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´╗┐Title: Foxholme Hall - And other Tales
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 "Foxholme Hall - And other Tales" ***

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Foxholme Hall
And other Tales
By WHG Kingston
Published by Virtue and Co, London.
This edition dated 1867.

Foxholme Hall, by WHG Kingston.





We had our choice given us whether we would spend our Christmas holidays
with our most kind and estimable old relative, our mother's cousin, Miss
Gillespie, in Russell-square, and go to the theatre and panoramas, and
other highly edifying entertainments, or at Foxholme, in the New Forest,
with our great uncle, Sir Hugh Worsley.  "Foxholme for ever, I should
think indeed!" exclaimed my brother Jack, making a face which was not
complimentary to Cousin Barbara.  "But she is a good kind old soul, if
she wasn't so pokerish and prim; and that was a dead-alive fortnight we
spent with her two winters ago.  I say Foxholme for ever."

"Foxholme for ever," I repeated.  "Of course there couldn't be the
thinnest slice of a shadow of doubt about the matter.  There'll be
Cousin Peter, and Julia, and Tom and Ned Oxenberry, and Sam Barnby, and
Ponto, and Hector, and Beauty, and Polly; and there'll be hunting, and
shooting, and skating, if there's a frost--and of course there will be a
frost--and, oh, it will be such jolly fun!"

A few weeks after this we were bowling along the road to Southampton on
the top of the old Telegraph, driven by Taylor--as fine a specimen of a
Jehu as ever took whip in hand--with four white horses--a team of which
he was justly proud.  I see him now before me, his fine tall figure,
truly Roman nose, and eagle eye, looking as fit to command an army as to
drive a coach, with his white great-coat buttoned well up to his
gay-coloured handkerchief, a flower of some sort decking his breast, a
broad-brimmed beaver of white or grey, and a whip which looked as if it
had just come from the maker's hands--indeed, everything about him was
polished, from the crown of his hat to his well-fitting boots; and I
believe that no accident ever happened to the coach he drove.  There was
the Independent, also a first-rate coach, and, in those days, Collier's
old coach, which carried six inside, in which we once made a journey--
that is, Jack and I--with four old ladies who ate apples and drank gin,
with the windows up, all the way, and talked about things which seemed
to interest them very much, but which soon sent us to sleep.

The sky was bright, the air fresh, with just a touch of a frosty smell
in it, and we were in exuberant spirits.  We had our pea-shooters ready,
and had long been on the watch for the lumbering old vehicle, when we
saw it approaching.  Didn't we pepper the passengers, greatly to their
indignation!  What damage we did we could not tell, for we were by them
like a flash of lightning.

At Southampton we changed into a much slower coach, which, however,
conveyed us safely through the forest to the neighbourhood of Lyndhurst,
when, waiting in the road, we espied, to our intense delight, a
pony-carriage driven by Sam Barnby, who held the office of extra
coachman, gamekeeper, and fisherman, besides several other employments,
in the establishment at Foxholme.  With us he was a prodigious
favourite, as he was with all the youngsters who went to the place; and
Sir Hugh, I know, trusted him completely, and employed him in numerous
little private services of beneficence and charity when a confidential
agent was required.  He was the invariable companion of all the
youngsters in our boating, fishing, and shooting excursions.

It was dusk when we got into the carriage, and as our way lay for some
distance through the thickest part of the forest by a cross-road which
few people but Sam Barnby would have attempted to take at that late
hour, we could often scarcely distinguish the track under the thick
branches of the leafless trees which, stretching across it, formed a
trellis-work over our heads, while the thick hollies and other
evergreens formed an impenetrable wall on either side.  Now and then,
when the forest opened out and the forms of the trees were rather more
clearly defined, they often assumed shapes so fantastic and strange,
that I could scarcely prevent a sort of awe creeping over me, and half
expected that the monsters I fancied I saw would move from their places
and grab up Jack, Sam Barnby, the carriage, and me, and bolt off with us
into some recess of the forest.  Jack was talking away to Sam.  I had
been up bolstering the night before, and had not slept a wink.  Suddenly
the carriage stopped, and I heard Sam and Jack utter an exclamation.  I
echoed it, and pretty loudly too; for I thought that one of the monsters
I had been dreaming about had really got hold of us.

"Hillo! who have we got here?" exclaimed Sam.  "Do you hold the reins,
Master Jack, and I'll get out and see."

I was now fully awake.  I asked Jack what it was.

"We nearly drove over somebody; but the pony shied, fortunately.  There
he is; I can just see him moving."

"Why, I do believe it's poor silly Dick Green!" exclaimed Sam.  "Is it
you, Dicky?  Speak out, man!  How came you here?"

"Yes, it be I," said the idiot.  "Can't I sleep here?  It's very
comfortable--all clean and nice--no smoke, no noise."

"Why, you would be frozen to death, man, if you did," answered Sam.
"But, I ask, what brought you here?"

"That's a secret I bean't a-going to tell thee," whispered the idiot.
"But just do thee stop here; thee'll foind it very pleasant."

"No, thank you; we'd rather not," said Sam.  "But just do thee get into
the carriage alongside Master William there, and we'll take thee to the
Hall, and give thee some supper--that's what thee wants, lad."

"Well, now, that's kind like," simpered the idiot.  "I know thee well,
Sam Barnby; thee had'st always a good heart."

"Well, well, lad, don't stand talking there, but scramble in at once,"
cried Sam, as he forced the poor creature down by my side.

Soon afterwards we passed a woodman's or a keeper's hut, from the window
of which a gleam of light streamed forth on the idiot's face, and a
creeping feeling of fear stole over me as I caught his large lack-lustre
eyes peering into mine, the teeth in his ever-grinning mouth looking
white and shining under his upturned lip.  I knew that he was said to be
perfectly harmless and good-natured, but I would have given anything if
Jack would have changed places with me.  I did not drop off to sleep
again, that is very certain.  The way seemed far longer than I had
expected, and I almost fancied that Sam must have mistaken his road--not
a very likely thing to occur, however.

As we neared the lodge-gate of Foxholme, I shut my eyes, lest the light
from the window should again show me the poor idiot's face staring at
me.  All disagreeable feelings, however, speedily vanished as we drove
up in front of the chief entrance, and the hall-door was flung open, and
a perfect blaze of light streamed forth, and the well-known smiling
faces of Purkin, the butler, and James Jarvis, the footman, appeared;
and the latter, descending the steps, carried up our trunk and hat-boxes
and a play-box we had brought empty, though to go back in a very
different condition, we had a notion.  Then we ran into the
drawing-room, and found our uncle Sir Hugh, and our kind, sweet-smiling
aunt, and our favourite Cousin Julia--she was Sir Hugh's only daughter
by a first marriage--and our little Cousin Hugh--his only son by the
present Lady Worsley; and there, too, was Cousin Peter.  He was Sir
Hugh's cousin and Aunt Worsley's cousin, and was cousin to a great
number of people besides--indeed everybody who came to the house called
him cousin, it seemed.

Some few, perhaps, at first formally addressed him as Mr Peter, or Mr
Peter Langstone; but they soon got into the way of calling him Mr
Peter, or Cousin Peter, or Peter alone.  He wasn't old, and he couldn't
have been very young.  He wasn't good-looking, I fancy--not that we ever
thought about the matter.  He had a longish sallow face, and a big mouth
with white teeth, and lips which twisted and curled about in a curious
manner, and large soft grey eyes--not green-grey, but truly blue-grey--
with almost a woman's softness in them, an index, I suspect, of his
heart; and yet I don't think that there are many more daring or cool and
courageous men than Cousin Peter.  He had been in the navy in his youth,
and had seen some pretty hard service, but had come on shore soon after
he had received his promotion as lieutenant, and, for some reason or
other, had never since been afloat.  Sir Hugh was very much attached to
him, and had great confidence in his judgment and rectitude; so that he
tried to keep him at Foxholme as much as he could.  He might have lived
there and been welcome all the year round.

I have said nothing yet about Cousin Julia.  She was about twenty-two,
but looked younger, except when she was about any serious matter.  I
thought her then the most lovely creature I had ever seen, and I was not
far wrong.  There was a sweet, gentle, and yet firm expression in her
face, and a look--I cannot describe it--which would have prevented even
the most impudent from talking nonsense or saying anything to offend her

Our uncle, Sir Hugh, was tall and stout, with a commanding and dignified
manner.  No one would have ventured to take liberties with him, though
he was as kind and gentle as could be.  He had been in the army when he
was young, and seen service, but had given it up when he succeeded to
Foxholme, and the duties attached to its possession.  "I should have
been ill serving my country if I had remained abroad and left my tenants
and poor neighbours to the care of agents and hirelings," I heard him
once observe.  He was very fond of the army, and it was a great trial to
him to leave it.

Our aunt was a very pretty, lively, kind, amiable woman, and devotedly
attached to our uncle.  She was small, and slight, and young-looking,
though I don't think that she was so very young after all.

Hugh was a regular fine little chap, manly, independent, and yet very
amiable.  He might have been rather spoilt, because it was a hard matter
not to make a good deal of him.  People couldn't help thinking of him as
the long-wished-for heir of the old place and the old title, and what
joy he had brought to Sir Hugh's heart and what pride and satisfaction
to that of his mother, and that he would some day be the master of
Foxholme (all hoped that day might be far distant); and they prayed that
he might worthily represent his honoured father.

After all, however, there was no one we thought so much about as Cousin
Peter.  How full of life and spirits and fun he was!  A shade, however,
of gravity or melancholy occasionally stole over him.  He had an inner
deeper life of which we boys knew nothing.  We used to be surprised,
after he had been playing all sorts of pranks with us, to go and see him
sit down as grave as a judge along with Sir Hugh, and talk as seriously
as anybody else.  Then he would jump up and say something quiet and
confidential to some young lady, and crack a joke with some old one; and
again he would be back among us, baiting the bear, standing on his head,
or doing some other wonderful out-of-the-way thing.  I remember that
even then I more than once remarked that whenever he drew near our
Cousin Julia, there was a greater sobriety and a wonderful gentleness
and tenderness in his manner; and often, when she was not looking, and
he thought no one else was looking, his eyes were turned towards her
with a look which older people would easily have interpreted.  I thought
myself, "He must be very fond of her; but that is but natural--everybody


I should like to give a full description of the events of those
never-to-be-forgotten Christmas holidays.  Besides ourselves, we had two
cousins and the sons of some of Sir Hugh's friends, and no end of
grown-up guests, young ladies and their mammas and papas, and several
gentlemen who were in no ways stiff or distant, and we didn't mind
saying what we liked to them.  I remember that Christmas-day--how
happily it began--how, on a fine frosty morning, we all walked to the
village church--how we found it decked with hollies, reminding us that,
even in mid-winter, our merciful God never withdraws His blessings from
the earth--how we could not help listening with attention to the sermon
of the good vicar, who reminded us that we were assembled to commemorate
the greatest event that has occurred since the creation of the world.
He bid us reflect that the Christ who was on that day born into the
world, a weak helpless infant, prepared to endure a life of toil, of
poverty, and of suffering, and at the same time of active unwearied
usefulness, was our Lord the Son of God himself; that He took our sins
upon Him, shed His blood on the Cross, suffering agony and shame, which
we had merited, that He might wash our sins away; died and was buried,
that He might, though sinless himself, for our sakes endure the curse
sin brought on mankind, and thus accomplish the whole of the work He had
undertaken to fulfil; how He rose again, ascending into Heaven
triumphant over death, that He might then, having lived and suffered as
a man on earth, feeling for our infirmities, plead effectually for us;
that He had suffered the punishment due to us, before the throne of the
Almighty, an offended but a just and merciful God, full of love to

I never before understood so clearly that the whole work of redemption
is complete--that Christ has suffered for us, and that, therefore, no
more suffering is required.  All we have to do is to take advantage of
what He has done, and put our whole faith and trust in Him.  The vicar
then described most beautifully to us how Christ lived on earth, and
that He did so that.  He might set us an example, which we are bound in
ordinary love and gratitude to imitate, by showing good-will, love,
kindness, charity in thought, word, and deed, towards our fellow-men.
How beautiful and glorious sounded that Christmas hymn, sung not only by
all the school-children, but by all the congregation.  Sir Hugh's rich
voice, old as he was, sounding clearly among the basses of the others.
He did his best, and he knew and felt that his voice was not more
acceptable at the throne of Heaven than that of the youngest child
present.  Then, when service was over, Sir Hugh came out arm-in-arm with
our aunt, followed by Julia and little Hugh, and talked so friendly and
kindly to all the people, and they all smiled and looked so pleased, and
replied to him in a way which showed that they were not a bit afraid of
him, but knew that he loved them and was interested in their welfare;
and Lady Worsley and Cousin Julia talked in the same kind way, and knew
everybody and how many children there were in each family, and asked
after those who were absent--some at service, and some apprentices, and
some in the army or at sea.  Master Peter also went about among them
all, and seemed so glad to see them, and shook hands with the old men,
and joked in his quiet way with the old women.  He contrived to have a
word with everybody as he moved in and out among them.  Then the vicar
came out, and a few friendly loving words were exchanged with him too.

"We shall see you and Miss Becky at dinner as usual, Mr Upton," said
Sir Hugh, as they parted.

"I should be sorry to be absent, Sir Hugh.  On twenty-nine
Christmas-days have we taken our dinner with you, and this will make the
thirtieth, if I mistake not," answered the vicar.

"Ah, time flies along, and yet Miss Becky does not, at all events,
remind us of it," said Sir Hugh.  Whereat Miss Becky, who was very fair
and somewhat fat, laughed and shook hands heartily with Sir Hugh and
Lady Worsley, and smiled affectionately at Julia and little Hugh, and we
commenced our homeward walk.  How enjoyable it was--how pleasant was,
our light luncheon! for we dined at five that we might have a long
evening.  We all looked forward to the evening with great delight.
Scarcely was dinner over than a sound was heard--a bell in the hall
striking sweetly.  We all jumped up, led by Master Peter, and arranging
ourselves, some on the great oak staircase and others in a circle at its
foot, we stood listening to the Christmas chimes and other tunes struck
up by a dozen or more men with different-toned bells--one in each hand.
Scarcely had they ceased and received their accustomed largesse from Sir
Hugh's liberal hands, than some young voices were heard coming up the
avenue.  They, as were the rest, were admitted at a side-door, through
the servants' hall, where tea and ale, and bread-and-cheese, and cakes,
and other good things, were ready to regale them.  The young singers
came trooping into the hall, one pushing the other forward; shy and
diffident, though they well knew that they had no reason to fear the
lord of that mansion nor any one present.  At length they arranged
themselves, and the leader of the band beginning, they all chimed in,
and sang, if not in a way to suit a fastidious taste, at all events,
with feeling and enthusiasm, a beautiful Christmas carol.  The words are
simple, but often as I have heard them I have never failed to feel my
heart lifted up to that just and merciful God who formed and carried out
that great and glorious work, the scheme of the Redemption, thus
wonderfully reconciling the demands of justice with love and mercy
towards the fallen race of man.  Surely this is a theme on which angels
must delight to dwell, and to which they must ever with joy attune their
voices and their harps; so I used to think then and so I think now, and
hope to think till I reach the not unwelcome grave, and find it a happy
reality.  Several hymns and other appropriate songs were sung by the
children, and then the leader began to sidle towards the door, while the
rest nudged and elbowed each other, and at length they all shuffled
demurely out again, but not a minute had passed before they were heard
shouting and laughing right merrily in the servants' hall.  Their places
were quickly supplied by a very different set of characters.  They were
dressed with cocked hats and swords, and uniforms of generals and
princes, which, though highly picturesque, were not of a very martial
character, or calculated to stand much wear and tear, being chiefly
adorned with coloured paper and tinsel.  The tones of their voices
showed that, notwithstanding the lofty-sounding names they assumed, they
were not of an aristocratic rank, nor, though they all spoke in poetry,
was that of a very marked order.  There was Julius Caesar, and Mark
Antony, and Caractacus, and the Black Prince, and King Arthur, and
Richard the Third, the Emperor Alexander, Marshal Blucher, and several
other heroes, ancient and modern, including Napoleon Bonaparte and the
Duke of Wellington.  Some were tall, and some were short, and some fat,
and others thin, and I had, even then, strong doubts whether they bore
any similarity to the heroes they represented as to figure, while,
certainly, they were not in any way particular as to correctness of
costume.  One little chap, who was evidently looked upon as a star, came
forward and announced that he was Julius Caesar, and a short time
afterwards he informed us that he was Marshal Blucher.  Having marched
round the hall in a very amicable way, they ranged themselves in two
parties opposite each other.  One hero on one side defying another on
the other, they rushed forward and commenced, in the ancient Greek and
Trojan fashion, a furious verbal combat, always in verse, the last lines
in one case being:

  "I tell thee that thou art but a traitrous cheat,
  So fight away, or I will make thee into mince-meat."

They were not in the least particular as to who should fight one with
the other.  Julius Caesar and the Black Prince had a desperate combat,
and so had Mark Antony and King Arthur, the two British heroes coming
off victorious, and leaving their opponents dead on the field.  The most
terrific combat was that between the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon
Bonaparte.  For folly five minutes they walked about abusing each other
in the most unmeasured versification, I was going to say language,
flourishing their swords, and stamping their feet.  They put me much in
mind of two turkey-cocks preparing for a fight.  It might be remarked
also that in this, as in the previous instances, the modesty of the
heroes did not stand in their way, when singing their own praises:

  "I am that hero, great and good,
  Whom France and Frenchmen long withstood.
  I beat them all well out of Spain
  And I will beat them all again.
  And Bony, as you know 'tis true,
  I thrashed thee well at Waterloo
  So if you have not had enough,
  All will allow you're very tough;
  Come on, I say, I do not mind thee,
  For as I was, you still will find me."

Thus spoke the great Duke of Wellington.  Bony answered in a similar,
only in a somewhat more abusive strain, when, throwing the sheaths of
their swords on the floor, they commenced a furious and deadly combat.
At length Napoleon was slain; but, somewhat outraging our school notions
of history, Julius Caesar rushed forward to avenge his death.  He,
however, got more than he expected, and was soon laid alongside Bony.
One hero after another rushed forward, but all were finally slain, and
the Iron Duke remained master of the field.  He, however, overcome by
fatigue and numberless wounds, sunk down at last, and died also.  Now a
new character appeared at the door, in the person of a doctor, with a
long nose and a stick, which he held constantly to it.  Having explained
who he was and what he would do, or rather what very few things he
couldn't do, he produced a huge snuff-box from his pocket, and first
approached the slain hero of Waterloo, saying,--

  "Take some of my sniff-snuff,
  Up thy riff-ruff,
  And rise up, brave Duke of Wellington."

Up jumped the Duke with wonderful agility, and began dancing about right
merrily.  The same words produced a similar effect on all the late
combatants, and, the doctor helping them up, they were all soon dancing
and jumping about as merrily as the Duke.  This amusement was of short
duration, and a moral was taught us as to the brevity of all worldly
happiness, for suddenly, the door bursting open, in rushed a huge figure
like a moving holly-bush, but it had a head and arms and legs.  It was
of an allegorical character, intended to represent Time; but, instead of
a scythe, the arms held a broom, by lustily plying which, he speedily
swept all the heroes and the great doctor off the stage.  These mummers,
as they are called in that part of the country, always used to excite my
warmest admiration.  We used to call them jiggery-mummers at Foxholme,
because they danced or jigged in the peculiar fashion I have described.
They are a remnant of the morris-dancers of olden days.  They were
generally called on to repeat this play in the servants' hall, and often
in my younger days did I steal down to witness the exhibition.  This
closed the public amusements of the evening.  The evening of that holy
day at Foxholme was always spent in a quiet, though in a cheerful way.
Sir Hugh would have preferred having the mummers perform on another day,
but the custom was so ancient, and the people were so opposed to the
notion of a change, that he permitted it to exist till he could induce
them to choose of their own accord another day.  We spent a very
pleasant, happy evening, and we knew that for the next day Master Peter
had prepared all sorts of games for our amusement.  Little Hugh had been
with his mother watching the mummers, and highly amused, giving way to
shouts of hearty laughter.  Then he ran off to Julia, while Lady Worsley
was attending to some of her guests; next he attached himself for a time
to Master Peter, and from him made his escape into the servants' hall to
witness the mummers' second representation.  I remember that Jack and I,
with several other boys, went out before returning into the drawing-room
to smell the air, and to discover if there was a frost.  How pure and
fresh and keen it was.  The gravel on the walk felt crisp as we trod on
it.  The stars in countless numbers shone with an extraordinary
brilliancy from the dark cloudless sky.  There was no doubt about a
frost, and a pretty sharp one too, and our hopes rose of getting
sliding, skating, and snowballing to our hearts' content.  While we were
standing with our faces turned towards the park, I remember that Jack,
who had a sharp pair of eyes, said that he saw a deer running across it.
We declared that it must have been fancy, as it was difficult to make
out an object through the darkness, except it was against the sky, at a
distance even of twenty yards.  As we had run out without our hats, we
very quickly returned into the warm house.


We were sitting round Master Peter, listening to an account he was
giving us of a trip he once made, when a midshipman, through Palestine,
when the drawing-room door opened, and Mrs Moss, little Hugh's nurse,
appeared, to beg that he might be sent up to bed.  There was nothing
unusual for Nurse Moss coming for Master Hugh, who always objected to be
sent off to bed, but I saw Lady Worsley turn suddenly pale.

"Why, nurse, I thought that he had gone to you nearly half an hour ago,"
she exclaimed.  "He has not come into the drawing-room since the mummers
were here.  Oh! where can he be?"

"Probably coiled up in an arm-chair in the other drawing-room, or in the
study," said Sir Hugh, calmly, seeing our aunt's agitation; but I
thought that even his eye looked anxious.  The next moment everybody was
hunting about in every possible direction.  The child was not in the
north drawing-room, nor in the ante-room, nor in the study.  That was
soon made clear.  Where was he, though?  Some of the party went
down-stairs, to help the servants look in that part of the house; others
searched through the bedrooms.  Every cupboard, every chest and box, was
opened.  We looked under every arm-chair, and bed, and sofa in the
house.  We boys were, I must say, the most active in our movements, and
it was a mercy that we did not set the house on fire.  We looked into
every attic--those inhabited and those full of lumber.  In the latter I
should not have been quite happy alone.  They were full of so many
strange articles of furniture and ornaments, or what were once
considered such, and pictures in corners, with eyes, as the light of our
candles fell on them, staring out so curiously, that I could not help
fancying that some person had got in there to frighten us.  Frequently
the cry was echoed through the house--"Is he found? is he found?" with a
reply in the negative.  Sir Hugh headed one party, Lady Worsley another,
Cousin Peter a third, and Julia a fourth.  After a most systematic
search not a trace of the lost child could be discovered.  Matters had
now become very painful.  Our aunt was almost overpowered with her
feelings of anxiety, and Julia was nearly as much agitated.  Sir Hugh
next summoned the servants, as well as all the family, into the hall,
and questioned every one to discover by whom his son had last been seen.
Several of the servants acknowledged to have observed him enter the
servants' hall, but no one could say positively that he had gone out
again.  No further information could be elicited from any one.  The
matter had become truly alarming and mysterious.  While the female part
of the household continued the search within the house, we, with all the
lanterns which could be mustered, and extemporised torches, began a
search outside.  The ringers and the singers and the mummers had taken
their departure.  Messengers were, therefore, sent after them to the
village, to call them back, that they might be questioned.  The child
would scarcely have left the house of his own accord, and yet, if not,
who would have ventured to carry him away?  What temptation, indeed,
would there have been for any one to do so?  That was the question.  I
had never seen Cousin Peter in such a state of agitation as he now was,
though he tried to be calm and composed.  Round and round the house we
went, and looked under every tree and bush, and into every dark corner.
At last the mummers, and the singers, and ringers, began to come up from
the village, accompanied by the greater part of the population of the
place, all anxious to know what had happened.  A variety of rumours were
afloat.  Everybody sympathised with our uncle.  As soon as they were
assembled he addressed them, and then begged those who had anything to
say to step forward that he might hear them one by one.  Not a word of
information, however, was elicited of any value.  They had seen little
Hugh in the servants' hall, and on one occasion he had darted forward
and run in and out among the mummers; but they thought that he had gone
back again among the servants.  Hopes had been entertained that he, for
a freak, had run off with the mummers or singers; but they all
positively asserted that he was not with them when they left the Hall.
Inquiries were made whether any suspicious characters had been seen in
the neighbourhood.  The people talked for some time among themselves.
Then John Hodson, the village blacksmith, stepped forward, and said that
two days before a stranger had spoken to him as he was working in his
smithy, and asked a number of questions about the place; but he didn't
mind them at the time, and thought that it was only for curiosity's
sake.  The cobbler, Ebenezer Patch, also recollected that a stranger had
spoken to him, but he didn't heed much at the time what questions were
asked or what were answered.

"What was he like, Patch?" asked Sir Hugh, in a hoarse voice, which
sounded strange to my ears.

"Why, Sir Hugh, he had, I marked, a very white, long face, and he had an
odd bend in his back, which made him look somewhat short.  He spoke
gently, I mind, just like a gentleman, and I made no doubt that he was
one," answered the cobbler.

The blacksmith gave the same account of the stranger.  It seemed to
agitate our uncle strangely; so it did Cousin Peter.  They talked aside
for some time.

"Can that wretched man have had anything to do with it?"  I heard Sir
Hugh say.

"Too probably, indeed, should he really have been in the neighbourhood.
I fear so," remarked Cousin Peter.  "At all events, we must endeavour to
discover where he has gone.  He is capable of any daring deed of
wickedness.  My only hope is that we are mistaken in supposing that the
person seen was he."

"The description suits him too closely to leave any doubt on my mind."

I did not hear more, and I had no idea who the person was of whom they
were speaking, except that he was the stranger seen in the village; nor
could I tell why they should fancy he had had anything to do with the
disappearance of little Hugh.

After a further consultation, Cousin Peter and two other gentlemen went
to their rooms, and returned booted and spurred, and, putting on their
great-coats, accompanied by Sam Barnby, rode off in two parties in
different directions.  Notwithstanding this, another search, intended to
be still more rigid than the first, was instituted, both inside and
outside the house.  Meantime, Sir Hugh had ordered lights into the
library, and spent the night writing letters to magistrates and others,
and papers of all sorts for printing, offering rewards for the recovery
of the lost child.  Lady Worsley was for most of the time in the
drawing-room with Julia and several other Indies, who were in vain
attempting to comfort her.  No one went to bed that night at Foxholme
Park.  We boys were called in by Sir Hugh, and highly proud at being
employed by him in copying notices to be sent out in the morning,
offering a reward for the discovery of little Hugh.  We were all very
sorry for the loss of our small cousin; but we liked the excitement
amazingly.  For my part, I must own that I could not, however,
altogether forget the games Cousin Peter had prepared for us, and the
amusement we had anticipated, and regret for the fun and frolic we
should miss, mingled somewhat with the sorrow I really felt for the loss
of little Hugh, and the trouble which had come on our uncle and aunt and
all the family.


Morning came at last, and as the family assembled in the breakfast-room
with pale anxious faces, the question again and again was asked if any
trace had been found of little Hugh, Cousin Peter and the other
gentlemen, and Sam Barnby, came back; but they did not appear to have
anything satisfactory to communicate.  Poor Cousin Peter, I never saw
his face look so long and miserable.  I thought the anxiety would kill
him.  He deemed to feel the event even more than Sir Hugh, who several
times murmured, "God's will be done, whatever has happened to the
child."  It must be a great thing to be able to say that under all the
trials of life.  With daylight the search through the park and grounds
was recommenced.  I know that I cried outright when I saw men with nets
dragging the ponds.  I had not realised the possibility that the dear
little fellow might actually be dead, as this proceeding suggested.  I
was very thankful each time that I saw the drags come up empty.  As I
remarked, the ground had become so hard early in the evening, that no
footprints could have been left on it.  This circumstance made it
impossible to discover the direction little Hugh could have taken, had
he gone off by himself, which it was utterly improbable he should have
done, or that of anybody else.

Several gentlemen, county magistrates, and lawyers, and constables, came
during the day to see Sir Hugh, some to offer him advice and assistance,
others to receive his directions.  He and Cousin Peter seemed at last to
have made up their minds that little Hugh had been carried off by the
mysterious individual who had been seen by the blacksmith and cobbler;
but how he had contrived to get into the house, no one could tell.  The
mummers indignantly denied that any stranger could have come in with
them, while the servants as positively asserted that no one whom they
did not know had entered the house that evening.  Another guest had been
expected in the afternoon, a Mr Strafford.  I had remarked that
whenever his name was mentioned, Cousin Julia had looked very
interested, and once or twice I saw a blush rising on her cheek.  He had
been there before, and Sir Hugh spoke highly of him.  Julia had met him
at a house where she had been staying in the summer.  Cousin Peter, on
the contrary, looked sad and pained, I fancied, whenever he was spoken
of; and putting that and other things together, I had little doubt that
Mr Strafford was a suitor for Cousin Julia's hand.  I was, therefore,
curious to know what sort of a person Mr Strafford was.  Both Sir Hugh
and Julia expressed themselves anxious for his arrival, under the belief
that he would materially assist in discovering what had become of little
Hugh.  Why, I could not tell, except that he was a barrister, and that
barristers were supposed to be very clever fellows, who can always find
out everything.  It was late in the afternoon, growing dusk, when a
post-chaise drove up to the door, and a slight, active, very intelligent
and good-looking young man got out of it.  I was in a low window in the
ante-room reading, hidden by the back of a large arm-chair.  I looked
out of the window and saw the new arrival, who the next instant was in
the room, when Julia went out to meet him.  From the way they greeted
each other, I had no longer any doubt of the true state of the case.
They of course did not see me, or they might not have been so
demonstrative.  Mr Strafford listened with knitted brow to the account
Julia gave him of little Hugh's disappearance, or rather I may say of
his abduction, for she had no doubt of his having been carried off by
the mysterious stranger.

"It is a sad alternative, for the sake of the family; but I see no other
course to pursue," said Mr Strafford.  "The unhappy man must be
captured at all hazards.  If we attempt to make any private compromise,
he will escape, and too probably never allow us to hear more of your
brother.  For his own sake, I do not think that he will have ventured to
be guilty of violence."

"Oh! the disgrace, the disgrace to the family!" dried Julia.  "Yet he
cannot be so cruel, so ungrateful, so wicked, as to venture to hurt poor
dear little Hugh."

"On that score set your mind at rest," answered Mr Strafford.  "He will
try to escape with him, I suspect, to the coast of France, and his plan
will be to take him to some distant place where he thinks we shall not
discover him.  I have no doubt that your father and cousin have already
taken measures to stop him.  At all events we will see about it at once,
as there is no time to lose."  Mr Strafford now went on into the
drawing-room, where Sir Hugh and Lady Worsley were waiting to see him.
From what I had heard, I now began to suspect who the mysterious
stranger was.  I hurried off to consult with Jack on the subject.  He
agreed with me that he must be a cousin of Sir Hugh's, who, being his
nearest kinsman of the male branch of the family, would succeed to the
title and estates, should he die without a son.  This man, Everard
Worsley, was always a wild profligate character, and was at present
outlawed, so that he could not venture to show his face openly in
England.  Of course it would be a great thing for him to get the heir
out of the way, as should no other son be born to Sir Hugh, he would
probably be able to have the statute of outlawry removed (I think that
is the proper term), and come and take possession, and turn Lady Worsley
and Cousin Julia out of the house, and send all the old servants about
their business, and fill the place with his own abandoned, reprobate
companions, and hangers on.  This was a possibility, I had heard it
whispered, might occur.  It was the skeleton in the family cupboard; it
was the not improbable event of all others to be dreaded and deplored.
I had heard, too, that this disreputable kinsman was nearly related to
Cousin Peter, and that Cousin Peter had an unbounded abhorrence for him,
that is to say, as much as he could have for any human being.  I fancied
that Cousin Peter himself was in the line of succession, though I did
not know exactly where; but I was very certain that nothing would have
caused him more acute sorrow than to see those he loved so well removed
to make way for him.

I observed that Cousin Peter met Mr Strafford in the most frank and
cordial manner, and at once entered with him into a discussion as to the
steps which should next be taken for the recovery of the child.  I did
not hear all that was to be done.  I knew, however, that a number of the
most intelligent and trustworthy men in the neighbourhood were engaged.
Some were sent off to all the places on the coast whence boats could get
off, to ascertain if any had gone across the channel, and to examine any
which might be going, while other parties were, as soon as it was
daylight, to scour the forest in every direction.  We boys, under Sam
Barnby, were, much to our satisfaction, to engage in this latter
service.  Sir Hugh and the rest of the family, overcome with fatigue,
were compelled to go to bed; but all night long people were coming and
going with messages, showing that a very vigilant and active search was
being carried on.  Neither Cousin Peter nor Mr Strafford, however, went
to bed, as they had taken upon themselves the direction of the search.
Indeed, unless Everard Worsley had succeeded at once in getting away
from the neighbourhood, it seemed scarcely possible that he should now
be able to make his escape.


Long before daybreak we boys were up, called by Sam Barnby, and, having
breakfasted, and by his advice, filled our pockets with bread and ham
and tongue and brawn, set off while the first streaks of dawn were still
in the sky, to commence our search through the forest.  The sky was
cloudless, the stars shining brightly at first, but one by one they
disappeared as the light streaming through the leafless trees on the one
hand, seemed to be rolling back the gloom of night on the other.  The
air was pure, but keen as razor-blades, as Sam observed, and would have
saved us shaving, if we had had beards to shave.  The crisply frozen
grass crackled under our feet as we trod rapidly over it, with
difficulty restraining our inclination to sing and shout out, so high
were our spirits raised by the exhilarating atmosphere.

We walked on rapidly, covering, by Sam Barnby's directions, as much
ground as possible, while, however, keeping each other in sight, which
could be more easily done at that time of the year than in the summer.
Every now and then we came on a herd of forest ponies, which went
scampering away, shaking the hoar frost from the bushes as their shaggy
coats brushed them in passing.  Less frequently we encountered herds of
the fallow deer, once so numerous.  They would stand for an instant
gazing at us, as if wondering why we had invaded their domains, and
then, fleet as the wind, they would fly, following one after the other,
till they reached some knoll or thicker wood, where they would stop and
scrutinise us as we passed.  We were all soon in a thorough glow from
the exercise we were taking, for the ground was far from level.  Now we
had to ascend a height, now descend into a valley, circuit a marsh, or
leap across a stream--a feat not always easily accomplished.

We passed many spots of historic fame which I cannot here stop to
describe.  Many were highly picturesque and beautiful, and had
attracted, I doubt not, the pencil of Gilpin, who was minister of
Boldre, not far off.  On we went, hour after hour, unflaggingly, till
Sam called a halt, and each of us produced the provender we had brought.
Sam had strapped a large fishing-basket to his back, and to our
infinite satisfaction, when we found that our own supplies were totally
inadequate to satisfy the cravings of our keen appetites, he brought
forth an abundance of eatables and a bottle or two of the stoutest of
stout ales, that, as he remarked, a little might go a long way.  There
must have been real stuff in it, for, though he gave us each but a few
thimblefuls, it set us up amazingly, and away we went as full of spirit
and strength as when we first started.

I cannot describe all the adventures we met with.  Jack was on the right
of the line, I was next to him.  Suddenly I heard him cry out.  I ran up
to him, calling to the others to halt.  Jack pointed to an object under
a bush.  It was the body of a man.

"Is he asleep?"  I asked.

"He is very quiet," said Jack.

Indeed he was quiet.  All our shouting did not arouse him.  He was
dressed in a smock frock and long brown gaiters; but his hands were
white, and his face fair.  "He is dead, young gentlemen!" said Sam
Barnby, gravely, when he came up.  "Who can he be?"

We all stood aloof.  None of us had ever seen a dead mail.  It was a sad
object.  Sam, stooping down, examined the body.

"To my mind, this is no other than the unfortunate gentleman we are
looking for.  He is no carter, and under his smock his dress is that of
a gentleman."

This was indeed valuable information to carry home.  Sam wanted as to
help him remove the body, but we had no fancy to do that.  What,
however, had become of little Hugh?  If the miserable man had really
carried him off, where had he bestowed him?  Could he have murdered the
child first, and then destroyed himself?  The thought was too dreadful
to be entertained.  How had he met with his death?  That was another
question.  Again Sam examined the body.

"This tells a tale, at all events," he exclaimed, holding up a little

It was evidently Hugh's.  This man had carried him off--of that there
was no longer a shadow of doubt.  What had become of him though?  We
searched round and round the spot, under every bush, and in the hollow
of every tree.  Not a further sign of the child could we discover.
There would be still daylight sufficient for us to go to the Hall with
the information, and to return.  The question was who should go and who
should stay by the dead body, which we considered that we ought not to
leave.  Without Sam we could not find our way, so it was necessary that
he should go, at all events.  At last my brother Jack asked me if I
would remain with him.  I own that I did not like it.  There was
something terrible at the thought of being out alone with the dead body
of our wicked kinsman, as we supposed the man to be.  Yet I did not wish
to exhibit any fear, and put as bold a face on the matter as I could.

"Yes, of course, if you wish it, Jack, I'll stay with you," I answered
at once.  "Somebody must stay, and I suppose that we are the right
people to do so.  We can run about to keep ourselves warm.  I shan't, of
course, mind it a bit, if you don't.  You'll not be long gone, will you,

"Oh, no fear, Master William," answered Sam Barnby; "we'll be at the
Hall and back in no time.  We've come a long round to get here."

This answer encouraged me a little, and I managed, I flatter myself, to
look thoroughly unconcerned.  We had each of us thick sticks: not that
there was anything to fight with; for even wild hogs don't attack people
who let them alone; but I know that I clutched mine very tightly as the
rest of the party disappeared among the trees of the forest, and Jack
and I were left on guard.  As to looking on the dead man, that was more
than I dared do; so I walked about, flourishing my stick and talking to
Jack, as far as I could get from the spot where the dead man lay,
consistently with my undertaking to keep guard over it.  Jack did not
seem to care very much about the matter.  Now he walked close up to the
spot; then he joined me and talked on indifferent subjects, though I
don't think that even he cared to look directly at the dead man.  We
began at last to become very tired of our guard, and to wish that our
friends would return and relieve us.  I had no watch.  Jack had
forgotten to wind up his, so we could not tell how time sped.

Not far off was a dark clump of hollies, to which I had extended my
walk.  As I was turning round, I heard a slight rustling of the leaves,
and, to my inexpressible horror, I caught a glimpse of a pair of eyes
gleaming out at me through an opening in the boughs.  I instantly
connected them somehow with the man supposed to be dead, and, when I
hurried back to Jack, I half expected to find that the body had got up,
and, by some means or other, gone round into the holly-bush.  No; there
it lay, quiet enough, never more to move of its own accord.  But to what
could those eyes belong?

"Jack!  Jack!"  I stammered out, feeling that I must look very pale and
frightened, "I have seen a pair of eyes!"

"Whereabouts?" asked Jack.  "I suppose that they are in somebody's head,

"That's the question," said I; "I am not quite so sure of it."

"Oh, nonsense!" cried Jack; "let's have a look at the place.  Where did
you see them?"

I pointed to the spot, and plucking up courage as he walked up to it,
followed him, clutching my stick tightly.  The holly-bushes formed a
tolerably large screen, so that we should have to make a wide circuit to
get to the rear.  Nothing was to be seen in front.  No eyes were visible
where I had caught the glimpse of them.  Jack said it was fancy, but
still he had an inclination to examine further.  I would rather have
waited till the arrival of our friends, but he, telling me to go round
one end, ran round the other, that we might catch anybody who might be
there.  I didn't like it, but still I went, feeling that I was
performing a deed of mighty heroism.  I was resolved not to allow Jack
to call me a coward; indeed, he very seldom did so, because anything
that he dared do, I did; the only difference was that he liked it, and I
didn't.  I got round therefore as fast as he did, and just behind the
spot where I had seen the eyes, there they were again, but this time I
discerned a head and face into which they were fixed--a face I had seen

"There, there!"  I cried, pointing to the face as Jack came up.

It was that of the poor idiot lad, Dicky Green.  He was crouching down,
evidently trying to conceal himself from us.

"Why, Dicky, what are you doing here?" cried Jack.  "We won't hurt you."

"I was a looking to see what'd happen next.  He's a sleeping, bean't
he?" answered the idiot, pointing in the direction of the dead man.

"It's a sleep from which he will never awake, lad," said Jack.  "He is
dead, lad."

"Lor', be he?  Then you won't go for to tell of I?" exclaimed Dicky,
whimpering.  "Mother sent I to look for the little one's shoe, when I
told her how I'd got hold of him and gi'en the man as was a trying to
take him from me a pretty hard clout on the head.  I thought I'd made
him quiet, but I ne'er meaned to kill him, that I didn't."

"The little one!" cried Jack, a new light bursting on us.  "What do you
know of him?  Where is he?"

"Oh, he's all right, and happy as he can be, I wot," said Dicky, with a
grin, which made us doubt the truth of his assertion.

Our fear now, however, was that the idiot would escape from us before we
could ascertain whether or not he really did know where little Hugh was.
Still, we could not help hoping that the child was safe.  Jack
therefore did his best to keep him talking till our friends should come
from the Hull.  Happily, the poor creature was very fond of keeping his
tongue moving, as other people with a limited supply of brains are apt
to do.  Though he talked on, we could not make out more than we had
already.  To our great relief, we heard at length the sound of voices
approaching us.  Soon Sir Hugh, with Cousin Peter, Mr Strafford, and
several other gentlemen on horseback, with Sam Barnby and a whole posse
of men, appeared in the distance.  We shouted to them to come to us.  No
sooner did Dicky Green see them, than he began to tremble violently;
then, looking to the right and left, he bolted off through the forest.
Fortunately, Cousin Peter saw him, and gave chase on horseback; Sam
Barnby also followed in the direction we pointed.  Still Dicky ran very
fast, dodging in and out among the trees.  Meantime, Sir Hugh and Mr
Strafford rode up to where the dead body lay on the grass.  As soon as
Sir Hugh saw the features of the corpse, he said in a sad voice:

"It is that unhappy man, cut off in the middle of his career; but my
boy, my boy, where can he be?"

Though Dicky Green ran fast, he was ere long overtaken and brought back.
He stood before the gentlemen with one of his most idiotic looks, which
made it seem hopeless that anything could be got out of him.

"Come, come, Dicky, that will not do for us," said Cousin Peter; "rouse
yourself up and tell us all you know about this matter.  No one will do
you any harm, lad."

Thus spoken to kindly, after some time, Dicky looked up and said:

"Thee wants to know about the little chap, and if I tells thee, thee
won't ask how that one there came by his death?"

"If we do ask, it will not be to bring any harm on you, Dicky.  You may
be assured of that," said Cousin Peter.

Dicky thought for some time, and then began to move off through the

"He is going towards his mother's cottage; I shouldn't be surprised if
little Master Hugh be there safe enough," whispered Sam Barnby.

"Bless you, bless you, Sam Barnby, for those words, and I believe that
they are true," exclaimed Sir Hugh, as we all followed the idiot, except
a couple of men, who were left with the dead body.

In a short time we reached a wretched tumble-down hut of mud, with a
roof of thatch, green with age, and full of holes, in which birds had
built their nests.  There at one end we found a bed-ridden old woman,
the idiot's mother, and on a little pallet-bed in the further corner lay
a blooming child fast asleep.  Sir Hugh stepped forward, signing to us
not to make a noise, and lifting the child in his arms, bestowed a kiss
on its brow.  The boy awoke, and seeing his father--for it was our dear
little Hugh--threw his arms round his neck and exclaimed:

"You've come, papa, for Hugh at last; Hugh is so glad, so happy!"

It was a happy meeting we all had at the Hall that evening, and grateful
were the hearts of Sir Hugh and Lady Worsley at the recovery of their
darling boy.  I remember that afterwards there was an inquest, and that
the magistrates met, but, except from the ravings of poor Dicky Green,
there was no evidence how the deceased gentleman who was found in the
forest came by his death.  He was accordingly buried quietly in the
parish churchyard, and as little fuss as possible made about the matter,
though of course it had the usual run of a nine days' wonder.  I am
happy to say that little Hugh grew up, and as he is the father of a
number of boys, there is not much chance of the property going out of
the old line for want of a male heir.


STORY TWO--The Rocking-Stone: A Chronicle of the Times of the Wars of
the Roses.

Two of the most powerful nobles of England, the Duke of Somerset and the
Earl of Warwick, were one fine summer's day, in the year of our Lord
1449, walking together in the Temple Gardens, on the banks of the
Thames.  Their conversations were on affairs of state.  Ere long they
expressed decided differences of opinion.  Their tempers warmed up; the
dispute ran high.  They appealed to the nobles and gentlemen attending
on them, but all drew back.  They had long been rivals, each seeking for
power and influence.  Warwick possessed immense popularity both with the
soldiery and populace.  He is since well known in history as the
Kingmaker.  He was not a man to brook opposition.

"It is well that we should know our foes from our friends," he
exclaimed, plucking as he spoke a white rose from a bush which grew
near.  "Let all who claim to be my friends wear henceforth the white
rose in their helms or caps."

"And I, too, wish to know who are my friends and who my foes," said the
Duke of Somerset, walking on rapidly till he reached a red rose-tree
which he saw in the distance.  "I shall expect all those who love me, or
the cause I espouse, to wear this flower of blushing hue."

Several knights and gentlemen hurried after the duke, and imitated his
example in placing red roses in their caps.  The earl watched the
proceedings of his rival with a smile.

"My challenge is quickly accepted," he observed, turning to those who
surrounded him.  "But am I to stand alone?  Have I no friends who wish
to show that they are ready to espouse my cause?"

"Ten thousand swords would be ready to leap from their scabbards the
moment you summon them," answered a sturdy knight, Sir Herbert de
Beauville.  "I, for one, am ready to risk castle, and lands, and jewels,
and life itself, in your service; and as a pledge of my sincerity, I
place this white rose in my helm, and, so help me Heaven, may I ever be
true to it and to you while life remains!"

The rest of the party, following the knight's example, pledged
themselves to the earl, and placed white roses in their helms or caps.
It was curious to see the two parties, as they henceforth walked apart
with the insignia they had so hastily assumed prominently displayed,
eyeing each other with glances indicative, it might be, of that fearful
struggle which was so soon to commence, and to devastate the fair land
of England and deluge it with blood.  Some of those present turned
traitors to the cause they had espoused, and others more than once
changed sides, but amply did Sir Herbert de Beauville fulfil the pledge
he had given on that occasion.  He was one of those men who consider
that black is black, and white is white, and so, having passed his word
that he would wear the white rose and support the house of York, he
fought on, amid all its changing fortunes, till he had lost the larger
portion of his once ample possessions.  His ancestral castle of
Beauville, in the north of England, in a sadly dilapidated condition,
with its park and a few hundred acres of land, was at length all that
remained to him.  In the fatal fight on Bosworth Field, holding himself
bravely, as was his wont, he was desperately wounded.  He would have
fallen from his horse had not he been supported by his faithful
servitor, Roger Bertrand, who led him from the fight to a retired spot
near a brook, where he could attend to his gaping wounds, and stanch the
life-blood flowing from his veins.  In vain, however, the brave squire
exerted all his skill.  It was too clear to him that his beloved
master's hours were numbered.  The knight also was well aware that his
last blow had been struck for the cause he had so long espoused, and
that he should soon be numbered with the dead.  He committed, therefore,
his wife and young son, who was named after him, to Roger's care.

"Mark you, Roger, watch over the boy as a precious jewel.  Remember his
noble blood and parentage, bring him up as becomes both, and above all
things, when he comes to man's estate, take care that he finds a bride
befitting him, and does not wed beneath him.  I fear me much that I do
not leave him as rich a heritage as I received, but should quiet times
ever come back to this realm of England, with your careful nursing, it
may once more be made as profitable as of yore.  You know my wishes,
good Roger; I can speak no more.  Especially in that one point of
marriage guide the boy aright.  Lift me up.  How goes the fight?  Let me
behold the white rose of York once more triumphant.  See--see--they
charge forward!  No--alas! they turn and fly.  Then welcome death!"  The
old knight, pressing Roger's hand, uttered the word, "Remember," and
fell back and died.

The brave serving-man, rising to his feet, stood over the dead body of
his master with drawn sword, to protect it from spoliation, and
ultimately succeeded in bearing it off from the field, so as to give it
honoured sepulture in the precincts of the neighbouring church.  The
priests were desirous to keep the knight's armour in pawn, that masses
might be said for the repose of his soul.

"Thanks, reverend and worthy gentlemen," answered Roger, quietly.  "But
my dear master was as hearty a prayer as he was a fighter, and methinks
if he's failed while he lived to make his peace with Heaven, nothing
that you or any other can say will aid him now that he is gone, and
knows more about the matter than you and all the world besides put

"What rank heresy is this you are speaking?" exclaimed the priest.  "The
prayers of the Church not of use to the dead, do you say?  This savours
strongly of the abominable tenets of Wycliffe.  Why, you must belong to
the abominable sect of the Lollards, Master Roger."

"Nay, but I was only speaking in the case of my good master," answered
the latter, in his quiet tone.  "I said that he was a hearty prayer; and
what is the use of a man's praying if his prayers are not to be heard?
But if my master's prayers were heard--and I am sure they were--then
there is no further need of any one praying for him.  I am a true son of
Holy Mother Church.  I know nothing of Master Wycliffe, and conclude
that he has been dead no small number of years."

The priest, not accustomed in those days to controversy, had nothing to
say in reply to Roger's remarks, though, still suspecting him strongly
to be a Lollard, he would have liked to entrap him, and have the power
to bring down punishment on his head.  Honest Roger, however, not aware
of the feelings of animosity he had excited, frankly wished the irate
ecclesiastic farewell, and with the arms and armour of his late master,
all that remained of him, took his departure for the now mourning castle
of Beauville.

It is not necessary to describe the grief of the Lady Beauville, nor of
the young Herbert, who was of an age to feel deeply the loss he had
suffered.  As may have been suspected, Roger Bertram was a Lollard, as
was also the mistress of the castle, though they had found it necessary
to conceal their opinions.  Young Herbert was accordingly brought up in
the principles of Wycliffe, a copy of whose New Testament was one of the
most prized possessions of his mother.  It was her chief delight to
instruct her son in the glorious truths it contained.  Alas! however,
the shock she received on hearing of the death of her beloved lord, and
the complete overthrow of the cause for which he had so long striven and
fought, was so great, that from that time she sank gradually, and ere
long followed her husband to the grave.

