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Title: Lady Eureka, Volume 1 - or, The Mystery: A Prophecy of the Future
Author: Williams, Robert Folkestone, 1805?-1872
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 "Lady Eureka, Volume 1 - or, The Mystery: A Prophecy of the Future" ***

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  LADY EUREKA;
  OR,
  THE MYSTERY:
  A PROPHECY OF THE FUTURE.

  BY THE AUTHOR
  OF
  "MEPHISTOPHELES IN ENGLAND."

  IN THREE VOLUMES.
  VOL. I.

  LONDON:
  LONGMAN, REES, ORME, BROWN, GREEN, & LONGMANS,
  PATERNOSTER-ROW.
  1840.



CONTENTS


        INTRODUCTION.
     I. THE CITY OF THE WORLD.
    II. ZABRA.
   III. A PHILANTHROPIST.
    IV. A FIRE AT SEA.
     V. PERILS OF EMIGRATION.
    VI. APPEARANCE OF THE AFRICAN COAST.
   VII. CAFFRETON, THE METROPOLIS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA.
  VIII. THE PIRATES.
    IX. CAPTAIN DEATH.
     X. THE PIRATE'S RETREAT.



INTRODUCTION.


"Guten Morgen, Wilhelm!" said I, as I entered the chamber of my fellow
student. "How are you this morning? You look better--your eyes are
brighter, and your cheek possesses more colour than usual."

"I am better, mein freund," observed the youth, raising himself up
from the bed till his back rested upon the pillows. "But what have you
there?"

"A fresh supply of flowers for you, Wilhelm," I replied; "and I bought
them of the prettiest Mädchen I ever saw in the market place."

"Ich danke ihnen für das Geschenk," murmured the grateful student.
"You know I love flowers better than any thing upon earth. They always
fill me with ideas of beauty and purity and splendour, above all
other earthly things; and I love them because they are so impartial
in bestowing their favours: they confer their fragrance and their
loveliness with equal liberality on all who venture within their
influence. Put them in the vase, mein freund, and let me again thank
you for so welcome a gift."

"And now let us converse, Wilhelm, if you feel strong enough;" I
exclaimed, as I took a seat by the bedside of the invalid. "Has the
physician been this morning? And what said he."

"He preceded you but a few minutes, mein freund," replied Wilhelm, "and
he said nothing. He shook his head, however, when he looked at me, which
I considered a bad sign."

"There's nothing in it, be assured," said I, earnestly.

"In the head, or in the sign?" inquired my fellow student, with a look
of mock gravity.

"In both," cried I, laughing; "in both, no doubt. But I am glad to see
you so cheerful. Your appearance this morning makes me entertain hopes
of your speedy recovery, and I can almost convince myself, that in a few
days we shall be together pursuing our studies and our ramblings, as we
have so often and so happily done."

"I have been entertaining a similar idea, mein freund," observed
Wilhelm; "I feel more cheerful than I have felt for a long time past;
and I was beginning to flatter myself into a belief, that the insidious
disease was about evacuating its territory. I shall roam among
the walls of old Göttingen again. I shall associate with my ancient
comrades--shall I not?"

"'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished by others as well as myself,"
said I; "but how liked you the book I lent you?"

"'Tis a brilliant production," replied my friend; "and of that class of
works which affords me most pleasure. 'Give me the enjoyment of perusing
a succession of new works from the graceful pen of Crebillon, and
I shall have no other want,' said Gray. I exclaim, 'Give me the
gratification of reading the finest productions in the imaginative
literature of every civilised nation, and there will be little left for
me to wish for.' Nothing elevates and delights me so much as the best of
these works, especially if they be tinged with a tone of high romantic
feeling. What can be so charming as this mingling of the ideal and the
natural? What can take a firmer hold of the mind and of the heart?"

"They certainly do, when ably written, create very powerful
impressions;" I observed.

"I have read a considerable portion of the imaginative literature of
almost every European nation," said Wilhelm; "and an extraordinary power
of genius it evinces. The prose fictions of the present age produced
in Germany and England are wonderfully excellent and abundant. I think
the English exceed all others in the combination of judgment with
imagination, as seen in the best efforts of Scott, Bulwer, and Godwin.
After them come the Germans, and we can proudly boast of Göthe,
Lafontaine, Novalis, and Hoffman. The French have much imagination and
very little judgment, as exhibited in the writings of Victor Hugo,
Mérimée, Paul de Kock, and Balzac, and are usually distinguished by
their sins against good taste. Of Italian imaginative literature, the
works I have met with that rise above mediocrity, are, 'I Promessi
Sposi,' of Manzoni, 'Ettore Fieramosca,' of Massino D'Azeglio, and
'Franco Allegri,' which do not soar very high. Of the modern fictions
of Spain, Portugal, and Holland, I know nothing; nor do I believe that
there is any thing to know; but I have seen one or two romantic novels
from Russia that possess considerable merit. What I object to in works
of this nature, written at the present time, is the too apparent
satisfaction of their authors in remaining in the beaten track. A vast
majority fill their volumes with characters that have been a thousand
times repeated, and with incidents and situations that are familiar to
every reader."

"What would you have them do?" I inquired.

"I would have them strike out a bolder class of subjects," replied the
student. "Instead of being satisfied with attempting illustrations of
historical periods, or of an existing state of society, suppose they
attempt to describe an imaginary time as well as imaginary characters.
If a man possess a powerful imagination, let him conceive the state
of the world a thousand years hence, or at any other time remote from
the present. I do not mean that he should merely delineate a state of
society, or of any section of society; I mean that he should take the
most important portions of the civilised world, and picture, as well
as he is able, the changes they may undergo, and the state of their
peoples, governments, religions, and philosophy."

"I am afraid that such a work would be considered too serious for the
novel reader;" I observed.

"Impossible, mein freund!" replied the student. "Always, in works of
imagination, the ideal and the matter of fact should be so blended as
to make an interesting and amusing whole; and it matters not whether
the time sought to be illustrated be of the past, of the present, or of
the future: each may be made equally laughable, equally pathetic, and
equally philosophical."

"But the idea is too comprehensive to be done well;" said I. "To draw
an imaginary state of the world in any thing like consonance with
probability, requires more than ordinary talent in the draughtsman; but
to add to it pictures of an imaginary state of its inhabitants, and
an imaginary state of their philosophy, presents difficulties which I
should think are not to be overcome."

"The imagination can conquer any difficulty;" exclaimed my companion.
"There is no power beneath heaven like imagination. It can dive into the
uttermost corners of the ocean, or ascend through the trackless fields
of air. It can fly where the eagle dare not move its wing, and amid
Alpine obstacles outclimb the chamois. It can pass the great desert at a
bound, and bear the four corners of the world in the hollow of its eye.
It seeth all things that nature showeth; and after disclosing these,
can show many things that nature never beheld. It pierces into the most
hidden things. It flingeth a shining light into the most utter darkness.
Locks, bolts, or bars, cannot keep it out--laws, walls and chains
cannot keep it in: it is the only thing belonging to human life that
is perfectly free. There is nothing imagination cannot do; no matter
whether it be good or evil, reasonable or absurd, to it all things are
alike easy. And as for wealth or power or dignity, or aught of which the
world thinks highly, where is the greatness, and where are the riches
that exceed those of the imagination? Mechanics are proud of their
engines, and think them wonderful: they are mere playthings compared
with the imagination. Cannot imagination make the sea dry land, and the
earth ocean? Archimedes boasted that he would move the world, could
he place it in a convenient situation. Let imagination put forth its
powers, and the world becomes obedient to its law, moves when required,
crumbles into dust, and is re-created with increased glory. Cannot it
break the rock like a reed, and snap the gnarled oak of many centuries
like a rotten thread? Cannot it build cities on the plain, and form
a garden in the wilderness? Cannot it people the solitude and confer
happiness on the desolate? Cannot it make the sands of the sea-shore
glittering with gold; and of the leaves of the forest create treasures
far outvaluing the riches of the earth and sea? And more than this, it
can make the dead live and the living die; it can raise the earthquake
and the pestilence; it can fight battles and win kingdoms; it can float
upon the whirlwind like a leaf upon the breeze; and pass through a
consuming fire unscathed by a single flame.

"These are the powers of the imagination; and what are its pleasures?
Let the most luxurious seeker after enjoyment take all the delights
reality will give him. Let him wrap himself up in roses; lie in baths of
milk; taste all that is delicious to the appetite; be loved by the most
lovely and the most loving of women; and pass not a minute in which
his soul is not lapped in ecstacy; and his enjoyments will bear no
comparison with those of the imagination. Imagination can concentrate in
a single moment the pleasures of a thousand years: it possesses all the
delights the world may produce, in addition to raptures more exquisite
of worlds of its own: it can create forms clothed with a beauty far
excelling the rarest of those who have glorified the earth with their
presence; its sunshine pales the light of heaven; its flowers alone can
bloom with a perpetual fragrance."

"Wilhelm, you must not excite yourself so;" said I, observing him fall
back exhausted against the pillow, from which he had raised himself, and
a violent fit of coughing follow.

"O du ewige Güte?" exclaimed the student, gasping for breath.

"Ah! I was afraid of this; you are too weak to allow yourself to be
carried away by the impetuosity of your feelings. Here! take some of
this drink. It will allay the irritation of the cough."

"I am better now--I am better, mein freund," murmured the grateful
Wilhelm; "and now let us resume our conversation."

"I am almost afraid, Wilhelm, for I see it excites you so much;" I
observed.

"It has passed away. It is nothing:" replied my companion.

"Supposing then, that the idea you mentioned was attempted to be worked
out to its full extent, how is it possible to convey any thing like a
natural picture of the state of existing nations at so remote a time?"
I inquired.

"By a reference to what is already known of the growth, maturity and
decay of nations," said the student. "Every thing has its age. The tree
cannot flourish beyond a certain time--nor can a country. Time passes
his scythe over the verdant world, and wherever it glides, the crop is
cut down; and after the field has been left wild a sufficient period,
the seed is again sown, the produce is again abundant, and the mower is
again at work. Thus it has been from the creation of the world; thus it
will be for everlasting. How long was the growth of Babylon, of Nineveh,
of Tyre and Sidon, of Thebes and Carthage? They had their season. Then
came Pompeii, Etruria, Athens, Rome, and Constantinople. How long did
they last? Then came Venice and Genoa, the Moorish kingdom of Grenada,
and the Arabian empire at Jerusalem; they had their day. After these
came the omnipotence of Popish Rome, the magnificence of Madrid, and the
splendour of Lisbon: they have departed. And now we have the glories
of London and Paris, and Berlin and Vienna, and these will exist their
period, and then gradually fall into decay. It must be evident to any
observer, that Spain and Portugal, once the two greatest nations in
Europe, in opulence, power, and intelligence, are descending to the
lowest degradation of poverty, insignificance, and ignorance. The Roman
empire in Italy, having passed into a number of independent states,
each of which has attained a considerable degree of greatness, lies
now prostrate at the foot of the great European powers. Greece, the
intellectual and the free, having for many centuries been plunged in
ignorance and slavery up to the lips, shews signs of a regeneration.
And the barbarians of the North are making rapid approaches towards
pre-eminence."

"But the superior civilisation we enjoy, must prevent our retrograding,"
said I. "Think of our steam-engines, our rail-roads, our wonderful
discoveries in science and mechanics, and our extraordinary advancement
in intelligence; we are rising, and we shall continue to rise."

"We cannot rise above the top, mein freund," observed my fellow student
with a smile; "and after that we must go down. There is a point beyond
which no nation advances, and to that point we are tending. As for our
superior civilisation, that remains to be proved. Boast as we may of our
machinery, we could neither raise such monuments as were frequent among
the Egyptians, or have we any tools that can make an impression upon
the stone out of which they were sculptured. The gunpowder upon the
discovery of which we pride ourselves, has not been so destructive as
the Greek fire, of the composition of which we know nothing. In art, we
are far from excelling the ancients, and in learning we are obliged to
acknowledge our obligations to them."

"But how far the intelligence of the multitude at the present day
exceeds that of any preceding time!" I observed.

"I am not convinced of that," replied Wilhelm. "With the exception of
Germany, particularly Prussia, the education of the people, has not
been attempted on a plan likely to confer on them much advantage, and
the only sure way of judging of a superiority of intelligence is by
comparing the state of the public morals in different countries. If it
can be proved that the Greeks or the Romans were a less moral people
than are the English or the French, then are the latter the most
intellectual; but if, taking the amount of population, it could be
ascertained that a less amount of crime was committed by the ancients,
then must the moderns be considered the least civilised."

"I am afraid the philosophical character of such a work would not be
appreciated by the general reader, who takes up a book merely for
amusement," said I.

"You are mistaken, mein freund," replied the student; "there is
nothing which may be made so amusing as philosophy. Every good book is
philosophical; and the idle reader is continually being made familiar
with philosophy without knowing it, just as the worthy gentleman in
Molière's comedy talked prose all his life, in perfect ignorance of
having done so."

"Well, I can only say, I should like exceedingly to read such a book,"
I observed.

"You see that ebony chest there, upon that pile of books;" said Wilhelm,
pointing in the direction to which he had alluded. "Take it. In it you
will find a MS. It is a work such as I have described to you, and I
wrote it at intervals, whenever I could find time for the employment."

"_You_ write such a work, Wilhelm!" exclaimed I with surprise. "I am
aware how much you have devoted yourself to study. I know that you have
completely ruined your health by your severe application in the pursuit
of knowledge; but I had no conception of your attempting a production of
such a character, upon a subject beset by so many difficulties."

"I have been ambitious," replied my companion. "I was desirous of
attempting something out of the common path--I yearned for literary
distinction. Take and read it, mein freund, and let me know if you think
it worthy of publication. I have endeavoured to make the story full of a
deep and pleasing interest. The characters introduced I have sought to
create in a sufficient variety, and of various shades, from the humblest
in intelligence to the most exalted. The incidents I have strived to
make striking and powerful, and vividly drawn; and the opinions you will
there find expressed, while I wished to make them natural and true, I
have been anxious that they should possess a claim to originality. It
has been my aim to combine wit, humour, pathos, and philosophy in such
a manner as I hope cannot fail of being thought at once amusing and
instructive, and if I live to see realised the aspirations I have
entertained, if I can but behold the work I have laboured to produce, in
popular estimation, I do not care how soon this feeble frame dissolves
into its parent dust. I must live to see that! mein freund; I _must_
live to see that!"

"I have not a doubt but what you will, Wilhelm;" I replied. "The genius
I know you to possess has only to exhibit itself fairly before the
public, to be considered a public property, and become an object of
general estimation. The learning you have laboured so diligently to
obtain, will then stand you in good service; and the liberality of your
sentiments, your deep love of virtuous principle, and your earnest
desire for the diffusion of truth, then cannot long remain without
exciting the admiration you covet."

He made no reply.

"Look!" I exclaimed. "There are Gerhard Kramer, and Hugo Messingen,
smoking their meerschaums out of the opposite window."

He did not move.

"Are you asleep, Wilhelm?" said I, advancing from the window to the
bedside, and gazing in the face of my now silent companion. His head was
sunk in the pillow, with his light hair falling in waving curls around
it. There lay the calm blue eyes, the fair smooth cheek, the delicate
moustache, and the mouth so exquisitely small, half open, giving a
glimpse of the white teeth within it.

"Are you asleep, Wilhelm?" I repeated, taking the hand that rested
outside the bed clothes.

He _was_ asleep: and from that sleep he never awoke. He now lies in the
left hand corner of Göttingen churchyard--a familiar place to me; for
while he was the most studious, he was the most amiable of all my fellow
students. He had become a martyr to his love of study, and the world
closed upon him just as he exhibited those signs of extraordinary
merit, which in time would have made him one of its most distinguished
ornaments. That his death was quite unexpected by himself was evident,
but in the progress of his illness he had drawn up a will, in which he
had made me his executor, and in it expressed his desire that I should
prepare his manuscript for the press. I have done so, and the result is
before the reader. I have left the first chapter as I found it, giving
notes to illustrate a few phrases that required explanation; but
imagining that these phrases, though perfectly characteristic, might
perplex the reader in his progress with the story, I made such
alterations in the rest of the MS. as I thought would bring the work
nearer to the taste of the time.



EUREKA;

A PROPHECY OF THE FUTURE.



CHAPTER I.

THE CITY OF THE WORLD.


More than usual activity was observable in the tiers of shipping of
various nations that crowded the port of Columbus. The sun shone with
extraordinary splendour, throwing a golden light over the broad waters
of the river that spread out as far as the eye could reach, bearing on
their bosom vessels of every description used in commerce or warfare
(some coming into port, others leaving it for a distant destination),
that were diminishing in size as they receded from the view, till
they assumed the appearance of a mere speck between the horizon and
the wave; and the spreading sails of those in the distance, and the
many-coloured flags streaming from the masts of those closer to the
shore, with their various builds, sizes, costume and characteristics of
their crews, and the variety of employments in which the latter were
engaged,--infused such a spirit of animation into the scene, that the
stranger would have found it impossible to have looked on without an
earnest and delighted attention. Nearer the shore boats were passing to
and fro--from the graceful Swan (1.) and rapid Fish, full of gay parties
of pleasure, to the gigantic Hippopotamus and slow Tortoise, bearing
burthens of various kinds of produce towards the wharfs that lined each
side of that noble river; and many other boats of different dimensions,
some impelled by oars, others by sails, and others by machinery, were
passing from ship to ship, from the ship to the shore, or from the
metropolis to the neighbouring villages.

If the appearances on the water were gratifying to the eye, those on the
land assumed a character equally cheerful, various, and magnificent.
Well might Columbus be styled THE CITY OF THE WORLD. In its dimensions,
in its splendour, in its riches, in the myriads of its inhabitants, and
in the multitudes of strangers who flocked from all parts of the globe
to witness its greatness or share in its traffic, it was worthy of being
considered an empire rather than a metropolis. Beyond those unrivalled
quays that stretched along each side of the river, connected by colossal
bridges, whose arches spanned from shore to shore with such an altitude
that under them the largest vessels might pass with ease, were seen the
proud palaces of the merchants--the lofty domes for the administration
of justice--the stupendous edifices for the conveniences of
commerce--the vast temples for the worship of the Deity--the imposing
halls for the diffusion of science--every description of dwelling
suitable to the wants of a free, industrious, enlightened, and
multitudinous population of various ranks, interspersed with noble
monuments in commemoration of admirable actions--exalted statues
personifying the highest degree of excellence--parks, fountains,
gardens, and public walks between rows of lofty trees; rising above
these, on the elevated land on which the city was erected, might be
observed, placed at considerable distances from each other, and adorned
with all the graces of architecture, the villas of the wealthy; and at
the very crown of the hill the obelisks, urns, and other monuments that
peered above its summit pointed out the cemetery of the city, and the
mausolea of its dead.

Through the numerous streets the tide of population seemed hurrying with
an anxious eagerness; and the vehicles of luxury and of industry were
passing each other in the broad thoroughfares, in a similar crowd and
with a similar haste. Here came the votary of pleasure, seeking only
the enjoyment of the present--there went the accumulator of wealth,
enjoying no delight save in the prospect of the future; and they were
passed by the plodding antiquary, living only in his associations
with the past. The toil-worn mechanic--the enthusiastic student--the
venerable sage--the solemn priest--the proud soldier--and the bustling
citizen, took their separate ways through the crowd, with an apparent
thoughtlessness of all things except their own immediate objects; and
thus had they gone on for ages, each pursuing his own course, and every
one heedless of the rest; and thus will they go on till the day of the
world is over, and the night cometh when no man shall see because of the
darkness.

At the foot of a flight of broad stone steps leading to the water from
a wharf on the quay near one of the bridges, a superior sort of ship's
boat was moored, where her crew, some resting on the benches, some
lounging on the steps, were grouped in conversation, evidently directing
their attention to a beautiful ship of small tonnage but perfect
symmetry that lay at anchor at a short distance, easily distinguished
from the numerous vessels in her neighbourhood by the smartness of her
rigging and the elegance of her build.

"Ay, ay, Boggle!" exclaimed a stout weatherbeaten-looking mariner,
to whom all his associates appeared to listen with great deference,
arising either from his superior age or station,--"she _is_ a smart
boat; as neat a one as ever floated. She'll swim better than a shark,
and faster than a dolphin; and I'll wager a month's pay to a mouldy
biscuit, that between this and the tother side o' the world we shan't
meet with her match."

"True enough, Hearty," said the person spoken to, a lumbering, stout,
short, and awkwardly-made man of about thirty, with a large head, and a
stupid yet good-natured countenance, which expressed an inclination to
act in the right way that was always marred by an extraordinary aptitude
to do wrong. "True enough. May I walk the deck till I split into
shivers, if I'm not convinced of every word you say! But every man as is
a man and thinks like a man should have a notion of his own on things in
general; therefore, Hearty, I don't believe it."

"Pooh!" exclaimed a younger sailor, addressing himself to the last
speaker, "what's the value o' your judgment against the notions of such
an old hand as Hearty? Why he must ha' sailed in a power o' different
crafts afore you were launched!"

"Exactly, Climberkin, exactly," replied Boggle eagerly--"that's my
opinion; it's true, there's not a doubt of it: but every man as is a
man----"

"Well, may I be scrunched into everlasting smash if I know where we're
bound--that's all," emphatically remarked another speaker in the group,
thrusting forward a thick head of sandy hair, with a countenance sharp
and meagre.

"Nor I," said another.

"Nor I," echoed several around him.

"Why you see how it is," answered Boggle, mysteriously; "there's a sort
o' a secret in it. It arn't for a fellow afore the mast to be 'quisitive
o' what's going on on the quarter-deck; but I likes to have right
notions o' things in general, as every man as is a man and thinks like
a man should. So having a pretty shrewd guess as how Scrumpydike, who's
al'ays alongside the captain, knowed more o' the matter than he'd a
mind to 'municate, I follows in his wake not a hundred years longer than
this very mornin'; and, quite palavering like, I hails him wi' 'I say,
Scrumpydike, my bo!' 'What cheer?' says he. 'P'raps you don't know
nothin' o' our sailing orders?' says I, quite social. 'P'raps I do,'
says he, in a manner as showed he did. I says nothin' more on _that_
subject then, cause I had a notion 'twould be no good; so I speaks him
civil, and axed him to liquidate wi' me upon summat comfortable, and we
went together into a snuggish sort o' a spiritual close by, and when I
got him pretty 'municative I thought he'd a told the most secret thing
as he knowed, cause he was letting down the cable in reg'lar style.
Now's the time, thought I; so I says to him, quite familiar, as I felt
sartain sure o' his telling, 'Scrumpydike, my bo!' says I, 'where be we
bound?'--And what d'ye think he said?" inquired the speaker, suddenly
addressing himself to his associates.

"What _did_ he say, Boggle?" anxiously inquired a young sailor, pressing
forward to hear the interesting communication.

"Tell us, Boggle, tell us!" cried the others eagerly.

"Why he turns round upon me his great yellow eyes, looking as if
he could ha' no secrets from a fellow who shared his earnings so
handsome--'cause I stood treat all the time, and he says to me, in a
slow whisper, just as a secret should be told----"

"Well, what did he say?" said Climberkin impatiently.

"'What's the odds?', says he."--The younger sailors laughed.

"And what _is_ the odds?" asked old Hearty earnestly. "Arn't we well
paid, well fed, well clothed? and haven't we plenty o' every thing we
want? So what's the odds where we sail? I don't care the twist o' a
rope's end whether we go to India, or China, or Algiers, to any of the
ports in Australia, or even to the most uncivilized settlements in
Europe; and no true sailor cares on what water he floats, as long as
he's aboard a good ship, meets wi' sociable mates, and is commanded by
good officers."

"I'll be spiflicated if every word Hearty says isn't true," remarked
Climberkin.

"And now I'll just tell you what I knows o' the matter," continued
Hearty, "which amounts to something more than Boggle could tell."

"Well, what is it?" inquired Boggle, as eager as the others to hear some
intelligence on the subject,--"you're smartish, clever, or I'm 'staken;
but though I must say my notion o' you is tip top, we're most on us
liable to a false reck'ning."

"You all know master Porphyry," said the old man, without attending to
the dubious compliment of the last speaker.

"Know him! to be sure we do," replied Climberkin hastily. "Haven't we
all sailed in his ships,--all but Scrumpydike there, who's asleep in the
boat? and don't we know as he's the richest merchant in Columbia, and
got ships laden with every sort o' precious merchandise, more than one
man ever had afore--sailing from port to port all over every sea that
runs. Know him! Why, who do we know, if we don't know a man as all the
world knows?"

"Ay, ay," remarked the other quietly, "that's him; they do say he's as
rich as the emperor. But all I know is, that while he's greatest among
the rich he's kindest among the poor. He seems never happy but when he's
founding some hospital,--setting afoot some charity, or doing some good,
some how or other: his name is honoured in all parts o' the world.
There's no merchant all over this here globe that hasn't heard of the
fame of master Porphyry: and in his own country he's like a prince,
scattering his bounties wherever he thinks they are likely to confer
a benefit; and every one respects him, every one wishes to think as
he does; and all are anxious to show their opinion of his integrity,
cleverness, and all that sort o' thing. Well, what's uncommon strange,
although he squanders his money about as if there was no end to it,
it seems only to 'cumulate the faster; and although the emperor has
signified his wish to honour him wi' lots o' distinctions many's the
great man would be proud enough to gain, he refuses them all, and says
he won't be nothing more nor plain master Porphyry. So master Porphyry
he remains; but for all that he's a greater man than all the princes,
dukes, and nobles we're likely to see in our time. Well, master
Porphyry's got a son, as smart a figure of a youth as ever you see'd
aboard ship; and after 'ducating him in all sorts o' learnin', till he's
fit to be launched in the great ocean o' life, he wishes him, nat'rul
enough, to go and see foreign parts, that he may get plenty o' notions
o' different kinds o' people, and countries, and governments, that when
he comes back he may be able to do credit to his father. So master
Porphyry gets a ship built o' purpose, and a lovelier vessel than the
Albatross it arn't possible to look on; and has her stored wi' every
kind o' valuable merchandise likely to sell to a profit at the ports
she may visit, and wi' all sorts o' necessaries and comforts for the
crew; has her manned wi' a prime set o' picked hands from his other
vessels,--engages a 'sperienced captain, and accompanied by the
most celebrated teacher o' learnin' he could meet with, to show all
the 'markable things as might be overhauled, and give the proper
'splanations about their breed, seed, and generation, I expects him
here every minute to go aboard; and 'mediately arter that, up wi' her
cleaver, out wi' her wings, and good bye to old Columbia." (2.)

