself exceedingly obliged, not only for the honour he had
conferred on me, but also for that which he intended; but hoped I should
have no occasion to trouble him.  Whether the enemy took pity on my
youth and _innocence_, or whether they purposely missed us, I cannot
say: I only know I was very happy when I found myself inside the castle
with a whole skin, and should very readily have reconciled myself to any
measure which would have restored me even to the comforts and
conveniencies of a man-of-war's cockpit.  All human enjoyment is
comparative, and nothing ever convinced me of it so much and so forcibly
as what took place at this memorable siege: Fortune, and the well-known
cowardice of the Spaniards, released me from this jeopardy; they
surrendered the citadel, after which the castle was of no use, and we
ran down to our boats as fast as we could; and notwithstanding the very
assiduous fire of the watchful _tirailleurs_ on the hill, we all got on
board without accident.

There was one very singular feature in this affair.  The Swiss
mercenaries in the French and Spanish services, opposed to each other,
behaved with the greatest bravery, and did their duty with unexceeded
fidelity; but being posted so near, and coming so often in contact with
each other, they would cry truce for a quarter of an hour, while they
made inquiries after their mutual friends; often recognising each other
as fathers and sons, brothers and near relatives, fighting on opposite
sides.  They would laugh and joke with each other, declare the truce at
an end, then load their muskets, and take aim, with the same
indifference, as regarded the object, as if they had been perfect
strangers; but, as I before observed, fighting is a trade.

From Rosas we proceeded to join the admiral off Toulon; and being
informed that a battery of six brass guns, in the port of Silva, would
be in possession of the French in a few hours, we ran in, and anchored
within pistol-shot of it.  We lashed blocks to our lower mast-heads,
rove hawsers through them, sent the ends on shore, made them fast to the
guns, and hove off three of them, one after another, by the capstan; and
had the end of the hawser on shore, ready for the others, when our
marine videttes were surprised by the French, driven in, and retreated
to the beach, with the loss of one man taken prisoner.

Not having sufficient force on shore to resist them, we re-embarked our
party, and the French, taking up a position behind the rocks, commenced
a heavy fire of musketry upon us.  We answered it with the same; and now
and then gave them a great gun; but they had the advantage of position,
and wounded ten or eleven of our men from their elevated stations behind
the rocks.  At sunset this ceased, when a boat came off from the shore,
pulled by one Spaniard; he brought a letter for the captain, from the
officer commanding the French detachment.  It presented the French
captain's compliments to ours; regretted the little interruption he had
given to our occupation; remarked that the weather was cold, and as he
had been ordered off in a hurry, he had not had time to provide himself;
and as there was always a proper feeling among _braves gens_, requested
a few gallons of rum for himself and followers.

This request was answered with a _polite note_, and the spirits
required.  The British captain hoped the commandant and his party would
make themselves comfortable, and have a _bon repos_.  The captain,
however, intended the Frenchman should pay for the spirits, though not
in money, and sent in the bill about one o'clock in the morning.

All at that hour was as still as death; the French guard had refreshed
themselves, and were enjoying the full extent of our captain's
benefaction, when he observed to us that it was a pity to lose the boat
which was left on shore, as well as the other brass guns, and proposed
making the attempt to bring off both.  Five or six of us stripped, and
lowering ourselves into the water very gently, swam ashore, in a
breathless kind of silence that would have done honour to a Pawnee Loup
Indian.  The water was very cold, and at first almost took away my
respiration.  We landed under the battery, and having first secured our
beat without noise, we crept softly up to where the end of the hawsers
lay by the side of the guns, to which we instantly made them fast.
About a dozen French soldiers were lying near, keeping watch, fast
asleep.

We might easily have killed them all; but as we considered they were
under the influence of our rum, we abhorred such a violation of
hospitality.  We helped ourselves, however, to most of the muskets that
were near us, and very quietly getting into the boat, put off and rowed
with two oars to the ship.  The noise of the oars woke some of the
soldiers, who, jumping up, fired at us with all the arms they had left;
and I believe soon got a reinforcement, for they fired both quick and
well; and, as it was starlight and we were naked, our bodies were easily
seen, so that the shot came very thick about us.

"Diving," said I, "is not running away;" so over we all went, except
two.  I was down like a porpoise, never rising till my head touched the
ship's copper.  I swam round the stern, and was taken in on the side
opposite the enemy.  My captain, I daresay, would have disdained such a
compromise; but though I was as proud as he was, I always thought, with
Falstaff, that "discretion was the better part of valour," especially in
a midshipman.

The men left in the boat got safe on board with her.  The hands were all
ready, and the moment our oars splashed in the water they hove round
cheerfully, and the guns came galloping down the rocks like young
kangaroos.  They were soon under water, and long before the Frenchmen
could get a cut at the hawsers.  They then fired at them with their
muskets, in hopes of stranding the rope, but they failed in that also.
We secured the guns on board, and, before daylight, got under weigh, and
made sail for the fleet, which we joined shortly afterwards.  I here
learned that my own ship had fought a gallant action with an enemy's
frigate, had taken her opponent, but had suffered so much, that she was
ordered home for repairs, and had sailed for England from Gibraltar.

I had letters of introduction to the rear-admiral, who was second in
command; and I thought, under these circumstances the best thing I could
do would be to "clean myself," as the phrase used to be in those days,
and go on board and present them.  I went accordingly, and saw the
flag-captain, who took my letters in to the admiral, and brought out a
verbal, and not a very civil message, saying, I might join the ship, if
I pleased, until my own returned to the station.  As it happened to suit
my convenience, I did please; and the manner in which the favour was
conferred disburdened my mind of any incumbrance of gratitude.  The
reception was not such as I might have expected: had the letters not
been from people of distinction, and friends of the rear-admiral, I
should much have preferred remaining in the frigate, whose captain also
wished it, but that was not allowed.

To the flag-ship, therefore, I came, and why I was brought here, I never
could discover, unless it was for the purpose of completing a menagerie,
for I found between sixty and seventy midshipmen already assembled.
They were mostly youngsters, followers of the rear-admiral, and had seen
very little, if any, service, and I had seen a great deal for the time I
had been afloat.  Listening eagerly to my "yarns," the youthful ardour
of these striplings kindled, and they longed to emulate my deeds.  The
consequence was, numerous applications from the midshipmen to be allowed
to join the frigates on the station; not one was contented in the
flag-ship; and the captain having discovered that I was the tarantula
which had bitten them, hated me accordingly, and not a jot more than I
hated him.

The captain was a very large, ill-made, broad-shouldered man, with a
lack-lustre eye, a pair of thick lips, and a very unmeaning countenance.
He wore a large pair of epaulettes; he was irritable in his temper; and
when roused, which was frequent, was always violent and overbearing.
His voice was like thunder and when he launched out on the poor
midshipmen, they reminded me of the trembling bird which, when
fascinated by the eye of the snake, loses its powers, and falls at once
into the jaws of the monster.  When much excited, he had a custom of
shaking his shoulders up and down; and his epaulettes, on these
occasions, flapped like the huge ears of a trotting elephant.  At the
most distant view of his person or sound of his voice, every midshipman,
not obliged to remain, fled, like the land-crabs on a West-India beach.
He was incessantly taunting me, was sure to find some fault or other
with me, and sneeringly called me "one of your frigate midshipmen."

Irritated by this unjust treatment, I one day answered that I _was_ a
frigate midshipman, and hoped I could do my duty as well as any
line-of-battle midshipman, of my own standing, in the service.  For this
injudicious and rather impertinent remark, I was ordered aft on the
quarter-deck, and the captain went in to the admiral, and asked
permission to flog me; but the admiral refused, observing, that he did
not admire the system of flogging young gentlemen: and, moreover, in the
present instance he saw no reason for it.  So I escaped; but I led a sad
life of it, and often did I pray for the return of my own ship.

Among other exercises of the fleet, we used always to reef topsails at
sunset, and this was usually done by all the ships at the same moment,--
waiting the signal from the admiral to begin; in this exercise there was
much foolish rivalry, and very serious accidents, as well as numerous
punishments, took place, in consequence of one ship trying to excel
another.  On these occasions our captain would bellow and foam at the
mouth, like a mad bull, up and down the quarter-deck.  One fine evening
the signal was made, the topsails lowered, and the men laying out on the
yards, when a poor fellow from the main-topsail-yard fell, in his trying
to lay out; and, striking his shoulder against the main channels, broke
his arm.  I saw he was disabled, and could not swim: and, perceiving him
sinking, I darted overboard, and held him until a boat came and picked
him up; as the water was smooth and there was little wind, and the ship
not going more than two miles an hour, I incurred little risk.

When I came on deck I found the captain fit for Bedlam, because the
accident had delayed the topsails going to the mast-head quite as quick
as the rest of the fleet.  He threatened to flog the man for falling
overboard, and ordered me off the quarter-deck.  This was a great
injustice to both of us.  Of all the characters I ever met with, holding
so high a rank in the service, this man was the most unpleasant.

Shortly after, we were ordered to Minorca to refit; here, to my great
joy, I found my own ship, and I "shook the dust off my feet," and
quitted the flag with a light heart.  During the time I had been on
board, the admiral had never said, "How do ye do?" to me--nor did he
say, "Good bye," when I quitted.  Indeed, I should have left the ship
without ever having been honoured with his notice, if it had not
happened that a favourite pointer of his was a shipmate of mine.  I
recollect hearing of a man who boasted that the king had spoken to him;
and when it was asked what he had said, replied, "He desired me to get
out of his way."

My intercourse with the admiral was about as friendly and flattering.
Pompey and I were on the poop.  I presented him with a piece of hide to
gnaw, by way of pastime.  The admiral came on the poop, and seeing
Pompey thus employed, asked who gave him that piece of hide?  The yeoman
of the signals said it was me.  The admiral shook his long spy-glass at
me, and said, "By God, sir, if ever you give Pompey a bit of hide again,
I will flog you."

This is all I have to say of the admiral, and all the admiral ever said
to me.



CHAPTER EIGHT.

  Since laws were made for every degree,
  I wonder we haven't better company on Tyburn tree.
  "BEGGAR'S OPERA."

While I was on board of this ship, two poor men were executed for
mutiny.  The scene was far more solemn to me than anything I had ever
beheld.  Indeed, it was the first thing of the kind I had ever been
present at.  When we hear of executions on shore, we are always prepared
to read of some foul atrocious crime, some unprovoked and unmitigated
offence against the laws of civilised society, which a just and merciful
government cannot allow to pass unpunished.  With us at sea there are
many shades of difference; but that which the law of our service
considers a serious offence is often no more than an ebullition of local
and temporary feeling, which in some cases might be curbed, and in
others totally suppressed by timely firmness and conciliation.

The ships had been a long time at sea, the enemy did not appear, and
there was no chance either of bringing him to action or of returning
into port.  Indeed, nothing can be more dull and monotonous than a
blockading cruise "in the team," as we call it; that is, the ships of
the line stationed to watch an enemy.  The frigates have, in this
respect, every advantage; they are always employed on shore, often in
action, and the more men they have killed, the happier are the
survivors.  Some melancholy ferment on board of the flag-ship I was in,
caused an open mutiny.  Of course it was very soon quelled; and the
ringleaders having been tried by a court-martial, two of them were
condemned to be hanged at the yard-arm of their own ship, and were
ordered for execution the following day but one.

Our courts-martial are always arrayed in the most pompous manner, and
certainly are calculated to strike the mind with awe--even of a captain
himself.  A gun is fired at eight o'clock in the morning from the ship
where it is to be held, and a union flag is displayed at the mizen peak.
If the weather be fine, the ship is arranged with the greatest nicety;
her decks are as white as snow--her hammocks are stowed with care--her
ropes are taut--her yards square--her guns run out--and a guard of
marines, under the orders of a lieutenant, prepared to receive every
member of the court with the honour due to his rank.  Before nine
o'clock they are all assembled; the officers in their undress uniform,
unless an admiral is to be tried.  The great cabin is prepared, with a
long table covered with a green cloth.  Pens, ink, paper, prayer-books,
and the Articles of War are laid round to every member.  "Open the
court," says the president.

The court is opened, and officers and men indiscriminately stand round.
The prisoners are now brought in under the charge of the
provost-marshal, a master-at-arms, with his sword drawn, and placed at
the foot of the table, on the left hand of the judge-advocate.  The
court is sworn to do its duty impartially, and if there is any doubt, to
let it go in favour of the prisoner.  Having done this, the members sit
down, covered, if they please.

The judge-advocate is then sworn, and the order for the court-martial
read.  The prisoner is put on his trial; if he says anything to commit
himself, the court stops him, and kindly observes, "We do not want your
evidence against yourself; we want only to know what others can prove
against you."  The unfortunate man is offered any assistance he may
require; and when the defence is over, the court is cleared, the doors
are shut, and the minutes, which have been taken down by the
judge-advocate, are carefully read over, the credibility of the
witnesses weighed, and the president puts the question to the youngest
member first, "Proved, or not proved?"

All having given their answer, if seven are in favour of "Proved," and
six against, "Proved" is recorded.  The next question--if for mutiny or
desertion, or other capital crime--"Flogging, or death?"  The votes are
given in the same way; if the majority be for death, the judge-advocate
writes the sentence, beginning with the president, and ending with the
judge-advocate.  The court is now opened again, the prisoner brought in,
and an awful and deep silence prevails.  The members of the court all
put their hats on, and are seated; every one else, except the
provost-marshal is uncovered.  As soon as the judge-advocate has read
the sentence, the prisoner is delivered to the custody of the
provost-marshal, by a warrant from the president; and he has charge of
him till the time for the execution of the sentence.

About three o'clock in the afternoon, I received a message from one of
the prisoners, saying he wished much to speak with me.  I followed the
master-at-arms down to the screened cabin, in the gun-room, where the
men were confined with their legs in irons.  These irons consist of one
long bar and a set of shackles.  The shackles fit the small part of the
leg, just above the ankle.  The end of the bar is then passed through,
and secured with a padlock.  I found the poor fellows sitting on a
shot-box.  Their little meal lay before them untouched; one of them
cried bitterly; the other, a man of the name of Strange, possessed a
great deal of equanimity, although evidently deeply affected.  This man
had been pretty well educated in youth, but having taken a wild and
indolent turn, had got into mischief, and to save himself from a severe
chastisement, had run away from his friends, and entered on board a
man-of-war.  In this situation he had found time, in the intervals of
duty, to read and to think; he became, in time, sullen, and separated
himself from the occasional merriment of his mess-mates; and it is not
improbable that this moody temper had given rise to the mutinous acts
for which he was to suffer.

This man now apologised for the liberty he had taken, and said he would
not detain me long.  "You see, sir," said he, "that my poor friend is
quite overcome with the horror of his situation: nor do I wonder at it.
He is very different from the hardened malefactors that are executed on
shore: we are neither of us afraid to die; but such a death as this, Mr
Mildmay--to be hung up like dogs, an example to the fleet, and a shame
and reproach to our friends--this wrings our hearts!  It is this
consideration, and to save the feelings of my poor mother, that I have
sent for you.  I saw you jump overboard to save a poor fellow from
drowning; so I thought you would not mind doing a good turn for another
unfortunate sailor.  I have made my will, and appointed you my executor;
and with this power of attorney you will receive all my pay and
prize-money, which I will thank you to give to my dear mother, whose
address you will find written here.  My motive for this is, that she may
never learn the history of my death.  You can tell her that I died for
my country's good, which is very true, for I acknowledge the justice of
my sentence, and own that a severe example is wanting.  It is eleven
years since I was in England; I have served faithfully the whole of that
time, nor did I ever misbehave except in this one instance.  I think if
our good king knew my sad story, he would be merciful; but God's will be
done!  Yet, if I had a wish, it would be that the enemy's fleet would
come out, and that I might die, as I have lived, defending my country.
But, Mr Mildmay, I have one very important question to ask you--do you
believe that there is such a thing as a future state?"

"Most surely," said I; "though we all live as if we believed there was
no such thing.  But why do you doubt it?"

"Because," said the poor fellow, "when I was an officer's servant, I was
one day tending the table in the ward-room, and I heard the commander of
a sloop of war, who was dining there with his son, say that it was all
nonsense--that there was no future state, and the Bible was a heap of
lies.  I have never been happy since."

I told him that I was extremely sorry that any officer should have used
such expressions at all, particularly before him; that I was incapable
of restoring his mind to its proper state; but that I should recommend
his immediately sending for the chaplain, who, I had no doubt, would
give him all the comfort he could desire.  He thanked me for this
advice, and profited by it, as he assured me in his last moments.

"And now, sir," said he, "let me give _you_ a piece of advice.  When you
are a captain, as I am very sure you will be, do not worry your men into
mutiny by making what is called a smart ship.  Cleanliness and good
order are what seamen like; but niggling, polishing, scraping iron bars
and ring-bolts, and the like of that, a sailor dislikes more than a
flogging at the gangway.  If, in reefing topsails, you happen to be a
minute later than another ship, never mind it, so long as your sails are
well reefed, and fit to stand blowing weather.  Many a sail is split by
bad reefing, and many a good sailor has lost his life by that foolish
hurry which has done incredible harm in the navy.  What can be more
cruel or unjust than to flog the last man off the yard? seeing that he
is necessarily the most active, and cannot get in without the imminent
danger of breaking his neck; and, moreover, that one man _must_ be last.
Depend upon it, sir, `that nothing is well done which is done in a
hurry.'  But I have kept you too long.  God bless you, sir; remember my
poor mother, and be sure you meet me on the forecastle to-morrow
morning."

The fatal morning came.  It was eight o'clock.  The gun fired--the
signal for punishment flew at our mast-head.  The poor men gave a deep
groan, exclaiming, "Lord have mercy upon us!--our earthly career and
troubles are nearly over!"  The master-at-arms came in, unlocked the
padlock at the end of the bars, and, slipping off the shackles, desired
the marine sentinels to conduct the prisoners to the quarter-deck.

Here was a scene of solemnity which I hardly dare attempt to describe.
The day was clear and beautiful; the top-gallant yards were crossed on
board of all the ships; the colours were flying; the crews were all
dressed in white trousers and blue jackets, and hung in clusters, like
bees; on the side of the rigging facing our ship: a guard of marines,
under arms, was placed along each gangway, but on board of our ship they
were on the quarter-deck.  Two boats from each ship lay off upon their
oars alongside of us, with a lieutenant's and a corporal's guard in
each, with fixed bayonets.  The hands were all turned up by the
boatswain and his mates with a shrill whistle, and calling down each
hatchway, "All hands, attend punishment!"

You now heard the quick trampling of feet up the ladders, but not a word
was spoken.  The prisoners stood on the middle of the quarter-deck,
while the captain read the sentence of the court-martial and the order
from the commander-in-chief for the execution.  The appropriate prayers
and psalms having been read by the chaplain with much feeling and
devotion, the poor men were asked if they were ready; they both replied
in the affirmative, but each requested to have a glass of wine, which
was instantly brought.  They drank it off, bowing most respectfully to
the captain and officers.

The admiral did not appear, it not being etiquette; but the prisoners
desired to be kindly and gratefully remembered to him; they then begged
to shake hands with the captain and all the officers, which having done,
they asked permission to address the ship's company.  The captain
ordered them all to come aft on the top and quarter-deck.  The most
profound silence reigned, and there was not an eye but had a tear in it.

William Strange, the man who had sent for me, then said, in a clear and
audible tone of voice:--"Brother sailors, attend to the last words of a
dying man.  We are brought here at the instigation of some of you who
are now standing in safety among the crowd: you have made fools of us,
and we are become the victims to the just vengeance of the laws.  Had
you succeeded in the infamous design you contemplated, what would have
been the consequences?  Ruin, eternal ruin, to yourselves and to your
families; a disgrace to your country; and the scorn of those foreigners
to whom you proposed delivering up the ship.  Thank God! you did not
succeed.  Let our fate be a warning to you, and endeavour to show by
your future acts your deep contrition for the past.  Now, sir," turning
to the captain, "we are ready."

This beautiful speech, from the mouth of a common sailor, must as much
astonish the reader as it then did the captain and officers of the ship.
But Strange, as I have shown, was no common man; he had had the
advantage of education, and, like many of the ringleaders at the mutiny
of the Nore, was led into the error of refusing to _obey_, from the
conscious feeling that he was born to _command_.

The arms of the prisoners were then pinioned, and the chaplain led the
way, reading the funeral service; the master-at-arms, with two marine
sentinels, conducted them along the starboard gangway to the forecastle.
Here a stage was erected on either side, over the cathead, with steps
to ascend to it; a tail block was attached to the boom-iron, at the
outer extremity of each foreyard-arm, and through this a rope was rove,
one end of which came down to the stage; the other was led along the
yard into the catharpings, and thence down upon the main deck.  A gun
was primed and ready to fire, on the fore part of the ship, directly
beneath the scaffold.

I attended poor Strange to the very last moment; he begged me to see
that the halter, which was a piece of line, like a clothes' line, was
properly made fast round his neck, for he had known men suffer
dreadfully from the want of this precaution.  A white cap was placed on
the head of each man, and when both mounted the platform, the cap was
drawn over their eyes.  They shook hands with me, with their mess-mates,
and with the chaplain, assuring him that they died happy, and confident
in the hopes of redemption.  They then stood still while the yard-ropes
were fixed to the halter by a toggle in the running noose of the latter;
the other end of the yard-ropes were held by some twenty or thirty men
on each side of the main deck, where two lieutenants of the ship
attended.

All being ready, the captain waved a white handkerchief, the gun fired,
and in an instant the poor fellows were seen swinging at either
yard-arm.  They had on blue jackets and white trousers, and were
remarkably fine-looking young men.  They did not appear to suffer any
pain; and at the expiration of an hour, the bodies were lowered down,
placed in coffins, and sent on shore for interment.

On my arrival in England, nine months after, I acquitted myself of my
promise, and paid to the mother of William Strange upwards of fifty
pounds, for pay and prize-money.  I told the poor woman that her son had
died a Christian, and had fallen for the good of his country; and having
said this, I took a hasty leave, for fear she should ask questions.

That the execution of a man on board of a ship of war does not always
produce a proper effect upon the minds of the younger boys, the
following fact may serve to prove.  There were two little fellows on
board the ship; one was the son of the carpenter, the other of the
boatswain.  They were both of them surprised and interested at the
sight, but not proportionably shocked.  The next day I was down in one
of the wings, reading by the light of a purser's dip--_vulgo_, a
farthing candle; when these two boys come sliding down the main hatchway
by one of the cables.  Whether they saw me, and thought I would not
`peach', or whether they supposed I was asleep, I cannot tell; but they
took their seats on the cables, in the heart of the tier, and for some
time appeared to be in earnest conversation.  They had some articles
folded up in a dirty check shirt and pocket handkerchief; they looked up
at the battens, to which the hammocks are suspended, and producing a
long rope-yarn, tried to pass it over one of them; but unable to reach,
one boy climbed on the back of the other, and effected two purposes, by
reeving one end of the line, and bringing it down to the cables again.
They next unrolled the shirt, and, to my surprise, took out the
boatswain's kitten, about three months old; its fore paws were tied
behind its back, its hind feet were tied together, and a fishing-lead
attached to them; a piece of white rag was tied over its head as a cap.

It was now pretty evident what the fate of poor puss was likely to be,
and why the lead was made fast to her feet.  The rope-yarn was tied
round her neck; they each shook one of her paws, and pretended to cry.
One of the urchins held in his hand a fife into which he poured as much
flour as it would hold out of the handkerchief; the other held the end
of the rope-yarn: every ceremony was gone through that they could think
of.

"Are you ready?" said the executioner, or he that held the line.

"All ready," replied the boy with the fife.

"Fire the gun!" said the hangman.

The boy applied one end of the fife to his mouth, blew out all the
flour, and in this humble imitation of the smoke of a gun, poor puss was
run up to the batten, where she hung till she was dead.  I am ashamed to
say I did not attempt to save the kitten's life, although I caused her
foul murder to be revenged by the _cat_.  After the body had hung a
certain time, they took it down, and buried it in the shot-locker; this
was an indictable offence, as the smell would have proved, so I lodged
the information; the body was found, and, as the facts were clear, the
law took its course, to the great amusement of the bystanders, who saw
the brats tied upon a gun and well flogged.

The boatswain ate the kitten, first, he said, because he had "_larned_"
to eat cats in Spain; secondly, because she had _not_ died a natural
death (I thought otherwise); and his last reason was more singular than
either of the others: he had seen a picture in a church in Spain, of
Peter's vision of the animals let down in the sheet, and there was a cat
among them.  Observing an alarm of scepticism in my eye, he thought
proper to confirm his assertion with an oath.

"Might it not have been a rabbit?" said I.

"Rabbit, sir! damn me, think I didn't know a cat from a rabbit?  Why one
has got short ears and long tail, and t'other has got _wicce wercee_, as
we calls it."

A grand carnival masquerade was to be given at Minorca, in honour of the
English, and the place chosen for the exhibition was a church; all which
was perfectly consistent with the Romish faith.  I went in the character
of a fool, and met many brother officers there.  It was a comical sight
to see the anomalous groups stared at by the pictures of the Virgin Mary
and all the saints, whose shrines were lit up for the occasion with wax
tapers.  The admiral, rear-admiral, and most of the captains and
officers of the fleet were present; the place was about a mile from the
town.

Having hired a fool's dress, I mounted that very appropriate animal--a
donkey, and set off amidst the shouts of a thousand dirty vagabonds.  On
my arrival, I began to show off in summersaults, leaps, and all kinds of
practical jokes.  The manner in which I supported the character drew a
little crowd around me.  I never spoke to an admiral or captain unless
he addressed me first, and then I generally sold him a bargain.  Being
very well acquainted with the domestic economy of the ships on the
station, a martinet asked me if I would enter for his ship.

"No," said I, "you would give me three-dozen for not lashing up my
hammock properly."

"Come with me," said another.

"No," said I; "your bell-rope is too short--you cannot reach it to order
another bottle of wine before all the officers have left your table."

Another promised me kind treatment and plenty of wine.

"No," said I, "in your ship I should be coals at Newcastle; besides,
your coffee is too weak, your steward only puts one ounce into six
cups."

These hits afforded a good deal of mirth among the crowd, and even the
admiral himself honoured me with a smile.  I bowed respectfully to his
lordship, who merely said--

"What do you want of me, fool?"

"Oh, nothing at all my lord," said I; "I have only a small favour to ask
of you."

"What is that?" said the admiral.

"Only to make me a captain, my lord."

"Oh, no," said the admiral, "we never make fools captains."

"No!" said I, clapping my arms akimbo in a very impertinent manner;
"then that, I suppose is a new regulation.  How long has the order in
council been out?"

The good-humoured old chief laughed heartily at this piece of
impertinence; but the captain whose ship I had so recently quitted was
silly enough to be offended: he found me out, and went and complained of
me to the captain the next day; but my captain only laughed at him, said
he thought it an excellent joke, and invited me to dinner.

Our ship was ordered to Gibraltar, where we arrived soon after; and a
packet coming in from England, I received letters from my father,
announcing the death of my dearest mother.  Oh how I then regretted all
the sorrows I had ever caused her; how incessantly did busy memory haunt
me with all my misdeeds, and recall to mind the last moment I had seen
her!  I never supposed I could have regretted her half so much.  My
father stated that in her last moments she had expressed the greatest
solicitude for my welfare.  She feared the career of life on which I had
entered would not conduce to my eternal welfare, however much it might
promise to my temporal advantage.  Her dying injunctions to me were,
never to forget the moral and religious principles in which she had
brought me up; and with her last blessing, implored me to read my Bible,
and take it as my guide through life.

My father's letter was both an affecting and forcible appeal; and never,
in the whole course of my subsequent life, were my feelings so worked
upon as they were on that occasion.  I went to my hammock with an aching
head and an almost broken heart.  A retrospection of my life afforded me
no comfort.  The numerous acts of depravity or pride, of revenge or
deceit, of which I had been guilty, rushed through my mind, as she
tempest through the rigging, and called me to the most serious and
melancholy reflections.  It was some time before I could collect my
thoughts and analyse my feelings; but when I recalled all my misdeeds--
my departure from that path of virtue so often and so clearly laid down
by my affectionate parent--I was overwhelmed with grief, shame and
repentance.  I considered how often I had been on the brink of eternity;
and had I been cut off in my sins, what would have been my destiny?  I
started with horror at the danger I had escaped, and looked forward with
gloomy apprehension at those that still awaited me.  I sought in vain,
among all my actions since I left my mother's care, one single deed of
virtue--one that sprang from a good motive.  There was, it is true, an
outward gloss and polish for the world to look at; but all was dark
within; and I felt that a keener eye than that of mortality was
searching my soul, where deception was worse than useless.

At twelve o'clock, before I had once closed my eyes, I was called to
relieve the deck; having what is called the middle-watch, i.e. from
midnight till four in the morning.  We had, the day before, buried a
quarter-master, nick-named Quid, an old seaman who had destroyed himself
by drinking--no very uncommon case in His Majesty's service.  The corpse
of a man who has destroyed his inside by intemperance is generally in a
state of putridity immediately after death: and the decay, particularly
in warm climates, is very rapid.  A few hours after Quid's death, the
body emitted certain effluvia denoting the necessity of immediate
interment.  It was accordingly sewn up in a hammock; and as the ship lay
in deep water, with a current sweeping round the bay, and the boats
being at the same time all employed in the dockyard, the first
lieutenant caused shot to be tied to the feet, and, having read the
funeral service, launched the body overboard from the gangway, as the
ship lay at anchor.

I was walking the deck, in no very happy state of mind, reflecting
seriously on parts of that Bible which for more than two years I had
never looked into, when my thoughts were called to the summons which
poor Quid had received, and the beauty of the funeral service which I
had read over him--"I am the resurrection and the life."  The moon,
which had been obscured, suddenly burst from a cloud, and a cry of
horror proceeded from the look-out-man on the starboard gangway.  I ran
to inquire the cause, and found him in such a nervous state of agitation
that he could only say,--"Quid--Quid!" and point with his finger into
the water.

I looked over the side, and, to my amazement there was the body of Quid:

  "All in dreary hammock shrouded."

perfectly upright, and floating with the head and shoulders above water.
A slight undulation of the waves gave it the appearance of nodding its
head; while the rays of the moon enabled us to trace the remainder of
the body underneath the surface.  For a few moments, I felt a horror
which I cannot describe, and contemplated the object in awful silence;
while my blood ran cold, and I felt a sensation as if my hair was
standing on end.  I was completely taken by surprise, and thought the
body had risen to warn me; but in a few seconds I regained my presence
of mind, and I soon perceived the origin of this reappearance of the
corpse.  I ordered the cutter to be manned, and, in the meantime, went
down to inform the first lieutenant of what had occurred.  He laughed,
and said, "I suppose the old boy finds salt water not quite so palatable
as grog.  Tie some more shot to his feet, and bring the old fellow to
his moorings again.  Tell him the next time he trips his anchor, not to
run on board of us.  He had his regular allowance of prayer: I gave him
the whole service, and I shall not give him any more."  So saying, he
went to sleep again.

This apparently singular circumstance is easily accounted for.  Bodies
decomposing from putridity, generate a quantity of gas, which swells
them up to an enormous size, and renders them buoyant.  The body of this
man was thrown overboard just as decomposition was in progress: the shot
made fast to the feet were sufficient to sink it at the time; but in a
few hours after, were not competent to keep it at the bottom, and it
came up to the surface in that perpendicular position which I have
described.  The current in the bay being at the time either slack or
irregular, it floated at the spot whence it had been launched into the
water.

The cutter, being manned, was sent with more shot to attach to the body,
and sink it.  When they attempted to hold it with the boat-hook, it
eluded the touch, turning round and round, or bobbing under the water,
and coming up again, as if in sport: but accident saved them any further
trouble; for the bowman, reproached by the boat's crew for not hooking
the body, got angry, and darting the spike of the boat-hook into the
abdomen, the pent-up gas escaped with a loud whiz, and the corpse
instantly sank like a stone.  Many jokes were passed on the occasion;
but I was not in humour for joking on serious subjects: and before the
watch was out I had made up my mind to go home, and to quit the service,
as I found I had no chance of obeying my mother's dying injunctions if I
remained where I was.

The next morning I stated my wishes to the captain, not of quitting the
service, but of going home in consequence of family arrangements.  This
was about as necessary as that I should make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
The captain had been told of the unpleasant news I had received, and
having listened to all I had to say, he replied, that if I could make up
my mind to remain with him it would be better for me.

"You are now," said he, "accustomed to my ways--you know your duty, and
do your work well; indeed, I have made honourable mention of you to the
Admiralty in my public letter: you know your own business best" (here he
was mistaken--he ought not to have parted with me for the reasons which
I offered); "but my advice to you is to stay."

I thanked him--but being bent and determined on going home, he acceded
to my request, gave me my discharge, and added a very handsome
certificate of good conduct, far beyond the usually prescribed form; he
also told me that if I chose to return to him he would keep a vacancy
for me.  I parted with the officers, my mess-mates, and the ship's
company with regret.  I had been more than three years with them; and my
stormy commencement had settled down into a quiet and peaceful
acknowledgment of my supremacy in the berth; my qualities were such as
to make me a universal favourite, and I was followed down the ship's
side with the hearty good wishes of all.  I was pulled in the cutter on
board of a ship of the line, in which I was ordered to take my passage
to England.



CHAPTER NINE.

  How happy could I be with either,
  Were t'other dear charmer away!
  "BEGGAR'S OPERA."

Hell, they say, is paved with good intentions.  If so, it has a much
better pavement than it deserves; for the "trail of the serpent is over
us all."  Then why send to hell the greatest proof of our perfection
before the fall, and of weakness subsequent to it?  Honest and sincere
professions of amendment must carry with them to the Throne of Grace a
strong recommendation, even if we are again led astray by the
allurements of sense and the snares of the world.  At least, our tears
of contrition and repentance, our sorrow for the past, and our firm
resolves for the future, must have given "joy in heaven," and
consequently cannot have been converted into pavement for the infernal
regions.

Pleasure and pain, in youth, are, for the most part, transient
impressions, whether they arise from possession or loss of worldly
enjoyment, or from a sense of having done well or ill in our career.
The excitement, though strong, is not durable; and thus it was with me.
I had not been more than four days on board the ship of the line in
which I took my passage to England, when I felt my spirits buoyant, and
my levity almost amounting to delirium.  The hours of reflection were at
first shortened, and then dismissed entirely.  The general mirth of my
new shipmates, at the thoughts of once more revisiting their dear native
land, the anticipation of indulging in the sensual worship of Bacchus
and Venus, the constant theme of discourse among the midshipmen--the
loud and senseless applause bestowed upon the coarsest ribaldry--these
all had their share in destroying that religious frame of mind in which
I had parted with my first captain, and seemed to awaken me to a sense
of the folly I had been guilty of in quitting a ship where I was not
only at the head of my mess, but in a fair way for promotion.  I
considered that I had acted the part of a madman, and had again begun to
renew my career of sin and of folly, a little, and but a little, sobered
by the recent event.

We arrived in England after the usual passage from the Rock.  I
consented to pass two days at Portsmouth, with my new companions, to
revisit our old haunts, and to commit those excesses which fools and
knaves applauded and partook of at my expense, leaving me full leisure
to repent, after we separated.  I, however, did muster resolution enough
to pack my trunk; and, after an extravagant supper at the Fountain,
retired to bed intoxicated, and the next morning, with an aching head,
threw myself into the coach and drove off for London.  A day of much
hilarity is generally succeeded by one of depression.  This is fair and
natural; we draw too largely on our stock, and squander our enjoyment
like our money, leaving us the next day with low spirits and a lower
purse.

A stupid dejection succeeded the boisterous mirth of the overnight.  I
slumbered in a corner of the coach till about one o'clock, when we
reached Godalming, where I alighted, took a slight refreshment, and
resumed my seat.  As we drove along, I had more leisure, and was in a
fitter frame of mind to review my past conduct since I had quitted my
ship at Gibraltar.  My self-examination, as usual, produced no
satisfactory results.  I perceived that the example of bad company had
swept away every trace of good resolution which I had made on the death
of my mother.  I saw with grief, that I had no dependence on myself; I
had forgotten all my good intentions, and the firm vows of amendment
with which I had bound myself, and had yielded to the first temptation
which came in my way.

In vain did I call up every black and threatening cloud of domestic
sorrow which was to meet me on my return home--the dreadful vacuum
occasioned by my mother's death--the grief of my father--my brother and
my sisters in deep mourning, and the couch on which I had left the best
of parents when I turned away my thoughtless head from her in the
anguish of her grief.  I renewed my promise of amendment, and felt some
secret consolation in doing so.

When I arrived at my father's door, the servant who let me in greeted me
with a loud and hearty welcome.  I ran into the drawing-room, where I
found that my brother and sisters had a party of children to spend the
evening with them.  They were dancing to the music of a piano, played on
by my aunt, while my father sat in his arm-chair, in high good humour.

This was a very different scene from what I had expected.  I was
prepared for a sentimental and affecting meeting; and my feelings were
all worked up to their full bearing for the occasion.  Judge then of the
sudden revulsion in my mind, when I found mirth and good humour where I
expected tears and lamentations.  It had escaped my recollection, that
although the death of my mother was an event new to me, it had happened
six months before I had heard of it; and, consequently, with them grief
had given way to time.  I was astonished at their apparent want of
feeling; while they gazed with surprise at the sight of me, and the
symbols of woe displayed in my equipment.

My father welcomed me with surprise; asked where my ship was, and what
had brought her home.  The fact was, that in my sudden determination to
return to England, I had spared myself the trouble of writing to make
known my intentions; and, indeed, if I had written, I should have
arrived as soon as my letter, unless (which I ought to have done) I had
written on my arrival at Portsmouth, instead of throwing away my time in
the very worst species of dissipation.  Unable, therefore, in the
presence of many witnesses, to give my father that explanation which he
had a right to expect, I suffered greatly for a time in his opinion.  He
very naturally supposed that some disgraceful conduct on my part was the
cause of my sudden return.  His brow became clouded and his mind seemed
occupied with deep reflection.

This behaviour of my father, together with the continued considerable
noisy mirth of my brother and sisters, gave me pain.  I felt as if, in
the sad news of my mother's death, I had over-acted my part in the
feeling I had shown, and the sacrifice I had made in quitting my ship.
On explaining to my father, in private, the motives of my conduct, I was
not successful.  He could not believe that my mother's death was the
sole cause of my return to England.  I stood many firm and angry
interrogations as to the possible good which could accrue to me by
quitting my ship.  I showed him the captain's handsome certificate,
which only mortified him the more.  In vain did I plead my excess of
feeling.  He replied with an argument that I feel to have been
unanswerable--that I had quitted the ship when on the very pinnacle of
favour, and in the road to fortune.  "And what," said he, "is to become
of the navy and the country, if every officer is to return home when he
receives the news of the death of a relation?"

In proportion as my father's arguments carried conviction, they did
away, at the same time, with all the good impressions of my mother's
dying injunction.  If her death was a matter of so little importance,
her last words were equally so; and from that moment I ceased to think
of either.  My father's treatment of me was now very different from what
it had ever been during my mother's lifetime.  My requests were harshly
refused, and I was lectured more as a child than as a lad of _eighteen_,
who had seen much of the world.  Coldness on his part was met by a
spirit of resistance on mine.  Pride came in to my assistance.  A
dispute arose one evening, at the finale of which I gave him to
understand that if I could not live quietly under his roof, I would quit
it.  He calmly recommended me to do so.  Little supposing that I should
have taken his advice, I left the room, banging the door after me,
packed up a few changes of linen, and took my departure, unperceived by
any one, with my bundle on my shoulder, and about sixteen shillings in
my pocket.

Here was a great mismanagement on the part of my father, and still
greater on mine.  He was anxious to get me afloat again, and I had no
sort of objection to going; but his impatience and my pride spoiled all.
Reflection soon came to me, but came too late.  Night was fast
approaching: I had no house over my head, and my exchequer was in no
very flourishing condition.  I had walked six miles from my father's
house, when I began to tire.  It became dark, and I had no fixed plan.
A gentleman's carriage came by; I took up a position in the rear of it,
and had ridden four miles, when, as the carriage was slowly dragging up
a hill, I was discovered by the parties inside; and the postilion, who
had dismounted and been informed of it, saluted me with two or three
smart cuts of his whip, intimating that I was of no use, but rather an
incumbrance which could be dispensed with.

My readers know that I had long since adopted the motto of our northern
neighbours, _Nemo me_, etcetera; so waiting very quietly till the driver
had mounted his horses, at the top of the hill, that he might be more at
my mercy, I discharged a stone at his head which caused him to vacate
his seat, and fall under his horse's belly.  The animals, frightened at
his fall, turned short round to the right, or they would have gone over
him, and ran furiously down the hill.  The post-boy, recovering his
legs, followed his horses without bestowing a thought on the author of
the mischief; and I made all the haste I could in the opposite
direction, perfectly indifferent as to the fate of the parties inside of
the carriage, for I still smarted with the blows I had received.

"Fools, and unkind," muttered I, looking back, as they disappeared at
the bottom of the hill, with frightful velocity, "you are rightly
served.  I was a trespasser, 'tis true, but a civil request would have
had all the effect you required--that of inducing me to get down; but a
whip to me--" And with my blood still boiling at the recollection, I
hastily pursued my journey.

In a few minutes I reached the little town of ---, the lights of which
were visible at the time the horses had turned down the hill and ran
away.  Entering the first inn I came to, I found the large room below
occupied by a set of strolling players, who had just returned from a
successful performance of "Romeo and Juliet"; and, from the excitement
among them, it was easy to perceive that their success had been fully
equal to their expectations.  They were fourteen in number, seated round
a table, not indifferently covered with the good things of this life;
they were clad in theatrical costume, which, with the rapid circulation
of the bottle, gave the whole scene an air of romantic freedom,
calculated to interest the mind of a thoughtless half-pay midshipman.

Being hungry after my walk, I determined to join the party at supper,
which, being a table d'hote was easily effected.  One of the actresses,
a sweet little, well-proportioned creature, with large black eyes, was
receiving, with apparent indifference, the compliments of the better
sort of bumpkins and young farmers of the neighbourhood.  In her
momentary and occasional smiles, she discovered a beautiful set of
small, white teeth; but when she resumed her pensive attitude, I was
sensible of an enchanting air of melancholy, which deeply interested me
in favour of this poor girl, who was evidently in a lower situation in
life than that for which she had been educated.  The person who sat
nearest to her, vacated his seat as soon as he found his attentions were
thrown away.  I instantly took possession of the place, and, observing
the greatest respect, entered at once into conversation with her.

Whether she was pleased with my address and language, as being superior
to what she was usually compelled to listen to, or whether she was
flattered by my assiduous attention, I know not; but she gradually
unbent, and became more animated; showing great natural talent and a
highly-cultivated mind; so that I was every moment more astonished to
find her in such a situation.  Our conversation had lasted a
considerable time; and I had just made a remark to which she had not
replied, apparently struggling with concealed emotion, when we were
interrupted by a carriage driving up to the door, and cries of "Help!
help!"  I instantly quitted the side of my new acquaintance, and flew to
answer the signal of distress.

A gentleman in the carriage was supporting a young lady in his arms, to
all appearance lifeless.  With my assistance, she was speedily removed
into the house, and conveyed to a bedroom.  A surgeon was sent for, but
none was to be had; the only practitioner of the town being at that
moment gone to attend one of those cases which, according to Mr
Malthus, are much too frequent for the good of the country.  I
discovered that the carriage had been overturned, and that the young
lady had been insensible ever since.  There was no time to be lost; I
knew that immediate bleeding was absolutely necessary.  I had acquired
thus much of surgical knowledge in the course of my professional duties.
I stated my opinion to the gentleman; and although my practice had been
very slight, offered my services to perform the operation.  This offer
was accepted with thanks by the grateful father, for such I found he
was.  With my sharp penknife I opened a vein in one of the whitest arms
I ever beheld.  After a few moments' chafing, the blood flowed more
freely; the pulse indicated returning animation; a pair of large blue
eyes opened suddenly upon me like a masked battery; and so alarmingly
susceptible was I of the tender passion, that I quite forgot the little
actress whom I had left at the supper-table, and who, a few minutes
before, had occupied my whole thoughts and attention.

Having succeeded in restoring the fair patient to consciousness, I
prescribed a warm bed, some tea, and careful watching.  My orders were
punctually obeyed; I then quitted the apartment of my patient, and began
to ruminate over the hurried and singular events of the day.

I had scarcely had time to decide in my own mind on the respective
merits of my two rival beauties, when the surgeon arrived; and, being
ushered into the sick room, declared that the patient had been treated
with skill, and that in all probability she owed her life to my presence
of mind.  "But, give me leave to ask," said the doctor, addressing the
father, "how the accident happened?"  The gentleman replied: that a
scoundrel, having got up behind the carriage, had been flogged off by
the postilion; and, in revenge, had thrown a stone, which knocked the
driver off his horse they took fright, turned round, and ran away down
the hill towards their own stables; and after running five miles, upset
the carriage against a post, "by which accident," said he, "my poor
daughter was nearly killed."

"What a villain!" said the doctor.

"Villain, indeed," echoed I; and so I felt I was.  I turned sick at the
thought of what my ungoverned passion had done; and my regret was not a
little increased by the charms of my lovely victim; but I soon recovered
from the shock, particularly when I saw that no suspicion attached to
me.  I therefore received the praises of the father and the doctor with
a becoming modest diffidence; and, with a hearty shake of the hand from
the grateful parent, was wished a good night and retired to my bed.

As I stood before the looking-glass, laying my watch and exhausted purse
on the dressing-table, and leisurely untying my cravat, I could not
forbear a glance of approbation at what I thought a very handsome and a
very impudent face: I soliloquised on the events of the day, and, as
usual, found the summing-up very much against me.  "This, then, sir,"
said I, "is your road to repentance and reform.  You insult your father;
quit his house; get up, like a vagabond, behind a gentleman's carriage;
are flogged off, break the ribs of an honest man, who has a wife and
family to support out of his hard earnings--are the occasion of a
carriage being overturned, and very nearly cause the death of an amiable
girl!  And all this mischief in the short space of six hours, not to say
a word of your intentions towards the little actress, which I presume
are none of the most honourable.  Where is all this to end?"

"At the gallows," said I, in reply to myself,--"the more probably, too,
as my finances have no means of improvement, except by a miracle or
highway robbery.  I am in love with two girls, and have only two clean
shirts; consequently there is no proportion between the demand and the
supply."  With this medley of reflections I fell asleep.  I was awoke
early by the swallows twittering at the windows; and the first question
which was agitated in my brain was, what account I should give of myself
to the father of the young lady, when interrogated by him, as I most
certainly should be.  I had my choice between truth and falsehood: the
latter (such is the force of habit), I think, carried it hollow; but I
determined to leave that point to the spur of the moment, and act
according to circumstances.  My meditations were interrupted by the
chambermaid, who, tapping at my door, said she came to tell me "that the
gentleman that _belonged_ to the young lady that I was so kind to was
waiting breakfast for me."

The thought of sitting at table with the dear creature whose brains I
had so nearly spilled upon the road the night before, quite overcame me;
and leaving the fabric of my history to chance or to inspiration, I
darted from my bedroom to the parlour, where the stranger awaited me.
He received me with great cordiality, again expressed his obligations,
and informed me that his name was Somerville, of ---.

I had some faint recollection of having heard the name mentioned by my
father, and was endeavouring to recall to mind on what occasion, when
Mr Somerville interrupted me by saying, that he hoped he should have
the pleasure of knowing the name of the young gentleman who had
conferred such an obligation upon him.  I answered that my name was
Mildmay; for I had no time to tell a lie.

"I should be happy to think," said he, "that you were the son of my old
friend and schoolfellow, Mr Mildmay, of ---; but that cannot well be,"
said he, "for he had only two sons--one at college, the other as brave a
sailor as ever lived, and now in the Mediterranean: but perhaps you are
some relation of his?"

He had just concluded this speech, and before I had time to reply to it,
the door opened, and Miss Somerville entered.  We have all heard a great
deal about "love at first sight;" but I contend, that the man who would
not, at the very first glimpse of Emily Somerville, have fallen
desperately in love with her, could have had neither heart nor soul.  If
I thought her lovely when she lay in a state of insensibility, what did
I think of her when her form had assumed its wonted animation, and her
cheeks their natural colour?  To describe a perfect beauty never was my
forte.  I can only say, that Miss Somerville, as far as I am a judge,
united in her person all the component parts of the finest specimen of
her sex in England; and these were joined in such harmony by the skilful
hand of Nature, that I was ready to kneel down and adore her.

As she extended her white hand to me, and thanked me for my kindness, I
was so taken aback with the sudden appearance and address of this
beautiful vision, that I knew not what to say.  I stammered out
something, but have no recollection whether it was French or English.  I
lost my presence of mind, and the blushes of conscious guilt on my face
at that moment, might have been mistaken for those of unsophisticated
innocence.  That these external demonstrations are often confounded, and
that such was the case on the present occasion, there can be no doubt.
My embarrassment was ascribed to that modesty ever attendant on real
worth.

It has been said that true merit blushes at being discovered; but I have
lived to see merit that could not blush, and the want of it that could,
while the latter has marched off with all the honours due to the former.
The blush that burned on my check, at that moment, would have gone far
to have condemned a criminal at the Old Bailey; but in the countenance
of a handsome young man, was received as the unfailing marks of "a pure,
ingenuous soul."

I had been too long at school to be ashamed of wearing laurels I had
never won; and, having often received a flogging which I did not
deserve, I thought myself equally well entitled to any advantages which
the chances of war might throw in my way; so having set my tender
conscience at rest, I sat myself down between my new mistress and her
father, and made a most delightful breakfast.  Miss Somerville, although
declared out of danger by the doctor, was still languid, but able to
continue her journey; and as they had not many miles farther to go, Mr
Somerville proposed a delay of an hour or two.

Breakfast ended, he quitted the room to arrange for their departure, and
I found myself _tete a tete_ with the young lady.  During this short
absence I found out that she was an only daughter, and that her mother
was dead; she again introduced the subject of my family-name, and I
found also that before Mrs Somerville's death, my father had been on
terms of great intimacy with Emily's parents.  I had not replied to Mr
Somerville's question.  A similar one was now asked by his daughter; and
so closely was I interrogated by her coral lips and searching blue eyes,
that I could not tell a lie.  It would have been a horrid aggravation of
guilt, so I honestly owned that I was the son of her father's friend,
Mr Mildmay.

"Good Heaven!" said she, "why had you not told my father so?"

"Because I must have said a great deal more besides," added I, making
her my confidante.  "I am the midshipman whom Mr Somerville supposes to
be in the Mediterranean, and I ran away from my father's house last
night."

Although I was as concise as possible in my story, I had not finished
before Mr Somerville came in.

"Oh, papa," said his daughter, "this young gentleman is Frank Mildmay,
after all."

I gave her a reproachful glance for having betrayed my secret; her
father was astonished--she looked confused, and so did I.  Nothing now
remained for me but an open and candid confession, taking especial care,
however, to conceal the part I had acted in throwing the stone.  Mr
Somerville reproved me very sharply, which I thought was taking a great
liberty; but he softened it down by adding, "If you knew how dear the
interests of your family are to me, you would not be surprised at my
assuming the tone of a parent."  I looked at Emily and pocketed the
affront.

"And Frank," pursued he, "when I tell you that, although the distance
between your father's property and mine has in some measure interrupted
our long intimacy, I have been watching your career in the service with
interest, you will, perhaps, take my advice, and return home.  Do not
let me have to regret that one to whom I am under such obligations
should too proud to acknowledge a fault.  I admire a high spirit in a
good cause: but towards a parent it can never be justified.  It may be
unpleasant to you; but I will prepare the way by writing to your father:
and do you stay here till you hear from me.  I should wish for the
pleasure of your company at --- Hall; but your father has prior claims:
and I hardly need tell you, that once restored and reconciled to him, I
expect as long a visit as you can afford to pay me.  Think on what I
have said and, in the meantime, as I daresay your finances are not very
flourishing"--(thinks I, you are a witch!)--"allow me to leave this
ten-pound note in your hands."  This part of his request was much more
readily complied with than the other.

He left the room, as he said, to pay the bill; but, I believe, it was to
give his fair daughter an opportunity of trying the effect of her
eloquence on my proud spirit, which gave no great promise of concession.
A few minutes with _her_, did more than both the fathers could have
effected, the most powerful motive to submission being the certainty
that I could not visit at her father's house until a reconciliation had
taken place between me and mine.  I therefore told her that, at her
solicitation, I would submit to any liberal terms.

This being agreed to, her father observed that the carriage was at the
door, shook hands with me, and led his lovely daughter away, whose last
nod and parting look confirmed all my good resolutions.

Reader, whatever you may think of the trifling incidents of the last
twenty-four hours, you will find that they involved consequences of vast
importance to the writer of this memoir.  Pride induced me to quit my
father's house; revenge stimulated me to an act which brought the
heroine of this story on the stage, for such will Emily Somerville prove
to be.  But, alas! by what fatal infatuation was Mr Somerville induced
to leave me my own master at an inn, with ten pounds in my pocket,
instead of taking me with him to his own residence, and keeping me till
he had heard from my father?  The wisest men often err in points which
at first appear of trivial importance, but which prove in the sequel to
have been fraught with evil.

Left to myself, I ruminated for some time on what had occurred; and the
beautiful Emily Somerville having vanished from my sight, I recollected
the little fascinating actress from whom I had so suddenly parted on the
previous night; still I must say, that I was so much occupied with the
charms of her successor, that I sought the society of the youthful
Melpomene more with a view to beguile the time, than from any serious
prepossession.

I found her in the large room, where they were all assembled.  She
received me as a friend, and evinced a partiality which flattered my
vanity.  In three days, I received a letter from Mr Somerville,
inclosing one from my father, whose only request was, that I would
return home, and meet him as if nothing unpleasant had occurred.  This I
determined to do; but I had now been so long in the company of Eugenia
(for that was the actress's name), that I could not very easily part
with her.  In fact, I was desperately in love, after my fashion; and
though perhaps I could not with truth say the same of her, yet that she
was partial to my company was evident.  I had obtained from her the
history of her life, which, in the following chapter, I shall give in
her own words.



CHAPTER TEN.

  She is virtuous, though bred behind the scenes: and, whatever pleasure
  she may feel in seeing herself applauded on the stage, she would much
  rather pass for a modest girl, than for a good actress.  GIL BLAS.

"My father," said Eugenia, "was at the head of this company of strolling
players; my mother was a young lady of respectable family, at a
boarding-school.  She took a fancy to my father in the character of
Rolla; and being, of course, deservedly forsaken by her friends, became
a prima donna.  I was the only fruits of this connection, and the only
solace of my mother in her affliction, for she bitterly repented the
rash step she had taken.

"At five years old, my father proposed that I should take the character
of Cupid, in the opera of `Telemaque.'  To this my mother strongly
objected, declaring that I never should go upon the stage; and this
created a disunion which was daily embittered by my father's unkind
treatment, both of my mother and myself.  I never left her side for fear
of a kick, which I was sure to receive when I had not her protection.
She employed all her spare time in my instruction, and, notwithstanding
the folly she had been guilty of, she was fully competent to the task.

"When I was seven years old, a relation of my mother died, and
bequeathed fifteen thousand pounds, to be equally divided between her
and her two sisters, securing my mother's portion in such a manner as to
prevent my father having any control over it.  As soon as my mother
obtained this information, she quitted my father, who was too prudent to
spend either his time or his money in pursuit of her.  Had he been aware
of her sudden change of fortune, he might have acted differently.

"We arrived in London, took possession of the property, which was all in
the funds; and then, fearing my father might gain information of her
wealth, my mother set off for France, taking me with her.  There I
passed the happiest days of my life; my mother spared no pains, and went
to considerable expense in my education.  The best masters were provided
for me in singing, dancing, and music; and so much did I profit by their
instruction, that I was very soon considered a pretty specimen of my
countrywomen, and much noticed accordingly.

"From France we went to Italy, where we remained two years, and where my
vocal education was completed.  My poor mother lived all this time on
the principal of her fortune, concluding it would last for ever.  At
last she was taken ill of a fever, and died.  This was about a year ago,
when I was only sixteen.  Delirious many days before her death, she
could give me no instructions as to my future conduct, or where to apply
for resources.  I happened, however, to know her banker in London, and
wrote to him immediately; in answer, he informed me that a balance of
forty pounds was all that remained in his hands.

"I believe he cheated me, but I could not help it.  My spirits were not
depressed at this news; I sold all the furniture; paid the little debts
to the tradespeople, and, with nine pounds in my pocket, took my place
in the diligence, and set off for London, where I arrived without
accident.  I read in the newspaper, at the inn, that a provincial
company was in want of a young actress for genteel comedy.  My mother's
original passion for the stage never left her; and, during our stay in
France, we amused ourselves with _la petite comedie_, in which I always
took a part.

"Without resources, I thought a precarious mode of obtaining a
livelihood was better than a vicious one, and determined to try my
fortune on the stage: so I ordered a hack, and drove to the office
indicated.  I felt a degree of comfort when I discovered that my father
was the advertising manager, although I was certain he would never
recognise me.  I was engaged by the agent, the bargain was approved of,
and in a day or two after, was ordered to a country town some miles from
the metropolis.

"I arrived; my father did not know me, nor did I wish that he should, as
I did not intend to remain long in the company.  In short, I aspired to
the London boards; but aware that I wanted practice, without which it
would have been useless to have offered myself, I accepted this
situation without delay, and applied with great assiduity to the study
of my profession.  My father, I found, had married again; and my joining
the company added nothing to his domestic harmony, my stepmother
becoming immoderately jealous of me; but I took good care to keep my own
secret, and never exposed myself for one moment to any suspicion of my
character, which hitherto, thank Heaven, has been pure, though I am
exposed to a thousand temptations, and beset by the actors to become the
wife of one, or the mistress of another.

"Among those who proposed the latter was my honoured father, to whom, on
that account, I was one day on the point of revealing the secret of my
birth, as the only means of saving myself from his importunities.  He
was at last taken ill, and died only three months ago, not before I had
completed my engagements, and obtained an increased salary of one guinea
and a half per week.  It is my intention to quit the company at the
expiration of my present term, which will take place in two months, for
I am miserable here, although I am quite at a loss to know what will be
my future destination."

In return for her confidence I imparted as much of my history as I
thought it necessary for her to know.  I became deeply fascinated,--I
forgot Miss Somerville, and answered my father's letter respectfully and
kindly.  He informed me that, he had procured my name to be entered on
the books of the guard-ship at Spithead; but that I might gain time to
loiter by the side of Eugenia, I begged his permission to join my ship
without returning home, alleging, as a reason, that delay would soften
down any asperity of feeling occasioned by the late fracas.  This, in
his answer, he agreed to, enclosing a handsome remittance; and the same
post brought a pressing invitation from Mr Somerville to come to
--- Hall.

My little actress informed me that the company would set out in two days
for the neighbourhood of Portsmouth; and, as I found that they would be
more than a fortnight in travelling, I determined to accept the
invitation, and quit her for the present.  I had been more than a week
in her society.  At parting, I professed my admiration and love.
Silence, and a starting tear, were her only acknowledgement.  I saw that
she was not displeased; and I left her with joyful anticipations.

But what did I anticipate, as I rolled heedlessly along in the chaise to
--- Hall?  Sensual gratification at the expense of a poor defenceless
orphan, whose future life would be clouded with misery.  I could see my
wickedness, and moralise upon it; but the devil was triumphant within
me, and I consoled myself with the vulgar adage, "Needs must when the
devil drives."  Then I dismissed the subject to think of Emily, whose
residence was now in sight.

I arrived at --- Hall, was kindly received and welcomed by both father
and mother: but on this visit I must not dwell.  When I reflect on it, I
hate myself and human nature!  Could I be trusted? yet I inspired
unbounded confidence.  Was I not as vicious as one of my age could, be?
Yet I made them believe I was almost perfection.  Did I deserve to be
happy?  Yet I was so, and more so than I had ever been before, or have
been since.  I was like the serpent in Eden, though without his vile
intentions.  Beauty and virtue united to keep my passions in subjection.
When they had nothing to feed on, they concealed themselves in the
inmost recesses of my bosom.

Had I remained always with Emily, I should have been reclaimed; but when
I quitted her I lost all my good feelings and good resolutions; not,
however, before the bright image of virtue had lighted up in my bosom a
holy flame, which has never been entirely extinguished.  Occasionally
dimmed, it has afterwards burnt up with renewed brightness; and, as a
beacon-light, has often guided me through perils, that might have
overwhelmed me.

Compelled at last to quit this earthly paradise, I told her, at parting,
that I loved her, adored her; and to prove that I was in earnest, and
that she believed me, I obtained a lock of her hair.  When I left
--- Hall, it was my intention to have joined my ship, as I had agreed
with my father; but the temptation to follow up my success with the fair
and unfortunate Eugenia, was too strong to be resisted; at least I
thought so, and therefore hardly made an effort to conquer it.  True I
did, pro forma, make appearance on board the guard-ship, had my name
entered on the books, that I might not lose my time of servitude, and
that I might also deceive my father.  All this being duly accomplished,
I obtained leave of absence from my first lieutenant, an old
acquaintance, who, in a ship crowded with supernumerary midshipmen, was
but too happy in getting rid of me and my chest.

I hastened to the rendezvous, and found the company in full activity.
Eugenia, when we parted, expressed a wish that our acquaintance might
not be renewed.  She feared for her own character as well as mine, and
very sensibly and feelingly observed that my professional prospects
might be blasted; but, having made up my mind, I had an answer to all
objections.  I presented myself to the manager, and requested to be
admitted into the company.

Having taken this step, Eugenia saw that my attachment was not to be
overcome; that I was willing to make any sacrifice for her.  I was
accepted; my salary was fixed at one guinea per week, with seven
shillings extra for playing the flute.  I was indebted for my ready
admission into this society to my voice: the manager wanted a first
singer.  My talent in this science was much admired.  I signed my
agreement the same evening for two months; and being presented in due
form to my brethren of the buskin, joined the supper-table, where there
was more of abundance than of delicacies.  I sat by Eugenia, whose
decided preference for me excited the jealousy of my new associates.  I
measured them all with my eye, and calculated that, with fair play, I
was the best man among them.

The play-bills announced the tragedy of "Romeo and Juliet."  I was to be
the hero, and four days were allowed me to prepare myself.  The whole of
that time was passed in the company of Eugenia, who, while she gave me
unequivocal proofs of attachment, admitted of no freedom.  The day of
rehearsal arrived, I was found perfect, and loudly applauded by the
company.  Six o'clock came, the curtain rose, and sixteen tallow candles
displayed my person to an audience of about one hundred people.

No one who has not been in the situation can form any idea of the
nervous feeling of a _debutant_ on such an occasion.  The troupe, with
the exception of Eugenia, was of a description of persons whom I
despise, and the audience mostly clodhoppers, who could scarcely read or
write; yet I was abashed, and acquitted myself badly, until the balcony
scene, when I became enlivened and invigorated by the presence and
smiles of my mistress.  In the art of love-making I was at home,
particularly with the Juliet of that night.  I entered at once into the
spirit of the great dramatist, and the curtain dropped amidst thunders
of applause.  My name was announced for a repetition of the play, and I
was dragged forward before the curtain, to thank the grocers,
tallow-chandlers, cheesemongers, and plough-men for the great honour
they had done me.  Heavens! how I felt the degradation; but it was too
late.

