Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

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

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Cruise of the Frolic" ***

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



The Cruise of the Frolic, by W.H.G. Kingston.

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________
THE CRUISE OF THE FROLIC, BY W.H.G. KINGSTON.



PREFACE.

By Barnaby Brine, Esq, RN.

The "Cruise of the `Frolic'" has already met with so many marks of
favour, that it is hoped it will be welcomed not the less warmly in its
new and more attractive form.  The yachting world especially received
the narrative of my adventures in good part; two or three, however,
among whom was the O'Wiggins, insisted that I had caricatured them, and
talked of demanding satisfaction at the point of the sword, or the
muzzle of a pistol.  I assured them then, as I do now, that on the word
of an officer and a gentleman, I had not the slightest intention of
wounding the feelings of any human being; and I entreated their pardon,
if in shooting at a venture I had hit an object at which I had not taken
aim.

I can only say, that I hope my readers may experience as much pleasure
in perusing my adventures, as I had in writing them, and, I may add,
again feel, in looking over the pages which recall so many of the
amusing scenes and incidents of my yachting days--a pleasure which will,
I feel sure, be shared by my companions in the adventures I have
described.

No one with any yachting experience will venture to say that the tale is
improbable, although it may be confessed that when an author takes pen
in hand, he is apt to throw an air of romance over events which, if told
in a matter-of-fact manner, would be received as veracious history; and
such is the plea which I have to offer for the truth of the following
narrative of my yachting experience many summers ago.



CHAPTER ONE.

A YACHTSMAN'S LAMENT--THE "FROLIC," AND THE FROLICKERS.

What yachtsman can ever forget the beautiful scene Cowes Road presented
on a regatta morning in the palmy days of the club, when the broad
pennant of its noble commodore flew at the masthead of his gallant
little ship, the "Falcon," and numberless beautiful craft, of all rigs
and sizes, with the white ensign of St. George at their peaks, and the
red cross and crown in their snowy burgees aloft, willingly followed the
orders of their honoured leader?  Then, from far and near, assembled
yachts and pleasure-boats, of all degrees, loaded with eager passengers
to witness the regatta; and no puffing, blowing, smoking, rattling
steamers came to create discord on the ocean, and to interfere with the
time-honoured monopoly of the wind in propelling vessels across the
watery plain.  Small thanks to the man whose impertinently-inquisitive
brain could not let the lid of his tea-kettle move up and down at its
pleasure without wanting to know the cause of the phenomenon!  Smaller
to him who insisted on boiling salt water on the realms of Old Neptune!
Stern enemy to the romance and poetry of a life on the ocean!  Could you
not be content to make carriages go along at the rate of forty miles an
hour over the hard land, without sending your noisy, impudent demagogues
of machines to plough up the waves of the sea, which have already quite
enough to do when their lawful agitator thinks fit to exert his
influence?  It was a work of no slight difficulty and risk to cruise in
and out among the innumerable craft at anchor, and dodging about under
sail just when the yachts were preparing to start.  I doubt whether many
of your "turn-a-head and back her" mariners, with their chimney-sweep
faces, would possess seamanship enough to perform the feat without
fouling each other every instant.  But I must not go on harping on the
smoke-jacks.  Back, memory! back, to those glorious yachting days.  Of
the regatta I am treating.  While afloat, all was movement, gaiety, and
excitement; there was not less animation on shore.  The awning of the
club-house shaded crowds of gay visitors; and on the broad esplanade in
front of it were drawn up the carriages-and-four of the noble house of
Holmes, and those of Barrington and Simeon, with blood-red hands
emblazoned on their crests; while, in like style, some might by chance
come over from Appuldercombe, and others of equal rank from the east and
the west end of the island; and thus, what with booths of gingerbread
and bands of music, scarcely standing-room was to be found on the quays
during the day, while every hotel and lodging was overflowing at night.
And then the ball! what lofty rank, what a galaxy of beauty, was to be
seen there!  And the fireworks! what a splutter, what a galaxy of bright
stars they afforded!  Alas, alas! how have they faded! how have they
gone out!  The pride of Cowes has departed, its monopoly is no more, its
regattas and its balls are both equalled, if not surpassed, by its
younger rivals!  "Tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis."  I am now
about to speak of times when that change had already commenced, and the
fleets of the Ryde, the Thames, the Western, the Irish, and other clubs
dotted the ocean.  The first day of a Cowes Regatta broke fair and
lovely, then down came the rain in torrents to disappoint the hopes of
the pleasure-seekers, like the clouds which at every turn beset our path
in life; but again, as they do happily in our mortal course, the clouds
passed away, and the sun shone forth bright, warm, and cheering; a light
air sprang up from the westward, and the whole scene on shore and afloat
looked animated, joyous, and beautiful.  While the rain-drops were still
hanging on the trees, a large party of ladies and gentlemen collected on
the Yacht Club slip, by the side of which were two gigs, their fine,
manly crews, with their oars in the air, ready to receive them.  Three
or four servants followed, laden with cloaks and plaids, to guard
against a repetition of the shower; and several white baskets, of no
mean proportions, showed that delicacies were provided from the shore
which might not be found afloat.  Never was a merrier set of people
collected together.  Cheerful voices and shouts of laughter emanated
from them on all sides.

"Who's for the first boat?" sung out Ned Hearty, the owner of the
"Frolic."  Ned had tried shooting, hunting, and every other amusement
which the brain of man has invented to kill time; and he was now trying
yachting, which he seemed to enjoy amazingly, though practically he knew
very little about it; but I never met a man, green from the shore, so
'cute in taking in the details of marine affairs.  In a week he could
box the compass, knew the names of all the sails and most of the ropes
of his craft, and had a slight notion of steering, though I'll wager he
never touched a tiller in his life before.  "I say, old fellow," he
continued, turning to me--I had joined him the day before, and had taken
up my quarters on board for a spell--"do you take charge of the first
gig, and see some of the ladies safe on board.  Send her back, though,
for the two boats won't hold us all, and the Cardiffs and Lorimer have
not come down yet."

"Very well: I can stow four ladies and three gentlemen," I answered,
stepping into the boat, and offering my hand to Miss Seaton, who was
considered the belle of the party by most of the men: at all events, she
was the most sought after, for she was that lovable thing, an heiress.
She took her seat, and looked up with her soft blue eyes to see who was
next coming.

"We'll go in the first! we'll go in the first?" exclaimed the two Miss
Rattlers, in one breath; and forthwith, without ceremony, they jumped
into the boat, disdaining my proffered aid.  Fanny Rattler, the eldest,
was dark, with fine flashing eyes and a _petite_ figure; but Susan was
the girl for fun.  She had not the slightest pretension to beauty, of
which she was well aware; but she did not seem to care a pin about it:
and such a tongue for going as she had in her head! and what funny
things it said!--the wonder was it had not worn out long ago.

"Who'll come next?"  I asked.  "Come, Miss May Sandon, will you?"  She
nodded, and gave her delicate little hand into my rough paw.  She was
one of three sisters who were about to embark.  They were all fair, and
very pretty, with elegant figures, and hair with a slight touch of
auburn, and yet they were not, wonderful as it may seem, alike in
feature.  This made them more attractive, and there was no mistaking one
for the other.  The three gentlemen who presented themselves were Harry
Loring, a fine, good-looking fellow, a barrister by profession, but
briefless, and the younger son of Sir John and Lady Loring.  He was a
devoted admirer of Miss Seaton.  The next was Sir Francis Futtock, a
post-captain, and a right honest old fellow.  "Here, I must go, to act
propriety among you youngsters," he said, as he stepped into the boat.
The third, Will Bubble, the owner of a small yacht called the "Froth,"
laid up that year for want, as he confessed, of quicksilver to float
her.  Will, like many a man of less wisdom, had been, I suspect,
indulging in railway speculations, and if he had not actually burnt his
fingers, he had found his capital safely locked up in lines which don't
pay a dividend.  "Shove off!" was the word; and I, seizing the
yoke-lines, away we went towards the "Frolic."

"I say, Sir Francis, take care they behave properly,--don't discredit
the craft," sung out her owner.  "No flirtations, remember, till we get
on board--all start fair."

"Hear that, young ladies," said Sir Francis, looking, however, at Miss
Seaton, whereat a _soupcon_ of rosy tint came into her fair cheek, and
her bright eyes glanced at her own delicate feet, while Henry Loring
tried to look nohow, and succeeded badly.

"I vote for a mutiny against such restrictions," cried Miss Susan
Rattler.  "I've no idea of such a thing.  Come, Sir Francis, let you and
me set the example."

The gallant officer, who had only seen the fair Susan two or three times
before, stared a little, and laughingly reminded her that he, as a naval
man, should be the last to disobey the orders of the commander-in-chief.
"Though faith, madam," he added, "the temptation to do so is very
great."

"There, you've begun already with a compliment, Sir Francis," answered
Miss Susan, laughing; "I must think of something to say to you in
return."

She had not time, however, before the whole party were put in terror of
their lives by a large schooner-yacht, which, without rhyme or reason,
stood towards the mouth of the harbour, merely for the sake of standing
out again, and very nearly ran us down, as she went about just at the
moment she should not.  We did not particularly bless the master, who
stood at the helm with white kid gloves on his hands, one of which
touched the tiller, the other held a cambric handkerchief to his nose,
the scent of which Bubble declared he could smell as we passed to
leeward.  Two minutes more took us alongside the "Frolic."  She was a
fine cutter of between ninety and a hundred tons; in every respect what
a yacht should be, though not a racer; for Ned Hearty liked his ease and
his fun too much to pull his vessel to pieces at the very time he most
wanted to use her.  She did not belong to the Cowes squadron; but Ryde
owned her, and Ryde was proud of her, and the red burgee of the Royal
Victoria Yacht Club flew at her masthead.  The water was perfectly
smooth, so the ladies stepped on board without any difficulty.  The
gentlemen were busily engaged in arranging the cloaks and cushions for
the ladies, while the other boats were coming off.  In the next came,
under charge of Captain Carstairs, who was yachting regularly with
Hearty, Mrs Sandon, and two more of her fair daughters.  Mamma was a
very amiable gentlewoman, and had been a brunette in her youth, not
wanting in prettiness, probably.

Then came a Mrs Skyscraper, a widow, pretty, youngish--that is to say,
not much beyond thirty--and with a good jointure at her own disposal;
and a very tall young lady, Miss Mary Masthead by name, a regular jolly
girl, though, who bid fair to rival the Rattlers.  Then there was Master
Henry Flareup perched in the bows, a precocious young gentleman, waiting
for his commission, and addicted to smoking; not a bad boy in the main,
however, and full of good nature.  Hearty himself came off last with
what might be considered the aristocracy of the party--Lady and Miss
Cardiff, Lord Lorimer, and the Honourable Mrs Topgallant; and with them
was young Sandon, an Oxonian, and going into a cavalry regiment.  Her
ladyship was one of those persons who look well and act well, and
against whom no one can say a word; while Clara Cardiff was a general
favourite with all sensible men, and even the women liked her; she
talked a great deal, but never said a silly thing, and, what is more,
never uttered an unkind one.  She was so incredulous, too, that she
never believed a bit of scandal, and (consequently, or rather, for such
would not in all cases be the _sequitur_) at all events she never
repeated one.  She was not exactly pretty, but she had a pair of eyes,
regular sparklers, which committed a great deal of mischief, though she
did not intend it; her figure was _petite_ and perfect for her height,
and she was full of life and animation.  Mrs Topgallant was proud of
her high descent, and a despiser of all those who had wealth, the
advantages arising from which they would not allow her to enjoy.  It was
whispered that her liege lord was hard up in the world--not a very rare
circumstance now-a-days.  I almost forgot Lord Lorimer.  He was a young
man--a very good fellow--slightly afraid of being caught, perhaps, and
consequently very likely to be so.  The Miss Sandons, in their quiet
way, set their caps at him; Jane Seaton looked as if she wished he would
pay her more attention; and Mrs Skyscraper thought his title very
pretty; but the Rattler girls knew that he was a cut above them; and
Clara Cardiff treated him with the same indifference that she did the
rest of the men.  Such was the party assembled on board the "Frolic."

I have not yet described the "Frolic," which, as it turned out, was to
be my home--and a very pleasant home, too, for many a month on the ocean
wave; and yet she was well worthy of a description.  She had the first
requisite for a good sea-boat--great breadth of beam, with sharp bows,
and a straightish stem.  Her bulwarks were of a comfortable height, and
she was painted black outside; her copper, of its native hue, was
varnished so as to shine like a looking-glass.  Some people would have
thought her deck rather too much encumbered with the skylights; but I am
fond of air; provided there are ample means of battening them down in
case of a heavy sea breaking on board, they are to be commended.  A
thorough draught can thus always be obtained by having the foremost and
aftermost skylights open at the same time; in a warm climate, an
absolute necessity.  Besides her main cabin, she had five good-sized
sleeping-cabins, a cabin for the master and chief mate, store-rooms, and
pantries; a large fore cuddy for the men; and Soyer himself would not
have despised the kitchen range.  I might expatiate on the rosewood
fittings of her cabin, on the purity of her decks, on the whiteness of
her canvas and ropes, on the bright polish of the brass belaying-pins,
stanchions, davits, and guns, and on the tiller with the head of a
sea-fowl exquisitely carved; but, suffice it to say, that, even to the
most fastidious taste, she was perfect in all her details.  Before
Hearty came down I had engaged a crew for him, and as soon as he arrived
on board, I mustered them aft in naval fashion.  They were, truly, a
fine-looking set of fellows, as they stood hat in hand, dressed in plain
blue frocks and trousers, the ordinary costume of yachtsmen, with the
name of "Frolic" in gold letters on the black ribbon which went round
their low-crowned hats.  The name of the master was Snow.  He was a
thorough sea-dog, who had spent the best part of his life in smuggling,
but not finding it answer of late, had grown virtuous, and given up the
trade.  He was clean and neat in his person; and as he appeared in his
gold-laced cap, and yacht-buttons on his jacket, he looked every inch
the officer.  Odd enough, the name of one of the other men was Sleet, so
Carstairs chose to dub the rest, Hail, Ice, Frost, Rain, Mist, Thaw, and
so on; while one of the boys always went by the name of Drizzle.  Hearty
had brought down his own man, but was very soon obliged to send him on
shore again; for John, though an excellent groom, proved a very bad
sailor.  Among other disqualifications, he was invariably sick, and
could never learn to keep his legs.  The first day we got under weigh,
he caught hold of the swing table, and sent all the plates and dishes
flying from it.  After breakfast he hove overboard half a dozen silver
forks and spoons when shaking the tablecloth; and as he went to
windward, of course all the crumbs and egg-tops came flying over the
deck.  Indeed, it were endless to mention all the inexcusable atrocities
poor John committed.  On his retiring on sick leave, we shipped a
sea-steward to serve in his stead, who, having been regularly brought up
on board yachts, proved himself admirable in his department; but a more
impudent rascal to all strangers whom he thought not likely to know his
master, I never met.

Who can fail to look with pleasure at the mouth of the Medina on a fine
summer's day, filled as the roadstead is with numerous fine yachts, as
well fitted to contend with the waves and tempests in a voyage round the
world as the largest ship afloat!  The scenery itself is beautiful--a
charming combination of wood and water.  On one side, to the east,
Norris Castle, with its ivy-crowned turrets and waving forest; on the
other, the church-spire peeping amid the trees; and the pretty
collection of villas climbing the heights, and extending along the shore
from the Club-house and Castle to Egypt Point, with the fine wild downs
beyond.  On the opposite coast, the wooded and fertile shores of
Hampshire; the lordly tower of Eaglehurst, amid its verdant groves; and
Calshot Castle on its sandy beach, at the mouth of the Southampton
Water; while far away to the east are seen, rising from the ocean, the
lofty masts and spars of the ships-of-war at Spithead, and the buildings
in the higher parts of Ryde; altogether forming a picture perfect and
unrivalled in its kind.  Osborne--fit abode of Her Majesty of England--
has now sprung up, and added both dignity and beauty to the scene.



CHAPTER TWO.

TREATS OF THE REGATTA AND DINNER ON BOARD THE "FROLIC."

"What shall we do?  Which way shall we go?" was the cry from all hands.

"Accompany the yachts to the eastward, and haul our wind in time to be
back before the flood makes," was Will Bubble's suggestion, and it was
approved of and acted on.

We watched the yachts starting, and a very pretty sight it was; but I
have not the slightest recollection of their names, except that they are
mostly those which have sailed before at Ryde.  It is the _tout
ensemble_ of a regatta which makes up the interest; the white sails
moving about, the number of craft dressed out with gay colours, the
bands of music, the cheers as the winners pass the starting vessel, the
eagerness of the men in the boats pulling about with orders, the firing
of guns, the crowd on shore, the noise and bustle; and yet no dust, nor
heat, nor odours disagreeable as at horse-races, where abominations
innumerable take away half the pleasure of the spectacle.  A gun was
fired for the yachts to take their stations and prepare; a quarter of an
hour flew by--another was heard loud booming along the water, and up
went the white folds of canvas like magic--mainsail, gaff-topsail,
foresail, and jib altogether.  A hand ran aloft to make fast the
gaff-topsail-sheet the moment the throat was up, and while they were
still swaying away on the peak.

Every man exerts himself to the utmost--what muscular power and activity
is displayed!  There is not one on board who is not as eager for victory
as the owner.  What a crowd of canvas each tiny hull supports.  What a
head to the gaff-topsail, as long as that of the mainsail itself!  And
then the jib, well may it be called a balloon; it looks as if it could
lift the vessel out of the water and carry her bodily along; it can only
be set when she is going free; another is stopped along the bowsprit
ready to hoist as she hauls close up to beat back.  Huzza! away glide
the beautiful beings--they look as if they had life in them; altogether,
not two seconds' difference in setting their sails--a magnificent start!
This beats the turf hollow: no slashing and cutting the flanks of the
unfortunate horses, no training of the still more miserable jockeys;
after all of which, you see a flash of yellow, or green, or blue
jackets, and in a few minutes every thing is over, and you hear that
some horse has won, and some thousands have slipped out of the hands of
one set of fools into those of another set, who, if wiser, are perhaps
not more respectable.  Now, consider what science is required to plan a
fast yacht, what knowledge to build her, to cut and fashion her canvas--
to rig her.  What skill and hardihood in master and crew to sail her.
What fine manly qualities are drawn out by the life they lead.  Again I
say, Huzza for yachting!

Away glided the "Frolic" from her moorings, as the racing-yachts,
accompanied with a crowd of others, ran dead before the wind to the
eastward through Cowes Roads.  The whole Channel appeared covered with a
wide spread of canvas, as we saw them stem on with their mainsails over
on one side, and their immense square-sails boomed out on the other.
Everybody on board was pleased, some uttered loud exclamations of
delight, even the Miss Sandons smiled.  They never expressed their
pleasure by any more extravagant method; in fact, they were not given to
admiration, however willing to receive it.

I wish two persons to be noted more particularly than the rest--our hero
and heroine, at least for the present; for what is a story, however
true, without them?  They were to be seen at the after-part of the
vessel--the one, the fair Jane Seaton, sitting on a pile of cushions,
and leaning against the side, while Harry Loring, the other, reclined on
a wrap-rascal at her feet, employed in looking up into her bright blue
eyes, as she unconsciously pulled to pieces a flower he had taken out of
his button-hole and given her.

"Wouldn't it be delightful to take a cruise to the Antipodes?" he asked.

"Yes," she answered.

"Just as we are now," he added, "with such a heaven above me."  He
looked meaningly into her blue eyes.

Sweet Jane blushed, as well she might.  What more in the same style he
said I don't know, for as she bent her head down, and he put his face
into her blue hood, not a word reached me.  By the by, all the ladies
wore blue silk hoods, formed after the model of the front of a
bathing-machine, and they were considered admirable contrivances to help
a quiet flirtation, as in the present instance, besides aiding in
preserving the complexion.

Hearty was rather bothered, I fancied.  He liked to be making love to
somebody, he declared, and Jane Seaton appeared to be a girl so much to
his taste, that, as he confessed, he felt rather spooney on her, and had
almost made up his mind to try his luck.  Foolish Jane!  Here was ten
thousand a year ready to throw himself at your feet instead of the
penniless youth who had so easily placed himself there.  How you would
have kicked had you known the truth!

"I say, Hearty, can't you find something for all these young people to
do to keep them out of mischief?" sung out Sir Francis.  "Remember the
proverb about idleness.  I tremble for the consequences."

"Fie, fie!" said Mrs Skyscraper.

"Fie, fie!" echoed Mrs Topgallant; "I'm ashamed of you."

"We'll try what can be done, Sir Francis," answered Hearty.  "Can you,
Bubble, devise something?"

"I have it," replied Will.  "Tablecloths, napkins, towels, and all sorts
of household linen came on board yesterday at Portsmouth unhemmed, so I
laid in a supply of needles and thread this morning on purpose for the
present emergency."

The rogue had put Sir Francis up to making the observation he had done.
In a few minutes a number of rolls of various sorts of linen were
brought on deck.  Some of the damsels protested that they had no
needles, and couldn't work and wouldn't work, till Sir Francis slyly
suggested that it was a trial to see who would make the most notable
wife; and without another objection being offered, all the fair hands
were employed in sewing away at a great rate, the gentlemen, meantime,
holding their parasols to shade them from the sun.  Carstairs was the
only exception.  He slyly went forward, and, taking out pencil and
paper, made a capital sketch of the various groups, under which he
wrote, "All for Love," and headed, "Distressed Needlewomen;" much to the
scandal of those who saw it.

The ladies, old and young, soon got tired of doing any thing, and the
announcement that dinner would be ready as soon as the company were, was
received with evident signs of satisfaction.  Hearty was a sensible
fellow, and determined to get rid of all bad London habits, so we dined
early on board; and then when we got back to port in the evening, we
used generally to repair to the house of one or other of the guests, and
enjoy a meal called by some a glorious tea, by others a yachting tea--in
fact, it was something like the supper of our ancestors, with tea and
coffee.  It mattered, therefore, nothing to us whether we got back at
eight, nine, or ten; no one waited dinner for us; indeed, Hearty never
would undertake to get back in time.  I should advise all yachting
people to follow the good example thus set them.

By general acclamation it was determined that we should dine on deck;
and Sir Francis, Bubble, and some of the more nautical gentlemen, set to
work to rig tables, which we accomplished in a very satisfactory manner,
and never was a better feast set before a more hungry party of ladies
and gentlemen.  Champagne was the favourite beverage; and certainly
Hearty did not stint his friends in it, though there was no lack of less
refined liquors.  Sir Francis, of course, proposed the health of Ned
Hearty; "and may there soon be a Mrs Hearty to steady the helm of the
Frolic!" were the last words of his speech.

Ned got up to return thanks.  He looked at Jane Seaton, but she had the
front of her bathing-machine turned toward Harry Loring, so did not see
him.  He made a long oration, and concluded by observing,--

"How can there be any difficulty in following the advice my gallant
friend, Sir Francis Futtock, has given me, when I see myself surrounded
by so many angelic creatures, any of whom a prince might be proud to
make his bride?"

Loud shouts of applause from the gentlemen--odd looks and doubtful
smiles from the chaperones--blushes deep from the young ladies--each one
of whom, who was not already in love, thought she should like to become
Mrs Hearty, provided Lord Lorimer did not ask her to become Lady
Lorimer; while Henry Flareup was discovered squeezing the hand of Miss
Mary Masthead.

"Oh that I were a prince, then!" whispered Loring into Miss Seaton's
blue shade.

Thus passed on the day.  If there was not much real wit, there was a
great deal of hearty laughter; and stores of health and good spirits
were laid in for the future.  Loring sang some capital songs, Carstairs
spouted, and Bubble floated about, throwing in a word whenever he saw
any one silent, or looking as if about to become dull; while young
Flareup, who was anxious to do his best, laughed loudly, for want of any
other talent to amuse the company.  As the vessels came to haul their
wind in order to save the tide back to Cowes, it was curious to observe
how they appeared to vanish.  One could scarcely tell what had become of
the immense crowd we had just before seen astern of us.  Scattered far
and wide in every direction, there seemed not to be one-quarter of the
number which were before to be seen.  We got back soon after eight
o'clock, every one assuring Hearty that they had spent a most delightful
day.



CHAPTER THREE.

A VOYAGE--THE MARINERS' RETURN.

"I say, old fellows, don't you find this rather slow?" exclaimed Hearty,
as one morning Carstairs, Bubble, and I sat at breakfast with him on
board the "Frolic."  "What say you to a cruise to the westward, over to
the coast of France and the Channel Islands, just for ten days or a
fortnight or so?"

"Agreed, agreed, agreed!" we all answered.

"Well, then, to-morrow or next day we sail," said Hearty.  "But how can
you, Carstairs, tear yourself away from your pretty widow?  Bubble, you
don't mean to say that you can leave sweet May Sandon without a sigh?"

"A little absence will try the widow; it will teach her to miss me, and
she will value me more when I return," was Carstairs' answer.  "But you,
Bubble, what do you say?" for he did not answer.

Will was guilty of blushing, for I saw the rosy hue appearing even
through his sunburnt countenance, though the others did not.

"That is the best thing we can do," he answered, with a loud laugh.
"Hurrah for the broad seas, and a rover's free life!"

"I thought so--I thought there was nothing in it," said Hearty.  "Happy
dog!--you never fall in love; you never care for any one."

"Ah, no: I laugh, sing, and am merry!" exclaimed Bubble.  "It's all very
well for you fellows with your five or ten thousand a year to fall in
love; you have hope to live on, if nothing else--no insurmountable
obstacles; but for poverty-stricken wretches, like me and a dozen more I
could name, it can only bring misery: yet I don't complain of poverty--
no cares, no responsibilities; if one has only one's self to look after,
it matters little; but should one unhappily meet with some being who to
one's eye is lovely, towards whom one's heart yearns unconsciously, and
one longs to make her one's own, then one begins to feel what poverty
really is--then the galling yoke presses on one's neck.  Can you then be
surprised that I, and such as I, throw care away, and become the light
frivolous wretches we seem?  Hearty, my dear fellow, don't you squander
your money, or you will repent it!"

Bubble spoke with a feeling for which few would have given him credit.
He directly afterwards, however, broke into his usual loud laugh,
adding,--

"Don't say that I have been moralising, or I may be suspected of
incipient insanity."

"Will Bubble has made out a clear case that he cannot be in love, for no
one accuses him of being overburdened with the gifts of fortune," I
observed; for I saw that he was more in earnest than he would have
wished to be supposed.  "But do you, Hearty, wish to desert Miss Seaton,
and leave the stage clear for Loring?"

"Oh, I never enter the lists with a man who can sing," answered Hearty.
"Those imitators of Orpheus have the same winning way about them which
their great master possessed.  But, at the same time, I'll bet ten to
one that the fair Jane never becomes Mrs Loring.  I had a little confab
the other day with Madame la Mere, and faith, she's about as fierce a
she-dragon as ever guarded an enchanted princess from the attempts of
knights-errant to rescue her."

"I'll take your bet, and for once stake love against lucre!" exclaimed
Bubble, and the bet was booked.

But enough of this.  We bade our friends farewell; and, in spite of all
their attempts to detain us, we laid in a stock of provisions to last us
for a month, and with a fine breeze from the northward, actually found
our way through the Needles just as the sun was tinging the topmost
pinnacles of those weather-worn rocks.

As soon as we were through the passage, we kept away, and shaped a
course for Havre de Grace.  The wind shifted round soon afterwards to
the westward, and I shall not forget the pure refreshing saltness of the
breeze which filled our nostrils, and added strength and vigour to our
limbs.  What a breakfast we ate afterwards!  There seemed no end to it.
Our caterer had done well to lay in a store of comestibles.  Our perfect
happiness lasted till nearly noon, and then the wind increased and the
sea got up in a not unusual manner.  We went below to take luncheon, and
we set to in first-rate style, as if there was no such thing as the
centre of gravity to be disturbed.  Carstairs began to look a little
queer.

"`Thus far into the bowels of the earth have we marched on without
impediment,' Shakespeare, hum"--he began.  He was going to give us the
whole speech, but instead, he exclaimed, "O ye gods and little fishes!"
and bolted up on deck.

Hearty, the joyous and free, followed.  They declared that they felt as
if the cook had mixed ipecacuanha in the sausages they had eaten for
breakfast.  Bubble laughed, lighted a cigar, and sat on the
companion-hatch with one leg resting on the deck, the other carelessly
dangling down, with the independence of a king on his throne, pitying
them.  Oh, how they envied him; how they almost hated him, as cigar
after cigar disappeared, and still there he sat without a sign of
discomposure!  At dark we made the Havre light, and an hour afterwards,
and an hour afterwards, the tide being high, we ran in and dropped our
anchor in smooth water.  Wonderful was the change which quietude worked
on all hands!

"Supper, supper!" was the cry.  Even Will and I did justice to it,
though we had had a quiet little dinner by ourselves in the midst of our
friends' agony, off pickled salmon and roast duck, with a gooseberry
tart and a bottle of champagne.

Next morning we sailed with the wind back again to the north-east, and,
notwithstanding the little inconveniences we had suffered on the passage
across, we stood to the westward, and heroically determined to run
through the Race of Alderney, to pay a visit to Jersey.  There was a
nice breeze, and I must say we were glad there was no more of it, as we
ran through the passage between Alderney and the French coast.  The
water seemed possessed; it tumbled and leaped and twisted and danced in
a most extraordinary and unnatural manner; and several seas toppled
right down on our decks, and we could not help fancying that some huge
fish had jumped on board.  However, with a fair wind and a strong tide
we were soon through it, nor was there danger of any sort; but from the
specimen we had we could judge what it would be in a strongish gale.
The wind had got round to the southward of west, and before we had
managed to weather Cape Gronez the tide turned against us.  Cape Gronez
is the north-west point of Jersey, and bears a strong similarity to the
nose of Louis Philippe, as his portrait used to be represented in
"Punch."  We had an opportunity of judging of it, for, for upwards of an
hour did we beat between it and those enticing rocks called very
properly the Paternosters, for if a ship once strikes on them, it is to
be hoped that the crew, being Roman Catholics, will, if they have time,
say their Paternosters before they go to the bottom.

At last it came on very thick, we ran back and anchored in a most
romantic little cove called Bouley Bay, where we remained all night,
hoping the wind would not shift to the northward, and send us on shore.
I should advise all timid yachtsmen to keep clear of Jersey, for what
with the rapid tides, and rocks innumerable, it is a very ticklish
locality.  The next morning we got under way at daybreak, and brought up
off Elizabeth Castle, which guards the entrance of the harbour of St.
Heliers.  I have not time to describe Jersey.  I can only recommend all
who have not seen it, and wish to enjoy some very beautiful scenery, to
go there.  Two days more saw us crossing to Torbay, which we reached on
the morning of the regatta.  Had an artist been employed to carve the
cliffs on which Torbay is situated, he could scarcely have made them
more picturesque, or added tints more suitable, except perhaps that they
are a little more red than one might wish.  However, it is a very
beautiful place, and admirably adapted for a regatta.

The bay before the town was crowded with yachts, and I counted no less
than fourteen large schooners, among which I remember the "Brilliant,"
which, however, should be called a ship, "Gypsy Queen," "Dolphin,"
"Louisa," and a vast number of cutters, a large proportion of which were
gayly dressed up with flags.  The course is round the bay, so that the
yachts are in sight the whole time--an advantage possessed by few other
places.  The "Heroine," "Cygnet," and "Cynthia," sailed, but the race
was not a good one, as the "Heroine," driven to windward by her
antagonist, ran her bowsprit into one of the mark boats, and another of
them, the "Cynthia," making a mistake, did not go round her at all.
Notwithstanding this, the sight was as beautiful of its kind as I ever
saw.  There was a ball at night, to which we went, and we flattered
ourselves that four dancing bachelors were not unwelcome.  We met a
number of acquaintances.  Hearty lost his heart for the tenth time since
he left London.  The Gentle Giant, as the Miss Rattlers called
Carstairs, looked out for a charmer, but could find none to surpass Mrs
Skyscraper.  Bubble laughed with all but sighed with none, though Hearty
accused him of flirtations innumerable; and I never chronicle my own
deeds, however fond I may be of noting those of my friends.  However, if
we did not break hearts, we passed a very pleasant evening.  Hearty
invited everybody he knew to come on board the next morning, and we went
as far as Dartmouth, and a beautiful sail back we had by moonlight, to
the great delight of the romantic portion of the guests.  They were a
very quiet set of ladies and gentlemen, and more than one sigh was
heaved when they had gone on shore for our fast friends at Cowes.

We were present at the Plymouth Regatta, and were going to several other
places, when, one day after dinner, Hearty thus gave utterance to his
thoughts.  We were about a quarter of the way across channel on our
passage to the French coast, with a stiffish breeze from the westward,
and a chopping sea:--

"It seems to me arrant folly that we four bachelors should keep turning
up the salt water all the summer, and boxing about from place to place
which we don't care to visit, when there are a number of fair ladies at
Cowes who are undoubtedly pining for our return."

"My own idea," exclaimed Carstairs.

"Your argument is unanswerable," said Bubble.

I nodded.

"All agreed--then we'll up stick for the Wight," said Hearty joyfully.
"The wind's fair.  We shall be there some time to-morrow.  Hillo, Jack!
beg the master to step below."

This was said to a lad who waited at table and assisted the steward.

Old Snow, the master, soon made his appearance.  He had been a yachtsman
for many years, and previously, if his yarns were to be believed, a
smuggler of no mean renown.  He was a short man, rather fat, for good
living had not been thrown away on him, and very neat and clean in his
person, as became the master of a yacht.

"We want to get back to Cowes, Snow," said Hearty.

"Yes, sir," answered the skipper, well accustomed to sudden changes in
the plans of his yachting masters.

"How soon can we get there?" asked Hearty.

"If we keeps away at once, and this here wind holds, early to-morrow;
but, if it falls light, not till the afternoon, maybe; and, if it chops
round to the eastward, not till next morning," replied Snow.

"By all means keep away at once, and get there as fast as you can," said
Hearty; and the master disappeared from the cabin.

Directly afterwards we heard him call the hands aft to case off the
main-sheet, the square-sail and gaff-topsail were set, and, by the
comparatively easy motion, we felt that we were running off before the
wind.  Not a little did it contribute to our comfort in concluding our
dinner.

The next day, at noon, saw us safely anchored in Cowes Roads.

"There's Mr Hearty and the Gentle Giant, I declare," exclaimed the
melodious voice of Miss Susan Rattler, from out of a shrubbery, as my
two friends were pacing along on the road towards Egypt, to call on Lady
Cardiff.

"Oh, the dear men! you don't say so, Susan!" replied her sister.

Bubble and I were close under them, a little in advance, so they did not
see us, though we could not avoid hearing what was said.

"Yes, it's them, I vow; we must attack them about the pic-nic
forthwith," said Susan.

"Don't mention Jane Seaton, or poor Ned will be too much out of spirits
to do any thing," observed her sister.

"Trust me to manage all descriptions of he-animals," replied Rattler
minima.  "Ah, how d'ye do?--how d'ye do?  Welcome, rovers, welcome!" she
exclaimed, waving her handkerchief as they approached.

"Lovely ladies, we once more live in your presence," began Hearty.

"`Oh that I were a glove upon that hand!'" shouted Carstairs.

"Oh, don't, you'll make us blush!" screamed Susan, from over the bushes.
"But seriously, we're so glad you're come, because now we can have the
pic-nic to Netley you promised us."

"I like frankness--when shall it be?" said Hearty.

"To-morrow, by all means,--never delay a good thing."

"`If 'twere done, 'twere well 'twere done quickly,'" observed the
captain.

"That's what Shakespeare says about a beef-steak," cried Susan.  "But I
say then, it's settled--how nice!"

"What? that we are to have beef-steaks?" asked Hearty.  "They are very
nice when one's hungry."

"No, I mean that we are to have a pic-nic to-morrow," said the fair
Rattler.

"That depends whether those we invite are willing to join it," observed
Hearty.

"`I can summon spirits from the vasty deep; but will they come,
cousin?'" exclaimed Carstairs.

"Oh, yes, in these parts, often," cried Rattler maxima; "the revenue
officers constantly find them, I know."

"Capital--capital!" ejaculated Hearty.  "You must bring that out again
on board the `Frolic.'  You deserve a pic-nic for it; it's so original.
You must consider this only as a rehearsal."

"How kind--then it's all settled!" exclaimed both young ladies in a
breath.  "There's Mary Masthead, I know, is dying to go, and so is Mrs
Topgallant, and I dare say, if Captain Carstairs presses Mrs
Skyscraper, she'll go, and the Sandons and Cardiffs, and all our set; I
don't think any will refuse."

"Well, then, we've no time to lose," we exclaimed, and off we set to
beat up for recruits.

We were not, however, without our disappointments.  Lady Cardiff could
not go, and without a correct chaperone she could not let her daughter
be of the party--the thing was utterly impossible, dreadfully incorrect,
and altogether unheard of.  Mrs Skyscraper was a great deal too young,
and being a widow had herself to look after.  If Mrs Topgallant would
go, she would see about it; so we tried next to find the lady in
question, but she had gone to Carisbrooke Castle, and would not be back
till late.  Mrs Sandon was next visited, but she had a cold; and if
Lady Cardiff would not let her daughter go without a chaperone, neither
could she.  We by chance met Mrs Seaton with the fair Jane, looking
very beautiful, but mamma never went on the water if she could help it.
She could not come to the island without doing so; but once safe there,
she would not set her foot in a boat till she had to go away again.
Sooth to say, that was not surprising; the good dame was unsuited by her
figure for locomotion.  Every thing depended on Mrs Topgallant; never
was she in so much request.  The gentlemen being able to come without
chaperones, more readily promised to be present.  We fell in with Sir
Francis Futtock, Lord Lorimer, Harry Loring, and young Flareup, and a
young Oxonian, who had lately taken orders, and created a great
sensation among the more sensitive portion of his audience by his
exquisite preaching, and the unction by which he privately recommended
auricular confession and penance.

The Rev  Frederick Fairfax was a pink-faced young man, and had
naturally a round, good-natured countenance, but by dint of shaving his
whiskers, elongating his face, and wearing a white cravat without gills,
and a stand-up collar to his coat, he contrived to present a no bad
imitation of a Jesuit priest.  The Miss Rattlers called him the Paragon
Puseyite, or the PP, which they said would stand as well for parish
priest.  How Hearty came to invite him I don't know, for he detested the
silly clique to whom the youth had attached himself.  We had just left
the young gentleman when we met the two merry little Miss Masons.  At
first they could not possibly go, because they had no chaperone; but
when they heard that the Rev  Frederick was to be of the party, all
their scruples vanished.  With such a pastor they might go anywhere.
They had only lately been bitten, but had ever since diligently applied
themselves to the study of the "Tracts of the Times;" and though not a
word did they understand of those works (which was not surprising by the
by), they perceived that the Rev  Fred's voice was very melodious, that
he chanted to admiration, and looked so pious that they could not be
wrong in following his advice.  At last the hearts of all were made glad
by the appearance of Mrs Topgallant, who, without much persuasion,
undertook to chaperone as many young ladies as were committed to her
charge.



CHAPTER FOUR.

A PIC-NIC, AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.

The morning came at last, fine as the palpitating hearts of expectant
damsels could desire, and calm enough to please the most timid
chaperone; so calm, indeed, that it was a question whether any craft
with canvas alone to depend on could move from her moorings with a
chance of going anywhere except to Hurst or the Nab; but, as few of our
lady friends had any nautical knowledge, that in no way disconcerted
them, and they would not have believed us had we assured them that there
was too little wind for the excursion.  By noon, however, a few
cats'-paws appeared on the lake-like surface of the water, and soon
after the deck of the "Frolic" once more began to rejoice in the
presence of many of the former frolickers.  They found it easy enough to
come on board, but to collect all hands and get under way was a very
different thing.  The Miss Sandons and Jane Seaton, who came escorted by
Loring, on finding no chaperone, thought they ought to go on shore
again, as neither Mrs Topgallant nor Mrs Skyscraper had come; but Sir
Francis kept them discussing the point till Carstairs had time to dive
below, and presently returned with a Norman cap on his head, a shawl
over his shoulders, and a boat-cloak as a petticoat.

"There," he exclaimed, crossing his arms before him, and putting his
head on one side, sentimentally, "I'm as good a duenna as Mrs
Topgallant, or any other lady of your acquaintance."  All laughed and
forgot to go.  "Come, my dear girls, sit down and behave yourselves; no
flirting with that naval officer, if you please," he continued,
imitating the honourable dame.  "You, Mr Loring, and you, Mr Henry
Flareup, go forward and smoke your cigars.  I can't allow such nasty
practices here."

Flareup had, as usual, lighted his weed, and was sending the smoke into
the face of May Sandon.  The roars of laughter were not few as the real
Mrs Topgallant, with Miss Mary Masthead, approached, and the Norman cap
with the good-natured face of the wearer was seen looking over the side
affectionately down upon them.  The Rev  Fred and the Miss Masons next
arrived, and lastly Mrs Skyscraper, Miss Cardiff, Lord Lorimer, and
Hearty.

"Now, remember, Mr Hearty, we must get back before dark; it is on that
condition alone that I have consented to chaperone these young ladies,"
said Mrs Topgallant, as we were about to get under way.

"And I, also," exclaimed pretty Mrs Skyscraper.

"Oh, we don't allow you to be a chaperone," said Carstairs; "you are far
too young and too engaging," he whispered; and the Gentle Giant actually
blushed as he said so; luckily Miss Susan Rattler did not hear him.

"And mamma made me promise to be back at eight," cried Jane Seaton.

"And so did ours!" echoed the three Miss Sandons.

"You know we could not have come at all unless we were certain of being
at home in proper time!" exclaimed the two Miss Masons; "could we, Mr
Fairfax?"

The pet bowed and smiled.  He was meditating on the Life of St.
Euphemia, of Rhodes, and did not hear the question.

"Remember, ladies, that time and tide wait for no man," answered Hearty.
"Even such fair goddesses as honour the `Frolic' by their presence this
day cannot govern the winds and waves, however much they may every thing
else.  Therefore all I can promise is, to do my best to follow the
wishes of your amiable mammas, and of yourselves."

"And of mine, if you please, Mr Hearty," put in Mrs Topgallant.

"Certainly, my dear madam, I considered you among the goddesses of whom
I was speaking," answered Hearty, with a flourish of his broad-brimmed
beaver, which, with the compliment, completely won the honourable lady's
heart.

The anchor was at last weighed, and it being fortunately slack tide,
with a light air from the south-east, we were able to fetch Calshot
Castle.

Most of my readers probably know the Southampton Water, and may picture
us to themselves as we floated up the stream with the round, solid,
Stilton-cheese-like-looking Castle of Calshot, at the end of a sandy
spit, and the lordly Tower of Eaglehurst, rising among the trees visible
over it on the one hand, and the mouth of the Hamble River on the other,
while, as far as the eye can reach on either hand, are seen verdant
groves, with the roofs and chimneys of numerous villas peeping from
among them.  About three-quarters of the way up, on the right hand, at a
short distance only from the water, stand the picturesque ruins of
Netley Abbey.  The jolly monks of old--and I respect them for it--always
selected the most beautiful sites in the neighbourhood for their
habitations, and in fixing on that for Netley, they did not depart from
their rule.  Several chambers remain; and the walls which surround an
inner court are entire, with fine arched windows, the tracery work
complete, looking into it.  We brought up off it, and the boats were
instantly lowered to convey the passengers on shore.  In getting into
one of them, Loring nearly went overboard, and a shriek of terror from
Jane Seaton would have published her secret, had not everybody known it
before.  At last the hampers and the people reached the beach in safety;
and now began the difficulties of the chaperone.  She was like a
shepherd with a wild flock of sheep and no dog; they would stray in
every direction out of her sight.  Some had brought sketch-books, and
perched themselves about, far apart, to take views of the ruins; others
preferred what they called exploring; and Jane and Loring vanished no
one knew where.  The Gentle Giant, who drew very well, was called on by
the Miss Rattlers and several other ladies to fill up the pages of their
books; and Hearty was running about talking to everybody and ordering
every thing; while Bubble was exerting himself to do the same, and to
take sketches into the bargain, though all his friends observed that
there was a want of his usual vivacity.  The Rattler girls quizzed him
unmercifully, till they brought him back to the semblance, at all
events, of his former self.  The servants had been employed in laying
the cloth under the shade of a tree which had sprung up in the
courtyard, and thither Hearty's voice now summoned us.  How can pen of
mine do justice to the cold collation which was spread before our
rejoicing eyes!  I can only say that the party did it, and amply too.

"Are we all here?" exclaimed the master of the revels.  "No, by Bacchus!
two are wanting--Miss Seaton and Mr Loring--where are they?"

"Good gracious! where can they be?" screamed the Honourable Mrs
Topgallant.

"What can have become of them?" cried Mrs Skyscraper.

"They probably did not hear you call, and I dare say they are not far
off," suggested Miss Cardiff, always anxious to find a good excuse for
her acquaintance.

"I should not wonder but what they have eloped," observed Miss Susan
Rattler.

"What fun!" said Miss Mary Masthead; "we haven't had such a thing for a
long time."

"How shocking!" ejaculated the Miss Masons in a breath, and looked at
the Rev  Frederick.

"I'll wager I find the truants," said Bubble, about to go; but he was
saved the trouble, for at that moment they appeared; the fair Jane
looking very confused--Harry Loring remarkably happy.

"We've all been talking about you two," blurted out Hearty.  "No scandal
though, so sit down and enable us to recover our appetites, for our
anxiety nearly took them away.  Now tell us, what have you been doing?"

Poor Jane did not know which way to look, nor what to say; and it never
occurred to Hearty that his question might possibly confuse her.
Loring, however, came to the rescue.

"Admiring the architecture, exploring everywhere, and examining every
thing, which no one else appears to have done, or the dinner-bell would
not have been answered so speedily.  And now, old fellow, I'll drink a
glass of champagne with you."

This would not blind us, however.  Every one saw what he had been about,
and no small blame to him either.  Of course, no one further hinted at
the subject.  After dinner we again wandered about the ruins, and the
shades of evening surprised us while still there, to the great horror of
Mrs Topgallant, and not a little to that of the Miss Masons, who had
been so earnestly listening to a discourse of the Rev  Frederick on the
importance of reviving monasteries, that they did not observe the sun
set.

"Hillo, ladies and gentlemen! we ought to be on board again," sung out
Hearty, from the top of a high wall to which he had climbed.  "There is
no time to be lost, if we would not displease our mammas."

A good deal of time, however, was lost in collecting the scattered
sheep, and in carrying down the baskets to the boats, which the servants
had neglected to do.  When we did at length reach the spot at which we
had landed, a bank of mud was alone to be seen, and one of the men
brought us the pleasing intelligence that the nearest place at which we
could possibly embark was about a mile down the river.

"We here have a convincing proof that time and tide wait for no one,"
cried Bubble; "or the latter would certainly have remained up for the
convenience of so many charming young ladies."

"Shocking!" exclaimed Mrs Topgallant.

"What will our mammas say?" ejaculated all the fair damsels.

"That it's very improper," said the chaperone-general.

"It can't be helped now; so if we do not intend to spend the night on
the beach, we had better keep moving," observed one of the gentlemen.

Henry Flareup expressed his opinion that the dismay their non-arrival
would cause would be jolly fun, and the Miss Rattlers were in ecstasies
of delight at the _contretemps_.

However, no one grumbled very much, and at last we reached the boats.  A
new difficulty then arose.  They barely floated with the crews in them,
but with passengers on board they would be aground.  The men had to get
out, and, as it was, the only approach to them was over wet mud of a
soft nature, yet no persuasions would induce the ladies to be carried to
them.  Mrs Topgallant would not hear of such a thing, and boldly led
the van through the mud.  The young ladies followed, nearly losing their
shoes, and most effectually draggling (I believe it is a proper word)
their gowns.  Hearty counted them off to see, as he said, that none were
missing; and then began the work of getting the boats afloat, one or two
of the ladies, not accustomed to yachting, being dreadfully alarmed at
seeing the men jump overboard, to lift them along.  Huzza! off we went
at last, and pulled towards the "Frolic."

"Let's get back as fast as we can, Snow," exclaimed Hearty, as soon as
he stepped on deck.

"Beg pardon, sir, it won't be very fast, though," answered the master.

"Why, how is that?" asked Hearty; "an hour and a half will do it, won't
it?"

"Bless your heart, no, sir," said old Snow, almost laughing at the idea.
"It's just dead low water, so the flood will make up for the best part
of the next six hours, and after that, if there doesn't come more wind
than we has now, we shan't make no great way."

"But let us at all events get up our anchor and try to do something,"
urged Hearty, whose ideas of navigation were not especially distinct at
the time.

"If we does, sir, we shall drive up to Southampton, or maybe, to
Redbridge, for there ain't an hair in all the 'eavens," was the
encouraging answer given by the master.

I never saw a more perfect calm.  A candle was lighted on deck, and the
flame went straight up as if in a room.  If we had been in a tropical
climate we should have looked out for a hurricane.  Here nothing so
exciting was to be apprehended.  The conversation with the master was
not overheard by any of the ladies, and Hearty thought it was as well to
say nothing about it, but to leave them to suppose that we were on our
way back to Cowes.

"It is much too dark to distinguish the shore, and as none of them ever
think of looking at the sails, they will not discover that we are still
at anchor," he observed; and so it proved, as we shall presently see.

The after-cabin had been devoted to the use of the fairer portion of the
guests, and when they got there and found the muddy condition of their
dresses, there was a general cry for hot water to wash them.  Luckily
the cook's coppers could supply a good quantity, and two tubs were sent
aft, in which, as was afterwards reported--for we were not allowed to be
spectators of the process--the Honourable Mrs Topgallant and her
_protegees_ were busily employed in rinsing their skirts, though it was
not quite so easy a matter to dry them.  Tea and coffee were next served
up in the main cabin, and cakes and muffins and toast in profusion were
produced, and as Carstairs quietly observed, "Never were washerwomen
more happy."

There was only one thing wanting, we had not sufficient milk; and that
there might be no scarcity in future, it was proposed to send the
steward on shore with Henry Flareup to swap him for a cow to be kept on
board instead.  He was fixed on as the victim, as it was considered that
he had been making too much love to one of the Miss Sandons, conduct
altogether unbecoming one of his tender years.

"We have passed a very pleasant evening, Mr Hearty, I can assure you,"
said the chaperone; "and as I suppose we shall soon be there, we had
better get ready to go on shore."

"We shall have time for a dance first; we have had the deck cleared, and
the musicians are ready," replied Hearty; "may I have the honour of
opening the ball with you, Mrs Topgallant?"

"Oh, I don't know what to say to such a thing--I'm afraid it will be
very incorrect; and at all events you must excuse me, Mr Hearty, I
shall have quite enough to do to look after my charges."

And as Mrs Topgallant said this, she glanced round at the assembled
young ladies.

"A dance, a dance, by all means!" exclaimed the Miss Rattlers; "what
capital fun."

A dance was therefore agreed on, and we went on deck, which we found
illuminated with all the lanterns and spare lamps which could be found
on board; and even candles without any shade were stuck on the taffrail,
and the boom was topped up, so as to be completely out of the way.  We
owed the arrangements to Bubble, Carstairs, and the master, who had been
busily employed while the rest were below at tea.  An exclamation of
delight burst from the lips of the young ladies; the musicians struck up
a polka, and in another minute all hands were footing it away as gayly
as in any ball-room, and with far more merriment and freedom.

  Ye gentlemen and ladies who stay at home at ease,
  Ah, little do ye think upon the fun there's on the seas!

How we did dance!  No one tired.  Even Mrs Topgallant got up and took a
turn with the Gentle Giant, and very nearly went overboard, by the by.
We had no hot lamps, no suffocating perfumed atmosphere, to oppress us,
as in a London ball-room.  The clear sky was our ceiling, the cool water
was around us.  Every gentleman had danced with every lady, except that
Loring had taken more than his share with Miss Seaton, before we thought
of giving in.

"Well, I wonder we don't get there!" on a sudden exclaimed Mrs
Topgallant, as if something new had struck her.

There was a general laugh, set, I am sorry to say, by Sir Francis
Futtock.

"Why, my dear madam, we have not begun to go yet."

"Not begun to go!" cried the Miss Masons.  "What will be said of us?"

"Not begun to go!" groaned the Rev  Fred.  "What will my flock do
without me?"

"Why, I thought we had been moving all the time.  We have passed a
number of objects which I should have taken for ghosts, if I believed in
such things," said Mrs Topgallant.

"Those were vessels going up with the tide, my dear madam, to
Southampton, where we should have gone also," observed Sir Francis.

Just then a tall dark object came out of the gloom, and glided by us at
a little distance.  It certainly had what one might suppose the
appearance of a spirit wandering over the face of the waters.

"Cutter, ahoy!  What cutter is that?" hailed a voice from the stranger.

"It's one of them revenue chaps," said Snow.  "The `Frolic' yacht;
Edward Hearty, Esq, owner!" answered the old man; "and be hanged to
you," he muttered.

"`I'll call thee king--father, royal Dane.  Oh, answer me!'" continued
Carstairs.

"He'll not answer you--so avast spouting, and let's have another turn at
dancing!" exclaimed Hearty, interrupting the would-be actor, and
dragging him, to the side of Mrs Skyscraper, who did not refuse his
request to dance another quadrille.

Thus at it again we went, to the no small amusement of a number of
spectators, whose voices could be heard round us.  Their boats were just
dimly visible, though, from the bright lights on our deck, we could not
see the human beings on board them.  At last the rippling sound against
our bows ceasing, gave notice that the tide had slackened, and that we
might venture on lifting anchor.  A light air also sprang up from the
eastward, and slowly we began to move on our right course.  Some of the
un-nauticals, however, forgot that with an ebb tide and an easterly wind
there was not much chance of our reaching Cowes in a hurry.  A thick fog
also began to rise from the calm water; and after the dancing, for fear
of their catching cold, cloaks and coats, plaids and shawls, were in
great requisition among the young ladies.  Mrs Topgallant insisted that
they would all be laid up, and that they must go below till they got
into Cowes harbour.

"She was excessively angry," she said, "with Mr Hearty for keeping them
out in this way; and as for Sir Francis Futtock, a captain in Her
Majesty's navy, she was, indeed, surprised that such a thing could
happen while he was on board."

"But, my dear madam," urged Sir Francis, in his defence, "you know that
accidents will happen in the best-regulated families.  Nobody asked my
Advice, and I could not venture to volunteer it, or I might have
foretold what has happened.  However, come down below, and I trust no
harm will ensue."

After some persuasion, the good lady was induced to go below, and to
rest herself on a sofa in one of the sleeping-cabins, the door of which
Harry Flareup quietly locked, at a hint from Hearty, who then told the
young ladies that, as Cerberus was chained, they might now do exactly
what they liked.  I must do them the justice to say that they behaved
very well.  There was abundance of laughter, however, especially when
Miss Susan Rattler appeared habited in a large box-coat belonging to
Captain Carstairs.  It had certainly nothing yachtish about it.  It was
of a whitey-brown hue, with great horn buttons and vast pockets.  It was
thoroughly roadish, it smelt of the road, its appearance was of the
road.  It reminded one of the days of four-in-hand coaches; and many a
tale it could doubtless tell of Newmarket; of races run, of bets booked.
Not content with wearing the coat, Susan was persuaded to try a cigar.
She puffed away manfully for some time.

"You look a very jemmy young gent, indeed you do," observed the Gentle
Giant, looking up at her as he sat at her feet.  "What would your mamma
say if she saw you?"

"What an odious custom you men have of smoking," cried Hearty,
pretending not to see who was the culprit.

"In the presence of ladies, too," exclaimed Loring, really ignorant of
the state of the case.

Poor Susan saw that she was laughed at, and, beginning probably at the
same time to feel a little sick from the fumes of the tobacco, she was
not sorry of an excuse for throwing Carstairs' best Havana into the
water.

As the fog settled over us rather heavily, not only were the more
delicate part of the company wrapped up in cloaks and shawls, but we got
up the blankets and counterpanes from the cabins, and swaddled them up
completely in them, while the gentlemen threw themselves along at their
feet, partly in a fit of romantic gallantry, and partly, it is just
possible, to assist in keeping themselves warm.  Carstairs recited
Shakespeare all night long, and Loring sang some capital songs.

By this time we had got down to Calshot; and, as the tide was now
setting down pretty strong, we appeared to be going along at a good
rate.

"How soon shall we be in, captain?" asked one of the Miss Masons of the
skipper, who was at the helm.

"That depends, miss, whether a breeze comes before we get down to
Yarmouth or Hurst; because, if we keep on, we shan't be far off either
one or the other, before the tide turns," was the unsatisfactory answer.

"Keep on, by all means, Snow," exclaimed Hearty, who had not heard all
that was said; "I promised to do my best to get in, and we must keep at
it."

So tideward we went; the little wind there had been dropping altogether.
Presently we heard a hail.

"What cutter is that?"

"The `Frolic.'"

"Please, sir, we were sent out to look for you, to bring Mrs Topgallant
and Miss Masons, and some other ladies, on shore."

There was a great deal of talk, but Hearty had determined that no one
should leave the yacht.  Mrs Topgallant was below, and could not be
disturbed; besides, the other young ladies could not be left without a
chaperone.  The Miss Masons wanted to go in company with their pastor,
but it would not exactly do to be out in a boat alone with the Rev
Fred.  As that gentleman was afraid of catching cold, he was at the time
safe below, and knew nothing of what was taking place, so the boat was
sent off without a freight.  Hearty vowed that he would fire on any
other boat which came near us to carry off any of his guests.  Thus the
night wore on.

It would be impossible to record all the witty things which were said,
all the funny things which were done, and all the laughter which was
laughed.  All I can say is, that the ladies and gentlemen were about as
unlike as possible to what they would have been in town during the
season.  Hour after hour passed rapidly away, and not a little surprised
were they when the bright streaks of dawn appeared in the eastern sky,
and Egypt Point was seen a long way off in the same direction, while the
vessel was found to be turning round and round without any steerage-way.

Now it was very wrong and very improper, and I don't mean for a moment
to defend our conduct, though, by the by, the fault was all Hearty's;
but it was not till half-past eleven of the next day that the party set
foot once more upon the shore.  Never was there a merrier pic-nic; and,
what is more, in spite of wet feet and damp fogs, no one was a bit the
worse for it.

Looking in at the post-office, I found a letter summoning me immediately
to London.

Sending a note to Hearty, to tell him of my departure, I set off
forthwith, and reached the modern Babylon that same night.  How black
and dull and dingy it looked; how hot it felt; how smoky it smelt!  I
was never celebrated for being a good man of business; but on the
present occasion I worked with a will, and it was wonderful with what
rapidity I got through the matter in hand, and once more turned my back
on the mighty metropolis.



CHAPTER FIVE.

TRUE LOVE RUNS ANYTHING BUT SMOOTH--BEING A MELANCHOLY SUBJECT, I CUT IT
SHORT.

The day after my return I met Harry Loring.  Alas, how changed was the
once joyous expression of his countenance!

"My dear fellow, what is the matter?"  I asked.

"What, don't you know?" he exclaimed.  "I thought all the world did, and
laughed at me.  False, fickle, heartless flirting!"

"What is all this about?"  I asked.  "I deeply regret, I feel--"

"Oh, of course you do," he replied, interrupting me petulantly.  "I'll
tell you how it was.  She had accepted me, as you may have guessed, and
I made sure that there would be no difficulties, as she has plenty of
money, though I have little enough; but when there is sufficient on one
side, what more can be required?  At last one day she said, `I wish, Mr
Loring, you would speak to mamma' (she had always called me Harry
before).  `Of course I will,' said I, thinking it was a hint to fix the
day; but after I left her, my mind misgave me.  Well, my dear fellow, as
I dare say you know, that same having to speak to papa or mamma is the
most confoundedly disagreeable thing of all the disagreeables in life,
when one hasn't got a good rent-roll to show.  At least, after all the
billing and cooing, and the romance and sentiment of love, it is such a
worldly, matter-of-fact, pounds-shillings-and-pence affair, that it is
enough to disgust a fellow.  However, I nerved myself up for the
encounter, and was ushered into the presence of the old dragon."

"You shouldn't speak of your intended mother-in-law in that way," I
observed, interrupting him.

"My intended--; but you shall hear," he continued.  "`Well, sir, I
understand that you have favoured my daughter with an offer,' she began.
I didn't like the tone of her voice nor the look of her green eye,--
they meant mischief.  `I have had the happiness of being accepted
by'--`Stay, stay!' she exclaimed, interrupting me.  `My daughter would
not think of accepting you without asking my leave; and I, as a mother,
must first know what fortune you can settle on her.'  `Every thing she
has got or ever will have,' I replied, as fast as I could utter the
words.  `My father and mother are excellent people, and they have kindly
offered us a house, and'--`is that it, Mr Loring?  And you have
nothing--absolutely nothing?' shrieked out the old woman.  Oh, how I
hated her!  `Then, sir, I beg you will clearly understand, that from
this moment all communication between you and my daughter ceases for
ever.  I could not have believed that any gentleman would have been
guilty of such impertinence.  What! a man without a penny to think of
marrying my daughter, with her beauty and her fortune!  There, sir, you
have got my answer; I hope you understand it.  Go, sir; go!'  I did go,
without uttering another word, though I gave her a look which ought to
have confounded her; and here you see me a miserable, heartbroken man.
I have been in vain trying to get a glimpse of Jane, to ask her if it
was by her will that I am thus discarded, and if so, to whistle her down
the wind; but I have dreadful suspicions that it was a plot between them
to get rid of me, and if so, I have had a happy escape."

I have an idea that his last suspicion was right.  Poor fellow, I pitied
him.  It struck me as a piece of arrant folly on the part of the mother,
that a nice, gentlemanly, good-looking fellow should be sent to the
right-about simply because he was poor, when the young lady had ample
fortune for them both.

"Look here!" exclaimed Loring, bitterly; "is it not enough to make a man
turn sick with grief and pain as he looks round and sees those he once
knew as blooming, nice girls growing into crusty old maids, because
their parents chose to insist on an establishment and settlement for
them equal to what they themselves enjoy, instead of remembering the
altered circumstances of the times?  Not one man in ten has a fortune;
and if the talents and energy of the rising generation are not to be
considered as such, Hymen may blow out his torch and cut his stick, and
the fair maidens of England will have to sing for ever and a day,
`Nobody coming to marry me, nobody coming to woo.'"

I laughed, though I felt the truth of what he said.  "But are you
certain that you are disinterested?  Were you in no way biassed in your
love by her supposed-fortune?"  I asked.

"On my word, I was not.  I never thought of the tin," was the answer.

"Then," I replied, "I must say that you are a very ill-used gentleman."



CHAPTER SIX.

HOW TO KILL TIME--THE O'WIGGINS--ENGLAND'S BULWARKS--JACK MIZEN AND THE
"FUN"--HER FAIR CREW--NAVAL HEROES AND NAUTICAL HEROINES.

I had promised to yacht during the summer with Hearty; and as he paid me
the compliment of saying that he could not do without me,
notwithstanding several other invitations I had received, I felt myself
in honour bound to rejoin the "Frolic."  I had no disinclination to so
doing, though I own at times we led rather a more rollicking life than
altogether suited my taste.  Accordingly, I once more took up my berth
aboard the "Frolic."  Hearty was growing somewhat tired of the style of
life he was leading.  He wanted more variety, more excitement.  Indeed,
floating about inside the Isle of Wight with parties of ladies on board
is all very well in its way to kill time, but unless one of the fair
creatures happens to be the only girl he ever loved, or, at all events,
the only girl he loves just then, or the girl he loves best, he very
soon wearies of the amusement, if he is worth any thing, and longs for
the wide ocean, and a mixture of storms with sunshine and smooth water.
I found the party on board the "Frolic" increased by the addition of
two.  The most worthy of note was Tom Porpoise, a thorough seaman, and
as good a fellow as ever stepped.  He had entered into an arrangement
with Hearty to act as captain of the yacht; for though Snow was a very
good sailing-master, he was nothing of a navigator, and Hearty was now
contemplating a trip to really distant lands.

Porpoise was a lieutenant in the navy of some years' standing; he had
seen a great deal of service, and was considered a good officer.  He
sang a good song, told a good story, and was always in good spirits and
good humour.  He had been in the Syrian war, in China, on the coast of
Africa, and in South America; indeed, wherever there had been any
fighting, or work of any sort to be done, there has dashing Tom Porpoise
been found.  He had a good appetite, and, as old Snow used to say, his
victuals did him good.  Porpoise was fat; there was no denying the fact,
nor was he ashamed of it.  His height was suited to the dimensions of a
small craft, and then, having stated that his face was red, not from
intemperance, but from sun and spray, I think that I have sufficiently
described our most excellent chum.

The other addition of note was ycleped Gregory Groggs.  How Hearty came
to ask him on board I do not know.  It could scarcely have been for his
companionable qualities, nor for his general knowledge and information;
for I had seldom met a more simple-minded creature--one who had seen
less of the world, or knew less of its wicked ways.  It was his first
trip to sea, and he afforded us no little amusement by his surprise at
every thing he beheld, and every thing which occurred.  He had a
tolerably strong inside; so, as we had fine weather, he fortunately for
us and for himself, was seldom sea-sick.  Our friend Groggs was a native
of an inland county, from which he had never before stirred, when,
having come into some little property, he was seized with a strong
desire to see the world.  He had been reading some book or other which
had given him most extraordinary principles; and one of his ideas was,
that people should marry others of a different nation, as the only way
of securing peace throughout the world.  He informed us that he should
early put his principles into practice, and that, should he find some
damsel to suit his taste in France, he should without fail wed her.  We
bantered him unmercifully on the subject; but, as is the case with many
other people with one idea, that was not easily knocked out of his head.

Hearty, having fallen in with him on a visit to his part of the country,
invited him, should he ever come to the sea-side, to visit the "Frolic."
By a wonderful chance, Groggs did find his way on board the yacht, as
she one day had gone up to Southampton, and once on board, finding
himself very comfortable, he exhibited no inclination to leave her.  He
therein showed his taste; and Hearty, though at first he would have
dispensed with his company, at last got accustomed to him, and would
have been almost sorry to part with him.

So much for Groggs.

We lay at anchor off Cowes.  Several other vessels lay there also,
mostly schooners--a rig which has lately much come into fashion.

"What shall we do next?" exclaimed Hearty, as we sat at table after
dinner over our biscuits and wine.

"What shall we do next?" said Carstairs, repeating Hearty's question;
"why, I vote we go on deck and smoke a cigar."

We had not time to execute the important proposal before the steward put
his head into the cabin and announced a boat alongside.

"Who is it?" asked Hearty.

"Mr O'Wiggins, of the `Popple' schooner, sir," answered the steward.
"She brought up while you were at dinner, sir."

"Oh, ask him down below," said our host, throwing himself back in his
chair with a resigned look, which said, more than words, "What a bore!"

Before the steward could reach the deck, O'Wiggins was heard descending
the companion-ladder.  He was a tall, broadly-built man, with a strongly
marked Hibernian countenance.  Hearty did not think it necessary to rise
to receive his guest, but O'Wiggins, no way disconcerted, threw himself
into a vacant chair.

"Ah, Hearty, my boy!  Faith, I'm glad to find any one I know in this
dull place," he exclaimed, stretching out his legs, and glancing round
at the rest of us, as he helped himself from a decanter towards which
Hearty pointed.

"We are not likely to be here long, but we are undecided what next to
do," returned Hearty.

"Och, then, I'll tell you what to do, my boy," said O'Wiggins.  "Just
look in at the regattas to the westward, and then run over to Cherbourg.
I've just come across from there, and all the world of France is
talking of the grand naval review they are to have of a fleet, in
comparison to which that of perfidious Albion is as a collection of
Newcastle colliers.  There'll be rare fun of one sort or another, depend
on it; and, for my part, I wouldn't miss it on any account.  What say
your friends to the idea?  I haven't had the pleasure of meeting them
before, I think?"

"I beg your pardon," said Hearty; "I forgot to introduce them."  And he
did so in due form; at which O'Wiggins seemed mightily pleased, and
directly afterwards began addressing us familiarly by our patronymics,
as if we were old friends.  In fact, in a wonderfully short space of
time he made himself perfectly at home.  The proposal of the Cherbourg
expedition pleased us all; and it was finally agreed that we would go
there.  We could not help being amused with O'Wiggins, in spite of the
cool impudence of his manner.  He told some capital stories, in which he
always played a prominent part; and though we might have found some
difficulty in believing them, they were not on that account the less
entertaining.  Meantime coffee and cigars made their appearance.
O'Wiggins showed a determination to smoke below, and Hearty could not
insist on his going on deck: so we sat and sat on; Porpoise enjoying the
fun, and Groggs listening with opening eyes to all the wonders related
by our Irish visitor, for whom he had evidently conceived a vast amount
of admiration.  At a late hour O'Wiggins looked at his watch, and
finding that his boat was alongside, he at length took his departure.