"Now let me twist the rope a little," (3.) said Climberkin, while his
messmates continued to listen with the same interest they had shown all
the time Hearty had been speaking. "You see, mates," continued the young
sailor, apparently attempting to make the sleeves of his check shirt
roll above his elbows with more convenience, but more probably trying to
attract attention from the heightening colour of his cheek,--"you see,
mates, I've been sailing in convoy with a mighty smartish craft, who's a
sort o' cook's mate,--(now what are you jiggering at?" cried the speaker
sharply to a young fellow who had indulged himself with a grin,)--"who's
a sort of cook's mate in the noble family of Philadelphia; and she being
always among her messmates, hears a smartish lot o' notions 'cerning
her officers, which, when we've been yard-arm and yard-arm sailing in
company through the parks, or at anchor in the jollity houses, she
'municates to me by way o' divarsion: and she tells me as how master
Porphyry has a snuggery up the country, 'bout a cable's length from one
belonging to the noble Philadelphia, and that the two families were as
sociable as a shoal o' herrins. Philadelphia has a daughter, by all
accounts a reg'lar-built angelic; and master Porphyry having a son, an
equally smartish sort o' young chap, it was as sartain as a ship would
sail afore the wind, that they two while consortin' would pick up some
notions about gettin' afloat together; and as no signals o' a diff'rent
natur' were hung out by their commodores, they linked their hearts
pretty close, and never could see which way the wind blowed 'cept
when they were alongside o' each other. Well, somehow or other, there
came on a squall,--the powerful noble Philadelphia and the rich
merchant Porphyry parted company about politics: one took one side and
t'other took t'other, and they went on different tacks in no time.
Philadelphia, who's as proud as a port admiral, when he found as master
Porphyry wouldn't follow in his wake, blowed great guns, cut his cable;
and without letting his daughter the Lady Eureka have any 'munication
with her consort, he makes her set sail along wi' him, and the young
ones arn't been allowed to come in sight o' each other ever since. Well,
arter that, master Porphyry, who's as proud as an honest man should be,
wern't a going to strike his flag to nothin' o' the sort; so seeing as
his young'un looked cloudy weather, to 'leviate his disappointment he
thinks o' trying to make him forget the whole circumbendibus. So he
plans this here voyage."

The loud huzzas of an approaching multitude put an end to the
conversation; and Scrumpydike, who appeared to have been asleep, but
had listened attentively to every word that had been uttered, suddenly
started from his recumbent position in the boat, presenting a muscular
form, with a yellow, rough, and scowling face, sufficiently forbidding
in its appearance, yet possessing an odd sort of twist about the
corners of the mouth that much disguised its natural ferocity.

"Thunder and lightning!" (4.) shouted Scrumpydike, hastily regaining his
legs, "here they come!"

Some of the sailors ran up the stone steps leading to the foot of the
bridge, and there a noble and gratifying sight presented itself. The
whole length of the magnificent street of stately mansions approaching
the water seemed filled with a countless multitude of citizens, each
huzzaing with extraordinary zeal some persons in a procession that was
proceeding along the centre of the thoroughfare. Windows, housetops,
bridges, and boats were thronged with spectators; and all the vessels
in the river were dressed with flags, which, streaming from the masts
in a variety of pleasing colours and devices, gave an animated and
picturesque character to the scene.

"_There's_ master Porphyry!" exclaimed Hearty.

"Where?" inquired half a dozen voices at once.

"That stately-looking man on the tall grey horse who is bowing to
his fellow-citizens. Every body seems to have got a notion that the
merchant's son was going on his first voyage; so, you see, they're
resolved to show how much they respect the father, and all the city
turns out to a man (aye and to a woman too, as you may see at the
windows), and here they are throwing up their caps, waving their
handkerchiefs, and shouting like mad; the ladies scattering flowers upon
his head, and bands o' music playing all the way. And there's young
master Porphyry riding by his side, a fine handsome sort o' chap, and as
like his father as one whale's like another. And in the open carriage
behind them is the learned Professor Fortyfolios, who's written more
big books than any on us could carry; and opposite him's our Captain
Compass, and next him's little Log, the captain's clerk; and opposite
him's Doctor Tourniquet, our surgeon; and there's a lot more on 'em
followin' in different carriages, who ha' been promoted to a birth
aboard the Albatross. These dignified bodies in long robes, and some
on 'em wi' gold chains round their necks, are great magistrates and
merchants belonging to the city, and they look up to master Porphyry as
head on 'em all. But we must get to our oars, my mates, or else we shall
nap it pretty considerably." So saying he returned to the boat, quickly
followed by his companions, and they all began to be very busy preparing
for the comers.

The appearance of the procession as it neared the bridge was very
imposing; for, as far as the eye could see, were carriages and horsemen
bearing streaming banners, and decorated with ribbons and flowers; and
every spot that could command a view of the scene from the land or from
the water was crowded with animated spectators, shouting their good
wishes for the son and praises of the father. The chief attraction in
this grand spectacle, master Porphyry, was a man apparently between
forty and fifty years of age, of a commanding figure and noble
countenance. When he took off a sort of coronetted velvet cap that
shielded his head from the sun's rays, as he bowed his grateful
acknowledgments for the plaudits of his fellow-citizens, his high
forehead, eloquent eyes, and benevolent smile made his features assume
an expression more nearly approaching the highest degree of beauty,
intelligence, and philanthropy in a man advanced in life, than anything
it is possible to conceive; and the robe of honour which encompassed his
powerful limbs, denoting his office as the chief civic magistrate, gave
a majesty to his deportment that increased the effect of his personal
appearance.

The youth who rode by his side could not have numbered much more than
twenty years, and bore a great resemblance both in the form of his
limbs and in the expression of his countenance to master Porphyry; yet
while from a feeling of enthusiastic reverence for his parent he rode
bare-headed by his side, as he noticed the admiration his father excited
among the countless myriads who thronged their way, the fire that was
glowing in his eyes and the pride that was swelling at his heart gave
evidence of feelings to which the elder Porphyry was a stranger. The
youth sat on his steed, that pranced and curvetted with the same
high spirit in his blood as was possessed by his rider, showing that
elasticity of limb that marks the young and vigorous; and as the breeze
swept from his forehead the luxuriant curls of rich shining hair that
clustered upon his brows, while it fluttered in the folds of his
handsome tunic, the young men whose dreams had been of glory fancied
that they saw in his noble bearing the hero of their visions, and the
young women who had begun feeding their youthful minds with loving
idealities gazed in ecstasy upon his graceful figure, and recognised
in him the god of their idolatry. The impression created was evidently
gratifying to him; but it did not satisfy his desires. Oriel Porphyry
was ambitious--he aspired to be something greater than he was: he panted
for power as well as popularity. The shouts of the multitude seemed
music to his ears, but it was of too calm a character--it was not that
in which he could have taken most delight. He desired to act a more
imposing part than that of a merchant's son. It was a military age in
which he lived, when men had been raised to empire by a daring valour
and a dazzling splendour in their actions that made every heart drunk
with enthusiasm. Conquest had been the key to greatness, and a victory
had led to a throne. But the general peace which had lately commenced
seemed to shut out from him all hopes of the distinction he coveted; the
peaceful ways of traffic, in which his father had achieved an universal
renown, presented to him no attraction: and as he rode along he lamented
the apparent ingloriousness of his destiny.

The feelings of the merchant were of a far higher, better, kinder
character; for his was a mind not to be led away by the false glitter
of pride and ambition, and he entertained no sentiment that was not in
harmony with the philanthropy of his actions. His heart was full of
generous sympathy for his fellow-men; and till he alighted at the foot
of the bridge he thought only of how he could best advance the interests
of his country.

The father and son descended the stone stairs, at the bottom of which
the boatmen were waiting; and after all who were going to the ship had
entered the boat except the merchant's son, master Porphyry took him
affectionately by the hand, and thus addressed him:--

"Oriel Porphyry! I have desired that you should visit the most
remarkable nations of the world, that you might gain from close
observation of their people and government knowledge such as may the
better fit you for your duties as a citizen and as a man; that when I
have passed away from the fading splendours that surround me, I shall
know that I leave one worthy to fill the high place I have held in the
affections of my fellow-citizens. Take these papers," continued the
merchant, in a voice that appeared to tremble with emotion, as he
produced a sealed packet--"they contain the directions I desire you
to pursue, and some intelligence with which I wish you to become
acquainted: consult them when you have been out at sea about a week. I
shall find means of communicating with you as often as may be desirable;
and if there is any thing you require that yonder vessel does not
possess to render your voyage more comfortable, you have only to send
word by the first of my ships you may meet, and you will have it
supplied at the next port. All noble sentiments and benevolent wishes
attend you!"

"Father!" exclaimed the youth, falling on the neck and kissing the hand
of his parent, "I trust I shall never discredit the education I have
received, nor the parent from whom I sprung."

In a few minutes master Porphyry was standing on the brink of the water,
surrounded by the wealthiest merchants of Columbus, following with his
eyes the rapid course of the receding boat; while his son, throwing
himself back in his seat, indulged in the enjoyment of a thousand
conflicting emotions, from which he was not roused till he gained the
side of the Albatross.

While the machinery was set in motion to draw up the anchor, a small
boat was seen to dart from the numerous vessels of a similar class that
were floating on the river, and rapidly come alongside the ship. A young
handsome creole immediately leapt on board; and after giving orders
about some packages contained in the boat, advanced to that part of the
deck where Oriel Porphyry stood. The age of the new-comer did not seem
more than fifteen or sixteen. He was delicately formed, with features
whose expression lost something in its character among critics of manly
beauty by its feminine softness. On his head he wore a rich netted silk
cap, the gold tassel of which hung down towards his left shoulder; his
robe was a short tunic of embroidered cloth, bound by a broad silk sash.
An inner vest of rose-coloured silk, open at the breast, disclosed a
camese of the purest white; the lower part of his body was wrapt in a
sort of petticoat of thick linen made very full, below which appeared
leggings of rich silk, and small shoes trimmed with rosettes,--the usual
costume of the pages of Columbian ladies of rank. The merchant's son was
leaning against a mast, seemingly pondering over the fond remembrances
of a happier time; for his features had lost that glow of excitement
which a few minutes since his ambitious desires had created, and a
shadow of deep yet tranquil melancholy had passed over them,--when he
was roused from his reverie by the approach of the stranger.

"Master Oriel Porphyry!" said the page, taking off his cap and allowing
a profusion of dark ringlets to fall upon his shoulders, and then taking
from his vest a small sealed packet,--"Master Oriel Porphyry! The Lady
Eureka sends you this."

"Ha!" exclaimed the young merchant, gazing earnestly upon the features
before him as if they were immediately recognised; then finding the
recognition not reciprocal, he turned away with a deep expression of
disappointment: yet, while breaking the seal of the envelope, and before
he read the letter, he renewed his gaze two or three times, as if there
was an attraction in the page's handsome countenance he could not
withstand; but the large dark eyes that met his own were bent steadily
upon him with respectful attention; and, bewildered by the strange
disturbance of his thoughts, he at last attempted to read the letter.
It ran thus:--

  "DEAREST,

  "Accidentally I have become acquainted with your intended departure
  from Columbia, to dare the dangers of the waters, to risk a
  thousand perils, and, more than all, to be separated by a long
  and dreary boundary from a heart you have made so devotedly your
  own. Every attempt I have made to communicate with you, has been
  rendered of no avail. I believe you all I would have you be; but
  I am fearful your impetuous nature will hurry you into continual
  dangers, and, as I cannot myself watch over your safety, I would
  have near you some one on whose zeal, fidelity, and care I can
  place the utmost confidence. Zabra, whom you will readily recognise
  as a child of my father, has been brought up as my page; his
  Indian mother died in his infancy, but his education has not been
  neglected. You will find him both useful and entertaining, and may
  rely on his perfect devotion. Let him remain about you--let him be
  my representative--and let him serve to keep in your remembrance
  one whose soul clings to your footsteps,--who has no ambition but
  in possessing your exclusive affections, and knows no pride but
  that which is created by thinking herself, _your_

  EUREKA."

The letter was read many times, and with an increasing pleasure at
each re-perusal; and the bearer was received with such an abundance of
welcomes as must have convinced him his servitude would be very light.
But while his future master kept scanning his dusky physiognomy, as if
comparing his features with the brilliant beauty of her who had so long
been the glory of his existence, the page retained the same unmoved
demeanour which he had from the first evinced.

During these proceedings the anchor had been weighed, the sails trimmed,
and, amid the firing of cannon from the houses on each bank, and the
deafening shouts of the spectators, the Albatross majestically sailed
down the river, and having reached the ocean, soon lost sight of the
city of Columbus, its noble quays, its stately palaces, its generous
merchant, and its grateful citizens.


NOTES.

(1.) "The _graceful Swan_" and "rapid _Fish_" are probably intended
to be the names of pleasure boats, derived from the creatures they
were built to resemble; and the "gigantic _Hippopotamus_" and "slow
_Tortoise_" must be meant for the larger kind of barges and heavy
coasting vessels used in traffic.

(2.) "Up wi' her _cleaver_, out wi' her _wings_, and good bye to Old
_Columbia_." The anchor and sails of the vessel are no doubt here
alluded to; and the names Columbus and Columbia which are met with
throughout these pages, evidently distinguish the metropolis from the
empire.

(3.) "Now let me twist the rope a little." This sentence must be similar
in its meaning with the nautical phrase "spinning a yarn."

(4.) "Thunder and lightnin'!" It will be seen that the oaths commonly
used by the Columbians differ from those now in fashion; but this is
very natural, for it is well known that the common phrases of one
century are quite changed in another. We swear not as we did in the
time of Queen Elizabeth, and the oaths then in vogue were altogether
different from those which prevailed during the reign of William the
Conqueror.



CHAP. II.

ZABRA.


Zabra had not been many days on board, before he became a source of
wonder to the whole crew. A spirit flashed from his dark lustrous eyes,
that kept off every thing approaching the shape of sociality among
the persons by whom he was surrounded. He rarely spoke, except when
attending upon Oriel Porphyry; and then the proud expression of his
looks that made curiosity stand aloof, was changed into a glowing
animation, and the tongue which had seemed to disdain all converse
became eloquent with a resistless endeavour to delight. He had all the
external appearance of a graceful youth of sixteen, with a form tall,
elegant, and buoyant, whose heart had just received the invigorating
warmth of the first dawn of manly sentiments; but when the voice sent
its soft music to the ear, breathing the rich poetry of an ardent
imagination, the splendour of the language, its power and meaning, and
the energy with which it was supported, gave evidence of a mind much
nearer approaching the maturity of a masculine intellect, than the age
that has been mentioned could have possessed. He seemed as if he existed
only for the purpose for which he had been sent--as if he knew that
his occupation was watching over the safety of him to whom he had been
committed; and he appeared to enter into the service with a heart and
soul devoted to the object. His looks searched the inmost thoughts
of those upon whom they fell, as if to discover whether any sinister
intention against his lord and master was there harboured, and before
their piercing sight it was scarcely possible to stand unmoved; and
there was a mystery in his actions, when removed from the apparent
source of his solicitude, that still more made the wonderers marvel. He
sought a place where no one could intrude upon his privacy, and with a
harp, with which on these occasions he never failed to be accompanied,
so filled the air with unknown melodies, and unheard-of songs, that the
superstitious seamen, as they listened, imagined he was in communication
with beings of another world,--there was something so aërial, so soft,
and so sweet in the music he created.

"Scrunch me if I can make it out at all!" exclaimed Climberkin to a
group of sailors in the forecastle. "He ar'n't got a word to throw away
upon a dog; but if he looks at one, one doesn't feel at all inclined to
be 'quisitive. He was wand'rin' about the main deck as it was getting
duskish yesterday--and I, not keeping a good look out ahead, run foul o'
him afore I knowed who it was. As soon as I diskivered the craft, I was
just beginning a bit of a 'pology, when he fixes on me a look as cut
through me like a nor-wester, waves his arm in a most mysterus manner,
and glides away as softly as if he trod upon butter."

"As true as a fish swims, I've got the only prime notion of this here
mystery," said Boggle, with an air of considerable importance.

"No!" cried several voices incredulously.

"Ah! but I have though, or I'm the spawn of a toad-fish!" replied
Boggle. "And I'll tell you how I gripped it. You see I ar'n't a bit
afeard o' any 'dividual as is aboveboard in what he's arter; and I'm not
the chap likely to be flabbergasted in a fair fight;--so seeing as how
you were all in no little mystification about this youngster, I thought
to myself, says I, when he steers his course into your whereabouts,
'spose you show a civil flag at the mast-head, and ax arter his mother
and all the family; he nat'rally sees you knows manners, and 'mediately
returns the compliment. From this to that, and from that to t'other,
is as easy as catching sharks wi' pickled pork, when two civil fellows
lets go their jawing tackle; so you'll tell him your 'miniscences quite
confidential, and he'll be obligated to tell you his'n; and then having
overhauled his log-book pretty smartish, you can return to your mates
with the 'telligence. Well, I was walking along jest afore dinner,
when I seed master Zabra leaning against a mast, wi' folded arms, eyes
looking straight up to the clouds as was fleecing over the sky in all
sorts o' figurations, and his mahogany face seemin' quite fair by the
side o' the rollin' jet black curls as fell on each cheek down to his
shoulder. I seed in a moment he was no common sort o' cretur. If he
ar'n't a Indian prince, thinks I, I've no notion o' things in general.
Well, I was determined to know the rights on't, and was just about
recomembring the bit of a speech I was going to say about his mother and
the rest o' the family, when, as I came right afore him, he looks me
full in the face; and though I seed nothin' but the flash o' his two
eyes afore he flitted away to the other end o' the ship, they seemed so
'stonishingly curious that they held me to the ground as if I was nailed
to the deck, and the words I was going to say stuck in my throat like
lumps o' old Cucumber-Shin's puddin'."

"Kukumshin!" shouted the black cook, a very fat old negro, indignantly
thrusting his woolly poll in the middle of the group. "Dare to call me
Kukumshin! Me, Roly Poly Cook in ship Albatross, and free gennleman o'
colour--me Kukumshin! Pretty kettle o' fish!--Puddin' berry much too
good for sich a fellar. Stick in him troat too! Him nebber hab no time,
acause him bolt him like smoke, a fellar! Call me Kukumshin indeed!"

"I tell ye what it is, my mates," cried Hearty, inattentive to Roly
Poly's indignation. The group were all attention.

"A fellar!" exclaimed the cook, casting one of his blackest looks upon
the offender, and then waddling off to another part of the ship.

"In my time I've been many voyages to India and thereabouts," said the
old man; "and I knows it's the notion o' them people, that arter a
fellow's dead he comes to life again in another sort of a body. Now if
this here rigmarole's true, which every body there says is as sartain
as a stone 'ill sink, seeing that this youngster is more 'cute in
his notions than is usual at his time o' day, and appears a most
'straordinary sort o' a human, it's much more nat'ral to 'spose he's
been metamorphorosed from some of those Old Indian flos'phers who 's up
to ev'ry thing in natur', than that he should be a mere hobbledehoy, as
can't have any more gumption than what 'll serve him to carry a letter
or go on a message. But hush!" exclaimed the speaker as a beautiful
symphony full of passionate sentiment was borne upon the air. A soft
melodious voice soon mingled with the instrument, and these words were
sung with all the expression superior skill could bestow upon them:--

   "The wave rolls on from shore to shore,
      As from the first those billows roll'd;
    All study its mysterious lore,
      But none have yet its secrets told!
    So in the heart a flood flows on
      As free and boundless in its will;
    As long, the learnèd there have gone--
      Its secrets are unfathom'd still!

   "Unfathomed still, fond heart! remain,--
      Veil thy rich flood's most precious prize!
    Thy pearlèd worth--thy golden gain--
      Hide--hide from all too-curious eyes!
    For see! th' adventurous diver comes,
      Down in thy deeps he makes his stay;
    Through ev'ry hidden cave he roams--
      Then bears thy treasured stores away.

   "But why thy sterling splendours hide?--
      Why veil the worth thou dost possess?--
    Pour out thy bright exhaustless tide!
      Lay bare thy wealth!--and thee 't will bless.
    The riches that are hoarded up,
      In worthless hands at last must shrink;--
    And he who cares to fill the cup,
      Should fill for one who longs to drink!"

"There! that _is_ music," observed Climberkin in a whisper; "and it
makes my heart leap like a dolphin just taken out o' his element."

"All hands to take in sail!" shouted a stentorian voice from the
quarter-deck, and in an instant the group were engaged in active duty.

But the song had other listeners than the party just described. Oriel
Porphyry, after escaping from a weary lecture from the learned professor
Fortyfolios, who seemed laudably anxious to fulfil his duties to his
pupil, had been pacing the quarter-deck with long and hasty strides,
when he was roused from the ambitious reveries of his ardent imagination
by the mellow sounds of a harp at no great distance. In him, the voice,
the song, its sentiments, and their expression, recalled to his memory
the delicious beauty of her, from the wondrous lustre of whose gaze he
had drunk of that intoxicating stream which had bound his senses in a
wild and rapturous delirium. The dark eyes, radiant with the light of
the impassioned soul that floated in their depths, again raised on
him their sunny splendour; and the budding mouth, bearing the odorous
spirits of a thousand roses on its lips, once more appeared to teach
those smiling lessons that had been to him the fairest pages in the
book of knowledge. He listened, and his heart was filled with the sweet
influence of a happier time. The dreams of ambition were forgot--the
suggestions of pride were unthought of--fame, glory, power, the pomp of
greatness, the sway of empire, and the adulation of the governed, were
now as things for which he had no sympathy; and he thought only of the
time when the noble, gifted, young, and beautiful Eureka, regardless
of the loftiness of her exalted station, the opinions of her princely
family, or the sentiments of the world, ennobled him with the passionate
ecstacies of her enthusiastic nature, and first filled his youthful
brain with those heroic dreams which made him yearn after the glorious
influence of superiority.

During the continuance of the song he listened with breathless
attention, and the rich harmonies of the music kept him spell-bound
to the spot on which he stood; but as the last chords of the closing
symphony were struck, he stood by the side of the musician.

"I knew not, Zabra, that you were so well skilled in the science of
sweet sounds," said he.

Zabra had appeared so lost in his own meditations, that he had not
noticed master Porphyry's approach. His gaze was fixed; and as he bent
over his harp, allowing the long curls of his dark hair to mingle with
its strings, no attitude, and no expression of countenance, could more
plainly interpret the perfect state of self-abandonment in which he then
existed; but when he heard the voice of him by whom he was addressed, in
an instant his dark handsome features assumed a different expression,
and throwing back the shining tresses that shaded his face, he seemed a
creature all smiles, devotion, and enjoyment.

"Music has been to me the food of my existence," remarked the page: "on
its divine essence I was nurtured; and as the perfume forms a part of
the breeze on which it is borne, harmony has entered into my nature, and
is now my life, my strength, and my felicity."

"Where did you learn the song I have just heard?" inquired the
merchant's son.

"From the impulses of my own creative spirit," replied the other. "From
sympathies awakened into action by the strong power that creates and
controls them. See you the mighty tide that swells up into universal
motion, bearing by its own strength the burthen of resistless armaments
as if they were but reeds, and when it does put forth its power,
assuming such shapes and doing such things as make the marvel of every
age; and know you not that it is the operation of its attraction for
that fair world of light that dwelleth in the starry heaven, whose
glimpses of a glory not to be subdued enter into its innermost depths,
and stir its everlasting waves with passionate emotion?"

"Surely one so young cannot have felt the power of Love?" asked the
elder of the two, in a tone that betrayed the influence of which it
spoke.

"Who shall say when it shall come or when it shall depart?" said Zabra,
as the dusky hue of his cheek gave evidence of the warm blood that
filled his veins. "It is a presence that appeareth at all times when the
soul is fit to receive it. It cometh not at this time, nor at that--it
dwelleth not here, nor there; it filleth eternity of time, and infinity
of space. Look around you, over the vast circumference of boundless
nature--wherever there is life, wherever there is motion--wherever there
is an object that hath beauty in its form and fitness for its purpose,
it hath all its energies swayed by the thrilling impulses of that
almighty passion. The flower that liveth but a few days, trembles in the
warm embraces of the southern breeze; and the planet that smiled upon
the infancy of the world, in the unconquerable maturity of a thousand
ages, still enamoured, drinks in the beauty of the mountain stream. The
heart is ever young, as mine is; and as the mellowing sunbeam calls into
activity the principle of life in the insect's egg, the sunshine in
which I have basked, hath stirred the vital seed implanted within my
breast, and given it restless hopes and fond desires, and properties
and motives to an end, that are the wings with which it flutters in its
shell. The only thing in which I differ from the rest is that my Spring
hath preceded theirs. All have their seasons, but till the sun comes
the winter endures; and in me the frost hath been broken up, and the
current, freed from its icy chains, rushes through its channels in the
soft light of its first bright day, and makes a world of its own, full
of music and flowers."

"But how can you bear to be parted from the object with which your
sympathies are so closely united?" asked master Porphyry.

"We are inseparable," replied Zabra, as he fixed his eyes on the
inquirer, eloquent with animation. "Think you, you can part the melody
from the voice by which it is sung? The two cannot be severed; neither
can the spirit to which mine is linked be other than a part of myself. I
breathe its atmosphere--I enjoy its presence--I share in its delights.
Our bodies may be set asunder by a plank; but you may pile mountains
upon mountains, and worlds upon worlds between us, and yet our souls
will remain one and indivisible."

"How much your voice and gestures remind me of Eureka!" remarked the
merchant's son, regarding with increasing interest the romantic
enthusiasm of his companion.

"For what purpose than this was I sent?" asked the youth, as he
turned away from the gaze as if to examine some of the strings of his
instrument: then continued--"If you loved her with the same intense
devotion with which she regards you, you would not require to be
reminded; but, save in the color of our complexions, there is so perfect
a resemblance both in our appearance and in our natures, that I might
recall her image to any one who has seen her and seems likely to forget
her."

"You wrong me, Zabra!" cried the other vehemently, "if you imagine it
possible that I can forget her. It is she who hath filled these veins
with a quenchless fire that makes my whole frame glow with a desire for
lofty enterprise, to attain a renown, and acquire a greatness worthy of
the love with which I have been honoured. Since that proud day when I
first beheld in her lustrous eyes the light that created a new splendour
over the horizon of my happiness, I have been shaking the chains that
bound me to the world, and, while yearning to emancipate myself from its
oppressive thraldoms, have sought how I could best subdue it to my own
ambitious purposes. I worship the nobility of her nature, and would have
her behold in mine something worthy of its intimate association. I would
not have her descend from the lofty pedestal on which she is placed;
therefore am I eager to win my way to a like elevation--ay, and ascend
higher, if a loftier step there be--and there acknowledge the greatness
I have worshipped, and everlastingly unite it to my own."