The natural result of this constant intercourse with Eugenia, may easily
be anticipated.  I do not attempt to extenuate my fault--it was
inexcusable, and has brought its punishment; but for poor, forlorn
Eugenia I plead; her virtue fell before my _importunity_ and my personal
appearance.  She fell a victim to those unhappy circumstances of which I
basely took the advantage.  Two months I had lived with her, as man and
wife; I forgot my family, profession, and even Emily.  I was now upon
the ship's books: and though no one knew anything of me, my father was
ignorant of my absence from my ship--everything was sacrificed to
Eugenia.  I acted with her, strolled the fields, and vowed volumes of
stuff about constancy.  When we played, we filled the house; and some of
the more respectable townspeople offered to introduce us to the London
boards, but this we both declined.  We cared for nothing but the society
of each other.

And now that time has cooled the youthful ardour that carried me away,
let me do justice to this unfortunate girl.  She was the most natural,
unaffected and gifted person I ever met with.  Boundless wit, enchanting
liveliness, a strong mind, and self-devotion towards me, the first and,
I firmly believe, the only object she ever loved; and her love for me
ceased only with her life.  Her faults, though not to be defended, may
be palliated and deplored, because they were the defects of education.
Her infant days were passed in scenes of domestic strife, profligacy,
and penury; her maturer years, under the guidance of a weak mother, were
employed in polishing, not strengthening, the edifice of her
understanding, and the external ornaments only served to accelerate the
fall of the fabric, and to increase the calamity.

Bred up in France, and almost in the fervour of the Revolution, she had
imbibed some of its libertine opinions; among others, that marriage was
a civil contract, and if entered into at all, might be broken at the
pleasure of either party.  This idea was strengthened and confirmed in
her by the instances she had seen of matrimonial discord, particularly
in her own family.  When two people, who fancied they loved, had bound
themselves by an indissoluble knot, they felt from that time the
irksomeness of restraint, which they would never have felt if they had
possessed the power of separation; and would have lived happily together
if they had not been compelled to do it.  "How long you, my dear Frank,"
said Eugenia to me one day, "may continue to love me, I know not; but
the moment you cease to love me, it were better that we parted."

These were certainly the sentiments of an enthusiast; but Eugenia lived
long enough to acknowledge her error, and to bewail its fatal effects on
her peace of mind.  I was awoke from this dream of happiness by a
curious incident.  I thought it disastrous at the time, but am now
convinced that it was fraught with good, since it brought me back to my
profession, recalled me to a sense of duty, and showed me the full
extent of my disgraceful situation.  My father, it appears, was still
ignorant of my absence from my ship, and had come down, without my
knowledge, on a visit to a friend in the neighbourhood.  Hearing of the
"interesting young man" who had acquired so much credit in the character
of Apollo, as well as of Romeo, he was persuaded to see the performance.

I was in the act of singing "Pray Goody," when my eyes suddenly met
those of my papa, who was staring like the head of Gorgon; and though
his gaze did not turn me to stone, it turned me sick.  I was stupified,
forgot my part, ran off, and left the manager and the music to make the
best of it.  My father, who could hardly believe his eyes, was convinced
when he saw my confusion.  I ran into the dressing-room, where, before I
had time to divest myself of Apollo's crown and petticoat, I was
accosted by my enraged parent, and it is quite impossible for me to
describe (taking my costume into consideration) how very much like a
fool I looked.

My father sternly demanded how long I had been thus honourably employed.
This was a question which I had anticipated, and, therefore, very
readily replied, "Only two or three days;" that I had left Portsmouth
for what we called "a lark," and I thought it very amusing.

"Very amusing, indeed, sir," said my father; "and, pray, may I venture
to inquire, without the fear of having a lie told me, how long this
`lark,' as you call it, is to continue?"

"Oh, to-morrow," said I, "my leave expires, and then I must return to my
ship."

"Allow me the honour of keeping your company," said my father; "and I
shall beg your captain to impose some little restraint as to time and
distance on your future excursions."

Then, rising in his tone, he added, "I am ashamed of you, sir, the son
of a gentleman is not likely to reap any advantage from the society of
strolling vagabonds and prostitutes.  I had reason to think, by your
last letters from Portsmouth, that you were very differently employed."

To this very sensible and parental reproof I answered with a demure and
innocent countenance (for I soon regained my presence of mind) that I
did not think there had been any harm in doing that which most of the
officers of the navy did at one time or another (an assertion,
by-the-by, much too general); that we often got up plays on board of
ship, and that I wanted to practise.

"Practise then with your equals," said my father, "not in company with
rogues and street-walkers."

I felt that the latter name was meant for Eugenia, and was very
indignant; but fortunately kept all my anger within board, and, knowing
I was "all in the wrong," allowed my father to fire away without
returning a shot.  He concluded his lecture by commanding me to call
upon him the next morning, at ten o'clock, and left me to change my
dress, and to regain my good humour.  I need not add that I did not
return to the stage that night, but left the manager to make his peace
with the audience in any way he thought proper.

When I informed Eugenia of the evening's adventure, she was
inconsolable: to comfort her, I offered to give up my family and my
profession, and live with her.  At these words Eugenia suddenly
recollected herself.  "Frank," said she, "all that has happened is
right.  We are both wrong.  I felt that I was too happy, and shut my
eyes to the danger I dared not face.  Your father is a man of sense; his
object is to reclaim you from inevitable ruin.  As for me, if he knew of
our connection, he could only despise me.  He sees his son living with
strolling players; and it is his duty to cut the chain, no matter by
what means.  You have an honourable and distinguished career marked out
for you; I will never be an obstacle to your father's just ambition or
your prosperity.  I did hope for a happier destiny; but love blinded my
eyes: I am now undeceived.  If your father cannot respect me, he shall
at least admire the resolution of the unhappy Eugenia.  I have tenderly
loved you, my dearest Frank, and never have loved any other, nor ever
shall; but part we must, Heaven only knows for how long a time.  I am
ready to make every sacrifice to your fame and character--the only proof
I can give of my unbounded love for you."

I embraced her as she uttered these words; and we spent a great part of
the night in making preparations for my departure, arrangements for our
future correspondence, and, if possible, for our future meetings.  I
left her early on the following morning; and with a heavy, I had almost
said, a broken heart, appeared before my father.  He was, no doubt,
aware of my attachment and the violence of my passions, and prudently
endeavoured to soothe them.  He received me affectionately, did not
renew the subject of the preceding night, and we became very good
friends.

In tearing myself away from Eugenia, I found the truth of the French
adage, "_Ce n'est que la premiere pas qui coute_;" my heart grew lighter
as I increased my distance from her.  My father, to detach my mind still
more from the unfortunate subject, spoke much of family affairs, of my
brother and sisters, and lastly named Mr Somerville and Emily: here he
touched on the right chord.  The remembrance of Emily revived the
expiring embers of virtue, and the recollection of the pure and perfect
mistress of --- Hall for a time dismissed the unhappy Eugenia from my
mind.  I told my father that I would engage never to disgrace him or
myself any more, if he would promise not to name my late folly to Mr
Somerville or his daughter.

"That," said my father, "I promise most readily; and with the greater
pleasure, since I see, in your request, the strongest proof of the sense
of your error."

This conversation passed on our road to Portsmouth, where we had no
sooner arrived than my father, who was acquainted with the port-admiral,
left me at the "George," while he crossed the street to call on him.
The result of this interview was, that I should be sent out immediately
in some sea-going ship with a "tight captain."

There was one of this description just about to sail for Basque Roads;
and, at the admiral's particular request, I was received on board as a
supernumerary, there being no vacancies in the ship.  My father, who by
this time was wide awake to all my wiles, saw me on board; and then
flattering himself that I was in safe custody, took his leave and
returned to the shore.  I very soon found that I was under an embargo,
and was not on any account to be allowed leave of absence.  This was
pretty nearly what I expected; but I had my own resources.  I had now
learned to laugh at trifles, and I cared little about this decided step
which his prudence induced him to take.



CHAPTER ELEVEN.

  "Our boat has one sail,
  And the helmsman is pale;
  A bold pilot, I trow,
  Who should follow us now,"
  Shouted he.
  As he spoke, bolts of death
  Speck'd their path o'er the sea.
  "And fear'st thou, and fear'st thou?
  And see'st thou, and hear'st thou?
  And drive we not free
  O'er the terrible sea,
  I and thou?"
  SHELLEY.

The reader may think I was over fastidious when I inform him that I
cannot describe the disgust I felt at the licentious impurity of manners
which I found in the midshipmen's berth; for although my connection with
Eugenia was not sanctioned by religion or morality, it was in other
respects pure, disinterested, and, if I may use the expression,
patriarchal, since it was unsullied by inconstancy, gross language, or
drunkenness.  Vicious I was, and I own it to my shame; but at least my
vice was refined by Eugenia, who had no fault but one.

As soon as I had settled myself in my new abode, with all the comfort
that circumstances would permit, I wrote a long letter to Eugenia, in
which I gave an exact account of all that had passed since our
separation; I begged her to come down to Portsmouth and see me; told her
to go to the "Star and Garter", as the house nearest the water-side, and
consequently where I should be the soonest out of sight after I had
landed.  Her answer informed me that she should be there on the
following day.

The only difficulty now was to get on shore.  No eloquence of mine, I
was sure, would induce the first lieutenant to relax his Cerberus-like
guard over me.  I tried the experiment, however; begged very hard "to be
allowed to go on shore to procure certain articles absolutely necessary
to my comfort."

"No, no," said Mr Talbot, "I am too old a hand to be caught that way.
I have my orders, and I would not let my father go on shore, if the
captain ordered me to keep him on board; and I tell you, in perfect good
humour, that out of this ship you do not go, unless you swim on shore,
and that I do not think you will attempt.  Here," continued he, "to
prove to you there is no ill-will on my part, here is the captain's
note."

It was short, sweet, and complimentary as related to myself, and was as
follows:--

"Keep that damned young scamp, Mildmay, on board."

"Will you allow me then," said I, folding up the note, and returning it
to him without any comment, "will you allow me to go on shore under the
charge of the sergeant of marines?"

"That," said he, "would be just as much an infringement of my orders as
letting you go by yourself.  You cannot go on shore, sir."

These last words he uttered in a very peremptory manner, and, quitting
the deck, left me to my own reflections and my own resources.

Intercourse by letter between Eugenia and myself was perfectly easy; but
that was not all I wanted.  I had promised to meet her at nine o'clock
in the evening.  It was now sunset; the boats were all hoisted up; no
shore-boat was near, and there was no mode of conveyance but _a la
nage_, which Mr Talbot himself had suggested only as proving its utter
impracticability; but he did not know me half so well at the time as he
did afterwards.

The ship lay two miles from the shore, the wind was from the south-west,
and the tide moving to the eastward; so that, with wind and tide both in
my favour, I calculated on fetching South Sea Castle.  After dark I took
my station in the fore-channels.  It was the 20th of March, and very
cold.  I undressed myself, made all my clothes up into a very tight
bundle, and fastened them on my hat, which retained its proper position;
then, lowering myself very gently into the water, like another Leander,
I struck out to gain the arms of my Hero.

Before I had got twenty yards from the ship, I was perceived by the
sentinel, who, naturally supposing I was a pressed man endeavouring to
escape, hailed me to come back.  Not being obeyed, the officer of the
watch ordered him to fire at me.  A ball whizzed over my head, and
struck the water between my hands.  A dozen more followed, all of them
tolerably well directed; but I struck out, and the friendly shades of
night, and increasing distance from the ship, soon protected me.  A
waterman, seeing the flashes and hearing the reports of the muskets,
concluded that he might chance to pick up a fare.  He pulled towards me,
I hailed him, and he took me in, before I had got half a quarter of a
mile from the ship.

"I doubt whether you would ever have fetched the shore on that tack, my
lad," said the old man.  "You left your ship two hours too soon: you
would have met the ebb-tide running strong out of the harbour; and the
first thing you would have made, if you could have kept up your head
above water, would have been the Ower's."

While the old man was pulling and talking, I was shivering and dressing,
and made no reply; but begged him to put me on shore on the first part
of South Sea Beach he could land at, which he did.  I gave him a guinea,
and ran, without stopping, into the garrison, and down Point-Street, to
the "Star and Garter," where I was received by Eugenia, who, with great
presence of mind, called me her "_dear, dear_ husband!" in the hearing
of the people of the house.  My wet clothes attracted her notice.  I
told her what I had done to obtain an interview with her.  She shuddered
with horror;--my teeth chattered with cold.  A good fire, a hot and not
very weak glass of brandy-and-water, together with her tears, smiles,
and caresses, soon restored me.  The reader will, no doubt, here recall
to mind the less agreeable remedy applied to me when I ducked the usher,
and one recommended also by myself in similar cases, as having
experienced its good effects: how much more I deserved it on this
occasion than the former one, need not be mentioned.

So sweet was this stolen interview, that I vowed I was ready to
encounter the same danger on the succeeding night.  Our conversation
turned on our future prospects; and, as our time was short, we had much
to say.

"Frank," said the poor girl, "before we meet again, I shall probably be
a mother; and this hope alone alleviates the agony of separation.  If I
have not you, I shall, at least, be blest with your image.  Heaven grant
that it may be a boy, to follow the steps of his father, and not a girl,
to be as wretched as her mother.  You, my dear Frank, are going on
distant and dangerous service--dangers increased tenfold by the natural
ardour of your mind: we may never meet again, or if we do, the period
will be far distant.  I ever have been, and ever will be constant to
you, till death; but I neither expect, nor will allow of the same
declaration on your part.  Other scenes, new faces, youthful passions,
will combine to drive me for a time from your thoughts, and when you
shall have attained maturer years, and a rank in the navy equal to your
merits and your connections, you will marry in your own sphere of
society; all these things I have made up my mind to, as events that must
take place.  Your person I know I cannot have--but do not, do not
discard me from your mind.  I shall never be jealous as long as I know
you are happy, and still love your unfortunate Eugenia.  Your child
shall be no burthen to you until it shall have attained an age at which
it may be put out in the world: then, I know you will not desert it, for
the sake of its mother.  Dear Frank, my heart is broken; but you are not
to blame; and if you were, I would die imploring blessings on your
head."  Here she wept bitterly.

I tried every means in my power to comfort and encourage this
fascinating and extraordinary girl; I forget neither vows nor promises,
which, at the time, I fully intended to perform.  I promised her a
speedy, and I trusted, a happy meeting.

"God's will be done," said she, "come what will.  And now, my dearest
Frank, farewell--never again endanger your life and character for me as
you did last night.  I have been blest in your society, and even with
the prospect of misery before me, cannot regret the past."

I tenderly embraced her, jumped into a wherry, at Point, and desired the
waterman to take me on board the _I---_, at Spithead.  The first
lieutenant was on deck when I came up the side.

"I presume it was you whom we fired at last night?" said he, smiling.

"It was, sir," said I; "absolute necessity compelled me to go on shore,
or I should not have taken such an extraordinary mode of conveyance."

"Oh, with all my heart," said the officer; "had you told me you intended
to have swum on shore, I should not have prevented you; I took you for
one of the pressed men, and directed the marines to fire at you."

"The pressed men are extremely obliged to you," thought I.

"Did you not find it devilish cold?" continued the lieutenant, in a
strain of good humour, which I encouraged by my manner of answering.

"Indeed I did, sir," said I.

"And the jollies fired tolerably well, did they?"

"They did, sir; would they had had a _better mark_."

"I understand you," said the lieutenant; "but as you have not served
your time, the vacancy would be of no use to you.  I must report the
affair to the captain, though I do not think he will take any notice of
it; he is too fond of enterprise himself to check it in others.
Besides, a lady is always a justifiable object, but we hope soon to show
you some higher game."

The captain came on board shortly after, and took no notice of my having
been absent without leave; he made some remark as he glanced his eye at
me, which I afterwards learned was in my favour.  In a few days we
sailed, and arrived in a few more in Basque Roads.  The British fleet
was at anchor outside the French ships moored in a line off the Isle
d'Aix.  The ship I belonged to had an active part in the work going on,
and most of us saw more than we chose to speak of; but as much ill-blood
was made on that occasion, and one or two very unpleasant courts-martial
took place, I shall endeavour to confine myself to my own personal
narrative, avoiding anything that may give offence to the parties
concerned.  Some days were passed in preparing the fire-ships; and on
the night of the 11th April, 1809, everything being prepared for the
attempt to destroy the enemy's squadron, we began the attack.  A more
daring one was never made; and if it partly failed of success, no fault
could be imputed to those who conducted the enterprise: they did all
that man could do.

The night was very dark, and it blew a strong breeze directly in upon
the Isle d'Aix, and the enemy's fleet.  Two of our frigates had been
previously so placed as to serve as beacons to direct the course of the
fire-ships.  They each displayed a clear and brilliant light; the
fire-ships were directed to pass between these; after which, their
course up to the boom which guarded the anchorage was clear, and not
easily to be mistaken.

I solicited and obtained permission to go on board one of the explosion
vessels that were to precede the fire-ships.  They were filled with
layers of shells and powder, heaped one upon another: the quantity on
board of each vessel was enormous.  Another officer, three seamen, and
myself, were all that were on board of her.  We had a four-oared gig, a
small, narrow thing (nick-named by the sailors a "coffin"), to make our
escape in.

Being quite prepared, we started.  It was a fearful moment; the wind
freshened, and whistled through our rigging, and the night was so dark
that we could not see our bowsprit.  We had only our foresail set; but
with a strong flood-tide and a fair wind, with plenty of it, we passed
between the advanced frigates like an arrow.  It seemed to me like
entering the gates of hell.  As we flew rapidly along, and our ships
disappeared in the intense darkness, I thought of Dante's inscription
over the portals:--"You who enter here, leave hope behind."

Our orders were to lay the vessel on the boom which the French had
moored to the outer anchors of their ships of the line.  In a few
minutes after passing the frigates, we were close to it; our boat was
towing astern, with three men in it--one to hold the rope ready to let
go, one to steer, and one to bail the water out, which, from our rapid
motion, would otherwise have swamped her.  The officer who accompanied
me steered the vessel, and I held the match in my hand.  We came upon
the boom with a horrid crash; he put the helm down, and laid her
broadside to it.  The force of the tide acting on the hull, and the wind
upon the foresail, made her heel gunwale to, and it was with difficulty
I could keep my legs; at this moment the boat was very near being
swamped alongside.  They had shifted her astern, and there the tide had
almost lifted her over the boom; by great exertion they got her clear,
and lay upon their oars: the tide and the wind formed a bubbling short
sea, which almost buried her.  My companion then got into the boat,
desiring me to light the port-fire and follow.

If ever I felt the sensation of fear, it was after I had lighted this
port-fire, which was connected with the train.  Until I was fairly in
the boat, and out of the reach of the explosion--which was inevitable,
and might be instantaneous--the sensation was horrid.  I was standing on
a mine; any fault in the port-fire, which sometimes will happen; any
trifling quantity of gunpowder lying in the interstices of the deck,
would have exploded the whole in a moment: had my hand trembled, which I
am proud to say it did not, the same might have occurred.  Only one
minute and a half of port-fire was allowed.  I had therefore no time to
lose.  The moment I had lit it, I laid it down very gently, and then
jumped into the gig, with a nimbleness suitable to the occasion.  We
were off in a moment: I pulled the stroke oar, and I never plied with
more zeal in all my life: we were not two hundred yards from her when
she exploded.

A more terrific and beautiful sight cannot be conceived; but we were not
quite enough at our ease to enjoy it.  The shells flew up in the air to
a prodigious height, some bursting as they rose, and others as they
descended.  The shower fell about us, but we escaped without injury.  We
made but little progress against the wind and tide; and we had the
pleasure to run the gauntlet among all the other fire-ships, which had
been ignited, and bore down on us in flames fore and aft.  Their rigging
was hung with Congreve rockets; and as they took fire they darted
through the air in every direction, with an astounding noise, looking
like large fiery serpents.

We arrived safely on board, and reported ourselves to the captain, who
was on the hammocks, watching the progress of the fire-ships.  One of
these had been lighted too soon; her helm had not been lashed and she
had broached to, close to our frigate.  I had had quite enough of
adventure for that night, but was fated to have a little more.

"Mr Mildmay," said the captain, "you seem to like the fun; jump into
your gig again, take four fresh hands" (thinks I, a fresh midshipman
would not be amiss), "get on board of that vessel and put her head the
right way."

I did not like this job at all; the vessel appeared to be in flames from
the jib-boom to the topsail; and I own I preferred enjoying the honours
I had already gained, to going after others so very precarious; however,
I never made a difficulty, and this was no time for exceptions to my
rule.  I touched my hat, said, "Ay, ay, sir;" sang out for four
volunteers, and, in an instant, I had fifty.  I selected four, and
shoved off on my new expedition.

As I approached the vessel, I could not at first discover any part that
was not tenanted by the flames, the heat of which, at the distance of
twenty or thirty feet, was far from pleasant, even in that cold night.
The weather quarter appeared to be clearest of flames, but they burst
out with great fury from the cabin windows.  I contrived, with great
difficulty, to reach the deck, by climbing up that part which was not
actually burning, and was followed by one of the sailors.  The mainmast
was on fire, and the flakes of burning canvas from the boom mainsail
fell on us like a snow-storm; the end of the tiller was burnt to
charcoal, but on the midship part of it I passed a rope, and assisted by
the sailor, moved the helm, and got her before the wind.

While I was thus employed, I could not help thinking of my type, Don
Juan.  I was nearly suffocated before I had completed my work.  I shoved
off again, and away she flew before the wind.  "I don't go with you this
time," said I; "_J'ai ete_," as the Frenchman said, when he was invited
to an English foxhunt.

I was as black as a negro when I returned on board, and dying with
thirst.  "Very well done, Mildmay," said the captain; "did you find it
warm?"  I pointed to my mouth, for it was so parched that I could not
speak, and ran to the water-cask, where I drank as much as would have
floated a canoe.  The first thing I said, as soon as I could speak, was
"Damn that fire-ship, and the lubber that set her on fire."

The next morning the French squadron was seen in a very disastrous
state; they had cut their cables, and ran on shore in every direction,
with the exception of the flag-ships of the admiral and rear-admiral,
which lay at their anchors, and could not move till high-water; it was
then first quarter flood, so that they had five good hours to remain.  I
refer my readers to the court-martial for a history of these events:
they have also been commented on, with more or less severity, by
contemporary writers.  I shall only observe, that had the captains of
His Majesty's ships been left to their own judgment, much more would
have been attempted; but with what success I do not presume to say.

My captain, as soon as he could see his mark, weighed, ran in, and
engaged the batteries, while he also directed his guns at the bottoms of
the enemy's ships, as they lay on shore on their beam-ends.  Isle d'Aix
gave us a warm reception.  I was on the forecastle, the captain of which
had his head taken clean off by a cannon-ball; the captain of the ship
coming forward at the same moment, only said, "Poor fellow! throw him
overboard; there is no time for a coroner's inquest now."  We were a
considerable time engaging the batteries and the vessels near them,
without receiving any assistance from our ships.

While this was going on, a very curious instance of muscular action
occurred: a lad of eighteen years of age was on the forecastle, when a
shot cut away the whole of his bowels, which were scattered over another
midshipman and myself, and nearly blinded us.  He fell--and, after lying
a few seconds, sprang suddenly on his feet, stared us horridly in the
face, and fell down dead.  The spine had not been divided; but with that
exception, the lower was separated from the upper part of the body.

Some of our vessels, seeing us so warmly engaged, began to move up to
our assistance.  One of our ships of the line came into action in such
gallant trim that it was glorious to behold.  She was a beautiful ship,
in what we call "high kelter;" she seemed a living body, conscious of
her own superior power over her opponents, whose shot she despised, as
they fell thick and fast about her, whilst she deliberately took up an
admirable position for battle; and having furled her sails, and squared
her yards, as if she had been at Spithead, her men came down from aloft,
went to their guns, and opened such a fire on the enemy's ships and
batteries as would have delighted the great Nelson himself, could he
have been present.  The results of this action are well-known, and do
not need repeating here; it was one of the winding-up scenes of the war.
The French, slow to believe their naval inferiority, now submitted in
silence.  Our navy had done its work; and from that time, the brunt of
the war fell on the army.

The advocates of fatalism or predestination might adduce a strong
illustration of their doctrine as evinced in the death of the captain of
one of the French ships destroyed.  This officer had been taken out of
his ship by one of the boats of our frigate; but, recollecting that he
had left on board nautical instruments of great value, he requested our
captain to go with him in the gig, and bring them away before the ship
was burned.  They did go, and the boat being very small, they sat very
close side by side, on a piece of board not much more than two feet
long, which, for want of proper seats, was laid across the stern of the
boat.  One of the French ships was burning at the time; her guns went
off as fast as the fire reached them; and a chance shot took the board
from under the two captains: the English captain was not hurt; but the
splinters entered the body of the French captain and killed him.  Late
in the evening, the other French line-of-battle ships that were ashore
were set fire to, and a splendid illumination they made: we were close
to them, and the splinters and fragments of wreck fell on board of us.

Among our killed was a Dutch boatswain's mate: his wife was on board,
and the stick which he was allowed to carry in virtue of his office, he
very frequently applied to the shoulders of his helpmate, in requital
for certain instances of infidelity; nor, with all my respect for the
fair sex, can I deny that the punishment was generally deserved.  When
the cannon-ball had deprived her of her lawful protector and the
guardian of her honour, she sat by the side of his mangled remains,
making many unavailing efforts to weep; a tear from one eye coursed down
her cheek, and was lost in her mouth; one from the other eye started at
the same time, but, for want of nourishment, halted on her cheekbone,
where, collecting the smoke and gunpowder which surrounded us, it formed
a little black peninsula and isthmus on her face, and gave to her heroic
grief a truly mourning tear.  This proof of conjugal affection she would
not part with until the following day, when having seen the last sad
rites paid to the body of her faithful Achilles, she washed her face,
and resumed her smiles, nor was she ungrateful to the ship's company for
their sympathy.

We were ordered up to Spithead with despatches, and long before we
arrived she had made the sergeant of marines the happiest of men, under
a promise of marriage at Kingston church before we sailed on our next
cruise, which promise was most honourably performed.

A midshipman's vacancy having occurred on board the frigate, the captain
offered it to me.  I gladly accepted of it; and while he was in the
humour, I asked him for a week's leave of absence; this he also granted,
adding, at the same time, "No more French leave, if you please."  I need
not say that not an hour of this indulgence was intended either for my
father or even the dear Emily.  No, Eugenia, the beloved, in her
interesting condition, claimed my undivided care.  I flew to G---, found
the troop; but she, alas! had left it a fortnight before, and had gone
no one knew whither.

Distracted with this fatal news, I sank into a chair almost senseless,
when one of the actresses brought me a letter: I knew the hand; it was
that of Eugenia.  Rushing into an empty parlour, I broke the seal, and
read as follows:--

  "Believe me, my dearest Mildmay, nothing but the most urgent necessity
  could induce me to cause you the affliction which I know you will feel
  on reading these lines.  Circumstances have occurred since we parted,
  that not only render it necessary that I should quit you, but also
  that we should not meet again for some time; and that you should be
  kept in ignorance of my place of abode.  Our separation, though long,
  will not, I trust, be eternal; but years may elapse before we meet
  again.  The sacrifice is great to me; but your honour and prosperity
  demand it.  I have the same ardent love towards you that I ever had;
  and for your sake will love and cherish your child.  I am supported in
  _this_ my trial, by a hope of our being again united.  God in heaven
  bless you, and prosper all your undertakings.  Follow up your
  profession.  I shall hear and have constant intelligence of all your
  motions, and I shall pray to Heaven to spare your life amidst all the
  dangers that your courage will urge you to encounter.  Farewell! and
  forget not her who never has you one moment from her thoughts.

  "EUGENIA.

  "PS.  You may at times be short of cash; I know you are very
  thoughtless in that respect.  A letter to the subjoined address will
  always be attended to, and enable you to command whatever may be
  necessary for your comfort.  Pride might induce you to reject this
  offer; but remember it is Eugenia that offers: and if you love her as
  she thinks you do, you will accept it from her."

Here was mystery and paradox in copious confusion.  "Obliged by
circumstances to leave me--to conceal the place of her retirement"--yet
commanding not only pecuniary resources for herself, but offering me any
sum I might require!  I retired to my bed; but sleep forsook me, nor did
I want it.  I had too much to think of, and no clue to solve my doubts.
I prayed to Heaven for her welfare, vowed eternal constancy and at
length fell asleep.  The next morning I took leave of my quondam
associates, and returned to Portsmouth, neither wishing to see my
father, my family, or even the sweet Emily.  It however occurred to me
that the same agent who could advance money could forward a letter; and
a letter I wrote, expressing all I felt.  No answer was returned; but as
the letter never came back, I was convinced it was received, and
occasionally sent others, the contents of which my readers will, no
doubt, feel obliged to me for suppressing, love-letters being of all
things in the world the most stupid, except to the parties concerned.

As I was not to see my Eugenia, I was delighted to hear that we were
again to be sent on active service.  The Scheldt expedition was
preparing, and our frigate was to be in the advance; but our gallant and
favourite captain was not to go with us; an acting captain was
appointed, and every exertion was used to have the ship ready.  The town
in the mean time was as crowded with soldiers as Spithead and the
harbour was with transports.  Late in July we sailed, having two
gunboats in tow, which we were ordered to man.  I applied for and
obtained the command of one of them, quite certain that I should see
more service, and consequently have more amusement, than if I remained
on board the frigate.  We convoyed forty or fifty transports, containing
the cavalry, and brought them all safe to an anchor off Cadsand.

The weather was fine, and the water smooth; not a moment was lost in
disembarking the troops and horses; and I do not recollect ever having
seen, either before or since, a more pleasing sight.  The men were first
on shore with their saddles and bridles: the horses were then lowered
into the water in running slings, which were slipped clear off them in a
moment; and as soon as they found themselves free, they swam away for
the shore, which they saluted with a loud neigh as soon as they landed.
In the space of a quarter of a mile we had three or four hundred horses
in the water, all swimming for the shore at the same time; while their
anxious riders stood on the beach, waiting their arrival.  I never saw
so novel or picturesque a sight.

I found the gun-boat service very hard.  We were stationed off Batz, and
obliged to be constantly on the alert; but when Flushing surrendered we
had more leisure, and we employed it in procuring some articles for our
table, to which we had been too long strangers.  Our money had been
expended in the purchase of champagne and claret, in which articles we
were no economists; consequently few florins could be spared for the
purchase of poultry and butcher's meat; but then these articles were to
be procured, by the same means which had given us the island of
Walcheren, namely, powder and shot.  The country people were very
churlish, and not at all inclined to barter; and as we had nothing to
give in exchange, we avoided useless discussion.  Turkeys, by us
short-sighted mortals, were often mistaken for pheasants; cocks and hens
for partridges; tame ducks and geese for wild; in short, such was our
hurry and confusion--leaping ditches, climbing dikes, and fording
swamps--that Buffon himself would never have known the difference
between a goose and a peacock.  Our game-bags were as capacious as our
consciences, and our aim as good as our appetites.

The peasants shut all their poultry up in their barns, and very
liberally bestowed all their curses upon us.  Thus all our supplies were
cut off, and foraging became at least a source of difficulty, if not of
danger.  I went on shore with our party, put a bullet into my
fowling-piece, and, as I thought, shot a deer; but on more minute
inspection, it proved to be a four months' calf.  This was an accident
that might have happened to any man.  The carcass was too heavy to carry
home, so we cut it in halves, not fore and aft down the backbone, as
your stupid butchers do, but made a short cut across the loins, a far
more compendious and portable method than the other.  We marched off
with the hind legs, loins, and kidney, having first of all buried the
head and shoulders in the field, determined to call and take it away the
following night.

We were partly seen, and severely scrutinised in our action by a
neighbouring gun-boat, whose crew were no doubt as hungry as ourselves;
they got hold of one of our men, who, like a fool, let the cat out of
the bag, when a pint of grog got into it.  The fellow hinted where the
other half lay, and these _unprincipled rascals_ went after it, fully
resolved to appropriate it to themselves; but they were outwitted, as
they deserved to be for their roguery.  The farmer to whom the calf
belonged had got a hint of what was done, and finding that we had buried
one half of the calf, procured a party of soldiers ready to take
possession of us when we should come to fetch it away; accordingly, the
party who went from the other gun-boat after dark, having found out the
spot, were very busy disinterring their prey, when they were surprised,
taken prisoners, and marched away to the British camp, leaving the body
behind.

We, quite unconscious of what was done, came soon after, found our veal,
and marched off with it.  The prisoners were in the meantime sent on
board the flag-ship, with the charge of robbery strongly preferred
against them; indeed, _flagrante delicto_ was proved.  In vain they
protested that they were not the slayers, but only went in search of
what others had killed: the admiral, who was a kind-hearted man, said
that that was a very good story, but desired them "not to tell lies to
old rogues," and ordered them all under arrest, at the same time giving
directions for a most rigid scrutiny into the larder of the other
gun-boat, with a view, if possible, to discover the remains of the calf.
This we had foreseen would happen, so we put it into one of the
sailor's bags, and sank it with a lead-line in three fathoms of water,
where it lay till the inspection was over, when we dressed it, and made
an excellent dinner, drinking success to His Majesty's arms by land and
sea.

Whether I had been intemperate in food or libation I know not, but I was
attacked with the Walcheren fever, and was sent home in a line-of-battle
ship; and, perhaps, as Pangloss says, it was all for the best; for I
knew I could not have left off my inveterate habits, and it would have
been very inconvenient to me, and distressing to my friends, to have
ended my brilliant career, and stopped these memoirs, at the beginning
of the second and most interesting volume, by hanging the Author up,
like a scarecrow, under the superintendence of the rascally
provost-marshal, merely for catering on the land of a Walcheren farmer.
Moreover, the Dutch were unworthy of liberty, as their actions proved--
to begrudge a few fowls, or a fillet of veal, to the very men who came
to rescue them from bondage;--and then their water, too, who ever drank
such stuff?  For my part, I never tasted it when I could get anything
better.  As to their nasty swamps and fogs, quite good enough for such
croaking fellows as they are, what could induce an Englishman to live
among them, except the pleasure of killing Frenchmen or shooting game?
Deprive us of these pursuits, which the surrender of Flushing
effectually did, and Walcheren with its ophthalmia and its agues, was no
longer a place for a gentleman.  Besides, I plainly saw that if there
ever had been any intention of advancing to Antwerp, the time was now
gone by; and as the French were laughing at us, and I never liked to be
made a butt of, particularly by such chaps as these, I left the scene of
our sorrows and disgraces without regret.

The farewell of Voltaire came into my mind.  "_Adieu, canaux, canards,
et canaille_," which might be rendered into English thus:--"Good bye,
dikes, ducks, and Dutchmen."  So I returned to my father's house, to be
nursed by my sister, and to astonish the neighbours with the history of
our wonderful achievements.



CHAPTER TWELVE.

  First came great Neptune, with his three-fork mace
  That rules the seas, and makes them rise or fall;
  His dewy locks did drop with brine apace
  Under his diademe imperiall:
  And by his side his queene with coronall,
  Fair Amphitrite
  ...
  These marched farre afore the other crew.
  SPENSER.

I remained no longer at home than sufficed to restore my strength, after
the serious attack of fever and ague which I had brought with me from
Walcheren.  Although my father received me kindly, he had not forgotten
(at least I thought so) my former transgressions; a mutual distrust
destroyed that intimacy which ought ever to exist between father and
son.  The thread was broken--it is vain to inquire how, and the
consequence was, that the day of my departure to join a frigate on the
North American station was welcomed with joy by me, and seen unregretted
by my father.

The ship I was about to join was commanded by a young nobleman; and as
patricians were not so plentiful in the service at that time as they
have since become, I was considered fortunate in my appointment.  I was
ordered, with about thirty more supernumerary midshipmen, to take my
passage in a ship of the line going to Bermuda.  The gun-room was given
to us as our place of residence, the midshipmen belonging to the ship
occupying the two snug berths in the cockpit.

Among so many young men of different habits and circumstances, all
joining the ship at different periods, no combination could be made for
forming a mess.  The ship sailed soon after I got on board, and our
party, during the voyage, was usually supplied from the purser's
steward-room.  I have thought it very wonderful, that a mess of eight or
twelve seamen or marines will always make the allowance last from one
week to another, and have something to spare; but with the same number
of midshipmen the case is very different, and the larger the mess the
more do their difficulties increase; they are never satisfied, never
have enough, and if the purser will allow them, are always in debt for
flour, beef, pork, and spirits.  This is owing to their natural habits
of carelessness; and our mess, for this reason, was particularly
uncomfortable.  The government was a democracy; but the caterer had at
times been invested with dictatorial powers, which he either abused or
was thought to abuse, and he was accordingly turned out, or resigned in
disgust, at the end of two or three days.

Most of my mess-mates were young men, senior to me in the service,
having passed their examinations, and were going to America for
promotion: but when mustered on the quarter-deck, whether they appeared
less manly, or were in fact less expert in their duty, I know not; but
certain it is, that the first lieutenant appointed me mate of a watch,
and placed several of these aspirants under my orders: and so strong did
we muster, that we stood in each other's way when on deck keeping our
watch, seldom less than seventeen or eighteen in number.

In the gun-room we agreed very ill together, and one principal cause of
this was our short allowance of food--daily skirmishes took place, and
not unfrequently pitched battles; but I never took any other part in
them than as a spectator, and the observations I made convinced me that
I should have no great difficulty in mastering the whole of them.

The office of caterer was one of neither honour nor emolument, and it
was voluntarily taken up, and peevishly laid down on the first trifling
provocation.  With the ship's allowance, no being less than an angel
could have given satisfaction.  The division of beef and cork into as
many parcels as there were claimants, always produced remonstrance,
reproof, and blows.  I was never quarrelsome, and took the part allotted
to me quietly enough, until, they finding my disposition to submit, I
found my portion daily decrease; and on the resignation of the
thirteenth caterer, I volunteered my services, which were gladly
accepted.

Aware of the danger and difficulty of my situation, I was prepared
accordingly.  On the first day that I shared the provisions, I took very
good care of number one, and, as I had foreseen, was attacked by two or
three for my lion-like division of the prey.  Upon this, I made them a
short speech, observing, that if they supposed I meant to take the
trouble of catering for nothing, they were much mistaken; that the small
difference I made between their portions and mine, if equally divided
among them, would not fill a hollow tooth, and that, after my own share,
all others should be distributed with the most rigid impartiality and
scrupulous regard to justice.

This very reasonable speech did not satisfy them.  I was challenged to
decide the point _a la Cribb_; two candidates for the honour stepped out
at once.  I desired them to toss up; and having soon defeated the
winner, I recommended him to return to his seat.  The next man came
forward, hoping to find an easy victory, after the fatigue of a recent
battle; but he was mistaken, and retired with severe chastisement.  The
next day I took my seat, cleared for action--coat, waistcoat, and
neckcloth off.  I observed that I should proceed as I had done before,
and was ready to hold a court of Oyer and Terminer; but no suitors
appeared, and I held the office of caterer from that day till I quitted
the ship, by the strongest of all possible claims--first, by election;
and, secondly, by right of conquest.

We had not been many days at sea before we discovered that our first
lieutenant was a most abominable tyrant, a brutal fellow, a drunkard,
and a glutton, with a long red nose, and a large belly; he frequently
sent half a dozen grown-up midshipmen to the mast-head at a time.  This
man I determined to turn out of the ship, and mentioned my intention to
my mess-mates, promising them success if they would only follow my
advice.  They quite laughed at the idea; but I was firm and told them
that it should come to pass if they would but behave so ill as just to
incur a slight punishment or reprimand from "Nosey" every day; this they
agreed to, and not a day passed but they were either mast-headed, or put
watch and watch.

They reported all to me, and asked my advice.  "Complain to the
captain," said I.  They did, and were told that the first lieutenant had
done his duty.  The same causes produced the same effects on each
succeeding day; and when the midshipmen complained, they had no redress.
By my direction, they observed to the captain, "It is of no use
complaining, sir; you always take Mr Clewline's part."  The captain,
indeed, from a general sense of propriety, gave his support to the
ward-room officers, knowing that, nine times in ten, midshipmen were in
the wrong.

Things worked as I wished; the midshipmen persisted in behaving ill--
remonstrated, and declared that the first lieutenant did not tell the
truth.  For a time, many of them lost the favour of the captain; but I
encouraged them to bear that, as well as the increased rancour of "Old
Nosey."  One day, two midshipmen, by previous agreement, began to fight
on the lee gangway.  In those days, that was crime enough almost to have
hanged them; they were sent to the mast-head for three hours, and when
they came down applied to me for advice.  "Go," said I, "and complain.
If the first lieutenant says you were fighting, tell the captain you
were only showing how the first lieutenant pummelled the men last night
when they were hoisting the topsails, and the way he cut the marine's
head, when he knocked him down the hatchway."  All this was fairly
done--the midshipmen received a reprimand, but the captain began to
think there might be some cause for these continued complaints, which
daily increased both in weight and number.

At last we were enabled to give the _coup de grace_.  A wretched boy in
the ship, whose dirty habits often brought him to the gun, was so
hardened that he laughed at all the stripes of the boatswain's cat
inflicted on him by the first lieutenant.  "I will make him feel," said
the enraged officer; so ordering a bowl of brine to be brought to him,
he sprinkled it on the lacerated flesh of the boy between every lash.
This inhuman act, so unbecoming the character of an officer and a
gentleman, we all resented, and retiring to the gun-room in a body, gave
three deep and heavy groans in chorus.  The effect was dismal; it was
heard in the ward-room, and the first lieutenant sent down to desire we
should be quiet; on which we immediately gave three more, which sent him
in a rage to the quarter-deck, where we were all summoned, and the
reason of the noise demanded.  I had, till then, kept myself in the
background, content with being the _primum mobile_, without being seen.
I was always strict to my duty, and never had been complained of; my
coming forward, therefore, on this occasion, produced a fine stage
effect, and carried great weight.

I told the lieutenant we were groaning for the poor boy who had been
pickled.  This increased his rage, and he ordered me up to the
mast-head.  I refused to go until I had seen the captain, who at that
moment made his appearance on deck.  I immediately referred to him,
related the whole story, not omitting to mention the repeated acts of
tyranny which the lieutenant had perpetrated on us all.  I saw in a
moment that we had gained the day.  The captain had given the most
positive orders that no one should be punished without his express
permission.  This order the lieutenant had disobeyed; and that, added to
his unpopular character, decided his fate.  The captain walked into his
cabin, and the next day signified to the first lieutenant that he must
quit the ship on her arrival in port, or be tried by a court-martial:
this latter he knew he dared not stand.

I should have informed my reader that our orders were to see the
East-India convoy as far as the tenth degree of north latitude, and then
proceed to Bermuda.  This was of itself a pleasant cruise, and gave us
the chance of falling in either with an enemy or a recapture.  Ships not
intending to cross the line usually grant a saturnalia to the crew when
they come to the tropic of Capricorn; it is thought to renovate their
spirits, and to break the monotony of the cruise, or voyage, where time
flows on in such a smooth, undeviating routine, that one day is not
distinguishable from another.  Our captain, a young man, and a perfect
gentleman, never refused any indulgence to the men compatible with
discipline and the safety of the ship: and as the regular trade-wind
blew, there was no danger of sudden squalls.  The ceremony of crossing
the line, I am aware, has been often described--so has Italy and the
Rhine; but there are varieties of ways of doing and relating these
things; ours had its singularity, and ended, I am sorry to say, in a
deep tragedy, which I shall remember "as long as memory holds her seat."

One beautiful morning, as soon as the people had breakfasted, they began
to prepare, by stripping to their waists, and wearing nothing but a pair
of duck trousers.  The man at the mast-head called out that he saw
something on the weather bow, which he thought was a boat; soon after,
an unknown voice from the jib-boom hailed the ship; the officer of the
watch answered; and the voice commanded him to heave to, as Neptune was
coming on board.  The ship was accordingly hove-to with every formality,
though going at the rate of seven miles an hour: the main yard squared,
the head and after-yards braced up.

As soon as the ship was hove-to, a young man (one of the sailors)
dressed in a smart suit of black, knee-breeches, and buckles, with his
hair powdered, and with all the extra finery and mincing gait of an
exquisite, came aft on the quarter-deck, and, with a most polished bow,
took the liberty of introducing himself as _gentleman's gentleman_ to
Mr Neptune, who had been desired to precede his master and acquaint the
commander of the vessel with his intended visit.

A sail had been extended across the forecastle by way of curtain, and
from behind this Neptune and his train, in full costume, shortly
afterwards came forth.

The car of the god consisted of a gun-carriage: it was drawn by six
black men, part of the ship's crew: they were tall muscular fellows,
their heads were covered with sea-weed, and they wore a very small pair
of cotton drawers: in other respects they were perfectly naked; their
skins were spotted all over with red and white paint alternately; they
had conch shells in their hands, with which they made a most horrible
noise.  Neptune was masked, as were many of his attendants, and none of
the officers knew exactly by which of the men the god was represented;
but he was a shrewd hand, and did his part very well.  He wore a naval
crown, made by the ship's armourer; in his right hand he held a trident,
on the prongs of which there was a dolphin, which he had, he said,
struck that morning; he wore a large wig, made of oakum, and a beard of
the same materials, which flowed down to his waist; he was full
powdered, and his naked body was bedaubed with paint.

The god was attended by a splendid court: his secretary of state, whose
head was stuck full of the quills of the sea-bird of these latitudes;
his surgeon, with his lancet, pill-box, and his smelling-bottle; his
barber, with a razor, whose blade was two feet long, cut off an iron
hoop; and the barber's mate, who carried a small tub as a shaving-box;
the materials within I could not analyse, but my nose convinced me that
no part of them came from Smith's, in Bond-street.

Amphitrite followed, on a similar carriage, drawn by six white men,
whose costume was like the others.  This goddess was personified by an
athletic, ugly man, marked with the small-pox, dressed as a female, with
a woman's night-cap on his head, ornamented with sprigs of sea-weed; she
had a harpoon in her hand, on which was fixed an albicore; and in her
lap lay one of the boys of the ship, dressed as a baby, with long
clothes and a cap: he held in his hand a marlinspike, which was
suspended round his neck with a rope-yarn--this was to assist him in
cutting his teeth, as the children on shore use a coral.  His nurse
attended him with a bucket full of burgoo, or hasty pudding, with which
she occasionally fed him out of the cook's iron ladle.  Two or three
stout men were habited as sea nymphs, to attend on the goddess: they
carried a looking-glass, some currycombs, a birch-broom, and a pot of
red paint, by way of rouge.

As soon as the procession appeared, on the forecastle, the captain,
attended by his steward, bearing a tray with a bottle of wine and some
glasses, came out of his cabin, and the cars of the marine deities were
drawn up on the quarter-deck.  Neptune lowered his trident, and
presented the dolphin to the captain, as Amphitrite did her albicore, in
token of submission and homage to the representative of the King of
Great Britain.

"I have come," said the god, "to welcome you into my dominions, and to
present my wife and child."  The captain bowed.  "Allow me to ask after
my brother and liege sovereign, the good old King George."

"He is not so well," said the captain, "as I and all his subjects could
wish."

"More's the pity," replied Neptune; "and how is the Prince of Wales?"

"The Prince is well," said the captain, "and now governs as regent in
the name of his royal father."

"And how does he get on with his wife?" said the inquisitive god.

"Bad enough," said the captain; "they agree together like a whale and a
thrasher."

"Ah!  I thought so," said the god of the sea.  "His royal highness
should take a leaf out of my book: never allow it to be doubtful who is
commanding officer."

"And pray what might your majesty's specific be, to cure a bad wife?"
said the captain.

"Three feet of the cross-jack brace every morning before breakfast, for
a quarter of an hour, and half an hour on a Sunday."

"But why more on a Sunday than any other day?" said the captain.

"Why?" said Neptune.  "Why, because she'd been keeping Saturday night,
to be sure; besides, she has less to do of a Sunday, and more time to
think of her sins, and do penance."

"But you would not have a prince strike a lady, surely?"

"Wouldn't I?  No, to be sure, if she behave herself as _sich_, on no
account; but if she gives tongue, and won't keep sober, I'd sarve her as
I do Amphy--don't I, Amphy?" chucking the goddess under the chin.  "We
have no bad wives in the bottom of the sea: and so if you don't know how
to keep 'em in order, send them to us."

"But your majesty's remedy is violent; we should have a rebellion in
England, if the king was to beat his wife."

"Make the lords in waiting do it, then," said the surly god; "and if
they are too lazy, which I dare say they are, send for a boatswain's
mate from the Royal Billy--he'd sarve her out, I warrant you, and for
half a gallon of rum would teach the yeomen of the guard to dance the
binnacle hornpipe into the bargain."

"His royal highness shall certainly hear your advice, Mr Neptune; but
whether he will follow it or not, is not for me to say.  Would you
please to drink his royal highness's good health?"

"With all my heart, sir; I was always loyal to my king, and ready to
drink his health, and to fight for him."

The captain presented the god with a bumper of Madeira, and another to
the goddess.

"Here's a good health and a long life to our gracious king and all the
royal family.  The roads are unkimmon dusty, and we hav'n't wet our lips
since we left St. Thomas on the line, this morning.  But we have no time
to lose, captain," said the sea god; "I see many new faces here, as
requires washing and shaving; and if we add bleeding and physic, they
will be all the better for it."

The captain nodded assent; and Neptune, striking the deck with the end
of his trident, commanded attention, and thus addressed his court: "Hark
ye, my Tritons, you are called here to shave, duck, and physic all as
needs; but I command you to be gentle.  I'll have no ill-usage; if we
gets a bad name, we gets no more fees; and the first of you as disobeys
my orders, I'll tie him to a ten-inch mortar, and sink him ten thousand
fathoms deep in the ocean, where he shall feed on salt water and
sea-weed for a hundred years: begone to your work."  Twelve constables,
with thick sticks, immediately repaired to the hatchway, and sent down
all who had not been initiated, guarding them strictly, until they were
called up one by one.

The cow-pen had been previously prepared for the bathing; it was lined
with double canvas, and boarded, so that it held water, and contained
about four butts, which was constantly renewed by the pump.  Many of the
officers purchased exemption from shaving and physic by a bottle of rum;
but none could escape the sprinkling of salt water, which fell about in
great profusion; even the captain received his share, but with great
good-nature, and seemed to enjoy the sport.  It was easy to perceive, on
this occasion, who were favourites with the ship's company, by the
degree of severity with which they were treated.  The tyro was seated on
the side of the cow-pen: he was asked the place of his nativity, and the
moment he opened his mouth, the shaving-brush of the barber, which was a
very large paint-brush, was crammed in, with all the filthy lather, with
which they covered his face and chin; this was roughly scraped off with
the great razor.  The doctor felt his pulse, and prescribed a pill,
which was forced into his cheek; and the smelling-bottle, the cork of
which was armed with short points of pins, was so forcibly applied to
his nose as to bring blood; after this, he was thrown backwards into the
bath, and allowed to scramble out the best way he could.

The master-at-arms, and ship's corporals, and purser's steward, were
severely treated.  The midshipmen looked out for the first lieutenant;
but he kept so close under the wing of the captain, that for a long time
we were unable to succeed.  At length, some great uproar in the waist
induced him to run down, when we all surrounded him, and plied him so
effectually with buckets of water, that he was glad to run down the
after-hatchway, and seek shelter in the gun-room; as he ran down, we
threw the buckets after him, and he fell, like the Roman virgin, covered
with the shields of the soldiers.

The purser had fortified himself in his cabin, and with his sword and
pistols, vowed vengeance against all intruders; but the middies were not
to be frightened with swords or pistols: so we had him out, and gave him
a sound ducking, because he had refused to let us have more spirits than
our allowance.  He was paraded to the main deck in great form, his sword
held over his head; his pistols, in a bucket of water, carried before
him; and having been duly shaved, physicked, and soused into the
cow-pen, he was allowed to return to his cabin, like a drowned rat.

The first lieutenant of marines was a great bore; he was always annoying
us with his German flute.  Having no ear of his own, he had no mercy on
ours, so we handed him to the bath; and in addition to all the other
luxuries of the day, made him drink half a pint of salt water, which we
poured into his mouth through his own flute, as a funnel.  I now
recollect that it was the cries of the poor marine which brought down
the first lieutenant, who ordered us to desist, and we served him as
hath been related.

Thus far all was hilarity and mirth; but the scene was very suddenly
changed.  One of the foretopmen, drawing water in the chains, fell
overboard; the alarm was instantly given, and the ship hove-to.  I ran
upon the poop, and, seeing that the man could not swim, jumped overboard
to save him.  The height from which I descended made me go very deep in
the water, and when I arose I could perceive one of the man's hands.  I
swam towards him; but, O God! what was my horror, when I found myself in
the midst of his blood.  I comprehended in a moment that a shark had
taken him, and expected that every instant my own fate would be like
his.  I wonder I had not sunk with fear: I was nearly paralysed.  The
ship, which had been going six or seven miles an hour, was at some
distance, and I gave myself up for gone.  I had scarcely the power of
reflection, and was overwhelmed by the sudden, awful, and, as I thought,
certain approach of death in its most horrible shape.  In a moment I
recollected myself: and I believe the actions of five years crowded into
my mind in as many minutes.  I prayed most fervently, and vowed
amendment, if it should please God to spare me.  My prayer was heard,
and I believe it was a special Providence that rescued me from the jaws
of the fish.  I was nearly a mile from the ship before I was picked up;
and when the boat came alongside with me, three large sharks were under
the stern.  These had devoured the poor sailor, and, fortunately for me,
had followed the ship for more prey, and thus left me to myself.

As I went up the side, I was received by the captain and officers in the
most flattering manner; the captain thanked me in the presence of the
ship's company for my praiseworthy exertions, and I was gazed on by all
as an object of interest and admiration; but if others thought so of me,
I thought not so of myself.  I retired below to my berth with a loathing
and contempt, a self-abasement, which I cannot describe.  I felt myself
unworthy of the mercy I had received.  The disgraceful and vicious
course of life I had led burst upon me with horrible conviction.
"_Caelo tonantem credidimus Jovem regnare_," says Horace; and it was
only by the excitement of such peculiarly horrid situations, that the
sense of a superintending power could be awakened within me, a hardened
and incorrigible sinner.

I changed my clothes, and was glad when night came, that I might be left
to myself; but oh, how infinitely more horrid did my situation appear!
I shuddered when I thought of what I had gone through, and I made the
most solemn promises of a new life.  How transient were these feelings!
How long did these good resolutions last?  Just as long as no temptation
came in the way; as long as there was no incitement to sin, no means of
gratifying appetite.  My good intentions were traced in the sand.  I was
very soon as thoughtless and as profane as ever, although frequently
checked by the remembrance of my providential escape; and for years
afterwards the thoughts of the shark taking me by the leg was
accompanied by the acknowledgment that the devil would have me in like
manner, if I did not amend.

If after this awakening circumstance I could have had the good fortune
to have met with sober-minded and religious people, I have no doubt but
I might have had at this time much less to answer for; but that not
being the case, the force of habit and example renewed its dominion over
me, and I became nearly as bad as ever.

Our amusements in the gun-room were rough.  One of them was to lie on
the mess-table, under the tiller, and to hold by the tiller ropes above,
while we kicked at all who attempted to dislodge us, either by force or
stratagem.  Whoever had possession had nine points of the law, and could
easily oppose the whole.  I one day held this envied position, and kept
all at bay, when, unluckily, one of the passed midshipmen, who had got
very drunk with the gunner, came in and made a furious attack on me.  I
gave him a kick on the face that sent him with great violence on his
back, among the plates and dishes, which had been removed from the
dinner-table and placed between the guns.  Enraged, as much at the
laughter against him as at the blow he had received, he snatched up a
carving-fork, and, before any one was aware of his intention, stabbed me
with it four times.  I jumped up to punish him, but the moment I got on
my legs, was so stiff, that I fell back into the arms of my mess-mates.

The surgeon examined the wounds, which were serious; two of them nearly
touched an artery.  I was put to bed sick, and was three weeks confined
to my berth.  The midshipman who had committed this outrage, was very
penitent when sober, and implored my pardon and forgiveness.  Naturally
good-natured, I freely forgave, because I was disarmed by submission.  I
never trampled on a prostrate foe.  The surgeon reported me ill of a
fever, which was true; for had the captain known the real fact, the
midshipman, whose commission was signed, and in the ship, ready to be
delivered to him on his arrival at Bermuda, would certainly have lost
his promotion.  My kindness to him, I believe, wounded him more than my
resentment; he became exceedingly melancholy and thoughtful, gave up
drinking, and was ever after greatly attached to me.  I reckon this
among the few good actions of my life, and own I have great pleasure in
reflecting upon it.

We arrived at Bermuda soon after, having left the convoy in the latitude
of ten degrees north.  The supernumeraries were all discharged into
their respective ships; and before we separated, we had the pleasure to
see the first lieutenant take his passage in a ship bound to England.
Most sincerely did we congratulate ourselves on the success of our
intrigue.



CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

  Where the remote Bermudas ride,
  In th' ocean's bosom.
  ANDREW MARVELL.

There is a peculiar kind of beauty among these islands, which we might
really believe to be the abode of fairies.  They consist of a cluster of
rocks, formed by the zoophyte, or coral worm.  The number of the islands
is said to be equal to the days of the year.  They are covered with a
short green sward, dark cedar trees, and low white houses, which have a
pretty and pleasing effect; the harbours are numerous, but shallow; and
though there are many channels into them, there is but one for large
ships into the principal anchorage.

Numerous caverns, whose roofs sparkle with the spars and stalactites
formed by the dripping water, are found in every part of the islands.
They contain springs of delicious coolness, to quench the thirst, or to
bathe in.  The sailors have a notion that these, islands float, and that
the crust which composes them is so thin as to be broken with little
exertion.  One man being confined in the guard-house for having got
drunk and misbehaved, stamped on the ground, and roared to the guard,
"Let me out, or, damn your eyes, I'll knock a hole in your bottom,
scuttle your island, and send you all to hell together."  Rocks and
shoals abound in almost every direction, but chiefly on the north and
west sides.  They are, however, well-known to the native pilots, and
serve as a safeguard from nightly surprise or invasion.

Varieties of fish are found here, beautiful to the eye and delicious to
the taste: of these, the best is the red grouper.  When on a calm, clear
day you glide among these lovely islands, in your boat, you seem to be
sailing over a submarine flower-garden, in which clumps of trees,
shrubs, flowers, and gravel walks, are planted in wild but regular
confusion.

My chief employment was afloat, and according to my usual habit, I found
no amusement unless it was attended with danger; and this propensity
found ample gratification in the whale fishery, the reason for which was
just approaching.  The ferocity of the fish in these southern latitudes
appears to be increased, both from the heat of the climate and the care
of their young; for which reason it would seem that the risk in taking
them is greater than in the polar seas.

From what I am able to learn of the natural history of the whale, she
brings forth her young, seldom more than one at a time, in the northern
regions, after which, with the calf at her side, the mother seeks a more
genial climate, to bring it to maturity.  They generally reach Bermuda
about the middle of March, where they remain but a few weeks, after
which they visit the West-India Islands, then bear away to the
southward, and go round Cape Horn, returning to the polar seas by the
Aleutian Islands and Behring's Straits, which they reach in the
following summer; when the young whale, having acquired size and
strength in the southern latitudes, is enabled to contend with his
enemies in the north, and here also the dam meets the male again.  From
my own experience and the inquiries I have been enabled to make, I am
tolerably certain that this is a correct statement of the migration of
these animals, the females annually making the tour of the two great
American continents, attended by their young.

The maternal solicitude of the whale makes her a dangerous adversary,
and many serious accidents occur in the season for catching whales.  On
one occasion I had nearly paid with my life for the gratification of my
curiosity.  I went in a whale-boat rowed by coloured men, natives of the
islands, who were very daring and expert in this pursuit.  We saw a
whale, with her calf, playing round the coral rocks; the attention which
the dam showed to its young, the care she took to warn it of danger, was
truly affecting.  She led it away from the boats, swam round it, and
sometimes she would embrace it with heir fins, and roll over with it in
the waves.  We contrived to get the "vantage ground" by going to seaward
of her, and by that means drove her into shoal water among the rocks.
At last we came so near the young one, that the harpooner poised his
weapon, knowing that the calf once struck, the mother was our own, for
she would never desert it.  Aware of the danger and impending fate of
its inexperienced offspring, she swam rapidly round it, in decreasing
circles, evincing the utmost uneasiness and anxiety; but the parental
admonitions were unheeded, and it met its fate.

The boat approached the side of the younger fish, and the harpooner
buried his tremendous weapon deep in the ribs.  The moment it felt the
wound, the poor animal darted from us, taking out a hundred fathom of
line; but a young fish is soon conquered when once well struck: such was
the case in this instance; it was no sooner checked with the line than
it turned on its back, and, displaying its white belly on the surface of
the water, floated a lifeless corpse.  The unhappy parent, with an
instinct always more powerful than reason, never quitted the body.

We hauled in upon the line, and came close up to our quarry just as
another boat had fixed a harpoon in the mother.  The tail of the furious
animal descended with irresistible force upon the very centre of our
boat, cutting it in two, and killing two of the men; the survivors took
to swimming for their lives in all directions.  The whale went in
pursuit of the third boat, but was checked by the line from the one that
struck her: she towed them at the rate of ten or eleven miles an hour:
and had she had deep water; would have taken the boat down, or obliged
them to cut away from her.

The two boats were so much employed that they could not come to our
assistance for some time, and we were left to our own resources much
longer than I thought agreeable.  I was going to swim to the calf whale;
but one of the men advised me not to do so, saying that the sharks would
be as thick about him as the lawyers round Westminster Hall, and that I
should certainly be snapped up if I went near: for my comfort he added,
"These devils seldom touch a man if they can get anything else."  This
might be very true; but I must confess I was very glad to see one, of
the boats come to our assistance, while the mother whale, encumbered
with the heavy harpoon and line, and exhausted with the fountain of
black blood which she threw up, drew near to her calf, and died by its
side; evidently, in her last moments, more occupied with the
preservation of her young than of herself.

As soon as she turned on her back, I had reason to thank the "Mudian"
for his good advice; there were at least thirty or forty sharks
assembled round the carcasses, and as we towed them in, they followed.
When we had grounded them in the shallow water close to the beach, the
blubber was cut off; after which, the flesh was given to the black
people, who assembled in crowds, and cut off with their knives large
portions of the meat.  The sharks as liberally helped themselves with
their teeth; but it was very remarkable, that though the black men,
often came between them and the whale, they never attacked a man.  This
was a singular scene; the blacks with their white eyes and teeth,
hallooing, laughing, screaming, and mixing with numerous sharks--the
most ferocious monsters of the deep--yet preserving a sort of truce
during the presence of a third object: it reminded me, comparing great
things with small, of the partition of Poland.

I found that there was neither honour nor profit for me in this
diversion, so I no more went a whale-fishing, but took my passage to
Halifax in a schooner--one of those vessels built during the war, in
imitation of the Virginia pilot boats; but like most of our imitations,
about as much resembling the original as a cow is like a hare, and
bearing exactly the same proportion in point of velocity.  And, as if it
had been determined that these vessels should in every respect disgrace
the British flag the command of them was conferred on officers whose
conduct would not induce captains to allow them to serve under them, and
who were therefore very unwisely sent into small vessels, where they
became their own masters, and were many of them constantly drunk: such
was the state of my commander from the time I sailed until we reached
Halifax.  The example of the lieutenant was followed by his mate and
three midshipmen; the crew, which consisted of twenty-five men, were
kept sober by being confined to their allowance, and I had a hopeful
prospect.