We were present at most of the regattas to the westward, but as they
differed but little from their predecessors for many years past, I need
not describe them.  No place equals Plymouth for a regatta, either on
account of the beauty of the surrounding scenery, or in affording a good
view of the course from the shore.  By the by, it was some little
satisfaction to look at the two new forts run up on either side of the
entrance to the harbour, as well as at the one with tremendously heavy
metal between the citadel and Devonport, not to speak of the screw
guardships, which may steam out and take up a position wherever
required.  I can never forget the superb appearance of that mammoth of
two-deckers, the "Albion," with her ninety guns, and a tonnage greater
than most three-deckers.  It is said that she could not fight her
lower-deck guns in a heavy sea; but one is so accustomed to hear the
ignorant or unjust abuse and the falsehood levied at her talented
builder, that one may be excused from crediting such an assertion.  She
is acknowledged to be fast; and, from looking at her, I should say that
she has all the qualifications of a fighting ship, and a great power of
stowage.  What more can be required?  [Note.]  If she is not perfect, it
is what must be said of all human fabrics.  If Sir William Symonds had
never done more than get rid of those sea-coffins, the ten-gun brigs,
and introduce a class of small craft superior to any before known in the
service, the navy would have cause to be deeply indebted to him.  He has
enemies; but in the service I have generally found officers willing and
anxious to acknowledge his merits.

There is no little satisfaction in cruising about Plymouth Sound.  I
suspect that now our neighbours would not be so ready to attempt to
surprise the place and to burn its arsenal, as they one fine night
thought of doing some few years back.  People in general are so
accustomed to believe our sacred coasts impregnable, that they could not
comprehend that such an enterprise was possible.  Yet I can assure my
readers that not only was it possible, practicable, in contemplation,
and that every preparation was made, but that we were perfectly
helpless, and that they would indubitably have succeeded in doing all
they intended.  Neither Plymouth nor Portsmouth were half fortified; and
such fortifications as existed were not half garrisoned, while we could
not have collected a fleet sufficient to have defended either one or the
other.  Providentially the differences were adjusted in time, and the
French had not the excuse of inflicting that long-enduring vengeance
which they have a not unnatural desire to gratify.  When they have
thrashed us, and not till then, shall we be cordial friends; and, though
electric wires and railroads keep up a constant communication, may that
day be long distant!  We had brought up just inside Drake's Island,
which, as all who know Plymouth are aware, is at the entrance of
Hamoaze.  We were just getting under way, and were all on deck, when a
cutter-yacht passed us, standing out of the harbour.  Our glasses were
levelled at her to see who she carried, for bonnet-ribbons and shawls
were fluttering in the breeze.

"What cutter is that?" asked Porpoise.  "There's a remarkably pretty
girl on board of her."

"That must be--yes, I'm certain of it--that must be the `Fun;' and, by
Jove, there's jolly Jack Mizen himself at the helm!" ejaculated Hearty,
with for him unusual animation.

He waved his cap as the rest of us did, for Porpoise and I knew Mizen.
Mizen waved his in return, and shouted out,--

"Come and take a cruise with us.  We'll expect you on board to lunch."

"Ay, ay!" shouted Hearty, for there was no time for a longer answer
before the yacht shot by us.

We had soon sail made on the "Frolic," and were standing after the "Fun"
towards the westernmost and broadest entrance to the Sound.  It was a
lovely day, without a cloud in the sky, and a fine steady breeze; such a
day as, from its rarity, one knows how to value in England.  Yachts of
all sizes and many rigs were cruising about in the Sound.  Largest of
all was the "Brilliant," a three-masted square-topsail schooner, of
nearly 400 tons, belonging to Mr Ackers, the highly-esteemed Commodore
of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club; and as for the smallest, there were
some with the burgee of a club flying, of scarcely ten tons.  We,
meantime, were standing after the "Fun."  Her owner, Jack Mizen, had
once been in the navy; but before he had risen above the exalted rank of
a midshipman he had come into a moderate independence, and not being of
an aspiring disposition, he had quitted the service, with the intention
of living on shore and enjoying himself.  He, after a few years,
however, got tired of doing nothing, so he bought a yacht and went
afloat, and, as he used to say,--

"Fool that I am!  I have to pay for sailing about in a small craft, not
knowing where to go or what to do, when, if I had stuck to the service,
I might have got paid for sailing in a large ship, and have been told
where to go and what to do.  Never leave a profession in a huff; you'll
repent it once, and that will be to the end of your days, if you do."

Such was Jack Mizen.  He was a jolly, good-natured fellow.  He sang a
good song, told a good story, and everybody liked him.  He had seven
ladies on board, two of whom we judged to be chaperones; the other five
were young, and, if not pretty, were full of smiles and laughter.  The
"Fun" was much smaller than the "Frolic," so we easily kept way with
her, and ran round the Eddystone and hove-to, while the racing-vessels
came round also.  We four bachelors then went on board the "Fun," and
were welcomed not only by her owner, but by the many bright eyes she
contained.  There were already four or five gentlemen on board, but they
had not done much to make themselves agreeable, so nearly all the work
had fallen on Mizen.  We gladly came to his assistance: poor Groggs,
also, afforded them much amusement, but it was at his own expense--not
the first person in a like position--unknown to himself.  They were all
talking about Cherbourg, and had insisted on Mizen's taken them over
there.  He, of course, was delighted.  The main cabin was to be devoted
to them.  Fortunately, however, one chaperone and two damsels could not
go, so the rest might continue to rough it for a few nights.  We had a
large luncheon and much small talk.  I mustn't describe the ladies, lest
they should be offended.  If I was to say that one of the chaperones was
fat, and another tall, all the fat and tall elderly ladies on the water
that day would consider I intended to represent them.  However, there
can be no risk in saying that the eldest, dame was Mrs Mizen, an aunt
of the owner of the "Fun," and chaperone-general to the party.  The very
pretty girl was Laura Mizen, her daughter, and the other married lady
was Mrs Rullock, wife of Commander Rullock, RN, and who had also two
unmarried daughters under her wing.  Of the other young ladies, one was
Fanny Farlie, a rival in beauty, certainly, of Laura Mizen--it was
difficult to say which was the prettiest--and another was her cousin,
Susan Simms, who read novels, played on the piano, was devoted to the
polka, and kept tame rabbits.  It was perceptible to us, before we had
been long on board, that Mizen affected Fanny, while Miss Mizen at once,
with some effect, set her cap at Hearty.  She did not intend to do so,
but she could not help it.  She was not thinking of his fortune nor of
his position, nor did she wish to become mistress of the "Frolic."  Of
the gentlemen, one was in the navy, Lieutenant Piper, an old messmate of
Mizen's, and Mr Simon Simms, the brother of Susan, who had an office in
the dockyard, smoked cigars, and was very nautical in his propensities.
There was a fat old gentleman and a thin Major Clay, of a foot regiment;
but I have not space to describe all the party.  They will re-appear in
their proper places.  We ate and drank, and were very merry, and sailed
about all day, most of us hoping to meet again at Cherbourg.

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

Note.  Well we may say _Tempera mutantus_.  A pygmy ram would send her
to the bottom in a few minutes.--Editor.



CHAPTER SEVEN.

YACHT SQUADRONS ON A CRUISE--O'WIGGINS'S "POPPLE"--ARRIVAL IN
CHERBOURG--THE PEACE CONGRESS AND THE FRENCH CHANNEL FLEET--LIONISING ON
SHORE--GROGGS LOST--HIS FIRST LOVE--AN IRATE PARENT.

A crowd of yachts might have been seen one fine morning becalmed outside
the Needles.  We were among them.  We had sailed from Cowes the previous
evening, but had been unable to get further, from the light winds and
calms which had prevailed.  At last a breeze from the northward sprang
up, and we went gayly along.  It was a beautiful sight, and no one could
fail to be in good spirits as we spoke the various vessels on board
which we had acquaintances.  The "Popple" was among them, but having
started first, was ahead till we came up with her, much to her owner's
disgust.  O'Wiggins entertained the idea (very common not only to
yachtsmen, but to masters of vessels and seaman in general, and a very
happy one it is) that his vessel was the fastest, the most beautiful,
and the best sea-boat going.

"Ah, Hearty, old fellow, how are you?" he hailed.  "You've brought a
nice breeze with you.  We haven't had a breath of it till this minute;
we shall now stand on in company."  As he spoke, we observed his master
trimming sails with the greatest care, for he saw that we were already
shooting past him at a great rate.  We laughed, for we knew that the
"Popple" was a regular slow coach, as ugly as she was slow.  She had
once, I believe, been a cutter of the old build, with a high bow, and
she was then lengthened, and had a new stern stuck on to her, and was
rigged as a schooner.  As a cutter she had been considered fast; but her
new canvas was too much for her, and she could not manage to wag with
it.  Her copper was painted of a bright red, and she had altogether a
very peculiar and unmistakable appearance.  We saw O'Wiggins walking his
deck with very impatient gestures as we shot past him.  He could not
make it out; something must be the matter with the "Popple;" she was out
of trim; it was the master's fault, but what was wrong was more than he
could discover.  His philosophy, if he had any, was sorely tried as
yacht after yacht passed him, and more than all, when every one on board
laughed at him.  The fact was, that poor O'Wiggins had done so many
things to make himself ridiculous, that every one considered him a fair
subject to exercise their merriment on.  It was night before we made the
lights on the French coast.  First the Barfleur lights and Cape La Hogue
to the south were seen, then those of Pilee and Querqueville, and lastly
the breakwater and harbour lights, and we soon after ran in by the south
entrance, and anchored among the crowd of vessels of all sizes already
in the harbour.  One by one the yachts came, and last, though not least,
the "Popple" appeared, and brought up near us.  O'Wiggins instantly came
on board to explain why the "Popple" had not got in first; but all we
could make out was, that she had not sailed as fast as she could because
she had not.  We did not go on shore that night.  We had amusement
enough, as we walked the deck with our cigars in our mouths, in watching
the lights on shore and afloat, and the vessels as they came gliding
noiselessly in, like dark spirits, and took up their berths wherever
they could find room, and in listening to the hails from the
ships-of-war, and those from the yachts' boats, as they pulled about
trying to find their respective craft.  We amused ourselves by marking
the contrasts between the voices of the two nations--the sharp shrill
cry of the French, and the deep bass of John Bull.

A good deal of sea tumbled into the bay during the night, in consequence
of the fresh northerly breeze, and many an appetite was put _hors de
combat_ in consequence.  Poor Groggs, we heard him groaning as he lay in
his berth, "Oh, why was I tempted to cross the sea to come to this
outlandish place, for the sake of watching a few French ships moving
about, which, I dare say, after all don't differ much from as many
English ones?"  He exclaimed, between the paroxysms of his agony, "Oh
dear! oh dear! it's the last time I'll come yachting, that it is!"  Poor
Gregory!--he was not the only one ill that night, I take it; and I am
sure Hearty pardoned his not very grateful observations.  We were early
on deck, to inhale the fresh breeze, after the somewhat close air of the
cabin; then indeed a splendid sight met our view.  In the first place,
floating in the bay were nine line-of-battle ships, in splendid fighting
order, their dark batteries frowning down upon us; and, drawn up in
another line, were a number of large war-steamers, besides many other
steamers, both British and French; and lastly, and no unpleasing sight,
there were some seventy or eighty yachts; it was impossible to count
them--schooners, cutters, and yawls, besides some merchantmen and
innumerable small craft of every description, all so mingled together
that it appeared as if they would never get free of each other again.
To the south was the town, with its masses of houses and churches, and
its mercantile docks in front.  On the west, the naval arsenal and
docks, the pride of France and Frenchmen, and which so many had come to
see.  On the other side were the shores of the harbour, stretching out
to Pilee Island, and not far from the town a scarped hill looking down
on it, with a fine view obtainable from the top, while to the north,
outside all, was the famous digue, or breakwater, which the French
assert eclipses that of Plymouth, as the big sea-serpent does a common
conger-eel.  It was begun by Louis Fourteenth, and almost completed
during the reign of Louis Philippe; during which period it was one night
nearly washed away, while some hundred unfortunate workmen engaged on it
were in the morning not to be found! but their place being supplied, the
works were continued.

The first day nothing of public importance took place.  Yachts came
gliding in from all quarters, and steamers, if with less grace, at all
events with more noise, bustle, and smoke, paddled up the harbour, with
their cargoes of felicity-hunting human beings, very sick and very full
of regrets at their folly at having left _terra firma_ to cross the
unstable element.  Among other English craft, the "Fun" came in with
Jack Mizen and a large party on board.  We quickly pulled alongside to
welcome our friends.  The ladies had proved better sailors than most of
the gentlemen; and though good Mrs Mizen, the chaperone of the party,
had been a little put out, and still looked rather yellow about the
lower extremity of the face, the young ladies, who had been cruising all
the summer, and tumbling about in all sorts of weather, had borne the
passage remarkably well, and were as frisky and full of laughter as
their dear sex are apt to be when they have every thing their own way.

We, of course, as in duty bound, undertook to escort them on shore to
show them the lions of the place.  As the President was not expected
till the evening, there was nothing particular to be done, so we had
full time to walk about and to lionise to our heart's content.  Hearty
took especial charge of Laura Mizen, while the owner of the "Fun" kept
Fanny Farlie under his arm, and looked unutterable things into her
bonnet every now and then, while Susan Simms fell to my share; for
Porpoise made it a point of conscience, I believe, always to watch over
the welfare of the chaperone.  It was one of his many good points.

Remember, in forming a party of pleasure, never fail to secure a man who
likes to make himself agreeable to the chaperone, or you will inevitably
make some promising youth miserable, and bore the old lady into the
bargain.  Groggs was the only man not paired.  It was a pity the Miss
Rullocks had not come; no blame to them, but their pa would not let
them.  Mizen had brought no other gentlemen, as he had to give up all
the after-part of his craft to his fair passengers, in order to make
them comfortable.

The two gigs carried the party properly apportioned between each, and in
fine style we dashed up under the eyes of thousands of admiring
spectators to the landing-place at the entrance of the inner basin, now
filled with a number of yachts, which had got in there for shelter.  The
hotel was, of course, full; so the ladies resolved to live on board the
yacht while they remained.

Our first visit was to the dockyard, through which we were conducted by
a gendarme.  We were particularly struck by the large proportion of
anchors, of which, as Mizen observed, he supposed there was a
considerable expenditure in the French fleet.  The vast inner basins,
yet incomplete, look like huge pits, as if excavated to discover some
hidden city.  There are lines of heavy batteries seaward, which would
doubtlessly much inconvenience an approaching fleet; but as their shot
would not reach a blockading squadron, they could not prevent an enemy's
fleet from shutting up theirs inside the breakwater, while it remained
fine, supposing such a squadron ready to convoy over a fleet of
troop-ships to the opposite shore; and were it to come on to blow, they
might be welcome to put to sea as fast as they like, and a pleasant sail
to them across channel.

We went into a church where mass was being performed, and had to pay a
sou each for our seats; the faithful who do not like paying must kneel
on the ground, which is kept in the most holy state of filth, in order
not to tempt them to economise.

Our next visit was to the Museum.  Its attractions were not great, with
the exception of some large pictures of naval combats, drawn by artists
of merit, undoubted by the citizens of Cherbourg, but who, nevertheless,
had not read "James's Naval History" to any good purpose; for, by some
extraordinary oversight, the English were invariably getting
tremendously thrashed (without their knowing it), and the French fleet
were, with colours flying, proudly victorious.  Perhaps our histories
differ; for certain battles, which we consider of importance, were not
even in any way represented.  Trafalgar, St. Vincent, the Nile, were
totally ignored.  Porpoise said that, to show his gratitude for the
attention we received, he should present them with a correct painting of
the first-named battle.

"They'll alter the buntin', if you do, and hoist the French over the
English," observed Hearty.  "Though they may suspect that they cannot
deceive the present generation, they hope to give their descendants an
idea that they were everywhere victorious.  They will boast of their
glory, even at the risk of being convicted of fibbing by their
posterity."

"They know pretty well that the easy credulity of their countrymen will
allow them to go any length, in direct opposition to truth, without fear
of contradiction," replied Porpoise.  "Why, the greater the scrape Nap.
or any of his generals got into, the more glowing and grandiloquent was
their despatch.  Depend on it that humbug has vast influence in the
world, and the French knowing it--small blame to them--they make use of
it wherever it suits their purpose."

After we had shown all the sights to be seen to our fair companions, we
were walking through the somewhat crowded streets, on our return to the
boats, when by some chance we got separated from each other.  We,
however, managed to find our way to the rendezvous, with the exception
of Groggs, who was not forthcoming.  As he was guiltless of speaking a
word of any other language than his mother-tongue, we could not leave
him to find his way by himself on board, and accordingly Porpoise and I,
handing our charges into the boat, hurried off in search of him.  We
agreed not to be absent more than a quarter of an hour, and away we
started, taking different routes among the crowds of women with high
butterfly muslin caps, and bearded soldiers with worsted epaulettes, and
sailors totally unlike English, notwithstanding all the pains they had
taken to imitate them.  We agreed that this dissimilarity arose much
from the different mould in which the men are cast, and the utter
impossibility of a French tailor cutting a seaman's jacket and trousers
correctly.  They all wore braces, and though they tried to swagger a
little in imitation of the English seaman's roll, they had in appearance
a very slight similarity to their intended originals.

In despair of finding Groggs among such a collection of idlers, I was
wending my way back, when I was attracted by a crowd in front of the
shop of a marchand d'eau de Cologne, and above the din of shrill voices
I heard one which, by its unmistakable accents, I recognised as that of
our lost companion.  At the same time, Porpoise appearing some way up
the street, I beckoned him towards me, and together we worked our way
through the grinning crowd.  In the shop was a damsel with considerable
pretensions to beauty, before whom, on his knees, appeared Groggs,
fervently clasping her hand, while with no less fervour, and much more
gesticulation, his hair was grasped by a little man, the father, we
found, of the damsel, and whose dress and highly-curled locks at once
betrayed the peruquier, or the hair-artist, as he would probably have
styled himself.

"But I tell you, old gentleman, my intentions are most honourable
towards the lady!" exclaimed Groggs, trying to save his head from being
scalped entirely.  "I tell you, sir, I have rarely seen so much beauty
and excellence combined; and, if she is not displeased with my
attentions, I don't see why you or any other man should interfere."

"Je suis son pere, je vous dis, et je ne permets pas de libertes avec ma
fille!" cried the irate Frenchman, giving another tug at his unlucky
locks.

Groggs now caught sight of us, and appealed to us to save him.  As we
advanced, the young lady disengaged herself from his hand and ran behind
the counter, the peruquier withdrew his clutches, and Groggs rushed
forward to meet us.  The Frenchman gazed at us with a fierce look of
inquiry; but the uniform Porpoise wore on the occasion, and my yachting
costume, gained us some respect, I suppose.

"What in the name of wonder is all this about?"  I exclaimed, looking at
Groggs; and then turning to the Frenchman I observed, in my best French
and blandest tone, "that our arrival was fortunate, as I hoped instantly
to appease his wrath, and put every thing on a pleasing footing."

Groggs then, in a few words, gave us his eventful history since he
parted from us.  He had been attracted by the words "Eau de Cologne" in
the _affiche_ over the door, and being anxious to show how well he could
make a purchase by himself, he had entered.  Instantly struck all of a
heap (as he said) by the beauty and elegant costume of the lady,
forgetting all about the eau de Cologne, he endeavoured to address her.
What was his delight to discover that she could speak some English!
Forgetful of the quick passing of time, he stayed on, till the father,
hearing a stranger talking to his daughter in a tongue he could not
understand, made his appearance.  It was at the moment that Groggs,
grown bold, had seized her hand to vow eternal constancy.  The lady was
not unmoved, though somewhat amused, and not offended.  It was probably
not the first time her hand had been so taken, she nothing loath; of
which fact her most respectable sire was doubtlessly cognisant.  To
pacify the irate barber, we interpreted the protestations of his
honourable intentions which Groggs was pouring out.  The daughter,
Mademoiselle Eulalie Sophie de Marabout, ably seconded our endeavours,
by assuring her papa that the gentleman had behaved in the most
respectful manner, nor uttered a word to offend her modest ears.  At
length we succeeded not only in appeasing the wrath of the _artiste_,
but in propitiating him to such a degree that, assuring us that he felt
convinced we were most honourable gentlemen, he invited us all to a
_soiree_ in his rooms over the shop that evening.  Eulalie, with sweet
smiles, seconded the invitation.  Groggs was delighted; and we, provided
we could manage it, consented to avail ourselves of the respectable
gentleman's kindness.

We now hurried off Groggs, for the ladies were all this time waiting in
the boats; not before, however, he had whispered to Eulalie that nothing
should prevent him, at all events, from renewing the acquaintance thus
somewhat inauspiciously begun.  It was impossible to refrain from
telling the story when we got on board; and had Groggs's admiration for
Eulalie been proof against all the raillery and banter with which he was
assailed, it would have been powerful indeed.  The ladies did not openly
allude to his adventure, but they said enough to show him that they knew
all about it, as he could not help discovering from an occasional
reference made to international matrimonial alliances, and the
advantages to be derived from them.

We returned on board just in time to get under way at a signal from our
respective commodores, when the yachts of the various squadrons sailed
in line outside the breakwater, under the command of the Earl of Wilton,
who acted as admiral of the fleet.  We formed in two columns, and
performed a number of evolutions--we flattered ourselves, in the most
creditable manner--and then we re-entered the harbour, and, running down
the French line in gallant style, took up our stations again according
to signal.  Our hearts swelled with pride, and we felt very grand
indeed, only wishing that each of our little craft were seventy-four or
one hundred and twenty gun ships, and that the French fleet were what
they were.  O'Wiggins's yacht was the only one continually out of line,
or somewhere where she ought not to have been.  This was owing partly to
his imagining that he knew more about the matter than the commodore or
any one else, and partly to the bad sailing of his craft.

Mizen invited us four bachelors to spend the evening on board the "Fun,"
and the attractions of our fair friends proved stronger than those held
out by Mademoiselle Eulalie.  There was an addition to our party in the
person of O'Wiggins, who invited himself on board, and served as an
assistant laughing-stock to poor Groggs.  There was, consequently, a
bond of union between the two--similar to that of two donkeys in a cart,
both being lashed with the same whip.  In the course of the evening
O'Wiggins heard of Groggs's adventure, and, clapping him on his
shoulder, assured him that he would take care it should not be his fault
if he lost the lady.

We had all day been waiting in expectation of the arrival of the
President, every craft being decked out with flags, and every gun loaded
to do him honour.  At the hour he was expected, enthusiasm was at its
height; but as time drew on, it waxed colder and colder.  People had
come from far and wide to see a sight which was not to be seen; they had
expended their time and money, and had a right to complain.  Complain,
therefore, they did, ashore and afloat; and had it at that time been put
to the vote whether he should longer remain President, I fear he would
instantly have been shorn of his honours.

At last the bright luminary of day sank behind the dockyard, the
commodores of the English craft fired the sunset gun, the flags were
hauled down, and night came on.  We had begun to fancy that the
President's carriage must have broken down or been upset, or that he was
not coming at all, when a gun was heard, and then another, followed by
such a flashing and blazing and banging of artillery and muskets and
crackers and rockets that we could have no doubt that the great man had
indeed arrived.

Thus ended our first day at Cherbourg.



CHAPTER EIGHT.

GAY SCENE IN CHERBOURG HARBOUR--THE O'WIGGINS AGAIN--AQUATIC VISITING--A
DISCIPLE OF ST. IMPUDENTIA--HOW TO BANQUET UNINVITED--THE BALL--VISIT OF
THE PRESIDENT TO THE FLEET--A FEW REMARKS ON AFFAIRS IN GENERAL.

By the time the world was up and had breakfasted, on Friday, the harbour
of Cherbourg presented a very gay appearance.  The water was covered
with hulls of vessels, and on the decks of the vessels were crowds of
gay people, and above them a forest of tall masts, surmounted by flags
innumerable, showing all the hues of the rainbow, while in every
direction were dashing and splashing boats of every description,
men-of-war's boats and shore-boats; and faster moving than all, yachts'
boats, which, like comets, seemed to be flying about in eccentric
orbits, without any particular reason, and for no definite purpose.
O'Wiggins made his appearance on board the "Frolic," foaming with rage
and indignation at not having been invited to the grand banquet to be
given that day to the President.

"Neither have I, nor Mizen, nor any other of the owners of yachts,
except the commodores and a few noblemen."

"Faith, but that's no reason at all, at all, why I shouldn't!" exclaimed
our Hibernian friend, drawing himself up; "and, what's more, I intend to
go, in spite of their neglect."

We laughed, as usual, at his unexampled conceit; but fancying that he
was joking, we thought no more about the matter.  He soon took his
departure, carrying off Groggs, who had conceived a high respect for
him.  O'Wiggins had promised to conduct him to the feet of the fair
Eulalie, which was an additional temptation to the poor man.  Never,
perhaps, was there so much paying and receiving of visits as there was
in the course of the day.  The yachtsmen paid visits to each other, and
then to the men-of-war; and to do the French officers justice, they
treated us with the very greatest attention.  I must say that all the
French naval officers I have met are as gentlemanly a set of fellows as
I know: they are highly scientific, and as brave as any men one could
wish to meet.

It appeared as if all the inhabitants and visitors of Cherbourg were on
the water also paying visits; and a report having got abroad that the
owners of the English yachts were happy to show their vessels to all
comers, we were all day long surrounded by visitors.  The general joke
was to send them all off to O'Wiggins's craft, the "Popple."  Her cabins
were, certainly, very gaudily and attractively furnished.  It was hinted
to the townspeople that he was a very important person, and that he
would be highly offended if his vessel was not the first honoured by
their presence.  O'Wiggins was at first highly flattered with the
attention paid him, and had actually prepared luncheon for the
first-comers; but he soon discovered that he had more guests than he
could accommodate, and in a little time he was almost overwhelmed with
visitors, who, for hours after, crowded his cabins, without a
possibility of his getting free of them.  Among others, while Groggs was
on board, came the fair Eulalie and her respectable sire, habited in the
costume of the National Guard, and looking very military and dignified.
Groggs hurriedly advanced to receive the lovely maid; her surprise
equalled his delight; when O'Wiggins stepped out from an inner cabin.
There was a mutual start and a look of recognition, and Eulalie sank
back, almost fainting, into the arms paternal, open to receive her,
while, with a look which would have annihilated any man but O'Wiggins,
she exclaimed the single word, "_Perfide_!"  M. de Marabout, with
paternal solicitude, endeavoured to remove his daughter to the fresh air
of the deck, but she recovered without that assistance, and exhibited
signs unmistakable of a wish to abstract one or both of the eyes of the
O'Wiggins from his head.

"What means all this, my dear sir?" inquired Groggs, with a somewhat
faltering voice, for suspicions most unpleasant were beginning to take
possession of his imagination.

"Ask the lady," replied O'Wiggins, looking out for a mode to secure his
retreat.

The lady saw that he was cowed, which, of course, gave her courage; so,
releasing herself from her father, she sprang towards him.  The skylight
hatchway was the only available outlet; so he sprang on the table, and
from thence was endeavouring to leap on deck, when she caught him by the
leg.  He struggled hard, for expose himself to her fury he dared not,
and he did not like to summon his people to his assistance.  At last he
was obliged to do so; when as the seamen, with shouts of laughter, were
hauling him up, off came his shoe and a piece of his trousers; and he
was spirited away and stowed safely in the forepeak before the irate
damsel could gain the deck, where she instantly hastened in the hopes of
catching him.  Of the distracted and astounded Groggs, Eulalie took no
further notice, and having in vain sought for the object of her fierce
anger, whom she supposed to have escaped in a boat to the shore, she and
her father and friends took their departure, and Groggs saw his beloved
no more.  How O'Wiggins had thus mortally offended the damsel remains a
secret; for, communicative as he was on most subjects, he took very good
care on this matter not to enlighten any of us.

When O'Wiggins discovered that Eulalie was in reality gone, he retired
to his cabin to compose himself, and to change his tattered garments for
a magnificent uniform of some corps of fencibles, or militia, or
yeomanry, of which he professed to be colonel; the said uniform being
added to and improved according to his own taste and design, till it
rivalled in magnificence that of a Hungarian field-marshal, or a city
lieutenant's.

We had been giving the ladies a pull about the harbour, and were passing
the "Popple," when her owner made his appearance on deck.  The previous
account, it must be understood, we received afterwards from Groggs, who
recounted it with a simple pathos worthy of a despairing lover.  On his
head O'Wiggins wore a huge cocked-hat, surmounted by a magnificent plume
of feathers, which, waving in the wind, had a truly martial and imposing
appearance, while the glittering bullion which profusely covered his
dress could not fail of attracting the notice of all beholders.  With
the air of a monarch he stepped into his gig, which was alongside,
manned by a grinning crew, and seizing the yoke-lines he directed her
head up the harbour.  He was too much engrossed by his own new-fledged
dignity to observe us, so we followed him at a respectful distance, to
watch his movements.  The boats of all descriptions made way for him as
he advanced, and the men-of-war's boats saluted, every one taking him
for a foreign prince, or an ambassador, or a field-marshal, at least.
At length he reached the quay, and with a truly princely air he stepped
on shore, taking off his plumed hat, and bowing to the admiring and
wondering crowds who stood there to welcome him.  A space was instantly
cleared to allow full scope for the wave of his cocked-hat, and as he
advanced the crowd made way, bowing to him as he progressed.  In
execrable French he signified his wish to know the way to the mayor's
hotel, where the banquet was to be held; and an officious official
instantly thereon, perceiving the gestures of the great unknown, stepped
forward, and profoundly bowing, advanced before him.

"Some dreadful mistake has doubtlessly occurred, and by an oversight
which no one but I can remedy, no one has been deputed to conduct the
prince to the banquet.  For the honour of my country I'll tell a lie."
So thought the patriotic official, as he observed, in an obsequious
tone, "I have been deputed, mon prince, by monsieur the mayor, who
deeply regrets that his multifarious duties prevent him from coming in
person to conduct you to the banqueting-hall, where the great President
of the great French republic will have the satisfaction of meeting you."

"I am highly pleased at the mayor's attention," answered O'Wiggins, with
an additional flourish of his hat, and wondering all the time whom he
could be taken for, that he might the better act his part.  "A prince,
at all events, I am, and that's something," he thought; so he walked on,
smiling and bowing as before.

Of all nations in the world, the French are certainly the greatest
admirers of a uniform, and the most easily humbugged by any one who will
flatter their vanity; and certainly republicans are the greatest
worshippers of titles.  On walked the great O'Wiggins, admired equally
by the vieux moustache of the Imperial Guard, by the peasant-girl, with
her high balloon starched cap, by the dapper grisette, by real soldiers
of the line, by shopkeeping national guards, by citizen gentlemen and
ladies in plain clothes, and the queer-shaped seamen and boatmen, of
whom I have before spoken.  His step was firm and confident as he
approached the hall, and, as he got near, he saw with dismay that the
guests arriving in crowds before him were admitted by tickets.  This we
also observed, and fully expected to have seen him turned back, shorn of
his honours, amid the shouts of the populace.  But the knowing
doorkeeper, equally knowing as the officious official, who now, with a
glance of pride, announced him, could not dream of insulting a prince by
asking him for his ticket, and only bowed the lower as he advanced, he
bestowing on them in return some of his most gracious nods.  The act was
accomplished.  He was safe in the banqueting-hall; but still there might
be a turn in the tide of his affairs; some one who knew him might
possibly ask how he had managed to get there, and the mayor might
request his absence.  But O'Wiggins was too true a disciple of St.
Impudentia thus to lose the ground he had gained.  Having begun with
blusters and bold confidence, he now called in meek humility and modest
bashfulness, with an abundant supply of blarney.  Stowing away his
cocked-hat in a safe corner, he retired among a crowd of betinselled
officials, and earnestly entered into conversation with them,
expatiating largely on his satisfaction at the sight he had that day
witnessed, assuring his hearers that in Turkey, Russia, or America, or
any other of the many countries he had visited, he had never seen any
thing to equal the magnificence he had beheld in this important part of
_la belle_ France.  He endeavoured also to bend down, so as to hide his
diminished head among the crowd, and thus, as he had calculated, more
wisely than a well-known wise man we have heard of, he passed
undetected.

Dinner being announced as served, he found himself, much against his
will, forced upwards close to the English naval officers and yacht
commodores; but by a still further exertion of humility he contrived to
take a seat a few persons off from those who knew him, and might put
awkward questions.  The French, however, could not fail to admire the
admirable modesty of the foreign prince, and the liberals set it down to
the score of his respect for republican institutions, while the
royalists fancied that he was afraid of presuming on his rank before his
republican host.  From the information I could gain, and from his own
account afterwards, his impudence carried him through the affair with
flying colours, for no one detected him, though many wondered who he
was; and even some who were acquainted with him by sight, failed to
recognise the O'Wiggins in the gayly-decked _militaire_ before them.

Having seen him enter the hall, we returned on board the "Fun," to give
an account of what had happened to our fair friends; and of course we
did not fail of making a good story of the affair, and surmising that
O'Wiggins would be discovered and compelled to strip off his feathers.
After dinner we prepared to go to the ball, to which the ladies wisely
would not venture.  Poor Groggs was very downcast at the events of the
morning, and with the discovery that he could never hope to make the
fair Eulalie Mrs Groggs.  As we were going on shore we met O'Wiggins
pulling off in his gig with four highly-bedecked officers of National
Guards, whom he had invited to visit the yacht.  He had selected them
for the gayness of their uniforms, which he fancied betokened their
exalted rank.  They had discovered that he was not a prince, but still
were under the impression that he was at least a Mi Lord Anglais, imbued
with liberal principles.  He nodded condescendingly to us as he passed.

"I'm going to show my craft to these officers whom I brought from the
banquet, and I'll be back soon at the ball," he exclaimed, with a look
of triumph.

It is understood--for I cannot vouch for the truth of the statement--
that he made the officers very drunk, and then, changing his gay uniform
for his usual yacht dress-coat, he made his appearance at the ball,
where he boasted of the polite manner in which the President had asked
him to the banquet, quoting all the speeches which had been made, and
many other particulars, so that no one doubted that he was there.

The ball-room was crowded to suffocation, and dancing was out of the
question.  I looked at the President with interest.  The last time I had
seen him was in a London ball-room, and at supper I had sat opposite to
him and his cousin, the very image of their uncle.  At that time,
neither had more influence in the world than I or any other humble
person.  They were little lions, because they had the blood in their
veins of the most extraordinary man our times has known; but any Indian
from the East, with a jewelled turban, created more interest.  Now I
beheld the same man the head of a nation--the observed of all
observers--dispensing his courtesies with a truly regal air.  One could
not help feeling that there must be more of his uncle's spirit in the
man than one was before inclined to suppose.  A considerable number of
ladies' dresses and men's coats were torn, and purses and handkerchiefs
abstracted from pockets, and the ball terminated.  I have not given a
very lucid description of it; but a crush in England is so very like a
crush in France, that my readers who have endured one may easily picture
the other.

Mrs Mizen and her charges were anxious to sail to get back to Plymouth
for Sunday, but we induced them to stop till the afternoon, by promising
them to accompany them, that they might see the President visit the
fleet, which it was understood he was to do on Saturday.  The day was
lovely, and every craft afloat, from the big "Valmy" to the smallest
yacht, did her best to look gay, and to add to the brilliancy of the
scene.  The piers were crowded with people, and so were the decks of the
vessels and boats and barges laden with passengers which were moving in
every direction.  It was amusing to watch the numerous parties on board
the steamers at their meals: those forward indulging in bread and cheese
and sausages, and vin ordinaire or beer; the more aristocratic aft in
chicken-pies, hams, champagne, and claret, in which beverages they drank
prosperity to the republic and long life to the President, though they
would as readily have toasted a king or an emperor.  It was a day of
excitement.  The first thing in the morning there was a pulling-match,
but who was the winner I am unable to say.  Then the President paid a
visit to the dockyard, and from that time every one was on the tiptoe of
expectation to catch a glimpse of him as he pulled off to the
ships-of-war he purposed visiting.

At length he appeared in a state-barge of blue and white and gold, and
prow and stern raised and carved richly, which floated as proudly as
that of any Lord Mayor of London, from Whittington downward; for not
altogether dissimilar was she in appearance.  She pulled twenty-four
oars, and a captain stood by the coxswain to con her.  Under a canopy of
purple cloth, the colour reminding one of imperial dignity, sat the
President of the republic, a tricolour flag waving in the bow from a
lofty flagstaff, speaking, however, loudly of republicanism.  As his
galley shot out of the dockyard, there burst forth from the mouth of
every cannon on board the ships and in every fort on shore, roars most
tremendous, flashes of flame, and clouds of smoke.  Never had I before
heard such a wild, terrific uproar; crash followed crash, till it
appeared that every soul afloat or on shore must be annihilated.

Thundering away went the guns, every ship firing every gun she had as
fast as she could, and every fort doing the same.  Bang--crash, crash,
crash.  The ladies stopped their ears, and looked as if they wished
themselves well out of it.  It appeared as if a fierce battle were
raging, while the ships and the batteries and the shore were shrouded by
a dense mass of smoke.  On a sudden the firing ceased, the smoke blew
away, revealing once more the masts and rigging of the ships-of-war, now
crowded with men in the act of laying out on the yards.  The crews
cheered, and the bands of all the ships struck up martial music, which
floated joyfully over the water, and one could not help fancying that
something very important was taking place.  In reality, it was only a
_coup d'etat_--Prince Napoleon was trying to supplant Prince de
Joinville in the affections of the seamen of France.  It is said that he
made himself very popular, and gained golden opinions from all classes
of men.

His first visit was to the "Friedland," the flag-ship of Admiral
Deschenes, then to the "Valmy," and next to "Minerve," the gunnery-ship,
on the same plan as our "Excellent."  Here some practice took place, but
I cannot say that the firing was any thing out of the way good.  Having
inspected his own ships, he paid a visit to Lord Wilton's beautiful
schooner, the "Zarifa," and afterwards to the "Enchantress," Lord
Cardigan's yacht, both perfect vessels of their kind.  We yachtsmen had,
indeed, reason to feel not a little proud of the display made by our
peaceable crafts on the occasion.

We went on board several of the French ships, and were much struck with
their beauty, cleanliness, and order, while every improvement which
science has suggested has been introduced on board them.  We were not
particularly prepossessed in favour of the French seamen, either on
shore or on board.  There was a roughness in their manner which savoured
somewhat of national dislike, fostered for sinister purposes, to be
pleasant; or, if it was put on in imitation of the manners of our own
honest Jack Tars, all I can say is, that it was a very bad imitation
indeed, and about as unlike the truth as when they attempt to represent
the English national character on the stage.

From the French officers all who visited their ships received the very
greatest attention and courtesy.  We sailed that afternoon, as soon as
the spectacle was over, in company with the "Fun."  I cannot, therefore,
describe the ball, with its overpowering heat and crush, which took
place that evening, nor the sham-fight, when the boats of the squadron
attacked the steamer "Descartes," nor the evolutions of the fleet, nor
the awful expenditure of gunpowder from the ships, sufficient to make
the economical hearts of the men of Manchester sink dismayed within
their bosoms.  O friends! think you this expenditure of gunpowder and
noise breathes the spirit of peace?  O merchants, manufacturers, and
calculators well versed in addition and subtraction, is it not worth
while to employ some portion of our own income, even a large portion
maybe, to insure Old England against any freak our volatile neighbours
may take into their heads?  But I have done with public affairs.  The
"Frolic" and the "Fun" danced gayly together over the starlit ocean
towards Plymouth, wind and tide favouring us.  The voices of our fair
friends, as they sang in concert some delicious airs, sounded across the
water most sweetly to our ears.  What a contrast to the loud roar of the
cannon in the morning, and the glare and bustle of Cherbourg harbour,
did that quiet evening present!

We arrived safely in Plymouth at an early hour next day.  I am happy to
say that, not long after, I received cards with silver ties from my
friends Mr and Mrs Jack Mizen; but I am somewhat anticipating events.
I think it right, however, to announce to the spinster world that
Groggs, Porpoise, and Bubble are still bachelors.



CHAPTER NINE.

PREPARATIONS FOR A LONG CRUISE--HEARTY CONFESSES TO A SOFT IMPEACHMENT--
THE O'WIGGINS AND HIS PASSENGERS--HOW WE GOT RID OF THEM.

Hearty had long projected a voyage up the Mediterranean, and invited
Carstairs, and Bubble, and me to join him.  Groggs, as may be supposed,
had become a bore, unbearable; and, as soon as we arrived at Plymouth,
had been sent back to cultivate his paternal acres and describe the
wonders he had seen during his nautical career.  While Porpoise was
attending to the refitting of the yacht, Bubble and I were busily
engaged in laying in stores of comestibles, and drinkables, and
burnables and smokables, of all sorts.  Food for the mind, as well as
for the body, was not forgotten; but Hearty would not allow a pack of
cards or dice on board.  It was a fancy of his, he said, that he did not
much mind being peculiar.  "If a set of men with heads on their
shoulders and brains in their heads cannot amuse themselves, unless by
the aid of means invented for the use of idiots, and fit only for the
half-witted, I would rather dispense with their society," he used to
observe.  We had, however, chess and draughts, though he was no great
admirer of either game, especially of the latter.  "However," as he
said, "though those games kill time which I think it would be wise of
men if they tried to keep alive, as they, at all events, won't let a
fellow's mind go to sleep, we may as well have them."

We exerted all our ingenuity and thought in laying in every thing which
could possibly be required for a long voyage; and seldom has a yacht, I
suspect, been better found in this respect.  Seldom, also, have five
jolly bachelors been brought together more ready to enjoy themselves.
Three is generally considered the best number to form a travelling
party, and certainly on shore no party should exceed that number, unless
there is some stronger bond of union than mere pleasure or convenience.
Seldom when more men unite do they fail to separate before the end of
the journey.  For a yacht voyage, however, the case is different.  In
the first place, there is more discipline.  The owner, if he is a man of
judgment, assumes a certain amount of mild authority; acts as captain
over every one on board, and keeps order.  Should a dispute arise, he
instantly reconciles the disputants, and takes care himself never to
dispute with any one.

Hearty was just the man for the occasion.  "Now, my dear fellows," said
he to all the party on giving us the invitation, "the first thing we
have to do is to sign articles to preserve good fellowship, and to do
our best to make each other happy.  I don't want to top the officer over
my guests; but all I want you to promise me is, that if there arises any
difference, you will allow me at once to be umpire.  If I differ with
any one, the rest must act the part of judge and jury."  We, of course,
were all too happy to agree to so reasonable a proposal, and so the
matter was settled.  With respect also to the numbers on board, in
reality only Hearty and Carstairs were idlers; Porpoise was officially
master; Bubble had originally fitted out the yacht, and acted as
caterer; while I had undertaken to keep my watch, and aid Will in his
duties.  We had with us guns and ammunition, and fishing-rods and nets,
and camera-lucidas, and sketch-books; and musical instruments, flutes, a
violin, a guitar, and accordion.  We had even some scientific apparatus;
nor had we forgotten a good supply of writing materials.  The truth was
that Bubble and I had some claim to be authors.  Will had written a good
deal: indeed, his prolific pen had often supplied him with the means of
paying his tailor's bill; while I had more than once appeared in print.
We agreed, therefore, not to interfere with one another in our literary
compositions.  While he took one department, I was to take the other.
At last we were all ready for sea.  Mizen came out in the "Fun" to see
us off, with Fanny Farlie, Miss Mizen, Mr and Mrs Rullock, and Susan
Simms on board, as well as several of our friends, and we struck up, as
the yachts at length parted, with our voices and all the musical
instruments we could bring into action, "The Girls we leave behind us."
Hearty heaved a sigh as he was looking through his glass at the
fast-receding "Fun."

"What's the matter?"  I asked.

"Yes, she is a sweet girl!" he ejaculated, not answering me, however.  I
spoke again.

"Laura Mizen, to be sure," he replied.  "Who else?  She's unlike all the
rest of our yachting set away at Ryde there.  They are all young ladies,
cast in the same mould, differing only in paint, outside show; one may
be blue and the other red, another yellow, though I don't think you
often find them of any primitive colour; generally they are of
secondary, or mixed colours, as the artists say.  One again wishes to be
thought fast, and another sentimental, another philanthropic or
religious, and another literary.  I don't know which of the pretenders I
dislike the most.  The fast young ladies are the most difficult to deal
with.  They do such impudent things, both to one and of one.  If they
knew how some of the fast men speak of them in return, it would make
them wince not a little, I suspect, if they have not rattled away from
all delicacy themselves.  Oh, give me a right honest, good girl, who
does not dream of being any thing but herself; who is a dutiful
daughter, and is ready to be a loving, obedient wife of an honest man,
and the affectionate mother of some fine hearty children, whom she may
bring up with a knowledge of the object for which they were sent into
the world."

"Well said, my dear fellow," I answered, warmly; for I seriously
responded to his sentiments, though, it must be confessed, they were
very different to the style which had been usual on board the "Frolic."
"Why did you not ask her, though?"  I continued.

"Because I was a fool," he answered.  "Those Rattler girls, Masons and
Sandons, and that Miss Mary Masthead, and others of her stamp, were
running in my head, and I couldn't believe that Laura Mizen was in
reality superior to them.  I used to talk the same nonsense to her that
I rattled into their willing ears; and it is only now that I have
thought over the replies she made, and many things she lately said to
me, and that I have discovered the vast difference there is between her
and the rest."

"Well, 'bout ship, and propose," said I; "though sorry to lose the
cruise, your happiness shall be the first consideration."

"Oh, no, no! that will never do," he answered.  "I doubt if she will
have me now.  When we come back next summer I will find her out, and if
she appears to receive me favourably, I will propose.  Now she thinks me
only a harum-scarum rattler.  It would never do."

I could say nothing to this.  I truly believed that though Hearty's
fortune would weigh with most girls, it would but little with her; and I
could only hope that in the mean time she would not bestow her
affections on any one else.

Just as we got outside the breakwater we sighted a schooner, standing in
for the Sound, which we had no difficulty in making out to be the
"Popple."  As soon as she discovered us, she bore down on us,
signalising away as rapidly as possible.

"What are they saying?" asked Hearty, as he saw the bunting run up to
her masthead.

"Heave-to, I want to speak to you," I answered, turning over the leaves
of the signal-book.

"Shall we?" asked Porpoise.

"Oh, by all means," replied Hearty.  "O'Wiggins may have something of
importance to communicate."

"Down with the helm; let fly the jib-sheet; haul the foresail to
windward," sung out Porpoise, and the cutter lay bobbing her head
gracefully to the sea, while the schooner approached her.

Still they continued running up and down the bunting on board the
"Popple."  I had some difficulty in making out what they intended to
say.  "Ladies aboard--trust to gallantry," I continued to interpret, as
I made out the words by reference to the book.

"What can they wish to say?" exclaimed Hearty.

"They wish to lay an embargo on us of some sort, and begin by
complimenting us on our gallantry," observed Bubble.

"By the pricking of my thumbs, something evil this way comes," exclaimed
Carstairs.  "As I am a living gentleman, there are petticoats on board.
Who has been acting the part of a perfidious wretch, and breaking tender
vows?  An avenging Nemesis is in his wake in the person of Mrs
Skyscraper, or the Rattler girls, or Mary Masthead.  Even at this
distance I can make them out."

So it was, as the schooner approached, the very dames Carstairs had
named were seen on board.

We had observed, as we went down the Sound, a large schooner beating up
from the westward.  There had been discussions as to what she was.  Our
glasses had now once more been turned towards her, when we discovered
her to be the "Sea Eagle."  Seeing our bunting going up and down so
rapidly, Sir Charles Drummore, her owner, curious to know what we were
talking about, stood towards us.

The "Popple" hove-to to windward of us, and a boat being lowered,
O'Wiggins pulled on board.  "My dear fellow, I'm so glad we've overtaken
you," he began.  "Your friend, Mrs Skyscraper, and those young ladies
with her, were so anxious to have another cruise on board the `Frolic'
before the summer is over, that I consented to bring them down here, as
I made sure that you would be delighted to see them!"  Never did
Hearty's face assume a more puzzled and vexed expression.  "Heaven
defend me from them!" he exclaimed.  "Tell them that we've got the
yellow-fever--or the plague, or the cholera, or the measles, or the
whooping-cough, or any thing dreadful you can think of; make every
excuse--or no excuse; the thing is impossible, not to be thought of for
a moment: they can't come.  We are bound foreign, say to the North Pole,
or the West Indies, or the coast of Africa, or the South Pacific, or to
the Antipodes.  They don't want to go there, at all events, I suppose."

"But if you don't take them, what am I to do with them?" exclaimed
O'Wiggins.  "I'm bound down Channel, and if they don't worry me out of
house and home, they'll drive me overboard with the very clatter of
their tongues."

A bright thought struck Hearty.  Just then the "Sea Eagle" came up, and
hove-to on our quarter.

"Much obliged to you for your kind intentions towards us, but, instead,
just hand them over to Drummore," said he, rubbing his hands.  "If any
man can manage so delicate an affair, you can, O'Wiggins, without
wishing to pay you an undue compliment."

Sir Charles Drummore was a baronet, one of our yachting acquaintances,
and had lately purchased the "Sea Eagle."  A worthy old fellow, though
he had the character of being somewhat of a busybody.  He certainly
looked more in his place in his club than on board his yacht.  "Well,
I'll try it," answered the O'Wiggins, who was himself easily won by the
very bait he offered so liberally to others.  "Trust me, I'll do it if
mortal man can.  I'll weave a piteous tale of peerless damsels in
distress, and all that sort of thing.  Thank you for the hint; it will
take, depend on it."

"Well, be quick about it," we exclaimed, "or Drummore will be topping
his boom, and you will miss your chance."  Thereon O'Wiggins tumbled
into his boat, and pulled aboard the "Sea Eagle."  What story he told--
what arguments he used--we never heard; but very shortly we had the
satisfaction of seeing the Misses Rattler and Mary Masthead, with their
skittish chaperone, Mrs Skyscraper, transferred to the deck of the "Sea
Eagle."

We strongly suspected that the prim baronet had not the slightest
conception as to who formed the component parts of the company with whom
he was to be favoured.  He bowed rather stiffly as he received them and
their bandboxes on deck; but he was in for it; his gallantry would not
allow him to send them back to the "Popple," and he had, therefore, only
to wish sincerely for a fair breeze, that he might land them as speedily
as possible at Ryde.  The O'Wiggins waved his cap with an extra amount
of vehemence, and putting up his helm, and easing off his sheets, stood
away for Falmouth.  We, at the same time, shaped a course down Channel,
mightily glad that we were free of all fast young ladies and flirting
widows.

  "O'er the glad waters of the dark blue sea,
  Our thoughts as boundless, and our souls as free,
  Far as the breeze can bear, the billows foam,
  Survey our empire, and behold our home!"

spouted Carstairs, pointing to the wide Atlantic which rolled before us.

  "The sea, the sea, the open sea!--
  The wide, the blue, the ever free;
  Without a mark, without a bound,
  It runneth the earth's wide region round!
  I'm on the sea--
  I am where I would ever be:
  With the blue above, and the blue below,
  And silence wheresoe'er I go,"

chimed in Hearty, whose quotations and sketches were always from authors
of more modern date.

"You'll sing different songs to those, gentlemen, if it comes on to blow
a gale of wind while we are crossing the Bay," said Porpoise, laughing.
"The sea always puts me in mind of a woman, very delightful when she's
calm and smiling, but very much the contrary when a gale is blowing.
I've knocked about all my life at sea, and have got pretty tired of
storms, which I don't like a bit better than when I first went afloat."

"Never fear for us," answered Hearty.  "I never was in a storm in my
life, and I want to see how the `Frolic' will behave."

"As to that, I dare say she will behave well enough," said Porpoise.
"There's no craft like a cutter for lying-to, or for beating off a
lee-shore; or working through a narrow channel, for that matter, though
a man-of-war's man says it.  We have the credit of preferring our own
square-rigged vessels to all others, and not knowing how to handle a
fore-and-after."

"Come what may, we'll trust to you to do the best which can be done
under any chances which may occur," said Hearty.  "And now here comes
Ladle to summon us to dinner."  To dinner we went, and a good one we
ate, and many a good one after it.  Many a joke was uttered, many a
story told, and many a song was sung.  In truth, the days slipped away
more rapidly even than on shore.

"Well, after all, I can't say that there is much romance in a sea-life,"
exclaimed Carstairs, stretching out his legs, as he leaned back in an
arm-chair on deck, and allowed the smoke of his fragrant Havana to rise
curling over his upturned countenance, for there was very little wind at
the time, and from what there was we were running away.

"I can't quite agree with you on that point: there is romance enough at
sea, as well as everywhere else, if people only know how to look for
it," observed Will Bubble, who had been scribbling away most assiduously
all the morning in a large note-book which he kept carefully closed from
vulgar eyes!

"Oh, I know, of course, `Books in the running brooks, sermons in stones,
and good in every thing,'" answered Carstairs, who was seldom at a loss
for a quotation from Shakespeare.  "But I mean, who ever meets a good,
exciting, romantic adventure with pirate-smugglers, savages, or some
thing of that sort?  Perhaps you, Bubble, have got something of that
sort in your book there which you will give us, but then it will be only
fiction: I want a stern reality.  The world has grown too matter-of-fact
to keep a fellow awake."

"I'll own to the soft impeachment," answered Bubble, laughing.  "But my
story's real; I've been merely putting some notes into form for our
amusement, and I hope all hands will be duly grateful."  We all thanked
Bubble for his promise.

"I cannot agree with you, in any way, as to there being no romance in a
sea-life," said I.  "Only last year I took part in a very pretty little
bit of romance, which would have made the fortune of any paper into
which it had been allowed to find its way; but for the sake of the
actors we kept the affair a profound secret, or you would certainly have
heard of it."

"Let's have it all out now," exclaimed Hearty; "we won't peach: we'll be
as tight as the `Frolic' herself."

"I wouldn't trust you in the club," said I.  "But, out here, I don't
think it will go beyond the bulwarks, so you shall hear my story."
While the rest of our party sat round, and drew, or netted, or smoked, I
gave an account of the incident to which I alluded.  As it is an
important introduction to our subsequent adventures, it is, I feel, well
worthy of a chapter to itself.



CHAPTER TEN.

WHY A BACHELOR TOOK TO YACHTING--THE RIVAL SUITORS--A DOUBTFUL
CHARACTER.

Awakened one morning towards the close of the last London season by the
postman's rap, my friend Harcourt found, on reading his letters, that he
had become the owner of the "Amethyst" cutter, and a member of the Royal
Yacht Club.  Possessing an independent fortune, a large circle of
acquaintance, several stanch friends, and few enemies, he ought to have
been a happy man--but he was not.  The fact is, he did not know what to
do with himself.  He had travelled not only over the Continent, but had
visited the three other quarters of the globe.  He had gone through
several London seasons, and run the rounds of innumerable country-houses
where there were marriageable daughters, but had neither fallen in love,
nor been drawn into a proposal.  In truth, he believed with his friends
that he was not a marrying man.  He had become heartily sick of dusty
roads, passage-steamers, hot rooms, dissipation, and manoeuvring mammas,
when I, who had of old been his messmate, recommended him to try
yachting for the summer.

"What, go to sea for pleasure?" he exclaimed, in a tone of contempt.
"You surely cannot suggest such a folly.  I had enough of it when I was
a poor young middy, and obliged to buffet the rude winds and waves;
but--"

"Well; think about it," were the last words I uttered as I left him.

He _did_ think about it, and thought, too, perhaps, he might like it.
He was not a novice, for he had for some years of his existence served
his country in the exalted capacity of a midshipman; but on succeeding,
by the death of an elder brother and an uncle, to some few thousands a
year, he magnanimously determined, by the advice of his lady mother, not
to stand in the way of the promotion of any of his brother-officers, and
retired from the career of glory he was following.  I cannot say that
the thoughts of leaving his profession gave him much regret,
particularly as being too old to return to school, and too ignorant of
Latin and Greek to think of the university, he was henceforth to be his
own master.  If now and then he acknowledged to himself that he might
have been a happier man with a pursuit in life, I cannot say--I am not
moralising.  So much for his past life.

After I left him he meditated on the subject I had suggested, he told
me; and the next time we met, we talked it over, and as I was going down
to Portsmouth, he gave me _carte blanche_ to buy a vessel for him, there
not being time to build one.  This letter communicated the result of my
search.  Having made himself master of this and a few other bits of
information, he turned round, as was his custom after reading his
letters, to sleep off the weariness of body and mind with which he had
lately been afflicted, but as he lay dozing on his luxurious couch,
visions of the "Amethyst," flitted across his brain.  A light, graceful
craft, as she probably was, with a broad spread of white canvas, gliding
like some lovely spirit over the blue ocean.  "Who shall sail with me,"
he thought.  "Brine, of course.  Where shall we go?  When shall we
start?  What adventures shall we probably encounter?  How shall I again
like to find myself on the surface of the fickle sea?"  The case,
however, from the Then and the Now was widely different.  Then he was a
midshipman in a cockpit, at the beck and order of a dozen or twenty
masters.  Now he was to enjoy a command independent of the admiralty and
their sealed orders, admirals, or senior captains.  His own will, and
the winds and tides, the only powers he was to obey.

"By Jove! there is something worth living for," he exclaimed, as he
jumped out of bed.  "I'll forswear London forthwith.  I'll hurry off
from its scheming and heartlessness, its emptiness and frivolity.  I'll
go afloat at once.  Brine is right.  He's a capital fellow.  It was a
bright idea.  I'll try first how I like channel cruising.  I can always
come on shore if it bores me.  If I find it pleasant, I'll buy a larger
craft next year.  I'll go up the Straits, perhaps out to visit my friend
Brooke at Borneo, and round the world."

He bathed, breakfasted, drove to his tailor's, looked in at the Carlton
and the Conservative, fulfilled a dinner engagement, and in the evening
went to three parties, at all of which places he astonished his
acquaintances by the exuberance of his spirits.

"The fact is," he answered to their inquiries as by what wonderful means
the sudden change had been wrought, "I've broken my trammels.  I'm off.
A few days hence and London shall know me no more.  To be plain, I'm
going to turn marine monster, don a monkey-jacket, cultivate a beard,
wear a tarpaulin hat, smoke cigars, and put my hands in my pockets.  We
shall meet again at Cowes, Torquay, Plymouth, or one of the other salt
water places.  Till then, _au revoir_."

As he was entering Lady L--'s door, who should he meet coming out but
his old friend O'Malley, whom he had not seen for ages!  He knew that
his regiment had just come back from India, so he was not very much
surprised.  He took his arm and returned into the rooms with him.  Now,
O'Malley was an excellent fellow, agreeable, accomplished, and possessed
of a fund of good spirits, which nothing could ruffle.  He was, indeed,
a good specimen of an Irish gentleman.  He sang a good song, told a good
story, and made friends wherever he went.  Such was just the man under
every circumstance for a _compagnon de voyage_.  He hesitated not a
moment in inviting him, and, to his infinite satisfaction, he at once
accepted the offer.

A week after he had become the owner of the "Amethyst," O'Malley and he
were seated in a Southampton railroad carriage, on their way to Cowes,
where she was fitting out under my inspection.  In the division opposite
to them sat a little man whom they at once perceived to belong to the
genus snob.  He had a comical little face of his own, lighted by a pair
of round eyes, with a meaningless expression, fat cheeks, a somewhat
large open mouth, and a pug nose with large nostrils.

"Beg pardon, sir," he observed to O'Malley, on whose countenance he saw
a smile playing, which encouraged him.  "Hope I don't interrupt the
perusal of your paper?  Ah, no--concluded--topped off with births,
deaths, marriages, and advertisements.  See mine there soon.  Don't mean
an advertisement, nor my birth, ha, ha! too old a bird for that; nor
death, you may suppose; I mean t'other--eh, you twig? coming the tender,
wooing, and wedding--hope soon to fix the day:"--suddenly he turned
round to Harcourt--"Reading the `Daily'?--Ah, no, the `Times,' I see.--
Any news, sir?"

They did look at him with astonishment, but, at the same time, were so
amused that, of course, they humoured the little man.  Harcourt,
therefore, unfroze, and smiling, offered him the paper.

"Oh dear! many thanks, didn't want it," he answered; "can't read in a
railroad, afraid to interrupt you before you'd finished.  Going down to
the sea, I suppose?--So am I.  Abroad, perhaps?--I'm not.  Got a
yacht?--national amusement.  Sail about the Wight?--pretty scenery,
smooth water, I'm told.  Young lady, fond of boating--sure way to win
her heart.  Come it strong--squeeze her hand, can't get away.  Eh, see
I'm up to a trick or two."

In this absurdly vulgar style he ran on, while they stared, wondering
who he could be.  Finding that, they said nothing, he began again.

"Fond of yachting, gentlemen?"

"I believe so," answered Harcourt.

"So am I.--Got a yacht?" he asked.

Harcourt nodded.

"What's her name?"

Harcourt told him.

"Mine's the `Dido.'  Pretty name, isn't it? short and sweet.  Dido was
Queen of Sheba, you know--ran away with Ulysses, the Trojan hero, and
then killed herself with an adder because he wouldn't marry her.
Learned all that when I was at school.  She's at Southampton, but I
belong to the club.  Only twenty-five tons--little, but good.  Not a
clipper I own--stanch and steady, that's my motto.  Warwick Ribbons has
always a welcome for his friends.  That's me, at your service.
Christened Warwick from the great Guy.  Rough it now and then.  You
won't mind that.  Eggs and bacon, and a plain chop, but weeds and liquor
_ad lib_.  Brother yachtsmen, you know.  Bond of union."  They winced a
little.  "Shall meet often, I hope, as my father used to say each time
he passed the bottle.  David Ribbons was his name.  Good man.  Merchant
in the city.  Cut up well.  Left me and brother Barnabas a mint of
money.  Barnabas sticks to trade.  I've cut it.  Made a lucky spec, in
railroads, and am flaring up a bit.  Here we are at the end of our
journey," he exclaimed, as the train stopped at Southampton.  "We shall
meet again on board the `Dido.'  Remember me.  Warwick Ribbons, you
know--good-by good-by."  And before they were aware of his friendly
intentions, he had grasped them both warmly by the hand.  "I must see
after my goods--my trunks, I mean."  So saying, he set off to overtake
the porter, who was wheeling away his traps.

Harcourt never felt more inclined to give way to a hearty fit of
laughter, and O'Malley indulged himself to his heart's content.

In an hour after this they were steaming down the Southampton Water on
their way to Cowes.  Just as they got clear of the pier they again
beheld their friend, Warwick Ribbons, on the deck of a remarkably ugly
little red-bottomed cutter, which they had no doubt was the "Dido."  He
recognised them, apparently, for, holding on by the rigging, he jumped
on the gunwale, waving his hat vehemently to draw their attention and
that of the other passengers to himself and his craft, but of course
they did not consider it necessary to acknowledge his salute.  This
vexed him, for he turned round and kicked a dirty-looking boy, which
also served to let everybody know that he was master of the "Dido."  The
boy uttered a howl and ran forward, little Ribbons followed him round
and round the deck, repeating the dose as long as they could see him.

I was the first person they met on landing at Cowes, and Harcourt,
having introduced O'Malley to me, we repaired to the "Amethyst," lying
off White's Yard.  We pulled round her twice, to examine her thoroughly
before we went on board.  He was not disappointed in her, for though
smaller than he could have wished--she measured sixty tons--she was a
perfect model of symmetry and beauty.  She was also so well fitted
within that she had accommodation equal to many vessels of nearly twice
her size.

Three days more passed, and the "Amethyst" was stored, provisioned, and
reported ready for sea.  Harcourt's spirits rose to an elevation he had
not experienced for years, as, on one of the most beautiful mornings of
that beautiful season, his craft, with a light wind from the southward,
glided out of Cowes Harbour.

"What a wonderful effect has the pure fresh air, after the smoke and
heat of London!" exclaimed O'Malley.  "Let me once inhale the real salt
breeze, and I shall commit a thousand unthought-of vagaries, and so will
you, let me tell you; you'll be no more like yourself, the man about
town, than the `Amethyst' to a coal-barge, or choose any other simile
you may prefer."

We had now got clear of the harbour, so I ordered the vessel to be
hove-to, that, consulting the winds and tides, we might determine the
best course to take.

"Where shall we go, then?" asked Harcourt.  "The flood has just done.
See, that American ship has begun to swing, so we have the whole ebb to
get to the westward."

"We'll take a short trip to spread our wings and try their strength," I
answered.  "What say you to a run through the Needles down to Weymouth?
We shall be back in time for dinner to-morrow."

We all three had an engagement for the next day to dine with Harcourt's
friends, the Granvilles, one of the few families of his acquaintance who
had yet come down.

"As you like it; but hang these dinner engagements in the yachting
season," exclaimed O'Malley.  "I hope you put in a proviso that, should
the winds drive us, we were at liberty to run over to Cherbourg, or down
to Plymouth, or do as we pleased."

"No," he answered; "the fact is, I scarcely thought the vessel would be
ready so soon, and we are bound to do our best to return."

"And I see no great hardship in being obliged to eat a good dinner in
the company of such nice girls as the Miss Granvilles seem to be," I put
in.

"Well, then, that's settled," Harcourt exclaimed.  "We've no time to
lose, however, though we have a soldier's wind.  Up with the helm--let
draw the foresail--keep her away, Griffiths."  And the sails of the
little craft filling, she glided gracefully through the water, shooting
past Egypt Point, notwithstanding the light air, at the rate of some six
knots an hour.  Gradually as the sun rose the breeze freshened.
Gracefully she heeled over to it.  The water bubbled and hissed round
her bows, and faster and faster she walked along.

"She's got it in her, sir, depend on't," said Griffiths, as he eyed the
gaff-topsail with a knowing look.  "There won't be many who can catch
her, I'll answer.  I was speaking yesterday to my brother-in-law, whose
cousin was her master last summer, from the time she was launched, and
he gave her a first-rate character--such a sea-boat, sir, as weatherly
and dry as a duck.  They were one whole day hove-to in the Chops of the
Channel without shipping a drop of water, while a big ship, beating up
past them, had her decks washed fore and aft."

Griffiths' satisfactory praise of the craft was cut short by the
announcement of breakfast, and, with keen appetites, we descended to
discuss as luxurious a meal as three bachelors ever sat down to.  Tea,
coffee, chocolate, hot rolls, eggs, pickled salmon, lamb chops,
kaplines, and orange marmalade, were some of the ingredients.  Then came
some capital cigars, on which Harcourt and O'Malley had chosen a
committee of connoisseurs at the Garrick to sit before they selected
them.

"We bachelors lead a merry life, and few that are married lead better,"
sang O'Malley, as he lighted his first Havana.

"On my word you're right," chimed in Harcourt.  "Now I should like any
one to point me out three more happy fellows than we are and ought to
be.  What folly it would be for either of us to think of turning
Benedict!"

"Faith, an officer in a marching regiment, with only his pay to live on
had better not bring his thoughts into practice, at all events,"
observed O'Malley.  "Such has been the conclusion to which I have always
arrived after having fallen in love with half the lovely girls I have
met in my life; and, as ill luck would have it, somehow or other if they
have been heiresses, I could not help thinking that it might be their
money which attracted me more than their pretty selves, and I have
invariably run off without proposing.  I once actually went down to
marry a girl with a large fortune, whose friends said she was dying for
me, but unfortunately she had a pretty little cousin staying with her, a
perfect Hebe in form and face, and, on my life, I could not help making
love to her instead of the right lady, who, of course, discarded me, as
I deserved, on the spot."

As we opened Scratchell's Bay to the south of the Needles, O'Malley, who
had never been there before, was delighted with the view.

"The pointed chalk rocks of the Needles running like a broken wall into
the sea, the lofty white cliff presenting a daring front to the storms
of the west, the protector, as it were, of the soft and fertile lands
within; the smooth downs above, with their watchful lighthouse, the
party-coloured cliffs of Alum Bay, and Hurst Castle and its attendant
towers, invading the waters at the end of the yellow sandbank.  Come,
that description will do for the next tourist who wanders this way," he
exclaimed.  "Ah, now we are really at sea," he continued; "don't you
discover the difference of the land wind and the cool, salt,
exhilarating breeze which has just filled our sails, both by feel,
taste, smell?  At last I begin to get rid of the fogs of London which
have hitherto been hanging about me."