"How little you know of her character, if you think she values any
thing except the spirit to which she is attached," observed the page.
"Did she care for the accidental difference of birth that distinguishes
you from her, you would never have known of her affection, because it
could never have existed. They who love the idle vanities of rank, set
their hearts upon a garment, a feather, a shining stone that is made to
adorn the person who possesses it; but it was not such artificial worth
that could attract Eureka. That she would feel proud of any distinction
you might by the force of your own merit acquire, is probable; but
knowing the qualities of your disposition, she holds them at their full
value, which could not be increased in the slightest degree by all the
honours you might gain. It was her observation of a tendency in you to
seek after the unattainable, that made her fearful it would lead you
into danger; and when she pressed me into this service, she bade me
warn you of the different perils it would produce. I warn you now. Take
heed of indulging in these ambitious dreams. You have the elements of
greatness in your character; they ought to content you; and what you
desire are but the shadows of what you have. There is another danger
which is equally imminent; and if you are as truly devoted to Eureka as
she hath ever been to you, you will pause before it reaches you.--Your
feverish pursuit after renown, or power, or whatever delusive meteor it
may be that dazzles your eyes, only tends to make you lose sight of that
one true, steady, and brilliant light that should be a glory in your
pathway."

"Never!" exclaimed his companion with fervour--"never can any ambitious
dream of mine lead me from that splendour out of which it was created.
My aspirations are a natural result of the lofty source from which they
spring. They are but the reflections of her excellence--and the signs
of her presence; and loving her, I could no more exist without desiring
to be great, than I could bask in the sun's rays without acquiring
warmth.--Besides, had I not this stimulus to exertion, by what means can
I hope to make her mine. To the merchant's son the Lord of Philadelphia
would deny his daughter; but with Oriel Porphyry, his equal in dignity
and superior in power, the honoured of all and the feared of many, he
would gladly seek an alliance."

"You think not of what Eureka's ideas may be on this subject?" inquired
Zabra.

"I think of them, but they cannot avail," said the other.

"They will avail!" replied the youth emphatically.

"How?" asked master Porphyry.

"Be assured of this," said his young companion, while again he seemed
more attentive to his harp than to his listener. "If, in a reasonable
time, the obstacles that retard your union still exist, she will point
out a way by which they may be honourably set aside, or acquiesce in any
plan with the same object in view, which you may propose."

"How know you this?" inquired the other hastily.

"I heard her say it," said the page.

"But before I return, her father may compel her to enter into other
arrangements."

"Eureka has a will which is not to be compelled--she will readily do
that which is right--but no power on earth could bend her inclinations
to an unjust purpose."

"And she may be surrounded by dangers--subject to every kind of
suffering, and forced to endure a thousand indignities from which I have
no power to rescue her," continued master Porphyry.

"She _is_ surrounded by dangers," said the youth with emphasis--"dangers
new and terrible to other minds; but of these she will think nothing,
and of what she may be obliged to endure she will be equally regardless,
as long as she is possessed with the conviction, that he for whom alone
she suffers is not unmindful of the sacrifices she has made."

"There is a strength in your words," said the merchant, laying his hand
upon the shoulder of his companion, "which there is no withstanding; and
your looks are even more eloquent than your language. How is it possible
that one apparently so young should have acquired that force of
expression, and depth of meaning, which breathes in every sentence you
express."

"I was taught early, and well," replied the other, as his frame trembled
slightly under the touch of his companion. "And as for my speech--truth
is always the most forcible. My external frame may appear light and
boyish; but size is no safe guide for the judgment. The ostrich never
leaves the earth along which it glides; but the eagle pierces the
unfathomable depths of air with an untiring wing, and floats with eye
undimmed within the scorching rays of the eternal sun."

"Zabra, your nature is superior to the garb you wear," said the elder,
as he kindly took the hand and gazed into the face of his more youthful
associate. "I cannot allow you to be thus. You must put away the page,
and endeavour to be the friend of Oriel Porphyry."

"By whatever title Oriel Porphyry can most love Zabra, that title Zabra
would most desire to be," replied the other.

"Then be it so," said his companion. "From henceforth you shall be my
associate--my friend--my brother. Any thing in the ship that can extend
your enjoyments shall be at your disposal, and you may command the
services of every living creature it contains. We will be together as
often as possible, and the greatest delight you can create, or I can
indulge in, will be for us to discourse of her in whose affection I
exist; that when I hear the magic music of your voice, and meet the deep
intelligence of your gaze, the resemblance may make me imagine that the
blissful times have again returned, when beneath the shadows of the
welcome trees we sat together till the noonday hours ran on unnoticed
to the twilight, and the twilight deepened into evening, and still our
hands were clasped with the same gentle pressure with which they first
met, and still our eyes looked into each other with the same unspeakable
meaning that was first created in their mutual glances."

Perhaps Oriel Porphyry would have said more, but at that moment his
companion withdrew his hand, and with looks full of an empassioned
tenderness, as he struck an accompaniment of harmonious chords, he sang
the following words:--

   "Sound, oh Harp! some sweet and cheerful lay,
      Soft as the breath of eve o'er mountain springs,
    Awhile the spirit of a brighter day
      Mingles its voice with thy rejoicing strings.
    With thy rejoicing strings, oh Soul of Song!
      Bind the fond air with spells rained free and fast;
    And as thy thrilling echoes roll along,
      We'll raise again THE RAPTURES OF THE PAST!

   "Sound, oh Harp! such harmony as dies
      Within the warm and rosy atmosphere,
    When gentle whispers, and delicious sighs,
      Send a delighting welcome to the ear.
    A welcome to the ear, oh Voice Divine!
      Which long as life, and kind as hope, shall last;
    That with the wealth of an exhaustless mine
      Stores in our hearts THE TREASURES OF THE PAST!

   "Sound, oh Harp! thy music once again,
      For now while I intrusive cares destroy,
    An impulse stirs within the heart and brain,
      Strong with the power of everlasting joy.
    Of everlasting joy, Prophetic Sound!
      (A bliss that cannot in the grave be cast;)
    For as thy trembling murmurs swell around,
      Still we embrace THE BLESSINGS OF THE PAST."

When the song concluded their hearts seemed filled with a mutual
sympathy which neither could express; and Master Porphyry throwing his
arm round the young musician, and bringing Zabra's arm round his own
waist, drew him to another part of the vessel without either exchanging
a word. In this attitude, the youthful pair would have formed an
admirable study for a painter. The tall and manly form of the merchant's
son, his clear complexion and noble countenance creating a perfect
contrast to the symmetrical, yet delicate, figure of his companion, and
the soft voluptuous character of his more dark but not less beautiful
features.

While these proceedings were going on, a scene of a very different
description was being acted in a low, dark, narrow cabin in a secluded
part of the ship. By the light of a small lamp that swung from the
roof, the diminutive form of Log the captain's clerk, with his little
conceited physiognomy, might be observed perched upon a high stool
engaged in writing, while the more burly figure, but not more
prepossessing countenance, of Scrumpydike, lay extended on some packages
near his feet.

"Scrunch me, if this ar'n't the most miserable sort o' life, I ever
knowed," remarked the latter, as he rested his chin upon his hands and
supported himself upon his elbows.

"Sad!" responded Log, who thinking that to speak much would lessen his
consequence, seldom allowed any thing beyond a monosyllable to escape
him, to which by repetitions and some slight additions he attempted to
give as much importance as if they contained volumes of meaning. "Sad,
sad, very sad, very sad upon my word, Mister Scrumpydike."

"There's nothin' doin'," continued the other. "I feel as queer as a dog
wi' his tail cut off, cause there's no 'portunity to do nothin'."

"Nothing, nothing, decidedly, actually, positively nothing, Mister
Scrumpydike," replied the little man.

"It's a tarnation hard case that a fellow's obligated to be honest
against his will," remarked the sailor despondingly.

"Hard, hard, very hard, very hard indeed, uncommonly hard, Mister
Scrumpydike," said the other, appearing to sympathise exceedingly in so
extraordinary a cause of complaint.

"But what's most cruel in this here unnat'ral state o' things is, that
there's sich lots o' beautiful prigging for any chap as is a mind to
make his-self handy," added his companion in the same pathetic tone.

"Cruel, cruel, most cruel, most unjustly, most unnaturally, most
deplorably cruel, Mister Scrumpydike," responded Log.

"Well, I only knows I shan't be able to stand this here molloncolly sort
o' fun much longer. May I be bolted by a shark if I ar'n't a getting
into the most 'bominable reg'lar habits as can be. You wouldn't s'pose
it possible, but I ar'n't 'propriated nothin' o' nobodies since I've
been aboard this here craft. I ar'n't the same sort o' cretur I was
afore. I ar'n't, indeed. I resists temptation, and commits lots o' other
'straordinary impossibilities. I does without divarsion:--I ar'n't
killed a fellow cretur for ever so long. And worser nor all, some o'
the bugaboos here act'ly thinks I ar'n't no greater a villain than
themselves, ar'n't it horrid?"

"Terrible, terrible, horribly terrible, upon my word, very horribly
terrible, Mister Scrumpydike."

Here the dialogue was interrupted by a knocking at the door which made
Scrumpydike jump upon his legs, and Log twist himself round upon his
stool, each looking, in a considerable degree, alarmed and anxious.
Presently the door opened cautiously, and Captain Compass entered the
cabin. His sallow complexion, high cheek bones, prominent nose, thick
lips, and restless grey eyes were surrounded by a thick mass of coarse
black hair, that spread from each side of his narrow forehead, down his
cheeks and under his chin, in a formidable pair of whiskers. His figure
was spare of flesh, but in the gauntness of body, length of arm, and
sinewy leg, there was evidently more than ordinary strength. His
appearance was not likely to excite for him much regard, but there was
a careless freedom in his manner, a frank boldness in his conversation,
and a pungent satire in his wit, that had made him an agreeable
companion to the merchant's son.

"All right, Scrumpy?" inquired Compass in a whisper, after closing the
door carefully after him.

"All right, cap'ain," replied Scrumpydike.

"Right, right, very right, perfectly right, right as a trivet, Captain
Compass," added Log.

"Scrunch me, if we shan't all be served with sauce we don't like, unless
we keep a smart look out ahead," observed the captain as he flung
himself upon a bale of goods.

"Why, what's in the wind now, cap'ain?" inquired Scrumpydike, with some
earnestness, while little Log remained silent with alarm.

"May I be peeled to shreds in a hurricane, if that dark looking son of a
savage, who came on board the day we sailed, doesn't suspect the game we
are playing," continued the captain.

"No!" exclaimed the other, as an expression of anxiety became visible in
his hard rough features; and the captain's clerk trembled on his stool
as if he was shaken by an ague.

"I was palavering young Porphyry as smooth as a rat's tail, after he had
been pretty well blown up with the long-winded sentences of that tedious
old porpoise Fortyfolios, and was going it at a smacking rate about the
pleasure of liberty and the enjoyments of a life of enterprise, the sort
of discourse, I have found out, he'll suck in as a fish drinks water,
when happening to turn my daylights a little a starboard, I beheld
that black thief Zabra watching me like a snake, and when I met the
full stare of his great goggling eyes they seemed to have the power of
piercing through and through right into the hold where all my secrets
are ballasted, so I, having a sudden fear that he was up to the course
I was steering, lost the helm of my discourse, and anchored in shallow
water, with a muddy bottom, in no time."

"Pooh!" responded Scrumpydike: "is that all? Leave him to me, and I'll
thank ye for the job."

"No, that mustn't be: we must avoid every thing likely to create the
least suspicion," replied the captain.

"I'll take care o' that," said the other: "I'll watch my 'portunity when
he's a hanging over the side o' the ship, as he does o' nights when
there ar'n't a human near enough to catch a glimpse o' his 'bominable
carcass, and then with my 'safe and sure' here," continued the fellow
as he drew a long knife a little way from its concealment in his vest,
"I'll make a sweep into his bread-room, and afore he can ax what it's
for, I'll heave him into a berth where he'll lie snug as a wet blanket
can make him."

"It wo'n't do, I tell you," remarked his associate.

"Nobody needn't know nothin' about it," added Scrumpydike.

"There is too much risk and not sufficient advantage to be gained by
it," said the captain. "Ah!" he continued, after a pause--"if I only
had some of the old hands now, scrunch me, if I wouldn't put matters to
rights, after a fashion the fellows here don't dream of."

"Wouldn't we? Breakers ahead! wouldn't we?" cried the other with
exultation. "But they've all cut their cables and gone adrift. There's
nothin' but misfortunes in this here world. It's a hard case for a
fellow who's sociably inclined to see his mates, as fine a set o'
villains as ever escaped hanging, partin' company without cuttin' each
other's throats or doin' any thing in a friendly way." A melancholy
pause succeeded this sentence.--"It was an ugly business that at Cape
Danger, warn't it, Mister Log?" at last asked the scoundrel of the
little man upon the stool.

"Ugly, ugly, very ugly, I may say uncommonly, deplorably, ferociously
ugly, Mister Scrumpydike," replied the captain's clerk.

"Well, it's no use lamenting the catastrophe now," observed the captain.
"All we've got to do is to get a new ship and a fresh set of hands. The
ship we've as good as got, but she can be of no use without a crew of
the right sort. To get such a set of fellows together will take some
time. We must either pick them up where we can, or try and make the
present crew adopt our views. This will be rather a ticklish business,
and requires very careful management, for the slightest knowledge of
our intentions among those not inclined to join us will wreck the whole
concern. Now, Scrumpy, you've got jawing tackle that will stand in any
weather."

"Ay, ay, cap'ain," cried the fellow with a grin: "may I be washed to
rags in a waterspout if I couldn't bamboozle the devil's grandmother."

"Well, you must sound these fellows, but do it cautiously--and try if
the inducement of plenty of plunder and a free life will be likely to
lead them to assist us in our bold undertaking. As for the boy Zabra,
although there appears something very mysterious about him, and he looks
as sharp as a sword-fish, I don't think it possible he can find me out.
Scorch my body to a cinder! but it would be a hard case if, after having
baffled so many big vessels, I should be sunk by such a bit of a craft
as that. However, I mus'n't stay here any longer or my absence may
create inquiry," observed the speaker as he proceeded to the door; then
looking at his associates said, "Remember what you have heard, and
steer your course accordingly," and with the same caution with which he
entered left the cabin.

"Well, ar'n't this enough to make a fellow ready to jump down his own
throat wi' vexation?" remarked Scrumpydike to his companion. "Here, I
was jest 'gratulating myself that spiflicating that young blackamoor
would be a tolerable bit o' a pastime to cheer up the dulness o' this
here molloncholy life, when he turns round upon me and says it ar'n't
to be at no price! I'd rather live in a whale's belly up to my nose in
blubber than endure this uncomfortable state o' feeling. Scrunch me if
I wouldn't. Don't you think now, Master Log, it's as bad a state o'
existence as is possible for a human to know on?"

"Bad, bad, shocking bad, particularly shocking bad, upon my word
very particularly shocking bad, Mister Scrumpydike," replied the
commiserating captain's clerk; and immediately afterwards the
dissatisfied villain walked away to join his unsuspicious messmates.



CHAP. III.

A PHILANTHROPIST.


A few days after the circumstances that have been related, Oriel
Porphyry, being alone, broke open the packet that had been given him
by his father, and on perusal found it to contain the following
communication:--

"It is time, my dear Oriel, that you should know something of your
father's history; that being made acquainted with the steps by which he
has acquired his reputation, you may seek the same path to honour with a
certainty that it cannot mislead; and the moment is equally opportune
for you to learn the true state of your country, which you cannot know
unless you can have the account from one who is neither desirous of
deceiving himself nor his associates, that when you are called upon to
take your place on the grand stage of the world, as you will be aware
what portion of the drama has preceded your appearance, you may
understand the tendency of the whole so well, as to be able to play your
part with power, with truth, with a just conception of the character, to
the satisfaction of yourself, and with the admiration of your audience.
I have observed, with considerable anxiety, that you possess a
disposition that does not conform itself readily to the spirit
of the times. You are impatient of restraint--you are anxious for
enterprise--you are yearning for distinction;--not that distinction
which rewards the exertions of the truly great, the just, the good, the
benevolent--which is the loving admiration of their fellow-creatures,
and comes in the delightful shape of blessings, and good wishes, and
the sight of social happiness--but the vain splendour of a false renown,
such as is often acquired by adventurers, impostors, conquerors, and
tyrants, and is made visible in the shrieks of wounded men, in the
adulation of slaves, in tears and curses, blood and flame, in the blast
of trumpets and the clang of chains. Your eyes are enamoured of the
glory with which the mighty invest themselves: to excite the wonder of
the fearful and the foolish, and assist in their subjection--thrones
and sceptres, robes of state, gaudy ceremonies, and idle distinctions,
dazzle your senses--you would wish them yours, seek for them, fight for
them, die for them: having obtained them, your sole gratification would
exist in exhibiting yourself surrounded by these delusive honours, or
in conferring some of minor importance upon such of your followers as
may make themselves most useful or agreeable: dying in seeking their
possession, you would render up your everlasting soul, to mingle with
the bright source from which it sprung, with the sole consolation that
you will be talked of by a multitude you could not enslave.

"The only unerring way of judging of the value of a thing is by the
happiness it produces. The degree of happiness that results to the
acquirer of this glory, of which you are so desirous, must indeed be
small, when we take into consideration the danger with which it is
obtained, the fear of losing it, and the struggles to maintain its
possession, which are its common accompaniments; and still less is the
quantity of happiness it creates among those at whose expense it must
exist--for there is no happiness in thraldom--in the debasement of human
nature to an idol--in the march of conquering hordes destroying as
they go--or in the bitter anguish of noble minds struggling in vain
to emancipate themselves from the tyranny under which they groan. The
only real happiness consists in the practice of benevolence, and the
only real glory is the admiration it excites. I have enjoyed a more
than ordinary share of happiness, because I have taken advantage of
opportunities for benefiting my fellow-creatures that were presented
to me in more than ordinary abundance, and I have acquired an unusual
degree of reputation for a private individual, in consequence of making
the most profitable use of these abundant opportunities for doing good.

"It was in the middle of the last reign, when the late emperor, after
ascending the steps of military greatness to a throne, was pursuing an
uninterrupted career of conquest throughout the vast continent of this
immense portion of the globe, when I, a youth like yourself, but with
far different feelings, left the mansion of my father, (who had lately
been ennobled, as it is called, for his services in the wars,) to escape
from a way of life it was desired I, being his eldest son, should
follow--a way of slaughter and tyranny, of blood, and shame, and guilt,
which was disgustingly repugnant to my disposition,--and disguised, and
under a fictitious name, seeking some more honourable occupation, I was
so fortunate as to enter into the service of the wealthiest merchant in
the city of Columbus. I became useful to him--he praised my industry and
integrity--I was admired by his daughter--she loved me for the praises
to which she had been a frequent and not unwilling listener. He was
generous and noble in his nature--she simple, modest, and kind. She was
your mother, Oriel, and after having been enriched with her beauty and
excellence, I became possessed of all the store of treasure, which had
gone on accumulating as it passed from father to son through several
generations of princely merchants.

"I had always done whatever trifling good the little power I had allowed
me to accomplish, and the sweetest gratifications I enjoyed arose from
these actions, and had always longed for the arrival of that time when
my sphere of usefulness might be equal to my desires; therefore when,
by the demise of my adopted father, I found myself the uncontrollable
master of funds almost exhaustless, to render the benefits I wished
them to produce as ample as possible, I studied every way which great
knowledge and extraordinary means could create to increase them,
that without diminishing my source of good I might have a liberal,
a continual, and increasing fund from which to realise my benevolent
intentions. With this object in view, and with the experience I had
acquired by many years of close application, I brought into operation
all my resources--my ships, continually increasing in number, traversed
every known sea, laden with the most desirable produce--and my agents,
always becoming more numerous, penetrated into every habitable region,
and opened new sources of traffic and fresh accumulations of wealth. The
consequence was, that I was enabled to live a life of the most active
benevolence. I purchased happiness by diffusing it around me. I founded
hospitals for the sick and asylums for the poor. I endeavoured to
lessen the growth of crime by increasing the means of intelligence,
and I attempted to strengthen the example of virtue by adding to the
recreative power of its advantages. I rewarded genius, I enriched worth,
I assisted industry, I fostered skill. I made disappointment forget her
name, and allowed misfortune to become a stranger in the places where I
was known.

"But at this period, in what state of feeling lived the emperor--he
whose state you would envy, and whose pride you would covet? He was
getting into the winter of his days, but the fire that burnt within
him was not to be subdued by its frost. His soul was like a volcano
in a region of snow. He was disturbed by the restless turmoil of his
own thoughts, that made his couch of down a bed of rock, his robe of
sovereignty a perpetual blister, and the acclamations of a fickle
multitude a piercing discord. In vain, when he found that all his
conquests had been achieved, and he consolidated them into one immense
empire, comprising the two Americas, over which he ruled alone and
absolute, he tried to calm the fever of his desires by building palaces
and churches, erecting triumphal arches and towering pillars--creating
convenient highways, majestic bridges, noble aqueducts, immense canals,
and unrivalled docks:--in vain he strived to have forests grow in the
place of weeds, and sought to have gardens of roses in deserts of
sand--he encouraged agriculture--he promoted manufactures--he protected
commerce--science was ennobled in his halls, and learning dwelt
in comfort in his colleges:--in vain he established institutions,
originated titles, conferred honours, and distributed wealth--the fire
that slumbered in his breast was not to be thus extinguished. He was
miserable for want of opportunities for action. His busy inclinations
allowed him no repose. There was no peace for his soul.

"The happiness I enjoyed became known to him--became familiar to
all--for with the true spirit of philanthropy, which knows no
distinction of creed or country, I endeavoured to confer my benefits
wherever they were most required; and the loving admiration with which
I found my name regarded in every part of the globe, and the abundant
pleasures I saw arise from my own exertions wherever they could be
applied, created in me a degree of happiness almost impossible to be
exceeded. He became aware of my extraordinary wealth, and was told of
the beneficial effects it was producing. The emperor sent me word that
a certain distinction waited my acceptance--with a proper humility I
declined the favour. Surprised at the refusal, and desirous of tempting
me into obligation, he caused it to be intimated to me that a higher
honour would, if desired, be granted--this, in the same manner, and with
as little consideration, I also refused. His astonishment increased, and
his inclination to shackle me with the trappings of his own grandeur
grew more intense. I was told that the highest honours to which a
subject could aspire might at a wish be mine; and I need scarcely add
that the offer met with the same result as its predecessors. No, my son!
as Oriel Porphyry I had acquired almost boundless riches, and had lived
in a state of happiness which left no desire ungratified--as Oriel
Porphyry I had obtained an influence over the hearts of my fellow-men,
compared to which the power of conquerors was an idle boast--and as
Oriel Porphyry I had created for myself a renown beside which the glory
of an emperor sunk into insignificance. What could be to me the baubles
he sought to confer--the sounding titles--or the pompous privileges?
They could not extend my usefulness a hair's breadth--they could not add
to my enjoyments the fraction of a grain.

"To say that the emperor was not offended by my repeated refusals
would be to give a more charitable interpretation to his feelings
than would be true; but my behaviour seemed to him something
so extraordinary--something so opposed to the spirit of his
experience--and something so utterly incomprehensible to his notions
of human nature--that he sent for me to be satisfied by his own eyes
that there existed in the world what he considered so remarkable a
phenomenon. He endeavoured to persuade me into a conviction that I did
wrong, in not accepting the advantages, as he was pleased to call them,
I might obtain; and I replied by describing the advantages that more
justly deserved the name I already possessed. I asked if he could give
me any thing of real value that was not at my disposal, and enumerated
every good I was enabled to bestow. He reflected, and the more he
reflected, the more he seemed to wonder. I do not remember the whole of
our conversation, but it was of sufficient interest to him to desire my
visit to be repeated.

"I saw the emperor frequently at his continual requests, and the more I
conversed with him the more he appeared gratified with my conversation.
I expressed my opinions fearlessly, and my boldness he excused--I
censured his government with freedom, and he listened without offence.
I suggested some valuable improvements, and my ideas were immediately
adopted; but our acquaintance did not end there. He was continually
entreating me to occupy a place in his council, from which I endeavoured
to be excused; but on reflection, seeing that it might confer upon me
opportunities I could not otherwise possess, for giving a more liberal
character to the government, by which means I might improve the
condition of the people, I at last consented, on the understanding that
it should confer on me no rank, no privileges, and no emoluments. I knew
that my country had once been a republic, and under that title had for
centuries enjoyed an unexampled degree of prosperity; but though I would
have preferred a government of a similar character, more perfect in its
influence, and more simple in its organisation, as a change in the state
of things could not evidently be made, without creating a degree of
confusion, strife, hatred, and unhappiness, the thought of which I could
not endure, it was my aim so to work and improve the machinery of the
state, that the public wants should be as completely satisfied as it
was possible for them to be. It matters little under what name a nation
is governed,--a monarchy, an oligarchy, and a republic are but different
names for the same thing; and a president, a doge, and an emperor, are
only different titles for the same office: they may all represent a
state of tyranny in the country, and their chiefs may become the most
despotic rulers of the people. The true value of a thing, as I have
previously said, is the quantity of happiness it can be made to produce;
and every system of government may, by proper administration, be made
productive of the greatest degree of happiness to the governed.

"At the head of the grand council of the empire I was in due time
installed; and while I there remained, was the originator of a multitude
of various measures, having for their object the public welfare. My
coadjutors I found to be men with whom I could but little sympathise,
because they had no sympathy for their fellows. They were proud, vain,
selfish, and intolerant. They imagined themselves governors instead
of ministers. They liked to rule better than to advise. They bowed in
abject servility to their superior, and strived to make those having
less power as slavish in their behaviour to themselves.

"It is not at all extraordinary that such dispositions should regard the
untitled merchant who presided at their deliberations, always exercised
his own judgment in preference to theirs, paid no deference to their
fancied superiority, and appeared on terms of equality even with their
emperor, as one unqualified for government, and solely kept in office
by the emperor's foolish partiality; and I was neither surprised or
offended, when I found them opposing the measures I brought forward;
treating my arguments with inattention, and my person with disrespect.
Finding that, under such circumstances, my services could be of no value
to the community, I was obliged to request the emperor to release me
from the responsibilities of my situation. He desired to know the
reasons for my resignation. I told him. I was entreated to remain; an
intimation was conveyed to the members of the council from him they
acknowledged as their master, and, when I returned to my duties, I
found them rivalling each other in obsequiousness to my will. That,
notwithstanding the readiness with which they embraced my views, they
hated me in their hearts, I regret to say, was too evident. But they
were little to be blamed. Had they known that, even in the idle rank
which they prized so highly, I was the equal of the noblest, and the
superior of the rest, they would have regarded me with more generous
feelings; but none knew when my father died, and my younger brother took
possession of the titles and estates of the family; that the rightful
heir, long lamented as dead, was living, in the person of an object of
secret disdain to his coadjutors; and that he was Oriel Porphyry, the
merchant.

"It may easily be imagined by you, from what I have related, that the
emperor had sympathies in his nature rarely met with in conquerors; but
by me they were first awakened. On one of our earliest interviews, when
the spirit that kept his desires in a ferment was still strong upon him,
he said,--

"'I want action--I want action. I cannot live except in the stir of
battle, and the pursuit of conquest. But my triumphs are completed--I
have nothing left to conquer.'