Roger Bertram thoroughly carried out his promise to his master.  Young
Herbert de Beauville grew up into a noble-looking youth, who, though he
did not possess any large amount of book-learning, was the leader in all
the manly exercises of the period.  He was brave and open-hearted, of a
kind and generous disposition, and had ever proved himself affectionate
and obedient to the guardian placed over him.  He had, however, a
determined will of his own, and Roger discovered that, if he wished to
retain his influence over his ward, he must not pull the reins of
authority too tightly.

As Herbert increased in years this became more and more evident,
especially when the youth mixed in the world, and there were not wanting
those who urged him to assert his own independence, and who hinted that,
now he had grown nearly to man's estate, it was no longer incumbent on
him to obey implicitly one who had merely been placed in authority to
watch over him while he was a boy.  Good Roger Bertram, though he was
able conscientiously to do his duty with regard to watching over his
young charge, found that it was a difficult matter to restore a fallen
house, and to bring long-neglected lands again into cultivation.  The
old retainers and tenants who once cultivated the fields had been
carried off by their feudal lord to the wars, and their bones lay
bleaching on many a battle-field.  The lands could not be let, and no
money was therefore forthcoming to restore the dilapidated castle fast
crumbling to pieces.  It had never been restored since the last siege
laid to it by the Lancastrians.  At that time a large portion of the
walls had been battered by cannon, then only recently introduced, and
another part had been undermined: the enemy, indeed, were on the point
of forcing an entrance, when it was relieved by the appearance of the
Yorkist party.  Roger's hope, therefore, was that as soon as his young
lord was of age he would retrieve his fortunes by a wealthy marriage.
Unfortunately there would, he knew, be much difficulty in finding a
bride for him among the fallen Yorkist families, us greedy King Henry
took good care to confiscate all the property he could from any excuse
lay hands on.  Roger was also himself much attached to the principles of
the Lollards, and he wished, if possible, that the young Herbert should
marry into a family which held them.  There were many families at that
time who read Wycliffe's Bible and Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales"--more,
indeed, than are generally supposed.  The English, as a nation, never
bowed the neck very readily to Rome, and even in the darkest days there
were some who put no faith in her assumptions and pretensions.  The more
enlightened had also ere this discovered what a clog to the prosperity
and progress of the country existed in the many thousands of lazy and
idle monks and friars, and other members of what were called religious
orders.  Still it may be considered that the lower classes generally,
and many of the upper, were ignorant in the extreme, and believed in all
those gross superstitions which have ever been the direct result of the
teaching of the Church of Rome, where no counteracting influences are at
work.  As Roger did not himself possess much book-learning, he was
compelled to leave young Herbert under the instruction of Father Mathew,
the curate of the parish, to whom Sir Herbert had confided the charge of
his education.  Not that the knight had any great esteem for the
learning of the father, but simply that he knew of no one else under
whom he could place his son.

Father Mathew was not a learned man, but he had cleverness enough to
conceal his ignorance, and Sir Herbert, who, though a brave soldier, was
no clerk, was not likely to find it out.  If the truth must be said, the
curate was himself fonder of hawk and hound than of his books, and it
was whispered that if a fat pullet came in his way, even on a fast day,
he did not always turn aside from the temptation.  He could, however, do
more than many of his brethren, for he could not only read his breviary,
but write a neat hand and copy manuscripts with precision--an art he had
learned in the cloister, and which was still the chief mode of
multiplying books; for printing had only been introduced into England
about twenty years before.  Such was Father Mathew; in the main, with
all his faults, an honest man.  Roger, who had more shrewdness than his
late lord, was not altogether satisfied with him, but he consoled
himself with the thought that his young charge might have had a worse
preceptor when he saw him growing into a fine handsome young man, with
many noble and generous qualities, though certainly more addicted to
field sports and athletic exercises than to the study of any of those
branches of knowledge by which he might restore the fallen fortunes of
his house.

Meantime, Roger was not unmindful of his purpose to secure a rich wife
for his young lord.  He looked about in every direction, far and near;
but the only damsel he could hear of at all likely to prove suitable was
the Lady Barbara, the only child of the stout Baron Fitz Osbert.  She
was said to be fair to look on, and pious and good, and possessed of all
the accomplishments which distinguished well-brought-up young ladies in
those days.  There were difficulties to be overcome, however.  Herbert
had not seen her, and might not be willing to wed her when he did.  Her
father, the baron, had been a stout Lancastrian, and, although the rival
houses of York and Lancaster were now united under Tudor rule, he was
very likely to be prejudiced against the son of an old opponent.  While
the honest Roger was travelling about the country and troubling himself
greatly in search of the desired heiress, an event occurred which seemed
likely to bring his schemes to naught.  Herbert was one day returning
from hawking--the quarry having led him a long distance from home--when,
as he was passing through a wood of some extent, he heard a cry and loud
shouts for help.  Urging on his steed over the green sward, he saw two
persons on horseback endeavouring to escape from three armed men on
foot.  That the latter were robbers he had little doubt--Cornishmen,
from Lord Audley's wild troops, after the fight at Blackheath.  One of
the persons on horseback was a country damsel, and, from the panniers
between which she sat, it appeared she had been to dispose of the
produce of her farm at market; the other was a serving-man, or
farm-servant, apparently, for he also had a number of baskets slung
about his horse.  He had a bow at his back and a trusty sword by his
side, with which he might, if necessary, defend his young mistress.
These ideas passed through Herbert's mind the moment the scene appeared
before him.  The serving-man had drawn his sword, and was endeavouring
to keep the robbers at bay.  The robbers, however, seemed to be laughing
at his efforts, and while one of them was keeping him in play, the other
two had run round on either side, and were on the point of seizing the
reins of the damsel's pony, when Herbert appeared.  He dashed forward,
and, with the impetuosity of youth, without asking any questions, cut
down one of the robbers, and was about to treat the other in the same
way when he made his escape between the trees.  The serving-man had in
the meantime given a good account of the robber who had attacked him,
who lay wounded and, to all appearance, dying on the ground.  He had,
however, first contrived to give honest Rolfe a severe cut on the arm
and another on the side, which would probably have compelled him to
yield to the attacks of the other ruffians had not young Herbert de
Beauville come to his assistance.  The damsel had wonderfully maintained
her self-possession during the events which have been described; but
when Herbert reached her, and, taking her hand, assured her that all
danger was past, her pale cheeks and quivering lips told him that she
could not longer contain her feelings.  He helped her to dismount, and
placing her on the trunk of a fallen tree, endeavoured to calm her
spirits, while Rolfe limped off to fill a bowl, which he had just
purchased in the market, with water from a neighbouring brook.  This
revived the damsel, and, as soon as she was able to speak, after
thanking Herbert for the service he had rendered her, she told him that
her name was Gertrude Alwyn, and that she lived with her father, stout
John Alwyn, a yeoman, on his farm nearly a league off.

"Then I must offer my services to escort you to your home, sweet
Mistress Gertrude," said Herbert, in as courteous a tone as he would
have used towards a princess.  "I can take no denial, as it is
unbefitting that you should continue your journey alone.  Mayhap some
other robbers may meet you, or you may be beset by some other danger."

Whatever might have been the fears of the damsel, she was not unwilling
that so handsome and courteous a young man should escort her homewards.
Not till honest Rolfe had come up to hold her reins while she again
mounted, did she and Herbert discover how badly he had been hurt by the
robber who had attacked him.  He made light of his wounds to save his
young mistress pain, but she refused to proceed till they were bound up,
and some further time was lost in this operation.  Herbert rode by the
side of Gertrude, conversing with her as he went.  He thought that he
had never seen so fair a damsel, so gentle and so lovable, while she was
certain that she had never met so kind and courteous and noble a youth.
It was late when they reached Donington Farm.  Master Alwyn, the owner,
did not seem much surprised to see his daughter escorted by so gay a
cavalier as young Herbert de Beauville.  Having thanked him warmly for
the protection he had afforded to his daughter, and her deliverance from
the danger which had overtaken her, with much courtesy he invited him to
remain to supper, which meal was even then being placed on the table.

Young Herbert was not unwilling to accept the invitation, seeing that
already his heart, or fancy, or whatever organ or sense by which young
men are moved, had already been captivated by the bright eyes and sweet
face of the fair Gertrude.  There was a bright moon about to shine, and
he had no tender mother or loving sisters who would be anxious at his
non-appearance at the usual hour.  Gertrude did not omit to tell her
mother of the hurts Rolfe had received.  On hearing this, the dame, with
alacrity, examined them, dressing them with much skill, of the
possession of which she was not a little proud.

After this, three demure damsels and seven stout labouring men came into
the hall, and took their seats at the table.  They then ate in silence
the messes which Mrs Alwyn served out to them.  Master Alwyn, meantime,
kept up a very pleasant conversation with his guest.  He was evidently
far superior in attainments to men generally of his position in life,
for he could both read and write, and knew something of what was going
forward in the world.  In appearance he was not, however, superior to
other yeomen or well-to-do farmers; and his dame, though evidently a
notable thrifty housewife, was not above her class in manners or in
information.  As Herbert looked from one to the other, and then
exchanged a few sentences with their daughter, he wondered how so fair a
creature could have sprung from so rough a stock.  He sat on, unwilling
to leave the society of so charming a being, till at length he had no
excuse for lingering longer.

As he rode homeward, with his hawk sleeping on his shoulder, and his
hounds by his side, his thoughts were so completely occupied with the
fair Gertrude, that he reached the castle gates almost before he was
aware of it.  Good Roger was away on the errand which has been spoken
of, and Father Mathew had never been wont to chide his pupil very
severely.  Now that he had come to man's estate, he wisely abstained
altogether from doing so.  Herbert was therefore accustomed frankly to
tell him all that occurred.  He accordingly described how he had met the
damsel and her servant, and saved them from robbers.

"You have acted bravely, my son, and you deem the damsel fair to look
on?" said Father Mathew.

The last words were uttered quite in an indifferent tone, as if the
matter were of very little consequence.

"Oh yes; the damsel is perfectly beautiful," exclaimed the youth,
enthusiastically.  "I have never seen one I could so devotedly love and

The priest gave way to a low laugh, and remarked:

"Perchance the next time you see her she may not appear so charming, and
still less so the following.  Methinks, too, that she is not such a one
as the young lord of Beauville ought to wed."

"I have heard of noble knights wedding with maidens of low degree, whose
beauty and rare excellence made them fit to take their place among the
highest in the land.  Such is the damsel of whom I speak.  It would be a
grievous pity to let so charming a rose bloom unseen, or to allow her to
mate with some rough thistle or thorn unworthy of her."

The priest laughed outright.

"Certes, the charms of the damsel have made you poetical, my esteemed
pupil," he remarked.  "I must go forth to see this rare piece of
perfection.  I wonder whether I shall esteem her as you do."

Now, although Herbert had a great regard for his reverend tutor, he did
not altogether desire to have him become acquainted with the damsel, and
he at once, therefore, began to repent that he had praised her in such
glowing terms.  He scorned, however, to retract anything that he had
said, yet he determined to try and prevent Father Mathew from visiting
Donington Farm till he had secured, as he hoped to do, the affections of
its fair inmate.  It was not till late at night that the priest and his
pupil retired to their beds.  At an early hour the next morning the
young lord of Beauville was on his way to Donington to inquire if
Mistress Gertrude had recovered from the effects of the fright to which
she had been subjected.  He also persuaded himself that he was anxious
to learn how it fared with sturdy Rolfe.

He went well armed in case he should meet any of the band of robbers
whose comrades he had so roughly handled.  On reaching Donington, he saw
Father Mathew's grey mare at the gate.  The father must have left the
castle by break of day, and have ridden pretty fast to get there before
him.  Herbert met him coming out.

"Ah, my son, you said not that you were coming here to-day," he remarked
quietly.  "However, I am not surprised.  The damsel is truly fair to
look on, and calculated to win a young man's heart.  But beware, I say--
beware.  Now go in and pay your visit and inquire after her health, and
say all the foolish things you proposed saying, and then come out again.
I will wait for you, and we will ride back to Beauville together."

This was not at all according to Herbert's intentions, yet he could not
help himself without positively refusing to comply with the father's
wishes.  He found the dame and her fair daughter within.  There was some
constraint in their manner at first, but the latter was evidently
pleased to see him.  He thought her not less lovely than on the previous
evening.  The visit, however, was not such as he had anticipated.  In
vain he tried to learn what Father Mathew had been saying about him.  At
last he was obliged to take his leave and join the latter, who had been
walking his horse up and down, waiting for him.  The young man had
learned wisdom.

"I will be even with him," he thought to himself.  "I will let him
suppose that he is right, and that on a second visit I have not found
the damsel as charming as I at first described her."

He carried out his plan, but whether or not Father Mathew was deceived
he could not tell; for the wary priest made no reply to his remarks by
which he could judge what was passing in his mind.  When Roger returned,
Herbert took good care to say nothing to him about fair Mistress
Gertrude, and, somewhat to his surprise, Father Mathew was equally
reserved on the subject.

It was curious, however, that from that time forward his hounds or his
hawks always led him in the direction of Donington, and, though he
brought home less game than formerly, he never grumbled at his ill-luck.
Perhaps both Roger and Father Mathew were watching him, but, if so, he
was not aware of it, and was perfectly well satisfied with the course he
was taking.  He found that Mistress Gertrude was not over strictly
brought up, and that her parents did not object to her mixing with other
young people, and enjoying the spoils and pastimes suitable to their
age.  At all festivals and merry-makings Herbert became her constant
attendant.  He cared not if any one remarked that he demeaned himself by
associating as he did with a yeoman's family.  Master Alwyn did not
object to his consorting with his daughter, and therefore no one else
had any business to find fault with him.  He engaged warmly with other
young men of his age in the various athletic sports then generally
practised.  It was his delight to excel in them, and whenever he won a
prize, as he often did, he was wont to bring it and place it at the feet
of the fair Gertrude.  He did so with a right noble air, and it was
often remarked that she received these attentions with a grace which not
the first lady in the land could surpass.  He was not without rivals who
desired to gain the chief place in her affections; not that she gave
them any encouragement, for her heart was already entirely surrendered
to Herbert.

Among the many devices employed by that money-loving monarch, Henry the
Seventh, was that of confiscating the property of any of his nobles or
other wealthy persons who gave him cause of offence by rebelling or
intriguing with his enemies.  Not far off resided a certain Master John
Fisher, once a wealthy merchant in London, who had in an evil hour for
himself purchased one of these estates, lately belonging to a Lord
Nevile, of ancient lineage, much beloved in the country.  Master Fisher
was a worthy honest man, and would have proved a greater benefactor to
the people among whom he came to reside than he had afterwards the power
of being, had not the king looked on his hordes as a mine of wealth from
which it was his royal privilege to extract whatever he might require.
The merchant had several sons, who naturally desired to live like the
young lords and gentlemen around them.  One of them, Thomas Fisher, had
set his eyes on Mistress Gertrude.  He had more fortune than his
brothers, money having been bequeathed to him by an uncle, also a
merchant.  His personal appearance was in his favour, and, altogether,
he might have been considered a very good match for the yeoman's
daughter.  Master Fisher, his father, however, did not approve of it,
and desired that he should wed into some noble family, which would give
him a better standing in the country than he could otherwise obtain.
Thomas, however, was of an obstinate disposition, and would by no means
give her up.  Wherever there was a prospect of meeting her there he was
always to be found, though he had to confess that of late she certainly
had given him very little encouragement.

There was in the neighbourhood of Beauville Castle a large open common,
in the centre of which were certain Druidical remains--huge blocks of
stone, some like pillars standing upright, and others placed on a pivot
over another by means the knowledge of which appears afterwards to have
been lost.  One of these stones, the largest in the group, was so placed
that the slightest touch would set it vibrating.  It was generally
believed, however, that this could only be done by the good and
virtuous, and that any one not deserving that character, though they
might shake it ever so violently, could not move it.  Here, from near
and far, it had been the custom of the youths and lasses to assemble on
festivals and holidays to amuse themselves with the games and sports
then in vogue.  Archers came to exhibit their skill.  Quintains were set
up, at which young men delighted to run, with lance in rest, either on
foot or on horseback.  Here were practised hurling the bar, casting the
lance, running races, and other similar active sports; while on May-day
a pole was set up, round which the morris-dancers assembled, and the
Lord of Misrule held his court.  People of position in the county did
not disdain to come to these merry meetings.  One fine afternoon, on the
1st of May, 1493, a large number of persons of all ranks and ages were
assembled in the neighbourhood--of the rocking-stone.  The still wealthy
merchant, Master Fisher, and the yeoman, Master Alwyn, and Herbert's
faithful guardian, Roger Bertram, and several knights and justices with
their families, and Father Mathew, and other priests and curates, and
not a few monks and friars, who had come with the spirit of pickpockets
of the present day to try what they could filch from the pouches of the

After the gay assemblage had got somewhat weary of the ordinary sports,
a number of persons repaired to the rocking-stone, where they amused
themselves by daring each other to give evidence of their virtuous lives
by setting the stone rocking.  Several had gone forward, when the stone
was clearly seen to vibrate.  At length the names of several damsels
were called out, and, among others, Mistress Gertrude Alwyn was summoned
to go forward and move the stone.  There might have been a slight blush
on her cheek at appearing before so many people on such an undertaking;
but yet, with a slight laugh and a smile on her lips, she advanced
towards the stone.  There was a perfect silence among the crowd of
spectators as she touched the stone.  It did not move.  Again and again
she touched it, with all the force she could exert.  The stone remained
as immovable as if part of the mass on which it rested.  There was a
general groan uttered by the crowd, an evidence of their full belief in
the truth of the legend, while, at the same moment, a piercing cry was
heard, and the unhappy damsel was seen to fall fainting to the ground.
Dame Alwyn ran forward to raise her daughter, followed by young Herbert
de Beauville, who declared aloud that, for his part, he believed the
stone might sometimes rock and sometimes cease to rock, but that this
had nothing to do with the virtue or want of that quality in those who
touched it.  There was a cry of "Heretic Lollard" from among the crowd,
but Herbert silenced it by declaring that he would slit the tongue and
break the head of any one who uttered it, or a word against the fair
fame of Mistress Gertrude Alwyn.  The poor girl was mounted on a pillion
behind her father and conveyed back to Donington, weeping bitterly.  A
number of persons collected round the stone, and soon afterwards, on
being touched by chance, it was seen to rock as before.

Herbert remained some time behind the Alwyn family, stalking about with
his hand on the hilt of his sword, evidently longing for an encounter
with some one; but as no person present seemed disposed just then to
beard him, he at length mounted his horse and rode after his friends.
Again and again he assured Master Alwyn, and his dame, and sweet
Mistress Gertrude of his disbelief in the knowledge of the stone of the
character of those who touched it, and that he would not credit a word
against her fair fame should the cardinal, or bishop, or the Pope
himself utter it.  Gertrude thanked him with tears in her eyes, but
begged him to return home and talk the matter over with Master Roger
before he took any steps to vindicate her character, which he told her
that he was resolved to do.  His worthy guardian did not look on the
matter in the light he did.  He confessed that he did not believe that
Mistress Gertrude was of light character, but that if the world did so,
it was nearly as bad, and that she was not a fit bride for him.  Herbert
did not see the matter in this light, and argued the point with great
vehemence, and declared that nothing should prevent him from vindicating
her character by marrying her forthwith.

In this same year a claimant to the throne of England appeared in the
person of a handsome youth, who pretended to be Richard Duke of York,
second son of Edward the Fourth.  He had married the Lady Catherine
Gordon, a cousin of the King of Scotland, who espoused his cause.  No
sooner did he appear in arms than Herbert, faithful to the traditions of
his family, prepared to join him.  He had no retainers, no money, only
his own good sword and ardent young heart.  Roger was now too old to
bear him company, much as he wished it.  He would, indeed, have
dissuaded his young master from the enterprise, on the ground that the
Houses of York and Lancaster were already united, and that, after all,
the new claimant to the crown might be only a pretender, as was
asserted, and not the true prince; but then he thought that absence
might cure him of his love for Gertrude, and that mixing in courtly
society might make him desirous of wedding with the fair Lady Barbara
Fitz Osbert.  Roger was, however, far too wise to hint anything of the
sort, and with inward satisfaction he saw him go to bid farewell to
pretty Mistress Gertrude, hoping that the young people might never meet
again.  Herbert, however, had no such thoughts in his mind.  Again and
again he repeated his promise to Gertrude that he would remain faithful
to her, and that, come weal or come woe, he would return, if alive, and
marry her.  The world might say what it dared--might traduce and scorn
her, but he would believe her true.  He spoke with so much earnestness
that she believed him, and pledged her own word to be faithful to him in

Not till Herbert had paid this farewell visit to Mistress Gertrude did
the wily Father Mathew attempt to cast any slur on her character, or to
dissuade his pupil from his intended marriage.  He left nothing unsaid
which he thought could produce that result.  Every insinuation he dared
make he whispered into Herbert's ear.  Roger also was not slow to
support the curate's remarks, while at the same time he warmly praised
the charms of the Lady Barbara Fitz Osbert, the heiress of the castle of
Hardingham and its broad domains.  Herbert listened, pained in mind, and
moved, but not convinced.  "Should she be fake, there is no virtue or
faith in womankind, and I would as lief throw away my life in the first
battle in which I am engaged as live."  Many young men have thought the
same thing, and changed their mind.

No sooner had Herbert taken his departure than Father Mathew, who had
got into the confidence of Master Thomas Fisher, urged him to press his
suit.  Old Master Fisher had become very much averse to it, on account
of the reports which were current; but Thomas asserted that he
disbelieved them, and that, in spite of all that might be said against
Mistress Gertrude, he was resolved to marry her.

Years rolled on; news came of the expedition of the Scotch king and the
supposed prince into England, and of its failure.  After that nothing
more was heard of the unfortunate husband of the Lady Catherine Gordon
or of young Sir Herbert de Beauville, who had been knighted by the King
of Scotland.

Meantime a visitor had come to Donington.  He was evidently a man of
superior birth.  He was frequently seen in the company of Mistress
Gertrude, and various were the surmises about him.  Both Master Alwyn
and his dame paid him the greatest respect.  He was somewhat advanced in
life, though still strong and active.  His bronzed complexion, and more
than one scar visible on his cheek, showed that he had been engaged in
war in southern climes.  He did not appear to seek concealment, but at
the same time not a word did he let drop which could allow people to
guess who he was.  At length one day a dozen men-at-arms and several
knights, with two led horses, appeared at Donington, and the stranger
and Mistress Gertrude were seen to mount and ride away after an
affectionate farewell of Master Alwyn and his dame.  No people were more
puzzled than Roger Bertram and Father Mathew.  They remained at
Beauville, holding the castle for Sir Herbert, though it seemed very
doubtful whether he would ever return.  One day a wandering minstrel
came to the neighbouring hamlet.  He approached a house, the bush hung
over the door of which showed that entertainment for man and beast was
to be obtained in the establishment.  The minstrel took his seat in the
public room, and quickly entered into conversation with those around
him.  His object seemed to be to obtain information about the persons in
the neighbourhood.  Among others he asked after Master Alwyn and his
dame.  They were living as before in the old house, and enjoying good
health and strength.

"They had a daughter," observed the minstrel, in a calm voice.

"Oh, the hussy!--she long since went away with a gay knight, who came
with a band to carry her off, and no one knows what has become of her,"
answered his loquacious informant.

"It is false!" exclaimed the minstrel, starting up.  Then, suddenly
checking himself, he added: "I mean, such reports as these often get
about without due foundation."

However, he could not calm the agitation this information caused him,
and, having paid his reckoning and slung the harp he carried over his
shoulder, he left the house.  He took his way towards Beauville.  Father
Mathew was standing at the entrance as he approached the old castle.

"Go thy way--go thy way; we want no vagrants here.  We have enough of
our own starving poor to feed without yielding to the rapacity of
strangers," cried the father, eyeing him askance.

The minstrel humbly turned aside, and, not far off, met old Roger
Bertram.  He was about to avoid him, when Roger, eyeing him narrowly,
hobbled forward, for he could not run, and, taking him in his arms,

"My son--my own boy--my young master--and art thou really come back
sound in limb and health?  Thrice happy is this day."

The minstrel was no other than Sir Herbert de Beauville.  He seemed too
much broken in spirits even to laugh at the way Father Mathew had
treated him.  He had escaped, not without difficulty, after the defeat
of the pretended Richard of York, who, acknowledging himself as Perkin
Warbeck, had surrendered to the King.  Herbert had now only one object
on earth for which he desired to live--to establish the fair fame of
Mistress Gertrude Alwyn; and he had resolved, he said, to trace out the
author of the calumnies he had heard against her, or, if he could not do
that, to punish every one who had been known to utter them.

It appeared that her disappointed suitor, Master Thomas Fisher, had been
heard to repeat the evil reports concerning her.  Here, then, was an
object on whom he could wreak his vengeance.  Master Fisher had, by
means of the wealth which had fallen to him, been able to purchase a
title and honours of the mercenary king, and he now gave himself all the
airs of an old noble.  When, therefore, Sir Herbert challenged him to
mortal combat on account of words uttered against the fair fame of a
damsel undeserving of such reproach, he was compelled to accept the
challenge.  Space does not permit a description of the combat.  The
newly-made baron was overthrown, and as Sir Herbert stood over him with
his drawn sword, he confessed that he had himself, in revenge, inserted
a small pebble in a hole under the rocking-stone, by which it became
fixed and incapable of moving.  On this Sir Herbert granted him his
life, on condition that he should repeat the statement whenever he
should so require him to do.  He had it also made out in writing and
duly attested, and, with this document in his hand, he set out to visit
Master Alwyn and his dame.  His heart sank within him when he learned
from them that Mistress Gertrude was not their daughter, but the only
child of the Earl of Fitz-Stephen, who had, by the sacrifice of a
portion of his patrimony, which had gone into the king's coffers, lately
regained the remainder.  His spirits, however, rose again when they
encouraged him to hasten forthwith to, the earl's castle and to try his
fortune with the lady, showing her the document he had brought with him.
He followed their advice; the Lady Gertrude received him in a way to
satisfy his utmost hopes, and presented him to her father as the only
person she would ever marry.  They were accordingly wedded, and by
living in privacy till the death of Henry, Sir Herbert escaped being
implicated in the attempts made by the pretended Richard of York to gain
the English crown.



"Reginald, my boy, I was at Eton myself, and, in spite of some
drawbacks, I loved the old place right dearly, and so I intend to go
with you, and to introduce you to all the spots I remember so well; but
I don't suppose any of my old acquaintance and chums are still to be
found there.  However, the very sight of the walls and towers of the
school, the meadows, the river, and the Castle in the distance, will
make me young again.  You will find a good deal of difference between it
and where you have been before.  The discipline there is apt to take a
good deal of pride and self-sufficiency out of a fellow--not that you
have much of them, I hope.  The tutor I have chosen for you, Mr
Lindsay, is a first-rate man.  You are to live in his house.  I was at a
dame's--a real dame--a very good, old lady, though some are men you will
find.  There is much the same discipline and order kept in both.  We
will have our portmanteaus packed by Friday, so that we will sleep in
London, and go down there on Saturday morning, that you may have the
best part of that day and Sunday to look about you."

These remarks were made by Squire Warrender to his son, who had hitherto
been at a boarding-school, where he had received the first rudiments of
his education.

Reginald thanked his father for his intentions.

"It will be very delightful to have you with me, papa," he exclaimed;
"it will not feel at all as if I were going to school; and, besides,
Eton is the place of all others I wished to go to.  I don't much fear
the fagging or the bullying, and I can take pretty good care of myself

In truth Reginald had no longer any dread about going to school.  He had
accepted schooling as a necessity of boyish existence, and had made up
his mind to endure all its ups and downs with equanimity.  The day for
their departure arrived.  Mary, his sister, did not fail to promise to
write as usual, and John assured his young master that he would take
good care of Polly, his pony, and Carlo and the other dogs, and the
ferrets, and all his other animate or inanimate treasures.  Reginald had
been disinclined to accept Mrs Dawson's offer to fill a hamper with her
stores; but the Squire recollected that in his time, at all events, such
things were not looked on at all with contempt by the youngsters at
Eton; so a hamper even better supplied than before was provided for him.
The Squire and he started away in very good spirits, cutting jokes to
the last as they drove off.  They had no time to see sights in London,
and early the next morning, after breakfast, they started off with all
Reginald's property for the Great Western station, and within an hour
the latter found himself in the long-thought-of and often-pictured town
of Eton.  He looked out eagerly on either side as they drove along
towards his tutor's.  So did the Squire, especially when they reached
the High Street.  Many a place did he seem to recognise.

"Ah! there it is just as it was," he was continually exclaiming.
"There's my old sock-shop--_soake_, a local term for baking, is the
better spelling.  I spent money enough there, so perhaps they will
remember me; so we will have a look in there by-and-by.  Ah! there's the
Christopher too, where we will go and dine.  I dare say Lindsay will ask
us; but I must be back in town to-night, and it would delay me to accept
his invitation, and perhaps we may fall in with some acquaintance whom
you may like to ask to dine with us."  The Christopher was an hotel,
Reginald found, much patronised by the boys and their friends.  Mr
Lindsay was in school, but Mrs Lindsay was at home, and received them
very kindly.  Reginald thought her a very nice person, and so she was,
and contributed much, as a lady always can if she sets the right way
about it, to make the house thoroughly comfortable and pleasant to its
inmates.  She told Reginald that his room was ready for him.  How proud
he felt to find that he was to have one entirely to himself!  His things
were at once taken up to it, and he begged the Squire to come up and
have a look at it.  It was not very large; but the walls were neatly
papered, and it looked perfectly clean.  Neither was the furniture of a
grand description.  There was a bedstead, which, when turned up, looked
like a cupboard, and a sideboard of painted deal, a small oak chest of
drawers, or rather a bureau, in the upper part of which cups and
saucers, and plates, and a metal teapot, and a few knives and forks and
a muffin-dish, were arranged, and there was a deal table covered with a
red cloth, and two rather hard horsehair-bottomed chairs.

"Here we are, sir," said Reginald, as the maidservant with considerable
discretion retired, that the young gentleman might look about him.  "Sit
down and make yourself at home; I feel so already.  The place has
capabilities, and I hope that the next time you pay me a visit, you will
find that I have taken advantage of them.  I will get some pictures, and
hang them up, and some pegs for my hats find fishing-rods, and hooks for
my bats, and then a Dutch oven, and a frying-pan, and a better kettle
than that will be useful in winter."

"Perhaps you will not object to an arm-chair or a sofa," observed the

"An arm-chair, certainly," answered Reginald, "thank you; but with
regard to a sofa, they are all very well for women.  I think, however,
that if a fellow's legs ache, he may put them up on another chair, and
if he has got an arm-chair to lean back in, he will do very well."

"You are right, Reginald; I hate luxurious habits," said the Squire.
"Do not give way to them.  They are not so bad in themselves as in
consequence of what they lead to--self-indulgence and indolence: this is
the vice of the present day.  But come along, we have plenty to do."

The Squire, leaving word that he would call again, took Reginald back
into the town.  They were getting hungry, so very naturally they
proceeded in the first place to the well-remembered sock-shop, known by
the world at large as a pastry-cook's.  A supply of ices and strawberry
messes was at once ordered and discussed with great gusto, buns and
other cakes giving some consistency to the repast.  Who would have
expected to see Squire Warrender, of Blessingham, who had not perhaps
for years taken any other than a solid meat luncheon, with bottled
stout, or a biscuit and a glass of wine, lunching off sweet cakes and
strawberries and cream?  But the truth was, that he did not feel just
then a bit like Squire Warrender, of Blessingham; he was once more
little Reginald Warrender, somewhat of a pickle, and very fond of those
said luscious articles.  To be sure another Reginald Warrender stood by
his side; but he was, as it were, a part of himself, or it might he
himself, or a younger companion.  At all events he felt a great deal too
young just then to be anybody's father, and was quite surprised that the
young women behind the counter did not recognise him.  Surely they were
the very same he must have known.  While they were eating away, an old
lady with spectacles on her nose, and a high white cap on her head, came
into the shop.

"I have come with this youngster here to show him about the place," said
the Squire.  "This is a shop I used to know well once upon a time; but
the young ladies here don't seem to recognise me."

"I should think not," said the old lady, laughing, as did the young
ones.  "Perhaps I might though, if I knew your name.  What years were
you here?"

The Squire told her.

"I was about their age then, and stood where they now stand," she
observed, as she went into an inner room, and brought down a longish
parchment-covered volume.  "Oh, I now remember you perfectly well,
Master Warrender," said she, turning over the pages, and evidently also
forgetting how many years had rolled away since the Squire was Master
Warrender.  "You were a very good customer of ours, that you were,
indeed.  You had a good healthy appetite: six dozen oranges, three dozen
queencakes, a couple of dozen hot-cross buns for breakfast on one
occasion.  I suppose you didn't eat them all yourself though.  And now I
see you left owing us a little account.  It was no great matter; only
fifteen and sixpence for cherries and strawberries."

"Sold, papa!" whispered Reginald, aside, and highly amused.  "It is
pleasant, however, to be able to pay off old scores."

"I fear that the account is too correct," said the Squire.  "Let me see,
how was it?  Ah, I recollect--a wager, I am afraid.  Cleveland and I.
We tried to see which could eat the most in a given time.  Don't you go
and do such a silly thing though, Reginald, or I'll disinherit you.  He
ought to have paid, for I beat him; but I ordered them.  Well, I will
pay you now with interest."

"Oh no, no, sir, thank you; I could not think of it," said the old lady.

However, as she said the words in a tone which evidently did not mean
that she positively would not receive the amount, the Squire pulled out
a sovereign, and handed it to her.

"There is the sum with interest--very small interest though," he
observed.  "I wish that I could pay all the debts of my younger days as

The old lady was highly pleased, and promised to stand Reginald's
friend, and to give him good advice whenever he would come to her.

"And I wish, sir," said she, "that I could as easily get in all the
debts owing to me."

Thereon the Squire took occasion to impress very strongly on his son the
importance of not running into debt.  "If you cannot pay for a thing,
you should not get it," he remarked.  "Never mind how much you may want
it.  You may fancy that you can pay some day; but before that day comes
you will have wanted several other things, all of which have to be paid
for out of this sum in prospect, which may possibly never come at all.
Then one person will press for payment, and then another, and then you
will think that there can be no harm in borrowing, and the chances are
that you become the slave of the person from whom you borrow.  Take my
advice, Reginald, keep out of debt and be free.  I have spoken only of
worldly-wise motives for keeping out of debt, but it is morally wrong--
it is dishonest.  The Bible says, `Owe no man anything.'  That is right,
depend on it.  Some fellows fancy that it is fine and gentlemanly to run
into debt, and that it is a spirited thing to bilk a tradesman.  I
think, and I am sure you will, that it is one of the most ungentlemanly
and blackguardly things to deprive any man of his just rights, not to
say unchristianlike and despicable."

This conversation took place as the Squire and his son were walking
towards the school-house.  They walked about the noble edifice, under
the fine arched gateway, and beneath its venerable walls.  Then they
looked out upon the rich green meadows, and the avenue of lofty elms,
and Reginald thought it a remarkably fine place, and began already to
feel proud at being able to call himself an Eton boy.  As the boys were
still "up," that is, in school, the Squire proposed walking down the
town to have a look at the Castle, and some of the old places on the
way.  As they were leaving the building, they met an old man with a
vehicle loaded with tarts and buns, and cakes of all sorts.  As they
passed close to him, he looked hard at the Squire, and said, "Beg
pardon, sir, but I think I know you, sir, though it is a good many years
since you ate any of my buns."

"And I am very certain that I know you, old fellow," answered the
Squire, highly delighted.  "You are Spankie himself, or I am very much

"You are right, sir, the same, and that young gentleman is your son just
come up here; I should have known him in a moment from his likeness to
you," said old Spankie.  "Never forget anybody I have once known.  Now I
think of it, were not you one of those young gentlemen who played the
trick to Mr Fowler, I think it was, or one of the masters of his time?
What a good joke it was!  Ha, ha, ha!"

"What joke do you mean?" asked the Squire.  "I remember no good joke
that I ever played.  I am afraid that I had not wits enough."

"I'll tell you, sir; if you were not one of them, it was somebody else,"
answered old Spankie, who probably knew that well enough, but wanted to
tell a good story to gain time that he might find out, if possible, who
the old Etonian was--a fact of which he was in reality perfectly
ignorant.  "Two of the young gentlemen, tall big lads for their ages,
took it into their heads to dress up as foreigners of distinction, with
moustaches and beards, and corked eyebrows, and spectacles, and large
shirt-collars, with no end of gold chains, and such flash waistcoats,
all of satin, and covered over with green and yellow and pink flowers.
One was a Greek prince, and the other a Polish count, travelling for the
improvement of their own mind, and with the intention of establishing a
great public school like Eton in Greece or Turkey, or some outlandish
place or other.  Well, there they were walking arm in arm through the
High Street, looking into the shops and around them on every side, and
stopping to admire the prospect whenever there was a prospect to admire,
just for all the world like strangers who had never seen the place
before.  They caught sight of Mr Fowler coming along; so says one to
the other, `Let's sell him, and make him show us over the place.'
`Agreed,' answers the other.  They had been keeping up all their airs,
and they knew that he had seen them, so they marched boldly up to him,
and making him a polite bow, says one of them, `Saire, I see dat you are
one academic gentleman, and if you will be kind to two strangers vill
you have de great goodness to show us over dis grand, dis magnificent
town?'  Mr Fowler, who was born and bred in Eton, and was very proud of
it, was highly delighted, and said that he would have the greatest
pleasure in doing what they wished.  They knew that, and so they knew
when to lay it on the thickest.  And so didn't they just praise the
place and the masters, and everything they saw, and a great deal they
said that they had heard, till he was quite beside himself.  Then they
began talking Greek and Latin to him, and if he hadn't been so pleased
he would have found them out.  Then they asked all sorts of questions
about the school, and he promised to write out all the rules and
regulations, and the whole plan on which it was conducted, and a good
deal of its history, and all his own ideas about founding a school.  The
more inclined they found him to write, the more questions requiring
answers they plied him with; and ever after they boasted of the long
imposition they had set him.  They gave him an address of a friend of
theirs in London, and begged him to send what he had written there.  He
did send it, and they got it too, and they used to show his lucubrations
with no little pride, and all he had said about the school.  He would
have been in a rage had he found them out.  They asked to see one of the
houses just as they were passing their own tutor's, with whom they knew
he was intimate, and they actually made him show them their own rooms.
It was a wonder they were not discovered, for there on the table in one
of the rooms was a wig and a false pair of moustaches.  They hurried out
in a great fright, saying that they did not think it was right to
intrude on the privacy of any young students.  At last, when they had
pretty well walked Mr Fowler off his legs, and got tired themselves,
they wished him good-bye, with a profusion of thanks, and betook
themselves to the Christopher.  They had invited him to dine with them
at an hour they knew he could not come--not but what they would have
been very happy to see him, but they thought the risk was too great--he
might have found them out eating.  They had a jolly good dinner at the
Christopher, and then they paid their bill and waited till dark, when
they pulled off their moustaches and beards, and put on pea-coats,
slipping out unobserved, and so got back safe to their rooms.  One of
them told me all about it afterwards, and I couldn't help thinking you
was him, sir."

The Squire was milch amused, and encouraged old Spankie to continue his

"Well, sir, if it wasn't you sold Mr Fowler so cleverly, it surely was
you who got up the great donkey race on the Slough road, just outside

"Suppose it was me, or suppose it was not, just do you tell my boy here
all about it.  I like to hear you speak of old times," answered the

"Well, sir, the young gentlemen got hold of two fine donkeys, and turned
out in regular jockey costume,--caps, silk jackets, top boots, and all.
Great swells they looked, and there was no end of boys went out to see
them.  The whole road was full for a mile or more.  A course was formed,
and off they set; but donkeys never will run when you want them, or,
rather, they always will run when you don't want them.  As ill-luck
would have it, who should come by but the Doctor.  He wasn't a man a bit
less than the present to play a joke with.  What should one of the
racers do but run right against his carriage, and make the horses kick
and rear, and, in spite of all the unhappy jockey could do, he couldn't
get him away.  The Doctor just saw who they were, and though it may be
supposed he was in a towering rage, says he quietly enough, `Go to your
tutors and report yourselves, and come to me this evening.'  Of course
they knew that they would get flogged, and so one of them provided
himself with a pair of wicket-keeping gloves, and went in quite boldly.
`It's my duty to flog you,' says the Doctor--`strip.'  `It's my duty to
save my skin,' says the young gentleman, putting on his gloves quite
deliberately; and when the Doctor began, he warded off all the cuts till
the master grew weary.  Then he handed them to his friend, who put them
on and saved himself in the same way.  Of course they got all the credit
of being flogged, and were laughed at for their pains, till they told
how they had saved themselves with their cricketing gloves."

"Tell that story to the marines," said the Squire.  "However, I dare say
some of it is true enough; but I wasn't one of the jockeys, and I
wouldn't advise my son to imitate them either.  However, old friend, I
like to hear you talk of bygone days, and here's a five shilling piece.
Let my son take it out in buns and tarts when he has a mind to do so."

"Thank ye, sir, thank ye," said old Spankie, and the Squire walked on,
knowing that he had secured another friend for Reginald.  They hurried
on to Windsor Castle, which had been much altered and beautified since
the Squire had seen it, and certainly, rising up as it does from its
richly-green forest, with its terraces and towers, it has a peculiarly
handsome and regal appearance.  When they got back, the boys were just
coming out from two o'clock absence, and were running off to their
dames' and tutors' houses.  The Squire looked narrowly at them as they
passed, to try and find the sons of any of his acquaintance who might be
there.  Had he written to ascertain the houses they belonged to, he
would easily have discovered them.  Suddenly Reginald left his father's
side, and ran after a boy whose hand he seized and wrung warmly.

"What, Warrender, are you come here?" asked his friend.

"Indeed I am," answered Reginald; "but I had no notion that you were
here, Power.  How very fortunate I am to find you!  But come along, I'll
introduce you to my father.  He'll want you to dine with us."

Of course Power was nothing loth to accept the invitation.  He had come
up just in time, before he was too old, and had at once taken a fair
standing in the school, being in the upper division of the Fourth Form,
and about to go into the lower remove.  He was, too, in Reginald's own
house, which was a very great satisfaction.  The Squire at length found
out the son of a friend of his--young Anson, and invited him to join his
dinner-party at the Christopher.  As he wanted to see the cricketing and
boating in the afternoon, he had ordered dinner early; and, saying he
might not exactly know what Eton boys of the present day liked, he had
left the selection of the dishes to the landlord.  A very merry party
they were seated round the dinner-table at the Christopher, and ample
justice did they all do to the dinner provided.  The Squire wished to
give the boys the best of everything, so he ordered champagne and

"Wine?" said Anson, looking at Power.

The latter nodded, and with due gravity they hobnobbed together, tossing
off the sparkling contents of their tall glasses.

"Very good wine they give at the Christopher," observed Anson to the
Squire; "in my opinion, this Chateau Margaux claret is about as
first-rate tipple as one finds anywhere."

"I fancied their Lafitte was better, and ordered it accordingly,"
answered the Squire, much amused at his young friend's remarks.

"Oh, certainly, I am very glad of that," quickly replied Anson.  "The
fact is, I had not tasted their Lafitte, and supposed that they could
have nothing better than their Chateau Margaux."

"Try this, then," said the Squire, pushing a bottle of freshly-decanted
claret towards him; "say what you think of it."

"Perfect nectar," answered the young gentleman, smacking his lips.
"This beats the other hollow.  I must row mine host for not giving us
his best wine the last time I dined with my uncle here."

"We were not so particular in my days," observed the Squire; "good
honest port and sherry sufficed us.  But I tell you what, lads, stick to
the light wines, and a moderate quantity of them will do you no harm;
but eschew spirits-and-water, or spirits in any shape, as you would
poison, and when you drink beer, don't go swilling away huge quantities,
as I see some fellows doing, as if their insides were mere tuns made to
hold liquor.  Just look at the great, fat, pursy, bloated fellows you
often meet, and think how you would like to become as they are.  Well,
they brought themselves to that state by swilling beer and
spirits-and-water.  Others have sent themselves to their graves by the
same means, and others, though not pursy, have lost their health and
stamina, and spirits, and are burdens to themselves, and useless in the

Reginald used to say of his father that he did not preach much, but that
he had a wonderful way of bringing in good advice, and sugaring it at
the same time.  In the present instance he was washing down a temperance
harangue with champagne and claret.  He knew that his advice would much
more likely be taken than if he had ordered toast-and-water and small
beer for dinner.

In very good humour with themselves, with the world in general, and with
Eton in particular, which Reginald thought a first-rate place indeed,
they sallied forth into the playing-fields, where several cricket
matches were going on.  One, Oppidans against Collegers, excited most
interest, because there always is, though there ought not to be, a good
deal of party-feeling between the collegers, the boys on the foundation,
and those who are not; the latter, who are more frequently sons of men
of wealth and influence, looking down upon those who have gained their
position by their talents and industry.  The broad smooth green meadows,
with the fine grey school buildings, and their magnificent trees rising
up behind them, presented a very gay and animated appearance.  Numbers
of boys in their picturesque cricketing costumes were lying about in all
directions--England's nerve and spirit, and head and heart--those who
were hereafter to head her armies and guide her councils.  Little wotted
they then of the destinies in store for some of them.  A stranger might
have said, as he saw their active forms bounding here and there--There
is England's bone and muscle.  So there was, but that is to be found
rather in her wide fields, in her mines, her coal-pits, on her broad
quays, in her manufactories, in her towns, and on her railroads.  The
different games were sufficiently apart, so as not to interfere with
each other.  Round each of the scorers knots of amateurs were collected,
watching the game with intense interest, and applauding or condemning,
as each hit was well or ill made or fielded.  At a respectful distance
from the wide-flying balls, a number of ladies, and children, and
nurses, and other spectators, wandered about admiring the play or the

"Come along here," said Power to the Squire and Reginald, as he led them
up to one of the best spots for witnessing the sport; "it's a hard-run
game--well hit, Hawkins--beautifully run!--he's my tutor's pupil--the
others will have hard work to get him out--I've known him score twice as
many as any other fellow in the eleven--bravo, Langdale!--a first-rate
hit--well fielded, too--he'll get caught out though--he often does--he
hits too wildly."

So Power ran on.  The Squire at once entered into the spirit of the
game.  He clapped his hands as enthusiastically as any boy.  "Capitally
hit!--Smartly run!" he shouted.  "Reggie, my boy, I wish that you were
playing.  Well done!  Who is that tall fellow with the light hair?  He
caught out Langdale in fine style.  You said he would be caught out."

"Oh, that's Gull, an Oppidan," answered Power; "he's one of their best
fielders.  Who is going in next, I wonder?  Beaumont, I see.  Ah, he's
one of our crack players."

"Beautiful! beautiful!" shouted the Squire, as other hits were made.
"Capital--first-rate--bravo--bravo--well run--a superb hit!"

His animated remarks soon drew the attention of the boys towards him.
When they heard from Anson that he was an old Etonian, they regarded him
with a respect he might not otherwise have obtained, and all were eager
to show him any attention in their power.  They went on end had a look
at the other games, and at last the hour came when it was necessary for
the Squire to turn his steps towards the station.  He had also on his
way there to introduce Reginald to his tutor, Mr Lindsay.  Old Spankie
had been looking out for them.  He had seen Power with him, and thus
learned his name and all about him.

"Ah, Mr Warrender," quoth the man of buns and tarts; "it's a great
pleasure to feel that you remembered me, as well as I remembered you.
The moment I set my eyes on that young gentleman, I was certain that he
was your son.  If he had come alone, I should have known that his name
was Warrender."

This assertion was even more than the Squire could well swallow.

"I used to find your buns more digestible than your word; I hope they
are so now," he answered, laughing.

The Squire did not forget a good thing when he said it himself, and this
saying was many a time afterwards repeated to his own infinite
satisfaction at Blessingham.  He was able most conscientiously to
introduce Reginald with a very good character to Mr Lindsay, who being
a good physiognomist, was satisfied that he had got a tractable pupil.
The three boys accompanied the Squire to the station.  Reginald did not
feel a particle of sadness till just as the Squire was getting into the
carriage, and then a suffocating sensation rose up in his throat which
made him feel that he must have a good hearty cry--not for himself, but
it was a reminder of how much he loved his father.  Away rattled, and
puffed, and smoked, and steamed the train, and Reginald Warrender was
left to his own resources.


Reginald, with Power and Anson, as soon as they had seen the Squire off,
hurried back to the Brocas--some fields on the banks of the river.  The
rapidly-flowing stream passes by them, and on its smooth but somewhat
sedgy current all sorts of boating were taking place, and Reginald was
quickly initiated into a knowledge of the variety of craft used by the
boys.  As he was very well up to boating, he found no difficulty in the

"Here, you see," said Power, "we have one ten-oared and six eight-oared
boats.  Any boy in the Fifth form may join them.  There is another upper
and four lower Fifth-Form boats.  We speak of the three upper and four
lower boats.  There is a captain for each of them, and he selects his
crew from among the fellows who wish to join.  You observe that the crew
of each boat has a different uniform, and on grand occasions, when all
appear in full dress, we flatter ourselves that we appear to great
advantage.  Besides these, there are what we call outriggers, and
tunnies, and tubs; and, of course, you will at once have one of them."

"Which do you intend to be, Warrender, a `dry bob,' or a `wet bob'?"
said Anson, coming up to them.  "I hope the latter."

Reginald did not exactly know what this meant; but as Anson had given
him a hint, he answered, "Oh, of course a wet bob."

"Oh, ah, that's the swell thing.  I am glad of it.  I thought you were
the sort of fellow for wet-bobbing."

Reginald found that wet-bobbing consisted in paddling about in a boat of
one's own, even though it might be only a "tub," or dinghy.

"But, I say, can you swim?" asked Anson; "because you know that you will
not be able to boat till you have `passed.'"

"What's passing?" asked Reginald.