As the sun rose the wind freshened, and we had a beautiful run to
Weymouth.  We brought up in the bay near a fine cutter, which we
remarked particularly, as there were very few other yachts there at the
time.  Manning the gig, we pulled on shore to pass away the time till
dinner, and as none of us had ever been there before, we took a turn to
the end of the esplanade to view that once favourite residence of
royalty.

As we were walking back we met a man in yachting costume, who, looking
hard at O'Malley, came up and shook him warmly by the hand.  I also knew
his face, but could not recollect where I had seen him, and so it
appeared had Harcourt.  Slipping his arm through that of O'Malley, who
introduced him as Mr Miles Sandgate, he turned back with us.  He seemed
a jovial, hail-fellow-well-met sort of character, not refined, but very
amusing; so, without further thought, as we were about to embark,
Harcourt asked him on board to dine with us.  He at once accepted the
invitation, and as we passed the yacht we had admired, we found that she
belonged to him.  I remarked that she had no yacht burgee flying, and he
did not speak of belonging to any club.  He might, to be sure, have
lately bought her, and not had time to be elected.  But then, again, he
had evidently been constantly at sea, and was, as far as I had an
opportunity of judging, a very good seaman.

The dinner passed off very pleasantly.  Harcourt's cook proved that he
was a first-rate nautical _chef_.  Our new acquaintance made himself
highly amusing by his anecdotes of various people, and his adventures by
sea and land in every part of the globe.  There was, however, a
recklessness in his manner, and at times a certain assumption and
bravado, which I did not altogether like.  After we had despatched our
coffee, and a number of cigars, he took his leave, inviting us on board
the "Rover," the name of his yacht; but we declined, on the plea of
wishing to get under way again that evening.  In fact, we had agreed to
return at once to Cowes to be in time for our dinner at the Granvilles'.

"Oh, then you must breakfast with me to-morrow morning, for I am bound
for the same place, and shall keep you company," he observed, with a
laugh; "though I have no doubt that the `Amethyst' is a fast craft, yet
I am so much larger that you must not be offended at my considering it
probable that I shall be able to keep up with you."

On this Harcourt could not, in compliment to O'Malley, help asking him
to remain longer with us, and he sending a message on board his vessel,
both yachts got under way together.  Perhaps he perceived a certain want
of cordiality in Harcourt's manner towards him, as he was evidently a
keen observer of other men; for at all events he did his utmost to
ingratiate himself with him, and during the second half of his stay on
board he had entirely got rid of the manner which annoyed him, appearing
completely a man of the world, well read, and conversant with good
society.  At the same time he did not hint to what profession he had
belonged, nor what had taken him to the different places of which he
spoke.  In fact, we could not help feeling that there was a certain
mystery about him which he did not choose to disclose.  At a late hour
he hailed his own vessel, and his boat took him on board her.  The wind
was so light, that, till the tide turned to the eastward, we made but
little progress; but the moon was up, and the air soft and balmy, and
most unwillingly we turned in before we got through the Needles.

As soon as our visitor had left us, O'Malley told us that he had met him
many years before in India, at the house of a relation, he believed, of
Sandgate's; that this relation had nursed him most kindly through a
severe illness with which he had been attacked, and that he had, on his
recovery, travelled with Sandgate through the country.  He met him once
or twice after that, and he then disappeared from India, nor had he seen
him again, till he encountered him in London soon after his return.  He
believed that he had been connected with the opium trade, and suspected
that he had actually commanded an opium clipper in his more youthful
days, though he fancied he had engaged in the pursuit for the sake of
the excitement and danger it afforded, as he appeared superior to the
general run of men employed in it.

The next morning, the tide having made against us, we brought up off
Yarmouth, when we went on board the "Rover," to breakfast, and a very
sumptuous entertainment Mr Sandgate gave us, with some cigars, which
beat any thing I had ever tasted.  The cabin we went into was handsomely
fitted up; but he did not go through the usual ceremony of showing us
over the vessel.  It was late in the afternoon when the two vessels
anchored in Cowes Harbour.

Soon after we brought up we saw the "Dido" come into the harbour, and
just as we were going on shore, Mr Ribbons himself, in full nautical
costume, pulled alongside.  He insisted on coming on board, and taxed
Harcourt's hospitality considerably before we could get rid of him.
Hearing me mention the Granvilles, he very coolly asked us to introduce
him.  "Why, you see," he added, "there's an acquaintance of mine, I
find, staying with them whom I should like to meet."  We all, of course,
positively declined the honour he intended us.

"Probably if you send a note to your friend he may do as you wish," I
observed.  "I am not on sufficiently intimate terms with the family."

"Oh! why you see it's a lady--a young lady, you know--and I can't
exactly ask her."

"I regret, but it is impossible, my dear sir," I answered.  "You must
excuse us, or we shall be late for dinner;" and leaving him biting his
thumbs with doubt and vexation, we pulled on shore.

The party at the Granvilles' was excessively pleasant.  The Miss
Granvilles were pretty, nice girls, and they had a friend staying with
them, who struck me as being one of the most lovely creatures I had ever
seen.  She had dark hair and eyes, with an alabaster complexion, a
figure slight and elegant, and features purely classical; the expression
of her countenance was intelligent and sweet in the extreme, but a shade
of melancholy occasionally passed over it, which she in vain endeavoured
to conceal.  Harcourt at once became deeply interested in her, though he
could learn little more about her than that her name was Emily Manners,
and that she was staying with some friends at Ryde, the Bosleys, he
understood.  Who they were he could not tell, for he had never heard
their names before.  She sang very delightfully; and some more people
coming in, we even accomplished a polka.  During the evening, while he
was speaking to her, he overheard O'Malley, in his usually amusing way,
describing our rencontre with Mr Warwick Ribbons, and he was surprised,
when she heard his name, to see her start and look evidently annoyed,
though she afterwards could not help smiling as he continued drawing his
picture.

"And, do you know, Miss Granville," he added, "he wanted us to bring him
here, declaring that some mutual and very dear friend of his and yours
was staying, with you."

"Absurd!  Who can the man be?" said Miss Granville.  "Miss Manners is
the only friend staying with us, and I am sure she cannot know such a
person, if your description of him is correct.  Do you, Emily, dear?"

To my astonishment, Miss Manners blushed, and answered, "I am acquainted
with a Mr Ribbons; that is to say, he is a friend of Mr Bosley's; but
I must disclaim any intimacy with him, and I trust that he did not
assume otherwise."

O'Malley saw that he had made a mistake, and with good tact took pains
to show that he fully believed little Ribbons had imposed on us, before
he quietly dropped the subject, and branched off into some other amusing
story.

The Granvilles and their fair friend promised to take a cruise in the
"Amethyst" on the following day, but as the weather proved not very
favourable, Harcourt put off their visit till the day after.  He thus
also gained an excuse for passing a greater part of it in their society.

As we walked down to the esplanade in front of the club-house to look at
the yacht, which they had expressed a wish to see, we encountered no
less a person than Warwick Ribbons himself.  He passed us several times
without venturing to speak; but at last, mustering courage, he walked up
to Miss Manners and addressed her--

"Good morning, Miss Emily.  Happy to see you here.  Couldn't tell where
you'd run to, till old Bosley told me.  Been looking for you in every
place along the coast.  Venture back to Ryde in the `Dido'?  Come, now,
you never yet have been on board, and I got her on purpose"--he was, I
verily believe, going to say "for you," but he lost confidence, and
finished with a smirking giggle--"to take young ladies out, you know."

Harcourt felt inclined to throw the little abomination into the water.

"Thank you," said Miss Manners; "I prefer returning by the steamer."

"Oh, dear, now that is--but I'm going to see your guardian, Miss, and
may I take a letter to him just to say you're well?" asked Mr Ribbons;
"he'll not be pleased if I don't."

"I prefer writing by the post," answered Emily, now really becoming
annoyed at his pertinacity.

"You won't come and take a sail with me, then?" he continued; "you and
your friends, I mean."

She shook her head and bowed.

"Well, then, if you won't, I'm off," he exclaimed, with a look of
reproach, and, striking his forehead, he turned round and tumbled into
his boat.

We watched him on board his vessel, and the first thing he did was to
set to and beat his boy; he then dived down below and returned with a
swimming belt, or rather jacket, on, which he immediately began to fill
with air, till he looked like a balloon or a Chinese tumbler.  The
"Dido," then got under way; but her crew were apparently drunk, for she
first very nearly ran right on to the quay, and then foul of a boat
which was conveying a band of musicians across the river.

A most amusing scene ensued, Ribbons abused the musicians, who had
nothing at all to do with it, and they retorted on him, trying to fend
off the vessel with their trombones, trumpets, and cornopeans.  At one
time they seemed inclined to jump on board and take forcible possession
of the "Dido," but they thought better of it, and when they got clear
they put forth such a discordant blast of derision, finishing like a
peal of laughter, that all the spectators on shore could not help
joining them, and I wonder the little man ever had courage again to set
his foot in Cowes.

We were still on the quay when Sandgate came on shore and passed us; as
he did so, he nodded to us, and I observed him looking very hard at Miss
Manners.  He soon after, without much ceremony, joined us, and managed
quietly to enter into conversation with all the ladies.  After some
time, however, I perceived that he devoted his attention almost
exclusively to Emily.  He was just the sort of fellow to attract many
women, and I suspect that Harcourt felt a twinge of jealousy attacking
him, and regretted that O'Malley had ever introduced him; at the same
time I trusted that Emily would perceive that want of innate refinement
which I had discovered at once; but then, I thought, women have have not
the same means of judging of men which men have of each other.  He did
not, however, speak of his vessel, nor offer to take out any of the
party.

I shall pass over the next two or three days which we spent in the
neighbourhood, each day taking the Granvilles and their friends on the
water; and so agreeable did we find that way of passing our time that
none of us felt any inclination to go further.  It was, if I remember
rightly, on the 24th of July that we went to Spithead to see those four
magnificent ships, the "Queen," "Vengeance," "St. Vincent," and "Howe,"
riding at anchor there.  Though the morning was calm, a light breeze
sprung up just as we got under way, and we arrived in time to see her
Majesty and Prince Albert come out of Portsmouth Harbour in their yacht
steamer, and cruise round the ships.  We hove-to just to the southward
of the "Howe," so as to have a good view of all the ships in line, and
it was a beautiful and enlivening sight, as they all manned yards and
saluted one after the other.  From every ship, also, gay flags floated,
in long lines from each masthead to the bowsprit and boom-ends, the
bands played joyous tunes, and then arose those heart-stirring cheers
such as British seamen alone can give.  The ladies were delighted--
indeed, who could not be so at the proud spectacle?

On our way back to Cowes we were to land Miss Manners, who, most
unwillingly on her part, I believe, was obliged to return to her
guardian.  We accordingly hove-to off the pier, and all the party landed
to conduct her to Mr Bosley's house.  After taking a turn to the end of
the pier, as we were beginning our journey along its almost interminable
length, we on a sudden found ourselves confronted by two most
incongruous personages walking arm-in-arm--Warwick Ribbons and Miles
Sandgate.  The latter, the instant he saw us, withdrew his arm from that
of his companion, and in his usual unembarrassed manner, advanced
towards us, putting out his hand to O'Malley and me, and bowing to the
ladies.  He, as usual, placed himself at the side of Emily, who had
Harcourt's arm, and certainly did his best to draw off her attention
from him.  Little Ribbons tried, also, to come up and speak to her, but
either his courage or his impudence could not overcome the cold, low bow
she gave him.  By the by, she had bestowed one of a similar nature on
Sandgate.  After some time, however, he ranged up outside of Harcourt,
for he had no shadow of excuse to speak to either Mrs Granville or her
daughters.

"Ah, Miss Emily," he exclaimed in a smirking way, "you said you would
prefer returning here in a steamer to a yacht, and now you've come in
one after all."

Emily did not know what to answer to his impudence, so Harcourt relieved
her by answering--

"Miss Manners selected a larger vessel, and had, also, the society of
her friends."

"In that case, I might have claimed the honour for my vessel, which is
larger than either," observed Mr Sandgate, with a tone in which I
detected a sneer lurking under a pretended laugh.

"Ah, but then I'm an old friend," interposed the little man; "ain't I,
Miss Emily?--known you ever since you was a little girl, though you do
now and then pretend not to remember it."

"Hang the fellow's impudence!"  Harcourt was on the point of exclaiming,
and perhaps might have said something of the sort, when his attention
was called off by another actor in the drama.  He was a corpulent,
consequential-looking gentleman, with a vulgar expression of
countenance, dressed in a broad-brimmed straw hat and shooting-coat,
with trousers of a huge plaid pattern, and he had an umbrella under his
arm though there was not a cloud in the sky.  He was, in fact, just the
person I might have supposed as the friend of little Ribbons, who, as
soon as he espied him, with great glee ran on to meet him.  Poor Emily,
at the same time, pronounced the words, "My guardian, Mr Bosley," in a
tone which showed little pleasure at the _rencontre_, and instantly
withdrew her arm from Harcourt's.  She was evidently anxious to prevent
a meeting between the parties, for she turned round to the Miss
Granvilles and begged them not to come any further, and then holding out
her hand to Harcourt, thanked him for the pleasant excursions he had
afforded her.  She was too late, however, for Mr Bosley advancing,
bowed awkwardly to the Miss Granvilles, and then addressing Emily,
said,--

"Ay, little missie, a long holiday you've been taking with your friends;
but I shan't let you play truant again, I can tell you.  I've heard all
about your doings from my friend Warwick here--so come along, come
along;" and seizing her arm, without more ceremony he walked her off,
while Mr Ribbons smirked and chuckled at the thoughts of having her now
in his power, as he fancied.  Miles Sandgate, at the same time, bowing
to the ladies, and nodding to us in a familiar way which verged upon
cool impudence, followed their steps.  We all felt excessively annoyed
at the scene; but far more regretted that so charming a girl should be
in the power of such a coarse barbarian as Mr Bosley appeared.

On our passage back to Cowes, Miss Granville told me all she knew of
Miss Manners.  She was the daughter of a Colonel Manners, who had gone
out on some mining speculation or other, to one of the South American
States, but it was believed that the ship which was conveying him to
England had foundered, with all hands, at sea.

He had left his daughter Emily under the charge of a Mr Eastway, a
merchant of high standing, and a very gentlemanly man.  Mr Eastway, who
was the only person cognisant of Colonel Manners' plans, died suddenly,
and Mr Bosley, his partner, took charge of her and the little property
invested in his house for her support.  She had been at the same school
with the Miss Granvilles, who there formed a friendship for her which
had rather increased than abated after they grew up.  This was the
amount of the information I could extract from them.  She never
complained of her guardian to them; but she was as well able as they
were to observe his excessive vulgarity, though there was probably under
it a kindliness of feeling which in some degree compensated for it.
Harcourt certainly did his best to conceal the feelings with which he
could not help acknowledging to himself she had inspired him, and was
much pleased at hearing the Granvilles say that they intended writing to
her to propose joining her at Ryde on the day of the regatta.



CHAPTER ELEVEN.

A LADY SPIRITED AWAY--THE CHASE--THE CONSEQUENCES.

In the mean time Harcourt made daily trips to Ryde, and promenaded the
pier from one end to the other, and through every street of the town, in
the hope of meeting Miss Manners, but in vain.  He met Ribbons
frequently, but of course he could not inquire after her from him, and
consequently avoided him.  Sandgate he encountered several times; but he
had conceived such an antipathy to the man, as well as a suspicion of
his character, that, as O'Malley was not with us, he did not think it
necessary to recognise him.  Harcourt felt all the time that he was not
treating O'Malley and me fairly in keeping about the island, and
therefore promised to start on a long cruise directly after the regatta.
The first day of the regatta was cold, and blowing fresh, so none of
the ladies went.  It was the schooner-match round the island, when the
little "Bianca" carried off the cup from her huge competitors, though
she came in last, so much time being allowed for the difference of
tonnage.  The next day of the regatta the weather was most propitious,
and we had the pleasure of meeting Miss Manners on the end of the pier
with Mr Bosley, who saved Harcourt from inviting him, by telling us
that "if we would give him a hundred pounds for every minute he was in
that gimcrack-looking boat, he wouldn't come.  Let him have a
steady-going steamer, which didn't care for winds and tides."  He made
no objection to Emily's accompanying us; though little Ribbons coming up
just as she was stepping into the boat, reproached her for not visiting
the "Dido" instead.

The sight was beautiful in the extreme; for, independent of the
racing-vessels, hundreds of other yachts were sailing about in every
direction.  The course also being round the Nab light, and a similar
light-vessel moored at the mouth of the Southampton Water, the
racing-yachts were the whole time in sight of Ryde.  The Royal Victoria
Yacht Club-house was decorated with banners, and from a battery in front
of it were fired the necessary signals and salutes, while several yachts
anchored off the pier-head were also gayly-decked with flags.  In the
afternoon the Queen came from Osborne on board the "Fairy," amid the
animated scene, and made several wide circles; passing close to the
pier, and as she glided by, each vessel saluted with their guns or
lowered their flags.  The whole day the "Dido" had most perseveringly
endeavoured to follow us, and several times we saw her nearly run foul
of other vessels.  At last, as she passed the "Fairy," Ribbons, in a fit
of enthusiastic loyalty, I suppose, loaded his gun to the muzzle, and
discharged it directly at the steamer, the lighted wadding almost
falling on board, while the recoil of the gun upset the little man, who
was looking with dismay at the effect of his achievement.  He was not
hurt, however, for he picked himself up, and managed to fire another
wadding on board the "Amethyst."  The last we saw of him that day, he
was hard and fast on a mud-bank half-way between Ryde and Cowes.
Sandgate's vessel was also cruising about, and passed us several times,
though at a respectful distance; but I saw that his telescope was
directed each time towards Miss Manners.  On a sudden it struck me that
Griffiths might possibly know something of the man, and I accordingly
asked him, in a mere casual way, if he had ever seen him before he came
on board us?

"Why, yes, sir, I have seen him more than once," he answered.  "Maybe he
don't recollect me, though we've gone through some wild scenes
together."

"How is that?"  I asked, with surprise.

"Why, you see, sir, I've done something in the free-trade line myself, I
own, and he's lent me a hand at it."

"What! you don't mean to say that Mr Sandgate is a smuggler?"  I asked.

"Yes, I do, sir, though, and many's the rich crop he's run in that ere
craft of his."

"Impossible! why she's a yacht," I replied.

"No, sir, she's only a private vessel at the best, and if she was a
yacht, she's not the only one as--.  Howsomdever, I won't say any thing
again yachts.  It's the lookout of the other members of the club that
they don't smuggle, and more's the shame of them who does."

"But I thought that smugglers were so bound together that they would
never speak against each other," I observed.

"So they are, sir; and though that Mr Sandgate has no reason to expect
any favour from me, for reasons he well knows, I wouldn't speak to
anybody else of him as I do but to you, or my master, because I don't
think he's fit company for such as you, sir, and that's the truth."

Thinking over what Griffiths had told me, I determined in future to be
on my guard against Sandgate.  I, however, did not repeat what I had
heard to any one except Harcourt.  In the afternoon we returned to
Cowes, leaving Miss Manners with the Granvilles.

Harcourt having promised to pay some friends a visit at Torquay, the
next morning we got under way, and, though the winds were light, we got
there on the following day.  Taking all points into consideration, I
think Torquay and its surrounding scenery is the most beautiful part of
England.  Our stay was short, for Harcourt was anxious to get back to
Cowes, as he had found metal more attractive than even Devonshire could
afford.

We reached Cowes late in the day, and after dinner went to the
Granvilles', for we were now on sufficiently intimate terms to do so.  I
missed Emily from their circle, and inquired if she was still staying
with them.

"I am sorry to say that she left us suddenly yesterday evening,"
answered Miss Granville.  "It was almost dark when a letter arrived from
her guardian.  It stated that he had gone over to Portsmouth on business
connected with her affairs, and that when there he was taken dangerously
ill; that something had transpired which he could alone communicate to
her, and he entreated her to come to him without a moment's delay.  The
bearer of the letter was Mr Miles Sandgate, who, it appeared, had met
Mr Bosley at Portsmouth, and volunteered to carry it, and to escort
Miss Manners back.  Emily immediately prepared for her departure, though
she hesitated about accepting Mr Sandgate's offer.  We also sent down
to the quay to learn if there was any steamer going to Portsmouth that
evening, but the last for the day had already left.  Mr Sandgate on
this requested Emily would allow his vessel to convey her, observing, in
the most courteous way, that he saw the difficulties of the case, and
would himself remain at Cowes till his vessel returned, saying, at the
same time, that he thought he might be of service in escorting her to
the hotel where Mr Bosley was lying ill.  Mamma herself would have gone
with her, but she was unwell, and we girls should not much have mended
the matter.  Mr Sandgate all the time stood by, acknowledging that he
himself was perplexed, and would do any thing she wished; till at last I
bethought me of sending our housekeeper, who was very ready to do her
best to serve Emily, and to this plan, as Mr Sandgate is a friend of
yours as well as of Mr Bosley's, Emily had no further hesitation in
agreeing.  We walked with her down to the quay, and saw her safely on
board."

"And have you heard to-day from her?"  I asked in a tone of anxiety I
could not conceal.

"No," answered Miss Granville; "we thought she would have written."

"Good heavens! and has she trusted herself with that man?" exclaimed
Harcourt.

Miss Granville stared.

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"That I have very serious suspicions of his character," answered
Harcourt.  "I wish that she had taken any other means of getting to
Portsmouth: not that I for a moment suspect he would not safely convey
her there, but I am unwilling that she should--that any lady, a friend
of yours, should have even been on board that vessel."

"You surprise me!" exclaimed Miss Granville, now beginning to be really
alarmed; and I volunteered to run over to Portsmouth at once, to inquire
for Mr Bosley, but she had not heard the name of the hotel where he was
staying.

"That shall not stop me," replied Harcourt.  "I will inquire at all of
them till I learn."

She smiled at his eagerness, though, when he told her all he had heard
of Sandgate, she saw that he had reason for his annoyance at what had
occurred.  We were engaged in paying our adieus, when the house-bell
rang, and directly afterwards Mr Warwick Ribbons was announced.
Astonishment was depicted on the countenances of all present, at the
appearance of this most unexpected visitor, and all wondered what could
have brought him there again.  He had, by the by, already called in the
morning to beg Miss Manners and her friends would take a sail in the
"Dido," but hearing that she was no longer there, had gone away.  He
gazed about the room, his round eyes blinking with the bright light
after having come out of darkness, and, with a flourish of his hat, he
bowed to the ladies.

"Beg pardon," he said, in a nervous tone; "but I've come to ask where
Miss Manners is."

"She has gone to see her guardian, Mr Bosley, who has been taken
seriously ill at Portsmouth," answered Mrs Granville.

"No, she ain't, ma'am," he exclaimed, throwing his hat down on the
ground with vehemence; "Mr Bosley isn't ill, and isn't at Portsmouth,
and Miss Manners isn't with him, for I'm just come from Ryde, and there
I saw him as well as ever he was in his life, and he begged that I would
come and ask what has become of her.  Your servants this morning told me
that she wasn't here, so I made sure that she'd gone back to Ryde, and
started off to look after her."

We were now seriously alarmed at what we had heard, as were the rest of
the party in a less degree.  Nothing more could we elicit from Mr
Ribbons, though Miss Granville convinced him that the account she gave
of Miss Manners's departure was true, and it appeared too certain that
she had been carried off for some reason or other by Miles Sandgate.  I
could have staked my existence that she had been as much deceived by him
as were her friends.  I need not attempt to describe what were
Harcourt's feelings on finding that his worst suspicions were more than
realised.  She was in Sandgate's power, and his vessel was large enough
for him to carry her to any distant part of the world.  A bold and
accomplished seaman as he was, he would not hesitate, of course, to run
across the Atlantic, and with the start of upwards of twenty-four hours
which he had, it would be impossible to hope to overtake him, even if we
could sail at once; but without a good supply of water and provisions,
it would be madness to attempt to follow him.  This, however, as soon as
by possibility we could, we determined to do.  Ribbons wanted to come
also, but we recommended him to employ his vessel in a different
direction to ours; and while I was busy in collecting provisions and
stores, Harcourt made inquiries among all the boatmen and revenue people
to learn any thing about the "Rover," and what course she had steered on
leaving Cowes.  The wind, it appeared, had been from the eastward, and
as the tide was ebbing, she must have gone to the westward, and could
not have got round by the Nab.  At first he could learn nothing about
her; but after some time he met a man who had watched her getting under
way, and, after she had stood across as if turning up towards
Portsmouth, had seen her, or a vessel exactly like her, keep away and
run past Cowes, in the direction he supposed.  One of the revenue-men,
who had been on duty in the guard-boat, had boarded her, and her people
said they were bound for Cherbourg.  Harcourt found, also, that her
character was suspected, and that a revenue-cutter was on the watch for
her.  This circumstance, he conjectured, if he could fall in with the
cutter, would give him the best chance of learning the course she had
steered.  I believe that he ought to have called in the aid of the law,
but of that he did not think; as soon as he found that he could gain no
further information about the "Rover," he came to assist us in getting
the "Amethyst" ready for sea.  We also shipped six additional hands, and
some cutlasses and pistols, for we felt certain that, should we fall in
with Sandgate at sea, he would resist an attempt to rescue Emily from
his power.  By twelve o'clock at night our preparations were completed,
and we determined, in the first place, to run across to Cherbourg, on
the bare possibility of his having gone there, to complete his own
supplies for a long voyage.  At the same time, we dispatched little
Ribbons in the "Dido," to look into every port along the coast, and to
wait for us at Penzance.  Miss Granville, with much judgment, undertook
to send to every place to the eastward, and to let Mr Bosley know, that
he might take the proper measures to search for the daring scoundrel.  I
need not say that Harcourt was in a perfect fever of excitement, and we
were little less calm, particularly O'Malley, whose indignation at
Sandgate's conduct knew no bounds, especially as he had acknowledged him
as an acquaintance, and introduced him to Harcourt.

Little Ribbons showed that there was something good beneath the mass of
absurdity, vanity, and vulgarity which enveloped him, by the eagerness
with which he undertook the task we had assigned him; although he must
have been pretty well convinced that he had no chance of winning the
hand of the young lady, and we verily believed that, should he fall in
with Sandgate, he would attack him, even with the fearful odds he would
have against him.  The weather was clear, and the stars and moon shone
bright from the sky, as, with a fine fresh breeze from the eastward, and
an ebb tide, we got under way and ran through the Needles.  We then
hauled up, and shaped a course for Cherbourg, for we had no other clew
by which to steer than the vague report that the "Rover" had gone there.
We thought also that Sandgate would very probably have selected that
place, as being the nearest French port to the English coast, and one
into which he might at all times run, and from which he might as easily
escape.  For the sake of his victim he would probably go there, in the
hopes that she might agree to the object, whatever it might be, which
had induced him to venture on the atrocious exploit of carrying her off.
We had understood that she was an almost portionless girl, so that her
fortune could not have been the temptation: in fact, we were completely
in the dark, and it was a subject too delicate and painful to discuss.

The wind held fair, and at daybreak we were running across the Channel
at the rate of eight knots an hour.  Just before sunrise, when the
horizon is often the clearest, I went aloft to discover if any vessels
coming from the direction we were steering for were in sight, to give me
any information for the chase, but not a sail was visible anywhere ahead
of us, though several were seen off island.  For the next three or four
hours not a cutter was seen, though many square-rigged vessels were
standing down Channel.  Almost worn out with mental and physical
exertion, Harcourt threw himself into his berth, while I took charge of
the deck, and promised to have him called should there be any vessel in
sight either like the chase or from which we might gain any information
about her.  He had not been asleep an hour, when he heard a hail, and
jumping on deck, just as O'Malley was coming to call him, he found that
we were hove-to close to a revenue-cutter, and that I had ordered a boat
to be lowered ready to go on board her.  He jumped in with me, and in
another minute we were on the deck of the cutter.  Her commander was
excessively courteous, and ready to do every thing we might propose to
overhaul the "Rover."  From him I found that the information I had
gained about Sandgate was correct; and he told us that, according to his
orders, he had followed the "Rover" at a distance, so as not to excite
suspicion, and that he had seen her yesterday afternoon enter Cherbourg
Harbour, where, supposing she would remain for some time, he had again
stood off during the night.

"Then to a certainty she is still there!" exclaimed Harcourt, in a tone
which somewhat surprised the officer.

The plan he instantly formed was to run in directly it was dusk, while
the cutter remained in the offing, and to get alongside the "Rover"
before Sandgate could have time to carry Miss Manners on shore.  We thus
should not lose much time, for the wind had fallen considerably, and we
could scarcely expect to reach the mouth of the harbour before dark.
The best formed plans are, however, liable to failure, particularly at
sea; and as we got well in with the land, just put off Point
Querqueville, it fell almost calm.  There was still, however, a light
air at times, which sent the cutter through the water, so that by
degrees we drew in with the shore.  We must have been for some time
visible from the heights before it grew dark.  The flood-tide was now
sweeping us up to the eastward, and before we could get through the
western passage we were carried past the breakwater.  The large fires
lighted by the workmen engaged on that stupendous work dazzled our eyes
so much, that we were almost prevented from seeing the entrance, and
they totally disabled us from watching the western passage.  At last,
however, the wind freshened up, and we ran inside the breakwater.  The
moon had by this time risen, and we could see across that fine sheet of
water, which, in extent and the shelter it affords to a fleet, rivals
Plymouth Sound.  Harcourt's impatience was excessive.  We did not
anchor; but as there was a light wind we kept cruising about among the
men-of-war and large steamers lying there, in the hopes of finding the
"Rover" brought up among them.  In vain, however, did we search; she was
nowhere to be seen.  At last we determined to go on shore, and endeavour
to learn whether the "Rover" had been there at all.  Pulling up between
two fine stone piers, we landed at the end of the inner harbour, and
repaired at once to the house of Monsieur M--, who obligingly assisted
us in making the inquiries I desired.  After some time we met a person
who asserted that he had observed the "Rover" at anchor that very
evening.

"Even with this light you can see her from the end of the pier," he
observed; "come, I will show you where she is."

We hurried to the spot, but the space where she had been was vacant.
That she had not entered the inner harbour, Monsieur M--was certain, as
she could not have come without his knowledge.  Baffled, but still
determined to continue the pursuit, we returned on board; and I was
convinced that we had been seen from the shore before dark, and that
Sandgate, suspecting we had come in quest of him, had slipped out by the
western entrance while we were still outside the breakwater.

On making inquiries among other vessels anchored near where the "Rover"
had lain, we found that, as we suspected, a vessel answering her
description had got under way at the very time we supposed, and had
stood off to the westward.  After holding another consultation, we came
to the conclusion that Sandgate would certainly avoid the open sea, and
keep along the French coast, and we thought it probable would make for
Jersey or Guernsey.  At all events, thither we determined to run.  Again
we were under sail, and by the time we got clear of the harbour the wind
had shifted round to the westward of north, and as the ebb had then
made, we suspected Sandgate would take advantage of the tide, and run
through the Race of Alderney.  We calculated, however, that by the time
we could reach it, we should have the full force of that rapid current
in our favour, whereas he would only have the commencement of it.  No
one on board turned in, for the weather was too threatening, the passage
we were about to attempt too dangerous, and the time too exciting, to
allow us to think of sleep.

As we brought the bright light of Cape La Hogue a little before the
larboard beam, the wind increased considerably, and we began to feel the
short, broken sea of the Race.  Every moment it increased; rapidly the
water rose and fell in white-topped pyramids, leaping high above our
bulwarks, and threatening to tumble on board and overwhelm us with its
weight.  The hatches were battened down and every thing well secured on
deck; and well it was so, for sea after sea came leaping over the side,
now on the quarter, then over the bows, and now again amidships.  It was
impossible to say where it would strike the vessel, for not the best
steering could avoid it; yet on we flew with the fast rising breeze,
rolling and pitching and tumbling, the water foaming and roaring, and
literally drenching us with spray even when we avoided the heavier seas.
The moon, too, which shone forth on the wild tumult of waters, rather
increased the awfulness of the scene, by exhibiting to us the dangers
which surrounded us on every side; yet so clear were the lights, both of
La Hogue on the left and the Casquets on the right, that we had no
difficulty in steering our course.  The dark outline of the small island
of Sark at last appeared in sight on the starboard beam, and in order to
avoid the wild shoal of the Dirouilles Rocks, towards which the early
flood sets, we hauled up more to the westward.

Still urged onward by the terrific force of the tide, we continued
plunging through the mad waters, till daybreak showed us the Island of
Jersey right ahead, and Guernsey on our weather beam.  So strong was the
current, however, that we had drifted considerably to the east, and in
the grey light of the morning, not a cable's length from us, appeared
the dark heads of the Dirouilles, while on the starboard hand the sea,
in masses of foam, was breaking over the equally terrific rocks of the
Paternosters.  The wind had now got so far to the westward, and the tide
set so strong against us, that finding we were drifting bodily to
leeward, we ran close in-shore, and dropped our anchor in a romantic
little cove called Bouley Bay, on the north-east coast of Jersey.  There
was a narrow sandy beach, on which a few boats were drawn up, and a
narrow ravine leading down to it, while on either side lofty cliffs
towered high above our heads.  On the side of the ravine was situated a
small hotel, the master of which came off to us as soon as he saw us
standing into the bay.

To the first question I put to him, as to whether he had seen any vessel
off the coast that morning, he told us that at break of day he had been
to the top of the cliffs, and had observed a cutter standing between the
Paternosters and the land, and that he thought it probable she would be
able to double Cape Grosnez before the tide made against her, in which
case she would have little difficulty in getting round to St. Helier's,
if she happened to be bound there.

"If she is, we shall catch her to a certainty," exclaimed O'Malley; and
he forthwith volunteered to go across the island to try what he could
do; and I proposed accompanying him, as I thought I might be of
assistance in getting hold of Sandgate.  Of course Harcourt gladly
assented to our offer, although he determined himself to remain in the
vessel.

I have not described Harcourt's feelings all this time;--his hopes and
fears, his eager excitement, as he thought the "Rover" was within his
reach--his dread lest his Emily should have suffered injury or alarm--
they were too intense for utterance.

As soon as the "Amethyst" had made sail, O'Malley and I started away
across the little island as fast as our legs could carry us.  We should
have hired horses or a carriage, but none were to be procured at the
quiet little spot where we landed, so we resolved to trust to our own
feet, of which we had by no means lost the use, as the way we made them
move over the ground gave full evidence.  As soon as we reached St.
Helier's, we hurried down to the pier, when, to our infinite
satisfaction, we beheld the "Rover" at anchor in the outer roads.  We
immediately hurried off to the authorities to give information, and to
procure assistance to rescue Miss Manners.  On our way we suddenly came
upon the villain of whom we were in search,--Sandgate himself.
Something made him turn round, and he caught sight of us.  Without a
moment's hesitation he darted off towards the quay, where a boat was in
waiting, and jumping into her, pulled towards the cutter.  He had every
reason to fear, we learned; for on his appearance in the morning he had
been narrowly watched by the revenue officers, who suspected that some
smuggling business had attracted him to the island.  Such in fact was
the case, as he had gone there to settle with his agents, and to procure
certain stores before he commenced the long voyage he contemplated,
little thinking that we should so soon have been able to track him
thither.  Before we had been able to engage a boat he had got on board,
and the "Rover" was under way for the westward.  I have an idea that
some of the boatmen were in league with him.  At all events, they seemed
to think that it was their business to impede us as much as possible,
and to do their best to help the hunted fox to escape.  Such a feeling
is very general among that class.  The more eagerness and impatience we
exhibited, the more difficulties they threw in our way; and it was not
till the "Rover" was well clear of the harbour, and pursuit hopeless,
that we could obtain a boat.  We got one at last, and jumping into it,
asked the men to pull away out of the harbour.  Much to their vexation
and to our satisfaction, we in a short time caught sight of our friend's
cutter.  She had just got off Elizabeth Castle, which stands on a rocky
point, isolated at high water from the mainland.  She hove-to, and in a
few minutes we jumped on board, and gave Harcourt the information we had
obtained on shore, and pointed out in the distance a sail which we had
little doubt was the "Rover."

Harcourt then told us that after we had started overland, he had
remained two hours at anchor, and then shipping an old pilot, in a Welsh
wig, who only spoke Jersey French--the oddest _patois_ he ever heard--he
got under way for St. Helier's.  The "Amethyst" beat along that rocky
and lofty coast, inside the Paternosters, till she rounded Cape
Grosnez--which, as she had had a fresh breeze, she had done without much
difficulty.  She was then kept away, passing the rugged and threatening
rocks of the Corbiere, rounding which with a flowing sheet, she was
headed in among an archipelago of hidden dangers towards the town of St.
Helier's.  As they were passing the Corbiere, Harcourt observed a cutter
standing away to the westward, as if she had come out of St. Aubin's
Bay.  He pointed her out to Griffiths, but she was too far off to
distinguish what she was, and he was unwilling to make chase till we had
ascertained whether Sandgate had been there.  He accordingly stood on,
eager to receive our report.

Our first act was to tumble the pilot into the shore-boat, and make
chase after the cutter Harcourt had before observed.  She had a very
long start, but we trusted to the chances the winds and tides might
afford us to come up with her--yet we could not but see that she had
many more in her favour to aid her escape.  There were, however, still
some hours of daylight, and as long as we could keep her in sight, we
need not despair.  From the course she was steering, as much to the
westward as she could lay up with the wind as it then stood, we felt
certain that our worst suspicions would be realised, and that Sandgate
fully intended to run across to America, or to some other distant land.

Never had the "Amethyst" before carried such a press of sail as she now
staggered under; but little would it have availed us had the wind, which
came in uncertain currents, not shifted round to the northward, while
the "Rover" still had the breeze as before.  It continued, however,
increasing till we could no longer bear our gaff-topsail, and so much
had we overhauled the chase, that, at sundown, we were within two miles
of her.  Now came the most critical time; as before the moon rose it
would scarcely be possible to keep her in sight, and Sandgate would not
fail to profit by the darkness if he could, to effect his escape--he,
also, having the wind exactly as we had it, now sailed as fast as we
did.  So exciting had become the chase, even to those least interested
in it, that every man kept the deck, and with so many well-practised
eyes, Argus-like, fixed on her, any movement she made would scarcely
escape us.  The sky was clear, and the stars shone bright, but the wind
whistled shrilly, and the foam flew over us, as the little craft,
heeling over on her gunwale, plunged and tore through the foaming and
tumbling waves.  Thus passed hour after hour.  If the "Rover" hauled up,
so did we; if she kept away, the movement was instantly seen and
followed by us, though all the time, as O'Malley observed, he could not,
for the life of him, make out any thing but a dark shadow with a
scarcely defined form stalking like an uneasy ghost before us; as to
know what she was about, it passed his comprehension how we discovered
it.  That she was, however, increasing her distance we became at length
aware, by the difficulty we experienced in seeing her, and at last the
shadowy form faded into air.

Every one on board uttered an exclamation of disappointment, and some
swore deeply, if not loudly.

"Can no one make her out?"  Harcourt asked.

The seamen peered through the darkness.

"There she is on the weather-bow," sung out one.

"I think I see her right ahead still," said another.

"No: I'm blowed if that ain't her on the lee-bow there," was the
exclamation of a third.

One thing only was certain, she was not to be seen.  We determined,
however, to keep the same course we had been before steering, and as the
moon would rise shortly, we trusted again to sight her.  The intervening
hour was one of great anxiety; and when, at last, the crescent moon,
rising from her watery bed, shed her light upon the ocean, we looked
eagerly for the chase.  Right ahead there appeared a sail, but what she
was it was impossible to say; she might be the "Rover," or she might be
a perfect stranger.  On still we steered due west, for, although we felt
that our chance of overtaking Sandgate was slight indeed, yet our only
hope remained in keeping a steady course.  Thus we continued all night;
and the moment the first streaks of light appeared in the sky, Harcourt
was at the masthead eagerly looking out for the chase.  Far as the eye
could reach, not a sail was to be seen; there was no sign of land,
nothing was visible but the grey sky and the lead-coloured water.  Still
Harcourt remained at his post, for he dared not acknowledge to himself
that Emily was lost to him for ever.  In vain he strained his eyes, till
the sun rose and cast his beams along the ocean.  A white object
glistened for a moment ahead; it might have been the wing of a sea-fowl,
but as he watched, there it remained, and he felt certain that it was
the head of a cutter's mainsail.  Taking the bearings of the sail, he
descended on deck, and, as a last hope, steered towards it, sending a
hand on the cross-trees to watch her movements.  The wind fortunately,
as it proved to us, was variable, and thus we again neared the chase.
As we rose her hull, Griffiths pronounced her to be of the size of the
"Rover," if not the "Rover" herself.

"Well, we'll do our best to overhaul her," I exclaimed; "set the
gaff-topsail.  The craft must bear it."

And, pressed to her utmost, the little "Amethyst" tore through the
foaming waves.  Thus we went on the whole day, till towards the evening
the chase again ran us completely out of sight.  The wind, also, was
falling away, and at sundown there was almost a complete calm.  Still
the vessel had steerage-way, so we kept the same course as before.  At
length I threw myself on a sofa in the cabin.  I know not how long I had
slept, when I was awoke by feeling the yacht once more springing
livelily through the water.  I jumped on deck without awaking O'Malley,
who was on the opposite sofa.  The morning was just breaking, and, by
the faint light of the early dawn, I perceived a large dark object
floating at some distance ahead of us.

"What is that?"  I exclaimed to Griffiths, who had charge of the deck.

"A dismasted ship, sir," was the answer.  "I have seen her for some
time, and as she lay almost in our course, I steered for her, as I
thought as how you'd like to overhaul her, sir."

"You did well," I answered.  "Rouse all hands, and see a boat clear for
boarding her.  But what is that away there just beyond the wreck?  By
heavens, it's the `Rover,' and becalmed too.  Grant the wind may not
reach her!"

Awoke by hearing the people called, Harcourt and O'Malley were by my
side.  I pointed out the wreck and the cutter to them.

"Well," exclaimed O'Malley, "the big ship there may still float, but the
breeze which has been sending us along, may at last reach the sails of
the `Rover;' so I propose we make sure of her first."

To our joy, however, we found that the wind, instead of reaching her,
was gradually falling away, and by the time we were up with the wreck,
the sea was as calm as a sheet of glass.  We were in hopes also that
keeping, as we had done, the wreck between us and the "Rover," we might
have escaped observation, and in the grey light of morning we might come
upon her unawares.  There were several people on board the ship, who
cheered as they saw assistance at hand; and reason they had to be glad,
for from the clear streams of water which gushed from her sides, they
had evidently great labour to keep her afloat.  No time was to be lost,
the gig was soon in the water, and Harcourt, O'Malley, and I, with eight
men fully armed, pulled towards the "Rover," while old Griffiths, the
master, boarded the ship in the other boat.  My friend's heart beat
quick as we neared the cutter.  She was the "Rover," there was no doubt,
but whether Sandgate would attempt to defend his vessel was the
question.  A moment more would solve it.  We dashed alongside; the men,
stowed away in the bottom of the boat, sprang up, and before the crew of
the "Rover" had time to defend themselves, we were on board.  Except the
man at the helm and the look-out forward, the watch on deck were all
asleep, and those two, as it afterwards appeared, were glad to see us
approach.  The noise awoke Sandgate, who, springing on deck, found
himself confronted by O'Malley and me, while half his crew were in the
power of my people, and the fore-hatch was battened over the rest.  A
pistol he had seized in his hurry was in his hand; he pointed it at my
breast, but it missed fire; on finding which, he dashed it down on the
deck, and before we could seize him, retreated forward, where some of
his crew rallied round him.  With fear and hope alternately racking his
bosom, Harcourt hurried below.  He pronounced his own name; the old
nurse opened the door of the main cabin--a fair girl was on her knees at
prayer.  She sprang up, and seeing him, forgetful of all else, fell
weeping in his arms.  I shall pass over all she told him, except that
Sandgate had behaved most respectfully to her, informing her, however,
that he should take her to the United States, where she must consent to
marry him, and that, on their return to England, he would put her in
possession of a large fortune, to which by some means he had discovered
she was heiress, and which had induced him to run off with her.  It was,
I afterwards learned, his last stake, as the reduction of duties no
longer enabled him to make a profit by smuggling; and as he had no other
means of supporting his extravagant habits, he was a ruined man.

Sandgate's people seemed resolved to stand by him, but not to proceed to
extremities, or to offer any opposition to our carrying off Miss Manners
and her attendant.  He evidently was doing all he could to induce them
to support him; and I believe, had he possessed the power, he would,
without the slightest compunction, have hove us all over board, and
carried off his prize in spite of us.  As it was, he could do nothing
but gnash his teeth and scowl at us with unutterable hatred.  Handing
the young lady and the old nurse into the boat, we pulled away from the
"Rover."  Of course, we should have wished to have secured Sandgate; but
as we had come away without any legal authority to attempt so doing, we
saw that it would be wiser to allow him to escape.  We should probably
have overpowered him and his lawless crew, but then the females might
have been hurt in the scuffle, and we were too glad to recover them
uninjured to think at the moment of the calls of justice.

What was our surprise, as Harcourt handed her on to the deck of the
yacht, to see her rush forward into the arms of an old gentleman who
stood by the companion-hatch.

"My own Emily!" he exclaimed, as he held her to his heart.

It was Colonel Manners.

"My father!" burst from her lips.

A young lady was reclining on the hatch near him; she rose as she saw
Emily, and they threw themselves on each other's neck.

"My sister!" they both exclaimed, and tears of joy started to their
eyes.

There were several other strangers on board, who, by Griffiths'
exertions, had been removed from the wreck.  Our boats were busily
employed in removing the others, for there was no time to lose, as the
ship was settling fast in the water.  All the people being placed in
safety, we proceeded to remove the articles of greatest value and
smallest bulk on board the two vessels, which became then very much
loaded, when, a breeze springing up, another sail hove in sight: she
bore down towards us, and, in a short time, the little fat figure of Mr
Warwick Ribbons graced the deck of the "Amethyst."  His delight at
seeing Emily in safety was excessive, but, though he looked sentimental,
he said nothing; and, when he heard that the colonel was alive, and that
there was another sister in the case, his face elongated considerably.
From motives of charity, I hurried him, with several of the passengers
and part of the cargo, on board the "Dido," and the three vessels made
sail together for Falmouth.  Just as we were leaving the ship, a deep
groan issued from her hold, and, her head inclining towards the water,
she slowly glided down into the depths of the ocean.  Landing all our
passengers at Falmouth, except the colonel and his daughters, we had a
quick run to Cowes.  Colonel Manners established his claim to his
property.  O'Malley had made such good use of his time during the
voyage, that he won the heart and hand of Julia Manners; while, as may
be suspected, Emily owned, that if Harcourt loved her, their affection
was reciprocal; and the same day saw them joined respectively together
in holy matrimony.

Such was the result of my friend Harcourt's summer cruise, and I think
you will all agree that the narrative is not altogether unworthy of the
name of a romance.  The last time I saw little Ribbons he was on board
the "Dido," which lay high and dry on the mud off Ryde, and I afterwards
heard that he married a Miss Bosley, who, I conclude, was a daughter of
old Bosley's.

"And what became of the rascal Sandgate?" exclaimed Hearty; "by Neptune!
I should like to come up with the fellow, and to lay my craft alongside
his till I had blown her out of the water.  Fancy a scoundrel in the
nineteenth century venturing to run off with a young lady!"  We laughed
at his vehemence.  Hearty always spoke under a generous impulse.

"Oh, it's not the first case of the sort I have heard of," said
Carstairs; "more than one has occurred within the last few years in
Ireland; but I agree with Hearty, that I should like to catch Mr
Sandgate, for the sake of giving him a good thrashing.  Though I hadn't
the pleasure of knowing Miss Manners, every man of honour should take a
satisfaction in punishing such a scoundrel."  Bubble and Porpoise
responded heartily to the sentiment, and so strong a hold did the
account take of the minds of all the party, that we talked ourselves
into the idea that it would be our lot to fall in with Sandgate, and to
inflict the punishment he had before escaped.  "Will Bubble had taken an
active part in fitting out the yacht, and in selecting most of the crew;
he consequently was on rather more intimate terms with them than the
rest of us; not that it was the intimacy which breeds contempt, but he
took a kindly interest in their welfare, and used to talk to them about
their families, and the past incidents of their lives.  Indeed, under a
superficial coating of frivolity and egotism, I discovered that Bubble
possessed a warm and generous heart,--fully alive to the calls of
humanity.  I do not mean to say that the coating was not objectionable;
he would have been by far a superior character without it.  Indeed,
perhaps all I ought to say is, that he was capable of better things than
those in which he too generally employed his time.  He returned aft one
day from a visit forward, and told us he had discovered that several of
the men were first-rate yarn-spinners.  The master," said he, "seems a
capital hand; but old Sleet beats all the others hollow.  If it would
not be subversive of all discipline, I wish you would come forward and
hear them in the forecastle as one caps the other's tale with something
more wonderful still."

"I don't think that would quite do," said Hearty; "if we could catch
them on deck spinning their yarns, it would be very well.  But, at all
events, I will invite Snow, into the cabin and consult him."

According to Hearty's proposal, he invited Snow down.  "Mr Snow," said
Hearty, "we hear that some of the people forward are not bad hands at
spinning yarns, and, if you could manage it, we should be glad to hear
them, but it would never do to send for them aft for the purpose."

"You are right, sir, they would become tongue-tied to a certainty,"
answered Snow; "just let me alone, and I will manage to catch some of
them in the humour.  Several of them have been engaged, one time or
another, in the free-trade, and have some curious things to tell about
it."

"But I thought smuggling had been knocked on the head long ago,"
observed Hearty.

"Oh, no, sir! of late years a very considerable blow has been struck
against it; but even now some people find inducements to follow it,"
answered the master.  "I found it out to be a bad trade many years ago,
and very few of those I know who still carry it on do more than live,
and live very badly too; some of them spending many a month out of the
year in prison, and that is not where an honest man would wish to be."

However, I have undertaken to chronicle the adventures of the "Frolic,"
and of those who dwelt on board her, so that I must not devote too much
of our time to the yarns, funs, witticisms, and anecdotes and good
sayings with which we banished any thing like tedium during our voyage.
No blue devils could stand for an instant such powerful exorcisms.

It was not, however, till some time after this that we benefited by
Snow's inquiries among the crew.



CHAPTER TWELVE.

THE "FROLIC" IN A GALE, IN WHICH THE FROLICKERS SEE NO FUN--A SAIL IN
SIGHT--HER FATE--AN UNEXPECTED INCREASE TO THE CREW--BUBBLE SHOWS THAT
HE CAN THINK AND FEEL--INTELLIGENCE OBTAINED.

"What sort of weather are we going to have, Snow?" asked Hearty, as we
came on deck after dinner one afternoon, when the cutter was somewhere
about the middle of the Bay of Biscay.

"Dirty, sir, dirty!" was the unenlivening answer, as the old master
looked with one eye to windward, which just then was the south-west.  In
that direction thick clouds were gathering rapidly together, and
hurrying headlong towards us, like, as Carstairs observed, "a band of
fierce barbarians, rushing like a torrent down upon the plain."  The sea
grew darker and darker in hue, and then flakes of foam, white as the
driven snow, blew off from the hitherto smooth surface of the ocean.
The sea rose higher and higher, and the cutter, close-hauled, began to
pitch into, them with an uneasy motion, subversive of the entire
internal economy of landsmen.

"The sooner we get the canvas off her the better, now, sir," said Snow
to Porpoise, who had come on deck after calculating our exact position
on the charts.

"As soon as you like," was the answer.  "We shall have to heave-to, I
suspect; but that little matters, as we have plenty of sea-room out
here, and she may dance away for a fortnight with the helm a-lee, and
come to no harm."

The topmast was struck; the jib was taken in, and a storm-jib set; the
foresail was handed, and the mainsail meantime was closely reefed.
Relieved for a time, she breasted the seas more easily; but the wind had
not yet reached its strength.  Before nightfall down came the gale upon
us with all its fury; the cutter heeled over to it as she dashed wildly
through the waves.

"The sooner we get the mainsail altogether off her the better, sir,"
said Snow.  This was accordingly done, and the trysail was set instead,
and the helm lashed a-lee.

"There; we are as snug and comfortable as possible," exclaimed Porpoise,
as the operation was completed.  "Now all hands may turn in and go to
sleep till the gale is over."

The landsmen looked rather blue.

"Very funny notion this of comfort!" exclaimed Carstairs, who had the
worst sea-going inside of any of the party.  "Oh, oh, oh! is it far from
the shore?"

"Couldn't get there, sir, if any one was to offer ten thousand guineas,"
said Snow.  "We are better as we are, sir, out here--by very far."

The cutter, which in Cowes Harbour people spoke of as a fine large
craft, now looked and felt very like a mere cockle-shell, as she pitched
and tumbled about amid the mighty waves of the Atlantic.

"Don't you feel very small, Carstairs?" exclaimed Hearty, as he sat
convulsively grasping the sides of the sofa in the cabin.

"Yes, faith, I do," answered the gentle giant, who lay stretched out
opposite to him.  "Never felt so very little since I was a baby in
long-clothes.  I say, Porpoise, I thought you told me that the Bay of
Biscay was always smooth at this time of the year."

"So it should be," replied our fat captain.  "No rule without an
exception though; but never mind, it will soon roll itself quiet; and
then the cutter will do her best to make up for lost time."

The person evidently most at his ease was Will Bubble.  Blow high or
blow low, it seemed all the same to him; he sang and whistled away as
happily as ever.

"Oh, oh, oh! you jolly dog, don't mock us in our misery!" exclaimed
Carstairs with a groan.

"On no account," answered Will, with a demure look.  "I'll betake myself
to the dock, and smoke my weed in quiet."

On deck he went, and seated himself on the companion-hatch, where he
held on by a becket secured for the purpose; but as to smoking a cigar,
that was next to an impossibility, for the wind almost blew the leaves
into a flame.  I was glad to go on deck, also; for the skylights being
battened down made the cabin somewhat close.  The cutter rode like a
wild fowl over the heavy seas, which, like dark walls crested with foam,
came rolling up as if they would ingulf her.  Just as one with
threatening aspect approached her, she would lift her bows with a
spring, and anon it would be found that she had sidled up to the top of
it.

It was a wild scene--to a landsman it must have appeared particularly
so.  The dark, heavy clouds close overhead; the leaden seas, not jumping
and leaping as in shallow waters, but rising and falling, with majestic
deliberation, in mountain masses, forming deep valleys and lofty ridges,
from the summits of which, high above our heads, the foam was blown off
in sheets of snowy whiteness with a hissing sound, interrupted by the
loud flop of the seas as they dashed together.

We were not the only floating thing within the compass of vision.  Far
away I could see to windward, as the cutter rose to the top of a sea,
the canvas of a craft as we were hove-to.  She was a small schooner, and
though we undoubtedly were as unsteady as she was, it seemed impossible,
from the way she was tumbling about, that any thing could hold together
on board her.

I had rejoined the party in the cabin, when an exclamation from Bubble
called us all on deck.

"The schooner has bore up, and is running down directly for us!" he
exclaimed.

So it was; and in hot haste she seemed indeed.

"Something is the matter on board that craft," said Porpoise, who had
been looking at her through his glass.  "Yes, she has a signal of
distress flying."

"The Lord have mercy on the hapless people on board, then!" said I.
"Small is the help we or any one else can afford them."

"If we don't look out, she'll be aboard us, sir," sung out Snow.  "To my
mind, she's sprung a leak, and the people aboard are afraid she'll go
down."

"Stand by to make sail on the cutter; and put the helm up," cried
Porpoise.  "We must not let her play us that trick, at all events."

On came the little schooner, directly down for us, staggering away under
a close-reefed fore-topsail, the seas rolling up astern, and threatening
every instant to wash completely over her.  How could her crew expect
that we could aid them? still it was evidently their only hope of being
saved--remote as was the prospect.  They might expect to be able to
heave-to again under our lee, and to send a boat aboard us.  The danger
was that in their terror they might run us down, when the destruction of
both of us was certain.  We stood all ready to keep the cutter away,
dangerous as was the operation--still it was the least perilous of two
alternatives.  We were, as may be supposed, attentively watching every
movement of the schooner; so close had she come that we could see the
hapless people on board stretching out their arms, as if imploring that
aid which we had no power to afford them.  On a sudden they threw up
their hands; a huge sea came roaring up astern of them; they looked
round at it--we could fancy that we almost saw their terror-stricken
countenances, and heard their cry of despair.  Down it came, thundering
on her deck; the schooner made one plunge into the yawning gulf before
her.  Will she rise to the next sea?

"Where is she?" escaped us all.  With a groan of horror we replied to
our own question--"She's gone!"

Down, down she went before our very eyes--her signal of distress
fluttering amid the seething foam, the last of her we saw.  Perhaps her
sudden destruction was the means of our preservation.  Some dark objects
were still left floating amid the foam; they were human beings
struggling for life; the sea tossed them madly about--now they were
together, now they were separated wide asunder.  Two were washed close
to us; we could see the despairing countenance of one poor fellow; his
staring eye-balls; his arms outstretched as he strove to reach us.  In
vain; his strength was unequal to the struggle; the sea again washed him
away, and he sunk before our sight.  His companion still strove on; a
sea dashed towards us; down it came on our deck.  "Hold on, hold on, my
lads!" sung out Porpoise.

It was well that all followed the warning, or had we not, most certainly
we should have been washed overboard.  The lively cutter, however, soon
rose again to the top of the sea, shaking herself like a duck after a
dive beneath the surface.  As I looked around to ascertain that all
hands were safe, I saw a stranger clinging to the shrouds.  I with
others rushed to haul him in, and it was with no little satisfaction
that we found that we had been the means of rescuing one of the crew of
the foundered schooner from a watery grave.  The poor fellow was so
exhausted that he could neither speak nor stand, so we carried him
below, and stripping off his wet clothes, put him between a couple of
warm blankets.  By rubbing his body gently, and pouring down a few drops
of hot brandy and water, he was soon recovered.  He seemed very grateful
for what had been done for him, and his sorrow was intensely severe when
he heard that no one else of the schooner's crew had been saved.

"Ay, it's more than such a fellow as I deserve!" he remarked.

I was much struck by his frank and intelligent manners, when having got
on a suit of dry clothes, he was asked by Hearty into the cabin, to give
an account of the catastrophe which had just occurred.

"You see, gentlemen," said he, "the schooner was a Levant trader.  Her
homeward-bound cargoes were chiefly figs, currants, raisins, and
such-like fruit.  A better sea-boat never swam.  I shipped aboard her at
Smyrna last year, and had made two voyages in her before this here event
occurred.  We were again homeward-bound, and had made fine weather of it
till we were somewhere abreast of Cape Finisterre, when we fell in with
some baddish weather, in which our boats and caboose were washed away;
and besides this, we received other damage to hull and rigging.  We were
too much knocked about to hope to cross the Bay in safety, so we put
into Corunna to refit.  The schooner leaked a little, though we thought
nothing of it, and as we could not get at the leak, as soon as we had
got the craft somewhat to rights, we again put to sea.  We had been out
three days when this gale sprang up, and the master thought it better to
heave the vessel to, that she might ride it out.  The working of the
craft very soon made the leak increase; all hands went to the pumps, but
the water gained on us, and as a last chance the master determined to
run down to you, in the hopes that before the schooner went down, some
of us might be able to get aboard you.  You saw what happened.  Oh,
gentlemen! may you never witness the scene on board that vessel, as we
all looked into each other's faces, and felt that every hope was gone!
It was sad to see the poor master, as he stood there on the deck of the
sinking craft, thinking of his wife and seven or eight little ones at
home whom he was never to see again, and whom he knew would have to
struggle in poverty with the hard world!  He was a good, kind man; and
to think of me being saved,--a wild, careless chap, without any one to
care for him, who cares for nobody, and who has done many a wild,
lawless deed in his life, and who, maybe, will do many another!  I can't
make it out; it passes my notion of things."

Will Bubble had been listening attentively to the latter part of the
young seaman's account of himself.  He walked up to him with an
expression of feeling I did not expect to see, seemingly forgetful that
any one else was present, and took his hand: "God in his mercy preserved
you for better things, that you might repent of your follies and vices,
and serve him in future.  Oh, on your knees offer up your heartfelt
thanks to him for all he has done for you!"

Hearty and Carstairs opened their eyes with astonishment as they heard
Will speaking.

"Why, Bubble, what have?" began Hearty.

"I have been thinking," was the answer; "I had time while you fellows
lay sick; and I bethought me how very easily this little cockle-shell
might go down and take up its abode among the deposits of this Adamite
age,"--Will was somewhat of a geologist,--"and how very little we all
were prepared to enter a pure state of existence."

"That's true, sir," said the seaman, not quite understanding, however,
Bubble's remarks; "that's just what I thought before the schooner sank.
I am grateful to God, sir; but, howsomdever, I feel that I am a very
bad, good-for-nothing chap."

"Try to be better, my friend; you'll have help from above if you ask for
it," said Bubble, resuming his seat.

"Why, where did you get all that from?" asked Carstairs, languidly; "I
didn't expect to hear you preach, old fellow."

"I got it from my Bible," answered Bubble.  "I'm very sure that's the
only book of sailing directions likely to put a fellow on a right
course, and to keep him there, so I hope in future to steer mine by it;
but I don't wish to be preaching.  It's not my vocation, and a
harum-scarum, careless fellow as I am is not fitted for it; only all I
ask of those present is to think--to think of their past lives; how they
have employed their time--whether in the way for which they were sent
into the world to employ it, in doing all the good to their
fellow-creatures they can; or in selfish gratification; and to think of
the future, that future without an end--to think if they are fitted for
it--for its pure joys--its never-ending study of God's works; to think
whether they have any claim to enter into realms of glory--of
happiness."

Will sprang on deck as he ceased speaking.  He had evidently worked
himself up to utter these sentiments, so different to any we should have
conceived him to have possessed.  I never saw a party of gentlemen more
astonished, if not disconcerted.  Had not Tom Martin, the young seaman
just saved, been present, I do not know what might have been said.
Still the truth, the justice, the importance of what Bubble had said,
struck us all, though perhaps we thought him just a little touched in
the upper story, to venture on thus giving expression to his feelings.
While Tom Martin had been giving an account of himself, I had been
watching his countenance, and it struck me that I had seen him somewhere
before.

"You've been a yachtsman, I think," I observed; "I have known your face,
I am sure."

"Yes, sir," said he, frankly; "and, if I mistake not, I know yours.  I
used to meet you at Cowes last year; but the craft I belonged to I can't
say was a yacht, though its owner called her one.  I'm sure you
gentlemen won't take advantage of any thing I say against me, and so
I'll tell you all about the matter.  The craft I speak of was the
`Rover' cutter, belonging to Mr Miles Sandgate.  I first shipped aboard
her about three years ago; he gave high pay, and let us carry on aboard
pretty much as we liked, when not engaged in his business.  An old chum
of mine, a man called Ned Holden, who was, I may say, born and bred a
smuggler, first got me to join; there wasn't a dodge to do the revenue
which Ned wasn't up to, and he thought no more harm of smuggling than of
eating his dinner.  I didn't inquire how the `Rover' was employed; she
belonged to a gentleman who paid well, and that's all I asked, though I
might have suspected something.  She had just come from foreign parts,
and the people who had then been in her talked of all sorts of curious
things they had done.  Smuggling was just nothing to what she'd been
about.  Mr Sandgate seemed to have tried his hand at every thing.  He
had been out in the China seas, running opium among the long
pigged-tailed gentlemen of that country.  More than once he had some hot
fighting with the Government revenue-vessels, and several times he was
engaged with the pirates, who swarm, they say, in those seas.  I did not
hear whether he made money out there, but after a time he got tired of
the work, and shaped a course for England.  On his way, after leaving
the Cape of Good Hope, he fell in with a craft, which he attacked and
took.  She was laden with goods of all sorts fitted for the markets in
Africa, and intended to be exchanged for slaves.  Besides them she had
the irons, and all the other fittings for a slaver.  Such vessels sail
without a protection from any government.  After he had taken every
thing he wanted, he hove the rest overboard, and then told the crew that
he gave them their liberty, and that they might make the best of their
way back to the parts from whence they came.  With the goods he had thus
obtained he stood for the slave-coast; he had acquaintance there, as
everywhere else; indeed it would be difficult to say in what part of the
world he would not find himself at home.  He was not long in fitting the
`Rover' inside into a regular slave-vessel, but outside she looked as
honest and harmless as any yacht.  He ran up the Gaboon, or one of those
rivers on the slave-coast--I forget which exactly--where lived a certain
Don Lopez Mendoza, the greatest slave-dealer in those parts; besides
which, as I heard say, it would be difficult to find anywhere a bigger
villain.  Well, he and Mr Sandgate were hand-in-glove, and one would
have done any thing for each other.  They were fairly matched, you may
depend on it; however that might be, the Don took all the goods Mr
Sandgate brought him, and asked no questions, and filled his vessel in
return with a lot of prime slaves and water, and farina enough to carry
them across to Havana.  As soon as he got them on board he was out of
the river again, and, loosening his jib, away he went with some two
hundred human souls stowed under hatches, in a craft fit to carry only
thirty or forty in comfort.  She had a quick run across, and escaped all
the ships-of-war looking after slavers.  Mr Sandgate there sold the
blacks for a good round sum, and thought he had done a very clever
thing.  However, he does not seem to be a man to keep money, though he
is ready enough to do many an odd thing to get it.  He gave his crew a
handsome share of the profits; he and they went ashore at the Havana,
and spent it as fast as they had made it, just in the old buccaneering
style I've heard tell of, in all sorts of wild games and devilry, till I
rather fancy the Dons were glad to be rid of them.  When their money was
nearly all gone, they went aboard again and made sail.  I don't mean to
say but what I suppose Mr Sandgate had some left.  He had also armed
the cutter, and stored and provisioned her completely for a voyage round
the world.

"Once more he stood across for the African coast.  He had heard, it
appears, that one of those store-ships I was speaking of, which supply
slavers with goods and provisions, and irons and stores, was to be met
with in a certain latitude.  He fell in with her, and, without asking
her leave or saying a word, he ran her alongside, and, before her people
had time to stand to their arms, he had mastered every one of them.  He
never ill-treated any one, but he just clapped them in irons till he had
rifled the vessel, and then, leaving them a somewhat scant supply of
provisions and water, he, as before, told them that they were at liberty
to make the best of their way home again.

"Some men would, perhaps, have gone back to the coast, taken in a cargo
of slaves, and returned to the Havana or the Brazils, but our gentleman
was rather too cautious to run any such risk.  He knew that he had made
enemies, who would try to prove him a pirate, with or without law; so he
just goes off the Gaboon, and sends in a note to his friend Don Lopez,
to say that he had got a rich cargo for him, which he should have for so
many dollars, two thousand or more below its value.  The Don, in return,
despatched two or three small craft with the sum agreed on aboard, and
all being found right and fair, the exchange was quickly made, and Mr
Sandgate once more shaped a course for England.  As you may suppose,
every one was sworn to secrecy aboard; but, bless you, the sort of chaps
he had got for a crew didn't much care for an oath; and besides, as it
was that they mightn't say any thing out of the ship, they didn't mind
talking about it to me and others who afterwards joined her.  He brought
home a good round sum of money; but he took it into his head to go up to
London, and what with gambling and such-like ways, he soon managed to
get rid of most of it.  He had got tired, it seems, of having his neck
constantly in a noose, so he took to the quieter occupation of
smuggling.  He didn't do it in the common way like the people along the
coast, but in a first-rate style, like a gentleman.  He had some
relatives or other, rich silk merchants in London, and he undertook to
supply them with goods to any amount, free of duty.  There was nothing
new in the plan, for it was an old dodge of this house, by which they
had made most of their money.  You would be surprised, gentlemen, to
hear of the number of people employed in the business, and who well knew
it was against the laws.  First, there were the agents in France to buy
the goods, and to have them packed in small bales fit for running; then
they had to ship them; next there were the cutters and other craft to
bring them over, and the people to assist at their landing; and the
carters with their light carts to bring them up to London; and the
clerks in the warehouse in London, many of whom knew full well that not
a penny of duty had ever been paid on the goods; and the shop people
too, who knew full well the same thing, as they could not otherwise have
got their articles so cheap.  It's a true saying, that one rascal makes
many; and so it was in this case."

Much to the same effect Tom told us about Sandgate; but as with several
of the points the readers are already acquainted, I need not repeat
them.  Tom frankly acknowledged that he was on board the "Rover" when
Sandgate attempted to carry off Miss Manners; but he seemed to be little
aware of the enormity of the offence.  He said that he fancied the young
lady had come of her own free will, as Sandgate had made the crew
believe a tale to that effect.