"Sire," said I, "the most valuable--the most difficult conquest remains
unachieved."

"'What have I to conquer?' he asked, eagerly.

"Yourself," I replied. I will do him the justice to say that he did not
lose sight of the suggestion. His mind became liberalised--his heart
expanded to the influence of sincere philanthropy--for the first time he
understood the nature of true happiness; and although from the effects
of a disease of long standing his reign, from this time, was brief, he
lived to effect some valuable reformations in the laws, and by their
results in ameliorating the condition of the people, provided, as far
as he had the power, a remedy for the mischiefs he had created.

"His successor was a weak, proud, vain young man, possessing a
disposition for tyranny--usually found in company with incapacity
holding power; and it is almost unnecessary to state that such a
character found plenty of bad advisers, and that I was speedily
obliged by their machinations to retire from all participation in the
government. Although my time had always been actively employed, I had
regarded the progress of your education with so much interest, that I
never failed to create opportunities for superintending your studies. I
witnessed the developement of your mind with increasing pleasure, and
found a continual gratification in the approaches you were making to the
perfect dignity of manhood. About this time we went to reside in the
neighbourhood of Philadelphia's noble mansion, because the scenery was
endeared to me by all the most pleasant of my early recollections, and
I encouraged your intimacy with our proud neighbours, in consequence
of an inclination I had long retained, which was created in me by many
powerful reasons with which you cannot now be made acquainted, for a
union between our families. Philadelphia seemed for a considerable time
with great cordiality to enter into my views; but as the government of
which he was a supporter were pursuing measures highly inimical to the
liberties of the people, and as he found I would not be brought into any
thing like an approval of such a policy, he began to look upon me with
less friendship--he thought it would hurt his loyalty to retain feelings
of sociality for one who opposed the measures of his sovereign, and
imagined it beneath the dignity of his nobility to encourage an alliance
with an untitled merchant. But he little knew that a word would make
me his equal in his own ideas of greatness; which, when uttered, would
at the same time reduce him to a state of insignificance to which, in
comparison, my plebeian condition would have appeared to him princely.

"From a friendly neighbour, Philadelphia became an implacable enemy. I
regretted, for the reasons to which I have alluded, that all idea of the
proposed union should be thus suddenly terminated; but I had noticed
in Eureka so powerful a romantic impulse in her nature, and observed
that its effect upon you was so productive of ambitious desires, that
I did not lament your separation, but in a very slight degree. The
disappointment under which I observed you suffer so acutely, and the
restless eagerness for a life of enterprise, I noticed becoming in you
daily less supportable, induced me to plan the voyage upon which you
are now proceeding. Engage yourself in careful observation of every
thing you meet worthy of notice--seek every opportunity for diffusing
happiness among those near you, by whom it may be required; and all
motive for exertion, that does not tend towards benevolence, all regret
for the past, and all desires for the future, will be forgotten in the
enjoyment of your own happiness."

"It cannot be," exclaimed Oriel Porphyry, as he concluded the preceding
sentence. "I honour my father's noble nature, and would do all in my
power to fulfil his benevolent intentions, but I cannot give up Eureka.
My ambition I will strive to conquer; but love is not so easily
subdued. What care I for the disdain of the proud Philadelphia? I see
signs in the times that are likely to bring about important changes, if
this state of things continues. The people are dissatisfied with their
rulers, and the emperor is endeavouring to make himself absolute. Every
day will increase the public discontent, and when the crisis arrives,
there will be nothing required but a leader, and down the whole rotten
fabric of despotism must tumble. I will wait the time; and then, my
father! we will see who is greatest in the land--the generous merchant
or the proud noble."



CHAP. IV.

A FIRE AT SEA.


The mid-day meal had concluded in the chief cabin, and its partakers
were grouped round a table in the centre of the apartment, assisting
with conversation the enjoyment of the wines and delicacies of which
they were partaking. The cabin was elegant in its decorations, but they
were marked by a more valuable quality than mere elegance: the pictures
and other ornaments, possessing features of peculiar interest to persons
engaged in traffic, for they represented, or were connected in some way
with the objects, the pleasures, and the advantages of commerce; some
weapons arranged in a picturesque manner, and placed amongst them by
Oriel Porphyry, were the only things there seen that did not partake of
the peaceful character of the appearance of the room.

"The only thing I can see in nature," said Captain Compass, as he sat
at one end of the table opposite Oriel Porphyry, re-filling his glass,
"and the only thing I think worth seeing is glory. May I sink to the
bottom of the sea in the next gale, if there's any thing else a fellow
should wish to possess. What do you say, master Porphyry?"

"Why, I must acknowledge it has extraordinary attractions," replied the
young merchant. "It is generally difficult to obtain,--its pursuit is
usually attended with much hazard, but then there is such an excitement
in the effort made to possess it, and such a splendour accompanying its
possession, that difficulties and dangers ought not to be considered by
those by whom it is sought."

"Exactly," responded the captain, with more than usual cordiality; "and
they only can obtain glory who express such sentiments."

"But it is uncertain as yet what definition you give to the idea you
call glory," remarked the oldest member of the party,--a man rather
above the medium height, and considerably beyond the middle age, with a
large head, nearly bald, prominent nose, and deep-set eyes, well shaded
by a pair of thick grisly eyebrows. His features were somewhat stern
in their expression, apparently more from the result of continual
reflection than from want of kindly feeling; and although they indicated
considerable mental power, a consciousness of superiority betrayed
itself quite as conspicuously. It may easily be imagined that this was
the learned Professor Fortyfolios. "The consideration of any abstract
idea," continued the professor, who, it will be observed, having been
a public lecturer in the university of Columbus, had acquired a more
important manner of expressing his sentiments than was usual in
conversation. "The consideration of any abstract idea, appears under
different circumstances in the minds of different individuals, but this
is as much the result of an habitual tendency to certain associations in
the person who considers the subject, as the consequence of the variety
of organisations that exist in society. Scarcely any two persons are
to be met with whose reflective faculties pursue the progress of
ratiocination exactly in the same manner,--because no two individuals
being exactly alike, and the mind being a portion of the self, partaking
of its individuality, as in a mirror, the shadow is a resemblance of the
features, each must receive its own separate impressions, and consider
them in its own peculiar manner. It follows, as a natural consequence,
that the thoughts of the speaker will partake of his individual
habitude, and that his conception of glory, or any other abstract idea,
will be coloured by his particular way of life."

"Well, I don't know in what latitude abstract ideas may be found," said
the captain, a little puzzled by the professor's explanation; "but I
think any body knows the landmarks of glory. If I saw a little ship
manned by a few brave spirits, fight a ship double its size, or may be
two ships or may be three, defended by a crew as superior in numbers;
and after raking her fore and aft, smashing every thing to splinters,
and cutting every thing to rags, pipe all hands to board, and sweep away
the enemy from their own decks into the sea, and after that sail away
with the prize, I should call _that_ glory."

"The action is glorious no doubt," observed Oriel Porphyry, "but it
does not realise my conception of glory. I imagine a man, in the truest
sense of the word, living in a country groaning under the despotism
of a tyrant, and having that spirit of freedom in his nature, which
must always accompany greatness; and that uncontrollable energy of
valour in his character, which is its element, pointing out to his
fellow-sufferers the cause of their slavery, stirring in their hearts an
unconquerable love of independence, and after gathering them together
by twos and threes, then by hundreds and thousands, and lastly, by
resistless multitudes, at their head attacking the hordes of armed
plunderers by whom their subjugation had been effected; driving
them from the tented field to the battlemented wall, and from the
battlemented wall to the grave; and when not a trace of tyranny remained
throughout the land, I imagine that man the liberator of his country,
and the emancipator of its people, honoured as he ought to be, and
possessed with the power with which their gratitude should invest him,
conducting the nation he had enfranchised to the highest degree of
prosperity and greatness--and I call _that_ glory."

"Then my notion of the same idea differs materially from those you
have given," said the professor. "In the first place, there are two
antagonist principles, from which all good and ill emanate--intelligence
and ignorance; and only according to the predominance of the former can
we judge of the extent of the excellence of any thing. As we know that
all which is beneficial proceeds from intelligence, and that without
intelligence nothing good can arise, and that without good there can
be no such thing as glory, it must be evident that he who produces
intelligence acquires the truest and greatest glory. The philosopher who
spends laborious days in amassing knowledge by observation and study,
which he distributes to the whole world, and whose labours continue to
the end of time to ennoble and refine mankind; in the fame with which
his name must be inseparably connected among all generations, and
wherever civilisation exists, realises, in my opinion, the _only_ true
idea of glory the human mind can conceive."

"I beg leave to differ from you all," cried a stout little man (whose
round, rosy face bore the perfect expression of good humour), sitting
opposite the professor, and whose professional conversation proclaimed
him to be Dr. Tourniquet, "I beg leave to differ from you all, don't you
see. I cannot imagine glory to belong to anything that does not tend
to alleviate the sufferings or remove the diseases of the human frame,
don't you see. Life is subject to a multitude of maladies--from the
cradle to the grave there is a constant succession of aches and pains,
and few escape without experiencing disorders more or less dreadful.
Now my idea is, that evil and good are but other names for pain and
pleasure, don't you see; that he who lessens the quantity of evil is
alone entitled to the name of benefactor, which brings with it the
greatest degree of glory it is possible to possess, don't you see; and
that, consequently, the man who devotes his life to procure others
the enjoyment of health--who boldly ventures among the most malignant
contagions to study their effects, and origins--who carefully examines
every morbid structure in the living and the dead, at the greatest
personal risk and inconvenience, till he becomes familiar with all its
appearances and discovers its creating cause; and by long study of the
properties of different medicinal substances, of external circumstances
that tend to produce health or disease, and by his intimate acquaintance
with the human body in every state in which it can be seen;--in my
opinion, that man, who by knowledge thus acquired, and thus applied,
through his example made public, being enabled to save or prolong the
lives of millions of his fellow-creatures, and multiply the blessings
of existence, in the admiration with which his name must always be
regarded, is the _only_ perfect conception of glory that can be
entertained, don't you see."

"Pooh, pooh!" exclaimed the captain, somewhat contemptuously. "What
glory can there be in giving a fellow a dose of physic?"

"Unless there be some ennobling sentiment in the mind, which is
developed in great actions such as I have described, glory cannot
exist," said Oriel Porphyry.

"Strife must always be a bad means to whatever end it may lead,"
observed his tutor; "and as nothing but ignorance can make men endeavour
to destroy each other, strife can never be productive of true glory."

"The amount of pain, resulting from battles either on sea or land, is
immense," remarked the doctor. "Gunshot wounds, fractures, contusions,
ruptures, laceration, inflammation, suppuration, mortification, and
death; and, therefore, he who creates so much pain, cannot, by his
actions, be said to achieve anything like glory, don't you see. As for
philosophy and its qualifications for being considered the only thing
that is most glorious, if the philosopher cannot set a broken bone, or
remove a disease, pain must exist in spite of such philosophy; and
therefore, the philosopher, who is enabled to prevent or remove pain,
has the best reason to glory in his philosophy, don't you see."

"But pain cannot, on many occasions, be either removed or prevented,"
replied the professor, seemingly preparing himself for an argument.
"Pain is frequently produced by accidents which cannot be foreseen, and
therefore cannot be prevented; and these frequently assume shapes on
which science is exerted in vain, and therefore they cannot be removed:
in these cases, where surgery and medicine are perfectly useless,
philosophy is triumphant; for it will enable the sufferer to be
regardless of his pain, and to look upon his dissolution with
indifference."

"What is the use of your philosophy to the insane?" asked the doctor,
who seemed to take considerable delight in opposing the professor.

"I should imagine it would be about as serviceable as your medical
treatment," retorted the other.

"Nothing of the kind," replied his antagonist with a chuckle of
triumphant congratulation. "A knowledge of the anatomy of the brain,
its functions, and operations, with sufficient information as to the
patient's history, general habits and mode of thinking, applied by an
experienced practitioner, may often effect a cure, don't you see."

"May often, but how often?" inquired Fortyfolios, with some appearance
of sarcasm. "To one restored to sanity, there will be found fifty
incurables--so where's your remedy?"

"To one philosopher there will be discovered a thousand fools, don't you
see--so where's your philosophy?" responded the other in a similar tone.

"Dr. Tourniquet," replied the professor with a look of offended dignity,
"I trust my philosophy will be found whenever it is required."

"Professor Fortyfolios," said the doctor, evidently desirous of pushing
matters with his antagonist as far as possible, "if you wait till it's
required, perhaps you may have to wait a long time, don't you see."

"No Sir, I don't see!" cried the now angry Professor with much warmth.
"And allow me to add, Dr. Tourniquet--allow me to add, I say----"

"The wine, if you please," cried Oriel Porphyry, who, with the captain,
had enjoyed the discussion till he thought it necessary to interfere.

"Ay, the wine, Professor Fortyfolios," repeated the doctor, with his
usual good humour. "It is the most admirable addition to your excellent
arguments you could have conceived; and, therefore, as a mark of sincere
respect for your superior learning, allow me to propose your health,
don't you see."

The professor recovered his dignity immediately. "I agree completely,"
said he, after having properly acknowledged the compliment he had
received, "I agree completely with the opinion of my accomplished
friend, as to the great degree of pain produced by warfare, and----"

"Froth and moonshine!" exclaimed the captain, interrupting him. "Why we
must all die some day or other, and it is quite as agreeable to strike
your colours to a bullet or a sword thrust, as to old age or the gout.
In my opinion, a fellow who lives past his strength, is like a ship that
isn't sea-worthy,--he ought to be destroyed as useless. As for fighting
being unnatural, it's the most natural thing in nature. In the sea, the
big fish destroy the little fish; in the air, the great birds prey upon
the smaller ones; and on the land, the more powerful animals devour
those of less strength. Every thing has to fight for its existence, and
so does man."

"But man alone preys upon his own species," remarked the professor.

"You're out of your reckoning there, most decidedly, Mister Professor,"
replied Captain Compass hastily: "cocks, quails, pheasants, bulls, deer,
dogs, and cats fight each other, as long as they've got a leg to stand
upon; and the sow devours her own farrow, and the rabbit her own litter,
without any sort of compunction."

"There can at least be no apology for the ferocity with which man in a
state of civilisation, pursues his fellow-creatures to the death, don't
you see," said the doctor.

"Ferocity!" exclaimed the captain fiercely. "Who are so ferocious as
philosophers?"

The professor and the doctor uttered a simultaneous exclamation of
surprise.

"Did you ever hear of fellows the most ready for fighting," continued
the other, "filling the veins of live animals with poison,--maiming
and torturing poor dumb creatures, in every way ingenuity could devise,
merely for the sake of experiment; and then, after having indulged
themselves with the sight of such cruelty, sitting down quietly to
describe in the most minute manner, the agonies they have inflicted?
No, it's only the philosopher does these things,--the philosopher, who
shudders at the idea of a man killing those who seek to kill him, but
counts how many seconds an unoffending animal is in dying, after having
its brain scooped out, or its heart torn from its breast. Scrunch me, if
I wouldn't at once be the man who kills whoever opposes him, a thousand
times, than such a cowardly, calculating, inhuman miscreant."

What the reply to these observations might have been, it is impossible
to say, as the party were disturbed just at that moment by a knock at
the cabin door, and entrance being given, in walked the ungracious
villain Scrumpydike.

"Well, what news?" inquired the captain.

"Ship a fire, Sir," said the man, composedly.

"The ship on fire!" loudly exclaimed all at once, as they suddenly rose
from their seats with different degrees of alarm expressed on their
several countenances.

"Yes Sir, ship a fire, about half a mile off," replied the sailor,
looking as if he would have laughed if he had dared at the consternation
he had created.

It was wonderful to observe the change which took place on hearing
the last announcement. The idea of being roasted alive, would be
sufficiently terrible to scare the stoutest heart; and on this occasion
even the bold spirit of Oriel Porphyry quailed at the sudden and
frightful danger. It is a mistake to imagine, that the brave never feel
an emotion of fear; dangers that they have contemplated, may be met
without the slightest feeling of dread; but a new danger, for which they
are unprepared, is sure to leave upon the bravest of the brave some
impression of affright. The alarm, however, that had been created was
but momentary, and as soon as it was erased, the whole party hastened
upon deck to observe the conflagration. Scrumpydike had been left alone;
so seeing the coast clear, and the table covered with tempting viands,
he hastily proceeded to cram his mouth with preserves and fruits; and
was just raising a bottle to his lips, to wash them down with a good
draught of exquisite wine, when he beheld in the shadow of the room,
what he thought to be, two flaming eyes, fixed upon him, flashing
glances of scorn and indignation: the bottle fell from his hands into
a thousand pieces, his forbidding features expressed the most intense
horror, and with a piercing yell he fled from the room trembling with
all the terrors of an evil and superstitious nature, and leaving Zabra
more than usually gratified by the impression he had made.

The night was dark as the grave. There was no moon, and no stars. One
immense cloud hung over the broad surface of the ocean, like a mighty
pall, and the constant gusts of wind that hurried with their melancholy
voices through the sails of the ship, might be supposed to be the lament
of nature at the funeral of the world. The waters swept up to the
vessel, like waves of boiling pitch. The air was burthened with an
impenetrable gloom. An intense blackness enveloped the whole untrackable
length of way over which the ship had passed. Looking back from the
vessel all was like the prospect of the dead. Looking upward, it seemed
as if the eyes of heaven had been put out, and that a deep and awful
blindness had blasted the vision of the universe. Save at a considerable
distance ahead, all was a chaos of darkness--a visible nothingness--an
infinite void; but when the eye looked in that direction, flames
appeared to shoot out of the pitchy sea, licking the darkness, and
writhing, darting, twisting through the smoke like serpents in the
agonies of death. As the light became stronger, part of the hull and
rigging of a ship could be discerned, and hurrying to and fro, minute
forms, readily discovered to be human figures, became visible. Now a
shower of blazing sparks rushed as from a volcano, up, up, high into
the gloomy cloud, piercing its black depths with their lurid beams, and
immediately the flame seemed dulled; a moment after, they burst out
again, with a fiercer fury, and with a doubled volume; fragments of
burning timber were hurled into the air with a giant's strength; flames
red, blue, and yellow, and vapours of every conceivable colour from
white to black, rose and fell, and mingled and separated, like an army
of many nations fighting for mastery; and now that the whole extent of
the vessel was evidently one mass of resistless fire, its fierce rays
were reflected over the vast surface of the surrounding ocean, making
visible dark figures, that looked like despairing men struggling in the
drowning waves, and scorching rafters hissing and smoking around them.
Presently when the glare of light was at the strongest, and the ship was
seen blazing to the water's edge, a sudden movement was observed, the
fire sunk into the wave beneath it,--a tall column of thick grey smoke
rose in its place, and in a moment all was again swallowed up in deep,
utter, and boundless darkness.

It appeared as if the contemplation of this spectacle had hitherto
kept every one on board the Albatross from any consideration for the
sufferers; but a suggestion having been made, immediately each person
seemed to exceed the other in anxiety to render them assistance.

"Burn a blue light at the mast head!" exclaimed the captain.

"Ay, ay, Sir," responded Hearty.

"Set up every stitch of canvass she'll bear," continued the captain.

"Ay, ay, Sir," repeated the other.

"Put her machine to the fullest speed!"

"Ay, ay, Sir!" was again the ready exclamation.

"And bear right down upon the spot where the flames were last seen."

"Ay, ay, Sir."

In a moment the deck, the sails, and rigging were enveloped in a bright
blue flame, that gave the vessel and its crew the appearance of the ship
of death freighted with spectres; and the Albatross was rushing through
the waves with the velocity of lightning.

"There seems great danger, while going at such extraordinary speed, of
passing over the people who may have escaped from the burning vessel,
don't you see," remarked Dr. Tourniquet.

"Never fear," replied the captain. "If they can't keep a sharp look out
it's their own fault; and if they don't hail us when they see us, they
can't blame us for the consequences."

"Ship, ahoy! Starboard your helm!" cried a voice; and immediately a
shriek of piercing agony arose from under the ship's bows as the swift
vessel passed right over a large boat crammed full of men.

"Ease her! Stop her!" exclaimed a dozen voices at once, as soon as the
accident was discovered.

"There! I told you how 't would be, don't you see," said the doctor.

"Out with the galley and pick 'em up!" shouted Captain Compass, surlily;
and the men hastened to obey the command.

"Take two or three blue lights with you, and stow them in the stern
sheets," he continued.

"Gently with her," cried Hearty, as he and some of his messmates lowered
the boat into the sea, and the first who leapt into her was Oriel
Porphyry.

"Now, boys, pull away!" exclaimed the young merchant, as he laid hold of
an oar, "and you shall be rewarded for every man you save."

The sailors, however, wanted no such stimulus. They exerted themselves
bravely, and were quickly in the midst of between twenty or thirty
swimmers, struggling in the waves and shouting for assistance. The light
in the boat not only showed to the drowning men the near approach of the
aid they required, but directed its crew to the places where they could
be of most service.

"Help! help!" screamed one, with the water gurgling in his throat.

"Save me, or I sink!" cried another, nearly exhausted by his struggles.

"Here! here! here!" shouted a dozen voices in different directions.
Among the most active in the rescue was Oriel Porphyry, who was so
fortunate as to save many who were on the very point of sinking; and
being well seconded, with great difficulty and at considerable risk they
succeeded in hauling into their boat fifteen, many of whom were more
dead than alive; but the rest they saw engulphed in the waters before
they could reach them.

"Hollo!" exclaimed Hearty, in a tone of wonder and disappointment, as
the crew were about to return. "Where's the ship?"

Not a vestige of the Albatross was visible, and nothing was seen before
or around them but impenetrable darkness.

"May I be food for fishes, if this arn't a pleasant look out," observed
Climberkin.

"Surely they'll burn a light," said Oriel Porphyry.

"I've my misgivings on that 'ere head," muttered Hearty.

"But how can we get back to the ship without?" inquired the merchant's
son.

"There'd be no difficulty about that, Sir," here remarked Boggle, "if
we knowed her whereabouts; but a man as is blind can't see, and nobody
can point out a thing in the dark if they has no notion where it is."

"You're a conjuror," replied Oriel.

"No, not _quite_ so clever as that, Sir," rejoined the man. "But I likes
to have a notion o' things in general, as every man as is a man, and
thinks like a man, should."

"Well, I wish, among your notions of things in general, you could find
one that will lead us to the ship," said master Porphyry. "I don't like
the idea of these poor fellows in their wet jackets passing the night
here, nor have I any great desire for remaining here myself."

"That's not the worst we've got to expect, Sir," said Hearty; "for if
the ship holds on her course, when we can see our way in the mornin',
she'll be far enough out o' sight, and here we shall be--nearly thirty
on us--crammed together in a open boat out at sea, where there's no land
within more nor five hundred miles on us; without never a compass, or a
bit o' biscuit, or a drop o' water."

"Surely, Captain Compass has forgotten we cannot find our way back
without seeing the vessel," said Oriel Porphyry, now beginning to feel
some anxiety for the fate of himself and his associates. "But we cannot
be much above a hundred yards from the ship. Shout as loud as you can,
and that will put them in mind of our existence."

"Ahoy!--Ahoy!--Ahoy!--Hoy!--Hoy! Oy!" Every one who was able shouted as
loud as he could, and then waited in perfect silence for a reply.

"Yeho!--Yeho!--Yeho! Yho!--Ho!--O!" was replied by voices at a short
distance.

"That's some on 'em," exclaimed Hearty, steering the boat towards the
place from whence the sounds came.

"Hulloo! Hulloo! Ulloo! Loo! Oo!" was heard in another direction.

"Well if this arn't a most considerable cruel puzzlement, I'll be
transmogrified," observed Boggle. The men again rested on their oars,
some with perplexity, others with superstitious fear.

"There's the Albatross!" cried they, joyfully, all at once, as a blue
flame was seen to rise in the midst of the darkness, and disclose the
well-known figure of their beautiful vessel, at rather more than a
hundred yards from them.

"Pull away, mates!" shouted Hearty; and the oarsmen, straining every
muscle, soon brought their boat alongside the ship.



CHAP. V.

PERILS OF EMIGRATION.


"Cheer up, my dolphins!" loudly exclaimed Climberkin to the men rescued
from drowning, whom he and his shipmates were endeavouring to make as
comfortable as possible after their fashion. "Cheer up, and wet your
gills with this--precious sight better stuff nor salt water, of which
sort o' liquidation I've a notion you were obligated last night to
drink more than was agreeable. Give us your fin, my flying fish!" he
continued, as in the most cordial manner he shook the hand of a fine
looking young man who sat near him. "A fellow don't deserve to be
called a naval if he ar'nt a got no 'miseration for another fellow in
misfortune. So here's to 'ee--and may you never have such tipple _above_
your gills, and all'ays keep the salt water _under_ your foot."

"None on us 'a heard the 'ticulars o' this here deplorable
'flagration," said Hearty, "and if it arn't too unpleasant to 'municate,
I should like to hear the whole circumbendibus."

"Perhaps none of my comrades, now present, are so well acquainted with
the circumstances of that unhappy affair as myself," remarked the young
man just alluded to; "and if you will allow me, I will not only relate
to you all concerning it that has come within my observation, but
combine the information with a narrative of my own life that possibly
may render it more interesting."

Consent having been readily and unanimously given, the stranger
proceeded to fulfil the intention he had communicated.

"I am a native of Malthusia, an extensive province far into the interior
of Australia, where my family, for many generations, had owned a small
estate; but as the difficulty of living in any state approaching
comfort, in a densely populated country, where consumption exceeds
supply, and the price of labour is reduced to limits within which life
can scarcely be supported, in consequence of the constant pressure of
competition, produced by the supply greatly exceeding the demand, became
so great, it was considered amongst us whether it would not be the most
advantageous thing that could be done under the circumstances, to leave
a land where we could not exist with the same respectability in which
our fathers had lived, and seek our fortunes in a new country, where
the means of subsistence were more easily procured, and the results of
labour more profitable to the industrious. The idea was debated long and
frequently before it was resolved upon. Children of the soil, whose most
pleasurable associations were connected with the land on which we had
been born, it could not be expected that we could easily tear asunder
the loving ties that connected us to our ancient home. My father was
getting into the vale of life, but possessed much of the strength of
man in his vigour; and myself and five other brothers were strong and
active, ingenious, laborious, and persevering. We were considered the
very persons for whom emigration would be most advantageous.