Fortunately, drinking was not among my vices.  I could get "fresh," as
we call it, when in good company and excited by wit and mirth; but I
never went to the length of being drunk; and, as I advanced in years,
pride and cunning made me still more guarded.  I perceived the immense
advantage which sobriety gave me over a drunkard, and I failed not to
profit by it.

Keeping constantly on deck, almost night and day, I attended to the
course of the vessel and the sail she carried, never taking the trouble
to consult the lieutenant, who was generally senseless in his cabin.  We
made Sambro Lighthouse (which is at the entrance of Halifax harbour) in
the evening, and one of the midshipmen, who was more than half drunk,
declared himself well acquainted with the place, and his offer to pilot
the vessel in was accepted.  As I had never been there before, I could
be of no use; but being extremely doubtful of the skill of our pilot, I
watched his proceedings with some anxiety.

In half an hour we found ourselves on shore on Cornwallis Island, as I
afterwards learned, and the sea made a fair breach over us.  This
sobered the lieutenant and his officers; and as the tide fell, we found
ourselves high and dry.  The vessel fell over on her side, and I walked
on shore, determined to trust myself no more with such a set of beasts.
Boats came down from the dockyard at daylight, and took me and some
others who had followed my example, together with our luggage, to the
flag-ship.  After two days' hard labour, the vessel was got off, and
brought into the harbour.  The admiral was informed of the whole
transaction, and one of the captains advised him to try the lieutenant
by a court-martial, or, at least, to turn him out of the vessel, and
send him home.  Unfortunately, he would not follow this advice, but sent
him to sea again, with despatches.  It was known that all hands were
drunk on quitting the port; and the vessel ran upon a reef of rocks
called the Sisters, where she sank, and every soul perished.  Her
mast-heads were seen just above water the next morning.

The frigate I was to join came into harbour soon after I reached
Halifax.  This I was sorry for, as I found myself in very good quarters.
I had letters of introduction to the best families.  The place is
proverbial for hospitality; and the society of the young ladies, who are
both virtuous and lovely, tended in some degree to reform and polish the
rough and libertine manners which I had contracted in my career.  I had
many sweethearts; but they were more like Emily than Eugenia.  I was a
great flirt among them, and would willingly have spent more time in
their company; but my fate or fortune was to be accomplished, and I went
on board the frigate, where I presented my introductory letters to the
nobleman who commanded her.  I expected to have seen an effeminate young
man, much too refined to learn his business; but I was mistaken.  Lord
Edward was a sailor every inch of him, he knew a ship from stem to
stern, understood the characters of seamen, and gained their confidence.
He was, besides, a good mechanic--a carpenter, rope-maker, sail-maker,
and cooper.  He could hand, reef, and steer, knot and splice; but he was
no orator--he read little, and spoke less.  He was a man of no show.  He
was good-tempered, honest, and unsophisticated, with a large proportion
of common sense.  He was good-humoured and free with his officers;
though if offended he was violent, but soon calm again; nor could you
ever perceive any assumption of consequence from his title of nobility.
He was pleased with my expertness in practical seamanship; and before we
left the harbour, I became a great favourite.  This I took care to
improve, as I liked him both for himself and his good qualities,
independently of the advantages of being on good terms with the captain.

We were not allowed to remain long in this paradise of sailors, being
ordered suddenly to Quebec.  I ran round to say adieu to all my dear
Arcadian friends.  A tearful eye, a lock of hair, a hearty shake of a
fair hand, were all the spoils with which I was loaded when I quitted
the shore, and I cast many a longing, lingering look behind, as the ship
glided out of the harbour; white handkerchiefs were waved from the
beach, and many a silent prayer for our safe return was put up from
snowy bosoms and from aching hearts.  I dispensed my usual quantum of
vows of eternal love and fidelity, before I left them, and my departure
was marked in the calendar of Halifax as a black day, by at least seven
or eight pairs of blue eyes.

We had not been long at sea before we spoke an Irish Guinea-man from
Belfast, loaded with emigrants for the United States: I think about
seventeen families.  These were contraband.  Our captain had some twenty
thousand acres on the island of St. John's, or Prince Edward's, as it is
now called, a grant to some of his ancestors, which had been bequeathed
to him, and from which he had never received one shilling of rent, for
the very best reason in the world--because there were no tenants to
cultivate the soil.  It occurred to our noble captain that this was the
very sort of cargo he wanted, and that these Irish people would make
good clearers of his land, and improve his estate.  He made the proposal
to them, and as they saw no chance of getting to the United States, and,
provided they could procure nourishment for their families, it was a
matter of indifference to them where they colonised, the proposal was
accepted, and the captain obtained permission of the admiral to
accompany them to the island to see them housed and settled.  Indeed,
nothing could have been more advantageous for all parties; they
increased the scanty population of our own colony, instead of adding to
the number of our enemies.  We sailed again from Halifax a few hours
after we had obtained the sanction of the admiral, and, passing through
the beautiful passage between Nova Scotia and the island of Cape Breton,
known by the name of the Gut of Canso, we soon reached Prince Edward's
Island.

We anchored in a small harbour near the estate, on which we found a man
residing with his wife and family; this fellow called himself the
steward, and from all I could see of him during our three weeks' stay,
he appeared to me to be rascal enough for the stewardship of any
nobleman's estate in England.  The captain landed, and took me as his
aide-de-camp.  A bed was prepared for his lordship in the steward's
house, but he preferred sleeping on clean hay in the barn.  This noble
lord was a man whose thoughts seldom gave much labour to his tongue; he
always preferred hearing others to talking himself; and whoever was his
companion, he must always be at the expense of the conversation.  Nor
was it by the usual mode of simple narrative that his mind was
completely impressed with the image intended to be presented to him; he
required three different versions, or paraphrases, of the same story or
observation, and to these he had three different expletives or
ejaculations.  These were "hum!" "eh!" and "ah!"  The first denoted
attention; the second, part comprehension; and the third, assent and
entire approval; to mark which more distinctly, the last syllable was
drawn out to an immoderate length, and accompanied by a sort of half
laugh.

I shall give one instance of our colloquial pastime.  His lordship,
after we had each taken up our quarters for the night, on the soft dry
hay, thus began:--

"I say,"--a pause.

"My lord?"

"What would they say in England, at our taking up such quarters?"

"I think, my lord, that as far as regards myself, they would say
nothing; but as far as regards your lordship, they would say it was very
indifferent accommodation for a nobleman."

"Hum!"

This I knew was the signal for a new version.  "I was observing, my
lord, that a person of your rank, taking up his quarters in a barn,
would excite suspicion among your friends in England."

"Eh?" says his lordship.

That did not do--either your lordship's head or mine is very thick,
thinks I.  I'll try again, though dying to go to sleep.  "I say, my
lord, if the people in England knew what a good sailor you are, they
would be surprised at nothing you did; but those who know nothing, would
think it odd that you should be contented with such quarters."

"Ah!" said his lordship, triumphantly.

What further observations he was pleased to make that night I know not,
for I fell fast asleep, and did not awake till the cocks and hens began
to fly down from their roosts, and make a confounded clamour for their
breakfasts, when his lordship jumped up, gave himself a good shake, and
then gave me another of a different sort: it answered the purpose,
however, of restoring me to that reason, of which the cackling of the
poultry had only produced the incipient signs.

"Come, rouse out, you damned lazy chap," said my captain.  "Do you mean
to sleep all day?  We have got plenty to do."

"Ay, ay, my lord," said I.  So up I jumped, and my toilet was completed
in the same time, and by the same operation, as that of a Newfoundland
dog, namely a good shake.

A large party of the ship's company came on shore with the carpenter,
bringing with them every implement useful in cutting down trees and
building log-houses.  Such was to be our occupation, in order to house
these poor emigrants.  Our men began to clear a patch of land, by
cutting down a number of pine-trees, the almost exclusive natives of the
wood; and having selected a spot for the foundation, we placed four
stems of trees in a parallelogram, having a deep notch in each end,
mutually to fit and embrace each other.  When the walls, by this
repeated operation, were high enough, we laid on the rafters, and
covered the roof with boughs of the fir and the bark of the birch-tree,
filling the interstices with moss and mud.  By practice, I became, a
very expert engineer, and with the assistance of thirty or forty men, I
could build a very good house in a day.

We next cleared, by burning and rooting up, as much land as would serve
to sustain the little colony for the ensuing season; and having planted
a crop of corn and potatoes, and giving the settlers many articles
useful in their new abode, we left them, agreeably to our orders, and to
my great joy returned to dear Halifax, where I again was blessed with
the sight of my innocent harem.  I remember well that I received a
severe rebuke from the captain for inattention to signals.  One was
addressed to us from the flag-ship; I was signal midshipman, but instead
of directing my glass towards the old _Centurion_, it was levelled at a
certain young Calypso, whose fair form I discovered wandering along the
"_gazon fleuri_:" how long would I not have dwelt in this happy Arcadia,
had not another Mentor pushed me off the rocks, and sent me once more to
buffet the briny waves.

Contrary to the opinion of any rational being, the President of the
United States was planning a war against England, and every ship in
Halifax harbour was preparing to fight the Yankees.  The squadron sailed
in September.  I bade adieu to the nymphs of Nova Scotia with more
indifference than became me, or than the reception I had met with from
them seemed to deserve; but I was the same selfish and ungrateful being
as ever.  I cared for no one but my own dear self, and as long as I was
gratified, it mattered little to me how many broken hearts I left
behind.



CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

  At once the winds arise,
  The thunders roll, the forky lightning flies;
  In vain the master issues out commands,
  In vain the trembling sailors ply their hands:
  The tempest unforeseen prevents their care,
  And from the first they labour in despair.
  DRYDEN'S FABLES.

Halifax is a charming, hospitable place: its name is associated with so
many pleasing recollections, that it never fails to extort another glass
from the bottle which, having been gagged, was going to pass the night
in the cellaret.  But only say "Halifax!" and it is like "Open
sesame!"--out flies the cork, and down goes a bumper to the "health of
all good lasses!"

I related, in the last chapter, an adventure with an Irish Guinea-man,
whose cargo my right honourable captain converted to the profitable uses
of himself and his country.  Another of these vessels had been fallen in
with by one of our cruisers, and the commander of His Majesty's sloop
_Humming Bird_ made a selection of some thirty or forty stout Hibernians
to fill up his own complement, and hand over the surplus to the admiral.

Short-sighted mortals we all are, and captains of men-of-war are not
exempted from this human imperfection!  How much, also, drops between
the cup and the lip!  There chanced to be on board of the same trader
two very pretty Irish girls of the better sort of _bourgeoisie_; they
were going to join their friends at Philadelphia: the name of the one
was Judy, and of the other Maria.  No sooner were the poor Irishmen
informed of their change of destination, than they set up a howl loud
enough to make the scaly monsters of the deep seek their dark caverns.
They rent the hearts of the poor tender-hearted girls; and when the
thorough bass of the males was joined by the sopranos and trebles of the
women and children, it would have made Orpheus himself turn round and
gaze.

"Oh, Miss Judy!  Oh, Miss Maria! would ye be so cruel as to see us poor
craturs dragged away to a man-of-war, and not for to go and spake a word
for us?  A word to the captain wid your own pretty mouths, no doubt he
would let us off."

The young ladies, though doubting the powers of their own fascinations,
resolved to make the experiment; so, begging the lieutenant of the sloop
to give them a passage on board, to speak with his captain, they added a
small matter of finery to their dress, and skipped into the boat like a
couple of mountain kids, caring neither for the exposure of legs nor the
spray of the salt water, which, though it took the curls out of their
hair, added a bloom to the cheeks which, perhaps, contributed in no
small degree to the success of their project.

There is something in the sight of a petticoat at sea that never fails
to put a man into a good humour, provided he be rightly constructed.
When they got on board the _Humming Bird_, they were received by the
captain, and handed down into the cabin, where some refreshments were
immediately prepared for them, and every kind attention shown which
their sex and beauty could demand.  The captain was one of the best
natured fellows that ever lived, with a pair of little sparkling black
eyes that laughed in your face.

"And pray, young ladies," said he, "what may have procured me the honour
of this visit?"

"It was to beg a favour of your honour," said Judy.

"And his honour will grant it, too," said Maria; "for I like the look of
him."

Flattered by this little shot of Maria's, the captain said that nothing
ever gave him more pleasure than to oblige the ladies; and if the favour
they intended to ask was not utterly incompatible with his duty, that he
would grant it.

"Well then," said Maria, "will your honour give me back Pat Flannagan,
that you have pressed just now?"

The captain shook his head.

"He's no sailor, your honour; but a poor bog-trotter: and he will never
do you any good."

The captain again shook his head.

"Ask me anything else," said he, "and I will give it you."

"Well then," said Maria, "give us Phelim O'Shaugnessy?"

The captain was equally inflexible.

"Come, come, your honour," said Judy, "we must not stand upon trifles
nowadays.  I'll give you a kiss, if you'll give me Pat Flannagan."

"And I another," said Maria, "for Phelim."

The captain had one seated on each side of him; his head turned like a
dog-vane in a gale of wind; he did not know which to begin with; the
most ineffable good humour danced in his eyes, and the ladies saw at
once that the day was their own.  Such is the power of beauty, that this
lord of the ocean was fain to strike to it.  Judy laid a kiss on his
right cheek; Maria matched it on his left; the captain was the happiest
of mortals.

"Well, then," said he, "you have your wish; take your two men, for I am
in a hurry to make sail."

"Is it sail ye are after making; and do ye mane to take all those pretty
craturs away wid ye?  No, faith! another kiss, and another man."

I am not going to relate how many kisses these lovely girls bestowed on
this envied captain.  If such are captains' perquisites, who would not
be a captain?  Suffice it to say, they released the whole of their
countrymen, and returned on board in triumph.  The story reached
Halifax, where the good-humoured admiral only said he was sorry he was
not a captain, and all the happy society made themselves very merry with
it.  The captain, who is as brave as he is good, was promoted soon
after, entirely from his own intrinsic merit, but not for this action,
in which candour and friendship must acknowledge he was defeated.  The
Lord-Chancellor used to say, he always laughed at the settlement of
pin-money, as ladies were either kicked out of it or kissed out of it;
but his lordship, in the whole course of his legal practice, never saw a
captain of a man-of-war kissed out of forty men by two pretty Irish
girls.  After this, who would not shout "_Erin go bragh_!"

Dashing with a fine breeze out of the harbour, I saw with joy the field
of fortune open to me, holding out a fair promise of glory and riches.
"Adieu!" said I, in my heart, "adieu, ye lovely Nova Scotians! learn in
future to distinguish between false glitter and real worth.  Me ye
prized for a handsome person and a smooth tongue, while you foolishly
rejected men of ten times my worth, because they wanted the outward
blandishments."

We were ordered to Bermuda, and on our first quitting the port, steered
away to the southward with a fair wind at north-west.  This breeze soon
freshened into a gale at south-east, and blew with some violence; but
after awhile it died away to a perfect calm, leaving a heavy swell, in
which the ship rolled incessantly.  About eleven o'clock the sky began
to blacken; and, before noon, had assumed an appearance of the most
dismal and foreboding darkness; the sea-gulls screamed as they flew
distractedly by, warning us to prepare for the approaching hurricane,
whose symptoms could hardly be mistaken.  The warning was not lost upon
us, most of our sails were taken in, and we had, as we thought, so well
secured everything, as to bid defiance to the storm.  About noon it came
with a sudden and terrific violence that astonished the oldest and most
experienced seamen among us: the noise it made was horrible, and its
ravages inconceivable.

The wind was from the north-west--the water, as it blew on board, and
all over us, was warm as milk; the murkiness and close smell of the air
was in a short time dispelled: but such was the violence of the wind,
that, on the moment of its striking the ship, she lay over on her side
with her lee guns under water.  Every article that could move was danced
to leeward; the shot flew out of the lockers, and the greatest confusion
and dismay prevailed below, while above deck things went still worse;
the mizen-mast and the fore and main top-mast went over the side; but
such was the noise of the wind, that we could not hear them fall; nor
did I, who was standing close to the mizen-mast at the moment, know it
was gone, until I turned round and saw the stump of the mast snapped in
two like a carrot.  The noise of the wind "waxed louder and louder;" it
was like one continued peal of thunder; and the enormous waves, as they
rose, were instantly beheaded by its fury, and sent in foaming spray
along the bosom of the deep; the storm stay-sails flew to atoms; the
captain, officers, and men stood aghast, looking at each other, and
waiting the awful event in utter amazement.

The ship lay over on her larboard side so heavily as to force the gun
ports, and the nettings of the waist hammocks, and seemed as if settling
bodily down; while large masses of water, by the force of the wind, were
whirled up into the air; and others were pouring down the hatchways,
which we had not had time to batten down, and before we had succeeded,
the lower deck was half full, and the chests and hammocks were all
floating about in dreadful disorder.  The sheep, cow, pigs, and poultry
were all washed overboard out of the waist and drowned; no voice could
be heard, and no orders were given; all discipline was suspended; every
man was equal to his neighbour; captain and sweeper clung alike to the
same rope for security.

The carpenter was for cutting away the masts, but the captain would not
consent.  A seaman crawled aft on the quarter-deck, and, screaming into
the ear of the captain, informed him that one of the anchors had broken
adrift, and was hanging by the cable under the bows.  To have let it
remain long in this situation, was certain destruction to the ship, and
I was ordered forward to see it cut away; but so much had the gale and
the sea increased in a few minutes, that a passage to the forecastle was
not to be found; on the weather side, the wind and sea were so violent
that no man could face them.  I was blown against the boats, and with
difficulty got back to the quarter-deck; and going over to leeward, I
swam along the gangway under the lee of the boats, and delivered the
orders, which with infinite difficulty at last were executed.

On the forecastle I found the oldest and stoutest seamen holding on by
the weather-rigging, and crying like children: I was surprised at this,
and felt proud to be above such weakness.  While my superiors in age and
experience were sinking under apprehension, I was aware of our danger,
and saw very clearly, that if the frigate did not right very shortly, it
would be all over with us; for in spite of our precautions, the water
was increasing below.  I swam back to the quarter-deck, where the
captain, who was as brave a man as ever trod a plank, stood at the
wheel, with three of the best seamen; but such were the rude shocks
which the rudder received from the sea, that it was with the utmost
difficulty they could prevent themselves being thrown over the ship's
side.  The lee quarter-deck guns were under water; but it was proposed
to throw them overboard and as it was a matter of life and death, we
succeeded.  Still she lay like a log, and would not right, and settled
down in a very alarming manner.  The violence of the hurricane was
unabated, and the general feeling seemed to be, "To prayers!--to
prayers!--all lost!"

The fore and mainmasts still stood, supporting the weight of rigging and
wreck which hung to them, and which like a powerful lever, pressed the
labouring ship down on her side.  To disengage this enormous top-hamper
was to us an object more to be desired than expected.  Yet the case was
desperate, and a desperate effort was to be made, or in half an hour we
should have been past praying for, except by a Roman Catholic priest.
The danger of sending a man aloft was so imminent, that the captain
would not order one on this service; but calling the ship's company on
the quarter-deck, pointed to the impending wreck, and by signs and
gestures, and hard bawling, convinced them that unless the ship was
immediately eased of her burden, she must go down.

At this moment every wave seemed to make a deeper and more fatal
impression on her.  She descended rapidly in the hollows of the sea, and
rose with dull and exhausted motion, as if she felt she could do no
more.  She was worn out in the contest, and about to surrender, like a
noble and battered fortress, to the overwhelming power of her enemies.
The men seemed stupefied with the danger, and I have no doubt, could
they have got at the spirits, would have made themselves drunk, and in
that state, have met their inevitable fate.  At every lurch, the
mainmast appeared as if making the most violent efforts to disengage
itself from the ship; the weather shrouds became like straight bars of
iron, while the lee shrouds hung over in a semicircle to leeward, or
with the weather-roll, banged against the mast, and threatened instant
destruction, each moment, from the convulsive jerks.  We expected to see
the mast fall, and with it the side of the ship to be beaten in.  No man
could be found daring enough, at the captain's request, to venture
aloft, and cut away the wreck of the main top-mast, and the main yard,
which was hanging up and down, with the weight of the top-mast and
topsail-yard resting upon it.  There was a dead and stupid pause, while
the hurricane, if anything, increased in violence.

I confess that I felt gratified at this acknowledgment of a danger which
none dared face.  I waited a few seconds to see if a volunteer would
step forward, resolved, if he did, that I would be his enemy for life,
inasmuch as he would have robbed me of the gratification of my darling
passion--unbounded pride.  Dangers, in common with others, I had often
faced, and been the first to encounter: but to dare that which a gallant
and hardy crew of a frigate had declined, was a climax of superiority
which I had never dreamed of attaining.  Seizing a sharp tomahawk, I
made signs to the captain that I would attempt to cut away the wreck,
follow me who dared.  I mounted the weather-rigging; five or six hardy
seamen followed me; sailors will rarely refuse to follow where they find
an officer lead the way.

The jerks of the rigging had nearly thrown us overboard, or jammed us
with the wreck.  We were forced to embrace the shrouds with arms and
legs; and anxiously, and with breathless apprehension for our lives, did
the captain, officers, and crew gaze on us as we mounted, and cheered us
at every stroke of the tomahawk.  The danger seethed passed when we
reached the catharpings, where we had foot room.  We divided our work;
some took the lanyards of the top-mast rigging; I, the slings of the
main yard.  The lusty blows we dealt were answered by corresponding
crashes; and at length, down fell the tremendous wreck over the larboard
gunwale.  The ship felt instant relief; she righted, and we descended
amidst the cheers, the applauses, the congratulations, and, I may add,
the tears of gratitude of most of our shipmates.  The work now became
lighter, the gale abated every moment, the wreck was gradually cleared
away, and we forgot our cares.

This was the proudest moment of my life, and no earthly possession would
I have taken in exchange for what I felt when I once more placed my foot
on the quarter-deck.  The approving smile of the captain--the hearty
shake by the hand--the praises of the officers--the eager gaze of the
ship's company, who looked on me with astonishment and obeyed me with
alacrity, were something in my mind, when abstractedly considered, but
nothing compared to the inward feeling of gratified ambition--a passion
so intimately interwoven in my existence, that to have eradicated it the
whole fabric of my fame must have been demolished.  I felt pride
justified.

Hurricanes are rarely of long continuance; this was succeeded by a gale,
which, though strong, was fine weather compared to what we had seen.  We
fell to work, rigged our jury-mast, and in a few days presented
ourselves to the welcome gaze of the town of Halifax, which, having felt
the full force of the hurricane, expressed very considerable alarm for
our safety.  My arms and legs did not recover for some time from the
effects of the bruises I had received in going aloft, and for some days
I remained on board.  When I recovered, I went on shore, and was kindly
and affectionately received by my numerous friends.

I had not been long at Halifax before a sudden change took place in the
behaviour of my captain towards me.  The cause I could never exactly
discover, though I had given myself some room for conjecture.  I must
confess with sorrow, that notwithstanding his kindness to me on every
occasion, and notwithstanding my high respect for him, as an officer and
a gentleman, I had raised a laugh against him.  But he was too
good-humoured a man to be offended at such a harmless act of youthful
levity; and five minutes were usually the limits of anger with this
amiable man on such occasions as I am about to relate.

The fact was this; my truly noble captain sported a remarkably wide pair
of blue trousers.  Whether he thought it sailor-like, or whether his
tailor was afraid of putting his lordship to short allowance of cloth,
for fear of phlogistic consequences, I know not; but broad as was the
beam of his lordship, still broader and more ample in proportion were
the folds of this essential part of his drapery, quite enough to have
embraced twice the volume of human flesh contained within them, large as
it undoubtedly was.

That "a stitch in time saves nine," is a wise saw, unhappily, like many
others of the same thrifty kind, but little heeded in this our day.  So
it was with Lord Edward.  A rent had, by some mischance, been made in
the central seam, and, on the morning of the hurricane, was still
unmended.  When the gale came, it sought a quarrel with anything it
could lay hold of, and the harmless trousers of Lord Edward became
subject to its mighty and resistless devastation; the blustering Boreas
entered by the seam aforesaid, and filled the trousers like the cheeks
of a trumpeter.  Yorkshire wool could not stand the inflated pressure,
the dress split to ribbons, and soundly flagellated the very part it was
intended to conceal.  What could he do, "in sweet confusion lost, and
dubious _flutterings_"--the only defence left against the rude blast was
his shirt (for the weather was so warm that second garments were
dispensed with), and this too being old, fled in tatters before the
gale.  In short, clap a sailor's jacket on the Gladiator in Hyde Park,
and you have a fair view of Lord Edward in the hurricane.

The case was inconvenient enough; but as the ship was in distress, and
we all expected to go to the bottom in half an hour, it was not worth
while to quit the deck to replace the dress, which would have availed
him nothing in the depths of the sea, particularly as we were not likely
to meet with any ladies there: nor if there had been any, was it a
matter of any moment whether we went to Davy's locker with or without
breeches; but when the danger was passed, the joke began to appear, and
I was amusing a large company with the _tale_, when his lordship came
in.  The titter of the ladies increased to a giggle, and then by regular
gradation, to a loud and uncontrollable laugh.  He very soon discovered
that he was the subject, and I the cause, and for a minute or two seemed
sulky; but it soon went off, and I cannot think this was the reason of
his change of sentiments; for, although it is high treason in a
midshipman to look black at the captain's dog, much less to laugh at the
captain under any circumstances, still I knew that my captain was too
good a fellow to be offended with such a trifle.  I rather suspect I was
wished out of the ship by the first lieutenant and gun-room officers;
and they were right, for where an inferior officer is popular with the
men, discipline must suffer from it.  I received a good-natured hint
from Lord Edward that another captain in a larger frigate would be happy
to receive me.  I understood him; we parted good friends, and I shall
ever think of him with respect and gratitude.

My new captain was a very different sort of man, refined in his manner,
a scholar, and a gentleman.  Kind and friendly with his officers, his
library was at their disposal; the fore cabin, where his books were
usually kept, was open to all; it was the school-room of the young
midshipmen and the study of the old ones.  He was an excellent
draughtsman, and I profited not a little by his instructions; he loved
the society of the ladies, so did I; but he being a married man was more
select in his company and more correct in his conduct than I could
pretend to be.

We were ordered to Quebec, sailed through the beautiful Gut of Canso,
and up the spacious and majestic St. Lawrence, passing in sight of the
Island of Anticosta.  Nothing material occurred during the passage, save
that a Scotch surgeon's assistant, having adopted certain aristocratic
notions, required a democratical lecture on heads, which was duly
administered to him.  He pretended that he was, by birth and education
(at Edinburgh), entitled to be at the head of our mess.  This I
resisted, and soon taught the ambitious son of Esculapius that the
science of defence was as important as the art of healing; and that if
he was skilful in this latter, I would give him an opportunity of
employing it on his own person: whereupon I implanted on his sinciput,
occiput, os frontis, os nasi, and all other vulnerable parts of his
body, certain concussions calculated to stupify and benumb the
sensorium, and to produce under each eye a quantity of black,
extravasated blood; while, at the same time, a copious stream of carmine
fluid issued from either nostril.  It was never my habit to bully or
take any unfair advantage; so, having perceived a cessation of arms on
his part, I put the usual interrogatives as to whether the party
contending was satisfied, and being answered in the affirmative, I laid
by my metacarpal until they might be further wanted, either for reproof
or correction.

We anchored off Cape Diamond, which divides the St. Lawrence from the
little river St. Charles.  The continuation of this cape, as it recedes,
forms the Heights of Abraham; on which the immortal Wolfe defeated
Montcalm, in the year 1759, when both the generals ended their glorious
career on the field of battle.  The city stands on the extremity of the
cape, and has a very romantic appearance.  The houses and churches are
generally covered with tin, to prevent conflagration, to which the place
was remarkably subject when the houses were covered with thatch or
shingle.  When the rays of the sun lay on the buildings, they had the
appearance of being cased in silver.

One of our objects in going to Quebec was to procure men, of which the
squadron was very deficient.  Our seamen and marines were secretly and
suddenly formed into pressgangs.  The command of one of them was
conferred on me.  The officers and marines went on shore in disguise,
having agreed on private signals and places of rendezvous; while the
seamen on whom we could depend acted as decoy-ducks, pretending to
belong to merchant vessels, of which their officer was the master, and
inducing them to engage, for ten gallons of rum and three hundred
dollars, to take the run home.  Many were procured in this manner, and
were not undeceived until they found themselves alongside of the
frigate, when their oaths and execrations may be better conceived than
described or repeated.

It may be proper to explain here that the vessels employed in the timber
trade arrive in the month of June, as soon as the ice is clear of the
river, and, if they do not sail by or before the end of October, are
usually set fast in the ice, and forced to winter in the St. Lawrence,
losing their voyage, and lying seven or eight months idle.  Aware of
this, the sailors, as soon as they arrive, desert, and are secreted and
fed by the crimps, who make their market of them in the fall of the year
by selling them to the captains; procuring for the men an exorbitant sum
for the voyage home, and for themselves a handsome _douceur_ for their
trouble, both from the captain and the sailor.

We were desired not to take men out of the merchant vessels, but to
search for them in the houses of the crimps.  This was to us a source of
great amusement and singular adventure; for the ingenuity in concealing
them was only equalled by the art and cunning exercised in the discovery
of their abodes.  Cellars and lofts were stale and out of use: we found
more game in the interior of haystacks, church-steeples, closets under
fireplaces where the fire was burning.  Some we found headed up in
sugar-hogsheads, and some concealed within bundles of hoop-staves.
Sometimes we found seamen, dressed as gentlemen, drinking wine and
talking with the greatest familiarity with people much above them in
rank, who had used these means to conceal them.  Our information led us
to detect these excusable impositions.

I went into the country, about fifteen miles from Quebec, where I had
heard of a crimp's preserve, and after a tedious search, discovered some
good seamen on the rafters of an outhouse intended only to smoke and
cure bacon; and as the fires were lighted, and the smoke ascending, it
was difficult to conceive a human being could exist there: nor should we
have discovered them if one of them had not coughed; on which he
received the execrations of the others, and the whole party was
instantly handed out.  We immediately cut the strings of their trousers
behind, to prevent their running away (this ought never to be omitted),
and, placing them and ourselves in the farmer's waggon, made him put his
team to and drive us all to Quebec, the new-raised men joining with our
own in all the jokes which flew thick about on the occasion of their
discovery.  It was astonishing to me how easily these fine fellows
reconciled themselves to the thoughts of a man-of-war; perhaps the
approaching row with the Yankees tended very much to preserve good
humour.  I became an enthusiast in man-hunting, although sober
reflection has since convinced me of its cruelty, injustice, and
inexpediency, tending to drive seamen from the country more than any
measure the government could adopt; but I am not going to write a
treatise on impressment.  I cared not one farthing about the liberty of
the subject, as long as I got my ship well manned for the impending
conflict; and as I gratified my love of adventure, I was as thoughtless
of the consequences as when I rode over a farmer's turnips in England,
or broke through his hedges in pursuit of a fox.

A tradesman at Quebec had affronted me, by refusing to discount a bill
which I had drawn on my father.  I had no other means of paying him for
the goods I had purchased of him, and was much disconcerted at his
refusal, which he accompanied with an insult to myself and my cloth,
never to be forgotten.  Turning the paper over and over, he said, "A
midshipman's bill is not worth a farthing, and I am too old a bird to be
caught with such chaff."

Conscious that the bill was good, I vowed revenge.  My search-warrant
enabled me to go wherever I could get information of men being
concealed--this was easily obtained from a brother mid (the poor man
might as well have been in the hands of the holy brotherhood).  My
companion stated his firm conviction that sailors were concealed in the
house: I applied to the captain, and received orders to proceed by all
means in execution of my duty.  The tradesman was a man of consequence
in Quebec, being what is there called a large storekeeper, though we in
England should have called him a shopkeeper.  About one o'clock in the
morning, we hammered at his door with no gentle tap, demanding
admittance in the name of our sovereign lord the king.  We were refused,
and forthwith broke open the door, and spread over his house, like a
nest of cockroaches.  Cellars, garrets, maids' rooms, ladies' rooms, we
entered _sans ceremonie_; paid little regard to the Medicean costume of
the fair occupants; broke some of the most indispensable articles of
bedroom furniture; rattled the pots and pans about in the kitchen; and,
finding the two sons of the master of the house, ordered them to dress
and come with us, certain, we said, that they were sailors.

When the old tradesman saw me he began to smell a rat, and threatened me
with severe punishment.  I showed him my search-warrant, and asked him
if it was a _good bill_.  After having inspected every part of the
house, I departed, leaving the two young cubs half dead with fear.  The
next day a complaint was lodged at the government house; but
investigation is a long word when a man-of-war is ordered on service.
Despatches from Albany reached Quebec, stating that the President of the
United States had declared war against England; in consequence of which,
our captain took leave of the governor, and dropped down the river with
all speed, so I never heard any more of my tradesman.

We arrived at Halifax fully manned, and immediately received orders to
proceed to sea, "to sink, burn, and destroy."  We ran for Boston Bay,
when, on the morning we made the land, we discovered ten or twelve sail
of merchant vessels.  The first we boarded was a brig; one of our boats
was lowered down; I got into her, and jumped on the deck of the Yankee,
while the frigate continued in chase of the others.  The master of the
vessel sat on a hen-coop, and did not condescend to rise or offer me the
least salute as I passed him; he was a short, thick, paunchy-looking
fellow.

"You are an Englishman, I guess?"

"I guess I am," I said, imitating him with a nasal twang.

"I thought we shouldn't be long in our waters afore we met some of you
old-country sarpents.  No harm in what I said, I hope?" added the
master.

"Oh, no," said I, "not the least; it will make no difference in the long
run.  But where do you come from, and where are you bound?"

"Come from Smyrna, and bound to Boston, where I hope to be to-morrow
morning, by the blessing of God, and a good conscience."

From this answer, I perceived that he was unacquainted with the war, and
I therefore determined to play with him a little before I gave him the
fatal news.  "And pray," said I, "what might your cargo consist of?  You
appear to be light."

"Not so light neither, I guess," said the man; "we have sweet-oil,
raisins, and what we calls notions."

"I have no notion," said I, "what they might be.  Pray explain
yourself."

"Why you see, notions is what we call a little of all sorts like.  Some
likes one thing, you know, and some another: some likes sweet almonds,
and some likes silk, and some likes opium, and some" (he added, with a
cunning grin) "likes dollars."

"And are these the notions with which you are loaded?" said I.

"I guess they are," replied Jonathan.

"And what might your outward cargo have been?" said I.

"Salt fish, flour, and tobacco," was his answer.

"And is this all you have in return?"  I asked.  "I thought the Smyrna
trade had been a very good one."

"Well, so it is," said the unwary Yankee.  "Thirty thousand dollars in
the cabin, besides the oil and the rest of the goods, ain't no bad
thing."

"I am very glad to hear of the dollars," said I.

"What odds does that make to you?" said the captain; "it won't be much
on 'em as'll come to your share."

"More than you may think," said I.  "Have you heard the news as you came
along?"

At the word "news," the poor man's face became the colour of one in the
jaundice.  "What news?" said he, in a state of trepidation that hardly
admitted of utterance.

"Why, only that your president, Mr Madison, has thought fit to declare
war against England."

"You're only a joking?" said the captain.

"I give you my word of honour I am serious," said I; "and your vessel is
a prize to His Britannic Majesty's ship, the ---."

The poor man fetched a sigh from the waistband of his trousers.  "I am a
ruined man," said he.  "I only wish I'd known a little sooner of the war
you talk about: I've got two nice little guns there forward; you
shouldn't a had me so easily."

I smiled at his idea of resistance against a fast-sailing frigate of
fifty guns; but left him in the full enjoyment of his conceit, and
changing the subject, asked if he had anything he could give us to
drink, for the weather was very warm.

"No, I ha'n't," he replied, peevishly; "and if I had--"

"Come, come, my good fellow," said I, "you forget you are a prize;
civility is a cheap article, and may bring you a quick return."

"That's true," said Jonathan, who was touched on the nicest point--self;
"that's true, you are only a doing your duty.  Here, boy, fetch up that
ere demi-John of Madeira, and for aught I know, the young officer might
like a drop o' long cork; bring us some tumblers, and one o' they claret
bottles out o' the starboard after locker."

The boy obeyed--and the articles quickly appeared.  While this dialogue
was going on, the frigate was in chase, firing guns, and bringing-to the
different vessels as she passed them, dropping a boat on board of one,
and making sail after another.  We stood after her with all the sail we
could conveniently carry.

"Pray," said the captain, "might I offer you a bit of something to eat?
I guess you ha'n't dined yet, as it isn't quite meridian."

I thanked him, and accepted his offer: he ran down instantly to the
cabin, as if to prepare for my reception; but I rather thought he wished
to place some articles out of my sight, and this proved to be the case,
for he stole a bag of dollars out of the cargo.  In a short time, I was
invited down.  A leg of cured pork, and a roasted fowl, were very
acceptable to a midshipman at any time, but particularly so to me; and,
when accompanied by a few glasses of the Madeira, the barometer of my
spirits rose in proportion to the depression of his.

"Come, captain," said I, filling a bumper of claret, "here's to a long
and bloody war."

"Damn the dog that won't say amen to that," said the master; "but where
do you mean to carry me to?  I guess to Halifax.  Sha'n't I have my
clothes and my own private _venter_?"

"All your private property," said I, "will be held sacred; but your
vessel and cargo are ours."

"Well, well," said the man, "I know that; but if you behave well to me,
you shan't find I'm ungrateful.  Let me have my things, and I'll give
you a bit o' news as will be of sarvice to you."

He then told me, on my promising him his private venture, that we had
not a moment to lose, for that a vessel, just visible on the horizon,
was from Smyrna, richly laden; she was commanded by a townsman of his,
and bound to the same place.  I turned from him with contempt, and at
the same moment made the signal to speak the frigate.  On going on
board, I told the captain what I had heard from the master of the prize,
and the promise I had given.  He approved of it; the proper number of
men were instantly sent back to the brig, the prisoners taken out, and
the frigate made sail in chase of the indicated vessel, which she
captured that night at nine o'clock.

I would not willingly believe that such perfidy is common among the
Americans.  On parting with the master of my brig, a sharp dialogue took
place between us.

"I guess I'll fit out a privateer, and take some of your merchanters."

"Take care you are not taken yourself," said I, "and pass your time on
board one of our prison ships; but, remember, whatever may happen, it's
all your own fault.  You have picked a German quarrel with us, to please
Boney; and he will only spit in your face when you have done your best
for him.  Your wise President has declared war against the
mother-country."

"Damn the mother-country," muttered the Yankee; "stepmother, I guess you
mean, tarnation seize her!!!"

We continued following the ship, and by night-time the frigate had
secured eight prizes; one of them being a brig in ballast, the prisoners
were put on board of her, my Yankee friend among the number, and turned
adrift, to find their way home.  We took care to give to all of them
their private ventures and their clothes.  I was in hopes of being
allowed to go to Halifax with my prize; but the captain, knowing how I
was likely to pass my time, kept me with him.  We cruised two months,
taking many privateers, some large and some small; some we burned, and
some we scuttled.

One day we had one of these craft alongside, and having taken everything
out of her that was worth moving, we very imprudently set her on fire
before she was clear of the ship's side; and as we were on a wind, it
was some minutes before we could get her clear.  In the meantime the
fire began to blaze up in a very alarming manner under the mizen chains,
where, by the attraction of the two floating bodies, she seemed resolved
to continue; but on our putting the helm up I and giving the vessel a
sheer the contrary way, as soon as we were before the wind, she parted
from us, to our great joy, and was soon in a volume of flame.  Our
reason for setting her on fire alongside was to save time, as we wanted
to go in chase of another vessel, seen from the mast-head, and lowering
a boat down to destroy this vessel would have detained us.

Before the end of the cruise, we chased a schooner, which ran on shore
and bilged; we boarded her, brought away her crew and part of her cargo,
which was very valuable.  She was from Bordeaux, bound to Philadelphia.
I was sent to examine her, and endeavour to bring away more of her
cargo.  The tide rising in her, we were compelled to rip up her decks,
and discovered that she was laden with bales of silk, broad cloths,
watches, clocks, laces, silk stockings, wine, brandy, bars of steel,
olive-oil, etcetera, etcetera.  I sent word of this to the captain; and
the carpenter and plenty of assistants arriving, we rescued a great
quantity of the goods from the deep or the Yankee boats, who would soon
have been on board after we left her.  We could perceive in the hold
some cases, but they were at least four feet under water.  It was
confoundedly cold; but I thought there was something worth diving for,
so down I went, and contrived to keep myself long enough under water to
hook one end of a case, by which means we broke it out and got it up.
It was excellent claret, and we were not withheld from drinking it by
any scruples of conscience; for if I had not dived for it, it would
never have come to the mouth of an Englishman.  We discussed a
three-dozen case among just so many of us, in a reasonable short time;
and as it was October, we felt no ill effects from a frequent repetition
of the dose.

I never felt colder, and diving requires much stimulant.  From practice
at this work, I could pick up pins and needles in a clear, sandy bottom;
and, considering the density of the medium, could litre like a beaver
under water; but I required ample fees for my trouble.  When we returned
on board, we were very wet and cold, and the wine took no effect on us;
but as soon as we thawed, like the horn of the great Munchausen, the
secret escaped, for we were all tipsy.  The captain inquired the cause
of this the next day, and I very candidly told him the whole history.
He was wise enough to laugh at it; some captains would have flogged
every one of the men, and disgraced the officers.

On our return into port, I requested permission to go to England in
order to pass my examination as lieutenant, having nearly completed my
servitude as a midshipman.  I was asked to remain out, and take my
chance for promotion in the flag-ship; but more reasons than I chose to
give induced me to prefer an examination at a sea-port in England, and I
obtained my discharge and came home.  The reader will no doubt give me
credit for having written some dozen of letters to Eugenia: youth,
beauty, and transient possession had still preserved my attachment to
her unabated.  Emily I had heard of, and still loved with a purer flame.
She was my sun; Eugenia my moon; and the fair favourites of the western
hemisphere, so many twinkling stars of the first, second, and third
magnitude.  I loved them all more or less; but all, their charms
vanished, when the beauteous Emily shone in my breast with refulgent
light.

I had received letters from my father, who wished me to come home, that
he might present me to some of the great men of the nation, and secure
my promotion to the highest ranks of the service.  This advice was good,
and, as it suited my views, I followed it.  I parted with my captain on
the best terms, took leave of all my mess-mates and the officers in the
same friendly manner; and last, not least, went round to the ladies,
kissing, hugging, crying, and swearing love and eternal attachment.
Nothing I declared, should keep me from Halifax, as soon as I had
passed; nothing prevent my marrying one, as soon as I was a lieutenant;
a second was to have the connubial knot tied when I was a commander; and
a third, as soon as I was made a captain.  Oh, how like was I to Don
Galaor!  Oh, how unlike the constant Amadis de Gaul!  But, reader, you
must take me as I was, not as I ought to have been.

After a passage of six weeks, I arrived at Plymouth, and had exactly
completed my six years' servitude.



CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

  Examine him closely, goodman Dry; spare him not.  Ask him impossible
  questions.  Let us thwart him, let us thwart him.

  BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER.

Soon after my arrival at Plymouth, notice was given by a general order,
issued from the flag-ship, that a passing day for the examination of
midshipmen, as touching their qualifications for the rank of lieutenant,
would be held on board the _Salvador del Mundo_, in Hamoaze.  I lost no
time in acquainting my father with this, and telling him that I felt
quite prepared, and meant to offer myself.  Accordingly, on the day
appointed, your humble servant, with some fourteen or fifteen other
youthful aspirants, assembled on board the flag-ship.  Each was dressed
out in his Number One suit, in most exact and unquizzable uniform, with
a large bundle of log-books under our arms.  We were all huddled
together in a small screened canvas cabin, like so many sheep ready for
slaughter.

About eleven o'clock, the captains who were to be our Minos and our
Rhadamanthus made their appearance, and we all agreed that we did not
much like the "cut of their jibs."  At twelve o'clock the first name was
called.  The "desperate youth" tried to pluck up a little courage--he
cleared his throat, pulled up his shirt-collar, touched his neckerchief,
and his cocked-hat and journals, boldly followed the messenger into the
captain's cabin, where three grave-looking gentlemen, in undress
uniform, awaited him.  They were seated at a round table; a clerk was at
the elbow of the president; "Moore's Navigation," that wise redoubtable,
lay before them; together with a nautical almanack, a slate and pencil,
ink and paper.  The trembling middy advanced to the table, and having
most respectfully deposited his journals and certificates of sobriety
and good conduct, was desired to sit down.  The first questions were
merely theoretical; and although in the gun-room, or in any other
company, he would have acquitted himself with ease, he was so abashed
and confounded, that he lost his head entirely, trembled at the first
question, stared at the second, and having no answer to make to the
third, was dismissed, with directions "to go to sea six months longer."

He returned to us with a most woe-begone countenance; I never saw a poor
creature in greater mental torment.  I felt for him the more, as I knew
not how soon his case might be my own.  Another was called, and soon
returned with no better success; and the description he gave of the
bullying conduct of the youngest passing captain was such as to damp the
spirits, and enough to stultify minds so inexperienced as ours, and
where so much depended on our success.  This hint was, however, of great
use to me.  Theory, I found, was the rock on which they had split; and
in this part of my profession I knew my powers, and was resolved not to
be bowled out by the young captain.  But while I thus resolved, a third
candidate was returned to us, _re infecta_; and this was a young man on
whose talents I could have relied: I began to doubt myself.  When the
fourth came out with a smiling face, and told us he had passed, I took a
little breath; but even this comfort was snatched from me in a moment,
by his saying that one of the passing captains was a friend of his
father.  Here then was solved an enigma; for this fellow, during the
short time I was in his company, gave proof of being no better than a
simpleton.

On my own name being called, I felt a flutter about the heart which I
did not feel in action, or in the hurricane, or when, in a case more
desperate than either, I jumped overboard at Spithead, to swim to my
dear Eugenia.  "Powers of Impudence, as well as Algebra," said I, "lend
me your aid, or I am undone."  In a moment the cabin door flew open, the
sentinel closed it after me, and I found myself in the presence of this
most awful triumvirate.  I felt very like Daniel in the lion's den.  I
was desired to take a chair, and a short discussion ensued between the
judges, which I neither heard nor wished to hear: but while it lasted I
had time to survey my antagonists from head to foot.  I encouraged
myself to think that I was equal to one of them; and if I could only
neutralise him, I thought I should very easily floor the other two.

One of these officers had a face like a painted pumpkin; and his hand,
as it lay on the table, looked more like the fin of a turtle; the nails
were bitten so close off, that the very remains of them seemed to have
retreated into the flesh, for fear of further depredation, which the
other hand was at the moment suffering.  Thinks I to myself, "If ever I
saw `lodgings to let, unfurnished,' it is in that cocoa-nut, or pumpkin,
or gourd of yours."

The next captain to him was a little, thin, dark, dried-up, shrivelled
fellow, with keen eyes, and a sharp nose.  The midshipmen called him,
"Old Chili Vinegar," or, "Old Hot and Sour."  He was what we term a
martinet.  He would keep a man two months on his black list, giving him
a breech of a gun to polish and keep bright, never allowing him time to
mend his clothes, or keep himself clean, while he was cleaning that
which, for all the purposes of war, had better have been black.  He
seldom flogged a man; but he tormented him into sullen discontent, by
what he called "keeping the devil out of his mind."  This little
nightmare, who looked like a dried eel-skin, I soon found was the leader
of the band.

The third captain was a tall, well-looking, pompous man (he was the
junior officer of the three), with commanding and most unbending
countenance: "He would not ope his mouth in way of smile, though Nestor
swore the jest was laughable."

I had just time to finish my survey, and form a rough estimate of the
qualities of my examiners, when I was put upon my trial, by the
president, who thus addressed me:--

"You are perfect in the theory of navigation, I presume, sir, or you
would not come here?"

I replied, that I hoped I should be found so, if they would please to
try me.

"Ready enough with his answer," said the tall captain; "I dare say this
fellow is jaw-master general in the cockpit.--Whom did you serve your
time with, sir?"

I stated the different captains I had served with, particularly Lord
Edward.

"Oh, ay, thats enough; you _must_ be a smart fellow, if you have served
with Lord Edward."

I understood the envious and sarcastic manner in which this was uttered,
and prepared accordingly for an arduous campaign, quite sure that this
man, who was no seaman, would have been too happy in turning back one of
Lord Edward's midshipmen.  Several problems were given to me, which I
readily solved, and returned to them.  They examined my logs and
certificates with much seeming scrutiny, and then ventured a question in
the higher branches of mathematics.  This I also solved; but I found
talent was not exactly what they wanted.  The little skinny captain
seemed rather disappointed that he could not find fault with me.  A
difficult problem in spherical trigonometry lay before them, carefully
drawn out, and the result distinctly marked at the bottom; but this I
was not, of course, permitted to see.  I soon answered the question;
they compared my work with that which had been prepared for them; and as
they did not exactly agree, I was told that _I_ was wrong.  I was not
disconcerted, and very deliberately looking over my work, I told them I
could not discover any error, and was able to prove it by inspection, by
Canon, by Gunter, or by figure.

"You think yourself a very clever fellow, I dare say," said the little
fat captain.

"A second Euclid!" said the tall captain.  "Pray, sir, do you know the
meaning of `_Pons Asinorum_?'"

"Bridge of Asses, sir," said I, staring him full in the face, with a
smile under the skin.

Now it was very clear to me that the little fat captain had never heard
of the Asses' Bridge before, and therefore supposed I was quizzing the
tall captain, who, from having been what we used to term a "harbour-duty
man" all his life, had heard of the _Pons Asinorum_, but did not know
which of the problems of Euclid it was, nor how it was applicable to
navigation.  The fat captain, therefore burst into a hoarse laugh,
saying, "I think he hits you hard; you had better let him alone: he will
puzzle you presently."

Nettled at this observation of his brother officer, the tall captain was
put upon his mettle, and insisted that the question last proposed was
not satisfactorily answered, and swore by God that he never would sign
my certificate until I did it.

I persisted; the two works were compared: I was threatened to be turned
back; when, lo! to the dismay of the party, the error was found in their
own work.  The fat captain, who was a well-meaning man, laughed
heartily; the other two looked very silly and very angry.

"Enough of this, sir," said the martinet: "now stand up, and let us see
what you can do with a ship."  A ship was supposed to be on the stocks;
she was launched; I was appointed to her, and, as first lieutenant,
ordered to prepare her for sea.  I took her into dock, and saw her
coppered; took her along the sheer-hulk, masted her; laid her to the
ballast-wharf, took in and stowed her iron ballast and her tanks; moved
off to a hulk or receiving ship, rigged her completely, bent her sails,
took in guns, stores, and provisions; reported her ready for sea, and
made the signal for a pilot: took her out of harbour, and was desired to
conduct her into other harbours, pointing out the shoals and dangers of
Portsmouth, Plymouth, Falmouth, the Downs, Yarmouth Roads, and even to
Shetland.

But the little martinet and the tall captain had not forgiven me for
being right in the problem, and my examination continued.  They put my
ship into every possible situation which the numerous casualties of a
sea-life present in such endless variety.  I set and took in every sail,
from a skysail to a trysail.  I had my masts shot away, and I rigged
jury-masts: I made sail on them, and was getting fairly into port, when
the little martinet very cruelly threw my ship on her beam-ends on a
dead lee-shore, a dark night, and blowing a hurricane, and told me to
get her out of that scrape if I could.  I replied that, if there was
anchorage, I should anchor, and take my chance; but if there was no
anchorage, neither he nor any one else could save the ship, without a
change of wind, or the special interference of Providence.  This did not
satisfy old Chili Vinegar.  I saw that I was persecuted, and that the
end would be fatal to my hopes: I therefore became indifferent; was
fatigued with the endless questions put to me; and, very fortunately for
me, made a mistake, at least in the opinion of the tall captain.  The
question at that time was one which was much controverted in the
service; namely, whether on being taken flat aback, you should put your
helm a turn or two a-lee, or keep it amidship?  I preferred the latter
mode; but the tall captain insisted on the former, and gave his reasons.
Finding myself on debatable ground, I gave way, and thanked him for his
advice, which I said I should certainly follow whenever the case
occurred to me; not that I felt convinced then, and have since found
that he was wrong; still my apparent tractability pleased his self-love,
and he became my advocate.  "He grinned horribly a ghastly smile," and,
turning to the other captains, asked if they were satisfied.

This question, like the blow of the auctioneer's hammer, ends all
discussion; for captains, on these occasions, never gainsay each other;
I was told that my passing certificate would be signed.  I made my best
bow and my exit, reflecting, as I returned to the "sheep-pen," that I
had nearly lost my promotion by wounding their vanity, and had regained
my ground by flattering it.  Thus the world goes on; and from my
earliest days, my mind was strengthened and confirmed in every vice by
the pernicious example of my superiors.

I might have passed much more easily abroad.  I remember, one fine day
at sea, in the West Indies, a boat was lowered down, and sent with a
young midshipman (whose time was not fairly served, and whose age and
appearance indicated anything but nautical knowledge) to a ship then in
company; in a quarter of an hour he returned, with his passing
certificate.  We were all astonished, and inquired what questions were
put to him; he said, "None at all, except as to the health of my father
and mother; and whether I would have port or white wine and water.  On
coming away," the brat added, "one of the captains desired I would, when
I wrote home, give his best respects to Lord and Lady G---.  He had
ordered a turkey to be picked and put in the boat for me, and wished me
success."

This boy was soon afterwards made a post-captain; but, fortunately for
the service, died on his passage to England.

There was certainly some difference between this examination and mine;
but when it was over, I rejoiced at the severity of my ordeal.  My
pride, my darling pride, was tickled at the triumph of my talents; and
as I wiped away the perspiration from my forehead, I related my
difficulties, my trials, and my success, with a degree of
self-complacency that in any other person I should have called egregious
vanity.  One good effect resulted from my long examination, which
continued an hour and a half--this was, that the captains passed all the
other midshipmen with very few questions.  They were tired of their
employment; and thus, it was only the poor unlucky devils that took off
the fiery edge of their morning zeal, who suffered; and among "the
plucked," it was known there were much cleverer fellows than many of
those who had come off with flying colours.

There was one circumstance which amused me.  When the captains came on
deck, the little Chili Vinegar called me to him, and inquired whether I
was any relation to Mr ---.  I replied that he was my uncle.

"Bless my soul, sir! why he is my most intimate friend.  Why did you not
tell me you were his nephew?"

I answered with an affected humility, very nearly allied to
impertinence, that I could not see by his face that he knew my uncle;
nor, indeed, had I known it, should I have thought it delicate to have
mentioned it at such a time; as it might not only have implied a want of
confidence in my own abilities, but also a suspicion that he might, by
such a communication, have been induced to deviate from the rigid path
of his duty, and might therefore have received it as a personal affront.

"All that is very fine, and very true," said the veteran: "but when you
have an older head upon your shoulders, and have seen a little more of
our service, you will learn to trust at least as much to friends as to
merit; and rely on it, that if you could make yourself out cousin-german
to the old tom-cat at the Admiralty, you would fare all the better for
it.  However, it's all over now, and there's an end of it; but make my
compliments to your uncle, and tell him that you passed your examination
in a manner highly creditable to you."

So saying, he touched his hat to the sergeant's guard, and slipped down
the side into his gig.  As he descended, I said to myself, "Damn your
monkey face, you coffee-coloured little rascal--no thanks to you if I
have passed.  I suppose your father was a breeches-mender to the first
lord's butler, or else you shared your mother's milk with a lord in
waiting, and that's the way you got the command of the ---."

Elated with the result of the day, I threw myself into the mail that
evening, and reached my father's house in a short time after.  My
reception was kind and affectionate; but death had made sad havoc in my
family during my late absence.  My elder brother and two sisters had
been successively called to join my poor mother in heaven, and all that
remained now to comfort my father was a younger sister and myself.  I
must confess that my father received me with great emotion; his own
heavy afflictions from the loss of his children, and the dangers I had
undergone, as well as the authentic assurances he had received of my
good conduct, were more than sufficient to bury all my errors in
oblivion; and he appeared, and I have no doubt really was, fonder and
prouder of me than ever.

As to what my own feelings were on this occasion, I shall not attempt to
disguise them.  Sorry I certainly was for the death of my nearest
relatives; but when the intelligence reached me, I was in the midst of
the most active service.  Death in all its forms had become familiar to
me; and so little impression did the event make on my mind, that I did
not interrupt the thread of my history to speak of it when it occurred.
I take shame to myself for not feeling more; but I am quite sure from
this one instance in my life, that the feelings are blunted in
proportion to the increase of misery around us; that the parent, who, in
a moment of peace and domestic tranquillity, would be agonised at the
loss of one child, would view the death of ten with comparative
indifference, when surrounded by war, pestilence, or famine.

My feelings, never very acute in this respect, were completely blunted
by my course of life.  These fond recollections which, in a calm scene,
would have wrung from me some tears to their memory, were now drowned or
absorbed in the waste, the profligacy, and the dissipation of war: and
shall I add, that I easily reconciled myself to a loss which was likely
so much to increase my worldly gain.  For my eldest brother, I own that,
even from childhood, I had felt a jealousy and dislike, fostered, as I
think, in some measure unwisely, and in part unavoidably, by the conduct
of my parents.  In all matters of choice or distinction, Tom was to have
the preference, because he was the oldest: this I thought hard enough;
but when Tom had new clothes at Midsummer and Christmas, and his old
ones were converted to my use, I honestly own that I wished the devil
had Tom.  As a point of economy, perhaps, this could not be avoided; but
it engendered a hatred towards my brother which often made me, in my own
little malignant mind, find excuses for the conduct of Cain.

Tom was to be sure, what is called a good boy; _he_ never soiled his
clothes, as I did.  I was always considered as a rantipole, for whom
anything was good enough.  But when I saw my brother tricked out in new
clothes, and his old duds covering me like a scarecrow, I appeal to any
honourable mind whether it was in human nature to feel otherwise than I
did, without possessing an angelic disposition, to which I never
pretended; and I fairly own that I did shed not one-fiftieth part so
many tears over Tom's grave as I did over his dirty pantaloons, when
forced to put them on.

As for my sisters I knew little about them, and cared less; we met
during the holidays, and separated, without regret, after a month's
quarrelling.  When I went to sea, I ceased to think about them,
concluding there was no love lost; but when I found that death had for
ever robbed me of two of them, I felt the irretrievable loss.  I
reproached myself with my coldness and neglect; and the affection I had
denied to them, I heaped threefold on my remaining sister: even before I
had ever seen her on my return, the tide of fraternal love flowed toward
her with an uncontrollable violence.  All that I ought to have felt
towards the others, was concentrated in her, and displayed itself with a
force which surprised even myself.

Perhaps the reader may be astonished that my first inquiry in London,
when I had seen my father and my family, should not have been after poor
Eugenia, whom I had left, and who also had quitted me, under such very
peculiar and interesting circumstances.  I cannot, however, claim much
credit for having performed this duty.  I did go, without loss of time,
to her agent; and all that my most urgent entreaty could obtain from him
was, that she was well; that I still had credit at his house for any sum
I chose to draw for in moderation; but that her place of abode must,
till further orders from her, remain a secret.

As my father did not want interest, and my claims were backed by good
certificates, I received my commission as a lieutenant in His Majesty's
navy about a fortnight after my arrival in London; but not being
appointed to any ship, I resolved to enjoy the "_otium cum dig._" and
endeavour to make myself some amends for the hard campaign I had so
lately completed in North America.  I felt the transport of being a
something: at least, I could live independent of my father, let the
worst come to the worst; and I shall ever think this step gave me more
real pleasure than either of the two subsequent ones which I have lived
to attain.  No sooner, therefore, had I taken up my commission, than my
thoughts turned on my Emily; and two days after the attainment of my
rank, I mentioned to my father my intention of paying a visit to
--- Hall.

He was at the time in high good humour; we were sitting over our bottle
of claret, after an excellent _tete-a-tete_ dinner, during which I
contributed very much to his amusement by the recital of some of my late
adventures.  He shuddered at my danger in the hurricane, and his
good-humoured sides had well-nigh cracked with laughter when I recounted
my pranks at Quebec and Prince Edward's Island.  When I spoke of Miss
Somerville, my father said he had no doubt she would be happy to see
me--that she was now grown a beautiful girl, and was the toast of the
county.

I received this information with an apparent cool indifference which I
was far from feeling inwardly, for my heart beat at the intelligence.
"Perhaps," said I, picking my teeth, and looking at my mouth in a little
ivory _etui_, "perhaps she may be grown a fine girl: she bade fair to be
so when I saw her; but fine girls are plentiful nowadays, since the
vaccine has turned out the small-pox.  Besides, the girls have now
another chance of a good shape; they are allowed to take the air,
instead of sitting all day with their feet in the stocks and their dear
sweet noses bent over a French grammar under the rod of a French
governess."

Why I took so much pains to conceal from the best of parents the real
state of my heart, I know not, except that from habit deceit was to me
more readily at hand than candour, certainly my attachment to this fair
and virtuous creature could not cause me to blush, except at my own
unworthiness of so much excellence.  My father looked disappointed--I
knew not why--but I afterwards learned that the subject of our union
had, since my brother's death, been discussed and agreed to between him
and Mr Somerville; and that our marriage was only to be deferred until
I should have attained the rank of captain, provided that the parties
were agreed.

"I thought," said my father, "that you were rather smitten in that
quarter?"

"Me smitten, sir?" said I, with a look of astonishment.  "I have, it is
true, a very high respect for Miss Somerville; but as for being in love
with her, I trust no little attentions on my part have been so
construed.  I have paid her no more attention than I may have done to
any pretty girl I meet with."  (This was indeed true, too true.)

"Well, well," said my father, "it is a mistake on my part."

And here the conversation on that subject was dropped.

It appeared that after the little arrangement between Mr Somerville and
my father, and when I had gone to join my ship in America, they had had
some communication together, in which Mr Somerville disclosed, that
having questioned his daughter, she had ingenuously confessed that I was
not indifferent to her.  She acknowledged, with crimson blushes, that I
had requested and obtained a lock of her hair.  This Mr Somerville told
my father in confidence.  He was not, therefore, at liberty to mention
it to me; but it sufficiently accounts for his astonishment at my
seeming indifference, for the two worthy parents had naturally concluded
that it was a match.

Confounded and bewildered by my asseveration, that my father knew not
whose veracity to impeach; but charitably concluding there was some
mistake, or that I was, as heretofore, a fickle, thoughtless being,
considered himself bound in honour to communicate the substance of our
conversation to Mr Somerville; and the latter no sooner received it,
than he placed the letter in Emily's hands--a very comfortable kind of
_avant-coureur_ for a lover, after an absence from his mistress of full
three years.

I arrived at the Hall, bursting with impatience to see the lovely girl,
whose hold on my heart and affection was infinitely stronger than I had
ever supposed.  Darting from the chaise, I flew into the sitting-room,
where she usually passed her morning.  I was now in my twenty-second
year; my figure was decidedly of a handsome cast; my face, what I knew
most women admired.  My personal advantages were heightened by the
utmost attention to dress; the society of the fair Arcadians had very
much polished my manners, and I had no more of the professional
roughness of the sea, than what, like the crust of the port wine, gave
an agreeable flavour; my countenance was as open and as ingenuous as my
heart was deceitful and desperately wicked.