"But what became of him after that?"  I asked, eagerly.  "Did he return
to the coast of Africa, and turn pirate again?"

"No, sir," answered Martin.  "He had several plans of the sort though, I
believe; but at last we stood for the Rock of Gibraltar, and ran through
the Straits into the Mediterranean.  We could not make out what Mr
Sandgate was about.  We touched at two or three places on the African
coast, and he had some communication with the Moors.  To my mind, he
scarcely knew himself what he would be at.  He spoke and acted very
often like a person out of his wits.  Sometimes we would be steering for
a place, and our course would be suddenly altered, and we would go back
to the port from whence we came.  However, by degrees we got higher and
higher up the Mediterranean.  We did not touch at Malta, but stood on
till we got among the Greek islands: there he seemed quite at home, and
was constantly having people aboard whom he treated as old friends.
Still we did nothing to make the vessel pay her way, and that was very
unlike Mr Sandgate's custom.  After a time we ran on to Smyrna: we
thought that we were going to take in a cargo of figs and raisins, and
to return home.  One day, however, a fine Greek polacca-brig stood into
the harbour, and Mr Sandgate, after examining her narrowly, went on
board her.  On his return, calling us together, he said that as he was
going to sell the cutter, he should no longer have any need of our
services; and that as he was very well pleased with the way we had more
than once stuck by him, he would therefore add five pounds to the wages
of each man.  We all cheered him, and thought him a very fine fellow;
and so I believe he would have been had he known what common honesty
means.  The `Rover' was sold next day, and we all had to bundle on shore
and look out for fresh berths.  When we were there I heard some curious
stories about that polacca-brig; and all I can say is, that if I had
been aboard a merchantman and sighted her, I shouldn't have been
comfortable till we got clear of her again.  Whether Mr Sandgate went
away in her or not I cannot say for certain; all I know is, that the
polacca-brig left Smyrna in a few days.  The crew of the `Rover' joined
different vessels, and though I was very often on shore, I saw no more
of him.  The rest of my story you know, gentlemen.  I shipped on board
the schooner which you lately saw go down."

"Very extraordinary story altogether," exclaimed Hearty, as soon as Tom
Martin had left the cabin, highly pleased with his treatment.  "If you
had not been able to corroborate some of it, Brine, I certainly should
not have felt inclined to believe it."

"I know the circumstance of one quite as extraordinary," said Porpoise.
"Some day I will tell it you if you wish it.  I should not be surprised
when we get up the Straits if we hear more of Mr Sandgate and his
doings.  He is evidently a gentleman not addicted to be idle, though,
clever as he is, he will some day be getting his neck into a halter."

"I should think it was well fitted for one by this time," added
Carstairs; "but I say, Porpoise, let us have your story at once; there's
nothing like the present time for a good thing when it can be got, and
we want something amusing to drive away all the bitter blue-devilish
feelings which this confounded tumblefication of a sea has kicked up in
our insides."

"You shall have it, with all my heart, and without delay," added
Porpoise.  "All I have first to say is, that as I was present during
many of the scenes, and as descriptions of the others were given me,
strange as the account may appear, it is as true as every thing we have
just heard about that fellow Sandgate.  I could almost have fancied that
he and the hero of my story were one and the same person."

Our curiosity being not a little excited by this prelude, in spite of
the rolling and pitching of the vessel, seldom has a more attentive
audience been collected, as our jovial companion began his story.



CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

LIEUTENANT PORPOISE'S STORY--THE BLACK SLAVER--THE SPANISH MAIDEN--THE
DESERTER'S DREAM--THE FLIGHT.

THE BRITISH CRUISER.

"Keep a bright look-out, Collins, and let me be called if any thing like
a sail appears in sight," said Captain Staunton, as he was quitting the
quarter-deck of His Majesty's brig "Sylph," which he had the honour to
command.  She was then stationed on the coast of Africa.  Some years
have passed by, it must be remembered, since the time to which I now
allude.

"Ay, ay, sir," answered the first lieutenant, who was the officer
addressed.  "With so many sharp eyes on board it shall be hard if we
miss seeing him, should he venture to approach the coast, and if we see
him, harder still if he escape us."

Captain Staunton descended to his cabin, and feverish and ill from long
watching and the effects of the pestiferous climate, he threw himself
into his cot, and endeavoured to snatch a few hours' repose, to better
prepare himself for the fresh exertions he expected to be called on to
make.  But sleep, which kindly so seldom neglects to visit the seaman's
eyelids, when wooed even amid the raging tempest, refused for some time
to come at his call.

"I would sacrifice many a year's pay to catch that fellow," he
continued, as he soliloquised half aloud.  "The monstrous villain! while
he lives I feel that the stain yet remains on the cloth he once
disgraced.  We will yet show him that the honour of the service cannot
be insulted with impunity, although he dares our vengeance by venturing
among us when he knows every vessel on the station is on the watch for
him.  And yet I once regarded that man as a friend; I loved him almost
as a brother, for I thought his heart beat with the most noble
sentiments.  I thought him capable of the like deeds; but all the time
he must have been a most accomplished hypocrite, though still he has one
good quality, he is brave, or perhaps, it may be, he possesses rather
physical insensibility to danger and utter recklessness of all
consequences.  He started fairly in life, and at one time gave good
promise of rising in his profession.  I knew him to be wild and
irreligious; but I fancied his faults arose from thoughtlessness and
high spirit, and I hoped that experience of their ill effects and a good
example would cure them; but I now see that vice, from an ill-regulated
education, was deeply rooted in him, and, alas! has that good example
which might have saved him always been set him?  I fear not.  Ah! if
those in command could foresee the dreadful results of their own acts,
of their careless expressions, they would keep a better watch over
themselves, and often shudder with horror at the crime and misery they
have caused."

With a prayer to Heaven to enable him to avoid the faults of which he
felt with pain that he had himself too often been guilty, the commander
of the brig fell asleep.

The officer of the watch, meantime, continued his walk on the
quarter-deck, his thoughts taking a turn very similar to those of his
chief, for they had often together discussed the subject, and the same
train of ideas were naturally suggested by the same circumstance, as he
also had known the person of whom the captain was thinking.

The "Sylph" was at this time some miles off the African coast, which,
although not seen from the deck, was faintly distinguishable from the
masthead; it appeared like a long blue line drawn on the ocean with a
slight haze hanging over it, scarcely to be perceived by unpractised
eyes.  The part visible was about the mouth of the Pongos River, a
well-known slave depot, the favourite resort of the Spanish South
American slavers.

The surface of the ocean was smooth, although occasionally ruffled by a
light breeze, which, coming from seaward, served to cool the brows of
the crew, and restore some vigour to their exhausted limbs; yet there
was the usual swell, which seldom leaves the bosom of the Atlantic to
perfect tranquillity.  It came in from the west, slowly and silently,
making the vessel roll from side to side like a drunken man.  Though she
was not, it must be understood, at anchor, she had not a stitch of
canvas spread which would have contributed, had there been any wind, to
steady her.  All her sails were closely furled, but her studding-sail
booms were at their yard-arms, their gear was rove, and the
studding-sails themselves were on deck, ready to set in a moment.  The
boats, too, were clear to hoist out in an instant, and there, was every
sign on deck that the now apparently listless crew would, at first sound
of the boatswain's whistle, spring into life and activity, and that the
now bare tracery of spars and rigging would, the second after, be
covered with a broad sheet of snowy canvas.

The "Sylph" had been about a year on the coast.  When she left England,
her officers and crew were a particularly fine, healthy set of men, and
the whole of them could scarcely, in the course of their lives, have
mustered a month's illness among them.  Since they came to their present
station, the second lieutenant and second master had died, as had two
midshipmen and thirteen of the crew, and nearly all the remainder had,
more or less, suffered, few retaining any traces of their former ruddy
and healthy appearance.

They had, however, to be sure, before being well acclimated, or having
learned the necessary precautions to take against illness, been exposed
to a good deal of hard service in boats up the rivers, where were sown
the seeds of the disease which afterwards proved so fatal among them.
Fresh officers and men had been appointed to fill the places of those
who had died, and the brig was now again the same model of discipline
and beauty which she had before been.  When Captain Staunton joined the
brig, he is reported to have called the men aft, and to have made them a
speech much to this effect:--

"Now, my men, that you may not have any long discussions as to the
character of your new commander, I wish to let you clearly understand
that I never overlook drunkenness, or any other crime whatever, either
in my officers or men.  I shall not say whether I like flogging or not,
but while it is awarded by the articles of war, I shall inflict it.
Remember, however, I would much rather reward than punish.  The men who
do their duty well and cheerfully, I will advance as far as I have the
power.  I wish this to be a happy ship, and it will be your own faults
if you do not make it so.  Now pipe down."

The men agreed, as they sat in knots together after they had knocked off
work for the day, that they liked the cut of their new skipper's jib,
and that his speech, though short, was good, and had no rigmarole in it.

He afterwards invited his officers to dine with him, and in the course
of conversation impressed on their minds that he considered gross
language and swearing not only ungentlemanly, but wicked, and that he
was certain the men did not obey at all the more readily for having it
applied to them; that the men would follow the example they set them;
that their influence depended on their doing their duty, and that if
they did it the men would do theirs.  "Drunkenness," he observed, "is by
some considered a very venial offence, but as the lives of all on board,
as the discipline of the ship depends on the judgment of those in
command, however much I shall regret the necessity, I shall break any
officer who is guilty of it."  As Captain Staunton himself practised
what he preached, and set an example of all the high qualities which
adorn his noble profession, the necessity he would have deplored never
occurred; punishment was very rare, and the "Sylph" _was_ a happy ship.

Having made this digression, we will return to the time when the "Sylph"
lay on the waste of waters, rolling her polished sides in the shining
ocean, while the drops of spray which they threw off sparkled like
diamonds in the rays of the burning sun.  Had it not been for the light
breeze we spoke of, the heat would have been intolerable on deck, for
there was not the usual shade from the sails to shelter the seamen from
the fury of the burning orb; but all were far too eager for the
appearance of a vessel they were looking for to think of the
inconvenience.

Three days before, an English homeward-bound merchantman had spoken
them, and brought them the information that a large slaver was every
moment expected in the river; a very fast-sailing schooner, which had
already once before escaped them by the daring and good seamanship of
her commander, who was supposed to be an Englishman.  Thus much the crew
knew, and they added their own comments, believing him to be a character
similar to the famed Vanderdecken, or, at all events, in league with the
prince of terror, Davy Jones.

They had already been two days thus watching, after having ascertained,
by sending the boats up the river, that the slaver was not there.
Captain Staunton, knowing the man with whom he had to deal, was aware
that his only chance of capturing him was by extreme caution.  He had
therefore furled all the sails of the brig in the way we have described,
that she might not be discovered by the slaver till the fellow had got
close up to her, and he then hoped to be able, without a long chase, to
bring her to action.  Each night, as soon as it grew dusk, the "Sylph"
made sail and stood in-shore, in order better to watch the coast, and
before daylight she was again at her former post.  It has been asserted
that the African cruisers have allowed the slavers to get into port, and
have not attempted to capture them till they have got their slaves on
board, in order either to gain the head-money, or to make more sure of
their condemnation; but if this was ever done, Captain Staunton was not
the person to do so; he knew, moreover, that the man who commanded the
slaver he was in search of would not yield her up without a struggle,
and, for the sake of saving many lives which must otherwise inevitably
be sacrificed, he was anxious to bring her to action before she got her
slaves on board.  The officer of the watch continued pacing the deck
with his spy-glass under his arm, every now and then hailing the
masthead to keep the lookouts on the alert, but the same answer was each
time given.

"Nothing in sight, sir."

Thus the day wore on.  Towards the evening the breeze, which had since
the morning been sluggish, increased considerably; but as the current
which is to be found in nearly every part of the ocean set in an
opposite direction to it, the brig did not materially alter her
position.  A fresh hand had just relieved the look-out at the masthead
at eight bells in the afternoon watch.  His eyes, from not being
fatigued, were sharper than his predecessor's, and he had scarcely
glanced round the horizon, when he hailed the deck with words which
roused everybody up--

"A sail in sight!"

"Where away?" asked the officer of the watch.  The brig's head was now
tending on shore.

"Right over the starboard quarter, sir," was the answer.

"Call the captain, Mr Wildgrave," said the second lieutenant, who had
charge of the deck, to the midshipman of the watch.

"Which way is she standing?" asked the officer.

"Directly down for us, sir," was the answer.

In five seconds the captain himself was on deck, and the remainder of
the officers soon after appeared.  The first lieutenant went aloft with
his glass, and on his return pronounced the stranger to be a large
square-rigged vessel, but whether a man-of-war, a slaver, or an honest
trader, it was difficult to say, though he was inclined to suppose her
belonging to either of the two former classes, from the broad spread of
canvas she showed.  On she came towards them, probably ignorant of their
vicinity, as, stripped as they were, they would not be perceived by her
till long after she was seen by them.

"What do you now make her out to be, Mr Collins?" inquired the
commander of the first lieutenant, who had again returned, after a
second trip to the masthead.

"A large schooner, at all events, sir; and if I mistake not, she is the
`Espanto.'"

"Pipe all hands on deck, then, for we shall soon be discovered, and must
make sail in chase."

The men were in a moment at their stations, and in silence waited the
orders of their commander.  Still the stranger came on, her sails slowly
rising, as it were, from out of the ocean.  She was now clearly seen
from the deck of the "Sylph."  Apparently there was a very bad lookout
kept on board her, or else she was not the vessel they supposed, as
otherwise the British cruiser must before this have been perceived by
her.

Captain Staunton and his officers stood watching her with almost
breathless anxiety, with their glasses constantly at their eyes, ready
to observe the first indication of any alteration in her course.  Nearer
and nearer she approached, with studding-sails alow and aloft, on either
side.  Suddenly they were observed to be taken in, and the vessel's
course was altered to the southward.

"Aloft there, and make sail!" shouted the commander, in a quick tone.
The men, with alacrity, sprang up the rigging; the sails were let fall,
the tacks were sheeted home, and in a minute the "Sylph," under a spread
of canvas, was standing on a bowline in chase of the stranger.

THE SPANISH MAIDEN.

We must now shift our scene to a different part of the world, and to a
period much antecedent to that of which we have hitherto been speaking.
The spot to which we allude is on the eastern coast of South America, in
the northern part of that vast territory colonised by the inhabitants of
Spain.  There is a beautiful bay, or rather gulf, surrounded by lofty
and picturesque cliffs, with deep ravines running up between them and
several _haciendas_, or large farm-houses, on the surrounding ground,
generally picturesquely situated, with a view of the sea in the
distance.  Several vessels lay at anchor, proudly pre-eminent among
which was a frigate, from whose peak the ensign of Great Britain floated
in the breeze.

Some way inland was a mansion of considerable size, though only one
story, surrounded with deep verandas--the style of architecture general
in the country.  It stood at the head of a ravine, towards which the
windows of its principal rooms opened, so that the inhabitants enjoyed a
fine view of cliffs and rocks, and trees of every form and hue, between
which a sparkling torrent found its way to the ocean, which was seen
beyond the shipping in the harbour.  In a room within the house, a
beautiful girl was seated close to the window, but she looked not on the
scene without.  Her eyes were turned downwards, for at her feet knelt a
youth; his glance met hers; and there was a wildness in his look, an
expression of pain on his brow, which seemed to demand her pity.  He was
dressed in the British uniform, the single epaulet on his shoulder
betokening that he held the rank of lieutenant; but his complexion was
swarthy in the extreme, and his tongue spoke with facility the language
of Spain.

"Hear me, beloved one!" he exclaimed, passionately pressing her hand to
his lips.  "My ship sails hence in a few days, but I cannot tear myself
from you.  For your sake I will quit my profession, my country, and the
thing men call honour, and will run the risk of death, if I am
retaken,--all--all for your sake.  Do you love me, dearest one?"

The girl smiled faintly, and her eyes filled with tears.  He again
pressed her hand to his lips.

"Yes, yes; I feel that I am blessed, indeed," he continued in the same
tone.  "But you must conceal me, beloved one.  My life is in your hands.
There will be a strict search made for me in every direction when I am
missed.  You will hear vile tales invented to induce those who might be
sheltering me to give me up, but believe them not.  Will you promise to
be my preserver, my guardian angel, my idol, and I will live but to show
my gratitude?"

Where is the woman's heart which could resist such an appeal?  The
maiden's doubts and hesitations were gradually disappearing.

"But we have seen little of each other, senor.  Your love for a poor
girl like me cannot be so strong as for my sake to make you give up all
men hold most dear.  The sacrifice is surely not worth the price.  I do
not even know your name."

"Call me Juan, then," he answered.  "But if my fiery, ardent love meets
no return, I will quit you; though, perchance, to suffer death.  On
board yonder accursed ship I cannot live.  I am hated there; and hate in
return."

"Oh, no, senor!  I will not expose you to such danger," answered the
maiden.  "I have heard sad stories of that ship.  Even yesterday, it is
said, one of the officers murdered another, and that the murderer has
fled into the country."

The young man started and turned pale, but instantly recovering himself,
he looked up affectionately into her countenance.

"But do you believe the tale?" he asked.

"I cannot but believe, senor," she answered; "one of our slaves saw the
murdered man on the beach where he fell, and the dagger sticking in his
bosom."

"But how can you suppose from that circumstance that an Englishman did
the deed."

"Because the dagger was such as the young officers wear," answered the
girl; "and they were seen walking together."

"Know you the name, then, of the supposed murderer?" he asked.

"I could not pronounce it if I did," she said.

"It matters not--but believe not the tale--at all events, you would not
believe me guilty of such a deed?"

"Oh, heavens, certainly not!" she replied, casting a glance which told
plainly the secret of her heart.

He saw that the victory was gained, and clasping her to his bosom, he
urged her to form a plan for his concealment.

"No one saw me approach the house," he observed, "so you will not be
suspected; yet hasten, for should I now be observed, our difficulties
would be increased."

Where woman's wit is sharpened by love, she finds no difficulties in
serving him she loves.  In a short time the stranger was concealed
within the roof of the mansion, where she might, without exciting
suspicion, constantly communicate with him.

Juanetta, having thus obeyed the impulse of her heart, returned to her
seat near the window to meditate on the act she had performed, and the
responsible office she had undertaken.

"Yet who is the stranger to whom I have given my heart?" she thought;
"he loves me, surely, or he would not tell me so; and I love him--he is
so handsome, so eloquent--he narrates adventures so surprising--he has
done such daring deeds.  It is strange, too, that he should seek to
leave the ship, and that another officer should have committed a
murder--oh, horrible! what fierce, bad men those on board must be,
except my Juan!"

Poor girl! she was young, loving, and ignorant of the wickedness in the
world, or she would have suspected even him.  Her meditations were
interrupted by the appearance of her father, accompanied by the alcalde,
and two officers in British uniforms.  They were conversing earnestly as
they passed the widow, and they thus did not observe her.

"There can be no doubt of it, senor," observed the alcalde to one of the
English officers: "the murder must have been committed by him--his
flight proves it."

"Where can he have concealed himself?" said the officer.  "I would give
a high reward to whoever discovers him, for such a crime must not go
unpunished."

"He must still be wandering about near the coast, for without a horse--
and I cannot learn that any person has supplied him with one--he cannot
have escaped into the interior.  The scouts also I sent out bring no
intelligence of him."

On hearing these words Juanetta turned pale, for dreadful suspicions
crossed her mind; but she had vowed to protect the stranger, and she
felt the necessity of appearing calm.  She had scarcely time to compose
herself before her father and his guests entered the apartment.
Refreshments were ordered, and as she was obliged to busy herself in
performing the duties of a hostess, her agitation was not observed.
During the repast she listened eagerly to gain further information, but
what she heard only served to increase her doubts and fears.  At length
her father, telling her that he would soon return, took his departure
with his guests.

Unhappy Juanetta! she dared not believe what yet her reason told her was
too true.  Left alone, she burst into tears.  They afforded some relief
to her aching heart, and when calmness had again returned, she hastened
to the place where she had concealed her dangerous guest.  As she went,
she resolved to tell him that she would see him no more, yet to assure
him that her promise given, he was safe while under her father's roof.
She thought she would confess all that had passed to her father, and
trusting to his generosity, entreat him to aid her in favouring the
escape of the suspected criminal.

Fortunate for her had she been firm in her resolve.  Alas! that passion
should too often triumph over the dictates of reason! yet who can fathom
the deep well of a woman's heart?  Surely not she herself, while it
remains free from the rubbish, the wickedness, the knowledge of the
world, those things which choke it up and foul its pure waters.  Juan
lay sleeping on the hard floor, yet so lightly, that he started the
moment she slowly raised the trap-door which opened into the chamber,
and grasping a pistol on which his hand had rested, he sprang to his
feet.  When he saw who was his visitor, his glance became less fierce,
but still he did not quit his hold of his weapon.  He was about to
speak, but she, placing her finger to her mouth, signified to him to be
silent till she had carefully closed the place of ingress.

"I have come, senor, to bid you prepare for instant flight."  She spoke
in a low tone, and her voice faltered.  "You cannot remain here in
safety, for I have heard dreadful stories, and I feel sure you will be
sought for here.  They cannot be true; I know they cannot; but yet I
wish they had not been spoken."

"Should all the world desert me, my Juanetta will still believe me
true," exclaimed the young man as he approached her and knelt at her
feet.  "Do not credit those tales, dearest; they are told by my foes and
tyrants to destroy me; but my vengeance will yet alight on their heads.
Yet what care I what they they say or do while you, sweet angel, are my
protector?"

He took the maiden's hand, and she did not withdraw it.  He pressed her
hand to his lips, and his imploring glance met her eyes, already
suffused with tears.  She smiled, for she could not believe him false;
that youth with his gallant air and bold look; crime cannot be an
inhabitant of a figure so noble, she thought.

An arch-traitor was within the garrison, and the deceiver was victorious
over the simple maiden.  She dared not remain long in his company, lest
her absence might betray her guest.  To one person alone did she confide
her secret, a black slave who had attended her from a child, and loved
her faithfully.  Her word was his law, and Mauro promised that no harm
should befall the stranger.  His own conceptions of right and wrong were
not very clear, nor did he make very minute inquiries as to the truth of
the story his mistress told him.  He believed that the Englishman had
been ill-treated, and had avenged himself, and he was acute enough to
discover that his young mistress loved the handsome stranger.  He
therefore considered it his duty to please her to the utmost of his
power.

THE DESERTER'S DREAM.

Left again alone, Juan's weary limbs sank once more beneath the power of
sleep; but though the frame was still, the mind refused to be at rest.
He dreamed that he was again a boy, young, innocent, and happy; but yet
all the time a consciousness of the bitter truth mocked the vain
illusion, like some dark phantom hovering over him; he felt and knew
that the dream was false, still it seemed vivid and clear like the
reality.

He thought that he lay at the feet of his fond and gentle mother, while
his proud father smiled at his youthful gambols.  It was in a princely
hall, decked with all the luxury wealth can supply; other children were
there, but he was the eldest and best beloved, the inheritor of almost
boundless riches--of title and power.  He had early learned his own
importance; foolish nurses had not been slow to give him the baneful
lesson; and while his parents believed him to be all their hearts could
wish, the noxious seeds were already taking root.  Years rolled on; he
had gained knowledge at school, and beneath the care of his tutor, but,
as regards self-government or religious feelings, he was still less
educated than the poorest peasant on his father's broad domains.  At
last the truth had burst on his father's mind.  His son was passionate,
headstrong, self-willed, and, worse, deceitful.  Every means of
reclaiming him had been tried in vain, and he had determined to send him
to sea under a strict captain, who promised to curb, if not to break,
his spirit, if severity could influence him.

Young Hernan stood before his father, while his mother sat overpowered
with grief.  The carriage was waiting which was to convey him to
Portsmouth.  He was unmoved, for filial affection had been swallowed up
by selfishness, and he fancied that he was about to lead a life of
freedom and independence.  He had yet to learn what a man-of-war was
like.  His mother pressed him to her heart, and his father strove to
bless him as he turned to quit the room, for he was still his son.

The carriage rolled off, and in a few hours he was on board the ship
which was to be his home and school for three long years.  He learned
many a lesson, it is true, but the great one came too late for him to
profit by it.  The first three years of his naval career passed by, and
many a wild act had he committed, such as had often brought him under
the censure of his superiors.  That he was unreformed his father felt
too surely convinced, and he was accordingly again sent to sea.

He was no longer a boy, and the irregularities of that age had grown
into the vices of manhood.  Yet among his equals he had friends, and,
knowing their value, he took care to cultivate them.  The most intimate
was Edward Staunton, his superior in age by two years--one whose
generous spirit, believing that he had discovered noble qualities in his
companion, longed to win him back to virtue.  Together they paced the
deck in the midnight watch, and spoke of their future prospects, till
even Hernan believed that he had resolved to amend.  There are calm and
often happy moments in a sailor's life, when all the dangers of their
floating home, except the watch on deck, are wrapped in sleep; and then
many a youth pours into his attentive shipmate's ears the tale of his
love, his hopes and fears, and pictures the beauty of the girl he has
left behind--the lady of his heart, with whom he fondly fancies he shall
some day wed.  Such a tale did Staunton tell; and Hernan listened
carelessly at first, but afterwards with interest, as the ardent lover,
delighting in the picture he was conjuring up, described the surpassing
beauty of his mistress.

"Then you must introduce me to your lovely Blanche, and let me judge
whether she is as fair as you paint her," said Hernan to his companion;
and Staunton, guileless himself, promised to gratify his wish.

"I shall not allow you to break your word, remember," added Hernan.

"Never fear," answered Staunton, laughing.  "But see what a sudden
change has come over the sky while we have been speaking!  We shall have
a reef in the topsails before many minutes are out."

It was true.  When they began their watch the sky was studded with a
million stars, the dark sea was calm, and a gentle breeze filled the
sails of the noble frigate.  Now wild clouds were coursing each other
across the arch of heaven, the light foam flew over the ocean, and the
ship heeled over to the rising blast.

Scarcely had he spoken, when the voice of the officer of the watch
roused his sleeping men with the order to furl the topgallant-sails
quickly, followed by that to take a reef in the topsails.  Hernan's duty
had led him aloft.  He was careless in keeping a firm hold.  The ship
gave a sudden lurch, and he found himself struggling in the wild waters.
He could swim, but the fall had numbed his limbs, and the ship flew
past him.  Despair was seizing him, when he heard the cry which arose
from the deck of "a man overboard?" echoed by a hundred voices.  He was
sinking beneath the waves, when he felt a friendly hand grasping his
arm, and once more he rose to the surface of the water, and the voice of
Edward Staunton cheered him to fresh exertions.  He saw, too, the bright
light of the life-buoy, which floated at a short distance only from
them.  It was a fearful thing, though, to be left thus alone on that
stormy sea, for the dim outline of the frigate was scarcely visible, and
she might be unable to fetch again, while the light continued burning,
the spot where they were.  For his sake, Staunton had thus risked his
life.  With great exertions Staunton dragged him to the life-buoy, and
hanging on to it, they anxiously watched the approach of the frigate.

"The boat has been swamped, and we shall be left to perish miserably
here," exclaimed Hernan.  "Curses on my fate!"

"No," cried Staunton; "hark, I hear the shouts of the people in the boat
pulling towards us.  The frigate must have gone far to leeward before
she could be hove-to to lower one."

Again the shouts were heard, and a dark object emerged from the
obscurity which surrounded them.  In a few minutes they were on board,
and scarcely was the boat hoisted in than down came the tempest with
tenfold fury, and vain would then have been any attempt to save him had
he still been struggling in the waves.  He was profuse in his
professions of gratitude to Staunton, and he thought himself sincere.

The frigate returned home, her crew were paid off, and Staunton and his
friend received their promotion.

"And now, Staunton, you must keep to your word, and introduce me to your
beautiful friend, Miss Blanche D'Aubigne," said Hernan, after they had
been some time on shore, and had met by chance in London.

"Gladly," answered Edward; "I have told her all about you, and she will
be most glad to see you."

So they went together to the village where the fair girl resided; it was
at no great distance from the country-seat of Sir Hernan Daggerfeldt,
the father of Edward's friend.  Staunton had won his promotion by his
own exertions; and another step, his commander's rank, was to be gained
before he could hope to make Blanche his bride.  Such was the decree of
her father, who had given an unwilling consent to their union, and he
felt that he had no right to murmur at the decision.  A short stay on
shore was all he could hope to enjoy, before he must again go afloat for
two or three more weary years; but she was still very young, and he
confided in her truth and love.

This Hernan knew; he was surprised and delighted when first introduced
to Miss D'Aubigne, for her beauty far surpassed his expectations.  He
thought her far more lovely than any one he had ever met, when, with
artless simplicity, she received him as the friend of her betrothed.
Edward went to sea, and Hernan took up his abode at his father's seat.
Every week his visits to the village of Darlington grew more frequent,
and Blanche unsuspectingly received him with pleasure, while her father,
who knew his prospects, welcomed him cordially.

Hernan knew that Blanche looked on him as a friend of her intended
husband, and he at first thought not of inquiring into his own feelings
regarding her.  Soon, however, a fierce passion sprang up in addition to
the simple admiration he at first had felt.  Indeed, he scarcely
attempted to conceal it; but she was too pure-minded and unsuspecting to
perceive the existence of the feelings she had inspired.

Thus matters went on till even she could no longer deceive herself as to
Hernan's real feelings.  Horrified at the discovery, she refused to see
him more, and Hernan saw that he must make a bold stroke or lose her
forever.  He called falsehood and treachery to his aid.  He went to her
father; he spoke of his own ardent love, of his future wealth, of the
position he could offer; then he continued to express his regret that
Edward, his friend, was unworthy of her, that he had expressed his
anxiety to break off the connection, but was unwilling to wound her
feelings by doing so abruptly, and therefore intended to write, when he
had reached his station, to free her from her engagement.  Mr D'Aubigne
listened, and believed what he wished to be true; but Blanche was long
incredulous, and refused to credit the tale of her intended's
disloyalty.  At last, however, the cruel letter came; it was enclosed in
one to Hernan.  It spoke of the impolicy of early engagements, of the
misery of married poverty, of the difficulty of governing the
affections, and of the danger of wedding when love has begun to decay.

Hernan watched the effect of the letter, and congratulated himself on
its success; still Blanche disbelieved her senses, but dared not utter
her suspicions.  Hernan knew, too, that it was so, yet he trusted in the
versatility of his talents to bring his schemes to a successful issue.

Her father's influence was exerted in his favour, and Blanche was told
that she must discard her former lover from her heart.  She had loved
too truly, however, to obey the command, and she determined not to wed
another till she had heard from his own lips that he was indeed changed.

Hernan Daggerfeldt knelt at the feet of Blanche D'Aubigne.  He had
seized her hand, and was pressing it with rapture to his lips, while she
in vain endeavoured to withdraw it.

"Rise, sir, rise," she said; "you wrong me--you wrong him who is away--
your friend, the preserver of your life.  While he lives, I am his, and
his alone!"

"I do not wrong him," he answered.  "His nature is fickle, and if he no
longer loves you, will not woman's pride teach you to forget him?"

"I know not that he no longer loves me," she replied.

"Did not his letter convince you?" he asked.

"That letter!  No, sir," she replied, rising proudly from her seat, and
a smile of unwonted bitterness curling her lip.  "That letter was a
forgery."

"On my sacred word, on my soul, it was not!" he cried, vehemently.  "It
is you who wrong me and my devoted love.  Be mine, and let me enjoy the
only heaven I seek.  If I speak not the truth, may the Powers above
strike me this moment dead at your feet?"  Blanche shuddered at his
words.  At that instant a dark form seemed to rise up between them, and
to gaze with threatening aspect at Hernan, while it shielded Blanche
from him.  Soon it assumed the form of Edward Staunton, and beckoning
Hernan to follow, slowly receded from the room.  Even the deceiver
trembled, and daring not to disobey, followed the phantom.

It led him through dark chambers, beneath roaring waterfalls, along
dizzy heights, whence the sea-birds could scarce be seen in the depths
below, on the wild shore, where the fierce waves dashed with terrific
fury, while the tempest raged, and the lightnings flashed around his
head, and then with a derisive shriek which sounded high above the
furious turmoil, disappeared amid the boiling ocean.

"Such, traitor, shall be thy fate!" were the words it spoke.

Again Hernan dreamed that Blanche had promised to be his,--a prize
bought at the cost of further perjury.  Edward for long had been unheard
of; he was still a rover in far-off climes.  Mr D'Aubigne was satisfied
and rejoiced at the thoughts of finding a wealthy husband for his
daughter.  Hernan was with his intended bride when a messenger arrived,
breathless with haste, to summon him to the deathbed of his parent.

He hurried thither to listen to a tale the old man falteringly whispered
into his ear; it was enough to freeze up the current in his veins.  A
stigma was on his birth, and instant precautions were necessary, or the
fatal secret would be discovered which would consign him to poverty and
disgrace.

"You are my child," said the proud baronet, "yet for long my wife had
borne me none; at length one came into the world and died.  You took its
place, and my wife believed you to be her own offspring.  The change was
ill-managed, and the deceit is discovered by one who is my enemy, and
will be yours.  I fancied that no one knew it, till some years ago he
came and convinced me that he was aware of the truth.  He then told me
that should you be worthy to succeed to my rank and fortune, the secret
should die with him; but if not, my first lawful child, whom he insisted
on educating under his own inspection, should be declared to have his
rights.  Though the terms seemed hard, I was obliged to yield to his
demands, and have ever since been his slave.  By his orders you were
sent to sea, and will be compelled shortly again to go; and by his
orders I have made you acquainted with the dreadful tale I have now told
you.  I know him well, and you too must become his slave.  He will
probably insist on your again going to sea, and you must obey him, or
rue the consequences."

Scarcely stopping to close his father's eyes, who died shortly after
this disclosure, Hernan hurried off to endeavour to propitiate the
arbitrator of his destiny.  The old man was inflexible.  He insisted on
his forthwith returning to sea, and refused to sanction his marriage
with Blanche.  Hernan had good cause to suspect that his character was
seen through; he dared not disobey.  His appointment to the frigate soon
arrived, and framing an excuse to Blanche, he prepared for his
departure.  Blanche received the account without any regret, for though
she was prepared to obey her father, she did not love Hernan, as he well
knew.  Her heart was still with one whom she had been told was false to
her.  The frigate on board which Hernan Daggerfeldt was the junior
lieutenant sailed for the coast of South America.  Hernan felt that he
was no favourite with his brother-officers; his fierce temper and
overbearing manner was one cause, while his constant scoffs at religion
and honour was another.  When off Rio, they fell in with a frigate
carrying despatches to England.  It was a dead calm, and a boat from her
was sent on board them to learn intelligence from home.  Two officers
were in the boat; one was Staunton.  Hernan in vain endeavoured to avoid
him.  Staunton had a thousand questions to ask, which Hernan might be
able to answer respecting his beloved Blanche.  Was she well?  Had she
received his letters?--none of hers had reached him.  Hernan made the
most plausible answers he could invent.  They spoke in the presence of
two of his brother-officers, and one of them, an old friend of
Staunton's, knew the truth.  Accordingly, drawing him aside, he told him
at once that he believed Hernan had been speaking falsehoods.
Staunton's indignation knew no bounds, and he taxed Hernan with his
duplicity and falsehood, though the sanctity of the quarter-deck
prevented him from proceeding to extremities.  Hernan defended himself
from the accusation, though he felt that he was discovered, and he
determined to revenge himself on the man who had unmasked him to
Staunton.  He, however, bided his time; but he suspected that by some
means or other more of his secrets might be known to his shipmate.

The frigate had been for some time on the coast of America, when,
receiving some damage in a heavy gale, she put into the harbour of--to
refit.  She lay there for some time, and the officers were constantly,
when duty allowed, on shore.  It was a dark night, when Hernan,
accompanied by young Selwyn, the friend of Staunton, was returning,
after an excursion into the country, on board.  They had left their
horses at the town, and were walking along the beach on foot; young
Selwyn thoughtlessly alluded to Staunton and Blanche D'Aubigne, and
while he spoke the spirit of a demon entered into Hernan Daggerfeldt's
heart.  A sharp cry awoke the stillness of night--a deed had been done
no power on earth could recall.  He fled he knew not whither; vipers
seemed twining round his heart; burning coals were raining on his head,
and while heavy weights were clogging his limbs, a thousand fierce
bloodhounds urged him to fly.  He awoke, the perspiration standing in
large drops on his brow, while he gasped for breath; yet there he still
lay in the loft where Juanetta had concealed him.  Was all that had
occurred an empty dream, or was it the re-acting of a dreadful reality?

THE FLIGHT.

The following morning Juan, or rather Hernan Daggerfeldt, was awoke by
the entrance of Senor Ribiera's black slave, with a basket of
provisions.

"Why does not your mistress come to me herself?" inquired Hernan, who
dreaded being abandoned by the only human being in whom he could trust.

"Donna Juanetta is with her father, and till he goes out she cannot come
to see you," answered the slave.  "He is a stern man, and were he to
discover that you are here without his leave, and that his daughter
loved you, he would kill you without ceremony.  Ah, senor! you do not
know what these Spanish gentlemen are capable of."

"Well, you must take care that he does not discover I am here till that
cursed ship in the harbour has sailed away; and now listen to me--what
is your name, though?"

"Mauro, at your service, senor," said the slave.

"There, Mauro--there is a piece of gold.  You shall have a larger piece
by and by.  It will go towards buying your freedom."

"My freedom!" muttered the African.  "What does that mean?--Ah, yes, I
know.  It would be of no value to me now.  Had it come when I was yet
young, and could have returned to those I loved across the ocean, I
should have prized it.  Now they are all dead, and those I love best are
in this house.  My mistress told me to do your bidding.  What is it you
require of me, senor?"

"First, I wish you to procure me a suit of Spanish clothes, fit for a
gentleman to appear in, and then you must take this uniform, coat, and
hat, and as soon as it is dark, carry them down to the seashore, and
place them as if the waves had thrown them there.  They will certainly
be discovered, and it will appear that I have been drowned, and then no
further search will be made after me."

"A very good idea, senor," said Mauro, rubbing his hands with pleasure,
for he was delighted to be employed in a scheme by which those in
authority, whom he looked upon as oppressors, might be deceived.  Such
is the feeling of slaves in general.

While her father took his siesta, Juanetta visited her prisoner, and
Hernan employed the time in endeavouring to convince her of his love for
her, and his innocence of the crime of which he was suspected.  In both
he succeeded too well.

In the evening Mauro returned with the suit of clothes he had purchased;
and Hernan having exchanged them for his own, pierced the latter with
his sword, and deliberately drawing blood from his arm, soaked them in
it.

Mauro, who well understood what he was to do, wrapped them up in a
bundle, and as soon as it was dark carried them off.

We will pass over several days, during which Daggerfeldt remained
concealed without any one in the house suspecting that he was in the
garret.

At last one morning Mauro came in rubbing his hands with delight.  "You
are free, senor, you are free!" he exclaimed; "the big ship with the
many guns is even now sailing out of the harbour, and all you have got
to do now is to come down to beg Senor Ribiera's pardon for living so
long in his house without his leave, and to marry his daughter."

"Curses go with her!" ejaculated Hernan, fiercely.  "I will still wreak
my vengeance on some of those who sail on board her.  But tell me,
Mauro, did your lady say I might venture into her father's presence?"

"Not exactly, senor, and perhaps it might be as well to prepare the old
gentleman for your appearance, as he yet believes, like the rest of the
world, that you are food for the sharks."

"Then, my good Mauro, go and urge her to come here to concert the best
way to release me.  I pant once more to stretch my limbs on the open
shore, and to breathe the pure air of heaven."

Some time elapsed after the slave had gone to fulfil his mission before
Juanetta appeared.  She then came with a sad countenance and tears in
her eyes.

"Oh, senor!" she said, "the ship has sailed, and I hoped that the news
would have made us both happy; but, alas! when I told my father what I
had done, and how I had preserved your life from those tyrants, he
stormed and raved, and declared that I had behaved very wickedly, and
that he would deliver you up to the authorities.  Fortunately I did not
tell him that you were still here; but, as Mauro had cautioned me, I led
him to suppose that you had made your escape up the country."

"That was a happy idea of yours, my Juanetta," said Daggerfeldt.  "Your
father must in some way be gained to our wishes.  You are his only
child, and he is enormously rich, you say--plenty of gold stored up in
bars in his house.  Stay, I must think over the subject.  Sit down by
me, and I will unfold my plans."

He was silent for some time, and then he continued, while Juanetta, who
was incapable of fathoming the depths of his deceit, listened to him
without suspicion.

"Now, Juanetta, dear, you must not be startled by the plan I am going to
propose.  From what you tell me, your father is prejudiced against me,
and will not willingly give his consent to our marriage, so we must
marry first, and ask his forgiveness afterwards.  He will then, I have
no doubt, pardon us, and give us as much gold as we may require.  Now,
as I have no money, and no priest will marry us without, we must
contrive to borrow some of his.  We can return it afterwards, you know.
I propose, therefore, that you show me some night where he keeps his
gold, and then I will take a little of it, as much as we may require,
and then we will fly together to the nearest place where we can find a
priest to unite us.  Shall we not do so, dearest?  The plan may seem to
you dangerous and wrong, but let no fears alarm you.  We will afterwards
explain our motives, and the old man will forgive you."

Poor Juanetta, had she known this world and the wickedness in it, would
have flown with horror from the betrayer; but she was ignorant of its
evil ways--she listened and hesitated.  No arguments which sophistry
could invent were left untried.  The deceiver was victorious.

That night the keys of the old man's money-chests were stolen from
beneath his pillow.  The following morning he found them where he had
placed them, and, unsuspecting, did not think of counting his hoarded
gold.

His daughter dared not again speak to him of the stranger she had
preserved.  He believed that he had long ago escaped into the interior,
and forbore to make further inquiries about him.  Daggerfeldt was no
longer an inhabitant of his house.

A foreign merchant, of considerable wealth at command, had arrived, it
was said, from the interior, and had taken up his abode in the town.  He
had become the purchaser of a large schooner, which was taking in a
cargo of goods for the African coast.  Don Manuel Ribiera, on hearing
this, invited the stranger to his house, for he himself was a dealer in
slaves, and wished to make some arrangements respecting the return
cargo.

On the unexpected appearance of the stranger, Donna Juanetta started;
but her presence of mind quickly returned, for she felt the importance
of discretion.  Her father observed her momentary confusion, and
apologised to his guest, attributing it to her being unaccustomed to
receive strangers.

Soon afterwards, some business called Senor Ribiera from the room, and
Juanetta was left alone with their guest.

"Oh, Juan, how could you venture here?" she exclaimed to the pretended
merchant, who was no other than Daggerfeldt.  "My father will discover
you, and your ruin and mine must follow."

"No fear, dearest.  He is blinded by the prospect of profit," answered
Hernan.  "He has, too, scarcely seen me before, and then only in
uniform.  It was also necessary to run some risks to gain our ends.  I
have made all the necessary arrangements, and this night you are to be
mine.  The cost, however, has been considerable, and we must borrow a
little more from your father's money-chests to pay the priest who is to
unite us."

Daggerfeldt had scarcely arranged his plans with his credulous dupe when
Senor Ribiera returned.  As may be supposed, he was induced to arrange a
plan to dispose of his slaves on his return on terms highly advantageous
to the old slave-dealer; and after being entertained magnificently, he
was conducted to his sleeping apartment.  Instead of retiring to rest,
Daggerfeldt employed himself in loading his pistols and listening
attentively for the arrival of some one apparently, but not a sound
disturbed the silence of the night.  At last, losing patience, he opened
his door, and was met by Juanetta.  The poor girl was pale and
trembling.

"Here are the keys," she said; "but, oh, senor, I do not like this
work--surely it is very wicked!"

"Pretty fool," he answered, abruptly, "it is too late to recede now.
There is nothing to alarm you.  Wait in this room till I return."
Saying this, he was about to leave her, when footsteps were heard
approaching the house.  He listened attentively.

"It is right," he observed; "those are some people I have engaged to
assist us in our flight."

Just then some men sprang into the room through the open window.  Poor
Juanetta uttered a cry of terror, but it was instantly silenced by
Daggerfeldt, who ordered two of the men to take charge of her while the
rest followed him to the chamber of Don Ribiera.  The unhappy girl
listened, horror-struck and bewildered.  There was a cry and a groan,
and soon afterwards Daggerfeldt returned, accompanied by the men
carrying several heavy chests between them.

"Onward," said the traitor, "and you, my fair lady, must accompany us.
The ship is waiting to bear us to far-off lands, where you may become my
bride."

The next morning, the new slave schooner was seen in the offing, and
when people went to the house of Don Ribiera, he was found dead in his
bed, his money-chests were gone, and his daughter had fled, while his
slaves were only just awaking from a heavy sleep, for which none of them
could account.  Mauro, too, had disappeared, and all the watch-dogs were
dead.



CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

THE BLACK SLAVER (CONTINUED)--THE CHASE--THE SLAVER--THE CAPTURE--THE
ESCAPE--THE PURSUIT.

THE CHASE.

We left her Britannic Majesty's brig "Sylph" in chase of a strange sail
on the coast of Africa.  The wind was from the westward, and she was
standing on a bowline to the southward, with the coast clearly seen
broad on the lee-beam.  Captain Staunton ordered every expedient he
could think of to be tried to increase the speed of his vessel, for the
stranger was evidently a very fast sailer, though it was at first
difficult to say whether or not she was increasing her distance from
them.  At all events, the British crew soon saw that it would be
hopeless to expect to come up with the stranger before dark, for the sun
was just sinking below the horizon, and the thick mists were already
rising over the wooded shore, and yet they appeared to be no nearer to
her than they were when they first made sail in chase.  It was a
magnificent sailing breeze, just sufficient for both vessels to carry
their topgallant-sails and royals without fear of springing their spars,
and the sea was perfectly smooth, merely rippled over by the playful
wind.  Indeed, as the two vessels glided proudly along over the calm
waters, they appeared rather to be engaged in some friendly race than
anxious to lead each other to destruction.  All the officers of the
"Sylph" were on deck with their glasses constantly at their eyes, as the
last rays of the sun tinged the royals of the chase, and so clearly was
every spar and rope defined through that pure atmosphere, that it was
difficult to believe that she was not within range of their guns.
Captain Staunton and his first lieutenant walked together on the
weather-side of the deck.

"Do you think she is the `Espanto,' Mr Collins?" asked the captain.

"I have no doubt about it, sir," answered the officer addressed.  "I
watched her narrowly when we chased her off Loanda the last time she was
on the coast, and I pulled round her several times when she lay in the
harbour of St. Jago da Cuba, just a year and a half ago."

"She has had a long run of iniquity," said the captain; "two years our
cruisers have been on the look-out for her, and have never yet been able
to overhaul her."

"That Daggerfeldt must be a desperate villain, if report speaks true,"
observed the lieutenant; "I think, sir, you seemed to say you once knew
him."

"I did, to my cost," answered Captain Staunton; "that man's life has
been a tissue of treachery and deceit from his earliest days.  He once
disgraced our noble service.  He murdered a shipmate and ran from his
ship on the coast of America.  It was reported for some time that he was
dead, by his clothes having been found torn and bloody on the shore, and
his family, fortunately for them, believed the story.  It was, however,
afterwards discovered that he had been sheltered by a Spanish girl, and,
in gratitude for his preservation, he carried her off, robbed her father
of all his wealth, and either frightened him to death or smothered him.
The unhappy girl has, it is said, ever since sailed with him, and it is
to be hoped she is not aware of the enormity of his guilt.  Pirate and
slaver, he has committed every atrocity human nature is capable of."

"A very perfect scoundrel, in truth, sir," answered Mr Collins.  "It
was said, too, I remember, that he was going to marry a very beautiful
girl in England.  What an escape for her!"

"No, he was not going to marry her!" exclaimed the captain, with unusual
vehemence.  "Her father, perhaps, wished it, but she would never have
consented.  Collins, you are my friend, and I will tell you the truth.
That lady, Blanche D'Aubigne, was engaged to me, and never would have
broken her faith to me while she believed me alive.  By a series of
forgeries, Daggerfeldt endeavoured to persuade her that I was false to
her, though she would not believe him.  On my return home she is to
become my wife.  We were to have married directly I got my promotion,
but I was so immediately sent out here that I was able to spend but one
day in her society.  I wished to have secured her a pension in case this
delightful climate should knock me on the head, but she would not hear
of it.  Poor girl, I have left her what little fortune I possess,
Collins; I could not do less.  Those who live on shore at ease can't say
we enjoy too much of the pleasures of home, or don't earn the Queen's
biscuit.  Bless her Majesty!"

"I don't know that, sir.  There are, I hear, though I never fell in with
any of them, a set of lying traitors at home, who say we are no better
than pirates, and want to do away with the navy altogether.  If they
were to succeed in their roguish projects, there would be an end of Old
England altogether, say I."

"They never will succeed, Collins, depend upon that.  There is still too
much sense left in the country; but if her Majesty's government were to
employ her cruisers in any other part of the world than on this
pestiferous coast, the cause of humanity would benefit by the change.
For every prize we capture, ten escape, and our being here scarcely
raises the price of slaves in the Cuban and Brazilian markets five
dollars a head; while the Spaniards and Portuguese, notwithstanding
their treaties, do all they can to favour the traffic.  Do we gain on
the chase, do you think, Collins?"

"Not a foot, I fear, sir," answered the lieutenant.  "That brig is a
fast craft, and though I don't believe, as some of the people do, that
the skipper has signed a contract with Davy Jones, she is rightly called
by them the `Black Slaver.'"

"If the breeze freshens, we may overhaul her, but if not, she may double
on us in the dark, and again get away," observed the captain.  "Take
care a bright look-out is kept for'ard."

"Ay, ay, sir," answered the lieutenant, repeating the order and
adjusting his night-glass; "she hasn't altered her course, at all
events."

By this time daylight had totally disappeared, although a pale crescent
moon in the clear sky afforded light sufficient for objects to be
distinguished at some distance.  Few of the officers turned in, but the
watch below were ordered to their hammocks to recruit their strength for
the services they might be required to perform on the morrow, as Captain
Staunton had determined, should the wind fail, to attack the chase in
his boats.  When the enemy is well-armed and determined, this a very
dangerous operation, and in the present instance there could be no doubt
that he who commanded the "Black Slaver" would not yield without a
desperate resistance.  Lookouts were stationed at the mastheads as well
as forward, and every eye was employed in endeavouring to keep her in
sight--no easy task with the increasing darkness--for a light mist was
gradually filling the atmosphere, and the moon itself was sinking into
the ocean.  The breeze, however, appeared to be increasing; the brig
felt its force, and heeled gracefully over to it as the water bubbled
and frothed against her bows.

"What are the odds we don't catch her after all?" said young Wildgrave
to his messmate; "I hate these long chases, when one never comes up with
the enemy."

"So do I," answered his companion.  "But to tell you the truth, I have a
presentiment that we shall come up with her this time, and bring her to
action too.  She has escaped us twice before, and the third time will, I
think, be fatal to her.  By-the-by, where is she though?"

"Fore-yard, there!" sang out the first lieutenant, "can you see the
chase?"

"I did a moment ago, sir;--no, sir, I can see her nowhere."

A similar answer was returned from the other lookouts.  She was nowhere
visible.

THE SLAVER.

The "Black Slaver" well deserved her name.  Her hull was black, without
the usual relief of a coloured ribbon; her masts and spars were of the
same ebon hue, her cargo was black, and surely her decks were dark as
the darkest night.  She was a very large vessel, certainly upwards of
three hundred tons, and also heavily armed with a long brass gun
amidships, and ten long nines in battery, besides small brass
swivel-guns mounted on her quarter, to aid in defending her against an
attack in boats.

Her crew was composed of every nation under the sun, for crime makes all
men brothers, but brothers who, Cainlike, were ready any moment to
imbrue their hands in each other's blood; and their costume was as
varied as their language--a mixture of that of many nations.  A mongrel
Spanish, however, was the language in which all orders were issued, as
being that spoken by the greater number of the people.  She was a very
beautiful and powerful vessel, and all the arrangements on board
betokened strict attention to nautical discipline.  For more than two
years she had run her evil career with undeserved success, and her
captain and owner was reputed to be a wealthy man, already in possession
of several estates in Cuba.  Slaving was his most profitable and safe
occupation, mixed up with a little piracy, as occasion offered, without
fear of detection.  Several slavers had unaccountably disappeared, which
had certainly not been taken by English cruisers, and others had
returned to the coast complaining that they had been robbed of their
slaves by a large armed schooner, which had put on board a few bales of
coloured cottons, with an order to them to go back and take in a fresh
cargo of human beings.  The "Espanto" was more than suspected of being
the culprit; but she was always so disguised that it was difficult to
bring the accusation home to her, while they themselves being illegally
employed, could obtain no redress in a court of law.

She had for some time been cruising, as usual, in the hopes of picking
up a cargo without taking the trouble of looking into the coast for it,
when, weary of waiting, and being short of water and provisions, the
captain determined to run the risk of procuring one by the usual method.

From the ruse practised by the "Sylph," she was not seen by his lookouts
till he was nearly close up to her.  He was in no way alarmed, however,
for he recognised the British man-of-war, and knowing the respective
rate of sailing of the two vessels, felt certain, if the wind held, to
be able to walk away from her.  To make certain what she was, he had
stood on some time after he had first seen her, a circumstance which
had, as we mentioned, somewhat surprised Captain Staunton and his
officers.  Having ascertained that the sail inside of him was the
"Sylph," he hauled his wind, and making all sail, before an hour of the
first watch had passed, aided by the darkness, he had completely run her
out of sight.  When he stood in he had been making for the Pongos River;
but being prevented from getting in there, he determined to run for the
Coanza River, some forty miles further to the south, before daybreak,
and as the mouth is narrow, and entirely concealed by trees, he had many
chances in his favour of remaining concealed there while the British
man-of-war passed by.  A slave-agent, also, of his resided in the
neighbourhood, who would be able to supply him at the shortest notice,
and at moderate prices, with a cargo of his fellow-beings.  At this
rendezvous he knew there would be a look-out for him, and that there
were pilots ready to assist him in entering the river.

"Square the yards and keep her away, Antonio," he sung out to his first
mate, a ferocious-looking mulatto, who was conning the vessel.  "We are
just abreast of--Point, and Diogo, if he has his eyes open, ought to see
us."

The helm was kept up, the yards were squared, and the vessel stood stem
on towards the shore.

Before long the dark line of a tree-fringed coast was visible, when she
was again brought to the wind; her lower sails were furled, and she was
hove-to under her topsails.

"We must make a signal, or the lazy blacks will never find us out, senor
captain," observed Antonio to his chief.

"Yes, we must run the risk: we shall not be in before daylight if we do
not, and the enemy will scarcely distinguish from what direction the
report of the gun comes.  Be smart about it though."

A gun from the lee quarter was accordingly discharged, the dull echoes
from which were heard rebounding along the shore, and directly
afterwards a blue-light was fired, the bright flame giving a
spectre-like appearance to the slaver and her evil-doing crew.  They
might well have been taken for one of those phantom barks said to cruise
about the ocean either to warn mariners of coming danger or to lure them
to destruction.

Soon afterwards a small light was seen to burst out, as it seemed, from
the dark line, and to glide slowly over the water towards them.
Gradually it increased, and as it approached nearer, it was seen to
proceed from a fire burning in the bow of a large canoe pulled by a
dozen black fellows.  When it came alongside, two of them scrambled on
board, and recognising the captain, welcomed him to the coast.  Their
language was a curious mixture of Spanish, Portuguese, English, and
African.

"Ah, senor captain, berry glad you et Espanto, come esta nocha, viento
es favoravel, for run up de river Diogo--me vos on the look-out you,
sabe."

Having thus delivered himself, the chief pilot went aft to the helm with
much the same air as one of his European brethren, habited in Flushing
coat and tarpaulin hat, although the only garment he boasted was a blue
shirt, secured at the waist by a piece of spun-yarn, and a red
handkerchief bound round his head.

"Up with the helm, then square away the yards!" sung out the captain,
and the vessel, under the direction of the negro, was standing dead on
to the apparently unbroken line of dark shore.

It required great confidence in the honesty and knowledge of the pilot
for the crew not to believe that he was running the schooner on shore,
for such a thing had been more than once before done.

"Remember," whispered Antonio, as he passed him, "if the vessel touches,
my pistol sends a ball through your head."

"No tien duvida, senor, contremestre," answered Quacko, quite unmoved by
the threat, as being one to which he was well accustomed.

"Viento favoravel, rio fundo.  Have de anchor pronto to let go."

The bowsprit of the schooner was now almost among the mangrove bushes.

"Stivordo!" sung out the pilot.

A yellow line of sand was seen over her quarter.  This seemed to spring
up from the sea on either side, like dark, shapeless phantoms, eager to
destroy the slaver's crew, the spirits of those their cruelty had sent
from this world.  Taller and taller they grew, for so calmly did the
vessel glide on, that she appeared not to move, yet the broad open sea
was completely shut out from the view of those on board; a narrow dark
line, in which the reflection of a star was here and there visible, was
the only water seen as still, on the schooner moved.

"Bombordo!" sung out the pilot.

The helm was put to port, and the schooner glided into another passage,
her yards, as they were squared away or braced up to meet the
alterations in her course, almost brushing the branches of the lofty
trees.  For some minutes more she ran on, till the stream grew suddenly
wider, and a little bay, formed by a bend of the shore, appeared on the
starboard hand, into which she glided.  The anchor was let go, the
topsails were furled, and so entirely was she concealed by the
overhanging boughs, that a boat might have passed down the centre of the
stream without seeing her.

At dawn the next morning a busy scene was going on on board and round
the slaver.  Her crew, aided by a number of negroes, were employed in
setting up her rigging and fitting slave-decks, while several canoes
were assisting her boats in bringing water and provisions alongside.
Thus they were employed without cessation for two days.  There was no
play, it was all hard, earnest work.  It is a pity they were not
labouring in a good cause instead of a bad one.

In the mean time the King of --, as he was called, in reality the
principal slave-dealer and greatest rogue in the district, was
collecting the negroes who had been kidnapped by him or his allies, from
whom he had bought them in the neighbouring provinces--some as they were
quietly fishing in their canoes on the coast, others as they were seated
beneath the shade of the palm-tree in their native forest, or were
coming from the far interior with a load of oil or ivory, to sell to the
nearest trader--untutored savages, who perhaps had never before seen the
face of a white man, or the blue dancing ocean.  It is no wonder that
they paint the Devil white, and believe the sea is the passage to his
realms.  Eight hundred human beings were thus collected to be conveyed
in that fell bark to the Far West, there to wear out their lives in
hopeless slavery.

The greater part of the fourth day was spent in receiving half the
number on board, and stowing them below.  This operation was performed
by men whose especial trade it is.  The unhappy wretches are compelled
to sit down with their legs bent under them, so closely packed that they
cover but little more space than the length of their feet,
between-decks, little more than a yard high; and thus they remain,
bolted down to the decks, the whole voyage, a few only being allowed to
come up at a time to be aired, while the smallest quantity of water
possible is afforded them to quench their burning thirst.

THE CAPTURE.

The work for the day was nearly concluded, and the captain of the slaver
was walking by himself beneath the awning spread over the after-part of
the deck, when he observed a canoe suddenly dart out of the main stream
into the bay where the schooner lay concealed.  It was soon alongside,
when a black jumped on board.

"Senor capitan, you must be pronto," he said.  "Big man-of-war come, big
canoe, mucho hombres, come up river."

"Ah, have they found me out?" muttered the captain to himself.  "I'll
give them a warm reception if they do come.  Very well, Queebo," he said
aloud, "now pull back and watch them narrowly.  Take care they don't see
you, and come and report their movements to me."

At a signal all the crew were summoned on board, the awning was handed,
boarding-nettings were triced up, the guns were double-shotted and run
out, and a thick screen of boughs was carried across the part of the bay
so as still further to conceal the schooner from the eye of any
stranger.  Two guns were also sent on shore and planted in battery, so
as to command the entrance of the bay.  Every other precaution was
likewise taken to avoid discovery; all fires were extinguished, and the
blacks were ordered to remove from the neighbourhood.

By the time these arrangements had been made, the scout returned to give
notice that two boats had entered the river, and were exploring one of
the numerous passages of the stream.  The captain on this ordered the
scout to remain on board, lest he might betray their whereabouts to the
enemy.  He had no wish to destroy the boats, as so doing would not
benefit him; concealment, not fighting, was his object.  When night,
however, came on, he sent out the scout to gain further intelligence.
Scarcely had the man gone, when he returned, and noiselessly stepped on
deck.

"Hist, senor, hist!" he whispered.  "They are close at hand, little
dreaming we are near them."

"Whereabouts?" inquired the captain.

"On the other side of the long island which divides the middle from the
southern stream," was the substance of the reply.

"We'll attack them then, and either kill or make them all prisoners.
They may be useful as hostages," muttered the captain, and calling
Antonio to him, he ordered him to man two boats with the most
trustworthy of their people, and carefully to muffle the oars.  This
done, both boats left the schooner, under his command, in the direction
indicated by the scout.

They pulled across the channel to a thickly-wooded island indicated by
the scout.  The negro landed, and in a few minutes came back.

"Dere dey are, senor," he whispered; "you may kill all fast asleep;
berry good time now; no make noise."

On hearing this, the slavers, all of whom were armed to the teeth,
advanced cautiously across the island, by a path with which Queebo
seemed well acquainted.  The black pointed between the trees, and there
was seen the head of a man, fast asleep in the stern-sheets of a boat.
Just then a light rustling noise was heard, and a figure was seen
advancing close up to where the slavers were crouching down, ready for
the command of their officer to fire.

He advanced slowly, looking out for the very path apparently by which
they had gained the spot.  He reached within almost an arm's length of
the captain.  The impulse was irresistible; and before the stranger was
aware any one was near him, he was felled to the ground, and a
handkerchief was passed over his mouth, so that he could not utter a cry
for help.  Two other men, who were doing duty as sentinels on shore,
were in like manner surprised and gagged, without uttering a sound to
alarm the rest.  The slavers then advanced close up to the nearest boat,
and pouring a volley from their deadly trabucos into her, killed or
wounded nearly all her crew.  A larger boat was moored at some little
distance farther on, and her people being aroused by the firing, they at
once shoved off into the stream, which the survivors of the other also
succeeded in doing.  They then opened a fire on the slavers, but
sheltered as they were among the trees, it was ineffectual.

The contest was kept up for some time; but reduced in strength as the
crews of the boats were, they were at last obliged to retreat, while the
slavers returned with their prisoners to the schooner.  As the slavers'
boats were left on the other side of the island, which extended for more
than a mile towards the sea, they were unable to follow their retreating
enemy had they been so inclined; but in fact they did not relish the
thought of coming in actual contact with British seamen, as they had
good reason in believing the enemy to be, although weakened and
dispirited by defeat.

When the prisoners, who had not uttered a word, were handed up on deck,
the captain ordered lights to be brought, for he had no longer any fear
of being discovered.  One evidently, by his uniform, was an officer; the
other two were seamen.  The captain paced the deck in the interval
before lights were brought, grinding his teeth and clinching his fists
with rage, as he muttered to himself,--

"He shall die--he wears that hated uniform: it reminds me of what I once
was.  Oh, this hell within me! blood must quench its fire."

A seaman now brought aft a lantern; its glare fell as well on the
features of the prisoner as on that of the slave captain.  Both started.

"Staunton!" ejaculated the latter.

"Daggerfeldt!" exclaimed the prisoner.

"You know me, then?" said the captain of the slaver, bitterly; "it will
avail you little, though.  I had wished it had been another man; but no
matter--you must take your chance."

The slaver's crew were now thronging aft.

"Well, meos amigos," he continued, in a fierce tone, "what is to be done
with these spies?  You are the judges, and must decide the case."

"Enforca-los--hang them, hang them--at least the officer.  The other two
may possibly enter, and they may be of service: we want good seamen to
work the vessel, and these English generally are so."

"You hear what your fate is to be," said Daggerfeldt, turning to Captain
Staunton.  "You had better prepare for it.  You may have some at home to
regret your loss.  If you have any messages, I will take care to
transmit them.  It is the only favour I can do you."

While he spoke, a bitter sneer curled his lip, and his voice assumed a
taunting tone, which he could not repress.

The gallant officer, proud in his consciousness of virtue, confronted
the villain boldly.

"I would receive no favour, even my life, from one whose very name is a
disgrace to humanity.  Even if the message I were to send was conveyed
correctly, it would be polluted by the bearer.  It would be little
satisfaction for my friends to know that I was murdered in an African
creek by the hands of a rascally slaver."

While Staunton was uttering these words, which he did in very bitterness
of spirit, for, knowing the character of the wretch with whom he had to
deal, he had not the remotest hope of saving either his own life or that
of his people, the rage of Daggerfeldt was rising till it surpassed his
control.

"Silence!" he thundered, "or I will brain you on the spot!"

But Staunton stood unmoved.

"Madman, would you thus repay me for the life I saved?" he asked,
calmly.

"A curse on you for having saved it," answered the pirate, fiercely,
returning his sword, which he had half drawn from its scabbard.  "My
hand, however, shall not do the deed.  Here, Antonio Diogo, here are the
spies who wish to interfere in our trade, and would send us all to
prison, or to the gallows, if they could catch us."

"The end of a rope and a dance on nothing for the officer, say I,"
answered the mulatto mate.  "See what his followers will do; speak to
them in their own lingo, captain, and ask them whether they choose to
walk overboard or join us."

While he was speaking, some of the crew brought aft the two British
seamen, with their hands lashed behind them.  Others, headed by Antonio,
immediately seized Captain Staunton, and led him to the gangway, one of
the men running aloft to reeve a rope through the studding-sail
sheet-block on the main-yard.  Staunton well knew what the preparations
meant, but he trembled not; his whole anxiety was for the boats' crews
he had led in the expedition which had ended so unfortunately, and for
the two poor fellows whose lives, he feared, were about also to be
sacrificed by the miscreants.

The British seamen watched what was going forward, and by the convulsive
workings of their features, and the exertions they were making to free
their arms, were evidently longing to strike a blow to rescue him.
Daggerfeldt was better able to confront them than he had been to face
Staunton.

"You are seamen belonging to a man-of-war outside this river, and you
came here to interfere with our affairs?"

"You've hit it to an affigraphy, my bo'," answered one of the men, glad,
at all events, to get the use of his tongue.  "We belongs to her
Majesty's brig `Sylph,' and we came into this here cursed hole to take
you or any other slaver we could fall in with; and now you knows what I
am, I'll just tell you what you are--a runaway scoundrel of a
piccarooning villain, whom no honest man would consort with, or even
speak to, for that matter, except to give him a bit of his mind; and if
you're not drowned, or blown up sky high, you'll be hung, as you
deserve, as sure as you're as big a rascal as ever breathed.  Now, put
that in your pipe, my bo', and smoke it."

While he was thus running on, to the evident satisfaction of his
shipmate, who, indifferent to their danger, seemed mightily to enjoy the
joke, Daggerfeldt in vain endeavoured to stop him.

"Silence!" he shouted, "or you go overboard this moment!"

"You must bawl louder than that, my bo', if you wants to frighten Jack
Hopkins, let me tell you," answered the undaunted seaman.  "What is it
you want of us?  Come, out with it; some villainy, I'll warrant."

The captain of the slaver ground his teeth with fury, but he dared not
kill the man who was bearding him, for he could not explain to his crew
the nature of the offence, a very venial one in their eyes, and he
wanted some good seamen.

"I overlook your insolence," he answered, restraining his passion.  "My
crew are your judges.  You have been convicted of endeavouring to
capture us, and they give you your choice of joining us, or of going
overboard; the dark stream alongside swarms with alligators.  That fate
is too good for your captain: he is to be hung."

"Why, what a cursed idiot you must be to suppose we'd ship with such a
pretty set of scoundrels as you and your men are," answered Jack
Hopkins, with a laugh.  "I speak for myself and for Bob Short, too.
It's all right, Bob, I suppose?" he said, turning to his companion.
"There's no use shilly-shallying with these blackguards."

"Ay, ay; I'm ready for what you are," replied Bob Short, who had gained
his name from the succinctness of his observations apparently, rather
than from his stature, for he was six feet high, while the name by which
Jack Hopkins was generally known on board was Peter Palaver, from his
inveterate habits of loquacity.