"But, besides the natural disinclination to leave the scene of every
pleasure I had known, I had a still stronger repugnance, which I found
it impossible to remove. May I claim your indulgence, while I speak of
one who made my native earth and sky a paradise of delights. She, of
whom I speak, Optima, the fair, the kind, the good, by the sweetness of
her disposition and the excellence of her behaviour, created in me that
perfect sympathy, which greater personal attractions and a less amount
of moral advantages, would have failed to have produced in a nature like
mine. From having lived in each other's society from childhood, and
our fortunes and prospects being as nearly as possible alike, we had
mutually indulged in the same fond hopes of an undivided existence,
and in our quiet walks by the hill side, and by the margin of the soft
flowing stream, and in the long delightful rests we took beneath the
shadow of the friendly trees, our little ambition was pictured in rosy
colours, and the landscape of our future seemed to glow with sunshine,
gladness, and beauty. At this time, having suddenly been made an orphan,
Optima became dependent upon an old querulous aunt, who having saved a
little property in the course of a long life, which she designed for her
niece, was desirous that she should marry some one of still more ample
means; and opposed our union with all the despotism she could exercise:
but we managed to meet as usual, though not quite so frequently.
Notwithstanding the efforts made to keep us asunder, and although in
consequence of the gratitude she felt towards her relative for the
protection she had received, she would not listen to my wishes for an
immediate union, for the purpose of joining the intended emigrants, she
bade me hope for better times, and assured me, with all the fervour of
her guileless spirit, that her affection must endure with her existence.

"Preparations were now made for the departure of my family for their
destination to a flourishing colony on the European continent, but I
finding it impossible to quit the scene that held all that was dear
to me, resolved to remain in Australia, supporting myself by the
application of an unceasing industry, till in company with my adored
Optima, I could join them in their new home. My brothers did not seem
to approve of my resolution, and endeavoured to induce me to change it;
but my father, who had more knowledge of human nature, understood my
motives, and left me to follow my own inclinations. I busied myself in
assisting in their arrangements, but I found my feelings far more active
than my endeavours. I strived to shut out from my mind all idea of
the loneliness in which I must live after the departure of my family,
and sought to banish the fear I sometimes experienced, that as then
the difficulty of seeing Optima would be increased, some unfortunate
accident would render our union impossible. Our interviews now became
exceedingly painful, my entreaties grew more urgent, my dread of the
consequences of her refusal more intense; but she only answered me
with tears; and at last, as the time drew near for quitting Malthusia,
our hearts became too full for utterance, and our congratulations at
meeting, and sorrows at parting, were alike silent.

"'Ardent!' said she to me on one occasion, after we had sat together a
long time without daring to speak, 'you must not think me unkind by thus
seeming to oppose your happiness. I do a violence to my own feelings,
indeed I do, Ardent, whenever I refuse your solicitations.'--Her sobs
for some time prevented her proceeding; at last she continued;--'But I
should be selfish, were I to allow myself to do as you would have me,
and act with a regardlessness of your interests, for which I should
never be able to forgive myself. My aunt, it is evident to all who see
her, is rapidly approaching her dissolution. She has been kind to me. I
wish not her last moments to be rendered miserable, by what in me would
appear to her ingratitude, and I am most anxious for your sake, dear
Ardent, that she should not, through any imprudence of mine, annul those
intentions in my favour she has so frequently expressed. Her property is
but small, but it will enable us to join your family, and with industry
and economy may produce for us a greater degree of comfort than without
it we can hope to obtain. Wait, Ardent; the time is not propitious now;
but if we are not impatient of our happiness, we shall soon be as happy
as we can desire.'

"I pressed her more closely to my breast--I blessed her in my heart, but
my voice seemed to have lost all power of expressing my emotions; no
longer I made use of entreaties. I was grateful, and resigned. The day
came on which the emigrants were to leave the seat of all their past
enjoyments. My brothers appeared careless of quitting the land of their
fathers. They were hard working, hard thinking men, who valued nothing
except for its utility, and looked upon the affection with which memory
regards the scenes of its pleasures, as romantic nonsense, only fit to
delight children. But my father could not so readily get rid of the
impressions he had cherished from his infancy; with him the departure
from his home seemed a banishment from his happiness. He visited the
lands his forefathers had owned, but which had long passed from their
descendants. He walked in the fields he had ploughed and drilled and
harrowed since he was a boy, and he looked upon the trees he had
planted, and the buildings he had raised, as if he was taking a last
farewell of a company of ancient friends. As he approached the cemetery
in which lay the bones of his ancestors, his manly form seemed to lose
half its strength--his ruddy cheek grew pale--his step became feeble,
his eye dim, and his heart faint; and as he bared his head that the cool
breeze might fan the thin white hairs that played about his forehead, he
was obliged to lean against a monument to support his sinking form. Here
rested in peace the wife of his bosom and the mother of his children;
and he felt as if he was about to desert her remains to be trampled on
by strangers. He thought of where _his_ grave would be, and in the agony
of his heart lamented that two who had never been divided in life should
in death be placed so far apart.

"I witnessed the sale of the land and stock; I assisted in packing up
the moveables; I was present when the neighbours came to bid farewell,
and to express their honest regrets; and after having beheld my family
turn their backs upon the habitation of their race, I hastened to
Optima, with the design of enjoying her sweet presence for the last
time, until I had parted with my father and my brothers at the nearest
sea-port. I came to the house of her relative and found it closed.
Having with some difficulty gained admittance, Optima rushed into my
arms, and wept upon my breast. It was not till a considerable time had
elapsed, that I ascertained what was the cause of her grief. Her aunt
had died the night previous.

"After a lapse of a few weeks Optima became mine. On the day of our
marriage she placed a packet in my hands, and speaking in a voice broken
with emotion, she said:--

"'I have a favour to ask you, and I know on such a day as this you
cannot deny me. Take this, dear Ardent, and make whatever use of it you
think proper. Your heart is yearning to join your relatives; be assured
that wherever you wish to go I desire to follow. I cannot be happy but
where your happiness may be best secured. I am indifferent to country
and to kindred,--I can acknowledge no relative but a husband, and can
know of no country except that in which I find his home. Whenever your
preparations are made, dear Ardent, I am ready.'

"I kissed off the tears that were trembling on her eyelids, and in
brief but eloquent language expressed the love with which my heart was
overflowing. The packet contained a sum of money amply sufficient for
our purposes. Having by letter previously apprised my family of these
circumstances, they delayed their departure; and after providing every
thing that was necessary for the wants of agricultural emigrants, we all
set sail from the populous seaport Kangarootown, in a magnificent ship
fitted up in the most splendid manner, and carrying more than three
hundred passengers."

"'No!' exclaimed half a dozen anxious listeners, starting up with horror
and surprise.

"'Tis true!" replied the young man, in a voice scarcely audible.

"The Lord ha' mercy on their miserable souls!" said Hearty.

"We had not been many days out at sea," continued the narrator, "and
were busily and cheerfully employed in forming plans for the future,
when one evening, as soon as we had all retired to our berths, the
gas with which the interior of the ship was lighted, through some
carelessness had been suffered to escape, and it having caught fire,
the first alarm the passengers received was from finding themselves
surrounded by flames. There were but two or three boats belonging to the
vessel, to which there was immediately a general rush. Without waiting
to secure any of my property, I instantly hurried on deck with Optima,
and was so fortunate as to secure her and myself a place in the largest
boat. I shouted to my father and my brothers to join us, but as soon
as we were full the rope was cut, and we pulled from the burning ship
with all the strength of desperate men. As the flames rose up into the
rigging we could see hundreds running backwards and forwards, bewildered
and stupified by fear. One after another jumped into the remaining
boats, into which they crowded so rapidly that their own weight at once
sunk them to the bottom. Others in their frenzy leapt into the sea--the
rest retreated from the flames as they advanced, shrieking their own
knell, till the fire beginning to scorch their flesh they fell over
into the waves, or letting go their grasp of the ropes up which they
had climbed, sunk yelling with agony into the midst of the raging fire.
I saw nothing of my brothers. I imagine they perished in the smaller
boats. But while observing the destruction of the ship, I beheld, high
up the tallest mast, the figure of an old man--his white hair scorched
upon his brows--his blood-shot eyes bursting from their sockets--his
trembling limbs clinging to the rigging, screaming for mercy and for
help. I knew the form--the voice pierced my brain. I would have leapt
into the sea with the wild but fruitless hope of hastening to his
rescue, but I was forcibly held to my seat; and Optima, who had not
changed her position since I placed her in the boat, with her face upon
my breast and her arms round my neck, clung to me trembling with terror.
In a moment afterwards the flaming vessel disappeared.

"We could scarcely congratulate ourselves upon our safety, for although
we had escaped being burnt to death, there seemed but little hope of our
being saved from drowning, or from starvation. There were thirty of us
closely packed together, not one of whom knew exactly how far we were
from land; few were clothed, and none had either provisions or water. My
feelings were of the most agonising description. I had seen my family
perish before my eyes without having the ability to render them the
slightest assistance--all their property and mine--all that the loving
kindness of Optima had enabled me to procure for our future wants, were
swallowed up in the devouring fire, and now I was left with her upon
the boundless ocean enjoying no other hope than that we should perish
together. Bitter as my reflections were, they grew almost insupportable
when I considered with what a dreadful fate the devotion of her I loved
would be rewarded. But she whose goodness had been thus cruelly turned
to evil seemed to think of nothing, and care for nothing, but for him
to whom she clung. At this instant when we were giving ourselves up to
despair, a light blazing from your ship proclaimed to us the joyful
intelligence that assistance was at hand. Then what a change came
upon us. The murmurs of complaint were turned to the loud shouts of
gladness; and so completely did we enter into the spirit of the moment,
that none noticed the rapid approach of the ship coming to our relief,
till she was just upon us.

"We are saved, dearest!" I whispered.

"Optima unclasped her arms, and took one of my hands in hers. Then came
the overwhelming crush of the great ship--a shout--a scream--and her
keel passed over us. The shock came so unexpected that none had time to
think of the danger, and we were gasping and struggling in the water
before we were aware of the accident. I made a snatch at what I thought
was the sinking form of Optima, but soon I found out the dreadful
mistake. It was a strong man, who being no swimmer caught hold of my
limbs with a desperate grasp that nothing but death could relax. In vain
I strove to shake him off--I struggled--I fought--I kicked in vain. He
held me as a serpent holds its prey. The thought of my beloved sinking
into the bowels of the great deep, deserted by him whose happiness she
had ever striven to secure, nerved my arms with a giant's strength, and
catching the drowning wretch by the throat, I squeezed the breath out
of his miserable body, hurled him from me as if he had been a loathsome
reptile, and then struck out into the sea, swimming in various
directions, shouting her name in every tone of agony--plunging, diving,
and beating the waters with the fierce energy of a madman. My heart sunk
within me--my strength was exhausted. I felt the terrible conviction,
that for me there was no hope--and resigned myself to the cold embraces
of the relentless wave. Of what afterwards occurred I know not, till I
found myself on board the Albatross, recovered from the jaws of death by
the kind and unceasing attention of her friendly crew. But do not think
me ungrateful, when, reflecting upon the dreadful loss I have endured,
and the wretched fate to which I have been left, I express a regret that
my life has been spared."

"Scrunch me, if I ar'nt springing a leak as no pump can stop!" exclaimed
Climberkin, as soon as the stranger had concluded his narrative, as
he wiped with his knuckles the big tears out of the corners of his
eyes;--an example which was followed by many of his shipmates.

"May I go to sea in a cockle shell, if ever I heard o' any thin' so
cruel molloncholy," said Boggle; "my eyes are like sieves catching
a thunder shower. But a fellow who can listen to such a tarnation
heart-twister as this here without runnin' out like a water spout, must
have the soul o' a nigger."

"Soul ob a nigger!" exclaimed the fat cook, furiously, while the drops
that ran down his black cheeks evinced his sympathy for the sufferings
he had heard.

"Soul ob a nigger!--What da debble you mean, you fellar! Tink a nigger
no heart--tink him hab no sensebillity, you fellar?" Then turning to the
stranger, he said, as well as his sobs would allow, "Roly Poly berry
much feel for you Sar, oo, oo!--Hard ting to lose him missee, Sar, oo,
oo!--Roly Poly in lub himself once, Sar.--Lubly cretur too, oo, oo!--She
had de dropsy, Sar.--Doctor nebber make her no better, so she turn her
nose against de wall and die like a lamb, oo, oo, oo!" And away the
poor fellow went, sobbing as if his heart would break.

"Well, whip me into eel skins, if I sees the fun o' givin' a fellow the
miserables!" exclaimed Scrumpydike, gulping down a deep draught of the
liquor before him; "I seed many a sight worser nor what you've been
telling on us, mister,--and ar'nt a thought it worth while to say
nothin' to nobody about it. There ar'nt no sort o' life as produces so
many wonderfuls as that o' a free mariner. Once upon a time I was taken
prisoner with some other chaps, and kept aboard one o' them darin'
crafts what goes bang at any thin' as comes in their track--and I seed
sich jollifications--sich junkettings--sich cargoes o' grog--and sich
chests o' money, as I never had afore a wink o' a notion on. There
they were, dancin' and singin', and rollin' in riches--caring for
nobody--doing whatever they had a mind--every one o' the crew a cap'ain,
and the cap'ain a prince; and whenever they had a brush, which was as
often as they fell in with anythin' worth havin', at it they went,
harem scarem--carryin' every thin' afore 'em--cuttin' down and blowin'
up, and sinkin' or seizin' the richest ships as sailed in them seas.
Scrunch me, if they did'nt seem as happy as periwinkles on a rock."

"No doubt," observed Boggle; "and I ar'nt afeard to say, as many a
honest naval would become a free mariner, if he had'nt the gumption to
reccomember he was consiserable sure o' a sartainty o' being hanged."

"Either hanged or drowned, or spiflicated in some other unnat'ral
manner," added Hearty; "and not without desarvin' on 't. None o' sich
scum ever died in a honest fashion. Now in the course o' my sperience, I
knowed a smartish lot consarnin' the notorious sea-sharks, Cap'ain Death
and his Lef'tenant Rifle, and----"

"Did you know 'em?" inquired Scrumpydike, eagerly, fixing a searching
look upon the old man.

"No, I did'nt exactly know 'em, but I knowed a good deal _on_ 'em; and
if ever I comes upon their tack, with a few other honest chaps as
knows how to give and take, if I don't leave my mark on some o' their
figure-heads, I ha' lost all notion o' hand-writing;" said Hearty.

"Well, you may chance to come alongside on 'em afore you're aware, and
then you'd best look out for squalls, old boy;" observed the other.

"I ar'nt afeard o' that. But as I was a sayin', these here varmint were
'sociated wi' a gang o' similar bloody-minded villains, and in a well
armed craft which they'd got hold on, by no partic'lar honesty I'll be
bound, they went a robbin' and plund'rin, and burnin' and massacr'in',
every ship as they came anigh, till at last flesh and blood couldn't
stand any sich howdacity--so two or three smartish vessels, full o'
chaps o' the right sort, steered into their haunts, and there they kept
cruising about in hopes o' coming to close quarters. But somehow or
other they hadn't no sich luck. At last, when they began to calc'late
as Cap'ain Death had given them the slip, one o' the ships diskivered
a strange sail--and she was narrowly watched, hoping she might prove
to contain the 'dentical set o' murd'rin' vagabonds they was arter.
Suspicions becoming pretty strong, signals were made to her consorts to
take a long sweep, so as to circumvent the villains so reg'larly as they
couldn't escape no how. But that 'ere Cap'ain Death was no goslin'. He
seed the canouvres they was a going about, hung out ev'ry bit o' canvass
he could carry, and cut his precious stick like winkin! Howsomdever,
he war'nt awake to the movement till they came rollin' up to him in a
manner quite lovely to look on; and then they showed that they was as
good hands at followin' as he was at runnin' away. The chase was carried
on for a matter o' six hours, in sich a style as made him look behind
oftener than he looked afore; and for all he went on this tack, and on
t'other tack, and tried all sorts o' games to get out o' the way, they
came so near as to be able to give him a pretty considerable taste o'
their quality. Well, as night began to set in, there came on one o' the
most thund'rin' storms as ever was--the wind blowed away as if it would
shiver its own bellows into saw-dust, and the sea came up mountains
high, in a manner it was more grand than pleasant to look on. The
vessels in chase, finding themselves close upon an ugly sort of a
coast, were obligated to keep out at sea as much as possible; but they
endeavoured to keep such a look out as would prevent the villains from
making themselves scarce afore morning. Well, when the mornin' broke all
as clear as if there'd never been no rumpus--our ship--for, mind ye, I
volunteered a purpose to have a rap at some on 'em--our ship and her
consorts, who'd rode out the gale with nothin' but the loss o' a few
spars, approached the shore for the purpose o' making secure o' Cap'ain
Death, but the very first thing they clapped their blessed eyes on, was
the ship they'd been in chase lyin' a perfect wreck among the breakers,
making it a right down positive stark staring fact that every mother's
son o' the gallows birds that belonged to her were feeding the crabs and
lobsters, and sich like."

"Then they were all drowned!" said Climberkin.

"Nothin's been heard o' any on 'em from that day to this;" replied
Hearty.

"But war'nt there a sort o' song which 'twas said the crew of the ship
used to sing?" enquired Climberkin.

"To be sure there was," cried Scrumpydike, who had for some time looked
more gloomy than usual; "I've heard it many's a time; and if you've a
mind to listen, though I ar'nt no great shakes o' a singing bird, I'll
give you the only original version as used to be sung by the free
mariners."

"I don't want to hear none o' such villainous ditties!" exclaimed
Hearty, as he left the circle.

"Who axed you, old Snapdragon?" responded the other, and presently with
more animation than music, sung the following words:--

       "Our ship sails on the wave,
          On the wave, on the wave,
    Our ship sails on the wave, Captain Death!
    For free mariners are we, and we ride the stormy sea,
        And our captain still shall be,
          Captain Death! Captain Death!
        Our captain still shall be Captain Death!

       "Our black flag proudly floats,
          Proudly floats, proudly floats,
    Our black flag proudly floats, Captain Death!
    And down upon the prey, we boldly bear away,
        And we quickly make them pay,
          Captain Death! Captain Death!
        We quickly make them pay, Captain Death!

       "We stifle ev'ry cry,
          Ev'ry cry, ev'ry cry,
    We stifle ev'ry cry, Captain Death!
    And then we spread our sails, that are filled with welcome gales:
        Singing, 'Dead men tell no tales,
          Captain Death! Captain Death!'
        Singing, 'Dead men tell no tales, Captain Death!'

       "Bring out our golden store,
          Golden store, golden store;
    Bring out our golden store, Captain Death!
    And let's send the wine-cup round, to forget the dead and drown'd,
        And rejoice _we're_ safe and sound,
          Captain Death! Captain Death!
        And rejoice _we're_ safe and sound, Captain Death!

       "Thus pass our gallant lives,
          Gallant lives, gallant lives,
    Thus pass our gallant lives, Captain Death!
    And while the ocean flows, and the driving tempest blows,
        We'll live upon our foes,
          Captain Death! Captain Death!
        We'll live upon our foes, Captain Death!"



CHAP. VI.

APPEARANCE OF THE AFRICAN COAST.


Zabra had by this time become more familiar to the people of the
Albatross, with some of whom his kindness and generosity made him an
especial favourite. They had ceased to see any thing supernatural in his
large lustrous eyes,--and had forgot that there was any thing mysterious
in the dark colour of his complexion. His solitary wanderings about the
ship created neither fear nor surprise, and the rich harmonies of his
music were listened to with much more admiration than dread. Loop, a
boy belonging to the vessel, who was a sister's son of Hearty, had been
attacked with fever, and the attentions of Zabra, during his illness,
won not only the heart of the old man, but that of every one on board.
He procured for him every kind of nourishing food and refreshing
beverage, that the Doctor would allow; took care that he should possess
every comfort that the vessel contained; sung to him, played to him, and
stayed beside his hammock for hours and hours, seeking to while away the
tedious moments of indisposition. Oriel Porphyry having desired that he
should be treated by every one as if he was his brother, instead of his
attendant, Zabra found his slightest request always promptly attended
to; and, though his manner was somewhat proud, as he seemed to possess
abundant funds for every purpose, and gave liberally whenever he thought
it was requisite, scarcely any one in the ship ever hesitated in joining
in his praise.

The boy Loop got well, and he was not ungrateful. As for old Hearty,
nothing could exceed his devotion to his nephew's benefactor. To every
listener he could lay hold of, he narrated at length all that he knew
of the youth's history, since he came on board: the people, rescued
from the fire-ship, were in due time made familiar with every anecdote
concerning him with which the old man was acquainted; and to no one were
his details of more interest than to the young Australian, Ardent, who
sometimes appeared to forget his own sorrows while attentive to the
unpolished eloquence of the honest sailor. From this time Zabra became
an object of general interest. Even Captain Compass seemed to look upon
him with something like respect; Scrumpydike had ceased to entertain
against him any hostile intentions; and Log, the captain's clerk, was
heard to acquiesce in the opinion of his shipmates, with an affirmative
repeated with the usual supply of adjectives.

But to Oriel Porphyry the admirable qualities of his page became every
day more and more apparent. In the frequent conversations that took
place between them, he could not but observe the developement of a mind
of the highest order. It was not a mind impregnated with the heavy
spirit of bookish learning, but an intelligence of a lighter, a more
graceful, and a more original nature, replete with a sweet sympathy,
and a lofty enthusiasm for all that was noble, good and beautiful;
and throwing over the youthful figure and handsome countenance of its
possessor, a poetical and romantic character, that was both a wonder
and a charm to his companion. Zabra spoke of Eureka as if he had become
acquainted with her most hidden thoughts, and had been constituted their
interpreter; but of himself he never spoke. When Oriel seemed desirous
of learning something of his history, he appeared uneasy, and
immediately attempted to turn the conversation into another channel.
This was noticed; but the unwillingness of the young Creole to speak of
himself, Oriel attributed to the disinclination usually shown by natural
children to allude to their own illegitimacy, knowing the unreasonable
and cruel prejudices of society: therefore he ceased to desire from him
any information on the subject. Still, his youth,--the singular beauty
of his countenance, and the strange interest it often expressed, made
him imagine that there was some mystery connected with him.

As he treated Zabra with the utmost confidence, and appreciated the
intelligence he evinced, Oriel Porphyry communicated to him the contents
of his father's letter.

"Your father is a noble character," he exclaimed with fervour; "and the
proudest title of which you ought to boast, is that of being his son.
I never could have supposed that it was possible for such nobility
to reside in a spirit devoted to the mere money-getting purposes of
traffic, but I have been educated in an aristocratic school, and with
its lofty principles I have imbibed some of its illiberal prejudices.
I would _my_ father had been such a one--I should not have been the
fugitive I am."

"Express no regrets, Zabra. Let it be my pleasing task to see that your
fortunes are worthy of your merits;" said Oriel Porphyry, affectionately
taking in his the hand of his youthful companion. "And although I have
not much reason to think well of the proud Philadelphia, for his conduct
has not been such as would be likely to inspire me either with affection
or respect; when I think of his relationship to her whose genuine worth
it is impossible not to appreciate, I cannot regard the unfavourableness
of his disposition."

"Eureka is not unmindful of your kind feelings towards her;" observed
the other in a more tremulous voice than he had hitherto used. "It is
her desire to deserve your affections, that has supported her under many
trials. Her father is proud, but not so proud as Eureka. Yet there is an
impassable gulf between the pride of the two. He would sacrifice every
one around him for the immediate gratification of his own self-love:
she would sacrifice all selfish considerations that interfered with the
happiness of one she loved."

"And think you I cannot honour such goodness in the manner it deserves?"
asked the merchant's son. "Let him be what he will--let his pride be as
mean, and his ambition as selfish as it may, for the sake of Eureka I
will endeavour to forget his unworthiness. All I hope is, that he will
not attempt to force her inclinations to an alliance more pleasing to
him."

"He cannot force her inclinations--that he knows;" remarked Zabra. "He
has made the attempt for the first and last time; and Eureka is now
beyond his reach."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Oriel with astonishment.

"Ay!" he replied. "He thought the more completely to secure your
separation from her, to hurry her into a marriage with the wealthy and
powerful head of the princely house of Vermont; but the character of
such a man, had no other obstacle existed, would have been sufficient
to have produced in her feelings a repugnance which nothing could
overpower. As it was, she indignantly refused to become a sacrifice to
her father's ambition. Her sentiments, however, on the subject, were so
little regarded by him, that he made preparations to compel her to the
union."

"Ha!" exclaimed master Porphyry, "I could not have imagined such
despotism in a parent."

"Closely as she was watched," he continued, "Eureka managed to escape
from her confinement; and when she sent me to be the companion of your
fortunes, she had secured for herself the asylum she required."

"But where is she? Let me hasten to afford her the protection of which
she must be so much in want!" exclaimed the impetuous Oriel; then
reproachfully added, "Why, why did you not tell me this before?"

"I have obeyed my instructions;" replied the youth calmly. "It is
sufficient for you to know that now she is safe, and that she is in the
enjoyment of as much happiness as it is possible for her to obtain under
the circumstances. Her retreat can only be made known to you when all
the purposes of the present voyage are completed, and you return to
Columbus."

"But can I not communicate with her? will she not write to me?" eagerly
inquired the other.

"Be satisfied that it is impossible she should forget you, and endeavour
to prove to her without the aids of continual correspondence, that in
your affection the same durability exists."

"I will! I will!" cried Oriel; "I will do all she would have me. I will
follow the plan my father has laid out, even to the minutest details;
will try to find patience for its endurance by thinking of the blissful
result with which it will be crowned. We are now approaching the
southern coast of Africa," he continued after a pause of some duration,
which neither had attempted to interrupt; "and my immediate destination
Caffreton, the great mart of traffic in this part of the world is the
first point of my commercial voyage. My father has written me very full
instructions which I have carefully studied, and you will shortly see,
Zabra, how well I shall be able to play the merchant."

They had been standing together on the deck gazing upon the world of
waters before them during the preceding dialogue, and were now silently
observing the progress of some distant vessels, when they were joined by
the learned Professor Fortyfolios. Addressing Oriel, he said--

"That portion of land you observe yonder, rising out of the sea, is an
important Cape, well known in the annals of navigation, and was called
by the ancients the Cape of Good Hope. It used to be celebrated for
producing an inferior wine, called Cape Wine, which being cheap, as it
was worthless, was brought in considerable quantities for the purpose
either of adulterating wines of a higher value, or was palmed upon the
ignorant as the produce of a different vintage. The English, a people
with whose history you are doubtless familiar, though not wine growers,
were the greatest wine consumers of that period, and it was the immense
demand for this necessary of life among that people, which the wines of
Spain, Portugal, Sicily, Italy, France, Germany, and other countries,
could not sufficiently supply, that brought this Cape into notice. The
African wines are now remarkable for their admirable qualities. That it
was the search after new liquors that sent the English into this part of
the world chroniclers are not agreed, and that there were other wines
produced in the same locality much superior in flavour, I think is
more than probable, because I have found in the course of my reading,
eloquent commendation of an African wine, called Constantia, and I have
good reason for imagining that the deserts which the first voyagers
of that nation met with on some portions of the coast, when they
ascertained that a superior liquor was here procurable, originated the
English proverb 'Good wine needs no bush.' However, there can be no
doubt that the English planted a colony at this very Cape; gradually
drove the natives from their land as they increased in power and
numbers, till the whole continent from the Cape of Good Hope to
Alexandria, and from Abyssinia to Senegambia, acknowledged their sway,
and, in a great measure, spoke their language."