"Oh, I'll tell you," said Anson.  "A good number of fellows from time to
time got drowned from boats being capsized, and at last a law was passed
that no fellow should be allowed to boat till he had passed a swimming
examination before certain of the masters.  We have an old waterman,
Harry Cannon, who teaches the lower boys to swim at Cuckoo Weir.  As
soon as he thinks a fellow can swim well enough he advises him to have a
try the next passing day.  It's great fun to see the weather-beaten old
fellow Harry in his Eton blue coat and Eton arms worked in silver on his
sleeve, as he sits in his punt from one end to the other of a summer's
day, dangling lower boys at the end of a short blue pole.  Often
fellows, if they have any pluck, can swim in two or three weeks.  They
make nothing of bathing three times a day in summer when they are
learning to swim.  Just go any warm summer day to Cuckoo Weir, after
twelve, or after four, or after six, and you'll find it crowded with
fellows bathing, and many of them waiting till Harry can give them a
turn in his belt.  On a passing day two or three of the masters come
down and take their stand just above `Middle Steps.'  A punt then
carries out a number of shivering and rather funking fellows into the
middle of the stream, and as the master gives the word, one after
another jumps overboard, and according to his pluck takes a `rat's
header' or `forter.'  Then away they swim to the lower steps, and if
they get there in safety and in pretty good style, they have to swim out
again from where the master is standing, turn, and come back when he
calls.  If they sing out like Caesar, `Help me, Cassius, or I sink,'
they are handed over again to Harry Cannon for further instruction; but
if the master says `You'll do,' then the chances are that some of the
friends of the fellow who has passed have come up in a boat, and they
say that they will take him down to the Brocas if he will steer them.
The probabilities are, that he knows nothing about steering, and as
little about the sides of the river he ought to keep; so, of course, he
will run them into the bank once or twice, if not oftener, before they
get into the real river at `Bargeman's Bridge,' and he is certain to get
in the way of an eight just below Brocas Clump, from not crossing over
soon enough.  But you'll know all about this before long, so I needn't
have told you, except that it is useful to know what you have to go
through.  I forgot to tell you that the bathing-place to which the fifth
form go is called Athens, and of course it is a good deal better than
Cuckoo Weir."

Reginald thanked Anson very much for his graphic account of their
bathing and boating, and he said that he should, thanks to Toby Tubb's
instruction, get passed on the first passing day, that he might at once
begin boating.

This resolution was very much applauded, for both Power and Anson were
warm advocates of boating.  It was now nearly lock-up time, so they had
to go back to their tutors.  On their way Reginald was accosted by a
number of boys, who, in pretty sharp tones, inquired his name.

"Are you at a dame's house?"

"No; I am in Mr Lindsay's house," he answered.

"I say, are you come to school here?  What's your name, then?" asked
another.  "What house are you in?"

Reginald told him.  So on it went till nearly a hundred boys had made
the same inquiries, and received the same answer.  Reginald was not
sorry to get back to Mr Lindsay's, for he was really beginning to get
tired, and be a little hungry, too, in spite of his dinner at the
Christopher.  Power and Anson came to his room to help him put it in
order; but he had a considerable number of other visitors, mostly
Fourth-Form boys, who came in to ask him his name, and to make him tell
all about himself.

"I knew a Warrender," said one.  "Are you his cousin?  He was a fellow
with a hooked nose and hawk's eyes."

"Warrender you mean," put in another; "Warrender who was here was a very
good-looking fellow, only he squinted with one eye, and never could
parse a line of Horace correctly."

Reginald said that he had no cousin that he knew of, though he might
possibly be related to the talented individual spoken of.  The answers
he made to the very miscellaneous and unexpected questions put to him
satisfied them that the new boy was no "muff."  The lower boys
especially felt a great respect for him, because he acted in so very
different a way from what they had done, and took all things so
completely us matters of course.  He went into Power's room to take tea,
where Anson and two or three other fellows of Power's standing joined
them.  He was in the lower Fifth Form.  Shortly before bed-time they
went down to the hall to supper.  Here he, of course, had again to reply
to the various questions put to him by boys he had not before met.  Then
Mr Lindsay invited him to come and have some conversation, and seemed
tolerably satisfied by the answers he made to all the questions put to
him.  A bell then rang, and the names of all the boys belonging to the
house being called over by one of the praepositors, to ascertain that
none were missing, prayers were read by Mr Lindsay, after which all the
boys retired to their rooms to go to bed.  Reginald, as may be supposed,
very quickly tumbled into his, and went to sleep.  Thus ended the first
day at Eton.

At his age we are apt to count time by days, and to note especially the
events of each day.  As we grow older, we reckon oftener by weeks--
advancing, we think it enough to note what has happened during each
month, till at last the years themselves slip by with almost the
rapidity, we fancy, of our earlier days.  Two important things with
reference to this remark should be remembered when we are young.  One
is, that we must prepare for the future, or the future which we have
fancied so far off will come suddenly and find us unprepared; another
is, that we should learn to wait patiently for events till they occur,
being assured that they will occur, and that we should, in the meantime,
endeavour to employ ourselves to the best possible advantage.  Many a
young man fancies that it is not worth while preparing for what cannot
happen for so long a time; or again, that the time has already passed
for doing a thing, and that it is useless to attempt it.  This is
especially the case with regard to commencing some useful employment, or
preparing for a profession.  It is never too late to be employed
usefully.  Many a man has risen high in a profession into which he has
not entered till late in life.

Sunday is truly a day of rest at Eton.  Reginald found that he was not
expected to get up till nearly nine o'clock.  As he was always an early
riser, he was dressed before eight, and set to work systematically to
unpack his clothes and to put them away.  Then he sat down to read, and
the book he read every boy will do well to read, not only on Sundays,
but on other days in the week.  After he had read a couple of chapters,
he found that he had still some time to spare, so he arranged the books
he had brought on some book-shelves hanging against the wall, and then
Power came in and told him that he must come and breakfast with him.
Prayer bell next rang, and all the boys in the house assembled in the
hall, when, as usual, Mr Lindsay read prayers.

Reginald was much surprised to find so many big fellows either in the
sixth form, or in the upper Middle-Fifth--from fifteen years old up to
nineteen and even twenty--in every respect full-grown men.  As he looked
at them he thought to himself, "I suppose that I shall have to be fag to
some of those big fellows--clean their boots, and brush their clothes.
Well, patience; many a better fellow than I am has done the same thing,
and not been the worse for it.  Whoever fags me shall not have to
complain that I am in a sulky pet--that I'm determined."  Prayers over,
they all hurried to breakfast.

Reginald accompanied Power to his room, where three or four other
fellows were assembled.  He was scarcely prepared for the capital repast
he found spread.  There were a couple of cold chickens and a tongue,
some potted meat or other, and his well-known acquaintance, a pot of
orange marmalade, one of strawberry jam, and some honey.  There were
both tea and coffee, a good allowance of butter (there is a regular
quantity served out), and a large pile of hot rolls,--three, he found,
being served every day to each boy.

Breakfast occupied nearly an hour, and very pleasant Reginald found it.
He then had to get ready for morning chapel at eleven.

"I am glad to see that you have brought a couple of good hats," observed
Power.  "I was afraid that you might have thought that you could go
about Osberton fashion in a cap or tarpaulin.  We here, you see, never
wear anything but black hats, except with cricketing and boating
dresses.  Remind me to have a look at your other things to see that they
are all right.  It's as well to be particular.  If you are, you'll take
a good standing at once in the school among the fellows: better by half
be a dandy than a sloven or a muff."

On their way to chapel Reginald was accosted continually as on the day
before by fellows asking his name and all sorts of questions, but he had
a ready and a good-natured answer for all.

He did not think that there was much devotion at chapel, especially as a
great number of the boys came provided with a store of sacking things,
with which they were continually filling their mouths, such as
lollipops, sugar-candy, barley-sugar, and other sweet compositions.

It is extraordinary what an amount of these inside-deranging mixtures,
supplied by the renowned Spankie and other men at the Wall, lower boys
at Eton will consume.  The Wall, _par excellence_, Reginald soon found
out is a low wall in front of the upper school, outside the school-yard.
"The men at the Wall" are sellers of "sock;" that is, eatables--sweet
mixtures generally.  They are so called from usually taking their stand
there.  Old Spankie has been described as a soft-tongued fat old man,
who professed to know about everything and about everybody.  He carries
a tin, and deals mostly in buns and jam.  Another man wheels in a
hand-cart after every school-time, from which he produces ices,
strawberry messes, and sucking-things of all sorts.

"You remember the Squire's advice," observed Power; "I adhere to his
principles, but all the fellows don't.  It is extraordinary how they
will run into debt with those men, and more than anticipate their next
half-year's pocket-money--little geese that they are.  It enrages me to
see some of them sucking and eating away all the day long, as if that
was their chief object in life.  I call them sucking babies, but it
would be difficult to break them of the practice.  I have known fellows
at the beginning of the half obliged to dodge those cake-men as if they
were bum-bailiffs and they gentlemen in difficulties, either going into
the school-yard by the lower school passage, or else sneaking in close
behind a master, knowing that they would not attempt to attack them in
his presence.  It is extraordinary what some of them will eat.  I was
once fagged by two Fifth-Form boys who were `staying out,' that is,
supposed to be too unwell to go into school, and what do you think it
was for?  You would scarcely believe me when I tell you that these sick
fellows, and I suppose that there was something the matter with them,
had laid a wager one against the other, that they would eat six dozen
oranges a-piece.  The one who could not manage it was, of course, to be
the loser.  The two dozen I got them was, I know, the fifth instalment.
One ate rather more than six dozen, the other was very sick when he had
finished the fifth; but you may depend on it, both of them had to `stay
out' for two or three days after it, and to take no end of medicine."

"I should think so, nasty pigs!" exclaimed Reginald, who, although he
could make very good play with his knife and fork at dinner or
breakfast, had a great contempt for sweatmeat and sugar-plum eaters.

"You are right," said Power.  "Those sort of fellows are mere gratifiers
of a low animal propensity, like the unlicked cubs of a bear, who will
steal sugar wherever they can find it.  I never put much confidence in
such fellows, and I wish Etonians could be cured of the habit."

Reginald was very anxious to have an insight into the plan of the school
arrangements, and Power undertook to enlighten him.

"In the first place," he observed, "you must understand that there is
the Lower School, and whatever the boys belonging to it may think of
themselves, it is but a very insignificant appendage to the
establishment of Eton.  It is generally composed of small boys, who have
been to no other school.  It is, indeed, more of a private school with
none of the advantages of one, and all the disadvantages of a public
school.  So I will say no more about it, and you, at all events, will
not belong to it.  The Upper School, which is really Eton, is divided,
in the first place, into Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Forms.  The Fourth
Form is again separated into two parts--the lowest retains its name, and
the other is called the Remove.  The Fourth Form is subdivided into
Lower, Middle, and Upper, and the Remove into Lower and Upper.  The
Fifth Form is also divided into Lower, Middle, and Upper, and these
divisions are again subdivided according to convenience, usually into
three divisions each.  The Sixth Form consists of twenty fellows,
namely, ten Oppidans and ten Collegers.  The boys on the foundation are
called Collegers: the management of the College and the Collegers is a
very complicated matter.  They are the fellows you see going about in
heavy black cloth gowns.  They go by the name of `Tugs,' which is short
for tug muttons, because they used, it is said, to be fed on tough
mutton.  The lower boys treat Tugs with great contempt, because they
look down upon them as belonging to an inferior class.  This they should
not do, and it is arrant folly into the bargain; for many a Tug has
risen to be a Lord Chancellor, or to fill one of the highest offices of
the State, while the self-satisfied Oppidan, who has snubbed him as a
boy, has ended his days as a sub in a marching regiment, having run
through all his property before he was of age.  High up in the school
there is a good deal of party-feeling indulged in by fellows who ought
to know better.  It comes out when `Collegers and Oppidans' are being
played, either at football or cricket."

"I do not think that I shall ever be able to remember all about the
Fourth and Fifth Forms and Removes," said Reginald.

"Here you have it in black and white, then," said Power.  They were
sitting in his room after chapel, enjoying that _otium cum dignitate_
which an Etonian learns so well to value.


1.  Lower School, composed of small boys neither learned nor wise.

Fourth Form: 2.  Lower. 3.  Middle. 4.  Upper.

Remove. 5.  Lower. 6.  Upper.

Fifth Form.

7.  Lower, with about three divisions.

8.  Middle, with about three divisions.

9.  Upper, with about three divisions.

10.  Sixth Form, composed of ten Oppidans and ten Collegers.


"When a fellow like you, for instance, arrives first, if he has been at
a good private school, his tutor examines him.  If he thinks well of him
he is placed in the Upper Fourth, or perhaps in the Remove at once.  If
he is not above the average, he joins the Lower Fourth, with the rest of
the unplaced.  He remains in it till `Trials,' which come off about a
month after the beginning of the half.  According to his knowledge, he
is then placed finally in the Lower, Middle, or Upper Fourth.  Now you
must understand that although Fourth Form is in the Upper School, yet
all below Fifth Form, that is, Upper and Lower Remove, and Fourth Form,
are called `Lower Boys.'  All Lower Boys are liable to be fagged, so
that `Lower Boy' is equivalent to `Fag.'  Lower Fourth is generally in
the hands of a young master, and, like puppies not yet broken in, they
are consequently very disorderly.  There are also always a few fellows
at the top of the division who have come out of Lower School, and take
considerable delight in putting the new-comers up to mischief.
New-comers have a fortnight's `law' before they are liable to be fagged.
This is to give them time to look about them, and to learn the ways of
the school.  At the end of that time the captain of their house allots
them to some master.  As to fagging, I decidedly say in a large school
like this it is a very great advantage, and wonderfully assists the
governing powers by giving a number of fellows who would otherwise be
idle something to do.  It teaches, also, fellows to take care of
themselves, as well as some accomplishments which they may find very
useful in after-life, when they come to knock about the world.  After
all, too, what are the hardships?  A fellow has to lay his master's
cloth for breakfast, get his muffins and eggs, make his tea and his
toast, and be ready to cook a mutton chop and anything else he may
require.  He may also have to clean his shoes and brush his clothes, but
in that there is nothing very terrible.  The only disagreeable part of
house fagging is being sent out at odd hours or in bad weather to get
things when a fellow would be rather sitting in his own room.  There is
no cricket or football fagging here, but out of doors a Fourth Form boy
is liable to be fagged by any one in the Upper or Middle Fifth Form,
either to run on errands, to buy things for him, or to stand behind a
Five's court, and to pick up the balls, or to carry books for him.  This
may be called miscellaneous fagging.  The captain of Upper Remove is
excused fagging by custom.  Lower Fifth neither fags nor can be fagged.
`Upper Lower' can fag miscellaneously, but cannot own private fags.
Middle Fifth seldom have fags `of their own,' as the captain of their
house probably appropriates three or four, and gives the second captain
two or three, and so on, and thus uses up the `Lower boys,' before they
come to the end of the Upper Fifth.  The most unpleasant fagging
certainly is behind the `Five's walls.'  The old ones, you will find,
are between the chapel buttresses in the school yard.  You are fortunate
in having come up in the middle of the half, because you will have time
to become known to fellows, and will be saved a considerable amount of
annoyance.  If you had come at the beginning of the half, you would have
found that the Fifth Form arrived two or three days after you.  The next
day all the Lower boys are collected together, and are then allotted to
the Fifth Form, as I have described.  The Fourth Form are made to do the
greater part of their lessons under their tutor's eye, but boys higher
up in the school do nearly all their work in their own rooms, and only
just go over it with their tutor when it is known.  This, of course, is
a great advantage, as we can learn all our lessons when we like, and are
not tied down in any way.

"There are two examinations--one from Upper Fourth into Lower Remove;
and the second, which is the hardest, from Lower Fifth into Upper and
Lower Fifth.  A boy takes a step upwards twice a year, unless he should
be plucked at one of these examinations; so that suppose he is placed in
the Middle Fourth--about the average place occupied by a new boy--it
will take him two years to get into Lower Fifth, the ambition of every
one, as he is then, as I have said, exempted from fagging.

"Every saint's day here is a whole holiday.  Saturday is always a
half-holiday, and there is one other half-holiday every week; so that
the number of hours we are in school is very limited.  Yet it is so
contrived that we have at no time but a little over two hours to
ourselves.  On whole holidays there are two chapels--one at eleven
o'clock, and another at three o'clock.  There is a roll-call at two
o'clock, just before dinner, and another at six o'clock.

"Generally speaking, we get up at half-past seven.  There is school for
three-quarters of an hour.  We have repetition usually for most days in
the week.  Breakfast always at nine.  School at eleven, as also at
three, and a quarter-past five.  School lasts only about three-quarters
of an hour at a time.  Dinner always at two.  Lock-up at night varies
from five to a quarter to nine.  We have supper at nine, and go to bed
at ten.  So you see, in the natural order of events, we have no very
overpoweringly hard work.  The time from morning school to breakfast is
known as `After Eight,' because, you see, we come out of school at
eight.  From breakfast till school again, `After Ten,' because breakfast
is supposed to be over at ten; and for the same reason from school to
dinner is called `After Twelve,' from dinner to school `After Two,' from
school to school `After Four,' and in summer from school till lock-up
`After Six.'  There is, I should have said, also every week one play
after four, which means three o'clock school, but none at five o'clock.
On half-holidays there is `absence,' that is, calling over names at two
o'clock, and in summer at six; and on half-holidays there is church at
three instead of school.  On whole holidays there is `absence' at a
quarter-past nine, and church at eleven as well as at three.

"Of late years, mathematics, which used to be neglected entirely, have,
with great advantage, been introduced at Eton.  There are several
mathematical masters, who have their different schools.  Each division
goes to the mathematical school three times a week.  At first the
fellows set their faces very much against the system, and even the
classical masters didn't seem much to approve of the innovation; but
they now all see the importance of it, and mathematical studies are now
as popular as any other.  The Reverend Stephen Hawtrey is the principal.
Donkeys may sneer and bray at him, which donkeys always find it very
easy to do; but a more philanthropical, kind-hearted, sensible, and
religious man is not to be found.  I remember when the mathematical
schools were first opened, the fellows tried to cough down the masters
when they began to lecture.  They got also cat-calls, penny-trumpets,
and all sorts of things to make a noise, and then had strings made fast
to them, which they carried up their sleeves.  Scarcely had the masters
begun to speak than they commenced their row.  Now one of the masters
was an old naval officer who had been to Cambridge, and not at all a
sort of person to play tricks with.  They tried it on once or twice with
him, and he seemed not to take much notice of their proceedings.  His
eye, however, was marking those who were making most noise, and in the
midst of the greatest row down he pounced upon them, and, feeling for
the strings inside their waistcoats, made a grand seizure of
penny-trumpets, whistles, cat-calls, and similar musical instruments.
He told them quietly that he did not wish to have any of them flogged,
but that if it occurred again he should desire the praepositor to put
them `in the bill.'  This is, as you will find, for a fellow to have his
name written on a slip of paper, and sent up to the Head Master.  The
fellow whose name is in the bill is told `to wait,' which means that he
is to go to the Head Master's room after school to be flogged.  It is an
unpleasant operation, and a fellow looks thoroughly foolish when he
comes down after it, and his friends kindly ask him how he likes it--
what he thinks of it--how he feels?  On the occasion I am speaking of,
the fellows did try it on again the very next day of attendance, and
half a dozen of them got a good flogging for their pains.  After that
they behaved with much more quietness."

While they were talking, Anson came in.

"There is one more point I have to tell you about," said he, "and very
important too: it is as to the rules of `shirking.'  You must know that
everywhere except just in college,--that is, about the school, and in
the playing-fields, or on the way to your dame's or tutor's,--is `out of
bounds.'  Therefore, if you meet a master, you have to get out of his
way into some hiding-place.  In the country you get under a hedge or
behind a wall.  In the town you run into a shop, and if you do this at
once, so as to show respect to the master, very few will say anything to
you, though they see you as clearly as possible, and know perfectly well
who you are.  The Sixth Form need not shirk, as they may go anywhere.
Of course, there are certain places if a fellow is seen in, a master
will follow him, otherwise he never attempts to do so.

"There is a small house just outside the bounds, where the people are
licensed to sell beer.  It is called the Tap.  It is used almost
exclusively by us.  If a fellow is caught going in or out, he is pretty
severely punished, and yet no master ever thinks of coming in to look
for us.  Not long, ago a number of our fellows were in the passage, when
who should walk in but one of the masters to order some beer for
himself.  He couldn't with a very good conscience punish us, so he took
not the slightest notice of us, though we made sure he would.  To our
great satisfaction, away he walked again as if we had not been there.
They keep there a long glass, which is brought out and emptied on
important occasions by certain fellows, such as the winners of the
pulling or sculling races--the eleven who have gained a well-contested
match.  It is a long tube with a bulb at the bottom, and holds about a
pint and a half.  Its contents must be drunk off without stopping to
take breath, and the difficulty is when one gets down to the bulb to
prevent it all rushing out at once, and running over one: a fellow
stands by and marks the time one takes to drink the contents.  I must
take you there some day.  There are several places of the sort up the
river, where we are pretty well known.  I must introduce you also to our
favourite liquor, and I think that you will agree with me that it is
first-rate.  We call it `Shandy Gaff.'  It's a mixture of beer and
ginger-beer in equal portions, and on a hot day I know nothing more

"I feel as if I knew all about Eton already," said Reginald; "you have
told me so much."

His friends laughed.  "There are a good many more things which you will
have to learn not yet dreamed of in your philosophy," answered Power.
"I haven't told you anything yet about our games--football, cricket,
running, jumping, steeple-chasing.  They are very different from those
at most private schools.  It will take you the best part of a year to
learn all the rules of football alone.  It will take you nearly as long
before you know all the regulations about boating.  However, now, when
Eton is in its glory, is the time of the year to pick up all that sort
of information.  We think more of play than lessons, and even the
masters never expect to get more than the regular schoolwork out of the
boys.  You'll probably stay on till you have worked your way up to Sixth
Form, which just now perhaps looks at a very unapproachable distance.  I
forgot to tell you that the Sixth Form have the power of setting
`poenas;' Collegers sometimes do it, and are thought great `brutes' for
so doing.  Oppidans rarely ever use their power.  It assists them
somewhat in keeping the Lower boys in order.  You'll observe, too, how
particular we are about our costume.  Those who wear jackets always keep
to black ties, and those who have taken to tail-coats invariably appear
in white ties.  These sorts of customs may appear trifles, but they all
contribute to keep up discipline and order in the school.  I, at first,
thought them very nonsensical; I now see their use."

Reginald, when he went to his snug little room that night, thought that
he knew a great deal more about Eton than he did in the morning; and
though he was glad to be there, he felt altogether thankful that he had
not come at an earlier age.


The important day arrived when Reginald was to be examined by his tutor,
that it might be ascertained where he was to be placed in the school.
He got up before the bell rang, soused his head thoroughly in cold
water, and, having sponged himself all over, dressed briskly, and sat
down to look over some of the books he knew.  He was pretty well up in
Greek as well as in Latin, though he had not gone very deep into the
intricacies of either language.  Mr Nugent, his tutor, had grounded him
well also in mathematics, so that he was in no particular fright as to
the result of his examination.  He wanted, however, to be as well placed
as possible, if the truth might be known, to get out of fagging as soon
as he could.

After prayers, Mr Lindsay told him to come to his room with his books.
He went there with a good heart also.  His Latin construing and parsing
seemed to satisfy his tutor, and then he read some Greek.  Mr Lindsay
looked pleased.  This encouraged him.  He went over book after book with
perfect ease.  The chances are, that he knew less than many a boy who
had passed a much worse examination; but he had the advantage of
possessing well-strung nerves, and of not feeling that he was doing
anything dreadful or out of the way.  Whatever he did know he recalled
at once to his memory.  He had also no wish to pretend to know more than
he did.  All was perfectly natural with him.  His head and his voice
were clear, and so on he went without the slightest hesitation.  Had he
been suddenly asked to sing a song which he knew, he could have done so
with ease.

"You have got through very well," said Mr Lindsay; "I am happy to say
that I shall be able to get you very satisfactorily placed."

Reginald was not a little pleased.  He would have liked to ask "Where?"
but he thought that might not be etiquette; so he restrained his
curiosity, and ran off with a light stop to deposit his books in his
room, and afterwards to join Power at breakfast, with a remarkably good

"Where do you think I shall be, though?" he asked more than once.  Power
guessed, but did not like to run the risk of disappointing him, so
wisely would not give an opinion.  At last, a short time before eleven
o'clock, he set off with Mr Lindsay to make his _debut_ in school.  He
was left by himself in the school-yard while Mr Lindsay, as did most of
the masters, went into "Chambers," to have a talk with the Doctor.  He
felt for a moment a little forlorn, standing in that wide place with so
many boys around him, and yet not one he could call a friend or even an
acquaintance; for neither Power nor Anson had yet come.

The boys now began to pour into the school-yard.  Many came up to him
and began the old standard questions.

"What's your name?" asked one; "any relation of Warrender at Rowley's?"

"No," answered Reginald.  "I have had no relation here since my father
was at Eton, that I know of."

"Oh, yes--but surely you're a cousin of Tom Jones?" observed one who was
looked upon as a great wag.

"I am not aware that I have that honour," answered Reginald.

Several similar questions he had to answer, which he did in perfect good
humour.  At last a big, hulking fellow, who looked as if he had got fat
on sucking-things, rolled up to him.  There was something in the boy's
air which reminded him wonderfully of a bully at his former school.

"How are you, Master Jones?" said the fellow, with a supercilious look.

"Pretty well, Tommy Green," answered Reginald, giving him back glance
for glance.

"How dare you call me Green!" exclaimed the big boy, looking angry.

"Because you have a remarkably verdant hue about you," answered
Reginald, who felt galled by the tone of bullying superiority assumed by
the other.

The big boy's rage at the unusual impudence of a new fellow instantly
blazed forth.  "Take that for your pains, young one!" he cried out,
giving Reginald a blow on the chest; "and that--and that--and that."

Reginald was for a moment staggered, but instantly recovering himself,
he flew at the big fellow, and returned the blows with interest.

"A mill--a mill--a mill!" was the cry, and fellows rushed up from all
parts of the yard, and closely surrounded the combatants.  Reginald
defended himself as well as he could from his big antagonist, who,
fortunately, though evidently inclined to bully, was no great adept in
the science of pugilism.  At another time Reginald would have fought
with the hope of victory; now his chief object was to defend his face,
so that he might not have to make his appearance before the Doctor with
a black eye or a bleeding nose.  He made up for want of size and weight,
and science also, for he had not much of it, by his activity, and
consequently the big fellow exhausted his strength by frequently
striking at the air, when he thought that he was going to put in an
effective blow.  As Reginald's courage and coolness manifested
themselves, he gained plenty of supporters, and he soon guessed that his
opponent was no great favourite.  The exclamations and cries in his
favour every moment grew warmer and warmer.  This encouraged him, or
rather, for he did not want much encouragement, discouraged the other.
He continued fighting as cautiously, but commenced more aggressive
operations, very much to the astonishment of the big fellow, who had
fancied that he was going to gain an easy victory,--in fact, intended to
give the new-comer a thrashing for his impudence.

"Well done! well done!  Famously hit!  Bravo!  Pitch into him, little
one!" were the exclamations over and over again repeated by his friends;
while the opposite party kept shouting, "Go it, Cicester!--Give it him
soundly!--Hit him hard!"  Cirencester, however, did not seem to be very
successful in putting this advice into execution, and impartial
observers were of opinion that Warrender was getting the best of it,
when the cry was raised of "All up--all up!" and the masters were seen
coming out of the Doctor's door.  After stopping a minute to have a
short chat together, they proceeded to the school.

The moment the masters appeared, the combatants were separated, and
Cirencester drew off without making any remark.  The delay enabled
Reginald to arrange his neck-tie, smooth his hair, and shake himself
into his jacket.  He felt rather bruised and heated, but he bore
fortunately no remarkable outward traces of his combat.  He soon
rejoined Mr Lindsay, who took him to the Doctor, who looked, he
thought, benignantly at him, and great was his satisfaction to find that
he was placed in the Lower Remove.

From that moment he resolved to show that he had not been wrongly
placed.  It was a great satisfaction to feel that he should have only to
remain a year numbered among those who could be fagged.  He was thus
also only one division below Power.  He found that unless he was
"plucked," he should rise one division every half-year, with certain
trials and examinations interposed, into Fifth Form, and so on, but that
there was no trial into Sixth Form, the vacancies in it being filled up
by seniority.

Power and Anson congratulated him on his successful _debut_ in the

"Cicester, big as he looks, is below you in the school," observed Anson.
"He is an earl, but we don't take note here of titles.  He eats too
much to be strong, and thinks too much of himself to have many real
friends.  I am very glad that you treated him as you did, because I
think that it will sicken him of attacking you again, and make other
fellows treat you with respect.  Of course, however, there are
tuft-hunters here as well as elsewhere, and as some of the Fifth Form
are among his friends, you must expect to be fagged a little sharply by
them occasionally, if you get in their way.  However, you'll know how to
manage to keep out of rows.  One thing I have found out; there is no use
attempting to shirk fagging.  A fellow is always certain to get the
worst of it.  There is no dodge a fellow can try which the Fifth Form
are not up to, because you see that they have tried them all themselves.
The worst thing a fellow can do is to show the sulks.  He is certain to
take nothing by it.  I always find it best to do a thing willingly and
promptly, however disagreeable it may be."

Reginald thanked his friends for their advice, and moreover took care to
follow it.

The next day, when he went into school, he was found to have prepared
his lessons particularly well, and the master looked at him with an
approving eye, as a boy likely to do credit to himself, and some little,
perhaps, to the school.  From the very first Reginald set himself
against the use of cribs.  He was rather laughed at for this, at first,
by his associates, who were aware of what they considered his peculiar

"I have just a question to ask you fellows," he observed one day.  "Do
you think it right or gentlemanly to tell a lie?  Answer me seriously,
not in joke."

It was agreed that a lie was ungentlemanly and wrong.

"Well, is it not equivalent to the telling a lie to pretend to have
obtained knowledge in one way, when you have obtained it in another?  Is
it not the same to take up a copy of verses or an exercise which you did
not write, and to pretend that you wrote them?  That is one reason why I
will not use a crib.  I should feel ashamed of myself, and disgraced
every time I did so.  Another reason is, that we came to school to gain
knowledge, to prepare ourselves for college, and for our future course
in life, as completely as we can; and the use of cribs prevents our
doing this, for though they may enable us to get through a lesson,
depend on it a lesson learnt with them is very quickly again forgotten.
There is nothing like having to turn over the leaves of a dictionary
that we may find a word, to enable us to remember it."

"Yes, but few fellows can turn over the leaves as quickly as you can,"
observed Anson.

"I learned the knack at a private tutor's long ago," answered Reginald.
"I thought it a bore at first, but he showed us how to do it properly,
and I very soon found the advantage of what he insisted on."

Power supported Reginald in this and many other respects, when he held
out boldly against what his straightforward, honest mind at once saw to
be bad practices.  He made enemies by so doing, but he also made
friends; the enemies he made were the least worthy, and the friends the
most worthy of his school-fellows--many of them becoming and continuing
firm and fast ones.

Reginald very soon made acquaintance with old Harry Cannon, the waterman
at Cuckoo Weir.  Fully thirty fellows were either standing on Lower
Steps or in punts, without a rag on them, ready to plunge into the clear
stream; or were swimming about by themselves, spluttering and coughing;
or were being dangled at the end of old Harry's blue pole.  Reginald had
thought that it was necessary to go, at all events, in the first place,
to old Harry.  Many of the fellows, not knowing that he could swim,
tried to frighten him; but, without much ceremony, he doffed his
clothes, and in he went with a "rat's header" at once, and swam boldly
up the stream, stemming it lustily; then he turned a sommersault, trod
water, and went through a variety of manoeuvres to which the youngsters
present were but little accustomed.

"You'll do, sir; you'll do," shouted old Harry, quite delighted with the
spirited way in which he took to the water; "a Newfoundland dog couldn't
have done it better."

Of course, on the first "passing day," Reginald--who was to be met by
Power, Anson, and some others of his new friends, in a boat--started off
for Middle Steps.

The masters stood ready.  Reginald jumped into the punt, and, with
several others, was carried out into mid-stream.  Several were ordered
to plunge overboard before him.  Most of them went in with "footers,"
and now two or three were ordered to come out and take further lessons
from old Harry.  Reginald waited patiently till his turn came, and then
overboard he went with a fine "rat's header," and downwards he dived.
He did not come up.  The masters were alarmed, and shouted to old Harry
to look for him.

"What can have become of the boy?" exclaimed one of them, in real alarm.

Suddenly, not far off, up came Reginald, with a big stone in his hand.

"All right!" he exclaimed.  "I wanted to bring a trophy from the
bottom;" and, depositing it on Middle Steps, away he swam in good style
to Lower Steps.  Just touching them, away he went--now swimming with one
arm, now with the other, now with both hands like a dog, now turning on
his back and striking out with his feet.

"You'll do, and do famously!" exclaimed the master, who was not famed
for bestowing unnecessary compliments on any one.

Reginald came out with no little feeling of allowable pride, and,
dressing quickly, stepped on board the boat, when, taking the yoke-lines
in a knowing manner, he steered away for Bargemen's Bridge, where the
stream once more joins the river.

Reginald at once threw himself into boating most zealously.  He was
always on the water, practising away, and soon became as proficient with
oars as with sculls--his great ambition being to belong to an eight-oar.
He and Power took a lock-up between them, for which they paid five
pounds; and though they liked it very much, they agreed that it was not
half so much fun as their boating in old days at Osberton, with Toby
Tubb as coxswain.  Reginald did not neglect cricket, however; but as he
was still numbered among the Lower boys he could only belong to the
Sixpenny Club.

The playing-fields at Eton are divided between different clubs.  The
boys subscribe to one or the other according to their position in the
school.  Above the Sixpenny, to which the entrance is only one shilling,
is the Lower Club, to which those in the Fifth Form belong who are
considered not to play well enough to belong to the Upper Club.  To the
Upper Club the clever and all the first-rate players alone belong.  The
grand cricketing time is "after six," when, in the playing-fields, the
balls are flying about as thickly as in a general action, or, at all
events, as at "Lord's" on practising days; while, especially at the
great matches in the Upper Club, the non-players lie on the turf,
indulging largely in Bigaroon cherries and other fruits in season, and
making their remarks on the game.

Such is the every-day Eton life in which Reginald found himself placed.
There was abundance of occupation to pass the time, and yet no very
salient events worthy of description.  After he had been there about a
fortnight, he found himself apportioned, by the captain of his house, to
a master who had already another fag.  That fag, Cross, had been all his
school-life at Eton, and was well accustomed to the work, so thought
nothing of it; but when Reginald first found himself ordered to perform
some menial office, he could not help his spirit rising in rebellion;
but he soon conquered the feeling, the absurdity of which he
acknowledged to himself, and he at once set about his task with a
cheerful countenance and willing hands.  The out-of-door fagging went
more against the grain, as he did not like to be sent here or there by
any stranger about some trifle, when he wanted to be doing something
else; but he soon got reconciled to that also, with the reflection that
all Eton fellows had to go through it.

Cross and he got on very well together.  They were not great friends,
but they never quarrelled.  Their master, Coventry, was good-natured,
though strict in having the duties they owed him performed, and his
orders obeyed.

Reginald was talking over Coventry's character with Power, and
observed--"I would fifty times rather serve a strict master like him
than one of your easy-going, idle fellows, who all of a sudden takes it
into his head that he will have everything in apple-pie order, and
thrashes you because you do not know what he wants."

"Certainly," answered Power.  "When I first came I had a master who
never by any chance was in the same mind two days together.  He would
have different things for breakfast and tea, and everything in his room
arranged differently.  He kept my mind on a continual stretch to guess
what he would want, till he made me very nearly as mad as himself.  At
last I informed him that I would do anything that he told me, but that I
could not undertake to guess his wishes.  He could not see the
reasonableness of my arguments, and so I at length gave up any attempt
to please him--he of course never being satisfied; and thus we went on
till the end of the half."

What with observation, conversation, and his own personal experience,
Reginald daily gained a larger amount of knowledge of the world in which
he was destined to move--not of the bad which was taking place, but of
the way to conduct himself in it.



A crew of Johnians were rowing down the Cam on a fine summer day, in
their own boat Two of them were freshmen--sixth form boys in manners and
pursuits; the coxswain had entered on his third year, and was reading
for honours.  These were English youths.  The fourth--Morgan ap
Tydvill--was from Wales, a pleasant, companionable fellow, proud of his
country, proud of his own family in particular, and proud of the boat,
of which he was part owner; generous and friendly, but very choleric,
though easily calmed down.  The fifth was Gerald O'Mackerry, of Irish
genealogy, as his name intimates, and his patronymic was a subject of
much harmless pride with him.  These two latter personages were in their
second year.

For some time the four rowers bent earnestly to their oars, the coxswain
doing the principal part of the talking work; but as the stream carried
the boat along, and there was no necessity for constant pulling, they at
times restrained their arms to let their tongues run free.  The chatting
commenced thus:--

"We haven't given a name to the boat yet."

"Well, I vote for the `Hose.'"

"I think the `shamrock' sounds well," said O'Mackerry.

"The Leek," was Ap Tydvill's suggestion.

"`_Leek_!'--an unlucky name!" observed Green, the coxswain, who, though
a gentlemen and a scholar, was sadly addicted to punning; but they were
all of Saint John's College, and therefore punsters by prescription.
This bad pun let out a good deal of punning; when it ceased to flow, the
original subject was renewed.

"Will the Trinity boat beat us next month?  They have a choice crew, all
in capital condition, and heavy men.  O'Mack is the only twelve stone
man here," (all gownsmen, you know, are _men_, however boyish in years
and appearance), "and Tyd is such a little fellow!"

"I'm five feet seven," replied he, rather snappishly; "and I can tell
you that the mean height of a man's stature is but five feet four.
(Murmurs of dissent.)  O'Mack is about ten inches above the standard;
but I'll back a man of my own height (drawing himself up majestically)
against him for walking, jumping, running, fighting, wrestling,
swimming, throwing a bar, or rowing a long distance--if he have my
breadth of chest and shoulders, and such an arm as this," displaying a
limb as hard and muscular as that of a blacksmith.  By his own estimate
he was of the perfect size and form.

  "In wrestling nimble, and in running swift;
  Well made to strike, to leap, to throw, to lift."

His vanity, however, though quizzed unmercifully, was not humiliated by
any detected failure in his bodily proportions, which he submitted to
measurement.  The circumference of his arm and wrist was considerable--
the whole limb and his chest brawny, hirsute, and muscular.

"I'm not afraid of Trinity," shouted he loudly, if not musically.
"_Sumamus longum haustum et fortem haustum, et haustum Omne simul_, as
Lord Dufferin said at the Norwegian Symposium, and we shall bump them."

At the spirited Latin watchword, our Cantabs commenced a chorus, "_Omne
simul, omne simul_," etc, etc, which Tyd himself had set to an old Welsh
tune of the Bardic days.  The effect was thrilling--the coxswain, both
sonorously and with a correct ear, singing, "_Omne simul, omne simul_,"
and beating time with his feet against the stretcher, while the rowers,
arms and lungs and all, pulled and chorused sympathetically.

This sport lasted about half an hour, and then the question was again
mooted, "What name shall we give to the boat?"

Green, the steersman, put the question: "Those who vote for the Rose
will say ay--three ays; those who vote for the Shamrock--one; those who
vote for the Leek--one."

"The ays have it."

Three triumphant cheers for the majority.

The freshman, quite cockahoop at the victory gained over Ap Tydvill and
O'Mackerry, ventured to ask the Welshman "how it happened that a leek
became the national emblem of Wales?"  He readily answered, "When my
country was able to lick (query: leek) your country,--I don't include
yours, O'Mackerry,--one of our jolly old princes having gained a great
victory over one of your Saxon leaders and his army, took up a _chive_,
which he found growing somewhere near the Wye, and said, `We'll wear
this henceforward as a memorial of this victory.'"

"Pooh, pooh," said the coxswain; "the true version is this.  Once upon a
time, Wales was so infested with monkeys that the natives were obliged
to ask the English to lend them a hand in destroying them.  The English
generously came to their assistance; but not perceiving any distinction
between the Welsh and the monkeys, they killed a great number of the
former, by mistake of course; so, in order to distinguish them, clearly,
they requested that the Welshmen would stick a leek in their bonnets."
A running fire (though on water) commenced against poor Monsieur Du
Leek--as the bantering youngsters, with profound bows and affected
gravity, chose to name Ap Tydvill--of pedigree immeasurable.

However, he recovered his serenity, after an explosion of wrath somewhat
dangerous for a moment; and, on the free trade principle, began to quiz
some one else.

"Mack," said he, "do you remember the ducking you got _there_, among the
_arundines Cami_?" pointing to a deep sedgy part of the river.

"I do; and I had, indeed, a narrow escape from drowning, or rather from
being suffocated in the deep sludgy mud."

"How was it?" one of the others asked.

"I was poling a punt along the bank, looking for waterfowl to have a
shot, you know, and I pulled myself into the river!"

"You mean, Paddy," said Mr Tydvill, "that you pulled yourself out of
the river."

"No; I mean what I say; there is no blunder for you to grin at.  I stuck
the pole so firmly into the deep mud, that I could not pull it out; but
it pulled me in."

"Why didn't you let go at once?"

"I hadn't time to think of that; instinctively I grasped the pole, lost
my balance, and tumbled into the river."

The unfortunate youth was extracted from the deep slime among osiers by
a labourer near hand, and he dried his clothes in a cottage--

  "Quae villula tectum,

without any bad results.

"But, do you remember, Master Tydvill," said O'Mackerry, "the day when I
was so near catching you and throwing you into the deep hole--clothes
and all?  Ay, and you deserved a ducking?"

"But really, Mack, would you have pitched me in, when you knew that I
was a bad swimmer, especially when dressed?"

"Assuredly I would have done so, for I was unusually hot in my temper,
though very cold in my body at that moment; however, I suppose that I
should have acted the part of the Newfoundland dog, and dragged the
puppy by his neck out of the water."

This complimentary part he addressed to the crew at large, and then
described the incident.

He had been sitting on the top bar of a ladder, of which the lower end
rested on the bottom of a very deep part of the river under a high and
steep bank, for the purpose of aiding a swimmer in his ascent from the
water.  The day was cold, and O'Mackerry remained in a crouching posture
for a few moments on the ladder, meditating the plunge, but not taking
it.  His playful friend stole behind and jerked him, heels over head,
into the water, and immediately ran away.  O'Mackerry, after recovering
from the shock and getting out of the river, pursued the offender nearly
half a mile, and happily without catching him.  Tydvill rather
unhandsomely afterwards caricatured his friend as a barometrical green
frog in a broad pellucid bottle partly filled with water, squatting on a
rung of a ladder, ingeniously serving as a graduated scale, to show the
condition of the atmosphere; the frog rising or descending as its
sensations led it to immerse its body in water, or rise more or less
above it.  O'Mackerry was a capital swimmer, and was sometimes seen to
capsize himself from an Indian canoe, which he had purchased somewhere
on the river Shannon, into its tidal waters with his clothes on, for the
purpose of habituating himself to swim under such difficulty.  He had
the satisfaction of saving the lives of two persons in danger of
drowning, by his skill, courage, and presence of mind.

"But how did you learn to swim and dive so well?"

"When I was a little boy, I was fond of books of Voyages, and I liked,
above all things, to read the description of the bathing pranks of the
Otaheite savages, who were such active divers, that when a nail was
thrown overboard, they would plunge after it, and catch it before it
reached the bottom.  I thought that I could do what a savage did so
easily, and I soon learned to do what so many animals do without any
instruction at all.  If you want a model, take a frog, and imitate its
motions in the water.  Courage is everything."

"But, Mack, every one hasn't such long and strong legs and arms as you
have--just like a frog's."

"Thank you for the comparison--not for the first time, Master Tyd--but I
have not a great belly like a frog's, which is useful in swimming--at
least in floating.  A large pot-bellied man may lie on the water as long
as he likes, if he keeps his head well back so as to have it supported
by the water--and with his heels closed and neck up."

"But surely in that position he would be like a log on the water, and
make no way," remarked some one of the listeners.

"True, but he can rest himself in that position until he chooses to
strike out again.  Just fancy yourself a fish: you are specifically
lighter than water, and you can lie as near the surface as you please;
use your fins and you can move about to the right or left--as a boat is
moved by its oars; use your tail and you steer in any direction--as the
rudder turns the direction of the boat.  Then fancy your fins and tail
cut off--there you lie like a raft--without poles or oars--but you do
not sink.  If you have one fin, or part of one, you move like a boat
with one whole or broken oar.  Now our bodily apparatus is not designed
like that of a fish for swimming, but it is capable of enabling us to
swim sufficiently well for our necessities.  Just read Old Franklin on
the art of swimming, and you will understand the theory of the matter at
once.  The great difficulty in practice is the fear which people have of
being drowned, and this can only be overcome by accustoming ourselves to
the water."

"Now, Mack," said Tydvill, "you know I cannot swim; what ought I to have
done if you had pitched me into that awful hole?"

"You should have kept yourself from struggling and plunging, letting the
back of your head lie quietly under the water, with your mouth free for
breathing--but not for screaming and water-drinking--till I had taken
the trouble of catching hold of you."

"But surely," replied Tydvill, "the weight of my clothes would have sunk

"I think not," rejoined his friend; "the water would have supported them
too, though you'd have found them very heavy when you came out of it.
Will you try the experiment?"

"The theory is sufficient for me," concluded the sprightly Welshman.
However, another of the crew put this question:--

"Since the body can be supported on the surface of the water, as
O'Mackerry has said, and with little exertion, or without any, as in
swimming on the back, how is it that a drowned body sinks, and often
rises some days afterwards?"

"Because," said our philosopher,--who had been crammed on the
subject,--"the lungs of a drowning person become filled with water, and
therefore the body, becoming specifically heavier, sinks.  The body
remains at the bottom only until the water has been quite freed from it
by _compression_; it then is swelled and expanded by gases generated
within, and becoming lighter than the water, rises to the top."

They had for some time been leaning on their oars, enjoying this chat,
and were about to retrace their course, when one of the English lads
asked O'Mackerry if he had ever been in real danger in a boat.  The
other reflected a little, and then thought of an incident which had
occurred to him some years ago, before he had learned to swim.  "Yes,"
said he, "but for God's good providence I would have been," ("You mean
_should_, I suppose," said Coxswain Green, in an under tone) "assuredly
drowned.  I had been contriving how to put out striker lines in a deep
loch near my father's house, and, not having a boat, I substituted a
stable door, taken from its hinges, as a raft for my purpose.  I had
read of rafts on the Rhine with whole families on them--with a cabin and
cow-house and pig-sty; and why should not my miniature raft support my
weight?  I floated the door--balanced myself nicely upon it--put out for
the middle of the loch, gently paddling it with a pole, and fearful of
the slightest change of my position, which would have destroyed the
horizontal equilibrium of my feeble raft.  When I had gone far enough--
into water thirty or forty feet deep--I sent off the strikers, but
unfortunately flung away my paddle along with them.  My insensibly
nervous movements caused the door to incline into the water at one side
an inch or two.  I moved a hair's breadth; it then declined to the other
side.  It would sink.  I had no doubt of this.  Then I gently stooped to
try if I could unfasten a shoe; but this was impracticable.  I tried a
balancing movement again, and the door righted, but not entirely.  My
presence of mind, however, did not fail me.  I took off my hat, and
paddled myself with this from side to side alternately, until I reached
the strand--through thick masses of aquatic plants--the water-lily in
particular, whose long and interlacing stems would have embraced me to
death, if I had fallen among them.  I have never known any one to swim
or bathe in that dangerously deep loch.  I do not see how I could have
escaped drowning at that time if I had slipped from the raft."

This led the adventurous youth to narrate another difficulty from which
he had been mercifully extricated by God's providence.  He had been
snipe-shooting in an Irish hog, and thoughtlessly trod upon a green,
firm, and sound-looking, but very treacherous quagmire, us he was
watching a snipe which had just sprung up.  He was suddenly immersed in
the semi-fluid peat to his shoulders, and only saved from quickly
subsiding into the depths of the morass by a solid bed of clay, at the
depth of five feet and a half.  He sank to his under lip, barely
escaping suffocation, and having his breath spared for shouting.  He was
pulled up by various contrivances, a reeking column of black mire.  As
it seemed clear that Mr O'Mackerry must have been engulfed in the bog
if he had been half an inch under six feet two in stature, it was
illogically argued that it would be a general advantage to manhood if
all were exceedingly tall--suppose of the height of the suite of the
Duke of Brunswick (composed of men some inches above seven feet), which
came to London a hundred years ago.

"Of course," said Tydvill, "Churchill is right in the Rosciad when he

"`Your hero should be always tall, you know.'"

But the wiser ones of the crew showed that the ordinary height, as fixed
by the Almighty, is the best.  If the scale of men were raised a foot or
so, with proportioned frame and weight, horses and other beasts of
burden should be increased also; else the giants could neither hunt nor
even travel, nor find beef and mutton, etc, for their support.  And if
the animals were larger, more grass, etc, would be required than at
present.  The whole scale of proportions would require alteration.  Who
can dare to think that God's design is not the best?  Neither giants nor
dwarfs form the general rule, and extreme exceptions are happily very

"What became of the gun?" inquired one of the party.  "I hope that was
not swallowed up?"

"No; that was pulled up with me.  I had kept fast hold of it; we fell
and rose together, and so I was not--

  "`Doomed to perish by the slaughtering gun.'"

However, it was unfit for service, like its owner, for the remainder of
that day; its chilled barrel looked as if it were moaning forth to me,
in hollow tone,--

  "`Stay by me--thou art resolute and faithful;
  I have employment worthy of thy arm.'"

It will be seen that Mr O'Mackerry had a smattering of classical lore.
He was asked to name his last poet.

"Dryden," said he, off-hand.

"You hadn't a _dry_ den when you were up to your chin in the wet, black
hole," quickly added Tydvill.  Here there was unanimous applause.

This led to some conversational nonsense about punning.

"What is a pun?"

"Don't you know," said O'Mackerry, "Swift's definition in the essay
which he entitled `The Ars Punica sive flos linguarum, by Tom-Pun-Sibi,
Dublin?'"  None other of the crew knew anything concerning it; O'Mack
therefore gave them the concluding part as a specimen, and in reply to
the question.  "Punning is an art of harmonious jingling upon words,
which, passing in at the ears and falling upon the diaphragms, excites a
titillatory motion in those parts, and this being conveyed by the animal
spirits into the muscles of the face, raises the cockles of the heart,
and promotes the end of good fellowship, which is laughing."

Just at that moment the crew in training for the coming race between the
rival universities neared the Rose, for so the boat must now be called,
and, as in duty bound, the latter drew to the opposite bank to allow the
eight-oared cutter to pass at fullest speed, and then following in her
wake, the rest of the trip was passed in comparative silence, so eagerly
did our freshmen note each movement of that skilful crew.



Soon after I entered Holy Orders I joined the old ---, 74, in the West
Indies.  As we were for a considerable time stationary at Port Royal,
Jamaica, and my health was suffering from the climate, I obtained leave
to take a few weeks' cruise with an elder brother, who commanded a brig
of war on the station.  While I was on board the brig, she was sent in
search of a piratical craft, which had of late been committing great
depredations on British commerce in those seas.  At length, after a long
search, we sighted her, made chase, attacked, and, after a desperate
fight, captured her, with a loss of several of our own men, and
one-third of the pirates killed and wounded.