Emily rose with much agitation, and in an instant was clasped in my
arms: not that the movement was voluntary on her part, it was wholly on
mine.  She rather recoiled, but for an instant seemed to have forgotten
the fatal communication which her father had made to her not two hours
before.  She allowed me--perhaps she could not prevent it--to press her
to my heart.  She soon, however, regained her presence of mind, and,
gently disengaging herself, gave vent to her feelings in a violent flood
of tears.

Not at the time recollecting the conversation with my father, much less
suspecting that Emily had been made acquainted with it, I cannot but
confess that this reception surprised me.  My caresses were repulsed, as
coming from one totally disqualified to take such freedom.  She even
addressed me as Mr Mildmay, instead of "Frank."

"What may all this mean, my dearest Emily," said I, "after so long an
absence?  What can I have done to make so great an alteration in your
sentiments?  Is this the reward of affection and constancy?  Have I so
long worn this dear emblem of your affection next my heart, in battle
and in tempest, to be spurned from you like a cur on my return?"

I felt that I had a clear right to boast of constancy; nor were the
flirtations of Halifax and Quebec at all incompatible with such a
declaration.  The fair sex will start at this proposition; but it is
nevertheless true.  Emily was to me what the Dutchman's best anchor was
to him--he kept it at home, for fear of losing it.  He used other
anchors in different ports, that answered the purpose tolerably well;
but this best bower he always intended to ride by in the Nieu Diep, when
he had escaped all the dangers and quicksands of foreign shores: such
was Emily to me.  I thought of her when in the very jaws of the shark; I
thought of her when I mounted the rigging in the hurricane; I thought of
her when bored and tormented to madness by the old passing captains;
all, all I might gain in renown was for her.  Why, then, traitor like,
did I deny her?  For no other reason that I can devise, than that
endless love of plot and deceit which had "grown with my growth."

Madame de Stael has pronounced love to be an episode in a man's life;
and so far it is true.  There are as many episodes in life as there are
in novels and romances; but in neither case do they destroy the general
plot of the history, although they may, for the time, distract or divert
our attention.  Here, then, is the distinction between passion and love.
I felt a passion for Eugenia, love for Emily.  And why?  Because
although it was through my own persuasions and entreaties that her
scruples had been overcome; although it was through her affection for me
which would not allow her to refuse me any demand, even to the sacrifice
of herself, that Eugenia had fallen,--still, in the eyes of society, she
had fallen; and I did not offer up a pure and holy love to that which
was not accounted pure.  In this I gave way, ungratefully, to the
heartless casuistry of the world.  But Emily, enshrined in modesty, with
every talent, equal, if not superior charms, defended by rank and
connection, was a flower perpetually blooming on the stem of virtue,
that it would have amounted to sacrilege to attempt to have plucked: and
the attempt itself would have savoured of insanity, from the utter
hopelessness of success.  Every sentiment connected with her was pure
from mere selfishness.  Not for worlds would I have injured her; because
in destroying her peace of mind, my own would have fled for ever.  When
I contemplated our final union, I blushed for my own unworthiness; and
looked forward to the day when, by repentance and amendment, I might be
deemed worthy to lead her to the altar.

I had not time to pursue these reflections any further.  Emily heard my
appeal, and rising from her seat in the most dignified manner, addressed
me in the commanding language of conscious virtue and injured innocence.

"Sir," said she, "I trust I am too honest to deceive you, or any one;
nor have I done that of which I need be ashamed.  Whatever reasons I may
have to repent of my misplaced confidence, I will make no secret of that
which now compels me to change my opinion of you; you will find them
amply detailed in this paper," at the same time putting into my hand the
letter from my father to Mr Somerville.

In a moment the mystery was unravelled, and conviction flashed in my
face like the priming of a musket.  Guilty and convicted on the clearest
evidence, I had nothing left for it but to throw myself on her mercy;
but while I stood undecided, and unknowing what to do, Mr Somerville
entered, and welcomed me with kind, but cool hospitality.  Seeing Emily
in tears, and my father's letter in her hand, he knew that an
_eclaircissement_ had taken place, or was in progress.  In this
situation, candour, and an honest confession that I felt a _mauvaise
honte_ in disclosing my passion to my father, would undoubtedly have
been my safest course; but my right trusty friend, the devil, stepped in
to my assistance, and suggested deceit, or a continuation of that chain
by which he had long since bound me, and not one link of which he took
care should ever be broken; and, fortunately for me, this plan answered
at the time better than candour.

"I must acknowledge, sir," said I, "that appearances are against me.  I
can only trust to your patient hearing while I state the real facts.
Allow me first to say, that my father's observations are hardly
warranted by the conversation which took place; and if you will please,
in the first place to consider that that very conversation originated in
my expressing a wish and intention of coming down to see you, and to
produce to your daughter the memento so carefully guarded during my long
absence, you must perceive that there is an incongruity in my conduct
difficult to explain; but still, through all these mazes and windings, I
trust that truth and constancy will be found at the bottom.  You may
probably laugh at the idea, but I really felt jealous of my father's
praises so lavishly bestowed on Miss Somerville; and not supposing he
was aware of my attachment, I began to fear he had pretensions of his
own.  He is a widower, healthy, and not old; and it appeared to me, that
he only wanted my admiration to justify his choice of a stepmother for
myself and sister.  Thus, between love for Miss Somerville, and respect
for my father, I scarcely knew how to act.  That I should for one moment
have felt jealous of my father I now acknowledge with shame; yet
labouring under the erroneous supposition of his attachment to an object
which had been the only one of my adoration, I could not make up my mind
to a disclosure which I feared would have renewed our differences and
produced the most insuperable bars to our future reconciliation.  This
thought burned in my brain, and urged the speed of the jaded
post-horses.  If you will examine the drivers, they will tell you that
the whole way from town they have been stimulated by the rapping of a
Spanish dollar on the glass of the chaise.  I dreaded my father getting
the start of me; and busy fancy painted him to my heated imagination
kneeling at the feet of my beloved Emily.  Condemn me not, therefore,
too harshly; only allow me the same lenient judgment which you exercised
when I first had the pleasure of making your acquaintance."

This last sentence delicately recalled the scene at the inn, and the
circumstances of my first introduction.  The defence was not bad; it
wanted but one simple ingredient to have made it excellent--I mean
truth; but the court being strongly biassed in favour of the prisoner, I
was acquitted, and at the same time "admonished to be more careful in
future."  The reconciliation produced a few more tears from my beloved
Emily, who soon after slipped out of the room to recover her flurry.

When Mr Somerville and myself were left together, he explained to me
the harmless plot which had been laid for the union between his
daughters and myself.  How true it is, that the falling out of lovers is
the renewal of love!  The fair, white hand extended to me was kissed
with the more rapture, as I had feared the losing of it for ever.  None
enjoy the pleasures of a secure port as he who has been tempest tossed
and in danger of shipwreck.

The dinner and the evening were among the happiest I can remember.  We
sat but a short time over our wine, as I preferred following my mistress
to the little drawing-room, where tea and coffee were prepared, and
where the musical instruments were kept.  Emily sang and played to me,
and I sang and accompanied her; and I thought all the clocks and watches
in the house were at least three hours too fast, when, as it struck
twelve, the signal was made to retire.

I had no sooner laid my head on my pillow, than I began to call myself
to a severe account for my duplicity; for somehow or other, I don't know
how it is, conscience is a very difficult sort of gentleman to deal
with.  A tailor's bill you may avoid by crossing the Channel; but the
duns of conscience follow you to the antipodes, and will be satisfied.
I ran over the events of the day; I reflected that I had been on the
brink of losing my Emily by an act of needless and unjustifiable deceit
and double-dealing.  Sooner or later I was convinced that this part of
my character would be made manifest, and that shame and punishment would
overwhelm me in utter ruin.  The success which had hitherto attended me
was no set-off against the risk I ran of losing for ever this lovely
girl, and the respect and esteem of her father.  For her sake,
therefore, I made a vow for ever to abandon this infernal system.  I
mention this more particularly as it was the first healthy symptom of
amendment I had discovered, and one to which I long and tenaciously
adhered--as far, at least, as my habits and pursuits in life would allow
me.  I forgot, at that time, that to be ingenuous it was necessary to be
virtuous.  There is no cause for concealment when we do not act wrongly.

A letter from Mr Somerville to my father explained my conduct; and my
father, in reply, said I certainly must have been mad.  To this I
assented, quoting Shakespeare--"The lunatic, the lover, and the poet,"
etcetera!  So long as I was out of the scrape, I cared little about the
impeachment of my rationality.

The days at the Hall flew, just like all the days of happy lovers,
confoundedly fast.  The more I saw of Emily, the firmer and faster did
she rivet my chains.  I was her slave; but what was best, I became a
convert to virtue because she was virtuous; and to possess her, I knew I
must become as like her as my corrupt mind and unruly habits would
permit.  I viewed my past life with shame and contrition.  When I
attended this amiable, lovely creature to church on a Sunday, and saw
her in the posture of devotion before her Maker; I thought her an angel,
and I thought it heaven to be near her.  All my thoughts and sentiments
seemed changed and refined by her example and her company.  The sparks
of religion, so long buried in the ashes of worldly corruption and
infidelity, began to revive.  I recalled my beloved mother and the Bible
to my recollection; and could I have been permitted to have remained
longer with my "governess," I have no doubt that I should have regained
both purity of mind and manner.  I should have bidden adieu to vice and
folly, because they could not have dwelt under the same roof with Emily;
and I should have loved the Bible and religion, because they were
beloved by her: but my untoward destiny led me a different way.



CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

  And oft his smooth and bridled tongue
  Would give the lie to his flushing cheek;
  He was a coward to the strong;
  He was a tyrant to the weak.
  SHELLEY.

My father, as soon as he had obtained my promotion, asked for my being
employed; and having had a promise from the Admiralty, that promise,
unlike thousands of its predecessors and successors, was too rapidly
fulfilled.  I received a letter from my father, and a bouncing one from
the Admiralty by the same post, announcing officially my appointment to
the _D---_ brig, of eighteen guns, at Portsmouth, whither I was directed
to repair immediately, and take up my commission.  In this transaction I
soon after found there was an underplot, which I was too green to
perceive at the time; but the wise heads of the two papas had agreed
that a separation between the lovers was absolutely necessary, and that
the longer it was delayed the worse it would be for both of us; in
short, that until I had attained my rank, nothing should be thought of
in the way of matrimony.

As the reader is, no doubt, by this time pretty well versed in all the
dialogue of parting lovers, I shall not intrude upon his or her patience
with a repetition of that which has been much too often repeated, and is
equally familiar to the prince and the ploughman.  I should as soon
think of describing the Devil's Punch-bowl on the road to Portsmouth,
where I arrived two days after my appointment.

I put up at Billet's, at the George, as a matter of course, because it
was the resort of all the naval aristocracy, and directly opposite to
the admiral's office.  The first person for whom I made my kind
inquiries was my captain elect; but he herded not with his brother
epaulettes.  He did not live at the George, nor did he mess at the
Crown, he was not at the Fountain, nor the Parade Coffee-house; and the
Blue Posts ignored him; but he was to be heard of at the Star and Garter
on the tip of Portsmouth Point.  He did not even live there, but
generally resided on board.  This does not savour well; I never like
your captains who live on board their ships in harbour; no ship can be
comfortable, for no one can do as he pleases, which is the life and soul
of a man-of-war when in port.

To the Star and Garter I went, and asked for Captain G---.  I hoped I
should not find him here; for this house had been, time out of mind, the
rendezvous of warrant-officers, mates, and midshipmen.  Here, however,
he was; I sent up my card, and was admitted to his presence.  He was
seated in a small parlour, with a glass of brandy and water, or at least
the remains of it, before him; his feet were on the fender, and several
official documents, which he had received that morning, were lying on
the table.  He rose as I entered, and showed me a short, square-built
frame, with a strong projection of the sphere, or what the Spaniards
call _barriga_.  This rotundity of corporation was, however, supported
by as fine a pair of Atlas legs as ever were worn by a Bath chairman.
His face was rather inclined to be handsome; the features regular, a
pleasant smile upon his lips, and a deep dimple in his chin.  But his
most remarkable feature was his eye; it was small but piercing, and
seemed to possess that long-sought _desideratum_ the perpetual motion,
since it was utterly impossible to fix it for one moment on any object;
and there was in it a lurking expression which, though something of a
physiognomist, I could not readily decipher.

"Mr Mildmay," said my skipper, "I am extremely happy to see you, and
still more so that you have been appointed to my ship; will you be
seated?"

As I obeyed, he turned round, and rubbing his hands as if he had just
laid down his soap, he continued, "I always make it a rule, previous to
an officer joining my ship, to learn something of his character from my
brother captains; it is a precaution which I take, as I consider that
`one scabby sheep, etcetera,' is strictly applicable to our service.  I
wish to have good officers and perfect gentlemen about me.  There are,
no doubt, many officers who can do their duty well, and with whom I
should have no fault to find; but then there is a way of doing it--a
_modus in rebus_, which a gentleman can only attain to; coarse manners,
execrations, and abusive language, render the men discontented, degrade
the service, and are therefore very properly forbidden in the second
article of war.  Under such officers, the men always work unwillingly.
I have taken the liberty to make some inquiries about you; and can only
say, that all I have heard is to your advantage.  I have no doubt we
shall suit each other; and be assured it shall be my study to make you
as comfortable as possible."

To this very sensible and polite address, I made a suitable reply.  He
then stated that he expected to sail in a few days; that the officer
whom I was to supersede had not exactly suited his ideas, although he
believed him to be a very worthy young man; and that, in consequence, he
had applied and succeeded in obtaining for him another appointment; that
it was necessary he should join his ship immediately; but, of course, he
must first be superseded by me.  "Therefore," said he, "you had better
meet me on board the brig to-morrow morning at nine o'clock, when your
commission shall be read; and after that I beg you will consider
yourself your own master for a few days, as I presume you have some
little arrangements to prepare for your cruise.  I am aware," pursued
he, smiling most benignantly, "that there are many little comforts which
officers wish to attend to; such as fitting their cabins and looking to
their mess, and a thousand other nameless things, which tend to pass the
time and break up the monotony of a sea-life.  Forty years have I trod
the king's planks, man and boy, and not with any great success, as you
may perceive, by the rank I now hold and the life I am leading; for here
I sit over a glass of humble grog, instead of joining my brother
captains in their claret at the Crown; but I have two sisters to
support, and I feel more satisfaction in doing my duty as a brother than
indulging my appetite; although I own I have no dislike to a glass of
claret when it does not come before me in a questionable shape--I mean
when I have not got to pay for it, which I cannot afford.  Now, do not
let me take up any more of your time.  You have plenty of acquaintances
that you wish to see, I have no doubt; and as for my yarns, they will do
to pass away a watch, when we have nothing more attractive to divert
us."  So saying, he held out his hand, and shook mine most cordially.
"To-morrow, at nine o'clock," he repeated; and I left him, much pleased
with my interview.

I went back to my inn, thinking what a very fortunate fellow I was to
have such an honest, straightforward, bold British hero of a captain, on
my first appointment.  I ordered my dinner at the George, and then
strolled out to make my purchases, and give my orders for a few articles
for sea service.  I fell in with several old mess-mates; they
congratulated me on my promotion, and declared I should give them a
dinner to wet my commission, to which I readily consented.  The day was
named, and Mr Billet was ordered to provide accordingly.

Having dined _solus_, I amused myself in writing a long letter to my
dear Emily; and with the assistance of a bottle of wine succeeded in
composing a tolerably warm and rapturous sort of document, which I
sealed, kissed, and sent to the post-office; after which, I built
castles till bed-time; but not one castle did I build in which Emily was
not the sole mistress.  I went to bed, and slept soundly; and the next
morning, by seven o'clock, I was arrayed in a spick-span new uniform,
with an immensely large epaulette stuck on my right shoulder.  Having
breakfasted, I sallied out, and, in my own conceit, was as handsome chap
as ever buckled a sword-belt.  I skimmed with a light and vigorous foot
down High Street.

"Boat, your honour?" said a dozen voices at once, as I reached New
Sallyport; but I was resolved that Point-Street should have a look at me
as well as High Street, so I kept a profound and mysterious silence, and
let the watermen follow me to the Point, just like so many sucking fish
after a shark.  I had two or three offers for volunteers to serve with
me as I went along; but they were not of the right sex, so I did not
take them.

"Boat to Spithead, your honour?" said a tough old waterman.

"Ay, you'll do," said I; so I jumped into his wherry, and we shoved off.

"What ship is your honour going to?" said the man.

"To the _D---_ brig."

"Oh, you are a-going to she, are you?  To belong to her, mayhap?"

"Yes," I replied.

The waterman gave a sigh, feathered his oar, and never spoke another
word till we came alongside.  I did not regret his taciturnity, for I
was always more amused with my own thoughts than in conversing with
illiterate people.

The brig was a most beautiful vessel.  She mounted eighteen guns, and
sat on the water like a duck.  I perceived that the pendant was up for
punishment, and this I thought rather an unusual sight at Spithead: I
took it for granted that some aggravated offence, such as theft, or
mutiny, had been committed.  Seeing I was an officer, I was admitted
alongside; so I paid the waterman, and sent him away.  As I went up the
side, I saw a poor fellow spread-eagled up to the grating, "according to
the manners and customs of the natives," while the captains, officers,
and ship's company stood round witnessing the athletic dexterity of a
boatswain's mate, who, by the even, deep, and parallel marks of the cat
on the white back and shoulders of the patient, seemed to be perfectly
master of his business.  All this did not surprise me--I was used to it;
but, after the address of my captain on the preceding day, I was very
much surprised to hear language in direct violation of the second
article of war.

Cursings and execrations poured out of his mouth with a volubility equal
to that of the most accomplished lady at the back of the Point.

"Boatswain's mate," roared the captain, "do your duty! or by God I will
have _you_ up, and give you four dozen yourself.  One would think, damn
your beard, that you were brushing flies off a sleeping Venus, instead
of punishing a scoundrel with a hide as thick as a buffalo's, and be
damned to him.  Do your duty, sir, damn your soul."

During this elegant address, the unhappy wretch had received four severe
dozen, which the master-at-arms had counted aloud, and reported to the
captain.  "Another boatswain's mate," said he.  The poor creature turned
his head over his shoulders with an imploring look, but it was in vain.
I watched the countenance of the captain, and the peculiar expression
which I could not decipher at my first interview I now read most
plainly--it was malignant cruelty, and delight in torturing his own
species; he seemed to take a diabolical pleasure in the hateful
operation which we were compelled to witness.  The second boatswain's
mate commenced, with a fresh cat, and gave a lash across the back of the
prisoner, that made _me_ start.

"One," said the master-at-arms, beginning to count.

"One!" roared the captain, "do you call that one? not a quarter of a
one.  That fellow is only fit for fly-flapper at a pork shop!  I'll
disrate you, by God, you damned molly mop; is that the way you handle a
cat? that's only wiping the dirt off his back.  Where's the boatswain?"

"Here," said a stout, gigantic, left-handed fellow, stepping forward,
with a huge blue uniform coat and a plain anchor button, holding his hat
in his left hand, and stroking his hair down his forehead with his
right.  I surveyed this man, as he turned himself about, and concluded
that the tailor who worked for him had been threatened with a specimen
of his art, if he stinted him in cloth; for the skirts of his coat were
ample, terminating in an inclined plane, the corners in front being much
lower than the middle of the robe behind; the buttons on the hips were
nearly pistol-shot asunder.

"Give this man a dozen, sir," said Captain G---; "and if you favour him,
I'll put you under arrest, and stop your liquor."

This last part of the threat had more effect with Mr Pipes than the
first.  He began to peel, as the boxers call it; off came his capacious
coat; a red waistcoat--full-sized for a Smithfield ox--was next
deposited; then he untied a black silk handkerchief, and showed a
throat, covered like that of a goat with long brown hairs, thick as
packthread.  He next rolled up his shirt-sleeves above his elbow, and
showed an arm and a back very like the Farnese Hercules, which no doubt
all my readers have seen at the foot of the staircase at Somerset House,
when they had been to the exhibition.

This hopeful commentator on articles of war seized his cat: the handle
was two feet long, one inch and three quarters thick; and covered with
red baize.  The tails of this terrific weapon were three feet long, nine
in number, and each of them about the size of that line which covers the
springs of a travelling carriage.  Mr Pipes, whose scientific display
in this part of art had no doubt procured for him the warrant of a
boatswain, in virtue of which he now stood as the vindicator of the laws
of his country, handled his cat like an adept, looked at it from top to
bottom, cleared all the tails by the insertion of his delicate fingers,
and combing them out, stretched out his left leg--for he was left-legged
as well as left-handed--and measuring his distance with the accurate eye
of an engineer, raised his cat high in the air with his left hand, his
right still holding the tips of the tails, as if to restrain their
impatience; when, giving his arm and body a full swing, embracing
three-fourths of the circle, he inflicted a tremendous stroke on the
back of the unfortunate culprit.  This specimen seemed to satisfy the
amateur captain, who nodded approbation to the inquiring look of the
amateur boatswain.  The poor man lost his respiration from the force of
the blow; and the tails of the cat coming from an opposite direction to
the first four dozen, cut the flesh diamond-wise, bringing the blood at
every blow.

I will not wound the feelings of my readers with a description of the
poor wretch's situation.  Even at this distance of time, I am shocked at
it, and bitterly lament the painful necessity I have often been under of
inflicting similar punishment; but I hope and trust I never did it
without a cause, or in the wanton display of arbitrary power.

The last dozen being finished, the sum-total was reported by the
master-at-arms, "Five dozen."

"Five dozen!" repeated Captain G---; "that will do--cast him off.  And
now, sir," said he to the fainting wretch, "I hope this will be a
warning to you, that the next time you wish to empty your beastly mouth,
you will not spit on my quarter-deck."

"Heavens!" thought I, "is all this for spitting on the quarter-deck?
And this from the moralist of yesterday, who allowed neither oaths nor
execrations, and has uttered more blasphemy in the last ten minutes than
I have heard for the last ten weeks!"

I had not yet caught the captain's eye--he was too intent on his
amusement.  As soon as the prisoner was cast loose, he commanded to pipe
down, or in other words, to dismiss the people to their usual
occupations, when I went up to him, and touched my hat.

"Oh! you are come, are you?  Pipe belay there--send everybody aft on the
quarter-deck."

My commission was then read--all hats off in respect to the sovereign,
from whom the authority was derived.  After this, I, being duly
inaugurated, became the second lieutenant of the sloop; and the captain,
without condescending to give me another word or look, ordered his gig
to be manned, and was going on shore.  I was not presented by him to any
of the officers, which in common courtesy he ought to have done.  This
omission, however, was supplied by the first lieutenant, who invited me
down into the gun-room, to introduce me to my new mess-mates.  We left
the tiger pacing up and down on his quarter-deck.

The first lieutenant was of the medium stature, a suitable height for a
sloop of war, a spare figure, of about forty years of age; he had but
one eye, and that eye was as odd a one as the captain's.  There was in
it, however, unlike the captain's, an infinite deal of humour, and when
he cocked it, as he constantly did, it almost spoke.  I never saw three
such eyes in two such heads.  There was a lurking smile in the
lieutenant's face, when I told him that the captain had desired me to
come on board and read my commission, after which I might have two or
three days to myself to prepare for sea.

"Well," said he, "you had better go and ask him now; but you will find
him a rum one."

Accordingly, up I went to him.  "Have you any objection to my going on
shore sir?"

"Shore, sir!" bellowed he; "and who the devil is to carry on the duty,
if you go on shore?  Shore, eh?  I wish there was no shore, and then,
damn the dog that couldn't swim!  No, sir; you have had shore enough.
The service is going to hell, sir!  A parcel of brats, with lieutenant's
commissions before they should have been clear of the nursery!  No, sir;
stay on board, or damn me, I'll break you like an egg-shell, before you
have taken a shine out of that fine new epaulette!  No, no, by God; no
more cats here than catch mice.  You stay on board, and do your duty;
every man does his duty here; and let me see the --- that don't do it!"

I was in some measure prepared for this sublime harangue; but still
there was sufficient room in my mind to admit of great astonishment at
this sudden change of wind.  I replied that he had promised me leave
yesterday, and that, upon the strength of that promise, I had left all
my things on shore, and that I was not in any way prepared to go to sea.

"I promised you leave, did I?  Perhaps I did; but that was only to get
you on board.  I am up to your tricks, you damned young chaps: when you
get on shore, there is no getting you off again.  No, no; no catchee no
havee!  You would not have made your appearance these three days, if I
hadn't sugared the trap!  Now I have got you, I'll keep you, damn my
eyes!"

I repeated my request to go on shore; but, without condescending to
offer any further reasons, he answered--"I'd see you damned first, sir!
And observe, I never admit of expostulation.  Nothing affords me more
pleasure than to oblige my officers in everything reasonable; but I
never permit reply."

Thought I to myself, "You certainly have escaped from hell, and I do not
see how the infernal regions can do without you.  You would have been
one of the most ingenious tormentors of the damned.  Domitian would have
made you admiral, and your boatswain captain of the fleet!"

Having made this reflection, as I took a turn or two on deck, thinking
what was best to be done, and knowing that "the king could do no wrong,"
the officer whom I had just superseded came up the hatchway, and,
touching his hat very respectfully to the captain, asked whether he
might go on shore.

"You may go to hell, and be damned, sir!" said the captain (who hated
bad language); "you are not fit to carry guts to a bear!--you are not
worth your salt; and the sooner you are off, the cleaner the ship will
be!  Don't stand staring at me, like a bull over a gate!  Down, and pack
up your traps, or I'll freshen your way!" raising his foot at the same
time, as if he was going to kick him.

The young officer, who was a mild, gentlemanly, and courageous youth,
did as he was bidden.  I was perfectly astonished: I had been accustomed
to sail with gentlemen.  I had heard of martinets, and disciplinarians,
and foul-mouthed captains; but this outdid all I ever could have
conceived, and much more than I thought ever could have been submitted
to by any correct officer.  Roused to indignation, and determined not to
be treated in this manner, I again walked up to him, and requested leave
to go on shore.

"You have had your answer, sir."

"Yes, I have, sir," said I, "and in language that I never before heard
on His Majesty's quarter-deck.  I joined this ship as an officer and a
gentleman, and as such I will be treated."

"Mutiny, by God!" roared the captain.  "Cock-a-hoop with your new
commission, before the ink is dry."

"As you please, sir," I replied; "but I shall write a letter to the
port-admiral, stating the circumstances and requesting leave of absence;
and that letter I shall trouble you to forward."

"I'll be damned if I do!" said he.

"Then, sir," said I, "as you have refused to forward it, and in the
presence of all the officers in the ship's company, I shall forward it
without troubling you."

This last shot of mine seemed to produce the same effect upon him that
the last round does upon a beaten boxer; he did not come to time, but,
muttering something, dived down the companion, and went into his cabin.

The first lieutenant now came up, and congratulated me on my victory.
"You have puzzled and muzzled the bear completely," said he; "I have
long wanted a coadjutor like yourself.  Wilson, who is going to leave
us, is the best creature that ever lived: but though brave as a lion
before an enemy, he is cowed by this incarnate devil."

Our conversation was interrupted by a message from the captain, who
desired to speak with me in his cabin.  I went down; he received me with
the benignant smile of our first acquaintance.

"Mr Mildmay," said he, "I always assume a little tartness with my
officers when they first join," ("and when they quit you too," thought
I), "not only to prove to them that I am, and will be, the captain of my
own ship, but also as an example to the men, who, when they see what the
officers are forced to put up with, feel themselves more contented with
their lot, and obey more readily; but, as I told you before, the comfort
of my officers is my constant study--you are welcome to go ashore, and
have twenty-four hours' leave to collect your necessaries."

To this harangue I made no reply; but, touching my hat, quitted the
cabin I felt so much contempt for the man that I was afraid to speak,
lest I should commit myself.

The captain shortly after quitted the ship, telling the first lieutenant
that I had permission to go on shore.  I was now left at liberty to make
acquaintance with my companions in misery--and nothing conduces to
intimacy so much as community of suffering.  My resistance to the
brutality of our common taskmaster had pleased them; they told me what a
tyrant and what a disgrace to the service he was, and how shameful it
was that he should be intrusted with the command of so fine a vessel, or
of any vessel at all, except it were a convict ship.  The stories they
told me of him were almost incredible, and nothing but the
too-well-founded idea that an officer trying his captain by a
court-martial had a black mark against him for ever after, and was never
known to rise, could have saved this man from the punishment he so
richly deserved: no officer, they said, had been more than three weeks
in the ship, and they were all making interest to leave her.

In my report of what occurred in this vessel during the time I belonged
to her, I must, in justice to the captains and commanders of His
Majesty's navy, observe, that the case was unique of its kind: such a
character as Captain G--- was rarely met with in the navy then, and, for
reasons which I shall give, will be still more rare in future.  The
first lieutenant told me that I had acted very judiciously in resisting
at first his undue exertion of authority; that he was at once a tyrant,
a bully, and a coward, and would be careful how he attacked me again.
"But be on your guard," said he, "he will never forgive you; and when he
is most agreeable there is the most mischief to be dreaded.  He will
lull you into security, and whenever he can catch you tripping, he will
try you by a court-martial.  You had better go on shore, and settle all
your business, and, if possible, be on board before your leave is out.
It is only your threat of writing to the port-admiral that procured you
leave of absence.  You have nothing to thank him for: he would have kept
you on board if he dared.  I have never quitted the ship since I joined
her; and never has a day passed without a scene similar to what you have
this morning witnessed.  And yet," continued he, "if it were not for his
cruelty to the men, he is the most amusing liar I ever heard.  I am
often more inclined to laugh than to be angry with him; he has a vein of
wit and rich humour that runs through his composition and never quits
him.  There is drollery even in his malice, and, if we cannot get clear
of him, we must take the best of him."

I went on shore, collected all my clothes and the other articles of
which I stood in need, and was on board my ship again the next morning
before eight o'clock.



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.

  He will lie sir, with such volubility, that you would think truth were
  a fool: drunkenness is his best virtue, for he will be swine-drunk,
  and in his sleep he does little harm.  SHAKESPEARE.

When Captain G--- made his appearance, he seemed to be in the most
amiable humour possible.  As soon as he saw me, he said, "Ah, this is
what I like; never break your leave even for five minutes.  Now that I
see I can trust you, you may go on shore again as soon as you please."

This speech might have done very well to any person before the mast; but
as applied to an officer, I thought it rude and ungentlemanly.

The caterer had prepared lunch in the gun-room: it consisted of
beef-steaks and broiled bullocks' kidneys, with fried onions; and their
savoury smell rose in grateful steams up the sky-light, and assailed the
nostrils of the skipper.  His facetious small-talk knew no bounds; he
leaned over the frame, and looking down, said,--"I say, something
devilish good going on there below!"

The hint was taken, and the first lieutenant invited him down.

"I don't care if I do; I am rather peckish."

So saying, he was down the hatchway in the twinkling of one of his own
funny eyes, as he feared the choice bits would be gone before he could
get into action.  We all followed him; and as he seated himself, he
said--

"I trust, gentlemen, this is not the last time I shall sit in the
gun-room, and that you will all consider my cabin as your own.  I love
to make my officers comfortable: nothing more delightful than an
harmonious ship, when every man and boy is willing to go to hell for his
officers.  That's what I call good fellowship--give and take--make
proper allowances for one another's failings, and we shall be sorry when
the time comes for us to part.  I am afraid, however, that I shall not
be long with you; for though I doat upon the brig, the Duke of N--- and
Lord George --- have given the first Lord a damned _whigging_ for not
promoting me sooner; and between ourselves--I don't wish it to go
further--my post commission goes out with me to Barbadoes."

The first lieutenant cocked his eye; and quick as were the motions of
that eye, the captain, with a twist of one of his own, caught a glimpse
of it, before it could be returned to its bearing on the central object,
the beef-steaks, kidneys, and onions.  But it passed off without a
remark.

"A very capital steak this!  I'll trouble you for some fat and a little
gravy.  We'll have some jollification when we get to sea; but we must
get into blue water first; then we shall have less to do.  Talking of
broiling steaks--when I was in Egypt we used to broil our beef-steaks on
the rocks--no occasion for fire--thermometer at 200--hot as hell!  I
have seen four thousand men at a time cooking for the whole army as much
as twenty or thirty thousand pounds of steak at a time, all hissing and
frying at once--just about noon, of course, you know--not a spark of
fire!  Some of the soldiers, who had been brought up as glass-blowers at
Leith, swore they never saw such heat.  I used to go to leeward of them
for a whiff, and think of old England!  Ah, that's the country, after
all, where a man may think and say what he pleases!  But that sort of
work did not last long, as you may suppose; their eyes were all fried
out, damn me, in three or four weeks!  I had been ill in my bed, for I
was attached to the 72nd regiment, seventeen hundred strong--I had a
party of seamen with me; but the ophthalmia made such ravages, that the
whole regiment, colonel and all, went stone blind--all except one
corporal!  You may stare, gentlemen, but it's very true.  Well, this
corporal had a precious time of it: he was obliged to lead out the whole
regiment to water--he led the way, and two or three took hold of the
skirts of his jacket, on each side; the skirts of these were seized
again by as many more, and double the number to the last, and so all
held on by one another, till they had all had a drink at the well; and,
as the devil would have it, there was but one well among us all--so this
corporal used to water the regiment just as a groom waters his horses;
and all spreading out you know, just like the tail of a peacock."

"Of which the corporal was the rump," interrupted the doctor.

The captain looked grave.

"You found it warm in that country?" inquired the surgeon.  "Warm!"
exclaimed the captain; "I'll tell you what, doctor, when you go where
you have sent many a patient--and where, for that very reason, you
certainly will go--I only hope, for your sake, and for that of your
profession in general, that you will not find it quite so hot as we
found it in Egypt.  What do you think of nineteen of my men being killed
by the concentrated rays of light falling on the barrels of the
sentinels bright muskets, and setting fire to the powder?  I commanded a
mortar battery at Acre, and I did the French infernal mischief with the
shells I used to pitch in among them when they had sat down to dinner:
but how do you think the scoundrels weathered on me at last?  Damn me,
they trained a parcel of poodle dogs to watch the shells when they fell,
and then to run and pull the fuses out with their teeth.  Did you ever
hear of such damned villains?  By this means, they saved hundreds of
men, and only lost half a dozen dogs--fact, by God; only ask Sir Sydney
Smith; he'll tell you the same, and a damned sight more."

The volubility of his tongue was only equalled by the rapidity of his
invention and his powers of mastication; for, during the whole of this
entertaining monodrame, his teeth were in constant motion, like the
traversing beam of a steamboat; and as he was our captain as well as our
guest, he certainly took the lion's share of the repast.

"But, I say, Soundings," said he, addressing himself familiarly to the
master, who had not been long in the vessel, "let us see what sort of
stuff you have stowed the forehold with.  You know I am a water-drinker;
give me only the pure limpid stream, and a child may lead me.  I seldom
touch liquor when the water is good."  So saying, he poured out a
tumbler, and held it to his nose.  "Stinks like hell!  I say, master,
are you sure the bungs are in your casks?  The cats have been
contributing to the fluid.  We must qualify this;" and having poured
away one half of the water, which, by the by, was very good, he supplied
the vacancy with rum.  Then tasting it, he said, "Come, miss puss, this
will rouse you out, at any rate."

A moment's pause, while he held the bumper before his eye, and then down
it went, producing no other emotion than a deep sigh.  "By the bye,
that's well thought of--we'll have no cats in the ship (except those
which the depravity of human nature unhappily compels the boatswain to
use).  Mr Skysail, you'll look to that.  Throw them all overboard."

Taking his hat, he rose from the table, and mounting the ladder, "On
second thought," said he, addressing Skysail again, "I won't throw the
cats overboard; the sailors have a foolish superstition about that
animal--its damned unlucky.  No! put them alive in a bread-bag, and send
them on shore in the bum-boat."

Recollecting that my dinner-party at the George was to take place this
day, and remembering the captain's promise that I should go on shore
whenever I pleased, I thought it only necessary to say I was going--
merely passing the usual compliment to my superior.  I therefore went to
him, with a modest assurance, and told him of my engagement and my
intention.

"Upon my honour, sir," cried he, putting his arms akimbo, and staring me
full in the face; "you have a tolerable sea-stock of modest assurance;
no sooner come on board than you ask leave to go on shore again, and at
the same time you have the impudence to tell me, knowing how much I
abhor the vice, that you mean to wet your commission, and of course to
get beastly drunk, and to make others as bad as yourself.  No, sir; I'd
have you to know, that as captain of this ship, and as long as I have
the honour to command her, I am _magister morum_."

"That is precisely what I was coming to, sir," said I, "when you
interrupted me.  Knowing how difficult it is to keep young men in order,
without the presence of some one whom they respect, and can look up to
as an example, I was going to request the honour of your company as my
guest.  Nothing, in my opinion, could so effectually repress any
tendency to improper indulgence."

"There you speak like a child of my own bringing up," replied Captain
G---: "I did not give you credit for so much good sense.  I am far from
throwing a wet blanket over any innocent mirth.  Man is man after all--
give him but the bare necessaries of life, and he is no more than a dog.
A little mirth on such an occasion is not only justifiable, but
praiseworthy.  The health of a good king like ours, God bless him!
should always be drunk in good wine; and as you say the party is to be
select, and the occasion the wetting of your commission, I shall have no
objection to come and give away the bride; but, remember, no hard
drinking--no indecorum--and I'll do my best, not only to keep the young
bloods in order, but to add my humble powers to the hilarity of the
evening."

I thanked him for his kind condescension.  He then gave a few directions
to Skysail, the first lieutenant, and ordering his gig to be manned,
offered me a passage on shore.

This was, indeed, a mark of favour never before conferred on any officer
in the ship, and all hands spontaneously turned out to see the sight.
The first lieutenant cocked his eye, which was more than saying, "This
is too good to last long."  However, into the boat we went, and pulled
away for old Sallyport.  The harbour tide rolling out, we, passed close
to the buoy of the _Boyne_.

"Ah! well I remember that old ship; I was midshipman of her when she
blew up.  I was signal midshipman.  I was in the act of making the
signal of distress, when up I went.  Damnation!  I thought I never
should have come down any more."

"Indeed, sir!" said I, "I thought there had been no one on board at the
time."

"No one on board!" repeated the captain, with scorn on his upper lip,
"who did you get that from?"

"I heard it from a captain I served with in America."

"Then you may tell your captain, with my compliments, that he knew
nothing at all about it.  No one on board!  Why, damn me, sir, the poop
was crowded like a sheepfold, and all bellowing to me for help.  I told
them all to go to hell, and just at that moment away we all went, sure
enough.  I was picked up senseless, I was told somewhere in Stokes Bay,
and carried to Haslar Hospital, where I was given over for three
months--never spoke.  At last I got well; and the first thing I did was
to take a boat and go and dive down the forehold of my old ship, and
swim aft to the bread-room."

"And what did you see sir?" said I.

"Oh, nothing, except lots of human skeletons, and whitings in abundance,
swimming between their ribs.  I brought up my old quadrant out of the
starboard wing, where I was adjusting it when the alarm was given.  I
found it lying on the table just where I left it.  I never shall forget
what a damned rap we hit the old _Queen Charlotte_, with our larboard
broadside; every gun went slap into her, double-shotted.  Damn my eyes,
I suppose we diddled at least a hundred men."

"Why, sir," said I, "I always understood she only lost two men on that
occasion."

"Who told you that?" said Captain G---; "your old captain?"

"Yes, sir," said I, "he was a midshipman in her."

"He be damned," said my skipper; "to my certain knowledge, three
launch-loads of dead bodies were taken out of her, and carried to the
hospital for interment."

As the boat touched the landing-place this accomplished liar had time to
take breath; and in fact I was afraid he would have exhausted his stock
of lies before dinner, and kept nothing for the dessert.  When we
landed, he went to his old quarters at the Star and Garter, and I to the
George.  I reminded him at parting that six o'clock was my hour.

"Never fear me," said he.

I collected my company previous to his arrival, and told my friends that
it was my determination to make him drunk, and that they must assist me,
which they promised to do.  Having once placed him in that predicament,
I was quite sure I should stop his future discourses in favour of
temperance.  My companions, perfectly aware of the sort of man they had
to deal with, treated him on his entrance with the most flattering marks
of respect.  I introduced them all to him in the most formal manner,
taking them to him, one by one, just as we are presented at court--to
compare great things with small.  His good humour was at its highest
spring tide; the honour of drinking wine with him was separately and
respectfully asked, and most condescendingly granted to every person at
the table.

"Capital salmon this," said the captain; "where does Billet get it from?
By the bye, talking of that, did you ever hear of the pickled salmon in
Scotland?"

We all replied in the affirmative.

"Oh, you don't take.  Damn it, I don't mean dead pickled salmon; I mean
live pickled salmon, swimming about in tanks, as merry as grigs, and as
hungry as rats."

We all expressed our astonishment at this, and declared we never heard
of it before.

"I thought not," said he, "for it has only lately been introduced into
this country, by a particular friend of mine, Dr Mac--- I cannot just
now remember his damned jaw-breaking Scotch name; he was a great chymist
and geologist, and all that sort of thing--a clever fellow, I can tell
you, though you may laugh.  Well, this fellow, sir, took nature by the
heels and capsized her, as we say.  I have a strong idea that he had
sold himself to the devil.  Well, what does he do, but he catches salmon
and puts them into tanks, and every day added more and more salt, till
the water was as thick as gruel, and the fish could hardly wag their
tails in it.  Then he threw in whole peppercorns, half a dozen pounds at
a time, till there was enough.  Then he began to dilute with vinegar,
until his pickle was complete.  The fish did not half like it at first;
but habit is everything, and when he showed me his tank, they were
swimming about as merry as a shoal of dace; he fed them with fennel,
chopped small, and black peppercorns.  `Come, doctor,' says I, `I trust
no man upon tick; if I don't taste, I won't believe my own eyes, though
_I can_ believe my _tongue_.'" (We looked at each other).  "`That you
shall do in a minute,' says he; so he whipped one of them out with a
landing-net; and when I stuck my knife into him, the pickle ran out of
his body like wine out of a claret bottle, and I ate at least two pounds
of the rascal, while he flapped his tail in my face.  I never tasted
such salmon as that.  Worth your while to go to Scotland, if its only
for the sake of eating, live pickled salmon.  I'll give you a letter,
any of you, to my friend.  He'll be damned glad to see you; and then you
may convince yourselves.  Take my word for it, if once you eat salmon
that way, you will never eat it any other."

We all said we thought that very likely.

The champagne corks flew as fast and as loud as his shells at Acre; but
we were particularly reserved, depending entirely on his tongue for our
amusement; and, finding the breeze of conversation beginning to freshen,
I artfully turned the subject to Egypt, by asking one of my friends to
demolish a pyramid of jelly, which stood before him, and to send some of
it to the captain.

This was enough: he began with Egypt, and went on increasing in the
number and magnitude of his lies, in proportion as we applauded them.  A
short-hand writer ought to have been there, for no human memory could do
justice to this modern Munchausen.  "Talking of the water of the Nile,"
said he, "I remember when I was first lieutenant of the _Bellerophon_, I
went into Minorca with only six tons of water, and in four hours we had
three hundred and fifty tons on board, all stowed away.  I made all
hands work.  The admiral himself was up to the neck in water, with the
rest of them.  `Damn it, admiral,' says I, `no skulking.'  Well, we
sailed the next day; and such a gale of wind I never saw in all my
life--away went all our masts, and we had nearly been swamped with the
weather-roll.  One of the boats was blown off the booms, and went clean
out of sight before it touched the water.  You may laugh at that, but
that was nothing to the _Swallow_ sloop of war.  She was in company with
us; she wanted to scud for it, but by Jupiter, she was blown two miles
up the country--guns, men, and all; and the next morning they found her
flying jib-boom had gone through the church window, and slap into the
cheek of the picture of the Virgin Mary.  The natives all swore it was
done on purpose by damned heretics.  The captain was forced to arm his
men, and march them all down to the beach, giving the ship up to the
people, who were so exasperated that they set her on fire, and never
thought of the powder which was on board.  All the priests were in their
robes, singing some stuff or another, to purify the church; but that was
so much time thrown away, for in one moment away went church, priests,
pictures, and people, all to the devil together."

Here he indulged himself in some vile language and scurrilous abuse of
religion and its ministers.  All priests were hypocritical scoundrels.
If he was to be of any religion at all, he said, he should prefer being
a Roman Catholic, "because, then, you know," added he, "a man may sin as
much as he likes, and rub off as he goes for a few shillings.  I got my
commission by religion, damn me, I found my old admiral was a
psalm-singer; so, says I, `my old boy, I'll give you enough of that;' so
I made the boatswain stuff me a hassock, and this I carried with me
everywhere, that I might save my trousers and not hurt my knees; so then
I turned to and prayed all day long, and kept the people awake singing
psalms all night.  I knelt down and prayed on the quarter-deck, main
deck, and lower deck.  I preached to the men in the tiers when they
coiled the cables, and groaned loud and deep when I heard an oath.  The
thing took--the admiral, said I was the right sort, and he made a
commander out of the greatest atheist in the ship.  No sooner did I get
hold of the sheepskin, than to the devil I pitched hassock and Bible."

How long he might have gone on with this farrago, it is difficult to
say; but we were getting tired of him, so we passed the bottle till he
left off narrative, and took to friendship.

"Now I say (hiccup), you Frank, you are a devilish good fellow; but that
one-eyed son of a gun, I'll try him by a court-martial, the first time I
catch him drunk; I'll hang him at the yard-arm, and you shall be my
first lieutenant and _custos-rottorum_, damn me.  Only you come and tell
me the first time he is disguised in liquor, and I'll settle him, damn
his cock eye--a saucy, Polyphemus-looking _son of_ a--(hiccup) a
Whitechapel bird-catcher."

Here his recollection failed him; he began to talk to himself, and to
confound me with the first lieutenant.

"I'll teach him to write to port-admirals for leave--son of a sea cook."

He was now drawing to the finale, and began to sing:--

  "The cook of the huffy got drunk,
  Fell down the fore-scuttle, and
  Broke his gin bottle."

Here his head fell back, he tumbled off his chair, and lay motionless on
the carpet.

Having previously determined not to let him be exposed in the streets in
that state, I had provided a bed for him at the inn; and ringing the
bell, I ordered the waiter to carry him to it.  Having seen him safely
deposited, untied his neckcloth, took off his boots, and raised his head
a little, we left him, and returned to the table, where we finished our
evening in great comfort, but without any other instance of
intoxication.

The next morning, I waited on him.  He seemed much annoyed at seeing me,
supposing I meant, by my presence, to rebuke him for his intemperance;
but this was not my intention.  I asked him how he felt; and I regretted
that the hilarity of the evening had been interrupted in so unfortunate
a manner.

"How do you mean, sir?  Do you mean to insinuate that I was not sober?"

"By no means, sir," said I; "but are you aware, that in the midst of
your delightful and entertaining conversation, you tumbled off your
chair in an epileptic fit?--are you subject to these?"

"Oh, yes, my dear fellow, indeed I am; but it is so long since I last
had one, that I was in hopes they had left me.  I have invalided for
them four times, and just at the very periods when, if I could have
remained out, my promotion was certain."

He then told me I might remain on shore that day, if I pleased.  I gave
him credit for his happy instinct in taking the hint of the fit; and as
soon as I left him, he arose, went on board, and flogged two men for
being drunk the night before.

I did not fail to report all that had passed to my mess-mates, and we
sailed a few days afterwards for Barbadoes.  On the first Sunday of our
being at sea, the captain dined in the gun-room with the officers.  He
soon launched out into his usual strain of lying and boasting, which
always irritated our doctor, who was a sensible young Welshman.  On
these occasions he never failed to raise a laugh at the captain's
expense, by throwing in one or two words at the end of each anecdote;
and this he did in so grave and modest a manner, that without a previous
knowledge of him, any one might have supposed he was serious.  The
captain renewed his story of the corps of poodles to extract the fuses
from the shells.  "I hoped," he said, "to see the institution of such a
corps among ourselves; and if I were to be the colonel of it, I should
soon have a star on my breast."

"That would be the dog star," said the doctor, with extreme gaiety.

"Thank you, doctor," said the captain; "not bad; I owe you one."

We laughed; the doctor kept his countenance; and the captain looked very
grave; but he continued his lies, and dragged in as usual the name of
Sir Sydney Smith to support his assertions.  "If you doubt me, only ask
Sir Sydney Smith; he'll talk to you about Acre for thirty-six hours on a
stretch, without taking breath; his coxswain at last got so tired of it,
that he nick-named him `Long Acre.'"

The poor doctor did not come off scot-free; the next day, he discovered
that the deck leaked over his cabin, and the water ran into his bed.  He
began, with a hammer and some nails, to fasten up a piece of painted
canvas, by way of shelter.  The captain heard the noise of the hammer,
and finding it was the doctor, desired him to desist.  The doctor
replied, that he was only endeavouring to stop some leaks over his bed:
the captain said they should not be stopped; for that a bed of _leeks_
was a very good bed for a Welshman.

"There, doctor: now we are quits: that's for your dog star.  I suppose
you think nobody can make, a pun or a pill, in the ship, but yourself?"

"If my pills were no better than your puns," muttered the doctor, "we
should all be in a bad way."

The captain then directed the carpenter not to allow any nails to the
doctor, or the use of any of his tools; he even told the poor surgeon
that he did not know how to make a pill, and that "he was as useless as
the Navy Board."  He accused him of ignorance in other parts of his
profession; and, ordering all the sick men on deck, rope-ended them to
increase their circulation, and put a little life into them.

Many a poor sick creature have I seen receive a most unmerciful beating.
My wonder was that the men did not throw him overboard; and I do really
believe that if it had not been for respect and love to the officers,
they would have done so.  No sooner had we got into blue water, as he
called it--that is out of soundings--than he began his pranks, which
never ceased till we reached Carlisle Bay.  Officers and men were all
treated alike, and there was no redress, for no one among us dared to
bring him to a court-martial.  His constant maxim was--"Keep sailors at
work, and you keep the devil out of their minds--all hands all
day-watch, and watch all night."

"No man," said Jacky (the name we gave him) "eats the bread of idleness
on board of my ship: work keeps the scurvy out of their bones, the lazy
rascals."

The officers and men, for the first three weeks, never had a watch below
during the day.  They were harassed and worn to death, and the most
mutinous and discontented spirit prevailed throughout the ship.  One of
the best seamen said, in the captain's hearing, that, "since the ship
had been at sea, he had only had three watches below."

"And if I had known it," said the captain, "you should not have had
that;" and turning the hands up, he gave him four dozen.

Whenever he flogged the men, which he was constantly doing, he never
failed to upbraid them with ingratitude, and the indulgences which they
received from him.

"By God, there is no man-of-war in the service that has so much
indulgence.  All you have to do, is to keep the ship clean, square the
yards, hoist in your provisions, eat them, hoist your grog in, drink it,
and strike the empty casks over the side; but heaven itself would not
please such a set of damned fat, discontented rascals."

His language to the officers was beyond anything I ever could have
supposed would have proceeded from the mouth of a human being.  The
master, one day, incurred his displeasure, and he very flippantly told
the poor man to go to hell.

"I hope, sir," said the master, "I have as good a chance of going to
heaven as yourself."

"You go to heaven!" said the captain, "you go to heaven!  Let me catch
you there, and I will come and kick you out."

This was, indeed, showing how far he would have carried his tyranny if
he could.  But our feelings are relieved from any violent shock at this
apparent blasphemy, when we recollect that the poor man was an atheist;
and that his idea of heaven was that of a little parlour at the Star and
Garter, with a good fire, plenty of grog, and pipes of tobacco.

He kept no table, nor did he ever drink any wine except when he dined
with us; but got drunk every night, more or less, on the ship's spirits,
in his own cabin.  He was always most violent in the evening.  Our only
revenge was laughing at his monstrous lies on Sunday, when he dined with
us.  One night, his servant came and told the midshipman of the watch,
that the captain was lying dead drunk on the deck, in his cabin.  This
was communicated to me, and I determined to make the best use of it.  I
ran down to the cabin, taking with me the midshipman of the watch, the
quarter-master, and two other steady men; and having laid the
water-drinker in his bed, I noted down the date, with all the
particulars, together with the names of the witnesses, to be used as
soon as we fell in with the admiral.

The next day, I think he had some suspicion of what I had done, and it
had nearly been fatal to me.  It was blowing a fresh trade-wind, and the
vessel rolling very deep, when he ordered the booms to be cast loose and
re-stowed.  This was nothing short of murder and madness; but, in spite
of every remonstrance, he persisted, and the consequences were terrible.
The lashings were no sooner cast off, than a spare top-mast fell and
killed one of the men.  This was enough to have completed our mischief
for the day; but the devil had not done with us yet.  The booms were
secured, and the men were ordered to rattle the rigging down, which, as
the vessel continued to roll heavily, was still more dangerous, and, if
possible, more useless than the former operation.  He was warned of it,
but in vain; and the men had not been aloft more than ten minutes, when
one of them fell overboard.  Why I should again have put my life in
jeopardy, particularly after the warning of the last voyage, I know not.
I was perhaps vain of what I could do in the water.  I knew my powers;
and in the hope of saving this unfortunate victim to the folly and
cruelty of the captain, I plunged after him into the sea, feeling, at
the same time, that I was almost committing an act of suicide.  I caught
hold of him, and for a time supported him; and, had the commonest
diligence and seamanship been shown, I should have saved him.  But the
captain, it appeared, when he found I was overboard, was resolved to get
rid of me, in order to save himself: he made use of every difficulty to
prevent the boat coming to me.  The poor man was exhausted: I kept
myself disengaged from him, when swimming round him; supported him
occasionally whenever he was sinking; but, finding at last that he was
irrecoverably gone--for though I had a firm hold of him, he was going
lower and lower--and, looking up, perceiving I was so deep that the
water was dark over my head, I clapped my knees on his shoulders, and,
giving myself a little impetus from the resistance, rose to the surface.
So much was I exhausted, that I could not have floated half a minute
more, when the boat came and picked me up.

The delay in heaving the ship to, I attributed to the scene I had
witnessed the night before; and in this I was confirmed by the testimony
of the officers.  Having lost two men by his unseamanlike conduct, he
would have added the deliberate murder of a third, to save himself from
the punishment which he knew awaited him.  He continued the same
tyrannical conduct, and I had resolved, the moment we fell in with the
admiral, to write for a court-martial on this man, let the consequences
be what they might; I thought I should serve my country and the navy by
ridding it of such a monster.

Several of the officers were under arrest, and notwithstanding the heat
of their cabins in that warm climate, were kept constantly confined to
them with a sentinel at the door.  In consequence of this cruel
treatment, one of the officers became deranged.  We made Barbadoes, and
running round Needham's Point into Carlisle Bay, we saw to our
mortification that neither the admiral nor any ship of war was, there,
consequently our captain was commanding officer in the port.  Upon this,
he became remarkably amiable, supposing, if the evil day was put off, it
would be dispensed with altogether; he treated me with particular
attention; hoped we should have some fun ashore; as the admiral was not
come in, we should wait for him; tired of kicking about at sea, he
should take all his _duds_ with him, and bring himself to an anchor on
shore, and not come afloat again till we saluted his flag.

Neither the first lieutenant nor myself believed one word of this;
indeed, we always acted upon the exact reverse of what he said; and it
was well we did so in this instance.  After we had anchored, he went
ashore, and in about an hour returned, and stated that the admiral was
not expected till next month; that he should, therefore, go and take up
his quarters at Jemmy Cavan's, and not trouble the ship any more until
the admiral arrived; he then left us, taking his trunk and all his dirty
linen--dirty enough it was.

Some of the officers unfortunately believed that we were to remain, and
followed the captain's example, by sending their linen on shore to be
washed.  Skysail was firm, and so was I; the lieutenant cocked his eye,
and said, "Messmate, depend on it there is something in the wind.  I
have sent one shirt on shore to be washed; and when that comes off, I
will send another; if I lose that, it is no great matter."

That night, at ten o'clock, Captain Jacky came on board, bringing his
trunk and dirty linen, turned the hands up, up anchor, and ran out of
Carlisle Bay and went to sea, leaving most of the officers' linen on
shore.  This was one of his tricks.  He had received his orders when he
landed in the morning; they were waiting for him, and his coming on
board for his things was only a ruse to throw us off our guard, and I
suppose compel us, by the loss of our clothes, to be as dirty in
appearance as he was himself; "but he always liked to make his officers
comfortable."

We arrived at Nassau, in New Providence, without any remarkable
incident, although the service continued to be carried on in the same
disagreeable manner as ever.  I continued, however, to get leave to go
on shore; and finding no prospect of bringing the captain to justice,
determined to quit the ship if possible.  This was effected by accident,
otherwise I should have been much puzzled to have got clear of her.  I
fell between the boat and the wharf as I landed, and by the sudden jerk
ruptured a small blood-vessel in my chest; it was of no great importance
in itself, but in that climate required care, and I made the most of it.
They would have carried me on board again, but I begged to be taken to
the hotel.  The surgeon of the regiment doing duty there attended me,
and I requested him to make my case as bad as possible.  The captain
came to see me--I appeared very ill--his compassion was like that of the
inquisitor of the Holy Office, who cures his victim in order to enable
him to go through further torments.  His time of sailing arrived, and I
was reported to be too ill to be removed.  Determined to have me, he
prolonged his stay.  I got better; the surgeon's report was more
favourable; but I was still unwilling to go on board.  The captain sent
me an affectionate message, to say that if I did not come, he would send
a file of marines to bring me: he even came himself and threatened me;
when, finding there were no witnesses in the room, I plainly told him
that if he persisted in having me on board, it would be to his own
destruction, for that I was fully determined to bring him to a
court-martial for drunkenness and unofficerlike conduct, the moment we
joined the admiral.  I told him of the state in which I had found him.
I recapitulated his blasphemies, and his lubberly conduct in losing the
two men; he stared and endeavoured to explain; I was peremptory, and he
whined and gave in, seeing he was in my power.

"Well then, my dear fellow," said Jacky, "since you are so very ill--
sorry as I shall be to lose you--I must consent to your staying behind.
I shall find it difficult to replace you; but as the comfort and
happiness of my officers is my first object on all occasions, I will
prefer annoying myself to annoying you."  So saying, he held out his
hand to me, which I shook with a hearty good-will, sincerely hoping that
we might never meet again, either, in this world or the next.

He was afterwards brought to a court-martial, for repeated acts of
drunkenness and cruelty, and was finally dismissed the service.

In giving this detail of Captain G---'s peculiarities, let it not be
imagined that even at that period such characters were common in the
service.  I have already said that he was singular.  Impressment and the
want of officers at the early part of the war, gave him an opportunity
of becoming a lieutenant; he took the weak side of the admiral to obtain
his next step, and obtained the command of a sloop, from repeated
solicitation at the Admiralty, and by urging his claims of long
servitude.  The service had received serious injury by admitting men on
the quarter-deck from before the mast; it occasioned there being two
classes of officers in the navy--namely, those who had rank and
connections, and those who had entered by the "hawseholes," as they were
described.  The first were favoured when young, and did not acquire a
competent knowledge of their duty; the second, with few exceptions, as
they advanced in their grades, proved, from want of education, more and
more unfit for their stations.  These defects have now been remedied;
and, as all young men who enter the service must have a regular
education, and consequently be the sons of gentlemen, a level has been
produced which, to a certain degree, precludes favouritism, and
perfectly bars the entrance to such men as Captain G---.

After the battle of Trafalgar, when England and Europe were indebted for
their safety to the British fleet, the navy became popular, and the
aristocracy crowded into it.  This forwarded still more the melioration
of the service, and under the succeeding naval administration, silent,
certain, and gradual improvements, both in men, officers, and ships,
took place.  Subsequently, the navy has been still more fortunate, in
having an officer called to its councils whose active and constant
employment at sea, previous to the peace of Paris, had given him a
thorough insight into its wants and abuses.  Unconnected with party, and
unawed by power, he has dared to do his duty; and it is highly to the
credit of the first lord who has so long presided at the board, that the
suggestions of this officer have met with due consideration; I can
therefore assure my reader, that as long as his advice is attended to,
he need be afraid of meeting with no more Captain G---'s.



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

  There she goes, brimful of anger and jealousy.
  Mercy on the poor man!
  "JEALOUS WIFE."

  The dreadful fish that hath deserved the name
  Of death.
  SPENSER.

As the brig moved out of the harbour of Nassau, I moved out of bed; and
as she set her royals and made sail, I put on my hat and walked out.
The officers of the regiment quartered there, kindly invited me to join
their mess; and the colonel enhanced the value of the offer by assigning
to me good apartments in the barracks.  I was instantly removed to
cleanly and comfortable lodgings.  I soon regained my strength, and was
able to sit at the table, where I found thirty-five young officers,
living for the day, careless of the morrow; and, beyond that, never
bestowing a thought.  It is a singular fact, that where life is most
precarious, men are most indifferent about its preservation; and, where
death is constantly before our eyes, as in this country, eternity is
seldom in our thoughts: but so it is; and the rule extends still further
in despotic countries.  Where the union between the head and shoulders
may be dissolved in a moment by the sword of a tyrant, life is not so
valued, and death loses its terrors; hence the apathy and indifference
with which men view their executioners in that state of society.  It
seems as if existence, like estates, was valuable in proportion to the
validity of the title-deeds by which they are held.

To digress no more.  Although I was far from being commonly virtuous,
which is about tantamount to absolute wickedness, I was no longer the
thoughtless mortal I had ever been since I left school.  The society of
Emily, and her image graven on my heart; the close confinement to the
brig, and the narrow escape from death in the second attempt to save the
poor sailor's life, had altogether contributed their share to a kind of
temporary reformation, if not a disgust at the coarser descriptions of
vice.  The lecture I had received from Emily on deceit, and the
detestable conduct of my last captain, had, as I thought, almost
completed my reformation.  Hitherto I felt I had acted wrong, without
having the power to act right.  I forgot that I had never made the
experiment.  The declaration of Captain G---'s atheism was so far from
converting me, that from that moment I thought more seriously than ever
of religion.  So great was my contempt for his character, that I knew
whatever he said must be wrong, and, like the Spartan drunken slave, he
gave me the greatest horror of vice.

Such was my reasoning, and such my sentiments, previous to any relapse
into sin or folly, I knew its heinousness.  I transgressed and repented;
habit was all-powerful in me; and the only firm support I could have
looked to for assistance was, unfortunately, very superficially attended
to.  Religion, for any good purposes, was scarcely in my thoughts.  My
system was a sort of Socratic heathen philosophy--a moral code
calculated to take a man tolerably safe through a quiet world, but not
to extricate him from a labyrinth of long-practised iniquity.

The thoughtless and vicious conduct of my companions became to me a
source of serious reflection.  Far from following their example, I felt
myself some degrees better than they were; and, in the pride of my
heart, thanked God I was not like these publicans.  My pharisaical
arrogance concealed from me the mortifying fact that I was much worse,
and with very slight hopes of amendment.  Humility had not yet entered
my mind; but it was the only basis on which any religious improvement
could be created--the only chance of being saved.  I rather became
refined in vice, without quitting it.  Gross and sensual gratification,
so easily obtained in the West Indies, was, disgusting to me; yet I
scrupled not to attempt the seduction of innocence, rather more
gratified in the pursuit than in the enjoyment, which soon palled, and
drove me after other objects.

I had, however, little occasion to exert my tact in this are in the
Bahama Islands, where, as in all the other islands of the West Indies,
there is a class of women, born of white fathers and mustee or mulatto
women, nearly approaching in complexion to the European; many of them
are brunettes, with long black hair, very pretty, good eyes, and often
elegant figures.  These ladies are too proud of the European blood in
their veins to form an alliance with any male who has suspicion of black
in his genealogical table; consequently they seldom are married unless
from interested motives, when, having acquired large property by will,
they are sought in wedlock by the white settlers.