"Well, then, look ye here, Mr Daggerfeldt, I knowed you many years ago
for an ill-begotten spawn of you knows what, and I knows you now for the
biggest scoundrel unhung, so you must just take the compliments I've got
to give you.  Now for the matter of dying, I'd rather die with a brave,
noble fellow like our skipper than live in company with a man who has
murdered his messmate, has seduced the girl who sheltered him from
justice, and would now hang the man who saved his life.  Your favours!
I'll have none on 'em."

The fierce pirate and slaver stood abashed before the wild outbreak of
the bold sailor, but quickly recovering himself, livid and trembling
with rage, he shouted out to his crew--

"Heave these fools of Englishmen overboard; they know more of our
secrets than they ought, and will not join us.  Send this talking fellow
first."

"If it comes to that, I can find my tongue too, let me tell you,"
exclaimed Bob Short; "you're a murderous, rascally, thieving--"

"Heave them both together," shouted Daggerfeldt.

"Stay," said Antonio, who was refined in his cruelty; "let them have the
pleasure of seeing their captain hang first, since they are so fond of
him.  He well knows what their fate will be, and perhaps he would rather
they went overboard than joined us."

"Do as you like, but let it be done quickly," answered Daggerfeldt.
"I'm sick of this work, and we must be preparing to get out of the
river, or their friends will be sending in here to look for us."

Hopkins and Short did not understand a word of this conversation, and
finding themselves brought close up to where their captain stood engaged
in his devotions, and preparing like a brave man for inevitable death,
they believed that they were to share his fate.

"Well, I'm blowed if that ain't more than I expected of the beggars,"
whispered Jack Hopkins to his companion; "they're going to do the thing
that's right after all, and launch us in our last cruise in the same way
as the captain."

"Jack, can you pray?" asked Bob Short.

"Why, for the matter of that I was never much of a hand at it," answered
Jack; "but when I was a youngster I was taught to thank God for all his
mercies, and I do so still.  Why do you ask?"

"I was thinking as how as the skipper is taking a spell at it, whether
we might ask him just to put in a word for us.  He knows more about it,
and a captain of a man-of-war must have a greater chance of being
attended to than one of us, you see, Jack."

Poor Bob could never thus have exerted himself had he not felt that he
should only have a few words more to speak in this life.  Jack looked at
him in surprise.

"I'll ask him, Bob, I'll ask him; but you know as how the parson says,
in the country we are going to all men are equal, and so I suppose we
ought to pray for ourselves."

"But we are still in this world, Jack," argued the other; "Captain
Staunton is still our captain, and we are before the mast."

He spoke loud, and Captain Staunton had apparently overheard the
conversation, for he smiled and looked towards them.  He had been
offering up a prayer to the throne on high for mercy for the failings of
the two honest fellows, whose ignorance it was now too late to
enlighten.  Antonio was a pious Catholic, and, villain as he was, he was
unwilling not to give the chance of a quiet passage into the other world
to his victims.

"What are you about there?" shouted Daggerfeldt; "is this work never to
end?"

"The men are praying, senor, before they slip their cables for
eternity," answered Antonio.

"Is there an eternity?" muttered the pirate, and shuddered.

On Captain Staunton's turning his head, on which the light from the
lantern fell strongly, Antonio believed it was the signal that he was
prepared,--"Hoist away!" he shouted, in Spanish; but at that instant a
light female form rushed forth from the cabin, and seizing the whip,
held it forcibly down with one hand while she disengaged the noose from
the captain's neck.

"Oh, Juan! have you not murders enough on your head already that you
must commit another in cold blood?" she exclaimed, turning to
Daggerfeldt, "and that other on one who saved your life at the risk of
his own.  I knew him--before all my misery began, and recognised him at
once.  If you persist, I leave you; you know me well, I fear not to die;
Antonio, you dare not disobey me.  Unreeve that rope, and leave me to
settle with our captain regarding these men."

The slaver's crew stood sulky and with frowning aspect around her, yet
they in no way interrupted her proceedings, while Daggerfeldt stood a
silent spectator in the after-part of the vessel.

"Unreeve that rope! again I say," she exclaimed, stamping on the deck
with her foot.  The order was obeyed without the captain's interference.
"Your lives are safe for the present," she said, addressing the
Englishmen.  "I know that man's humour, and he dares not now contradict
me.  I am the only thing who yet clings to him, the only one he thinks
who loves him, the only being in whom he can place his trust; that
explains my power."  She spoke hurriedly and low, so that Staunton alone
could hear her, and there was scorn in her tone.  "Cast those men
loose," she continued, turning to the crew, while with her own hands she
undid the cords which lashed Staunton's arms, and as she did so she
whispered, "Keep together, and edge towards the arms-chest.  There are
those on board who will aid me if any attempt is made to injure you."

Saying this she approached the captain of the slaver; she touched his
arm: "Juan," she said, in a softened tone, totally different from that
in which she had hitherto spoken; "I am wayward, and have my fancies.  I
felt certain that your death would immediately follow that of those men.
I was asleep in my cabin, and dreamed that you were struggling in the
waves, and they, seizing hold of you, were about to drag you down with
them."

Daggerfeldt looked down at her as she stood in a supplicating attitude
before him.  "You are fanciful, Juanetta; but you love me, girl."

"Have I not proved it?" she answered in a tone of sadness; "you will
save the lives of these men?"

"I tell you I will.  We will carry them in chains to Cuba, and there
sell them as slaves."

"You must let them go free here," she answered.

"Impossible, Juanetta; do you wish to betray me?" he asked, fiercely.
"Go to your cabin.  The men shall not be hurt, and they will be better
off than the blacks on board."

She was silent, and then retired to her cabin, speaking on her way a
word to a negro who stood near the entrance.  "Mauro," she said, "watch
those men, and if you observe any signs of treachery, let me know."

The black signified that he comprehended her wishes, and would obey
them.

THE ESCAPE.

Captain Staunton and his companions were not allowed to remain long at
liberty; for as soon as the lady had retired, at a sign from
Daggerfeldt, the slaver's crew again attempted to lash their arms behind
them, not, however, without some resistance on the part of Hopkins and
Short.  The most zealous in this work was the negro Mauro, who
contrived, as he was passing a rope round Captain Staunton's arm, to
whisper in his ear, "Make no resistance, senor, it is useless.  You have
friends near you.  Tell your followers to keep quiet.  They can do
themselves no good."

Staunton accordingly told his men to follow his example, when they
quietly submitted to their fate.  Before this, he had contemplated the
possibility of their being able to succeed in getting arms from the
arms-chest, and either selling their lives dearly, or jumping overboard
and attempting to reach the shore.  In most slavers the lower deck is
devoted entirely to the slaves and the provisions, the men sleeping
under a topgallant-forecastle, or sometimes on the open deck, and the
captain and mates under the poop deck.  There was, therefore, no spare
place in which to confine the prisoners, and they were accordingly told
to take up their quarters under an awning stretched between two guns in
the waist.  This was better accommodation than they could have expected,
for not only were they sheltered partially from the dew, but were
screened from the observation of the crew, and were not subject to the
suffocating heat of the between-decks.

A night may, however, be more agreeably spent than on a hard plank, up
an African river, with a prospect of being sent to feed the alligators
in the morning, and the certainty of a long separation from one's
friends and country, not to speak of the nine hundred and ninety-nine
chances out of a thousand of one's losing one's health, if not one's
life, by the insatiable yellow-fever.

The reflections of Captain Staunton were most bitter.  He thought not of
himself, but of her he had loved so long and faithfully; she would
believe him dead, and he knew how poignant would be her grief.  He felt
sure that she would not be faithless to his memory, but months, even
years, might pass before he might escape, or have the means of informing
her of his existence.  While these ideas were passing through his mind,
it was impossible to sleep.  There were, too, the midnight noises of the
African clime: the croaking of frogs, the chirrup of birds, the howl of
wild beasts, the cries, if not of fish, of innumerable amphibious
animals of flesh and fowl, and, more than all, the groans and moans of
the unhappy beings confined in their noisome sepulchre below; all
combined to make a concert sounding as might the distant echoes of
Pandemonium.  At length, however, towards the morning, nature gave way,
and he forgot himself and his unfortunates in slumber.  It had not
lasted many minutes when he was aroused by a hand placed on his
shoulder, while a soft hush was whispered in his ear.  At the same time
he felt that there was a knife employed in cutting the ropes which bound
his arms.  Something told him that the person performing this office was
a friend, so he did not attempt to speak, but quietly waited to learn
what, he was next expected to do.  Again the voice whispered in his
ear,--

"Arouse your companions, if possible, but beware that they do not speak
aloud; caution them in their ear as I did you--their heads are near
where yours lies."

The voice which spoke, from its silvery tones, Staunton felt certain was
that of a female, as was the hand which loosened his bonds.  Without
hesitation, therefore, he did as he was desired, and putting his mouth
down to Hopkins's ear, he ordered him on his life not to utter a word.
Jack was awake in a moment, and alive to the state of affairs.  They had
more difficulty in arousing Bob Short, who uttered several very
treacherous groans and grunts before he was quite awake, though he
fortunately did not speak.  Had Captain Staunton been aware that a
sentry was actually posted outside the screen, he would have trembled
for their safety.  Fortunately the man was fast asleep, reclining
against the bulwarks--a fact ascertained by Jack Hopkins, who poked his
head from under the screen to ascertain how the coast lay.  Not a sound
was heard to give notice that any of the crew were stirring on deck.
Staunton, feeling that his best course was to trust implicitly to his
unseen guide, waited till he received directions how to proceed.  He
soon felt himself pulled gently by the arm towards the nearest port,
which was sufficiently raised to enable him to pass through it.  On
putting his head out, he perceived through the obscurity a canoe with a
single person in it, hanging on alongside the schooner.  His guide
dropped noiselessly into it, and took her place in the stern; Staunton
cautiously followed, and seating himself in the afterthwart, found a
paddle put into his hands; Jack and Bob required no one to tell them
what to do, but quickly also took their places in the boat.  As soon as
they were seated, the man who was first in the canoe shoved her off
gently from the side of the schooner; and while the guide directed their
course, began to paddle off rapidly towards the centre of the stream.
So dexterously did he apply his oar, that not a splash was heard, though
the canoe darted quickly along through the ink-like current without
leaving even a ripple in her wake.  Not a word was uttered by any of the
party; every one seemed to be aware of the importance of silence, and
even Peter Palaver forebore to cut a joke, which he felt very much
inclined to do, as he found himself increasing his distance from the
black slaver.

THE PURSUIT.

The canoe held her silent course down the dark and mirror-like stream
towards the sea.  Not a breath of wind moved the leaves of the lofty
palm-trees which towered above their heads, casting their tall shadows
on the calm waters below, while here and there a star was seen piercing
as it were through the thick canopy of branches; the air was hot and
oppressive, and a noxious exhalation rose from the muddy banks, whence
the tide had run off.  Now and then a lazy alligator would run his long
snout above the surface of the stream, like some water demon, and again
glide noiselessly back into his slimy couch.

"Tell your people to take to their paddles and ply them well," said the
guide, in a louder tone than had hitherto been used.

Staunton was now certain that it was Juanetta's voice--that of the lady
who had preserved his life.

"We are still some distance from the sea, in reaching which is our only
chance of safety; for if we are overtaken--and the moment our flight is
discovered, we shall be pursued--our death is certain."

The instant Bob and Jack had leave to use their paddles they plied them
most vigorously, and the canoe, which had hitherto glided, now sprang,
as it were, through the water, throwing up sparkling bubbles on either
side of her sharp bows.

"Pull on, my brave men," she exclaimed to herself, more than to the
seamen, "every thing depends on our speed.  The tide is still making
out, and if we can clear the mouth of the river before the flood sets in
all will be well."

She spoke in Spanish, a language Staunton understood well.  Her eye was
meantime turning in every direction as her hand skilfully guided the
boat.

"There are scouts about who might attempt to stop us if they suspected
we were fugitives.  I have, however, the pass-word, and can without
difficulty mislead them if we encounter any.  Your own people, too, may
be in the river looking out for the schooner."

"I think not," answered Staunton.  "We had lost one of our boats, and as
I am believed dead, my successor (poor fellow, how he will be
disappointed!) will, if he acts wisely, not attempt to capture the
`Espanto' except with the `Sylph' herself."

"The greater necessity, then, for our getting out to sea.  It is already
dawn.  Observe the red glare bursting through the mist in the eastern
sky, just through the vista of palm-trees up that long reach.  We shall
soon have no longer the friendly darkness to conceal us."

As she was speaking a large canoe was seen gliding calmly up the stream,
close in with the bank.  The people in her hailed in the negro language,
and the man who was first in the canoe promptly answered in the same.

"Ask them if they have seen the English man-of-war," said Juanetta.

The negroes answered that she was still riding at anchor off the mouth
of the river.

"We shall thus be safe if we can reach the open sea," she observed; "but
we have still some miles to row before we can get clear of the
treacherous woods which surround us; and perhaps when our flight is
discovered, our pursuers may take one of the other channels, and we may
find our egress stopped at the very mouth of the stream.  This suspense
is dreadful."

"We may yet strike a blow for you, and for our own liberty, senora,"
answered Staunton.  "It was fortunate the obscurity prevented the people
in the canoe from discovering us."

"That matters little.  No one would venture to stop me but that man,
that demon rather in human disguise, Daggerfeldt, as you call him," she
replied, bitterly, pronouncing the name as one to which she was
unaccustomed.  "Ah, senor; love--ardent, blind, mad love--can be turned
to the most deadly hatred.  Criminal, lost as I have been, I feel that
there is a step further into iniquity, and that step I have refused to
take.  The scales have fallen from my eyes, and I have seen the enormity
of my wickedness, and have discovered the foulness of my wrongs.  From
his own lips the dreadful information came.  In the same breath he
acknowledged that he had murdered my father and deceived me.  As he
slept he told the dreadful tale; the sight of you conjured up the past
to his memory; other murders he talked of, and treachery of all sorts
attempted.  He mocked, too, at me, and at my credulity.  I learned also
that he still contemplated your destruction as well as mine.  I who had
preserved his life, who had sacrificed my happiness here and hereafter
for his sake, was to be cast off for another lady fairer and younger, so
it seemed to me, but I could not understand all his words, for sometimes
he spoke in his native language, sometimes in Spanish.  Enough was heard
to decide me.  I had long contemplated quitting him.  I knew that it was
wrong remaining, but had not strength before to tear asunder my bonds,
till the feeling that I might rescue you, and make some slight
reparation to heaven for my wickedness, gave me strength to undertake
the enterprise.  There, senor, you know the reason of your liberation;
my trusty Mauro, who has ever been faithful, provided the means."

She spoke in a hurried tone, and her sentences were broken, as if she
hesitated to speak of her disgrace and misery, but yet was urged on by
an irresistible impulse.  Even while she was speaking her eye was on the
alert, and her hand continued skilfully to guide the canoe.  The stars
had gradually disappeared, sinking as it were into a bed of thick
leaden-coloured mist, which overspread the narrow arch overhead, while
in the east a red glow appeared which melted away as the pale daylight
slowly filled the air.  It was day, but there was no joyousness in
animated nature, or elasticity in the atmosphere, as at that time in
other regions.  A sombre hue tinted the trees, the water, and the sky;
even the chattering of innumerable parrots, and the cries of those
caricatures of men, many thousands of obscene monkeys, appeared rather
to mock at than to welcome the return of the world to life.

The canoe flew rapidly on.  Suddenly Juanetta lifted her paddle from the
water; her ears were keenly employed.

"Hark!" she said, "cease rowing; there is the sound of oars in the
water.  Ah! it is as I thought.  There is a boat endeavouring to cut us
off by taking another channel; she is still astern of us though, but we
must not slack our exertions."

Captain Staunton redoubled his efforts, as did his men on his telling
them they were pursued.  After the story he had heard, he was now doubly
anxious to rescue the unfortunate girl from the power of the miscreant
Daggerfeldt.  They now entered a broader reach of the river below the
fork, where the channel which Juanetta supposed their pursuers had taken
united with the one they were following.  They had got some way down it
when Staunton observed a large boat emerging from behind the woody
screen.  Juanetta judged from his eye that he had caught sight of the
boat.

"Is it as I thought?" she asked, calmly.

Staunton told her that he could distinguish a boat, evidently pursuing
them, but whether she belonged to his ship or to the slaver, he could
not judge.

"We must not stay to examine; if we were mistaken we should be lost,"
she observed; "but we have the means of defending ourselves--see, I had
fire-arms placed in the bottom of the canoe, and here are powder-horns
under the seat.  Mauro has carefully loaded them, and if they attempt to
stop us we must use them."

On they pulled, straining every nerve to the utmost, but the canoe was
heavily laden, and the boat gained on them.  Staunton trusted that their
pursuers might be his own people, but his hope vanished when one of them
rose; there was a wreath of smoke, a sharp report, and a bullet flew
over their heads and splintered the branch of a tree which grew at the
end of a point they were just then doubling.

"Aim lower next time, my bo', if you wish to wing us," shouted Jack
Hopkins, who saw no use in longer keeping silence.

"Ah!" exclaimed Juanetta, "the blue sea--we may yet escape."

As she spoke, another shot better aimed took effect on the quarter of
the canoe, but did no further injury.  It showed, however, that there
were good marksmen in the boat intent on mischief, and that they were
perilously near already.  For some time they were again shut out from
their pursuers, but as the latter doubled the last point, they had, too
evidently, gained on them.

"If any one again rises to fire, you must take also to your arms,
senor," said Juanetta, a shudder passing through her frame; "and if it
is he, kill him--kill him without remorse.  He has shown none.  That
rifle at your feet was his--it was always true to its aim."

She had scarcely ceased speaking, when a figure stood up in the boat.
It seemed to have the likeness of Daggerfeldt.  Staunton seized the
rifle to fire--he was too late.  Ere he had drawn the trigger, a flash
was seen, and Juanetta, with a wild shriek, fell forward into the canoe.
Staunton fired; the man who had sent the fatal shot stood unharmed, but
the oar of one fell from his grasp, and got entangled with those of the
others.  This would have enabled the canoe to recover her lost ground,
had not Mauro, on seeing his beloved mistress fall, thrown up his
paddle, exclaiming that he wished to die with her.

"She may yet be saved if you exert yourself," cried Staunton, in
Spanish; "row--for your life row; I will attend to your mistress."

Urged by the officer's commanding tone, the negro again resumed his
paddle.  Staunton, still guiding the canoe, raised Juanetta, and placed
her back in the stern-sheets--she scarcely breathed.  The ball had
apparently entered her neck, though no blood was to be seen.  He
suspected the worst, but dared not utter his fears lest Mauro should
again give way to his grief.  Several other shots were fired at them
from the boat, which was rapidly gaining on them.  They were close on
the bar, in another moment they would be in clear water.

The slaver crew shouted fiercely; again a volley was fired, the balls
from which went through and through the sides of the slight canoe,
without wounding any one, but making holes for the water to rush in.
One more volley would sink them, when a loud cheerful shout rung in
their ears, and two boats with the British ensign trailing from the
stern were seen pulling rapidly towards them.

Jack Hopkins and Bob Short answered the hail; the pirates, too, saw the
boats, they ceased rowing, and then pulling round, retraced their course
up the river.  The canoe, with the rapid current, flew over the bar, and
had barely time to get alongside the barge of the "Sylph," when she was
full up to the thwarts.  We need not say that his crew welcomed Captain
Staunton's return in safety with shouts of joy, after they had believed
him dead.

With the strong current then setting out of the river it was found
hopeless to follow the slaver's boat.  They were soon alongside the
brig.

Poor Juanetta was carried carefully to the captain's cabin, watched
earnestly by Mauro.  The surgeon examined her wound.

"Her hours are numbered," he said.  "No art of mine can save her."

THE ACTION.

Calm and treacherously beautiful as was the morning on which Captain
Staunton regained his ship, scarcely had she got under way to stand in
closer to the mouth of the river, in order to watch more narrowly for
the schooner, should she attempt to run out, than a dark cloud was seen
rising over the land.  It appeared on a sudden, and extended rapidly,
till it spread over the whole eastern sky.

"I fear that it will not do with the weather we have in prospect to send
the boats up the river again to retrieve our defeat, Mr Collins," said
Captain Staunton, pointing to the threatening sky.

"I think not, sir, with you," answered the lieutenant; "in fact, if I
may advise, the sooner we shorten sail the better, or we may have it
down upon us before we are prepared."

"You are right, Mr Collins; shorten sail as soon as you please," said
the captain.

"All hands shorten sail," was sung along the decks.

"Aloft there"--"Lay out"--"Be smart about it"--"In with every
thing"--"Let fly"--"Haul down"--"Brail up"--"Be smart, it will be down
upon us thick and strong, in a moment"--"Up with the helm"--"Look out
there aloft"--"Be smart, my lads."

Such were the different orders issued, and exclamations uttered in
succession by the officers.

A moment before, the sea was smooth as glass, and the brig had scarcely
steerage-way.  Now the loud roaring of the angry blast was heard, and
the flapping of the yet unfolded canvas against the masts; the ocean was
a sheet of white foam, and the sky a canopy of inky hue.  Away the brig
flew before it, leaving the land astern, her sails were closely furled,
and she remained unharmed, not a spar was sprung, not a rope carried
away, not a sail injured.  Thus she flew on under bare poles till the
squall subsided as quickly as it had arisen, and sail was again made to
recover the ground they had lost.

Land was still visible, blue and indistinct, but many fears were
naturally entertained lest the slaver, which had already given them so
much trouble, should have got out of the river with her living cargo,
and by keeping either way along shore, have escaped them.  For some
minutes the wind entirely failed, and curses loud and deep were uttered
at their ill luck, when, as if to rebuke them for their discontent, the
fine fresh sea-breeze set in, and, with a flowing sheet, carried them
gayly along.

Every eye was employed in looking out for the slaver, for they could not
suppose she would have lost the opportunity of getting out during their
absence.  They were not kept long in suspense.

"A sail on the starboard bow," cried the look-out from the masthead.

"What is she like?" asked the first lieutenant.

"A schooner, sir.  The slaver, sir, as we chased afore," answered the
seaman, his anxiety that she should be so making him fancy he could not
be mistaken.

"The fellow must have sharp eyes indeed to know her at this distance,"
muttered the lieutenant to himself with a smile; "however, I suppose
he's right.  We must not, though, be chasing the wrong craft while the
enemy is escaping.  Which way is she standing?" he asked.

"To the southward, sir, with every stitch of canvas she can carry," was
the answer.

The officer made the proper official report to the captain.

"We must be after her at all events," said Captain Staunton.  "Haul up,
Mr Collins, in chase.  Send Mr Stevenson away in the barge to watch
the mouth of the river."

The brig was forthwith brought to the wind, the barge in a very short
space of time was launched and manned with a stout crew well-armed and
provisioned, and she shoved off to perform her duty, while the "Sylph"
followed the strange sail.  The man-of-war had evidently an advantage
over the stranger, for while the sea-breeze in the offing blew fresh and
steady, in-shore it was light and variable.

On perceiving this, Captain Staunton kept his brig still nearer to the
wind, and ran down, close-hauled, along the coast, thus keeping the
strength of the wind, and coming up hand over hand with the stranger,
who lay at times almost becalmed under the land.  The breeze, however,
before they came abreast of her reached her also, and away she flew like
a startled hare just aroused from sleep.

"Fire a gun to bring her to," exclaimed the captain; "she shall have no
reason to mistake our intentions."

The British ensign was run up, and a gun was discharged, but to no
effect.  Two others followed, which only caused her to make more sail;
and by her luffing closer up to the wind, she apparently hoped to
weather on them, and cross their bows.  She was a large schooner, and by
the way sail was made on her, probably strongly-handed, so that there
could be little doubt that she was the vessel for which they were in
search.

"Send a shot into the fellow," exclaimed the captain; "that will prove
we are in earnest, and make him show his colours."

The shot clearly hit the schooner, although the range was somewhat long,
but it did slight damage.  It had the effect though of making him show
his ensign, and the stripes and stars of the United States streamed out
to the breeze.

"Those are not the fellow's colours, I'll swear," said Mr Collins, as
he looked through his glass.  "Another shot will teach him we are not to
be humbugged."

"Give it him, Collins, and see if you can knock away any of his spars,"
said the captain.  "We must follow that fellow round the world till we
bring him to action, and take or sink him.  He'll not heave-to for us,
depend upon that."

"Not if Daggerfeldt is the captain," answered the first lieutenant.

"I think she is his schooner; but he is so continually altering her
appearance that it is difficult to be quite certain."

"Though I was some hours on board of her, as I reached her in the dark,
and left her before it was light, I cannot be certain," observed Captain
Staunton, as he took a turn on the quarter-deck with his officer.  "By
the by, there is that poor girl's black attendant; he will know the
vessel at all events.  Tell him to come up and give us his opinion."

The lieutenant went into the captain's cabin, and soon after returned,
observing,--

"He will not quit his mistress, sir; and the surgeon tells me he has sat
by her side without stirring, watching every movement of her lips as a
mother does her only child.  As no one on board can speak his language
but you, sir, we cannot make him understand why he is wanted on deck."

"Oh, I forgot that: I will speak to him myself," answered the captain.
"Keep firing at the chase till she heaves-to, and then see that she does
not play us any trick.  Daggerfeldt is up to every thing."

Captain Staunton descended to his cabin.  Juanetta lay on the sofa, a
sheet thrown over her limbs, her countenance of a corpse-like hue, but
by the slight movements of her lips she still breathed.  The black hung
over her, applying a handkerchief to her brow to wipe away the cold
damps gathering there.  Her features, though slightly sunk, as seen in
the subdued light of the cabin, seemed like those of some beautiful
statue rather than of a living being.  The surgeon stood at the head of
the couch, endeavouring to stop the haemorrhage from the wound.

"I dare not probe for the ball," he whispered, as if the dying girl
could understand him; "it would only add to her torture, and I cannot
prolong her life."

"And this is thy handiwork, Daggerfeldt--another victim of thy unholy
passions," muttered the captain, as he gazed at her for a moment.  "Poor
girl, we will avenge thee!"

He had considerable difficulty in persuading Mauro to quit his mistress;
but at length the faithful black allowed himself to be led on deck.  He
looked round, at first bewildered, as if unconscious where he was; but
when his eye fell on the schooner, it brightened up, as if meeting an
object with which it was familiar, and a fierce expression took
possession of his countenance.

"Es ella, es ella, senor!" he exclaimed, vehemently.  "It is she, it is
she--fire, fire--kill him, kill him, he has slain my mistress!"

A gun was just then discharged, the shot struck the quarter of the
schooner, and the white splinters were seen flying from it.  On seeing
this he shouted with savage joy, clapped his hands, and spat in the
direction of the slaver, exhibiting every other sign he could think of,
of hatred and rage.  Having thus given way to his feelings, the
recollection of his mistress returned, and with a groan of anguish he
rushed down below.

The two vessels had been gradually drawing closer to each other, in
consequence of the schooner luffing up to endeavour to cross the bows of
the brig, and if she could, to get to windward of her, the only chance
she had of escaping.  The eyes of the officers were fixed on her to
watch her movements.

"She's about--all right!" shouted the captain.  "Give her a broadside
while she is in stays, and knock away some of her spars.  Fire high, my
lads, so as not to hurt her hull."

The brig discharged her whole larboard battery, and the fore-topmast of
the schooner was seen tumbling below.

"By Jingo, we've dished him!" exclaimed Jack Hopkins, to his chum, Bob
Short; "and I'm blowed, Bob, if it wasn't my shot did that ere for him.
I never lost sight of it till it struck."

"Maybe," answered Bob; "hard to prove, though."

The schooner had sufficient way on her to bring her round before the
topmast fell, and she was now brought into a position partially to rake
the brig, though at the distance the two vessels were from each other,
the aim was very uncertain.

That Daggerfeldt had determined to fight his vessel was now evident, for
the flag of the United States being hauled down, that of Spain was run
up in its stead, and at the same moment a broadside was let fly from the
schooner.  The shot came whizzing over and about the brig, but one only
struck her, carrying away the side of a port, a splinter from which
slightly wounded Bob Short in the leg.

"Ough!" exclaimed Bob, quietly binding his handkerchief round the limb
without quitting his post, "they're uncivil blackguards."

"Never mind, Bob," said Jack Hopkins, "we'll soon have an opportunity of
giving them something in return.  See, by Jingo, we've shot away his
forestay! we'll have his foremast down in a jiffy.  Huzza, my boys,
let's try what we can do!"

Whether Jack's gun was well aimed it is difficult to say, but at all
events the shot from the brig told with considerable effect on the
rigging of the schooner.  The brig did not altogether escape from the
fire of the enemy, who worked his guns rapidly; but whenever a brace was
shot away it was quickly again rove, so that she was always kept well
under command.  The loss of her fore-topmast made the escape of the
schooner hopeless, unless she could equally cripple her pursuer; but
that she had not contrived to do, and accordingly, as the two vessels
drew closer together, the fire from each took more effect.  Daggerfeldt,
to do him justice, did all a seaman could do, and in a very short space
of time the wreck of his topmast was cleared away, and he was preparing
to get up a new one in its place.  The sea was perfectly smooth, and the
wind gradually fell till there was scarcely enough to blow away the
smoke from the guns of the combatants, which in thick curling wreaths
surrounded them, till at intervals only could the adjacent land and the
ocean be seen.

Although Daggerfeldt could scarcely have hoped to succeed either in
escaping or coming off the victor, he still refused to haul down his
colours, even when the "Sylph," shooting past ahead of him, poured in
her whole broadside, sweeping his decks, and killing and wounding
several of his people.  Dreadful were the shrieks which arose from the
poor affrighted wretches confined below, although none of them were
injured.  The "Sylph" then wore round, and, passing under her stern,
gave her another broadside, and then luffing up, ran her alongside--the
grappling-irons were hove on board, and she was secured in a deadly
embrace.  The miserable blacks, believing that every moment was to be
their last, again uttered loud cries of horror; but the slaver's crew,
some of whom fought with halters round their necks, still refused to
yield, and, with cutlass in hand, seemed prepared to defend their vessel
to the last, as the British seamen, led on by their captain, leaped upon
the decks.  Staunton endeavoured to single out Daggerfeldt, but he could
nowhere distinguish him; and after a severe struggle, in which several
of the Spaniards were killed, he fought his way aft, and hauled down the
colours.

At that instant a female form, with a white robe thrown around her, was
seen standing on the deck of the brig; the crew of the slaver also saw
her, and, believing her to be a spirit of another world, fancied she had
come to warn them of their fate.  The energies of many were paralysed,
and some threw down their arms and begged for quarter.  A loud, piercing
shriek was heard.

"I am avenged, I am avenged!" she cried, and sank upon the deck.

It was Juanetta.  Mauro, who had followed her from the cabin, threw
himself by her side, and wrung his hands in despair.  They raised up her
head, and the surgeon felt her pulse.  She had ceased to breathe.

No further resistance was offered by the crew of the slaver.  Eight
hundred human beings--men, women, and children--were found stowed below,
wedged so closely together, that none could move without disturbing his
neighbour.  Some had actually died from sheer fright at the noise of the
cannonading.

Instant search was made for Daggerfeldt; he was nowhere to be found, and
the crew either could not or would not give any information respecting
him.  The prize was carried safely to Sierra Leone, where she was
condemned; the slaves were liberated, and became colonists; and Captain
Staunton, and his officers and crew, got a handsome share of
prize-money.

The "Sylph" was in the following month recalled home, and a few weeks
afterward the papers announced the marriage of Captain Staunton, RN, to
Miss Blanche D'Aubigne.



CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

CORUNNA--OPORTO--PULL UP THE DOURO--NOTICE OF THE SIEGE OF OPORTO--
LINE-OF-BATTLE SHIP.

Porpoise's story lasted out the gale.  We were not sorry to see the
conclusion of the latter, though it left old ocean in a very
uncomfortable state for some time.  A downright heavy gale is
undoubtedly a very fine thing to witness--at least the effects are--and
every man would wish to see one once in his life; but having experienced
what it can do, and how it makes the ocean look and human beings feel, a
wise man will be satisfied, at all events if he is to fall in with it in
a small cutter in the Bay of Biscay when that once is over.  I've had to
go through a good many in the course of my nautical career; and though
I've often heard sung with much gusto--

  "One night it blew a hurricane,
  The sea was mountains rolling,
  When Barney Buntline turned his quid,
  And cried to Billy Bowline:

  "`Here's a south-wester coming, Billy;
  Don't you hear it roar now?
  Lord help 'em, how I pities those
  Unhappy folks ashore now!

  "`While you and I upon the deck
  Are comfortably lying,
  My eyes! what tiles and chimney-tops
  About their heads are flying!'"

I mustn't quote more of the old song; for my own part I like a steady
breeze and a smooth sea, when plates and dishes will stay quietly on the
table, and a person may walk the deck without any undue exertion of the
muscles of the leg.

The gale had driven us somewhat into the bay, and finding it would cause
us little delay to look into Corunna, we determined to go there.  The
entrance to the harbour is very easy--a fine tall lighthouse on the
south clearly making it.  We brought up off the town, which is situated
along the circular shore of a bay something like Weymouth.  After paying
our respects to the consul, we mounted a troop of steeds offered us for
hire, and galloped off to inspect the chief scenes of the engagement
between the English and the French, when the former retreated under Sir
John Moore.  On our return we visited his tomb, situated on the ramparts
on the sea side of the town; the tomb is surrounded with cannon, with
their muzzles downward--a fit monument to the hero who sleeps beneath.
Carstairs did not fail to repeat with due effect--

  "Not a sound was heard; not a funeral note."

They are truly magnificent lines, rarely equalled.  Some, however, of a
like character appeared lately on Havelock, which are very much to my
taste.

But where am I driving to with my poetry and criticism?  We got on board
the same night, and made sail by daybreak the next morning.  We looked
into the deep and picturesque Gulf of Vigo, and thought the town a very
nasty one, in spite of its imposing castle on the top of a hill.  Had we
come from the south we might have formed a different opinion of the
place.  We hove-to off Oporto, and should have gone in, but though
exempt from harbour-dues, we found that the pilotage would be heavy, and
that we might have some difficulty in getting out again over the bar
which has formed across the mouth of the Douro.  The city stands on a
granite hill on the north side of the river, and about three miles from
the sea.  Fortunately for us, while we were hove-to there, the steamer
from England came in sight, and we were able to obtain a passage on
shore in the boats which brought off the mail bags.  Hearty, Bubble, and
I formed the party; Carstairs and Porpoise remained to take care of the
ship.  Away we pulled with the glee of schoolboys on a holiday
excursion; the boat was large, but of the roughest description--with the
stem and stern alike--probably not changed since the earliest days of
the Portuguese monarchy; she was double-banked, pulling twelve oars at
least.  The men mostly wore red caps, with a coloured sash round their
waists, and had shoeless feet; some had huge wooden slippers, almost big
enough to go to sea in.  Many of them were fine-looking fellows, but
they were very unlike English sailors, and oh! how they did jabber.  To
those who understood them their observations might have been very
sensible, but to our ears their voices sounded like the chattering of a
huge family of monkeys in their native woods.  The view before us
consisted of the blue shining sea, a large whitewashed and yellow-washed
village to the north, called St. Joao da Foz, with a lighthouse on a
hill at one end of it, a line of black rocks and white breakers before
us, and to the south a yellow beach with cliffs and pine-trees beyond,
and a convent, and a few of the higher standing houses and churches of
Oporto in the distance.  When we got near the white foam-topped rollers,
all the jabbering ceased, our crew bent to their oars like men worthy of
descendants of Albuquerque's gallant crew; and the boat now backed for
an instant, now dashing on, we were in smooth water close under the
walls of a no very formidable-looking fortress.  A little farther on we
landed at a stone slip, at the before-mentioned village, among
fishwomen, and porters, and boatmen, and soldiers, and custom-house
guards, and boys, all talking away most vociferously.  As we had no
luggage to carry, we were allowed to look about us.  What we should have
done I scarcely know, had not Bubble, who never failed to find
acquaintance in every place, recognised an English gentleman who had
come down to the river to embark for the city.  Bubble's friend was
invaluable to us; he first invited us to go up the river in his boat,
and pointed out numerous spots of interest on the way.  The boat was a
curious affair; it had a flat bottom and sides, and narrowed to a rising
point forward.  The greater part was covered with a wooden awning
painted green, and supported by wooden stanchions; and the seats run
fore and aft round the sides; it had yellow curtains to keep out the sun
or rain; the crew, three in number, stood up with their faces to the
bow, pressing against the oars; two stood on a deck forward, and one,
who occasionally brought his oar in a line with the keel, rowed aft.
Dressed in red caps with red sashes, and mostly in white or blue-striped
garments, they had a picturesque appearance.

Although the civil war which overthrew despotism, and planted the
present line on the throne, had occurred so long before, our new friend
spoke of it with as much interest as if it had but lately been
concluded.  Such an occurrence, indeed, was the great event in the lives
of a generation.

On the south side of the entrance of the river is a long sandbank; on
the north side is the castle of Foz, or the mouth.  This castle was
built by the Pedroites, and it was literally the key on which depended
the success of the enterprise.  Had it been taken, the communication
with the sea and Oporto would have been cut off, and the Liberals would
have been starved out.  For the greater portion of the time occupied by
the struggle, Dom Pedro's followers held little more than the city of
Oporto and a line of country on the north bank of the Douro scarcely a
mile wide, leading from the city to the sea.  They held the lighthouse
at the north point of the village; but a few hundred yards beyond was a
mound on which the Miguelites erected a strong battery.  Not a spot
along the whole line but what was the scene of some desperate encounter;
and most certainly the Portuguese Constitutionalists of all ranks, from
the highest to the lowest, fought as bravely as men could fight in the
noblest of causes.  Heaven favoured the right, and in spite of
apparently overwhelming hosts opposed to them, of disease and gaunt
famine, they won their cause, and the mother of the present enlightened
King of Portugal ascended the throne.

But I am writing the cruise of the "Frolic," and not a history of
Portugal.  Still I must dot down a few of our friend's anecdotes.  While
the north side of the river was held by the Constitutionalists, the
south was in the hands of the Miguelites, and the two parties used to
amuse themselves by firing at each other across the stream, so that it
was dangerous to pass along the lower road by daylight.

On one occasion, the Miguelites, wishing to attack the castle, brought a
number of casks to the end of the spit of sand at the entrance of the
river, and erected a battery on it, but they forgot to fill the casks
with sand or earth; when morning broke there was a formidable battery
directly under the walls of the castle.  Some unfortunate troops were
placed in it to work the guns; all went very well till the guns of the
castle began to play on it, and then a few shots sent the entire fabric
to the four winds of heaven, and either killed the soldiers placed in
it, or drove them flying hurry-skurry across the sand, where many more
were picked off by the rifles of the Constitutionalists.

What could be more unpleasant than having on a hot day to run along a
heavy shingly beach, with a number of sharpshooters taking deliberate
aim at one's corpus?  Happy would he be who could find a deep hole into
which to roll himself out of harm's way.

The banks of the Douro are picturesque from the very entrance.  On
either side are broken cliffs; on the south covered with pine-groves, on
the north with yellow, white, and pick houses and churches, and
orange-groves.  On the south we passed the remains of the old convent of
St. Antonio, where once the jovial monks feasted and sang and prayed,
well supplied with the spoils of the sea.  Here pious fishermen used to
stop and ask a blessing on their labours, on their way down the river,
and on their return they failed not to offer the choice of their spoil
to the worthy friars.  The gardens of the convent were profusely
ornamented with statues of curious device, and flowers, and vases, and
orange-trees, and grottoes, and temples; all now swept away by the
scythe of war--the convent walls now forming part of a manufactory.  The
monks have disappeared from Portugal, and few people regret them less
than the Portuguese.  At best they were drones; and, if we are to credit
one-quarter of the tales told of them, they continued to do no little
amount of evil in their generation.  On the same side of the river, but
much higher up, where the Douro forces its way between two lofty cliffs,
on the summit of the southern one, stands the once very celebrated
convent of the Sierra.  From beneath its walls the Duke of Wellington
led his army across the river into Oporto, and drove Marshal Soult out
of the city.  This convent, and its surrounding garden, was the only
spot held by the Pedroites, and most heroically held it was, against the
whole army of the usurper Miguel, led by his best generals.  Day after
day, and night after night, were his legions led to the attack, and as
often were they repulsed by the half-starved defenders of its
earth-formed ramparts.  We may speak with pride of the siege of Kars and
of Lucknow, and of many another event in the late war; but I hold that
they do not eclipse the gallant defence of the Portuguese
Constitutionalists of the Sierra convent.  Below the convent the two
banks of the river are now joined by a handsome iron suspension-bridge,
which superseded one long existing formed of boats.  The city stands
below this point, rising on the converse steep sides of a granite hill,
and with its numerous church-steeples, its tinted-walled houses, its
bright red roofs interspersed with the polished green of orange-trees in
its gardens, is a very picturesque city.  Along its quays are arranged
vessels of various sizes, chiefly Portuguese or Brazilians, those of
other nations anchoring on the other side, in the stream, to be away
from the temptations of the wine-shops.  On the south side is a bay with
gently sloping shores; and here are found the long, low, narrow lodges
in which are stowed the casks of Port wine, which has perhaps made
Portugal and the Portuguese more generally known to Englishmen of all
classes than would have been done by the historical associations
connected with that beautiful country.

As Bubble's friend was on his way to visit his wine-pipes, he took us
first to Villa Nova, the place I have been speaking of.  One lodge he
showed us contained three thousand pipes, ranged in long lines, two and
three pipes one above another, which, at fifty pounds a pipe, represents
a capital of one hundred and fifty thousand pounds.  Some of the English
houses are said to have two or three times that quantity; but of course
the young wine is not of the value I have mentioned.  The Port wine is
grown on the banks of the Douro, in a district commencing about fifty
miles above the city.  It is made in the autumn, and remains in large
vats on the farms till the spring, when it is put into casks, and
brought down in flat-bottomed boats to the lodges at Villa Nova.  Here
it is racked and lotted to get rid of impurities, and has brandy put to
it to keep it.  Our friend assured us that Port wine will not keep for
any length of time without brandy; the experiment has been tried over
and over again.  The only way to make it keep for a short time is to
rack it constantly; but then it becomes spiritless, vapid, and
colourless.  To one conclusion we came, that Port wine in the lodge at
Villa Nova and Port wine out of decanter at an English dinner-table are
very different things; for Port wine racked and lotted for the English
market, and kept some years In a temperate cellar, is undoubtedly vastly
superior to the juice of the grape before it is so prepared.

Having satisfied our curiosity, with our friend as guide, we crossed the
river to Oporto.  We landed at a gateway in the brown old wall of the
city, which runs along the river and up the hill to the east and west,
surmounted by high, pointed battlements of a very Moorish appearance,
though the Moors did not plant their conquering standard so far north as
Oporto.  Passing along a very narrow, cool, dirty, and somewhat
odoriferous street, we entered a wide, well-paved one, called the Rua
Nova.  In the middle of it congregate the merchants every afternoon, at
the exchange hour, to transact their public business.  At the end of the
street is a fine stone building, called the Factory House, a sort of
club belonging to the English, who become members by election.  High
above the end of the street, on a hill covered with houses, rises the
old cathedral of Oporto.  We found our way to it along some narrow,
twisting streets, with oriental-looking shops on either side--tinmen and
goldsmiths and shoemakers and stationers--a line of each sort together.
The cathedral, as well as all the churches we saw at Oporto, were rather
curious than elegant.

For the greater part of our walk we were continually ascending along
tolerably well-paved and clean streets, with stone houses and wide,
projecting balconies, some with stone, others with iron balustrades.  We
passed through a street called the Street of Flowers; the chief shops in
it were those of jewellers, who showed us some very beautiful filigree
work in gold--brooches and ear-rings and rings.  We next found ourselves
in a square at the bottom of two hills, with wide streets running up
each of them, and a church at their higher ends.  One has a curious
arabesque tower, of great height, which we saw a long way out at sea,
called the Torre dos Clerigos.  Going up still higher we reached a large
parade ground, with barracks at one end, and near them a granite-fronted
church, called the Lappa, where, in an urn, is preserved the heart of
the heroic Dom Pedro--the grandfather of the present King of Portugal.
Oporto is full of gardens, which make the city spread over a wide extent
of ground.  We were agreeably surprised with its bright, clean, cheerful
look.  Built on a succession of granite hills, which afford admirable
materials for the construction of its edifices, it has a substantial
comfortable look.  It is also tolerably well drained, and wayfarers are
not much offended with either bad sights or smells.  The variety of the
costume of the inhabitants gives it a lively look; for although
gentlemen and ladies have taken to French fashions, the townspeople
still generally wear the graceful black mantilla, or coloured or white
handkerchief over their heads, while the peasantry appear with
broad-brimmed hats and cloth jackets, gay-coloured petticoats, and a
profusion of gold ear-rings and chains.  There are beggars, but they are
not very importunate, and the smallest copper coin seemed to satisfy
them.  Our friend told us that he has seen a Portuguese gentleman,
wanting a copper, take his snuff-box and present it to a beggar, who
would take a pinch with the air of a noble, and shower a thousand
blessings on the head of the donor in return.  "The truth is, that the
Portuguese as a nation are the kindest people I have ever met," observed
our friend.  "They think charitably and act charitably, and do not
despise each other; they are kindly affectionate one to another.  A good
government and a reformed church would make them a very happy people."

Our walk through the city was a hurried one, as we wished to be on board
again before dark.  We passed near a large palace, with some ugly
visages garnishing the front.  Here Dom Pedro lived, and here Marshal
Soult's dinner had been prepared, when the Duke of Wellington entered
the city and ate it up.  We found a boat ready to carry us down the
river, which we reached by a steep, winding road.  Our friend kindly
insisted on accompanying us.

At Foz a catria was prepared by our friend's directions to put us on
board the yacht.  Oh, how refreshing to our olfactory senses, after the
hot air of the streets, was the fresh sea-breeze as we reached the mouth
of the river, and once more floated on the blue Atlantic!  The sun
descended beneath the far western wave in a blaze of glory, such as I
have seldom seen equalled in any latitude; the glow lit up the Lappa
church, the Clerigos tower, and the Sierra convent in the distance,
suffusing a rich glow over the whole landscape.  All sail was set, but
we made little way through the water; a calm succeeded, and then the hot
night-wind came off the land in fitful gusts, smelling of parched earth
and dry leaves.  Having stood off the land sufficiently to clear every
danger, we kept our course.  The night was somewhat dark, and we had all
turned in, leaving the mate in charge of the watch.

I know not what it was made me restless and inclined to turn out, and
breathe the fresher air on deck; probably I was heated with the long and
exciting excursion of the day.  As I put my head up the companion-hatch,
sailor-fashion, I turned my eyes towards every point of the compass.
Did they deceive me?  "Hallo, Sleet, what's that?"  I exclaimed.  "Port
the helm; hard aport, or we shall be run into."  What was the look-out
about?  Where were Sleet's eyes?  All, I suspect, were asleep.  There,
directly ahead of us, like some huge phantom of a disordered dream, came
gliding on a line-of-battle ship, her tall masts and wide-spreading
canvas towering up into the sky--a dark pyramid high above our heads;
our destruction seemed inevitable.  With a hail which horror made sound
more like a shriek of despair, I summoned all hands on deck.  Happily,
the man at the helm of the yacht obeyed my orders at the moment, and the
agile little craft slipped out of the way as the huge monster glided by,
her side almost touching our taffrail, and her lower studding-sail booms
just passing over our peak--so it seemed; our topmast, I know, had a
narrow squeak for it.

"What ship's that?" shouted Porpoise, springing on deck.

"Her Britannic Majesty's ship `Megatherium,'" so the name sounded.

"Then let a better lookout be kept aboard her Britannic Majesty's ship
`megatherium' in future, or the Duke of Blow-you-up will have to report
to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty," replied Porpoise, through
the speaking-trumpet.  "I hauled in the duke just to frighten them a
bit," he added; "they wouldn't care for the plain mister.  The chances
are that some of the lookouts had their eyes shut, and the officer of
the watch had gone to freshen his nip a bit.  No one dreams of danger on
a fine night like this, and if a few small fishing-boats had been run
down, no one would have heard any thing about it; there would be just a
cry and a shriek from the drowning people, and all would be over.
There's more danger of being run down on a calm night like this than in
a gale of wind, when everybody has his eyes open."

"What cutter is that?" hailed some on board the ship, through a
speaking-trumpet, before Porpoise had done speaking.

"Bow-wow-wow!  I leave you to guess," he answered.

By this time the vessels were so far apart that a hail could scarcely be
distinguished, and so we separated.  I only hope those who deserved a
reprimand got it, and that any of my brother-officers, or other
sea-going men who read these pages, will take the hint, and have as
bright a lookout kept in fine weather as in foul.



CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

CINTRA--THE TAGUS--LISBON--CADIZ--GIBRALTAR--SANDGATE AGAIN--OLD
FRIENDS--NEWS OF MY HEROINE.

Two days after our narrow escape, as the rising sun shed his bright rays
over the world of waters, we again made the land a little to the
northward of the Rock of Lisbon.  We could see with our glasses the vast
convent and palace of Mafra, built by that debauched devotee, Don John
V.  He had a notion, not uncommon at the present day, that, by rearing
edifices of brick and mortar, he might thus create for himself a few
stepping-stones towards heaven.  The building shows a front of seven
hundred feet at least towards the sea, with a lofty portico in the
centre, and is capable of quartering all the troops in the kingdom.
When monks dwelt there they must have had ample space for exercise.

Soon afterwards we came under the rocky heights of Cintra.  They
surround a perfect oasis, rising from the arid plains about Lisbon.
Every one knows Cintra on account of its Convention, not over creditable
to its executors; its convent cut out of the rock, and lined with cork
to keep the old monks warm; and its palace, built by the talented and
eccentric Beckford, now a mass of ruins.  We just got a glimpse through
a break in the rocks of its cork, orange, and citron groves, surrounded
with sweet-scented shrubs.

Passing the Bay of Cascaes, a fresh breeze carried us by the white
circular Bugio Fort, standing on a rock at the mouth of the Tagus, and
with a fair tide we ascended the river.

In our company were a number of craft of all sorts, carrying flags of
all nations.  Iron-moulded and weather-stained Indiamen, and Brazilian
ships surrounded by boats full of people, who had come out to welcome
relations and friends after a long absence; men-of-war, with their
polished sides and snowy, wide-spreading canvas; heavily laden and
heavy-looking English merchant-brigs, more esteemed for capacity than
for speed, like London aldermen; tub-shaped, yellow-sided Dutchmen,
laden with cargoes more formidable in appearance than in reality.
Instead of being bomb-shells or round-shot, proving, on nearer
inspection, to be Dutch cheeses, to be dreaded only by those of weak
digestion.

Contrasted with the heavy-looking foreign vessels were the Portuguese
rascas, employed chiefly in the coasting trade, with their graceful,
high-pointed, lateen sails, sharp bows, and rounded decks, and the
native schooners or hiates, with hulls not destitute of beauty, but
rigged with masts raking at different angles, and gaffs peaked at
unequal heights.  There were also numberless sloops, and schooners, and
boats of various sorts, the most curious being the Lisbon fishing-boat,
shaped like a bean-pod, curving up at stem and stern, with a short
rounded deck at either end, and a single high lateen sail.  A pilot whom
we received on board off the Bugio Fort took us close to the white tower
of Belem, and its Gothic church at the western end of Lisbon, and
brought us to an anchor among a crowd of other vessels off Blackhorse
Square.  Lisbon rising on several hills from the waters of the
wide-flowing Tagus--here many miles across--is noted as a very
picturesque city; its white buildings glittering in the sun, crowned by
the dark frowning castle, and surrounded by suburbs intermixed with
gardens filled with richly-tinted orange-trees and flowers of many hues.

Gold and Silver Streets are handsome streets; and there are some fine
palaces, and the Opera House is a respectable edifice, and has,
moreover, a very good opera; but, though improved of late years, we were
told, in cleanliness, it is still a very dirty city, and the lower
orders have a marked inferiority to those we saw at Oporto.  They are a
darker, smaller race, with much Moorish blood in their veins, without
any mixture of the nobler Gothic stream from which the inhabitants of
the north have sprung.  They are the fellows who have gained for the
Portuguese the character of being assassins and robbers, which certainly
those in the north do not deserve.  However, a strong government,
liberal institutions, and a street police have pretty well put a stop to
such proceedings even there.

The best account I have ever read of Lisbon and its people, as they were
before the French Revolution changed affairs not a little in most of the
countries of Europe, is to be found in Beckford's "Visit to the Convents
of Alcobaca and Batalha," and in his "Tour to Italy and Portugal."
There is a rich, racy humour in his descriptions, which has seldom been
surpassed.  At one of the convents a dance is proposed for the
entertainment of the illustrious strangers, and while a few act as
musicians, the greater number of the oleaginous, obese monks tuck up
their frocks, and begin sliding and whirling and gliding about with as
much gusto as a number of school-girls at play.  But we must be off to
sea again.

We lionised Lisbon, and paid a visit to Cintra, but as no adventure
occurred worthy of note to any of our party, I will not enter into
details.

Once more the "Frolic" breasted the waves of the Atlantic, her course
being for fair Cadiz.  On the third day after leaving the Tagus, we
dropped our anchor off that bright, smiling city.  Its flat-roofed
houses give it somewhat of an eastern look, but it is far cleaner than
any eastern city.  The houses are built after the Moorish fashion, and
very like the residences excavated at Pompeii.  The colouring of the
outside is more in accordance with the taste of the luxurious Romans in
the days of their degeneracy, than with that of the ancient Greeks,
which made them satisfied with softer hues; while the interior, on the
other hand, is as cool and simple as the purest taste can make it.  No
sooner had we furled sails than all hands were eager to go on shore, to
have a glimpse at the often talked of mantilla-wearing, fair, flirting,
fascinating Gaditanas.  The gig was lowered, and on shore we went.

We were not disappointed in the appearance of Cadiz.  The streets are
narrow, that the sun of that torrid clime may not penetrate into them,
and those only who have lived in a southern latitude can appreciate the
luxury of having a cool, shady road in which to walk.  Verandas in front
of every window reach nearly half-way overhead; they are closely barred,
and sometimes glazed, so that no impertinent eye can penetrate their
recesses.  These verandas are full of flowers, and overhung with ivy or
other luxuriant creepers.

The fronts of the houses are ornamented with various colours, as red,
blue, yellow, green, and other tints; while the separation between each
house and each floor is marked by lines of red, thus giving the whole
street a singularly bright and cheerful appearance.

The gateway is the pride of a Cadiz house.  Many we passed were very
handsome.  It was pleasant to look through them into the interior, where
the column-surrounded patios with cool, sparkling fountains in their
centres, and shrubs and flowers of every hue, were indeed most
refreshing to the senses.  Every house is a square, with one or more
patios in the centre, their only roof the bright blue sky.  Into this
court of columns all the rooms of the house open.  Shade and coolness
are the great things sought for in that clime.

We wandered up and down the narrow streets till we began to wish that
some one would take compassion on us and ask us in; but nobody did, and
our only satisfaction was the belief that we created a mighty sensation
in the bosoms of numberless lovely damsels whose bright eyes we saw
flashing at us through the thickly-barred jalouses.

"Ah, my good fellows, but you did not see their small noses, thick lips,
and swarthy skins," observed that unsentimental fellow, Bubble, thus
cruelly depriving us of the only consolation we enjoyed.  The fact was
that at that early hour of the day no one goes abroad who can stay at
home, except, as the Spaniards say, dogs and Englishmen, putting the
canine tribe before the biped.  Fatigue drove us into a cafe, where we
took some refreshment, and in the evening we were somewhat repaid by
watching the crowds of bewitching damsels and gay cavaliers, who
sauntered forth to enjoy the cool air, and each other's conversation.

Cadiz is joined to the mainland by a narrow strip of sand, deprived of
which it would be an island.  Opposite to it, across the bay, is Port
St. Mary's, the port of Xeres, where the sherry wine is embarked.

The next day we visited that place to taste some of its celebrated
wines.  We were much captivated with some deliciously dry Mansanilla,
inferior as it is in flavour, however, to the still more valuable
Amontillado.

But interesting as was our visit to Cadiz to ourselves, attractive as
were its far-famed dames, and delicious as were its wines, my readers
will undoubtedly rather hear some of the more stirring events of our
cruise.

Away, away, once more we went, bounding over the blue ocean.  We were,
however, destined not to find ourselves so soon inside the Mediterranean
as we expected.  A dead calm came on, and for many hours we lay
sweltering under a sun not much less fierce than that of the tropics.

It was very tantalising to remain thus almost in sight of the entrance
of that classic sea we all wished to behold, and yet not be able to get
there.  Once within the influence of that strange current which from age
to age has unweariedly flowed into that mighty basin, and yet never has
filled it, we should have advanced with sufficient rapidity.  Another
whole day tried our patience, and Hearty had begun to declare that,
after all, he thought the Mediterranean could not be worth visiting,
when, on the morning of the third day, a breeze sprung up, and the
cutter began to slip through the water towards the Straits.

The chief strength of the current is in the centre, far out of reach of
shot and shell from the shore on either side.  I mention this because
many people have a notion that the fortress of Gibraltar defends the
entrance to the Straits.  The fact is, that the narrowest part is seven
and a quarter miles wide; but that narrowest part we passed through at a
distance of fifteen miles from Gibraltar, before we reached it.  We did
not, indeed, see the Rock before we had passed the Narrows.

The distance from the Rock to Ceuta, opposite to it on the African
coast, is twelve miles.

Gibraltar is formed by a tongue of land three miles long and one broad,
with a sandbank joining it to the main, and terminating with a high
promontory.  No one ever expected to make it defend the Straits, even
before steamers were introduced.  The heaviest guns are turned towards
Spain; at the same time the sea-side is made inaccessible by scarping.
Below the Rock is a belt of level land, on which the modern town is
built.  The Rock has the form of a lofty ridge with three elevations on
it, one at each end, and one in the centre.  That in the centre is the
highest, and has the flagstaff planted on it.  When we landed, we went
through the wonderful galleries excavated in the Rock.  These
excavations have been going on since the time of the Moors, who, I
believe, made by far the largest number of them.

They were wonderful fellows, those Moors.  I have always felt a vast
respect for them when I have beheld their remains in the south of Spain.
The reason of their success is, that they were always in earnest in
whatever they undertook.  However, I don't want to talk here about the
Moors.  Gibraltar is a very curious place, and well worth a visit; with
its excavated galleries, its heavy guns, its outward fortifications, its
zig-zag roads, its towers and batteries, its narrow streets, its crowded
houses, its ragged rocks, and its troops of monkeys, the only specimens
of the family of simia, which reside, I believe, in a wild state in
Europe.  Gibraltar, in reality, from its geological formation, belongs
rather to Africa than to Europe, it being evidently cut off from the
African mountains, and having no connection with those of Europe.

It is a question for naturalists to solve how the monkeys came there--I
don't pretend to do so.  We brought up in Gibraltar Bay, where the yacht
lay very comfortably, and so do now our men-of-war.  Should, however, a
war break out with Spain, they would find the place too hot to hold
them, as the bay is completely commanded by the Spanish coast, where
batteries could speedily be erected, nor could the Rock afford the ships
any protection.

Now I have talked enough about Gibraltar; I'll however just describe it,
like a big tadpole caught by the tail as it was darting away towards
Africa.  We spent some pleasant days there, and were very hospitably
treated by some military friends in the garrison.  Malta, the Isles of
Greece, and the Levant, was our destination.  I did not fail to make
inquiries respecting Sandgate; and, curious enough, I fell in with a
merchant who had in his youth fought in the Greek War of Independence.
He told me that a youth of that name, and who in every way answered
Sandgate's description, had come out from England and joined the patriot
forces.  He was a brave, dashing fellow, but most troublesome from his
unwillingness to submit to any of the necessary restraints of
discipline, and utterly unprincipled.  He had, however, plenty of
talent, and managed to ingratiate himself with some of the Greek chiefs,
though the more respectable, as did the English Philhellenes, stood
aloof from him.

"The truth is," said my friend, "many of those Greek chiefs had been
notorious pirates themselves, and I have no doubt Sandgate learned his
trade from them."

"I suspect very strongly that the man you describe and Sandgate are one
and the same person," I remarked.  "It is curious that I should so soon
have gained a clew to him."

The next day I again met my friend.  "I have some further account of
Sandgate to give you," said he, taking me by the button; "he'll give
some little trouble before his career is closed, I suspect.  My Smyrna
correspondent is here, and he tells me that he knew of Sandgate's being
there, and of his selling his yacht.  He served with me in the war, and
knew him also: consequently, when he made his appearance he kept his eye
upon him.  He traced him on board a vessel, in which he went to one of
the Greek islands.  From thence he crossed to a smaller island owned by
a chief who had once been a notorious pirate, and was strongly suspected
of still following the same trade in a more quiet way.  There he lost
sight of him; but several piracies had been committed during the spring
by a craft which it was suspected had been fitted out in the island in
question."

"We certainly have in a most unexpected way discovered a clew to Mr
Sandgate's whereabouts and course of life," I remarked.  "It would
almost read like a romance were it to be put into print."

"Oh, we have had many heroes of that description from time to time in
the Mediterranean," replied my friend.  "There was that fellow Delano,
who was hung at Malta a few years back, he was an Englishman--or a
Yankee, I believe rather.  How many piracies he had committed I do not
know before he was found out, but at last he tried to scuttle a brig,
which did not go down as he thought she had, so happily his intended
victims escaped and informed against him.  He was captured by a
man-of-war's boat's crew, and he and his followers were carried in
chains to Malta.  Then there was a very daring fellow, a Greek, Zappa by
name, who commanded a brig, and on one occasion attacked an Austrian
man-of-war which he believed had treasure on board, and took her.  Then
there has been no end of Greek pirates of high or low degree.
Gentlemanly cut-throats, princes and counts with fleets under their
command, down to the disreputable owners of small boats which lie in
wait behind headlands to rob unwary merchantmen who cannot defend
themselves.  Oh! the Mediterranean has reason to be proud of the
achievements of its mariners from the times of the pious Aeneas down to
the present day."

From all I heard of Sandgate, indeed, I felt more and more thankful that
Miss Manners had so fortunately escaped from his power.

Nothing worthy of note occurred to us during our very pleasant stay at
Gibraltar.  The day before we had arranged to leave the place, who
should we fall in with but Jack Piper, a lieutenant in the navy, and a
friend and old messmate of Tom Mizen's.  "Why, I thought we had left you
at Plymouth!"  I exclaimed as I wrung his hand.

"So you did," he answered; "but I had been ordered to come out here and
to join my ship.  You know old Rullock, Mizen's uncle.  He had just
before commissioned the `Zebra' brig, for this station, and as she was
the first vessel to sail, I got a passage in her.  We had a fast run,
and they only put me on shore here yesterday while she has gone to
Malta.  We had Mrs and Miss Mizen on board, and Mrs Mizen's niece,
Miss Susan Simms" (Jack, I knew, rather affected Miss Susan, and he
looked very conscious as he mentioned her name).  "Very nice girl," he
continued; "so kind of her, too, to come out just at an hour's notice to
take care of her cousin, Miss Rullock, you know.  You haven't heard,
perhaps, that they are rather alarmed about Miss Laura.  Caught a cold,
somewhat ugly symptoms.  Think her consumptive, so it was judged best to
bring her out to spend a winter at Malta, and as her uncle was coming,
the opportunity was a good one."

"Ah! this news will be matter of interest to Hearty," thought I.  "We
shall now see whether his feelings for Miss Mizen had any root, or
whether he was affected by a mere passing fancy."

"Poor girl!  I am sorry to hear of her illness," said I aloud.  "Malta
is as good a place as she could come to, and I hope the change will do
her good.  We shall see her there, I dare say.  Have you any commands
for the ladies?"

"Say I hope that my ship will be there before long," answered Piper,
absolutely blushing through the well-bronzed hue of his cheek.

He had been appointed as first lieutenant of the "Thunder,"
sloop-of-war.  She was expected at the Rock every day.  Jack Piper was
not very dissimilar in appearance and manner to Porpoise, and he was the
same sort of good-natured, frank, open-hearted fellow--just the man to
do a gallant, noble action, and not to say a word about it, simply
because it would not occur to him that it was any thing out of the way.
There are plenty of such men in the service, and England may be proud of
them.

On quitting Piper I went on board the yacht, where we had agreed to
assemble in the evening, to be ready for a start by daybreak.  Should
Hearty not have heard of the "Zebra's" touching at the Rock, I resolved
to say nothing about the matter.  If he really was in love with Miss
Mizen, I might chance to spoil him as a companion, and if he did not
care about her, there was no harm done.



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.

A SUSPICIOUS SAIL--AN EXPECTED VISIT FROM AN UNINVITED STRANGER--WE
PREPARE TO RECEIVE HIM.

The Rock of Gibraltar was fading from our sight in the far distance, as
the sun in a blaze of glory went down into his ocean bed between the
pillars of Hercules.  The yacht lay in a dead calm, her canvas idly
flapping for want of more useful employment, while every spar and rope
was reflected in the mirror-like surface of the watery expanse; yet she
was not immovable, for the current which runs in at the mouth of the
Mediterranean was sending her on at the rate of some knots an hour, over
the ground pretty well in her direct course.  We sat on deck and smoked
our cigars, and spun many a yarn, and told many an adventure of bygone
days.  It was with difficulty that we could persuade ourselves to turn
in, so enjoyable was the cool sea atmosphere after the burnt-up, baked,
oveny air of the old Rock.

The next morning, when we came on deck, although there had not been an
air in all the heavens, as Snow informed us, we had sunk Gibraltar
completely beneath the sea.  That day passed much like the previous one.
Now and then a light breeze from the westward filled the cutter's
sails, and made her step through the water at a speed which must have
astonished some of the ancient fish, which looked up at her from out of
their caverned homes beneath the waves.  As the day wore on we made out,
away to the westward, the mastheads of a brig.  As we gradually rose
them it appeared that she was a polacca-rigged brig, probably a Greek
laden with corn, bound out of the Straits, perhaps to supply the
insatiable maw of old England with food.  We had just made this
discovery when we were summoned to dinner.  To people who have nothing
to do, any small thing affords subject of interest.  I remember a story
of two noblemen, shut up at a country inn on a rainy day, betting large
sums on the speed of two small flies running over a pane of glass, and
of others equally wise, staking larger amounts than many a naval and
military officer receives in his life-time, on two spots of rain, the
bet being a drawn one by the drops uniting.  When we returned on deck
after dinner no change had taken place.  The canvas of the cutter gave
every now and then an idle flap, while the sails of the Greek brig
seemed very much in the same humour.  We, however, were so far better
off than the stranger, because the current was sweeping us, slowly
indeed, but still in the direction we wanted to go, while it was
carrying her away from it.  Still we appeared by some mysterious
influence to near each other.  It was not, however, for some time that
we discovered that her crew were towing her ahead, and that she had also
long sweeps out, which probably sent her through the water two or three
knots an hour.

"I thought those Greek seamen were idle dogs, who would not think of
taking so much trouble as these fellows appear to do, even to save their
lives."

"Oh, there's little enough to be said in their favour," replied
Porpoise.  "These fellows want to get through the Straits, as they fancy
they shall find a fair wind outside, so they take a little trouble now
in the hopes of perfect idleness by and by."  Odd as it may seem, I
could not help fancying that there was something strange about that
brig, yet what it was of course I could not tell.

"Well, I shall always think favourably of the industry of Greeks, after
watching those fellows," said Carstairs.

The strange brig kept creeping up closer and closer to us; still, except
an occasional glance which we took of her, as being the only object in
sight, she appeared in no way to excite the interest of my messmates.
I, however, as I remarked, clearly remember to have had a strange
feeling of doubt and mistrust as I looked at her.  It is impossible to
account for similar sensations, experienced frequently by people on
various occasions; had she been a rakish-looking, low, black schooner,
with a wide spread of canvas, met with in the latitude of the West
Indies, I might very naturally have guessed her to be a pirate or
slaver; but the brig in sight was a harmless, honest-looking trader, and
still I could not help frequently during the day looking at her, very
much as I should have done had she been of the character of the craft I
had described.

"Bubble!" exclaimed Hearty, "you know that you have promised us a tale
of your own composition, and you have very frequently been missed from
the deck and found pen in hand in the cabin, covering sundry sheets of
paper, and when we have been wrapped in slumber you have been supposed
to have sat up continuing your work.  Come, man, have compassion on our
curiosity, and give us the result of your lucubrations."

"Oh, no! spare my blushes," answered Will, with a comic sentimental
look: "I don't aim at the world-wide celebrity of an author: I am
content to please a select circle of friends like yourselves.  Who would
read a story published under the signature of Will Bubble?  No!  I say,
let me float on adown the quiet stream of insignificance.  The post of
safety is a humble station--hum!"