Among the pirate crew a young man was brought on board badly wounded,
whose countenance exhibited such an expression of deep melancholy and
despair, that I could not help feeling compassion for him; indeed, I
persuaded myself that he must be less guilty than his companions.  They
were, or their physiognomies woefully belied them, as villainous a set
of scoundrels as were ever collected together, and their captain, if
report spoke true, was the greatest miscreant of them all.  I attended
daily by the bed-side of the unhappy youth I speak of, and had hopes,
although he said little, that I had worked on his mind some impression
of the awful state in which he was placed; but as he recovered his
strength his obduracy of heart appeared to return, and he seemed to have
persuaded himself that he should escape the punishment of his crimes.

After a long beat we at length entered Port Royal in triumph with our
prize, and were thanked by all the merchants for the service we had
rendered them.  The pirates were tried without delay, one of them
turning king's evidence, and being all convicted of the most atrocious
murders on the high seas, with this single exception, they were all
sentenced to death.

The evening before his execution the young man I spoke of sent to
entreat me to visit him.  I gladly acceded to his wish.  I found him
heavily ironed and chained to the ground, in a room with a
strongly-grated window, where three of his piratical shipmates were also
confined.  These latter were Spaniards, and dark ferocious-looking
ruffians they seemed--more like beasts than men with immortal souls, so
brutalising are the effects of habitual crime.

They regarded me as I entered with glances of furious hate, for they
recognised me as having belonged to the ship which captured them, and,
had they not been manacled, they would, I truly believe, have rushed at
me to satisfy their longing for vengeance, but their chains, fortunately
for me, holding them down, they again sank into the sullen apathy from
which my appearance had roused them.

Sitting down on a low stool, furnished by the gaoler, I expressed my
willingness to afford the prisoner every aid in my power that his awful
state demanded.

"You were kind to me, sir, when I lay wounded, from the first, on our
passage here, and I thought you would excuse me speaking to you," he
answered, looking furtively around as if some one was watching him.
"Oh, sir, there are many, many things weighing like hot lead upon my
mind, and I must tell them to some fellow-creature before I am sent on
my last voyage, or I should have to come back again to haunt this world,
which is already sick of me and my crimes.  Oh, sir, it is dreadful to
think of dying when one has lived as I have done; yet my life for some
years has been one of misery, ever haunted by a hideous spirit or a
being of--There it is, sir! see, see!  I knew that I could not talk of
him without his coming!  There, there, there!" he shrieked out.

I exerted all my powers to soothe the mind of the poor wretch, throwing
in such observations as I thought might tend to bring him to think on
the new state of existence he was about to enter.  Pirate as he was, I
felt that he was still a fellow-creature, and who can tell what strong
temptations might have led him into crime?  Who among us can say how we
should have withstood the same?  Let us feel grateful that we have
received the benefit of a religious education, and pray Heaven to keep
us from sin.  Seeing that until he had relieved his mind by a narration
of the circumstances in his career which pressed most heavily on it, he
would be unable to attend to me, I told him that I was prepared to
listen to anything he might have to say.  On this he immediately
commenced a sketch of his life in almost the following words:--


The Confessions of a Pirate.

"I am a Devonshire man, and was born near Salcombe.  A wild-looking
place is Salcombe Range.  My father's cottage stood on the hill facing
directly down the bay, or range, as they call it in the west country, so
that the only view I remember in childhood was that of the dark cliffs
on each side of its entrance, with its heaving and foaming waters; the
only music I ever heard, their hollow melancholy sound.

"My father had been an officer of excise at Plymouth, and, having
somehow or other made his fortune, retired here to end his days.  This
he soon did, for, shortly after I was born, my mother dying, he took to
drinking harder than ever--he was never a very sober man--and before I
was seven years old I was left an orphan.  I had now no one to look
after me, except an old woman, whose chief occupation was mixing
smuggled spirits to fit them for the market; when she used to taste and
taste the stuff till she went reeling to bed.  I consequently had plenty
of time and opportunity to follow my own inclinations, and was early
taught all sorts of wild pranks by boys older than myself.

"For some time my principal employment consisted in dodging the steps of
the revenue officers, both when a run was about to be made, and
afterwards when the tubs and cases were to be carried up the country.  I
could neither read nor write, and as for religion, I never heard of it;
indeed, I was as ignorant as could well be.  At last, the clergyman of
the parish took compassion on my unprotected state; and the old woman
who had charge of me dying, like my father, in a fit of drunkenness, he
sent for me up to his house, and asked me if I should like to go to
school.  Though I did not know what school meant, I answered `Yes,' for
I wanted to go somewhere; it little signified to me where.  As I was
treated kindly I got on very well, so that in three years I was
considered one of the best scholars in the school, though at the same
time one of the wildest.  The vicar was a strict man, and, though he
expressed himself satisfied with my progress, I was never a favourite of

"Although I had continued my intimacy with several of my early smuggling
companions, I managed to reach my eighteenth year without being
considered worse than a wild sort of chap.  About this time I formed an
acquaintance with a pretty girl, the daughter of a respectable farmer in
the neighbourhood.  Her old father spoke to me on the subject.  I
knocked him down and fled.  I had behaved like a villain.  I knew it
then; I feel it now.  The poor girl refused to see me when I afterwards
tried to meet her, and soon died of a broken heart.  The neighbourhood
was no longer to my liking.  I felt that every finger was pointed at me;
but I stifled conscience, and tried to appear indifferent as to what
folks said of me.  Oh, that I had listened to that small voice then!  My
after-life would have been very different.

"I had always been accustomed to get about in boats; and having just
before formed the acquaintance of a noted smuggler, one Brand Hallton by
name--I then thought him one of the finest fellows on either side of the
channel--I made my first trip across to the coast of France in his
company.  That man was the chief cause of my subsequent career in crime
and misery--my evil genius.  Oh, sir, warn all the young men you may
meet to shun the company of the wicked and immoral as they would a
pestilence!  They are the instruments with which the devil works out his
deeds of darkness.  I did not know how bad he was, or, perhaps, I might
have avoided him and been saved.  For two years or more, I was
constantly in some smuggling craft or another; and though we frequently
lost a cargo, we managed to escape being taken and sent on board a
man-of-war to serve the king.  This hazardous varied sort of life just
suited my taste, and, as I had more learning than the rest of my
companions, I was looked up to by most of them.  However, our success
was not to last for ever: through the treachery, as we afterwards
discovered, of one of the people we employed on shore, we were unusually
unfortunate; and, suspecting what was the case, we vowed to be revenged
on whomever it might be.

"I had never seen blood shed--my hands were free from that crime.  Oh
that they were so now, I should not care so much about dying!  We had a
large cutter, carrying four guns, with forty stout hands on board, Brand
Hallton being our captain; so that we could easily beat off any revenue
boats which might attempt to board us.

"Every one was armed to the teeth; and on the occasion I am about to
speak of, the word was passed that all the helpers on shore should come
prepared for resistance, in case of being molested.  We took in our
cargo, consisting of silks, laces, tea, and other valuable commodities,
at Cherbourg, and made the land just before sunset.  We stood in at
once, and found the spotsman at his post, with a signal that all was
clear.  The night was pitchy dark, though calm; and, except the signals,
not a light was shown.  About fifty men were stationed on shore, to
carry the things inland.

"We set to work as fast as possible getting the things into the boats,
and all went on well for some time.  I, with some others, in one of the
boats, had left the cutter, when a pistol was flashed from the shore as
a signal for us to return; but, before we had pulled many strokes, there
was a rapid discharge of fire-arms, while loud shouts, oaths, and cries
arose: torches were kindled, and by their light we could see our friends
on shore mixed in a hot fight with a number of red-coats.

"As soon as we made out what was going forward, we pulled back as fast
as we could to the vessel, to put the bales into her, intending to
return to assist our people; but, before we reached her, a splash of
oars was heard close to us, and in a moment a large boat was alongside
our galley.  At the same time, a loud voice ordered us to surrender;
but, as we were not the chaps to do that in a hurry, our coxswain drew
his pistol, and fired it towards the boat.  A deep groan was the answer,
and immediately other pistols were fired on each side.  By the flashes
we saw a number of men, their cutlasses shining brightly, about to
spring into our boat; but, at the same time, we knew that we must beat
them or die.  They were brave fellows, and would, perhaps, have taken us
all; but we were fighting with halters round our necks; for after the
resistance we had offered, we knew that, if made prisoners, we should be
hung.  They had already cut down two or three of our people, when
another of our boats came up, and attacked them on the other side.
There was now little chance for them: we dared not save them if we
would.  They fought bravely to the last--every one of them was killed.

"They were countrymen, and were only doing their duty.  That night's
work, sir, weighed like lead upon my conscience, till other crimes drove
the thoughts of it out, and my heart became seared.  It is only now that
I am about to quit the world that my conscience is roused up.  It is
very terrible, sir.  My life seems a dreadful dream; and I cannot even
now believe that I am to die to-morrow to go where I have already sent
so many others, not more fit to die than I am.  It is too much to think
of.  I wonder what sort of a place I shall be in to-morrow at this
time!" he suddenly exclaimed, after a long silence.

"You must trust in the mercy of One who is all merciful," I answered,
"and repent of your crimes, and then be assured, as was the thief on the
cross, you will be forgiven."

"I wish I thought it might be so, sir," he observed, "but I have been
too wicked--too great a reprobate for pardon; and _he_--_he_ knows
better!--that ghastly figure there!--_he_ shakes his head, and grins at
me, mocking at the very idea of it!  Oh, that I could have another spell
of life to get free of him!  Is there any chance of being let off?" he
asked, with sudden animation.

"Not the slightest," I answered.  "Do not for a moment indulge in such a

"Well, sir, well--perhaps it is best as it is.  I have thought a good
deal about death since I lay wounded, and have made up my mind to the
worst.  My life has long been a burden to me; but it is the future--the
future which makes me tremble; and then that dreadful ghost-like figure
unnerves me.  Off with you--off!" he shrieked out.  "Leave me for this
once at rest!"

The Spaniards, aroused by his cries, scowled fiercely on him, and
cursing him for a noisy madman, again sank back upon the stone floor.
After being silent for a minute, he appeared to have perfectly recovered
his senses, and continued--

"I will go on, sir, with what I was telling you about--I want to get it
off my mind.  Well, after we had killed the people in the revenue boat,
we hove the things into the cutter, and pulled again to the shore to
assist our friends.  It was fortunate for them that we did so, for the
soldiers had come down in great numbers, and completely got the better
of them.  Some were made prisoners, numbers were either killed outright
or desperately wounded, and the remainder were fighting hand-to-hand for
their lives, close down to the water's edge.  Some of the best men were
with us.  We were fresh and desperate; so, managing to drive back the
soldiers for a minute, by a furious charge, before they again came on,
we covered the retreat of the rest to the boats, and then followed
ourselves.  In a moment they were afloat, and we were pulling off from
the shore.  Several volleys were fired at us without doing us any
mischief, and we could see the soldiers, by the flashes of their
pistols, galloping up and down along the beach, in search of those of
our friends who were trying to escape.  About twenty of our people got
off, but of course all the things, except a few we had on board, were
lost, and we vowed vengeance against whomever had betrayed us.  We all
took a dreadful oath to that effect, which we most fearfully fulfilled.
Oh!  I wish that it had been broken.

"We were sullen and out of humour enough when we got on board; but there
was no time then to meditate on revenge, so we lost not a moment in
making sail and standing off the coast.  We well knew that, after what
we had done, the revenue cruisers would be keeping a very sharp look-out
for us; but we were not to be daunted, even by the certainty of death,
if taken.  We spoke a lugger standing in for the coast, and two nights
afterwards we ourselves followed her, and ran the rest of our cargo.
When on shore, about that work, we discovered who it was who had
betrayed us, and we renewed our oath to be revenged on him whenever we
could get him into our power.  He was a man who often had acted as
spotsman for us, and in whom we placed entire confidence, though with
the world in general he did not enjoy the best of characters.  His name
was Arnold, a tall, fine-looking fellow, still in the prime of manhood.
He had been bribed to deliver us into the hands of the law, and,
fancying that his treachery was undiscovered, he was now looking forward
to getting a larger reward by informing against us a second time.  We
did revenge ourselves!  Oh, it was dreadful!  Ah!--there he is!  His
livid, corpse-like face is laughing, and muttering at me behind your
back.  I knew I could not speak of him without his coming.  Yes, yes,
yes!--I'll follow!  I'll follow!--I know I must!"

And the wretched man broke into loud shrieks for mercy.  He soon
recovered, and continued--as if he had not interrupted himself--

"We allowed two months to pass before we ventured back to the coast,
when we ran in with a valuable cargo, which we landed without his
knowing anything about the matter.  Five of us, among whom was Brand
Hallton, who had dependence on each other, then went on shore at night.
We had been persuaded by Hallton that we had but one course to pursue,
and we had promised to obey his directions.  While we waited hidden
among the rocks on the beach, at some short distance from Arnold's
house, we sent word by a lad we took with us, that we wished to speak to
him about running another crop of goods.  It was a dark night, with a
drizzling rain, but perfectly calm, the only noise we could hear being
the ripple of the water on the sand, while nothing could be seen but the
high beetling cliff above us.  For a long time we waited; the moments
seemed hours to me.  We then thought he suspected something, and would
not come.  At last we heard the sound of footsteps on the beach moving
towards us.  My heart beat faster.  I ground my teeth in my eagerness.
I thought I was about to do an act of justice.  That he might not by
chance take alarm, one of our men went forward to welcome him as a
friend.  The stranger proved to be Arnold.  Another then joined him, and
began to talk about the business in hand.  He took the bait eagerly, and
offered to lend us his assistance.  As he came by where I, with the
other men, lay hid, the first two put their pistols to his head, and
threatened to blow his brains out if he uttered a word, while we rushed
on him, pinioned his arms, and gagged him, to make sure of his not
giving an alarm.  Powerful man as he was, he trembled violently in every
limb, for he then felt that we were aware who had before betrayed us;
and more than that, he well knew it and our _laws_; he knew that we were
not men to hesitate at punishing a traitor.  From the moment we seized
him we did not exchange a single word with each other; but, lashing his
feet, we lifted him into our boat, which was close at hand.  At the same
time, also, we lifted into her a large stone, with a rope made fast to
it, and then shoved off from the shore.

"We pulled off for a mile or more, and then laying on our oars, we told
the miserable wretch what we were about to do, giving him one minute to
prepare for death.  In his struggles to free himself, as he heard his
doom, he contrived to loosen one of his hands, and to slip the gag from
his mouth.  He shrieked out in an agony of fear, and, as he entreated us
to let him live, he trembled as if every limb in his body would part.
He talked of his wife and family, who would starve if he were taken away
from them; he promised, in the most abject terms, to be our slave--to
work for us to the utmost of his power--to do all we could require of
him; but we laughed at his offers; we reminded him that he had shown no
pity to us--that he had caused the death of several of our friends and
the imprisonment of others, and that he must take the consequence of his
treachery.  Again, with groans and tears, he petitioned for mercy; he
was not a man much given in general to words, but now they flowed forth,
like a torrent in winter, with prayers for life; but nothing, he could
say could alter our determination.  At first, he attempted to deny what
he had done, but we soon made him acknowledge his crime: he had broken
our laws, and must abide the penalty.  At last, we got tired of
listening to him; we were eager for vengeance, and yet we felt a
pleasure in witnessing his agony.

"`Come--we have had enough of this palaver,' said one of our people.
`If you have got a bit of a prayer to say, be quick about it.'

"`In a minute more you won't be in so great a hurry to open your mouth,'
sneered another.

"The miserable wretch saw we were in earnest, and I believe he did try
to say a prayer; but we were in a hurry to finish the job.  I fully
believe, indeed, that every one of us had thought we were going to do an
act of strict justice; but when it came to the point, my mind misgave
me.  There was, however, now no drawing back; I dared not even utter my
thoughts to my companions.  My hands trembled as I assisted to make the
rope, with the stone to it, fast round his feet; but the darkness
prevented their seeing my agitation.  We then let the stone hang
overboard, while we lifted our victim, thus bound hand and foot, on to
the gunwale of the boat.  For a moment we let him remain there; and oh,
what a cry of agony he gave as we tilted him up, and down he went
straight into the deep sea!--the water closed over his head, and not a
mark remained to show that a moment before another living being had been
with us in health and strength!  We thought the sea would for ever hide
the deed from mortal eye, and that no one but ourselves would ever be
able to tell how Arnold died.  Ah! fools that we were to think to escape
punishment for work like that!

"As soon as all was over, for an instant we sat silent and stupefied,
and then shipping our oars, we pulled towards the cutter as hard as we
could, away from the accursed spot.  We had not pulled many strokes when
a horror seized me.  I could have shrieked aloud, but my fear was too
great, for there, directly in our wake, was Arnold!  Up he had risen--
his body half out of the water--his countenance blue and livid--his eyes
starting from his head--his hair on end--his arms extended towards us,
as if he would clasp the boat in his embrace, and carry us down with him
to the dreadful place he had come from!  Larger and larger he grew--a
pale flame seemed to play round his features, distorted with rage and
agony!  As fast as we could pull, he came hissing after us!  We all
shrieked with horror--we stretched every nerve to get away from him--but
the harder we pulled the faster he came along.  We sent the water flying
from our bows, our oars bent and cracked; but nothing would do--on, on
he came!  Oh, how I wished I had had nothing to do with the foul deed!
We had shown no mercy to him--we knew he would show none to us.  You do
not believe what I am saying; but it is as true as that I am speaking to
you.  See, sir!--see, there is his face at the farther end of the room--
just as he appeared to me on that fatal night!  He has never quitted me
since, and never will--he will be with me on the scaffold to-morrow,
jeering and cursing me, and I shall meet him where I am hound to in the
other world.  Oh! why did I do that deed?

"The dead man had got within a few fathoms of us, when, expecting every
moment to feel myself within his cold grasp, I could bear it no longer,
and swooned away.

"The pale, waning moon was shining on my face from out of the pure sky
when I came to my senses, and I found myself lying on the deck of the
cutter, which was running briskly across the Channel.  I got up and
looked around me; all that had passed seemed a horrid dream, but I knew
it was too true.  I was afraid to speak of what had happened, and, when
I once referred to it to one of my partners in crime, he reminded me
with a dreadful threat of my oath of secrecy.  In vain I tried to banish
the thoughts of it from my own mind; every night did the accusing
spectre recall it with terrible certainty, for no sooner did darkness
appear, than, whenever I looked out on the sea, whether in storm or
calm, when the stars shone bright, or the sky was overcast, there, in
the wake of the ship, appeared the blue, livid figure of the wretched
Arnold.  It was very, very dreadful, sir.  I dared not return to my
native place, nor to any neighbourhood where I was known, for I felt
that everybody would point at me as a murderer; I knew the mark of Cain
was on my brow.  I grew weary of existence, even a smuggling life was
too tame for me; I longed for a change of scene, for more excitement;
and falling in with a French brig bound for the coast of Africa, I
shipped on board her.  Her sails were loose and her anchor spread, as I
handed my traps on deck, and, before I had time to see the faces of all
her crew, we were standing with a strong breeze out of the harbour of

"My evil destiny still pursued me.  There was one on board, whom rather
than have met I would have jumped overboard and swam on shore again, had
it been possible.  That man was Brand Hallton.  He had been the first to
lead me into crime, and I knew of so many black deeds he had done, that
I feared and hated him more than any man alive, though I could never
withstand his evil persuasions.  A short time passed before he came on
deck, as he had been attending to some duty below.  I knew him in a
moment, but he pretended not to recognise me, though he soon afterwards
took an opportunity to assure me that he would stand my friend if I
would not attempt to claim his acquaintance.  I found that he had
entered before the mast under an assumed name, but on what account he
did not choose to inform me, though I had little doubt it was for the
sake of performing some piece of villainy or other.  I dared not disobey
him; indeed, I should have gained nothing if I had attempted to betray
him, and thus we appealed by degrees to form an intimacy.

"We had on board a freight of coloured cottons, beads, and other
trinkets, with hard dollars to exchange for slaves, with manacles to
keep them quiet when in our power.  That coast of Africa is a deadly,
burning place, as we had soon reason to know; but I cared not for heat
or for sickness--neither could increase the wretchedness of my own
miserable fate.  For some days after sailing I began to hope that I had
escaped from my tormentor, but one night, on going on deck to keep my
watch, as I looked over the side to observe how fast the ship was going
through the water, there, on the sea, a few fathoms only from her,
appeared that dreadful figure.  He has never since then quitted the ship
I have sailed in.  Sometimes, as the moonbeams played upon the waters, I
have seen him following in our wake, with his arms spread out, leaping
from the waves and making horrid faces at me.  When I have been keeping
a look-out ahead, he has appeared as if leading the way, pointing with
one hand and threatening with the other, and every now and then turning
round his gibbering distorted countenance, his eyeballs starting from
their sockets, and his hair on end as I first saw him.  Night after
night have I thus been haunted, till life became a burden to me, and I
should have jumped overboard and drowned myself, but I knew that he in a
moment would fly at me like a shark at its prey, and carry me down in
his cold clasp to the unfathomed depths of the ocean.  I was afraid to
ask any of my shipmates if they saw him, for they would at once have
said I was a murderer; and thus my mind was left to brood in silence on
my awful destiny; yet I fear, sir, there were many of those with me who
were likely to have seen sights almost as dreadful.  Oh! what a dreary
voyage that was.  At last, we sighted a long, low line of coast, with
the trees gradually rising from the water, and a grey, sandy beach below
them.  This was the deadly coast of Africa, somewhere about the mouth of
the Gambia; but we stood on farther to the south, and came to an anchor
a short way up the Gaboon River, our yard-arms almost touching the lofty
palms, cotton-trees, and monkey-bread trees, which grew on its banks.
It was a beautiful-looking spot, but death was in every gale, and those
of our crew who slept on shore died soon afterwards of a fever, which
carried off several others of our men.  I wished to be of the number,
but neither sickness, shot, nor the sea, could have power over one
accursed like me.

"We found the greater part of our living cargo already assembled in
barracoons close down to the shore; and the remainder arrived in a few
days from the interior--men, women, and children, to the number of three
hundred.  They were all prisoners, taken in war with a neighbouring
tribe--hostilities being continued solely for the purpose of making
slaves.  As we received them on board, we stowed them away as close as
they would pack between low decks, where there was barely room for them
to sit upon their hams; but you know what a hell-afloat a slave-ship
presents, and, though we did our best to keep them alive, we lost many
before the voyage was over.  After leaving the coast, we shaped our
course for Martinique, where our captain intended to dispose of his
slaves, and then to go back for another cargo.  What with the stench of
the slaves, the heat of the weather, our bad food and water, I wonder
any of us survived.  We used to have the poor wretches in gangs at a
time upon deck to air themselves and to take exercise, but they were
quickly sent down again below, and I believe, had it not been for fear
of their dying, they would never have been allowed to taste the fresh
air of heaven.  The captain and the first mate used to sleep in a sort
of round-house on the after-part of the deck, with arms by their side
ready to defend themselves in case of a surprise, for they had not much
confidence even in their own crew, though they were not worse than the
general run of slavers.

"One day I was sitting in the shade under the foot of the foresail,
trying to get a little fresh air as it blew off the sail, when Hallton
placed himself near me, pretending to be busily engaged in working a
Turk's head, or some such thing.  The rest of the people were either in
the after-part of the ship, or lying about the decks asleep.  Looking
cautiously round to see that no one observed him, he addressed me.

"`How like you a slaving life?' he began; `pleasant isn't it?  Black
fever, yellow fever, and the stench of these negroes in one's nose all
one's days.  For my part, I'd as soon mend shoes, or turn tailor, as
spend my time in this way.'

"`Then why did you join the brig?  You knew how she was to be employed,'
I observed.

"`I, my fine fellow!  I never, for a moment, intended to keep at this
work; I had other objects in view.  I know I can trust to you, so I do
not mind talking of them.  I have long formed a plan by which we can
make a rapid fortune, and spend our days, like gentlemen, in luxury and
independence.  Ah! you are a lad of spirit, and will join me; but the
idea must not be hinted at, even to the stars.'

"He thus continued for some time, letting out by degrees what he was
thinking of, so that the whole of his proposal should not take me by
surprise, when he explained it to me.

"Well, we reached Martinique in safety, and, after landing the slaves,
prepared for another trip across the Atlantic.  How Brand Hallton gained
the information, I do not know; but, while lying here, he learned that
on our return the brig was to be fitted up with cabins, and that the
merchant who owned her intended to return in her to France, with his
family and all the wealth he had amassed.  In the meantime, he was
busily employed in working his way into the confidence of the worst
disposed of the crew, and was very active in engaging several new hands
to supply the place of those who died by fever.

"The second voyage was much like the first.  We took on board a still
larger number of blacks, and lost many of the whites by sickness.  Day
after day we lost one or other of our crew, till scarcely any of those
who sailed with us from France remained.  The first man we lost died
raving mad: it was dreadful to listen to him.  No sooner did he touch
the water than there was Arnold's ghost, with its fierce staring eyes,
surrounded by a pale, blue light, and, seizing the corpse in its grasp,
it turned it round and round, gibbering and mowing at it with delight,
it seemed, and then plunged with it beneath the waters.  I shuddered as
I saw it, for I felt that such would be my fate, or, perhaps, a worse
one; for I fancied that if I was seized with the fever, I, perhaps,
should be thrown overboard while yet alive, and I pictured to myself the
horror of feeling myself in _his_ power, carried down--down--down to
eternal fire and torment.  I could not withdraw my eye from the spot
where I had seen the corpse disappear.  As I watched, that dreaded
figure again rose to the surface without his prey; and, as we sailed
along, he kept following in our course, his countenance now assuming a
look of eagerness, as if watching for further victims.  He was not
disappointed: two days afterwards, another Frenchman died, and his fate
was like that of the first; and such was the lot of every one who died
on board the ship.  Though I felt on each occasion that my turn would
come next, I lived on, and did not even catch the fever.  After landing
the blacks in Martinique, we found that Hallton's information was
correct; and the brig, a remarkably fast sailer and a fine vessel in
every way, quickly prepared to take the merchant, his money-chests, and
his wife and daughters, on board.  Once or twice I thought of warning
them of what I more than expected their fate would be; but fear of
Hallton, and the influence he had gained over me, prevented me from
saying anything; and they embarked.

"The old gentleman was in high glee at the thought of returning once
more to his _belle France_.  His wife was a Creole, and did not seem
much to like the trouble of moving; but his daughters were in raptures
with the idea of visiting Paris and all its wonders.  There were three
of them; all remarkably handsome girls, tall and slight, with clear
olive complexions and sparkling eyes.  The old man loved his daughters
almost as much as his dollars, of which he had many thousands on board,
the greater part of the wealth he had accumulated during upwards of
thirty years' banishment from his native land.  For some days after
sailing all appeared to go on well, and I hoped that Hallton had given
up the evil intentions I knew he had entertained; for I began to feel a
tender interest in one of the younger daughters of our owner.  What is
strange, sir, is, that whenever she was on deck at night, where she
often came to watch the bright stars glittering in the water, the
dreaded ghost of Arnold never appeared.  Those few days were the only
ones of anything like peace or happiness I have enjoyed since I plunged
so deeply into crime.  She was indeed to me a ministering angel: and I
determined, for her sake, to try and reform.  Hallton suspected
something and watched me narrowly, keeping his plans entirely from me,
so that I was not prepared for the tragedy which was soon to follow.
Two of our mates having died from the fever, I was appointed to do duty
in the place of the youngest, and, by this means, had opportunities,
which I should not otherwise have enjoyed, of paying slight attentions
to the young ladies.

"I was not long in discovering that my unfeigned devotion had its due
effect on the heart of Mdlle.  Julie, the youngest of the three.  Though
respectful and tender in my manner, I was bolder than under other
circumstances I should have been towards one so much my superior in rank
and education.  She either did not consider how much below her I was
placed, or disregarded the circumstance, for in perfect innocence of
heart she encouraged my advances; and her old father and mother being
generally in their cabin below, had no opportunity of discovering what
we were about.  At last I ventured to offer my arm to assist her in
walking the deck when the ship rolled much.  She accepted it with but
slight hesitation; and from that day forward I was her constant
companion, her sisters being rather amused than otherwise by what they
considered merely a sailor's gallantry towards the youngest and
prettiest lady present; the captain, who, in his way, was a very
respectable man, taking them under his especial care.  They were,
however, not so fond of the fresh air as Mdlle.  Julie, and thus she was
often on deck alone with me.  Often would she stay by my side, watching
the sun sink with a halo of ruddy flame into the ocean, till the
twinkling stars came out, and the pale moon cast its tranquil light upon
the sea.  She used to recount to me, with artless simplicity, the events
of her short life, and all her hopes and prospects for the future.  She
was not ambitious: she would like to see Paris and all its wonders; but
after that, she would be content to settle down in a quiet little
country village, with--

"`One you love,' I added, as she paused.

"`Yes,' she answered, blushing.  And I thereon spoke of my love and
devotion, but confessed my poverty and the hopelessness of ever gaining
sufficient to support her.

"She smiled at my scruples; told me that she had wealth enough for both,
and that she valued a true and honest heart more than all the riches of
the world.

"Poor girl! she little knew the accursed wretch to whom she was ready to
link her fate.  Once or twice I thought of telling her the truth; but I
dared not: indeed, while I was by her side, I already felt better, and
thought I might reform.  Dreams--dreams, which were soon to fade away,
and leave the frightful reality more glaring before my eyes.  Some time
had thus passed; the winds were light and baffling, so we had not made
much way, when one night, during my watch on deck, I found Brand Hallton
standing close by me, just before the mainmast.  Besides the man at the
wheel, there was only one lookout man forward awake; the rest of the
watch were fast asleep, stowed away under the poop-deck.

"`How fares your love with the old Frenchman's pretty daughter?' said
Hallton, touching my arm.

"I shuddered as he did so, and could scarcely answer.

"`What matters that to you?'  I at length replied.  `She is not likely
to think of one so mean and poor as I am,' I added.

"`No, no,' he answered, in a low, jeering tone; `you can't deceive me,
my man.  She looks upon you as an officer and a gentleman.  Ha, ha, ha!
With one like me, a poor man before the mast, the case would be
different.  I'll tell you what it is, Hawkins.  The girl loves you, and
would marry you to-morrow, if we had a priest to join your hands.  She
does not know that you are a murderer,' he hissed in my ear.  `If any
one told her, she would not believe it.  I know what women are when they
are in love, as that girl is with you; but the old father would not be
so deaf; and, at all events, he would as soon see his daughter in the
grave as married to one like you.  Ha, ha, ha!'

"`I do not know what you are aiming at,' I exclaimed, turning round on
my tormentor.  `Do you wish to provoke me?'

"`Pardon me, Mr Officer,' he answered, laughing; `I forgot your rank.
No, I do not wish to provoke you; but I wish to tell you the truth, that
you are following a wild-goose chase, which will only lead you among
shoals at last.  Take my advice: change your course, and give up this
sentimental work.  The girl shall be yours, if you follow my advice; but
if not, you will lose her to a certainty, and do yourself no good into
the bargain.'

"I told you, sir, how complete was the power that man exercised over me
from my having participated with him in the murder of Arnold, nor was he
lenient in exercising it.  Though my spirit was rising, he soon made me
quail before him.  He so worked upon me, that he at length brought me
over to agree to a plan he had formed.  This was to put under hatches
the master and such of the crew as would not join us; then to alter the
ship's course towards the coast of America, where he proposed to make
off with as much of the gold as the boats would carry--with Mdlle.
Julie as my share--after cutting away the masts, so that we could not be
pursued, should the master and his companions, by any chance, break
loose from the hold.  He sneered when I told him, that as there was to
be no bloodshed, I did not object to join him in his plan.  I was very
wicked, I know it; but bad as I was, he was worse.  I was tempted by the
hopes of winning Julie, for he had convinced me that I could never gain
her by fair means.  He was deceiving me all the time.

"It did once cross my mind that I would try to make amends for my former
crimes by endeavouring to save the old merchant, and trust to his
gratitude to reward me by his daughter's hand; but my courage failed me
when I thought of the difficulties I should have to encounter, besides
the risk, even should I succeed in preserving the father, after all, of
losing the young lady.  You see, sir, I had no ballast to keep me
steady; from the want of it the first breeze capsized me, as it will
every man who attempts to sail without it.  The next morning the young
lady came on deck, looking fresh and fair as the flowers in May.  I
walked with her as usual before her sisters appeared, but there was that
on my countenance which prevented me meeting her eye.  She rallied me on
my silence, and I tried to recover my spirits, but in vain.  I was on
the point of telling her of the danger she was in, and of vowing to
protect her and her family with my life, when, as my lips were about to
utter the words, I caught the dark eye of Brand Hallton watching me at a
distance: pretending that the duty of the ship called me away, I quitted
her side.  I cannot tell you, sir, what my feelings were as I walked
for'ard.  I would gladly have cut the villain down as I passed him, but
I dared not, my eye quailed before his dark sneering glance.  I dived
below to my cabin, and buried my face in my hands; I thought my heart
would have burst.  Again and again I cursed the bitter fate which had
delivered me into the power of that more than fiend.  I was aroused from
my stupor by a dreadful shriek.  I rushed on deck.  Near the companion
lay the old merchant, life ebbing fast away from a deep gash on his
head, which had rendered him all but senseless; one of his daughters was
kneeling over him, her hands uplifted as if to protect him from further
violence.  Brand Hallton was furiously engaged with the captain, whom he
had driven right aft, and, as I appeared, a blow from his cutlass sent
him reeling into the sea.  Giving one cry for help, which Hallton
answered with a laugh of derision, he cast a look of despair towards the
ship, and the waters closed over him for ever.  The murderer then
turning upon me, exclaimed--

"`You would have betrayed us, would you?  You shall suffer for it.'

"I was unarmed, and before I could seize anything to defend myself, a
blow from his cutlass stretched me on the deck, but not senseless; I
wish that I had been so, I should have been spared the horrors I was
witness to.

"Apparently satisfied with his vengeance, the miscreant turned to other
acts of blood.  Some of the men had overpowered the first mate, who had
remained faithful to the master, and who, even now, while death was
staring him in the face, refused to accept his life on the dreadful
terms the mutineers proposed.  Lashing his hands behind him, they placed
him at the outer end of a plank, which they shoved over the stern of the
vessel, some of them holding it down in-board.

"`Will you join us?' said Hallton.

"The mate was a brave fellow.

"`No!' he exclaimed with a firm voice; `never!'

"`Let go,' cried Hallton, with an oath, `he would have hung us if he

"The man jumped off the plank.  Not a cry escaped the mate, as, with a
sullen splash, he fell into the sea, and sank immediately.

"The deeds of horror which followed I will not describe.

"The ship was now entirely in the power of a gang of the most murderous
ruffians who ever dared the vengeance of Heaven.

"During all this time the eldest of the three young ladies lay senseless
on the deck; but what had become of Julie and her sister I knew not.  A
minute afterwards I heard a shriek; I opened my eyes; Julie herself
rushed on deck.  She cast one terrified glance around--not a friendly
eye met her sight.

"She saw me bleeding, and apparently dead; she would have thrown herself
down near me"; but she encountered Hallton on the way.  Darting from his
grasp, before any one could stop her, she fled aft, and threw herself
over the taffrail into the sea.  Hallton immediately ordered a boat to
be lowered, but the falls were unrove, and it was some time before it
was in the water, and the brig hove up into the wind.  Oh! what an agony
I was in!  I did not wish her to be saved.

"I could only hear Brand shouting to the men in the boat, and pointing
out to them the direction they were to pull; I watched every movement
anxiously; I conjectured that she was still struggling in the waves--
love of life triumphing over her fears--and probably kept up by her

"`Pull away, and you'll have her yet,' shouted the chief mutineer.
There was another horrid pause.  `No, she has sunk,' he cried.  `A few
strokes more, and watch for her if she rises.  I see her hair below the
water.  Oh, you fools, you have missed her!'

"He still stood watching--an age it seemed to me.  My feelings almost
overpowered me.  He stepped down on the deck.  I heard the boat
alongside: the men came on deck: they brought not Julie.  She had
escaped them; and, had I dared to pray, I would have thanked Heaven for

"After this, I know not what occurred for several days.  I was in a
raging fever; and, had I not lost so much blood, I should have died.
Hallton had spared my life, both because I was the only man, besides
himself, on board, who understood how to navigate the ship, and because
he knew my temper, and that I was completely in his power: he had only
to threaten to deliver me up as the murderer of Arnold, and I was again
his slave.

"Well, sir, when I was able to crawl on deck, we were running up the
Gulf of Mexico; and, after changing our destination several times, we
stood for Vera Cruz.  Hallton never once referred to what had occurred:
he spoke to me soothingly, telling me that, as he had been elected
captain, I was to be his first mate, and that a Spaniard, called
Domingos, was to be second.  I told him that I was ready for anything;
for, in truth, I had no longer any power of thought.  All I wanted was
excitement; and when he talked of the wealth we should gain by pirating,
I only longed for the chase and the fierce fight.  When we were within
two days' sail of our port, the captain told me that he was convinced it
would never do to take the brig into the harbour, where she might be
recognised by the people on board some of the other vessels; that we
must look out for some other craft; and then taking the two to one of
the quays at the south of Cuba, where the old pirates used to resort, we
must refit, and alter one of them, so that she could not possibly again
be known.  I had nothing to say against his plan, which, being agreed to
by all the crew, we once more changed our course.

"We cruised for some days on the Spanish main, when we sighted a large
schooner, which was at once pronounced to be an American merchantman.
They are very fast vessels in general; so that, if we alarmed her, we
could not hope to come up with her in the chase.  Sending down our
topgallant-masts, we clewed up the topsails, and, slacking the braces,
we let the yards swing every way, while, at the some time, we hoisted
signals of distress.  The schooner made us out before long, and stood
towards us to see what was the matter.  When she was about a mile from
us, it fell a dead calm, and we were consulting whether we would get
alongside her in boats or wait for a breeze to board her, when the
captain ordered all the men to lie down; and, standing upon the
taffrail, he made signs that we were in want of water.  On this, a boat
was lowered from the schooner, with six hands in her, and we saw a
couple of kegs handed down the side.

"Oh! sir, it was a devilish trick we played those who were ready to
relieve our distress--one that a seaman naturally looks on with peculiar
abomination; but we seemed to delight in outraging all the laws both of
God and man.  With rapid strokes the boat pulled towards us; and as her
crew eagerly jumped on the deck of the brig, they were knocked on the
head and tumbled below.  The last two who remained in the boat were
stabbed, so as not to make any noise.  We then stripped off their shirts
and hats, and six of our best hands, including Hallton, dressing up in
them, with three others concealed at the bottom of the boat, pulled
towards the schooner.  Another boat was got ready on the opposite side,
to where the schooner lay, to support the first, if necessary.

"Our people were not suspected till they got almost alongside the
schooner, when the Americans, seeing strange faces instead of their own
friends, could not doubt what sort of customers they had to deal with.
They seized what arms they could lay their hands on to defend
themselves; but it was too late for resistance.  Hallton and his crew
were on board before they had time to load a musket.

"The greater number were cut down on the instant: a few defended
themselves on the fore port of the vessel, but the second boat
following, boarded on the bow, when these too were quickly overpowered.
Not one of our party was hurt.  The master of the schooner and his two
mates were killed.  Some of the crew, to whom we offered their lives on
condition of joining us, accepted our terms; but several refused to do
so.  After taking possession of our prize, which was a remarkably fine
schooner, just suited to our purpose, we set to work to dispose of our
prisoners.  Hallton, with his usual diabolical cunning, hit upon a plan
to secure the obedience of those of the schooner's crew who had joined
us, by making them murder the remainder of their shipmates.

"It was cold-blooded, dreadful work.  The victims were compelled to
stand at the gangway, while, one by one, their former friends advanced
with a pistol, and, blowing out their brains, hove them into the sea.
Two men had thus been murdered, when it came to the turn of a youth of
respectable appearance, the son of the owner, I think he was, to perform
the part of executioner.  He had at first consented to live, but I have
my doubts whether he did not even then contemplate what he afterwards

"Seizing the pistol which was offered him, with a stern look he advanced
towards the wretch he was ordered to kill; but, instead of drawing the
trigger, he turned suddenly round, and taking a deliberate aim at our
captain, fired.  The ball grazed the captain's cheek.  With a look of
fury he rushed with his drawn cutlass at the daring youth, who, standing
firmly prepared for his fate, was cut down on the deck.  Life ebbing
fast away from several tremendous gashes, the young man lifted himself
from the deck on one arm--

"`Wretch,' he said, `my pistol missed its aim, or I should have saved
the lives of my companions, and your crew from further crime; but be
assured that your career of wickedness will quickly be brought to a
close, and that the fate to which you have consigned so many others will
soon be your own.  May Heaven pardon me for what I would have done!'

"`Heave the young villain overboard, some of you! and stop his prating,'
exclaimed the captain, stamping with fury.

"But none of us stirred--hardened as we were, we could not do it: even
we were struck by his heroism; and at that moment, had he chosen to be
our captain, we would gladly have deposed Hallton and followed the dying
youth in his stead.

"`Am I to be disobeyed?' cried the captain as he gave another cut across
the face of the unhappy man; and dragging the yet living body to a port,
with his own hands hurled him overboard.

"That murder cost him his influence over us; and I think even the worst
of us would have been sick of him had he been destined much longer to
command us; but the words of the murdered youth were soon to prove true.

"You will scarcely believe it, sir, but not only were all the prisoners
made to walk the plank, but Hallton--fearing that some of the others
might attempt his life--murdered the rest of the schooner's crew who had
entered with us, not excluding the two who had commenced their career by
shooting their own shipmates.  Well, sir, I shall soon have done with my
history.  After taking everything out of the brig, we scuttled her, nor
did we leave her till we saw the waves close over her topgallant masts.
We then did all we could to alter the appearance of the schooner, and
shaped our course for Cuba.

"We there passed some weeks, spending our ill-gotten wealth in every
kind of debauchery and folly.  We then refitted our craft and again went
to sea.  After taking and sinking several merchantmen, with all their
crews on board, we returned to our former rendezvous; and this work
continued for some time, till we fell in with the ship of war which
captured us.

"There, sir, I have given you a sketch of the greater part of my career,
the rest you know; and I assure you, sir, that I have been far happier
since I was taken than during any former time of my manhood.  That one
dreadful thought oppresses me, that I must meet Arnold and be carried in
his cold embrace, down, down, down--

"Oh, save me from him--save me!" cried the pirate, hiding his face in
his hands, and cowering down towards me, to escape from the vision which
haunted his imagination.

I remained with him for the greater part of that night; and, at length,
quitted him more composed in mind and resigned to his fate than I could
have expected.  The next morning was to be his last; and at his
particular request, I accompanied him to the fatal scaffold.  A large
crowd had assembled--blacks and whites, soldiers and sailors, to witness
the execution of the noted pirates.  With a firm step he walked from his
prison to the foot of the gibbet, and mounted the steps.  Resting a
moment, he addressed the spectators, exhorting them to take example from
his dreadful fate, and to avoid the evil courses which had, step by
step, conducted him to it.  At length the executioner warned him that
his time was up.

"I am ready," he answered, and was about to submit his neck to the fatal
noose, when, starting back, he exclaimed in a voice of agony, "He is
come! he is come!  Oh, save me from him!--save me!"

Before he could utter more, the drop was let fall, and all was soon
over.  The rest of the crew died making no sign.

Such was the closing scene in the life of a pirate--the dreadful phantom
conjured up by his conscience haunting him to the last.



There once existed in the Pacific Ocean a beautiful island, called the
Island of Gracia.  In the early ages of the world, before the human race
had begun to explore the more distant regions of the globe, it was
probably a wild and barren rock, with abrupt sharp-edged hills and dark
pools of stagnant water, without a patch of green herbage, or animal or
vegetable life of any description to enliven its solitude; while the
only sound heard around it was that of the wild waves dashing
ceaselessly on its rugged shores.  Ages passed away, and those
indefatigable insects, the coral worms, built up their wonderful
habitations, like lofty walls, around it; toiling, seemingly, for no
other purpose than to show how for their structures can surpass in size
the most mighty efforts of men.  The reefs thus created broke the force
of the fierce waves; a soft yellow sand was formed, and shells of many
shapes and delicate tints were washed up uninjured on the beach.  The
sun and rain, with alternate influence, softened also the hard rock, and
a soil was formed, and birds of the air rested there in their passage
across the ocean, and brought seeds of various descriptions from
far-distant lands, which took root and sprung up; and the hills became
clothed with fragrant shrubs and gorgeous flowers, and tall trees with
luscious fruits grew in the valleys, and a soft green herbage covered
the banks of the silent lakes and murmuring streams.  Thus the island
became a fit habitation for man.  Now, it happened that a canoe or a
galley with many oars, or a vessel of some description, such as was used
in ancient times, with a chief and his followers, and their wives and
children, set sail from a remote country.  Either they fled from their
victorious enemies, or they were driven by a storm so far from their
native shores that they could not return.  Thus they floated over the
ocean, till they reached the Island of Gracia.  So shattered was their
vessel by the tempest, and so delighted were the chief and his people
with the appearance of that beautiful land, that they were well
contented to remain.  Their chief now became their King.

In the course of a few generations the descendants of the first
adventurers had thickly peopled the whole island, and had lost all
record of the land from whence they came, nor did they know whether it
lay to the north or south, or to the east or west.

Monarch succeeded monarch, till King Zaphor came to the throne of
Gracia.  Everybody loved King Zaphor, for he was a benignant and
paternal sovereign, who attended to the wants of his subjects.  The King
had a daughter, the Princess Serena; he loved his people, but he
absolutely doted on his daughter.  She was the child of his affections,
the sole relic of a departed wife, the soother of his regal cares, the
companion of his hours of retirement.  The people loved their King, but
they almost adored the Princess, and there was not a man in the island
who would not have gladly died to protect her from harm.

Her heart was tender and good, and if she heard of any persons who were
ill or in trouble, she was not contented till she had done her utmost to
relieve them.  Her blooming countenance was radiant with smiles and
animation, and she was beautiful, too, as she was amiable.  The poets of
Gracia used to liken her to a graceful sea-bird floating on the calm
bosom of the deep, as, followed by her attendant maidens, as was her
daily custom, she tripped across the flowery mead, or through the shady
woods, or along the yellow sands, herself the fairest and most agile of
them all!

The Princess and her youthful maids loved to pluck the sweet-scented
flowers to make chaplets for their hair, or wreaths to twine round their
sylph-like forms.  At other times they would amuse themselves by dancing
on the smooth sands, or they would plunge fearlessly into the water, and
would sport like sea-nymphs in the clear bright waves within the coral
reefs, while the rocks and adjacent woods rang with their joyous

The Princess also had a beautiful bower, where none but her own
attendants dared intrude.  It was formed of branches of red and white
coral, beautifully polished and interlaced.  The roof was covered with
the long, thick leaves of the palmetto, and the outside walls were built
of the long-enduring bamboo, so closely placed together that neither
wind nor rain could penetrate; while the whole was shaded by a
wide-spreading palm-tree, and surrounded by a grove of cocoa-nut and
plantain-trees.  In front, through an opening in the wood, the sands of
the sea-shore and its fantastic-shaped rocks, and the blue ocean,
glittering in the sunshine, could be seen.

Here the Princess Serena and her attendants used to retire during the
heat of the day, to partake of their simple but delicious repasts of
bread made from the quick-growing cariaca or the cassada root, the
nutritive and luscious plantain, the heads of the cockarito-palm, and
boiled pappaws, with sea-side grapes, and other fruits and vegetables
too numerous to mention; or they would ply the distaff, or would make
dresses of feathers and baskets of reeds, while they amused themselves
with pleasant talk; and thus their days passed innocently and happily


In the very deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean, directly under the
Equator, Neptune, the Sovereign of the Seas, once held his regal court.
His palace was of vast dimensions, capable of holding all the Ocean
Spirits, the rulers and guardians of the realms of water below, and of
all the islands which adorn its surface.  Its outside was composed of
huge black rocks piled up like mountains, one upon another, and covered
with dark masses of seaweed, which, floating upward, appeared like a
forest of trees, of a growth far more gigantic than the earth can
produce, and yet it seemed but like lichens growing on the roof of a
house in comparison with the size of the edifice.  The inside was more
magnificent than mortal eye has ever seen.  There was one vast hall,
pervaded by a green yet clear light, which came from above, and
increased the grandeur and solemnity which reigned around.  To say that
the walls were of red coral and immense shells, each of which was as
large as many a vessel which floats on the ocean, while pearls of
surpassing brilliancy and whiteness were interspersed among them, and
that the roof was of crystal of gorgeous tinge, can in no way picture
the surpassing magnificence of the structure.  At one end was a lofty
throne, proportioned to the size of the building, of jet-black rock,
glittering with that gold which the toil of man had won from the bowels
of the earth, but which his carelessness had lost in the stormy sea.  It
was surrounded by many thousand other thrones, the seats of Neptune's
vassal Spirits--his Governors, Tritons, and other attendants.  It must
be understood that, once upon a time, whatever may now be the case,
every fish which swims, every insect which crawls in the sea, had its
governor and king.  The largest was the King of the Whales.  He was a
vast monster of dark form, whose dwelling was in the regions of icebergs
and glaciers at the North Pole.  The fiercest was the King of the
Sharks; he had sharp teeth, and eyes full of malignancy and hatred to
the human race.  He was the most wicked of all the Spirits.  The fastest
and most beautiful was the King of the Dolphins; the most unwieldy the
King of the Porpoises; the ugliest the King of the Cat-fish; and the
tallest the King of the Big Sea Serpents--for they all partook somewhat
of the forms of the fish over whom they were placed to govern.  Their
thrones, too, were of appropriate forms; some sat on huge sea-eggs,
others on shells.  The King of the Whales sat on an iceberg, but the
King of the Big Sea Serpents was obliged to twist himself in and out
about the pillars of the hall to find room for his long body.  It is
impossible to describe their vast mysterious forms, shrouded as they
were in their dark-green mantles of vapours and obscurity.

That portion of the Pacific Ocean in which the Island of Gracia is
situated was ruled over by a sea spirit of the name of Borasco.  As he
was not the king of any particular fish (indeed, he was superior in
power to most of them), his appearance was a mixture of many.  His body
was covered with scales, and from his back mighty wings projected, to
aid him in his flight across the ocean, while his feet were like those
of a seal; his eyes were large, fierce, and glowing; his mouth had large
tusks, and on either side were black bunches, like the feelers of a
walrus.  On his head grew masses of long hair, like seaweed, streaming
in the wind; while his arms and hands had more the appearance of the
claws of a shell-fish than of anything else; at the same time that his
vast size, and the indistinctness which surrounded him, gave to his
appearance a grandeur which partook more of the terrific than the
hideous.  Borasco had a palace which might vie in magnificence and
beauty, though not in size, with that of Neptune.  One day he sallied
forth, and mounting his prancing steed, which was a huge wave with a
foaming crest, he rode furiously off, as he was accustomed to do, over
the ocean.  The water roared and hissed, the mid wind howled, as,
shouting loudly with a voice like thunder, onward he went in his fierce
career; and these were the words he uttered:--

  "I'm a wandering spirit where rolls the broad sea,
  For no bonds, for no bonds, can e'er fetter me:
  My steed is a wave, with a white crest of foam,
  Which gallantly bears me wherever I roam;
  Lashed to fury, he dashes the waters on high,
  As bounding he lifts his proud head to the sky.
  Oh! no charger of earth can so rapidly flee,
  While no bonds, while no bonds, can e'er fetter me.