So circumstanced, these girls prefer an intercourse with the object of
their choice to a legal marriage with a person of inferior birth; and,
having once made their selection, an act of infidelity is of rare
occurrence among them.  Their affection and constancy will stand the
test of time and of long separation; generous to prodigality, but
jealous, and irritable in their jealousy, even to the use of the dagger
and poison.

One of these young ladies found sufficient allurement in my personal
charms to surrender at discretion, and we lived in that sort of familiar
intercourse which, in the West Indies, is looked upon as a matter of
necessity between the parties, and of indifference by every one else.  I
lived on in this Epicurean style for some months; until, most
unfortunately, my _chere amie_ found a rival, in the daughter of an
officer high in rank on the island.  Smitten with my person, this fair
one had not the prudence to conceal her partiality: my vanity was too
much flattered not to take advantage of her sentiments in my favour;
and, as usual, flirtation and philandering occupied most of my mornings,
and sometimes my evenings, in the company of this fair American.

Scandal is a goddess who reigns paramount not only in Great Britain but
also in all His Majesty's plantations; and her votaries very soon
selected me as the target of their archery.  My pretty Carlotta became
jealous; she taxed me with inconstancy.  I denied the charge; and, as a
proof of my innocence, she obtained from me a promise that I should go
no more to the house of her rival; but this promise I took very good
care to evade, and to break.  For a whole fortnight my domestic peace
was interrupted either by tears, or by the most voluble and outrageous
solos, for I never replied after the first day.

A little female slave, one morning, made me a signal to follow her to a
retired part of the garden.  I had shown this poor little creature some
acts of kindness, for which she amply repaid me.  Sometimes I had
obtained for her a holiday--sometimes saved her a whipping, and at
others had given her a trifle of money; she therefore became exceedingly
attached to me, and as she saw her mistress's anger daily increase, she
knew what it would probably end in, and watched my safety like a little
guardian sylph.

"No drinkee coffee, massa," said she, "Missy putty obeah stuff in."

As soon as she said this, she disappeared, and I went into the house,
where I found Carlotta preparing the breakfast; she had an old woman
with her, who seemed to be doing something which she was not very
willing I should see.  I sat down carelessly humming a tune, with my
face to a mirror, and my back to Carlotta, so that I was able to watch
her motions without her perceiving it.  She was standing near the
fireplace, the coffee was by her on the table, and the old woman
crouched in the chimney-corner, with her bleared eyes fixed on the
embers.  Carlotta seemed in doubt; she pressed her hands forcibly on her
forehead; took up the coffee-pot to pour me out a cup, then set it down
again; the old woman muttered something in their language; Carlotta
stamped with her little foot, and poured out the coffee.  She brought it
to me--trembled as she placed it before me--seemed unwilling to let go
her hold, and her hand still grasped the cup, as if she would take it
away again.  The old woman growled and muttered something, in which I
could only hear the name of her rival mentioned.  This was enough: the
eyes of Carlotta lighted up like a flame; she quitted her hold of the
salver, retreated to the fireplace, sat herself down, covered her face,
and left me, as she supposed, to make my last earthly repast.

"Carlotta," said I, with a sudden and vehement exclamation.  She started
up, and the blood rushed to her face and neck in a profusion of blushes,
which are perfectly visible through the skin of these mulattos.
"Carlotta," I repeated, "I had a dream last night; and who do you think
came to me?  It was Obeah!"  She started at the name.  "He told me not
to drink coffee this morning, but to make the old woman drink it."  At
these words the beldam sprang up.  "Come here, you old hag," said I.
She approached trembling, for she saw that escape from me was
impossible, and that her guilt was detected.  I seized a sharp knife,
and taking her by her few remaining grey and woolly hairs, said,
"Obeah's work must be done: I do not order it, but he commands it; drink
that coffee instantly."

So powerful was the name of Obeah on the ear of the hag, that she
dreaded it more than my brandished knife.  She never thought of
imploring mercy, for she supposed it was useless after the discovery,
and that her hour was come; she therefore lifted the cup to her withered
lip, and was just going to fulfil her destiny and to drink, when I
dashed it out of her hand, and broke it in a thousand pieces on the
floor, darting, at the same time, a fierce look at Carlotta, who threw
herself at my feet, which she fervently kissed in an agony of
conflicting passions.

"Kill me! kill me!" ejaculated she; "it was I that did it.  Obeah is
great--he has saved you.  Kill me, and I shall die happy, now you are
safe--do kill me!"

I listened to these frantic exclamations with perfect calmness.  When
she was a little more composed, I desired her to rise.  She obeyed, and
looked the image of despair, for she thought I should immediately quit
her for the arms of her more fortunate rival, and she considered my
innocence as fully established by the appearance of the deity.

"Carlotta," said I, "what would you have done if you had succeeded in
killing me?"

"I will show you," said she; when, going to a closet, she took out
another basin of coffee; and before I could dash it from her lips, as I
had the former one from the black woman, the infatuated girl had
swallowed a small portion of it.

"What else can I do?" said she; "my happiness is gone for ever."

"No, Carlotta," said I; "I do not wish for your death, though you have
plotted mine.  I have been faithful to you, and loved you, until you
made this attempt."

"Will you forgive me before I die?" said she; "for die I must, now that
I know you will quit me!"  Uttering these words, she threw herself on
the floor with violence, and her head coming into contact with the
broken fragments of the basin, she cut herself, and bled so copiously
that she fainted.  The old woman had fled, and I was left alone with
her, for poor little Sophy was frightened, and had hidden herself.

I lifted Carlotta from the floor, and placing her in a chair, I washed
her face with cold water; and having stanched the blood, I laid her on
her bed, when she began to breathe and to sob convulsively.  I sat
myself by her side; and as I contemplated her pale face, and witnessed
her grief, I fell into a train of melancholy retrospection on my
numerous acts of vice and folly.

"How many warnings," said I, "how many lessons am I to receive before I
shall reform?  How narrowly have I escaped being sent to my account
`unaneled' and unprepared!  What must have been my situation if I had at
this moment been called into the presence of my offended Creator?  This
poor girl is pure and innocent, compared with me, taking into
consideration the advantages of education on my side, and the want of it
on hers.  What has produced all this misery and the dreadful
consequences which might have ensued, but my folly in trifling with the
feelings of an innocent girl, and winning her affections merely to
gratify my own vanity; at the same time that I have formed a connection
with this unhappy creature, the breaking of which will never cause me
one hour's regret, while it will leave her in misery, and will, in all
probability, embitter all her future existence?  What shall I do?
Forgive, as I hope to be forgiven: the fault was more mine than hers."

I then knelt down and most fervently repeated the Lord's Prayer, adding
some words of thanksgiving, for my undeserved escape from death.  I rose
up and kissed her cold, damp fore head; she was sensible of my kindness,
and her poor head found relief in a flood of tears.  Her eyes again
gazed on me, sparkling with gratitude and love, after all she had gone
through.  I endeavoured to compose her; the loss of blood had produced
the best effects; and, having succeeded in calming her conflicting
passions, she fell into a sound sleep.

The reader who knows the West Indies, or knows human nature, will not be
surprised that I should have continued this connection as long as I
remained on the island.  From the artless manner in which Carlotta had
conducted her plot; from her gestures and her agitation, I was quite
sure that she was a novice in this sort of crime, and that should she
ever relapse into her paroxysm of jealousy, I should be able to detect
any further attempt on my life.  Of this, however, I had no fears,
having by degrees discontinued my visits to the young lady who had been
the cause of our _fracas_; and I never afterwards, while on the island,
gave Carlotta the slightest reason to suspect my constancy.  I was much
censured for my conduct to the young lady, as the attentions I had shown
her, and her marked preference for me, had driven away suitors who
really were in earnest, and they never returned to her again.

In these islands, the naturalist would find a vast store to reward
investigation; they abound with a variety of plants, birds, fish,
shells, and minerals.  It was here that Columbus made his first landing,
but in which of the islands I am not exactly certain; though I am very
sure he did not find them quite so agreeable as I did, for he very soon
quitted them, and steered away for St. Domingo.

It is not, perhaps, generally known that New Providence was the island
selected for his residence by Blackbeard, the famous pirate; the citadel
that stands on the hill above the town of Nassau is built on the site of
the fortress which contained the treasure of that famous freebooter.  A
curious circumstance occurred during my stay on this island, and which,
beyond all doubt, was connected with the adventures of those
extraordinary people known by the appellation of Buccaneers.  Some
workmen were digging near the foot of the hill under the fort, when they
discovered some quicksilver, and, on inspection, a very considerable
quantity was found; it had evidently been a part of the plunder of the
pirates, buried in casks, or skins, and these having decayed, the liquid
ore naturally escaped down the hill.

Though not indifferent to the pleasures of the table, I was far from
resigning myself to the Circean life led by the generality of young
military men in the Bahamas.

The education which I had received, and which placed me far above the
common run of society in the colonies, induced me to seek for a
companion whose mind had received equal cultivation; and such a one I
found in Charles, a young lieutenant in the --- regiment, quartered at
Nassau.  Our intimacy became the closer, in proportion as we discovered
the sottish habits and ignorance of those around us.  We usually spent
our mornings in reading the classic authors, with which we were both
familiar; we spouted our Latin verses; we fenced; and we amused
ourselves occasionally with a game of billiards, but never ventured our
friendship on a stake for money.  When the heat of the day had passed
off, we strolled out, paid a few visits, or rambled over the island;
keeping as much aloof from the barracks as possible, where the manner of
living was so very uncongenial to our notions.  The officers began their
day about noon, when they sat down to breakfast; after that, they
separated to their different quarters, to read the novels with which the
presses of England and France inundated these islands, to the great
deterioration of morals.  These books, which they read lounging on their
backs, or laid beside them and fell asleep over, occupied the hottest
part of the day; the remainder, till the hour of dinner arrived, was
consumed in visiting and gossiping, or in riding to procure an appetite
for dinner.  Till four in the morning, their time was wholly devoted to
smoking and drinking; their beds received them in a state of
intoxication, more or less; parade, at nine o'clock, forced them out
with a burning brain and parched tongue; they rushed into, the sea, and
found some refreshment in the cool water, which enabled them to stand
upright in front of their men; the formal duty over, they retired again
to their beds, where they lay till noon, and then to breakfast.

Such were their days; can it be wondered at that our islands are fatal
to the constitution of Europeans, when this is their manner of life in a
climate always disposed to take advantage of any excess?  The men too
readily followed the example of their officers and died off in the same
rapid manner; one of the most regular employments of the morning was to
dig graves for the victims of the night.  Four or five of these
receptacles were thought a moderate number.  Such was the fatal apathy
in which these officers existed, that the approach, nay, even the
certainty of death, gave them no apparent concern, caused no
preparation, excited no serious reflection.  They followed the corpse of
a brother officer to the grave in military procession.  These ceremonies
were always conducted in the evening, and often have I seen these
thoughtless young men throwing stones at the lanthorns which were
carried before them to light them to the burying-ground.

I was always an early riser, and believe I owe much of my good health to
this custom.  I used to delight in a lovely tropical morning, when, with
a cigar in my mouth, I walked into the market.  What would Sir William
Curtis or Sir Charles Flower have said, could they have seen, as I did,
the numbers of luxurious turtle lying on their backs, and displaying
their rich calapee to the epicurean purchaser?  Well, indeed, might the
shade of Apicius [Lyttleton's Dialogues of the Dead] lament that America
and turtle were not discovered in his days.  There were the guanas, too,
in abundance, with their mouths sewed up to prevent their biting; these
are excellent food, although bearing so near a resemblance to the
alligator, and its diminutive European representative, the harmless
lizard; Muscovy ducks, parrots, monkeys, pigeons, and fish.  Pine-apples
abounded, oranges, pomegranates, limes, Bavarias, plantains,
love-apples, Abbogada pears (better known by the name of subaltern's
butter), and many other fruits, all piled in heaps, were to be had at a
low price.  Such was the stock of a New Providence market.

Of the human species, buyers and vendors, there were black, brown, and
fair; from the fairest skin, with light blue eyes and flaxen hair, to
the jet black "Day and Martin" of Ethiopia; from the loveliest form of
Nature's mould, to the disgusting squaw, whose flaccid mammae hang like
inverted bottles to her girdle, or are extended over her shoulder to
give nourishment to the little imp perched on her back; and here the
urchin sits the live-long day, while the mother performs all the
drudgery of the field, the house, or the market.

The confusion of Babel did not surpass the present gabble of a
West-India market.  The loud and everlasting chatter of the black women,
old and young (for black ladies _can_ talk as well as white ones); the
screams of children, parrots, and monkeys; black boys and girls, clad _a
la Venus_, white teeth, red lips, black skins, and elephant legs, formed
altogether a scene well worth looking at; and now, since the steamers
have acquired so much velocity, I should think would not be an
unpleasant lounge for the fastidious _ennuye_ of France or England.  The
cheerfulness of the slaves, whom our morbid philanthropists wish to
render happy by making discontented, would altogether amply repay the
trouble and expense of a voyage to those who have leisure or money
enough to enable them to visit the tropical islands.

The delightful, and, indeed, indispensable amusement of bathing, is
particularly dangerous in these countries.  In the shallows you are
liable to be struck by the sting-ray, a species of skate, with a sharp
barb about the middle of its tail; and the effect of the wound is so
serious, that I have known a person to be in a state of frenzy from it
for nearly forty-eight hours.  In deeper water, the sharks are not only
numerous but ravenous; and I sometimes gratified their appetites, and my
own love of excitement, by purchasing the carcass of a dead cow, or
horse.  This I towed off, and anchored with a thick rope and a large
stone; then, from my boat, with a harpoon, I amused myself in striking
these devils as they crowded round for their meal.  My readers will, I
fear, think I am much too fond of relating adventures among these marine
undertakers; but the following incident will not be found without
interest.

In company with Charles, one beautiful afternoon, rambling over the
rocky cliffs at the back of the island, we came to a spot where the
stillness and the clear transparency of the water invited us to bathe.
It was not deep.  As we stood above, on the promontory, we could see the
bottom in every part.  Under the little headland which formed the
opposite side of the cove, there was a cavern, to which as the shore was
steep, there was no access but by swimming, and we resolved to explore
it.  We soon reached its mouth, and were enchanted with its romantic
grandeur and wild beauty.  It extended, we found, a long way back, and
had several natural baths, into all of which we successively threw
ourselves, each, as they receded further from the mouth of the cavern,
being colder than the last.  The tide, it was evident, had free ingress,
and renewed the water every twelve hours.  Here we thoughtlessly amused
ourselves for some time, quoting Acis and Galatea, Diana and her nymphs,
and every classic story applicable to the scene.

At length, the declining sun warned us that it was time to take our
departure from the cave, when, at no great distance from us, we saw the
back, or dorsal fin, of a monstrous shark above the surface of the
water, and his whole length visible beneath it.  We looked at him and at
each other with dismay, hoping that he would soon take his departure,
and go in search of other prey; but the rogue swam to and fro, just like
a frigate blockading an enemy's port, and we felt, I suppose, very much
as we used to make the French and Dutch feel last war, at Brest and the
Texel.

The sentinel paraded before us, about ten or fifteen yards in front of
the cave, tack and tack, waiting only to serve one, if not both of us,
as we should have served a shrimp or an oyster.  We had no intention,
however, in this, as in other instances, of "throwing ourselves on the
mercy of the court."  In vain did we look for relief from other
quarters; the promontory above us was inaccessible; the tide was rising,
and the sun touching the clear blue edge of the horizon.

I, being the leader, pretended to a little knowledge in ichthyology, and
told my companion that fish could hear as well as see, and that
therefore the less we said the better; and the sooner we retreated out
of his sight, the sooner he would take himself off.  This was our only
chance, and that a poor one; for the flow of the water would soon have
enabled him to enter the cave and help himself, as he seemed perfectly
acquainted with the _locale_, and knew that we had no mode of retreat
but by the way we came.  We drew back out of sight; and I don't know
when I ever passed a more unpleasant quarter of an hour.  A suit in
Chancery, or even a spring lounge in Newgate, would have been almost
luxury to what I felt when the shades of night began to darken the mouth
of our cave, and this infernal monster continued to parade, like a
water-bailiff, before its door.  At last, not seeing the shark's fin
above water, I made a sign to Charles that, _coute qui coute_, we must
swim for it; for we had notice to quit, by the tide; and if we did not
depart, should soon have an execution in the house.  We had been careful
not to utter a word; and, silently pressing each other by the hand, we
slipped into the water; when, recommending ourselves to Providence,
which, for my part, I seldom forgot when I was in imminent danger, we
struck out manfully.  I must own I never felt more assured of
destruction, not even when I swam through the blood of the poor sailor;
for then the sharks had something to occupy them, but here they had
nothing else to do but to look after us.  We had the benefit of their
undivided attention.

My sensations were indescribably horrible.  I may occasionally write or
talk of the circumstance with levity, but whenever I recall it to mind,
I tremble at the bare recollection of the dreadful fate that seemed
inevitable.  My companion was not so expert a swimmer as I was, so that
I distanced him many feet, when I heard him utter a faint cry.  I turned
round, convinced that the shark had seized him, but it was not so; my
having left him so far behind had increased his terror and induced him
to draw my attention.  I returned to him, held him up, and encouraged
him.  Without this he would certainly have sunk; he revived with my
help, and we reached the sandy beach in safety, having eluded our enemy;
who, when he neither saw or heard us, had, as I concluded he would,
quitted the spot.

Once more on terra firma, we lay gasping for some minutes before we
spoke.  What my companion's thoughts were, I do not know; mine were
replete with gratitude to God, and renewed vows of amendment; and I have
every reason to think, that although Charles had not so much room for
reform as myself, that his feelings were perfectly in unison with my
own.  We never afterwards repeated this amusement, though we frequently
talked of our escape, and laughed at our terrors; yet on these occasions
our conversation always took a serious turn: and, upon the whole, I am
convinced that this adventure did us both a vast deal of good.

I had now been six months in these islands, had perfectly recovered my
health, and became anxious for active employment.  The brilliant
successes of our rear-admiral at Washington made me wish for a share of
the honour and glory which my brethren in arms were acquiring on the
coast of North America; but my wayward fate sent me in a very opposite
direction.



CHAPTER NINETEEN.

  _Miranda_.
  How came we ashore!
  _Prospero_.
  By Providence divine.
  ...
  Sit still, and hear the last of our sea-sorrow.
  Here in this island we arrived.
  SHAKESPEARE.

A frigate called at the island for turtle; and, having represented my
case to the captain, he offered to take me on board, telling me at the
same time that he was going much further to the southward, to relieve
another cruiser, who would then return to England, and the captain of
her would, no doubt, give me a passage home.  I accordingly made hasty
preparations for my departure; took leave of all my kind friends at the
barracks, for kind indeed they were to _me_, although thoughtless and
foolish towards themselves.  I bade adieu to the families on the island,
in whose houses and at whose tables I had experienced the most liberal
hospitality; and last, though not least, I took leave of poor Carlotta.

This was a difficult task to perform, but it was imperative.  I told her
that I was ordered on board by my captain, who, being a very different
person from the last, I dared not disobey.  I promised to return to her
soon.  I offered her money and presents, but she would accept of nothing
but a small locket, to wear for my sake.  I purchased the freedom of
poor Sophy, the black girl who had saved my life.  The little creature
wept bitterly at my coming away; but I could do no more for her.  As for
Carlotta, I learned afterwards that she went on board every ship that
arrived to gain intelligence of me, who seldom or never gave her a
thought.

We sailed; and, steering away to the south-east with moderate winds and
fine weather, captured, at the end of that time, a large American ship,
which had made a devious course from the French coast, in hopes of
avoiding our cruisers; she was about four hundred tons, deeply laden,
and bound to Laguira, with a valuable cargo.  The captain sent for me,
and told me that if I chose to take charge of her, as prize-master, I
might proceed to England direct.  This plan exactly suited me, and I
consented, only begging to have a boatswain's mate, named Thompson, to
go along with me; he was an old shipmate, and had been one of my gig's
crew when we had the affair in Basque Roads: he was a steady, resolute,
quiet, sober, raw-boned Caledonian, from Aberdeen, and a man that I knew
would stand by me in the hour of need.  He was ordered to go with me,
and the necessary supply of provisions and spirits were on board.  I
received my orders, and took my leave of my new captain, who was both a
good seaman and an excellent officer.

When I got on board the prize, I found all the prisoners busy packing up
their things, and they became exceedingly alert in placing them in the
boat which was to convey them on board the frigate.  Indeed they all
crowded into her with an unusual degree of activity; but this did not
particularly strike my attention at the time.  My directions were to
retain the captain and one man with me, in order to condemn the vessel
in the court of admiralty.

Occupied with many objects at once, all important to me, as I was so
soon to part company with the frigate, I did not recollect this part of
my orders, and that I was detaining the boat, until the young midshipman
who had charge of her asked me if he might return on board and take the
prisoners.  I then went on deck, and seeing the whole of them, with
their chests and bags, seated very quietly in the boat, and ready to
shove off, I desired the captain and one of the American seamen to come
on board again, and to bring their clothes with them.  I did not remark
the unwillingness of the captain to obey this order, until told of it by
the midshipman; his chest and goods were immediately handed in upon
deck, and the signal from the frigate being repeated, with a light for
the boat to return (for it was now dark), she shoved off hastily, and
was soon out of sight.

"Stop the boat!--for God's sake stop the boat!" cried the captain.

"Why should I stop the boat?" said I; "my orders are positive, and you
must remain with me."

I then went below for a minute or two, and the captain followed me.

"As you value your life, sir," said he, "stop the boat."

"Why?" asked I, eagerly.

"Because, sir," said he, "the ship has been scuttled by the men, and
will sink in a few hours: you cannot save her, for you cannot get at her
leaks."

I now did indeed see the necessity of stopping the boat; but it was too
late: she was out of sight.  The lantern, the signal for her return, had
been hauled down, a proof that she had got on board.  I hoisted two
lights at the mizen peak, and ordered a musket to be fired; but,
unfortunately, the cartridges had either not been put in the boat which
brought me, or they had been taken back in her.  One of my lights went
out; the other was not seen by the frigate.  We hoisted another light,
but it gained no notice: the ship had evidently made sail.  I stood
after her as fast as I could, in hopes of her seeing us that night, or
taking us out the next morning, should we be afloat.

But my vessel, deeply laden, was already getting waterlogged, and would
not sail on a wind more than four miles an hour.  All hope in that
quarter vanished.  I then endeavoured to discover from the captain where
the leaks were, that we might stop them; but he had been drinking so
freely, that I could get nothing from him but Dutch courage and
braggadocio.  The poor black man who had been left with the captain was
next consulted.  All he knew was, that, when at Bordeaux, the captain
had caused holes to be bored in the ship's bottom, that he might pull
the plugs out whenever he liked, swearing, at the same time, that she
never should enter a British port.  He did not know where the leaks were
situated, though it was evident to me that they were in the after and
also in the fore parts of the ship, low down, and now deep under water,
both inside as well as out.  The black man added that the captain had
let the water in, and that was all he knew.

I again spoke to the captain, but he was too far gone to reason with: he
had got drunk to die, because he was afraid to die sober--no unusual
case with sailors.

"Don't tell me; damn me, who is afeard to die?  I ain't.  I swore she
should never enter a British port, and I have kept my word."

He then began to use curses and execrations; and at last fell on the
deck in a fit of drunken frenzy.

I now called my people all together, and having stated to them the peril
of our situation, we agreed that a large boat which lay on the booms
should be instantly hoisted out, and stowed with everything necessary
for a voyage.  Our clothes, bread, salt meat, and water, were put into
her, with my sextant and spy-glass.  The liquor which was in the cabin I
gave in charge to the midshipman who was sent with me; and, having
completely stowed our boat, and prepared her with a good lug-sail, we
made her fast with a couple of stout tow-ropes, and veered her astern,
with four men in her, keeping on our course in the supposed track of the
frigate till daylight.

That wished for hour arrived, but no frigate was to be seen, even from
the mast-head.  The ship was getting deeper and deeper, and we prepared
to take to the boat.  I calculated the nearest part of South America to
be seven hundred miles from us, and that we were more than twice that
distance from Rio Janeiro.  I did not however despond, for, under all
circumstances, we were extremely well off: and I inspired the men with
so much confidence, that they obeyed in everything with the utmost
alacrity and cheerfulness, except in one single point.

Finding the ship could not in all, probability float more than an hour
or two, I determined to quit her, and ordered the boat alongside.  The
men got into her, stepped the mast, hooked on the lug-sail, ready to
hoist at my orders; and, without my bidding, had spread my boat cloak in
the stern-sheets, and made a comfortable place for me to repose in.  The
master proceeded to get into the boat, but the men repulsed him with
kicks, blows, and hisses, swearing most dreadfully that if he attempted
to come in, they would throw him overboard.  Although in some measure I
participated in their angry feeling, yet I could not reconcile myself to
leave a fellow-creature thus to perish, even in the pit which he had dug
for others; and this too at a time when we needed every indulgence from
the Almighty for ourselves, and every assistance from His hand to
conduct us into a port.

"He deserves to die; it is all his own doings," said they; "come into
the boat yourself, sir, or we must shove off without you."

The poor captain--who after sleeping four hours had recovered his senses
and felt all the horror of his situation--wept, screamed, tore his hair,
laid hold of my coat, from which only the strength of my men could
disengage him.  He clung to life with a passion of feeling which I never
saw in a criminal condemned by the law; he fell on his knees before me,
as he appealed to us all collectively and separately; he reminded us of
his wife and starving children at Baltimore, and he implored us to think
of them and of our own.

I was melted to tears, I confess; but my men heard him with the most
stoical unconcern.  Two of them threw him over to the opposite side of
the deck; and before he could recover from the violence of the fall,
pushed me into the boat, and shoved off.  The wretched man had by this
time crawled over to the side we had just left; and throwing himself on
his knees, again screamed out, "Oh, mercy, mercy, mercy!--For God's
sake, have mercy, if you expect any!--O God! my wife and babes!"

His prayers, I lament to say, had no effect on the exasperated seamen.
He then fell into a fit of cursing and blasphemy, evidently bereft of
his senses; and in this state he continued for some minutes, while we
lay alongside, the bowman holding on with the boat-hook only.  I was
secretly determined not to leave him, although I foresaw a mutiny in the
boat in consequence.  At length, I gave the order to shove off.  The
unhappy captain, who, till that moment; might have entertained some
faint hope from the lurking compassion which he perceived I felt for
him, now resigned himself to despair of a more sullen and horrible
aspect.  He sat himself down on one of the hen-coops, and gazed on us
with a ghastly eye.  I cannot remember ever seeing a more shocking
picture of human misery.

While I looked at him, the black man, Mungo, who belonged to the ship,
sprang overboard from the boat and swam back to the wreck.  Seizing a
rope which hung from the gangway, he ascended the side, and joined his
master.  We called to him to come back, or we, should leave him behind.

"No massa," replied the faithful creature; "me no want to lib: no takee
master Green no takee me!  Mungo lib good many years wi massa cappen.
Mungo die with massa, and go back to Guinea!"

I now thought we had given the captain a sufficient lesson for his
treachery and murderous intentions.  Had I, indeed, ever seriously
intended to leave him, the conduct of poor Mungo would have awakened me
to a sense of my duty.  I ordered Thompson, who was steering the boat,
to put the helm a starboard, and lay her alongside again.  No sooner was
this command given, than three or four of the men jumped up in a
menacing attitude, and swore that they would not go back for him; that
he was the cause of all their sufferings; and that if I chose to share
his fate, I might, but into the boat he should not come.  One of them,
more daring than the rest, attempted to take the tiller out of
Thompson's hand; but the trusty seaman seized him by the collar, and in
an instant threw him overboard.  The other men were coming aft to avenge
this treatment of their leader; but I drew my sword, and pointing it at
the breast of the nearest mutineer, desired him, on pain of instant
death, to return to his seat.  He had heard my character, and knew that
I was not to be trifled with.

A mutineer is easily subdued with common firmness.  He obeyed, but was
very sullen, and I heard many mutinous expressions among the men.  One
of them said that I was not their officer--that I did not belong to the
frigate.

"That," I replied, "is a case of which I shall not allow you to be the
judges.  I hold in my pocket a commission from the king's lord high
admiral, or the commissioners for executing that duty.  Your captain,
and mine also, holds a similar commission.  Under this authority I act.
Let me see the man that dares dispute it--I will hang him at the
yard-arm of the wreck before she goes down;" and, looking at the man
whom Thompson had thrown overboard, and who still held by the gunwale of
the boat, without daring to get in, I asked him if he would obey me or
not?  He replied that he would, and hoped I would forgive him.  I said
that my forgiveness would depend entirely on the conduct of himself and
the others: that he must recollect that if our own ship or any other
man-of-war picked us up, he was liable, with three or four more, to be
hanged for mutiny; and that nothing but his and their future obedience
could save them from that punishment whenever we reached a port.

This harangue had a very tranquillising effect.  The offenders all
begged pardon, and assured me they would deserve my forgiveness by their
future submission.

All this passed at some little distance from the wreck, but within
hearing; and while it was going on, the wind, which had been fair when
we put off, gradually died away, and blew faintly from the south-west,
directly towards the sinking wreck.  I took advantage of this
circumstance to read them a lecture.  When I had subdued them and worked
a little on their feelings, I said I never knew any good come of
cruelty; whenever a ship or a boat had left a man behind who might have
been saved, that disaster or destruction had invariably attended those
who had so cruelly acted; that I was quite sure we never should escape
from this danger if we did not show mercy to our fellow-creatures.
"God," said I, "has shown mercy to us in giving us this excellent boat
to save us in our imminent danger; and He seems to say to us now, `Go
back to the wreck, and rescue your fellow-sufferer.'  The wind blows
directly towards her, and is foul for the point in which we intend to
steer; hasten then," pursued I, "obey the divine will; do your duty, and
trust in God.  I shall then be proud to command you, and have no doubt
in bringing you safe into port."

This was the "pliant hour;" they sprang upon their oars, and pulled back
to the wreck with alacrity.  The poor captain, who had witnessed all
that had passed, watched the progress of his cause with deep anxiety.
No sooner did the boat touch the ship than he leaped into her, fell down
on his knees, and thanked God aloud for his deliverance.  He then fell
on my neck, embraced me, kissed my cheek, and wept like a girl.  The
sailors, meanwhile, who never bear malice long, good-naturedly jumped
up, and assisted him in getting his little articles into the boat; and
as Mungo followed his master, shook hands with him all round, and swore
he should be a black prince when he went back to Guinea.  We also took
in one or two more little articles of general use, which had been
forgotten in our former hurry.

We now shoved off for the last time; and had not proceeded more than two
hundred yards from the ship, when she gave a heavy lurch on one side,
recovered it, and rolled as deep on the other; then, as if endued with
life and instinct, gave a pitch, and went down head foremost into the
fathomless deep.  We had scarcely time to behold this awful scene, when
the wind again sprang up fair, from its old quarter, the east.

"There," said I, "heaven has declared itself in your favour already.
You have got your fair wind again."

We thanked God for this; and having set our sail, I shaped my course for
Cape St. Thomas, and we went to our frugal dinner with cheerful and
grateful hearts.

The weather was fine--the sea tolerably smooth--and as we had plenty of
provisions and water, we did not suffer much, except from an
apprehension of a change of wind, and the knowledge of our precarious
situation.  On the fifth day after leaving the wreck we discovered land
at a great distance.  I knew it to be the island of Trinidad and the
rocks of Martin Vas.  This island, which lies in latitude twenty degrees
south, and longitude thirty degrees west, is not to be confounded with
the island of the same name on the coast of Terra Firma in the West
Indies, and now a British colony.

On consulting Horsburgh, which I had in the boat, I found that the
island which we were now approaching was formerly inhabited by the
Portuguese, but long since abandoned.  I continued steering towards it
during the night, until we heard the breakers roaring against the rocks,
when I hove-to to windward of the land, till daylight.

The morning presented to our view a precipitous and rugged iron-bound
coast, with high and pointed rocks, frowning defiance over the
unappeasable and furious waves which broke incessantly at their feet,
and recoiled to repeat the blow.  Thus for ages had they been employed,
and thus for ages will they continue, without making any impression
visible to the eye of man.  To land was impossible on the part of the
coast now under our inspection, and we coasted along in hopes of finding
some haven into which we might haul our boat, and secure her.  The
island appeared to be about nine miles long, evidently of volcanic
formation, an assemblage of rocky mountains towering several hundred
feet above the level of the sea.  It was barren, except at the summit of
the hills, where some trees formed a coronet at once beautiful and
refreshing, but tantalising to look at, as they appeared utterly
inaccessible; and even supposing I could have discovered a
landing-place, I was in great doubt whether I should have availed myself
of it, as the island appeared to produce nothing which could have added
to our comfort, while delay would only have uselessly consumed our
provisions.  There did not appear to be a living creature on the island,
and the danger of approaching to find a landing-place was most imminent.

This unpromising appearance induced me to propose that we should
continue our course to Rio Janeiro.  The men were of another opinion.
They said they had been too long afloat, cooped up, and that they should
prefer remaining on the island to risking their lives any longer in so
frail a boat on the wide ocean.  We were still debating, when we came to
a small spot of sand on which we discovered two wild hogs, which we
conjectured had come down to feed on the shell fish; this decided them,
and I consented to run to leeward of the island, and seek for a
landing-place.  We sounded the west end, following the remarks of
Horsburgh, and ran for the cove of the Nine-Pin Rock.  As we opened it,
a scene of grandeur presented itself, which we had never met with
before, and which in its kind is probably unrivalled in nature.  An
enormous rock rose, nearly perpendicularly, out of the sea, to the
height of nine hundred or one thousand feet.  It was as narrow at the
base as it was at the top, and was formed exactly in the shape of a
nine-pin, from which it derives its name.  The sides appeared smooth and
even to the top, which was covered with verdure, and was so far above us
that the sea-birds, which in myriads screamed around it, were scarcely
visible two-thirds of the way up.  The sea beat violently against its
base--the feathered tribe, in endless variety, had been for ages the
undisturbed tenants of this natural monument; all its jutting points and
little projections were covered with their white dung, and it seemed to
me a wonderful effort of nature which had placed this mass in the
position which it held in spite of the utmost efforts of the winds and
waves of the wide ocean.

Another curious phenomenon appeared at the other end of the cove.  The
lava had poured down into the sea, and formed a stratum; a second river
of fused rock had poured again over the first, and had cooled so rapidly
as to hang suspended, not having joined the former strata, but leaving a
vacuum between for the water to fill up.  The sea dashed violently
between the two beds, and spouted magnificently through holes in the
upper bed of lava to the height of sixty feet, resembling much the
spouting of a whale, but with a noise and force infinitely greater.  The
sound, indeed, was tremendous, hollow, and awful.  I could not help
mentally adoring the works of the Creator, and my heart sunk within me
at my own insignificance, folly, and wickedness.

As we were now running along the shore, looking for our landing-place,
and just going to take in the sail, the American captain, who sat close
to the man at the helm, seemed attentively watching something on the
larboard bow of the boat.  In an instant he exclaimed, "Port your helm,
my good fellow, port hard."  These words he accompanied with a push of
the helm so violent as almost to throw overboard the man who sat on the
larboard quarter.  At the same moment, a heavy sea lifted the boat, and
sent her many yards beyond and to the right of a pointed rock just flush
or even with the water, which had escaped our notice, and which none
suspected but the American captain (for these rocks do not show breakers
every minute--if they did they would be easily avoided).  On this we
should most certainly have been dashed to pieces, had not the danger
been seen, and avoided by the sudden and skilful motion of the helm; one
moment more, and one foot nearer, and we were gone.

"Merciful God!" said I, "to what fate am I reserved at last?  How can I
be sufficiently thankful for so much goodness!"

I thanked the American for his attention--told my men how much we were
indebted to him, and how amply he had repaid our kindness in taking him
off the wreck.

"Ah, lieutenant!" said the poor man, "it is a small turn I've done you
for the kindness you have shown to me."

The water was very deep, the rocks being steep; so we lowered our sail,
and getting our oars out, pulled in to look for a landing.  At the
further end of the cove, we discovered the wreck of a vessel lying on
the beach.  She was broken in two, and appeared to be copper-bottomed.
This increased the eagerness of the men to land; we rowed close to the
shore, but found that the boat would be dashed to pieces if we attempted
it.  The midshipman proposed that one of us should swim on shore, and,
by ascending a bill, discover a place to lay the boat in.  This I agreed
to; and the quarter-master immediately threw off his clothes.  I made a
head-line fast to him under his arms, that we might pull him in if we
found him exhausted.  He went over the surf with great ease, until he
came to the breakers on the beach, through which he could not force his
way; for the moment he touched the ground with his foot, the recoil of
the sea, and what is called by sailors the undertow, carried him back
again, and left him in the rear of the last wave.

Three times the brave fellow made the attempt, and with the same result.
At last he sank, and we pulled him in very nearly dead.  We, however,
restored him by care and attention, and he went again to his usual duty.
The midshipman now proposed that he should try to swim through the surf
without the line, for that alone had impeded the progress of the
quarter-master; this was true, but I would not allow him to run the
risk, and we pulled along shore, until we came to a rock on which the
surf beat very high, and which we avoided in consequence.  This rock we
discovered to be detached from the main; and within it, to our great
joy, we saw smooth water; we pulled in, and succeeded in landing without
much difficulty, and having secured our boat to a grapnel, and left two
trusty men in charge of her, I proceeded with the rest to explore the
cove; our attention was naturally first directed to the wreck which we
had passed in the boat, and, after a quarter of an hour's scrambling
over huge fragments of broken rocks, which had been detached from the
sides of the hill, and encumbered the beach, we arrived at the spot.

The wreck proved to be a beautiful copper-bottomed schooner, of about a
hundred and eighty tons burthen.  She had been dashed on shore with
great violence, and thrown many yards above the high-water mark.  Her
masts and spars were lying in all directions on the beach, which was
strewed with her cargo.  This consisted of a variety of toys and
hardware, musical instruments, violins, flutes, fifes, and bird-organs.
Some few remains of books, which I picked up, were French romances, with
indelicate plates, and still worse text.  These proved the vessel to be
French.  At a short distance from the wreck, on a rising knoll, we found
three or four huts, rudely constructed out of the fragments; and, a
little further off, a succession of graves, each surmounted with a cross
I examined the huts, which contained some rude and simple relics of
human tenancy: a few benches and tables, composed of boards roughly hewn
out and nailed together; bones of goats and of the wild hog, with the
remains of burnt wood.  But we could not discover any traces of the name
of the vessel or owner; nor were there any names marked or cut on the
boards, as might have been expected, to show to whom the vessel
belonged, and what had become of the survivors.

This studied concealment of all information led us to the most accurate
knowledge of her port of departure, her destination, and her object of
trade.  Being on the south-west side of the island, with her head lying
to the north-east, she had, beyond all doubt, been running from Rio
Janeiro towards the coast of Africa, and got on shore in the night.
That she was going to fetch a cargo of slaves was equally clear, not
only from the baubles with which she was freighted, but also from the
interior fitting of the vessel, and from a number of hand and leg
shackles which we found among the wreck, and which we knew were only
used for the purposes of confining and securing the unhappy victims of
this traffic.

We took up our quarters in the huts for the night, and the next morning
divided ourselves into three parties, to explore the island.  I have
before observed that we had muskets, but no powder, and therefore stood
but little chance of killing any of the goats or wild hogs, with which
we found the island abounded.  One party sought the means of attaining
the highest summit of the island; another went along the shore to the
westward; while myself and two others went to the eastward.  We crossed
several ravines, with much difficulty, until we reached a long valley,
which seemed to intersect the island.

Here a wonderful and most melancholy phenomenon arrested our attention.
Thousands and thousands of trees covered the valley, each of them about
thirty feet high; but every tree was dead, and extended its leafless
boughs to another--a forest of desolation, as if nature had at some
particular moment ceased to vegetate!  There was no under wood or grass.
On the lowest of the dead boughs, the gannets, and other sea-birds, had
built their nests in numbers uncountable.  Their tameness, as Cowper
says, "was shocking to me."  So unaccustomed did they seem to man, that
the mothers, brooding over their young, only opened their beaks in a
menacing attitude at us, as we passed by them.

How to account satisfactorily for the simultaneous destruction of this
vast forest of trees was very difficult: there was no want of rich earth
for nourishment of the roots.  The most probable cause appeared to me, a
sudden and continued eruption of sulphuric effluvia from the volcano; or
else, by some unusually heavy gale of wind or hurricane, the trees had
been drenched with salt water to their roots.  One or the other of these
causes must have produced the effect.  The philosopher, or the geologist
must decide.

We had the consolation to know that we should at least experience no
want of food--the nests of the birds affording us a plentiful supply of
eggs, and young ones of every age; with these we returned loaded to the
cove.  The party that had gone to the westward reported having seen some
wild hogs, but were unable to secure any of them; and those who had
attempted to ascend the mountain returned much fatigued, and one of
their number missing.  They reported that they had gained the summit of
the mountain, where they had discovered a large plain, skirted by a
species of fern tree, from twelve to eighteen feet high--that on this
plain they had seen a herd of goats; and among them, could distinguish
one of enormous size, which appeared to be their leader.  He was as
large as a pony; but all attempts to take one of them were utterly
fruitless.  The man who was missing had followed them further than they
had.  They waited some time for his return; but as he did not come to
them, they concluded he had taken some other route to the cove.  I did
not quite like this story, fearing some dreadful accident had befallen
the poor fellow, for whom we kept a watch, and had a fire burning the
whole night, which, like the former one, we passed in the huts.  We had
an abundant supply of firewood from the wreck, and a stream of clear
water ran close by our little village.  The next morning, a party was
sent in search of the man, and some were sent to fetch a supply of young
gannets for our dinner.  The latter brought back with them as many young
birds as would suffice for two or three days; but of the three who went
in quest of the missing man, only two returned.  They reported that they
could gain no tidings of him: that they had missed one of their own
number, who had, no doubt, gone in pursuit of his shipmate.

This intelligence occasioned a great deal of anxiety, and many surmises.
The most prevalent opinion seemed to be that there were wild beasts on
the island, and that our poor friends had become a prey to them.  I
determined, the next morning, to go in search of them myself, taking one
or two chosen men with me.  I should have mentioned, that when we left
the sinking vessel, we had taken out a poodle dog, that was on board,
first, because I would not allow the poor animal to perish; and
secondly, because we might, if we had no better food, make a dinner of
him.  This was quite fair, as charity begins at home.

This faithful animal became much attached to me, from whom he invariably
received his portion of food.  He never quitted me, nor followed anyone
else; and he was my companion when I went on this excursion.

We reached the summit of the first mountain, whence we saw the goats
browsing on the second, and meant to go there in pursuit of the objects
of our anxious search.  I was some yards in advance of my companions,
and the dog a little distance before me, near the shelving part of a
rock, terminating in a precipice.  The shelf I had to cross was about
six or seven feet wide, and ten or twelve long, with a very little
inclined plane towards the precipice, so that I thought it perfectly
safe.  A small rill of water trickled down from the rock above it, and,
losing itself among the moss and grass, fell over the precipice below,
which indeed was a frightful depth.

This causeway was to all appearance safe, compared with many which we
had passed, and I was just going to step upon it, when my dog ran before
me, jumped on the fatal pass--his feet slipped from under him--he fell,
and disappeared over the precipice!  I started back--I heard a heavy
squelch and a howl; another fainter succeeded, and all was still.  I
advanced with the utmost caution to the edge of the precipice, where I
discovered that the rill of water had nourished a short moss, close and
smooth as velvet, and so slippery as not to admit of the lightest
footstep; this accounted for the sudden disappearance, and, as I
concluded, the inevitable death of my dog.

My first thoughts were those of gratitude for my miraculous escape; my
second unwillingly glanced at the fate of my poor men, too probably
lying lifeless at the foot of this mountain.  I stated my fears to the
two seamen who were with me, and who had just come up.  The whole bore
too much the appearance of truth to admit of a doubt.  We descended the
rocks by a circuitous and winding way; and, after an hour's difficult
and dangerous walk, we reached the spot, where all our fears were too
fully confirmed.  There lay the two dead bodies of our companions and
that of my dog, all mangled in a shocking manner: both, it would appear,
had attempted to cross the shelf in the same careless way which I was
about to do, when Providence interposed the dog in my behalf.

This singular dispensation was not lost upon me; indeed, latterly, I had
been in such perils, and seen such hair-breadth escapes, that I became
quite an altered and reflecting character.  I returned to my men at the
cove, thoughtful and melancholy; I told them of what had happened; and,
having a prayer-book with me in my trunk, I proposed to them that I
should read the evening prayers, and a thanksgiving for our deliverance.

In this, the American captain, whose name was Green, most heartily
concurred.  Indeed, ever since this poor man had been received into the
boat, he had been a very different character to what I had at first
supposed him; he constantly refused his allowance of spirits, giving it
among the sailors; he was silent and meditative; I often found him in
prayer, and on these occasions I never interrupted him.  At other times,
he studied how he might make himself most useful.  He would patch and
mend the people's clothes and shoes, or show them how to do it for
themselves.  Whenever any hard work was to be done, he was always the
first to begin, and the last to leave off; and to such a degree did he
carry his attention and kindness, that we all began to love him, and to
treat him with great respect.  He took charge of a watch when we were at
sea, and never closed his eyes during his hour of duty.

Nor was this the effect of fear, or the dread of ill-usage among so many
Englishmen, whom his errors had led into so much misfortune.  He very
soon had an opportunity of proving that his altered conduct was the
effect of sorrow and repentance.  The next morning I sent a party round
by the sea-shore, with directions to walk up the valley and bury the
bodies of our unfortunate companions.  The two men who had accompanied
me were of the number sent on this service; when they returned, I
pointed out to them how disastrous our residence had been on this fatal
island, and how much better it had been for us if we had continued our
course to Rio Janeiro, which being only two hundred and fifty or two
hundred and sixty leagues distant, we should by that time nearly have
reached: that we were now expending the most valuable part of our
provisions, namely--our spirits and tobacco; while our boat, our only
hope and resource, was not even in safety, since a gale of wind might
destroy her.  I therefore proposed to make immediate preparations for
our departure, to which all unanimously agreed.

We divided the various occupations; some went to fetch a sea-stock of
young birds, which were killed and dressed to save our salt provisions;
others filled all our water-casks.  Captain Green superintended the
rigging, sails, and oars of the boat, and saw that everything was
complete in that department.  The spirits remaining were getting low,
and Captain Green, the midshipman, and myself, agreed to drink none, but
reserve it for pressing emergencies.  In three days after beginning our
preparations, and the seventh after our landing, we embarked, and after
being nearly swamped by the surf, once more hoisted our sail on the wide
waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

We were not destined, however, to encounter many dangers this time, or
to reach the coast of South America: for we had not been many hours at
sea, when a vessel hove in sight; she proved to be an American privateer
brig, of fourteen guns and one hundred and thirty men, bound on a cruise
off the Cape of Good Hope.  As soon as she perceived us, she bore down,
and in half an hour we were safe on board; when having bundled all our
little stock of goods on her decks, the boat was cut adrift.  My men
were not well treated until they consented to enter for the privateer,
which, after much persuasion and threats, they all did, except Thompson,
contrary to my strongest remonstrances, and urging every argument in my
power to dissuade them from such a fatal step.

I remonstrated with the captain of the privateer, on what I deemed a
violation of hospitality.  "You found me," I said, "on the wide ocean,
in a frail boat, which some huge wave might have overwhelmed in a
moment, or some fish, in sport, might have tossed in the air.  You
received me and my people with all the kindness and friendship which we
could desire; but you mar it, by seducing the men from their allegiance
to their lawful sovereign, inducing them to become rebels, and
subjecting them to a capital punishment whenever they may (as they most
probably will) fall into the hands of their own government."

The captain, who was an unpolished, but sensible, clear-headed Yankee,
replied, that he was sorry I should take anything ill of him; that no
affront was meant to me; that he had nothing whatever to do with my men,
until they came voluntarily to him, and entered for his vessel; that he
could not but admit, however, that they might have been persuaded to
take this step by some of his own people.  "And now, leftenant," said
he, "let me ask you a question.  Suppose you commanded a British vessel,
and ten or twelve of my men, if I was unlucky enough to be taken by you,
should volunteer for your ship, and say they were natives of Newcastle,
would you refuse them?  Besides, before we went to war with you, you
made no ceremony of taking men out of our merchant-ships, and even out
of our ships of war, whenever you had an opportunity.  Now, pray, where
is the difference between your conduct and ours?"

I replied, that it would not be very easy, nor, if it were, would it
answer any good purpose, for us to discuss a question that had puzzled
the wisest heads, both in his country and mine, for the last twenty
years; that my present business was a case of its own, and must be
considered abstractedly; that the fortune of war had thrown me in his
power, and that he made a bad use of the temporary advantage of his
situation, by allowing my men, who, after all, were poor, ignorant
creatures, to be seduced from their duty, to desert their flag, and
commit high treason, by which their lives were forfeited and their
families rendered miserable; that whatever might have been the conduct
of his government or mine, whatever line pursued by this or that
captain, no precedent could make wrong right; and I left it to himself
(seeing I had no other resource) to say, whether he was doing as he
would be done by.

"As for that matter," said the captain, "we privateersmen don't trouble
our heads much about it; we always take care of number one; and if your
men choose to say they are natives of Boston, and will enter for my
ship, I must take them.  Why," continued he, "there is your best man,
Thompson; I'd lay a demi-John of old Jamaica rum that he is a
true-blooded Yankee, and if he was to speak his mind, would sooner fight
under the stripes than the union."

"Damn the dog that says yon of Jock Thompson," replied the Caledonian,
who stood by.  "I never deserted my colours yet, and I don't think I
ever shall.  There is only one piece of advice I would wish to give to
you and your officers, captain.  I am a civil-spoken man, and never
injured any soul breathing, except in the way of fair fighting; but if
either of you, or any of your crew, offer to bribe me, or in any way to
make me turn my back on my king and country, I'll lay him on his back as
flat as a flounder, if I am able; and if I am not able, I'll try for
it."

"That's well spoken," said the captain, "and I honour you for it.  You
may rely on it that I shall never tempt you, and if any of mine do it,
they must take their chance."

Captain Green heard all this conversation; he took no part in it, but
walked the deck in his usual pensive manner.  When the captain of the
privateer went below to work his reckoning, this unhappy man entered
into conversation with me--he began by remarking--"What a noble specimen
of a British sailor you have with you."

"Yes," I replied, "he is one of the right sort--he comes from the land
where the education of the poor contributes to the security of the rich;
where a man is never thought the worse of for reading his Bible, and
where the generality of the lower orders are brought up in the honest
simplicity of primitive Christians."

"I guess," said Green, "that you have not many such in your navy."

"More than you would suppose," I replied; "and what will astonish you
is, that though they are impressed, they seldom, if ever, desert; and
yet they are retained on much lower wages than those they were taken
from, or could obtain; but they have a high sense of moral and religious
feeling, which keeps them to their duty."

"They must needs be discontented, for all that," said Green, "Not
necessarily so," said I: "they derive many advantages from being in the
navy, which they could not have in other employments.  They have
pensions for long services or wounds, are always taken care of in their
old age, and their widows and children have much favour shown them, by
the government, as well as by other public bodies and wealthy
individuals.  But we must finish this discussion another time,"
continued I, "for I perceive the dinner is going into the cabin."

I received from the captain of the privateer every mark of respect and
kindness that his means would allow.  Much of this I owed to Green, and
the black man Mungo, both of whom had represented my conduct in saving
the life of him who had endangered mine and that of all my party.
Green's gratitude knew no bounds--he watched me night and day, as a
mother would watch a darling child; he anticipated any want or wish I
could have, and was never happy until it was gratified.  The seamen on
board the vessel were all equally kind and attentive to me, so highly
did they appreciate the act of saving the life of their countryman, and
exposing my own in quelling a mutiny.

We cruised to the southward of the Cape, and made one or two captures;
but they were of little consequence.  One of them, being a trader from
Mozambique, was destroyed; the other, a slaver from Madagascar, the
captain knew not what to do with.  He therefore took out eight or ten of
the stoutest male negroes to assist in working his vessel, and then let
the prize go.



CHAPTER TWENTY.

  But who is this?  What thing of sea
  Comes this way sailing,
  Like a stately ship
  With all her bravery on, and tackle trim?
  MILTON.

The privateer was called the _True-blooded Yankee_.  She was first bound
to the island of Tristan d'Acunha, where she expected to meet her
consort, belonging to the same owners, and who had preceded her, when
their directions were to cruise between the Cape and Madagascar, for
certain homeward bound extra Indiamen, one or two of which she hoped
would reward all the trouble and expense of the outfit.

We reached the island without any material incident.  I had observed,
with concern, that the second mate, whose name was Peleg Oswald, was a
sour, ferocious, quarrelsome man; and that although I was kindly treated
by the captain, whose name was Peters, and by the chief mate, whose name
was Methusalem Solomon, I never could conciliate the good-will of Peleg
Oswald.

Green, the captain, who came with me, was, from the time I saved his
life, an altered man.  He had been, as I was informed, a drunken
profligate; but from the moment when I received him into my boat, his
manners and habits seemed as completely changed as if he were a
different being.  He never drank more than was sufficient to quench his
thirst--he never swore--he never used any offensive language.  He read
the Scriptures constantly, was regular in the morning and evening
devotion, and on every occasion of quarrel or ill-will in the brig,
which was perpetually occurring, Green was the umpire and the
peacemaker.  He saved the captain and chief mate a world of trouble; by
this system, violent language became uncommon on board, punishment was
very rare, and very mild.  The men were happy, and did their duty with
alacrity; and but for Peleg Oswald, all would have been harmony.

We made the island about the 15th of December, when the weather was such
as the season of the year might induce us to expect, it being then
summer.  We hove off to the north or windward side of the island, about
two miles from the shore; we dared not go nearer on that side, for fear
of what are called the "Rollers"--a phenomenon, it would appear, of
terrific magnitude, on that sequestered little spot.  On this
extraordinary operation of nature, many conjectures should have been
offered, but no good or satisfactory reason has ever been assigned to
satisfy my mind; for the simple reason, that the same causes would
produce the same effect on St. Helena, Ascension, or any other island or
promontory exposed to a wide expanse of water.  I shall attempt to
describe the scene that a succession, of rollers would present,
supposing, what has indeed happened, that a vessel is caught on the
coast when coming in.

The water will be perfectly smooth--not a breath of wind--when,
suddenly, from the north, comes rolling a huge wave with a glassy
surface, never breaking till it meets the resistance of the land, when
it dashes down with a noise and a resistless violence that no art or
effort of man could elude.  It is succeeded by others.  No anchorage
would hold, if there were anchorage to be had; but this is not the case;
the water is from ninety to one hundred fathoms deep, and, consequently,
an anchor and cable could scarcely afford a momentary check to any ship
when thus assailed; or, if it did, the sea would, by being resisted,
divide, break on board, and swamp her.  Such was the fate of the
unfortunate ---, a British sloop of war; which, after landing the
captain and six men, was caught in the rollers, driven on shore, and
every creature on board perished, only the captain and his boat's crew
escaping.  This unfortunate little vessel was lost, not from want of
skill or seamanship in the captain or crew, for a finer set of men never
swam salt water; but from their ignorance of this peculiarity of the
island, unknown in any other that I ever heard of, at least to such an
alarming extent.  Driven close into the land before she could find
soundings, at last she let go three anchors; but nothing could withstand
the force of the "rollers," which drove her in upon the beach, where she
broke in two as soon as she landed, and all hands perished in sight of
the affected captain and his boat's crew, who buried the bodies of their
unfortunate shipmates as soon as the sea had delivered them up.

There is another remarkable peculiarity in this island: its shores to a
very considerable extent out to sea are surrounded with the plant called
_Fucus maximus_, mentioned by Captain Cook; it grows to the depth of
sixty fathoms, or one hundred and eighty feet, and reaches in one long
stem to the surface, when it continues to run along to the enormous
length of three or four hundred feet, with short alternate branches at
every foot of its length.  Thus, in the stormy ocean grows a plant
higher and of greater length than any vegetable production of the
surface of the earth, not excepting the banyan tree, which, as its
branches touch the ground, takes fresh root, and may be said to form a
separate tree.  These marine plants resist the most powerful attacks of
the mightiest elements combined; the winds and the waves in vain combine
their forces against them; uniting their foliage on the bosom of the
waters, they laugh at the hurricane and defy its power.  The leaves are
alternate; and when the wind ruffles the water, they flap over, one
after the other, with a mournful sound, doubly mournful to us from the
sad association of ideas and the loneliness of the island.  The branches
or tendrils of these plants are so strong and buoyant, when several of
them happen to unite, that a boat cannot pass through them; I tried with
my feet what pressure they would bear, and I was convinced that, with a
pair of snow-shoes, a man might walk over them.

Captain Peters kindly invited me to go on shore with him.  We landed
with much difficulty, and proceeded to the cottage of a man who had been
left there from choice; he resided with his family, and, in imitation of
another great personage on an island to the northward of him, styled
himself "Emperor."  A detachment of British soldiers had been sent from
the Cape of Good Hope to take possession of this spot, but after a time
they were withdrawn.

His present imperial majesty had, at the time of my visit, a black
consort, and many snuff-coloured princes and princesses.  He was in
other respects a perfect Robinson Crusoe: he had a few head of cattle,
and some pigs: these latter have greatly multiplied on the island.
Domestic fowls were numerous, and he had a large piece of ground planted
with potatoes, the only place south of the equator which produces them
in their native perfection.  The land is rich and susceptible of great
improvement; and the soil is intersected with numerous running springs
over its surface.  But it was impossible to look on this lonely spot
without recalling to mind the beautiful lines of Cowper--

  "O Solitude, where are the charms
  That sages have seen in thy face?"

Yet in this wild place alarms and even rebellion had found their way;
the emperor had but one subject, and this Caliban had ventured, in
direct violation of an imperial mandate, to kill a fowl for his dinner.

"Rebellion," said the enraged emperor, "is the son of witchcraft, and I
am determined to make an example of the offender."

I became the mediator between these two belligerents.  I represented to
his imperial majesty that, as far as the matter of example went, the
severity would lose its effect; for his children were as yet too young
to be corrupted; and, moreover, as his majesty was so well versed in
Scripture, he must know that it was his duty to forgive.  "Besides," I
said, "her majesty the queen has a strong arm, and can always assist in
repelling or chastising any future act of aggression or disobedience."
I suspect that the moral code of his majesty was not unlike my own: it
yielded to the necessities of the time.  He must have found it
particularly inconvenient not to be on speaking terms with his prime
minister and arch-chancellor, whom he had banished to the opposite side
of the island on pain of death.  The sentence was originally for six
months; but on my intercession the delinquent was pardoned and restored
to favour.  I felt much self-complacency when I reflected on this
successful instance of my mediatorial power, which had perhaps smothered
a civil war in its birth.

The emperor informed me that an American whaler was lying at the east
side of the island, filling with the oil of the walrus, or sea-horse;
that she had been there at anchor six weeks, and was nearly full.  I
asked to be shown to the spot where the --- was wrecked; he took me to
her sad remains.  She lay broken in pieces on the rocks; and not far
from her was a mound of earth, on which was placed a painted piece of
board by way of a tombstone.  The fate of the vessel, together with the
number of sufferers, were marked in rude but concise characters; I do
not exactly remember the words, but in substance it stated, that
underneath lay the remains of one hundred as fine fellows as ever walked
a plank, and that they had died like British seamen, doing their duty to
the last.  This was a melancholy sight, especially to a sailor, who knew
not how soon the same fate awaited him.

We rafted off several casks of water during that day, and on the
following we completed our water, and then ran to the east end of the
island to anchor near and wait for our consort, the whaler, the captain
of which had come in his boat to visit us: I conversed with him, and was
struck with one remark which he made.

"You Englishmen go to work in a queerish kind of way," said he; "you
send a parcel of soldiers to live on an island where none but sailors
can be of use.  You listen to all that those redcoats tell you; they
never thrive when placed out of musket-shot from a gin-shop: and because
_they_ don't like it, you evacuate the island.  A soldier likes his own
comfort, although very apt to destroy that of other folks; and it a'n't
very likely he would go and make a good report of an island that had
neither women nor rum, and where he was no better than a prisoner.  Now,
if Brother Jonathan had taken this island, I guess he would a made it
pay for its keep; he would have had two or three crews of whalers, with
their wives and families, and all their little comforts about them, with
a party of good farmers to till the land, and an officer to command the
whole.  The island can provide itself, as you may perceive, and all
would have gone on well.  It is just as easy to `fish' the island from
the shore as it is in a vessel, and indeed much easier.  Only land your
boilers and casks, and a couple of dozen good whale-boots, and this
island would produce a revenue that would repay with profit all the
money laid out upon it, for the sea-horses have no other place to go to,
either to shed their coats in the autumn, or bring forth their young in
the spring.  The fishing and other duties would be a source of amusement
to the sailors, who, if they chose, might return home occasionally in
the vessels that came to take away the full casks of oil, and land the
empty ones."

The captain of the whaler returned to his ship, but, I suppose, forgot
to give our captain very particular directions about the anchorage.  We
ran down to the east end of the island, and were just going to bring up,
when, supposing himself too near the whaler, Peters chose to run a
little further.  I should have observed, that as we rounded the
north-east point, the breeze freshened, and the squall came out of the
gullies and deep ravines.  We therefore shortened sail, and, passing
very near the whaler, they hailed us; but it blew so fresh that we did
not hear what they said; and, having increased our distance from the
whaler to what was judged proper, let go the anchor.

Ninety fathoms of cable ran out in a crack, before she turned head to
wind; and to our mortification, we found we had passed the bank upon
which the whaler had brought up, and must have dropped our anchor into a
well, for we had nineteen fathoms water under the bows, and only seven
fathoms under her stern.  The moon showed her face just at this moment,
and we had the further satisfaction of perceiving that we were within
fifty yards of a reef of rocks which lay astern of us, with their dirty
black heads above water.

We were very much surprised to find, notwithstanding the depth of water,
that, during the lulls, we rode with a slack cable; but about two
o'clock in the morning the cable parted, being cut by the foul ground.
All sail was made immediately, but the rocks astern were so close to us,
that you might have thrown a biscuit on them, and we thought the cruise
of the _True-blooded Yankee_ was at an end; but it proved otherwise, for
the same cause which produced the slack cable preserved the vessel.  The
_Fucus maximus_, we found, had interposed between us and destruction; we
had let go our anchor in this submarine forest, and had perched, as it
were, on the tops of the trees; and so thick were the leaves and
branches, that they held us from driving, and prevented our going on
shore when the cable had parted.  We dragged slowly through the plants,
and were very glad to see ourselves once more clear of this miserable
spot.

  "Better dwell in the midst of alarms,
  Than reign in this horrible place."

But I sincerely wish all manner of success to this little empire, though
I hope my evil stars will never take me to it again.  We shaped our
course for the Cape of Good Hope, for Captain Peters would not run
further risk in waiting for the consort privateer.