"Over-modesty, over-modesty, Will," answered Hearty.  "Pluck up courage,
man; you will do well if you try."

The best of the joke was, that the rogue, as I well know, had for many a
year past been dabbling in literature, and often had I enjoyed a quiet
laugh when reading an article from his pen.

"Well, perhaps some day I'll try," said he, demurely.

"Hillo! what can the fellow be wanting?" exclaimed Porpoise,
interrupting our talking (I won't call it conversation).

We all turned our eyes in the direction in which he was looking.  The
brig had lowered a boat, which with rapid strokes was pulling towards
us.

"She seems to have a good many hands in her," he added, holding his
glass to his eye.  "I don't quite like the look of her."

"Nor do I either, I confess," said I.  "There are some craft in this sea
not altogether honest, we must remember, though they are generally met
with higher up towards the Levant."

"What ought we to do, then?" asked Hearty.

"Just serve out the cutlasses and pistols, and cast the guns loose,"
said Porpoise.  "Tell the people to keep an eye on the strangers, and if
more than two or three attempt to come on board, to tumble them into
their boat again.  There's not the slightest danger if we put on a bold
front, but if we are caught napping, I would not be answerable for the
consequences."



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

THE STRANGER COMES ON BOARD--THE GREEK CHIEF--A WHITE SQUALL--WHAT HAS
BECOME OF THE BRIG?--THE SUSPICIOUS STRANGER AGAIN--PREPARATIONS FOR A
FIGHT.

The advice Porpoise gave seemed so rational that although it might have
gone somewhat against the grain with so thorough a John Bull as Hearty
to put himself in a posture of defence before he was attacked, Snow was
summoned aft to superintend the distribution of the contents of the
arm-chest.  The men buckled on their cutlasses with looks of no small
glee, snapping the locks of their pistols to try them before loading, as
they eyed the advancing boat.

"There's no fear, gentlemen, but what they'd give an account of twice
the number of chaps as are aboard that craft, if they ever come to close
quarters," said Snow, approvingly casting his eye over the crew.

I could not help thinking the same, for a finer set of broad-shouldered,
wide-chested fellows I never saw, as they stood around us with their
necks bare, and the sleeves of their blue shirts tucked up above the
elbows, handling their weapons with the fond look which a child bestows
on a newly-given toy.

"Go forward again, my men, and keep on the opposite side to which the
boat comes," said Porpoise.

"Just stand about as if you did not suspect there was any thing wrong;
very likely there may not be, you know, and perhaps the Greek has lost
his reckoning, and is sending aboard us only to ask his whereabouts."

"A craft like that wouldn't send away a boat with twelve men in her, or
more, to ask such a question," observed Snow to old Sleet; "I know
better nor that."

"You may well say so," answered the old man.  "I've heard of such rum
tricks being played, that I always like to be prepared for squalls."

I must say that after the strange misgivings I had experienced in the
early part of the day, when the polacca-brig first hove in sight, I was
well satisfied to see the yacht put in a perfect state of defence.  It
was more than possible that the stranger might after all be an honest
trader, and that her crew might be not a little surprised to find an
English yacht with so formidable an appearance.  Still again, I have
always seen the wisdom of not despising an antagonist, and of being as
prepared as circumstances will allow for any emergency.

The boat, a heavy launch, was meantime advancing towards us.  I examined
her narrowly with my glass; she had what looked very like a gun mounted
in the bows, though a capote, or piece of dark canvas, was thrown over
it.  She pulled twelve oars, beside which three or four other people sat
in the stern-sheets.  I observed Porpoise, who had been, as may be
supposed, attentively watching the boat, go up to the foremost gun, and
draw the shot.

"Carpenter," said he, to Chips, "bring me up a shovel of old nails and
bits of iron."

The articles in question were soon brought to him, and he proceeded
forthwith to load the gun with them up to the muzzle.

"Sleet," said he, "you have charge of this gun; if our friends there
show fight, and I give the word, slap this mouthful right in among them;
it will soon bring them to reason, I guess."

"Ay, ay, sir," answered the old man, slapping the breech of his gun with
a quiet smile, "I'll make her speak, depend on't."

Thus prepared, we awaited the arrival of the suspicious-looking
strangers.  Had there been any wind, we might easily have prevented
their coming on board by running out of their way, but as it was we
could not help ourselves without fighting.  In a few minutes more they
pulled alongside, rather awkwardly; however, we did not order them to
keep off, as it was agreed it would not be wise to show any suspicion of
them.  They were all dressed in the Greek costume; one of the men who
sat in the stern-sheets, a full-bearded fellow, with a capote thrown
over his shoulders and a fez on his head, stood up in the boat, and in
broken English asked to come on board.

"Oh! let him," said Hearty, who began to fancy we had been
over-cautious.  "There can't possibly be any harm."

The side was accordingly manned, and our friend with the capote,
followed by two less ill-looking fellows, stepped unceremoniously on
board.

"I speak to de captain," said the stranger, in a blunt tone.

"I am the captain, at your service," answered Porpoise, standing before
him, and preventing his farther advance on deck.

"Oh!  I come to know where you come from," said the Greek stranger,
casting his eyes furtively round the deck, as if to discover the state
of defence in which we might be.

The look of our sturdy fellows, with their cutlasses by their sides,
might possibly have surprised him, and at all events he must have seen
that there was little chance of surprising us.

"We come from England," answered Porpoise, bluntly.  "A civil question
requires a civil answer, but I don't know by what right you ask it."

"Where you bound for?" continued the Greek, not noticing the last remark
it seemed.

"Malta, Alexandria, Smyrna, and a few other places up the Levant," said
Porpoise.

"Ah! will you take letter for me?  You do me great favour," said the
Greek, putting his hand in his bosom.

While the Greek was speaking, I had been eyeing him narrowly from the
after-part of the vessel, where I had placed myself.  Most of my readers
have heard of the famed Vanderdecken, the terrible Flying Dutchman, who
in his phantom ship goes cruising about to the southward of the Cape of
Good Hope, sailing right into the eye of the heaviest gale.  When he
falls in with a vessel, he comes aboard, and requests a packet he
presents may be taken on shore.  Just such another as Vanderdecken did
our present visitor appear, except that the Dutchman is habited in a
somewhat different costume to the Greek, in broad-brimmed hat,
big-buttoned waistcoat, and wide breeches.  By the way Porpoise looked
at him, I had a notion some such idea was passing through his mind.
Perhaps he suspected that the gentleman had a pistol instead of a letter
inside the folds of his vest.  The boat's crew meantime sat scowling at
us, and surveying the vessel with a no friendly look; I guessed, indeed,
that nothing would have given them greater pleasure than to have been
able to jump on board, and to cut all our throats.

"We shall be happy to take your letter or any commands on shore,"
answered Porpoise, putting his hand in his pocket in imitation of the
Greek.

The stranger furtively eyed the movement of his hand, as much as to say,
"Why, have you got a pistol there likewise?"

However, withdrawing his own hand from his bosom, he exclaimed, "Ah!  I
have by some omission left my letter on board."

The man spoke with as downright an English pronunciation as I ever heard
in my life.  Pretty well for a Greek, thought I, stepping forward to
examine his features more narrowly.  I had had my suspicions from the
time he stepped on board; so, it appeared, had Tom Newton.  There could
be very little doubt about the matter; the man who stood before us in
the guise of a Greek, was no other than the _ci-devant_ pirate--slaver--
smuggler, the outlaw Miles Sandgate.  I thought his keen eye glanced at
my countenance for a moment, as if he recognised me; but so completely
did he maintain his self-possession, that he did not exhibit the
slightest sign of fear or hesitation.  He bit his lips though, as if he
found that he had betrayed himself by speaking English too fluently, and
he instantly fell back into his former mode of expression.  Porpoise had
either not remarked his slip of the tongue, or thought it best not to
comment on it.

"I go send letter aboard," he continued, stepping back a pace as if to
be ready to spring into his boat.  His crew in the mean time had begun
to vociferate something I could not understand.  He replied to them in
the same language, and I have no doubt it was to tell them that their
enterprise was fruitless, and that it was not quite so easy to catch the
crew of an English yacht napping as they might have supposed.  He still
hesitated to take his departure.  Some plan or other was passing through
his fertile, ever-active brain.  Perhaps he did not suspect that I had
recognised him.  However, whatever might have been his intentions, he
was summoned hurriedly into the boat by his crew.  He turned hastily
round and cast his eye to the northward, so did I and Porpoise.  There,
rising out of the water as it were, was a small white cloud, which, as
we looked, every instant increased in size.

"You'd better shorten sail, or you'll repent it," exclaimed the seeming
Greek, as he leaped into his boat.

The crew pulled lustily away in the direction of their own vessel.
Nothing comes on so rapidly and gives so little time for preparation as
does a white squall in the Mediterranean.  Porpoise, taking the advice
offered, gave the necessary orders.  All hands rushed to the halliards
and downhauls, but before a rope could be let go the squall was upon us.
A drill of white foam came rushing towards the cutter, driven on by
some irresistible power, which at the same time curled up the whole
hitherto calm and shining sea into rolling, breaking waves.  Our eyes
were almost blinded with the salt mist which dashed over us.  Terrific
was the blow we received.  The cutter having no steerage-way offered a
dead resistance to it.  Over she went as does a stately tree, its stem
cut through by the woodman's deadly axe and saw.

"Hold on! hold on for your lives!" sung out Porpoise.

There was good reason.  I thought she would never rise again.  The water
rose up her decks.  We began to look at boats and spars as the only hope
of safety.  Then shrouds and stays and bolts gave way, and the stout
mast cracked off at the deck with a loud crash; and the little craft
rising on an even keel floated in safety, but presented a forlorn wreck
compared to the gay and gallant trim in which she had lately appeared.
Not a moment was to be lost in ascertaining whether the cutter had
received any vital damage, and in endeavouring to put her to rights.
Everybody was busily engaged in the work.  Hearty and our landsmen
friends took the matter very coolly.

"Just sing out where you want us to lend a hand, and we are four men,"
cried Hearty, pulling and hauling away with a will, while we were
getting in the wreck of our mast and spars.

The drag of the rigging astern brought the vessel up into the wind's
eye, and then she lay pitching and bobbing away into the short seas,
sending the spray flying over us like a regular shower-bath, and
surrounding us with a mist impervious to the sight.  It was heavy work,
and as part of the bulwarks had been knocked away there was no little
danger of being washed overboard.  Where, however, all labour with a
will, the hardest task is soon performed; and no fellows could have
worked harder than did our crew of yachtsmen.  Before, however, the
craft was in any way put to rights, the squall and its effects on the
sea had completely passed away, but night coming down had shrouded us in
total darkness.  No one had thought of the Greek brig or her boat, and
now not a glimpse of either was to be perceived.

What had become of her?  Had the boat with the rascal Sandgate been
swamped?  Had the brig been caught by the squall and gone down?  Such
had been the fate of many a craft in the Mediterranean.  When we had got
the yacht somewhat to rights we made inquiries among the men, but no one
had observed her.  Old Sleet, it was said, had watched the boat pulling
away for her even during the hurly-burly of the squall.  I therefore
called him up to examine him more particularly.

"When we was on our beam-ends, and I thought we was over for good, still
I couldn't help keeping my eye on the boat," said the old man; "I can't
say as how I liked the look of that ere curious chap the Greek captain
who came aboard us, and as for his crew, a bigger set of cut-throats I
never saw.  Well, thinks I to myself, if the boat goes to the bottom,
and all her people goes in her, there's no great harm done: but if she
floats and gains the brig, they may just come back when we are not
prepared for them, and try to knock us all on the head; but, says I to
myself, there's no use talking about it, for the gentlemen won't believe
such a thing possible, and I shall only get laughed at for my pains."

I was very much inclined to agree with the old man, that if our Greek
friend had escaped drowning, and could discover our whereabout, he would
be apt to try his hand at playing us some scurvy trick; but I said
nothing to this effect.  I, however, resolved to speak to Porpoise, so
that we might be prepared to resist any attack he might attempt to make
on us.  Porpoise was rather inclined to laugh at my fears.

"My belief is that the fellow went to the bottom," he replied.  "Serve
him right, too, if he is the rascal you suppose him; or if he got aboard
his ship he saw enough of us to know that we should prove rather a tough
morsel, should he attempt to swallow us."

A council of war having been called, it was resolved that we should try
to get back to Gibraltar as fast as we could.  To effect this, however,
it would be necessary to rig jury-masts, and this could not very well be
done till daylight.  We proposed turning the cutter into a schooner or
lugger, and happily, as we had saved most of our spars and canvas, we
expected to have no great difficulty in getting sufficient sail on her
to navigate with ease the poor little closely-shorn craft.

I have often had in my naval career to pass through nights of toil and
anxiety, and this gave every promise of being one of that character.  In
a few hours we had gathered in all our ruffled feathers, or, in other
words, our masts and spars and sails and rigging; and having stowed them
along the decks as best we could, there we lay floating helplessly like
a log on the water.  Not having discarded my suspicions of the
polacca-brig, notwithstanding my fatigue I felt no inclination to go to
sleep.  I now was left in charge of the deck while Porpoise and the rest
of my messmates turned in, all standing.  I walked the deck for some
time, ever and anon turning my gaze upward to the dark blue vault of
heaven glittering with a thousand stars, each but a centre of some
mighty system, each more complex and marvellous, probably, than our own.
I thought of the all-potent Being who made them as well as all the
wondrous specimens of animal life which dwell on this globe we call our
own, and my heart swelled with gratitude to Him who had preserved me and
my shipmates from the danger to which we had been exposed.  My spirit,
as I thought, seemed to take its flight through the calm atmosphere, and
to wander far far away among those distant spheres.  How long it was
away I know not.  I was not conscious of the existence of my body on the
surface of the globe.  A splash aroused me from my reveries.  It was
caused by a fish leaping out of its liquid home to avoid some monster of
the deep wishing to make a supper off it.  It called me back to earth
and things earthly.  My first impulse was to cast my eye round the
horizon.  It was rather a circumscribed one at that hour of darkness.
Once I made the full circuit and could see nothing.  I took a few more
turns on deck, and again I swept my eye round the watery circle more
slowly than before.  As I reached the south-eastern point of the heavens
I was certain I saw a dark object.  I rubbed my eyes.  The sails of a
vessel appeared before me, rising up like a thin dark pencil-line
against the sky.  I wetted my fingers and held up my hand.  The cold
struck it on that side.  Whatever she might be she was well to windward
of us.  I took the night-glass, which hung on brackets just inside the
companion-hatch.  She was still too far off to enable me to make out
what she was.  I had not, however, forgotten my suspicions of the
polacca.  The stranger was evidently approaching us.  If she was the
Greek, her crew would scarcely resist the temptation of attempting to
plunder us.  Still I felt that my suspicions were almost absurd, and I
did not like to arouse my friends without some better grounds for my
fears.  I, however, felt it would be wise not to run the risk of being
taken altogether unprepared.  I therefore went up alongside old Snow--so
we called him, though he was young enough to be old Sleet's son.  I was
not long in waking him up to the proper pitch of caution by narrating a
variety of stories about pirates and slavers and savages, and such like
gentry, with a due admixture of instances where people from carelessness
were caught napping and lost their lives.

"Now," said I, "let us get these spars cleared away enough to work the
guns.  The watch on deck will do it without rousing the rest.  We'll
have a supply up of round-shot and ammunition.  The people have not
restored their pistols and cutlasses to the arm-chest.  Send a couple of
hands to collect them all ready, and then if yonder stranger proves to
be the polacca, and wishes to taste our quality, we'll let her have her
will, and show her what we are made of."

I spoke thus confidently that there might be no risk of taking any of
the pluck out of the people.  I cannot say, however, that I at all liked
the notion of a brush with the well-manned and probably well-armed
polacca-brig in our present dismantled condition, however little I might
have feared her at close quarters had we been all to rights.  I watched
the approach of the stranger, therefore, with no little anxiety.  She
was evidently bearing right down upon us, though, as there was but
little wind, her progress was slow.  The hours of the night wore on.  I
was leaning against the wreck of the mast which lay fore and aft along
the deck, and at length I fell asleep.  I do not know how long I had
slept when I heard Porpoise's voice close to me.

"Hillo, Brine! what in the name of wonder is that away there to
windward?" he exclaimed.

"The polacca-brig, there's no doubt about it," I answered, as I beheld a
vessel like a dark phantom stealing up towards us.  I then explained to
him the preparations I had made in case the brig should really be of the
piratical character we suspected, and at the same time inclined to
attack us.  This relieved his mind not a little.  My belief, however,
was that the Greek might not have seen us.  She might, of course, have
calculated our whereabouts.  Perhaps even now she might not see us.
Perhaps, also, as Porpoise suggested, if the boat was swamped in the
squall, the rest of the crew would probably cruise about to look for
their companions.  He agreed with me, therefore, that we need not yet
rouse up Hearty and our other two friends.  By the by, in consequence of
all the delays we must endure, I was doubly glad that we had not told
Hearty of Miss Mizen's expedition to Malta.  It would have made him
undergo them with much less than his usual philosophy, I suspect.

"I doubt if even now the brig sees us," said I as I watched her through
the night-glass.  So low down in the water as we were, she was very
likely to miss us.

"See, she is passing us," exclaimed Porpoise, after we had watched her
for some time.  "It is just as well she should miss us, for in our
present state we could not exactly do ourselves justice."

"Perhaps after all our friends may be very well disposed, and in no way
inclined to do us any harm," said I, not that I could in reality divest
myself of the idea that the polacca was commanded by Sandgate, and that
he would have delighted to do us all the mischief in his power.  With
daylight, however, I don't think I should fear him, even now, I thought
to myself.

It still wanted nearly an hour to sunrise, and daylight in that clime
does not come very long before the glorious luminary of day rushes up
from his ocean bed.  We hoped by that time that the brig would have
pretty well run us out of sight.  Still neither Porpoise nor I felt
inclined to go below again.  We intended, indeed, to rouse out all hands
to get up the jury-masts the moment we had light to work by.  We,
however, were not so clear of danger as we fancied.  The brig had got
about a mile to leeward of us, when we saw her brace up her yards, and,
close-hauled, she stood back so as soon to fetch us.  There was no
longer any time to spare.

"Rouse up all hands fore and aft," sung out Porpoise, with a stentorian
voice.

In a minute every one was on deck busily employed in casting loose the
guns, in priming pistols, and buckling on cutlasses.

"If the fellow will but come to close quarters, we have no reason to
fear him," exclaimed our gallant skipper, surveying his crew with no
little pride.

"I only wish we may have a brush with him," added Hearty; "it would tell
well in the Club; only I wish we had our mast standing."  I cannot say
that I participated altogether in the satisfaction of my friends.  The
brig, if she did attack us, I knew, we must find an ugly customer, and
the pirates could only venture to do so with the full intention of
sending every one of us, with the yacht into the bargain, to the bottom,
on the principle that dead men tell no tales.

The Greek was not long in showing us his intentions.  No sooner had he
got us within range of his guns, than brailing up his courses and
lowering his topsails, he opened his fire upon our almost helpless
craft.  Happily for us his gunnery was very bad, and he evidently had a
fancy for long bowls, and a wholesome dread of coming to close quarters
with us.  Our people went cheerily to their guns, not a bit afraid of
our big enemy.

"Only just do ye come on, ye confounded scoundrels, and we'll just give
ye a taste of what we are made of," sung out Tom Hall, a
broad-shouldered fellow, standing six feet high or more in his
stockings, as he shook his cutlass in an attitude of defiance at the
enemy; and no one was better able to give an account of them than he
would have been when the day's work was over.

Will Bubble threw off his coat, fastened a silk handkerchief round his
waist and another round his head, and worked away at his little gun in
fine style.  Carstairs did the same in a more deliberate manner,
whistling the fag end of a hunting song.  If we had possessed guns four
times the size of ours, I verily believe, crippled as were, we should
very soon have sent our antagonists to the bottom, instead of running
the risk of going there ourselves.  Finding his shot fall short or wide
of us, he ran on a little way, and then tacking, stood closer up to us.



CHAPTER NINETEEN.

THE ENGAGEMENT--OUR DESPERATE CONDITION--A FRIEND IN SIGHT--OUR ENEMY
FLIES--MALTA.

By this time the first faint streaks of early dawn had appeared in the
sky; but in that latitude the sun does not take long to get above the
horizon, and daylight was on us almost as soon as the brig had again got
us within range of her guns.  Two or three shots struck our hull, and at
the same time the enemy opened a fire of musketry on us; but the pirates
did not prove themselves better marksmen with their small-arms than they
had hitherto done with their heavier guns.

"Oh, I wish the rascals would but attempt to run us aboard!" exclaimed
Hearty.  "To think of their impudence in daring to knock holes in the
side of my yacht!"

"There spoke a true Briton," observed Bubble as he once more ran out his
gun.  "He does not think any thing of being shot at; but the idea of
having his property injured, or his home invaded, rouses all his anger.
Here goes though; I'll see if we can't pay them off in their own coin,
with some change in our favour."

Will was a capital marksman, and as cool as a cucumber, which was more
than most of our men were, though not one was wanting in pluck.  He
pulled the trigger, and as I watched to see the effects of his fire, I
saw two men fall on the pirate's deck, while some white splinters flying
from the mainmast showed us that the shot had, as well, done some damage
to the vessel herself.

"Hurra! bravo, Bubble!"  I shouted, and the crew echoed my cry, which,
rising in full chorus, must have reached the ears of our enemy, and
showed them that we were not likely to prove as easy a prey as they
might have fancied.  "Another such a shot as that, and I believe they
will up helm and be off," I exclaimed.

"I'll do my best," answered Bubble, fanning himself with his
broad-brimmed hat, for the weather was very hot, and he had been making,
for him, somewhat unusual exertions.

Will now trained his gun with great care: a great deal depended on a
fortunate shot.  "If we could but bring down one of his masts, or make a
hole through his sides, we should win the day even now," he exclaimed,
kneeling down to aim with more deliberation; "a ten-pound note to the
man who wounds a mast, or sends a shot between wind and water."  As he
afterwards acknowledged, the ten pounds was truly a widow's mite with
him, for he hadn't another such sum in his locker to back it.

"I'll make it twenty," cried Hearty, who really seemed to enjoy the
excitement of the adventure; "come, let us see who will win it."

"I have," cried Bubble, jumping up and clapping his hands like a
schoolboy, as he watched with intense eagerness his shot strike the hull
of the brig just at the water-line, sending the white splinters flying
in every direction.

"Fairly won, Bubble, fairly won!" we all exclaimed; "if they don't plug
that hole pretty quickly, they will soon find their jackets wetter than
they like."

In return for the mischief we had done him, the pirate let fly his whole
broadside at us.  He was every instant drawing nearer and nearer, either
to give his guns more effect, or to attempt carrying us by boarding.  He
probably fancied that we were by this time weakened by loss of men, as
he very likely was not aware of the little effect produced by his own
guns.  Dismasted as we were, and low in the water, we presented, indeed,
a somewhat difficult mark to hit.  The pirate's approach gave us another
advantage, as we were now able to bring our own musketry into play,
which somewhat made up for the lightness of our guns.  We had a great
advantage also in the rapid way we were able to load our guns, which
were of brass, while our opponents' were probably of iron.  Our muskets,
too, were kept constantly at work; Ruggles, the steward, and Pepper, the
boy, being set to load them as fast as they were discharged, while
Carstairs had a first-rate rifle, with which he picked off every fellow
whose red cap appeared above the bulwarks with as much _sang froid_ as
he would have knocked over a partridge on the 1st of September.

As our yachtsmen had had no practice with their guns, they were not
particularly good shots, so that none of them surpassed Bubble in the
accuracy of their aim, greatly to his delight.  The enemy's shot now
began to fall rather thicker around us, while two or three of our people
were hit with their musket-balls.  None of them were hurt sufficiently
to make them leave the deck; we could not, however, expect that this
state of impunity would long continue.  I every now and then turned an
eye on Bubble to watch his energetic proceedings, though I had enough to
do to load and fire away with my own musket.  On a sudden, as he jumped
up to watch the effect of his shot, I saw him stagger back and fall on
the deck; I sprang forward to raise him up, "Oh, it's nothing, nothing,"
he exclaimed, turning, however, at the same time very pale; "only the
wind of a shot or a little more; but it's a new sensation; took me by
surprise; just set me on my legs again, and I shall be all to rights
soon."

This, however, was more than I could do, poor fellow.  He had been hit,
and badly too, I was afraid; I sent Ruggles down for a glass of brandy
and water.  "Just bring up a flask, and a jug of water also," said I,
"others may want it."  Bubble was much revived by the draught, and
binding a handkerchief over his side, which was really wounded, though
not so badly as I feared, with the greatest pluck he again went to his
gun.

During this interval the enemy had ceased firing, having shot some way
ahead of us, but he now again tacked, and, looking well up to windward,
stood towards us on a line which would enable him to run us aboard, if
he pleased, or to strike us so directly amidships, that there was every
probability of his sinking us.  This last proceeding was the one most to
be feared, and I felt sure that he would not scruple so to do.  I could
not tell if my friends saw the terrific danger we were in; I thought
not, for they went on peppering away with their fire-arms, and laughing
and cheering, as if the whole affair was a very good joke.  I confess
that my heart sank within me as I contemplated the fate which awaited
us.  "How soon will those gay and gallant spirits be quenched in death,"
I thought.  "How completely will our remorseless enemies triumph.  They
have all this time been merely playing with us as a cat does with a
mouse."  Five minutes more would, I calculated, consummate the
catastrophe.  A minute had, however, scarcely passed, when I saw the
brig square away her yards; and putting up her helm, off she went before
the wind.  Her courses were let fall; topgallant-sails were set,
studding-sails and royals soon followed.  Every stitch of canvas she
could carry was got on her, while not the slightest further attention
did she pay to us.  I rubbed my eyes, for I could scarcely believe my
senses.  We, however, continued firing away as long as there was the
chance of a shot reaching her, and then our men set up such a jovial,
hearty cheer, which if it could have reached the ears of the pirates,
would have convinced them that we had still an abundance of fight left
in us.

What had caused the enemy so suddenly to haul off was now the wonder.
At all events, I trust that we were thankful for our unexpected
deliverance.  When I pointed out to my companions the danger we had been
in, they at once saw it themselves.  Porpoise had seen it, indeed, all
along, but had concealed his apprehension as I had done mine.

"The rascal found we were too tough a morsel to swallow, so thought he
had better let us alone at once," said Hearty.

"I cannot think that," I observed; "he had some other reason, depend on
it."  I was right; the mystery was soon solved.  All hands at once set
to work to fit and rig the jury-masts, when we were called from our
occupation by a cheer from Bubble, whose wound made it clearly dangerous
for him to exert himself in any way.

"A sail, a sail!" he exclaimed; "a big ship, too, I suspect."

I looked in the direction in which he pointed away to windward, where
the topsails of a ship appeared rising above the horizon; from their
squareness I judged her to be a man-of-war.  The rising sun just tinged
the weather-side of her canvas, as she bore down on us with a streak of
light which made her stand out in bold relief against the deep blue sky.
The pirate crew had, of course, seen her from aloft long before we
could have done so.  She was welcome in every way, as she would probably
enable us to get into port.  The only provoking part of the business
was, that the pirate would in all probability get away with impunity.
Had she but come on the scene an hour earlier, she would, probably, have
been down upon us before either we or the pirate could have seen her,
and would most assuredly have nabbed our amigo.

"Never mind," said Porpoise, "the fellow can scarcely get out of the
Straits, even if he wishes it, and if I ever fall in with him within the
boundaries of the Mediterranean, I have no fear of not knowing him
again; we shall hear more of him by and by, depend on it."

Our fighting had given us an appetite, so we went to breakfast with no
little satisfaction, though we had not much time to spare for it.
Bubble would not acknowledge that his wound was of consequence, though
he let me look to it, as I did to the hurts of the other poor fellows
who were hit.  From the appearance they presented, I was truly glad that
there was a good prospect of their having surgical aid without delay.
They did not know, as I did, that their wounds would be far more painful
in a few hours than they were at that time, so they made very light of
them.  As the stranger drew nearer, we made her out to be a
sloop-of-war, and the ensign flying from her peak showed her to be
British; she had been standing so as to pass a little way to the
westward of us.  When, however, she made us out, which she did not do
till she was quite close to us, she altered her course and was soon
hove-to, a few cables' length to leeward.  A boat was lowered, and, with
an officer in the stern-sheets, came pulling towards us.

"What in the name of wonder is the matter?" exclaimed the officer,
standing up and surveying us with no little surprise.

"Why, Sprat, the matter is that we have been dismasted in a white
squall, which would have sent many a craft to the bottom," answered
Porpoise, who in the officer recognised an old shipmate; "we since then
have been made a target of by a rascally pirate, whose mastheads have
scarcely yet sunk beneath the horizon."

"If that is the case, we must see if we cannot catch her," answered
Lieutenant Sprat, who was second lieutenant of the corvette.

"What, sir! leave us rolling helplessly about here like an empty tub?"
exclaimed Hearty, in a dolorous tone.  "But never mind, if you think you
can catch her, I dare say we can take care of ourselves."

"I'll report the state of things to Captain Arden, and learn what he
wishes," quoth Lieutenant Sprat, as he pulled back to his ship.

In another minute the corvette's jolly-boat was seen leaving her side,
while she, putting up her helm, stood away in the direction the pirate
had taken.  The jolly-boat soon came alongside, with a midshipman and
six men.

"Captain Arden has sent me with the carpenter's mate and some of his
crew to help you in," quoth Master Middie, addressing Porpoise; "we'll
soon get a new mast into you, and carry you safely to old Gib, or
wherever you want to go."

Porpoise looked at him, and evidently felt very much inclined to laugh.
He was one of the shortest lads in a midshipman's uniform I ever saw;
but he was broad-shouldered, and had a countenance which showed clearly
that he very well knew what he was about.

"Thank you," answered Porpoise; "we shall be much beholden to you I
doubt not, though we should have been glad if your captain had sent us a
doctor as well.  May I ask your name, young gentleman?"

"Mite, sir; Anthony Mite," answered the midshipman, a little taken aback
at Porpoise's manner.

The old lieutenant did not quite like his patronising airs.

"I thought so," observed our worthy skipper; "your father was a shipmate
of mine, youngster, and you are very like him."

"In knowing my father you knew a brave man, I hope, sir, you will
allow," replied Master Mite, with much spirit.

"But I did not know that you were in the service.  A better or braver
fellow never stepped," answered Porpoise, warmly, putting out his hand.
"I've no doubt you are worthy of him, youngster.  We'll have a yarn
about him by and by.  However, just now, we must try to get the craft in
sailing trim again."

Small as the young midshipman was in stature, he soon made it evident
that he was of the true stuff which forms a hero.  He was here, there,
and everywhere, pulling and hauling, directing and encouraging.  So
rapid were his movements, that his body seemed ubiquitous, while the
tone of his voice showed that he was well accustomed to command and to
be obeyed.  We had no reason to complain of either the officer or
labourers Captain Arden had sent us.  Meantime I had been keeping my eye
on the proceedings of the corvette.  She at first stood away steadily to
the northward and eastward, in the direction the brig had taken, and it
seemed evident that she had her in sight; then she altered her course to
the westward, but finally disappeared below the horizon, steering nearly
due north.

"If the man-of-war has still the brig in sight, the latter must be
making for some Spanish port, where the pirates hope to lie concealed
till the search for them is over," I thought to myself.  "However,
Sandgate, if he really is the commander, is up to all sorts of dodges,
and will very likely, somehow or other, manage to make his escape."

As may be supposed, we watched very anxiously for the re-appearance of
the corvette, but the sun went down, and we saw nothing of her.
However, we had by this time got up apologies for three masts, and,
moreover, managed to make sail on them.

It was a great satisfaction to feel the poor little barkie once more
slipping through the water, though at a much slower pace than usual.

As I feared, both Bubble and the men who had been wounded began, towards
midnight, to complain somewhat of their hurts.  While we were all
sitting round the table in the cabin at supper, before turning in,
Hearty, as Porpoise had done, expressed his regret that Captain Arden
had not sent us a surgeon.

"Oh, we didn't know that any one was hurt," observed Mr Mite.  "But
never mind, I understand something of doctoring.  I can bleed in
first-rate style, I can tell you.  Don't you think I had better try my
hand?"

"Thank you, they have been bled enough already, I suspect," answered
Hearty.  "I'm afraid no one on board can do much good to them.  I only
pray the wind may hold, and that we may soon get into Gibraltar."

But Master Mite was not so easily turned aside from his purpose of
trying his hand as a surgeon.  He begged hard that he might, at all
events, be allowed to examine the men's wounds.

We of course assured our young friend that we did not doubt his surgical
talents; but still declined allowing him to operate on any of the
yacht's crew.  We were not sorry, however, to let him take the middle
watch, which he volunteered to do, for both Porpoise and I and old Snow
were regularly worn out.  The wind held fair, and there was not much of
it.  The night passed away quietly, and when morning broke we saw the
corvette standing after us.  She had been, as I expected, unsuccessful
in her chase of the Greek brig.  She had made all sail after a craft
which she took for her, but on coming up with the chase, discovered her
to be an honest trader laden with corn.  She now took us in tow, and in
the afternoon we reached the Rock.

Hearty very soon heard that the "Zebra" had gone on to Malta, with Miss
Mizen on board, and from the way he received the information, I
suspected that his feelings towards her were of a warmer character than
I at first supposed.  He was very anxious to be away again, and urged on
Porpoise to do his utmost to expedite the refitting of the yacht.
Fortunately, we were able to procure a spar intended for the mast of a
man-of-war schooner, and which was not refused to the application of an
MP.  In a week the little craft was all to rights again, and once more
on her way to that little military hot-house--the far-famed island of
Malta.



CHAPTER TWENTY.

VALETTA--A GLIMPSE OF THE PIRATE.

Malta lay basking on the bright blue ocean, looking very white and very
hot under the scorching rays of a burning sun, as, early in the
afternoon, we stood towards the entrance of the harbour of Valetta.
Passing St. Elmo Castle on our right, and Fort Ricasoli on our left,
whose numberless guns looked frowning down upon us, as if ready, at a
moment's notice, to annihilate any enemy daring to enter with an
exhibition of hostile intent, we ran up that magnificent inlet called
the Grand Harbour.

Malta Harbour has been so often described, that my readers will not
thank me for another elaborate drawing.  Only, let them picture to
themselves a gulf from three to four hundred yards across, with several
deep inlets full of shipping, and on every conspicuous point, on all
sides, white batteries of hewn stone, of various heights, some flush
with the water, others rising in tiers one above another, with huge
black guns grinning out of them, the whole crowned with flat-roofed
barracks, and palaces and churches and steeples and towers, with a blue
sky overhead, and blue water below, covered with oriental-looking boats,
and lateen-rigged craft, with high-pointed triangular sails of snowy
whiteness, and boatmen in gayly-coloured scarfs and caps, and
men-of-war, and merchant-vessels--and a very tolerable idea will be
formed of the place.

Valetta itself, the capital, stands on a hog's back, a narrow but high
neck of land, dividing the Grand Harbour from the quarantine harbour,
called, also, Marsa Muceit.  The chief streets run in parallel lines
along the said hog's back, and they are intersected by others, which run
up and down its steep sides.  In some parts they are so steep that
flights of steps take the place of the carriage-way.  The best known of
these steps are the Nix Mangiari Stairs, so-called from the troops of
little beggars who infest them, and assure all passers-by that they have
had nothing to eat for six days.  "_Oh, signori, me no fader no moder;
me nix mangiari seis journi_!"  An assertion which their fat cheeks and
obese little figures most undeniably contradict.  Few people will forget
those steep steps who have had to toil to the top of them on a
sweltering day, not one, but three or four times, perchance; nor will
those noisy, lazy, dirty beggars--those sights most foul--those odours
most sickening--fade from his memory.

We ran up the harbour and dropped our anchor not far from the chief
landing-place, abreast of Nix Mangiari Steps.  There were several
men-of-war in the harbour.  Among them was our old friend the "Trident."

"If Piper sees us, we shall soon have him on board to tell us all the
news," observed Porpoise.  "I don't think Master Mite will forget us,
either, if he can manage to come.  Our good things, in the way of eating
and drinking, made no slight impression on his mind, whatever he may
have thought of us as individuals.  If he has an opportunity, that
little fellow will distinguish himself."

While stowing sails, the rest of the party having gone below to prepare
for a visit to the shore, my eye, as it ranged round the harbour, fell
on the sails of a Greek brig, which was just then standing out of the
galley port.  I looked at her attentively, and then pointed her out to
Snow, who was so earnest in seeing that his mainsail was stowed in the
smoothest of skins, that he had not observed her.

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

"Why, sir, if she isn't that rascally craft which attacked us, she is as
like her as one marlinspike is to another!" he exclaimed, slapping his
hand on his thigh.  "I'll be hanged but what I believe it is her, and no
mistake about it."

"I think so, too.  Call Mr Porpoise," said I.

Porpoise jumped on deck with his coat off, and a hairbrush in each hand,
to look at her.

"I couldn't swear to her; but she is the same build and look of craft as
our piratical friend," he answered.  "Hang it!  I wish that we had come
in an hour or two sooner; we might have just nabbed her.  As it is, I
fear, before we can have time to get the power from the proper
authorities to stop her, she will be far away, and laughing at us.  At
all events, there is not a moment to be lost."

By this time all hands were on deck, looking at the Greek brig; but all
were not agreed as to her being the pirate.  However, the gig was
lowered, and we pulled on shore, to hurry up as fast as we could to the
governor's palace, to make our report, and to get him to stop the brig
before she got out of the harbour.

Landing among empty casks and bales on the sandy shore, we hurried up
Nix Mangiari Stairs, greatly to the detriment of Porpoise's
conversational powers, and then on to the residence of the governor,
once the palace of the Grand Master of the far-famed Knights of Malta; a
huge square structure, imposing for its size, rather than for the beauty
of its architecture.  The governor was within, and without delay we were
ushered through a magnificent suite of rooms into his presence.  He
received us politely, but raised his eyebrows at the account of our
adventure with the pirate, and seemed to insinuate that yachting
gentlemen might be apt to be mistaken, and that we had perhaps after all
only found a mare's-nest.

"But, hang it, sir," exclaimed Hearty, "the villain fired into us as
fast as he could; and that gentleman, Mr Bubble, and several of my
people, were hit.  There was no fancy in that, I imagine."

"Ah, I see; that alters the case," said the governor.  "We will send and
stop the brig; but understand, that you will have to prove that she is
the vessel which fired into you; and, if she is not, you must be
answerable for the consequences."

"By all manner of means," sung out Hearty.  "I suppose the consequences
won't be very dreadful."

"Hang the consequences," he exclaimed, as soon afterwards we were left
to ourselves, to await the report from the telegraph-station.  "I cannot
bear to hear these official gentlemen babbling of consequences when
rogues are to be punished, and honest men protected.  A thing must be
either right or wrong.  If it's right, do it--if it's wrong, let it
alone.  I hate the red-tape system which binds our rulers from beginning
to end.  We must break through it, and that pretty quickly, or Old
England will come to an end."

We were all ready enough to argue with Hearty in this matter, though the
said breaking through an old deep-rooted system is more easy to propose
than to carry into effect.

After we had waited some time, word was brought to the palace that, as I
expected would be the case, the suspicious brig had got out of the
harbour; and was out of the range of the guns on the batteries before
the message had reached them.  A gun was fired to bring her to, but of
course she paid no attention to the signal.  Once more we were ushered
into the presence of the governor.  He was very civil and very kind, be
it understood.

"Your best course is to go to the admiral, and tell him your story, and
perhaps he will send a man-of-war after her."

"Thank you, sir," said Hearty, rising.  "We will do as you advise;
though I fear, before a man-of-war can get under way, our piratical
friend will be safe from pursuit."

"It matters little.  He is very certain to be caught before long; and we
will have him hung at his own yard-arm, like some of his predecessors,"
observed the governor, politely bowing us out.

"Humph!" muttered Hearty, as we descended the superb steps of the
palatial abode.  "It matters not, I suppose, how many throats may be
cut, and how many rich cargoes sent to the bottom, in the mean time.
Hang official routine, I say again.  We must get these things altered in
Parliament."  [Note.]

The admiral was living on shore, and to his residence we repaired as
fast as our legs would carry us, with the thermometer at 90.

"I wish that we had taken the law into our own hands, and made chase
after the fellow in the yacht," exclaimed poor Porpoise, wiping the
perspiration from his forehead.  "A few hours' fighting would have been
better than this hot work."

"All very well if we could prove that she was the vessel which attacked
us; but if it should have turned out that we were mistaken, we should
have been in the place of the pirates, and have been accused of murder,
robbery, rapine, and all sorts of atrocities," remarked Bubble.  "No,
no; depend on it, things are better as they are.  Retribution will
overtake the fellows one of these days."

The admiral's abode was reached at last; but the admiral was not at
home, though his secretary was.  The admiral had gone into the country,
and would not return till the cool of the evening.  The secretary
received us very politely, though he seemed rather inclined to laugh at
our suspicions.

A pirate sail into Malta Harbour,--beard the lion in his den!  The idea
was too absurd.  It was scarcely possible that any pirates could exist
in the Mediterranean.  A few had appeared, from time to time, it was
true; but several had been hung, and the example had proved a warning to
other evil-doers.  He would, however, as soon as the admiral returned,
mention the circumstance to him, and if he thought fit he would
undoubtedly send a vessel in chase of the suspected polacca.

Such was the substance of the worthy secretary's remarks to us.  We
could not go in search of the admiral, as it was uncertain where he was
to be found, so, very little satisfied with our morning's work, we left
the house.

"What shall we do next?" exclaimed Hearty.  "There seems to be no chance
of our catching Master Sandgate."

"Oh, by all means, let us go on board and get cool," answered Porpoise.

"Certainly," said Bubble, "I want to look out some zephyr clothing.  One
can bear nothing thicker than a cobweb this sultry weather."

So on board we went, and lay each man in his cabin with all the
skylights off, and wind-sails down, an awning over the deck, and a
punkah invented by Bubble, kept working, which sent a stream of air
through every portion of our abode, so that we were far more comfortable
than we could have been anywhere else.  When yachting I always make a
point of going everywhere in the yacht, and living on board her,
scarcely ever entering an hotel.  We thus spent two or three hours--some
reading, others smoking or talking, Bubble every now and then giving
vent to his feelings in snatches of song.  I am not certain that we did
not all drop asleep.  We were aroused from our quietness by the sound of
footsteps on deck, and by the descent of the steward into the cabin.

"Please, sir, that young gentleman that came aboard from the
sloop-of-war, after we lost our masts, wants to know if he may come
below to see you," said he to Hearty.

"By all means," cried Hearty, springing up; "glad to see him."

Master Mite had followed the steward, and heard the last observation.

"Thank you, sir," quoth he, helping himself to a seat.  "Glad to see
you, too.  Scarcely thought you would be here so soon.  Just in time for
a grand ball.  You'll like it.  We can take you there.  I'm a great
favourite with the signora.  Told me to bring all my friends--the more
the better--very hearty people for Smaitches.  That's what we call the
Maltese here, you know.  I saw your craft come in, and wanted to come on
board before, but couldn't.  A midshipman is not always his own master,
you know.  At last I got leave from our jolly old first, Tom Piper.  He
told me to say that he would come as soon as he could.  I know that he
wants to press you to come to the ball, also."

Thus did the young midshipman run on.  Hearty told him that he should be
very happy to go to his friend's house under his chaperonage, and that
so should we all, which mightily pleased Master Mite.

"That's right," he exclaimed.  "It will be jolly good fun, I can tell
you.  There are some very nice English people, too, great friends of
mine.  Such a splendiferous girl, too--a Miss Mizen--came out with her
uncle, old Rullock, in the `Zebra.'  I dance with her whenever I can.
If you could but see her I'm sure you'd say my taste was very good.
Some people think that she is cut out by another fine girl, a Miss Jane
Seton; but I don't.  Jane's all very well in her way, very fine to look
at, and all that sort of thing; but to say the truth, she's rather
addicted to snubbing midshipmen, and that we don't approve of.  As for
her mother, she wouldn't touch one of us with a boarding-pike.  She's a
terrible old harridan, and that's not in Jane's favour.  Oh, no, give me
Laura Mizen for my money, and all our mess say the same.  She's the
toast of the mess just now, I can tell you."

While the youngster was running on thus I watched Hearty's countenance.
He fairly blushed, and looked more pleased and astonished and puzzled
than I had ever seen him before in my life.  He evidently did not like
to stop the boy, though he winced at hearing Miss Mizen spoken of as the
toast of the mess.  He was astonished, and clearly delighted at hearing
that she was so near him, for, as may be remembered, I had not told him
that she and her mother had come out to Malta, nor did he hear of the
circumstance during our stay at Gibraltar.  Dinner was soon brought on
the table, and Tom Mite did not fail to do ample justice to it.

"Well, you yachtsmen do live like princes," quoth the young gentleman,
as he quaffed his cool claret.  "When I come into my fortune, I'll get a
yacht, and cut the service.  Then, if Miss Mizen, or some other fine
young girl like her, will have me, she shall become the rover's bride.
Oh, wouldn't it be jolly!  Here's to her health in the mean time."

I could stand the joke no longer, and burst into a fit of laughter.

"What's the matter?" asked Tommy, guessing he might have been saying
something he had better not have said.

"Only that Captain Rullock and his sister and niece are great friends of
ours, and that they will be highly flattered at the high estimation in
which they are held by your mess," I answered.

Mite, who had plenty of tact, very adroitly replied, "Well, gentlemen, I
hope that you will come to the ball, and meet your friends."

His invitation was backed by Lieutenant Piper, who soon afterwards came
on board, and it was arranged that we should call alongside the
"Trident" for them just before sunset.

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

Note.  Let no one suppose that this incident is intended to reflect on
any particular governor of Malta.  It is, unhappily, only too
characteristic of many of our governors, ambassadors, and consuls, and
other authorities in various parts of the world, both at home and
abroad.  Certainly, old Tom, well-known to fame, would not have so
acted.



CHAPTER TWENTY ONE.

A BALL--WHAT OCCURRED AT IT--THE GREEK COUNT--MRS SKYSCRAPER.

We were conducted by our friends to a handsome palace in one of the
principal streets of Valetta.  The ball-room was full of naval and
military officers in uniform, and ladies in dresses of every hue and
gossamer texture.  Many were fair and blooming, but the dark skins and
flashing eyes of a southern clime predominated.

Hearty and I walked in together.  He cast a glance eagerly round the
room.  Laura Mizen against the field, as Carstairs would say, thought I.
How will she receive him, however, is the question?  We men are too
often apt to forget that point.  He was not long in finding her; he
walked up hastily, and put out his hand.  She looked up, a gleam of
pleased surprise lighted up her eyes, and a slight blush suffused her
cheek, and then she put out her hand with the same frankness he had
offered his.  All right, I thought; that is just as people should meet;
they will understand each other very soon.  Miss Mizen had entirely
overlooked me when meeting Hearty, which, however complimentary to him,
might, under some circumstances, have hurt my feelings.

After allowing them to talk a little, I went forward and was cordially
received as his friend.  I was surprised that Carstairs and Bubble had
not found their way to that end of the room.  On returning towards the
door, after exchanging a few words with some old naval acquaintance, I
caught sight of him bending over a lady who was leaning back in an
arm-chair flirting with her fan.  Her face was thus hidden from me, but
on getting nearer I beheld no less a personage than Mrs Skyscraper; at
a little distance was Bubble, carrying on an animated conversation with
Miss Jane Seton, greatly to the chagrin, as it appeared, of a
magnificently dressed Albanian who stood near them.  The stranger's face
was turned away from me, so that I could not see the expression of his
countenance; but the convulsive clutch which he ever and anon made at
the handle of his jewel-hilted dagger showed the irritation of his
feelings; and so strongly did this movement impress me with his evil
intentions, that I kept my eye fixed on his weapon to hold him back
should he attempt to do any mischief.  Just at that moment Mite came up
to me.

"This is fun, isn't it?" quoth my young friend.  "Now to my mind there's
a fine woman, the one Mr Carstairs is talking to; but by Jupiter Ammon
she's cut out by that girl there Mr Bubble has ranged up alongside.
She's superb, isn't she?  What a Juno-like head!  Still, do you know
that I don't think I should quite like to offend her.  She looks as if
she could twitch a fellow by the ear pretty sharply.  Look there now,
there's another girl, she's much more to my mind, though she has nothing
of the stunner about her.  The primrose style is what I like, or the
violet, if that's more to your taste--quiet and neat.  Now, that's what
I should call that little fair girl there.  I say, I must just try and
have a dance with her; I ought to, for the skipper made me toe and heel
it with a little Smaitch girl, who was wonderfully heavy to haul about;
and as she didn't understand a word I said, and as I couldn't make out a
word she said, there was no great fun in it."

Thus the youngster ran on somewhat flippantly, perhaps, drawing off my
attention from Bubble and the Greek.  I was, however, conscious that the
latter had turned his head and looked at me.  Directly afterwards he
walked off to another part of the room.  As I was neither lazy nor too
old to dance, nor blind to the charms of beauty, I was soon after this
engaged in moving about to the sound of music among the laughing throng.
Among others, the fair Jane honoured me with her hand.  I found her any
thing but a lively companion; somewhat absent, and far from haughty as
before.  Had the avenging Nemesis of an unrequited passion punished her
for her treatment of my friend Loring?  It looked very like it; she
answered my most brilliant sallies of wit by monosyllables, and smiled
faintly, putting her bouquet to her nose--but I am certain the sweets
therein conveyed no sensation to her olfactory nerves.  What was the
matter with her I could in no way make out.  I was leading her to a
seat, somewhat weary with my vain endeavours to arouse her, when we
encountered Sir Lloyd Snowdon, one of the officers of the garrison, and
evidently an admirer of hers.

"It's all arranged, Miss Seton; we have fixed to have the pic-nic
to-morrow.  Mrs Seton has promised and so has Mrs Mizen, and Mrs
Rowley, and Mrs Grey, and her daughters, and that charming personage
Mrs Skyscraper only waits to be asked."  I recollected the pic-nic we
had had to Netley, when my friend Loring had apparently made such way
into the good graces of the fair Jane, but she made no sign to betray
any recollection of the event.  I was acquainted with Sir Lloyd, and he
knew Hearty well, so he invited all our party to join the pic-nic on the
morrow.  Old Rullock of the "Zebra" of course was asked, and so was
Captain Arden of the "Trident," and requested to bring some of their
officers, rather an unusual stretch of military politeness at Malta,
where midshipmen, and even lieutenants, are held often in but slight
estimation.

We were to visit the old capital of Citta Vecchia and the catacombs, and
the grotto of St. Paul's, and then to go on to a sheltered bay on the
seashore, where the operation of dining was to be performed.  The whole
plan was soon arranged, and everybody was pleased.  I was talking to
Mrs Skyscraper when Sir Lloyd Snowdon came up to us.

"By the by," said he to the widow, "I quite forgot to ask your friend
the Greek Count; can you, my dear madam, tell me where he is to be
found?  I would remedy my neglect."

"Indeed, I cannot," answered the lady with a toss of her head; "I saw
Count Gerovolio, but I have not watched his proceedings."

"Oh, Mrs Skyscraper--Mrs Skyscraper!" thought I, "what were your eyes
about when they wandered just now so often towards Miss Seton and that
finely dressed Albanian?"  I had missed the fair Jane after supper, and
heard her mother inquiring for her.  I had wandered out on a narrow
terrace which ran under the windows of a long corridor, to enjoy the
fresh air and the moonlight.  As I passed under one of the windows, I
saw two figures standing in the recess.  One I saw was Count Gerovolio,
the other I felt sure was Miss Seton.  I would not have willingly been
an eavesdropper, but I could scarcely help hearing what was said.  I was
arrested, also, by finding that the speakers were conversing in English.

"Beautiful girl," exclaimed the Count, in a tone of deep devotion, "you
have enslaved me completely.  I sought you but for my amusement, and you
have thrown your golden chains around me, so that I could not break from
them if I would."

"Oh! who are you?" exclaimed Miss Seton, in an agitated tone.  "You did
not tell me you could speak English.  Surely you are not an Englishman."

"Whatever I am, I am a Greek at heart and by adoption," answered the
stranger, with a slight hesitation in his voice.  "I was first led to
the shores of that classic land to fight for the cause of her
long-oppressed children.  My sword raised me to my present position.
Let that suffice you.  And now, lovely girl, do not longer hold me in
torturing suspense.  You know how deeply, how earnestly, I love you.
Your mother, you tell me, will not consent to our union.  Fly with me at
once.  My beautiful vessel waits off the coast to receive us on board,
and to convey us to a land of freedom and romance; and where,
emancipated from the trammels of the cold, calculating world, we may
enjoy that bliss reserved for so few on earth."

Miss Seton's answer I could not hear.  I could scarcely believe that she
could be influenced by such palpable sophistry.  Still I knew that there
are moments when even the wisest among the daughters of Eve, thrown off
their guard by the wiles of the Evil One, are ready to listen to his
most barefaced falsehood; if they trust to their own strength--their own
wisdom--and seek not protection from the only source whence it can come.
"Oh, you consummate scoundrel!"  I muttered to myself, as I retreated
to the doorway, whence I had come out.  I had no longer a doubt as to
the identity of the pretended Greek.  I resolved to put the matter to
the test.  Entering the house, I walked briskly along the gallery,
towards the window where I had seen the two speakers.  Miss Seton was
there--more like a statue than a living being--leaning against the wall,
with her hands pressed to her forehead; but the pretended Greek was
gone.

"Miss Seton," said I, going up to her, "tell me what has become of Mr
Sandgate."

"I know not of whom you speak," she answered.  "I know no one of that
name."

"The man in the Greek dress," I replied, calmly, for I felt that much
depended on my tone and manner.

"What! do you know him?" she asked in a faltering voice.

"I do," said I; "and, Miss Seton, I would save you from him.  He is
worthless.  He lives with a halter around his neck, and he will some day
find it hauled taut."

She stood perfectly silent for some time.  I allowed her to remain so
that she might regain her composure.  She did this in a wonderfully
short space of time.  I suspected that her feelings were not very acute.

"You know my secret.  I throw myself on your generosity, and I am sure
that you will not betray me, Mr Brine."

"Indeed, you may trust me, Miss Seton," I replied; "I shall rejoice at
being the means of saving you from a very great danger.  Let me entreat
you, therefore, not to see that man again on any account.  Keep close to
your mother, and let nothing separate you from her.  Another time I will
tell you his history, and you will see that you have reason to be
guarded."

"Oh, tell me now, tell me now!" she exclaimed.  "I will follow your
advice; but I would hear all about him, and then shut him out of my
thoughts forever."

I saw that she was right, so I told her briefly all I knew about
Sandgate.  She shuddered several times at the narrative.  She was not
particularly romantic, and fully alive to the advantages of a good
position, thanks to her mother's instruction.  Though she had seen no
great objection to becoming a Greek countess, she had reason to be
thankful at having escaped falling into the power of a villain of the
stamp of Sandgate.  "Now let me lead you to Mrs Seton," I replied,
offering my arm.  She took it.  Hers trembled as it pressed mine.

"Why, Jane, my dear, you look very ill; what is the matter?" exclaimed
the old lady, starting up with a look of real alarm in her countenance.
I believe she loved her daughter, and fancied she showed it by helping
her to make what she called a good match.

"Oh, nothing, nothing--the heat, I believe," she answered, turning still
paler.  "I think that I had better leave the room."

Her mother thought so likewise.  I found their carriage.  They lived not
far off; so, following on foot, I watched them till they were safely
within their own doors.  On returning to the ball-room I heard Mrs
Skyscraper making anxious inquiries as to what had become of Count
Gerovolio.

"Never mind, we shall see him to-morrow at the pic-nic.  He promised to
be there," she observed.  I saw from the look Carstairs gave that the
Count had better behave himself should he venture to make his
appearance, which I did not think very likely.



CHAPTER TWENTY TWO.

OUR MALTA PIC-NIC--THE CATACOMBS--THE PIRATE IN SIGHT--SANDGATE AGAIN
ESCAPES US--OUR EXPEDITION WITH THE MEN-OF-WAR--RETURN FROM OUR
FRUITLESS CRUISE.

My friends were not a little astonished when I told them, on getting on
board the yacht, that Sandgate was in the island.  The question was, how
to catch him.  We had no moral doubt whatever that he had come on board
our vessel with the intention of plundering us, and that he had
afterwards endeavoured to send us to the bottom by attacking us in the
polacca-brig; still no one could swear to the fact.  We were not certain
that the brig which left the harbour that morning was the one which had
engaged us--we could not prove that he belonged to her; scarcely,
indeed, could we expect to induce the authorities to believe that the
Greek Count and Sandgate the smuggler were one and the same person.

"Take my advice," observed Carstairs; "don't let us fash ourselves on
the subject, but give the rogue a long rope, and he will soon hang
himself."

We all agreed to the wisdom of this remark, and resolving to wait the
course of events, turned in and went to sleep.

A large and merry party set off to the scene of the pic-nic, some in
caleches, and others in carriages of higher pretensions, and vehicles of
all sorts, and others on horseback.  I will not stop to describe the
scenery.  Stone walls, and here and there an orange grove, form its
chief characteristics.  It is wonderful that there is any cultivation,
considering that the greater portion of the soil has been brought from
other lands.  That which is produced on the island is formed from the
crumbling away of the surface of the rock of which it is composed.

Our party met by agreement near the gates.  Hearty, greatly to his
satisfaction, managed to undertake the escort of Mrs Mizen and her
daughter; the widow fell to the lot of Carstairs, and I took charge of
Mrs and Miss Seton.

"Oh! but where is Count Gerovolio?" exclaimed Mrs Skyscraper, as we
were driving off.  "I fully expected to have him of our party.  Has
anybody seen him?  Miss Seton, do you know what has become of him?"

Poor Jane for a moment looked dreadfully disconcerted at hearing the
name of the impostor; but she soon recovered her self-possession, and I
did my best to rattle on, so as to draw off the attention of her mother
and Mr Mite, who had been admitted as a fourth in the carriage.  Mrs
Skyscraper looked about in vain for the Count; I thought that he would
scarcely have the boldness to make his appearance.  Our drive, as far as
we four ill-matched beings were concerned, was any thing but a pleasant
one.  Old Mrs Seton was annoyed at not having Sir Lloyd Snowdon, or any
other eligible gentleman, to act the suitor to her daughter.

Poor Jane could not drive away her own bitter thoughts.  Mite would
infinitely rather have been in the company of one of his jolly little
Maltese acquaintances, and I felt oppressed at being the keeper of a
young lady's secret.  At last we arrived at the spot where our lionising
was to commence--the old capital of the island, Citta Vecchia, and had
to descend from our conveyances.

The structure would delight a connoisseur in mediaeval antiquities, for
a more ancient-looking collection of tumbledown houses I never saw
collected together.  Here stand the first palace of the Grand Masters,
and the cathedral of Malta, celebrated for the pertinacity with which
its bells are rung.  But the great sight we had all come to see was the
catacombs.  Guides and lights were procured, and the whole party
descended to them.  Incongruous, indeed, seemed the light dresses of the
ladies, the glittering uniforms of the officers, and the merry laughter
of the party, with the solemn, silent gloom of this vast receptacle for
the dead.  These catacombs consist of long galleries or streets cut in
the rock, extending a great distance, and intersecting each other at
right angles about fifteen feet beneath the surface of the ground.  The
gloom, the chilly, confined atmosphere, the dark shadows, the mysterious
passages and recesses, the undefined shapes which flitted before us,
were ill calculated to dispel poor Miss Seton's melancholy.  She walked
on, however, silently by my side, avoiding rather than courting the
attention of Sir Lloyd Snowdon, who at length joined us, and who, seeing
this, devoted himself with much tact to her mother.

"If you have any intention, Sir Lloyd," thought I, "you'll win the day,
notwithstanding the present appearance of matters."

We could hear behind us the cheery voice of Captain Rullock, and every
now and then a laugh from Hearty, who seemed to be in high spirits.

"He feels that he does not stand ill in the good graces of Miss Mizen, I
suspect," thought I.  "Most sincerely do I rejoice at it; for though not
to be compared in point of beauty to the lovely girl by my side, she
will make him a very far better wife.  Her straightforward honesty, her
modesty, her bright intelligence, her well-cultivated mind, her
unvarying good temper, her genuine wit, her loving disposition, are
certain to secure her husband's affections and respect."

Little did the lady by my side dream of the comparison I was drawing,
and yet I verily believe that she might have been not much inferior to
Miss Mizen in all those womanly qualities, had they not been crushed or
perverted by the false system of education which her mother had adopted.
Such were the somewhat incongruous thoughts which passed through my
mind in the catacombs of Citta Vecchia.  I ought to have been duly
oppressed with the gloom of the place, and to have thought of nothing
but ghost-like forms flitting through the mysterious passages.  I do not
know what my companion was thinking about, but she sighed deeply and
sadly.  That sigh touched my heart with pity, and reminded me how little
I had attempted to do to restore her mind to a state of composure.

We had, as I said, walked on somewhat ahead of the rest of the party,
and old Rullock and Hearty had just hailed us to return, when directly
before us appeared the figure of a man who was evidently endeavouring to
conceal himself in one of the niches cut in the rock.  It had, however,
been blocked up, and he was frustrated in his intention.  He wore a
large cloak, such as the Italians call a _feriuoligio_, with which he
was attempting to hide his head, but the light of the torch carried by
our guide fell directly on him, and revealed the features of Miles
Sandgate.

He must have guessed that he was known, for he advanced a step or two
rapidly towards us, but then, whatever were his intentions, he must have
changed them, for he retreated as hurriedly, and was lost to view amid
the surrounding gloom.  I knew that Miss Seton had discovered him by the
way in which her arm trembled in mine, and most certainly she would have
fallen had I not supported her.

"I fear, Miss Seton, that the atmosphere of this place oppresses you; we
will get out of it as soon as possible," said I.

"Thank you, thank you," she answered, leaning heavily on my arm.  "I
long for a breath of fresh air; I shall be better then."

Sir Lloyd Snowdon was much concerned at finding that Miss Seton was
unwell, and the whole party hurried to the mouth of the catacombs.

It was very provoking to have Sandgate almost within one's very grasp,
and yet not to have the power of punishing him.

On reaching the open air, Miss Seton at first nearly fainted.
Restoratives of all sorts were recommended by her friends, but before
any could be applied, she recovered, and endeavoured to laugh off any
disagreeable inquiries as to the cause of her attack.  The exertion
necessary to do this still further aroused her, and she speedily became
one of the most lively and animated of the party.  I saw that she could
now do very well without me, so I retired from her side.  Sir Lloyd
Snowdon took my place.  He was enchanted, and abandoned himself to the
happiness of the moment.  She saw her advantage, and not unmindful of
her wise mother's instructions, seemed resolved to make the most of it.
Still I thought that I detected at times the signs of unnatural spirits,
and forced laughter, and I would not have answered for the consequences
had the so-called Count Gerovolio appeared in the midst of us with a
hundred well-armed followers, and summoned her to accompany him.

From the catacombs we drove to the Grotto of St. Paul, which is at no
great distance.  Whether the apostle to the Gentiles ever took shelter
within it matters but little; the monks of old decreed that he did, and
therefore a fine statue of white marble has been placed within it, and
the faithful have been encouraged to offer their gifts at his shrine.
The statue stands in the farthest from the entrance of three grottoes,
one within the other.  We looked at them very much in the way that
people in general look at sights with very little interest, but thinking
it necessary to give utterance to certain set expressions of surprise or
admiration.  The most interesting sight was a portion of the cavern
which resembles the nave of a church, overgrown with verdure.  It is
surprising that vegetation should flourish in such a position.

When we had all satisfied our curiosity, we proceeded to a small
sheltered bay, where the most important part of the day's entertainment
was to be performed.  There was no great beauty of scenery, but the blue
sea, and the pure sky, and the fresh salt breeze, and the rugged rocks,
made it pleasant to the sight and feelings; and as most of the party had
very good appetites, and tolerably clear consciences, we were altogether
very merry.  Captain Rullock, Hearty, Bubble, and Mite did their best to
make it so.  Miss Mizen was naturally very happy; so was her mamma, for
Hearty had that day very palpably declared his intentions.  Sir Lloyd
Snowdon was happy because he thought he had won the beauty of the
season; and Mrs Seton, because she fancied that the great object of her
life was on the point of being accomplished.

Several vessels had been for some time in sight, but we had been so much
engaged in our own immediate occupation, that neither I nor any of the
other naval men had paid them much attention.

The heavier portion of the feast had been concluded, and sparkling wines
filled our glasses, and luscious grapes our plates.  Bubble had been
called on for a song, and Sir Lloyd Snowdon for a speech, when we were
somewhat startled from our propriety by a loud exclamation from
Porpoise.

"Why, by the Lord Harry, there's that rascally polacca-brig again!" he
cried, pointing to a vessel which was standing under full sail in-shore.

Our pocket-telescopes were in instant requisition.  The vessel in
question was a polacca-brig, of the same size, and paint and build, and
appearance aloft as the one which had attacked us; but still it was
impossible to be certain as to whether the vessel in sight was the
pirate or not.  Porpoise was the only person who was positive as to her
being so.  Hearty was inclined to side with him.  Still, what was to be
done?  Captains Rullock and Arden were ready enough to go in chase of
her, but their ships were on the other side of the island, and by the
time they could have got back to Valetta and obtained permission from
the admiral, and been under way, the suspicious brig would have been far
away again.

This discussion once more nearly upset poor Miss Seton, but she seemed
relieved, and recovered somewhat of her vivacity when it was resolved
not to take any notice of the stranger.  I, of course, as she did, could
not help connecting the brig in sight with the appearance of the
pretended Count Gerovolio in the catacombs.  He had, I suspected, been
hiding there for some reason or other, till he could get on board his
vessel.

After a little time the fun of the pic-nic went on as before.  I,
however, not being in love, nor having any lady to whom it was necessary
to pay exclusive attention, kept my eyes about me, and every now and
then swept the line of the coast with my telescope, while I also did not
neglect to watch the movements of the brig.  As she came clearly
into the plane of my glass, I observed a dark cloth on her
fore-topgallant-sail, which I suddenly recollected to have remarked on
the same sail of the brig from which Sandgate boarded us, as she lay
becalmed before the squall came on.  This to my mind was conclusive
evidence; but my suspicions were further confirmed by seeing the
polacca-brig lower her topgallant-sails, and bring her head up to the
wind.  When hove-to, she lowered a boat, which, well-manned, at once
made for the shore.  I said nothing, but narrowly watched the point for
which she was steering.  As she drew near, I saw a figure climb a rocky
point and waive to her.  The dress and air of the person left no doubt
on my mind that he was no other than the Greek count, or rather Miles
Sandgate.  It was, indeed, provoking to see the rascal escaping before
our very sight.  Had we taken upon ourselves to make chase after him, he
would have got on board the boat before we could have reached him.
Still I felt that I ought to point out the state of things to Rullock
and Arden, and let them judge what should be done.

"Go in chase after the fellow, by all means," they exclaimed; "we must
not be too sanguine as to catching our bird, or proving him a culprit if
we do catch him, but still we'll try."

It was arranged, therefore, that while the ladies and military men, and
non-combatants, should take their time to return, we naval men should
hurry back to Valetta, and take the necessary steps to go in chase of
the pirate.  Hearty looked at Miss Mizen and thought he should very much
like to stay with her, but his manhood would not let him; so he, with
Bubble and Carstairs, settled to go away in the yacht.  Mrs Skyscraper
made an effort to detain the latter, but her admirer was not a man to
shirk work where any was to be done, so he set off with the rest of us.
This time we were more successful in finding the admiral.  He was eager
as we could be to catch the pirate, and instantly ordered the "Trident"
and "Zebra" to go in chase of her.  When last seen, after Sandgate, or
the man we supposed to be him, had got on board, she was standing to the
southward and east, with the wind from the northward; in which direction
she would ultimately shape her course it was impossible to say.
Calculating that she might probably be still hovering about the island,
the "Trident" was ordered, after leaving the harbour, to beat round to
the northward of Malta; while the "Zebra" was to keep to the southward,
so as to intercept her, should she steer a course for the Straits.  It
was arranged that the "Frolic" should accompany the "Zebra," but to keep
to the nor'ward of her, within telegraph distance.

"This is exciting," exclaimed Bubble, as we bowled along in company with
the brig-of-war, away from Malta Harbour.  "It seems like real work,
going in chase of a pirate; only I hope that he may not give us the
go-by in the dark."