  "I fly on the tempest while loud shrieks are heard,
  And more shrilly I cry than the roaming sea-bird:
  When rocks are resounding with ocean's loud roar,
  And forms are rebounding, pale waifs on the shore--
  When barks are deserted to roam o'er the waves,
  And mortals are hurled unprepared to their graves--
  Then, then is the time I shriek loudest with glee,
  And no bonds are so strong they can e'er fetter me.

  "My hair, the thick mist or the wild-driving snow,
  All wildly floats round when the northern blasts blow;
  My breath's in the whirlwind, my voice in the clouds,
  And night, as a mantle, my stern visage shrouds.
  The vivid fork'd lightnings which dart from mine eyes
  Flash fearfully over the dark low'ring skies:
  Oh! then my wild voice is heard shouting with glee,
  As I ride o'er the boundless and fathomless sea."

On, on he flew, terror before him, devastation in his rear; the
footsteps of his steed, the dark furrows of the foaming waves; his track
marked by the shattered wrecks of the hapless barks over which he
passed, till at length he reached the Island of Gracia, his strength
exhausted and his fury assuaged.  He gazed, delighted, on its smooth
yellow sands, sparkling in the beams of the sun, its cool and waving
groves giving forth their rich perfumes, and resounding with the
harmonious notes of their feathered denizens; its smiling hills, its
green meadows, and the thousand beauties of the landscape before him.
The light spray, tinted with the varied hues of the rainbow, played
round his mysterious form, as his steed, with a loud roar with echoed
from rock to rock, receding towards the ocean, left him standing on the

Wildly throwing his arms around, he shook the water from his robe,
which, as it fell, appeared like the spray from some mighty cataract,
and then, reclining beneath the shade of an overhanging rock, he
stretched forth his huge limbs, and, calmed by the fragrant air and the
tranquillity of the scene, he slept.

Tempted by the beauty of the evening, after the fierce storm which had
raged all day, the Princess Serena and a troop of youthful maidens took
their way to the sea-shore.  For a time they sang and sported in
exuberance of spirits; then they formed a circle and danced around their
mistress; then they bound her hair with bright flowers, and decked her
neck with softly-tinted shells, and then, hand-in-hand, they ran towards
the water; now they retired, and now advanced, uttering peals of
laughter, as the bright waves rippled over their feet.  At last one,
more daring, rushed into the sea; others followed, and as they threw
about the sparkling spray in mimic fight, the rocks and woods echoed
with their merriment.

The sounds reached the ears of the sleeping Borasco.  He awoke, and
rising, listened, when, advancing from among the rocks which had
hitherto concealed him, he suddenly appeared before the eyes of the
astonished maidens.  No sooner did they see the monster, than with
shrieks of terror they fled into the woods, forgetting even the
Princess--or, rather, they thought she was flying with them.

Instead of flying, however, she stood entranced with horror, her feet
refusing to move, and her eyes fixed on the hideous being before her.
Borasco gazed at the Princess with deep admiration.  Neither on the sea
nor under the sea had he ever in all his wanderings beheld anything to
be compared to her in beauty.  Feelings totally strange and new to him
rushed like a torrent into his bosom.

The purest and most exalted love took possession of his soul; horror,
disgust, and loathing, were the feelings most powerful in the breast of
the Princess as she beheld him.  At length, forgetting the hideousness
of his shape, and the natural repugnance she must have felt for him, he
advanced towards her to address her.  "Beautiful creature!" he exclaimed
in a voice as loud as thunder--"What are you?  Whence come you?"  No
sooner did he speak than the spell was broken, and with a cry of fear
she fled away from him as fleetly as a startled fawn.

Her voice and action would have convinced an ordinary mortal that he had
no hope of gaining her affections.  Not so the Spirit of the Storm.

"Stay, sweet being! oh, stay and listen to me!" he repeated, but the
words only hastened her flight.  He gazed after her till she
disappeared, and when he found that it was useless to follow, and that
there was not the remotest chance of her returning, he sat himself down
on a rock which hung over the sea to consider what he should do.  As he
sat, the water became perfectly calm as a glass mirror; and looking into
it, after some minutes' deep meditation he beheld the reflection of his
own monstrous form.  He had been so long accustomed to look at Tritons,
and other sea spirits as hideous as himself, that he was not aware how
ugly he was.  Now, with grief at his heart, he at once saw the
difference between the Princess Serena and himself.  His late exposure
to the sun had not added to his beauty, for his hands and arms and the
top of his head had become red, while the anguish he was suffering
increased the wild expression of his countenance.

With good reason, he was at length very nearly giving way to despair.

"Alas! unhappy spirit that I am," he cried, "why did I look at that
mortal maiden?  Why do I long for what is beyond my reach?  Why am I not
content with the enjoyment proper to my own fierce nature?  Alas! this
new feeling overpowers me, and a delicate maiden has enslaved the mighty
Borasco."  While he was speaking a sound reached his ears.  He knew it
well, for it was the summons to Neptune's conclave.  "Ah!" he exclaimed,
"I will consult King Neptune, and ask his aid.  If any one can help me,
he can, to win the heart of that lovely damsel.

  "And now my bold steed, with the white-flowing crest,
  Come hither, come hither, arouse thee from rest.
  Oh! what courser like thee can so rapidly bound,
  When I mount thee to ride o'er the waters profound?
  Then haste, my brave steed, again hie to me,
  And together once more we will range o'er the sea."

While he was uttering these words, a mighty wave rolled in towards the
shore.  Leaping on it, away he went over the ocean at a rapid rate,
leaving in his track a line of glittering foam, till he reached the
centre of the Atlantic, over the palace of Neptune--then down, down he
descended, till he entered the gateway of its rocky halls.


King Neptune, in great state, sat on his throne; the Tritons stood
before him, but the chief seats were empty.  Waving his trident round
his head, he spoke.  The words were those which reached the ears of
Borasco, then thousands of miles away:--

  "Haste hither, wild Spirits,
  Who wandering roam
  The wide-rolling ocean,
  When covered with foam.
  Abandon your fierce work
  Of death and dismay;
  Haste, fly o'er the billows,
  My mandate obey.
  From where the north gales
  So ragingly blow,
  On whiten'd wing flying
  From frost and from snow;
  Ye, in the storm striving,
  To swell the loud blast,
  The helpless bark driving,
  While shivers the mast,
  When a shriek is heard sounding
  Mid ocean's wild roar,
  And the doom'd bark is grounding
  Upon the dark shore,
  Haste hither, Sea Spirits,
  I bid ye appear;
  Haste, haste, at my call;
  I summon ye here!"

Even while Neptune was speaking, troops of sea-monsters of every
wonderful form, and of every colour, came rushing into the hall, and
having made their obeisance to him, took their seats on their respective
thrones.  In they came, till the edifice, vast as it was, was almost
full of them.  There were the King of the Whales, the King of the
Sharks, the King of the Porpoises, and the King of the Dolphins, the
King of the Cat-fish, and the King of the Big Sea Serpents; the Kings of
Ice and Snow, of Tempests and Whirlpools, and there were the guardian
spirits of every headland and bay, and of every island and river in the
universe; so that it is not surprising that their number should have
been so considerable.  Neptune then inquired in a loud voice how each
had been occupied since the last convocation.

"I," answered the King of the Whales, "have been engaged in protecting
my subjects by hurling together large masses of ice, and by crushing the
ships which come to attack them, even to the very heart of my kingdom."
"And I," said the King of the Sharks, "have been engaged in sinking all
the ships I could meet, so that I might give to my subjects an abundance
of the food they like best."  The King of the Porpoises replied, that he
had been teaching his subjects to keep in the deep sea out of harm's
way; and the King of the Cat-fish said, he had advised his to make
themselves as disagreeable as possible, so that no one would wish to
catch them; while the tall monarch of the Big Sea Serpents observed that
he had strictly enjoined his to keep out of sight altogether, which
fully accounts, for so few of them having ever been seen.  Among the
Spirits there was one who, in beauty of form, surpassed them all, for it
was almost that of a human being, but more grand and majestic.  The
Spirit rose and spoke:--

"I have, mighty sovereign, been engaged in watching over the island of
which you have made me guardian.  I found the women good and beautiful,
and the men brave and hardy, true sons of the ocean, their barks roving
to every distant clime, and bringing back the produce of each to their
sea-girt shore."

"'Tis well, Britannia," said the sovereign of the ocean; "let them
understand, that as long as they remain faithful to me--as long as they
keep their fleets well manned, their sea-barks ready to repel any
aggression--as long as they refuse to submit to the slightest
interference of any foreign prince or potentate, Albion shall be my
favoured isle, the land of peace and liberty."

When Neptune had ceased speaking, all the Kings of the Sea and Tritons
signified their desire to support their sovereign's wishes.  Neptune
then looked round, and seeing Borasco's throne vacant, inquired what had
become of him.  Before any one could answer, the Spirit of the Storm
entered the hall, and making a low obeisance, walked with a dejected air
to his seat.

To the customary inquiry, Borasco informed his sovereign of all the
storms which had blown, and the shipwrecks which had occurred.

"Now tell me, Borasco," asked the monarch, "why have you the downcast
look I see you wear?"

Borasco replied, "Dread chief, I come to crave your aid for a cause in
which all the power I possess I find of no avail.  As I was lately
wandering over the ocean, I reached the shores of a lovely island
clothed with beautiful shrubs and trees and sweet-scented flowers, and
canopied by skies of purest blue.  Never have I seen a spot more
beautiful; and yet it is but the setting of a precious jewel--a pearl of
matchless price.  That jewel is a lovely and youthful maiden, a
princess, the daughter of the mortal sovereign of that island.  As I
slept, concealed beneath the rocks, she and her maidens, she outshining
them all, came to sport upon the sands.  Their laughter, sweet as the
murmuring of the breeze upon the summer waves, roused me from my
slumber; but no sooner did I present myself before them, than they fled
with shrieks of terror, fast as the fleet dolphin from the voracious
shark.  She alone remained behind.  I gazed delighted.  I endeavoured to
approach her, to behold her nearer; but no sooner did I move, than,
affrighted, she fled far away from me into the woods, where I could not
follow.  I endeavoured to shout to her, to entreat her to tarry, to
listen to what I had to say; but my voice (it was somewhat loud, I
confess) only made her fly the faster.  When she and her attendants had
disappeared, I sat me down on a rock, disconsolate, to consider the
state of the case, when I by degrees began to suspect that she was
frightened by the form I am doomed to wear, which I fear is somewhat
more hideous than she is accustomed to see.  I meditated still further,
and at length I came to the conclusion that I am what human beings call
desperately in love.  Yes, dread Sovereign, the fierce Borasco is in

On hearing this confession of Borasco, all the Kings of the Sea and
Tritons lifted up their hands with surprise, and a smile of incredulity
rested on their countenances, while a murmur ran through the hall,
"Borasco in love!  Borasco in love! oh, oh!" for no one would have
guessed that he could have become a slave to the tender passion.  They
smiled, too, at his only then having discovered his own ugliness, for,
frightful as they were themselves, they all fancied that he was more so.

Britannia was the only spirit who compassionated him, and she pleaded
his cause with Neptune so successfully, that the Monarch expressed his
willingness to assist him, if means so to do could be found.  "Tell me
by what rules, in thy favoured island, youths manage to win the hearts
of the maidens they love?" said Neptune, addressing Britannia.

The Spirit smiled and replied: "In the first place, the youths wear
forms somewhat more attractive than that of Borasco; but as to rules, I
can lay down none, so various are the means by which the hearts of
maidens are won, and of such different materials do they appear to be
made.  Some seem to me to be composed of iron or adamant, some of glass,
some of wax, some of lead, and some of stuff not more consistent than
butter, while a few, I suspect, have no hearts at all.  Sighs and timid
looks attract some, laughter and bold admiration others, and gold has no
little influence in affairs of that description; but the man who
requires rules to make love has but small chance indeed."

Borasco sat in a very melancholy and downcast mood, with his chin
resting on his hand, while several deep sighs, which sounded somewhat
like thunder, burst from his heaving bosom, and echoed round and round
the hall.  At last he looked up and said, "It is very well for you,
brother Kings, who are fancy free, to laugh; but let me tell you, if you
felt as I do you would find it no laughing matter.  And thou, O mighty
Neptune, if thou canst not help me to win the lovely in aid, I know not
what I shall do, while I remain as hideous as I own I am."

Neptune, on hearing this, thought deeply for some minutes; he then

  "Be not, my brave Borasco, thus dismay'd,
  You know my love, and I will give thee aid.
  I grant thee leave to seek some human form
  In which the life-blood yet is flowing warm,
  Which from some sea-tossed, shattered wreck is torn,
  And on the shore by raging billows borne.
  Such you may enter, while your present form
  Returns to mingle with the air and storm.
  But also learn, the force of fire or steel,
  Like other mortals, you'll be doomed to feel;
  And if of mortal life you are bereft,
  You must resume the native form you left,
  And thence for ever in that shape remain,
  Nor e'er in human semblance shine again;
  And also, every year you most repair
  To this my court in that same form you wear,
  Leaving your mortal shape in seeming sleep,
  While for one day you stay beneath the deep.
  Such is, Borasco, tried and faithful friend,
  The best assistance which I now can lend."

On hearing these words, the looks of the Spirit of the Storm brightened.
He rose and made obeisance.  "Thanks, mighty Sovereign," he exclaimed;
"my hopes brighten, my courage returns.  I will, with your permission,
at once hasten and put into execution this most excellent plan.  It must
succeed, and cannot fail to secure my happiness; and I here promise to
obey your mandates, and faithfully to return once a year, to pay my
respects at your court."

"Do so," replied Neptune; "but remember that I can give you power only
over the form of a human being who in his lifetime has been guilty of
many crimes.  With the innocent and virtuous no Spirit must interfere.
Now let our court break up; and, Kings of the Sea, and ye, great Spirits
of the Wind and Air, disperse yourselves across the billowy main."

On hearing these words the Spirits answered:

  "We fly, mighty Monarch, we fly at thy will,
  With tempest and tumult the ocean to fill;
  Where rocks and where sandbanks and whirlpools abound,
  And barks are hurled onward, we there shall be found."

When the Spirits ceased speaking they dispersed, with a loud rushing
sound, in all directions, while the Kings of the Sea, the Islands, and
Rocks, retired with a more dignified pace, and the vast hall was left,
as before, in solitude and silence.


The seas were, in those days, infested by a band of pirates, who were
possessed of several large ships, with which they defied all efforts to
destroy them.  The chief of the pirates was called Don Alonzo.  Though
very blood-thirsty and wicked, for he robbed all he met, and spared no
one who made any resistance, he was very brave, and young, and handsome;
indeed, on looking at him, few would believe that he could commit the
crimes of which he was guilty.  It happened that his ship, having
separated from her consorts, was sailing across the Pacific.

Now, as Borasco was returning from Neptune's conclave to his own palace,
he espied her in the far distance floating calmly on the waves.  He soon
knew her to be the ship of the pirate Alonzo, and instantly summoning
all his wildest spirits to his aid, a violent tempest began to rage, and
thus the Spirit of the Storm sang, as, riding on his foam-crested steed,
he followed the doomed bark:--

  "'Tis now that the billows are covered with foam--
  'Tis now my wild spirit rejoices to roam,
  When waves tossing high with dark clouds are at play,
  To dim the pale moon with their bright frothy spray;
  When loud-rolling thunder resounds thro' the skies,
  And fast through the night air the northern mist flies;
  Oh! now is the time when my spirit is free,
  And wildly I ride o'er the fathomless sea.

  "Yon tempest-toss'd vessel before me now flies,
  And loudly I echo the mariners' cries,
  As sadly they gaze on the breakers before,
  Which madly leap over the iron-bound shore,
  When hope has deserted, and, pallid with fear,
  The stoutest heart trembles at death drawing near.
  Oh! now is the time I shout loudest with glee,
  And gaily ride over the foam-covered sea."

Onward sailed the sea-robbers, thoughtless of coming danger, when
suddenly the gentle breeze, which had hitherto been wafting them on
their course, rose to a furious gale.  Over the ship heeled to its rage.
The tall masts bent and cracked, and one by one, with crash upon crash,
they were carried away, till the ship drove before the tempest a
helpless wreck on the waste of waters.  The wild cries of the seamen, as
they saw their doom approach, rose above the shrieks of the sea-bird, or
the mocking laughter of the Spirits of the Storm.  Their chief alone
stood undaunted, youth in his eye, and manly vigour in every limb;
though the lightning flashed around his head--though the foaming billows
washed over the frail planks on which his feet were planted, and death
with all its horrors frowned upon him.

On, on drove the ship--dark clouds above, the yawning waves below--till
the land (it was the Island of Gracia), at that part fringed with sharp,
threatening rocks, appeared ahead.  On she went.  The eager waves leaped
round her; they lifted her to their summit, and then down she came,
crashing upon the rocks.  Her timbers were riven asunder and scattered
far and wide, and of the human beings who lately trod her deck but one
alone was washed on shore, and from his body life had departed, though
it was uninjured, either by the rocks or shattered planks and spars.  It
was that of Alonzo, the captain of the pirate crew.  No sooner did
Borasco behold the work which his powers had accomplished, than he
hastened to the beach, and there he found, stretched on the sand, the
body of the pirate.  He looked at it delighted, for the form was very
handsome; and though life was gone, it yet retained its warmth.  High
rocks surrounded the spot, so that no human being could observe what was
happening.  A voice (it seemed to come from the air) then uttered, in an
awful tone, the following spell:--

  "Dark form! my mystic words obey,
  To thin air vanish, haste away!
  Go, wander o'er the boundless main,
  Nor dare this shape resume again,
  Till by dark spells of potent might,
  I summon thee to re-unite."

As he spoke the hideous form began gradually to expand into vast
proportions, growing each moment more mist-like and indistinct.  Signs
of animation now returned to the body of Alonzo, who speedily arose, and
while he waved his arm, the shape Borasco had lately worn mingled with
the surrounding atmosphere, till it finally disappeared like a mist
blown off from the sea.

Alonzo, or rather Alonzo's form animated by Borasco's spirit, walked
slowly on, for he felt weary, as a person does who has long buffeted
with the waves, for with the form so he partook in a measure of the
human feelings of the pirate.  His nature, however, in other respects
was not altered; his love for Serena was rather increased than lost, and
he was still the same bold Spirit he had before been, with the same
power, only softened and refined by the magic influence of love.

He looked into a mirror-like pool of water among the rocks, and there,
seeing his new figure reflected, he drew himself up, and stretching out
his arms proudly, he exclaimed, "Ah, I now look like a man indeed; I
feel the life-blood rush fleetly through my veins, my pulses beat
steadily; methinks when the maiden sees me she will not fly from me as
she did before.  Ah, now in truth I have a chance of winning her.
Thanks, thanks, mighty Neptune! for the aid you have afforded me.  The
dawn approaches; she will soon be here! and then once more, lovely
Princess!  I shall again behold thy matchless beauty."  As he spoke a
few faint streaks, the harbingers of the rising sun, appeared, in the
eastern sky, the wind went down, and the sea grew perfectly smooth.

After wandering along the sea beach for some distance to stretch his
legs, for he naturally felt somewhat strange in his new form, he at
length, overcome with fatigue and a desire for repose, laid himself down
on the dry sand under the shade of an overhanging rock.  Here, in the
course of a few minutes, he fell fast asleep; and so sound was his sleep
that he appeared like some shipwrecked mariner who had been drowned and
washed on shore by the stormy waves.


The bright sun was shedding his beams across the dancing waves, when the
lovely Serena and her maidens, tempted by the beauty of the morning,
left the palace to enjoy the fresh air on the beach, no longer dreading
to meet the hideous monster who had once so frightened them in the same
spot.  As they walked on they talked of the storm which had raged during
the night.  "And, my Princess," said Linda, one of the maidens, "they
say that there was seen last night, by those who were on the watch, a
huge black mass driving towards the shore, but that it burst asunder,
and only fragments of wood and some extraordinary-shaped things were
found among the rocks.  Some people think it was a big canoe, and others
a monster, but no one is certain."

"There are many strange things happening," replied Serena.  "Last night
my father dreamed a dream; he dreamed that one of the sages of our
people came to him, and reminded him of a prophecy which was uttered
years ago: it ran thus:--

  "`In hour of danger
  Saved by a stranger,
  The King and state
  Give him guerdon great,
  But a Sea-monster will prey
  On his reward that day.'

"My sire awoke repeating the words, and the sage was gone, but the storm
was raging with greater fury than before."

"Since the day we saw the dreadful monster, wonders have never ceased,"
observed Linda; "now, I should not be surprised if some other wonder was
going to happen."

While they were speaking they happened to approach the very spot where
the form of Alonzo was sleeping.  The Princess and her maidens started
with surprise, and then cautiously drew near, curious to know what
strange being he was; for, from his dress, which was the costume of
Spain, and from his appearance being so totally different to that of the
islanders, they did not at first suppose that he was a human being.

Remembering the fright they had had before, from the strange monster
which had appeared so suddenly out of the sea, they approached very
cautiously, thinking this might do them some harm if they were not
careful.  Hand-in-hand they advanced, treading lightly, and uttering no
sound, and ready every instant to run away.  At last they all got close
up to him, and began to examine him with curious eyes, their fears
gradually growing less and less.  Linda was the first to make the
wonderful discovery, that instead of a strange monster, he was a young
and handsome man.  "Oh, my dear mistress, I am sure he must be a Prince,
for he is so very good-looking and prince-like," she exclaimed, bending
over him; as she did so she uttered an exclamation of sorrow, and wrung
her hands; "Alas, alas!" she cried, "but I fear he is dead!"

The maidens now all drew near, and knelt mournfully round him, when at
last the Princess ventured to take his hand.  Instead of letting it
drop, she exclaimed joyfully, "Oh, no! he is not dead; his pulse yet
beats with life, and look, the colour mantles on his cheeks."

Her touch, or the voices of her maidens expressing their satisfaction,
awoke Alonzo, as Borasco now called himself, out of his deep sleep.  He
opened his eyes, and fixing them on her, he said in a low voice,
expressive of his surprise, "Do I dream?  Are you a mortal? or have the
skies sent some being radiant with beauty to dwell on earth?"

The Princess was not insensible to the compliment, though it was rather
high-flown; but she was so astonished at hearing him speak, that,
instead of answering him, and not knowing what else to say, she asked,
"What are you? whence do you come?"

Before Alonzo could answer these questions he had to collect his
thoughts sufficiently to frame a story; for he had had till then no idea
that they would naturally be put to him.  He therefore rose, and,
kneeling at the feet of the Princess, took her hand, and replied, "I
come from the sea, fair Princess!  My ship was dashed to pieces last
night on those pointed rocks, while I, her chief, was cast on shore, and
am the sole survivor of her crew.  My name is Alonzo, and I am your
humble slave, fair lady."

The Princess, though she did not comprehend all the stranger said, and
certainly did not understand his compliments, had not the slightest
doubt of the truth of the story.  She entreated him to rise, and then
retired with her maidens to consult what should be done; for there
existed in Gracia a law which condemned to death any stranger who should
venture to the island, of whose character and history the chiefs and
magistrates were not fully satisfied.  Without, therefore, their
permission, she could not venture to invite him to her father's palace.
At this juncture a number of the islanders appeared from the wood close
by, and seeing a strange person standing by himself, for the Princess
and her maidens were hid from them by the rocks, they rushed down and
seized him, demanding who he was.  The Princess heard their voices, but
before she could interfere, overwhelmed by numbers, the stranger was
borne to the ground.  He struggled in vain, and was surprised to find
how easily he was overcome; for he forgot that with a mortal form he
possessed only the strength of a mortal, and had at first supposed that
he could drive them off with as much ease as he would have done had he
retained the form of Borasco.

The Princess hurried forward.  "Oh, spare him! spare him!" she
exclaimed; "I am certain he will do no harm.  See how amiable and gentle
he looks!"

The islanders loved their Princess, and therefore refrained from
offering further violence to the stranger, but still they held him
tight, and insisted on carrying him into the presence of King Zaphor.
Now, Serena, as she felt that she might more successfully plead his
cause before her indulgent father than any one else, gladly consented to
this arrangement.

King Zaphor sat in state, with his wise men and councillors around him,
when Alonzo was brought bound before him by a large concourse of his
subjects.  The Princess, attended by her maidens, also appeared in
court, for there was no one else to plead his cause; and as she had been
the first to discover him, she considered that she was in duty bound to
protect him.  Alonzo stood before the King with a dignified air, and his
arms folded on his bosom, his personal appearance gaining him many
friends; but when he was questioned as to his occupation and calling, he
began to reflect whether he had not done an unwise thing in entering the
form of so wicked a person as the pirate captain, handsome though he
was; for he feared that should the Princess discover that his form was
that of Alonzo, nothing that he could say to the contrary would persuade
her that he was not Alonzo himself.  He felt, indeed, the truth that
beauty, without real goodness and a good character, is worthless indeed.
He, however, gave the same account of himself that he had done to the
Princess, in so clear and concise a way, that he gained much in the good
opinion of the wise men.  He then vowed so earnestly, that far from
wishing to injure any of the inhabitants of the Island of Gracia, he
would devote himself to their service, that he made a still further
advance; and when the Princess spoke in his favour, it was unanimously
decreed that, not only should his life be spared, but that full
permission should be given him to remain in the island.

The fair Serena was delighted at her success, and consequently took
greater interest than before in the stranger.  King Zaphor, with great
courtesy and kindness, invited him to his palace, where a feast was
prepared, and a chamber made ready for him.  All the chiefs of the
island attended the feast, and were much pleased, as was the King, with
his wisdom and general information.  The King, indeed, confessed that he
was superior to any of the councillors who sat at his council-table; and
this made them not a little jealous of him, as people of small minds are
apt to be of strangers who surpass them in intellect.  Meantime the
Princess listened attentively to all Alonzo said, and the interest she
felt ripened into a still warmer feeling--a feeling with which Borasco
in his proper shape would never have inspired her.  The stranger rapidly
gained his way into her good graces, and days, weeks, and months passed
happily away without their finding them an hour too long.


Months wore on, and the wisdom of Alonzo had wonderfully increased the
prosperity of King Zaphor's dominions.  All the people began to respect
the stranger, and to look upon him as the husband of the Princess, and
their future sovereign.  One day, as Alonzo and Serena were wandering by
the shore, they saw approaching far off on the sea, a number of large
canoes.  Alonzo regarded them attentively till he felt convinced that
they were war-canoes full of warriors, intending to attack the island.
So he hurried back to collect all the fighting men to repel the enemy.
On came the canoes, and it was soon seen that Alonzo was not mistaken,
for before the fighting men of the island could assemble, they had run
upon the beach.  Alonzo and a few followers were the only persons ready
to meet, the invaders, who had already formed on the sand, expecting an
easy victory.  With a sharp sword in his hand--a sword forged within the
bowels of the earth, and which had been brought to him by a Sea Spirit
from an island in the Mediterranean--he rushed down among them.  His
sharp sword flashed fire, as he whirled it round his head, among the
showers of arrows which flew about him, and numbers of the enemy lay cut
to pieces at his feet.  Fearless of the deadly weapons aimed at him, so
rapidly did he perform his work, that all the invaders were either
destroyed or had fallen on their knees to sue for mercy before the King
and his followers could get up to the scene of action.

Thus the Island of Gracia was delivered from the greatest peril to which
it had ever been exposed.  Then the King gave a banquet to commemorate
the happy event, and he summoned to it his lords and councillors, and
all the chief men of the island, and they all came and congratulated the
King on his victory.

The King, however, graciously would not claim the credit which was not
his due; but, pointing to Alonzo, who sat on his right side, told them
that they owed their freedom to him.  Then, taking him by one hand, he
took Serena by the other, and informed his chiefs that he thus betrothed
those whose hearts were already one, and he inquired whether they would
consent to receive the stranger as their future chief.  No sooner had
the King done speaking, than all the nobles arose, and exclaimed, "Hail
to the brave stranger, our gallant defender! hail to Prince Alonzo, the
husband of our beloved Princess, our future sovereign!"

The King was much pleased with this expression of the loyalty of his
subjects, nor was the Princess less so at their approval of a husband to
whom she was so devotedly attached.  Thus the stranger Alonzo was raised
to the highest dignity of the state.

Nearly a year had passed since his arrival, when one day he espied a
large ship, under full sail, approaching the island.  The people were
surprised, and many were much alarmed, for they had never before seen so
extraordinary a sight.  Some thought it some mighty sea-bird, and others
some monster of the deep; but none could tell what the portend might
forbode.  On the ship came, and, casting anchor, several of the crew
landed.  They wandered about through the woods, singing and carousing,
and otherwise amusing themselves.  When also they happened to discover
any of the cottages of the natives, they did not scruple to enter, and
to appropriate anything which struck their fancy.  Alonzo was attending
to the affairs of state when news was brought him of the behaviour of
the strangers, and that they were actually approaching the precincts of
the Palace.  On this he immediately sent out to put a stop to the
mischief.  As he was proceeding a shriek reached his ear.  He knew the
voice at once--it was that of the Princess Serena--and, rushing on with
the speed of lightning, he found her and her maidens in the rude grasp
of the strangers.  When they saw him and his followers, while some held
fast the damsels, the rest advanced with arms in their hands to meet
him.  As, however, they got nearer to him, instead of attempting to run
him through with their swords, they shouted out, "'Tis he! 'tis he! our
long-lost chief!  Why, brave Captain Alonzo, we thought you long since
dead.  What, don't you know us?  Don't you remember Almagro, and Sancho,
and Pedro?"

But Alonzo looked at them as on total strangers, for, of course, he
could not remember having ever seen them before.  "I know you only from
your own confession and your deeds to be wicked villains," he exclaimed;
"and I order you instantly to quit this island, or I shall hand you over
to the laws of the realm.  I spare you now.  Begone, but remember my

This made them very indignant.  "What, not know your old friends?  Come,
come, you look very magnificent, doubtless, but we cannot let you or any
other man interfere with our proceedings."

As they said this, some drew their swords, while others attempted to
drag off Serena and her maidens.  The magic weapon of Alonzo was in his
hand in an instant, and as it struck the blades of the pirates, for such
they were, it shivered them to atoms.  Some of the pirates were killed,
but Alonzo was merciful, and the Princess being placed in safety, he
allowed the rest to escape, as they fled before him.  That day he
published a decree banishing the pirates from the island, on pain of
death if they remained.  Instead of going, however, they hid themselves
among the rocks on the sea-shore, for the purpose of issuing forth at
night to weak their vengeance on one whom they supposed to have been
their chief, but who had now become their enemy.


It required but one day to complete the year since the Princess Serena
first beheld Alonzo, when, as they sat in her bower, watching the blue
tranquil sea in the distance, he folded her in his arms, and told her,
with a voice of tenderness, that he must for a short time quit her.  In
vain she endeavoured to draw from him the reason of his intended
absence.  He assured her that it would be but for a few short hours,
that he must go to a distant part of the island, and that he would
faithfully return.  She entreated to be allowed to accompany him, but to
that he could not consent.  Had he entrusted his awful secret to her,
though it would have terrified her to find that she had got a Spirit for
a husband, it might have been happier for him.

Every argument which the Princess could use was employed in vain to
induce the seeming Alonzo to remain; far more powerful were the stern
decrees of Neptune.  Once more pressing her to his heart, he tore
himself from her, and rushed out along the beach till the tall rocks hid
him from her sight.  The Princess remained bathed in tears, and overcome
with grief and forebodings of evil.

Meantime Alonzo wandered along the shore in search of some sequestered
cavern, where he might leave in security the mortal form he wore, while
he repaired, according to his bounden duty, to Neptune's conclave.  For
some time he could not satisfy himself, for he was naturally fearful of
being disturbed or injured.  Far, far better would it have been had he
entrusted his body to the safe and loving care of the Princess.  At last
he discovered a cavern which could only be entered from the sea.  Inside
it there was a small extent of sand and several ledges of dry rock, to
which the waters never reached.  Nothing could be better suited to his
purpose; so, standing at the mouth of the cave, he stretched out his
hand over the sea, and uttered this potent spell:--

  "Haste, wandering form,
  Dark mist o'er the main.
  From wind and from storm,
  I call thee again.
  I once bade thee retire,
  But now hither repair,
  Whether glowing in fire,
  Or sailing in air.
  Again this stern spell,
  Dark shape, thou must hear,
  Come, come, whence you dwell,
  Haste hither, appear!"

As he spoke a thick mist seemed to rise from the sea in the horizon,
extending upward, and growing denser and denser, till it assumed the
faint outlines of Borasco's form.  Then it glided forward, as if borne
onward by a gentle wind, till it reached the mouth of the cavern.
Meantime Alonzo placed himself on an upper ledge of the rock in an
attitude of sleep, and forthwith his spirit passed into his proper form,
from which an awful voice uttered these words:--

  "Rest thee, mortal form, rest here,
  Till I once again appear.
  Cursed the hands that dare to smite thee,
  Or by injury to blight thee.
  Let with horror fate condemn them,
  And the raging seas o'erwhelm them."

While he was thus speaking, Borasco glided over the sea till he
disappeared in the far distance.

Now it happened, as we have said, that the pirates, whom Alonzo had
ordered to quit the island, instead of so doing, had hid themselves
among the rocks on the sea-shore, waiting for an opportunity to wreak
their vengeance on him; and as they were rowing along in their boat,
they reached the mouth of the cavern in which he had left the body of
Alonzo.  Leaving their boat secured to a rock, they jumped on to the

"Ah, here is a secure place indeed, where we may remain concealed though
all the people of the island were hunting for us, till an opportunity
occurs for punishing our traitor Captain," said Almagro, who was now
chief of the band, and was afraid, should Alonzo return, of losing his

"It's secure enough; but if the sea were to get up we should be caught,
like mice in a trap," observed Sancho, one of the lieutenants.  "Why,
where's the boat?"  As he spoke the boat drifted away from the cavern
out of their reach.

"What clumsy fellow pretended to secure the boat?  Ah, see, the sea is
already rising," ejaculated Almagro, in a tone of horror.

The pirates were now compelled to retire higher up the cavern.  What was
their astonishment when, as they reached the further end, they saw
before them the very man they had been seeking, as they supposed fast
asleep.  Immediately they held consultation what should be done.
Sancho, and some of the more merciful, were for binding him and carrying
him off to their ship, but Almagro, who saw that thus his object would
probably be defeated, was for destroying him while he slept.  Several of
the worst sided with him, and before Sancho could interfere, they sprang
forward and plunged their daggers into Alonzo's form.  Scarcely had they
done so, when loud peals of thunder echoed along the rocks, vivid
lightning flashed from the skies, and the foaming waves rushed up into
the cavern.

In vain the guilty and affrighted pirates fled into the interior of the
cave.  The angry waters foamed up on every side.  Shrieking they fled
from rock to rock; still the waves rose higher and higher, and swept
them far off into the boiling sea, while the dead body of Alonzo was
carried away into the depths of the ocean.


The sun had risen twice upon the world, and again set, and now the moon
was casting her silvery beams upon the dancing waves, when the Princess
Serena went forth, on the sea-shore, to search for the brave Alonzo, for
he returned not as he promised.  Long she wandered up and down, and with
anxious gaze watched the shining ocean, but still he came not.

She listened for his voice, but no sound was heard, only the low murmur
of the rippling water upon the yellow sand.  Her heart sank with fear,
and grief, hitherto a stranger to her, took possession of her bosom.  At
length she climbed to the summit of a high rock which overhung the sea.
There she stood, with straining eyes and arms stretched over the ocean,
calling in a tone of anguish on Alonzo to return to her.  As she uttered
his name, a form, vast, shadowy, and majestic, appeared beneath the
moonlight, and a voice, so soft it seemed a note of sweet music,
pronounced her name.  The Princess listened with eagerness and
astonishment.  Again, from afar, came that low and sweetly solemn voice.
"Serena, Serena, Serena!" it said.  Well did the Princess know the
voice.  It was Alonzo's.  Though he was not seen, she felt that he was
near her; nor did the vast form on the ocean bring any terror to her

"Serena, Serena!" repeated the voice.

  "Serena, dearest, haste to me,
  And I will bear thee o'er the sea,
  To halls so rich, so bright, so fair,
  Sparkling with every jewel rare,
  Where you, beloved, in peace shall reign,
  The gentle guardian of the main.
  Then, sweet Serena, come to me,
  And I will bear thee o'er the sea."

"Yes, beloved one, I will go to thee," she exclaimed, and fearlessly she
sprang towards the bright ocean which slumbered below.

The waters sparkled as she fell, a joyous voice again uttered her name,
and a form, though it was Borasco's, no longer hideous in her sight,
received her in his arms.

The maidens of the Princess, when they saw the vast form of Borasco
floating on the water, were horrified; but when they observed her throw
herself off the rock, and watched her carried away in the arms of the
seeming monster, they fled terrified to the palace, and reported what
had occurred.  At first there was some doubt thrown on the matter, and
when the stranger Alonzo did not return, people went so far as to say
that the unhappy Princess had, in a fit of madness, thrown herself into
the sea for love of him.  The enemies of Alonzo, who had heard the
pirates claim as a friend, said that he was a pirate himself, and that
he had carried off the Princess.  At all events, the poor King was
overwhelmed with grief at the loss of his daughter, and called his
chiefs together, to consult as to what could have become of her, or if
means could be taken to recover her.

The sages differed for some time in their opinions.  One said, "If she
had jumped into the sea and was drowned, they could not expect her to
return."  Another observed that, if she had been carried away by a
pirate, it was to be hoped that the pirate would bring her back again;
while a third sagaciously remarked that, in order to recover her, not
knowing where she was, it would be necessary to look for her.

At length one of the very oldest of the sages remembered the prophecy
about which the King had dreamed on the night of the storm, when Alonzo
came to the island.  "There can be no doubt," he observed, "that the
first part referred to the stranger who had rendered such signal service
to the state, for which service he received, as guerdon great, the hand
of the Princess.

  "`But a sea-monster shall prey
  On his reward that day,'

"Means, evidently, that a sea-monster will carry off and prey upon the
Princess, who was his reward."

The King and all his councillors acknowledged, with deep grief, that
they saw the true interpretation of the prophecy, and from that time
forth no one in the Island of Gracia doubted that the Princess had been
carried off by a sea-monster.


The mighty Spirit of the Storm bore in his arms the gentle Serena
rapidly across the ocean, till at length they arrived in front of a
palace of crystal, which stood so completely at the very edge of the
sea, that the walls which were reflected on its tranquil surface seemed
to rise directly out of it.  No words can describe the beauty and
elegance of its architecture, the gracefulness of its delicate pillars,
and the light tracery-work of its innumerable arches, all of the same
pure, glistening substance, extending on either side, in a succession of
airy colonnades, as far as the eye could reach, and, arch above arch,
rising almost, it seemed, to the skies.  No mortal workmen could have
raised that wonderful edifice.

The portals flew wide open as Borasco and the Princess approached, and
placing her on the crystal steps which led down beneath the water, he
conducted her forward through a hall, which surpassed in beauty and
magnificence even the exterior of the building, so light and airy, so
richly adorned at the same time was it with polished coral and delicate
tinted shells, and emeralds, and precious stones of every description.

It far surpassed in beauty anything which Serena ever in her most
romantic imaginings had conceived to exist in the world.  Wonderful and
strange as all appeared, no fear or misgivings of any description
entered her bosom; for, although she saw that the shape beside her was
wild and hideous, yet well she knew that the spirit which animated it
was that which dwelt in the form of Alonzo, to which she had given her
heart, her best, her deepest affections.  A soft light radiated through
the hall, and gentle music floated in the air, while forms of every
graceful shape and hue appeared before them, and made obeisance as they
passed.  They advanced slowly among lines of aerial beings towards a
superb throne at the further end of the hall, the canopy over which
appeared as if formed of a fountain of glittering water thrown upwards,
and petrified before it could again reach the earth.  Serena remained
mute with astonishment, till by degrees she found words to express
herself.  "Is what I see around me the work of enchantment, and do I
tread on fairy ground?" she exclaimed.  "And you, my Alonzo, why have
you led me hither, and why are you so strangely disguised?"

"You tread, my Serena, the halls of my crystal palace, the home I have
prepared for you," answered Borasco.  "Those bright gems are the same
for which men toil and deem themselves happy if they gain a few, yet all
you see and many more are yours."

"Oh, I care not for those sparkling gems.  It is your love, Alonzo, I
prize above all," said Serena, turning on him a look full of deep
affection.  "But why hide from me those features on which I fondly used
to gaze?--Why envelop thus strangely your noble form?"

Borasco did not answer till he had placed her on the throne; then
throwing himself before her on his knees, he told her of his plot to win
her, and of all that had occurred, and implored her forgiveness.  As he
knelt, the thousands of Spirits who filled the hall followed his
example.  She answered in a gentle voice, that she had nothing to
forgive; as she could scarcely find fault with him for falling in love
with her.

"But who are the bright beings who fill these halls, and pay me so much
respect?" she asked, as the graceful Spirits continued kneeling round

"They are," replied Borasco, "the Spirits of the summer air, the
guardians of the moon-lit waves, the utterers of murmuring sounds, when
the calm sea is hushed to rest.  Each light and easy duty is confided to
their care.  They are the Spirits which obey my will, and you, my
beloved one, shall from henceforth ride over them.  See also the mighty
Monarch of the Ocean comes to kneel before your throne."

As he spoke, a flourish of conch shells was heard, and Neptune, in a
superb car, followed by an innumerable band of Tritons, glided into the
hall.  Descending from his car, he knelt before the Princess, and

  "Welcome, fair Lady! since you come
  To these bright realms, my watery home;
  When I the happy tidings knew,
  I clave the limpid billow through,
  And hasten'd here to kneel before
  The Lady whom all hearts adore:
  For know, we rovers of the Sea,
  Are truly famed for gallantry,
  And when a beauteous Lady deigns
  To visit thus our broad domains,
  The sons of Ocean strive to show
  The pride with which their bosoms glow.
  Then, Lady, deign our Queen to be,
  And we will serve thee loyally.
  This crown marine in token wear,
  That Ocean's realms confess thy care,
  And to no other would I yield
  The trident sceptre which I wield.
  Now then let all with loud acclaim
  And joy, our Ocean Queen proclaim!"

Neptune having presented a crown and sceptre to the Princess, the
Tritons and Sea Spirits broke forth with a loud chorus:--

  "Oh! welcome to these coral halls,
  Fair Lady of the radiant brow,
  Thy beauty every heart enthralls,
  Thy virtues claim our willing vow.
  The trident sceptre of the main,
   Oh! long, sweet Lady, may'st thou sway,
  And far as spreads yon liquid plain,
  Let every realm thy power obey."

Serena then answered in a sweet thrilling voice:--

  "Thanks, thanks, Great Neptune, we will strive to prove,
  How much we prize our loyal subjects' love;
  And long as o'er these noble realms we reign,
  Will ever be the Guardian of the main."

Neptune then again approached the throne, and bowing, said--

  "Fair Queen, your brother sovereign hear;
  I once more to your throne draw near,
  And what I say will not displease
  The gentle guardian of the Seas,
  We made a law some time ago,
  To which e'en you will gladly bow,
  That those who in our realms remain,
  Can ne'er their former name retain.
  We'll change the one you bore above--
  Victoria, is the name we love,
  That name shall through our realms resound,
  And echo far the Ocean round,
  And she beloved will ever be
  By Neptune's sons the bold and free."

Once more the Tritons broke into an enthusiastic chorus--

  "Oh! long may'st thou reign, fair Queen of the Ocean,
  The blue waves are dancing in gladness and sheen,
  We thy Empire proclaim with joyful devotion,
  And repeat in glad chorus, Long life to our Queen.
  The echoes are telling the tidings around,
  And joy on her brow gives bliss to the scene.
  And long may the realms of old Ocean resound,
  That wish of our hearts, Long life to the Queen?"



A gaily-painted canal boat was gliding smoothly and swiftly through the
still waters of the Crinan Canal, which intersects the Mull of Cantire
in Argyleshire.  A steep bank of overhanging wood lay on one side, and
on the other an open view stretched toward distant hills.

The day had been showery; drops sparkled upon the leaves, and pattered
down on the boat as she passed beneath the hanging boughs; light clouds
were speeding across the clear blue heavens, and as the sun shone out a
fairy-like rainbow lay along the hill-side.

With a rustling sound the boat cut through the placid water, and for a
time none other broke the silence; the exquisite peace and beauty of the
scene cast a spell upon the party who were passengers on board, and,
different as were the various tones of mind, one feeling seemed now to
pervade the group.  During this pause, let us examine the figures
composing it.

That active well-formed man, with good sense and merriment in his clear
kindly eye, and about his firm mouth, is Arthur Hardy.  His early life
of laborious self-denial, in support of dependent young brothers and
sisters, has been rewarded with success and present prosperity.

The graceful lounging figure beside him, whose handsome features are
clouded by such a look of inward dissatisfaction, is Edmund Bayntun, the
luxurious and self-indulgent course of whose days lacks the stimulus of
any object to rouse his faculties, brighten his eye, and dispel the
dreamy gloom now habitual to his manner.

He and Hardy were school-fellows, and have unexpectedly met, to their
great mutual pleasure.  Edmund has just been introduced to Mrs Arthur
Hardy and her pretty and rather romantic little sister, Helen Grey, and
has been persuaded to join them in a visit they are about to pay to a
hospitable Highland friend, instead of continuing his languid solitary

He and Hardy were soon agreeably engaged in talking over early
recollections and subsequent events; and the genuine kindness and lively
good sense of the whole party tended considerably to overcome Bayntun's
moody feelings, and dissipate the somewhat peevish melancholy in which
he usually indulged.

Towards evening Hardy announced that they must prepare to go on shore,
as they had reached the nearest available landing-place to Glennaclach,
the residence of Mr Stewart.  The mountain mists were tinged with
glowing gold, and under the shadow of the dark hill-sides the waters of
the loch looked grey and cold, when the party stepped into the little
boat which came out to meet them.  A few passengers of an inferior rank
accompanied them, and were heartily welcomed by the men in the boat in
their wild Gaelic.  Suddenly they all seemed to remember that there were
strangers amongst them, and, with a courteousness which might put to the
blush many more cultivated societies, continued their conversation in
English; and addressing Hardy, as the evident head of the party,
volunteered any assistance or information they could give.  His plan had
been at once to obtain some vehicle to convey them to his friend's house
in Glennaclach, but this he found to be impossible, as the distance was
considerable, and part of the road liable to be overflowed by the tide.
The only arrangement to be made, therefore, was to pass the night at the
little inn near the landing-place, and proceed the following day on
their visit.  So Edmund Bayntun was condemned to spend the evening in an
uncarpeted room, redolent of whisky and tobacco, the fumes of which
ascended from the kitchen, where, as their usual rendezvous was
occupied, the frequenters of the inn were holding their evening
carousal; but the moon shone in a spreading path of silver upon the
waters of the loch as the tide came rippling softly and steadily in, and
he gazed upon it, and actually felt enjoyment.  Soon from the party
below rose and swelled a wild and melodious chorus, then a single voice
sang alone, and again the chorus joined in, till it was suddenly hushed,
and, after a little consultation, the landlord came up to ask, in the
peculiarly delicate tone in which the Western Highlanders speak English,
whether the ladies were annoyed by the noise below, as it should cease
immediately if they wished it.  Softened as it was, the effect of the
music added much to their enjoyment, and they begged it might not be
checked on their account.

Early the next day, in high spirits, and perfectly refreshed, though
their accommodation had certainly been of the roughest description, the
little party set off up Glennaclach, the gentlemen on foot and the
ladies and carpet-bags in a cart full of straw, drawn by a rough
wild-eyed pony, led by a Highlander equally so.

"Donald's but a daft lad, but he knows the road and will guide ye
safely, so ye'll no be troubled with that," said the mistress of the
inn, as she shook up the straw in the cart so as to form cushions for
the two ladies.

Donald was at first sight what would, in England, be called a lad, till,
on closer inspection, his thick loose curls were perceived to be
mingled, not sparingly, with grey.  These he shook down over his wild
light-blue eyes whenever he spoke, but, as he heard the mistress's
remark, he signified his appreciation of her confidence by throwing his
head backwards, and, taking an inverted view of his charge, he opened
his wide mouth and uttered the exclamation "Hech!" with a prolonged
guttural aspiration.  Then he addressed himself volubly to the pony in
English and Gaelic indifferently, and not a word would he utter except
for the information of this, his chosen friend and companion, in answer
to any questions put to him.

Merrily they travelled, for the roads in Argyleshire are excellent, and
the jolting of the cart, consequently, much less than they had ventured
to anticipate; so that there was nothing to interrupt their enjoyment of
the varied, always lovely, scenery through which their road lay.  Now
they crossed an elevated ridge, where heath and grey rock were mingled
in rich though subdued tints; then they descended through a wood of
fairy birches, whose light foliage quivered against the pure blue sky,
to the margin of the loch, which glistened in the morning sunlight, on
one hand, and the steep grey rock formed a wall on the other, over
which, amongst pines and stunted oaks, the broad heads and short wide
horns of the Highland cattle would occasionally appear.  As they
ascended the glen new hills came into view, some apparently of smooth
velvet surface, descending with an easy slope towards the waterside,
where a fringe of varied wood was reflected so clearly that it was
difficult to distinguish it from the reality; others, dark and rugged,
refusing to smile even under the joyous rays of the young day.  Bayntun
was less obdurate in his gloom, but he seemed to check himself whenever
he yielded to the enlivening influences of place and circumstances;
while Hardy gave himself up so entirely to the pure pleasure of the
moment, that his chest heaved, and his eyes filled with tears, and he
could have thrown himself down upon the heather in an ecstasy of joy.

"How dark and gloomy that glen looks between the steep mountain and the
round smooth hill on the opposite side of the lake!" exclaimed Helen

"What is that glen called, Donald?" asked Mr Hardy.