Poor Thompson, notwithstanding all my exertions in his favour, was
exposed to much ill-treatment on board the vessel, on account of his
firm and unshaken loyalty.  He seldom complained to me, but sometimes
vindicated himself by a gentle hint from one of his ample fists on the
nose or eye of the offender, and here the matter usually ended for his
character was so simple and inoffensive, that all the best men in the
vessel loved him.  One night a man fell overboard--the weather was fine,
and the brig had but little way; they were lowering down the jolly-boat
from the stern, when one of the hooks by which she hung by the stern,
broke, and four men were precipitated with violence into the water.  Two
of them could not swim, and all screamed loudly for help as soon as they
came up from their dive.  Thompson, seeing this, darted from the stern
like a Newfoundland dog, swam to the weakest, supported him to the
rudder chains, and, leaving him, went to another, bringing him to the
stern of the vessel, and making a rope fast under his arms.  In this way
he succeeded in saving the whole of these poor fellows.  Two of the five
would certainly have sunk but for his timely assistance, for it was some
time before another boat could be got ready; and the other three owned
that they much doubted whether they could have reached the vessel
without help.

This conduct of Thompson was much applauded by all on board, and some
asked him why he ventured his life for people who had used him so ill;
he answered, that his "mither" and his Bible taught him to do all the
good he could: and as God had given him a strong arm, he hoped he should
always use it for the benefit of his brother in need.

It might have been supposed that an act like this would have prevented
the recurrence of any further insult; but the more the Americans
perceived Thompson's value, the more eager were they to have him as
their own.  The second mate, whom I have already described as a rough
and brutal fellow, one day proposed to him to belong to their vessel,
certain, he added, that he would make his fortune by the capture of two,
if not three, extra Indiamen, which they had information of on their
passage.

Thompson looked the man fully in the face, and said, "Did ye no hear
what I telled the captain the ither day?"

"Yes," said the man, "I knew that, but that's what we call in our
country `all my eye.'"

"But they do not call it so in my country," said the Caledonian, at the
same time planting his fist so full and plump in the left eye of the
mate, that he fell like the "_humi bos_," covering a very large part of
the deck with his huge carcass.

The man got up, found his face bleeding plentifully, and his eye closed;
but instead of resenting the insult himself, went off and complained to
the captain.  Many of the Americans, either from hatred or jealousy,
went along with him, and clamorously demanded that the Englishman should
be punished for striking an officer.  When the story, however, came to
be fairly explained, the captain said he was bound to confess that the
second mate was the aggressor, inasmuch as he had acknowledged that he
knew the penalty of the transgression before he committed the act; that
he (the captain) had told Thompson, when he made the declaration, that
he thought him perfectly right, and, consequently, he was bound to
protect him by every law of hospitality as well as gratitude, after his
services in saving the lives of their countrymen.

This did not satisfy the crew; they were clamorous for punishment, and a
mutiny was actually headed by the second mate.  There was, however, a
large party on board who were in no humour to see an Englishman treated
with such indignity.  Of what country they were may readily be
conjectured.  The dispute ran high; and I began to think that serious
consequences might ensue, for it had continued from the serving of grog
at twelve o'clock till near two; when casting my eyes over the larboard
quarter, I perceived a sail, and told the captain of it; he instantly
hailed the look-out-man at the mast-head; but the look-out-man had been
so much interested with what was going on upon deck, that he had come
down into the maintop to listen.

"Don't you see that sail on the larboard quarter?" said the captain.

"Yes, sir," said the man.

"And why did you not report her?"

The man could make no reply to this question, for a very obvious reason.

"Come down here," said the captain; "let him be released, Solomon; we
will show you a little Yankee discipline."

But before we proceed to the investigation of the crime, or the
infliction of punishment, we must turn our eyes to the great object
which rose clearer and clearer every five minutes above the horizon.
The privateer was at this time under topsails, and top-gallant-sails,
jib, and foresail, running to the north-east, with a fine breeze and
smooth water.

"Leftenant," said the captain, "what you think of her?"

"I think," said I, "that she is an extra Indiaman; and if you mean to
speak her, you had better put your head towards her under an easy sail;
by which means you will be so near by sunset, that if she runs from you,
you will be able, with your superior sailing, to keep sight of her all
night."

"I guess you are not far wrong in that," said the captain.

"I guess he is directly in the face of the truth," said the chief mate,
who had just returned from the maintop, where he had spent the last
quarter of an hour in the most intense and absorbed attention to the cut
of the stranger's sails.  "If e'er I saw wood and canvas put together
before in the shape of a ship that there is one of John Bull's bellowing
calves of the ocean, and not less than a forty-four gunner."

"What say you to that, leftenant?" said the captain.

"Oh, as to that," said the mate, "it isn't very likely that he's going
to tell us the truth."

"Because you would not have done it yourself in the same situation,"
said I.

"Just so," said the mate.

And, in fact, I must own that I had no particular wish to cruise for
some months in this vessel, and go back for water at Tristan d'Acunha.
I therefore did not use my very best optical skill when I gave my
opinion; but as I saw the stranger was nearing us very fast, although we
were steering the same way, I made my mind up that I should very soon be
out of this vessel, and on my way to England, where all my happiness and
prospects were centred.

The chief mate took one more look--the captain followed his examples;
they then looked at each other, and pronounced their cruise at an end.

"We are done, sir," said the mate; "and all owing to that damned English
renegade that you would enter on the books as one of the ship's company.
But let's have him aft, and give him his discharge regularly."

"First of all," said the captain, "suppose we try what is to be done
with our heels.  They used to be good, and I never saw the
brass-bottomed sarpent that could come a-near us yet.  Send the royal
yards up--clear away the studding-sails--keep her with the wind just two
points abaft the beam, that's her favourite position; and I think we may
give the slip to that old-country devil in the course of the night."

I said nothing, but looked very attentively to all that was doing.  The
vessel was well manned, certainly, and all sail was set upon her in a
very expeditious manner.

"Heave the log," said the captain.

They did so; and she was going, by their measurement, nine and six.

"What do you think your ship is doing?" said the captain to me.

"I think," said I, "she is going about eleven knots; and, as she is six
miles astern of you, that she will be within gun-shot in less than four
hours."

"Part of that time shall be spent in paying our debts for this favour,"
said the captain.  "Mr Solomon, let them seize that _no-nation_ rascal
up to the main rigging, and hand up two of your most hungry cats.  Where
is Dick Twist, he that was boatswain's mate of the _Statira_; and that
red-haired fellow, you know, that swam away from the _Maidstone_ in the
Rappahanock?"

"You mean carroty Sam, I guess--pass the word for Sam Gall."

The two operators soon appeared, each armed with the instruments of his
office; and I must say that in malignity of construction they were equal
to anything used on similar occasions, even by Captain G---.  The
culprit was now brought forward, and to my surprise, it was the very man
whom Thompson, when in the boat had thrown overboard for mutiny.  I
cannot say that I felt sorry for the cause or the effect that was likely
to be produced by the disputes of the day.

"Seize him up," said the captain; "you were sent to the mast-head in
your regular turn of duty; and you have neglected that duty, by which
means we are likely to be taken: so, before my authority ceases, I will
show you a Yankee trick."

"I am an Englishman," said the man; "and appeal to my officer for
protection."

The captain looked at me.

"If I am the officer you appeal to," said I, "I do not acknowledge you.
You threw off your allegiance when you thought it suited your purpose,
and you now wish to resume it to screen yourself from a punishment which
you richly deserve.  I shall certainly not interfere in your favour."

"I was born," roared the cockney, "in Earl Street, seven Dials--my
mother keeps a tripe-shop--I am a true-born Briton, and you have no
right to flog me."

"You was a Yankee sailor from New London, yesterday, and you are a
tripe-seller from Old London to-day; I think I am right in calling you a
no-nation rascal: but we will talk about the right another time," said
the captain; "meanwhile Dick Twist, do you begin."

Twist obeyed his orders with skill and accuracy; and having given the
prisoner three-dozen that would not have disgraced the legerdemain of my
friend the Farnese Hercules in the brig, Sam Gall was desired to take
his turn.  Sam acquitted himself _a merveille_ with the like number; and
the prisoner after a due proportion of bellowing was cast loose.  I
could not help reflecting how very justly this captain had got his
vessel into jeopardy by first allowing a man to be seduced from his
allegiance, and then placing confidence in him.

"Let us now take a look at the chase," said the captain.  "Zounds, she
draws up with us.  I can see her bowsprit-cap hen she lifts; and half an
hour ago I only saw her foreyard.  Cut away the jolly-boat from the
stern, Solomon."

The chief mate took a small axe, and, with a steady blow at the end of
each davit, divided the falls, and the boat fell into the sea.

"Throw these here two aftermost guns overboard," said the captain; "I
guess we are too deep abaft, and they would not be of much use to us in
the way of defence, for this is a whopper that's after us."

The guns in a few minutes were sent to their last rest; and for the next
half hour the enemy gained less upon them.  It was now about half-past
three p.m.; the courage of the Yankees revived; and the second mate
reminded the captain that his black eye had not been reckoned for at the
main rigging.

"Nor shall it be," said the captain, "while I command the _True-blooded
Yankee_; what is, is right; no man shall be punished for fair defence
after warning.  Thompson, come and stand aft."

The man was in the act of obeying this order, when he was seized on by
some six or eight of the most turbulent, who began to tear off his
jacket.

"Avast there, shipmates!" said Twist and Gall, both in a breath.  "We
don't mind touching up such a chap as this here tripeman; but not the
scratch of a pin does Thompson get in this vessel.  He is one of us; he
is a seaman every inch of him, and you must flog us, and some fifty
more, if once you begin; for damn my eyes if we don't heave the log with
the second mate, and then lay-to till the frigate comes alongside."

The mutineers stood aghast for a few seconds; but the second mate,
jumping on a gun, called out, "Who's of our side?  Are we going to be
bullied by these damned Britishers?"

"You are," said I, "if doing an act of justice is bullying.  You are in
great danger, and I warn you of it.  I perceive the force of those whom
you pretend to call Americans; and though I am the last man in the world
to sanction an act of treachery by heaving the ship to, yet I caution
you to beware how you provoke the bull-dog, who has only broke his
master's chain `for a lark,' and is ready to return to him.  I am your
guest, and therefore your faithful friend; use your utmost endeavours to
escape from your enemy.  I know what she is, for I know her well; and,
if I am not much mistaken, you have scarcely more time, with all your
exertions, than to pack up your things; for, be assured, you will not
pass twelve hours more under your own flag."

This address had a tranquillising effect.  The captain, Captain Green,
and Solomon, walked aft; and, to their great dismay, saw distinctly the
water-line of the pursuing frigate.

"What can be done?" said the captain: "she has gained on us in this
manner, while the people were all aft settling that infernal dispute.
Throw two more of the after guns overboard."

This order was obeyed with the same celerity as the former, but not with
the same success.  The captain now began to perceive, what was pretty
obvious to me before, namely, that by dropping the boat from the extreme
end of the vessel, where it hung like the pea on the steelyard, he did
good; the lightening her also of the two aftermost guns, hanging over
the dead wood of the vessel, was in like manner serviceable.  But here
he should have stopped; the effect of throwing the next two guns
overboard was pernicious.  The vessel fell by the head; her stern was
out of the water; she steered wild, yawed, and decreased in her rate of
sailing in a surprising manner.

"Cut away the bower anchors," said the captain.

The stoppers were cut, and the anchors dropped; the brig immediately
recovered herself from her oppression, as it were, and resumed her
former velocity; but the enemy had by this time made fearful approaches.
The only hope of the captain and his crew was in the darkness; and as
this darkness came on, my spirits decreased, for I greatly feared that
we should have escaped.  The sun had sunk some time below the horizon:
the cloud of sail coming up astern of us began to be indistinct, and at
last disappeared altogether in a black squall: we saw no more of her for
nearly two hours.

I walked the deck with Green and the captain.  The latter seemed in
great perturbation: he had hoped to make his fortune,--and retire from
the toils and cares of a sea-life in some snug corner of the Western
settlements, where he might cultivate a little farm, and lead the life
of an honest man; "for _this_ life," said he, "I am free to confess, is,
after all, little better than highway robbery."

Whether the moral essay of the captain was the effect of his present
danger, I will not pretend to say.  I only know, that if the reader will
turn back to some parts of my history, he will find me very often in a
similar mood on similar occasions.

The two captains and the chief mate now retired, after leaving me
meditating by myself over the larboard gunwale, just before the main
rigging.  The consultation seemed to be of great moment; and, as I
afterwards learned, was to decide what course they should steer, seeing
that they evidently lost sight of their pursuer.  I felt all my hopes of
release vanish as I looked at them, and had made up my mind to go to New
York.

At this moment, a man came behind me, as if to get a pull at the
top-gallant sheets; and while he hung down upon it with a kind of
"yeo-ho," he whispered in my ear--"You may have the command of the brig
if you like.  We are fifty Englishmen--we will heave her to and hoist a
light, if you will only say the word, and promise us our free pardon."

I pretended at first not to hear, but, turning round, I saw Mr Twist.

"Hold, villain!" said I; "do you think to redeem one act of treachery by
another? and do you dare to insult the honour of a naval officer with a
proposal so infamous?  Go to your station instantly, and think yourself
fortunate that I do not denounce you to the captain, who has a perfect
right to throw you overboard--a fate which your chain of crimes fully
deserves."

The man skulked away, and I went off to the captain, to whom I related
the circumstance, desiring him to be on his guard against treachery.

"Your conduct, sir," said the captain, "is what I should have expected
from a British naval officer; and since you have behaved so honourably,
I will freely tell you that my intention is to shorten sail to the
topsails and foresail, and haul dead on a wind into that dark squall to
the southward."

"As you please," said I; "you cannot expect that I should advise, nor
would you believe me if I said I wished you success; but rely on it I
will resist, by every means in my power, any unfair means to dispossess
you of your command."

"I thank you, sir," said the captain, mournfully; and, without losing
any more time in useless words, "Shorten sail there," continued he, with
a low but firm voice; "take in the lower and topmost studding-sail--
hands aloft--in top-gallant studding-sails, and roll up the top-gallant
sails."

All this appeared to be done with surprising speed, even to me, who had
been accustomed to very well conducted ships of war.  One mistake,
however, was made; the lower studding-sail, instead of being hauled in
on deck, was let to fall overboard, and towed some time under the
larboard bow before it was reported to the officers.

"Haul in the larboard braces--brace sharp up--port the helm and bring
her to the wind, quarter-master."

"Port it is, sir," said the man at the helm, and the vessel was close
hauled upon the starboard tack; but she did not seem to move very fast,
although she had a square mainsail, boom mainsail, and jib.

"I think we have done them at last," said the captain; "what do you
think, leftenant?" giving me a hearty but very friendly slap on the
back.  "Come, what say; shall we take a cool bottle of London particular
after the fatigues of the day?"

"Wait a little," said I, "wait a little."

"What are you looking at there to windward?" said the captain, who
perceived that my eye was fixed on a particular point.

Before I had time to answer, Thompson came up to me and said, "There is
the ship, sir," pointing to the very spot on which I was gazing.  The
captain heard this; and, as fear is ever quicksighted, he instantly
caught the object.

"Running is of no use now," said he; "we have tried her off the wind,
our best going; she beats us at that: and on a wind, I don't think so
much of her; but still, with this smooth water and fine breeze, she
ought to move better.  Solomon, there is something wrong, give a look
all round."

Solomon went forward on the starboard side, but saw nothing.  As he
looked over the gangway and bow, coming round on the lee side of the
forecastle, he saw some canvas hanging on one of the night-heads.  "What
have we here?" said he.  No one answered.  He looked over the
fore-chains, and found the whole lower studding-sail towing in the
water.

"No wonder she don't move," said the mate; "here is enough to stop the
_Constitution_ herself.  Who took in this here lower studding-sail?--
But, never mind, we'll settle that to-morrow.  Come over here, you
forecastle men."

Some of the Americans came over to him, but not with very great
alacrity.  The sail could not be pulled in, as the vessel had too much
way; and while they were ineffectually employed about it, the flash of a
gun was seen to windward; and as the report reached our ears, the shot
whistled over our heads, and, darted like lightning through the boom
mainsail.

"Hurrah for old England!" said Thompson; "the fellow that fired that
shot shall drink my allowance of grog to-morrow."

"Hold your tongue, you damned English rascal," said the second mate, "or
I'll stop your grog for ever."

"I don't think you will," said the North Briton, "and if you take a
friend's advice, you won't try."  Thompson was standing on the little
round-house or poop; the indignant mate jumped up and collared him.
Thompson disengaged him in the twinkling of an eye, and with one blow of
his right hand in the pit of the man's stomach, sent him reeling over to
leeward.  He fell--caught at the boom-sheet--missed it, and tumbled into
the sea, from whence he rose no more.

All was now confusion.  "A man overboard!"--another shot from the
frigate--another and another in quick succession.  The fate of the man
was forgotten in the general panic.  One shot cut the aftermost
main-shroud; another went through the boat on the booms.  The frigate
was evidently very near us.  The men all rushed down to seize their bags
and chests; the captain took me by the hand, and said, "Sir, I surrender
myself to you, and give you leave now to act as you think proper."

"Thompson," said I, "let go the main-sheet and the main-brace."  Running
forward myself, I let go the main-tack, and bowlines; the main yard came
square of itself.  Thompson got a lantern, which he held up on the
starboard quarter.

The frigate passed close under the stern, showing a beautiful pale side,
with a fine tier of guns; and, hailing us, desired to know what vessel
it was.

I replied that it was the _True-blooded Yankee_, of Boston--that she had
hove-to and surrendered.



CHAPTER TWENTY ONE.

  "It is not," says Blake, "the business of a seaman to mind state
  affairs, but to hinder foreigners from fooling us."

  Dr Johnson's "LIFE OF BLAKE."

The frigate came to the wind close under our lee, and a boat from her
was alongside in a very few minutes.  The officer who came to take
possession leaped up the side, and was on the deck in a moment.  I
received him, told him in few words what the vessel was, introducing the
captain and Green, both of whom I recommended to his particular notice
and attention for the kindness they had shown to me.  I then requested
he would walk down into the cabin, leaving a midshipman whom he brought
with him in charge of the deck, and who, in the mean while, he directed
to haul the mainsail up, and make the vessel snug.  The prisoners were
desired to pack up their things, and be ready to quit in one hour.

When lights were brought into the cabin, the lieutenant and myself
instantly recognised each other.

"Bless my soul, Frank," said he, "what brought you here?"

"That," said I, "is rather a longer story than could be conveniently
told before to-morrow; but may I ask what ship has taken the Yankee?  I
conclude it is the _R---_; and what rank does friend Talbot hold in
her?"

"The frigate," said he, "_is_ the _R---_, as you conjectured.  We are on
the Cape station.  I am first of her, and sent out here on promotion for
the affair of Basque roads."

"Hard, indeed," said I, "that you should have waited so long for what
you so nobly earned; but come, we have much to do.  Let us look to the
prisoners, and if you will return on board, taking with you the captain,
mate, and few of the hands, whom I will select as the most troublesome
and the most careless, I will do all I can to have the prize, ready for
making sail by daylight, when, if Captain T--- will give me leave, I
will wait on him."

This was agreed to.  The people whom I pointed out were put into the
boat, four of whose crew came aboard the brig to assist me.  We soon
arranged everything, so as to be ready for whatever might be required.
A boat returned with a fresh supply of hands, taking back about twenty
more prisoners; and the midshipman who brought them delivered also a
civil message from the captain, to say he was glad to have the prize in
such good hands, and would expect me to breakfast with him at eight
o'clock; in the mean time, he desired that as soon as I was ready to
make sail, I should signify the same by showing two lights at the same
height in the main rigging, and that we should then keep on a wind to
the northward under a plain sail.

This was completed by four a.m., when we made the signal, and kept on
the weather quarter of the frigate.  I took a couple of hours' sleep,
was called at six, dressed myself, and prepared to go on board at
half-past seven.  I heard her drum and fife beat to quarters, the
sweetest music, next to the heavenly voice of Emily, I had ever heard.
The tears rolled down my cheeks with gratitude to God, for once more
placing me under the protection of my beloved flag.  The frigate
hove-to; soon after the gig was lowered down and came to fetch me; a
clean white cloak was spread in the stern-sheets; the men were dressed
in white frocks and trousers, as clean as hands could make them, with
neat straw hats and canvas shoes.  I was seated in the boat without
delay, and my heart beat with rapture when the boatswain's mate at the
gangway piped the side for me.

I was received by the captain and officers with all the kindness and
affection which we lavish on each other on such occasions.  The captain
asked me a thousand questions, and the lieutenants and midshipmen all
crowded round me to hear my answers.  The ship's company were also
curious to know our history, and I requested the captain would send the
gig back for Thompson, who would assist me in gratifying the general
curiosity.  This was done, and the brave, honest fellow came on board.
The first question he asked was, "Who fired the first shot at the
prize?"

"It was Mr Spears, the first lieutenant of marines," said one of the
men.

"Then Mr Spears must have my allowance of grog for the day," said
Thompson; "for I said it last night, and I never go from my word."

"That I am ready to swear to," said Captain Peters, of the privateer: "I
have known men of good resolutions, and you are one of them; and I have
known men of bad resolutions, and he was one of them whom you sent last
night to his long account and it was fortunate for you that you did; for
as sure as you now stand here, that moan would have compassed your
death, either by dagger, by water, or by poison.  I never knew or heard
of the man who had struck or injured Peleg Oswald with impunity.  He was
a Kentucky man, of the Ohio, where he had `squatted', as we say; but he
shot two men with his rifle, because they had declined exchanging some
land with him.  He had gouged the eye out of the third, for some
trifling difference of opinion.  These acts obliged him to quit the
country; for not only were the officers of justice in pursuit of him,
but the man who had lost one eye kept a sharp look-out with the other,
and Peleg would certainly have had a rifle-ball in his ear if he had not
fled eastward, and taken again to the sea, to which he was originally
brought up.  I did not know all his history till long after he and I
became shipmates.  He would have been tried for his life; but having
made some prize-money, he contrived to buy off his prosecutors.  I
should have unshipped him next cruise, if it had pleased God I had got
safe back."

Peters was giving this little history of his departed mate, the
captain's breakfast was announced, and the two American captains were
invited to partake of it.  As we went down the ladder under the
half-deck, Peters and Green could not help casting an eye of admiration
at the clean and clear deck, the style of the guns, and perfect union of
the useful and ornamental, so inimitably blended as they are sometimes
found in our ships of war.  There was nothing in the captain's repast
beyond cleanliness, plenty, hearty welcome, and cheerfulness.

The conversation turned on the nature, quality and number of men in the
privateer.  "They are all seamen," said Peters, "except the ten black
fellows."

"Some of them, I suspect, are English," said I.

"It is not for me to peach," said the wary American.  "It is difficult
always to know whether a man who has been much in both countries is a
native of Boston in Lincolnshire, or Boston in Massachusetts; and
perhaps they don't always know themselves.  We never ask questions when
a seaman ships for us."

"You have an abundance of our seamen both in your marine and merchant
service," said our captain.

"Yes," said Green; "and we are never likely to want them, while you
impress for us."

"_We_ impress for you?" said Captain T---; "how do you prove that?"

"Your impressment," said the American, "fills our ships.  Your seamen
will not stand it; and for every two men you take by force, rely on it,
we get one of them as a volunteer."

Peters dissented violently from this proposition, and appeared angry
with Green for making the assertion.

"I see no reason to doubt it," said Green; "I know how our fighting
ships, as well as our traders, are manned.  I will take my oath that
more than two-thirds have run from the British navy, because they were
impressed.  You yourself have said so in my hearing, Peters--look at
your crew."

Peters could stand conviction no longer; he burst into the most violent
rage with Green; said that what ought never to have been owned to a
British officer, he had let out; that it was true that America looked
upon our system of impressment as the sheet-anchor of her navy; but he
was sorry the important secret should ever have escaped from an
American.

"For my part," resumed Green, "I feel so deeply indebted to this gallant
young Englishman for his kindness to me, that I am for ever the friend
of himself and his country, and have sworn never to carry arms against
Great Britain, unless to repel an invasion of my own country."

Breakfast ended, we all went on deck; the ship and her prize were lying
to; the hands were turned up; all the boats hoisted out, the prisoners
and their luggage taken out of the prize, and, as the crew of the
privateer came on board, they were all drawn up on the quarter-deck, and
many of them known and proved to be Englishmen.  When taxed and
reproached for their infamous conduct, they said it was owing to them
that the privateer had been taken, for that they had left the lower
studding-sail purposely hanging over the night-head, and towing in the
water, by which the way of the vessel had been impeded.

Captain Peters, who heard this confession, was astonished; and the
captain of the frigate observed to him, that such conduct was exactly
that which might be expected from any traitor to his country.  Then,
turning to the prisoners, he said, "The infamy of your first crime could
scarcely have been increased; but your treachery to the new government,
under which you had placed yourselves, renders you unworthy of the name
of men; nor have you even the miserable merit you claim of having
contributed to the capture, since we never lost sight of the chase from
the first moment we saw her, and from the instant she hauled her wind,
we knew she was ours."

The men hung down their heads, and when dismissed to go below, none of
the crew of the frigate would receive them into their messes; but the
real Americans were kindly treated.

We shaped our course for Simon's Bay, where we arrived in one week after
the capture.

The admiral on the station refused to try the prisoners by a
court-martial; he said it was rather a state question, and should send
them all to England, where the lords of the Admiralty might dispose of
them as they thought proper.

The _True-blooded Yankee_ was libelled in the Vice-Admiralty-Court at
Cape Town, condemned as a lawful prize, and purchased into the service;
and, being a very fine vessel of her class, the admiral was pleased to
say, that as I had been so singularly unfortunate, he would give me the
command of her as a lieutenant, and send me to England with some
despatches, which had been waiting an opportunity.

This was an arrangement far more advantageous to me than I could have
expected; but what rendered it still more agreeable was, that my friend
Talbot, who was the first to shake me by the hand on board the prize,
begged a passage home with me, he having, by the last packet, received
his commander's commission.  The admiral, at my request, also gave
Captains Peters and Green permission to go home with me.  Mungo, the
black man, and Thompson, the quarter-master, with the midshipman who had
been with me in the boat, were also of the party.  My crew was none of
the very best, as might be supposed; but I was not in a state to make
difficulties; and, with half a dozen of the new negroes taken out of the
trader, I made up such a ship's company as I thought would enable me to
run to Spithead.

We laid in a good stock of provisions at the Cape.  The Americans begged
to be allowed to pay their part; but this I positively refused,
declaring myself too happy in having them as my guests.  I purchased all
Captain Peters' wine and stock, giving him the full value for it.  Mungo
was appointed steward, for I had taken a great fancy to him; and my
friend Talbot having brought all his things on board, and the admiral
having given my final orders, I sailed from Simon's Bay to England.

There is usually but little of incident in a run home of this sort.  I
was not directed to stop at St. Helena, and had no inclination to loiter
on my way.  I carried sail night and day to the very utmost.  Talbot and
myself became inseparable friends, and our cabin mess was one of perfect
harmony, avoided all national reflections, and abstained as much as
possible from politics.  I made a confidant of Talbot in my love affair
with Emily.  Of poor Eugenia, I had long before told him a great deal.

One day at dinner we happened to talk of swimming.  "I think," said
Talbot, "that my friend Frank is as good a hand at that as any of us.
Do you remember when you swam away from the frigate at Spithead, to pay
a visit to your friend, Mrs Melpomene, at Point?"

"I do," said I, "and also how generously you showered the musket-balls
about my ears for the same."

"Your escape from either drowning or shooting on that occasion, among
many others," said the commander, "makes me augur something more serious
of your future destiny."

"That may be," said I; "but I dispute the legality of your act, in
trying to kill me before you knew who I was, or what I was about.  I
might have been mad, for what you knew; or I might have belonged to some
other ship; but in any event, had you killed me, and had my body been
found, a coroner's inquest would have gone very hard with you, and a
jury still worse."

"I should have laughed at them," said Talbot.

"You might have found it no laughing matter," said I.

"How!" replied Talbot; "what are sentinels placed for, and loaded with
hall?"

"To defend the ship," said I; "to give warning of approaching danger; to
prevent men going out of the ship without leave; but never to take away
the life of a man, unless in defence of their own, or when the safety of
the king's ship demands it."

"I deny your conclusions," said Talbot; "the articles of war denounce
death to all deserters."

"True," said I, "they do, and also to many other crimes; but those
crimes must first of all be proved before a court-martial.  Now you
cannot prove that I was deserting, and if you could, you had not the
power to inflict death on me unless I was going towards the enemy.  I
own I was disobeying your orders, but even that would not have subjected
me to more than a slight punishment, while your arbitrary act would have
deprived the king, as I flatter myself, of a loyal and not useless
subject; and if my body had not been found, no good could have accrued
to the service from the severity of example.  On the contrary; many
would have supposed I had escaped, and been encouraged to make the same
attempt."

"I am very sorry now," said Talbot, "that I did not lower a boat to send
after you; however, it has been a comfort to me since to reflect that
the marines missed you."

This ended the subject: we walked the deck a little, talked of
sweethearts, shaped the course for the night to make Fayal, which we
were not far from, and then retired to our beds.

Falling into a sound sleep, it was natural that the conversation of the
evening should have dwelt on my mind, and a strange mixture of
disjointed thoughts, a compound of reason, and insanity, haunted me till
the morning.  Trinidad and Emily, the Nine-pin Rock, and the mysterious
Eugenia, with her supposed son, the sinking wreck, and the broken
schooner, all appeared separately or together--

  "When nature rests;
  Oft, in her absence, mimic fancy wakes--"

I thought I saw Emily standing on the pinnacle of the Nine-pin Rock,
just as Lord Nelson is represented on the monument in Dublin, or
Bonaparte in that of the Place Vendome; but with a grace as far superior
to either as the Nine-pin Rock is in majesty and natural grandeur to
those works of human art.

Emily, I thought, was clad in complete mourning, but looking radiant in
health and loveliness, although with a melancholy countenance.  The dear
image of my mistress seemed to say, "I shall never come down from this
pinnacle without your assistance."

"Then," thinks I, "you will never come down at all."

Then I thought Eugenia was queen of Trinidad, and that it was she who
had placed Emily out of my reach on the rock; and I was entreating her
to let Emily come down, when Thompson tapped at my cabin door and told
me that it was daylight, and that they could see the island of Fayal in
the north-east, distant about seven leagues.

I dressed myself and went on deck, saw the land, and a strange sail
steering to the westward.  The confounded dream still running in my
head--like Adam, "I liked it not," and yet I thought myself a fool for
not dismissing such idle stuff; still it would not go away.  The
Americans came on deck soon after; and, seeing the ship steering to the
westward, asked if I meant to speak her.  I replied in the affirmative.
We had then as much sail as we could carry; and, as she had no wish to
avoid us, but kept on her course, we were soon alongside of her.  She
proved to be a cartel bound to New York with American prisoners.

In case of meeting with any vessel bound to the United States, the
admiral had given me permission to send my prisoners home without
carrying them to England.  I had not mentioned this either to Peters or
Green, for fear of producing disappointment; but when I found I could
dispose of them so comfortably, I acquainted them with my intention.
Their joy and gratitude were beyond all description; they thanked me a
thousand times, as they did my friend Talbot, for our kindness to them.

"Lieutenant," said Peters, "I am not much accustomed to the company of
you Englishmen; and if I have always thought you a set of tyrants and
bullies it ain't my fault.  I believed what I was told; but now I have
seen for myself, and I find the devil is never so black as he is
painted."  I bowed to the Yankee compliment.  "Howsoever," he continued,
"I should like to have a sprinkling of shot between us on fair terms.
Do you bring this here brig to our waters; I hope to get another just
like her, and as I know you are a damned good fellow, and would as soon
have a dust as sit down to dinner, I should like to try to get the
command of the _True-blooded Yankee_ again."

"If you man your next brig as you manned the last, with all your best
hands Englishmen," said I, "I fear I should find it no easy matter to
defend myself."

"That's as it may be," said the captain; "no man fights better than he
with a halter round his neck: and remember what neighbour Green has
said--for he has `let the cat out of the bag'--we should have no
Englishmen in our service if they had not been pressed into yours."

I could make no return to this salute, because, like the gunner at
Landguard fort, I had no powder; and, in fact, I felt the rebuke.

Green stood by, but never opened his lips until the captain had
finished; then, holding out his hand to me, with his eyes full of tears,
and his voice almost choked, "Farewell, my excellent friend," said he,
"I shall never forget you; you found me a villain, and by the blessing
of God, you have made me an honest man.  Never, never shall I forget the
day when, at the risk of your own life, you came to save one so unworthy
of your protection; but God bless you! and if ever the fortune of war
would send you a prisoner to my country, here is my address--what is
mine is yours, and so you shall find."

The man who had mutinied in the boat, and afterwards entered on board
the privateer, who was sent home with me to take his trial, held out his
hand to Captain Green as he passed him, to wish him good-bye, but he
turned away, saying, "A traitor to his country is a traitor to his God.
I forgive you for the injury you intended to do me, and the more so as I
feel I brought it on myself; but I cannot degrade myself by offering you
the hand of friendship."

So saying, he followed Captain Peters into the boat.  I accompanied them
to the cartel, where, having satisfied myself that they had every
comfort, I left them.  Green was so overcome that he could not speak,
and poor Mungo could only say, "Good-bye, massa leptenant--me tinkee you
berry good man."

I returned to my own vessel, and made sail for England: once more we
greeted the white cliffs of Albion, so dear to every true English bosom.
No one but he who has been an exile from its beloved shores can
appreciate the thrill of joy on such an occasion.  We ran through the
Needles, and I anchored at Spithead, after an absence of fourteen
months.  I waited on the admiral, showed him my orders, and reported the
prisoners, whom he desired me to discharge into the flag-ship.  "And
now," said he, "after your extraordinary escape, I will give you leave
to run up to town and see your family, to whom you are no doubt an
object of great interest."

Here a short digression is necessary.



CHAPTER TWENTY TWO.

  Such was my brother too,
  So went he suited to his watery tomb:
  If spirits can assume both form and suit
  You come to fright us.
  "TWELFTH NIGHT."

Soon after the frigate which had taken me off from New Providence had
parted company with the American prize that I was sent on board of, the
crew of the former, it appeared had been boasting among the American
prisoners of the prize-money they should receive.

"Not you," said the Yankees; "you will never see your prize any more,
nor any one that went in her."

These words were repeated to the captain of the frigate, when he
questioned the mate and the crew, and the whole nefarious transaction
came out.  They said the ship was sinking when they left her, and that
was the reason they had hurried into the boat.  The mate said it was
impossible to get at the leaks, which were in the fore peak, and under
the cabin deck in the run; that he wondered Captain Green had not made
it known, but he supposed he must have been drunk: "The ship," continued
the mate, "must have gone down in twelve hours after we left her."

This was reported to the Admiralty by my captain, and my poor father was
formally acquainted with the fatal story.  Five months had elapsed since
I was last heard of, and all hopes of my safety had vanished: this was
the reason that when I knocked at the door, I found the servant in
mourning: he was one who had been hired since my departure, and did not
know me.  Of course he expressed no surprise at seeing me.

"Good heavens!" said I, "who is dead?"

"My master's only son, sir," said the man, "Mr Frank --- drowned at
sea."

"Oh! is that all?" said I, "I am glad it's no worse."

The man concluded that I was an unfeeling brute, and stared stupidly at
me as I brushed by him and ran upstairs to the drawing-room.  I ought to
have been more guarded; but, as usual, I followed the impulse of my
feelings.  I opened the door, when I saw my sister sitting at a table in
deep mourning, with another young lady whose back was turned towards me.
My sister screamed as soon as she saw me.  The other lady turned round,
and I beheld my Emily, my dear, dear Emily she too was in deep mourning.
My sister, after screaming, fell on the floor in a swoon.  Emily
instantly followed her example, and there they both lay, like two
petrified queens in Westminster Abbey.  It was a beautiful sight,
"pretty, though a plague."

I was confoundedly frightened myself, and thought I had done a very
foolish thing; but as I had no time to lose, I rang the bell furiously,
and seeing some jars with fresh flowers in them, I caught them up and
poured plentiful libations over the faces and necks of the young ladies;
but Emily came in for much the largest share, which proves that I had
neither lost my presence of mind nor my love for her.

My sister's maid, Higgins, was the first to answer the drawing-room
bell, which, from its violent ringing, announced some serious event.
She came bouncing into the room like a ricochet shot.  She was an old
acquaintance of mine; I had often kissed her when a boy, and she had
just as often boxed my ears.  I used to give her a ribbon to tie up her
jaw with, telling her at the same time that she had too much of it.
This Abigail, like a true lady's maid, seeing me, whom she thought a
ghost, standing bolt upright, and the two ladies stretched out, as she
supposed, dead, gave a loud and most interesting scream, ran out of the
room for her life, nearly knocking down the footman, whom she met coming
in.

This fellow, who was a country lout, the son of one of my father's
tenants, only popped his head into the door, and saw the ladies lying on
the carpet; he had probably formed no very good opinion of me from the
manner in which I had received the news of my own demise, and seemed
very much inclined to act the part of a mandarin, that is, nod his head,
and stand still.

"Desire some of the women to come here immediately," said I; "some one
that can be of use; tell them to bring salts, eau de cologne--anything.
Fly, blockhead! goose! what do you stand staring at?"

The fellow looked at me, and then at the supposed corpses, which he must
have thought I had murdered; and, either thunderstruck, or doubting
whether he had any right to obey me, kept his head inside the door and
his body outside, as he had been in the pillory.  I saw that he required
some explanation, and cried out, "I am Mr Frank; will you obey me, or
shall I throw this jar at your head?" brandishing one of the china
vases.

Had I been inclined to have thrown it I should have missed him, for the
fellow was off like a wounded porpoise.  Down he ran to my father in the
library: "Oh, sir--good news! bad news--good news!"

"What news fool?" said my father, rising hastily from his chair.

"Oh, sir, I don't know sir; but I believe, sir, Mr Frank is alive
again, and both the ladies _is_ dead."

My poor father, whose health and constitution had not recovered the
shock of my supposed death, tremblingly leaned over his table, on which
he rested his two hands, and desired the man to repeat what he had said.
This the fellow did, half crying, and my father, easily comprehending
the state of things, came upstairs.  I would have flown into his arms,
but mine were occupied in supporting my sweet Emily, while my poor
sister lay senseless on the other side of me; for Clara's lover was not
at hand, and she still lay in abeyance.

By this time "the hands were turned up," everybody was on the alert, and
every living creature in the house, not excepting the dog, had assembled
in the drawing-room.  The maids that had known me cried and sobbed most
piteously, and the newcomer kept them company from sympathy.  The
coachman, and footman, and groom, all blubbered and stared; and one
brought water, and one a basin, and the booby of a footman something
else, which I must not name; but in his hurry he had snatched up the
first utensil that he thought might be of use; I approved of his zeal,
but nodded to him to retire.  Unluckily for him, the housemaid perceived
the mistake which his absence of thought had led him into; and,
snatching the mysterious vessel with her left hand, she hid it under her
apron, while with her right hand, she gave the poor fellow such a slap
on the cheek as to bring to my mind the tail of the whale descending on
the boat at Bermuda.

"You great fool!" said she, "nobody wants that."

"There is matrimony in that slap!" said I and the event proved I was
right--they were _asked_ in church the Sunday following.

The industrious application of salts, cold water, and burnt rags,
together with chafing of temples, opening of collars, and loosening the
stay-laces of the young ladies, produced the happiest effects.  Every
hand, and every tongue, was in motion; and with all these remedies the
eyes of the enchanting Emily opened, and beamed upon me, spreading joy
and gladness over the face of creation, like the sun rising out of the
bosom of the Atlantic, to cheer the inhabitants of the Antilles after a
frightful hurricane.  In half an hour, all was right "the guns were
secured--we beat the retreat;" the servants retired.  I became the
centre of the picture.  Emily held my right, my father my left; dear
Clara hung round my neck.  Questions were put and answered as fast as
sobs and tears would permit of their being heard.  The interlude was
filled up with the sweetest kisses from the rosiest of lips and I was in
this half hour rewarded for all I had suffered since I had sailed from
England in that diabolical brig for Barbadoes.

It was, I own, exceedingly wrong to have taken the house, as it were, by
storm, when I knew they were in mourning for me but I forgot that other
people did not require the same stimulus as myself.  I begged pardon;
was kissed again and again, and forgiven.  Oh, it was worth while to
offend to be forgiven by such lips, and eyes, and dimples.  But I am
afraid this thought is borrowed from some prose or poetry; if so, the
reader must forgive me, and so must the author, who may have it again
now I have done with it, for I shall never use it any more.

My narrative was given with as much modesty and brevity as time and
circumstances would admit.  The coachman was despatched on one of the
best carriage-horses express to Mr Somerville, and the mail-coach was
loaded with letters to all the friends and connexions of the family.

This ended, each retired to dress for dinner.  What a change had one
hour wrought in this house of mourning, now suddenly turned into a house
of joy!  Alas, how often is the picture reversed in human life!  The
ladies soon reappeared in spotless white, emblems of their pure minds.
My father had put off his sables, and the servants came in their usual
liveries, which were very splendid.

Dinner being announced, my father handed off Emily; I followed with my
sister.  Emily, looking over her shoulder, said, "Don't be jealous,
Frank."

My father laughed, and I vowed revenge for this little satirical hit.

"You know the forfeit," said I, "and you shall pay it."

"I am happy to say that I am both able and willing," said she, and we
sat down to dinner, but not before my father had given thanks in a
manner more than usually solemn and emphatic.  This essential act of
devotion, so often neglected, brought tears into the eyes of all.  Emily
sank into her chair, covered her face with her pocket handkerchief, and
relieved herself with tears.  Clara did the same.  My father shook me by
the hand, and said, "Frank, this is a very different kind of repast to
what we had yesterday.  How little did we know of the happiness that was
in store for us!"

The young ladies dried their eyes, but had lost their appetites: in vain
did Emily endeavour to manage the tail of a small smelt.  I filled a
glass of wine to each.  "Come," said I, "in sea phrase, spirits are
always more easily stowed away than dry provisions; let us drink each
other's health, and then we shall get on better."

They took my advice, and it answered the purpose.  Our repast was
cheerful, but tempered and corrected by a feeling of past sorrow, and a
deep sense of great mercies from Heaven.

  "If Heaven were every day like this,
  Then 'twere indeed a Heaven of bliss."

Reader, I know you have long thought me a vain man--a profligate,
unprincipled Don Juan, ready to pray when in danger, and to sin when out
of it; but as I have always told you the truth, even when my honour and
character were at stake, I expect you will believe me now, when I say a
word in my own favour.  That I felt gratitude to God for my deliverance
and safe return, I do most solemnly aver; my heart was ready to burst
with the escape of this feeling, which I suppressed from a false sense
of shame, though I never was given much to the melting mood; moreover, I
was too proud to show what I thought a weakness, before the great
he-fellows of footmen.  Had we been in private, I could have fallen down
on my knees before that God whom I had so often offended; who had
rescued me twice from the jaws of the shark; who had lifted me from the
depth of the sea when darkness covered me; who had saved me from the
poison and the wreck, and guided me clear of the rock at Trinidad; and
who had sent the dog to save me from a horrible death.

These were only a small part of the mercies I had received; but they
were the most recent, and consequently had left the deepest impression
on my memory.  I would have given one of Emily's approving smiles, much
as I valued them, to have been relieved from my oppressed feelings by a
hearty flood of tears, and by a solemn act of devotion and thanksgiving;
but I felt all this, and that feeling, I hope, was accounted to me for
righteousness.  For the first time in my life, the love of God was mixed
up with a pure and earthly love for Emily, and affection for my family.

The ladies sat with us some time after the cloth was removed, unable to
drag themselves away while I related my "hair-breadth escapes."  When I
spoke of the incident of trying to save the poor man who fell overboard
from the brig--of my holding him by the collar, and being dragged down
with him until the sea became dark over my head, Emily could bear it no
longer; she jumped up, and falling on her knees, hid her lovely face in
my sister's lap, passionately exclaiming, "Oh, do not, do not, my dear
Frank, tell me any more--I cannot bear it--indeed, I cannot bear it."

We all gathered round her, and supported her to the drawing-room, where
we diverted ourselves with lighter and gayer anecdotes.  Emily tried a
tune on the pianoforte, and attempted a song; but it would not do: she
could not sing a gay one, and a melancholy one overpowered her.  At
twelve o'clock we all retired to our apartments, and before I slept I
spent some minutes in devotion, with vows of amendment which I fully
intended to keep.

The next morning Mr Somerville joined us at breakfast.  This was
another trial of feeling for poor Emily, who threw herself into her
father's arms, and sobbed aloud.  Mr Somerville shook me most cordially
by the hand with both of his, and eagerly demanded the history of my
extraordinary adventures, of which I gave him a small abridgment.  I had
taken the opportunity of an hour's _tete-a-tete_ with Emily, which Clara
had considerately given us before breakfast, to speak of our anticipated
union and finding there were no other obstacles than those which are
usually raised by "maiden pride and bashful coyness," so natural, so
becoming, and so lovely in the sex, I determined to speak to the
greybeards on the subject.

To this Emily at last consented, on my reminding her of my late narrow
escapes.  As soon, therefore, as the ladies had retired from the
dinner-table, I asked my father to fill a bumper to their health; and,
having swallowed mine in all the fervency of the most unbounded love, I
popped the question to them both.  Mr Somerville and my father looked
at each other, when the former said,--"You seem to be in a great hurry,
Frank."

"Not greater, sir," said I, "than the object deserves."  He bowed and my
father began--

"I cannot say," observed the good old gentleman, "that I much approve of
matrimony before you are a commander.  At least, till then, you are not
your own master."

"Oh, if I am to wait for that, sir," said I, "I may wait long enough; no
man is ever his own master in our service, or in England.  The captain
is commanded by the admiral, the admiral by the Admiralty, the Admiralty
by the Privy Council, the Privy Council by the Parliament, the
Parliament by the people, and the people by printers and their devils."

"I admire your logical chain of causes and effects," said my father;
"but we must, after all, go to the _lace manufactory_ at Charing-cross,
to see if we cannot have your shoulders fitted with a pair of
epaulettes.  When we can see you command your own sloop of war, I shall
be most happy, as I am sure my good friend Somerville will be also, to
see you command his daughter, the finest and the best girl in the county
of ---."

No arguments could induce the two old gentlemen to bate one inch from
this _sine qua non_.  It was agreed that application should be made to
the Admiralty forthwith for my promotion; and when that desirable step
was obtained, that then Emily should have the disposal of me for the
honeymoon.

All this was a very pretty story for them on the score of prudence, but
it did not suit the views of an ardent lover of one-and-twenty; for
though I knew my father's influence was very great at the Admiralty, I
also knew that an excellent regulation had recently been promulgated,
which prevented any lieutenant being promoted to the rank of commander,
until he had served two years at sea from the date of his first
commission; nor could any commander, in like manner, be promoted before
he had served one year in that capacity.  All this was no doubt very
good for the service, but I had not yet attained sufficient _amor
patriae_ to prefer the public to myself: and I fairly wished the
regulation and the makers of it in the cavern at New Providence just
about the time of high-water.

I put it to the ladies whether this was not a case of real distress,
after all my hardships and my constancy, to be put off with such an
excuse?  The answer from the Admiralty was so far favourable, that I was
assured I should be promoted as soon as my time was served, of which I
then wanted two months.  I was appointed to a ship fitting at Woolwich,
and before she could be ready for sea my time would be completed, and I
was to have my commission as a commander.  This was not the way to
ensure her speedy equipment, as far as I was concerned; but there was no
help for it; and as the ship was at Woolwich, and the residence of my
fair one at no great distance, I endeavoured to pass my time, during the
interval, between the duties of love and war; between obedience to my
captain, and obedience to my mistress; and by great good fortune I
contrived to please both, for my captain gave himself no trouble about
the ship or her equipment.

Before I proceeded to join, I made one more effort to break through the
inflexibility of my father.  I said I had undergone the labours of
Hercules; and that if I went again on foreign service, I might meet with
some young lady who would send me out of the world with a cup of poison,
or by some fatal spell break the magical chain which now bound me to
Emily.  This poetical imagery had no more effect on him than my prose
composition.  I then appealed to Emily herself.  "Surely," said I, "your
heart is not as hard as those of our inflexible parents: surely you will
be my advocate on this occasion.  Bend but one look of disapprobation on
my father with those heavenly blue eyes of yours, and, on my life, he
will strike his flag."

But the gipsy replied, with a smile (instigated, no doubt, from
head-quarters), that she did not like the idea of her name appearing in
the _Morning Post_ as the bride of a lieutenant.  "What's a lieutenant
nowadays?" said she--"nobody.  I remember when I was on a visit at
Fareham, I used to go to Portsmouth to see the dockyard and the ships,
and there was your great friend the tall admiral, Sir Hurricane Humbug,
I think you call him, driving the poor lieutenants about like so many
sheep before a dog; there was always one at his heels, like a running
footman; and there was another that appeared to me to be chained, like a
mastiff, to the door of the admiral's office, except when the admiral
and family walked out, and then he brought up the rear with the
governess.  No, Frank, I shall not surrender at discretion, with all my
charms, to anything less than a captain, with a pair of gold
epaulettes."

"Very well," replied I, looking into the pier-glass, with tolerable
self-complacency; "if you choose to pin your happiness on the promises
of a first lord of the Admiralty and a pair of epaulettes, I can say no
more.  There is no accounting for female taste; some ladies prefer gold
lace and wrinkles, to youth and beauty--I am sorry for them all, that's
all."

"Frank," said Emily, "you must acknowledge that you are vain enough to
be an admiral at least."

"The admirals are much obliged to you for the compliment," said I.  "I
trust I should not disgrace the flag, come when it will; but to tell you
the truth, my dear Emily, I cannot say I look forward to that elevation
with any degree of satisfaction.  Three stars on each shoulder, and
three rows of gold lace round the cuff, are no compensation, in my eyes,
for grey hairs, thin legs, a broken back, a church-yard cough, and to be
laughed at or pitied by all the pretty girls in the country into the
bargain."

"I am sorry for you, my hero," said the young lady: "but you must
submit."

"Well, then, if I must, I must," said I; "but give me a kiss in the
meantime."

I asked for one, and took a hundred, and should have taken a hundred
more, but the confounded butler came in, and brought me a letter on
service, which was neither more nor less than an order to join my ship
forthwith: _sic transit_, etcetera.

Pocketing my disappointment with as much _sang froid_ as I could muster,
I continued to beguile the time and to solace myself for my past
sufferings, by as much enjoyment as could be compressed into the small
space of leisure time allotted to me.  Fortunately, the first lieutenant
of the frigate was what we used to call a "hard officer:" he never went
on shore, because he had few friends and less money.  He drew for his
pay on the day it became due, and it lasted till the next day of
payment; and as I found he doated on a Spanish cigar, and a _correct_
glass of cognac grog--for he never drank to excess--I presented him with
a box of the former, and a dozen of the latter, to enable him to bear my
nightly absence with Christian composure.

As soon as the day's work was ended, the good-natured lieutenant used to
say, "Come, Mr Mildmay, I know what it is to be in love; I was once in
love myself, though it is a good many years ago, and I am sure I shall
get into the good graces of your Polly (for so he called Emily), if I
send you to her arms.  There is the jolly for you: send the boat off as
soon as you have landed, and be with us at nine to-morrow morning, to
meet the midshipman and the working party in the dockyard."

All this was perfectly agreeable to me.  I generally got to Mr
Somerville's temporary residence on Blackheath by the time the
dressing-bell rang, and never failed to meet a pleasant party at dinner.
My father and dear Clara were guests in the house as well as myself.
By Mr Somerville's kind permission, I introduced Talbot, who, being a
perfect gentleman in his manners, a man of sound sense, good education,
and high aristocratic connections, I was proud to call my friend.  I
presented him particularly to my sister, and took an opportunity of
whispering in Emily's ear, where I knew it would not long remain, that
he possessed the indispensable qualification of two epaulettes.
"Therefore," said I, "pray do not trust yourself too near him, for fear
you should be taken by surprise, like the _True-blooded Yankee_."

Talbot, knowing that Emily was bespoken, paid her no more than the
common attentions which courtesy demands; but to Clara his demeanour was
very different: and her natural attractions were much enhanced in his
eyes by the friendship which we had entertained for each other ever
since the memorable affair of swimming away from the ship at Spithead;
from that time he used jocularly to call me "Leander."

But before I proceed any further with this part of my history, I must
beg leave to detain the reader one minute only, while I attempt to make
a sketch of my dear little sister Clara.  She was rather fair, with a
fine, small, oval, face, sparkling black and speaking eyes, good teeth,
pretty red lips, very dark hair, and plenty of it, hanging over her face
and neck in curls of every size; her arms and bust were such as Phidias
and Praxiteles might have copied; her waist was slender; her hands and
feet small and beautiful.  I used often to think it was a great pity
that such a love as she was should not be matched with some equally good
specimen of our sex; and I had long fixed on my friend Talbot as the
person best adapted to command this pretty little tight fast-sailing
well-rigged smack.

Unluckily Clara, with all her charms, had one fault, and that in my eyes
was a very serious one.  Clara did not love a sailor.  The soldiers she
doated on.  But Clara's predilections were not easily overcome, and that
which had once taken root grew up and flourished.  She fancied sailors
were not well-bred; that they thought too much of themselves or their
ships; and, in short, that they were as rough and unpolished as they
were conceited.

With such obstinate and long-rooted prejudices against all of our
profession it proved no small share of merit in Talbot to overcome them.
But as Clara's love for the army was more general than particular,
Talbot had a vacant theatre to fight in.  He began by handing her to
dinner, and with modest assurance seated himself by her side.  But so
well was he aware of her failing, that he never once alluded to our
unfortunate element; on the contrary, he led her away with every variety
of topic which he found best suited to her taste so that she was at last
compelled to acknowledge that he might be one exception to her rule, and
I took the liberty of hoping that I might be another.

One day at dinner Talbot called me "Leander," which instantly attracted
the notice of the ladies, and an explanation was demanded; but for a
time it was evaded, and the subject changed.  Emily, however, joining
together certain imperfect reports which had reached her ears, through
the kindness of "some friends of the family," began to suspect a rival,
and the next morning examined me so closely on the subject that, fearing
a disclosure from other quarters, I was compelled to make a confession.

I told her the whole history of my acquaintance with Eugenia, of my last
interview, and of her mysterious departure.  I did not even omit the
circumstance of her offering me money; but I concealed the probability
of her being a mother.  I assured her that it was full four years and a
half since we had met; and that, as she knew of my engagement, it was
unlikely we should ever meet again.  "At any rate," I said, "I shall
never seek her; and if accident should throw me in her way, I trust I
shall behave like a man of honour."

I did not think it necessary to inform her of the musket-shots fired at
me by order of Talbot, as that might have injured him in the estimation
of both Emily and Clara.  When I had concluded my narrative, Emily
sighed and looked very grave.  I asked her if she had forgiven me.

"Conditionally," said she, "as you said to the mutineers."



CHAPTER TWENTY THREE.

  In all states of Europe, there are a set of men who assume from their
  infancy a pre-eminence independent of their moral character.  The
  attention paid to them from the moment of their birth, gives them the
  idea that they are formed for command, and they soon learn to consider
  themselves a distinct species and, being secure of a certain rank and
  station, take no pains to make themselves worthy of it.  RAYNAL.

It is now time to make my reader acquainted with my new ship and new
captain.  The first was a frigate of the largest class, built on purpose
to cope with the large double-banked frigates of the Yankees.  She
carried thirty long twenty-four pounders on her main deck, and the same
number of forty-two pound carronades on her quarter gangways and
forecastle.

I had been a week on board, doing duty during the day, and flirting on
shore, at Mr Somerville's at Blackheath, during the evening.  I had
seen no captain yet, and the first lieutenant had gone on shore one
morning to stretch his legs.  I was commanding officer; the people were
all at their dinner; it was a drizzling soft rain, and I was walking the
quarter-deck by myself, when a shore-boat came alongside with a person
in plain-clothes.  I paid him no attention, supposing him to be a
wine-merchant or a slop-seller come to ask permission to serve the ship.
The stranger looked at the dirty man-ropes which the side-boy held off
to him, and inquired if there was not a clean pair?  The lad replied in
the negative; and the stranger, perceiving there was no remedy, took
hold of the dirty ropes and ascended the side.

Reaching the quarter-deck, he came up to me, and showing a pair of
sulphur-coloured gloves bedaubed with tar and dirt, angrily observed,
"By G---, sir, I have spoiled a new pair of gloves."

"I always take my gloves off when I come up the side," said I.

"But I choose to keep mine on," said the stranger.  "And why could not I
have had a pair of clean ropes?"

"Because," said I, "my orders are only to give them when the side is
piped."

"And why was not the side piped for me, sir?"

"Because, sir, we never pipe the side until we know who it is for."

"As sure as I shall sit in the House of Peers, I will report you to your
captain for this," said he.

"We only pipe the side for officers in uniform," said I; "and I am yet
to learn by what right you demand that honour."

"I am, sir," said he, (showing his card), "---, etcetera.  Do you know
me now?"

"Yes, sir," said I, "as a gentleman; but until I see you in a captain's
uniform I cannot give you the honours you demand."  As I said this, I
touched my hat respectfully.

"Then, sir," said he, "as sure as I shall sit in the House of Peers, I
shall let you know more of this;" and having asked whether the captain
was on board, and received an answer in the negative, he turned round,
and went down the side into his boat, without giving me an opportunity
of supplying him with a pair of clean ropes.  He pulled away for the
shore, and I never heard anything more of the dirty ropes and soiled
gloves.

This officer, I afterwards learned, was in the habit of interlarding his
discourse with this darling object of his ambition; but as he is now a
member of the Upper House, it is to be supposed he has exchanged the
affidavit for some other.  While he commanded a ship he used to say, "As
sure as I shall sit in the House of Peers, I will flog you, my man;" and
when this denunciation had passed his lips the punishment was never
remitted.  With us, the reverse of this became our by-word; lieutenants,
midshipmen, sailors, and marines asserted their claim to veracity by
saying, "As sure as I shall _not_ sit in the House of Peers."

This was the noble lord who, when in command of one of His Majesty's
ships in China, employed a native of that country to take his portrait.
The resemblance not having been flattering, the artist was sharply
rebuked by his patron.  The poor man replied, "Oh no, master, how can
handsome face make if handsome face no have got?"  This story has, like
many other good stories, been pirated, and applied to other cases; but I
claim it as the legitimate property of the navy, and can vouch for its
origin as I have related.

My mess-mates dropped in one after another until our number was
completed; and at length a note, in an envelope addressed to the first
lieutenant "on service," and marked on the lower left-hand corner with
the name of the noble writer, announced that our captain would make his
appearance on the following day.  We were of course prepared to receive
him in our full uniforms, with our cocked-hats and swords, with the
marine guard under arms.  He came alongside at half-past twelve o'clock,
when the men were at dinner, an unusual hour to select, as it is not the
custom ever to disturb them at their meals if it can be avoided.  He
appeared in a sort of undress frock-coat, fall-down-collar, anchor
buttons, no epaulettes, and a lancer's cap, with a broad gold band.

This was not correct, but as he was a lord he claimed privilege; and on
this rock of privilege we found afterwards that he always perched
himself on every occasion.  We were all presented to him, and to each he
condescended to give a nod.  His questions were all confined to the
first lieutenant, and all related to his own comforts.  "Where is my
steward to lie--where is my valet to sleep--where is my cow-pen--and
where are my sheep to be?"  We discovered, when he had been one hour in
our company, that his noble self was the god of his idolatry.  As for
the details of the ship and her crew, masts, rigging, stowage,
provisions, the water she would carry, and how much she drew, they were
subjects on which he never fatigued his mind.

One hour having expired since he had come on board, he ordered his boat
and returned to the shore, and we saw no more of him, until we arrived
at Spithead, when his lordship came on board, accompanied by a person
whom we soon discovered was a half-pay purser in the navy--a man who by
dint of the grossest flattery and numerous little attentions had so
completely ingratiated himself with his patron that he had become as
necessary an appendage to the travelling equipage as the portmanteau or
the valet-de-chambre.  This despicable toady was his lordship's double;
he was the living type of Gnatho of Terence; and I never saw him without
remembering the passage that ends "_Si negat, id quoque nego_."  Black
was white, and white was black with toady, if his lordship pleased; he
messed in the cabin, did much mischief in the ship, and only escaped
kicking because he was too contemptible to be kicked.

My fair readers are no doubt anxious to know how I parted with Emily,
and truly I am not unwilling to oblige them, though it is, indeed, a
tender subject.  As soon as we received our orders to proceed to
Spithead, Mr Somerville, who had kept his house at Blackheath while the
ship was fitting, in hopes that my promotion might have taken place
before she was ready, now prepared to quit the place to the renewed
application of my father, the answer was that I must go abroad for my
promotion.  This at once decided him to break up his summer quarters,
very wisely foreseeing that unless he did so my services would be lost
to my ship; and if he and Emily did not leave me behind at Woolwich I
should probably be left behind by my captain: he therefore announced his
intended departure within twenty-four hours.

Emily was very sorry, and so was I.  I kindly reproached her with her
cruelty; but she replied with a degree of firmness and good sense, which
I could not but admire, that she had but one counsellor and that was her
father, and that until she was married she never intended to have any
other; that by his advice she had delayed the union: and as we were
neither of us very old people, "I trust in God," said she, "we may meet
again."  I admired her heroism, gave her one kiss, handed her into her
carriage, and we shook hands.  I need not say I saw a tear or two in her
eyes.  Mr Somerville saw the shower coming on, pulled up the glass,
gave me a friendly nod, and the carriage drove off.  The last I saw of
Emily, at that time, was her right hand, which carried her handkerchief
to her eyes.

After the dear inmates were gone, I turned from the door of the house in
disgust, and ran direct to my boat, like a dog with a tin-kettle.  When
I got on board I hated the sight of everybody and the smell of
everything; pitch, paint, bilge-water, tar, and rum, entering into
horrible combination, had conspired against me, and I was as sick and as
miserable as the most lovesick seaman can conceive.  I have before
observed that we had arrived at Spithead, and as I have nothing new to
say of that place, I shall proceed to sea.

We sailed for the North American station, the pleasantest I could go to
when away from Emily.  Our passage was tedious, and we were put on short
allowance of water.  Those only who have known it will understand it.
All felt it but the captain, who, claiming privilege, took a dozen
gallons every day to bathe his feet in, and that water when done with
was greedily sought for by the men.  There was some murmuring about it
which came to the captain's ears, who only observed with an apathy
peculiar to Almack's--"you know, if a man has no privilege, what's the
use of being a captain?"

"Very true, my lord," said the toad-eater, with a low bow.

I will now give a short description of his lordship.  He was a smart,
dapper, well made man, with a handsome, but not an intellectual
countenance; cleanly and particular in his person; and, assisted by the
puffs of toady, had a very good opinion of himself; proud of his
aristocratic birth, and still more vain of his personal appearance.  His
knowledge on most points was superficial--high life, and anecdotes
connected with it, were the usual topics of his discourse; at his own
table he generally engrossed all the conversation; and while his guests
drank his wine, "they laughed with counterfeited glee," etcetera.  His
reading was comprised in two volumes octavo, being the Memoirs of the
Count de Grammont, which amusing and aristocratical work was never out
of his hand.  He had been many years at sea, but, strange to say, knew
nothing, literally nothing, of his profession.  Seamanship, navigation,
and everything connected with the service, he was perfectly ignorant of.
I had heard him spoken of as a good officer before he joined us; and I
must in justice to him say that he was naturally good-tempered, and I
believe as brave a man as ever drew a sword.