"Truly, those English were a great people!" remarked Oriel.

"They were so," said the Professor; "when we consider what they did, and
the means they had to do it, we must acknowledge that they deserve the
epithet, 'great.' At an early period of the world's history, England was
utterly unknown. In the times of Assyrian greatness, in the eras of
Babylon, of Jerusalem, and of Troy--and in the more brilliant ages of
the Greeks, the Romans, and the Carthaginians, such an island had never
been heard of--scarcely two thousand years had elapsed before this
speck upon the waters became the most powerful kingdom upon the earth.
She had possessions in every quarter of the globe; her conquering armies
had penetrated into the remotest regions, and her gallant navies had
triumphed in every sea. She had given a new people and a new language
to the vast continent of America; she had founded a new division of the
world in Australia; she had been acknowledged the mistress of the mighty
Indies; she had forced a path through deserts of perpetual ice, and
found a home in the scorching heat of the torrid zone. And by this time
what had become of the nations of a more remote antiquity? Of some, the
localities were not to be traced; others remained a heap of stones. The
Carthaginians were extinct--the free and noble Greeks had become slaves
or pirates--and the daring Romans, who boasted having conquered the
world, were an ignoble emasculated race, confined to a single city and
its suburbs, and governed by a despotic old woman in the shape of a
priest."

"The form of government under which the people of this continent
exists, is republican, I believe;" observed Master Porphyry.

"The whole is divided into a multitude of republics, some of which are
always at war with one another," replied his tutor; "and they show their
idea of liberty, of which they make the most preposterous boast, by
keeping up a system of slavery the most tyrannical and revolting that
can be imagined."

"Ay, ay," exclaimed Captain Compass, coming up and joining in the
conversation; "it's the way of the world. Hear your most famous spouter
about the blessings of freedom and all that sort of thing, and ten to
one if you don't find him ready to domineer over every body beneath him.
When I hear a fellow mighty fine in his notions of universal liberty, I
always feel pretty certain that he only wants the power to trample on
the independence of all who might stand in the way of his particular
enjoyments. But this is all natural enough; the feeble are monstrously
indignant at the exercise of power in the hands of their rulers; but
when by any accident they become powerful, they all at once see the
advantages of keeping down those who are down, and in a very short time
become just as despotic as those of whom they complained."

"What vessels are these, Captain?" inquired Oriel, pointing to several
ships, appearing at different distances in the open sea before them.

"Yonder vessel, whose tall masts are bending before the brisk breeze
that fills her sails, is an Algerine merchantman, and has most probably
a cargo of dancing masters, cooks, figurantes, and opera singers, which
are as much now the chief produce of the people to whom she belongs,
as they were a thousand years ago the principal exports of their
progenitors. That sombre thing, with the long funnel in the centre of
her deck, is very similar to the steamers of which the ancients were so
proud, before an improved propelling power was discovered. She belongs
to the Abyssinians--a people remarkably slow in adopting the inventions
of their more civilised neighbours; she trades from the sea of Babel
Mandeb to the Gulph of Guinea, sometimes touching at Madagascar, and
the neighbouring islands, and carries passengers, pigs, crockery, and
snuff. This rakish looking craft, flying afore the wind like a petrel in
a storm, is a free trader with a rich cargo of smuggled merchandise from
the continent to the Mauritius; and the big ship yonder, bearing down
upon us as if she'd sink every thing that stood in her way, is a man of
war belonging to the Liberians--a powerful nation of blacks. All these
small fry that are starting up from every point, are merely coasting
vessels--government packets,--fishing smacks--pilot boats,--pleasure
yachts, and other floaters of a similar nature."

"But what is this?" inquired Oriel, pointing to something of a very
strange appearance that was seen at the distance of about three quarters
of a mile, making way at a rapid rate towards the shore. They all gazed
in that direction, and a most extraordinary spectacle they beheld. At
first it seemed like a ball--but as it approached the ship it enlarged,
and every one who saw it knew it to be a balloon. How it came there,
floating on the waves by itself, many conjectured; but their surprise
at its appearance was wonderfully increased, when they observed a man,
with his body immersed in the waves, clinging to it, or more probably
attached to its fastenings. His peril he endeavoured to make known
by screams of the most piercing description; but it was not till the
miserable wretch was being rapidly borne past their vessel that the
people of the Albatross discovered the full extent of his danger. For at
least half a mile behind him the sea was a mass of white smoking foam,
which was created by nearly a hundred immense sharks following him with
eager speed, lashing the waves with their tails, leaping over each
other, plunging, snorting, and displaying the most ravenous desire to
catch him in their enormous jaws. Sometimes the balloon ascended a
little distance above the sea and then would rapidly descend, plunging
the unhappy aeronaut over his head in the salt water; but while the
sharks were all striving against each other to make a mouthful of his
limbs, it would again ascend, floating swiftly over the surface, bearing
its screaming appendant about a foot above his unrelenting pursuers,
who continued to follow him struggling furiously with each other, and
eagerly snapping at his limbs whenever they approached the surface of
the water. It was impossible to render him any assistance, although he
passed within a few yards of the ship, he was carried so swiftly along;
and on he went, shrieking with agony, now high above the waves--then
dashed in beneath them--then flying over the surface, with the horrid
expectation of being immediately devoured by the hungry pack by whom he
was pursued.

"Scrunch me, if that isn't the most cruel chase I ever saw," exclaimed
the captain.

"These sort of accidents are not at all extraordinary," observed
Fortyfolios, "and with such things must frequently occur. Balloons are
an old invention, and one the least useful for philosophical purposes
of any we have received from the ancients. Attempts have been made,
attended with success, to get one or several individuals borne by
them from an island to an adjoining continent, and from one part of a
continent to a part far remote; but as they have found it impossible to
control the current of wind met with in certain elevations, and as they
can seldom rely upon a current in any one direction lasting for any
length of time, they have been able to rise as high as they please, but
can never previously fix exactly upon the place of their descent; and it
has in many instances occurred, as in the one we have just now observed,
that after the aeronaut has made his ascent, a sudden wind takes him in
a direction contrary to what he designed, or various currents rising
unexpectedly at nearly the same time, he is shifted about to every
point of the compass; and when he is obliged to descend, he finds
himself floating over some unknown sea, or some wild uncultivated land,
hundreds of miles from human assistance, where he is left to endure
the conviction that he must either be drowned or starved. A balloon
is, in fact, a toy, with which one fool amuses many."

Nothing more was said on the subject, although the dangerous situation
of the poor fellow who had attached himself to the balloon was
anxiously watched as long as he remained in sight, and the imminent
peril in which he was seen: his heart-rending cries, and desperate
struggles, long left their unpleasant impression on the memory of all
who beheld him.

The bold outline of the coast they were approaching every hour became
more apparent: its singular mountain and other landmarks were seen,
pointed out, and commented on. Birds flew into the rigging--weeds
accumulated before the ship--and stray logs of timber, broken barrels,
and pieces of wreck, were continually floating past. The character of
the scenery now began to be clearly defined--the lowlands spreading out
far and wide into the interior, intersected by numerous railroads, and
the mountains holding up their proud heads covered with vegetation
nearly to their summits. The more the country became visible, the
greater was the evidence it exhibited of a high degree of cultivation,
a fruitful soil, and a numerous and industrious population; and as
buildings began to be made out, it was observable from their form,
numbers, and disposition, that manufactures was a primary object in the
estimation of the inhabitants.

"You will find these people a money-getting generation," said the
professor to his pupil: "their sole object appears to be to accumulate,
and their only idea of the respectability of a person is derived from
the proportion of substance he is worth. They never ask, is a man an
excellent husband, an exemplary father, or an admirable citizen?--is he
distinguished by the attention with which he fulfils his moral duties,
or celebrated by the right application of extraordinary talents? they
merely inquire how much money he has in his pockets. In fact, when they
speak at all of 'a good man,' they allude to some individual imagined to
be possessed of a certain amount of available property: money with them
is every thing. Respectability means money--reputation or credit means
money, and cleverness means money. Money, therefore, is the universal
virtue: they who have the most are honoured the most, and they who have
it not at all are considered by those who have it, although in ever so
small a proportion, as being separated from their fellow-creatures by
an impassable chasm, where all that is infamous is thought to dwell."

"And yet they are considered to be a very religious people," remarked
Oriel.

"None are more regular in going to church, none are greater respecters
of the ceremonies of worship, but of religion they are ignorant,"
replied Fortyfolios. "Nothing can be more certain than that it is
impossible that a pure morality or a sincere devotion can exist, when
the heart is filled with one engrossing desire--the accumulation of
capital--the very principle of which is selfishness--a feeling
incompatible with the social charities of true religion."

"But when did you ever find that any thing like true religion generally
existed?" inquired the captain, in a tone approaching sarcasm. "Since
the memory of man the faith of the majority has been unvaryingly
orthodox, and sticks, like a lobster to its shell, to the old proverb,
'Every one for himself, and the devil take the hindmost,'--and more
absurd conduct doesn't exist than some people exhibit, who, after
having made money a standard of excellence, condemn to infamy not only
those who are not possessed of it, but they who gain it by means not in
exact accordance with their notions of the way it should be obtained.
Scrunch me, if it don't make one ready to heave one's ballast overboard,
when I see the homage paid to a mean-spirited scoundrel, who by
chicanery, hypocrisy, avarice, and a horde of other contemptible vices,
robs his fellows of a pretty handsome share of plunder; and hear the
execrations heaped upon the bolder and better villain, who lays society
under contributions in a more open, manly, and daring manner. They
pretend to notions of honesty, too, that's the joke. Why a fish would
laugh at a thing so ridiculous. The government in their necessity
take from the people, and those who can't afford to pay they send to
prison--an individual in his necessity takes from another, and the very
government who set the example of appropriation punish the appropriator
as an offender. Then governments plunder each other, or rather the
people of each other; but when any of the people attempt to rob their
governments, they judge, hang, draw and quarter the poor wretches
without the slightest mercy. Honesty, forsooth! If the whole world were
asked what the meaning of the word was, every man would give a different
definition, and not only would each contradict the other, but every one
would contradict himself. Honesty appears to be of all shapes and all
sizes: it will suit all complexions--it will flavour every dish. Honesty
is every thing, and yet it is nothing. It is neither fish, flesh,
nor fowl--will neither sink nor swim--and is not to be touched, seen,
or tasted. Honesty is every where--the greatest rogue is honest to
his chosen associates--and yet it is no where, for the desire of
appropriation is universal. It is a sort of ghost that only exists in
the minds of the superstitious--a mirror that shows any reflection
thrown upon it--a sky that all over the world can take every variety of
colour. Some call it truth, and lay claim to its possession, although
their lives are a continual deceit; some call it justice, and fancy
themselves exceedingly just, although they would consign to eternal
perdition all not exactly of their way of thinking; and some call it
conscientiousness, and are satisfied with their own dealings, when,
at the same time, their first thought is for their own personal
gratification. But we are entering the bay, and these fellows require
looking after." So saying, he suddenly left the group, and began
shouting to the crew some orders about the ship.

"Captain Compass has singular notions," remarked the professor: "I
should not feel particularly comfortable if I thought he entertained
the opinions he expresses. There would be an end to all sense of moral
obligations if such ideas became general."

"Oh there is no harm in him," replied Oriel. "He is too frank, too
careless, too bold to have any evil intention. It has often appeared to
me, though, that the principle we call honesty does not exist either in
ourselves or in society to the extent we imagine; and believing such a
state of things an evil, I have often wished, but never been able, to
find a way in which it could be remedied."

"It is an evil, undoubtedly," here observed Doctor Tourniquet, who had
for some time been an attentive but silent listener--"and there is but
one way in which it can be completely removed."

"And how is that way to be found?" inquired Oriel Porphyry.

"The cause of this want of a definite unvarying character in our notion
of honesty," said the Doctor, "may be traced to the present and past
construction of society, where each individual has a separate interest,
exists in a state of competition with the others, and must always be
endeavouring to shape his own notions of right to his own exclusive
advantage: were property a fund in common from which each might be
allowed to take what he pleased--there being no individual interests,
the world would be one family, and there could be no dishonesty in
openly appropriating that to which he had an acknowledged right, don't
you see."

"Preposterous!" exclaimed Fortyfolios.

"An impossible state of things, I should think," added his pupil.

"Nothing more reasonable, and nothing more easy," replied the Doctor.
"Let every one in a community labour equally according to his physical
or mental powers--every kind of labour being productive will produce
every thing in abundance--this abundance having been produced must
supply every want--every want being gratified at the suggestion of the
inclination, there remains nothing to desire--and as all have an equal
right to appropriate as much as they require for the gratification of
their inclinations, by having equally, according to their abilities,
assisted in producing the abundance they enjoy, no desire in which they
might think fit to indulge could ever take the appearance of an act of
dishonesty, don't you see."

"Ridiculous!" exclaimed the professor.

"But how in the present state of society can you get such notions
adopted?" inquired Oriel.

"Either by educating children from the earliest age into the application
of these social principles, or by constituting communities apart from
the general mass, who will exist within themselves by the same manner
of life, till, as the advantages of such a state of society become
universally evident, it is adopted by the whole population," said the
Doctor.

"The thing has been tried times out of number," remarked Fortyfolios,
contemptuously, "and has always lingered a short time and then died,
with very little regret on the part of those for whose superior
happiness it was created. It is based upon an idea of equality, which
idea has no personal existence in nature. No matter how carefully the
young mind is schooled, there will always be some superiority somewhere.
In muscular energy, in mental power, in ingenuity, in quickness of
comprehension, and in the skilful adaptation of means to an end--even
in the natural desires and susceptibilities--even in acquired habits of
industry, and self-denial, in all societies, some will be found greater
than others, and these will endeavour to rise above the equality by
which they are surrounded; perhaps they will succeed, and then the
homogeneousness of the community is soon destroyed; perhaps they will
fail, and then their more exalted natures must be crushed down to the
Procrustean bed of their associates. Equality can only be a state of
general mediocrity. Could we imagine such a social organisation, what
would become of the worship of superior greatness that leads men to
become great? With what feelings would exist, could they exist under
such circumstances, those commanding intellects whose supremacy should
be acknowledged by all who love knowledge, and virtue, and humanity, at
finding themselves classed with the mere breaker of the clod, a creature
without an idea, whose only quality, that of strength and fitness for a
certain labour, he shares with brutes and with machines; who eats and
drinks, and sleeps and dies, and then makes room for another of the same
class? Must they also become hewers of wood and drawers of water for
the benefit of their fellows? With as much probability of a beneficial
result might an attempt be made to force the ploughman, the shepherd,
the mechanic, and the domestic servant, to become a sculptor, a
philologist, a musician, and a philosopher."

What Doctor Tourniquet might have replied, it is impossible now to
relate, as the Albatross at that moment was boarded by the port-officers
who came to examine the state of health of the ship and the cargo with
which she was laden; and as she was expected shortly to drop her anchor
among the shipping with which she was now surrounded, those who designed
to land proceeded to make the necessary preparations.



CHAP. VII.

CAFFRETON, THE METROPOLIS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA.


In a large heavy building on the banks of a canal in the city of
Caffreton, all seemed bustle and confusion: barges were at the water
side unloading, and at the land side were waggons being filled with
packages for conveyance into the interior by the rail-roads, and others
starting off heavily laden to supply the traders in the town and
neighbourhood. A considerable number of black slaves were actively
employed in assisting the goods from the barges to the stores, and
from the stores to the waggons; who jostled, shouted, and chattered
apparently with as much noise as they could make; two or three white
men were seen among them giving orders in a loud voice to their dark
associates, and seeing that their commands were promptly attended to.
Under a gloomy archway, which led from the street to the water side were
doors opposite each other. One of these, after passing through a long
warehouse filled with articles of merchandise of every description,
in the midst of which were several slaves of both sexes engaged in
weighing, measuring, and packing parcels of various sizes, led into a
counting house, in which about a dozen blacks, principally young ones,
much better dressed than those in the warehouse, were writing in large
books; and beyond this was a much smaller room, furnished with maps and
a few cumbrous books, wherein two men were seated opposite each other;
one a tall, thin, sharp visaged man about forty, whose features
expressed an extraordinary degree of fear and servility, was reading a
newspaper, and the other, who appeared considerably older, was short
and corpulent, had a dark complexion, and a look of mingled cunning and
fierceness, sat leaning back against a huge arm chair, with an open
ledger on the table before him.

"Foreign stock rising, eh!" inquired the latter.

"Yes, sir," replied the other, glancing his eye over the paper,
"particularly Columbian and Australian."

"How goes the share market?"

"Brisk, sir, in many things--Gondar Railroad at a premium--Congo Canal
at 125-3/8--Ashantee Salt Company, 105-1/2--Mocaranga Timber,
109--Biafra Gold Mines, 200."

"Capital!" exclaimed the elder, rubbing his hands together briskly, and
his forbidding features assuming an expression of intense gratification.
"I shall do well by my speculations there;--but how goes the Madagascar
Silkworm Company?"

"Down to 45, sir," replied the thin man.

"Bankrupt and jails! you scoundrel, it can't be," furiously exclaimed
the other.

"It is so here, sir," said his companion humbly.

"Then my eternal malediction rest on all silk worms. I've lost some
thousands. But you haven't said any thing about the Timbuctoo Beet-root
Sugar."

"Down to 22, sir."

"You rascal, you're trying to put me in a passion; you're inventing
that, because you know I've invested large sums in that affair. I'll
have you whipped like a slave if you don't tell me the truth."

"It is so here, sir," said the man trembling, and turning pale.

"Then the Caffreton Universal Intelligence is a universal liar!"
screamed the other in a rage. "Why, if it's true, I've lost all I gained
by the indigo and cochineal job. It's a bad business, Mr. Quagga.
There's cheating in it! There's ruination in it! I shall be laughed at
on 'Change. My solvency will be suspected--my credit diminish;--but go
on, Mr. Quagga--go on, I'm perfectly cool--I'm not going to put myself
out of temper by such a loss, don't think it. In the name of poverty,
why don't you go on, Mr. Quagga?" thundered out the principal.

"Wer--wer--wer--wer--what shall I read next sir?" inquired his servant
as plainly as his fright would allow.

"Read the arrivals, you stuttering, stupid blockhead," cried the
broker.

"Arrived in the bay, the Sultan from Cairo, Selim, master."

"Nothing for me."

"The Golden Horn, from Stamboul, Mahmoud, master:--twenty chests of
opium, consigned by Mandragora and Poppy."

"Send some one to see it warehoused in the docks."

"Yes, sir," said the clerk, respectfully.

"What next?"

"The Hellas, from Smyrna, Mavricordato, master."

"Nothing for me. Cargo of figs and raisins, from Drum and Company."

"The Albatross, from Columbus, Compass, master."

"Look to that, Quagga--look to that. She belongs to Master Porphyry, the
richest merchant in the whole world. Her cargo is of great value. By
last advices from my correspondent, expect some bales of rich
fabrics.--Go on, Quagga."

"There's a paragraph, here, sir, that seems to relate to that vessel."

"Read it, Quagga."

"'In the Albatross, arrived in our harbour, comes the only son of
the great merchant, Master Porphyry, whose name is in such high
estimation in every part of the civilised world for his wealth and his
philanthropy. It is said that he has come out on a commercial voyage,
and that it was Master Porphyry's desire that his son should visit
some of the most celebrated places of traffic in various parts of the
globe.'"

"Very good, except philanthropy, which is all humbug, you know, Quagga,"
observed the broker, "a bad spec--a dead loss.--We must look after
him"--and the face of the master seemed to glance more pleasantly upon
his servant.--"Well, what provincial news?" he asked, after a pause.

"'We regret to inform our readers, that the respectable banking house of
Mangel Wurzel, Carrots, and Co., at Lattakoo, have stopped payment.'"

"Stopped payment, you rascal!" shouted the broker, his face becoming
purple with rage. "How dare you tell me Mangel Wurzel and Co. have
stopped payment? It's all a conspiracy--a base invention--a lie--a
cheat! You know I've got all the payments made to me per the
Springbok--on account of that fine gang of Hottentots--in their wretched
paper. I'll have you hanged, you scoundrel, for deceiving me. I'll----"

Here the torrent of his indignation was interrupted by one of the young
slaves from the counting-house showing himself at the door.

"Well, you imp of darkness! what do you want?" he cried.

"Cap'ain Gumpas, sar, want to peak wi' you," said the young Hottentot.

"Who, scoundrel?"

"Cap'ain Gumpass, sar, ship Albatross."

"Admit him, instantly."

The slave disappeared, and so did the broker's passion.

In a moment afterwards the door opened, and a tall man, of rather
handsome exterior, whom it would have been impossible to have
recognised as the Captain Compass of the Albatross, had it not been
for a peculiar expression in the countenance--sarcastic, bold, and
treacherous--no one could mistake, entered the room. His whiskers had
disappeared, the colour of his hair had changed, and he looked a much
younger and better featured man than he appeared the day previous. As he
advanced, the broker seemed to gaze upon him with fear and wonder.

"Well, old Boor, is this the hail I'm to meet after such a long cruise?"
cried the captain.

Boor stared till his yellow eye-balls appeared starting out of his head.

"Dockets and bad bills!" at last he exclaimed, with a long breath,
"surely it can't be you!"

"But it is, though, old boy, and I'm afloat in the most slappish style,"
replied the other.

"But how did you escape, when----"

"No matter," said the captain, interrupting his companion. "I'm come to
have a little bit of a confabulation with you about a matter that will
enrich us both."

"This way, my good friend," hastily whispered the broker, leading his
associate cautiously to a little door at the further extremity of the
room, which opened into a smaller apartment, filled with iron safes,
papers, and books. "This way, captain--this way," added he; then turning
to his clerk, said, "Don't let me be interrupted, Quagga," as the door
opened and closed upon the pair: and there they remained in close
conference for a full hour, to the great mystification of the principal
clerk. When they returned, the features of the captain wore an air of
triumph, and the countenance of Boor expressed all the congratulation of
successful cunning.

"Every thing shall be managed according to your desire, captain," he
remarked.

"Be cautious," said the other.

"Depend upon that," responded his companion. "You had better go out at
this side door."

The captain was going out as directed, when he quickly asked, "When
shall I see you again?"

"To-morrow night," replied his associate.

"Agreed."

When his visiter had taken his departure, the broker seemed to have
forgotten the losses that had affected him so much a short time
previous. His unprepossessing countenance appeared lit up with a
continual smile of inward satisfaction, as he leaned back upon his
chair, occasionally resting his hands upon his capacious stomach, then
crossing his arms--then leaning his chin upon his hand as if in deep
reflection, uttering such ejaculations as "capital scheme"--"hazardous
though"--"daring villain"--"worth the risk," and others of a similar
nature--till the wondering Quagga, neither daring to move or to speak,
began to imagine that his tyrannical master had lost the use of his
senses. At that moment the door opened again, and the same slave made
his appearance.

"Ha, Beelzebub!" shouted Master Boor, "what now?"

"Massa Porfry, sar, and young gennleman ob colour wish to peak wi' you,"
said the youth.

"Admit them," he exclaimed. Then in a lower tone said, "Coloured
persons! what can he mean by bringing such vermin here?" However, though
considering the introduction of such a person an indignity, the game he
had to play induced him for the present to forget his prejudices, and he
met his visitors with every appearance of cordiality.

"Welcome to Caffreton, welcome to the sunny shores of Afrik;" he cried
as they advanced into the room. "The land of universal liberty.--Quagga,
tell those slaves if I hear them chattering again, I'll give them the
lash----!"

"Yes, sir!" said Quagga; and immediately delivered the message.

"The land of universal equality.--Quagga, you scoundrel! why don't you
get seats for the gentlemen----?"

"Yes, sir!" said Quagga; and instantly did as he was desired.

"And the land of universal freedom of conscience.--Quagga! tell Pipkin,
that if he doesn't choose to attend the same church as his master, I'll
thrash his soul out of his body."

"Yes, sir," said Quagga; and Pipkin received the brutal command.

Oriel Porphyry seemed in some degree amused by this exemplification of
liberty, equality, and freedom of conscience, but he said nothing; and
Zabra seemed intently observing the countenances of the clerk and his
master.

"I hope your worthy father is well, sir," continued Boor. "Health's a
precious commodity--cannot be too highly prized. Quagga! is Nimbo in the
warehouse yet?"

"No, sir; doctor says he can't stand," said the clerk.

"Then tell him if he don't come down I'll make him," said his master
with ferocious emphasis.

"Yes, sir;" replied the obedient Quagga.

"Your father does a deal of good, sir, with his charities," he resumed.
"Ah! charity's a fine thing!--an admirable thing! I do a wonderful deal
of good myself that way sometimes. I give the poor all the bad coin
that comes into my hands. I do a deal of good I assure you. Your father
enjoys a great reputation for integrity in his dealings. Nothing like
it, sir;--It is always at a premium. Hope you will tread in your
father's footsteps; and if you should have a desire for speculating, I
trust the credit I possess will induce you to place confidence in me. I
should recommend you to invest largely in the shares of the Madagascar
Silk Worm Company, and the Timbuctoo Beet-root Sugar Joint Stock
Association. I have some shares at my disposal, which, although they're
now very high in the market, to oblige the son of so respectable a man
as my correspondent, master Porphyry, I would let you have at a fair
price,--say the first at 95-7/8, and the other at 80."

"I am obliged to you," replied Oriel Porphyry; "but I have no desire to
speculate in such things at present."

"Very good--very good," said the broker, not at all disconcerted at
the failure of his schemes. "Caution is advisable in all mercantile
transactions, and I am the last person in the world to suggest any thing
to you, which I do not think would turn to your advantage. Perhaps you
have bullion to dispose of? If so, I could afford a very handsome per
centage, and exchange with you to a considerable amount in notes of one
of the most steady banks in the country--that of Mangel Wurzel, Carrots
and Co. at Lattakoo."

"I'm much obliged to you; but as my stay in this part of the world must
be brief, it would not be advisable to change my bullion into the paper
currency of the country;" said Oriel.

"True--true;" remarked master Boor, and a cloud did pass over his
gloomy countenance when he found he could not dispose of any of his
unprofitable speculations. "You are right. So you do not intend staying
here? Fine country. No kings--none of _that_ nonsense. Every man does
just as he likes, and cares for nobody.--Quagga! you rascal, I'll have
you flayed alive if you don't finish that intricate account with
Botherem, Blunder, and Bigfist, in an hour." The frightened clerk began
to write away with the speed of a steam-engine. "In no place in the
world is the right of opinion so much respected.--Quagga, you scoundrel!
I understand you spoke at the Universal Consolidated Democratic
Discussion Society, against the measure now before the legislature for
the tax on tenpenny nails. How dare you oppose my political sentiments!
This is insolence, sir--treason, anarchy, and rebellion! If ever I
hear you entertain an opinion different from mine again, I'll have you
inclosed within four stone walls and starve you upon a mouthful a day."