The sun sank into the ocean before we had rounded Gozo, so that we were
not able to see what vessels were to the eastward of us.  We kept,
however, a very bright lookout on either hand, so that we thought no
vessel could pass between us and the land on one side, or us and the
"Zebra" on the other.  We were to stand on till we fell in with the
"Trident" at daylight, and then the three vessels, spreading wide apart,
were to continue the chase all day, and return or not at discretion.

It was at first a lovely night, starlight and bright, with just such a
breeze that we could carry our gaff-topsail, and yet the cutter scarcely
heeled over to it.

None of us felt inclined to go below, notwithstanding the fatigues of
the day and the previous night.  Hearty, of course, had pleasant
thoughts; Porpoise was eagerly watching for the pirate; I was running
over the events of the day, and Bubble was whistling, while Carstairs
was, I suspect, pondering on the advisability of proposing to Mrs
Skyscraper.

At first we had been very loquacious, but the silent solemnity of the
night had an influence on all of us, and by degrees our remarks grew
less and less frequent, till we were found standing, in meditative mood,
in different parts of the vessel.  The hours of the night passed by, and
still we all kept the deck far later than was our usual custom.  Towards
midnight, either from a mist rising, or from some other cause, the
darkness very much increased.

"If this continues we shall have to shorten sail, or we shall be running
into some craft or other," observed Porpoise, who was no great admirer
of romance, and would rather all the time have been listening to a
jovial song.

"Yes, indeed," said I; "very little chance, though, of falling in with
our roving friend, even should he be in the neighbourhood."

"We'll get the gaff-topsail off her, Mr Snow," said Porpoise; "the brig
will be shortening sail, and if we do not, we shall be running ahead of
her."

The order was given, and the hands had gone aloft to execute it, when an
exclamation from the look-out forward made us open our eyes.

"A sail ahead, on the starboard-bow!" he shouted, with startling energy.

We looked in the direction indicated.

"Luff--luff all you can," cried Porpoise, with equal animation.  "Luff!
or she'll be into us."

The helm was put down; happily the gaff-topsail had not been taken in,
and the cutter, having good way on her, shot up to windward.  Close on
our quarter appeared, towering up, it seemed, into the sky, a wide
spread of canvas.  The stranger rushed on past us, the white foam
hissing and bubbling at her bows.

"What vessel is that?" shouted Porpoise.

I thought I heard a shout of derisive laughter in return.  The next
moment, as she came beam on, I distinctly made her out to be a Greek
polacca-brig.

"The pirate--the pirate!" shouted all hands.

"We had a near chance of being run down by the rascal," cried Porpoise;
"but we must be after him as soon as we can let the `Zebra' know in what
direction to make chase."

To do this we had to edge away to the southward, firing our guns to call
the attention of the man-of-war brig.  This was not so easy to do as
might be supposed.  We stood on and on, blazing away to no effect.  We
reached the track of the brig, but still we did not find her.

It was difficult to say what we should do next.  Daylight came, and we
had the satisfaction--a very poor one, thought I--of seeing her hull
down to the eastward, while we had every reason to believe that the
chase was merrily bowling away to the westward.  There was no use going
after the pirate brig by ourselves, so that all that we could do was to
make sail in the hopes of catching up our friend.

Porpoise bit his nails with vexation.  Hearty wanted to get the matter
over to return to Malta.

It was noon before we came up with the "Zebra."  This we should not have
done had she not hove-to for us.  We then had to wait for the "Trident,"
which appeared to the northward, standing towards us.

We were all so confident that the polacca-brig which passed us in the
night was the pirate, that our naval friends were obliged to be
convinced, so we all hove about, and stood back the way we had come in
chase.

I think it better to make a long story short.  We crowded every thing we
could carry, and the little "Frolic" behaved beautifully alongside her
big companions, shooting somewhat ahead of them in light winds, and
keeping well up with them when there was a sea on.

We scarcely expected that the pirate would attempt to get through the
Gut, and therefore we might hope to pick him up inside it.  I could not
help suspecting, however, that all the time Mr Sandgate was laughing at
us in his sleeve, and that we should see no more of him.  So it proved.
Ten days were fruitlessly expended in the search, and at the end of that
time we were all once more at anchor in Malta Harbour.

Hearty very speedily reconciled himself to the disappointment in the
society of Miss Mizen.  Carstairs was soon at the feet of Mrs
Skyscraper, while I went to inquire for Miss Seton; but as I found Sir
Lloyd Snowdon occupying her entire attention, I paid a short visit, and
went to dine with Piper on board the "Trident."



CHAPTER TWENTY THREE.

LADIES ABOARD--OUR CREW'S DREAD OF THE CONSEQUENCES.

We had not been many days in harbour, when Rullock received orders to
take a cruise to the westward to practise his crew, who, being mostly
raw hands quickly raised at Plymouth, required no little practice to
turn them into men-of-war's men.

As plenty of sea-air had been prescribed for Miss Mizen, and change of
scene--not that I think she now required either--it was arranged that
she and her mother should take a cruise in the "Zebra."  Had Mrs Mizen
been his wife instead of his sister, Captain Rullock could not have
taken her, as the rules of the service do not allow a captain to take
his wife to sea with him, though he may any other man's wife, or any
relative, or any lady whatever.

Under such circumstances, it was not to be supposed that the "Frolic"
would remain at anchor.  Accordingly she put to sea with the
brig-of-war.  Carstairs, however, had metal more attractive to his taste
at Valetta, so decided on remaining on shore.  We did not fail to miss
him, and to wish for his quaint, dry, comic remarks, and apt quotations
from Shakespeare.  Never, certainly, was a party better constituted than
ours for amusing each other, all of us having that indispensable
ingredient of harmony, perfect good humour; and had not that arch
mischief-maker Cupid found his way among us, we should have continued in
united brotherhood till the yacht was laid up.

A light breeze brought off faintly the sound of the evening gun from the
castle of St. Elmo, as, in company with the "Zebra," we stood away from
Malta to the westward.  Hearty walked his deck with a prouder air and
firmer step than was his wont.  Nothing so much gives dignity to a man
as the consciousness of having won the affections of a true, good girl.
His eye was seldom or never off the brig, even after the shades of night
prevented the possibility of distinguishing much more than her mere
outline, as her taut masts and square yards, and the tracery of her
rigging appeared against the starlit sky.  He had charged Porpoise to
have a very sharp look-out kept that we might run no chance of parting
from our consort; but, not content with that, he was on deck every
half-hour during the night to ascertain that his directions were obeyed.

"I say, Bill, the gov'nor seems to fancy that no one has got any eyes in
his head worth two farthing rushlights but hisself, this here cruise," I
heard old Sleet remark to his chum, Frost.  "What can a come over him?"

"What, don't you know, Bo?" answered Bill; "I thought any one with half
an eye could have seen that.  Why, he's been and courted the niece of
the skipper of the brig there, and soon they'll be going and getting
spliced, and then good-bye to the `Frolic.'  She'll be laid up to a
certainty.  It's always so.  The young gentlemen as soon as they comes
into their fortunes goes and buys a yacht.  We'll always be living at
sea, say they.  It goes on at first very well while they've only friends
comes aboard, but soon they takes to asking ladies, and soon its all up
with them.  Either they takes to boxing about in the Channel, between
the Wight and the main; for ever up and down anchor, running into
harbour to dine, and spending the day pulling on shore, waiting
alongside the yacht-house slip for hours, and coming aboard with a cargo
of boat-cloaks and shawls, or else, as I have said, they goes and gives
up the yacht altogether."  Old Sleet gave a munch at his grub and then
replied,--"But if I don't judge altogether wrong by the cut of this here
young lady's jib, I don't think she's one of those who'd be for wishing
her husband to do any such thing.  When she came aboard of us, t'other
day, she stepped along the thwarts just as if she'd been born at sea.
Says I to myself, when I saw her, she's a sailor's daughter, and a
sailor's niece, and should be a sailor's wife; but if what you say is
true, Bo, she's going to be next door to it, as a chap may say, and
that's the wife of a true, honest yachtsman.  No, no, there's no fear,
she won't let him lay up the `Frolic,' depend on't."

"Well, I hope so," observed Frost; "I should just like to have a fine
young girl like she aboard, they keeps things alive somehow, when they
are good, though when they are t'other they are worse than one of old
Nick's imps for playing tricks and doing mischief."

"You are right there again, and no mistake, Bo," answered Sleet.  "I
once sailed with a skipper who had his wife aboard: I never seed such
goings on before nor since.  The poor man couldn't call his soul his
own, or his sleep his own.  She was a downright double-fisted woman, a
regular white sergeant.  She wouldn't allow a drop of grog to be served
out without she did it, nor a candle end to be burned without logging it
down; she almost starved the poor skipper--she used to tell him it was
for his spirit's welfare.  He never put the ship about without
consulting her.  One day, when it was blowing big guns and small-arms,
she was out of sorts, and says he--

"`Molly, love, I think we ought for to be shortening sail, or we may
chance to have the masts going over the sides.'

"`Shorten sail?' she sings out, `let the masts go, and you go with them,
for what I care.  Let the ship drive, she'll bring up somewhere as well
without you as with you.'

"The poor skipper hadn't a word to say, but for his life he daren't take
the canvas off the ship.

"`My love, it blows very hard,' says he again, in a mild, gentle voice.

"`Let it blow harder,' answers the lady; and you might have supposed it
was a boatswain's mate who'd swallowed a marlinspike who spoke.

"Presently down came the gale heavier than ever on us.  Crack, crack,
went the masts, and in another second we hadn't a stick standing.

"`Where's the ship going to drive to, now?' asks the skipper, turning to
his wife.  `I've been a fool a long time, but I don't mean to be a fool
any longer; just you get the ship put to rights, or overboard you go.'

"`How am I to do that same?' asks Mrs Molly, very considerably
mollified; `I don't know how.'

"`Then overboard you goes,' says the skipper, quite coolly, but firmly.
`If the wind shifts three or four points only we shall have an ugly
shore under our lee, which will knock every timber of the ship into ten
thousand atoms in no time, and you may thank yourself for being the
cause of the wreck.'

"`Oh, spare my life, spare my life, and I'll never more interfere with
the duty of the ship,' cries the lady, in an agony of fear.

"The captain pretended to be softened.  `Well,' says he, `take the oaths
and go below, and I'll think about it.'

"Mrs Molly, as we always called her, sneaked to her cabin without
saying another word.  All hands set to work with a will, and obeyed the
skipper much more willingly than we had ever done before.  We got
jury-masts up, and carried the ship safely into port, but from that time
to this I've always fought shy of a ship with petticoats in the cabin,
and so I always shall, except I happen to know the sort of woman who
wears them."

I was much amused with old Sleet's remarks, and in most respects I
agreed, with him.

A day or two afterwards the crew had their suspicions confirmed by the
appearance of Mrs and Miss Mizen on the deck of the cutter.  In the
mean time Hearty had been constantly on board the brig-of-war.  He dined
on board every day, as indeed we all did, only we dined in the gun-room,
and he with the captain and ladies.  The accommodation, however, on
board the brig was rather confined, and as the weather promised to
continue fine, he became naturally anxious to get them on board the
yacht.  At last he broached the subject.  Old Rullock did not object;
the ladies finding that there was nothing incorrect in the proceeding
were very willing; and to give them more accommodation, an exchange was
effected between them and Bubble, who took up his quarters on board the
brig.  I should have gone also, but Porpoise begged I would remain and
keep him company, so I doubled up in his cabin to give the ladies more
accommodation.  Hearty took Snow's berth, and the old man was very glad
on such an occasion to swing in a hammock forward.  The thought of those
days are truly sunny memories of foreign seas.

Miss Mizen, by her kind and lively manners, her readiness to converse
with the crew, her wish to pick up information about the sea and the
places they had visited, and their own histories, and her unwillingness
to give trouble, soon won the love of all on board; while her mother,
whose character was very similar to her daughter's, was a general
favourite, and I heard old Sleet declare to Frost that the old lady
wasn't a bit like Mrs Molly Magrath, and as for the young girl she was
an angel, and old as he was he'd be ready to go round the world to serve
her, that he would.

"Now don't you think Mr Hearty, that you could find some one who can
spin a regular sea matter-of-fact yarn about things which really have
been?" said Miss Mizen, one fine afternoon, with one of those sweet
smiles which would have been irresistible, even if a far more important
request had been made.

The owner of the "Frolic" thought a little.  "Yes, by the by, I have
it," he exclaimed; "one of the men I have on board is a first-rate
yarn-spinner.  Once set his tongue a going, it is difficult to stop it,
and yet there is very little romance about the old man.  He has, I
conclude, a first-rate memory, and just tells what he has seen and
heard.  I'll call him aft, and will try what we can get out of him."

Hearty on this went forward, and after a little confab with the crew,
returned with old Sleet, who, instead of being bashful, was looking as
pleased as Punch in his most frolicsome humour, at the honour about to
be done him.  Without hesitation he doffed his hat, threw his quid
overboard, smoothed down his hair, and began his tale.  I must confess
that I have not given it in his language, which was somewhat a departure
from the orthodox vernacular, and might weary my readers.

"Now, gentlemen and ladies all, I'm going to tell you--"

HOW JOE BUNTIN DID THE REVENUE.

The "Pretty Polly" was the fastest, the smartest, and the sweetest craft
that sailed out of Fairport; so said Joe Buntin, and nobody had better
right to say it, or better reason to know it, he being part owner of
her, and having been master of her from the day her keel first touched
the water.  She was a cutter of no great size, for she measured only
something between thirty and forty tons; she had great beam for her
length, was sharp in the bows, rising slightly forward, and with a clean
run; she was, in fact, a capital sea-boat, fit to go round the world if
needs be--weatherly in a heavy sea, and very fast in smooth water,
though the nautical critics pronounced her counter too short for beauty;
but Joe did not consider that point a defect, as it made her all the
better for running in foul weather, which was what he very frequently
wanted her to do.  She carried a whacking big mainsail, with immense
hoist in it, and the boom well over the taffrail.  Her big jib was a
whopper with a vengeance, and her foresail hoisted chock up to the
block.  She had a swinging gaff-topsail very broad in the head, and a
square-sail to set for running, with prodigious spread in it; so that,
give the "Pretty Polly" a good breeze, few were the craft of anything
like her own size she couldn't walk away from.  In fact, anybody might
have taken her for some dandified yacht, rather than for a humble
pilot-boat, which the number on her mainsail proclaimed her to be.  Now
the "Pretty Polly," like other beauties, had her fair weather and her
foul weather looks, her winter as well as her summer suit.  She had her
second, and third, and storm-jibs, a trysail of heavy canvas, and even a
second mainsail, with a shorter boom to ship at times, while her
standing and running rigging was as good as the best hemp and the
greatest care could keep it, for every inch of it was turned in under
Joe's inspection, if not with his own hand.  Joe Buntin loved his craft,
as does every good sailor; she was his care, his pride, his delight,
mistress, wife, and friend.  He would talk to her and talk of her by the
hour together; he was never tired of praising her, of expatiating on her
qualities, of boasting of her achievements, how she walked away from
such a cutter--how she weathered such a gale--how she clawed off a
lee-shore on such an occasion; there was no end to what she had done and
was to do.  She was, in truth, all in all to Joe; he was worthy of her,
and she was worthy of him, which reminds us that he himself claims a
word or two of description.  He had little beauty, nor did he boast of
it, for in figure he was nearly as broad as high, with a short, thick
neck, and a turn-up nose in the centre of his round, fresh-coloured
visage; but he had black, sparkling eyes, full of fun and humour, and a
well-formed mouth, with strong white teeth, which rescued his
countenance from being ugly, while an expression of firmness and
boldness, with great good nature, made him respected by all, and gained
him plenty of friends.  Joe sported a love-lock on each side of his
face, with a little tarpaulin hat stuck on the top of his head, a neat
blue jacket, or a simple blue guernsey frock, and an enormously large
pair of flushing trousers, with low shoes; indeed, he was very natty in
his dress, and although many people called him a smuggler--nor is there
any use in denying that he was one--he did not look a bit like those
cut-throat characters represented on the stage or in print-shops, with
high boots, and red caps, and cloaks, and pistols, and hangers.  Indeed,
so far from there being any thing of the ruffian about him, he looked
and considered himself a very honest fellow.  He cheated nobody, for
though he broke the revenue laws systematically and regularly, he had,
perhaps, persuaded himself, by a course of reasoning not at all peculiar
to himself, that there was no harm in so doing; possibly he had no idea
that those laws were bad laws, and injurious to the country; so out of
the evil, as he could not remedy it, he determined to pluck that
rosebud--profit--to his own pocket.  Remember that we are not at all
certain that he actually did reason as we have suggested; we are, we
confess, rather inclined to suspect that he found the occupation
profitable; that he had been engaged in it from his earliest days, and
therefore followed it without further troubling his head about its
lawfulness or unlawfulness.  So much for Joe Buntin and his cutter the
"Pretty Polly."

His crew were a bold set of fellows, stanch to him, and true to each
other; indeed, most of them, as is usual, had a share in the vessel, and
all were interested in the success of her undertakings; they were quiet,
peaceable, and orderly men; their rule was never to fight, the times
were too tranquil for such work, and a running noose before their eyes
was not a pleasant prospect.  They trusted entirely to their wit and
their heels for success, and provided one cargo in three could be safely
landed, they calculated on making a remunerating profit.

The days when armed smuggling craft, with a hundred hands on board bid
defiance to royal cruisers, had long passed by, for we are referring to
a period within the last six or eight years only, during the last days
of smuggling.  Now the contraband trade is chiefly carried on in small
open boats, or fishing craft, affording a very precarious subsistence to
those who still engage in it.  After what has been said it may be
confessed that the "Pretty Polly" was chiefly employed in smuggling,
though her ostensible, and, indeed, very frequent occupation, was that
of a pilot-vessel.

Now we must own that in those days we did not feel a proper and correct
hatred of smugglers and their doings; the dangers they experienced, the
daring and talent they displayed in their calling, used, in spite of our
better reason, to attract our admiration, and to raise them to the
dignity of petty heroes in our imagination.  The dishonest merchant, the
dealer in contraband goods, the encourager of crime, was the man who
received the full measure of our contempt and dislike--he who, skulking
quietly on shore, without fear or danger, reaped the profits of the bold
seaman's toil.

Fairport, to which the "Pretty Polly" belonged, is a neat little town at
the mouth of a small river on the southern coast of England.  The
entrance to the harbour is guarded by an old castle, with a few cannon
on the top of it, and was garrisoned by a superannuated gunner, his old
wife and his pretty grand-daughter, who performed most efficiently all
the duties in the fortress, such as sweeping it clean, mopping out the
guns, and shutting the gates at night.  Sergeant Ramrod was a good
specimen of a fine old soldier, and certainly when seeing his portly
figure and upright carriage, and listening to his conversation, one
might suppose that he held a higher rank than it had ever been his fate
to reach.  He had seen much service, been engaged in numerous
expeditions in various parts of the world, and went through the whole
Peninsular war; indeed, had merit its due reward, he should, he assured
his friends, be a general instead of a sergeant, and so being rather an
admirer of his, we are also apt to think--but then when has merit its
due reward?  What an extraordinary hoisting up and hauling down there
would be to give every man his due!  Sergeant Ramrod always went by the
name of the Governor of Fairport Castle, and we suspect rather liked the
title.  He was, in truth, much better off than the governors of half the
castles in the world, though he did not think so himself; he had no
troops, certainly, to marshal or drill, but then he had no rounds to
make or complaints to hear, and his little garrison, composed of his
wife and grandchild, never gave him a moment's uneasiness, while he
might consider himself almost an independent ruler, so few and far
between were the visits of his superior officers.

The town of Fairport consists of a long street, with a few offshoots,
containing some sixty houses or so, inhabited by pilots, fishermen, and
other seafaring characters, two or three half-pay naval officers, a few
casual visitors in the summer months, a medical man or two, and a
proportionate number of shopkeepers.  The castle stands at one end of
the town, close to the mouth of the river, the tide of which sweeps
round under its walls, where there is always water sufficient to float a
boat even at low tide.  In the walls of the castle are a few loopholes
and a small postern-gate or port to hoist in stores, and close to it is
a quay, the chief landing-place of the town.  Here a revenue officer is
stationed night and day to prevent smuggling, though there are certain
angles of the castle-wall which he cannot overlook from his post.  This
description we must beg our readers to remember.

One fine morning, soon after daybreak in the early part of the year, Joe
Buntin and his crew appeared on Fairport quay with their pea-jackets and
bundles under their arms, and jumping into their boat pulled on board
the "Pretty Polly."  Her sails were loosened and hoisted in a trice, the
breeze took her foresail, the mainsail next filled, the jib-sheet was
flattened aft, and slipping from her moorings she slowly glided towards
the mouth of the river.  The jib-sheet was, however, immediately after
let go, the helm was put down, and about she came--in half a minute
more, so narrow is the channel, that she was again about, and at least
six tacks had she to make before she could weather the westernmost spit
at the entrance of the harbour, and stand clear out to sea.

"I wonder which of the French ports she's bound to now," observed a
coast-guard man to a companion who had just joined him on the little
quay close to the castle.  "After some of her old tricks, I warrant."

"We shall have to keep a sharp look-out after him, or he'll double on
us, you may depend on it," replied the other; "Joe Buntin's a difficult
chap to circumvent, and one needs to be up early in the morning to find
him snoozing."

"More reason we shouldn't go to sleep ourselves, Ben," said the first
speaker; "I must report the sailing of the `Pretty Polly' to the
inspecting commander, that he may send along the coast to give notice
that she's out.  Captain Sturney would give not a little to catch the
`Pretty Polly,' and he's told Joe that he'll nab her some day."

"What did Joe say to that?"

"Oh, he laughed and tried to look innocent, and answered that he was
welcome to her if he ever found her with a tub of spirits, or a bale of
tobacco in her."

"I'll tell you, though, who'd give his right hand and something more, to
boot, to catch Master Joe himself, or I'm very much mistaken."

"Who's that?"

"Why, Lieutenant Hogson, to be sure.  You see he has set his eyes on
little Margaret Ramrod, the old gunner's grandchild, but she don't like
him, though he is a naval officer, and won't have any thing to say to
him, and he has found out that Joe is sweet in that quarter, and
suspects that if it weren't for him, he himself would have more favour.
Now, if he could get Joe out of the way, the game would be in his own
hands."

"Oh, that's it, is it?  Well, I think the little girl is right, for Joe
is a good fellow, though he does smuggle a bit; and as for Lieutenant
Hogson, though he is our officer, the less we say about him the better."

While this conversation was going on, the "Pretty Polly" had reached
down abreast of the quay, when Buntin, who was at the helm, waved his
hand to the coast-guard men, they in return wishing him a pleasant
voyage and a safe return.

"Thank ye," answered Joe, laughing, for he and his opponents were on
excellent terms.  "Thank ye, and remember, keep a bright look-out for
me."

The cutter then passed so close to the castle that her boom almost
grazed its time-worn walls.  Joe looked up at the battlements, and there
he saw a bright young face, with a pair of sparkling eyes, gazing down
upon him.  Joe took off his tarpaulin hat and waved it.

"I'll not forget your commission, Miss Margaret.  My respects to your
grandfather," he sang out.

There was not time to say more before the cutter shot out of hearing.
The flutter of a handkerchief was the answer, and as long as a human
figure was visible on the ramparts, Joe saw that Mistress Margaret was
watching him.  Now, it must be owned, that it was only of late Joe had
yielded to the tender passion, and it would have puzzled him to say how
it was.  He had been accustomed to bring over trifling presents to the
little girl, and had ingratiated himself with the old soldier, by the
gift now and then of a few bottles of real cognac; but he scarcely
suspected that his "Pretty Polly," his fast-sailing craft, had any rival
in his affections.

The day after the "Pretty Polly," sailed, Margaret was seated at her
work, and the old dame sat spinning in their little parlour in the
castle, while Mr Ramrod was taking his usual walk on the quay, when a
loud tap was heard at the door.

"Come in," said the dame, and Lieutenant Hogson made his appearance.

Now, although by no means a favourite guest, he was, from his rank and
office, always welcomed politely, and Margaret jumped up and wiped a
chair, while the dame begged him to be seated.  His appearance was not
prepossessing, for his face was pock-marked, his hair was coarse and
scanty, and sundry potations, deep and strong, had added a ruddy hue to
the tip of his nose, while his figure was broad and ungainly.  He threw
himself into a chair, as if he felt himself perfectly at home.  "Ah,
pretty Margaret! bright and smiling as ever, I see.  How I envy your
happy disposition!" he began.

"Yes, sir, I am fond of laughing," said Margaret, demurely.

"So I see.  And how's grandfather?"

"Here he comes to answer for himself, sir," said Margaret, as old Ramrod
appeared, and, welcoming his guest, placed a bottle and some glasses
before him, while Margaret brought a jug of hot water and some sugar.
The eyes of the lieutenant twinkled as he saw the preparations.

"Not much duty paid on this, I suspect, Mr Ramrod," he observed, as he
smacked his lips after the first mouthful.

"Can't say, sir.  They say that the revenue does not benefit from any
that's drunk in Fairport."

"A gift of our friend Buntin's, probably," hazarded the officer.

"Can't say, sir; several of my friends make me a little present now and
then.  I put no mark on them."

"Oh, all right, I don't ask questions," said the lieutenant.

"By the by, I find that the `Pretty Polly' has started on another trip."

"So I hear, sir," said Ramrod.

"Can you guess where she's gone, Miss Margaret?" asked the officer.

"Piloting, I suppose, sir," answered the maiden, blushing.

"Oh, ay, yes, of course; but didn't he talk of going anywhere on the
French coast?"

"Yes, sir," answered Margaret, "he said he thought he might just look in
at Cherbourg."

"And how soon did he say he would be back?" asked the officer.

"In four or five days, sir," said Margaret.

The lieutenant was delighted with the success of his interrogations, and
at finding the maiden in so communicative a mood; so mixing a stiffer
tumbler of grog than before to heighten his own wits, he continued,
"Now, my good girl, I don't ask you to tell me any thing to injure our
friend Buntin, but did he chance to let drop before you where he
proposed to make his land-fall on his return--you understand, where he
intended to touch first before he brings the `Pretty Polly' into
Fairport?"

"Dear me, I did hear him talk of looking into--Bay; and he told Denman,
and Jones, and Tigtop, and several others to be down there," answered
Margaret, with the greatest simplicity.

"I don't think the girl knows what she's talking of, Mr Hogson,"
interposed old Ramrod, endeavouring to silence his grand-daughter.  "But
of course any thing she has let drop, you won't make use of, sir."

"Oh, dear, no! of course not, my good friend," answered Mr Hogson.  "I
merely asked for curiosity's sake.  But I must wish you good afternoon.
I have my duties to attend to--duty before pleasure, you know, Mr
Ramrod.  Good-by, Miss Margaret, my ocean lily--a good afternoon to you,
old hero of a hundred fights;" and, gulping down the contents of his
tumbler, with no very steady steps the officer took his leave.

As soon as he was gone, Ramrod scolded his grandchild for her imprudence
in speaking of Buntin's affairs.

"You don't know the injury you may have done him," he added; "but it
never does to trust a female with what you don't want known."

"Perhaps not, grandfather," said Margaret, smiling archly.  "But Joe
told me that I might just let it fall, if I had an opportunity, that he
was going to run a crop at--Bay, and I could not resist the temptation
when Mr Hogson asked me, thinking I was so simple all the time.  I'm
sure, however, I wish that Joe would give over smuggling altogether.
It's very wrong, I tell him, and very dangerous; but he promises me that
if he can but secure two more cargoes, he'll give it up altogether.  I'm
sure I wish he would."

"So do I, girl, with all my heart; for it does not become me, an officer
of the government, to associate with one who constantly breaks the laws;
but yet, I own it, I like the lad, and wish him well."

Margaret did not express her sentiments; but the bright smile on her
lips betrayed feelings which she happily had never been taught the
necessity of controlling.

Mr Hogson esteemed himself a very sharp officer; and, as he quitted the
castle, he congratulated himself on his acuteness in discovering
Buntin's plans.  He had spies in various directions, or rather, people
whom he fancied were such, though every one of them was well-known to
the smugglers, and kept in pay by them.  By them the information he had
gained from Margaret was fully corroborated, and accordingly he gave the
necessary orders to watch for the cutter at the spot indicated, while he
collected a strong body of men to seize her cargo as soon as the
smugglers attempted to run it.  His arrangements were made with
considerable judgment, and could not, he felt certain, fail of success,
having stationed signalmen on every height in the neighbourhood of--Bay,
to give the earliest notice of the smugglers' approach.  As soon as it
was dark, he himself, with the main body of coast-guard men, all
well-armed, set off by different routes, to remain in ambush near the
spot.  While they lay there, they heard several people pass them on
their way to the shore, whom they rightly conjectured were those whose
business it was to carry the tubs and bales up the cliffs to their
hides, as soon as landed.  The night was very dark, for there was no
moon, and the sky was cloudy; and though there was a strong breeze,
there was not sufficient sea on to prevent a landing; in fact, it was
just the night the smugglers would take advantage of.  Mr Hogson,
having stationed his men, buttoned up his pea-jacket, and drawing his
south-wester over his ears, set off along the shore to reconnoitre.  He
rubbed his hands with satisfaction when he perceived a number of people
collected on the beach, and others approaching from various directions.

"I'm pretty sure of forty or fifty pounds at least," he muttered, "and
if I can but nab Master Joe himself, I'll soon bring his coy sweetheart
to terms, I warrant.  Ah! the cutter must be getting in with the land,
or these people would not be assembling yet."

Just then a gleam of bright light shot forth from the cliffs, at no
great distance from where he was standing; it was answered by the gleam
of a lantern from the sea, which was instantly again obscured.  He
watched with intense anxiety, without moving for some minutes, when he
thought that he observed two dark objects glancing over the waters
towards the shore.  His difficulty was to select the proper moment for
his attack.  If he appeared too soon, the people on shore would give
notice, and the boats would return to the cutter; if he did not reach
them directly after they touched the shore, he knew from experience that
he should certainly find them empty, a minute or two sufficing to carry
off the whole cargo.  At last he had no doubt that the smugglers were at
hand; and, as fast as his legs could carry him, he hurried back to bring
up his men.

We must now return to the "Pretty Polly."  Besides Joe Buntin, the crew
of the cutter consisted of Dick Davis, Tom Figgit, and Jack Calloway, as
thorough seamen as were ever collected together, and all of them
licenced pilots for the Channel, each having a share in the craft; then
there were, besides them, twice this number of men shipped on certain
occasions, who, though they received a share of the profits, had no
property in her.  Joe had determined to run great risks this voyage, in
the hopes of making large profits, and had invested a large part of his
property in the venture, which his agent had prepared ready for shipment
at Cherbourg.  The wind shifted round to the nor'ard, and the "Pretty
Polly" had a quick run across the Channel.  The evening of the day she
left Fairport, she was riding at anchor in the magnificent harbour of
Cherbourg.  As soon as they arrived, he and his mates went on shore, and
the agent, not expecting him that evening, being out of the way, they
betook themselves to a _cafe_ on the quay, overlooking the harbour.  Joe
always made himself at home wherever he went, and although he had no
particular aptitude for learning languages, he managed, without any
great difficulty, to carry on a conversation in French, and his thorough
good nature and ready fund of humour gained him plenty of friends among
the members of the great nation.

The house of entertainment into which the Englishmen walked, is entitled
"Le Cafe de la Grande Nation."  The room was large, and had glass doors
opening on the quay, through which a view of the harbour was obtained.
It was full of little round tables, with marble slabs, surrounded with
chairs, and the walls were ornamented with glowing pictures of naval
engagements, in which the tricolour floated proudly at the mastheads of
most of the ships, while a few crippled barks, with their masts shot
away, and their sails in tatters, had the British ensign trailing in the
water.  The prospect before them was highly picturesque.  Directly in
front was an old tower, the last remnant of the ancient Walls of
Cherbourg.  Beyond, spread out before them, was the broad expanse of its
superb harbour, capable of containing all the fleet of France.  In the
centre, where labourers were busily at work, was the breakwater, the
intended rival of Plymouth, one entrance guarded by the Fort of
Querqueville, the other by that of Pelee; and on the western shore,
guarded by numerous ranges of batteries, was the naval arsenal and
dockyard, the pride of the people of Cherbourg, and which, when
finished, is intended to surpass any thing of the kind possessed by the
_perfide Anglais_.

Joe and his friends, having ordered some _eau de vie_ and water, and
lighted their cigars, took their seats near the door.  They did not
stand much on ceremony in passing their remarks on all they saw,
particularly at the men-of-war's men who were strolling about the town.

"My eyes, Dick," exclaimed Tom Figgit, "look at them fellows with their
red waistcoats and tight jackets, which look as if they were made for
lads half their size, and their trousers with their sterns in the fore
part.  Just fancy them going aloft."

"They are rum enough, but, to my mind, not such queer-looking chaps as
the sodgers," answered Dick.

"Do you know, Dick, that I've often thought that a Frenchman must be
cast out of quite a different mould to an Englishman?  The clothes of
one never would fit t'other.  It has often puzzled me to account for
it."

"Why, Tom, it would puzzle one if one had to account for all the strange
things in the world," answered the other.  "You might just as well ask
why all the women about here wear caps as big as balloons; they couldn't
tell themselves, I warrant."

Just then their conversation was broken off, that they might listen to
Joe, who had entered into a warm discussion with the boatswain, or some
such officer of one of the French ships-of-war, on the relative
qualities of their respective navies.  The _salle_ was full at the time
of naval and military officers of inferior grades, douaniers,
gens-d'armes, and worthies of a similar stamp, all smoking, and
spitting, and gesticulating, and talking together.

"Comment, Monsieur Buntin," said the Frenchman; "do you mean to say that
you have got an arsenal as large as le notre de Cherbourg in the whole
of England?"

"I don't know how that may be," answered Joe, quietly; "Portsmouth isn't
small, and Plymouth isn't small, but perhaps we don't require them so
big.  We get our enemies to build ships for us."

"Bah," exclaimed the Frenchman, shrugging his shoulders; "les perfides!"

Just then a fine frigate was seen rounding Point Querqueville.  Like a
stately swan slowly she glided through the water till, when she
approached the town, her rigging was crowded with men, her courses were
clewed up, her topsails and topgallant-sails were furled, and she swung
round to her anchor.  She was a model of symmetry and beauty, and the
Frenchmen looked on with admiration.

"There," exclaimed Joe's friend, "n'est-ce pas que c'est belle?  Have
you got a ship in the whole English navy like her?"

"I don't know," answered Joe, innocently.  "But if there came a war, we
very soon should, I can tell you."

"Comment?" said the Frenchman.

"Why you see, monsieur, we should have she."

"Sare!" exclaimed half a dozen Frenchmen, starting up and drawing their
swords.  "Do you mean to insult La Grande Nation?"

Whereupon Tom Figgit and Dick Davis, though they did not exactly
comprehend the cause of offence, jumped up also, and prepared for a
skirmish, which might have ended somewhat seriously for the three
Englishmen, had not Joe's agent at that moment appeared and acted as a
pacificator between them, Joe assuring them that he had no intention of
insulting them or any one of their nation, and that he had merely said
what he thought would be the case.

Joe did not spend a longer time than was absolutely necessary at
Cherbourg, and as soon as he got his cargo on board, the "Pretty Polly"
was once more under way for England.  Her hold was stowed with much
valuable merchandise, chiefly silks, laces, and spirits.  She had also
on deck a number of empty tubs, and a few bales filled with straw.  As
soon as he had got clear of the land, the wind, which had at first been
southerly, shifted to the south-west, and it soon came on to blow very
fresh.  This he calculated would bring him upon the English coast at too
early an hour for his purpose, so when he had run about two-thirds of
his distance, he lay to, with his foresail to windward, waiting for the
approach of evening.

As he walked the deck of his little vessel, with Tom Figgit by his side,
he every now and then broke into a low quiet laugh.  At last he gave
vent to his thoughts in words.

"If we don't do the revenue this time, Tom, say I'm no better than one
of them big-sterned mounsieurs.  What a rage that dirty spy, Hogson,
will be in!  Ha, ha, ha!  It's a pleasure to think of it."

Tom fully participated in all his leader's sentiments, and by their
light-hearted gaiety one might have supposed that they had some amusing
frolic in view, instead of an undertaking full of peril to their
personal liberty and property.  All this time a man was stationed at the
masthead to keep a look-out in every direction, that no revenue-cruiser
should approach them without due notice, to enable them to get out of
her way.

We must now return to Lieutenant Hogson.  As soon as he felt certain
that the boats had landed, he hurried down with his men to the beach.
His approach was apparently not perceived, and while the smugglers were
actively engaged in loading themselves with tubs and bales of goods, he
was among them.

"Stand and deliver, in the king's name," he shouted out, collaring the
first smuggler he could lay hands on, his men following his example.

For a moment the smugglers appeared to be panic-struck by the suddenness
of the attack; but soon recovering themselves, as many as were at
liberty threw down their loads and made their escape.

"Seize the boats," he added.  "Here, take charge of this prisoner."  And
rushing into the water, he endeavoured to capture the boat nearest to
him; but just as he had got his hand on her gunnel, the people in her,
standing up with their oars in their hands, gave her so hearty a shove,
that, lifting on the next wave, she glided out into deep water, while he
fell with his face into the surf, from which he had some difficulty in
recovering himself with a thorough drenching; the other boat getting off
in the same manner.  In the mean time, signals had been made by the
revenue-men stationed on the neighbouring heights, that the expected run
had been attempted, and the coast-guard officers and their people from
the nearest stations hurried up to participate in the capture.  Some
came by land, while others launched their boats in the hopes of cutting
off the "Pretty Polly" in case she should not have discharged the whole
of her cargo.

With muffled oars and quick strokes they pulled across the bay; but if
they expected to catch Joe Buntin, or the "Pretty Polly," they certainly
were disappointed; for although they pulled about in every direction
till daylight, not a sign or trace of her did they discover.  Not so
unfortunate, however, was Lieutenant Hogson, for although he did not
capture his rival, he made a large seizure of tubs, and several bales of
silk, as he supposed, and a considerable number of prisoners, which
would altogether bring him in no small amount of prize-money.  One
prisoner he made afforded him considerable satisfaction.  It was no
other than Tom Figgit, who, having jumped out of the boat with a tub on
his back, was seized before he had time to disengage himself from his
load, and this, with many a grimace, he was now compelled to carry.

"I hope you've made up your mind for a year in Winchester jail, Master
Tom," said Mr Hogson, holding a lantern up to his face.  "It isn't the
first time you've seen its inside, I warrant."

"It would be, though; and what's more, I intend to spend my Christmas
with my wife and family," answered Tom, doggedly.

The prisoners were now collected, and marched up to the nearest
coast-guard station, but there were so many tubs and bales that the
coast-guard men were obliged to load themselves heavily with them; for
it was found that should only a small guard be left to take charge of
them, the smugglers would carry them off.  The wind whistled coldly, the
rain came down in torrents, and the revenue people and their prisoners
had a very disagreeable march through the mud up to the station, Tom
Figgit being the only person who retained his spirits and his temper--
though he grumbled in a comical way at being compelled to carry a tub
for other people, and insisted that he should retain it for his trouble
at the end of his journey.  When he reached the guard-house, he slyly
tumbled the tub off his shoulders, and down it came on the ground with
so heavy a blow that it was stove in.  The names of the prisoners were
now taken down in due form, and they were told they must be locked up
till they could be carried before a magistrate, and be committed to jail
for trial.  As soon as the officer had done speaking,--

"Please, sir," said Tom, "there's one of the tubs leaking dreadfully,
and if it isn't looked to, it will all have run out before the morning;
though for the matter of that, it doesn't smell much like spirits."

"Bring me a glass," said the lieutenant, who, wet and cold, was longing
to have a drop of spirits.  "I'll soon pass an opinion on your _eau de
vie_, Master Tom."

Tom smiled, but said nothing, while one of the men brought a glass and
broached the leaky tub.

"Show a light here," said Tom.  "Well, I can't say as how it's got much
of the smell of spirits--hang me, if I can make it out."

Tom filled the glass, and, with a profound bow, worthy of a Mandarin,
presented it to the officer.  Lieutenant Hogson was thirsty, and,
without even smelling the potion, he gulped it down.

"Salt water, by George!" he exclaimed, furiously, spitting and
spluttering it out with all his might, and giving every expression to
his disgust.

Tom, forgetful of the respect due to a king's officer, burst into a fit
of uproarious laughter.

"Well, I warned you, sir.  I told you there was something odd about it--
ha, ha, ha--and now you find what I said was true--ha, ha, ha!"

"What do you mean, you scoundrel?" cried the lieutenant, stamping
furiously.  "How dare you play such a trick?"

"Nothing, sir, nothing," answered Tom, coolly; "you see I should have
been very much surprised if there had been any thing else but salt
water; for you see we was bringing those tubs on shore, full of
sea-water, for a poor old lady who lives some way inland, and her
doctors ordered her to try sea-bathing on the coast of France; but as
she couldn't go there herself, you see, she has the water carried all
the way from there to here.  It's a fancy she has, but it's very natural
and regular, and we get well paid for it, sir."

"Do you, Master Tom, actually expect me to believe such a pack of gross
lies?" stammered out the lieutenant, as well as his rage would let him.

"I don't know, sir," answered the smuggler; "some people believe one
thing, some another, and I hope you won't think of keeping us here any
longer, seeing as how we've done nothing against the law in landing tubs
of salt water for old Missis Grundy up at Snigses Farm, sir.  You may
just go and axe her if what I says isn't as true as gospel.  It might be
the death of her if she didn't get her salt water to bathe in, you know,
sir."

"Old Missis Grundy!  I never heard of her before," exclaimed the
lieutenant, growing every moment more angry; "and Snigses Farm, where's
that, I should like to know?"

"Why, sir, you see it's two or three miles off, and rather a difficult
road to find," answered Tom, winking at his companions.  "You first go
up the valley, then you turn down by Waterford Mill, next you keep up by
Dead Man's Lane, and across Carver's Field, and that will bring you
about a quarter of the distance."

"Why, you scoundrel!" exclaimed the lieutenant, who recognised the names
of these places, and knew them to be wide apart, "you impudent rogue,
you--why, you are laughing at me!"

"Oh, no, sir," answered Tom, demurely, pulling a lock which hung from
his bullet-shaped head, "couldn't think of laughing at you; besides,
sir, you knows one can't always make one's face as long as a
grave-digger's apprentice's."

"I'll make it long enough before I've done with you, Master Tom, let me
tell you," exclaimed the officer.  "Now let us see what are in those
other casks and bales."

"What, all them that your people have had the trouble of carrying up
here?" cried Tom.  "Lord! sir, the tubs, of course, is all full of salt
water, too, for Missis Grundy."

"We shall soon see that, my fine fellow," answered the officer, thinking
Tom had only told the tale to annoy him; but to make sure, seizing a
gimlet, with his own hands he broached tub after tub, his face
elongating as he proceeded, and the visions of his prize-money gradually
vanished from his eyes.  Tom and the other smugglers looking on all the
time with a derisive smile curling their lips, though prudence prevented
their saying any thing which might further exasperate the lieutenant.

At last, with an angry oath, he threw down the gimlet.  They one and all
contained nothing more potent than salt water.  He then, with eager
haste, anticipating disaster, tore open the bales.  They were composed
solely of straw and a little packing cloth.

"Them be life-buoys, sir," said Tom, quietly.  "We carries them now
always, by the recommendation of the Humane Society."

The smugglers now burst into fits of laughter at the rage and
disappointment of the outwitted officer, and even his own men could
scarcely restrain their tittering at his extravagances.  There was,
however, not a shadow of excuse for detaining the smugglers.  They had a
full right to land empty tubs and life-buoys at any hour of the night,
and they had not offered the slightest resistance when captured by the
coast-guard.  In fact, as Tom expressed it while narrating his
adventures with high glee to Joe Buntin, they "fairly did the revenue."

The next morning, the "Pretty Polly" appeared beating up towards
Fairport, and before noon she was at her moorings, and Joe was
exhibiting a variety of pretty presents to the delighted eyes of Miss
Margaret Ramrod.  Rumours were not long in reaching her ears that one of
the largest runs which had been known for ages had been made on the
coast at some little distance from Fairport, the very night Lieutenant
Hogson seized the tubs of salt water; and Joe confessed that he had only
one more trip to make before he settled for life.

We need not detail the events of the next few days in the quiet town of
Fairport.  Those we have narrated served for conversation to the good
people for full nine days, and during that time poor Mr Hogson never
once ventured to show his face inside the castle-walls, for he had a
strong suspicion, though an unjust one, that pretty Mistress Margaret
had something to do with his disappointment.  For her credit, however,
we are certain that she was innocent of any intentional falsehood.  Joe
suspected that Mr Hogson would attempt to pump her; so, as we have seen
the contents of a bucket of water thrown down a ship's pump to make it
suck, Joe took care that the lieutenant should get something for his
pains, by telling the young lady to answer, if she was asked, that she
had heard him say that he intended landing at--Bay.

For the three following weeks Joe Buntin contrived to spend several days
on shore in the society of Sergeant Ramrod's family, though the "Pretty
Polly" during that time made several trips down Channel, and was very
successful in falling in with some large East Indiamen, the pilotage
money of which was considerable; and besides that she landed several
rich passengers who paid well, so that Joe was rapidly becoming a
wealthy man.  He would have been wise to stick to his lawful and regular
calling; but there was so much excitement in smuggling, and the profits
of one trip were so much more than he could gain in several winters'
hard toil, that he could not resist the temptation.  Had he taken the
trouble of comparing himself with others, he would, we suspect, have
considered himself a more honest man than the railroad speculators of
the present day.

It was again the last quarter of the moon, and the nights were getting
dark, when the "Pretty Polly" once more left her moorings in Fairport
Harbour.  Now it must not be supposed that she ran over at once to the
coast of France, and taking in a cargo, returned as fast as she could to
England.  Joe was not so green as to do that.  He, on the contrary, as
before, cruised about the Channel till he had put two of his pilots on
board different vessels, and, to disarm suspicion, they took very good
care to present themselves at Fairport as soon after their return as
possible; and even Mr Hogson began to fear that there was very little
prospect of making prize-money by capturing the "Pretty Polly," or of
wreaking his vengeance on Joe.

As soon as the last ship into which he had put a pilot was out of sight,
Joe shaped his course for Cherbourg, where he found a cargo of tubs
ready for him, but he this time did not take any silks in his venture.
In a few hours he was again on his way across the Channel.  The weather
was very favourable.  Now some people would suppose that we mean to say
there was a clear sky, a smooth sea, and a gentle breeze.  Far from it.
It blew so fresh that it might almost be called half a gale of wind; the
clouds chased each other over the sky, and threatened to obscure even
the stars, which might shed a tell-tale light on the world, and there
was a heavy sea running; in truth, it gave every promise of being a
dirty night.  Nothing, however, in this sublunary world can be depended
upon except woman's love, and that is durable as adamant, true as the
pole-star, and unequalled.  The "Pretty Polly" was about fifteen miles
from the land, and Joe and Tom Figgit were congratulating themselves on
the favourable state of the weather, when the breeze began to fall and
veer about, and at last shifted round to about east-south-east.
Gradually the sea went down, the clouds cleared off, and the sun shone
forth from the blue sky bright and warm.

"Now this is what I call a do," exclaimed Tom Figgit, in a tone of
discontent.  "Who'd have thought it?  Here were we expecting the finest
night Heaven ever made for a run at this time of the year, and now I
shouldn't be surprised that there won't be a cloud in the sky just as we
ought to be putting the things on shore."

"It can't be helped, Tom," answered Joe; "our good-luck has not done
with us yet, depend on it."

"I wish I was sure of it," replied Tom, who was in a desponding mood;--
he had taken too much cognac the night before.  "Remember the story
about the pitcher going too often to the well getting a cracked nose.
Now, captain, if I was you I'd just 'bout ship and run back to Cherbourg
till the weather thickens again.  We should lay our course."

"Gammon, Tom.  What's the matter with you?" exclaimed Joe.  "One would
suppose that you had been and borrowed one of your wife's petticoats,
and was going to turn old woman."

"You know, captain, that I've very little of an old woman about me, and
that it's for you I'm afeared more than for myself," replied Tom, in a
reproachful tone.  "A year in jail and the loss of a few pounds is the
worst that could happen to me, while you would lose the vessel and
cargo, and something else you lay more value on than either, I suspect."

"Well, well, old boy, we'll be guided by reason," said Joe.  "We won't
run any unnecessary risks, depend on it.  I'll just take a squint round
with the glass to make sure that no cruiser has crept up to us with this
shift of wind."

Saying this, Joe carefully swept the horizon with his telescope, but for
some time it rested on nothing but the dancing sea and the distant land.
At last, however, his eye caught a glimpse of what, to him, appeared a
very suspicious-looking sail dead to windward.

"What do you make her out to be?" he asked, handing the glass to Tom
Figgit, and pointing towards the sail, which appeared no bigger than a
sea-gull's wing gleaming in the rays of the sun.  Tom took a long look
at her.

"She's a big cutter, and no mistake," he answered, still keeping his eye
to the tube.  "And what's more, she's standing this way, and coming up
hand over hand with a fresh breeze.  I don't like the cut of her jib."

"Let's have another squint at her," said Joe, taking the glass from the
mate's hand: then letting it come down suddenly, and giving a slap on
his thigh, he exclaimed, "You are right, Tom, by George; and what's
more, if I don't mistake by the way her gaff-topsail stands, she's the
`Ranger' cutter which we gave the go-by in the winter, and they've vowed
vengeance against us ever since."

Davis and Calloway then gave their opinion, which coincided with the
rest, nor did there appear to be any doubt that the approaching vessel
was the "Ranger."

The wind, as we said, had fallen, but there was still a considerable
swell, the effects of the past gale, which made the little vessel pitch
and tumble about, and considerably retarded her progress.  Joe now
scanned his own sails thoroughly to see that they drew well, and then
glanced his eye over the side of the cutter to judge how fast she was
going through the water.  He was far from satisfied with the result of
his observations.

"It won't do," he remarked; "we must be up slick, and run for it, or
she'll be overhauling us before dark.  If we was blessed with the breeze
she's got, we wouldn't mind her.  Rig out the square-sail boom, bend on
the square-sail.  Come, bear a hand my hearties, be quick about it.
None of us have much fancy for a twelvemonth in Winchester jail, I
suppose.  That'll do; now hoist away."

And himself setting an example of activity, the helm being put up, the
main-sheet was eased off, a large square-sail set, and the cutter, dead
before the wind, was running away from her supposed enemy.  The
square-topsail was next hoisted, and every stitch of canvas she could
carry was clapped on, and under the influence of the returning breeze,
the "Pretty Polly" danced merrily over the waters, though not at all
approaching to the speed her impatient crew desired.  Tom Figgit shook
his head.

"I thought it would be so," he muttered.  "I knowed it when I seed the
wind dropping.  Well, if it weren't for Joe, and to see that blowed
coastguarder, Hogson, a-grinning at us, and rubbing his paws with
delight, I shouldn't care.  If we might fight for it it would be a
different thing, but to be caught like mice by a cat, without a squeak
for life, is very aggrawating, every one must allow."

Tom had some reason for his melancholy forebodings, for the "Pretty
Polly" most certainly appeared to be out of luck.  Do all she could, the
"Ranger," bringing up a fresh breeze, gained rapidly on her.  The people
in the revenue-cruiser had evidently seen her soon after she saw them,
and, suspecting her character, had been using every exertion to come up
with her.  They had, in fact, long been on the watch for her, and
quickly recognised her as their old friend.  The smugglers walked the
deck, vainly whistling for a wind, but, though they all whistled in
concert, the partial breeze refused to swell their sails till it had
filled those of their enemy.  Nothing they could do, either wetting
their sails, or altering her trim by shifting the cargo, would make the
"Pretty Polly" go along faster.  One great object was to retain a
considerable distance from her till darkness covered the face of the
deep, when they might hope more easily to make their escape.

As the sun went down the heavens grew most provokingly clear, and the
stars shone forth from the pure sky, so that the smugglers saw and were
seen by the revenue-cutter, and the character of the "Pretty Polly" was
too well-known by every cruiser on the station to allow her to hope to
escape unquestioned.  Still Joe boldly held on his course.  He never
withdrew his eye from his pursuer, in order to be ready to take
advantage of the slightest change in her proceedings, but he soon saw
that he must make the best use of his heels and his wits, or lose his
cargo.  Poor Joe, he thought of his charming Margaret, he thought of his
good resolutions, he thought of Tom's evil prognostications, but he was
not a fellow to be daunted at trifles, and he still trusted that
something in the chapter of accidents would turn up to enable him to
escape.

The breeze at last came up with the "Pretty Polly," but at the same time
the "Ranger" drew still nearer.  All their means of expediting her
movements had been exhausted, every inch of canvas she could carry was
spread aloft, and even below the main-boom and square-sail-boom water
sails had been extended, so that the craft looked like a large sea-bird,
with a small black body, skimming, with outspread wings, along the
surface of the deep.  The land, at no great distance, laid broad on
their beam to the starboard.  With anger and vexation they saw that all
their efforts to save their cargo would probably be fruitless.

"It can't be helped, my lads," cried Joe; "better luck next time.  In
with all that light canvas.  Be smart about it, stand by the square-sail
halliards--lower away; hoist the foresail again; down with the helm,
Bill, while we get a pull at the main-sheet.  We must run into shoal
water and sink the tubs.  It will come to that, I see."

As Joe said, there was no time to lose, for the revenue-cruiser was now
a little more than a mile distant, looming large in the fast-increasing
obscurity of night.  There promised, however, to be too much light
during the night for them to hope to elude the sharp and practised eyes
of her lookouts.  While the smuggler, with the wind nearly abeam, was
running in for the land, her crew were busily employed in getting the
tubs on deck, and slinging them in long lines together, with heavy
weights attached, over the side, so as to be able, by cutting a single
lanyard, to let them all sink at once.  No sooner did they alter their
course than their pursuer did the same.  They had, at all events, gained
the important advantage of escaping being overhauled in daylight.  They
now stood steadily on till they got within a quarter of a mile of the
land, the revenue-cutter not having gained materially on them.  By this
time every tub was either on deck or over the side.

"Starboard the helm a little, Tom--steady now!" sung out Joe; "we'll
have the marks on directly; I can just make out Pucknose Knoll and
Farleigh church steeple.  Now mind, when I sing out cut, cut all of
you."

It was not without some difficulty that the points he mentioned could be
distinguished, and none but eyes long accustomed to peer through
darkness could have seen objects on the shore at all.  His aim was to
bring certain marks on the shore in two lines to bisect each other, at
which point the tubs were to be sunk, thus enabling him to find them
again at a future day.

"Starboard again a little, Tom--steady now--that will do--luff you may,
luff--I have it.  Cut now, my hearties, cut!" he exclaimed, and the next
moment a heavy splash told that all the tubs slung outside had been cut
away, and sunk to the bottom.  "Stand by to heave the rest overboard,"
he continued, and a minute afterwards, with fresh bearings, the
remainder of the cargo was committed to the deep.  "Now let's haul up
for Fairport, and get home to comfort our wives and sweethearts.  Better
luck next time."

With this philosophical observation, Joe buttoned up his pea-jacket, and
twisted his red comforter round his neck, determined to make himself
comfortable, and to bear his loss like a man.  By the "Pretty Polly's"
change of course she soon drew near the "Ranger," when a shot from one
of the guns of the latter came flying over her masthead.  On this
significant notice that the cruiser wished to speak to her, Joe, not
being anxious for a repetition of the message, let fly his jib-sheet,
and his cutter coming round on the other tack, he kept his foresail to
windward and his helm down, thus remaining almost stationary.  A boat
soon pulled alongside with the mate of the cruiser, who, with his crew,
each carrying a lantern, overhauled every part of the vessel's hold, but
not even a drop of brandy was to be found, nor a quid of tobacco.

"Sorry, sir, you've taken all this trouble," said Joe, touching his hat
to the officer.  "I thought, sir, you know'd we was a temp'rance
vessel."

It was diamond cut diamond.  The officer looked at Joe, and burst out
laughing, though disappointed at not making a seizure.

"Tell that to the marines, Mister Buntin," he answered.  "If you hadn't,
half an hour ago, enough spirits on board to make the whole ship's
company of a line-of-battle ship as drunk as fiddlers, I'm a Dutchman."

"I can't help, sir, what you thinks," replied Joe, humbly; "but I
suppose you won't detain us?  We wants to get to Fairport to-night, to
drink tea with our wives and nurse our babies."

"You may go, my fine fellow, and we will bring in your tubs in the
morning," answered the mate, as he stepped into his boat.

"Thank ye, sir," said Joe, making a polite bow, but looking very much
inclined to expedite his departure with a kick, but discretion withheld
him.

"Let draw!" he sang out in a voice which showed the true state of his
feelings, beneath his assumed composure; "now about with her."

In a short time after, the "Pretty Polly" was safely moored in Fairport
River.

The next morning at daybreak, the "Ranger" was seen hovering in rather
dangerous proximity to the spot where the tubs had been sunk.  She was
then observed to get her dredges out, and to be groping evidently for
the hidden treasures.  In the course of the day, Joe and his crew had
the mortification to see her come into the harbour with the greater part
of their cargo on board.  Of course they all looked as innocent as if
none of them had ever before seen a tub, for there was nothing to betray
them, though it was not pleasant to see their property in the hands of
others.  The revenue-cutter then hauling alongside the quay, sent all
the tubs she had on board up to the castle, where they were shut up
securely while she went back to grope for more.

Joe watched all these proceedings with apparently calm indifference,
walking up and down all the time on the quay, with a short pipe in his
mouth, and his hands in his pockets.  No sooner, however, had darkness
set in, than he and his companions might have been seen consulting
earnestly together, and going round to the most trustworthy of their
acquaintance.  What was the subject of their consultations may hereafter
be guessed at.  Their plans, whatever they were, were soon matured, and
then Joe repaired to pay his accustomed visit to Sergeant Ramrod and his
grand-daughter.

Joe Buntin was, as I have hinted, not the only lover Margaret Ramrod
possessed, which was, of course, no fault of hers.  One of them, for
there might have been half-a-dozen at least, was James Lawson, a
coast-guard man, belonging to Fairport; and if he was aware that he was
a rival of his superior officer it did not afflict him.  As it happened,
he was stationed at the castle to guard the tubs which had been captured
in the morning.  Having seen that every thing was safe, he soon grew
tired of watching on the top of the castle, for it was a dark, cold
night, with a thick, driving rain, and a high wind, so he persuaded
himself that there could be no harm looking into Sergeant Ramrod's snug
room, lighted up by pretty Margaret's bright eyes, and warmed by a
blazing fire.  The sergeant welcomed him cordially, and Margaret mixed
him a glass of hot brandy and water, while discussing which, a knock was
heard at the castle-gate, on which Mistress Margaret, throwing her apron
over her head, ran out to admit the visitors.  She was absent a minute
or more; probably she had some difficulty in again closing the gates on
so windy a night: at last she returned, followed by no less a person
than Joe Buntin, and his shadow, Tom Figgit.

A smile stole over Margaret's pretty mouth as she watched Joe, who
looked as fierce as he could at Lawson, and by Ramrod's invitation, sat
himself down directly opposite the revenue-man.  Lawson was not to be
stared out of countenance, so, notwithstanding Joe's angry glances, he
firmly kept his post.  Tom Figgit quietly sipped his grog, eyeing Lawson
all the time much in the way that a cat does a mouse she is going to
devour, so that at last the revenue-man, feeling himself rather
uncomfortable, he scarcely knew why, helped himself thoughtlessly to
another stiff glass.  Joe laughed and talked for all the party, and told
several capital stories, contriving in the interval to whisper a word
into Margaret's ear, at which she looked down and laughed slyly.  She
was soon afterwards seen filling up the coast-guard man's glass, only by
mistake she poured in Hollands instead of water.  The error was not
discovered, and Lawson became not only very sagacious, but brave in the
extreme.  After some time he recollected that it was his duty to keep a
look-out from the top of the castle, and accordingly rose to resume his
post.  Joe on this jumped up also, and wishing the old couple and their
grand-daughter good-night, took his departure, followed by Tom; Sergeant
Ramrod and Lawson closing the gates securely behind them.

No sooner were Joe and his mate outside the walls than they darted down
a small alley which led to the water, and at a little sheltered slip
they found a boat, with a coil of rope and some blocks stowed away in
the stern-sheets.  Joe, giving a peculiarly low whistle, two other men
appeared crawling from under a boat, which had been turned with the keel
uppermost on the beach, and then all four jumping in, pulled round
underneath the castle-wall to a nook, where they could not be observed
from the quay even in the daytime.

It was, as we have mentioned, blowing and raining, and as dark as pitch,
so that our friends had no reason to complain of the weather.  After
feeling about for some time, Joe discovered a small double line, to
which he fastened one of the stouter ropes, and hauling away on one end
of it, brought it back again into the boat.  Who had rove the small line
we cannot say, but we fear that there was a little traitor in the
garrison; perhaps Joe or Tom had contrived to do it before they entered
the sergeant's sitting-room.

"Hold on fast," Joe whispered to his comrades; "I'll be up in a moment."
Saying this, he climbed up the rope, and soon had his face flush with
the summit of the castle-walls.  Looking round cautiously, he observed
no one, so he climbed over the parapet, and advanced across the platform
to the top of a flight of steps which communicated with the lower part
of the building.  He looked over the railing, but his eyes could not
pierce the gloom, so he descended the steps, and had the satisfaction to
find Lawson fast asleep at the bottom of them, sheltered from the rain
by one of the arches.  "All's right: he won't give us much trouble, at
all events," he muttered to himself; and returning to the parapet he
summoned his companions.  Two other boats had now joined the first, and,
one after the other, twelve smugglers scaled the walls.  Others were, it
must be understood, watching at various points in the neighbourhood, to
give the earliest notice of the approach of the coast-guard.  Joe
stationed two men by the side of Lawson to bind and gag him if he awoke,
which he was not likely to do, while the rest proceeded with their work.

They soon contrived to break open the door of the store, opening from
the platform, where the tubs had been deposited; then each man, carrying
one at a time, like ants at their work, they transported them to the
parapet of the castle-wall.  From thence, with great rapidity, they were
lowered into the boats, and then conveyed round to the foot of a garden
belonging to an uninhabited house, which, of course, had the character
of being haunted by spirits.  Joe and his friends worked with a will, as
much delighted with the thought of doing the revenue as at recovering
their property.

The greater number had been thus secured when the rain ceased, and the
clouds driving away, the smugglers were afraid of being seen by their
opponents.  They therefore secured the door of the nearly empty store,
and all descending, unrove the rope from the breech of the gun to which
it had been fastened, so as to leave no trace of their proceedings.

The next morning Lawson, on recovering from his tipsy slumbers, seeing
the door closed, reported that all was right.  Mr Hogson was the first
person to make the discovery that all was wrong, and his astonishment
and rage may be more easily imagined than described.  Nearly every tub
of the rich prize had disappeared; and the lieutenant swore he was
certain that wicked little vixen, Margaret Ramrod, had something to do
with it.

Neither Sergeant Ramrod nor Lawson could in any way account for it; and
as it would have been a subject of mirth to all their brother-officers,
who would not have shared in the prize, the authorities of Fairport
thought it wiser not to say much on the subject.  Several persons were
suspected of having had a hand in the transaction; but the smugglers
were known to be too true to each other to afford the remotest chance of
discovering the culprits.

Soon after this Joe Buntin married Margaret Ramrod; and, wonderful to
relate, forswore smuggling ever after.  Whether her persuasions, or from
finding it no longer profitable, had most influence, is not known; at
all events, he is now one of the most successful and active pilots
belonging to Fairport, and though he does not mention names, he is very
fond, among other stories, of telling how a certain friend of his did
the revenue.

As soon as old Sleet had finished his story, which was much more
effective when told by him than as it now stands written down by me, he
scraped his right foot back, made a swing with his hat, and was rolling
forward, when Hearty cried out, "Stop, stop, old friend, your lips want
moistening after that long yarn, I'm sure.  What will you have,
champagne, or claret, or sherry, or brandy, or rum, or--"

The honest seaman grinned from ear to ear.

"Grog," he answered, emphatically.  "There's nothing like that to my
mind, Mr Hearty.  It's better nor all your French washes put together."

Due praise was bestowed on Joe Buntin's history, but he evidently
thought the extra glass of grog he had won of far more value.

"Health to you, gentlemen and ladies all, and may this sweet craft never
want a master nor a mistress either," he rapped out; then fearing he had
said something against propriety, he rolled away to join his messmates
forward.



CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR.

THE POLACCA-BRIG AGAIN--THE "ZEBRA" IN CHASE--REFLECTIONS ON AFRICA AND
THE SLAVE-TRADE.

It was now time for the officers of the "Zebra" to return on board their
ship.  Another night and day passed away much in the same manner as its
predecessors.  All this time we were edging over to the African coast.
Miss Mizen was rapidly recovering her strength, indeed she could no
longer be declared an invalid, and it was very evident that a sea-life
perfectly agreed with her.

Though I missed Bubble's fun and anecdotes, and his merry laugh and
good-natured visage, I must confess that I much enjoyed the society of
the two ladies.  Mrs Mizen was a kind-hearted, right-minded,
good-natured, sensible, motherly woman, without a particle of
affectation or nonsense of any sort.  She had seen a good deal of the
world, and of the people in it, and could talk well of what she had
seen.  Under present circumstances, indeed, I preferred her, as a
companion, to her daughter.  Barring the difference of age, they were
very like each other.  Miss Mizen also treated me with the utmost
frankness and kindness as the friend of her intended husband, and I
often enjoyed a pleasant conversation with her, though, of course, it
more frequently fell to my share to entertain her mother.

While the fine weather lasted, the life we led was excessively pleasant;
but as winter was now rapidly approaching, we knew that we must look out
for squalls and heavy seas.  We had, as I before remarked, been making
our way to the westward along the African coast, now making the land,
and then standing off again at night-time.

One morning when daylight broke, we found ourselves rather in-shore of
the brig.  As I came on deck to relieve Porpoise, I saw her signalising.
We got the signal-book.

"What is Rullock talking about?" asked my brother-officer, as I was
looking over the leaves of Harriot's well-known work.

"A suspicious sail to the north-west.  Stay where you are.  I shall
chase, but be back by nightfall," said I; on which Porpoise ordered the
answering signal to be hoisted.

The brig now crowded all sail, but as she kept away I saw that the
bunting was again at work.

"If we do not appear by noon to-morrow, return to Malta," said I,
interpreting the flags.  "And so our pleasant cruise will be up: but all
things pleasant must come to an end.  I wish it could have lasted
longer."

"Well, Porpoise, what do you make of the stranger he is after?"

"By--that she is no other than our friend the Greek polacca-brig," he
exclaimed, almost letting his glass fall from aloft, where he had gone
to get a look of the vessel the brig was chasing.  "I have a great mind
to rouse Hearty up, and get him to disobey orders, and go in chase of
her also.  I don't like the thoughts of the pirate being captured
without our being present."

"Remember that we have ladies on board, and I don't think Hearty will be
inclined to run the risk of carrying away our spars or mast for any such
gratification," I remarked.  "He'll be for obedience in this case,
depend on it."

"That's the worst of having ladies on board," answered Porpoise with a
sigh.  "But, I say, they have been rather more alive on board the brig
than I should have given them credit for.  How could they have suspected
that the polacca out there was our friend?"

"You forget that Will Bubble is on board, and probably he was on deck,
and aloft, indeed, at sunrise, and made out the Greek," I answered, not
that I considered that there was any want of strict discipline or
sufficient alertness kept on board the brig, though the crew were any
thing but first-rate specimens of men-of-war's men.

By the by, that reminds me that I should like to say a few words about
manning the navy.  But I won't, though, simply because the subject is
just here somewhat out of place.  We are off the northern coast of
Africa in a yacht with some ladies on board, and they might be bored,
and we have to watch the proceedings of the brig-of-war and the vessel
of which she is in chase.  Only I would strongly urge any members of
parliament, or other law-makers, or persons of influence, whose eyes may
glance over these pages to think, and talk, and _do_ very seriously
about the matter.  It will not bear letting alone or sleeping over.
Something must be done, and at once.  I've known ships-of-war go to sea
with not a quarter of the men seamen--because seamen were not to be got.
How would it fare with us had we to engage in a downright earnest naval
war?  Our men, it will be answered, will fight like Britons; so they
will, I doubt not, but is it just to oppose landsmen to the well-trained
seamen of other nations?  Is it just to the able seamen to make them do
the work which should be shared by others?  But now we will again look
after the brig-of-war and the chase.