He seldom made any professional remark being aware of his deficiency,
and never ventured beyond his depth intentionally.  When he came on the
quarter-deck, he usually looked to the weather main-brace, and if it was
not as taut as a hat would order it to be made so.  Here he could not
easily commit himself; but it became a by-word with us when we laughed
at him below.  He had a curious way of forgetting, or pretending to
forget, the names of men and things--I presume because they were so much
beneath him; and in their stead substituted the elegant phrases of
"what's-his-name," and "what-do-ye-call-'em," and "thingumbob."

One day he went on deck, and actually gave me the following very
intelligible order: "Mr What's-his-name, have the goodness to--
what-do-ye-call-'em--the--the thingumbob."

"Ay, ay, my lord!" said I.  "Afterguard, haul taut the weather
main-brace!"  This was exactly what he meant.

He was very particular and captious when not properly addressed.  When
an order is given by a commanding officer, it is not unusual to say,
"Very good, sir;" implying that you perfectly understand, and are going
cheerfully to obey it.  I had adopted this answer, and gave it to his
lordship when I received an order from him, saying, "Very good, my
lord."

"Mr Mildmay," said his lordship, "I don't suppose you mean anything
like disrespect, but I will thank you not to make that answer again: it
is for _me_ to say `very good,' and not you.  You seem to approve of my
order, and I don't like it; I beg you will not do it again, you know."

"Very good, my lord," said I, so inveterate is habit.  "I beg your
lordship's pardon, I mean `very well.'"

"I don't much like that young man," said his lordship to his toady, who
followed him up and down the quarter-deck like "the bobtail cur,"
looking his master in the face.  I did not hear the answer, but of
course it was an echo.

The first time we reefed topsails at sea, the captain was on deck: he
said nothing, but merely looked on.  The second time, we found he had
caught all the words of the first lieutenant, and repeated them in a
loud and pompous voice, without knowing whether they were applicable to
the case or not.  The third time he fancied he was able to go alone, and
down he fell--he made a sad mistake indeed.  "Hoist away the
fore-topsail," said the first lieutenant.  "Hoist away the
fore-topsail," said the captain.  The men were stamping aft, and the
topsail-yards travelling up to the mast-head very fast, when they were
stopped by a sudden check with the fore-topsail haulyards.

"What's the matter?" said the first lieutenant, calling to me, who was
at my station on the forecastle.

"Something foul of the topsail-tie," I replied.

"What's the matter forward?" said the captain.

"Topsail-tie is foul, my lord," answered the first lieutenant.

"Damn the topsail-tie!--cut it away.  Out knife there, aloft!  I _will_
have the topsail hoisted; cut away the topsail-tie!"

For the information of my land readers, I should observe that the
topsail-tie was the very rope which was at that moment suspending the
yard aloft.  The cutting it would have disabled the ship until it could
have been repaired; and had the order been obeyed, the topsail-yard
itself would, in all probability, have been sprung, or broken in two on
the cap.

We arrived at Halifax without falling in with an enemy; and as soon as
the ship was secured, I went on shore to visit all my dear Dulcineas,
every one of whom I persuaded that on her account alone I had used my
utmost interest to be sent out on the station.  Fortunately for them and
for me, I was not long permitted to trifle away my time.  We were
ordered to cruise on the coast of North America.  It was winter and very
cold; we encountered many severe gales of wind, during which we suffered
much from the frequent and sudden snow-storms, north-east gales, and
sharp frosts, which rendered our running-rigging almost unmanageable,
and obliged us to pour boiling water into the sheaves of the blocks to
thaw them, and allow the ropes to traverse; nor did the cold permit the
captain to honour us with his presence on deck more than once in the
twenty-four hours.

We anchored off a part of the coast which was not in a state of defence,
and the people, being unprotected by their own government, considered
themselves as neutrals, and supplied us with as much fish, poultry, and
vegetables as we required.  While we lay here, the captain and officers
frequently went on shore for a short time without molestation.  One
night, after the captain had returned, a snow-storm and a gale of wind
came on.  The captain's gig, which ought to have been hoisted up, was
not; she broke her painter and went adrift, and had been gone some time
before she was missed.  The next morning, on making inquiry, it was
found that the boat had drifted on shore a few miles from where we lay;
and that having been taken possession of by the Americans, they had
removed her to a hostile part of the coast, twenty-two miles off.  The
captain was very much annoyed at the loss of his boat, which he
considered as his own private property, although built on board by the
king's men, and with the king's plank and nails.

"As my private property," said his lordship, "it ought to be given up,
you know."

I did not tell him that I had seen the sawyers cutting an anchor-stock
into the plank of which it was built, and that the said plank had been
put down to other services in the expense-book.  This, however, was no
business of mine; nor had I any idea that the loss of this little boat
would so nearly produce my final catastrophe; so it was, however, and
very serious results took place in consequence of this accident.

"They _must_ respect private property, you know," said the captain to
the first lieutenant.

"Yes," answered the lieutenant; "but they do not know that it is private
property."

"Very true: then I will send and tell them so;" and down he went to his
dinner.

The yawl was ordered to be got ready, and hoisted out at daylight, and I
had notice given me that I was to go away in her.  About nine o'clock
the next morning, I was sent for into the cabin; his lordship was still
in bed, and the green silk curtains were drawn close round his cot.

"Mr Thingamy," said his lordship, "you will take the what's-his-name,
you know."

"Yes, my lord," said I.

"And you will go to that town, and ask for my thingumbob."

"For your gig, my lord?" said I.

"Yes--that's all."

"But, my lord, suppose they won't give it to me?"

"Then take it."

"Suppose the gig is not there, my lord; and if there, suppose they
refuse to give it up?"

"Then take every vessel out of the harbour."

"Very well, my lord.--Am I to put the gun in the boat--or to take
muskets only?"

"Oh, no--no arms--take a flag of truce--Number 8 (white flag) will do."

"Suppose they will not accept the flag of truce, my lord?"

"Oh, but they will: they always respect a flag of truce, you know."

"I beg your lordship's pardon, but I think a few muskets in the boat
would be of service."

"No, no, no--no arms!  You will be fighting about nothing.  You have
your orders, sir."

"Yes," thinks I, "I have.  If I succeed, I am a robber; if I fail, I am
liable to be hanged on the first tree."

I left the cabin, and went to the first lieutenant.  I told him what my
orders were.  This officer was, as I before observed, a man who had no
friends, and was therefore entirely dependent on the captain for his
promotion, and was afraid to act contrary to his lordship's orders,
however absurd.  I told him that, whatever might be the captain's
orders, I would not go without arms.

"The orders of his lordship must be obeyed," said the lieutenant.

"Why," said I, irritated at this folly, "you are as clever a fellow as
the skipper."

This he considered so great an affront, that he ran down to his cabin,
saying, "You shall hear from me again for this, sir."

I concluded that he meant to try me by a court-martial, to which I had
certainly laid myself open by this unguarded expression; but I went on
the quarter-deck, and, during his absence, got as many muskets into the
boat as I wanted, with a proper proportion of ammunition.  This was
hardly completed, before the lieutenant came up again, and put a letter
into my hands; which was no more than the very comfortable intelligence,
that, on my return from the expedition on which I was then going, he
should expect satisfaction for the affront I had offered him.  I was
glad, however, to find it was no worse.  I laughed at his threat; and,
as the very head and front of my offending was only having compared him
to the captain, he could not show any resentment openly, for fear of
displeasing his patron.  In short, to be offended at it, was to offer
the greatest possible affront to the man he looked up to for promotion,
and thus destroy all his golden prospects.

As I put this well-timed challenge into my pocket, I walked down the
side, got into my boat, and put off.  It wanted but one hour of sunset
when I reached the part where this infernal gig was supposed to be, and
the sky gave strong indications of an approaching gale.  Indeed, I do
not believe another captain in the navy could have been found who, at
such a season of the year, would have risked a boat so far from the
ship, on an enemy's coast and a lee-shore, for such a worthless object.

My crew consisted of twenty men and a midshipman.  When we arrived off
the mouth of the harbour, we perceived four vessels lying at anchor, and
pulled directly in.  We had, however, no opportunity of trying our flag
of truce, for as soon as we came within range of musket-shot a volley
from two hundred concealed militiamen struck down four of my men.  There
was then nothing left for it but to board, and bring out the vessels.
Two of them were aground, and we set them on fire, it being dead low
water (thanks to the delay in the morning): in doing this, we had more
men wounded.  I then took possession of the other two vessels, and
giving one of them in charge of the midshipman, who was quite a lad, I
desired him to weigh his anchor.  I gave him the boat with all the men
except four whom I kept with me.  The poor fellow probably lost more
men, for he cut his cable, and got out before me.  I weighed my anchor,
but had one of my men killed by a musket-ball in doing it.  I stood out
after the midshipman.  We had gained an offing of four miles, when a
violent gale and snow-storm came on.  The sails belonging to the vessel
all blew to rags immediately, being very old.  I had no resource except
to anchor, which I did on a bank, in five fathom water.  The other
vessel lost all her sails, and, having no anchor, as I then conjectured
and afterwards learned, drifted on shore and was dashed to pieces, the
people being either frozen to death, wounded, or taken prisoners.

The next morning I could see the vessel lying on shore a wreck, covered
with ice.  A dismal prospect to me, as at that time I knew not what had
become of the men.  My own situation was even less enviable; the vessel
was frail, and deeply laden with salt: a cargo, which, if it by any
means gets wet, is worse than water, since it cannot be pumped out, and
becomes as heavy as lead; nothing could, in that event, have kept the
vessel afloat, and we had no boat in case of such an accident.  I had
three men with me, besides the dead body in the cabin, and a pantry as
clear as an empty house--not an article of any description to eat.  I
was four miles from the shore in a heavy gale of wind, the pleasure of
which was enhanced by snow and the bitterest cold I ever experienced.
We proceeded to examine the vessel, and found that there was on board a
quantity of sails and canvas that did not fit, but had been bought with
an intention of making up for this vessel, and not before she wanted
them; there was also an abundance of palms, needles, and twine: but to
eat there was nothing except salt, and to drink nothing but one cask of
fresh water.  We kindled a fire in the cabin, and made ourselves as warm
as we could, taking a view on deck now and then to see if she drove or
if the gale abated.  She pitched heavily, taking in whole seas over the
forecastle, and the water froze on the deck.  The next morning we found
we had drifted a mile nearer to the shore, and the gale continued with
unabated violence.  The other vessel lay a wreck, with her masts gone,
and as it were _in terrorem_, staring us in the face.

We felt the most pinching hunger; we had no fuel after the second day,
except what we pulled down from the bulkheads of the cabin.  We amused
ourselves below, making a suit of sails for the vessel, and drinking hot
water to repel the cold.  But this work could not have lasted long; the
weather became more intensely cold, and twice did we set the prize on
fire in our liberality with the stove to keep ourselves warm.  The ice
formed on the surface of the water in our kettle, till it was dissolved
by the heat from the bottom.  The second night passed like the first;
and we found, in the morning, that we had drifted within two miles of
the shore.  We completed our little sails this day, and with great
difficulty contrived to bend them.

The men were now exhausted with cold and hunger, and proposed that we
should cut our cable and run on shore; but I begged them to wait till
the next morning, as these gales seldom lasted long.  This they agreed
to: and we again huddled together to keep ourselves warm, the outside
man pulling the dead man close to him by way of a blanket.  The gale
this night moderated, and towards the morning the weather was fine,
although the wind was against us, and to beat her up to the ship was
impossible.  From the continued freezing of the water the bobstays and
the rigging were coated with ice five or six inches thick, and the
forecastle was covered with two feet of clear ice, showing the ropes
coiled underneath it.

There was no more to be done: so, desiring the men to cut the cable, I
made up my mind to run the vessel on shore and give myself up.  We
hoisted the foresail, and I stood in with the intention of surrendering
myself and people at a large town which I knew was situated about twelve
miles farther on the coast.  To have given myself up at the place where
the vessels had been captured I did not think would have been prudent.

When we made sail on the third morning, we had drifted within half a
mile of the shore, and very near the place we had left.  Field-pieces
had been brought down against us.  They had the range but they could not
reach us.  I continued to make more sail, and to creep along shore,
until I came within a few cables length of the pier, where men, women,
and children were assembled to see us land; when suddenly a snow-storm
came on; the wind shifted, and blew with such violence that I could
neither see the port, nor turn the vessel to windward into it; and as I
knew I could not hold my own, and that the wind was fair for our ship,
then distant about forty miles, we agreed to up helm and scud for her.

This was well executed.  About eleven at night we hailed her, and asked
for a boat.  They had seen us approaching, and a boat instantly came,
taking us all on board the frigate, and leaving some fresh hands in
charge of the prize.

I was mad with hunger and cold, and with difficulty did we get up the
side, so exhausted and feeble were the whole of us.  I was ordered down
into the cabin, for it was too cold for the captain to show his face on
deck.  I found his lordship sitting before a good fire, with his toes in
the grate; a decanter of Madeira stood on the table, with a wine-glass,
and most fortunately, though not intended for my use, a large rummer.
This I seized with one hand and the decanter with the other; and,
filling a bumper, swallowed it in a moment, without even drinking his
lordship's good health.  He stared, and I believe thought me mad.  I
certainly do own that my dress and appearance perfectly corresponded
with my actions.  I had not been washed, shaved, or "cleaned," I since
had left the ship, three days before.  My beard was grown, my cheeks
hollow, my eyes sunk, and for my stomach, I leave that to those
fortunate Frenchmen who escaped from the Russian campaign, who only can
appreciate my sufferings.  My whole haggard frame was enveloped in a
huge blue flushing coat frosted like a plum-cake with ice and snow.

As soon as I could speak, I said, "I beg pardon, my lord, but I have had
nothing to eat or drink since I left the ship."

"Oh, _then_ you are very welcome," said his lordship; "I never expected
to see you again."

"Then why the devil did you send me?" thought I to myself.

During this short dialogue, I had neither been offered a chair or any
refreshment, of which I stood so much in need; and if I had been able,
should have been kept standing while I related my adventures.  I was
about to commence, when the wine got into my head; and to support
myself, I leaned, or rather staggered, on the back of a chair.

"Never mind now," said the captain, apparently moved from his listless
apathy by my situation; "go and make yourself comfortable, and I will
hear it all to-morrow."

This was the only kind thing he had ever done for me; and it came so _a
propos_ that I felt grateful to him for it, thanked him, and went below
to the gun-room, where, notwithstanding all I had heard and read of the
dangers of repletion after long abstinence, I ate voraciously and drank
proportionately, ever and anon telling my astonished mess-mates, who
were looking on, what a narrow escape the dead body had of being
dissected and broiled.  This, from the specimen of my performance, they
had no difficulty in believing.  I recommended the three men who had
been with me to the care of the surgeon; and, with his permission,
presented each of them with a pint of hot brandy and water well
sweetened, by way of a night-cap.  Having taken these precautions, and
satisfied the cravings of nature on my own part, as well as the cravings
of curiosity on that of my mess-mates, I went to bed and slept soundly
till the next day at noon.

Thus ended this anomalous and fatal expedition: an ambassador sent with
the sacred emblem of peace, to commit an act of hostility under its
protection.  To have been taken under such circumstances, would have
subjected us to be hanged like dogs on the first tree; to have gone
unarmed would have been an act of insanity, and I therefore took upon me
to disobey an unjust and absurd order.  This, however, must not be
pleaded as an example to juniors, but a warning to seniors how they give
orders without duly weighing the consequences:

The safest plan is always to obey.  Thus did his Majesty's service lose
eighteen fine fellows, under much severe suffering, for a boat, "the
_private_ property" of the captain, not worth twenty pounds.

The next day, as soon as I was dressed, the first lieutenant sent to
speak to me.  I then recollected the little affair of the challenge.  "A
delightful after-piece," thought I, "to the tragedy, to be shot by the
first lieutenant only for calling him as clever a fellow as the
captain."  The lieutenant, however, had no such barbarous intentions; he
had seen and acknowledged the truth of my observation, and, being a
well-meaning north-countryman, he offered me his hand, which I took with
pleasure, having had quite enough of stimulus for that time.



CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR.

  BELL.  You have an opportunity, now, madam, to revenge yourself upon
  him for affronting your squirrel.

  BELIN.  O, the filthy, rude beast.

  ARAM.  'Tis a lasting quarrel.

  CONGREVE.

We sailed the next day, and, after one month more of unsuccessful
cruising, arrived safe at Halifax, where I was informed that an old
friend of my father's, Sir Hurricane Humbug, of whom some mention has
already been made in this work, had just arrived.  He was not in an
official character, but had come out to look after his own property.  It
is absolutely necessary that I should here, with more than usual
formality, introduce the reader to an intimate acquaintance with the
character of Sir Hurricane.

Sir Hurricane had risen in life by his own ingenuity, and the patronage
of a rich man in the south of England: he was of an ardent disposition,
and was an admirable justice of peace, when the _argumentum baculinum_
was required, for which reason he had been sent to reduce two or three
refractory establishments to order and obedience; and, by his firmness
and good humour, succeeded.  His tact was a little knowledge of
everything, not like Solomon's from the hyssop to the cedar, but from
the boiler of a potato to the boiler of a steamboat, and from catching a
sprat to catching a whale; he could fatten pigs and poultry, and had a
peculiar way of improving the size, though not the breed of the latter;
in short, he was "jack of all trades and master of none."

I shall not go any farther back with his memoirs than the day he chose
to teach an old woman how to make mutton broth.  He had in the course of
an honest discharge of his duty at a certain very dirty sea-port town,
incurred the displeasure of the lower orders generally: he nevertheless
would omit no opportunity of doing good, and giving advice to the poor
gratis.  One day he saw a woman emptying the contents of a boiling
kettle out of her door into the street.  He approached, and saw a leg of
mutton at the bottom, and the unthrifty housewife throwing away the
liquor in which it had been boiled.

"Good woman!" said the economical baronet, "do you know what you are
doing?  A handful of meat, a couple of carrots, and a couple of turnips,
cut up into dice and thrown into that liquor, with a little parsley,
would make excellent mutton broth for your family."

The old woman looked up, and saw the ogre of the dockyard; and either by
losing her presence of mind or by a most malignant slip of the hand, she
contrived to pour a part of the boiling water into the shoes of Sir
Hurricane.  The baronet jumped, roared, hopped, stamped, kicked off his
shoes, and ran home damning the old woman, and himself too, for having
tried to teach her how to make mutton broth.  As he ran off, the
ungrateful hag screamed after him, "Sarves you right; teach you to mind
your own business."

The next day, in his magisterial capacity, he commanded the attendance
of "the dealer in slops."

"Well, madam, what have you to say for yourself for scalding one of his
Majesty's justices of the peace?  Don't you know that I have the power
to commit you to Maidstone gaol for the assault?"

"I beg your honour's pardon humbly," said the woman; "I did not know it
was your honour, or I am sure I wouldn't a' done it; besides, I own to
your honour I had a drop too much."

The good-natured baronet dismissed her with a little suitable advice,
which no doubt the good woman treated as she did that relative to the
mutton broth.

My acquaintance with Sir Hurricane had commenced at Plymouth, when he
kicked my ship to sea in a gale of wind for fear we should ground on our
beef bones.  I never forgave him for that.  My father had shown him
great civility, and had introduced me to him.  When at Halifax, we
resided in the same house with a mutual friend who had always received
me as his own son.  He had a son of my own age with whom I had long been
on terms of warm friendship, and Ned and I confederated against Sir
Hurricane.  Having paid a few visits _en passant_, as I landed at the
King's Wharf, shook hands with a few pretty girls, and received their
congratulations on my safe return, I went to the house of my friend,
and, without ceremony, walked into the drawing-room.

"Do you know, sir," said the footman, "that Sir Hurricane is in his
room?  But he is very busy," added the man, with a smile.

"Busy or not," said I, "I am sure he will see me"--so in I walked.

Sir Hurricane was employed on something, but I could not distinctly make
out what.  He had a boot between his knees and the calves of his legs,
which he pressed together, and as he turned his head round, I perceived
that he held a knife between his teeth.

"Leave the door open, messmate," said he, without taking the least
notice of me.  Then rising, he drew a large black tom-cat by the tail,
out of the boot, and flinging it away from him to a great distance,
which distance was rapidly increased by the voluntary exertion of the
cat, which ran away as if it had been mad--"There," said he, "and be
damned to you, you have given me more trouble than a whole Kentucky
farm-yard but I shall not lose my sleep any more by your damned
caterwauling."

All this was pronounced as if he had not seen me--in fact, it was a
soliloquy, for the cat did not stay to bear it.  "Ah!" said he, holding
out his hand to me, "how do you do?  I know your face, but damn me if I
have not forgot your name."

"My name, sir," said I, "is Mildmay."

"Ah, Mildmay, my noble, how do you do--how did you leave your father?  I
knew him very well--used to give devilish good feeds--many a plate I've
dirtied at his table--don't care how soon I put my legs under it again;
take care, mind which way you put your helm--you will be aboard of my
chickabiddies--don't run athwart-hawse."

I found, on looking down, that I had a string round my leg, which
fastened a chicken to the table, and saw many more of these little
creatures attached to the chairs in the room; but for what purpose they
were thus domesticated I could not discover.

"Are these pet chickens of yours, Sir Hurricane?" said I.

"No," said the admiral, "but I mean them to be pet capons by and by,
when they come to table.  I have finished a dozen and a half this
morning, besides that damned old tom-cat."

The mystery was now explained, and I afterwards found out (every man
having his hobby) that the idiosyncrasy of this officer's disposition
had led him to the practice of neutralising the males of any species of
bird or beast, in order to render them more palatable at the table.

"Well, sir," he continued, "how do you like your new ship--how do you
like your old captain?--good fellow, isn't he?--damn his eyes--
countryman of mine--I knew him when his father hadn't as much money as
would jingle on a tombstone.  That fellow owes everything to me.  I
introduced him to the Duke of ---, and he got on by that interest.  But
I say, what do you think of the Halifax girls--nice! a'n't they?"

I expressed my admiration of them.

"Ay, ay, they'll do, won't they?--we'll have some fine fun--give the
girls a party at George's Island--hay-making--green gowns--ha, ha, ha!
I say, your captain shall give us a party at Turtle Cove.  We are going
to give the old commissioner a feed at the Rockingham--blow the roof of
his skull off with champagne.  Do you dine at Birch Cove to-day?  No, I
suppose you are engaged to Miss Maria, or Miss Susan, or Miss Isabella--
ha, sad dog, sad dog!--done a great deal of mischief," surveying me from
head to foot.

I took the liberty of returning him the same compliment; he was a tall,
raw-boned man, with strongly marked features, and a smile on his
countenance that no modest woman could endure.  In his person he gave me
the idea of a discharged life-guardsman; but from his face you might
have supposed that he had sat for one of Ruben's satyrs.  He was one of
those people with whom you become immediately acquainted; and before I
had been an hour in his company, I laughed very heartily at his jokes--
not very delicate, I own, and for which he lost a considerable portion
of my respect; but he was a source of constant amusement to me, living
as we did in the same house.

I was just going out of the room when he stopped me--"I say, how should
you like to be introduced to some devilish nice Yankee girls, relations
of mine, from Philadelphia? and I should be obliged to you to show them
attention; very pretty girls, I can tell you, and will have good
fortunes--you may go farther and fare worse.  The old dad is as rich as
a Jew--got the gout in both legs--can't hold out much longer--nice
pickings at his money bags, while the devil is picking his bones."

There was no withstanding such inducements, and I agreed that he should
present me the next day.

Our dialogue was interrupted by the master of the house and his son, who
gave me a hearty welcome; the father had been a widower for some years,
and his only son Ned resided with him, and was intended to succeed to
his business as a merchant.  We adjourned to dress for dinner; our
bedrooms were contiguous and we began to talk of Sir Hurricane.

"He is a strange mixture," said Ned.  "I love him for his good temper;
but I owe him a grudge for making mischief between me and Maria;
besides, he talks balderdash before the ladies and annoys them very
much."

"I owe him a grudge too," said I, "for sending me to sea in a gale of
wind."

"We shall both be quits with him before long," said Ned; "but let us now
go and meet him at dinner.  To-morrow I will set the housekeeper at him
for his cruelty to her cat; and if I am not much mistaken she will pay
him off for it."

Dinner passed off extremely well.  The admiral was in high spirits; and
as it was a bachelor's party, he earned his wine.  The next morning we
met at breakfast.  When that was over, the master of the house retired
to his office, or pretended to do so.  I was going out to walk, but Ned
said I had better stay a few minutes; he had something to say to me; in
fact, he had prepared a treat without my knowing it.

"How did you sleep last night, Sir Hurricane?" said the artful Ned.

"Why, pretty well considering," said the admiral, "I was not tormented
by that old tom-cat.  Damn me, sir, that fellow was like the Grand
Signior, and he kept his seraglio in the garret over my bedroom, instead
of being at his post in the kitchen killing the rats that are running
about like coach-horses."

"Sir Hurricane," said I, "it's always unlucky to sailors if they meddle
with cats.  You will have a gale of wind, in some shape or another
before long."

These words were scarcely uttered, when, as if by preconcerted
arrangement, the door opened, and in sailed Mrs Jellybag, the
housekeeper, an elderly woman somewhere in the latitude of fifty-five or
sixty years.  With a low courtesy and contemptuous toss of her head, she
addressed Sir Hurricane Humbug.

"Pray, Sir Hurricane, what have you been doing to my cat?"

The admiral, who prided himself in putting any one who applied to him on
what he called the wrong scent, endeavoured to play off Mrs Jellybag in
the same manner.

"What have I done to your cat, my dear Mrs Jellybag?  Why, my dear
madam," said he, assuming an air of surprise, "what _should_ I do to
your cat?"

"You _should_ have left him alone, Mr Admiral; that cat was my
property; if my master permits you to ill-treat the poultry, that's his
concern; but that cat was mine, Sir Hurricane--mine, every inch of him.
The animal has been ill-treated, and sits moping in the corner of the
fireplace as if he was dying; he'll never be the cat he was again."

"I don't think he ever will, my dear Mrs Housekeeper," answered the
admiral drily.

The lady's wrath now began to kindle.  The admiral's cool replies were
like water sprinkled upon a strong flame, increasing its force, instead
of checking it.

"Don't dear _me_, Sir Hurricane.  I am not one of _your dears_--your
dears are all in Dutchtown, more shame for you--an old man like you."

"Old man!" cried Sir Hurricane, losing his placidity a little.

"Yes, old man; look at your hair--as grey as a goose's."

"Why, as for my hair, that proves nothing, Mrs Jellybag, for though
there may be snow on the mountains there is still heat in the valleys.
What d'ye think of my metaphor?"

"I am no more a _metafore_ than yourself, Sir Hurricane; but I'll tell
you what, you are a _cock-and-hen_ admiral, a dog-in-the-manger
barrownight, who was jealous of my poor tom-cat, because--I won't say
what.  Yes, Sir Hurricane, all hours of the day you are leering at every
young woman that passes out of our windows--and an old man too--you
ought to be ashamed of yourself; and then you go to church of a Sunday,
and cry, `Good Lord, deliver us.'"

The housekeeper now advanced so close to the admiral that her nose
nearly touched his, her arms akimbo, and every preparation for boarding.
The admiral, fearing she might not confine herself to vocality, but
begin to beat time with her fists, thought it right to take up a
position; he therefore very dexterously took two steps in the rear and
mounted on a sofa; his left was defended by an upright piano, his right
by the breakfast table with all the tea-things on it; his rear was
against the wall, and his front depended on himself in person.  From
this commanding eminence he now looked down on the housekeeper, whose
nose could reach no higher than the seals of her adversary's watch; and
in proportion as the baronet felt his security, so rose his choler.
Having been for many years proctor at the great universities of
Point-street and Blue-town, as well as member of Barbican and North
Corner, he was perfectly qualified, in point of classical dialect, to
maintain the honour of his profession.  Nor was the lady by any means
deficient.  Although she had not taken her degree, her tongue from
constant use had acquired a fluency which nature only concedes to
practice.

It will not be expected, nor would it be proper, that I should repeat
all that passed in this concluding scene, in which the housekeeper gave
us good reason to suppose that she was not quite so ignorant of the
nature of the transaction as she would have had us believe.

The battle having raged for half an hour with great fury, both parties
desisted, for want of breath, and consequently of ammunition.  This
produced a gradual cessation of firing, and by degrees the ships
separated--the admiral, like Lord Howe on the 1st of June, preserving
his position, though very much mauled; and the housekeeper, like the
_Montague, running down_ to join her associates.  A few random shots
were exchanged as they parted, and at every second or third step on the
stairs, Mrs Margaret brought to, and fired, until both were quite out
of range; a distant rumbling noise was heard, and the admiral concluded,
by muttering that she might go --- somewhere, but the word died between
his teeth.

"There, admiral," said I, "did not I tell you that you would have a
squall?"

"Squall! yes--damn my blood," wiping his face; "how the spray flew from
the old beldame!  She's fairly wetted my trousers, by God!  Who'd ever
thought that such a purring old bitch could have shown such a set of
claws!  War to the knife!  By heavens, I'll make her remember this."

Notwithstanding the admiral's threat, hostilities ceased from that day.
The cock-and-hen admiral found it convenient to show a white feather;
interest stood in the way, and barred him from taking his revenge.  Mrs
Jellybag was a faithful servant, and our host neither liked that she
should be interfered with, or that his house should become an arena for
such conflicts; and the admiral, who was peculiarly tenacious of
undrawing the strings of his purse, found it convenient to make the
first advances.  The affair was, therefore, amicably arranged--the
tom-cat was, in consideration of his sufferings, created a baronet, and
was ever afterwards dignified by the title of _Sir H. Humbug_; who
certainly was the most eligible person to select for godfather, as he
had taken the most effectual means of weaning him from "the pomps and
vanities of this wicked world."

It was now about one o'clock, for this dispute had run away with the
best part of the morning, when Sir Hurricane said, "Come, youngster,
don't forget your engagements--you know I have got to introduce you to
my pretty cousins--you must mind your P's and Q's with the uncle, for he
is a sensible old fellow--has read a great deal, and thinks America the
first and greatest country in the world."

We accordingly proceeded to the residence of the fair strangers, who the
admiral assured me had come to Halifax from mere curiosity, under the
protection of their uncle and aunt.  We knocked at the door, and the
admiral inquired if Mrs McFlinn was at home; we were answered in the
affirmative.  The servant asked our names.  "Vice-admiral Sir Hurricane
Humbug," said I, "and Mr Mildmay."

The drawing-room door was thrown open, and the man gave our names with
great propriety.  In we walked; a tall grave, looking, elderly lady
received us, standing bolt upright, in the middle of the room; the young
ladies were seated at their work.

"My dear Mrs McFlinn," said the admiral, "how do you do?  I am
delighted to see you and your fair nieces looking so lovely this
morning."  The lady bowed to this compliment--a courtesy she was not
quite up to--"Allow me to introduce my gallant young friend, Mildmay--
young ladies, take care of your hearts--he is a great rogue, I assure
you, though he smiles so sweet upon you."

Mrs McFlinn bowed again to me, hoped I was very well, and inquired "how
long I had been in these parts."

I replied that I had just returned from a cruise, but that I was no
stranger in Halifax.

"Come, officer," said the admiral, taking me by the arm, "I see you are
bashful--I must make you acquainted with my pretty cousins.  This, sir,
is Miss McFlinn--her christian name is Deliverance.  She is a young lady
whose beauty is her least recommendation."

"A very equivocal compliment," thought I.

"This, sir, is Miss Jemima; this is Miss Temperance; and this is Miss
Deborah.  Now that you know them all by name, and they know you, I hope
you will contrive to make yourself both useful and agreeable."

"A very pretty sinecure," thinks I to myself, "just as if I had not my
hands full already."  However, as I never wanted small-talk for pretty
faces, I began with Jemima.  They were all pretty, but she was a love--
yet there was an awkwardness about them that convinced me that they were
not of the _bon ton_ of Philadelphia.  The answers to all my questions
were quick, pert, and given with an air of assumed consequence; at the
same time I observed a mode of expression, which, though English, was
not well-bred English.

"Did you come through the United States," said I, "into the British
territory, or did you come by water?"

"Oh, by water," screamed all the girls at once, "and _liked_ to have
been eaten up with the nasty roaches."

I did not exactly know what was meant by "roaches", but it was explained
to me soon after.  I inquired whether they had seen a British
man-of-war, and whether they would like to accompany me on board of that
which I belonged to?  They all screamed out at the same moment--

"No, we never have seen one, and should like to see it of all things.
When will you take us?"

"To-morrow," said I, "If the day should prove fine."

Here the admiral, who had been making by-play with the old chaperon,
turned round and said:--

"Well, Mr Frank, I see you are getting on pretty well without my
assistance."

"Oh, we all like him very much," said Temperance; "and he says he will
take us on board his ship."

"Softly, my dear," said the aunt; "we must not think of giving the
gentleman the trouble until we are better acquainted."

"I am sure, aunt," said Deborah, "we are very well acquainted."

"Then," said the aunt, seeing she was in the minority, "suppose you and
Sir Hurricane come and breakfast with us to-morrow morning at eleven
o'clock, after which we shall be very much at your service."

Here the admiral looked at me with one of his impudent leers, and burst
into a loud laugh; but I commanded my countenance very well, and rebuked
him by a steady and reserved look.

"I shall have great pleasure," said I to the lady, "in obeying your
orders from eleven to-morrow morning till the hour of dinner, when I am
engaged."

So saying, we both bowed, wished them a good morning, and left the room.
The door closed upon us, and I heard them all exclaim--"What a charming
young man!"

I went on board, and told the first lieutenant what I had done; he, very
good-naturedly, said he would do his best, though the ship was not in
order for showing, and would have a boat ready for us at the dockyard
stairs at one o'clock the next day.

I went to breakfast at the appointed hour.  The admiral did not appear,
but the ladies were all in readiness, and I was introduced to their
uncle--a plain, civil-spoken man with a strong nasal twang.  The repast
was very good; and, as I had a great deal of work before me, I made hay
while the sun shone.  When the rage of hunger had been a little
appeased, I made use of the first belle to inquire if a lady whom I once
had the honour of knowing, was any relation of theirs, as she bore the
same name, and came, like them, from Philadelphia.

"Oh, dear, yes, indeed, she is a relation," said all the ladies
together; "we have not seen her this seven years, when did you see her
last!"

I replied that we had not met for some time; but that the last time I
had heard of her, she was seen by a friend of mine at Turin on the Po.
The last syllable was no sooner out of my mouth than tea, coffee, and
chocolate was out of theirs, all spirting different ways just like so
many young grampuses.  They jumped up from the table, and ran away to
their rooms, convulsed with laughter, leaving me alone with their uncle.
I was all amazement, and I own I felt a little annoyed.

I asked if I had made any serious _lapsus_, or said anything very
ridiculous or indelicate; if I had, I said I should never forgive
myself.

"Sir," said Mr McFlinn, "I am very sure you meant nothing indelicate;
but the refined society of Philadelphia, in which these young ladies
have been educated, attaches very different meanings to certain words,
to what you do in the old-country.  The back settlements, for instance,
so called by our ancestors, we call the western settlements, and we
apply the same term, by analogy, to the human figure and dress.  This is
a mere little explanation, which you will take as it is meant.  It
cannot be expected that _foreigners_, should understand the niceties of
our language."

I begged pardon for my ignorance; and assured him I would be more
cautious in future.  "But pray tell me," said I, "what there was in my
last observation which could have caused so much mirth at my expense?"

"Why, sir," said Mr McFlinn, "you run me hard there; but since you
force me to explain myself, I must say that you used a word exclusively
confined to bed-chambers."

"But surely, sir," said I, "you will allow that the name of a celebrated
river, renowned in the most ancient of our histories, is not to be
changed from such a refined notion of false delicacy?"

"There you are wrong," said Mr McFlinn.  "The French, who are our
instructors, in everything, teach us how to name all these things; and I
think you will allow that they understand true politeness."

I bowed to this _dictum_, only observing that there was a point in our
language where delicacy became indelicate; that I thought the noble
river had a priority of claim over a contemptible vessel; and, reverting
to the former part of his discourse I said that we in England were not
ashamed to call things by their proper names; and that we considered it
a great mark of ill-breeding to go round about for a substitute to a
common word, the vulgar import of which a well-bred and modest woman
ought never to have known.

The old gentleman felt a little abashed at this rebuke, and to relieve
him I changed the subject, hoping that the ladies would forgive for this
once, and return to their breakfasts.

"Why, as for that matter," said the gentleman, "the Philadelphia ladies
have very delicate appetites, and I dare say they have had enough."

Finding I was not likely to gain ground on that tack, I steered my own
course, and finished my breakfast, comforting myself that much execution
had been done by the ladies on the commissariat department before the
"Po" had made its appearance.

By the time I had finished, the ladies had composed themselves; and the
pretty Jemima had recovered the saint-like gravity of her lovely mouth.
Decked in shawls and bonnets, they expressed much impatience to be gone.
We walked to the dockyard, where a boat with a midshipman attended, and
in a few minutes conveyed us alongside of my ship.  A painted cask
shaped like a chair, with a whip from the main yard-arm, was let down
into the boat; and I carefully packed the fair creatures two at a time,
and sent them up.  There was a good deal of giggling, and screaming, and
loud laughing, which rather annoyed me; for as they were not my friends,
I had no wish that my mess-mates should think they belonged to that set
in Halifax in which I was so kindly received.

At length all were safely landed on the quarter-deck, without the
exposure of an ankle, which they all seemed to dread.  Whether their
ankles were not quite so small as Mr McFlinn wished me to suppose their
appetites were, I cannot say.

"La, aunt!" said Deborah, "when I looked up in the air, and saw you and
Deliverance dangling over our heads, I thought if the rope was to break,
what a `squash' you would have come on us: I am sure you would have
_paunched_ us."

Determined to have the Philadelphia version of this elegant phrase, I
inquired what it meant, and was informed, that in their country when
anyone had his bowels _squeezed_ out, they called it "_paunching_."

"Well," thought I, "after this, you might swallow the Po without
spoiling your breakfasts."  The band struck up "Yankee Doodle," the
ladies were in ecstasy, and began to caper round the quarter-deck.

"La, Jemima!" said Deborah, "what have you done to the western side of
your gown? it is all over white."

This was soon brushed off, but the expression was never forgotten in the
ship, and always ludicrously applied.

Having shown them the ship and all its wonders, I was glad to conduct
them back to the shore.  When I met the admiral, I told him I had done
the honours, and hoped the next time he had any female relatives he
would keep his engagements and attend to them himself.

"Why, now, who do you think they are?" said the admiral.

"Think!" said I, "why, who should they be but your Yankee cousins?"

"Why, was you such a damn flat as to believe what I said, eh?  Why,
their father keeps a shop of all sorts at Philadelphia, and they were
going to New York on a visit to some of their relatives, when the ship
they were in was taken and brought in here."

"Then," said I, "these are not the _bon ton_ of Philadelphia?"

"Just as much as Nancy Dennis is the _bon ton_ of Halifax," said the
admiral; "though the uncle, as I told you, is a sensible fellow in his
way."

"Very well," said I, "you have caught me for once; but remember, I pay
you for it."

And I was not long in his debt.  Had he not given me this explanation, I
should have received a very false impression of the ladies of
Philadelphia, and have done them an injustice for which I should never
have forgiven myself.

The time of our sailing drew near.  This was always a melancholy time in
Halifax; but my last act on shore was one which created some mirth, and
enlivened the gloom of my departure.  My friend Ned and myself had not
yet had an opportunity of paying off Sir Hurricane Humbug for telling
tales to Maria, and for his false introduction to myself.  One morning
we both came out of our rooms at the same moment, and were proceeding to
the breakfast parlour, when we spied the admiral performing some
experiment.  Unfortunately for him, he was seated in such a manner, just
clear of a pent-house, as to be visible from our position; and at the
same time, the collar of his coat would exactly intersect the segment of
a circle described by any fluid, projected by us over this low roof,
which would thus act as a conductor into the very pole of his neck.

The housemaid (these housemaids are always the cause or the instruments
of mischief, either by design or neglect) had left standing near the
window a pail nearly filled with dirty water, from the wash-hand basins,
etcetera.  Ned and I looked at each other, then at the pail, and then at
the admiral.  Ned thought of his Maria: I of my false introduction.
Without saying a word we both laid our hands on the pail, and in an
instant, souse went all the contents over the admiral.

"I say, what's this?" he roared out.  "Oh, you damned rascals!"

He knew it could only be us.  We laughed so immoderately, that we had
not the power to move or to speak; while the poor admiral was spitting,
spluttering, and coughing, enough to bring his heart up.

"You infernal villains!  No respect for a flag officer?  I'll serve you
out for this."

The tears rolled down our cheeks; but not with grief.  As soon as the
admiral had sufficiently recovered himself to go in pursuit, we thought
it time to make sail.  We knew we were discovered; and as the matter
could not be made worse, we resolved to tell him what it was for.  Ned
began,--"How do you do, admiral? you have taken a shower-bath this
morning."

He looked up, with his teeth clenched--"Oh, it's you, is it?  Yes, I
thought it could be no one else.  Yes, I have had a shower-bath, and be
damned to you, and that sea devil of a friend of yours.  Pretty pass the
service has come to, when officers of my rank are treated in this way.
I'll make you both envy the tom-cat."

"Beware the housekeeper, admiral," said Ned.  "Maria has made it up with
me, admiral, and she sends her love to you."

"Damn Maria."

"Oh, very well, I'll tell her so," said Ned.

"Admiral," said I, "do you remember when you sent the --- to sea in a
gale of wind, when I was midshipman of her?  Well, I got just as wet
that night as you are now.  Pray, admiral, have you any commands to the
Misses McFlinn?"

"I'll tell you when I catch hold of you," said Sir Hurricane, as he
moved upstairs to his room, dripping like Pope's Lodona, only not
smelling so sweet.

Hearing a noise, the housekeeper came up, and all the family assembled
to condole with the humid admiral, but each enjoying the joke as much as
ourselves.  We, however, paid rather dearly for it.  The admiral swore
that neither of us should eat or drink in the house for three days; and
Ned's father, though ready to burst with laughter, was forced in common
decency to say that he thought the admiral perfectly right after so
gross a violation of hospitality.

I went and dined on board my ship, Ned went to a coffee-house; but on
the third morning after the shower, I popped my head into the breakfast
parlour, and said--

"Admiral, I have a good story to tell you, if you will let me come in."

"I'd see you damned first, you young scum of a fish-pond.  Be off, or
I'll shy the ham at your head."

"No, but indeed, my dear admiral, it is such a nice story; it is one
just to your fancy."

"Well then, stand there and tell it, but don't come in, for if you do--"

I stood at the door and told him the story.

"Well, now," said he, "that is a good story, and I will forgive you for
it."  So with a hearty laugh at my ingenuity, he promised to forgive us
both, and I ran and fetched Ned to breakfast.

This was the safest mode we could have adopted to get into favour, for
the admiral was a powerful, gigantic fellow, that could have given us
some very awkward squeezes.  The peace was very honourably kept, and the
next day the ship sailed.



CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE.

  They turned into a long and wide street, into which not a single
  living figure appeared to break the perspective.  Solitude is never so
  overpowering as when it exists among the works of man.  In old woods,
  or on the tops of mountains, it is graceful and benignant, for it is a
  home; but where thick dwellings are, it wears a ghost-like aspect.
  INESILLA.

We were ordered to look-out for the American squadron that had done so
much mischief to our trade; and directed our course, for this purpose,
to the coast of Africa.  We had been out about ten days, when a vessel
was seen from the mast-head.  We were at that time within about one
hundred and eighty leagues of the Cape de Verd Islands.  We set all sail
in chase, and soon made her out to be a large frigate, who seemed to
have no objection to the meeting, but evidently tried her rate of
sailing with us occasionally: her behaviour left us no doubt that she
was an American frigate, and we cleared for action.

The captain, I believe, had never been in a sea-fight, or if he had, he
had entirely forgotten all he had learned; for which reason, in order to
refresh his memory, he laid upon the capstan-head the famous epitome of
John Hamilton Moore, now obsolete, but held at that time to be one of
the most luminous authors who had ever treated on maritime affairs,
John, who certainly gives a great deal of advice on every subject, has,
amongst other valuable directions, told us how to bring a ship into
action according to the best and most approved methods, and how to take
your enemy afterwards if you can.  But the said John must have thought
red-hot shot could be heated by a process somewhat similar to that by
which he heated his own nose, or he must entirely have forgotten "the
manners and customs in such cases used at sea," for he recommends, as a
prelude or first course to the entertainment, a good dose of red-hot
shot, served up the moment the guests are assembled; but does not tell
us where the said dishes are to be cooked.  No doubt whatever that a
broadside composed of such ingredients, would be a great desideratum in
favour of a victory, especially if the enemy should happen to have none
of his own to give in return.

So thought his lordship, who, walking up to the first lieutenant,
said:--

"Mr Thingamy, don't you think red-hot what-do-ye-call-ums should be
given in the first broadside to that thingamybob?"

"Red-hot shot, do you mean, my lord?"

"Yes," said his lordship; "don't you think they would settle his hash?"

"Where the devil are we to get them, my lord?" said the first
lieutenant, who was not the same that wanted to fight me for saying he
was as clever a fellow as the captain: that man had been unshipped by
the machinations of Toady.

"Very true," said his lordship.

We now approached the stranger very fast, when to our great
mortification she proved to be an English frigate; made the private
signal; it was answered; showed her number, we showed ours, and her
captain being junior officer came on board, to pay his respects and show
his order.  He was three weeks from England, brought news of a peace
with France, and, among other treats, a navy list, which, next to bottle
of London porter, is the greatest luxury to a sea officer in a foreign
climate.

Greedily did we all run over this interesting little book, and among the
names of the new-made commanders, I was overjoyed to find my own: the
last on the list, to be sure, but that I cared not for.  I received the
congratulations of my mess-mates.  We parted company with the stranger,
and steered for the island of St. Jago, our captain intending to
complete his water in Port Praya Bay, previous to a long cruise after
the American squadron.

We found here a slave-vessel in charge of a naval officer, bound to
England; and I thought this a good opportunity to quit, not being over
anxious to serve as a lieutenant when I knew I was a commander.  I was
also particularly anxious to return to England for many reasons, the
hand of my dear Emily standing at the head of them.  I therefore
requested the captain's permission to quit the ship; and as he wished to
give an acting order to one of his own followers, he consented.  I took
my leave of all my mess-mates, and of my captain, who, though an
unfeeling coxcomb, and no sailor, certainly had some good points about
him: in fact, his lordship was a gentleman; and had his ship fallen in
with an enemy, she would have been well fought, as he had good officers,
was sufficiently aware of his own incapability, would take advice, and
as a man of undaunted bravery was not to be surpassed in the service.

On the third day after our arrival the frigate sailed.  I went on board
the slaver, which had no slaves on board except four to assist in
working the vessel; she was in a filthy state, and there was no inn on
shore, and of course no remedy.  Port Praya is the only good anchorage
in the island; the old town of St. Jago was deserted, in consequence of
their being only an open roadstead before it, very unsafe for vessels to
lie it.  The town of Port Praya is a miserable assemblage of mud huts;
the governor's house, and one more, are better built, but they are not
so comfortable as a cottage in England.  There were not ten Portuguese
on the island, and above ten thousand blacks, all originally slaves; and
yet everything was peaceable, although fresh arrivals of slaves came
every day.

It was easy to distinguish the different races; the Yatoffes are tall
men, not very stoutly built; most of them are soldiers.  I have seen ten
of them standing together, the lowest not less than six feet two or
three inches.  The Foulahs, from the Ashantee country are another race;
they are powerful and muscular, ill-featured, badly disposed, and
treacherous.  The Mandingoes are a smaller race than the others, but
they are well disposed and tractable.

This island of slaves is kept in subjection by slaves only who are
enrolled as soldiers, miserably equipped; a cap and a jacket were all
they owed to art; nature provided the rest of their uniform.  The
governor's orderly alone sported a pair of trousers, and these were on
permanent duty, being transferred from one to the other as their turn
for that service came on.

I paid my respects to the governor, who, although a Portuguese, chose to
follow the fashion of the island, and was as black as most of his
subjects.  After a few French compliments, I took my leave.  I was
curious to see the old town of St. Jago which had been abandoned; and
after a hot walk of two hours over uncultivated ground covered with fine
goats, which are the staple of the island, I reached the desolate spot.

It was melancholy to behold; it seemed as if the human race were
extinct.  The town was built on a wide ravine, running down to the sea;
the houses were of stone, and handsome; the streets regular and paved,
which proves that it had formerly been a place of some importance; but
it is surprising that a spot so barren as this island generally is,
should ever have had any mercantile prosperity.  Whatever it did enjoy,
I should conceive must have been anterior to the Portuguese having
sailed round the Cape of Good Hope: and the solidity and even elegance
of construction among the buildings justifies the supposition.

The walls were massive and remained entire; the churches were numerous,
but the roofs of them and the dwelling-houses had mostly fallen in.
Trees had grown to a considerable height in the midst of the streets,
piercing through the pavements and raising the stones on each side; and
the convent gardens were a mere wilderness.  The cocoa-nut had thrust
its head through many a roof, and its long stems through the tops of the
houses; the banana luxuriated out of the windows.  The only inhabitants
of a town capable of containing ten thousand inhabitants, were a few
friars, who resided in a miserable ruin which had once been a beautiful
convent.  They were the first negro friars I had ever seen; their cowls
were as black as their faces, and their hair grey and woolly.  I
concluded they had adopted this mode of life as being the laziest; but I
could not discover by what means they could gain a livelihood, for there
were none to give them anything in charity.

The appearance of these poor men added infinitely to the necromantic
character of the whole melancholy scene.  There was a beauty, a
loveliness, in these venerable ruins, which delighted me.  There was a
solemn silence in the town; but there was a small, still voice, that
said to me,--"London may one day be the same--and Paris; and you and
your children's children will all have lived, and had their loves and
adventures; but who will the wretched man be that shall sit on the
summit of Primrose Hill, and look down upon the desolation of the mighty
city, as you, from this little eminence, behold the once flourishing
town of St. Jago?"

The goats were browsing on the side of the hill, and the little kids
frisking by their dams.  "These," thought I, "perhaps are the only food
and nourishment of these poor friars."  I walked to Port Praya, and
returned to my floating prison, the slave-ship.  The officer who was
conducting her home, as a prize, was not a pleasant man; I did not like
him, and nothing passed between us but common civility.  He was an old
master's mate, who had probably served his time thrice over; but having
no merit of his own, and no friends to cause that defect to be
overlooked, he had never obtained promotion: he therefore naturally
looked on a young commander with envy.  He had only given me a passage
home from motives which he could not resist; first, because he was
forced to obey the orders of my late captain; and, secondly, because my
purse would supply the cabin with the necessary stock of refreshments,
in the shape of fruit, poultry, and vegetables, which are to be procured
at Port Praya; he was, therefore, under the necessity of enduring my
company.

The vessel, I found, was not to sail on the following day, as he
intended.  I therefore took my gun at daybreak, and wandered with a
guide, up the valleys, in search of the _pintados_, or Guinea fowl with
which the island abounds; but they were so shy that I could never get a
shot at them; and I returned over the hills, which my guide assured me
was the shortest way.  Tired with my walk, I was not sorry to arrive at
a sheltered valley, where the palmetto and the plantain offer a friendly
shade from the burning sun.  The guide, with wonderful agility, mounted
the cocoa-nut-tree, and threw down half a dozen nuts.  They were green,
and their milk I thought the most refreshing and delicious draught I had
ever taken.

The vesper bells at Port Praya were now summoning the poor black friars
to their devotion; and a stir and bustle appeared among the little black
boys and girls, of whose presence I was till then ignorant.  They ran
from the coverts, and assembled near the front of the only cottage
visible to my eye.  A tall elderly negro man came out, and took his seat
on a mound of turf, a few feet from the cottage; he was followed by a
lad, about twenty years of age, who bore in his hand a formidable
cow-skin.  For the information of my readers, I must observe that a
cow-skin is a large whip, made like a riding whip out of the hide of the
hippopotamus, or sea-cow, and is proverbial for the severity of
punishment it is capable of inflicting.  After the executioner, came,
with slow and measured steps, the poor little culprits, five boys and
three girls, who, with most rueful faces, ranged themselves rank and
file, before the old man.

I soon perceived that the hands were turned up for punishment; but the
nature of the offence I had yet to learn; nor did I know whether any
order had been given to strip.  With the boys this would have been
supererogatory, as they were quite naked.  The female children had on
cotton chemises, which they slowly and reluctantly rolled up, until they
had gathered them close under their armpits.

The old man then ordered the eldest boy to begin his Pater Noster; and
simultaneously the whipper-in elevated his cow-skin by way of
encouragement.  The poor boy watched it, out of the corner of his eye,
and then began, "Pattery Nobstur, qui, qui, qui--" (here he received a
most severe lash from the cow-skin bearer)--"is in silly," roared the
boy, as if the continuation had been expelled from his mouth by the
application of external force in an opposite direction--"sancty fisheter
nom tum, adveny regnum tum, fi notun tas, ta ti, tu, terror," roared the
poor fellow, as he saw the lash descending on his defenceless back.

"Terror, indeed," thought I.

"Pannum Nossum quotditty hamminum da nobs holyday, e missy nobs, debitty
nossa si cut nos demitti missibus debetenibas nossimus e, ne, nos
hem-duckam in, in, in, temptationemum, sed lilibery nos a ma-ma--" Here
a heavy lash brought the very Oh! that was "caret" to complete the
sentence.

My readers are not to suppose that the rest of the class acquitted
themselves with as much ability as their leader, who, compared to them,
was perfectly erudite; the others received a lash for every word, or
nearly so the boys were first disposed of, in order, I suppose that they
might have the full benefit of the applicant's muscles; while the poor
girls had the additional pleasure of witnessing the castigation until
their turn came; and that they were aware of what awaited them was
evident, from the previous arrangement and disposition of dress, at the
commencement of the entertainment.  The girls accordingly came up one
after another to say their Ave Maria, as more consonant to their sex;
but I could scarcely contain my rage when the rascally cow-skin was
applied to them, or my laughter when, smarting under its lash, they
exclaimed, "Benedicta Mulieribus," applying their little hands with
immoderate pressure to the afflicted part.

I could have found in my heart to have wrested the whip out of the hands
of the young negro, and applied it with all my might to him, and his old
villain of a master, and father of these poor children, as I soon found
he was.  My patience was _almost_ gone when the second girl received a
lash for her "Plena Gratia."  She screamed, and danced, and lifted up
her poor legs in agony, rubbing herself on her "_west_" side, as the
Philadelphia ladies call it, with as much assiduity as if it had been
one of those cases in which friction is prescribed by the faculty.

But the climax was yet to come.  A grand stage effect was to be produced
before the falling of the curtain.  The youngest girl was so defective
in her lesson that not one word could be extracted from her, even by the
cow-skin; nothing but piercing shrieks, enough to make my heart bleed,
could the poor victim utter.  Irritated by the child's want of capacity
to repeat by rote what she could not understand, the old man darted from
his seat, and struck her senseless to the ground.

I could bear no more.  My first impulse was to wrest the cow-skin from
the negro's hand, and revenge the poor bleeding child as she lay
motionless on the ground, but a moment's reflection convinced me that
such a step would only have brought down a double weight of punishment
on the victims when I was gone; so, catching up my hat, I turned away
with disgust, and walked slowly towards the town and bay of Port Praya,
reflecting as I went along what pleasant ideas the poor creatures must
entertain of religion, when the name of God and of the cow-skin were
invariably associated in their minds.  I began to parody one of Watts's
hymns--

  "Lord! how delightful 'tis to see
  A whole assembly worship thee."

The indignation I felt against this barbarous and ignorant negro was not
unmingled with some painful recollections of my own younger days, when,
in a Christian and Protestant country, the Bible and Prayer-book had
been made objects of terror to my mind; tasks greater than my capacity
could compass, and floggings in proportion, were not calculated to
forward the cause of religious instruction in the mind of an obstinate
boy.

Reaching the water-side, I duly embarked on board of my slaver; and the
next day sailed for England.  We had a favourable passage until we
reached the chops of the Channel, when a gale of wind from the
north-east caught us, and drove us down so far to the southward that the
prize-master found himself under the necessity of putting into Bordeaux
to refit, and to replenish his water.

I was not sorry for this, as I was tired of the company of this officer,
who was both illiterate and ill-natured, neither a sailor nor a
gentleman.  Like many others in the service, who are most loud in their
complaints for the want of promotion, I considered that even in his
present rank he was what we called a _king's hard bargain--that_ is, not
worth his salt; and promoting men of his stamp would only have been
picking the pocket of the country.  As soon, therefore, as we had
anchored in the Gironde, off the city of Bordeaux, and had been visited
by the proper authorities, I quitted the vessel and her captain, and
went on shore.

Taking up my abode at the Hotel d'Angleterre, my first care was to order
a good dinner; and having despatched that, and a bottle of Vin de Beaune
(which, by-the-by, I strongly recommend to all travellers, if they can
get it, for I am no bad judge), I asked my _valet de place_ how I was to
dispose of myself for the remainder of the evening.

"_Mais, monsieur_," said he, "_il faut aller au spectacle_."

"_Allons_," said I; and in a few minutes I was seated in the stage-box
of the handsomest theatre in the world.

What strange events--what unexpected meetings and sudden separations are
sailors liable to--what sudden transitions from grief to joy, from joy
to grief--from want to affluence, from affluence to want!  All this the
history of my life, for the last six months, will fully illustrate.



CHAPTER TWENTY SIX.

  You will proceed in pleasure and in pride.
  Beloved, and loving: all is o'er
  For me on earth, except some years to hide
  My shame and sorrow deep in my heart's core.
  "DON JUAN."

I paid little attention to the performance, for the moment I came to the
house, my eyes were riveted on an object from which I found it
impossible to remove them.  "It is," said I, "and yet it cannot be; and
yet why should it not?"  A young lady sat in one of the boxes; she was
elegantly attired, and seemed to occupy the united attentions of many
Frenchmen, who eagerly caught her smiles.

"Either that is Eugenia," thought I, "or I have fallen asleep in the
ruins of St. Jago, and am dreaming of her.  That is Eugenia, or I am not
Frank.  It is she, or it is her ghost!"  Still I had not that moral
certainty of the identity, as to enable me to go at once to her and
address her.  Indeed, had I been certain, all things considered, the
situation we were in would have rendered such a step highly improper.

"If that be Eugenia," thought I again, "she has improved both in manner
and person.  She has a becoming _embonpoint_, and an air _de bonne
societe_, which when we parted she had not."

The more intensely I gazed, the more convinced was I that I was right;
the immovable devotion of my eyes attracted the attention of a French
officer, who sat near me.

"_C'est une jolie femme, n'est-ce pas; monsieur_?"

"_Vraiment_," said I.  "Do you know her name?"

"_Elle s'appelle Madame de Rosenberg_."

"Then I am wrong after all," said I to myself.  "Has she a husband,
sir?"

"_Pardonnez-moi, elle est veuve, mais elle a un petit garcon de cinq
ans, beau comme un ange_."

"That is she," said I, again reviving.  "Is she a French woman?"

"_Du tout, monsieur, elle est une de vos compatriotes; et en est un fort
joli exemplaire_."

She had only been three months at Bordeaux, and had refused many very
good offers in marriage.  Such was the information I obtained from my
obliging neighbour; and I was now convinced that Madame de Rosenberg
could be no other than Eugenia.  Every endeavour to catch her eye proved
abortive.  My only hope was to follow the carriage.

When the play was over, I waited with an impatience like that of a
spirited hunter who hears the hounds.  At last, the infernal squalling
of the vocalists ceased, but not before I had devoutly wished that all
the wax candles in the house were down their throats and burning there.
I saw one of the gentlemen in the box placing the shawl over her
shoulders with the most careful attention, while the bystanders seemed
ready to tear him in pieces from envy.  I hurried to the door, and saw
her handed into her carriage, which drove off at a great pace.  I ran
after it, jumped up behind, and took my station by the side of the
footman.

"_Descendez donc, monsieur_!" said the man.

"I'll be damned if I do," said I.

"_Comment donc_?" said the man.

"_Tais-toi, bete_," said I, "_ou je te brulerai la cervelle_."

"_Vous foutez_," said the man, who behaved very well, and instantly
began to remove me _vi et armis_; but I planted a stomacher in his fifth
button, which I knew would put him _hors de combat_ for a few minutes,
and by that time, at the rate the carriage was driving, my purpose would
have been answered.  The fellow lost his breath--could not hold on or
speak--so tumbled off and lay in the middle of the road.

As he fell upon dry ground and was not an English sailor, I did not jump
after him, but left him to his own ease, and we saw no more of him, for
we were going ten knots, while he lay becalmed without a breath of wind.
This was one of the most successful acts of usurpation recorded in
modern history.  It has its parallels, I know; but I cannot now stop to
comment on them, or on my own folly and precipitation.  I was as firmly
fixed behind the carriage, as Buonaparte was on the throne of France
after the battle of Eylau.

We stopped at a large _porte cochere_, being the entrance to a very
grand house, with lamps at the door, within a spacious courtyard; we
drove in and drew up.  I was down in a moment, opened the carriage door,
and let down the steps.  The lady descended, laid her hand on my arm
without perceiving that she had changed her footman, and tripped lightly
up the stairs.  I followed her into a handsome saloon, where another
servant in livery had placed lights on the table.  She turned round, saw
me, and fainted in my arms.

It was, indeed, Eugenia herself; and with all due respect to my dear
Emily, I borrowed a thousand kisses while she lay in a state of torpor,
on a fauteuil to which I carried her.  It was some few minutes before
she opened her eyes; the man-servant who had brought the lights, very
properly never quitted the room, but was perfectly respectful in his
manner, rightly conceiving that I had some authority for my proceedings.

"My dearest Frank," said Eugenia, "what an unexpected meeting.  What, in
the name of fortune, could have brought you here?"

"That," said I, "is a story too long, Eugenia, for a moment so
interesting as this.  I also might ask you the same question; but it is
now one o'clock in the morning, and, therefore, too late to begin with
inquiry.  This one question, however, I must ask--are you a mother?"

"I am," said Eugenia, "of the most lovely boy that ever blessed the eyes
of a parent; he is now in perfect health, and fast asleep--come
to-morrow, at ten o'clock, and you shall see him."

"To-morrow," said I, with surprise; "to-morrow, Eugenia? why am I to
quit your house?"

"That also you shall know to-morrow," said she; "but now you must do as
you are desired.  To-morrow, I will be at home to no one but you."

Knowing Eugenia as I did, it was sufficient that she had decided.  There
was no appeal; so, kissing her again, I wished her a good night, quitted
her, and retired to my hotel.  What a night of tumult did I pass!  I was
tossed from Emily to Eugenia, like a shuttlecock between two
battledores.  The latter never looked so lovely; and to the natural
loveliness of her person was added a grace and a polish which gave a
lustre to her charms, which almost served Emily as I had served the
footman I never once closed my eyes during the night--dressed early the
next morning, walked about, looked at Chateau Trompette and the Roman
ruins--thought the hour of ten would never strike, and when it did, I
struck the same moment at her door.

The man who opened it to me was the same whom I had treated so ill the
night before; the moment he saw me, he put himself into an attitude at
once of attack, defence, remonstrance, and revenge, all connected with
the affair of the preceding evening.

"_Ah, ah, vous voila donc! ce n'etait pas bien fait, monsieur_."

"_Oui_," said I, "_tres nettement fait, et voila encore_," slipping a
Napoleon into his hand.