"Ye ken the name as weel as any other word ye speak, Sandie, so come
away and dinna be wasting your breath with asking idle questions," said
Donald, addressing the pony.  Then, giving a leer at Helen from behind
his grizzly locks, he began singing a few words of a Gaelic song; next
he addressed some sentences in the same language to the pony,
accompanied by a chuckling laugh; after which, he tossed back his head
to take another inverted view of the party, and then giving a jerk to
the short bridle by which he led the pony, he nodded to him in a
patronising manner, saying, "Your memory's short, Sandie; but we should
ay pity folks that's weak in mind, and so I'll answer ye.  Yon's Glen
Bogie, Sandie," he continued almost in a whisper; "but ye shouldna go
there in the full of the moon, Sandie, for there's sights and sounds in
Glen Bogie that would make a wise man quake and loosen his teeth in his
head, much more a poor daft lad like you, Sandie.  Dinna _ye_ gang
there, Sandie, to hear the Campbells come down the glen to cry the
coronach over their dead, and them dead and gone themselves these
hundred years.  Ha! ha!  Sandie.  I heard it once mysel' when the wind
soughed in the trees and the burn roared amongst the stones; and I heard
the rustle of their tartans, and when the moon shone out I saw them.
Hush, Sandie!  Whisht, my bonnie man!  The sun shines now, and we're no
going to Glen Bogie."

The convulsive jerks he had given to the bridle here made the pony so
restive, that Donald's whole attention was required to quiet him.

"That all sounds very delightful," said Helen, still gazing at the dark
glen which branched off from the wider one up which they were

"Have you a fancy for spectral coronachs, Helen?" asked Hardy, smiling.

"I must go to Glen Bogie," she replied in a very decided tone.

"And what says the little wife?" continued Arthur.

"Oh, by all means give Helen an opportunity of making friends with real
bogies, and in Glen Bogie they must be genuine," answered Mrs Hardy.
"Besides, I cannot help thinking that there really was some ghastly
tragedy enacted about here in which the Campbells were concerned.  Glen
Bogie may be the very spot."

"Oh, I hope so," exclaimed Helen, turning quite pale.

Suddenly Donald checked the pony's pace, and his own half-dancing
ambling steps, as, after passing a few thatched cottages roughly built
of stone, they came in sight of a moderately-sized house, with wings
added apparently as they were required; out-buildings and farm-house,
surrounded by stately beech and spreading gene or wild cherry-trees.
Immediately in front of the house, which, like most Highland mansions,
was slated and white-washed, a lawn, shaded by fine trees, sloped
towards the lake, where two boats were moored close to a boat-house;
while the adjoining portion of the slope was laid out in a garden, now
basking in the sunshine.

"Tread lightly, Sandie; there's sorrow and pain at hand," said Donald,
in a tone so mournful and different from the wild, half-scoffing manner
he had before adopted, that a thrill of apprehension ran through the
whole party.  "There's sorrow yonder in the house of Glennaclach, and no
cheering welcome for the Sassenach strangers."  His keen wandering
glance had discovered one of the boats now moored to the shore, rowed
hastily across the loch a few minutes before, and two figures hurrying
up from it to the house.  One of these he knew to be the only doctor in
the glen.  There were other signs of alarm and confusion; servants
hastening to and fro, cottagers meeting and pausing as if to ask
questions; and with all his wildness, half of which was but assumed to
excite an interest which flattered his weak intellect, poor Donald was
an acute observer, and sincerely attached to the family of the laird of
Glennaclach, so that he readily took alarm.  To the travellers, not
perceiving the tokens by which he formed his suggestion, it had all the
effect of the supernatural.

"Go you forward alone, Misther Hardy," said Donald, addressing him for
the first time; "and if there's a welcome for you, come back and fetch
the ladies, and,"--here he designated Bayntun by a certain contemptuous
turn of the chin towards him.

"But why should you doubt it, Donald?" asked Hardy.

"Go you forward, Misther Hardy, or I maun go myself," repeated Donald
impatiently, and holding the pony firmly, as if determined that he at
least should not proceed.

To humour him, Hardy followed his directions, but as he neared the
house, a sound fell upon his ear which alarmed him; a boyish voice
uttered a suppressed moan of intense suffering, repeated, yet apparently
controlled by an effort.  Seeing him pause, one of the group of people
who stood with grief and terror in their countenances outside the door
came towards him.

"Make haste, sir, if you are a doctor and can do him any good.  He is
not dead, though I never thought to hear the sound of his voice again
when the tree gave way with him, and I saw the bonnie lad go down over
the crags like a stane."

"What has happened?" inquired Hardy.  "I am no doctor, but I will gladly
give any help I can."

Then followed a voluble explanation in Gaelic from the whole group,
interspersed with a few words in English, from which Hardy learned that
one of the laird's younger brothers, in climbing along the crags by the
side of a waterfall, had trusted his weight to a slight tree which gave
way with him, precipitating him into the rocky bed of the foaming
torrent.  The doctor was now examining the injuries he had received.
While the women were speaking, a young man appeared at the door and said
a few words to them in a kind but determined tone, which had the effect
of instantly silencing and dispersing them; and he then perceived Hardy.

"Hardy, is this your promised visit?  Alone, and at this unfortunate
moment?  Not that you are the less welcome," he added, shaking him
warmly by the hand, and leading him into the house.

The gleam of reason which had dictated Donald's suggestion vanished as
soon as Hardy followed it, and he began indulging in crazy merriment at
having produced the excitement and alarm so visible in the faces of the
three remaining strangers.  Though Bayntun would not have confessed it,
his imagination was strangely excited, and his nerves shaken, when Hardy
and the young laird came together from the house.

"I am sorry to say that Donald's conjecture was but too correct," said
Arthur; after introducing his friend; "and I have succeeded in
convincing Glennaclach, much against his hospitable inclination, that he
would distress us all by receiving us under such circumstances."  He
then briefly explained what had happened, and his own proposition that
they should proceed to Glen Bogie.

"Since you will positively not remain with me, it is some satisfaction
to know that at Glen Bogie, notwithstanding the ill-omened connection it
has with my house, you will meet with a more hospitable reception, if
you do not fear it for its reputation of being haunted," said the young
man.  "My boats are at your service to take you there; and I am vexed at
not having the pleasure of myself introducing you to the scenery of the
Glen; but in my mother's present anxiety respecting my brother, I cannot
leave her even for a few hours.  His hurts are not dangerous, however,
and I hope to-morrow to be able to bring you all back to my house."

As he spoke, he carefully assisted the ladies to alight from the cart,
returning Donald's reverential salutation kindly, and desiring him to
convey what Donald called the _thravelling_ bags down to the boat.
Helen thought of Fergus McIvor, of course, though nothing could be more
dissimilar from the hero of Waverley than the frank, simple-mannered
young Highlander, who, with kind quiet courtesy, was handing Mrs Hardy
down the sloping lawn.  Two men were ready in the boat, which was
carefully spread with plaids, and Mr Stewart, or Glennaclach, as he was
called in a district where the name Stewart is so frequent that it is
absolutely necessary to distinguish the proprietors by the names of
their estates, having given his orders to the men in their native
language, and placed his intended guests comfortably, gave the boat a
shove off from the shore, and lifted his bonnet as a parting salute.

"Now you have seen a real live Highland laird, Helen," said Mrs Hardy,

As the men plied their square-handled oars, the young laird called out
something to them in Gaelic, which made them look shy and shake their

"I want them to sing to you," said he in English; and after some
hesitation, one of them struck up a wild song, which, in spite of the
nasal sound he gave it, was full of beauty.  So they glided over the
still waters of the loch, which was--

  "All of the dazzling sheen,
  Like magic mirror, where slumbering lay
  The sun and the sky and the cloudlet grey;
  Which heaved and trembled and gently swung;
  On every shore they seemed to be hung;
  For there they were seen on their downward plain
  A thousand times and a thousand again;
  In winding lake and placid firth,
  Little peaceful heavens in the bosom of earth."

"Where did you learn that, Alice?" inquired Hardy gently, as his wife
concluded these lines, which she murmured rather than pronounced, as she
leaned back in the boat looking down into the water, and rippling it
with her delicate fingers.

"It is in Hogg's `Kilmeny,'" she answered.  "You don't know the poem,
Arthur, but we will read it some day.  Kilmeny was taken away to the
spirit-land, and allowed to revisit her native Scotland, to show what a
woman can be and what she can do."

"And did she take you with her, Alice?" said her husband.

Mrs Hardy's cheek glowed at the implied compliment.

Soon they entered the little stream which Mr Stewart had pointed out to
them, and truly it was a lovely scene.  Although evidently deep, the
water was so transparently clear that each pebble and fibre of weed was
distinctly seen.  Trees arched overhead, hanging at times so far across
the stream that it was difficult to manage the oars.  Where it widened,
little islands, covered with trees, ferns, and wild-flowers, broke it
into still narrower channels, forming leafy vistas, occasionally
terminating in the blue hills.

"Oh, what is that?" exclaimed Helen, as a large bird rose with heavy
flight from a point of land which they were approaching.

"Hech! yon's ta bhird," commenced one of the rowers, with great
animation; then, checked by the consciousness that, however well he
might be supplied with information regarding the bird, he could not
communicate it in English, he continued in a more subdued tone, "Yon's
ta bhird ye may often see nigh ta wather."

The heron, for such it was, continued to precede them up the stream,
resting on a point of land till they came close to it, and then
majestically and gloomily rising, to alight again.  In about an hour the
boat touched a sandy beach, surrounded with magnificent chestnut trees,
amongst which the stream still ran, but so shallow and rocky a's to be

"And, now, are we in Glen Bogie?" asked Helen.

"Ay, ye may say that," said the man who had before spoken.

With some difficulty they followed him by the brink of the stream, as,
with their bags on his arm, he led the way.  The glen became darker and
narrower; gloomy firs, through which the summer wind moaned sadly,
replaced the varied wood; a lofty mountain interposed its precipitous
rocky side between the stream and the sun, which seemed never to shine
on its troubled waters.  As if placed as far as possible within the dark
ravine, stood the house of Glen Bogie, and immediately behind it rose a
grove of firs.

"What a beautiful sketch this would make!" said Helen, as they came
suddenly upon a foaming torrent, which, descending the hill-side,
emerged from the rocks, heather, and stunted trees, and fell into the
stream by which they were guided.

"We must have it, Bayntun," said Hardy.  "The stream is swollen by
yesterday's rain, and by to-morrow would appear to less advantage."

"I shall gladly attempt to render it justice," answered Bayntun, "but it
must be a work of time."

"If you do not mind remaining, I will take Mrs Hardy and my sister on
to the house and return to guide you, for I am sure they must be tired,"
said Hardy.

Both ladies owned to considerable fatigue, notwithstanding their
enjoyment.  In answer to Bayntun's inquiries, their guide assured him
that he would have no difficulty in finding his way to the house alone,
which he preferred.

Hardy and the two ladies then climbed the rocks from which the waterfall
issued, and crossed by an old stone bridge; then again descending to the
stream they had left, they followed it till they arrived opposite to the
house, when they were greeted by furious barking from a number of dogs
which simultaneously rushed from every angle of the building, ranging
savagely up and down the waterside.

They were soon hushed by the appearance of a stout middle-aged woman,
dressed in a gown of dark blue linsey-woolsey and a snow-white cap, who
came out to see what had caused their noise.

"Yon's Mrs Cameron," said the guide; and in answer to her greeting,
which was in Gaelic, and shouted with the full force of her strong vocal
organs, he apparently told her who her guests were, and the cause of
their coming.

"Any from Glennaclach are welcome to my roof," said she in English,
surveying them for a few minutes with her head on one side and her arms
folded across her portly person.  "Go you round to the bridge, and I
will meet you; the lads are all away, but they'll be at home the night,
and meantime I will make you as welcome as a lone wife may."

Still shouting to them across the stream, she stepped out firmly over
the loose stones and met them on a high arched stone bridge, bestowing
on each a hearty shake of the hand, and on Hardy a hearty thump on the
shoulders, accompanied by the compliment--

"You've a right honest face, my lad."

She then spoke with respectful interest of the family at Glennaclach.

"There's no race like the Stewarts, meet them when and where you will,"
added she.

Passing by several out-buildings, from which all the dogs rushed forth
again, she led the way to the principal entrance of what was once a
Highland gentleman's mansion, gloomy and desolate as it now looked.

"My daughters are all married and away, and none of the lads has brought
home a bride to take their place," she said, rather sadly, and then
bursting into a loud laugh, she continued--"But I am more than wife to
all of them; look here," and opening a large chest, she drew forth
pieces of cloth and linen of all descriptions.  "Spun it all with these
hands, and there's plenty of work in them yet; and see there," she said,
triumphantly pointing to dozens of woollen hose which hung in the wide
chimney of the kitchen, to which she now led the way.

Then remembering that her guests must be tired and hungry, she placed
upon the table oat-cake, milk, and whisky in abundance, heartily
inviting them to partake of them.

The task which Bayntun had undertaken was longer than he had
anticipated.  While engaged upon it, his mind recurred more than once to
the hints he had heard of the place he was now in.  Donald's apparently
prophetic announcement of the sorrow which had befallen the family they
had intended to visit had also taken a strange hold upon his fancy.
Moreover he was tired and hungry, and whatever ascetics may say to the
contrary, the mind cannot work so healthfully in conjunction with a
feeble body, as with one in such comfortable condition that none of the
reasoning faculties are needed to master its sufferings.  In fact, he
was neither more nor less than nervous.  The spot in which he was left
was calculated to increase these feelings, so totally lonely and silent,
except the sad music of the breeze in the fir-trees, and the stream
gurgling and rushing down the rocks.  Just below him--for, although far
beneath the level of the top of the waterfall, he was some feet above
its base--was a smooth grassy nook, protected from the water by a wall
of black rock, in which was a shallow cave overhung by a weeping birch.

Bayntun had noticed this when he first began his sketch, but as his
sight grew rather dazzled from watching the constant play of the water,
and the sun sank behind the towering mountain, he lost sight of it
altogether.  As he concluded his work and prepared to follow his
friends, his steps were arrested by a harsh chuckle unlike any human
voice, but which seemed equally unlike the sound of bird or beast.  It
proceeded from the cave in the grassy nook, and so excited Bayntun's
curiosity that he could not refrain from investigating its origin.  With
some difficulty he lowered himself down the face of the rock by means of
the large ferns and bushes, and as he neared the cave the sound became
louder and harsher, and expressive of terror.  Just as he reached the
spot and extended his hand to hold back the branches which overhung it,
there was a shriek, and a violent rustle from within; and a form sprang
out, passed him, and climbing the rock with the agility of a monkey, by
clutching the boughs with its long lean arms and hands, fled away,
continuing its wild chuckle.

Edmund stood paralysed.  It must be something human or supernatural, but
how it came there, and whether its glaring eyes had been fixed upon him
as he sat there believing himself alone, he could not guess.  Resolved
not to give way to the strange fears which came crowding into his mind,
he climbed up the rock again, and crossing the bridge, followed, as he
thought, the path described by the Highlander.  Instead, however, of
soon finding himself at the farm-house, he lost all view of that or any
other habitation; and pausing for a moment to peer amongst the trees for
signs of a path, he heard again that unnatural chuckle at no great
distance from him.

"Absurd folly!" said he to himself; "it must either be a poor maniac or
some mischievous young mountaineer;" so he turned towards the sound,
pushing his way through the underwood till he perceived an opening in
the wood.  There, on the shadowy hill-side, in a magic circle of mossy
grey stones and whins, or furze, he witnessed a ghastly dance of pallid
forms tossing their arms wildly above their heads, and, in the midst of
them, the hobgoblin being which had just escaped from him, its grey
garment fluttering, and its limbs jerking frantically as it bounded from
one to the other of its spectral partners.  Edmund paused in

"This is fearful," he mentally ejaculated.  "I confess I don't half like

He then endeavoured to retrace his steps towards the stream, which he
should have followed as a guide towards the house, and at length
discovered it by the sound of its murmuring waters.  Hastening on, he
had almost reached the old stone bridge on which Mrs Cameron had
received her guests, when he perceived, as he thought, a tall
Highlander, kilted, plaided, and bonneted, leaning against a tree a
little to the right of the path, in an easy attitude, with one foot
crossed over the other, one hand on his side, and the other supporting
his head.  His face was ghastly in its whiteness, and not less so were
his hands and knees, and Bayntun's first impulse was to hasten to his
assistance, believing him to be ill.  Greatly was he startled to find,
on reaching the tree against which the figure had leaned so immovably,
that he was gone.  Not a trace or sound of him, and in the spot he had
occupied was a twisted thorn, from which some branches had been lopped
off.  In Bayntun's excited state of imagination he never suspected the
truth, that these twisted branches, with the light shining through them,
and the white wood showing where boughs had been removed, had formed the
figure he had seen.  More than ever impressed with the idea that the
place was haunted, or his own brain affected, he sprang upon the bridge,
and in a few minutes was heartily welcomed into the kitchen of Glen
Bogie, where Mrs Cameron and a stout Highland girl were busily
preparing a substantial and savoury supper.

Soon afterwards voices were heard outside, and home came the "lads," as
Mrs Cameron called her sons.

"Gude Lochaber stock, the whole of them," said she, giving each a hearty
slap on his shoulders as he came in.

And they certainly all did credit to Lochaber, from the eldest, who was
a thoughtful-browed Highlander, to Dugald the youngest, a slight active
lad of nineteen, with mirth and daring in his eye.

The supper was laid out in what had once been the dining-room of the
Campbells of Glen Bogie.  When it was concluded, a short consultation
between the mother and sons was carried on in Gaelic, the result of
which was, that the eldest Cameron invited "Misther Hardy and his friend
to take their pipes and whisky in the kitchen along with the rest of

"Might we not come too?" whispered Mrs Hardy, who felt rather oppressed
with the idea of entertaining their hostess, who was rather deaf, in the
dreary parlour.

To the kitchen they all adjourned, where a bright peat-fire glowed on
the ground, in the centre of the wide chimney.  Some of the dogs had
crept in actually behind it, and lay dozing with one ear always on the
alert.  Wooden settles were placed in the ingle-nook for the young men,
and the guests were accommodated with heavy high-backed chairs.  Mrs
Cameron drew her spinning-wheel towards her, and for a few minutes there
were no sounds but its busy hum, and the roaring of the wind down the
chimney, and amongst the old trees, and the ceaseless voice of the burn
chafing in its rocky bed.

"Was there not some sad story of a quarrel between the Campbells and the
Stewarts of this neighbourhood?" asked Helen of the company in general,
very much afraid of hearing her own voice, but still more afraid of
losing the delight of hearing the story, whatever it might be, on the
very spot where the events took place.

"Neighbourhood!" repeated Mrs Cameron, "a neighbourhood should be a
place where neighbours meet as friends, and the Campbells and Stewarts
never can be friends.  Did not I see a bonnie bride of the house of
Stewart leave her father's house with a Campbell for her husband, and
was not blood shed even on the threshold? for, as the horses started off
with their white cockades, one of the lads that rode them fell from the
saddle in a fit, and was trampled to death under their feet, and
sickness and Borrow waited on the bride till she was at rest in her
grave.  There's no peace not friendship between the Campbells and
Stewarts, and they should not be called neighbours."

"But, mother, the young lady was asking you about the quarrel," said
Dugald, "and not wishing to mend it."

"The young lady is not angered with a foolish old wife," answered his
mother, bursting into her loudest, harshest laugh, and laying her hand
kindly on Helen's.  "She will pardon me, for I was born a Stewart, and I
cannot hear with patience when any talk of the natural enemies of my
family.  Do you tell how it fell out, Ian, for your English is better
than mine," said she, addressing her eldest son.

It should be remembered, that Gaelic being so universally spoken in the
Western Highlands, English is only acquired in a degree to be spoken
fluently by people of some education, and is pronounced by them with a
softness and delicacy amounting to an appearance of affectation.  Ian
Cameron related his story deliberately, and in choice language, giving
each word and idea time to take effect before it was succeeded by

"You will have heard that when the royal house of Stuart lost the day,
the lands of many who had fought for the right were confiscated, and
bestowed as rewards upon the Campbells and others who stood up for might
rather than right.  This estate of Glen Bogie was one of them, and with
it the Campbell to whom it was given received favours and authority,
which he used as you would expect from a man that was not born to it,
and had got it by ill means.  They that would rule over a Highlander
must find their way to the heart, and must trust him as one honest man
trusts another.  Campbell never did that.  He knew that he was not
loved, nor welcome, but still there was not a man--from a Stewart to a
McCall--that would have raised a hand against him, except it were in
open fight.

"You will have seen the rocky peak of Skuliahams, which shuts in the
head of Glennaclach, as you came up the Toberdhu; that is the stream
which we call the Blackwater.  Just to the right of that peak there is a
pass over the hill, and for eight miles the way is rough and dreary.
Often have I travelled that road by night and day, and with the snow
drifting in my face I have thought never to see my own fireside again.
Campbell had gone by that pass to collect rents, but he did not return
when they expected him.  His wife grew alarmed, for she knew the hearts
of the tenants were not with him; so she sent first one, then another,
of his people, and lastly she went herself to watch for them on the
hill-side, whence she could see far up the glen.  Singly the people
crossed the hill, but they all returned together, and amongst them they
carried the corpse of Campbell, who had been shot dead in the wood
beyond the hills, which was on the property of a Stewart.  The widow
went out to meet them; but she shed no tears nor spoke a word.  Some say
she had been _warned_.

"They brought him across the meadow yonder, and carried him up into the
room overhead, and the Campbells came from far and near, and vowed
vengeance upon the Stewarts; and it is said that as they hung up the
dead man's plaid, all stiff with his blood, so they swore to hang up a
Stewart on the spot where Campbell was found dead.  There was a show of
law, too; for having fixed their suspicions upon a tenant-farmer like
myself, a man named Stewart, they tried him by a jury--all of
Campbells--and in the wood they hanged him, within sight of six
residences of Stewarts; and watch was kept, day and night, lest the body
should be removed.  Vengeance and law they called it, but it was murder;
for before the bones of their victim had whitened on the gibbet, it was
discovered that Campbell had been shot by a foreign soldier who had some
private quarrel with him.  Can the Stewarts and Campbells be friends
after that?"

There was a pause, and the young Highlanders sat looking sternly into
the glowing fire.  Tramp, tramp, came, heavy steps overhead, as of
several persons moving some heavy burden.  Bayntun felt his heart beat
faster.  He would not for worlds have let any one suspect it.  Even Mrs
Hardy, drew involuntarily nearer to her husband, and Helen's eyes opened
wider, while the most ghastly spectre would not have burst upon her
sight unexpected.

"The lassies are putting the Doctor's room in order for your friend,
Misther Hardy.  Maybe he is not used to rough lodging, and it is well
for him that, the Doctor being at the house of Glennaclach to-night, I
can give him the room," said Mrs Cameron.

Dugald made some remark in Gaelic, with a mischievous glance towards
Bayntun, but was sternly checked by his mother.  Nevertheless, Bayntun
perceived it, and determined more resolutely than ever not to divulge
the strange sights and fancies which had haunted him.

Night had fairly closed in, and the reflection of the lights in the room
mingled on the window-panes with the other objects outside, just lighted
by a crescent moon, when, as Bayntun glanced towards the window, he
perceived close to it the face of the hideous goblin which had haunted
him in the day, and at the same moment came that fearful chuckle.

"Poor Marie Vhan," said Mrs Cameron, rising and going to the door;
"where has the wild creature been straying?"

"Marie has been naughty to-day," said Dugald, speaking in English from
fear of another rebuke from his mother: "she has been tossing and
tearing the fleeces which were left to dry upon the whins."

"Poor body," rejoined Mrs Cameron.  "It is a poor daft lassie.  Her
father is one of our shepherds, and it is a sad trouble to a poor man to
have a feckless child that can do naught for herself, so she bides with
me when she likes, and I give her food and shelter; but she will not
stay long in any place."

As she spoke, one of the servant girls opened another door, and began
scolding the child in no gentle terms for the mischief she had done,
which was serious in its way, for the fleeces had been prepared for
spinning in long loose bands, and were required for her mistress's
immediate use.  Instantly the wild creature fled chuckling into the
wood, and up the dark dreary glen.

"It is an evil deed you have done, Lizzie, to drive the poor body from
the door with your angry tongue," said the mistress, as she resumed her
place at the wheel.

Lizzie was out of hearing, and could not have understood had she been in
the room, but the expression of disapprobation relieved Mrs Cameron's
indignant feelings.

Bayntun's cheek glowed in the firelight at the solution of the terrific
goblin dance which had so shaken his nerves.  Fortified by a good
sapper, and cheered by the sound of many voices, he now felt himself
proof against bogies of all kinds, and at an early hour the party
dispersed for the night.  The home-made tallow candle which lighted
Edmund's spacious and gloomy apartment rendered the outlines of the
dark, heavy furniture more massive and unshapely than they really were.
It had been the state-room of the mansion, and was now let to a doctor,
who, though possessed of considerable skill, had so lost his reputation
by his intemperate habits, that he was driven to conceal his disgrace in
this unfrequented glen, where his services were valued and repaid, and
his failings easily overlooked.  In a large closet adjoining were kept
the phials and jars containing his supplies of drugs, etc, and from this
closet was a narrow staircase, with a door by which the Doctor could
come in and go out without disturbing the family.

"It was in this room that the Campbells cried the coronach over their
dead, and here the jury sat to try poor Stewart, and the dead man's
plaid was hung in that closet, and by that staircase they brought
Stewart in--the false-hearted murderers!" exclaimed Dugald Cameron; and
having courteously begged the guest to ask for anything that was wanting
for his comfort and repose, he left him to rest.

Completely yet healthfully fatigued, Edmund soon fell asleep.  How long
he slept, or whether he was still dreaming, he knew not, but distinct to
his vision appeared the figure of a man leaning against the doorway of
the closet adjoining his bedroom, from which shone a quivering spectral
light.  His plaid hung heavily, as if steeped in moisture, round his
tall gaunt form.  His bonnet was pressed down upon his brows, and under
its shade his face looked pale and distorted by pain or sorrow, as he
stood motionless, gazing intently upon the sleeper.

"This is a dream.  The mysterious figure in the wood is haunting my
memory.  I will not give way to these fancies," said Bayntun, mentally.
"It is a very uncomfortable dream, too," continued he, as the figure,
still keeping its glazy eyes fixed upon his face, moved slowly towards
him.  The old floor creaked under his steps.  "Dreams are often
suggested by some real sound associating itself with the previous train
of our thoughts.  If I could but rouse myself, this phantom would be
dissipated."  Yet his eyes felt perfectly wide open, and there was none
of the painful sense of oppression on the eyelids and restraint upon the
tongue which usually attends an unpleasant dream.  Nearer and nearer
came that pale, haggard face, till the sound of his breathing became
audible.  "That is myself breathing quick, and no wonder," thought he.
"Edmund Bayntun, why don't you rouse yourself?  What a fool you are!"
and uttering the last sentence with the full strength of his voice,
Edmund started up, and at the same moment the spectre staggered back,

"Ay, sirs!  That is not a civil way to speak to a gentleman, more
especially finding himself turned out of his own bed when he comes home
to it, wet and tired."

More and more perplexed, Bayntun stammered out, "Really, sir, I beg your
pardon, but I thought--I took you--that is to say, I fancied that I was
dreaming, and I don't feel quite sure whether I am awake now."

"Waking or dreaming, my man, you should always use civil language.  When
I saw you lying so comfortably in my bed, I was just thinking I would
leave you there, and go down myself to the kitchen fire; but really,
your uncivil speech!--Ha! ha! it is a good joke, too, to be mistaken for
a dream.  So, good night to you, young man, and I will not disturb you

The next morning the Doctor was found fast asleep in the kitchen.  His
young patient at the house of Glennaclach not needing his assistance so
much as another sick person in the Glen, he had left him early in the
evening, and preferred coming home to Glen Bogie rather than returning
late at night to disturb the household of Mr Stewart.  Early in the day
the young laird arrived, with a pressing invitation to the four English
strangers to come and stay at his house.  They willingly accepted it,
and whether they enjoyed the visit is a question to be best answered by
those who have found themselves the guests of a Highland family, amongst
their own beautiful glens, and mountains, and woods, and waterfalls,
after passing months and years in cities, and amidst "the hum, the buzz,
the crush of men."

Bayntun spent much time after this in the society of his friend Hardy,
and, yielding to his advice and example, adopted a more stirring,
healthful, vigorous course of thought and life, and his favourite motto

  "Let us, then, be up and doing,
  With a heart for any fate."



There was once a piper, called Alaister Mackinnon, and he lived in the
town of Inverknickle; he played better than any other piper in all the
country side, and was deservedly esteemed by the gude wives, as he
always brought the earliest news of the events in the distant villages;
for though Alaister called Inverknickle his home, he rarely stayed there
long at a time, but wandered about, hearing and telling news, and
playing at all the merry-makings that were held within twenty miles.  At
these he was always to be seen dressed in full Highland garb, with gay
streamers floating from his pipes, and his bonnet set jauntily on the
side of his head, surrounded by young and old, who listened with equal
delight to his tunes and his stories.  Alaister's dancing was a thing of
which he was very proud, as none of the lads could compete with him in
it; he was, therefore, not so great a favourite with them as amongst the
women, but none dared say a word against him, as it invariably reached
his ears, and the next time he came to the village he was sure to have
some story about them which turned the laugh against themselves.  One
day there was a wedding at a village some miles from Inverknickle, and
of course Alaister was there, marching at the head of the party as it
returned from the manse, dressed in his newest kilt and hose, and
playing the most appropriate tunes, while the young men shouted and
fired guns and pistols at irregular intervals to do honour to the
occasion; and every time they fired, the women screamed, and the men
laughed, and in short they were a very merry party.  Then came the
feast, which was more remarkable for quantity than quality, and was held
in the house of the newly married pair; it was succeeded by dancing, the
bride and bridegroom joining most energetically, but never being allowed
to dance together.

Reels were the usual dances; but when the lasses were tired, and sat
down and fanned themselves with their handkerchiefs, the lads began to
dance the sword-dance.  The lasses soon asked Alaister to dance; and
after a great deal of pressing, for he always feigned modesty on such
occasions, he danced, the men looking on anxious to catch him making a
false step, the women in silent admiration of his neat foot, silver
buckles, and new hose, which, from the beautiful shape of his leg, did
not require to be gartered.

None of the women saw that he twice touched the sword; but it was not
lost on the men, who looked at each other with pleased smiles, though no
one ventured to say anything, and Alaister's performance was finished
amidst loud applause.

Supper followed, which was much the same as the dinner, only there was
more toddy, and therefore more noise; and Duncan Cameron, emboldened by
the whisky, ventured to say that Alaister had not danced "clean" that
night; to which Alaister answered, with a look of pity, that "Duncan,
puir fellow, had never seen right since the night he had sic a fley wi'
the fairies on the moor, when they shot him into a peat-moss, and the
Will-of-the-Wisps ran so near him that they singed his nose, and it had
been red ever since."  This had the effect of silencing Duncan, who had
fallen in as described when coming home tipsy from a wake, and had told
many wonderful stories of his ill-treatment by the "gude fouk," as he
called the fairies.

The conversation now turned on fairies, and all professed the deepest
admiration and respect for them.  Alaister, however, rather laughed at
the idea of their doing anybody good or ill, and even hinted that he
doubted their existence.  Then began a warm discussion; and by degrees
Alaister grew bolder, and expressed in plain terms his entire disbelief
in these gentle spirits, challenging them to meet him that night on his
way home, and let him play on the bagpipes heard by so many of his
companions in the gloamin' among the heather on the hill-side; at the
same time drinking glass after glass to his success in the exploit.

Soon after this the party broke up, and Alaister started for
Inverknickle, playing what he intended for "Wooed and married and a',"
but it was a bad version of it, and sounded dismal and unearthly as it
died away in the distance.

He crossed the moor in the bright moonlight, and at last reached the
birch wood, where the white stems shone like ghosts in their
winding-sheets, and the branches swung noiselessly in the night breeze,
and gave out their fresh sweet smell.  Let it not be supposed that
Alaister actually observed all this, but it had an influence on his
mind, and made him feel eerie, it was so different from the noisy scene
he had left.

Just then he heard "Wooed and married and a'" played as well as he could
play it (this he only confessed silently to himself, he would on no
account have let any one else say so), but on a bagpipe of the softest
and moat silvery tone, and soon a band of bright little creatures came
from among the green grass and bracken, and stopped directly in his
path.  All wore the full Highland dress, but the checks in the tartan
looked as if made of precious stones, for they sparkled and glittered in
the moonlight, till Alaister was almost dazzled by their brilliancy; the
red cherry tufts on their bonnets shone with a clear calm light, like
glowworms, but as he had never seen one of these, he mentally said "like
anything."  The party was headed by a piper, playing on pipes, the bag
of which was a bluebell, the chaunter a hedgehog's bristle, and the
ribbons made of dragonflies' wings.  He was followed by the king and
queen, who wore beautiful crowns, from which shot rays of variegated
light; then came the train of followers, and round the whole ran three
Will-of-the-Wisps.  These were taller than the rest; from their hands,
feet, and eyes came bright flashes like lightning, but their bodies were
quite black and very slight.

When they halted in front of Alaister, the piper stopped playing, and
even the Will-of-the-Wisps did not run quite so fast; the king and queen
stepped forward, and asked who it was who dared to disturb their
midnight march through their own domain, but such a hubbub arose amongst
their followers that, without waiting for his answer, they turned to
inquire into the cause.

This was very soon explained: it was an outburst of rage against the
piper Alaister, with eager offers to bring forward proof of misconduct
against him.  These were immediately accepted, and an old fairy-elf was
commanded to speak first.

There was now a dead silence, except when the night wind rustled amongst
the birch branches, and bent the waving bracken, or some night bird
uttered a wild cry.  The old elf stepped forward, and then, by suddenly
twisting his legs and arms together, and sinking his head between them,
he changed into the cup, with the picture of the real king in the
bottom, which stood on the chimney-piece of the room where the wedding
feast had been held, and from this cup came a voice which repeated all
the scornful words of Alaister against the fairies.  When he ceased he
resumed his former shape and retired; others were then called forward in
his place, and took the form of cups, bowls, toddy ladles, and glosses,
each repeating the same tale; but last of all appeared a lovely girl,
who changed into the little square looking-glass in a red frame, in
which Alaister had from time to time arranged his hair during that
evening; and there was his face reflected in it, and it was his own
voice which he now heard, and he saw his lips moving so distinctly, that
he put up his hand to feel if he were really speaking, but his lips were
still, and the loud ringing laugh of the glittering band made him feel
so angry, that he tried to move away, but he then found that he was
spell-bound, and must remain to be laughed at or ill-treated by his
little enemies.  Now Alaister was a very sensible man, so when he found
that he must stay, he tried to look as if he liked to stay, and when he
heard the king command that he should have his wish, and might play on
their bagpipes that night, he smiled blandly, and took the little
instrument, which looked like a large spider as it lay in the palm of
his hand.  In an instant it changed, and became as large as his own,
which was carried off by one of the Will-of-the-Wisps, to whom he tried
to say something civil, but before he could make up his mind what it was
to be, the sprite was glancing amongst the trees far away.

Thinking it might be the wisest plan to conciliate the gude fouk, he
played his best tunes, and never had they sounded so well, for the tones
of the fairy pipe were far softer and sweeter than his own, and the
fairies danced so lightly and nimbly, that he forgot it was against his
will he had been ordered to play, and was sorry when the king waved his
crystal sceptre, and, pointing to the moon, now fast sinking towards the
distant hills, commanded his followers to return home.  And now, of
course, Alaister thought that he was to return home also, but no, he was
commanded to follow, and in spite of himself he was obliged to run
through the thick wood, down steep banks, and over rocks to the
river-side, where a fleet of egg-shells came towards them at the
fairies' call, and each jumping into one, they shoved off, laughing to
see how Alaister plunged into the cold water, and how the
Will-of-the-Wisps jostled against him in the deepest parts of the

Wet and weary, he at length reached the cave, which seemed to be the
home of the party, and where he found many already busily employed in
making preparations for a meal.

The cave was hung with the trailing moss, called tod's-tail, while
pieces of rock crystal, cairngorm, and amethyst reflected the light
given out by the Will-of-the-Wisps, who suspended themselves like
chandeliers from the stalactites which hung from the roof.  The floor
was thickly strewn with stag-horn moss, which formed a soft and elastic
carpet.  In the middle of the cave was a large mushroom, round which the
fairies were now busy spreading the cloth, woven of the finest gossamer,
and arranging the acorn-cups and dishes of delicate meats, which had
been prepared during their absence by those who remained at home.

When all was ready, numbers of green beetles ran forward to the table
and ranged themselves round it; on these the fairies sat as they

Never was there a merrier party; they laughed and talked, and pledged
each other in bumpers of mountain dew, and sang sweetly while bunches of
white hare-bells, which hung from the roof, chimed in as accompaniment.

All this time Alaister had stood looking on, wondering what was to
happen to him, and not feeling quite at his ease, for he knew it was a
mark of displeasure when the gude fouk ate without offering anything to
the mortal who was present, and besides, the younger fairies every now
and then made faces at him.  At length the feast was ended, and the king
called together the oldest of his followers, and retired to some
distance from the rest, where, for a time, they held eager consultation.
The king then advanced to Alaister and told him that as he had played
so well for them that night, they had determined not to change him into
a Will-of-the-Wisp, as was the fate of all who spoke ill of them, and
who afterwards fell into their power, but they would send him out into
the world again, under a ban which would follow him to the end of his
life, but which they would leave him to discover.  While his sentence
was being pronounced, the Will-of-the-Wisps were much agitated, darting
about the roof, and giving out streams of pale cold light; the white
hare-bells rang mournfully, shaken by a creeping blast which circled
round and round; cold drops fell from the roof and trickled feebly down
the sides of the cave, while the voices of the elves' and fairies
sounded harsh and shrill.

A Will-of-the-Wisp was then commanded to be his guide to the birch wood,
and Alaister was again led through the river, up the rocks, and through
the woods he had passed on his way to the cave.

Arrived at the wood, his guide vanished, and he found himself alone on a
bright sunny morning, the dew-drops glistening on the grass, amongst
which he joyfully discovered his pipes; but at the same time he saw that
his clothes hung about him in tatters, and oh! how wet and tired he was
with his night's work!  He could not, however, show himself at
Inverknickle in so disordered a state, so was obliged to remain in the
wood till the evening, when he thought it safer to go home, in case his
tormentors should again carry him off.  When he reached his cottage, he
told his wife that he had lost his way in the dark, and had torn his
clothes on the brambles and bushes, amongst which he had got entangled;
but not a word did he say about the fairies, lest he should offend them,
and be carried off, and turned into a black Will-of-the-Wisp, and have
to dance about every night in the cold moonlight, which was not at all
Alaister's idea of real comfort.

Now Mrs Mackinnon had what is called "an ill tongue," and she did not
spare poor Alaister as she turned over his torn garments; but he was
well accustomed to her attacks, and had learnt that silence was his only
safety, so he took one child on his knee as he sat by the fire, and
rocked the cradle with his foot, in hopes of softening his wife's
temper.  As the evening advanced, she became pretty tired of having all
the talk to herself, so sat down opposite him, and with a cross face,
and in a sharp voice, asked what made him sit there without speaking,--
could not he tell her any news after being sae long away from his gude
wife and the weans?

When this question was put, Alaister was always sure the scold was over,
however cross the voice was in which it was asked; so he began at once
to tell all the events of a harvest home at which he said he had been
the night before, but he was at once stopped by an angry "Hout!" from
his wife, and then followed a storm of abuse for telling her about
things which had happened three years before; then, pointing to the
fields of green oats that were to be seen all around, she asked him what
sort of harvest home there could be at that time of year.  Alaister was
sorely puzzled, for certainly the corn was still green; but yet he felt
sure it was only yesterday he had been at the harvest feast, and if not
at that--where had he been?  He could remember nothing of the wedding,
and stared at his wife, who at last began to be alarmed at his perfectly
stupid look, and said, "Is the man fey?"  As soon as she said this, his
night's adventure returned to his mind, and looking on the ground, he
saw it alive with fairies, laughing and mocking him.  Had it been
earlier in the day, he would have run out of the house, but it was
nearly dark, and the uncomfortable Will-of-the-Wisp came into his mind,
so he sank down again in his chair, and shut his eyes, fully determined
not to speak; but he could not keep this resolution.  Again and again he
was impelled to begin stories, and as often was he told that these
things had happened years before.  He then tried to play, but could
remember none but the very oldest tunes, such as had been out of date
for many years, and when, wearied in mind and body, he fell asleep, he
dreamed of fairies and discomforts all night long.

Next day he set out again on his wanderings, hoping that it was only in
his own house that the fairies would haunt him; but no--go where he
would they were by him, nor could he tell any story which was not at
least three years old.  His former admirers, the women, now asked him,
jeeringly, for "three-year-old news;" when he was seen coming towards a
farm, he was treated almost as a beggar, and was sent to the back door,
where he got a piece of oat-cake and a drink of milk, but was never
asked into the house.  Occasionally the servants asked him why he did
not carry a wallet like other "puir bodies;" but Alaister, though often
really in want, never would condescend to a wallet.  By degrees he
became more and more impoverished; he was thin, and had a look of great
unhappiness.  His hose hung over the heels of his worn shoes, from which
the silver buckles had long since disappeared; his second-best kilt was
very much the worse for wear, nor had he money to buy a new one; and as
to the one he had worn on the night from which his woes dated, it had
even beat the thrifty Mrs Mackinnon to get it into tolerable repair

In all the country side it had become the common expression, when any
old story was told, "Hout! that's Piper's news;" and at last Alaister,
feeling that he was despised where he had been respected, and laughed at
by those at whom he had laughed, without even having a comfortable house
in which to hide himself, for Mrs Mackinnon's tongue was more abusive
than ever, determined to retire from the world.

Being in low spirits, of course he chose the most dismal spot he could
find; it was a bleak glen, down which the north wind howled in winter,
and in summer the sun hardly reached its depths; for the bare rocks were
high and near each other, so that it was always cold and damp.  But this
suited Alaister's frame of mind.  One chill day in autumn he crept into
a sort of hollow in the rock; there was a constant trickle, trickle,
trickle, down the sides of this hole, and the water soaked through
blackened patches of liver-wort and moss; the floor was damp and
slippery, and on it Alaister sat down to think how very uncomfortable he
was, and to abuse the fairies as the cause of all his misfortunes.

It grew colder and colder, and darker and darker, and Alaister began
half to repent of his determination to die in a cave, when a flash of
light shone into the hollow, and in an instant his old acquaintances,
the three Will-of-the-Wisps, were dancing round him in a more frenzied
way than ever; now they were up in the roof, now out in the open air,
now far back in the darkness where he thought there was only rock.  But
the cave seemed to become larger every moment, and the water dried up as
the Will-of-the-Wisps darted along the sides, and then Alaister saw the
well-remembered tod's-tail moss hang where liver-wort had been before,
and stag's-horn moss again covered the dark floor.  The air felt dry and
warm, and a comfortable sleepy peace crept over the heart of the
distressed piper; he began to think that, on the whole, it was more
enjoyable to be in the fairies' cave than in a hay-loft on a gusty
autumn night; and when the glittering band sparkled into their hall he
smiled, and offered to play to them again, and soon they were all
dancing merrily on the moss, for it was now too cold, even for fairies,
to spend the whole night in the woods.

Then came the feast, and this time Alaister was given on acorn cup full
of brightest mountain dew; and though he thought it a small allowance
for a full-grown man, still he knew that the little creatures had no
larger cups; and not to disappoint them or fail in his manners, he
nodded to the king, and with a "Here's your very gude health, sir,"
emptied his cup.  Immediately he sunk back on the floor and slept, for
the dew that had been given him has, it is said, wonderful powers,
making mortals forget their homes and former lives, and desire only to
be with the fairies.

How long he slept no one can tell; he never more was seen: but on calm
summer nights his pipes can be heard droning under ground, or in the
sweet birch wood.  From their being heard to this day it is supposed
that those who enter the service of the fairies become immortal; but no
one has ventured to watch the gambols of the "gude fouk," so as to
ascertain whether it is Alaister himself who still leads their march, or
whether another has succeeded him; indeed, the glen is more shunned than
ever, and the cave goes by the name of the Piper's Cave in all that
district, while the expression "Piper's news" is known over the whole



High up on the side of a lofty mountain, overlooking the wide ocean,
several boys were seated together on the moss and lichens which clothed
the ground, and were the only vegetable productions of that elevated
region.  The bright sea sparkled in sunshine, far, far down below their
feet, though hidden at times from their sight by the dark clouds which
came rolling on, sometimes enveloping them in mist, and at others
breaking asunder and floating away far inland towards other ranges of
distant hills.  High above their heads rose a succession of rugged
peaks, black, barren, and fantastic in form, which the foot of man had
never trod.  The boys on a party of pleasure had climbed up from a town
by the sea-side, and had brought with them, in knapsacks and baskets, a
supply of provisions, which they now sat down to discuss.  The keen pure
air, and the exercise they had undergone, sharpened their appetites and
raised their spirits, and they sat laughing and talking, and apparently
enjoying themselves to the utmost.  Far below their feet sea-fowl were
skimming rapidly through the air, wheeling and circling, now descending
to the bright water below, and then rising again up into the clear
expanse of ether, rejoicing in their freedom.  On a crag below them,
near where she had built her nest, stood an osprey.  With wings
expanding she prepared to take her flight; then off with a cry of joy
she flew, darting through the atmosphere, away, away, over the ocean,
looking down upon the tall ships which sailed along slow and sluggishly
compared to her rapid progress.  The boys eagerly watched her till she
was lost to sight in the distance.

"Oh, how I wish that I could fly, that I might skim over the world like
that sea eagle!" cried one, clapping his hands; "what glorious fun would
it not be?  I should never consent to walk again.  All other amusements
would be tame and tasteless in comparison.  Truly yes, it mast be a fine
thing to be able to fly like a bird.  To fly!--to fly!  Away!--away!"
The speaker as he uttered these words rose and stretched out his arms
over the ocean, as if in imagination at all events he was about to
spring off from his lofty perch, and to follow the course of the osprey.

His enthusiasm inspired his companions.  One after the other exclaimed--

"Yes, indeed, it would be grand to be able to fly.  Glorious to mount up
into the sky, without having tediously to climb up a hill as we have
done to-day; or to plunge down beneath the waves, like those wild fowl;
or to skim, as they can, over the crests of the raging seas when storms
blow furiously, or to float in sunshine on the calm bosom of the ocean."

"Ay, of all things I would rather be a bird," cried another.  "An eagle,
a hawk, an albatross; any bird which can fly far and swiftly.  That is
what I should like,--to fly, to fly, to fly!"  Thus one after the other
they all expressed themselves.

Suddenly, as they were speaking, a loud crashing noise was heard, and
as, alarmed, they turned their heads, the rocks behind them opened,
disclosing a vast and glittering cavern, out of which was seen slowly to
advance, a lady, whose garments shone with a dazzling radiance.  Her
form was commanding, her face beautiful and benignant.  The astonished
and bewildered boys scarcely dared to gaze at her; but trembling and
holding on to each other, they kept their eyes cost on the ground.  She
spoke, and her voice reassured them.

"You were all of you just now expressing a wish that you could fly," she
said, in a sweet silvery tone.  "Why do you thus with to possess a power
for which your All-wise Creator has not designed you?  Even could you by
any means secure wings to your body, of size sufficient to lift you from
the ground, your muscular powers are totally inadequate to work them;
your senses are not adapted to the existence of a fast-flying bird; your
brain would grow dizzy, your eyes dim, you would be unable to draw
breath in the upper regions, through which your ambition would induce
you to wing your flight; you would speedily destroy all your other
senses.  Be content with your lot.  Still, if you have a good object for
your wishes, perhaps under certain limitations they may be granted.  Let
me hear why you wish to enjoy the power of flying?"

The boys looked at each other, and then up at the face of the lady, and
finding nothing in its calm expression to alarm them, one after the
other replied, the eldest speaking first:--

"Because I should like to see what people are doing in the world," said
he; "what nations are fighting with each other, and how the hostile
armies are drawn up.  I have read of fine processions, where priests
walk with their sacred images, when kings come to be crowned, and when
their subjects assemble to do them homage."

"You need not say more," observed the lady, and pointed to another boy.

"I should like to follow all those ships I see sailing out there," he
answered; "I should like to visit the strange lands to which they are
going, and to examine the curious things they bring back."

"You can accomplish thus much without flying," answered the lady; and
passed on to another boy.

"I should like to fly, because it would be so curious to hover about
over cities, to look into houses, and to watch what the inmates are
doing," said the boy.

The lady shook her head.  "Such an employment is utterly unworthy of an
intelligent being," she answered; "you would make but an ill use of the
power if you possessed it.  What have you to urge as a reason for
obtaining the power you wish for?" she inquired of a fourth boy.

"Oh! it would be so delightful to feel oneself floating up and down in
the air; now rising high, high up like a lark, now skimming along over
the smooth sea," he answered, giving expression to his words by the
movement of his body.

"You evidently place the gratification of the senses above the
employment of the higher powers of your nature.  Such is but a bad claim
for the possession of a new one."

In this manner the lady questioned several other boys, but she did not
appear satisfied with any of their replies.  At last she asked a slight
and thoughtful boy, who had been sitting a little apart from the rest,
why he had wished to possess the power of flying?

"That I may better comprehend the glories of nature, and understand what
now appear the mysteries of the universe," he answered quietly, yet
promptly; "whence the rains, and mists, and winds come, and whither they
go.  I would fly far away on the wings of the wind.  I would visit
distant lands, to observe their conformation, to discover new
territories fit for the habitation of man.  I would bear messages of
comfort and consolation from those in one place to relatives far away.
Oh! if I could fly, I am certain that I should never weary of the work I
had to do."

"Well and wisely answered," replied the lady.  "I am the Genius of the
Atmosphere.  The power you ask I cannot give you: but follow me; I may
be able to afford you some of the gratification you so laudably desire."

The boy, without hesitation, followed the lady towards the rock from
which she had emerged.  It closed round him, and he found himself in a
cavern of vast size, and glittering with gems of every hue, and of the
richest water.  The Genius cast on him a smiling look, when she saw that
his attention was but little engrossed by these appearances.

"I cannot enable you to fly," she remarked, "but I can render you
invisible, and bear you with me whither I go, even to the uttermost
parts of the earth.  Come, note well what you see.  You may never again
have the some opportunity of observing the wonders of nature."

As the Genius spoke, the boy found himself borne buoyantly from off the
earth.  He passed close by his companions, who were thoughtlessly
laughing and talking as before, and on he rapidly floated, they neither
observing him nor the Genius of the Atmosphere.

"Child of Earth, follow me," said the Genius; and the boy floated gently
on, till he found himself in a region of perfect calms.  Below him, as
he looked towards the earth, he saw mountains of snow, and fields of ice
glittering gloriously in the slanting rays of the sun.