The polacca, as soon as she saw that the British man-of-war was in
pursuit of her, made all sail to the northward and westward.  Old
Rullock was evidently determined that she should not escape from any
neglect on his part of carrying enough sail.  Royals and studding-sails
were quickly set, and under a wide spread of snow-white canvas away
stood the "Zebra," leaving us jogging slowly on, with the purpose of
returning to the spot whence we started.  Hearty's surprise, as may be
supposed, was very considerable, and so was that of his lady guests,
when they found that the brig had run away from us.

"However, Mrs Mizen, I suppose we must obey orders, must we not?" said
he, with a shrug of his shoulders.  "If you do not blame Captain Rullock
for his treachery, I am sure that I do not, since he has left with me
hostages of so much value for his safe return."

Mrs Mizen and her daughter seemed to think the affair a very good joke,
only they could not understand why the cutter should not go in chase of
the polacca as well as the brig-of-war.

"Perhaps the captain wishes to have all the honour of capturing the
pirate by himself without our assistance," observed Porpoise; "I suppose
the fellow will show fight should he come up with him."

"No fear of that," I remarked.  "The truth is, I suspect, that Captain
Rullock feared, that had he allowed the yacht to proceed in chase of the
pirate, we might have come up with her before he could, and had to bear
the brunt of the action.  He probably would not have cared very much
about that, had there been only four yachting gentlemen on board to be
shot at, but the case was very different when his sister and niece might
be placed in danger."

"He did very right.  There can be no dispute about it," said Hearty.
"We must bear our disappointment like men, and during breakfast we will
consider what amusement we can afford our guests, to recompense them for
the absence of the brig in the landscape--or rather seascape we ought to
call it--for little enough of the land have we had this cruise."

We had a great deal of amusing conversation during breakfast.  It is a
pleasant meal everywhere, if people are well and in spirits, and nowhere
is it more pleasant than at sea under the same provisions.

"What do you say to a look at the African coast, Mrs Mizen?" exclaimed
Hearty.  "We could get there very soon--could we not, Porpoise?"

"We should be well in with the land, so as to have a good view of it
before the evening, and if the wind holds, we might be back here before
the brig-of-war returns to look for us," was the answer.

"Capital; then let us stand in there at once," said Hearty.  "It is a
fine, mountainous, bold coast, very picturesque.  You will have your
sketching things ready, I hope," he added, looking at Miss Mizen.  He
had not learnt to call her Laura when any one else was present.

Miss Mizen said she would get her drawing-board and colour-box ready,
and Porpoise went on deck to put the cutter's head to the southward.  A
steady breeze from the south-west enabled us to stand in for the land
close-hauled.  As we rapidly approached it, the mountains, with their
lofty peaks and wooded sides, seemed to rise out of the water like the
scene at a theatre, till the lower lands at their base--rocky,
undulating heights, and even the seashore--became clearly visible.

"How very different is this scenery from the common notion of Africa!"
said Miss Mizen, as, with Hearty's help, she was arranging her
sketching-board, to make a view of the coast.  "I have hitherto always
pictured it to myself as a country of arid sands and dense jungle."

"You'd find jungle enough and sand enough in many parts, Miss Mizen,
where I have been," observed Porpoise.  "But both in the north and south
there are districts which will vie in fertility with most in the world.
Just think of Egypt; what an abundance of corn does that produce!  All
along this north coast are many fertile districts: so there are on the
west coast, only it is rather too hot there to be pleasant; and then at
the Cape and Natal are to be found spots rich in various productions."

"You draw a glowing picture of the country, Mr Porpoise," observed Mrs
Mizen.

"I do, ma'am, because the country deserves it," he answered.  "The world
owes a great deal to Africa, and I should like to see every possible
attempt made to repay it by continued and strenuous efforts for the
civilisation of her people.  The work is a very great one, there is no
doubt about that, and a few feeble and isolated efforts will not
accomplish it.  The merchant princes of England must take the matter up,
and send out several expeditions at the same time.  The officers should
be experienced, energetic men, the vessels well supplied with
merchandise, and well-armed to protect it.  But what can we hope for
while the abominable slave-trade still flourishes?  England is doing her
best to put it down, but she is but ill supported by other nations.
America, with all her boasting about freedom, protects and encourages
those engaged in it; while France, professing to be the most civilised
and liberal of countries, does the same.  Spain and Portugal only
occasionally pretend to interfere with a very bad grace, and secretly
aid and abet the wretches carrying it on under their flag.  I say, at
any cost and at every cost, England must put it down.  No matter if she
goes to war with all the world to do so.  It will be a glorious war for
the most holy cause, and honest men will be able to pray with sincerity
and faith, that heaven will protect her in it."

"I am very glad to hear you speak so, Mr Porpoise," said Mrs Mizen; "I
will answer for it, that no war would be so popular among the women of
England as a war against slavery and the slave-trade.  No one worthy of
the name of an Englishwoman would refuse to sell her jewels and every
thing of value to support it."

"That's the spirit that will put it down, ma'am," exclaimed Porpoise,
enthusiastically.  "When we sailors know that we have the prayers and
good wishes of the ladies of England with us, we should very soon sweep
all our enemies from the seas."

The rest of the party responded in most respects to these sentiments.
Hearty suggested that much might be hoped for from a wise and firm
diplomacy, and by calmly waiting the course of events.

"No, no," answered Porpoise.  "That's what the people in parliament say,
when they want to shelve a question.  Do nothing, and let affairs take
their own course.  It's a very easy way of doing nothing, but that is
not like you, Mr Hearty.  You would manage the matter in a very
different way, I'm sure, if it was left to you."

"I should be very much puzzled if the question were left for me to
decide it," said Hearty.  "What do you think I should do?"

"Oh, I will soon tell you what you would do," replied Porpoise.  "Why,
you would look out for all the energetic, dashing officers you could
find, and send them to the coast in command of as many fast steamers,
and other small craft, with orders to overhaul every suspicious sail
they could find on the coast.  Then you would have a whacking big fleet
in the Channel, and several others in different parts of the world.  You
would not forget to keep your coast defences in good order, and to have
a compact well-disciplined army on shore, and a numerous trained
militia, ready to call out at a moment's notice.  That's what you and
every other sensible man would do, Mr Hearty, and then I think we need
have no fear that any one would causelessly attempt to molest us, or
that we should be unable to make other nations keep their treaties with
us."

"Bravo, Porpoise, bravo!" cried Hearty.  "I wish that you were Prime
Minister, or First Lord of the Admiralty, or Dictator, or something of
that sort for a short time.  I doubt not but that you would get things
in prime order in a very short time."

While this conversation was going on, we were rapidly drawing in with
the coast.  Miss Mizen made two or three very masterly sketches, though
the blue sea and water filled up the larger portion of the paper.  The
less there is in a subject the more does it exhibit a master's talent if
the picture is interesting.

A fresh breeze had been blowing all day, but towards evening the wind
fell, and the cutter lay floating idly on the water.  We were assembled
after dinner as usual on deck, laughing, talking, yarn-spinning, and
occasionally reading aloud, enjoying the moments to the full, and little
dreaming of what a few short hours were to bring forth.

Evening was about to throw its dusky veil over the African shore.  The
idle flap of the mainsail showed us that there was a stark calm.  A fish
would occasionally leap out of the water, or the fin of some monster of
the deep might be seen as it swam by in pursuit of prey, or a sea-bird
would come swooping past to ascertain what strange craft had ventured
into its haunts, ere it winged its way back to its roosting-place for
the night, amid the crags of the neighbouring headland.

I was taking a turn on deck, when, as I looked over the side and
measured our distance from the land, it appeared to me that, although
the calm was so complete, we had considerably decreased our distance
from it.  Walking forward, I asked Snow if he had remarked any thing
particular.

"Why, yes, sir; I was just going to speak to you or Mr Porpoise, about
the matter," he answered.  "I've been watching the land for an hour or
more past, and it strikes me that there is a strong current, which sets
in-shore to the westward hereabouts; it's just the sort of thing, which,
if we hadn't found out in time, might have carried us much too close in
on a dark night to be pleasant; as it is, if a breeze doesn't spring up,
and we continue to drift in, we must just get the boats out and tow her
head off shore, so there'll be no great harm come of that."

"You are right," said I; "there's little doubt about it; I'll mention
the matter to Mr Porpoise, and he'll approve of what you propose.  But
I do not think there's any use in letting the ladies know, or they'll be
fancying all sorts of dreadful things--that they are going to be cast on
shore, or eaten up by lions, or murdered by savages.  I should not like
to give them any uneasiness which can be helped."

I watched the old man's countenance while I was speaking, to ascertain
what he really thought about the matter.  The truth was that I was not
quite satisfied myself with our position.  I had been along that coast
some years before, looking into several of the ports; and I remembered
that the Moors inhabiting the villages just above there, bore anything
but a good character.  I began to blame myself, when too late, for not
having thought of this before.  When the brig-of-war was with us, it
mattered little; for no pirates would have ventured to come out to
attack her: they would have known that she would have proved a dear
bargain, even if they could ultimately have taken her, and very little
value to them if taken, but with a yacht the case was different.  We
could not fail to appear a tempting prize, and easily won.  Had we,
however, been without ladies on board, we should, I expect, all have
enjoyed the fun of showing the rascals that they had caught a Tartar,
and am fully certain that we should have been able to render a good
account of them.

I remember that these ideas crossed my mind as I walked the deck,
waiting for an opportunity of speaking to Porpoise, who was still
engaged in conversation with Mrs Mizen; then I burst into a fit of
laughter at the thought of the ideal enemy I had so busily conjured up
to fight with.  Porpoise, who just then joined me, inquired the cause of
my merriment.

"It suddenly occurred to me that we were off a somewhat ill-famed part
of the coast, and I could not help fancying I saw half-a-dozen or more
piratical row-boats come stealing out from under the cliffs there, with
the intention of cutting our throats and rifling the vessel," I
answered; "but of course it is a mere fancy.  I never heard of an
English yacht being attacked by pirates hereabouts, and it would be
folly to make ourselves anxious about such a bugbear."

Now even while I was saying this I was not altogether satisfied in my
own mind about the matter.  If, as I before said, we had had only men on
board, we might have fought to the last, and could only then have been
killed; but should we be overpowered, the fate of the women committed to
our charge would be too horrible to contemplate.

"I'm glad that you think there is no cause for apprehension," said I to
Porpoise.  "Still it might be as well to keep a sharp look-out during
the night, and should a breeze spring up, to give the coast a more
respectful offing."

"I'll do that same," he answered.  "I feel no inclination to turn in
myself, so that should any of the natives of whom you are suspicious be
inclined to visit us, they may not find us altogether unprepared."

The ladies soon after this retired to their cabin; we only then had an
opportunity of mentioning the subject to Hearty.  He rather laughed at
the notion, but begged that he might be called when the fighting began.
After taking a few turns on deck, he also turned in, and Porpoise was
left in charge of the deck.  I, after a little time, went to my cabin;
it seemed too ridiculous to lose my night's rest for the sake of an
idea.  I had slept about a couple of hours, when I awoke by hearing the
sound of Porpoise's voice.  He was standing directly over my skylight,
which, on account of the heat of the weather, was kept off.

"Can you make any thing out, Snow?" he asked.

"I think I can now, sir.  It seems to me that there are four or five
dark spots on the water, just clear of the shadow of that headland in
there," was the answer.  "I can't just make out what they are for
certain."

I was on deck in a few seconds, with my night-glass at my eye pointed in
the direction indicated.

"What think you of their being row-boats?" said I.  "They look
wonderfully like them."

"I can't say that they are not," answered the old man.  "They may be
rocks just showing their heads above water.  But what, if they are
boats, can they be doing out there at this time of night?"

"Coming to pay us a visit, perhaps," I remarked.  "We really should be
prepared in case of accidents, Porpoise.  By timely preparations we
averted danger once before, when otherwise, in all probability, we
should have had our throats cut.  Do not let us be less wise on this
occasion."

"Certainly not," said Porpoise; "and as discretion is the better part of
valour, we will try and tow the cutter offshore.  It will prolong the
time till our visitors can overtake us, and will give us a better chance
of having a breeze spring up.  If we get that, we shall be able to laugh
at any number of such fellows.  They are only formidable when they can
find a vessel becalmed.  After all, I don't say that those are pirates,
and if it were not for the ladies on board, we would very quickly learn
the truth of the case."

The thorough John Bull spoke out in these remarks.  Porpoise did not at
all like the idea of flying from an enemy under any circumstances, and
as he had to do it, he wished to find every possible reason for so
doing.

"Turn the hands up and get the boats out, Snow; we'll see what towing
will do," he continued.  "You see that this current is setting us far
too much in-shore, and, at all events, it is necessary to get a better
offing before daybreak, lest no breeze should spring up in the morning
to carry us back to the spot where Rullock was to find us."

Three boats were got into the water and manned forthwith; Porpoise,
Hearty, Snow, and I, being the only people remaining on board.  The
crews gave way with a will, and the cutter soon began to slip through
the water.  She went along, probably, faster than the current was
carrying her in an opposite direction.  These arrangements being made, I
took another scrutiny of the suspicious objects under the land.  I had
no longer any doubt in my mind that they were boats, and that they were
pulling out to sea towards us.  It was now time to call up Hearty.  We
had seen no necessity before this of making him unnecessarily anxious,
and the noise of lowering the boats had not roused him; indeed, he would
have slept through a hurricane, or while a dozen broadsides were being
fired, I verily believe, if not called.  He was brisk enough, however,
when once roused up.  As I expected, he was very anxious at the state of
affairs.

"We were thoughtless and unwise to stand in so close to this shore," he
remarked.  "Brine, my friend, we must sink the cutter or blow her up
rather than yield to those villains!"

He spoke with much emotion, and I could sincerely enter into his
feelings.  He did not utter a word of complaint against Porpoise or me,
though I think he might have had some reason in blaming us for allowing
the cutter to get into her present condition.  He paced the deck with
hurried steps, looking every now and then anxiously through the glass
towards the objects we had observed, and then he would hail the boats.

"Give way, my lads--give way!" he shouted; "if any one knocks up, I'll
take his place."

Again he looked through his glass.

"Can they be rocks?" he exclaimed.  "I seen no alteration in their
appearance."

"I do, though, I am sorry to say," I answered.  "They have got
considerably more out of the shade of the land since I first saw them."

This became very evident after some time; nor could Hearty any longer
doubt the fact.  I counted five of them, largish boats (I suspected),
each pulling some twenty oars or more, probably double-banked.  Very
likely each boat carried not much fewer than sixty men--fearful odds for
the "Frolic" to contend with.  The "Zebra" would not have found them
altogether contemptible antagonists, if, as I said, my suspicions were
correct as to their size.  Still, I hoped that I might be mistaken; we
could not be certain as to their object.  They might be mere
fishing-boats magnified by the obscurity, or coasters which had pulled
out in the expectation of getting a breeze in the morning to carry them
alongshore, or to get into some current which might set in the direction
in which they wished to go.  All these ideas I suggested to Hearty;
still my original notion outweighed all others in my mind.  Indeed I
have always found it wisest to take the point of view which requires the
most caution; precautions can, at the worst, only give a little trouble;
the neglect of them may bring ruin and misery.  On this principle I was
most anxious to get as far as possible from the shore.  No one was idle.
Happily the ladies slept on, so that we had not the additional pain at
feeling that they were left in a state of anxiety.  Porpoise took the
helm; Snow went forward to direct the boats how to pull; while Hearty
and I busied ourselves in getting out the arms, arranging the
ammunition, loading the guns, and muskets, and pistols; indeed, in
making every preparation for a desperate struggle.  The boats came on
very warily.  I suspected that we had been seen in the afternoon from
the shore, and that as we appeared a tempting prize, the expedition had
been planned to capture us.

"A very short time longer will settle the question," said I to Hearty.
"We must endeavour to keep them at a respectful distance as long as we
can; should they once get alongside they would overpower us with their
numbers.  Happily these sort of gentry are as great cowards as they are
scoundrels, and a firm front is certain to make them consider whether
the profit is likely to be worth the risk of a battle."

I have gone through a good many anxious moments in the course of my
life, but never did I feel more apprehension for the result of an
adventure than I did for that in which we were at present engaged.  A
waning moon had now risen, and showed us very clearly the number and
character of the strangers--whether friends or foes was hereafter to be
decided.  Another look at them through my night-glass showed me that
they were large boats, as I had suspected, and full of men.

"There is little use in making any farther efforts to escape," said I to
Hearty; "I would hoist in the boats and serve out some grog to the men.
They want something after their exertions, though they do not require
Dutch courage to defend the ship."

Porpoise agreed to my suggestions; they were immediately put into
execution.  The men threw off their grog as coolly as if they had been
about to sail a match at a regatta, instead being about to engage in
deadly fight.

"Here's to your health, Mr Hearty, and gentlemen all, and may we just
give those scoundrels out there a thorough good drubbing if they attempt
to attack us," quoth Snow, in the name of his shipmates.

"Thank you--thank you, my men," answered Hearty; "you'll act like
true-hearted Englishmen, and what men can do you'll do, I know, to
protect the helpless women we have on board.  I won't make you a long
speech, you don't want that to rouse your courage, but I do ask you not
to yield while one man of us remains alive on deck."

"That's just what we are resolved to do, Mr Hearty; no fear, sir,"
answered all hands, and they would have cheered lustily, had I not
restrained them for two reasons: I was unwilling to awaken the ladies
sooner than was necessary, and also should the pirates have expected to
surprise us, it would be a great advantage if we, on the contrary,
should be able to surprise them.  I mentioned this latter idea to my
companions, and they immediately entered into it.  The Moors had been
too far off to allow them to perceive us hoisting in the boats, so they
could not tell but that we were all fast asleep on board.  Accordingly,
the guns were loaded up to the muzzle with langrage and musket-balls;
pistols and cutlasses were served out to the men, and it was encouraging
to see their pleased manner as they stuck the one into their belts, and
buckled the other round their waists.  Some had, in addition, muskets,
and a reserve of small-arms was placed amidships to be resorted to in
case of necessity.  The men then went and lay down so as to be
effectually concealed under the bulwarks: Porpoise and I only walked the
deck, as if we were the ordinary watch, and we agreed to pretend to be
looking seaward when the boats drew near, as if unconscious of their
approach.  Meantime Hearty went below to perform the painful task of
informing the ladies of our dangerous position.  He did it with his
usual tact.

"Mrs Mizen," I heard him say, "I must beg you and Miss Mizen to dress,
but not to come on deck.  We have got too close in-shore, and some
Moorish boats appear to be coming off to us; they may not mean to do us
any mischief, but it is as well to be prepared, and we do not intend to
allow them to come too near to us."

There was a short pause.  I heard no exclamations of surprise or
terror--no cries, or lamentations, or forebodings of evil, but Mrs
Mizen simply answered in a firm voice:--

"We trust, then, Mr Hearty, to you and your companions to defend us,
and may a merciful God give you strength to fight and beat off our
assailants!"

"That's a speech worthy of a true heroine," exclaimed Porpoise, who had
likewise overheard it.  "Just the thing to strengthen our nerves, and to
put true courage into us.  I trust, Mrs Mizen, we shall not be long in
beating off the pirates," he added, looking down the skylight; "do you,
in the mean time, keep snug below, and don't mind the uproar."

"Now, my lads, be ready; we mustn't let the blackguards get on board to
frighten the ladies, mind that.  When I give the word, be up and at
them."

Porpoise having thus delivered himself, in accordance with our plan,
pretended to be intently looking over the taffrail.  The row-boats were
all the time drawing disagreeably near, and I had no longer in my mind
any doubt as to their character and intention.  We, also, were anxiously
looking out for a breeze which might enable us to meet them at greater
advantage.  I took a glance at the compass; as I did so I felt a light
breeze fan my cheek; it came from the westward.  The cutter's head was
at that time tending in-shore, for as soon as the boats had been hoisted
in she had again lost all steerage-way, and had gradually gone round.
Again the puff of air came stronger, and she gathered sufficient
steerage-way to enable us to wear round just before the boats reached
us.  The pirates must have thought that we were very blind not to
perceive them.  Silently they pulled towards us in two columns: we let
them approach within a quarter of a cable's length.  Just as a tiger
springs on his prey, they pulled on rapidly towards us, evidently
expecting to catch us unprepared.

"Now, my lads, up and at them?" sung out Porpoise, in imitation of the
speech of a somewhat better-known hero.

Our jolly yachtsmen did not require a second summons.  Up they sprang to
their allotted duties.

"Steady!" added Porpoise, "take aim before you fire.  Those forward aim
at the headmost boats; let the after guns give account of those coming
up next astern.  Now give it them."

The orders were comprehended, and executed promptly and well.  Cries and
groans and shouts from the row-boats followed the simultaneous discharge
from our great-guns and small-arms.  The pirates ceased rowing, and a
second intervened before they fired in return, but their shot generally
flew wide of us, our unexpected commencement of the action having
evidently thrown them into not a little confusion.  For an instant it
occurred to me that we might have been too precipitate, and that perhaps
after all they might not have been pirates, but for some reason or other
had come off to us at that unseasonable hour.  It was therefore, in one
respect, a positive relief to me when they began to fire, and I
discovered their real character.  Still undaunted, on they came.
Before, however, they could get alongside, our people had time to load
again and fire; this time not a shot but took effect.  The Moors did not
relish the dose; some attempted to spring on board, but were driven back
by pike and cutlass into the sea, Hearty setting the example of activity
and courage by rushing here and there, cutting and thrusting and
slashing away, so that he did the work of half a dozen men.  Indeed I
may say the same without vanity of all on board, or we could not have
contended for a minute against the fearful odds opposed to us.  The low
deck of a yacht, it must be remembered, does not present the
difficulties to assailants which even a brig-of-war or an ordinary
high-sided merchantman is capable of doing.  Ours was literally a
hand-to-hand fight without the slightest protection, our slight bulwarks
alone separating us from our enemies when they once got alongside.
Happily the breeze increased, and giving us way through the water, the
Moorish boats having failed to hook on to us, we once more slipped
through them.  Some of the men in the bows continued firing at us, but a
little delay occurred before the rest could get out their oars to follow
the cutter.  The chiefs of each boat appeared to be holding a
consultation, and I only hoped that they would come to the decision that
the grapes were sour, or rather that the game was not worth the candle
to play it by, as the Frenchmen say, and give up the pursuit.  But they
were not so reasonable; they probably thought that if we fought so
desperately we had something on board worth fighting for; not
considering that our lives and liberties were of very much consequence,
and so they showed a resolution once more to attempt to overhaul us.
This hesitation was much to our advantage, as it enabled us once more to
load our guns up to the muzzle, and to take a steady aim as they came
up.  In all my fighting experience I have come to the conclusion that
there is no system equal to that of waiting for a good opportunity,
mustering all resources, and then, once having begun the attack, to
continue at the work without relaxing a moment till the day is won.  The
Moorish pirates did not follow this course.  At last came the tug of
war.  Their fury and thirst for vengeance was now added to their greed
for plunder, and the boats ranged up on either side of the little
"Frolic" with seemingly a full determination on the part of their crews
to overpower us at once.

"Steady, my good lads, steady!" shouted Porpoise.  "Remember, fire as
before, and then load again as fast as you can."

Off went our guns with good effect; while Hearty and I, and three or
four others, armed with muskets, blazed away with them, taking up one
after the other as fast as the steward could load them.  The report of
the guns must have been heard on shore, and far out to sea over that
calm water, while the bright flashes lighted up the midnight air.
Musket-balls and round-shot don't often fly about without doing some
damage; and while ours were telling pretty well among the thickly
crowded boats of the Moors, we were not altogether free from harm.  Two
of our people had been wounded.  One of them fell to the deck, and, from
the way the poor fellow groaned, I was much afraid that he was mortally
hurt.  I drew him close to the companion-hatch, that he might, in a
slight degree, be protected from further injury; but we were too hard
pressed to spare any one for a moment from the deck to take him below.
Hearty was passing close to me, when, by the flash of the guns, I saw
him a give a sudden, convulsive movement with his left arm.  I felt sure
he was hit.  I asked him.

"Oh, nothing, nothing," he answered.  "Don't say a word about it.  I can
fight away just as well as ever, and that is all I care about just now."

One of our chief efforts was to prevent the Moorish boats from hooking
on to us.  This they frequently attempted to do, and each time the
lashings they tried to secure were cut adrift.  I was indeed surprised
to find them so pertinacious in their attack, for a resolute resistance
at the commencement will generally compel those sort of gentry to give
up an enterprise, unless they are certain a great deal is to be gained
by it.

The breeze was now increasing, and old Snow stood at the helm, with his
left hand on the tiller, and his right hand wielding a cutlass, with
which, aided by another man, he kept at bay any of the Moors who
attempted to climb on board over the stern.  Still, so overmatched were
we by numbers, that I felt even then, in spite of our determined
resistance, that the result was very doubtful.  I almost sickened at the
thought; but I was very certain that, before such a sad consummation
should occur, not a man of us would be left alive on the deck.

"And then, should the day be evidently going against us, should no help
remain--not a shadow of hope--would it be right to blow up the vessel,
and preserve those innocent ones below from an ignominious slavery--from
a worse than death?"

"Impious man," responded a voice within me, "think not to rule the
providences of thy Creator.  Do not evil that good may come of it.  Who
can tell what means he has in store, even at the very last moment, to
preserve those whom, in his infinite wisdom, he has resolved to
preserve?"

I felt the frailty of human thoughts and human intentions, and banished
the terrible idea from my mind.  Still I could not feel but that our
case, to outward appearance, was very desperate.  Porpoise himself was
wounded, I found, though the pain he suffered did not allow him for a
moment to relax in his defence of the vessel.  His voice was heard
everywhere as loud and cheering as before, encouraging our crew to
persevere.

Once more the pirates drew off.

"Huzza, huzza!" shouted all hands; "they have had enough of it."

But no.

"Load your guns, load your guns?" shouted Porpoise.  "Don't trust to
them."

It was fortunate this was done.  With terrific cries and yells they for
a third time gave way towards us, completely hemming us in, so that some
boats going ahead almost stopped the vessel's way through the water.
Keeping up their hideous yells, firing their pistols, and flourishing
their scymitars, they flung themselves headlong on board.  Many were
driven back, but their places were speedily filled by others.  The
physical power of the cutter's crew, exerted so long to the utmost
stretch, was almost failing, when, far in the offing, to the northward,
the bright flash of a gun was seen, followed shortly afterwards by
another and another.  I pointed them out to Hearty.

"There's help coming, my lads!" he shouted.  "Never fear; but let's have
all the glory of the fight to ourselves, and drive these scoundrels off
before it arrives.  Huzza, huzza!  Back with them!  No quarter!  Cut
them down!  Drive them into the sea?"

All this time he was most completely suiting the action to his words.
At last some of the pirates saw the flashes.

The morning light was just breaking in the east, for the action had
endured far longer than it has taken to describe it.  They must have
suspected that they foreboded no good to them, and that the sooner they
were off the better.  Orders were shouted out by the chiefs.  Those who
could obeyed them, and, leaping back, the boats in a body shoved off
from us; but some unfortunate wretches were still clinging to our
bulwarks.  They fought as they clung with all the fanaticism of
Mohammedans; but our seamen made quick work of them, and in less than
two minutes not one was left alive.  The grey light of dawn showed us
the dark boats pulling in-shore, and as the sun arose its early beams
lighted up the canvas of a man-of-war brig, close-hauled, laying up
towards us.  Our people shouted lustily when they saw her; and Hearty,
forgetting his wound and his begrimed and war-stained appearance,
hurried below to assure his charges of their safety.  We quickly
recognised the "Zebra," and were not long in getting within hail of her,
when Rullock, accompanied by Bubble, came on board of us, to inquire
into the particulars of our adventure.

Old Rullock at first was somewhat inclined to be angry with us for
getting so close in-shore, and Will almost pulled his hair off in his
vexation that he had not been with us to share in the honours of the
fight and defence.

Our loss had been serious; the poor fellow who had been the first
wounded had died just before sunrise, and the surgeon of the brig
pronounced the other cases to be somewhat bad.  Porpoise's was a
flesh-wound--the advantage, as he observed, of being a fat man; but he
forgot that if he had not been fat he might not have been wounded at
all.  Hearty, though he made light of his hurt, was very much injured;
and the surgeon, with a somewhat significant look, advised him to get on
shore as fast as he could, and to get carefully nursed for a time.

"You'll have no great difficulty to get some one to nurse you," he
remarked.

I really believe that he did not think so badly of the case as he
pretended.  Be that as it may, we made the best of our way to Malta
Harbour, where we all took up our abode on shore, while the cutter was
undergoing some necessary repairs.  The brig also requiring repairs,
Rullock took lodgings, and in the most considerate way had Hearty
conveyed to them, and invited his sister and niece to stay with him--a
very indelicate proceeding, I dare say; but the jolly old sailor
observed, "Who was so fit to look after a wounded man as the girl he was
going to marry, and in whose defence he was wounded?  A fig for all such
rigmarole prudisms, say I."  As the parties concerned did not disagree
with him, so the matter was arranged to the satisfaction of everybody.



CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE.

THE BACHELORS AT SEA--THE IONIAN ISLANDS--RETURN TO MALTA--SAD NEWS--
HOMEWARD-BOUND--HORRIBLE SUSPICIONS--THE PIRATE'S HANDIWORK--A BURNING
SHIP--TRACES OF OUR FRIENDS--THE RESCUE--THE BACHELORS BECOME BENEDICTS,
AND THUS TERMINATES IN THE MOST SATISFACTORY MANNER IMAGINABLE THE
CRUISE OF THE "FROLIC."

It took nearly two months before Hearty recovered even partially from
his wound; and at the end of that time, the "Frolic" being ready for
sea, the surgeons insisted that to re-establish his health he must take
a trip away for a few weeks in her.  This proceeding became somewhat
more necessary, as the "Zebra" had been ordered off to the Levant, and
he could not well remain the guest of Mrs Mizen during Captain
Rullock's absence.  Among the lovely isles of Greece, then, it was
resolved we would take a cruise.  Both Carstairs and Bubble joined us:
the former, in his usual way, had been carrying on with Mrs Skyscraper;
but the widow had been unable to hook him firmly; indeed, as Bubble
observed, he was somewhat a big fish to haul on shore.  He, on his part,
also, could not tell whether the lady cared for him or not.  In my
opinion she did, but could not quite make up her mind to lose her
liberty.

Once more we five jolly bachelors were afloat together, on our passage
to Greece.  Hearty was in fair spirits.  The fresh air after the
confinement of a sick-room, raised them, in spite of himself; indeed,
considering that he was certain of Laura's affection, and hoped in a few
months to be united to her, though parted from her for a brief space, he
had no reason to be melancholy.  We had a fine run to the eastward.
What words can describe the picturesque beauties of Corfu and the
Albanian Coast--the classic associations of Athens and the varied forms
of the isles and islets scattered over the Aegean Sea!  Bubble and I
revelled in them; but it must be owned that Carstairs, and even Hearty,
thought more of the wild fowl and snipes and woodcocks to be shot in the
marshy valleys or thyme-covered heights, than of their pictorial
effects, or classic association.

Whenever we were at sea our people kept a very sharp look-out for
Sandgate's polacca-brig, in the hopes that she might be cruising in
those parts.  After, however, the various pranks he had played in the
Mediterranean, I suspected that he would have shifted the scene of his
exploits to some other part of the globe.

Greece and her islands, lovely and interesting as they are, have been so
often described by more graphic pens than mine, that I do not think my
readers would thank me for filling my pages with an account of what we
saw.

We had not much personal communication with the Ionians.  What we saw
and what we heard of them did not raise them especially in our
estimation.  However, what could be expected of a race so long under the
dominion of Venice, during the worst times of her always nefarious
system of policy?  By the Venetian system discord was fermented among
all the states subject to Turkish rule, and miscreants of all classes
who could help to effect that object were protected and supported.
Crime was thus openly encouraged; the assassin who had committed ten
murders was only sent to the galleys for the same number of years; and
any one speaking disrespectfully of any person high in office was
actually punished with the infliction of a like sentence.  The young men
of the noble families were brought up in Italy, and while they learned
all her vices, were taught to despise their native land, and to forget
their mother-tongue.  Falsehood, revenge, a foolish vanity, a love of
political intrigue, were but some of their most glaring vices; justice
was openly sold; public faith was unknown; their peasants were grossly
ignorant; their nobles were without honour; and their merchants were
destitute of integrity; while their priests were generally illiterate
and immoral in the extreme.  _Heu mihi_! a pretty picture of a people.
Well, I fancy they have improved somewhat under British protection; and
when I was among them I do not believe they were so bad as all that.
Still they were in an unsatisfactory state, and a very difficult people
to govern.  They may have improved still more now; and I hope they have.

We sailed about from island to island, and visited them all in their
turn.  First we went to that of the ancient Teleboans; once conquered by
King Cephalus, who gave it his name, and whose descendants for many
generations reigned over them--so Bubble informed us; and we were not a
little interested in visiting various cyclopic remains, and among them
those of the ancient city of Cranii.  The island is very rugged and
mountainous; the highest mountain, that of Montagna Negra, being upwards
of three thousand feet above the level of the sea.  We spent a couple of
days also at the handsome city of Zante, the capital of the island of
that name, famous for the longevity of its inhabitants, and its
currants, oil, wine, and fragrant honey.  Santa Maura, once known as
Leucadia, was our next resort.  Little cared we for its classical
recollections, but far more interested were we in visiting the tomb of
the gallant Clarke, who fell under the walls of its fortress, which was
attacked by the English in 1810, under General Oswald.  The island is
separated from the main land by a narrow channel.  There is a curious
natural mole running out from the island, which has exactly the
appearance of being the work of art.  We all anticipated much pleasure
in visiting Ithaca, the birth-place and patrimony of Ulysses; but when
we got there none of us felt inclined to envy him his rugged,
inhospitable-looking territory, and were not surprised that he was
anxious to get a footing in a more fruitful portion of the globe.  Still
it is a very romantic and picturesque spot; and produces the vine,
orange, lemon, and other fruits in abundance.

Pasco also we saw, once noted as a retreat for pirates, and Cerigo and
Cerigotto; and thus, having made the tour of the Septinsular republic,
we sailed back to Malta, with the anticipation of a hearty welcome from
the friends we had left behind there.  How glittering white looked the
houses of the city! how blue the water, how gay the caps and sashes and
jackets of the boatmen as they pulled about in their fancifully painted
boats, and came vociferating alongside as we beat up the harbour of
Valetta, and dropped our anchor not far from the landing-place.  We all
of us hastened on shore; Hearty to see his betrothed, and I to take care
of him; Carstairs to throw himself at the feet of Mrs Skyscraper;
Bubble, as he himself said, to see that no one got into mischief; and
Porpoise to order certain stores for the cutter.  Hearty and I walked up
at once to Mrs Mizen's lodgings.  He knocked hurriedly at the door.
Perhaps some of my readers know how a man feels under similar
circumstances--I don't.

An Italian servant appeared, a stranger.  "Que vuole, signori?" he
asked.

"Are Mrs or Miss Mizen at home?" inquired Hearty, in an agitated voice,
not heeding the man's question.  "Do you understand me?  An English lady
and her daughter?"

"Oh, capisco, capisco!" answered the Italian, running away up stairs.

I thought he was going to announce our arrival; but he speedily returned
holding a letter.  I saw that the address was in a lady's handwriting as
he delivered it to Hearty.  Hearty opened it with a trembling hand.  His
countenance assumed a look of blank disappointment as he read its
contents.  As soon as he had glanced hurriedly through it, he began and
read it over again; and then as he held it in his hand his eye still
rested on it.

"What has occurred, my dear fellow?"  I asked, anxiously.

I must confess--and oh! my fair readers! don't be angry with me, an old
bachelor--I did truly suspect that it was the old story, and that the
fair Laura had for some reason or other thought better of it; that she
had heard something against her intended's character, and believed it;
or that Sir Lloyd Snowdon, or somebody else, whose metal was more
attractive, had stepped in and cut him out.  I say these ideas glanced
through my mind.  They were very wrong and very disparaging to the sex,
and most unjustifiable, and I was quite angry with myself for
entertaining them, but I had seen so much that was bad in the world that
they came in spite of me--I crave for pardon.  I had also seen much that
was good, and noble, and excellent; examples of the most devoted,
self-sacrificing, all-enduring affection, and I ought at once to have
remembered those examples and balanced them against all my evil
suspicions.  I did not, however, at that time; so I waited with no small
amount of anxiety for Hearty's answer.

"They are gone," he replied; "gone away to England."

Then my suspicions are correct, I thought.

"It is a very sad case, I fear.  Soon after we sailed, Mrs Mizen
received notice of Tom Mizen's illness, and the next post brought out
such alarming accounts that she and her daughter resolved at once to
return home.  A fine fast-sailing merchant-brig, the `Success,' was on
the point of sailing, so, as a journey by land through Italy and France
would be injurious to Laura, they determined to go by her.  What was
their surprise on going on board to find the other berths occupied by
Mrs Seton and her daughter, and Mrs Skyscraper, who, for some business
matters connected with property left them, had to go England.  Miss
Mizen wrote as they were on the point of sailing, and the people of the
house took charge of the letter to deliver to me.  She speaks in
favourable terms of the brig and of the master, Captain Hutchins, so I
trust that they may have a good passage home.  But it is disappointing.
You'll not mind, my dear fellow, sailing at once to follow them?  I am
afraid there is no chance of catching them at Gibraltar, but if the
`Frolic' behaves as well as usual, we may get to England almost as soon
as they do.  Not that I wish that either--I would far rather the
`Success' had a speedy passage.  I am certain also Carstairs will be
ready to start; and as for Bubble, he'll wish to do what is reasonable;
so I suppose there is nothing to prevent our sailing as soon as we have
got a fresh supply of water, and a few more provisions on board."

I assured my friend that I was perfectly ready to go to sea that very
hour, if the necessary preparations for the voyage could be made; and
volunteered at once to go in search of Porpoise, to hasten what was
required to be done; while he himself went to his bankers, and settled a
few bills he had left unpaid.  On my way I encountered Carstairs, who
had received no notice of the widow's departure, and was therefore still
engaged in searching for her, as much puzzled as Hearty had at first
been.  I never saw a fellow more taken aback than he was when I
communicated the truth to him, and he directly became all eagerness to
put to sea.  What his feelings were I cannot exactly tell.  I suspect
that his confidence in the durability of Mrs Skyscraper's regard for
him was not quite up to the mark of Hearty's for that of his intended.

"Why hasn't she written to me, to tell me what she was going to do, and
why has she hurried away to England?  Hang it, they are all alike, I
suppose, and delight to make fools of us poor men.  Now let us go and
hunt up Porpoise.  Bubble said he should tend to him while I was paying
my visit to my--my--hang it, to the widow, I mean."

Poor fellow, he was sadly put out I saw.  Porpoise was soon found; and
when he heard the state of the case, he set to work as if life and death
depended on it, in getting the cutter ready for a long voyage.  He had
plenty of lieutenants in us three gentlemen; and while one went off in
one direction another started away in an opposite one to order what was
required, and to see the orders executed, while the crew did their part
with right good will.  Water and coals, and stores and provisions, were
soon alongside, and quickly hoisted on board and stowed away below.
Hearty was surprised and highly gratified when he got on board and found
what was done.

"Where there's a will there's a way," is a very true saying; and "If you
want a thing done, go and do it yourself," is another.  The Portuguese
say, "If you want a thing _go_, if you don't want a thing _send_."

That very evening, with a fair wind, we were running out of Malta
Harbour.  Away glided the "Frolic" over the moonlit Mediterranean, with
every stitch of canvas she could carry set alow and aloft.  We had a
sharp look-out kept ahead so that we might avoid running down any boat,
or running into any vessel; while the three landsmen agreed to keep
watch with Porpoise and me, to add to the number of hands on deck.
Porpoise prognosticated a very rapid passage home, and certainly, from
the way we commenced it, we had reason to hope that he would not prove a
fallacious seer.  We speedily lost sight of Malta, and its rocks and
fortifications; with its scanty soil and swarthy population, and noisy
bells, and lazy monks, without any very great regret on our part.  We
had altogether passed a pleasant, and not unexciting time there; and I,
for my part, look back to those days with fewer regrets as to the way I
spent them than I do to some passed in other places.  I am somewhat
inclined to moralise.  I must own that often and often I wish that I
could live my early days over again, that I might employ them very
differently to what I did.  Deeply do I regret the precious time
squandered in perfect idleness, or the most puerile frivolities, if not
in absolute wickedness; time which might have been spent in acquiring
knowledge which would have afforded the most intense and pure delight in
benefiting my fellow-creatures; which would have assuredly afforded me
happiness and peace of mind in the consciousness that I was doing my
duty.  But ah! time has gone by never to be recalled; but happily it may
be redeemed while health and strength and vigour of mind remain.  Often
have I thought to myself, "Why was I sent into the world?  Why was I
endued with an intellect--with a heart to feel--a soul to meditate on
things great and glorious--with powers of mind which I am conscious are
but in embryo, and which but await separation from this frail body to
comprehend some, if not all, the great mysteries of nature!  Surely I
was not placed here merely to kill time--to amuse myself--to employ my
faculties in trifles; still less, to indulge myself in mere animal
gratification.  No, no; I am certain of that.  I was sent here as a
place of trial--as a school where I might learn my duties--as a
preparation for a higher sphere."  When I understood this, the great
problem of existence was at once solved; difficulties vanished; the
whole government of the world at once seemed right and just and
reasonable; and my thoughts, feelings, tastes, and aspirations became
changed.  I was led to look upward as to the only source of happiness,
and a pure and unfailing source it has ever since proved to me.

Brother yachtsmen who may glance your eye over these pages, meditate
seriously on this matter.  As you walk the deck on your midnight watch,
looking up ever and anon into the dark sky where flit countless numbers
of brilliant stars to guide you on your path across the ocean, ask
yourself the question, "Why was I sent into this world?" and do not be
satisfied till you have found an answer, and resolved to profit by it.

I do not pretend that I thought much about this matter when I was on
board the "Frolic," yet now and again some thoughts of the sort did
flash across my mind, but my companions rallied me on my seriousness and
they vanished.

But to my history: away sailed the saucy little "Frolic" over the blue
waters of the Mediterranean.  We laughed and sang and chatted, much as
usual, and Carstairs quoted to as good effect as in days of yore; but we
failed entirely in our long stories, for our pens had been idle, and our
imaginations were much at fault.  What we might have done I do not know,
had not a reality occurred which effectually put all fiction to flight.

We were about half-way between Malta and Gibraltar, a succession of
light winds having made old Snow confess that he was afraid his
prognostications of a rapid passage were not likely to be realised, when
one forenoon when I came on deck, I found Porpoise scrutinising through
his glass an object which he had discovered on the water nearly right
ahead of us.

"What is it, do you think?"  I asked.

"I can't quite make out," he answered, handing me the telescope.  "It
looks to me like the hull of a dismasted ship--an ugly thing to run foul
of on a dark night with a heavy gale blowing."

"You are right as to its being a ship's hull, I am pretty certain," I
answered.  "We shall be up to it soon, and that will settle the
question."

Some of the people, however, declared that what we saw was a rock or an
island, and others that a dead whale had floated in through the Straits.
As we approached, however, our opinion was found to be the correct one,
and then it became a subject of discussion as to what she could be.

"She is a good-sized craft, whatever she is," observed Hearty, who had
joined us on deck.  "Is she an English or foreign vessel do you think?"

"English by her build," replied Porpoise, observing her narrowly through
the glass; "I cannot make it out.  I see no one on board.  How she came
into that state puzzles me."

"My dear fellow, have you any idea what sort of a vessel the `Success'
is?  Does any one on board know her?" exclaimed Hearty, suddenly turning
pale, and literally trembling from head to foot, as all sorts of
horrible suspicions and fears flashed through his mind.

Inquiries were made, but no one recollected to have seen the brig in
which our friends had taken their passage.  We did our best to calm
Hearty's apprehensions, but under the circumstances they were very
natural, and in spite of all we could say, they rather increased than
diminished, as we approached the wreck.  Carstairs shared them, but,
being of a far less excitable temperament, in a much less degree;
indeed, Hearty seemed to look on him as being very callous and
insensible, for not making himself as miserable as he felt.

The breeze was very light, and our progress seemed terribly slow to the
impatient feelings of our kind-hearted host.  His glass was never for a
moment off the wreck; indeed we were all of us constantly looking at
her, in the hopes of seeing some one appear.  The afternoon was drawing
well on, before we got up to her.  The instant we approached her, two
boats were lowered, and Hearty and I jumped into the first, and away we
pulled as fast as the men could bend to their oars--the men evidently
entering fully into the feelings of their master.  I went with him that
I might really look after him, should his worst anticipations be
realised.  We were soon alongside, and in an instant scrambled on board.

The masts, and rigging, and sails, hung over the side; the former in
their fall having carried away the bulwarks and smashed the boats.  I
saw before we got on board, that she had lost her masts with all sail
set, in some unaccountably lubberly way it seemed.  The sea had washed
away some of her spare spars and the caboose, but she had apparently
righted directly her masts went, and there seemed no reason why she
should have been deserted by her crew.  As we pulled up under the stern,
we looked out for a name painted there, but a sail hung over it, and if
there was a name it was not perceptible.  Hearty, the moment he was on
board, rushed with frantic haste along the deck, to ascertain the
important fact, and very nearly fell overboard in his attempt to remove
the sail, till others could aid him.  The sail was soon dragged aside,
and as we hung down over the taffrail, a large S appeared, there could
be no doubt of it.  There was the word "Success" of London.  I had to
help my friend on board again.

"What can have happened!  What can have happened!" he exclaimed, as soon
as he could find words to speak.

"Why, I trust that they fancied the brig in a much worse condition than
she appears to us to be, and that they quitted her in the boats, or some
other craft which was fortunately passing soon after the catastrophe."
But as I spoke, our eyes fell on the shattered boats, and I recollected
that the former hypothesis could not be correct.  "They must have fallen
in with some vessel," I remarked to Hearty.  "The ladies were happily
conveyed on board her, but why the crew deserted the ship I cannot say."

"But where can they have gone to--what port can they have put into--what
sort of vessel can they be on board?" exclaimed Hearty, almost frantic
with agitation.  "It's very dreadful."

By this time the other boat had got alongside, with Carstairs, Bubble,
and Porpoise in her.  Together we commenced a search over the deserted
vessel.  The appearance of the cabin again raised our doubts as to the
reason of the desertion.  The ladies had evidently been at work just
before the catastrophe.  Their work-baskets were on the floor, with
their work, in which needles were sticking; and needle-cases, thimbles,
and reels of cotton, skeins of silk and worsted, and similar articles,
were strewed about.

As I looked more minutely into the state of affairs, I observed that
every thing of value had been carried off; not a silver spoon or fork,
not a piece of plate of any description remained.  The ladies' jewels
were all gone.  This was what was to be expected, but I was also certain
that they would not leave their daily work behind.  I did not increase
Hearty's apprehensions by pointing this out to him.  Carstairs all the
time, though he took matters in a very different way, seemed to be much
alarmed and anxious.  I saw the chronometer, sextants, charts,
compasses, and every thing in the captain's cabin had been carried off.
The ship's log and manifest could nowhere be found, nor indeed could any
of her papers.

From the cabin we went to the hold, and there also the cargo had
evidently been disturbed, and I judged that a considerable quantity had
been carried away; a few bales of silk and velvet only remaining.  This
was a very suspicious circumstance.  Still, had there been time to
remove any thing, the captain would of course have carried away what was
likely to be of most value.  The forepeak was next searched.  The
seamen's chests had been broken open, and the contents of many of them
were strewed about--why the men did not use their keys was surprising.
Still, in their hurry they might not have had time to find them.  Hearty
went about looking into every hole, and making his observations on all
he saw.  He had collected every thing belonging to the ladies as
treasured relics, and had them packed and conveyed on board the
"Frolic," while Carstairs took charge of all Mrs Skyscraper's property,
and sighed over it with a look of despair, and we were about to quit the
vessel, when one of the men declared that he heard a voice proceeding
from the fore-hold.  Forward we all went again.  Certainly there was a
groan.  Guided by the sound, and by removing some of the cargo, we
arrived at a space where lay a human being.  We lifted him up, and
carried him out of the dark noisome hole, and the fresh air speedily
revived him.  At first his startled look showed that he did not know
what to make of us, but by degrees he recovered his senses, though his
first words increased our apprehensions.

"What! are you come back again?  Don't murder me!--Don't murder me!" he
exclaimed, with a look of terror.

"Murder you, mate!  What should put that into your head?" asked one of
our men who was supporting him.

By pouring a little brandy and water down his throat, he in a short time
recovered altogether.  He told us that he had been the cook of the brig.
He was an old man, and almost worn out, and that this was to have been
his last voyage.

"Well, gentlemen," he continued, "when I see a number of young ladies
come on board, and their mothers to look after them, and no parson to
make Davy Jones angered like, which he always is when any on 'em gets
afloat, says I to myself, we shall have a fine run of it home, and the
chances are that the `Success' will make a finer passage than she ever
did before.  Well, we hadn't been two days at sea before we falls in
with a polacca-brig, which speaks us quite civil like, and a man aboard,
though he was rigged like a Greek, asks us in decent real English, quite
civil like, what passengers we'd got aboard.  So, thinking no harm, we
told him, and he answered `that he'd keep us company, and protect us,
for that to his knowledge there was a notorious pirate cruising
thereabouts, and that if he fell in with us he might do us an injury.'
The captain did not seem much to like our new friend, and would rather
have been without his company, but as he sailed two knots to our one, we
couldn't help ourselves, do ye see.  For two days or more he kept close
to us, and then it fell almost to a calm, and what does he do, but
quietly range up alongside with the help of some sweeps he had, and
before we knew where we were, he had thrown some two-score or more of
cut-throats aboard of us, who knocked some of our crew down, drove
others overboard, and very soon got possession of the brig.  I was ill
below, but I popped my head up to see what was happening, and when I
found how things were going, thinks I to myself, the best thing I can do
is to be quiet; if they cut my throat, they may as well do it while I'm
comfortably in bed as struggling away on deck.  Instead, however, of
turning into my berth again, I thought that I'd just go and stow myself
away in the hold under the cargo, where they wouldn't be likely to look
for me, so there I went, and there I've been ever since.  I felt the
ship some time afterwards thrown on her beam-ends, and thought she'd be
going down, but she very soon righted.  I felt the masts shaken out of
her, but I could not tell what else had happened.  I tried to get out to
see, but the cargo had shifted and jammed me in so tight that I couldn't
break my way out.  I suppose I should have died if you hadn't come to
help me, gentlemen."

"But can you not tell what became of the passengers and crew?" exclaimed
Hearty, interrupting him.

"No more than the babe unborn, sir," answered the old man; "I suppose
they were all carried aboard the pirate.  From what I know of some of
our crew, I don't think they would have much minded joining the
villains, and several I myself saw killed and hove overboard."

This fearful information gave us still more concern than we had felt
from what we had already discovered.  There was some cause for hope
before, now there was none.  There was no doubt whatever that our
friends had fallen into the power of the villain Miles Sandgate.  Grown
desperate, it was impossible to say to what extremes he might not
venture to go.  Still I had less apprehension for the fate of Mrs and
Miss Mizen than for that of Jane Seton.  It could scarcely be expected
that he would again let her out of his power.  I was offering what
consolation I could to Hearty as well as to Carstairs on these grounds,
in which I was joined by Bubble, whose heart was overflowing with
commiseration for them and those they were so deeply interested in, when
Hearty suddenly exclaimed,--

"But, my dear fellow, is it not possible that the same squall which
struck this vessel and reduced her to a wreck may have struck the
pirate, and sent her and all on board to the bottom? or can you answer
me that this is not possible?  Still it may have preserved them from a
worse fate.  Oh, horrible, horrible!"

"I do not think it is probable that people so thoroughly acquainted with
these seas should not have been forewarned in time to guard against even
the most sudden squall.  There are always some indications; only those
who do not regard them are the sufferers.  Just as likely after he had
rifled the brig, Sandgate (for I doubt not that he is the culprit) may
have put the passengers on shore somewhere or other, and made some
plausible excuse for having taken them on board his vessel.  I think, in
truth, that for the sake of making friends at court, he is much more
likely to have treated them with perfect civility than to have ventured
in any way to insult or injure them."

All the time I was trying to persuade myself that I was speaking what I
thought; but I must own that I had very serious apprehensions for their
safety.  There was no object in remaining longer on board the wreck.  To
prevent any vessels running into her, for that night at all events, we
secured a large lantern with a burner full of oil to the stump of the
mainmast.  We were very unwilling to quit her, but we could not venture
to leave anybody on board to look after her till we could despatch a
vessel to bring her into Gibraltar, lest before this could be done a
gale might spring up, and she might founder.  So, taking Tom Pancake,
the old man we had found, on board with us, we returned to the cutter.
We forthwith held a council of war, when it was resolved to steer a
direct course for Gibraltar, that we might then get vessels sent out in
all directions to look for the daring pirate.  I never saw any one
suffer so much as did Hearty.  A few nights of the anxiety he was now
doomed to suffer would, I feared much, not only turn his head grey, but
completely prostrate him.  Carstairs suffered a good deal, but his
regard for Mrs Skyscraper was of a very different character to the deep
affection Hearty entertained for Miss Mizen; and if he was to lose her,
I suspected that he would have no great difficulty in supplying her
place as the queen of his affections.  No sooner had we left the
unfortunate ship, than a fresh breeze had sprung up, and before sunset
we had run her completely out of sight.  For all the first part of the
night the breeze lasted, and we made good way on our course for
Gibraltar.  For a long time poor Hearty would not turn in; but at last I
persuaded him to lie down and take some of that rest which he so much
required.  I also went below, but I was restless, and just as the middle
watch was set, I returned on deck.  Porpoise and Bubble were there.  I
found them watching a bright glare which appeared in the sky.  I
considered a moment our whereabouts.

"That must be from a ship on fire," I exclaimed.

"There is no doubt about it," replied Porpoise.  "She has been blazing
away for the last hour or more, I fear, for all that time I have
observed that ruddy glow in the sky.  I hope we may be in time to render
some assistance to the unfortunate crew."

The wind freshened even still more as we advanced towards the burning
ship, but not enough for our impatience.  Hearty and Carstairs were
called, and when they came on deck they exhibited equal eagerness with
the rest of us; indeed, Hearty seemed for a time almost to forget his
own anxiety in his zeal in the cause of humanity.  Surely we seldom know
even our most intimate friends without seeing them tried under a variety
of circumstances.  Sometimes I must own that I have been sadly
disappointed in them; at other times I have been as agreeably surprised
by the exhibition of self-denial, courage, warmth of heart, and
judgment, which I did not believe to exist in them.  Such was the case
with my friend Hearty.

We got the boats ready to lower the instant we should be close enough to
the vessel.  The interval which elapsed before we drew up to her was one
of great anxiety.  All sorts of ideas and fears crossed our minds, and
at all events we felt that many of our fellow-creatures might be
perishing for want of our assistance.  Through our glasses, as we drew
on, we discovered that the greater part of the vessel was enveloped in
flames; the poop alone was not entirely consumed, though the devouring
element had made such progress that the people were already seeking for
a momentary safety by hanging on to the taffrail quarters.

"Stand by to shorten sail!" sang out Porpoise.

The square-sail and gaff and square-topsail were taken in, and the
foresail being hauled up to windward, and the jib-sheets let fly, the
cutter was hove-to and a boat instantly lowered.  As before, Hearty and
I went in her, while the other gig immediately followed us.

Our appearance took the poor wretches by surprise, as from the darkness
of night our approach had not been perceived.  They raised a cry to
implore us to hasten to their assistance.  Our men shouted in return.
They needed no cry to urge them to exertion.  By the bright glare of the
flames we saw that the men clinging to the wreck were by their costume
Greeks, while the hull itself had a foreign appearance.  The vessel was
a brig, we observed.  The foremast had already fallen, the flames were
twisting and twining in serpentine forms along the yards and up to the
very maintop-gallant masthead.  Some, as I said, were still clinging to
the wreck, others had leaped overboard, and were hanging on to spars and
oars and gratings, and a few were in a boat floating near the vessel;
but she appeared to be stove in, and to have no oars or other means of
progression.

With all these people, blinded with terror and eager to save their
lives, it was necessary to use much precaution to prevent ourselves from
being swamped by too many leaping on board at a time.  The first thing
was to rescue those who were in the most imminent danger of being
burned.  While we pulled under the stern, and as the people dropped into
the water picked them up, the other boat hauled those on board who were
already floating, and seemed most to require help.  We had got most of
the people off the burning wreck, but two still hung on to the burning
taffrail, and seemed unwilling to trust themselves in the sea.

"Never fear, jump, jump, my lads!" sung out our men; then turning to the
Greeks whom they had saved, added, "Tell them to jump in your own lingo;
they don't understand us."

The Greeks said something about "Inglesi," but I did not understand what
they meant.  At last, however, the flames rushing out from the stern
ports and along the deck, gave them no alternative, and they had to
throw themselves into the water, whence we quickly picked them out, and
with a boat loaded almost to sinking, returned on board the cutter.  I
was especially struck by the appearance of the two men last saved.
Certainly they were much more like Englishmen than Greeks.  No sooner,
however, did the old man we had saved from the "Success" see them than
he exclaimed, "What mates! is that you?  How did you get aboard there?
Why, as I live, that craft must be the Greek pirate which plundered us,
and carried off the ladies."

The worst suspicions which had been floating through my mind were
confirmed by these remarks.  Poor Hearty seemed thunderstruck.
Carstairs had not yet returned.  The men could not deny their identity,
and they instantly began to offer excuses for having been on board the
Greek.

"Never mind that!" exclaimed Hearty.  "Tell me, my men, where are the
ladies? what has become of them?  Help us to find them, and all will be
overlooked.  They could not have been left to perish on board the
burning vessel."

"We can't say much about it, sir," answered one of the men, who seemed
to be the most intelligent.  "We were forward when the fire broke out,
and it was with great difficulty that we managed to crawl aft.  When we
got there we found that a raft had been built and lowered into the
water, and that the boats had been got out, and that several people were
in them.  Some got away, and we don't know where they went, but we towed
two of them after us.  One was swamped and went down, and the other, as
you saw, was stove in.  What became of the other two we don't know; we
believe that the ladies were in them, but we can't say for certain; all
we know is, that we did not see them on the deck, or in either of the
other two boats, when we got aft; still we believe that nearly half the
people on board, in one way or another, have been lost."

Then, supposing the seaman spoke the truth, there was still hope; but
how dreadful at the best must be the condition of our friends, exposed
in open boats with the most lawless of companions!  While we were still
examining the men, Carstairs and the rest returned on board.  He had
also with him one of the crew of the "Success," who, on being examined,
corroborated the statement of the other two.  The character of the men
whose lives we had preserved was now clear; but, wretches as they were,
and deserving of the heaviest punishment, we could not have avoided
saving them from drowning, even had we known the worst at first.
Scarcely were they all on board before every portion of the burning
vessel was enveloped in flames.  Porpoise all the time was fortunately
not forgetful of the safety of the cutter, and, having let draw the
foresail, we had been standing away from her.  Suddenly there was a
fiercer blaze than before--a loud, deafening report was heard, the
remaining mast and deck lifted, the former shooting up into the air like
a sky-rocket surrounded by burning brands, and then down again came the
whole fiery mass, covering us, even at the distance we were, with
burning fragments of wreck, and then all was darkness, and not a remnant
of the polacca-brig remained together above water.  After the character
we had heard of the rescued crew, without giving them any warning, we
suddenly seized them, and, lashing their arms behind them and their legs
together, made them sit down in a row under the bulwarks.  They seemed
to be very much surprised at the treatment, but we did not understand
their expostulations, and should not have listened to them if we had.
We, however, served out provisions to them, and they very soon seemed
reconciled to their fate.  The three English seamen vowed that they had
been kept on board the brig by force, and, as we would fain have
believed this is to be the case, we did not treat them as prisoners,
though we kept a very sharp eye on their movements; so, especially, did
old Pancake, who appeared to have no little dread lest they should play
him some scurvy trick in return for his having betrayed them.

These arrangements were very quickly made.  The most important
consideration, however, was the best method to pursue in order to
discover what had become of the raft reported to have been made, and the
missing boat.  Unless by those who have been placed in a similar
situation, the nervous anxiety and excitement which almost overcame
every one of us would be difficult to be conceived.  Hearty thought of
sending the boats away to range in circles round the spot, in the chance
of falling in with the raft or boat; but Porpoise overruled this
proposal by assuring him that the raft could only have gone to leeward,
and that the boat probably would be found in the same direction.
Keeping, therefore, a bright lookout, with a light at our masthead, we
kept tacking backwards and forwards so as to sweep over every foot of
the ground to leeward of the spot where the fire first burst out.  We
had hinted to the English seamen taken from the pirate that their future
prospects depended very much on the success which might attend our
search.  They accordingly gave us all the information and assistance in
their power, by showing us how the pirate had steered from the moment
the fire was discovered, and how far she had gone after her captain had
placed the ladies on the raft.  Nothing could we discover during the
night.  Hearty was in despair; so was Carstairs; only he was rather
inclined to be savage than pathetic in his misery.  Daylight came; as
the dawn drew on nothing could be seen but the clear grey water
surrounding us.  Then, just as we had gone about and were standing once
more to the westward, the sun rose from his ocean bed, his beams
glancing on a small object seen far away on our port bow.

"Huzza! huzza!" shouted Bubble, who was the first to bring his glass to
bear on it.  "Some people on a raft!  There is no doubt on the subject.
White dresses, too!  It may be the ladies!  It must be!  Oh, it can't be
otherwise!  Keep up your spirits, Hearty, my dear fellow; all will go
well!  It will, Carstairs, I tell you!  Don't be cast down any more!  I
think I see them waving!"

Thus the worthy Bubble ran on, giving way to the exuberance of his
feelings and sympathy for his friends.  Every yard of canvas the cutter
could carry was pressed on her, and each moment rapidly decreased our
distance from the raft; for that a raft it was, or a piece of a wreck,
there could be no doubt.  Our telescopes were kept unchangeably fixed on
it.  It was with no little apprehension, however, as we drew nearer,
that I perceived that there were but three persons on it.  One was
standing up; the other two were seated on benches, or chests, or
something of the same size, secured to the raft.  The figure standing up
was that of a man in the Greek costume; the other two were females.  I
had little doubt in my own mind who they were.  As we got still nearer I
fancied that, under the Greek cap, I could distinguish the features of
Miles Sandgate.  The features of the ladies were more difficult to make
out, but I heard Hearty exclaim, "Yes, it is her--it is her!" meaning
Miss Mizen; and I felt sure he was right.  But who was the other person?
The figure was not like that of either Mrs Mizen or Mrs Seton, but
whether it was Jane Seton or Mrs Skyscraper was the question.  Poor
Carstairs, he must have felt that, in all probability, it was Miss
Seton.  What would Sandgate do when he found himself thus completely
brought to bay?  It was a serious question, for he had the two ladies
entirely in his power, and, had he chosen, might, holding them as
hostages, make any terms with us he pleased.  I saw him watching the
approaching cutter.  He must have recognised her as soon as she hove in
sight.  Yet he did not quail, but stood up boldly confronting us.  Then
he seemed to be addressing one of the ladies.  I looked again; I was
certain she was Jane Seton; and I clearly recognised Miss Mizen.  Jane
had given her hand to Laura.  The pirate seemed to be urging her to
fulfil some request; he half knelt before her with uplifted hands; then
he sprang up, with a look of bitter reproach.  By this time the cutter
was close up to the raft, and a boat was on the point of being lowered.
Again, with an imploring gesture, the pirate urged his suit.  Miss Seton
shook her head.  He seized her hand.  She struggled violently.  It
appeared that, in his rage, he was about to drag her into the water.  He
would have succeeded, had not Miss Mizen held her hand and drawn her
back.

Hearty and Bubble were in the boat pulling rapidly to the raft.  The
pirate let go Miss Seton's hand, and drew himself up to his full height;
he seemed to be uttering some strong reproaches.  The bows of the boat
were almost touching the raft, the oars were thrown in.  At that moment
the pirate, uttering a fearful cry (and if ever I heard the cry of a
madman that was one), turned round, and plunged headlong into the water.
Down, down, he sank!  Scarcely an eddy marked where he had sprung in,
with such determination had he endeavoured to reach the bottom.  I
watched for him, but he never rose again.  Such was the dreadful end of
Miles Sandgate.  The next moment Hearty was on the raft, and had clasped
Laura Mizen in his arms, while Miss Seton was borne fainting into the
boat by Bubble.  They were quickly conveyed on board, while the raft and
its freight were allowed to go adrift.  The two young ladies were
immediately carried to the cabin, where Laura rapidly described to
Hearty all that had occurred.  Poor Miss Seton, however, required their
whole attention, and for the moment drew them off from all thoughts
about themselves.  Not that Miss Mizen for a moment forgot her mother
and her other companions, and it was a relief to us all to find that she
had seen them placed in the first boat which had left the vessel just
before they had been carried by Sandgate to the raft.  He intended, it
seemed, to have taken possession of one of the other boats, and when she
was swamped he managed to get on the raft, and clear away from the
burning vessel before any one else reached it, while he left the rest of
his companions in crime to perish without an attempt to afford them aid.
The general opinion was that the boat would be steered to the
southward, for the purpose of making the Moorish coast, where the
pirates fancied that they might find protection.

"The chances are that they will all get murdered if they reach it,"
observed Porpoise; "but we must try and catch them up before they get
there."

Fortunately we had the whole day before us.  All sail was again made on
the cutter; the sun rose high in the heavens; tolerably hot came down
its beams on our heads.  At noon a meridional observation was taken, and
just as we were shutting up our sextants, Bubble, who was keeping a
sharp lookout on every side, sang out that he saw a speck on the water
almost ahead of us.  I went immediately with my glass aloft.  After
waiting a little time I made out distinctly that the speck was a boat.
As we drew on we made out that the boat was strongly manned, and that
the people in her were doing their utmost to keep ahead of us.  They
could not have known what the "Frolic" was made of to suppose that they
had a chance of escaping.  The breeze freshened.  Hard as they were
pulling, hand over hand we came up with them.  There were women in the
boat, or we should have sent a shot after her to stop her way; we ran a
gun out to frighten them.  On we stood; the women in the boat now first
observed us.

"Oh, help us! help us! help us!" they shrieked out.

We required no summoning, however.  There were three ladies, we saw, the
number we expected to find.  We soon ran up alongside the boat, though
it required nice steering not to sink her.  Our earnest hopes and wishes
were realised.  In the stern-sheets sat Mrs Mizen and Mrs Seton, and,
to the very great relief of poor Carstairs, the fair Mrs Skyscraper.
The pirates saw that they had not a prospect of escape, so they threw in
their oars, and quietly allowed us to get alongside them, and to hook on
their boat to us.  I need not describe the joy of the two mothers at
finding their daughters safe, or that of the daughters at seeing their
mothers; nor will I do more than touch on the effect which the risk she
had endured, and the satisfaction Carstairs displayed at having her
restored to him, worked on the heart of the widow.

We very soon got to Gibraltar, where we at once landed our very
troublesome prisoners.  Mrs Mizen had written to England to desire that
letters might be sent to meet her there.  In a day or so they arrived,
and they gave so favourable an account of her son's health that as there
was no necessity for her hurrying home, she was able to wait till we
were at liberty to accompany her, having given our evidence against the
pirates.  Several of them suffered, as the papers say, the extreme
penalty of the law, and it was certainly a pity, for the sake of
justice, that Miles Sandgate had not been alive to keep them company.
At length we all reached England, and not long afterwards I had the
satisfaction of seeing my friend Edward Hearty united to Miss Laura
Mizen, and the next week was called away to act as best-man to Captain
Carstairs on his marriage with the fair relict of the late Lieutenant
Skyscraper, of the Rifle Brigade.

Poor Miss Seton suffered much from the severe trial she had gone
through.  It was, I rejoice to say, not without good effects, and I had
the opportunity of observing a great improvement in her character.  Some
years passed by, during which she remained single, but on the death of
her mother she became the wife of Sir Lloyd Snowdon; and, living
constantly on his estate in Wales, proved a blessing to her family, and
to the poorer inhabitants of the surrounding district.  May all the
trials any of us have to endure have a like good effect; for we may
depend on it for that purpose are they sent.

I am happy to say that, notwithstanding old Snow's prognostication,
Hearty's yacht was not sold, and that many a pleasant summer cruise did
I afterwards take with him on board the "Frolic."

THE END.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Cruise of the Frolic" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
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.



Home