Quagga trembled like an aspen, and did not dare lift his eyes from the
book.

"Yes, sir, I repeat, this is the only country on the face of the globe,
where mankind enjoy a perfect state of civil and religious liberty. What
do they think of us, sir, in Columbia? Don't they envy us our noble
institutions, ey? Our excellent government--our enlightened people?"

"Why, those who ever do think of the African states--"

"Ever think of them!" cried the old fellow, with emphasis, interrupting
the speaker; "they must always think of them. They cannot help drawing
comparisons, sir, with their own wretched state; and they must
therefore be wonderfully desirous of sharing in the blessings we enjoy."

"I really never heard of such a desire existing in any part of the
country;" observed Oriel.

"Ah, sir, they live in a wretched state of despotism, and they dare not
express their sentiments;" replied the broker. "There cannot be anything
like public virtue amongst them--no political honesty--no notion of true
liberty. But how did you make the voyage, sir?"

"Admirably!" exclaimed the merchant's son. "The Albatross is one of the
most perfect vessels that was ever launched."

"Nothing like the African shipping, depend upon it--made of free timber,
sir?--beat all vessels at sailing, and last for ever. Skilful captain
that Compass, sir--known him long; knew his father--highly respectable.
You may place the greatest confidence in him, I assure you."

During the preceding sentences Zabra kept his eyes fixed upon the face
of the speaker, which he observing, turned his own gaze upon the person
so earnestly regarding him; but the piercing look that met his quite
disconcerted him. His complexion grew more livid; his look became
confused; he frowned and smiled by turns; he shifted his position, and
evinced by many other signs that he was anything but at ease under the
scrutiny to which he was subjected. At last, unable to endure it any
longer, he said, in a tone in which anger seemed struggling with
indifference. "Who is that person of colour, sir? it is not usual to
bring people of that class in company with free Africans."

"That young gentleman is my most esteemed and intimate friend;" replied
Oriel.

"Oh, I beg pardon; but it's not respectable to have such friends in a
free and enlightened country like the African States; and the 'young
gentleman'," said he, with contemptuous emphasis, "seems to look on me
as if he knew me intimately."

"I do know you intimately, sir;" remarked Zabra, bending on the old man
a stern and searching look.

"Well, this assurance beats any thing I ever saw. Why, I never met with
your coppery countenance before," said the broker, indignantly.

"You spoke the truth _there_," replied Zabra, still continuing to regard
him with the same earnestness; and the broker's attempts to conceal his
passion and his uneasiness became every moment more unsuccessful.

"He is thus to every one," observed Oriel Porphyry; "and he means no
offence. But let us proceed to business. According to your request,
my father has sent you a lot of fabrics of the choicest patterns and
materials, which I shall give you an order to remove from the docks upon
receiving payment in gold. You can examine them if necessary, whenever
it is convenient to you, when you will find them exactly of the
description you ordered. I am also commissioned to purchase, to any
amount, ivory, gold dust, gums, pearls and precious stones, ostrich
feathers, amber, and any other article of traffic of approved quality
that may suit the Columbian markets, or that may be turned to a
profitable account during my voyage. They can be paid for in money or
in goods--whichever should be most desirable."

"Good--good," remarked the broker, losing, in his attention to business,
all his angry feelings. "Ah! let me see. I think I shall be able to
treat with you for a considerable portion of your cargo; and, as a
particular friend, I should not advise you to go to any strange brokers;
they'll take you in, depend upon it."

"Why, I thought, in this free country, all your transactions were
distinguished by a degree of honesty superior to that of other nations;"
said Oriel.

"Yes, yes," hastily replied master Boor, considerably puzzled to account
for the discrepancy in his statements. "But every man will make a good
bargain, if he can."

"Then what offer are you inclined to make for a thousand bales of lace
and cambric goods, best quality?"

"Why, you see, master Porphyry, the truth is, the market here is a
little overstocked just now with those articles; they are a complete
drug."

"I have good reason to believe there is a great demand for them," said
Oriel.

"Nothing of the kind, master Porphyry. I wouldn't deceive you for the
world. But, although things are so heavy, I don't mind offering twenty
thousand dollars for them, either in money or goods."

"That is just half I am commissioned to take;" remarked the young
merchant, rising to go away. "And as we shall not be able to do business
on those terms, I must seek a more advantageous market."

"Don't be too hasty, sir. Reflect before you determine. The price I
offer is a good price; and it is impossible you can get one so high,
search Caffreton through and through." Perceiving his visitors were at
the door, he added--"Suppose we say five and twenty--a great risk--a
hazardous----"

"Good day to you, master Boor!" exclaimed Oriel, bending his head
proudly, and departed with his companion through the counting-house.
The old man scowled after his visitors, muttering to himself,--"I'll
have them at a less price, in spite of you."

About the same time two persons were seen walking cautiously through a
narrow unfrequented street in the suburbs of the town, connected with a
number of other thoroughfares of a like description, chiefly inhabited
by the lowest class of the black population. The tallest of the two, who
was a little in advance of his companion, whose short dumpy figure and
conceited physiognomy it was impossible to mistake, turned round, and
addressed his associate:--

"Come, master Log, show more sail. I'm spiflicated if we shall ever find
safe anchorage if you don't. I think I arn't forgotten the landmarks;
but, somehow, I've got into a little bit of a mystification about making
the proper tacks. This is it! No, it arn't! Ha! Now I see, as clean as a
cable. There's the sign o' the Ship, at the corner yonder. We goes right
ahead there; then we makes a tack; then we goes ahead again; then we
makes another tack; then I knows all the whereabouts. That's right,
arnt it, mister?"

"Right--right--very right--decidedly right--absolutely right: indeed, I
may say, positively right, mister Scrumpydike," responded the little
man, endeavouring to keep pace with his more bulky companion.

"Here comes another Hottentot;" said Scrumpydike, noticing an individual
of that race approaching them. "What a lot o' them black craft one meets
wi' steerin' about in these here seas; they puts one in mind o' a fleet
of colliers, creepin' along shore. But this nigger _is_ black, arnt he,
master Log?"

"Black, black,--monstrous black,--very monstrous black--upon my word
most diabolically black, mister Scrumpydike;" replied the captain's
clerk, puffing and blowing with the exertion he made to prolong his
walk.

"I say, won't them bugaboos afloat entertain something of a 'stonishment
when we commences the fun. Don't you think some on 'em 'll go mad?"
inquired the other.

"Mad, mad,--very mad, very mad, indeed,--pretty considerably wild,
stiff, stark, staring mad, mister Scrumpydike," rejoined his companion.

They had now reached one of the narrowest, darkest, and filthiest
streets in that quarter of the town; and by the expression of
satisfaction that gleamed on the coarse features of Scrumpydike, it was
evident that they were near the end of their journey. They proceeded
along this street till they came to a court through which they passed,
and entered a lane where there were no houses on one side, and very few,
and those far apart on the other. Keeping on the side where the houses
were, they followed the footpath, till they came to a ruined habitation
of the poorest class, little better than a mud kraal. The few windows it
possessed were broken and covered with dirt; its door was battered to a
fragment; the roof had fallen in, and the walls threatened to tumble.
Looking cautiously round to see if any persons were observing them, the
sailor removed the door to admit himself and his companion, and then
carefully replaced it; afterwards they picked their way over fragments
of stone and timber, through a moderate sized chamber, and descended a
long flight of steps till they came to a wall.

"Ship ahoy!" shouted Scrumpydike, putting his mouth near the wall.

"What cheer?" was answered in a low voice from within.

"Death and gold!" was the strange reply; immediately after which,
bolts were heard quickly drawn, and the wall, or rather a door made to
resemble the wall in which it was placed opened, and a stout, active man
of a fierce aspect, clad in coarse jacket and trowsers, without shoes
or cap, carrying a naked cutlass in his hand, and wearing several large
pistols in his belt, became visible by the light of a torch that burned
stuck upright in the ground beside him. Without another word Log and
Scrumpydike entered. The door was quickly closed, the bolts set, and
the man, taking up the torch, preceded them through a long passage or
cellar, till they were stopped by the brickwork.

"Ship ahoy!" shouted the man.

"What cheer?" was answered from within.

"Death and gold!" he replied. In an instant another door opened, the man
turned back, and the captain's clerk, and his companion were admitted
into a long subterranean chamber, in which the many torches that were
burning enabled them to distinguish the figures of about twenty men,
dressed like sailors, all variously armed, seated round a large table
covered with drinking vessels. Immediately Scrumpydike made his
appearance, the whole party set up a loud shout of welcome, and in
a moment they were all crowding round him, shaking hands, asking
questions, and offering him refreshment.

"Ha! let us stow in a cargo o' some sort or other," said the sailor,
seating himself before what appeared to be the remains of a roast kid,
and proceeding to help himself. "I've had a desperate long cruise here.
Come, master Log, bear a hand:" a command the captain's clerk was not
slow in executing. "And so you'd given me up, ey? never made a worser
recknin; scrunch me if I arnt a got more lives nor a cat. But the best
of the joke is," said he taking a hearty draught from a can of liquor
which was handed to him, and which example was immediately followed by
his companion; "the best o' the joke is--but you'll think I'm gammonin'
ye--I knows you will. The joke is--I've been livin' in the most
honestest way you ever heard on."

The whole party raised a shout of incredulity, and laughed in derision
at such an idea.

"I know'd how it would be--I was afear'd I should lose my precious
character," remarked the man gloomily; "but master Log can tell ye as
how I ha' been for a matter o' two or three months most abominably
honest,--arn't I master Log?"

"Honest--honest," replied the captain's clerk, moving the wine can
from his mouth a short distance; "shamefully honest--disgracefully
honest--indeed I may say villainously honest, master Scrumpydike."
The men stared with astonishment, and many still seemed to doubt his
assertion.

"Nobody can lament the unfortnit occurrence more nor I do," said
Scrumpydike; "but what's done can't be undone,--so clear the decks o'
this lumber--pipe all hands to grog, and I'll tell ye a sort o' summat
much more nat'ral and creditable."

The eatables were cleared off into an open pantry at the side, and fresh
flasks of liquor and drinking vessels were placed on the table. Some
of the men began to smoke from long pipes; others made for themselves
mixtures of the different beverages before them; and every one sat
himself down laughing and joking with the rest with the evident
intention of commencing a carouse. Log having procured a pipe almost as
big as himself, and a large jug of a strong potation he had carefully
prepared, sat smirking with secret satisfaction at his own comfort. His
pig-like eyes twinkled with self-conceit, and his pug nose seemed to
curl itself up with delight. Opposite to him, but not less at his ease,
sat Scrumpydike. He also had taken care of himself after a similar
fashion; and the humorous twist of his ugly countenance became every
minute more evident. The set by whom they were surrounded, were
remarkable for the daring and somewhat ferocious character of their
features, and the great variety of their costumes; and as they sat
enveloped in the smoke they were creating, bandying the ready jest, and
pushing about the intoxicating liquor, they presented to the eye a band
of as determined ruffians as the whole world could have produced.

"Have you all a mind for a job?" at last inquired Scrumpydike.

"Every one on us," replied a stout fellow with a red nose and a fierce
squint. "We've been laid up here for a month or more, waiting for a
'portunity to get afloat."

"Well, Billbo! you shall go aboard a prime craft afore another week's
out, or I'm less nor nobody."

"Hurra!" exclaimed the men joyfully.

"I can't tell ye the 'ticulars just now," he continued; "but I'll make
it all plain sailin' afore you goes. Push the stuff about; a ship at
anchor makes no way. Here's to ye, my trumps! wi' lots o' plunder and a
wide berth; and may we stick to one another while there's a plank left
for us to stand on."

"Hurra!" replied his associates with increased delight! and they all
seemed now to abandon themselves to riot and debauchery with additional
zest. Briskly were the liquor cans replenished, rapidly was the tobacco
consumed;--the laugh became louder, and occasionally an attempt at a
ribald song was made by some of the more musical members of the company.

"Well, scrunch me! if this arn't pleasant in the extreme," said the
individual addressed as Billbo; who, by the vacuity of his gaze, and
the unsteadiness of his body, was evidently far gone towards complete
intoxication. "I'm as happy as if I was a cap'ain. I'm happier nor any
body. I'm happier nor any body, afloat or ashore."

"You arn't more happier nor me!" shouted a big-headed fellow fiercely,
from the other end of the table, as he attempted to get upon his legs.

"I'm happier nor any body," repeated the man with the squint.

"I don't allow nobody to be more happier nor me," cried the other, as
he, after repeated efforts, attained the perpendicular.

"I'm happier nor any body," doggedly repeated Billbo.

"Then I'm spiflicated if I don't give you toko, 'cause you arn't no
business to be more happier nor me," rejoined his associate, attempting
to draw his cutlass.

"Silence, Loggerhead!" shouted Scrumpydike, in a voice of thunder
that made the captain's clerk start from his seat with affright. "No
squabbling, or you'll get a broadside from one as arn't fond o'
trifling."

"He says he's more happier nor me," exclaimed Loggerhead, in a most
lachrymose tone of voice.

"I'm happier nor any body," repeated the pertinacious Billbo, his eyes
squinting defiance upon his jealous antagonist.

"Silence, Billbo!" shouted Scrumpydike, "or I'll rake ye fore and aft."

"He arn't no right to be more happier nor me," cried Loggerhead, as the
tears swelled in his eyes at such an assumption of superior happiness.
"I'm very happy!" he added, in a manner the most miserable that can be
conceived. "Unkimmon happy. I'm as happy as a fellow can be in this here
molloncholy world;" and he began crying like a fretful child.

"I'm happier nor any body," muttered the other, sinking back upon the
floor.

"Let's have a song!" cried Scrumpydike.

"A song, a song," echoed as many of his associates as were able to
speak.

"A song, master Log," continued Scrumpydike, with the desire of
preventing a quarrel among his drunken companions. "Come, my prince o'
singing birds! Pipe away till all's blue. You're a reg'lar trump at
chaunting a good stave; a right-down warbler; a nightingale's a fool to
ye. Arn't it true, now?"

"True, true--very true--undeniably true--most undeniably true--most
undeniably true, indeed, mister Scrumpydike," cried the captain's clerk,
his gratified vanity visible even through the sleepy expression that
now characterised his countenance; and after a few preparatory hems,
considerable smirking, and a plentiful affectation of modesty, he sang,
in a voice that might have frightened an owl, the following verses:--

   "Woman and wine are my delight;
      Woman and wine! woman and wine!
    Woman and wine are my delight,
    From Monday morning till Saturday night;
    For they cheer the heart and gladden the sight,
      And make a man feel divine:
    From woman's glances all fondness flows,
    And wine rejoices wherever it goes,
    And both are a cure for all earthly woes,--
      Woman and wine! woman and wine!

   "I went a courting once on a time,
      Woman and wine! woman and wine!
    I went a courting once on a time,
    And I flattered my deary in prose and in rhyme;
    And though the stuff was not by any means prime,
      She vowed it was monstrous fine:
    But in wine's inspiration my praise had been clad,
    And whatever I said she could never think bad,
    For I always 'saw double' the charms that she had:
      Woman and wine! woman and wine!

   "I took to wine as a friend in need;
      Woman and wine! woman and wine!
    I took to wine as a friend in need,
    And have ever since found it a friend indeed,
    Which nothing on earth could be brought to exceed,
      Or made so completely mine:
    In Fortune's smile, and in Fortune's frown,
    It laid me up, and it laid me down;
    And went to my heart by a way of its own,
      Woman and wine! woman and wine!

   "Oh, woman and wine are capital things--
      Woman and wine! woman and wine!
    Woman and wine are capital things,
    In gladness or care to man's soul ever springs,
    To which each its own perfect felicity brings;
      And long may such pleasures combine:
    And he who would ever, by night or by day,
    In sorrow or joy, turn from either away,
    Should never in better men's company stay,
      Woman and wine! woman and wine!"

While his associates were wildly shouting, in a dozen different keys,
the burthen of the song, Log, in whom the exertion of singing had
destroyed the little sense he had remaining, as he was swinging his body
back, lost his balance, pitched head over heels off his seat, and then
rolled under the table, in a state of complete insensibility.



CHAP. VIII.

THE PIRATES.


"'Tis a lovely night!" observed Oriel Porphyry, as he stood upon the
deck of the Albatross, watching the fast receding shores of Africa.

"Indeed it is," said his companion. "The air is filled with beauty, and
there is an eloquent glory in the stars that speaks marvels of wisdom.
See how the rolling waves rush on, bathed with the trembling light from
above them--so do the multitudinous hearts within the world send forth
their tide, each illumined by glimpses of a heaven of its own. The
planets look down upon the waters, and from their mighty mirror drink in
the images of their own loveliness--just as the maiden venturing to gaze
into the glowing eyes of the youth of whom she is enamoured, sees in
their depths the reflection of her own beauty, and lingers delighted
within the influence of the charm she herself created. But what a
philanthropist is the world! A universal spirit of love exists around
us, and beneath its outstretched wings throbs the everlasting heart of
the universe, distributing through its rosy channels that refreshing
stream which is the life, the strength, the humanity of nature. What a
wonder is the world! All within the boundless circle of infinity, with a
harmony of soul-entrancing modulations, tune the same music to the ear.
Systems of worlds, and worlds of systems--each earth blessed with its
own sun, moon, and stars, that fill its atmosphere with gladness, and
its waters with delight, rejoicing in the abundance in which it rears
its countless offspring, that draw their verdure, their fragrance, and
their consummate grace, from the exhaustless nourishment of its breast,
rolls on in one unvarying course, carrying with it the fond desires of
youth, the proud ambition of manhood, and the peaceful speculations
of age; while, as the stream of Time progresses on its way to float
them into the shoreless ocean of Eternity, its own nature, keeping a
continual change in all things which have from it their existence, from
the beginning hath followed its particular path in the glad possession
of a perpetual youth. What a gladness is the world! There is not a
creature born of its most fruitful womb that is not taught to slake its
thirst and bathe its buoyant limbs in the fountain of delight that flows
for all. Smiles and flowers are about us from our infancy. The air
breathes of gladness. The clear firmament looks down on us in bliss.
The leaves that quiver in the breeze dance for joy, and the stream that
wandereth on its way singeth its own merry tune. The voice of song
murmurs a continual carol that stirs the hearts of the antique forest
trees, and the echoes of the mighty hills--in swelling tones the
vigorous wind joins in the thrilling harmony--and as the natural concert
rises into power, into its gladdening sounds the deep sea roars its
triumphant chorus."

"You are eloquent, Zabra!" remarked Oriel, gazing with wondering eyes
upon the handsome countenance of his companion, which appeared more than
usually excited.

"'T is a fit time, and a most fitting subject for eloquence," he
replied; "and if the soul hath such impulses, never were they more
likely to be called into action than on such an occasion, and with such
a theme as I have now. We are again upon the sea. That is sufficient
impetus for the thought. We have left the dwellings of men whose souls
were devoted to the mere scraping together wealth they would not use for
any benefit to their fellow-creatures, and could not expend with any
happiness to themselves."

"Ay, I am glad I have escaped from the place," said the young merchant.
"It has given me every thing but a favourable impression of the
pleasures of traffic. Each person I met seemed anxiously intent upon
cheating me; and, if I had not been carefully attentive to my father's
instructions, before I had left their filthy town I should have been
plundered of every bale of goods in my possession. As for Master Boor,
he is as fine a sample of deliberate roguery as I ever met with."

"He is worse than that, or I am much mistaken," remarked Zabra,
earnestly. "I have not been able to collect sufficient proof, but I
strongly suspect, from observation I have made, that he is connected
with your captain, whom he praised so much, in some deep-laid scheme of
treachery, of which you are to be the sufferer."

"Impossible!" exclaimed Oriel. "That Boor would cheat his own father,
I believe; but I don't think he would act the villain, except in the
general routine of business:--as for Compass, there's no harm in
him--the freedom of his language and the unprepossessing character of
his manners are likely to create an unfavourable impression in any
observer. Besides, he is alone in the ship, or nearly so. He is not
at all popular with the crew, and were he to attempt any thing, the
majority would rise in my favour. No, no, Zabra, your suspicions must
be groundless."

"Who are those strange men that have come on board?" asked his
companion, in a whisper.

"Those in long frocks and straw hats? They are some poor agricultural
labourers that have begged a free passage from the captain, which, at
his desire, I have granted."

"I have received information, through the boy Loop, from old Hearty,
whose fidelity I can depend on, that these men are not what they appear
to be; that they are evidently sailors, and, from their countenances
alone, I should imagine that they are here for no good purpose," said
Zabra.

"Ha!" exclaimed Oriel Porphyry, for the first time entertaining a
suspicion of the captain's intentions.

"Hush!" whispered Zabra, clutching his companion firmly at the arm,
while the expression of his features became intensely anxious.

"Heard you that?"

It was a stifled scream. While both listened in great excitement, it was
followed by a discharge of fire-arms, a clashing of weapons, shouts,
imprecations, and yells of agony; and immediately afterwards Hearty,
Boggle, Ardent, Climberkin, and about half a dozen others, rushed
upon deck, followed by Captain Compass, Scrumpydike, and the gang of
ruffians described in the last chapter, fighting furiously; and, though
streaming blood from many wounds, obstinately disputing every inch of
ground.

"I have no weapon, but I must find one!" cried the young merchant,
attempting to break from his companion.

"Move not for your life, Oriel," said his companion, earnestly, as he
held him more firmly. "You can only be slaughtered, without conferring
the slightest assistance, for see, the unequal struggle is over."

A loud cheer from the ruffians proclaimed the truth of Zabra's
intimation. The faithful few were either killed, or so wounded as to be
unable to continue the contest, and the victors were rejoicing at their
triumph. Oriel Porphyry was not allowed many moments to consider of what
he had best do, when Compass, Scrumpydike, and two or three of their
associates, came hastily towards the place where he stood, flourishing
their bloody weapons, and shouting their riotous hurras.

"Captain Compass!" exclaimed Oriel proudly, as the party advanced,
"what is the meaning of this bloodshed?"

"Beg your pardon, Master Porphyry," he replied, "I have the honour of
being Captain Death; ey, boys?" said he turning to his men, and the
appeal was answered by a noisy demonstration of applause. "Yes, I am
Captain Death, the most distinguished leader of the Free Mariners in
these seas; and I beg to inform you, that I now hold the ship and all it
contains for the benefit of myself and brave companions; ey, boys?" and
the inquiry met with a similar reply.

"And I begs to add to what the cap'ain says," observed Scrumpydike,
giving his ugly countenance a more ludicrous twist than ever, "that I'm
Leevetenant Rifle, very much at your sarvice, gennlemen; and if you has
the slightest 'clination to end your miserable lives, I'll do the job
handsome, and to show my respect for ye, wo'n't charge ye nothin'"--a
riotous roar of laughter followed.

"You need not be afraid, Master Gloomy," cried the captain, noticing
that Zabra trembled as he clung to Oriel Porphyry--"your pretty
countenance shan't be spoilt just yet, at any rate, if you behave
yourself; and as for you, Master Porphyry! your life shall be spared,
and those of your men who may have survived this conflict, on condition
that you follow my directions regarding your conduct; but the slightest
show of disobedience will be punished with instant death to yourself and
all who belong to you."

By this time Professor Fortyfolios and Doctor Tourniquet had hurried
upon deck, and with much appearance of apprehension had joined the
group.

"What is this dispute about, captain?" asked the professor, looking
fearfully upon the threatening faces he saw around him. "Let us argue
the matter coolly."

"The dispute is settled, Professor Fortyfolios, and these are my
arguments," said the pirate, pointing to the bloody weapons of his
companions. The professor was convinced without inquiry; and the
perspiration seemed to break out over his bald head as if he had taken
a shower bath.

"This looks very much like an act of piracy, don't you see," remarked
the incautious Tourniquet.

"So like, that there can be no difference," replied the pirate; "and you
look as if you had a great desire for a swing from the fore-yard arm,
or a plunge under the bows, don't you see. But you are too useful at
present, so look to the wounded, Doctor Tourniquet, or I'll have you
hanged before you can suspect any thing about it."

The doctor's ruddy features grew pale with fear, and he made his way to
his patients without loss of time.

"Master Porphyry, you had better go to your cabin," said the captain,
"and your shadow may go with you; but if I notice any treachery in
either, you shall not have time to say a prayer." The friends left the
deck together without a reply.

"And now, boys, hey for Madagascar; and as this job's done, you may
set your hearts afloat as much as you like." A cheer followed the
announcement--the liquor was soon in requisition; and the pirates
became so incapable of taking care of themselves, that if the defenders
of the ship who were alive had not been disabled by their wounds, the
Albatross might have been retaken the same evening.

The wounded men were lying where they had fallen when the doctor arrived
amongst them. In a moment his fear for himself disappeared in his
anxiety for the poor fellows who so much required his assistance.

"Here, Loop!" he cried as soon as he noticed the lad, unhurt,
endeavouring to support his wounded relative. "Run into my cabin, and
you will find on the table there a case of instruments, bring them here,
look in at the cook room as you return, and ask Roly Poly to let me have
a basin of warm water instantly, for I have immediate want for it, don't
you see." The boy, with tears in his eyes, left old Hearty to the care
of the surgeon, and hastened to obey his instructions.

"Well, old friend!" exclaimed he, taking the sailor by the hand, "where
are you hurt? Ah, I perceive--ugly gash in the face--don't you see--any
thing else?"

"Arm cut to the bone, and shot through the body," said the man faintly.

"Bad," replied the doctor; "but cheer up. I've put worse things than
that to rights, don't you see. There, let me take off your jacket. Don't
exert yourself: I'll do it. You've lost a good deal of blood, my friend,
and feel a little sickish or so. Never mind that. Now let me move your
shirt from the wound. Tut, tut," he exclaimed, as the man seemed to
shrink with pain when the linen was withdrawn from the lacerated flesh.
"You must learn to bear pain, don't you see. Wo'n't hurt you more than I
can help." He then minutely examined his patient's hurts. "Bad gun-shot
wound that; but the bullet's taken a more favourable direction than I
expected, don't you see. Ugly cut this in the arm; muscles cut through;
arteries severed; requires much attention. Gash in the face don't look
well, but is in no way alarming. So, old friend, cheer up; you're
wounded severely, but not mortally, don't you see."

"Don't care about it, sir," replied Hearty, in a more feeble voice than
usual. "Don't care if I had as many holes in me as a sieve; but to be
circumwented in this here 'bominable way by a set o' rascally pirates
arn't to be endured."

"Hush!" exclaimed Tourniquet, looking round him anxiously, to see if any
of the victors were within hearing. "You must be cautious of what you
say, don't you see."