"We are at the north-pole of the earth," said the Genius; "you desire to
know the course of the winds, and how they are created--observe and
learn."  As she spoke, she shook from her robes a shower of silvery
particles, which floated buoyantly in the air.  "See, at this point the
silvery cloud does not partake of the diurnal motion of the globe, but a
slight current of air, scarcely perceptible, is sending it forward.  We
will follow it towards the southern pole.  You can scarcely see the
earth, we are so high up.  Lower down are currents rushing towards the
pole, which would impede the progress of this silvery cloud."

On, on, on, rapidly the Genius flew.  A golden cloud appeared.  The two
clouds met, but so softly, that there was no commotion.  Attracted by
the globe, probably, they both descended, slowly followed by the Genius
and the boy, till once more the earth appeared in sight, clothed with
the palm-tree, the orange, the pomegranate, the vine, and numberless
tropical fruits and flowers.

"We have reached a calm region, the tropic of Cancer," said the Genius.
"Now watch the earth.  It is turning from west to east, while we move on
in the direct line in which we started, so that we appear to be crossing
the globe diagonally, and to the inhabitants of the earth that silvery
cloud appears to be coming from the north-east, and going to the
south-west.  That silvery cloud is merely a portion, made visible to
your eye, of a great mass of air, which is continually blowing, and
which the inhabitants of the earth, from the facilities it affords their
commerce, call the north-east trade-wind.  Now see a golden cloud
approaching us; that is a mass of air coming from the southern pole.  We
are arriving near the Equator.  See, the two clouds meet.  They have an
equal impetus; neither can give way, but, gently and noiselessly pressed
together, they rise to a higher stratum of the atmosphere."

On floated the boy and his guide, far up above the globe, still on, in
rather a less direct line than before, till again a golden cloud was
met, and gently that, and the cloud they followed, descended till the
earth was seen once more.

"We have reached the tropic of Capricorn, where these two opposing
currents form a calm, almost continuous, except when certain interposing
causes break it, and which I may hereafter explain to you."  Passing out
of the calm region, away they floated towards the southern pole.

"Remark," observed the Genius.  "The silvery cloud, having been pressed
down by that other current from above, has a south-eastern direction
given to it, and therefore appears to the people on earth to be coming,
not from the north, but from the north-west."

A wide extent of ocean was seen beneath their feet.  On they floated.
Then fields of ice and icebergs, and wide extended lands covered with
snow, and vast mountains of ice.  Once more they moved on, slowly as

"We are at the antarctic pole," said the Genius.  "See, our cloud of
silver meets another of gold, pressing gently."  Up, up, they mount.
"Once more we will move towards the tropic of Capricorn, high up above
the globe.  Now we descend in that calm region; and now close to the
earth we are moving on.  But see, coming from the southern pole, the
globe moves as before, from west to east; and thus this mass of air, of
which our silvery cloud, remember, is but a portion, seems to those on
the earth to be coming from the south-east.  As this wind is always
blowing, and as ships by getting within its influence are borne easily
forward, and it thus facilitates commerce, it is called the south-east

On they went, till again the calms of the equator were reached, or
rather, till the air, exhausted by its long course, met another gentle
current, and the two pressing together rose upwards, the silvery cloud
going on towards the tropic of Cancer, till forced by another current,
known by its golden hue, to descend, it went on close to the earth
towards the northern pole, where a calm, caused by another gentle
current meeting it, was created.  Gently pressed up, however, the
silvery cloud finally reached the higher region, whence the Genius and
the boy had started with it on its long journey.

"Had we started with the golden cloud, or rather with the mass of air
which that cloud represents, from the southern pole, we should have seen
precisely the same effects produced," said the Genius.  "You now
understand what mortals call the theory of the trade-winds.  You read in
the sacred word of God, which in his mercy and goodness he gave to men
to guide them in their passage through life, that, `The wind goeth
toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about
continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits'
(Eccles. i. 6).  Now, boy, you have seen how true and beautiful is that
account written by the wise king of Israel."  The boy listened
attentively.  "We will fly back to the equatorial calms," said the
Genius; "see what effect the direct rays of the sun have on the earth,
or that portion of its surface.  They affect the air likewise; heat
expands it, and then makes it rise; and it also changes its specific
gravity.  Cold contracts it, and also changes its specific gravity.
These two causes are unceasingly at work to produce the currents of air
whose courses we have been observing.  The heat of the sun at the
equator expands the air, and thus it rises and flows north and south;
having arrived once more at the tropics, owing to the counter current it
meets, it descends, as we saw, and flowing along near the earth,
receives from it a rotatory motion, which increases as it approaches the
pole, where, contracted by the cold, it masses into a dense body, and
ultimately is whirled upwards, forming an ascending column, when it once
more commences its never-ceasing journey."

As they flew towards the mountain whence they set out, the boy expressed
his thanks to the Genius; if he did not comprehend all that she had
shown him and told him, he knew more about the matter than he had before
done.  She saw by the expression of his countenance the gratification he
had enjoyed.  "'Tis well," she continued; "as a drop of water is to the
ocean which lies beneath us, so is the knowledge you may obtain in a
lifetime to the wonders nature has to reveal.  You desire to know more;
gladly will I show you more.  Whenever you climb up to this rocky height
I will meet you, as I have done to-day, and each time unfold new wonders
to your view.  Ah, you think that I might descend to you, without making
you toil up the mountain; but know that knowledge will not come to you;
you must exert yourself, you must labour to attain it.  You say that you
will willingly climb the height.  That is well.  That is the spirit
which ensures success.  Return to your companions.  They will not have
missed you."

Suddenly the boy found himself as he had been before, sitting a little
apart from his friends.  He was silent and thoughtful as he descended
the mountain, resolving to return as soon as possible, to learn from the
Genius more of the wondrous mysteries of nature.

Story 10--CHAPTER ONE.


Well, we were on the continent when I met with my terrible blanket.  We
were going up one of the passes on foot, and somehow I, as I usually do,
lagged behind.  I, of course, had an Alpine stock in my hand, and I went
swinging it away, until at last it struck against a lump of rock
overhanging a precipice, so deep that, sailor as I am, I trembled as I
looked down.  Well, the stick bounded from the granite against my shin,
and so I made a vow that the lump of granite should take a run, or my
name was not Theophilus.

But it was a tough job, for the stone was very big, and well set in the
rock; but after a deal of straining and pushing, down it went with dull
thuds, as it fell from rock to rock, and at last it splashed into the
water, which seethed up as though trying to get at and drown me.

The job must have taken me longer than I thought for, for when I looked
before me I could see no one, and as I looked I began to see that
twilight was coming on.

Now, I don't know whether you have been much among our own high hills in
Scotland or Wales; but, if you have, you must know how rapidly night
comes on.  It is day one moment and night the next, so to speak.

Now I knew this, and made haste forward.

I do not think I had gone twenty yards when I knew, by the great
wuthering sound about me, that a storm was brewing, and it was on me in
no time; and as the snow came down a great curtain seemed to be drawn
over the sky, it grew dark so quickly.

Well, I groped on, but I didn't like it.  If it had been a storm at sea
now, I should not have cared much; if the mountains about me had only
been of water, I should not have cared at all; but when I knew that a
false step might send me toppling down as the rock had toppled before
me, I don't mind owning that I grew to like it all less and less.

I stooped down to look at the path, as well as I was able in the little
remaining light, and I found I was in no path at all.

As the last rays of light died out, and as the snow whirled about me, I
remember, as though it would be glad to make my winding-sheet, I turned
cautiously towards a slope of rock, feeling with my stick before I took
a step, for the snow will fill up a crevice in no time, and you may sink
twenty feet before you know where you are; and at last I touched the

There was still an atom of light left, and by it I just discerned a
black part of the rock, which I took, and rightly, to be a cave.  So I
crept towards it, into it, and crouched down on the ground to leeward;
and I can tell you the wind was getting up.

Well, I hadn't lain there three minutes when it was as dark as you could
wish it.  I don't know whether any of you have ever been in the dark
when full of anxiety; but if you have, you will believe me when I say
every precious minute seemed an hour.

Suddenly I thought of my fusee-box, and I believe shouted as I thought
of it, for a second idea came into my head.  Suppose I struck the fusees
about one a minute, they would not only help me through the darkness,
but, luck willing, they might answer the purpose of a revolving light,
and guide those who were looking for me to my place of shelter, or the
light might be seen at the convent, from which I knew by the guide we
were not far when I stopped to upset the rock.

And I give you my honest word that not for one second did I feel any
ill-will against my companions for leaving me behind; I somehow knew it
was all right.

So out came the fusee-box, and the next moment I had struck a light.
Why I looked round the cave I can't tell, but I did, and I caught my
breath, as you may suppose, when away in the dark I saw two great
yellowish-green balls of fire.

I don't think I moved for a moment, and then I began to question myself
as to whether it was not all fancy.

So I thought I would strike another light; but the box had fallen
amongst the snow, and when I felt for the matches they were all mixed up
with the powder, which is about the only name you can give the snow in
those places; it is very different from the clammy snow we see here.

Now, what was I to do?  If I went out of the cavern I should be frozen
to death, while to remain in the cave, and near those dreadful lights,
was maddening.

Well, one way or the other, I determined not to go either backwards or
forwards; so I curled myself up as small as possible, and lay shivering.
I had only lain for what I now know to be a very short time, but which
I took to be hours, when something soft came up against my knees and

You may believe I dashed out my fist, and felt it sink a foot deep in
the soft snow, which I rightly guessed had drifted up against the
opposite side of the cavern till it fell over and rolled up against me.

Good, so I was being snowed up, and I saw I must either go nearer those
dreadful balls, which by this time I was sure were no fancy, and which I
felt certain were looking towards me through the darkness, or I must
stay where I was to be buried alive.

I don't know how I came to the decision; but I did at last decide to go
further into the cavern, and so I shuffled out of the way of the snow.

And then I lay still again, waiting.

In a moment or so, surrounded by danger as I was, I began to find myself
actually going quietly to sleep.  I had no idea then that that sleep
might have been the sleep of death.

Well, in another minute or so, I felt a warm air on my face; but I was
too sleepy to move, and so I lay still.

And then, believe me I do not exaggerate, I felt four weights press, one
after the other, upon my body, and then a soft, heavy weight sunk down
upon me.  I had no doubt it was an animal of some kind; I felt quite
sure of this when a muzzle was placed as near my mouth as possible.

I dare say you will hardly believe it, but in a few moments all my fear
had gone, and I found myself growing grateful to this creature, for he
made me so good a blanket that the heat came back into my body, and I
felt no longer that dull sleepiness of which I have spoken.

I do not at all know how long I had thus lain, when a bark was heard,
which disturbed the regular breathings of my hairy friend, and I felt
his big heart beat above me.  Again there was a bark, the broad loud
bark of a big dog, and it sounded much nearer than the first.

As my blanket heard it, he uttered a harsh sound, and leapt from off my

The barking and the start of the animal roused me from what drowsiness
still remained in me, and the next moment I was plunging through the
snow in the entrance to the cave.  It was above my head.  I was nearly
snowed up; but then the wall of snow had served to keep the cold out.
When I got through the snow, I found the whole mountains were light
again with the stars and the rising moon, for the storm was over.

But a more blessed sight than all was that of a brave, big dog, who
leapt upon me and placed a fore-paw upon each of my shoulders.

Not far off was one of the good monks, coming towards me graciously and

It seemed, I learnt afterwards, that when my party discovered my loss,
and affrightedly told the guide, he, being weatherwise, told of the
coming storm, and said it would be impossible to turn back; they might
think themselves fortunate if they reached the convent themselves, when
the monks and their dogs would do their best for me.

They had reached the convent just as the storm began, and the monks, it
seemed, had but little hope for me.

I shall pass over my arrival at the monastery.  I was welcomed so kindly
that I would not attempt to describe it, and as for my own party, you
might, have supposed they had not seen me for a year.

They were very willing to hear my adventures, but when I came to the two
balls of fire, and the heavy animal who had made himself my blanket,
they ventured to laugh out and say I was trying to impose a traveller's
tale on them.

They were still laughing when my eyes fell on my great-coat, which was
hanging on a chair, and I at once remarked a number of yellowish brown
hairs clinging to it.

This was proof positive, and I was more of a hero than ever.

The next morning, when all of us travellers assembled for our simple
breakfast, the young monk who had discovered me--and whom I still look
up to, and I am glad he and his companions live high up in the mountains
above us all--the young monk had a tale to tell.  Out of curiosity he
had gone down to the cave, which was a very little way from the convent,
and in it he had found an immense wolf frozen and stark dead, for the
cold of the night had been intense.

And I am not afraid to tell you that I felt very sorry the poor old wolf
was dead, and I don't think you will think any the worse of me for being

I went down myself to see the poor old fellow, and I declare he looked
as large as a calf; as for his fangs, I do think they would have gone
through a deal board.

Well, and now how do you think I am going to end the story?

Why, I've got the old fellow now.

Oh no; he was really frozen to death, and didn't come to life again; but
I begged his body of the monks, had him skinned there and then, brought
the skin home and had it stuffed; and I can tell you when I come into
the room where he has a berth, and the sun is shining on his glass eyes,
I often find myself giving a start, as if he were still alive and able
to eat me up.

Story 11--CHAPTER ONE.


Who has not heard of Ninco Nanco, the daring cut-purse, and sometimes
cut-throat, of the Apennines, who, with his band of fifty chosen men,
has long kept in awe the district of Basilicata in the once kingdom of
Naples?  Certainly, those who have travelled from the Adriatic to the
Bay of Naples, across that mountainous region which in the map looks
very like Italy's ankle-bone, will retain a vivid recollection of the
curiosity with which they examined every dry stick projecting from a
bush or rock, lest it should prove the barrel of one of his followers'
rifles; and the respect which they felt for every shepherd they
saw feeding his flocks on the mountain side, lest the said
peaceable-avocation-following gentleman should suddenly jump down,
joined by many more from among the rocks, who could salute them in the
choicest Neapolitan with words, which may be freely translated, "Stand
and deliver!  Your money or your life!"  Yes; Ninco Nanco is not a hero
of romance, but a veritable living, unkempt, unwashed, brown-cloaked,
leather-gaitered, breeches-wearing, high-peaked-hatted Italian robber.
Yet Ninco Nanco had not always been a cut-throat; for it may shrewdly be
supposed that he was not born a brigand--that he did not begin life by
shooting folks with a small bow and arrow when they crossed the
precincts of his nursery.

Ninco Nanco was once a Neapolitan gentleman of the _ancien regime_, who
got into trouble by running his stiletto, through a slight
misapprehension, into the ribs of the wrong man, which wrong man having
powerful friends, poor Ninco Nanco, bitterly complaining of his
misfortune, and of the cruelty of fate in making two men so much alike,
was condemned to the galleys for life.  Had he killed the right man, no
notice, he affirmed, would have been taken of his peccadillo.  While
thus suffering under the frowns of fortune, he formed the acquaintance
of several personages, like-minded with himself, who spent their spare
time in grumbling against their hard fate at being placed in durance
vile, and in concocting plans for revenging themselves upon those who
had been instrumental in depriving them of their liberty.  There is a
tide in the affairs of all men--that in the affairs of Ninco Nanco
turned, so he thought, in his favour.  An opportunity occurred of making
his escape--he availed himself of it, as did a few choice spirits of his
own kidney.  They were compelled, to be sure, to knock three or four of
their gaolers on the head; but to liberal-minded men, like themselves,
that was a trifle.  They expected soon to be provided with ample funds
to buy absolution for that act, or for any other of a similar character
they might be compelled to commit.  Once free from the precincts of
their prison, they were among friends, and by them assisted, hastened
off inland, nor pulled rein till they had placed many a mountain range
and dark ravine between themselves and those who ought to have pursued
them, but did not.  There Ninco Nanco raised his standard, and prepared
to set the laws of "meum and tuum" at defiance.  He and his associates
soon made themselves at home in a hut, which they erected among some
rocks, high up on the side of a lofty mountain, where no one was likely
to come and look for them.  They only mustered nine or ten men, however,
and it was agreed that their band must be greatly increased before they
could undertake any enterprise of consequence.  Each of the party had
friends on whom he could rely, so he said, to join them, but as they
were rather out of the line of the penny postage, there was some
difficulty in getting the letters conveyed to the persons with whom the
band desired to communicate.  Another difficulty existed in the fact
that only Ninco Nanco and Giuseppe Greco, his lieutenant, could write.
Their leader, for reasons best known to himself, declined putting his
hand to paper; the task of inditing these epistles fell, therefore, on
Giuseppe, while another of the band was commissioned to find messengers,
by whom to despatch them to their several destinations.

Meantime, as gentlemen of the profession these worthies were about to
adopt cannot live without food any more than those of a less
enterprising character, they proposed making a little expedition along
the high road, for the purpose of obtaining funds to supply their
immediate necessities.  The proposal, emanating from Ninco Nanco
himself, was so much to the taste of all, that it was immediately put
into execution.  True, the band mustered but few men; but they were
hungry.  They posted themselves on either side of the before-mentioned
high road, among some rocks and bushes, and waited quietly for what
fortune might send them.  The chief injunction Ninco Nanco laid on his
followers was, not to fire across the road lest they should hit each
other, and rather to aim at the men than the horses, as the horses might
prove useful, while the men, objecting to be robbed, might possibly
prove troublesome.  Before long, a carriage was seen approaching.  It
had a small body with a hood, and was open in front, and had high
wheels.  In the centre sat a man, with a chest on either side of him,
the butt ends of pistols projecting from the pockets of the carriage,
and a rifle across his knees.  Ninco Nanco's eyes brightened.  "The
Padrone has something worth defending," he muttered, raising his rifle.
He fired, and the traveller fell dead.  The rest of the band, not being
good shots, missed.  The postilion lashed on his horses; but the robbers
(the brigands, their pardon is asked), jumping out, stopped them, pulled
him from his saddle, and commenced a hurried examination of the contents
of the chest, the keys of which they found in their victim's pocket.
The dead man had been steward of the Prince Montefalcone, and was
returning to Naples after collecting the rents on his employer's
estates.  At the sound of the firing, a horseman who was following the
caleche turned to fly; but his steed fell, and he was thrown.  He was
immediately seized on, and bound back to back with the postillion, while
his horse was likewise caught.  The brigands were rapid in their
proceedings.  The carriage was smashed to pieces, and its materials,
with the body of the murdered man, being packed on the three horses and
the two prisoners, the robbers themselves carrying what could not be
thus transported, the whole party struck off up the mountain, their
leader stopping behind for a moment to assure himself that no traces of
the encounter remained.  Having picked up a couple of balls and some
splinters, and stamped over some drops of blood, he sprang after his
comrades.  They had reached a dark and secluded glen, with rocks and
trees overhanging, when the chief called a halt.  After a little
consultation, two graves were dug under the moss.  In one the body of
the steward was deposited.

"Now, friends," said the chief, in his mild, bland way, addressing his
prisoners, "we require recruits; are either of you inclined to join us?"

"Not I, indeed!" exclaimed the steward's servant.  "You've murdered my
good master, and I hope to see you all hung--especially you, Signor
Ninco Nanco; I remember you in the Bagnio of Castellamare--rogue that
you are!"

"Very well, friend, take your way," said Ninco Nanco, blandly, as
before.  "And you, Signor Postiglione, what do you say?"

"That I am unprejudiced; but it depends on the offer you can make me,
most worthy signori," answered the postillion.

"You see that grave; one of you two will fill it before ten minutes are
over," said the bandit, with terrible calmness.

"Oh, oh! then I will join you or do anything you wish, most worthy and
honourable gentlemen," exclaimed the poor fellow, trembling in every

"You have selected wisely, friend," said the bandit, with an unpleasant
smile; "but you will understand that we require proof of your sincerity;
vows are, like strings of macaroni, easily broken.  You will have the
goodness to take this pistol, and shoot yonder contumacious slave of the
steward of the Prince Montefalcone.  I wish that I could have given you
the satisfaction of shooting the Prince himself."

The postillion took the pistol which the brigand handed to him, but
hesitated to lift it towards the head of the victim.

"Come, come! we are transacting business," cried the brigand, with a
terrible frown.  "If you are in earnest, fire; if not, we will give him
his choice of shooting you."

The servant, who had not seemed till this moment to understand the cruel
fate prepared for him, turned an imploring glance at the brigands
surrounding him; but no expression of commiseration could he discover in
the countenances of any of them.  He was in the act of lifting up his
hands towards the blue sky above his head, when the report of a pistol
was heard, and he fell flat on his face to the ground.

Instantly the outer clothing was stripped off, the pockets rifled, and
the yet warm corpse was thrown into the grave and covered up.

"Put on this," said the brigand, handing the murdered man's jacket to
the postillion; "you've made a good beginning, and, as your life is now
not worth a half carline if you were to appear in Naples, when you have
taken the oath you may consider yourself one of us; but you'll remember,
that if you ever turn traitor, though you were to fly to the centre of
the Vatican, or to cling to the altar of Saint Peter's, you would not be
safe from our vengeance.  Now, onward, comrades!"

After climbing some way the band reached their huts, where, the remains
of the carriage being piled in a heap, a fire was lighted, and they set
to work to cook the remainder of their provisions, with the pleasant
knowledge that they had now the means amply to replenish their supply.
Having eaten and drunk their fill of salt fish, oil, garlic, macaroni,
and sour wine, they stretched themselves, wrapped up in their cloaks, at
their lengths inside the hut, while one stood sentry at a spot whence he
could watch the only approach to this rocky domain.  Such was the
everyday life of these gentlemen.  It would require a curious twist of
the imagination to conceive Ninco Nanco a hero, or his followers
otherwise than unmitigated villains.

Poor Pietro, the postillion, soon discovered that he was to be a mere
hewer of wood to the band.

While awaiting a reply to their letters, Greco and a companion were sent
occasionally into the neighbouring village to procure provisions and
necessaries, for which they honestly paid, the traders not finding it
convenient to give credit to gentlemen of their profession.  Only two
recruits joined them, invited by Greco, old hands at the trade.  No
answers were returned to the rest of their epistles.

"We must take other means of recruiting our forces," exclaimed Ninco
Nanco, pulling his moustachios in a way which meant mischief.

Story 11--CHAPTER TWO.

A long, low cottage, with broad verandahs, over which luxuriant vines
had been taught to creep, stood on the side of one of the numerous
ridges of the Apennines, some way to the east of Naples, in the province
of Basilicata.  It belonged to old Marco Maffei, a contadino, or small
farmer, who had nothing very peculiar about him except that he was an
honest man, and that he had a very pretty daughter, an only child, born
when he was already advanced in life, and now the joy and comfort of his
declining years.  It was no fault of the pretty Chiarina that she had
admirers, especially as she did her best to keep them at a respectful
distance.  Her heart, however, was not altogether made of stone; and
therefore, by degrees, the young, good-looking, and gallant Lorenzo
Tadino had somehow or other contrived to make an impression on it,
deeper, perhaps, than Chiarina would have been willing to acknowledge,
even to herself.  From the house could be seen, some way below, the high
road already spoken of, which stretches from the Adriatic to the western
waters of the Mediterranean.  Lorenzo, or 'Renzo, as he was more
familiarly called, was standing just outside the entrance-gate of the
farm, while Chiarina, distaff in hand, sat within, under the shade of
the wide-spreading vines which, supported by trellis-work, formed an
arch overhead.  Her father had gone to market some miles off, leaving
her in charge with an old man, who had been with him for many years, and
her serving-maiden as her attendant.  In the absence of her father, her
sense of propriety would not allow her to admit 'Renzo within the gate;
nor did he complain, for Chiarina had confessed that if she ever did
such a foolish thing as to fall in love, she should in all probability
select him as the object of her affections, provided always that her
father approved of her choice.  'Renzo had just gone inside the arbour
to thank her, it is possible, for her judicious selection, when their
attention was drawn towards the road by the sound of horses' feet
galloping furiously along it.  There were three horsemen, wild-looking
fellows, each with a carbine or rifle in his hand.  As they were passing
directly under the house one of the steeds fell, and the rider was
thrown with violence to the ground.  His companions pulled rein, and
dismounted to assist him.  He must have been severely hurt; for, after
they had tied their horses to a tree, they were seen bearing him up the
steep path leading to the cottage.

"You will have the goodness to take care of this cavalier, and to see
that no injury befalls him," said one of them to Chiarina, as they
reached the arbour.

'Renzo frowned, but to little purpose, at their impudent manner.  It
would have been against Chiarina's gentle nature to refuse to take care
of the injured man.  There was not another house along the high road for
nearly half-a-league, and he would die before he could be carried there.

The men turned their glances uneasily up the road.  Some object was seen
approaching.  They immediately placed their burden on the ground, and
were about to make off down the hill at full speed, when Chiarina
exclaimed that it was her father.

Old Marco, though he did not look over well pleased at seeing the
strangers, after exchanging a few words with them, at once consented to
take charge of their wounded comrade.  Calling 'Renzo to his aid, he
lifted the man from the ground to bear him towards the house.


"Remember, if harm befalls him!--" exclaimed one of the men, lifting up
his finger, as he turned to hurry down the hill.

"If harm befalls him it will be no fault of mine," answered Marco.

The stranger was carried in and placed on Marco's own bed, and his
injuries carefully looked to; while his comrades, having caught his
horse, galloped off with it along the road at the same headlong speed as
that at which they were before going.

After some time the stranger opened his eyes and looked about him with a
very troubled expression, till they fell on Marco.  He then seemed more

"What has happened?" he asked.

Marco told him.

"I can trust you, old friend?" he whispered.

"Yes, yes, no fear," said Marco, turning away; "I would, though, that
your shadow had never darkened my doorway."

Chiarina longed to know who the stranger could he; yet she did not like
to ask her father.  'Renzo, left equally in ignorance, at length was
compelled to take his departure, not at all satisfied in his mind that
all would go well.


Had the stranger been a son, Marco could not have tended him with
greater care than he did, aided by Chiarina, who, however, never got
over the mistrust she had felt of him from the first.  'Renzo came
whenever he could, and never before had he been so sensible of making
rapid progress in her affections.  The truth is, she felt that she
required some one on whom she could rely for protection and support.
Her father never gave a hint as to who the stranger was, and all she
knew was that he looked at her in a way she did not like, and that he
spoke in a bold, self-confident tone, which grated harshly on her ears.
He had now almost entirely recovered his strength, but, except when the
shades of evening came on, he did not go out of doors.  The only reason
he gave for this was, that the light of day was disagreeable to his
eyes.  It was evident that Marco wished that he would take his
departure.  In the first place, Marco could not go to market; in the
second, the stranger was making love, in a rough way, to his daughter;
in the third, he was eating up his provisions; and, in the fourth
place--but that reason, probably stronger than any of the others, he
kept to himself.  'Renzo would gladly have volunteered to turn him out
crop and heel, but that would not have suited Marco's notions of
hospitality; nor was it likely that such proceeding would have passed by
unnoticed in some disagreeable manner by the stranger's friends.

One day, at noon, as Marco was working in his fields, and had just been
joined by Chiarina, who came to tell him that his dinner was ready, they
saw in the distance a cloud of dust, out of which shortly emerged a
troop of dragoons.  Chiarina remarked her father's agitation as he
hurried towards the house.  Their guest, on hearing who was approaching,
instantly retired to his room, telling Marco to say, if any inquiries
were made, that there was a sick man up-stairs with an infectious fever.
"Invite the officer to come in and prescribe for me," he added,

The body of cavalry halted under the house, but only an officer
dismounted and came up the hill.  He entered the house, and asking
carelessly for a jug of wine, inquired of Marco whether he had been
annoyed by the brigands.

"Ah, signore!  I am, happily, too small game for them to fly at," he
answered; "yet I love them not, nor wish to have any dealings with

The officer looked satisfied, and Marco hoped that he would ask no
further questions.

"Have you other inmates besides yourself and daughter?" asked the

"Assuredly, yes--a sick man up-stairs, who has been earnestly begging
that any gentleman who has a knowledge of the healing art, passing this
way, would come and see him," answered Marco, with all the calmness he
could command.  "His fever, he says, may be infectious; and, at all
events, I wish to have as little to do with him as possible.  Perhaps,
if you have a surgeon with your troop, you could send him up; or, if you
have any skill, signore, you would see him."

"I!  My skill is to kill, not to cure," said the officer, laughing at
his own wit, and completely deceived.

It was with no small satisfaction that Marco saw him again moving on at
the head of his men.

The stranger soon after appeared.

"I owe you a good turn, Marco Maffei," he said, with more cordiality
than he generally exhibited.  "The day may come when I can repay it.  I
shall not much longer trouble you with my society."

Marco did not say what he thought--that the sooner he was gone the

Day after day, however, passed by, the guest employing his time in
making love, as before, to Chiarina, to her evident annoyance, though at
this he seemed in no way disconcerted.

At length, one evening after dark, a loud knock was heard at the door,
and, when Marco opened it, an unshorn countenance was thrust in.

"Come, signore, we have been watched, and shall have no little
difficulty in rejoining our comrades if there is any delay," said a
gruff voice from out of the hair-covered mouth.  "You have been here too
long as it is."

The stranger, without demanding any explanation of the last remark,
jumped up, shook Marco warmly by the hand, and, endeavouring to bestow a
kiss on Chiarina's cheek, which she narrowly escaped, disappeared
through the doorway.

"A good riddance of bad rubbish!" thought Marco, as he muttered
something between a blessing and a curse between his teeth.

Chiarina was thankful that the stranger was gone, yet she was not happy;
for 'Renzo had not been to the cottage for three days, and she could not
tell what had become of him.  She no longer concealed from herself that
she loved him very dearly.


'Renzo was one day on his way over the mountains to visit Chiarina, when
before him appeared the barrels of three or four rifles, and a voice in
an authoritative tone ordered him to stop.  As he knew that rifle
bullets were apt to travel faster than he could run, he obeyed, and
presently, found himself in the hands of a party of especially
savage-looking bandits.

After proceeding for a couple of leagues or more, 'Renzo found himself
in a wild rugged part of the mountains, into which, though so near his
home, he had never penetrated.  Here a large band of ragamuffins were
collected, all armed; to the teeth, some of them being peasants whom he
knew by sight.  He was welcomed by name as a future comrade.

"Your comrade, indeed!  I will be the comrade only of honest men," he
answered boldly.

At this reply there was a laugh.

"We'll see what persuasions our brave chief, Giuseppe Greco, can
employ," exclaimed one of the band.

"He our chief?  What do you mean, Oca?  Our chief is Ninco Nanco, and no
one else," cried another.

"Then he should show himself,--he may be dead, or captured, for what we
know," said a third.

"We want a clever leader, like Greco, who can at will increase the
number of the band, and lay the whole country under contribution."

"Who will bring traitors among us, and make enemies on every side,"
muttered an old brigand, who had followed the craft from his earliest

From all he heard 'Renzo knew that there was a division in the camp of
the brigands, and soon ascertained that Greco was plotting to depose his
absent chief.  This was satisfactory, as he hoped it might be the means
of breaking up the confederacy.  It did not make him the less anxious to
effect his escape.  In vain he watched for an opportunity all night.

The next day the band moved some leagues farther to the east.  He found
himself strictly guarded, but not otherwise ill-treated; while his
companions used every means to impress him with the pleasures and
advantages of the life they led.

"I confess I do not perceive them," he answered.  "You have to live up
in the mountains; often like wild beasts, hunted from spot to spot.
Your fare is coarse, and often scanty.  Every day you run a chance of
being shot.  If taken, you will be hung, or sent to the galleys for
life; and, without scruple, you kill your fellow-creatures, if they
attempt to defend their property."

"Make the fellow hold his tongue," cried a voice near them; it was that
of Greco, who had approached unperceived.  "We must induce you to change
your mind, friend 'Renzo," he remarked.  "I want a sturdy fellow like
you as a lieutenant."

Greco was doing his utmost to increase the number of the band, hoping
thus to overpower the adherents of Ninco Nanco.  Small parties were
constantly sent out, therefore, who returned either with prisoners, or
recruits as they were called, or some booty and provisions.  What was
poor 'Renzo's grief and horror when, one day, he saw Marco Maffei, the
father of his dear Chiarina, brought in a prisoner, mounted on his mule!
He looked pale and alarmed.  Greco seemed highly satisfied at seeing

"Ah! ah!" he exclaimed, "you refused me your daughter in honourable
marriage three years ago.  I have waited ever since then to be revenged
on you, and now I have the opportunity."

The band was at this time collected in a hollow, with rocks and trees
around, effectually concealing its members from the world beyond.  The
only approach was by the pathway up which Marco had been led.

"Now, friend 'Renzo, the moment has arrived to decide whether you will
become one of us!" exclaimed Greco, in a harsh tone.  "I want yonder old
man put out of the world--to you I award the task."

'Renzo's heart sank within him.  He resolved, however, to make every
effort to save the life of his old friend.  He pleaded and argued.  He
might as well have talked to the surrounding rocks.

"Give him a rifle," at length exclaimed Greco, losing patience.  "See
that you use it as I direct."

'Renzo took the weapon, and ascertained that it was loaded properly.
The old man had been allowed to sit on his mule.  'Renzo approached him.

"Friend, forgive me for the deed I am compelled to commit," he said
aloud; then he hurriedly whispered, "I will draw off the attention of
the villains, and, as I do so, dash down the mountain.  Your beast is
trusty, and will not fall."

Once more he retired nearer to Greco, and again pleaded earnestly for
the old man's life.

"Fire!" cried Greco, stamping on the ground.

"Ay, I will!" exclaimed 'Renzo, swinging himself round so as to cover
the would-be chief of the band.

At that moment a report from another quarter was beard--a bullet
whistled through the air, and Greco fell, shot through the head.

"Fly, father, fly!" cried 'Renzo, springing towards Marco, and urging on
his mule.

The unexpected appearance of Ninco Nanco himself, who leaped down from
the rocks among them with three well-armed followers, drew off the
attention of the brigands from 'Renzo's proceedings.  Those who had
openly sided with Greco grasped their weapons, expecting to have to
fight for their lives.

"Nonsense!  No fighting among friends," said Ninco Nanco.  "I heard of
all that fellow was doing, and have settled scores with him pretty
sharply.  In future you'll all follow my orders."

Loud vivas greeted this address, and it was not for some minutes that
the brigands discovered that their prisoners had fled.  Some proposed
following them.

"No, no!  To the old man I owe a debt; it were an ill way of paying it
if I slew him," exclaimed Ninco Nanco.  "Though I love not the other, I
can afford to be generous, and so let him go also.  I can trust them.
They dare not betray us."

This act of the chiefs was looked upon as the very acme of heroic
generosity; and certainly nothing more worthy of praise has been
recorded of Ninco Nanco, the Brigand.

Having inspired the inhabitants of the surrounding districts with a
wholesome terror of his name, Ninco Nanco soon discovered that the
easiest way of collecting his revenue was to write a letter to any
wealthy proprietor he might fix on, demanding the sum required, or
horses, or provisions, as the case might be; and he seldom, fails to
obtain what he demands.

Marco and 'Renzo reached home safely, when Chiarina, who had been almost
heart-broken at their absence, in the exuberance of her joy at their
return, threw herself into the arms of her father, and then into those
of 'Renzo, quite forgetting all rules of propriety.

The young couple married soon afterwards; and, if they are not perfectly
happy, it is that they dread lest Ninco Nanco should some day pounce
down on them, and insist on 'Renzo joining his band.  They, therefore,
very reasonably hope to hear some day that that gentleman has been shot,
or hung, or sent to the galleys, or has been induced to accept a
situation under the Government, or been disposed of in some no less
satisfactory manner.

Story 12--CHAPTER ONE.


However averse we may be to war, we must acknowledge that it is often a
stern and cruel necessity: that it is calculated to draw out many of the
nobler qualities which exist in the human heart and mind, and that it
shows more than most other callings a man in his true colours.  There
were many gallant deeds performed during the late war with Russia; but,
taking all things into consideration, none surpass the defence of Kars,
or more completely prove what can be done by courage, energy and
perseverance, devotedness and unanimity, when directed by wisdom and
science.  All these qualities were displayed in a remarkable degree by
the British officers who undertook the defence of Kars against the
well-disciplined troops of Russia, with materials which ordinary men
would have considered utterly useless.  I feel particular pleasure in
writing a short account of that heroic undertaking, from having soon
afterwards met some of the British officers engaged in it in Russia
itself.  There, no longer enemies, but as honoured visitors, they were
received by the Russians with that respect which their gallantry had
won.  They were visiting, as I was, the gallery in Saint Petersburg of
that talented artist and persevering Siberian traveller, the late Mr
Atkinson.  While exhibiting his magnificent pictures, Mr Atkinson gave
us a deeply interesting account of his own adventures when he was
engaged in making the sketches from which he had painted them, and
altogether I look back to that morning as one of the most agreeable
spent during a short visit I made, soon after the war, to Russia.

But to our story about Kars.  While the British, French, and Sardinian
troops were before Sebastopol, the Russians hoped, by sending a powerful
army by way of the Caucasus, to attack the Turkish dominions in Asia on
the east, and to compel the Allies to despatch some of their forces to
the assistance of the Sultan.  The English Government had foreseen that
the Russians would do this, and had accordingly sent out General
Williams, then holding the rank of Colonel, and other officers, to put
the frontier Turkish fortresses in a state of defence.  On the confines
of the Turkish dominions in Armenia, and to the south-east of the Black
Sea, stands the town of Kars.  It is situated under a precipitous and
rocky range of hills, running east and west, and in most parts
impassable for artillery.  This range of hills is bisected by a deep
gorge, through which flows the river Karschai, over which are thrown
four or five bridges.  On the south side of Kars a fine level plain
stretches away for many miles till it meets a range of easy-sloping
heights.  Kars has a picturesque old feudal-looking castle, built on the
summit of a craggy rock, rising out of the gully, with the brawling
river at its base, and commanding the whole of the city.  The streets of
the town are narrow and dirty, and there are very few even tolerably
good houses, while the appearance of the population is sordid in the
extreme.  Besides the castle, there were no fortifications of any
consideration.  This was the place which, early in 1855, General
Williams, Colonel Lake, Major Teesdale, Captain Thompson, and other
English officers were sent to defend, with a disorganised Turkish force
under them, against a well-equipped Russian army, commanded by General
Mouravieff.  General Williams had received the rank of Ferik or
Lieutenant-General in the Turkish army, with the title of Williams
Pasha.  He and the gallant men with him had numberless difficulties to
contend with.  The Turkish officers were generally utterly worthless--
the neighbouring tribes of Kurdistan broke into revolt--the troops were
ill clothed, and ill fed, and unpaid, and the whole _morale_ of the army
was at the lowest state, while the town itself was to be placed in a
defensible condition, to withstand the assaults of the powerful army
advancing towards it.  The soldiers were upwards of two years in arrears
of pay--their shoes were worn out, their uniforms were in tatters, and a
large number were suffering from scurvy, caused by unwholesome food and
their long confinement in the ill-ventilated huts of Kars.  General
Williams and his companions were first engaged in fortifying the town of
Erzeroum, which will be found on the map some distance to the west or
rear of Kars, and from thence they proceeded to the defence of the
latter place itself.  The Russians were at that time assembling an army
at Gumri, and were evidently meditating a speedy attack on Kars.  As no
time was to be lost in preparing for it, the English officers set
manfully to work to overcome all obstacles, and to put the place in a
proper state of defence.  All vied with each other in zeal.  In all
weathers, at all times of the day and night, in the saddle or on foot,
they were to be found labouring with head and hand, sometimes in the
trenches with spade or mattock, sometimes drilling troops, receiving
chiefs, settling disputes, encouraging the wavering, and organising
various departments of the service.  Here is a description of General
Williams when the enemy had arrived before the town:--"We are all in the
saddle at half-past three a.m., and ride round the works; the troops are
certainly full of enthusiasm, and Williams Pasha or Ingleez Pasha is
already a great favourite.  They see him everywhere; he is with the
sentries at the menaced point ere the morning has dawned, anon he is
tasting the soldiers' soup, or examining the bread, and, if anything is
wrong here, his wrath is terrible.  His eyes are everywhere, and he
himself is ubiquitous.  Each soldier feels that he is something more
than a neglected part of a rusty machine: he knows that he is cared for,
and he is encouraged, and confident of being well led."  To Colonel
Lake, however, belongs the credit of having formed the chief
fortifications round Kars, as he was there while General Williams was
still at Erzeroum.  They were of considerable extent.  The chief battery
was on the summit of a semicircular range of hills, to the west and
north-west, and at the distance of two miles or more from the town.
This was Major Teesdale's position, and here General Kmety had his camp.
To the north again was a line of fortifications known as the English
Redoubts, where Colonel Lake commanded.  The river flowed between the
town and the above-mentioned batteries.  To the east, at a distance of a
mile from the town, was Captain Thompson's position--the Karsdagh
Battery, and from thence a line of batteries circled round to the south,
till they joined the river on the west.  Thompson's and Lake's positions
were connected by a bridge thrown across the river by the latter.  The
strongest position was a closed work, constructed by Colonel Lake, on a
height overlooking the city to the west, and known as Veli Pasha Tabia,
or Fort Lake.  It was armed with four heavy and several lighter guns,
and was the key of the whole northern position.  Day and night, officers
and men were employed in strengthening this extensive line of
fortifications, the whole northern part being on a succession of rugged
heights, commanding the surrounding country.  No one worked harder or
was more enthusiastic than the gallant Teesdale, and there also was the
brave Thompson with Dr Sandwith, the chief of the medical staff, who
gives a most graphic account of the first attack of the Russians.  It
was the 16th of June, the Feast of the Bairam, when the Turks generally
deliver themselves up to idleness and rejoicing, and all duty is
neglected.  But the vicinity of danger kept the garrison of Kars on the
alert, and early in the morning news was brought that the enemy were
advancing on the town.  The alarm was quickly raised, and all the
citizens rushed to the batteries.  Every one was in gayest apparel--the
gallant Karslis slung on their scimitars, buckled on their
cartridge-pouches, and shouldered their rifles, and in groups by the
dozen, with hearts beating high and glistening eyes, scaled the rocky
heights above the city.  Here is a picture:--"The women crowd the
house-tops, and cry to each passing warrior, `God sharpen your swords!
Remember us--we are praying for you--go, fight the infidels--God speed
you!'  In a short time each man is at his post, where, by those looking
down from the batteries, were to be seen the dark masses of the enemy
steadily advancing over the broad plain of rich meadow land, covered
with brilliant yellow flowers.  As they advance, a beautiful living
panorama is before the spectators--the enemy throw out their Cossacks
and Georgian skirmishers of irregular cavalry; these are met by the
Bashi-Bazouks, and a series of tournaments occur in the enamelled grassy
space intervening between the stern masses of advancing troops and the
breastworks of Kars.  Two or three regiments of cavalry now advance from
the Russian lines, and, after a trot of a mile or two, charge the
retreating squadrons of Turkish cavalry.  The rout of the latter is
complete, but the Bashi-Bazouks, under a gallant native chief from
Damascus, Ali Bey, fight well while retreating.  Suddenly puffs of dense
white smoke issue from the Karsdagh and Hafiz Pasha batteries, and the
screaming balls are seen to plough through the dense Russian masses.
The enemy's artillery is now brought up, but their balls glance
harmlessly from the dense earthworks.  The horsemen from both sides are
mingled, and rush for the entrance; but the Cossacks fall under the
deadly fire of the batteries, while those on whom our guns cannot play
are singled out by the Turkish riflemen, who line the rocky sides of
Karsdagh.  The attempt to rush into the works has failed; after less
than an hour's cannonading the enemy retires, while this repulse raises
the spirits of the garrison to the height of enthusiasm.  The Turkish
loss has been trifling, perhaps twenty, while that of the enemy must
have been considerably more."  So the fighting went on: sometimes the
enemy approached the entrenchments and retired without making an
attack--at other times they attempted to storm the place, but were were
driven back with slaughter.  The British officers did not cease to
strengthen their position; but they had soon to contend with a more
terrible enemy than the Russians within their own entrenchments.

All their supplies had been cut off--their provisions fell short, and
fierce famine made its appearance.  Discontent among the troops--the
irregulars chiefly--naturally followed; the town was closely beset by
Cossack horsemen on every side.  Still the war was carried on in a
civilised manner, and, from the first, the Russian General Mouravieff
showed himself a truly chivalric and humane man.  It was felt that,
should Erzeroum be taken, a vast number of siege-guns would be brought
against Kars, and its doom be sealed.

Another attack was made by the Russians on the 7th of August, but they
were driven back with considerable slaughter.  But it is with the
English officers we have to do:--"No sign of despondency clouded the
honest face of General Williams.  His `Good morning' salutation was as
cheerful as on the morrow of the first little victory.  He was thin--he
could not well be thinner: no wonder, for he never seemed to sleep.
Long ere daylight he was with the sentries of Major Teesdale's battery,
the point nearest the Russians, and his glass learned every movement;
anon he was encouraging the Bashi-Bazouks and settling their
differences, or arranging some plan for feeding the townspeople; and in
his confidential conversation with his officers on the state of affairs,
he would impress on them the duty of maintaining a bright and hopeful
bearing, since all the garrison looked up to them for encouragement,
Thompson lived altogether on the Karsdagh, and his glass ranged the
horizon from early morning until night; nor did he then go to a quiet
couch; for, though he turned in, yet, after an hour's light slumber, he
would visit each sentry round the whole works, and no part of the
position was as well guarded as that where this Argus had taken up his
quarters.  Teesdale lived with the gallant Hungarian, Kmety, and acted
as chief of his staff.  Besides his graver duties, he was constantly
harassing the Cossacks with parties of riflemen, or menacing and
attacking the Russian cavalry with a company of rifles and a couple of
guns."  Thus day after day skirmishing went on, but provisions became
more and more scarce; scurvy, the cholera, and fever broke out; numbers
died, but the courage of the brave leaders never flagged.  There was no
longer provender for the horses, and some of the cavalry, with a fearful
loss, cut their way through the enemy and escaped.

But the day of battle was not longer to be delayed--that day which was
to win the renown a soldier covets for the gallant strangers who led the
Turkish forces.  On the 29th of September, before daybreak, one of the
advanced sentries of the chief battery, nearest to the enemy, heard a
sound in the distance, something like the rumbling of wheels and the
tramp of infantry.  Kmety was soon on the spot.  He applied his ear to
the ground, and recognised the rumble of artillery-wheels; while still
the measured tread of infantry was heard advancing nearer and nearer up
the valley.  The night was moonless, and very dark.  Again all was
silent.  The Zebek riflemen look well to their percussion caps; the word
is passed to the artillery-men, "_peshref_" (grape); the advanced posts
creep into the lines with the ominous words "_Ghiaour gueliur_" (The
infidels are coming).  A dark mass, faintly seen through the gloom, is
observed.  It is moving; it is a column of men!  A gun is pointed in the
direction, the match is applied, and a hissing shower of grape flies
into the mass.  An unearthly scream of agony from mangled human frames
follows the thunder of the gun, when both are drowned by a loud hurrah
which rises on all sides, and soon the whole line of breastworks is
assailed in front and flank.  All surprise is at an end.  The Russians
advance in close column on the breastworks and redoubts, while some
Russian batteries, well placed on a commanding eminence opposite, pour
shot, shell, and grape into the redoubts.  Steadily each column
advances, while grape, round-shot, and musketry are pelted into them.
They still rush on; their officers, with wondrous self-devotion, charge
in front, and, single-handed, leap into the redoubts only to fall
pierced with bayonets.  Their columns, rent and torn, retire to reform.
Meantime, on the left flank and rear of the position, the breastworks
are carried; a number of tents are occupied by Russian troops, while
their officers, ignorant that the redoubts are closed, flatter
themselves that the position is won.  Kmety now, however, hastily
gathers together a formidable body of his best troops; Teesdale turns
some guns towards the rear and works them vigorously; Kmety's riflemen
pour into these partially victorious Russians a continued and
well-directed fire, which holds them in check, and woefully thins their
ranks.  Meantime, the son has risen, and shows each position of the
enemy.  A sulphurous cloud envelops the scenes of fiercest conflict,
while reserves in formidable numbers crown the distant slopes.  Fresh
columns of the enemy charge again and again the front line of
breastworks and batteries, from which they are at first driven back:
they are received with a deadly and withering fire; and thus the fight
continues.  But this is not the only struggle going on.  The line of
breastworks and forts protecting the heights on the north of the town
are attacked simultaneously by overpowering numbers, and being defended
only by a weak force, mainly of Laz irregulars, are carried and occupied
by Russian troops, who pile arms and wait for further orders; while the
Russian artillery-men employ their time in busily shelling the town,
which they now command.  Meantime, General Williams from the centre of
the camp is watching events.  He despatches a body under Kherim Pasha,
which appears suddenly on the flank of a large body of Russians now
gaining ground in the rear of the Turks on the chief battery.  A loud
yell arises of triumph and vengeance.  Baba Kherim waves his sword; his
troops pour a volley into the enemy; Kmety and his men, hitherto
overpowered, raise a responsive cheer: they rush on, crying, "_Sungu_!
_sungu_!"  (The bayonet! the bayonet!)  Teesdale pours fresh grape into
the staggering masses; the Russians waver--they give way--the havoc
slacks not.  The Turkish artillery hurl round-shots into these columns
of brave and devoted men.  Captain Thompson, on the extreme east, is
with might and main working a heavy gun, and keeping the enemy in check.
Once, and once only, there is a slight sign of giving way, but General
Williams despatching reinforcements, changes the backward into a forward
movement.  The loud hurrahs of the Russian hosts are mingled with the
yells of the Turks, who tight like tigers, charging repeatedly with the
bayonet.  White-turbaned citizens are seen plunging into the fight,
hewing with their scimitars; athletic and savage Lazistan mountaineers
fight with the clubbed rifle, or hurl stones at the advancing foe, while
the latter, ever obedient to a stern discipline, advance again and again
to the deadly batteries, and are blown from the very mouths of the guns.
Strong proof is there of the excellence of Colonel Lake's batteries.
For seven and a half hours the furious contest rages; when about mid-day
the Russian columns are seen running down the hill, their cavalry and
artillery steadily protecting their retreat.  A confused mass of
citizens follows them with the utmost temerity, firing into their
retreating ranks.  But where was the Turkish cavalry?  Two thousand
horsemen would have destroyed the Russian army, but none remain.  The
enemy reform, and march off unmolested.