"_Ca s'arrange tres joliment, monsieur_," said the man, grinning from
ear to ear, and bowing to the ground.  "_C'est madame que vous voulez
donc_?"

"_Oui_," said I.

He led, I followed; he opened the door of a breakfast parlour--"_Tenez,
madame, voici le monsieur qui m'a renverse hier au soir_."

Eugenia was seated on a sofa, with her boy by her side, the loveliest
little fellow I had ever beheld.  His face was one often described, but
rarely seen; it was shaded with dark curling ringlets, his mouth, eyes,
and complexion had much of his mother, and vanity whispered me, much
more of myself.  I took a seat on the sofa, and with the boy on my knee,
and Eugenia by my side, held her hand, while she narrated the events of
her life since the time of our separation.

"A few days," said she, "after your departure for the Flushing
expedition, I read in the public prints, that `if the nearest relations
of my mother would call at, in London, they would hear of something to
their advantage.'  I wrote to the agent, from whom I learned, after
proving my identity, that the two sisters of my mother, who, you may
remember, had like sums left them by the will of their relative, had
continued to live in a state of single blessedness; that, about four
years previously, one of them had died, leaving everything to the other,
and that the other had died only two months before, bequeathing all her
property to my mother or her next heir; or, in default of that, to some
distant relation.  I therefore immediately came into a fortune of ten
thousand pounds, with interest; and I was further informed that a great
uncle of mine was still living, without heirs, and was most anxious that
my mother or her heirs should be discovered.  An invitation was
therefore sent to me to go down to him, and to make his house my future
residence.

"At that time the effects of my indiscretion were but too apparent, and
rendered, as I thought, deception justifiable.  I put on widow's weeds,
and gave out that my husband was a young officer, who had fallen a
victim to the fatal Walcheren fever; that our marriage had been
clandestine, and unknown to any of his friends: such was my story and
appearance before the agent, who believed me.  The same fabrication was
put upon my grand-uncle, with equal success.  I was received into his
house with parental affection; and in that house I gave birth to the
dear child you now hold in your arms--to your child, my Frank--to the
only child I shall ever have.  Yes, dear Eugenia," continued she,
pressing her rosy lips on the broad white neck of the child, "you shall
be my only care, my solace, my comfort, and my joy.  Heaven, in its
mercy, sent the cherub to console its wretched mother in the double
pangs of guilt and separation from all she loved; and Heaven shall be
repaid, by my return to its slighted, its insulted laws.  I feel that my
sin is forgiven; for I have besought forgiveness night and day, with
bitter tears, and Heaven has heard my prayer.  `Go and sin no more,' was
said to me: and upon these terms I have received forgiveness.

"You will no doubt ask why did I not let you know all this, and why I so
carefully secreted myself from you.  My reasons were founded on the
known impetuosity of your character.  You, my beloved, who could brave
death, and all the military consequences of desertion from a ship lying
at Spithead, were not likely to listen to the suggestions of prudence
when Eugenia was to be found; and, having once given out that I was a
widow, I resolved to preserve the consistency of my character for my own
sake--for your sake, and for the sake of this blessed child, the only
drop that has sweetened my cup of affliction.  Had you by any means
discovered my place of abode, the peace of my uncle's house, and the
prospects of my child, had been for ever blasted.

"Now then, say, Frank, have I, or have I not, acted the part of a Roman
mother?  My grand-uncle having declared his intention of making me heir
to his property, for his sake, and yours, and for my child, I have
preserved the strict line of duty, from which God, in his infinite
mercy, grant that I may never depart!

"I first resolved upon not seeing you until I could be more my own
mistress; and when, at the death of my respected relative, I was not
only released from any restraint on account of his feelings, but also
became still more independent in my circumstances, you might be
surprised that I did not immediately impart to you the change of fortune
which would have enabled us to have enjoyed the comfort of unrestricted
communication.  But time, reflection, the conversation and society of my
uncle and his select friends, the care of my infant, and the reading of
many excellent books had wrought a great change in my sentiments.
Having once tasted the pleasures of society among virtuous women, I
vowed to Heaven that no future act of mine should ever drive me from it.
The past could not be recalled; but the future was my own.

"I took the sacrament after a long and serious course of reading; and,
having made my vows at the altar, with the help of God, they are
unchangeable.  Dramatic works, the pernicious study and poison of my
youthful ardent mind, I have long since discarded; and I had resolved
never to see you again, until after your marriage with Miss Somerville
had been solemnised.  Start not!  By the simplest and easiest means I
have known all your movements--your dangers, your escapes, your
undaunted acts of bravery and self-devotion for the sake of others.

"`Shall I then,' said I to myself, `blast the prospects of the man I
love--the father of my boy?  Shall I, to gratify the poor, pitiful
ambition of becoming the wife of him to whom I once was the mistress,
sacrifice thus the hopes and fortune of himself and family, the reward
of a virtuous maiden?'  In all this I hope you will perceive a proper
share of self-denial.  Many, many floods of bitter tears of repentance
and regret have I shed over my past conduct; and I trust, that what I
have suffered and what I shall suffer, will be received as my atonement
at the Throne of Grace.  True, I once looked forward to the happy period
of our union, when I might have offered myself to you, not as a
portionless bride; but I was checked by one maddening, burning,
inextinguishable thought.  I could not be received into that society to
which you were entitled.  I felt that I loved you, Frank,--loved you too
well to betray you.  The woman that had so little respect for herself
was unfit to be the wife of Francis Mildmay.

"Besides, how could I do my sweet boy the injustice to allow him to have
brothers and sisters possessing legitimate advantages over him?  I felt
that our union never could be one of happiness, even if you consented to
take me as your wife, of which I had my doubts; and when I discovered,
through my emissaries, that you were on the point of marriage with Miss
Somerville, I felt that it was all for the best; that I had no right to
complain; the more so as it was I who (I blush to say it) had seduced
you.

"But Frank, if I cannot be your wife--and, alas!  I know too well that
that is impossible--will you allow me to be your friend, your dear
friend, as the mother of your child, or, if you please, as your sister?
But there the sacred line is drawn; it is a compact between my God and
myself.  You know my firmness and decision; once maturely deliberated,
my resolution formed, it is not, I think, in man to turn me.  Do not,
therefore, make the attempt; it will only end in your certain defeat and
shame, and in my withdrawing from your sight for ever.  You will not, I
am sure, pay me so bad a compliment as to wish me to renew the follies
of my youth.  If you love me, respect me, promise by the love you bear
to Miss Somerville, and your affection for this poor boy, that you will
do as I wish you.  Your honour and peace of mind, as well as mine,
demand it."

This severe rebuke from a quarter whence I least expected it, threw me
back with shame and confusion.  As if a mirror had been held up to me, I
saw my own deformity.  I saw that Eugenia was not only the guardian of
her own honour, but of mine, and of the happiness of Miss Somerville,
against whom I now stood convicted of foul deceit and shameful wrong.  I
acknowledged my fault; I assured Eugenia that I was bound to her by
every tie of honour, esteem, and love; and that her boy and mine should
be our mutual care.

"Thank you, dearest," said she; "you have taken a heavy load from my
mind: henceforth remember we are brother and sister.  I shall now be
able to enjoy the pleasure of your society; and now as that point is
settled, let me know what has occurred to you since we parted--the
particulars, I mean, for the outline I have heard before."

I related to her everything which had happened to me, from the hour of
our separation to the moment I saw her so unexpectedly in the theatre.
She was alternately affected with terror, surprise, and laughter.  She
took a hearty crying spell over the motionless bodies of Clara and
Emily, as they lay on the floor; but recovered from that, and went into
hysterics of laughter, when I described the footman's mistake, and the
slap on the face bestowed on him by the housemaid.

My mind was not naturally corrupt; it was only so at times, and from
peculiar circumstances; but I was always generous, and easily recalled
to a sense of my duty when reminded of my fault.  Not for an empire
would I have persuaded Eugenia to break her vow.  I loved and respected
the mother of my child; the more when I reflected that she had been the
means of preserving my fidelity to Emily.  I rejoiced to think that my
friendship for the one, and love for the other, were not incompatible.
I wrote immediately to Emily, announcing my speedy return to England.

"Having the most perfect reliance on your honour, I shall now," said
Eugenia, "accept your escort to London, where my presence is required.
Pierre shall accompany us--he is a faithful creature, though you have
used him so ill."

"That," said I, "is all made up, and Pierre will be heartily glad of
another tumble for the same price."

All our arrangements were speedily made.  The house was given up--a
roomy travelling-barouche received all our trunks and, seated by the
side of Eugenia, with the child between us we crossed the Gironde, and
took our way through Poictiers, Tours, and Orleans, to Paris; here we
remained but a short time.  Neither of us was pleased with the manners
and habits of the French; but as they have been so fully described by
the swarms of English travellers who have infested that country with
their presence, and this with the fruits of their labours, I shall pass
as quietly through France, as I hope to do through the Thames Tunnel,
when it is completed, but not before.

Eugenia consulted me as to her future residence; and here I own I
committed a great error, but, I declare to Heaven, without any criminal
intention.  I ventured to suggest that she should live in a very pretty
village a few miles from --- Hall, the residence of Mr Somerville, and
where, after my marriage, it was intended I should continue to reside
with Emily.  To this village, then, I directed her to go assuring her
that I should often ride over and visit her.

"Much as I should enjoy your company, Frank," said Eugenia, "this is a
measure fraught with evil to all parties; nor is it fair dealing towards
your future wife."

Unhappily for me, that turn for duplicity which I had imbibed in early
life had not forsaken me, notwithstanding the warnings I had received
and the promises of amendment which I had made.  Flattering myself that
I intended no harm, I overruled all the scruples of the excellent
Eugenia.  She despatched a confidential person to the village; on the
outskirts of which he procured for her a commodious, and even elegant
cottage _orne_, ready furnished.  She went down with her child and
Pierre to take possession; and I to my father's house, where my
appearance was hailed as a signal for a grand jubilee.

Clara, I found, had entirely changed her unfavourable opinion of
sea-officers induced thereto by the engaging manners of my friend
Talbot, on whom I was delighted to learn she was about to bestow her
very pretty little white hand at the altar.  This was a great triumph to
the navy, for I always told Clara, laughingly, that I never would
forgive her if she quitted the service; and as I entertained the highest
respect for Talbot, I considered the prospects of my sister were very
bright and flattering, and that she had made a choice very likely to
secure her happiness.

"Rule Britannia," said I to Clara; "Blue for ever!"

The next morning I started for Mr Somerville's, where I was, of course,
received with open arms; and the party, a few days after, having been
increased by the arrival of my father, with Clara and Talbot, I was as
happy as a human being could be.  Six weeks was the period assigned by
my fair one as the very shortest in which she could get rigged, bend new
sails, and prepare for the long and sometimes tedious voyage of
matrimony.  I remonstrated at the unconscionable delay.

"Long as it may appear," said she, "it is much less time than you took
to fit out your fine frigate for North America."

"That frigate was not got ready even then by any hurry of mine," said I;
"and if ever I come to be First Lord of the Admiralty, I shall have a
bright eye on the young lieutenants and their sweethearts at Blackheath,
particularly when a ship is fitting in a hurry at Woolwich."

Much of this kind of sparring went on, to the great amusement of all
parties; meanwhile the ladies employed themselves in running up
milliners' bills, and their papas employed themselves in discharging
them.  My father was particularly liberal to Emily in the articles of
plate and jewellery, and Mr Somerville equally kind to Clara.  Emily
received a trinket-box, so beautifully fitted and so well filled, that
it required a cheque of no trifling magnitude to cry quits with the
jeweller; indeed, my father's kindness was so great that I was forced to
beg he would set some bounds to his liberality.

I was so busy and so happy that I had let three weeks pass over my head
without seeing Eugenia.  I dreamed of her at last, and thought she
upbraided me; and the next day, full of my dream, as soon as breakfast
was over, I recommended the young ladies to the care of Talbot, and,
mounting my horse, rode over to see Eugenia.  She received me kindly,
but she had suffered in her health, and was much out of spirits.  I
inquired the reason, and she burst into tears.  "I shall be better,
Frank," said she, "when all is over, but I must suffer now; and I suffer
the more acutely from a conviction that I am only paying the penalty of
my own crime.  Perhaps," continued she, "had I never departed from
virtue, I might at this moment have held in your heart the envied place
of Miss Somerville; but as the righteous decrees of Providence have
provided punishment to tread fast in the footsteps of guilt, I am now
expiating my faults, and I have a presentiment that although the
struggle is bitter, it will soon be over.  God's will be done; and may
you, my dear Frank, have many, many happy years in the society of one
you are bound to love before the unhappy Eugenia."

Here she sank on a sofa, and again wept bitterly.

"I feel," said she, "now, but it is too late--I feel that I have acted
wrongly in quitting Bordeaux.  There I was loved and respected; and if
not happy, at least I was composed.  Too much dependence on my
resolution, and the vanity of supposing myself superior in magnanimity
to the rest of my sex, induced me to trust myself in your society.
Dearly, alas! have I paid for it.  My only chance of victory over myself
was flight from you, after I had given the irrevocable sentence; by not
doing so, the poison has found its way to my heart.  I feel that I love
you; that I cannot have you; and that death very shortly must terminate
my intolerable sufferings."

This affecting address pierced me to the soul; and now the consequences
of my guilt and duplicity rushed upon me like a torrent through a
bursting flood gate.  I would have resigned Emily--I would have fled
with Eugenia to some distant country, and buried our sorrows in each
other's bosoms; and, in a state of irrepressible emotion, I proposed
this step to her.

"What do I hear, my beloved?" said she, starting up with horror from the
couch on which she was sitting with her face between her knees; "what!
is it you that would resign home, friends, character, the possession of
a virtuous woman, all for the polluted smiles of an--"

"Hold! hold! my Eugenia," said I; "do not, I beseech you, shock my ears
with an epithet which you do not deserve!  Mine, mine, is all the guilt;
forget me, and you will still be happy."

She looked at me, then at her sweet boy, who was playing on the carpet--
but she made no answer; and then a flood of tears succeeded.

It was, indeed, a case of singular calamity for a beautiful young
creature to be placed in.  She was only in her three-and-twentieth
year--and lovely as she was, nature had scarcely had time to finish the
picture.  The regrets which subdued my mind on that fatal morning may
only be conceived by those who, like me, have led a licentious life--
have, for a time, buried all moral and religious feeling, and have been
suddenly called to a full sense of their guilt, and the misery they have
entailed on the innocent.  I sat down and groaned.  I cannot say I wept,
for I could not weep; but my forehead burned, and my heart was full of
bitterness.

While I thus meditated, Eugenia sat with her hand on her forehead in a
musing attitude.  Had she been reverting to her former studies and
thrown herself into the finest conceivable posture of the tragic muse,
her appearance would not have been half so beautiful and affecting.  I
thought she was praying, and I think so still.  The tears ran in silence
down her face; I kissed them off, and almost forgot Emily.

"I am better, now, Frank," said the poor, sorrowful woman; "do not come
again until after the wedding.  When will it take place?" she inquired,
with a trembling and faltering voice.

My heart almost burst within me as I told her, for I felt as if I was
signing a warrant for her execution.  I took her in my arms, and
tenderly embracing her, endeavoured to divert her thoughts from the
mournful fate that too evidently hung over her; she became tranquil, and
I proposed taking a stroll in the adjoining park.  I thought the fresh
air would revive her.

She agreed to this; and going to her room, returned in a few minutes.
To her natural beauty was added on that fatal day a morning dress, which
more than any other became her; it was white, richly trimmed, and
fashionably made up by a celebrated French _artiste_.  Her bonnet was
white muslin, trimmed with light blue ribbons, and a sash of the same
colour confined her slender waist.  The little Eugenio ran before us,
now at my side, and now at his mother's.  We rambled about for some
time, the burthen of our conversation being the future plans and mode of
education to be adopted for the child: this was a subject on which she
always dwelt with peculiar pleasure.

Tired with our walk, we sat down under a clump of beech-trees near a
grassy ascent, winding among the thick foliage, contrived by the opulent
owner to extend and diversify the rides in his noble domain.  Eugenio
was playing around us, picking the wild flowers, and running up to me to
inquire their names.

The boy was close by my side, when, startled at a noise, he turned round
and exclaimed--"Oh! look, mamma; look, papa; there are a lady and a
gentleman a-riding."

I turned round, and saw Mr Somerville and Emily on horseback, within
six paces of me; so still they stood, so mute, I could have fancied
Emily a wax-work figure.  They neither breathed nor moved; even their
very horses seemed to be of bronze, or perhaps, the unfortunate
situation in which I found myself made me think them so.  They had come
as unexpectedly on us as we had discovered them.  The soft turf had
received the impression of their horses' feet, and returned no sound;
and if they snorted, we had either not attended to them, in the warmth
of our conversation, or we had never heard them.

I rose up hastily--coloured deeply--stammered, and was about to speak.
Perhaps it was better that I did not; but I had no opportunity.  Like
apparitions they came, and like apparitions they vanished.  The avenue
from whence they had so silently issued, received them again, and they
were gone before Eugenia was sensible of their presence.



CHAPTER TWENTY SEVEN.

  Fare thee well; and if for ever,
  Still for ever fare thee well:
  E'en though unforgiving, never
  'Gainst thee shall my heart rebel.
  BYRON.

I was so stunned with this _contretemps_, that I fell senseless to the
ground; and it was long before the kind attentions and assiduity of
Eugenia could restore me.  When she had succeeded, my first act was one
of base ingratitude, cruelty, and injustice: I spurned her from me, and
upbraided her as the cause of my unfortunate situation.  She only
replied with tears.  I quitted her and the child without bidding them
adieu, little thinking I should never see them again.  I ran to the inn,
where I had left my horse, mounted, and rode back to --- Hall.

Mr Somerville and his daughter had just arrived, and Emily was lifted
off her horse, and obliged to be carried up to her room.

Clara and Talbot came to inquire what had happened.  I could give no
account of it; but earnestly requested to see Emily.  The answer
returned was, that Miss Somerville declined seeing me.  In the course of
this day, which, in point of mental suffering, exceeded all I have ever
endured in the utmost severity of professional hardship, an explanation
had taken place between myself, my father, and Mr Somerville.  I had
done that by the impulse of dire necessity, which I ought to have done
at first of my own free will.  I was caught at last in my own snare.
"The trains of the devil are long," said I to myself, "but they are sure
to blow up at last."

The consequence of the explanation was my final dismissal, and a return
of all the presents which my father and myself had given to Emily.  My
conduct, though blameable, was not viewed in that heinous light, either
by my father or Mr Somerville; and both of them did all that could be
done to restore harmony.  Clara and Talbot interposed their kind
offices, but with no better success.  The maiden pride of the inexorable
Emily had been alarmed by a beautiful rival, with a young family, in the
next village.  The impression had taken hold of her spotless mind, and
could not be removed.  I was false, fickle, and deceitful, and was given
to understand that Miss Somerville did not intend to quit her room until
she was assured by her father that I was no longer a guest in the house.

Under these painful circumstances, our remaining any longer at the hall
was both useless and irksome--a source of misery to all.

My father ordered his horses the next morning, and I was carried back to
London, more dead than alive.  A burning fever raged in my blood; and
the moment I reached my father's house, I was put to bed, and placed
under the care of a physician, with nurses to watch me night and day.
For three weeks I was in a state of delirium; and when I regained my
senses, it was only to renew the anguish which had caused my disorder,
and I felt any sentiment except gratitude for my recovery.

My dear Clara had never quitted me during my confinement.  I had taken
no medicine but from her hand.  I asked her to give me some account of
what had happened.  She told me that Talbot was gone; that my father had
seen Mr Somerville, who had informed him that Emily had received a long
letter from Eugenia, narrating every circumstance, exculpating me, and
accusing herself.  Emily had wept over it, but still remained firm in
her resolution never to see me more.  "And I am afraid, my dear
brother," said Clara, "that her resolution will not be very easily
altered.  You know her character, and you should know something about
our sex: but sailors, they say, go round the world without going into
it.  This is the only shadow of an excuse I can form for you, much as I
love and esteem you.  You have hurt Emily in the nicest point, that in
which we are all the most susceptible of injury.  You have wounded her
pride, which our sex rarely if ever forgive.  At the very moment she
supposed you were devoted to her; that you were rapt up in the
anticipation of calling her your own, and counting the minutes with
impatience until the happy day arrived; with all this persuasion on her
mind, she comes upon you, as the traveller out of the wood suddenly
comes across the poisonous snake in his path, and cannot avoid it.  She
found you locked hand-in-hand with another, a fortnight before marriage,
and with the fruits of unlawful love in your arms.  What woman could
forgive this?  I would not, I assure you.  If Tal---, I mean if any man
were to serve me so, I would tear him from my heart, even if the
dissolution of the whole frame was to be the certain consequence.  I
consider it a kindness to tell you, Frank, that you have no hope.  Much
as you have and will suffer, she, poor girl, will suffer more; and
although she will never accept you, she will not let your place be
supplied by another, but sink broken-hearted into her grave.  You, like
all other men, will forget this; but what a warning ought it to be to
you, that sooner or later, guilt will be productive of misery.  This you
have fully proved; your licentious conduct with this woman has ruined
her peace for ever, and Divine vengeance has dashed from your lips the
cup which contained as much happiness as this world could afford.  Nor
has the penalty fallen on you alone: the innocent, who had no share in
the crime, are partakers in the punishment; we are all as miserable as
yourself.  But God's will be done," continued she, as she kissed my
aching forehead, and her tears fell on my face.

How heavenly is the love of a sister towards a brother!  Clara was now
everything to me.  Having said thus much to me on the subject of my
fault (and it must be confessed that she had not been niggardly in the
article of words), she never named the subject again, but sought by
every means in her power to amuse and to comfort me.  She listened to my
exculpation; she admitted that our meeting at Bordeaux was as
unpremeditated as it was unfortunate; she condemned the imprudence of
our travelling together, and still more the choice of a residence for
Eugenia and her son.

Clara's affectionate attention and kind efforts were unavailing.  I told
her so, and that all hopes of happiness for me in this world were gone
for ever.

"My dear, dear brother," said the affectionate girl, "answer me one
question.  Did you ever pray?"

My answer will pretty well explain to the reader the sort of religion
mine was:--

"Why, Clara," said I, "to tell you the truth, though I may not exactly
pray, as you call it, yet words are nothing.  I feel grateful to the
Almighty for his favours when he bestows them on me; and I believe a
grateful heart is all he requires."

"Then, brother, how do you feel when he afflicts you?"

"That I have nothing to thank him for," answered I.

"Then, my dear Frank, that is not religion."

"May be so," said I; "but I am in no humour to feel otherwise at
present; so pray drop the subject."

She burst into tears.  "This," said she, "is worse than all.  Shall we
receive good from the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil?"

But, seeing that I was in that sullen and untameable state of mind, she
did not venture to renew the subject.

As soon as I was able to quit my room, I had a long conversation with my
father, who, though deeply concerned for my happiness, said he was quite
certain that any attempt at reconciliation would be useless.  He
therefore proposed two plans, and I might adopt whichever was the most
likely to divert my mind from my heavy affliction.  The first was, to
ask his friends at the Admiralty to give me the command of a sloop of
war; the second, that I should go upon the Continent, and, having passed
a year there, return to England, when there was no knowing what change
of sentiment time and absence might not produce in my favour.  "For,"
said he, "there is one very remarkable difference in the heart of a man
and of a woman.  In the first, absence is very often a cure for love; in
the other, it more frequently cements and consolidates it.  In your
absence, Emily will dwell on the bright parts of your character, and
forget its blemishes.  The experiment is worth making, and it is the
only way which offers a chance of success."

I agreed to this.  "But," said I, "as the war with France is now over,
and that with America will be terminated no doubt very shortly, I have
no wish to put you to the expense, or myself to the trouble, of fitting
out a sloop of war in time of peace, to be a pleasure-yacht for great
lords and ladies, and myself to be neither more nor less than a _maitre
d'hotel_: and, after having spent your money and mine, and exhausted all
my civilities, to receive no thanks, and hear that I am esteemed at
Almack's only `a tolerable sea-brute enough.'  A ship, therefore,"
continued I, "I will not have; and as I think the Continent holds out
some novelty at least, I will, with your consent, set off."

This point being settled, I told Clara of it.  The poor girl's grief was
immoderate.  "My dearest brother, I shall lose you, and be left alone in
the world.  Your impetuous and unruly heart is not in a state to be
trusted among the gay and frivolous French.  You will be at sea without
your compass--you have thrown religion overboard--and what is to guide
you in the hour of trial?"

"Fear not, dear Clara," said I; "my own energies will always extricate
me from the dangers you apprehend."

"Alas! it is these very energies which I dread," said Clara; "but I
trust that all will be for the best.  Accept," said she, "of this little
book from poor broken-hearted Clara; and, if you love her, look at it
sometimes."

I took the book, and, embracing her affectionately, assured her that for
her sake I would read it.

When I had completed my arrangements for my foreign tour, I determined
to take one last look at --- Hall before I left England.  I set off
unknown to my family, and contrived to be near the boundaries of the
park by dusk.  I desired the post-boy to stop half a mile from the
house, and to wait my return.  I cleared the paling; and, avoiding the
direct road, came up to the house.  The room usually occupied by the
family was on the ground-floor, and I cautiously approached the window.
Mr Somerville and Emily were both there.  He was reading aloud; she sat
at a table with a book before her: but her thoughts, it was evident,
were not there; she had inserted her taper fingers into the ringlets of
her hair, until the palms of her hand reached her forehead; then,
bending her head towards the table, she leaned on her elbows, and seemed
absorbed in the most melancholy reflections.

"This, too, is my work," said I; "this fair flower is blighted, and
withering by the contagious touch of my baneful hand!  Good Heaven! what
a wretch am I! whoever loves me is rewarded by misery.  And what have I
gained by this wide waste and devastation which my wickedness has spread
around me?  Happiness?  No, no--that I have lost for ever.  Would that
_my_ loss were all! would that comfort might visit the soul of this fair
creature and another.  But I dare not--I cannot pray; I am at enmity
with God and man.  Yet I will make an effort in favour of this victim of
my baseness.  O God," continued I, "if the prayers of an outcast like me
can find acceptance, not for myself, but for her, I ask that peace which
the world cannot give; shower down Thy blessings upon her, alleviate her
sorrows, and erase from her memory the existence of such a being as
myself.  Let not my hateful image hang as a blight upon her beauteous
frame."

Emily resumed her book when her father had ceased reading aloud; and I
saw her wipe a tear from her cheek.

The excitement occasioned by this scene, added to my previous illness,
from the effects of which I had not sufficiently recovered, caused a
faintness; I sat down under the window, in hopes that it would pass off.
It did not, however; for I fell, and lay on the turf in a state of
insensibility, which must have lasted nearly half an hour.  I afterwards
learned from Clara that Emily had opened the window, it being a French
one, to walk out and recover herself.  By the bright moonlight, she
perceived me lying on the ground.  Her first idea was, that I had
committed suicide; and, with this impression, she shut the window, and
tottering to the back part of the room, fainted.  Her father ran to her
assistance, and she fell into his arms.  She was taken up to her room,
and consigned to the care of her woman, who put her to bed; but she was
unable to give any account of herself, or the cause of her disorder,
until the following day.

For my own part, I gradually came to my senses, and with difficulty
regained my chaise, the driver of which told me I had been gone about an
hour.  I drove off to town, wholly unaware that I had been observed by
anyone, much less by Emily.  When she related to her father what she had
seen, he either disbelieved or effected to disbelieve it, and treated it
as the effect of a distempered mind--the phantom of a disordered
imagination; and she at length began to coincide with him.

I started for the Continent a few days afterwards.  Talbot, who had seen
little of Clara since my rejection by Emily, and subsequent illness,
offered my father to accompany me; and Clara was anxious that he should
go, as she was determined not to listen to anything he could say during
my affliction; she could not, she said, be happy while I was miserable,
and gave him no opportunity of conversing with her on the subject of
their union.

We arrived at Paris; but so abstracted was I in thought that I neither
saw nor heard anything.  Every attention of Talbot was lost upon me.  I
continued in my sullen stupor, and forgot to read the little book which
dear Clara had given, and which, for her sake I had promised to read.  I
wrote to Eugenia on my arrival; and disburthened my mind in some
measure, by acknowledging my shameful treatment of her.  I implored her
pardon, and, by return of post received it.  Her answer was affectionate
and consoling; but she stated that her spirits, of course, were low, and
her health but indifferent.

For many days my mind remained in a state of listless inanity; and
Talbot applied, or suffered others to apply, the most pernicious
stimulant that could be thought of to rouse me to action.  Taking a
quiet walk with him, we met some friends of his; and, at their request,
we agreed to go to the saloons of the Palais Royal.  This was a
desperate remedy, and by a miracle only was I saved from utter and
irretrievable ruin.  How many of my countrymen have fallen victims to
the arts practised in that horrible school of vice, I dare not say!
Happy should I be to think that the infection had not reached our own
shores, and found patrons among the great men of the land.  They have,
however, both felt the consequences and been forewarned of the danger.
_They_ have no excuse; _mine_ was, that I had been excluded from the
society of those I loved.  Always living by excitement, was it
surprising that, when a gaming-table displayed its hoards before me, I
should have fallen at once into the snare?

For the first time since my illness, I became interested, and laid down
my money on those abhorred tables.  My success was variable; but I
congratulated myself that at length I had found a stimulus, and I
anxiously awaited the return of the hour when the doors would again be
opened, and the rooms lighted up for the reception of company.  I won
considerably; and night after night found me at the table--for avarice
is insatiable; but my good luck left me; and then the same motive
induced me to return, with the hope of winning back what I had lost.

Still fortune was unpropitious, and I lost very considerable sums.  I
became desperate, and drew largely on my father.  He wrote to beg that I
would be more moderate; as twice his income would not support such an
expenditure.  He wrote also to Talbot, who informed him in what manner
the money had been expended; and that he had in vain endeavoured to
divert me from the fatal practice.  Finding that no limits were likely
to be put to my folly, my father very properly refused to honour any
more of my bills.

Maddened with this intimation, for which I secretly blamed Talbot, I
drew upon Eugenia's banker, bill after bill, until the sum amounted to
more than what my father had paid.  At length a letter came from
Eugenia: it was but a few lines.

"I know too well, my dearest friend," said she, "what becomes of the
money you have received.  If you want it all, I cannot refuse you; but
remember that you are throwing away the property of your child."

This letter did more to rouse me to a sense of my infamous conduct than
the advice of Talbot, or the admonitions of my father.  I felt I was
acting like a scoundrel, and I resolved to leave off gaming.  "One night
more," said I, "and then, if I lose, there is an end of it; I go no
more."  Talbot attended me: he felt he was in some measure the cause of
my being first initiated in this pernicious amusement: and he watched my
motions with unceasing anxiety.

The game was _rouge-et-noir_.  I threw a large sum on the red, I won,
left the stake, doubled, and won again.  The heap of gold had increased
to a large size, and still remained to abide the chance of the card.
Again, again, and again, it was doubled.  Seven times had the red card
been turned up, and seven times had my gold been doubled.  Talbot, who
stood behind me, implored and begged me earnestly to leave off.

"What may be the consequence of one card against you?  Trust no more to
fortune; be content with what you have got."

"That," muttered I, "Talbot, is of no use; I must have more."

Again came up the red, to the astonishment of the bystanders; and to
their still greater astonishment, my gold, which had increased to an
enormous heap, still remained on the table.  Talbot again intreated me
not to tempt fortune foolishly.

"Folly," said I, "Talbot, has already been committed; and one more card
will do the business.  It must be done."

The bankers knowing, after eight red cards had been turned up, how great
the chance was of regaining all their losses by a double or quits,
agreed to the ninth card.  Talbot trembled like a leaf.  The card was
turned; it came up red, and the bank was broken.

Here all play ceased for the night.  The losers, of course, vented their
feelings in the most blasphemous execrations; while I quietly collected
all my winnings, and returned home in a _fiacre_, with Talbot, who took
the precaution of requesting the attendance of two _gendarmes_.  These
were each rewarded with a Napoleon.

"Now, Talbot," said I, "I solemnly swear, as I hope to go to heaven,
never to play again."  And this promise I have most religiously kept.
My good fortune was one instance in ten thousand, among those who have
been ruined in that house.  The next morning I refunded all I had drawn
upon Eugenia, and all my father had supplied me with, and there still
remained a considerable residue.

Determined not to continue in this vortex of dissipation any longer,
where my resolution was hourly put to the test, Talbot and myself agreed
to travel down to Brest, an arsenal we were both desirous of seeing.



CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT.

  _Pal_.
  Thou art a traitor, Arcite, and a fellow
  False as thy title to her.  Friendship, blood,
  And all the ties between us, I disclaim.
  _Arc_.
  You are mad.
  _Pal_.
  I must be,
  Till thou art worthy, Arcite; it concerns me!
  And, in this madness, if I hazard thee
  And take thy life, I deal but truly.
  _Arc_.
  Fie, sir!
  BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER.

We quitted Paris two days after; and a journey of three days, through an
uninteresting country, brought us to the little town of Granville, on
the sea-coast, in the Channel.  We remained at this delightful place
some days; and our letters being regularly forwarded to us, brought us
intelligence from England.  My father expressed his astonishment at my
returning the money drawn for; and trusted, unaccountable as the
restitution appeared, that I was not offended, and would consider him my
banker, as far as his expenditure and style of living would permit him
to advance.

Eugenia, in her letters, reproached herself for having written to me;
and concluded that I had drawn so largely upon her merely to prove her
sincerity.  She assured me, that her caution to me was not dictated by
selfishness, but from a consideration for the child.

Clara's letter informed me that every attempt, even to servility, had
been made in order to induce Emily to alter her determination, but
without success; and that a coolness had in consequence taken place, and
almost an entire interruption of the intimacy between the families.  She
also added, "I am afraid that your friend is even worse than yourself;
for I understand that he is engaged to another woman, and has been so
for years.  Now, as I must consider that the great tie of your intimacy
is his supposed partiality to me, and as I conceive you are under a
false impression with respect to his sincerity, I think it my duty to
make you acquainted with all I know.  It is impossible that you can
esteem the man who has trifled with the feelings of your sister; and I
sincerely hope that the next letter from you will inform me of your
having separated."

How little did poor Clara think, when she wrote this letter, of the
consequences likely to arise from it; that in thus venting her
complaints, she was exploding a mine which was to produce results ten
times more fatal than anything which had yet befallen us!

I was at this period in a misanthropic state of mind, hating myself and
everyone about me.  The company of Talbot had long been endured, not
enjoyed; and I would gladly have availed myself of any plausible excuse
for a separation.  True, he was my friend, had proved himself so; but I
was in no humour to acknowledge favours.  Discarded by her I loved, I
discarded every one else.  Talbot was a log and a chain, and I thought I
could not get rid of him too soon.  This letter, therefore, gave me a
fair opportunity of venting my spleen; but instead of a cool dismissal,
as Clara requested, I determined to dismiss him or myself to another
world.

Having finished reading my letter, I laid it down, and made no
observation.  Talbot, with his usual kind and benevolent countenance,
inquired if I had any news?  "Yes," I replied, "I have discovered that
you are a villain!"

"That is news indeed," said he; "and strange that the brother of Clara
should have been the messenger to convey it; but this is language,
Frank, which not even your unhappy state of mind can excuse.  Retract
your words."

"I repeat them," said I.  "You have trifled with my sister, and are a
villain."  (Had this been true, it was no more than I had done myself;
but my victims had no brothers to avenge their wrongs.)

"The name of Clara," replied Talbot, "calms me: believe me, Frank, you
are mistaken.  I love her, and have always had the most honourable
intentions towards her."

"Yes," said I, with a sarcastic sneer, "at the time that you have been
engaged to another woman for years.  To one or the other you must
acknowledge yourself a scoundrel: I do not, therefore, withdraw my
appellation, but repeat it; and as you seem so very patient under
injuries, I inform you that you must either meet me on the sands this
evening, or consent to be stigmatised with another name still more
revolting to the feelings of an Englishman."

"Enough, enough, Frank," said Talbot, with a face in which conscious
innocence and manly fortitude were blended.  "You have said more than I
ever expected to have heard from you, and more than the customs of the
world will allow me to put up with.  What must be, must; but I still
tell you, Frank, that you are wrong, that you are fatally deluded, and
that you will bitterly repent the follies of this day.  It is yourself
with whom you are angry, and you are venting that anger on your friend."

The words were thrown away on me.  I felt a secret malignant pleasure,
which blindly impelled me forward, with the certainty of glutting my
revenge, by either destroying or being destroyed.  My sole preparation
for this dreadful conflict was my pistols; no other did I, think of, not
even the chances of sending my friend and fellow-mortal, or going
myself, into the presence of an Almighty Judge.  My mind was absorbed in
secret pleasure at the idea of that acute misery which Emily would
suffer if I fell by the hand of Talbot.

I repaired to the rendezvous, where I found Talbot waiting.  He came up
to me, and again said:--

"Frank, I call Heaven to witness that you are mistaken.  You are wrong.
Suspend your opinion, at least, if you will not recall your words."

Totally possessed by the devil, and not to be convinced till too late, I
replied to his peaceful overture by the most insulting irony: "You were
not afraid to fire at a poor boy in the water," said I, "though you do
not like to stand a shot in return.  Come, come, take your ground, be a
man, stand up, don't be afraid."

"For myself," said Talbot, with a firm and placid resignation of
countenance, "I have no fears; but for you, Frank, I have great cause of
alarm:" so saying, he snatched up the loaded pistol, which I threw down
to him.

We had no seconds; nor was there any person in sight.  It was a bright
moonlight, and we walked to the water's edge, where the reflux of the
tide had left the sand firm to the tread.  Here we stood back to back.
The usual distance was fourteen paces.  Talbot refused to measure his,
but stood perfectly still.  I walked ten paces, and turned round.
"Ready," said I, in a low voice.

We both raised our arms; but Talbot, instantly dropping the muzzle of
his pistol, said, "I cannot fire at the brother of Clara!"

"I can at her insulter," answered I; and, taking deliberate aim, fired,
and my ball entered his side.  He bounded, gave a half-turn round in the
air, and fell on his face to the ground.

How sudden are the transitions of the human mind! how close does remorse
follow the gratification of revenge!  The veil dropped from my eyes; I
saw in an instant the false medium, the deceitful vision, which had thus
allured me into what the world calls "an affair of honour."  "Honour,"
good Heaven! had made me a murderer, and the voice of my brother's blood
cried out for vengeance.

The manly and athletic form, which one minute before excited my most
malignant hatred, when now prostrate and speechless became an object of
frantic affection.  I ran to Talbot, and when it was too late perceived
the mischief I had done.  Murder, cruelty, injustice, and, above all,
the most detestable ingratitude, flushed at once into my over-crowded
imagination.  I turned the body round, and tried to discover if there
were any signs of life.  A small stream of blood ran from his side, and,
about two feet from him, was lost in the absorbing sand; while from the
violence of his fall the sand had filled his mouth and nostrils.  I
cleaned them out; and stanching the wound with my handkerchief, for the
blood flowed copiously at every respiration, I sat on the sea-shore by
his side, supporting him in my arms.  I only exclaimed, "Would to God
the shark, the poison, the sword of the enemy, or the precipice of
Trinidad, had destroyed me before this fatal hour!"

Talbot opened his languid eyes, and fixed them on me with a glassy
stare; but he did not speak.  Suddenly recollection seemed for a moment
to return--he recognised me, and, O God! his look of kindness pierced my
heart.  He made several efforts to speak, and at last said, in broken
accents, and at long and painful intervals.

"Look at letter--writing-desk--read all--explain--God bless--" His head
fell back, and he was dead!

Oh, how I envied him! had he been ten thousand times more guilty than I
had ever supposed him, it would have given no comfort to my mind.  I had
murdered him, and too late, I acknowledged his innocence.  I know not
why, and can scarcely tell how I did it, but I took off my neckcloth,
and bound it tightly round his waist, over the wound.  The blood ceased
to flow.  I left the body, and returned to our lodging, in a state of
mental prostration and misery proportioned to the heat and excitement
with which I had quitted it.

My first object was to read the letters which my poor friend had
referred to.  On my arrival, both our servants were up.  My hands and
clothes were dyed with blood, and they looked at me with astonishment.
I ran hastily upstairs to avoid them, and took the writing-desk, the key
of which I knew hung to his watch-chain.  Seizing the poker, I split it
open, and took out the packet he mentioned.  At this moment his servant
entered the room.

"_Et mon maitre, monsieur, ou est-il_?"

"I have murdered him," said I, "and you will find him on the sands, near
the signal-post; and," continued I, "I am now robbing him!"

My appearance and actions seemed to prove the truth of my assertion.
The man flew out of the room; but I was regardless of everything, and
even wonder why I should have given my attention to the letters at all,
especially as I had now convinced myself of Talbot's innocence.  The
packet, however, I did read; and it consisted of a series of letters
between Talbot and his father, who had engaged him to a young lady of
rank and fortune, without consulting him--_un mariage de convenance_--
which Talbot had resisted in consequence of his attachment to Clara.

I have already stated that Talbot of high aristocratic family; and this
marriage being wished for by the parents of both parties, they had given
it out as being finally settled to take place on the return of Talbot to
England.  In the last letter, the father had yielded to his entreaties
in favour of Clara; only requesting him not to be precipitate in
offering himself, as he wished to find some excuse for breaking off the
match; and, above all, he fatally enjoined profound secrecy till the
affair was arranged.  Here, then, was everything explained.  Indeed,
before I had read these letters, my mind did not need this damning proof
of his innocence and my guilt.

Just as I had finished reading, the _gendarmes_ entered my room, and,
with the officers of justice, led me away to prison.  I walked
mechanically.  I was conducted to a small building in the centre of a
square.  This was a _cachot_ with an iron-grated window on each of its
four sides, but without glass.  There was no bench, or table, or
anything but the bare walls and the pavement.  The wind blew sharply
through.  I had not even a great-coat; but I felt no cold or personal
inconvenience, for my mind was too much occupied by superior misery.
The door closed on me, and I heard the bolts turn.  There was not an
observation made on either part, and I was left to myself.

"Well," said I, "fate has now done its worst, and fortune will be weary
at last of tormenting a wretch that she can sink no lower!  Death has no
terrors for me; and, after death--!"  But, even in my misery, I scarcely
gave a thought to what might happen in futurity.  It might occasionally
have obtruded itself on my mind, but was quickly dismissed: I had
adopted the atheistical creed of the French Revolution.

"Death is eternal sleep, and the sooner I go to sleep the better!"
thought I.  The only point that pressed itself on my mind was, the dread
of a public execution.  This my pride revolted at; for pride had again
returned, and resumed its empire, even in my _cachot_.

As the day dawned, the noise of the carts and country people coming into
the square with their produce, roused me from my reverie, for I had not
slept.  The prison was surrounded by all ages and all classes, to get a
sight of the English murderer; and the light and the air were stopped
out of each window by human faces pressed against the bars.  I was gazed
at as a wild beast; and the children, as they sat on their mother's
shoulders to look at me, received a moral lesson and a warning at my
expense.

As a tiger in his cage wearies the eye by incessantly walking and
turning, so I paced my den; and if I could have reached one of the
impertinent gazers, through the slanting aperture and three-foot wall, I
should have throttled him.  "All these people," said I, "and thousands
more, will witness my last moments on the scaffold!"

Stung with this dreadful thought, with rage I searched in my pockets for
my penknife, to relieve me at once from my torments and apprehensions;
and had I found it, I should certainly have committed suicide.
Fortunately I had left it at home, or it would have been buried, in that
moment of frenzy, in the carotid artery; for, as well as others, I knew
exactly where to find it.

The crowd at length began to disperse; the windows were left, except now
and then an urchin of a boy showed his ragged head at the _grille_.
Worn out with bodily fatigue and mental suffering, I was going to throw
myself along upon the cold stones, when I saw the face of my own
servant, who advanced in haste to the window of the prison, exclaiming
with joy:--

"_Courage, mon cher maitre; Monsieur Talbot n'est pas mort_!"

"Not dead!" exclaimed I, falling unconsciously on my knees, and lifting
up my clasped hands and haggard eyes to heaven; "not dead!  God be
praised.  At least there is a hope that I may escape the crime of
murder."

Before I could say more, the mayor entered my _cachot_ with the officers
of the police, and informed me that a _proces-verbal_ had been held;
that my friend had been able to give the clearest answers to all their
questions; and that it appeared from the evidence of _Monsieur Talbot_
himself, that it was an _affaire d'honneur_, fairly decided; that the
brace of pistols found in the water had confirmed his assertions: "and
therefore, _monsieur_," continued the mayor, "whether your friend lives
or dies _tout a ete fait en regle, et vous etes libre_."

So saying, he bowed very politely, and pointed to the door; nor was I so
ceremonious as to beg him to show me the way; out I ran, and flew to the
apartment of Talbot, who had sent my servant to say how much he wished
to see me.  I found him in bed.  As I entered, he held out his hand to
me, which I covered with kisses and bathed with my tears.

"O Talbot!" said I, "can you forgive me?"

He squeezed my hand, and from exhaustion let it fall.  The surgeon led
me out of the room, saying, "All depends on his being kept quiet."  I
then learned that he owed his life to two circumstances--the first was,
my having bound my neckcloth round the wound; the other was, that the
duel took place below high-water mark.  The tide was rising when I left
him; and the cold waves as they rippled against his body, had restored
him to animation.  In this state he was found by his servant, not many
minutes before the flood would have covered him, for he had not strength
to move out of its way.  I ascertained also that the ball had entered
his liver, and had passed out without doing further injury.

I now dressed myself, and devoutly thanking God for His miraculous
preservation, took my seat by the bedside of the patient, which I never
quitted until his perfect recovery.  When this was happily completed, I
wrote to my father and to Clara, giving both an exact account of the
whole transaction.  Clara, undeceived, made no scruple of acknowledging
her attachment.  Talbot was requested by his father to return home.  I
accompanied him as far as Calais, where we parted; and in a few weeks
after, I had the pleasure of hearing that my sister had become his wife.

Left to myself, returned slowly, and much depressed in spirits, to
Quillacq's; where, ordering post-horses, I threw myself into my
travelling-carriage into which my valet had by my orders previously
placed my luggage.

"Where are you going to, _monsieur_?" said the valet.

"_Au diable_!" said I.

"_Mais les passeports_?" said the man.

I felt that I had sufficient passports for the journey I had proposed;
but correcting myself, said, "to Switzerland."  It was the first name
that came into my head; and I had heard that it was the resort of all my
countrymen whose heads, hearts, lungs, or finances were disordered.  But
during my journey, I neither saw nor heard anything, consequently took
no notes, which my readers will rejoice at, because they will be spared
that inexhaustible supply to the trunk-makers, "A tour through France
and Switzerland."  I travelled night and day; for I could not sleep.
The allegory of Io and the gad-fly in the heathen mythology, must surely
have been intended to represent the being who, like myself, was
tormented by a bad conscience.  Like Io I flew; and like her, I was
pursued by the eternal gad-fly, wherever I went; and in vain did I try
to escape it.

I passed the Great St. Bernard on foot.  This interested me as I
approached it.  The mountains below, and the Alps above, were one mass
of snow and ice, and I looked down with contempt on the world below me.
I took up my abode in the convent for some time; my ample contributions
to the box in the chapel made me a welcome sojourner beyond the limited
period allowed to travellers, and I felt less and less inclined to quit
the scene.  My amusement was climbing the most frightful precipices,
followed by the large and faithful dogs, and viewing Nature in her
wildest and most sublime attire.  At other times, when bodily fatigue
required rest, I sat down, with morbid melancholy, in the receptacle for
the bodies of those unfortunate persons who had perished in the show.
There would I remain for hours, musing on their fate: the purity of the
air admitted neither putrefaction nor even decay, for a very
considerable time; and they lay, to all appearance, as if the breath had
even then only quitted them, although, on touching those who had been
there for years, they would often crumble into dust.

Roman Catholics, we know, are ever anxious to make converts.  The prior
asked me whether I was not a Protestant?  I replied, that I was of no
religion; which answer was, I believe, much nearer to the truth than any
other I could have given.  The reply was far more favourable to the
hopes of the monks than if I had said I was a heretic or a Moslem.  They
thought me much more likely to become a convert to _their_ religion,
since I had none of my own to oppose it.  The monks immediately arranged
themselves in theological order, with the whole armour of faith, and
laid constant siege to me on all sides; but I was not inclined to any
religion, much less to the one I despised.  I would sooner have turned
Turk.

I received a letter from poor unhappy Eugenia--it was the last she ever
wrote.  It was to acquaint me with the death of her lovely boy, who,
having wandered from the house, had fallen into a trout-stream, where he
was found drowned some hours after.  In her distracted state of mind she
could add no more than her blessing, and a firm conviction that we
should never meet again in this world.  Her letter concluded
incoherently; and although I should have said, in the morning, that my
mind had not room for another sorrow, yet the loss of this sweet boy,
and the state of his wretched mother, found a place in my bosom for a
time, to the total exclusion of all other cares.  She requested me to
hasten to her without delay, if I wished to see her before she died.

I took leave of the monks, and travelled with all speed to Paris, and
thence to Calais.  Reaching Quillacq's hotel, I received a shock which,
although I apprehended danger, I was not prepared for.  It was a letter
from Eugenia's agent, announcing her death.  She had been seized with a
brain fever, and had died at a small town in Norfolk, where she had
removed soon after our last unhappy interview.  The agent concluded his
letter by saying that Eugenia had bequeathed me all her property, which
was very considerable, and that her last rational words to him were that
I was her first and her only love.

I was now callous to suffering.  My feelings had been racked to
insensibility.  Like a ship in a hurricane, the last tremendous sea had
swept everything from the decks--the vessel was a wreck, driving as the
storm might chance to direct.  In the midst of this devastation, I
looked around me, and the only object which presented itself to my mind,
as worthy of contemplation, was the tomb which contained the remains of
Eugenia and her child.  To that I resolved to repair.



CHAPTER TWENTY NINE.

  With sorrow and repentance true,
  Father, I trembling come to you.
  SONG.

I arrived at the town where poor Eugenia had breathed her last, and near
to which was the cemetery in which her remains were deposited.  I went
to the inn, whence, after having dismissed my post-boy and ordered my
luggage to be taken up to my room, I proceeded on foot towards the spot.
I was informed that the path lay between the church and the bishop's
palace.  I soon reached it: and inquiring for the sexton, who lived in a
cottage hard by, requested he would lead me to a certain grave, which I
indicated by tokens too easily known.

"Oh, you mean the sweet young lady as died of grief for the loss of her
little boy.  There it is," continued he, pointing with his finger; "the
white peacock is now sitting on the head-stone of the grave, and the
little boy is buried beside it."

I approached, while the humble sexton kindly withdrew, that I might,
without witnesses, indulge that grief which he saw was the burthen of my
aching heart.  The bird remained, but without dressing its plumage,
without the usual air of surprise and vigilance evinced by domestic
fowls when disturbed in their haunts: this poor creature was moulting;
its feathers were rumpled and disordered; its tail ragged.  There was no
beauty in the bird, which was probably only kept as a variety of the
species; and it appeared to me as if it had been placed there as a
lesson to myself, vain its modest attire, in its melancholy and pensive
attitude, it seemed, with its gaudy plumage, to have dismissed the world
and its vanities, while in mournful silence it surveyed the crowded
mementos of eternity.

"This is my office, not thine," said I, apostrophising the bird, which,
alarmed at my near approach, quitted its position, and disappeared among
the surrounding tombs, I sat down, and fixing my eyes on the name which
the tablet bore, ran over, in a hurried manner, all that part of my
career which had been more immediately connected with the history of
Eugenia.  I remembered her many virtues; her self-devotion for my honour
and happiness; her concealing herself from me, that I might not blast my
prospects in life by continuing an intimacy which she saw would end in
my ruin; her firmness of character, her disinterested generosity, and
the refinement of attachment which made her prefer misery and solitude
to her own gratification in the society of the man she loved.  She had,
alas! but one fault, and that fault was, loving me.  I could not drive
from my thoughts, that it was through my unfortunate and illicit
connection with her that I had lost all that made life dear to me.

At this moment (and not once since the morning I awoke from it) my
singular dream recurred to my mind.  The thoughts which never had once,
during my eventful voyage from the Bahamas to the Cape, and thence to
England, presented themselves in my waking hours, must certainly have
possessed my brain during sleep.  Why else should it never have occurred
to my rational mind that the connection with Eugenia would certainly
endanger that intended with Emily?  It was Eugenia that placed Emily in
mourning, out of my reach, and, as it were, on the top of the Nine-pin
Rock.

Here, then, my dream was explained; and I now felt all the horrors of
that reality which I thought at the time was no more than the effect of
a disordered imagination.  Yet I could not blame Eugenia; the poor girl
had fallen a victim to that deplorable and sensual education which I had
received in the cockpit of a man-of-war.  I--I alone was the culprit.
She was friendless, and without a parent to guide her youthful step; she
fell a victim to my ungoverned passions.  Maddened with anguish of head
and heart, I threw myself violently on the grave; I beat my miserable
head against the tombstones; I called with frantic exclamation on the
name of Eugenia; and at length sank on the turf, between the two graves,
in a state of stupor and exhaustion, from which a copious flood of tears
in some measure relieved me.

I was aroused by the sound of wheels and the trampling of horses; and
looking up, I perceived the bishop's carriage and four, with outriders,
pass by.  The livery and colour of the carriage were certainly what is
denominated quiet; but there was an appearance of state which indicated
that the owner had not entirely "renounced the pomps and vanities of
this wicked world," and my spleen was excited.

"Ah, sweep along," I bitterly muttered, "worthy type indeed of the
apostles!  I like the pride that apes humility.  Is that the way you
teach your flock to `leave all and follow me?'"  I started up suddenly,
saying to myself, "I will seek this man in his palace, and see whether I
shall be kindly received and consoled, or be repulsed by a menial."

The thought was sudden, and, being conceived almost in a state of
frenzy, was instantly executed.  "Let me try," said I, "whether a bishop
can administer to the mind diseased as well as a country curate."

I moved on with rapidity to the palace, more in a fit of desperation
than with a view of seeking peace of mind.  I rang loudly and vehemently
at the gate, and asked whether the bishop was at home.  An elderly
domestic, who seemed to regard me with astonishment, answered me in the
affirmative, and desired me to walk into an ante-room, while he
announced me to his master.

I now began to recall my scattered senses, which had been wandering, and
to perceive the absurdity of my conduct; I was therefore about to quit
the palace, into which I had so rudely intruded, without waiting for my
audience, when the servant opened the door and requested me to follow
him.

By what inscrutable means are the designs of Providence brought about!
While I thought I was blindly following the impulse of passion, I was,
in fact, guided by unerring Wisdom.  A prey to desperate and irritated
feelings, I anticipated, with malignant pleasure, that I should detect
hypocrisy--that one who ought to set an example, should be weighed by
me, and found wanting; instead of which I stumbled on my own salvation!
Where I expected to meet with pride and scorn, I met humility and
kindness; when I had looked around on the great circle bounded by the
visible horizon, and could perceive no friendly port into which I might
lay my shattered vessel, behold it was close at hand!

I followed the servant with a kind of stupid indifference, and was
ushered into the presence of a benevolent-looking old man, between sixty
and seventy years of age.  His whole external appearance, as well as his
white hairs, commanded respect amounting almost to admiration.  I was
not prepared to speak, which he perceived, and kindly began:

"As you are a stranger to me, I fear, from your care-worn countenance,
that it is no common occurrence which has brought you here.  Sit down:
you seem in distress; and if it is in my power to afford you relief, you
may be assured that I will do so."

There was in his manner and address an affectionate kindness which
overcame me.  I could neither speak nor look at him; but, laying my head
on the table, and hiding my face with my hands, I wept bitterly.  The
good bishop allowed me reasonable time to recover myself, and, with
extreme good-breeding, mildly requested that, if it were possible, I
would confide to him the cause of my affliction.

"Be not afraid or ashamed, my good lad," said he, "to tell me your
sorrows.  If we have temporal blessings, we do not forget that we are
but the almoners of the Lord: we endeavour to follow his example; but,
if I may judge from appearance, it is not pecuniary aid you have come to
solicit."

"No, no," replied I; "it is not money that I want:" but, choked with
excess of feeling, I could say no more.

"This is indeed a more important case than one of mere bodily want,"
said the good man.  "_That_ we might very soon supply; but there seems
something in your condition which requires our more serious attention.
I thank the Almighty for selecting me to this service; and, with His
blessing, we shall not fail of success."

Then, going to the door, he called to a young lady, who I afterwards
discovered was his daughter; and holding the door ajar as he spoke, that
I might not be seen in my distress, said, "Caroline, my dear, write to
the duke, and beg him to excuse my dining with him to-day.  Tell him
that I am kept at home by business of importance; and give orders that I
be not interrupted on any account."

He then turned the key in the door, and, drawing a chair close to mine,
begged me, in the most persuasive manner, to tell him everything without
reserve, in order that he might apply such a remedy as the case seemed
to demand.

I first asked for a glass of wine, which was instantly brought; he
received it at the door, and gave it to me with his own hand.

Having drunk it, I commenced the history of my life in a brief outline,
and ultimately told him all; nearly as much in detail as I have related
to the reader.  He listened to me with an intense and painful interest,
questioning me as to my feelings on many important occasions; and having
at length obtained from me an honest and candid confession, without any
extenuation--

"My young friend," said he, "your life has been one of peculiar
temptation and excess--much to deplore, much to blame, and much to
repent of; but the state of feeling which induced you to come to me is a
proof that you now only require that which, with God's help, I trust I
shall be able to supply.  It is now late, and we both of us require some
refreshment, I will order in dinner, and you must send to the inn for
your portmanteau."

Perceiving that I was about to answer--"I must take no denial," resumed
he.  "You have placed yourself under my care, as your physician, and you
must follow my prescriptions.  My duty is as much more important,
compared to the doctor's, as the soul is to the body."

Dinner being served, he dismissed the servants as soon as possible, and
then asked me many questions relative to my family, all of which I
answered without reserve.  He once mentioned Miss Somerville; but I was
so overcome, that he perceived my distress, and filling me a glass of
wine, changed the subject.

If I thought that any words of mine could do justice to the persuasive
discourses of this worthy bishop, I would have benefited the world by
making them public; but I could not do this; and I trust that none of my
readers will have so much need of them as I had myself.  I shall
therefore briefly state, that I remained in the palace ten days, in the
most perfect seclusion.

Every morning the good bishop dedicated two or three hours to my
instruction and improvement; he put into my hands one or two books at a
time, with marks in them, indicating the pages which I ought to consult.
He would have introduced me to his family; but this I begged for a time
to decline, being too much depressed and out of spirits; and he indulged
me in my request of being allowed to continue in the apartments allotted
to me.

On the seventh morning, he came to me and after a short conversation,
informed me that business would require his absence for two or three
days, and that he would give me a task to employ me during the short
time he should be gone.  He then put into my hand a work on the
Sacrament.  "This," said he, "I am sure you will read with particular
attention, so that on my return I may invite you to the feast."  I
trembled as I opened the book, "Fear not, Mr Mildmay," said he; "I tell
you, from what I see of your symptoms, that the cure will be complete."

Having said this, he gave me his blessing, and departed.  He returned
exactly at the end of three days, and after a short examination, said he
would allow me to receive the Sacrament, and that the holy ceremony
should take place in his own room privately, well knowing how much
affected I should be.  He brought in the bread and wine; and having
consecrated and partaken of them himself, agreeably to the forms
prescribed, he made a short extempore prayer in my behalf.

When he had done this, he advanced towards me, and presented the bread.
My blood curdled as I took it in my mouth; and when I had tasted the
wine, the type of the blood of that Saviour whose wounds I had so often
opened afresh in my guilty career, and yet upon the merits of which I
now relied for pardon, I felt a combined sensation of love, gratitude,
and joy a lightness and buoyancy of spirits, as if I could have left the
earth below me, disburthened of a weight that had, till then, crushed me
to the ground.  I felt that I had faith--that I was a new man--and that
my sins were forgiven; and, dropping my head on the side of the table, I
remained some minutes in grateful and fervent prayer.

The service being ended, I hastened to express my acknowledgments to my
venerable friend.

"I am but the humble instrument, my dear young friend," said the bishop;
"let us both give thanks to the Almighty Searcher of hearts.  Let us
hope that the work is perfect--for then you will be the occasion of `joy
in heaven.'  And now," continued he, "let me ask you one question.  Do
you feel in that state of mind that you could bear any affliction which
might befall you, without repining?"

"I trust, sir," answered I, "that I could bear it, not only cheerfully,
but thankfully; and I now acknowledge that it is good for me that I have
been in trouble."

"Then all is right," said he; "and with such feelings I may venture to
give you this letter, which I promised the writer to deliver with my own
hand."

As soon as my eye caught the superscription, "Gracious Heaven!"
exclaimed I, "it is from my Emily."

"Even so," said the bishop.

I tore it open.  It contained only six lines, which were as follows:

  "Our mutual kind friend the bishop has proved to me how proud and how
  foolish I have been.  Forgive me, dear Frank, for I too have suffered
  much; and come as soon as possible to your ever affectionate EMILY."

This, then, was the object of the venerable bishop's absence.  Bending
beneath age and infirmity, he had undertaken a journey of three hundred
miles, in order to ensure the temporal as well as eternal welfare of a
perfect stranger--to effect a reconciliation, without which he saw that
my worldly happiness was incomplete.  I was afterwards informed, that
notwithstanding the weight of his character and holy office, he had
found Emily more decided in her rejection than he had anticipated; and
it was not until he had sharply rebuked her for her pride and
unforgiving temper, that she could be brought to listen with patience to
his arguments.  But having at length convinced her that the tenure of
her own hopes depended on the forgiveness of others, she relented,
acknowledged the truth of his remarks, and her undiminished affection
for me.  While she made this confession, she was in the same position
before the bishop that I was when I received her letter--on my knees,
and in tears.

He gave me his hand, raised me up, "And now, my young friend," said he,
"let me give you one caution.  I hope and I trust that your repentance
is sincere.  If it be not, the guilt must rest on your head; but I trust
in God that all is as it should be.  I will not, therefore, detain you
any longer: you must be impatient to be gone.  Refreshment is prepared
for you: my horses will take you the first stage.  Have you funds
sufficient to carry you through? for it is a long journey, as my old
bones can testify."

I assured him that I was sufficiently provided; and, expressing my
thanks for his kindness, wished that it was in my power to prove my
gratitude.  "Put me to the test, my lord," said I, "if you possibly
can."

"Well, then," replied he, "I will.  When the day for your union with
Miss Somerville is fixed, allow me to have the pleasure of joining your
hands, should it please God to spare me so long.  I have removed the
disease; but I must trust to somebody else to watch and prevent a
relapse.  And believe me, my dear friend, however well inclined a man
may be to keep in the straight path, he gains no little support from the
guidance and example of a lovely and virtuous woman."

I promised readily all he asked; and, having finished a slight lunch,
again shook hands with the worthy prelate, jumped into my carriage, and
drove off.  I travelled all night; and the next day was in the society
of those I loved, and who had ever loved me, in spite of all my
perverseness and folly.

A few weeks after, Emily and I were united by the venerable bishop, who,
with much emotion, gave us his benediction; and, as the prayer of the
righteous man availeth much, I felt that it was recorded in our favour
in heaven.  Mr Somerville gave the bride away.  My father, with Talbot
and Clara, were present; and the whole of us, after all my strange
vicissitudes, were deeply affected at this reconciliation and union.





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This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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