The victory was complete, and the brave garrison looked forward with
hope to relief, but relief did not come--cholera did, and famine.  The
provisions decreased, and many soldiers died of starvation, of cholera,
sometimes fifty in a night.  News, however, came that Selim Pasha had
landed at Trebizond, and was advancing to their succour, and so our
brave countrymen resolved not to yield.  Still the relief did not come.
Famine, disease, and death stalked round the camp.  Human endurance
could last no longer.  The 25th of November arrived, and General
Williams and his aide-de-camp, Teesdale, rode over, under a flag of
truce, to the Russian camp, to propose a capitulation.  They were well
received by the humane Mouravieff.  Terms most honourable to the brave
garrison were speedily arranged; private property was to be respected;
the troops were to march out with colours and music, and surrender
themselves prisoners; "and write," said the Russian General to his
secretary, "that in admiration of the noble and devoted courage
displayed by the army of Kars, the officers shall be allowed to retain
their swords, as a mark of honour and respect."

Thus was Kars defended chiefly by the wisdom, courage, and perseverance
of a few Englishmen, gallantly supported by the Turkish troops; and thus
it fell, not before the arms of Russia, but in consequence of the
mismanagement, roguery, and pusillanimity of Turkish generals and
officials.  It would be difficult to point out to young soldiers an
example more worthy of imitation than that set by the gallant officers
who have been mentioned in these pages.

Story 13--CHAPTER ONE.


"You see me now an old and careworn man, with my few scanty locks white
as the driven snow; my eyes dim, my cheeks hollow, my shrunk and
tottering limbs scarce able to support my bent and emaciated body; my
blood languid, and flowing slowly round my heart; my voice weak and
tremulous as a child's; all my faculties deranged but memory, and that
alone survives to tell me who I am.  Memory, mysterious, inscrutable
power,--gladly would I have escaped its painful influence!  Alas! it
cannot be.  Thought alone, while every other faculty has departed, will
pursue me to the grave.

"I was not always thus, young man.  Ah! once my blood coursed freely
through my veins as yours, my limbs were stout and strongly knit, my
muscles were firmly strung, my figure was tall and graceful, and with my
arm few dared to compete.  No one ever cared a second time to tempt my
anger; my eye was bright and piercing as an eagle's, and my voice was
clear and powerful, so that it might be heard amid the raging of the
fiercest storm.  My heart never beat with fear; aloft, no one was more
active, or would so readily spring to the weather earing, when, in the
strongest tempest, the last reef was to be taken in the topsails.  Ah!
young man, you look incredulous.  I have stood securely on the main
truck when landsmen could scarcely keep their feet on deck.  I have hung
by one hand suspended to a single rope, tossing to and fro in mid air.
I have swum for miles on the foaming bosom of the ocean.  I have
contended with the wild beast of the desert.  I have stood amid showers
of bell and grape when my shipmates have been falling thickly around.  I
have with a few daring comrades fought hand to hand against overpowering
numbers on an enemy's deck.  I have faced death in a hundred shapes, and
I never trembled; yet now I bend even before the summer's breeze.
Worthless and miserable as I am, I have loved, truly and devotedly, ay,
and have been loved too in return.  The eye of beauty has sparkled, her
lip has smiled sweetly on me, her heart has beat with tender emotions;
when I drew near, those lips have uttered words of tenderest endearment
for my ear alone.  I have been young, strong, handsome, and bold;--I am
now old and broken, loathsome and nerveless.  Learn a moral, young man.
To this all must come whose span of life is lengthened out like mine;
then do the work to which you have been called while you have strength.
Remember that this life, whether passed in sunshine and in calm, or amid
cloud and storm, is like a voyage, speedily over, and that while it
lasts every man on board is bound to do his duty, nor like a coward
skulk idly below.  Vain and bitter are the regrets of age, and if all
men did but feel the importance of acting their parts faithfully towards
their Maker and their fellow-men, what an amount of misery and anguish
would be saved them in their latter days! how different would he the
world they are sent to inhabit!

"But I asked you to sit down on this stone by my side, while we watch
the shipping in the harbour below, and the deep blue sea sparkling in
the rays of the setting sun, to listen to a tale of my younger days, and
instead of that, I have been moralising, prating, you will say perhaps,
of things which do not interest you.  Well, well, follow my counsel; it
is all I ask; and so to my tale.

"It is now more than half a century ago that I got the berth of second
mate on board a fine ship belonging to the port of Liverpool.  Liverpool
was a very different town in those days from what it is now.  There were
no fine docks and spacious quays, no broad streets and magnificent
buildings, but yet it was a place of much bustle and trade; and trade is
the true mother of all the improvements.  Our ship was called the
_Chameleon_.  She was bran new, and had never yet made a voyage; she
measured four hundred and fifty tons burthen, was ship-rigged, and was
well found and fitted in every respect.  Her master was as thorough a
sailor as ever stepped, and, take them all in all, I suppose a stouter
ship, a better crew, or a more able master, never sailed from the port
of Liverpool.  But I have now more particularly to speak of the master.
His name was Derick--Captain Ashby Derick.  He was a young man, about
seven or eight-and-twenty, I suppose, and was very well connected and
educated.  He was very good-looking--the women called him remarkably
handsome--he was tall, with a firm, well-made figure and broad chest;
his complexion was naturally fair, though now bronzed by the sun, with
an abundance of light curly hair, and full whiskers; his eyes were large
and grey; his lips firm, and his nose fine, though somewhat hooked,
which prevented his face from having any approach to effeminacy.  He had
from boyhood been rather wild; indeed, his principles were none of the
best, and it was for that reason that his father, who was a very strict
man, had sent him to sea, that he might not set a bad example to his
brothers.  The world looked on him as a rollicking, careless blade, with
more animal spirits than wisdom to guide him; but his employers knew him
to be a first-rate seaman, and one liked by his crew, and that was all
they had to inquire about.  Now for my part, I believe that had he been
well guided at first, and properly instructed in his duty to God and
man, he would not have turned out a bad man; but he had not his fair
play; he was cast like a waif on the waters, without rudder or compass,
to find his way as he best could over the troubled sea of life, and how
could those who sent him expect him to escape shipwreck?  His fate has
been the fate of many.  He grew up with numerous fine manly qualities.
He was brave and bold as man can be; he was generous to his friends,
kind-hearted to any in distress, and full of life and animation, but his
temper was hot and hasty.  He had no religion, though he did not scoff
at it in others; but he did not know what it meant; and he had no
morality; indeed, no one could trust to his principles.  With women he
had very winning ways, and was a great favourite with them.

"After his return from his last voyage he went to stay with some friends
living in Lancashire, not many miles from Liverpool.  At the distance of
a mile or two from the house where he was staying, there lived on the
borders of a wild heath or common, in an almost ruined cottage, an old
woman.  The old woman's name was Kirby--Mother Kirby she was called--and
she was reported to be a witch by the common people, who told all sorts
of stories about her.  It is certain that she was of a sour bad temper,
that she was very old and very ugly, and could use her tongue most
fluently.  But it is not about her I am going to speak at present.  She
had a granddaughter who lived in the hut with her, but was as unlike her
in every respect as light from darkness.  Amy Kirby was one of the most
beautiful girls you ever saw--she was slight and graceful, with a
well-rounded form, and tall rather than short; her hair was black as
jet; her eyes large, dark, and lustrous; and her cheeks bore all the
bloom of health and youth; her complexion was clear, but it just showed
that there was a slight touch of gipsy blood in her veins; her step, as
she walked along, was as elastic as a young fawn's; and her voice was
like the skylark's as it mounts into the blue sky at early dawn.

"It was surprising to see how the old woman loved a being so unlike
herself, how carefully she tended her, how well she had brought her up.
She had taught her many things which girls in her rank of life never
learn; she even got all sorts of books for her to read.  Amy was always
neatly dressed, and while the rest of the cottage was almost in ruins,
her room was as good as any in a well-to-do house.  No one knew how the
old woman got the money for these purposes, but whenever any was wanted
for Amy it was always forthcoming.  One thing, alas! she had not taught
her--that was religion; and neither the old woman nor her grandchild was
ever seen to enter a church.

"Amy was about seventeen when Ashby Derick first saw her.  He met her on
the common near her grandmother's cottage, and as he was a stranger
there he stopped to ask his way, and from one question another was
asked, and a few words led to many.  His heart in a moment was struck by
her beauty, and he felt that he had never seen any one he admired so
much.  She, too, was pleased with his look and fine manly bearing, but
she would not tell him who she was, nor where she came from.  She
laughingly said that she was the spirit of the heath, that she dwelt in
the air, and that her carriage was the storm, and that whenever he would
seek her he must come there to find her.  This excited his curiosity,
and if she had told him that she lived in the ruined cottage hard by,
from her dress and language he would not have believed her.  Every day
he visited the heath, and each time he found her there on the same spot,
and hour after hour he spent with her, more and more captivated by her
charms.  What was extraordinary was, that he could never find out her
name, nor anything about her, or he might perhaps have not gone so far
as he did.  The strangeness of the affair pleased him, for he was of a
romantic turn, and I believe fancied her some well-born lady in disguise
who had fallen in love with him.  She must have been, from what I heard,
full of life and wit, and of course showed out more to him than she had
ever done to others.  Indeed, her mind was of no ordinary character, and
had it been well guided she would have been equal to any lady in the
land.  At last he offered her marriage.  She laughed, and told him that
he would be marrying a spirit, and that he must come to her home, for
that she would never go to his.  He had better think over it, for that
no good could come of it.  This only made him more vehement, and he
vowed and swore that he would marry her and her alone.  The belief is
that she was of the gipsy religion as well as of the gipsy race, and
gipsies look upon an oath as binding as any other form of marriage, and
therefore after that she considered Ashby Derick as her husband.  I
cannot say if what she told him about her being the spirit of the heath
had anything of truth in it, as some people believed, but her heart and
soul were his, and she loved him with all the passionate ardour of a
child of a race which comes from the lands of the burning sun of Egypt.
The consequence was, that she went to reside with him at his house near

"Her grandmother had never come to see her, but at last the old woman
could no longer resist the strong wish she had of visiting her.  Derick
came in and saw the witch-like creature sitting by the side of the
beautiful girl he professed to love so much.  He did not like the look
of her, and in an angry tone he asked her what she did there.

"`I've as much right to be here as you have,' answered the old woman.
`I've come to see my grandchild, and I should like to know what fault
you can find with that!'

"`You come to see your grandchild!--you Amy's grandmother!  I don't
believe it,' he exclaimed, starting back from her with a look of horror.
`You, you wizen-faced, shrivelled old hag!'

"`What! you dare to call me names!' screamed the old woman; `you'll
repent it--that you will, my master.'

"On this, Derick turned to Amy and asked if the old woman spoke the
truth.  Amy confessed that she was her grandmother, and then burst into
tears, which so enraged the dame that she went away muttering curses
between her teeth, which Derick could not understand.  They had a great
effect upon him, and from that time his love for the beautiful gipsy
began to cool.  I ought to have said that before Derick had fallen in
with the poor girl he had been paying his addresses to a young lady of
family and fortune who had been captivated by his handsome face and
figure.  While the above affair had been going on he had neglected his
former attentions to this lady, but he now began to resume them.  He
never told her the reason of his absence, and he made so much play to
recover his lost ground, that he was soon reinstated in her good graces.
She was not only rich, but handsome and clever, and she so quickly
enslaved the heart of Derick, that he neglected poor Amy altogether.  He
next proposed marriage to her; he was accepted, and the day of the
wedding was fixed.

"Poor Amy had heard nothing about it, whatever she might have suspected,
and she had grown accustomed to his long absences, though her heart was
breaking at his coldness.  Well, Captain Derick and his beautiful bride
went to church to be married, and a very grand wedding it was, and
numbers of relations and friends attended.  Just as the service began, a
alight female figure, wrapped close in a cloak with a hood, was seen to
steal into the church, and to hide itself behind one of the pillars
which supported the roof.  Derick observed the circumstance and changed
colour, and his hand trembled as he put the ring on his wife's finger.
Just at that moment a piercing scream was heard ringing through the
aisles and vaulted roof of the church, and filling the hearts of
everybody present with dismay.  They searched the church throughout for
the stranger in the hooded cloak, they looked around in every direction,
but she was nowhere to be found, and no one had seen her quit the
church, nor had any one observed her in the neighbourhood.  That night
there was a fierce storm of thunder and lightning, wind and rain, and on
the following morning the young and once beautiful Amy Kirby was found a
blackened corpse on the very spot where Ashby Derick had first met her.
Some said that she had been killed by lightning, but it was generally
supposed that she had died by poison, which she had taken in her

"The old grandmother was the first person to tell Derick of what had
happened, though he was a hundred miles or so from the spot on his
wedding tour.  She came into the room where he and his young wife were
sitting, without any one announcing her, and nearly frightened the bride
to death by the way she swore and cursed Derick, so that at last he
became so enraged that he called up the servants and turned her out of
the house by main force.  She went away threatening that she would
shortly wreak a bitter vengeance on him for his murder of the only being
she loved on earth.  The same evening she was back again in her now
desolate hut near Liverpool.  If she had with some reason been before
suspected of being a witch, she was thought to be one now to a certainty
from her strange look and ways of going on, and she took delight in
making everybody believe her one.  The sudden appearance of the old
woman so frightened the young bride that she fell ill, and the doctors
all agreed that the best thing to restore her shattered nerves would be
for her to take a long voyage to a southern climate.  Derick was not
sorry to hear of this advice, for though he loved his wife, so he did
his profession, and had no intention of giving that up, especially when
he could take her with him.  At first her friends did not like the idea
of her going, but he soon persuaded them, and she, poor young thing! was
delighted at the thought of accompanying him, and of visiting foreign
countries.  She had been nurtured in every sort of luxury, and had never
been to sea before, so she little knew what she had to undergo.
However, he had a cabin fitted up for her very elegantly, so that she
might be as comfortable as possible.  The cargo was stowed, the ship was
cleared at the custom-house, the lady and all her things were on board,
our owners and different friends had gone on shore, and Captain Derick
was standing close to the taffrail and waving his hat, as the ship, all
her fastenings being cast off, moved away from the quay, when on a
sudden there appeared at the end of a jetty, close to which we had to
pass, the old hag, Dame Kirby.

"I have not yet described her.  She had in her youth been very tall, but
she was now bent nearly double, though she contrived to raise herself at
times of great excitement to nearly her former height.  She was thin and
wizened, with large prominent features, and eyes once large, now sunk so
deep in her head that they would have been scarcely perceptible, except
from their extraordinary lustre.  In her hand she carried a long twisted
staff to support herself, and she wore a red cloak and a queer little
hat, from under which her long grey locks straggled in the wind.  Her
gown, such as it was, all rags and tatters, was looped up in front to
enable her to walk, and as she raised herself up, her long bony leg,
which was advanced forward, looked so like that of a skeleton that it
was impossible to believe that it belonged to a living being.  Her arms,
which were also quite bare, appeared composed of nothing but bone and
sinew, and the skin which covered them, like that of her face, was as
yellow as parchment.  They, as well as her hands and fingers, were of
great length, and as she walked along in her usual way, she almost
touched the ground with them.  When the captain first saw her standing
directly in front of him, with her hideous features scowling malignantly
on him, appearing, as she did, the prominent figure, while his friends
faded in the distance, he started back and trembled violently.  He
quickly, however, recovered himself, especially when he found his wife,
who had come upon deck, close to his side.  Her presence seemed to
enrage the old woman greatly.  She slowly raised up her bent body till
she seemed taller than any woman I ever saw, and stretching out her
staff, waved it round and round in the direction of the ship.

"`Curses attend you, and follow all who sail with you,' she shrieked
out, in a loud shrill voice, which pierced through our ears, and made
the oldest seaman on board turn pale with apprehension.  `False-hearted,
perjured murderer, betrayer of innocence, deceiver of a faithful heart,
destroyer of one who would have clung to you through weal and through
woe, through good report and evil report, through life unto death!  Now
take the consequence.  As you valued not the treasure of her love, you
shall rue the bitterness of my hate.  You are proud of your knowledge,
you are proud of your hardy crew, you are proud of your stout ship, but
your knowledge shall not avail you in the fierce tempest I will raise;
the waters shall drown your hardy crew, and the hard rocks shall batter
in pieces your stout ship!  Wherever you go I will follow you; in the
furthermost parts of the wide ocean you shall find me, in the howling of
the raging storm you shall hear me, in the flashes of the vivid
lightning you shall see me.  My vengeance will not sleep, my hate will
not abate.  Your bold heart shall quail and sink like a woman's, your
cheek shall blanch, when you feel that I am nigh, and hiss into your
ears the name of her you murdered, and you see borne before your eyes on
the whirlwind the writhing form of her who was once so lovely, dying in
agony on the wild heath alone and hopeless.  Blasted shall be the beauty
of which you are proud, withered shall be your form, frozen your heart,
and she who now stands in youth and loveliness by your side shall learn
to repent she knew you, and shall share your fate.  Sail onward on your
course, but never shall your eyes again behold your native land, or hear
the greeting of the friends you leave behind.  But me you shall hear,
and me you shall see, when you would give all the wealth of India not to
see me or to hear me, and wish that I never existed.  Go now--sail--
sail--sail away over the wide sea!  Curses hover over you where'er you
go!  Curses attend your hardy crew!  Curses follow after the stout ship
which hears you!'

"While uttering these dreadful imprecations, she whirled her staff still
more violently in the air, and uttered shrieks louder than ever, until
she almost drove the captain and everybody on board mad with horror; and
while we were all wondering what she would do next, a sudden squall took
the ship aback, and it was of such violence that we were as nearly as
possible driven stern on to the pier.  Everybody had to run to the
braces, tacks, and sheets, and sharp work we had to slew the yards round
in time; and when we looked again for the old woman, she was nowhere to
be seen.  I never before or since have met in the Mersey a squall so
sudden, or so violent, and in a minute it was over, and the wind blew as
it had done before.  What was also strange was, that not one of the
other ships in the river had felt it.  The old pilot who was taking us
clear of the sands shook his head and said he did not at all like the
look of things, that no good ever came of such strange doings; but
Captain Derick, who was himself again the moment Dame Kirby had
disappeared, laughed, and asked him what harm could possibly happen from
the ravings of an old mad woman.

"The young bride also did not at all like it, for she could not help
recognising her as the old hag who had come and frightened her on the
day of their marriage; and though Derick did his best to persuade her
that there was nothing of truth in what she said, she could not bring
herself to believe him.  Those dreadful shrieks and curses had pierced
her young heart, and struck her soul with dread.

"`Why, my love,' he said, `what power to do us harm can a wretched old
creature like that have?  She is some unfortunate maniac who has escaped
from her keepers, and has got this story about a grandchild she has
lost, and whom, perhaps, some man has neglected, into her head, and has
fixed it upon me.  Poor old hag! she is more to be pitied than feared.
It would have been a mercy to have sent a bullet through her head, and
put her out of her misery, when she was howling at us leaving the quay,
and I confess I felt not a little inclined to do so.  I don't mean to
say that it would have been right to hurt her--of course, I would not,
poor thing.  So now let us laugh at the foolish fears of the crew, and
think no more about the matter.'

"Even while he was speaking, I saw his lip tremble, and his eye belied
his words.  His wife, who by this time knew him pretty well, was aware
all the time that he was not speaking his real feelings, though perhaps
he was trying to deceive himself, as well as her and others.

"Mrs Derick was certainly a very handsome woman, and she did not want
wit or sense.  She was dotingly fond of her husband, though she had
found out that he had a good number of faults to weigh in the scale
against his good looks, which is what many a woman is apt to discover
when she marries a man for his handsome face, instead of for his sense
and goodness.  Though the captain appeared in high spirits, and laughed
and talked as gaily as need be, the crew could not get the thought of
the old hag out of their heads; and when the pilot left us, he looked
very grave, and said that his heart would not be light again till he saw
the ship safe back in the Mersey once more.  I believe that at that time
one-half of the men would have left the ship if they could have done so.
Indeed, some attempted to follow the pilot, but Derick rushed on deck
with his pistols in his hands, and swore that he would blow out the
brains of the first man who should attempt such a trick.

"`You confounded idiots!' he exclaimed.  `I thought I had shipped a crew
of men, who would face the devil if I led them; instead of that, I've
got a number of sucking babies on board.  Pity I did not ship some casks
of pap to feed you on!  But now I've got you, I intend to keep you, and
to try if I can't make men of you; so I don't mean to part company just
now, and shall keep my powder dry for ready use.'

"This speech had the effect of shaming the men into their duty, and for
some time we heard no more of the old witch.  I ought to have said that
we were bound for Chili and the western coast of South America, and were
to visit some of the islands in the Pacific before we returned home, so
that we thus expected to be away the best part of two years.  We had a
fair wind after leaving the Mersey, and enjoyed a fine run clear of the
Channel, and until we got into the latitude of Gibraltar, so that the
men entirely recovered their spirits and good humour, and, with the
carelessness of seamen, even began to laugh at their former fears.  Mrs
Derick took a great liking to the sea, and told her husband that she
should always be ready to go with him.  Poor thing! she had only yet
seen the bright face of it.  Those who know the ocean can say, that,
like many a beautiful woman, it wears two very different aspects at
different times.  We all began to like the lady very much, which
officers and crew do not always do the skipper's wife; but she was like
a gleam of sunshine on a cloudy day, and stood between us and the
somewhat dark temper which the captain now often showed.  Thus things
went on very well on board the _Chameleon_, and there appeared to be
every prospect of a pleasant voyage.

"I said that we were bound for Chili and the western coast of South
America.  In those days the jealous and narrow-minded commercial policy
of Spain prohibited the ships of any other nation than their own trading
with her colonies.  The consequence was, that those provinces,
notwithstanding their internal sources of wealth, remained poor and
insignificant, and their inhabitants ignorant and bigoted, while in
North America a state was springing up which not only surpassed their
whole united provinces in power and influence, but soon became in a
condition to bid defiance to the rest of the world.  We, therefore, did
not hope to carry on a regular trade with these degenerate Spaniards,
but our intention was to call off different parts of the coast, and to
sell our goods wherever we found people ready to buy them, without
troubling ourselves by entering at any custom-house.  There was some
risk, it is true, in this species of traffic, but there was also some
adventure, and it required considerable sagacity and courage, and this
exactly suited Derick's taste.  I forgot to say that we carried four
guns on a side, and were well supplied with muskets, pistols, and
boarding-pikes, both to defend ourselves against the Spanish
custom-house officers, and also against any piratical rovers, who, in
that day, were known at times to frequent those seas, to rob any unarmed
merchantmen they might fall in with.

"The plan, in dealing with the Spaniards, when I had been in that part
of the world before, was to call off the coast two or three leagues away
from a town, and to send on shore, by some fishing-boat, to the
merchants, to say what goods we had, and that we were ready to deal with
them.  They would then send back word when they would come, probably on
that or the following night.  If the weather were fine we used to anchor
close in shore, always keeping a bright look out in case of treachery.
As soon as it was dark, the merchant", or their agents, would come off
in their boats, and take the goods on shore, and pay us good prices in
hard dollars.  So much for restrictive duties.  Scarcely a ship entered
at the custom-house at any of those ports, and the Government got no
revenue, while, on account of the difficulties and risks, the people had
to pay just as much as they would have done for the goods had moderate
dues been levied, and the trade been regular and above board.  But I am
running away from the subject of my story.  Well, as I was saying, we
made very fine weather of it, though the wind was seldom fair, till we
reached about twenty-seven degrees north latitude, when we got into the
north-east trade-winds, which carried us along at a spanking pace, with
studding sails alow and aloft on either side, till we were nearly in the
latitude of Rio do Janeiro.  It was enough to make a man vain of his
ship, of himself, and of the art which formed her, to see her thus
walking along the water, with her wide spread of snowy canvas proudly
sweeping the blue vault of heaven.  Captain Derick rubbed his hands, and
smiled with satisfaction, as he walked the deck and looked up at the
well-set sails, and then over the side, to watch the sparkling foam as
it quickly flew past and formed a long wake astern.  He amused his young
wife and himself in teaching her the names of the ropes and sails, and
she fully shared his pleasure and satisfaction.  I remember them as if
it were yesterday; she was sitting on the bench, on the after-part of
the deck, with one arm resting on his shoulder, and her face looking up
at his, while he was explaining some point she could not at first
understand.  They certainly were a handsome couple.  The sea was smooth,
the sky was blue, and the air was pure and warm.  That evening was the
last we saw of fine weather.  It seemed sent us on purpose to show how
pleasant the world could be, and to make us wish the more to remain in
it.  On the morning following the one I have described, a dark mass of
clouds was seen gathering in the south-west, rising out of the sea, and
every instant growing denser and broader, as recruits from all quarters
arrived; then, like some mighty host, which has been waiting the arrival
of its various divisions, onward it began its march towards us.  As the
dark body advanced, its movement became more rapid, and at last, as if
urged on by some irresistible impulse, it rushed forward in an impetuous
charge, covering the whole sky with its overwhelming masses.  The
captain had been called on deck the moment the sky had assumed this
threatening aspect, and he immediately ordered all the lighter sails to
be handed, the courses to be brailed up, and the ship to be kept on the
starboard tack, under her topsails.  As yet there had been a perfect
calm, and the sails flapped idly against the masts, though the ship
rolled heavily in the smooth ominous billows, which had been rising for
some hours past.  Suddenly, the wind burst forth from the dark clouds,
accompanied with rain and hail, and struck the ship on her broadside,
while the forked lightning played round her on every side, as if eager
to make her feel its power.  Like a reed bent before the wind, the stout
ship yielded to the fierce blast.  It howled in triumph over her.  In an
instant, her gunwale was under water, and the waves washed up her decks
and threatened to fill her hold.  She was in as bad a position as a ship
can be placed in, and it seemed that every moment would he her last.
Derick now showed that he was a good seaman, cool and fearless in

"`Furl the mizzen-topsail,' he shouted out.  `Up with her helm--brail up
the main-topsail--furl it--she'll not steer without it.'  The
mizzen-topsail and main-topsail were furled, the fore-topsail was backed
against the mast, the fore-staysail and jib were set, but to no purpose.
Still she lay like a log upon the waters with her broadside to the

Story 13--CHAPTER TWO.

"I ought to have said that all this time Mrs Derick, who had refused to
stay below, was on deck seated aft under the weather bulwarks, and
looking on less frightened perhaps than awe-struck at the wild scene
before her.  On finding that the ship still refused to wear, the captain
summoned the mates with some of the best hands aft, and gave them the
order to cut away the mizzen mast.  With gleaming axes in our hands we
set to work, the shrouds were severed, and after a few sharp strokes the
mast tottered and fell with a crash into the boiling sea.  The
looked-for effect was not produced--still the ship would not wear.
Another mast must be sacrificed; no other remedy remained.  Again we
gave the fatal strokes which must reduce our ship to a wreck upon the
waters; over fell the tall mast with its spars and rigging, and a few
more cuts served to sever it from the labouring hull.  The effect was
instantly perceptible--the ship righted, the helm was kept up, and away
she flew before the howling tempest.

"Scarcely was she before the wind than the storm increased with tenfold
fury, the wind blew more fiercely, the thunder rolled more loudly, the
rain and hail came down in thicker torrents, the lightning flashed more
vividly, while the waves rose on every side in black mountainous ridges
covered with curling crests of foam, which the wind sent in showers on
our decks even when the water itself did not break over us.

"The foremast had hitherto stood secure, though weakened by the loss of
the mainmast, but now as the tempest came down stronger on us, that too
tottered, and went by the board, carrying the bowsprit with it.  As this
last accident happened, the captain's wife shrieked with terror; it was
answered by a shout of shrill laughter, so loud, so piercing, and so
unnatural, that it made the heart of every one on board tremble.  It
might well do so, for as we looked over the side of the driving ship,
what should we see right abreast of us, in a small skiff, gliding over
the frothy summits of the waves, but the very old woman who had uttered
such dreadful curses at us as we were quitting Liverpool--Dame Kirby!
There she sat in the stern sheets of the boat, steering by an oar with
one hand, while the left bony arm was stretched out pointing derisively
at us, and her countenance, as full of malignant revenge as is possible
for any being possessing human features, was turned full upon us.  A
large sail was hoisted on the single mast, enough, one would have
supposed, to lift the light skiff right out of the water; but she sat as
composedly as if she were floating on a lake on a summer's evening; her
boat did not seem to ship a drop of water, nor ever to sink into the
trough of the sea, but it somehow or other went along on the summit of
every wave.

"Every one on board saw the old woman, and knew her to be Dame Kirby.
So did poor Mrs Derick; and after gazing at her wildly for some time,
she could bear the dreadful sight no longer, and fell back in a swoon.
Her husband ran to raise her, and as he supported her in his arms, he
shouted out to the old woman to begone, and to be content with the
mischief she had already caused.  Indeed, there was not a soul on board
who did not believe that she had done all the damage we had suffered.
The hag only laughed and jeered at him the more he stormed, and so madly
enraged did he become at her mockery, that I do believe had he not been
holding his wife in his arms, he would in his passion have flung himself
overboard to get hold of her.

"It must not be supposed that the officers and crew were idle all this
time, for as soon as the foremast went we set to work to get up a jury
mast on the stump of the foremast, to prevent the ship from broaching
to; this, three men at the wheel had meantime the greatest difficulty in
preventing her doing.  At length, after much labour, we got up a spare
topgallant mast, and set a topgallant sail on it, and all present danger
was over.  No sooner had we done this, than the witch uttered a loud
`Ha, ha, ha,' which sounded like what one might suppose to be the croak
of a frog in a merry mood, only a hundred times louder and shriller than
any frog ever croaked; and about she put her skiff, and away she went
right in the wind's eye, accompanied by a storm of lightning and rain,
at the rate of not less than twenty knots an hour.  When she had
disappeared, the poor lady began to come to herself again, and her
husband tried to persuade her that what she had seen was all fancy, and
laughed heartily at the idea of an old woman in a red cloak coming out
into the middle of the Atlantic in a skiff, which could not live a
moment in such a sea as there was running.

"But she knew well enough all the time what she had seen, and nothing he
could say to the contrary could persuade her that some dreadful disaster
would not happen to them.  I will do him the justice to say that, with
all his faults, he was as brave a fellow as ever stepped, or he would
not have borne up as he did.  Any one to look at him, or to hear him,
would suppose that he had no more seen the old woman than if she had
never existed, while all the time it was on his account especially that
she thus haunted us.

"Where we should have got to, I don't know, at the rate we were driving,
but the next day the wind shifted right round again to the north-east,
and sent us back as fast as we came till we were off the city of Rio de
Janeiro, in the Brazils.

"We managed to steer into that magnificent harbour, and as we were in
evident distress we were allowed to remain and refit; but the Portuguese
in those days were not a bit wiser than their Spanish neighbours, and
would allow no foreign trader to come into their ports.

"The harbour of Rio is a magnificent expanse of water, and the country
would be the finest in the world in the hands of any of the northern
nations of Europe; but the Portuguese did not know how to take advantage
of the blessings given them by Heaven, either at home or in the
colonies, and except in the neighbourhood of Rio itself, the greater
portion of the Brazils was uncultivated.  It is, however, a very
pleasant place to visit, and our captain, leaving the ship in charge of
the first mate, took his wife on shore, where, among the delightful
orange groves and gardens, she soon recovered from the shock her spirits
had received from the events I have described.

"We remained here for several weeks refitting the ship, for the
Portuguese carpenters and riggers, though they did their work well, got
through it very slowly, and though our owners suffered by the delay, we
had no reason to complain.  At last the ship was all ataunto and ready
for sea.  As Captain Derick with his pretty wife on his arm came down on
the quay before going on board, he stopped to admire the appearance of
the _Chameleon_.  He pointed out her beauties with satisfaction as she
lay in all her pride a short distance from the shore, looking as if
nothing had ever hurt her.

"`There she is, my love, as stout and brave a ship as ever sailed the
salt ocean,' he exclaimed.  `We may bid defiance to the old woman, if
she ever thinks fit to come near us again.  Not that I believe one was
really seen--it was fancy, my love, fancy, the work of the imagination,
that often plays strange freaks.  I was wrong to allude to the subject.'
He spoke hurriedly, and afterwards broke into a laugh, for fear his
wife should suspect he and the rest of us really had seen the witch.
They came on board, the anchor was run up cheerily to the bows, the
sails were loosened, and with a fine northerly breeze we stood out of
the harbour, and kept away once more on our course.  We had beautiful
weather for some days, and as our spirits rose in the pure fresh air, we
forgot all our former fears, and fully believed that we were going to
have a prosperous cruise.

"An event, however, soon occurred, to make us think differently.  We
were within sight of land, with the sky overhead bright and blue, and
the sea calm as a millpond, when on a sudden a tremendous squall struck
the ship, carrying away our topgallant masts, sails, and yards, and
throwing her on her beam ends.  The topsails were clewed up, and the men
were sent on the yards to furl them.  I was at the weather earing, on
the main-topsail-yard, when just as she was righting, a second squall
struck and hove her down again so suddenly that three of our best hands
were shaken from their hold and hurled into the hissing waters under our
lee.  Their loud shrieks reached our ears, but when we looked for them
they were nowhere to be seen.  At that moment, I, as well as every man
on board, beheld as clearly as I do you, right to windward of us, the
old witch, in her skiff, skimming over the frothy waters, and pointing
jeeringly at us with her bony hand.

"There was not much sea on, and as soon as we could we hove the ship to,
and Captain Derick ordered a boat to be lowered to look for the men.
Now I believe our crew were as brave men as any fellows of their class,
but when they prepared to lower the boat, instead of flying as usual on
such occasions, to try and be the first in her, they all hung back, and
not one of them would go.  They did not like the look of the old woman,
even when they were comparatively safe on the deck of the vessel, but
the idea of finding her close to them in the boat, perhaps of feeling
the touch of her staff or the gripe of her bony fingers, was too
dreadful to be thought of.

"`What, you cowards, are you afraid of?' shouted the captain, in a
furious rage.  `Your shipmates will be drowned while you're skulking
there--lower away the boat, or I'll shoot some of you.'

"These words had the desired effect.  Three hands sprang into the boat
to be lowered in her, the third mate and another were following, when
through the fright and carelessness of some of the people, one of the
falls was let run too soon, the boat was swamped alongside, and the
three hands were washed out of her before they could get hold of
anything to save themselves.  A loud cackling peal of laughter was heard
as this second catastrophe occurred, and the witch was seen whirling her
staff round on the other side of the ship.

"I thought most of the crew would have jumped overboard in their fright
as they saw what she was about.  The captain all the time was as cool as
if nothing out of the way had happened, though his wife, who was
unfortunately on deck at the time, and saw it all, had fallen down again
in a swoon from terror.  He scarcely heeded her; he was intent on
something else.

"`Lower the starboard quarter-boat,' he sang out.  `I shall go in her;
who'll follow me?'

"I and three hands declared our readiness, and this time more caution
being used, the boat was got safely into the water with us in her.

"`Take care of my wife, Mr Tanner,' cried the captain to the first
mate, as he sprang over the side; `see if you can bring her to.'

"We got clear of the ship, and with very misdoubting hearts pulled away
in the direction where we hoped to find any of our shipmates who might
still have kept themselves afloat.  By this time there was a good deal
of sea running, stirred up by the violence of the squall, though not so
much as there would have been had we not been under the lee of the land.
As the boat rose to the top of a wave we fancied that we could see one
of the poor fellows who had been cast off the yard struggling in the
distance, but when we got up to the spot he had disappeared.  A cry from
a drowning man was heard in another direction, and away we pulled
towards it, but before we could clutch the poor fellow he had sunk
beneath the waves.

"A third man was seen at a distance still striking out boldly--now he
rose to the top of a wave, now he sank into the trough of the sea.  We
made sure that we at least should save him.  Every nerve was strained as
we bent to our oars to reach the swimmer.  He saw us coming--he felt
certain of being saved; but a power greater than his or ours was his
enemy, and when we were within twenty yards of him we saw him throw up
his arms in despair, his eyeballs started from his head, and with a
shriek of agony he sank beneath the foaming waves.  He was the last--the
others had disappeared, and no trace of them was to be seen.

"Our search had been fruitless.  Intent upon our object, we had not
observed where we were going.  Now, as we looked up to search around for
our other shipmates, we saw directly before us the ill-looking witch in
her skiff, turning her countenance, with a malignant scowl, over her
shoulder to look at us.  The hideous sight seemed to drive the captain

"`Give way my men, give way,' he shouted, in a voice trembling with
earnestness; `give way; we'll overtake the cursed hag, and I'll punish
her for haunting us in this way.'

"With a strange species of infatuation we bent to our oars as ordered,
in the hopes of catching her.  We might as well have attempted to
overtake the whirlwind.  The more we strained at our oars, the louder
and more insulting became her cackling shrieks of derisive laughter.

"`You hell-born hag, stay and speak, and tell me whence you come and
where you are going!' shouted Derick, but the witch did nothing but grin
more maliciously, and jeer and laugh the louder.  Still we continued the
pursuit, but we never got an inch nearer to her, though she was going
away with her sail set, right in the wind's eye.  The harder we pulled
the faster she went, and at last disappeared in a squall of thick rain,
which drove down upon us.  This was fortunate for us, for so mad had the
captain become, that I believe he would have followed her till we all
dropped down from fatigue, and he was not the man, in his present mood,
the boldest of us dared disobey.  We now looked round for the ship.  She
was nowhere to be seen.

"I cannot describe to you the feelings which took possession of our
hearts.  It was the blankest despair: Derick alone seemed indifferent to
our fate, and only felt enraged at not having been able to overtake the
witch.  I believe we were capable of jumping overboard, or of rushing at
each other with our knives and fighting till we had stabbed each other
to death, when, as I was standing upon the thwarts to look around, I saw
the ship dead to leeward.  I pointed her out to the captain and men.

"`We'll return on board then,' he answered, coolly, as if nothing had
happened.  `And mind, let none of you talk about our chase after that
accursed old hag--we shall have the people fancying next, I suppose,
that the ship is doomed.'

"`Ay, ay, sir,' we answered; but though I said nothing about it, I
believe the men did not hold their tongues a moment after, they got down
into the fore-peak.  As the sea went down after this we had little
difficulty in getting on board again.  When we did so, we found that for
some time they had given us up as lost.

"Fortunately, poor Mrs Derick did not return to consciousness till just
as her husband got on board, so that she was spared the misery of
believing him lost.  He had her taken below, and sat up watching her
most tenderly till she recovered.  In two days she was better, and on
deck again, but I observed a great change in her.  She looked pale and
anxious, and all her life and spirits were gone.  I fear she began to
suspect that there was good reason for the old witch to haunt us.  The
loss of six of our best hands was very serious, especially as we had no
prospect of supplying their places in any port at which we were likely
to touch.  On, however, we must go, and make the best of it.  The wind
now came ahead, and we were obliged to make tack and tack, scarcely ever
getting a fair slant till we reached the latitude of Cape Horn.

"One would have supposed that we had had enough of storms and accidents
for one voyage, but we had soon to learn that we had something more to
go through.  Mrs Derick had by this time become something like herself
again, and as for the captain, though he felt more than any one, he
never changed.  He sang and joked as much as ever, and even sneered at
the old woman and her jolly-boat, as he called it.  I cannot describe
what happened every day of the voyage, so I must merely mention the most
remarkable events.  It was in the afternoon watch, when, as I was
sweeping the horizon with my glass, I observed an unusual dark
appearance on the water.  Some said that it was a sand-bank, others an
island, some a shoal fish, but I saw that it was a heavy squall driving
furiously over the hitherto smooth unruffled sea.  I was not mistaken.
I called Captain Derick on deck, and the hands were sent aloft to lower
topgallant yards and to furl every sail, except the fore-topsail, which
was closely reefed.  The men sprang to their duty, for they saw that not
a moment was to be lost.  The ship was put before the wind just in time.
Down came the squall upon us, roaring, and tearing, and hissing along
the ocean.  Away we flew before it like a sea-bird on the wing.  Our
only danger was lest we should not be far enough to the south to clear
the land of the Patagonians--the renowned Cape Horn.

"Every moment the fury of the gale increased, the waves rose higher, and
the wind roared louder.  Everything on deck was secured, and preventer
braces were put on the fore and fore-topsail yards to assist in securing
them.  As night approached the terrific contest increased.  The sea,
which ran on either beam in high mountainous surges, broke with an awful
roar; the stern of the ship now lifted on the summit of a wave, and the
next instant her bow was plunging madly into the dark trough which
yearned apparently to engulf her.  The thunder rattled loudly through
the heavy sky, the vivid lightning played threateningly round the masts,
and the wind howled and whistled through the rigging.  Those who had
never before felt fear in a storm, now trembled with alarm.  On we drove
with impetuous violence, the hands at the wheel scarcely able to keep
the ship before the boiling seas, which, as they curled up astern,
seemed ready to rush down on our decks and overwhelm us.

"It was in the middle watch, and the captain had just joined me on deck,
when one of the look-outs shouted, `Land on the starboard bow.'  The
startling cry was echoed through the ship, and every man sprang on deck.
We were clearly in dangerous proximity to the coast, and with the
foreboding of mischief on the minds of all, many thought that our time
had arrived.  All eyes were directed anxiously towards the coast, which
every instant was growing more distinct.  The wheel was kept a few
spokes more to starboard, but we could not venture to haul the ship more
up lest she should broach to, and as no land appeared ahead, we hoped to
be able, if it were Cape Horn we saw, to scrape round it; at all events
a short time would decide our fate.

"The captain went into the cabin with me to consult the chart, and we
had every reason to hope that the land we saw was the southernmost part
of Cape Horn.  When we returned on deck we had drawn awfully near the
coast, but it was broad on our starboard beam.

"`We shall be round the Cape in another half hour,' exclaimed the
captain in a cheerful tone, `and then, my lads, we shall be clear of the
accursed witch and her devilish tricks.'

"I do not know what madness induced him to remind the people of the old
hag; it showed what his own mind was running on, notwithstanding all his
pretended indifference and disbelief.  At all events he had better have
let the subject alone; for at that instant, as if to refute his
assertion, a roll of thunder, louder than was ever heard before, sounded
in our ears, and in a blaze of forked lightning which flashed
continually from the skies, the old woman herself was seen, increased
into gigantic proportions, standing on a lofty rock at the very
southernmost point of the Cape, exactly as she had appeared on the pier
at Liverpool, and waving round in the air her long twisted staff, about
which the most vivid flashes played in fiery circles.  Her face full of
malignant fury, lighted up as now, was of a livid hue, her garments and
her grey looks streamed in the wind, and as she pointed towards the
western ocean she seemed by her gestures to threaten us with further
mishaps.  Her lips moved and gibbered, but if she spoke, not a sound
reached us.

"We had two of the guns mounted, and on beholding the terrific figure,
Derick ordered one of them to be loaded and run out.

"`I'll see what impression a cannon ball can make on her,' he exclaimed,
in a voice of mingled excitement, rage, and horror.  `Bring a lighted
match here, one of you.'

"While the match was being brought, he stood eyeing the witch with a
look of defiance.  He seized the light eagerly from the hand of a
seaman, and though, as you may suppose, in the tremendous way the ship
was rolling and pitching, it was impossible to take an aim, he fired.
The gun went off with an explosion louder than I ever heard before, and
a flash far more vivid.  The noise was answered by a shriek of mocking
laughter, and the flash only served to show still more clearly the
hideous figure of the witch, jeering at us and threatening us with her

"Onward we rushed, and while the lightning lasted there she was seen as
clearly, I tell you, as we had seen her at home.  When the lightning
ceased, the darkness of the night shut her out from our sight, but some
even then affirmed that they saw the dim outline of her form against the
northern sky.

"Not a man on board turned in again that night, you may be sure, but all
the watch who should have been below shrunk together in knots uttering
their forebodings to each other, and earnestly wishing for the return of
day.  The longest night must have an end, and so had this, and, as the
morning broke, the wind settled down into a moderate gale, which sent as
forward on our course at the rate of twelve knots an hour.

"The land was no longer in sight, the glorious sun came out bright and
warm, and cheered our hearts, and we almost forgot the terrors of the
night.  I said that Mrs Derick had not witnessed the sight we had, but
from her husband's manner, when he went below, she discovered that there
was something wrong, and she would not rest till he had told her.  He,
as usual, tried to laugh it off, and to declare that there was nothing
in it, but I saw that she was not satisfied, and that the circumstance
was preying sadly on her mind.

"In two days, by an observation made, we found that we were well to the
westward of the south coast of America, and the wind veering round to
the south, we kept away on a northerly course.  Every day, as we got
into more temperate latitudes, the weather became finer and warmer, and
the spirits of the seamen rose proportionably, though they were not the
men they would have been in the natural course of things.  They had
plenty of work to do, which kept their minds employed, in preparing for
our visit to the Spanish coast; we got up the remainder of the guns from
the hold and shipped them on their carriages, we sent up topgallant
masts and yards, got out the flying jib-boom, and repaired the damages
we had received in the gale.  The carpenters also set to work to build a
boat to supply the place of the one we had lost; while the captain and
supercargo made arrangements for their transactions on the coast.

"I am not giving you extracts from my log, so that I need only tell you
that about a month was consumed in successful trading with the
Spaniards, in spite of the men-of-war on the look out for us at sea, and
the custom-house officers and soldiers sent to intercept us in shore.
We touched, I remember, at Conception, Coquimbo, Huasco, Point Negra,
and other places on the coast of Chili.

"At last the vigilance of the Spanish authorities being completely
aroused, it was thought better to keep away from the shore for a short
time, to throw them off their guard.  Captain Derick accordingly
determined to visit a group of islands some distance to the westward, to
lay in a stock of turtle, with which those islands abound.  I think they
were the Gallipagos, but as we never reached them, I am not certain.
The Pacific is very properly so called, but when the wind does take it
into its head to blow, then it makes up for its general idleness.  The
weather had long continued calm and beautiful, and everything went well
on board.  Captain Derick once more laughed and joked, and his wife
looked happy and contented.  Not satisfied, however, to let things
alone, he must bring up the subject of the old witch again, and declared
that the whole story, from first to last, was trumped up by the crew,
and that neither he nor any one else on board had ever set eyes on her
since the day we left Liverpool.  How he could venture on such
assertions I don't know, but he wanted to persuade others of what he
wished to believe himself.

"The evening was beautifully calm and serene: it put me in mind of the
one we had before the night on which we had lost our masts off the coast
of Brazil, only this was calmer and warmer.  Not a breath of air was
felt, the sails hung listlessly down against the masts, the sea was
smooth as a polished mirror, and the sky of the purest blue; the
atmosphere, notwithstanding the warmth, was pleasant, and every one on
board was in good spirits.  As the night drew on, however, the air
became more stagnant, the heat increased, and as there was not even a
swell moving the bosom of the Pacific, the dead silence which prevailed
became absolutely oppressive.

"The captain and his wife were sitting aft and leaning against the
taffrail with their hands clasped in each other's, for they were as fond
now as when they were bride and bridegroom; the work of the day was
over, and the crew were lying listlessly about the decks, not even
amusing themselves with talking as usual.  I do not believe a person on
board had uttered a word for a quarter of an hour.  I never felt so
complete a silence; when on a sudden it was broken by a loud, piercing,
derisive cackle, sounding close under our quarter.  Every one knew the
voice, and as we sprang up and looked over the bulwarks, we saw, as we
expected, the old witch, gliding along the smooth sea, and taking a
course directly ahead of us, while she howled and jeered, and pointed
with her staff just as she had done before.

"The captain saw her too.  `Damn her!' he exclaimed, fiercely; `what
does she want here?'

"The words were scarcely out of his mouth, when an answer was given back
which fully accounted for her presence.  Right astern there appeared,
where a moment before the sky had been of beautiful blue, a cloud black
as ink, spreading across the whole eastern horizon.  We all saw what was
coming--the men instinctively sprang to the brails.

"`Clew up, haul down, let fly everything!' shouted the captain.

"It was too late: before a tack could be let go, or a brail hauled on,
the fierce hurricane struck us.  In a moment, ere we could look round,
the stout ship heeled over, and trembled in every timber.  Crash upon
crash was heard, mingled with the shrieks of the seamen, and she was
left without a mast standing, a mere hull upon the water.  Derick was
the most undaunted, though he must have felt on whose account all these
disasters were happening.  He sprang up with an axe in his hand, and
summoning the crew, set to work to cut away the shrouds to clear the
shattered spars from the ship.  It was done, and the ship drove
furiously on before the howling blast.

"`We shall ride it out and disappoint the accursed old hag; so never
mind, my boys!' he shouted, as he worked away.

"`Land right ahead,' sang out a man forward.

"`Land on the starboard bow,' cried another.

"`Land on the larboard bow,' exclaimed a third.

"`Then we are lost!' shrieked out many voices, in an agony of despair.

"Onward we drove before the hurricane.  `Breakers on the starboard and
larboard bows,' cried the first mate, who had rushed forward to look out
for any passage among the reefs through which to steer the ship, while
I, with the third mate and another hand, went to the helm.

"The darkness of the night came down, and added to the horrors of the
scene.  `Breakers right ahead!' he shouted; `all's lost!'  He had
scarcely uttered the words when the ship struck with tremendous violence
on some rocks; the sea lifted her, but it was to let her fall with still
greater force, amid a foaming caldron of waters.  The surges fiercely
broke over us, and washed man after man from his hold.  Shrieks and
cries rose on every side from the manly bosoms which had never before
felt fear.

"The captain stood firm, clasping his wife in his arms, for she had from
the first refused to go below.  His countenance, as the lightning
flashed brightly round him, looked deadly pale; she had fainted, and was
happily senseless.  A third time the ship lifted, and down she came with
a tremendous crash, every timber in her parting at the instant.  Two
things I saw at that awful moment: the despairing countenance of the
captain as the foaming waves whirled him and her he loved away in their
wild embrace, his starting eyeballs to the last fixed on the malignant
features of the fearful witch, whom I beheld sailing round us in her
skiff, unharmed, among the breakers, her loud shrieks of triumphant
laughter sounding high above the roaring of the tempest.

"Notwithstanding the horrors of the scene, the principle of
self-preservation prompted me to seize a plank, and supported by it, I
found myself, I scarcely know how, carried by the waves on to a sandy
beach.  A rock was near.  I climbed to its summit, and from thence I
beheld, amid successive flashes of lightning, the old witch whirling her
staff in triumph over her head, while her skiff scudded at lightning
speed in the direction of Cape Horn.  I was on an uninhabited island.  I
searched anxiously on every side to see if any of my shipmates had
escaped, but alas! none appeared, and I discovered with sorrow that I
was the sole survivor of the _Chameleon's_ gallant crew.

"After living some months on the island, I was taken off, and in two
years found my way back to Liverpool.  I had the curiosity to make
inquiries for old Dame Kirby, and learned that she had been for months
absent from home, and that nobody knew what had become of her, but that
at length she returned, and was heard to boast that she had been doing a
deed much to her satisfaction, but would tell no one what it was.  I
inquired the date of her return; it was exactly five days after our
shipwreck, so that although she must have made a quick passage, there
could be no longer any doubt on the mind of a reasonable man that she
had been the cause of all the disasters which had happened to us, and of
the destruction of the Doomed Ship."

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Foxholme Hall - And other Tales" ***

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