"While I a got a breath o' wind in the canvass I'll tell 'em they're
a set o' murderin' thieves," cried the brave old fellow, with all his
remaining strength.

"Hush, I tell you!" said the alarmed doctor. "Do you want to have me
murdered as well as yourself? Keep your tongue still, or every soul of
us left alive in the ship will be massacred."

"Where's Master Porphyry?" asked the man, languidly.

"Safe," replied the surgeon.

"Glad on't. And Master Zabra, they arn't a done him no harm, the
villains?" he inquired anxiously.

"Both are unhurt," said Tourniquet, in a whisper; "and the only way you
can keep them so, is to remain as quiet as possible, and say nothing
to incense your conquerors; and who knows, but that after you have
recovered, you may have an opportunity of doing them some service, don't
you see."

"The very thought a'most sets me on my legs again," observed his
patient, clasping the doctor's hand affectionately.

"Hush," he exclaimed, "here comes Roly Poly and Loop, at last."

"Oh, massa!" cried the black, as he rubbed his sleepy eyes with one
hand, while carrying the basin of water with the other--"Sockin' doin's!
Sockin' doin's! Me was takin' bit of nap, and heard nuttin. But who'd o'
ebber tort ob such obstroplousness."

"Hold your tongue, Roly Poly," said the surgeon, as he proceeded to
cleanse, to dress, and bind up the wounds. "Hold your tongue, and bring
the basin nearer I can't reach it, don't you see."

"Yes, massa, me see berry well," replied the fat cook, heedless of the
injunction he had heard. "Sorry for poor Massa Hearty; him look done to
a turn, poor fellar. Him nebber eat no more puddin'; no more soup; no
more meat; no more nuttin, as Roly Poly cooks so boofliful. Sorry for
him."

"Hold your tongue, sir, directly," exclaimed the doctor, with more
emphasis.

"Yes, massa," responded Roly Poly, and in a moment afterwards
recommenced. "Massa Hearty, him berry good man. Him eat ebry thin' me
cook, and ax no 'pertinent questions. Nebber turn up him nose when him
find bacca in him soup, or lump o' soap in him puddin'. Sorry for him,
poor fellar."

"Will you hold your tongue, sir?" said Doctor Tourniquet, angrily, "and
help to carry the patient to his hammock. Talk to him on your peril,
sir. He requires rest, don't you see."

"Yes, massa," he replied, assisting to support the wounded man; but he
had not proceeded a yard before his voice was heard running on as fast
as ever. "Wo'n't say word more. Hate a fellar as can't hold him tongue
when him told. Al'ays talkee, talkee. Mornin' till night him foolis
tongue nebber hab no peace. He go talkee, talkee, to eb'ry body; foolis'
fellar! Poor man, him want rest; nebber mind, him not hold him tongue
bit more. Hate a fellar as can't hold him tongue when him told." And so
he continued till he left old Hearty in his hammock.

The next person the doctor approached was lying on his back motionless.
A brief inspection seemed sufficient. He shook his head and passed on
towards a man who was supporting his back against the mast. His face was
pale, and his look haggard, and he seemed trying with a handkerchief to
stop the blood that was oozing from his side.

"Not much hurt, I hope?" was Doctor Tourniquet's first inquiry.

"Why, sir, I likes to have particular notions o' things in general, as
every man as is a man, and thinks like a man, should have, and I must
say," said he, slowly and faintly, "as I've a notion, as I'm right down
reglarly spiflicated;" and immediately afterwards his head fell upon his
shoulder, his back glided from its support, and he fell flat upon the
deck.

"Bad look that," remarked the surgeon, kneeling down beside his patient,
whom he proceeded to examine. "Bad look--but 'tis only a swoon. He'll
recover presently, and in the mean time I'll look at the wound. Ah!
unpromising case. Dangerous thrust that; don't like it by any means,
but if he is tractable he may get over it. Well, my friend," exclaimed
Tourniquet, perceiving his patient open his eyes and look wildly about
him, "your case is not so desperate as you imagine; and if you are
attentive to what I tell you, it's very possible I shall be able to
make you safe and sound again, don't you see."

After doing what he thought necessary, he ordered him off to his
hammock, and proceeded to the others. Ardent was found suffering from
severe fracture of the skull; Climberkin had fainted from loss of
blood, having been wounded in nearly a dozen different places, but
none of them were dangerous; five others had received the same rough
treatment, who were expected to recover, and seven more were either dead
or dying. As Doctor Tourniquet was placing a bandage on the last of his
patients, he heard the pirates, who had been joining in a wild uproar
the whole of the time he had been engaged upon the wounded, shouting as
loud as they could bawl,--

             "We stifle ev'ry cry,
                  Ev'ry cry, ev'ry cry,
              We stifle ev'ry cry, Captain Death!
    And then we spread our sails, that are filled with welcome gales,
        Singing, 'Dead men tell no tales,
          Captain Death! Captain Death!'
        Singing, 'Dead men tell no tales, Captain Death!'"

The surgeon shuddered as he collected together his instruments, and with
a heart full of anxiety for the fate of himself and his companions
proceeded to his cabin.



CHAP. IX.

CAPTAIN DEATH.


The Albatross was within a day's sail of the shores of Madagascar, and
as both Oriel Porphyry, Zabra, the professor, and the doctor, appeared
desirous of giving their captors no cause of offence, they were better
treated than they expected to have been. Zabra, more than all the
others, seemed anxious to please the captain and his lieutenant; and
the kindness of his disposition and the beauty of his music in a short
time had such an influence upon their savage natures that their former
distrust was completely obliterated, and they entertained something like
a friendly feeling towards him. But Zabra had evidently some object in
the course he was pursuing. He allowed no opportunity to escape by which
he might win their confidence. He was continually doing some obliging
offices for their gratification. He seemed to take a pleasure in their
bold way of life, joined with them in its praise, and shared with them
in its enjoyments. He handled their weapons with an air of bravery, and
learned from them to shoot at a mark, and to cut and thrust with the
sword; and there was such a loftiness in the enthusiasm he manifested on
these occasions, that they invariably treated him with more respect than
any of his fellow captives. But a close observer might have noticed that
he often turned aside to conceal the disgust he entertained. When not
within the observation of the pirates, his dark eyes flashed with
indignation, and his beautiful mouth was compressed into an expression
of scorn. He looked proudly around him, as if his spirit was exalted
above the meaner natures with whom he was obliged to mingle. He loathed
their fellowship. He abhorred their ways. And often, when the feeling
of disdain with which he regarded these men seemed about to break
forth into open acknowledgment, a glance towards the place where Oriel
Porphyry stood, striving to control the contempt and hatred for the
whole crew of ruffians, of whom he was a prisoner, that kept darting
from his eyes, appeared sufficient to induce him to redouble his
exertions to please the pirate chiefs.

They were all in the cabin, with the addition of Scrumpydike, or as he
should now be styled, Lieutenant Rifle, and Log the captain's clerk,
the latter looking twice as important and twice as conceited as he used
to be. Zabra sat leaning on his harp, near Oriel Porphyry, apparently
absorbed in thought. The doctor and the professor were disputing upon
some metaphysical subject, as if they had forgotten all their fears, and
cared for nothing but triumphing over the other. The captain had been
talking with his lieutenant upon the progress of the ship. Oriel sat
proud and abstracted; and Log was intently engaged in eating and
drinking as much of the good things on the table as lay within his
reach.

"All's goin' on as smooth as a mackerel's back," said the
lieutenant--"every man knows his dooty, and looks arter it. There's no
flinchers among 'em; and every one feels in his nat'ral element, cause
there's no abominable honesty among 'em to corrupt their morals."

"So you must acknowledge that it's impossible there can be such a thing
as free-will, don't you see," said Dr. Tourniquet.

"I acknowledge nothing of the kind, doctor, I assure you," replied
Professor Fortyfolios. "The doctrine of necessity----"

"Hullo! is my nightingale silent?" cried the captain, unceremoniously
interrupting the logicians. "Have you piped all dry--not a song left,
nor a voice to sing it with? Is the harp dumb, or the singer sad, that
we haven't heard so much as the ghost of a tune!"

"Neither, noble captain," replied Zabra, dressing his handsome face in
his happiest smiles. "I wait your pleasure for a theme. Shall it be of
love, or of war--of the pleasures of wine, or the gladness of gold--a
song of the hunters amid the melodious forests--or of the mariner upon
the everlasting sea?"

"If I might be so bold as to speak for the cap'ain," said the
lieutenant, "I should say you might sing any thin' you has a mind--any
thin' in the univarsal globe, so as there's nothin' about honesty in
it--a thing as I've got a most vartuous abhorrence on. So chirrup away
as soon as you like. I loves to listen to your toons--they fills me wi'
a sort o' all overishness. Arn't it delightful, Master Log!"

"Delightful--delightful--very delightful--positively delightful--upon my
word very superlatively delightful, Mister Scrumpy--I mean Lieutenant
Rifle," mumbled the little man, as plainly as his mouth filled full of
preserves would allow.

"Let it be what is most agreeable to yourself," said the captain.
"But I would rather have something to stir one up a bit--a sort of
nor-easter--that will make one's timbers creak again: none of your
lack-a-daisical love and dove jimcracks--sink them--give us a song that
will make one feel as if one was standing on the tip of one's toes on
the tip-top of the world."

"You shall have what you desire, noble captain," replied Zabra; and,
after a stirring prelude on the harp, sang the following verses:--

       "I heard a voice upon the sea,
        That pierced the waters fierce and free,--
        The loud winds running wild with glee
            Brought it to me;
        I heard a voice the land-breeze bore,
        That thrilled the mountains to the core,
        And shouted out, from shore to shore,
            'WHO ARE THE FREE?'
    Reply, reply aloud, air, earth, and sea!
    Shout to the list'ning stars, 'WHO ARE THE FREE!'

       "The cities heard, but heard in vain;
        It stirred the hill, the vale, the plain;
        The forest monarch's young again,
            Seemed they to be;
        But all beneath the conscious sky,
        With trembling heart and quailing eye,
        Looked round and raised th' accusing cry,
            'WHERE ARE THE FREE?'
    Reply, reply aloud, air, earth, and sea!
    Shout to th' eternal sun, 'WHERE ARE THE FREE!'

       "I saw a gallant band at last,
        Upon the boundless waters cast,
        Daring the battle and the blast,
            Rocks and the sea;
        They heard the voice that pierced the tide;
        And all in one proud cause allied,
        With tones that shook the world, replied--
            'WE ARE THE FREE!'
    We have no masters on the earth or sea!
    Our home is with the wind--'WE ARE THE FREE!'"

Loud and long were the commendations with which the captain and
his lieutenant rewarded the singer. They had listened with as much
gratification as it was possible for them to receive from such a source,
and the bold glances that darted from their eyes, as the song proceeded,
showed how much they were excited. Even the conceited spirit of the
captain's clerk seemed moved. He winked his little eyes most valiantly,
and put as much bravery into his smirking countenance as it could be
brought to assume. Oriel Porphyry regarded the musician, for the first
time, with a look of distrust. To him there seemed an evident desire of
becoming on more friendly terms with the pirates than he thought could
be desired by an honest nature; and the ingratitude, as well as the
treachery of such conduct, made Zabra appear to him unworthy of any
kindly feeling. But when their eyes met, there was such an earnest
devotion in the gaze of Zabra, and so much sincerity of purpose, that he
resolved to defer passing a condemnation till he had more positive proof
of his unworthiness.

"After such a song as that, I feel a wonderful deal more social towards
you all," observed the captain; "and to show the confidence I would
place in you--as well as to pass away the time as agreeably as may
be--if there's no particular objection, I'll tell you my history from
first to last."

"Do, noble captain; your adventures must surely be of deep interest to
all who love the inspiring actions of a bold spirit," observed Zabra.
Oriel turned on him a searching look; but the lustrous eyes upon which
he gazed still seemed filled with the light of truth and affection; and
he knew not what to think.

"I was born a younger brother--the youngest of several," said the
Captain. "There was some property in the family, but it was all
carefully nursed for the heir, who was brought up in the enjoyment of
every indulgence, while the rest of us picked up our education, and our
existence, as we could. I was least cared for of all. From my boyhood I
was allowed to go where I pleased, so that I kept out of the way of my
parents and my elder brother; and I was left to do as I liked, as long
as my proceedings did not inconvenience those affectionate relatives. As
I soon perceived that I got nothing I required by asking for it, I ever
afterwards managed to acquire what I wanted without thinking it was
necessary to trouble any person upon the subject. Once I was discovered
acting in this necessary and philosophical manner, and I was considered
guilty of a crime, and most savagely punished. I cannot say that I was
made conscious of my offence, or that I was ever brought to acknowledge
the justice of its punishment; but I can most truly affirm, that the
whole proceeding created in me that hatred of tyranny which led me to be
what I am.

"Our house was by the sea-side, in a wild and unfrequented part of the
coast of Madagascar. It was a mansion of considerable extent, ancient,
but capable of being put to very good uses in the hands of a spirited
proprietor; and there were no houses near it, with the exception of a
few cottages on the cliff, belonging to some smugglers, with whom I had
long since made myself on very good terms. I was then about twelve years
of age, tall and strong, reckless and daring, perfectly uneducated, as
far as school learning is considered, but wiser than many of my elders
in that really useful knowledge that proceeds from observation. My
intimacy with the smugglers had taught me many things which I managed to
turn to advantage on several occasions--particularly notions affecting
the rights of property, and the legality of resisting the law. Smarting
from the effects of the treatment I had received, I hastily collected
whatever I considered most valuable, and without waiting to perform the
ceremonies of departure, I took the shortest way to the cliff, and was
the same evening sailing in a swift cutter far from my native shores.

"My companions early initiated me into all the mysteries of their craft.
I soon acquired a knowledge of landmarks--knew every creek and bay, and
sheltered inlet along the shore--was familiar with every part of the
vessel, its uses, and management--learned to understand the appearances
of coming storms--and could always tell the best time and place for
effecting a landing upon any required portion of the coast. I became an
active hand, exceedingly useful, quick, and vigilant; and shared in all
the dangers of my associates, their disappointments, and successes. My
boldness at all times, my readiness to labour, and the ability with
which I performed all I undertook, made me a general favourite; and the
captain, an old stern smuggler, rough in his humour, and rather despotic
in his sway, took me under his especial protection. I was chosen to
assist in many hazardous exploits, in which I was often a principal
figure; for my youth, disarming all suspicion in those who were on
the look-out to capture the contrabandists, gave me opportunities
for acquiring information as to their proceedings, which was quickly
communicated to my companions; and we have sometimes managed matters so
well as to be able to store our cargo in the very house in which our
most vigilant enemy resided. In this way I existed till I was about
seventeen, making voyages from the island to the continent, and along
various parts of the coast, acquiring a very creditable knowledge of
navigation, and gaining a considerable degree of information on many
other subjects; and then, for my services and approved fidelity, I was
promoted to be mate in the craft in which I had been sailing. I had
been in several desperate conflicts with the revenue officers, but had
been so fortunate as to escape with a few slight scratches; and the
excitement of these affrays had created in me an inclination to share in
more fierce encounters. However, on one occasion, we were unexpectedly
attacked by very superior numbers, and, although we defended ourselves
with an obstinacy that rendered the victory dearly bought, we were
over-powered; and when I recovered consciousness after falling on the
deck, as I imagined, mortally wounded, I found myself immured in a
gloomy dungeon, on a charge of smuggling and murder.

"I was accused of murder! I, who had merely slayed the slayers--who had
only fought in self-defence--who in a fray of three to one, had beaten
down some four or five of the hireling band by whom my associates were
being slaughtered, was loaded with chains, thrust into a loathsome
hole, and condemned to death, as guilty of the blackest of their
black catalogue of crimes! What miserable bunglers are lawyers and
governments! what wretched blunderers,--what empty fools! They create
the necessity for an act, punish with death a deed which could not be
avoided, and then boast of their wisdom and justice. Much parade, too,
they made about carrying their atrocious sentence into effect upon one
so young. They affected to be wonderfully pitiful,--the jury gave their
award in a tone of commiseration, and the judge pretended to be moved
to tears when he passed the sentence; and then, as many exaggerated
statements had been published of the determination with which I had
resisted being taken, many humane persons, as the world called them,
visited me in prison, and they brought me what they said were good
books, and talked to me about things they styled repentance and virtue,
and a few other fooleries. I listened with a patience that I have since
often thought extraordinary; but I imagined at the time that this
attempt at sympathy might lead to my liberation, and consequently they
always found me earnestly studying their books, and admirably attentive
to their discourses. But my hopes were disappointed; I was a fool not to
have known the hypocrites better. They could whine and cant, but they
had no mercy. However, from a quarter to which I had never looked for
assistance, help came when I least expected it.

"My jailer was a cold, stern, unfeeling brute; but he was a brute
by profession, and his disposition was his stock in trade. He had
originally been a housebreaker, or a mean villain of some kind; and
having betrayed his accomplices, he was rewarded by the miscreants whom
he served, with a place of trust. For him bolts and bars seemed to have
as much attraction as if he was a loadstone. His heart appeared only
to throb in the shadow of the thick walls; and of no music could he be
more fond than the clank of chains and the groans of the despairing
prisoners. Him I cursed every time we met: but he had a daughter--a
buxom, light-hearted little creature, whose eye was afloat in gladness,
and whose breast was freighted with gentle and generous feelings; her
olive complexion, azure eyes, and rich black curling hair, gave the most
charming expression to her face. She saw me from a window when I was
taking my solitary walk in the gloomy court-yard. My youthful appearance
attracted her attention. She inquired my history, and as there was
nothing in it of the dastard or the sneak--nothing she found ignoble
or revolting, she felt an interest for me which every day grew more
intense. She watched for the coming of the time when I was allowed to
enjoy my daily walks with increased anxiety; and knowing that I was
doomed to death, her eyes were filled with tears and her heart with
tenderness whenever she saw me. I was ignorant of the feelings I had
excited for several days after they had attained a power she found it
impossible to resist; for as my execution approached, I strode the
narrow court-yard, hemmed in by towering walls, with folded arms and
eyes upon the ground, muttering imprecations upon the whole human race;
and beheld not, and thought not of the kind creature that watched me so
anxiously: but one dull day, the last my judges had allowed me in this
world, I was engaged in making my accustomed perambulations, when I
was roused from my melancholy reverie by seeing a stone fall at my
feet I looked about me, but did not perceive whence it came. As I was
continuing my cheerless round, another stone was thrown close to the
place where I stood. I then made a more careful examination of the few
windows by which I could be overlooked, and at one, about forty or fifty
feet from the ground, I observed a female figure--whether she was young
or handsome I could not exactly determine, because I was unable to
distinguish her features, but I could have no doubt that she was an
angel when I beheld the end of a strong rope slowly descend that was
evidently falling from her hand. Before it was within reach, I had run
to grasp it within my eager hands. Soon I clutched it firmly--I felt
it was tightly fastened above; long experience in rope-climbing, and a
desperate desire to escape at any hazard, in a few seconds carried me up
to the open window, where I embraced my deliverer, whom I discovered to
be just the sort of smart-looking little craft I have described.

"'Pull up the rope,' she said anxiously, 'or you will be discovered.'

"I lost no time in hauling it into the room, where it was strongly
fastened to the bedstead;--from this it was immediately made loose and
stowed away into a box, and the window closed. The chamber in which
I found myself was a small bed-room, possessing all the neatness and
cleanliness in its appearance which distinguish the sleeping rooms of
girls in the first flush of womanhood. Against the wall was a bed with
linen of a pure white, enclosed in curtains of the same colour. At one
end of the room a simple toilet was arranged; utensils for washing were
standing in a corner--a row of books upon a little cabinet--a small
vase with a few flowers, two or three chairs, and a table, composed
the furniture.

"My arms were again round her waist, and I was showing my gratitude
after a fashion I thought would be most agreeable, when she raised
herself from my arms, smiling, blushing, and trembling, and fixing on
me a look full of sincerity, purity, and affection, said:

"'You may perhaps think me bold--over bold; but indeed I could not exist
under the idea that you were about to lose your life. I was determined
to make an effort to save you. I procured the rope from a manufactory
attached to the prison in which those sentenced to hard labour are
employed, and having well secured it here, watched my time to drop it
within your reach. I knew that you were left alone for a short time, and
I tried to attract your attention without exciting the suspicion of
any one. Having provided every thing that was necessary, and seeing my
opportunity, I endeavoured to make you look up--I coughed--I hemmed--but
you did not move from your position. I then threw down a stone; you
looked about you, and to my great disappointment and fear walked on
without observing me. My heart seemed to sink when I thought the
opportunity might be lost, and that on the morrow you would die. I again
threw a stone, and felt the sweetest pleasure I have ever known when I
saw that you observed me. Quickly and cautiously I let down the rope;
but when I saw you ascend, and knew that the slightest slip would send
you headlong against the hard stones so far beneath you, I trembled with
fear. You are now safe, and I am rejoiced. But the greatest caution will
be necessary, or your retreat will be discovered. By this time your
escape is known, and an active search is being made for you in every
direction. If you wish to retain your life you must do whatever I desire
you. Ha!' she exclaimed, as footsteps were heard approaching, 'they
come--get into that bed.' I hesitated about soiling the sheets with my
shoes. 'In with you instantly--there's not a moment to be lost.'

"While I snugly deposited myself under the bed-clothes, I observed her
rapidly put on a night-gown over the dress she wore, and a cap upon her
head, throw off her shoes, and whispering, 'Lie still, if you value your
life,' she jumped into the bed, placed my head in her lap as she sat
nearly upright leaning against the pillows, and arranged the clothes in
such a manner that no one could imagine that the bed contained any one
but herself.

"This had scarcely been done, before I heard the door open and some one
walk into the room.

"'Have you heard any one enter your window, Virgo?' asked a gruff voice
I readily recognised.

"'My window, father!' exclaimed my angel, in a tone of the utmost
astonishment. 'How is it possible any one can get near it?'

"'Don't know,' replied the old man surlily. 'But I left a prisoner a
short time ago in the yard, to let him stretch his legs for the last
time before we stretched his neck; I returned in a few minutes, and
there was not a glimpse of him to be seen. I defy a cat to get up the
wall. How he's managed to gi' me the slip I can't guess, unless he
jumped out o' the keyhole, or flew in at one o' the windows. But you
haven't heard no noise?'

"'Not the slightest!' said Virgo.

"'Strange--unkimmonly strange! How long ha' you been awake?' inquired
her father.

"'About an hour,' replied my angel. 'I felt a little better to-day, and
was thinking of getting up when you entered.'

"I heard the old man grope under the bed, and knew that he was exploring
every corner, grumbling and swearing at me at a rate it did my heart
good to hear.

"'Unkimmonly strange!' he exclaimed, 'and I shall get sent to the right
about if I can't tell how he's bolted.'

"Then I heard him draw aside the curtains, and I lay as still as a rock.

"'What do you want, father?' cried Virgo, very angrily. 'It's
ridiculous for you to imagine he can be here.'

"'Unkimmonly strange!' grumbled out the brute; and having satisfied
himself that his prisoner was not in the room, he shuffled out of it,
growling like a she bear deprived of her cubs. I could feel Virgo's
little heart beating violently as she listened to the retreating sounds.
Neither of us moved for several minutes. At last, convinced that the
coast was clear, I raised my head from the clothes, and observed her
face covered with blushes; but as soon as I moved she made a spring and
left me in the bed alone.

"'You must remain here till you hear me leave the room,' said she,
drawing the curtains round me; 'and when I lock the door, change the
clothes you have on for those you will find laid out for you.' I
promised obedience, and with a winning smile she left me to my own
reflections in a pretty considerable puzzlement concerning the whole
affair. Directly I knew she was gone, I jumped out of my snuggery,
and looked for the change of rigging she had mentioned. May I be
considerably spiflicated if it wasn't a woman's dress! I must say I felt
but little inclined to the thing; but, thinking that it might be the
only chance I had for getting out of prison, I stripped, and began
putting on the first thing that came to hand. It was a sort of shirt,
and yet it wasn't a shirt. It didn't look like the shirt of Jew, Turk,
or Christian. However, after a deal of manouvring, I slipped it on,
and the first thing I discovered was that both sleeves shortened sail
considerably, and though I tried to haul up the collar to my neck, I
found it wouldn't come above my shoulders any how, but hung down with an
ugly flap afore and abaft. Well, the next thing I put my head through
was something of a similar nature, only it came up a little higher and
fell down a little lower, and was braced up more tight about the body.
After that, I got hold of the strangest piece of stuff that ever I
overhawled. It was shaped something like a jacket without sleeves or
collar, buttons or button-holes, set round with a number of slight
stiffish spars, one of which was much broader in the beam than the
others, and there was a running line going through two rows of holes
that kept the thing pretty smartly together. I found out that there
were places for the arms to go in, and I managed to get it then over
my shoulders. Then I tugged away at the running line till I had got it
through all the holes, and by pulling and hauling, twisting and turning,
I made all fast; but the spars pinched me most confoundedly, and the big
one stood out astern of my back bone in the oddest manner possible. Then
there were a few more things into which I found my way more easily, and
when I was regularly rigged out, I took a look at myself at the glass;
and I will say, a more ridiculous craft never ventured afloat that what
I appeared to be.

"I was amusing myself with the figure I cut, when I heard a
footstep--the key turned in the lock, and Virgo entered, fastening the
door after her. As soon as she clapped eyes upon me, they began to
twinkle famously, and, without any ceremony, she opened upon me as
complete a laugh as ever I heard. And she had good reason, for I'd got
a hump on my back as big as a dromedary's, owing to my having put the
thing with the spars on stern foremost; and I'd managed to twist every
thing out of its proper place, because I was ignorant of the right way
of putting them on. Well, she made no more to do, but just took me to
pieces as if I'd been a baby, and put every thing to rights, laughing
all the time; yet as modest as any she creature that ever lived. Then
she made me wash my face; and afterwards she combed my hair, curled it,
and put a sort of turban on my head; and then, with a triumphant smile,
she bade me look in the glass. I did'nt know myself. I looked as
complete a girl as ever walked in petticoats. My complexion had been
rather browned by the sun, and my limbs had little of the feminine about
them; but notwithstanding these things I appeared more womanish than
previously I thought it possible I could have been made. As yet I had no
whiskers, and my beard did'nt give me any particular deal of trouble;
so that, on that score, there was little that could betray that I was
sailing under false colours.

"Virgo seemed to enjoy the change she had produced amazingly. She walked
about me with her eyes filled with pleasure, as if delighting in the
contemplation of her own work; while I, scarcely able to understand the
whole drift of the proceedings, looked a little bothered and mystified.

"Now if any of our people do see you," said she, cheerfully, "I do'nt
think it at all likely that they would suspect who you are."

"Well, there was I, a wild, daring, uncontrollable youth, living locked
up in the bed-room of an innocent little creature some years younger
than myself. She brought me every thing that she thought likely to
render my confinement more endurable, and endeavoured, by a thousand
affectionate ways, to make me forget that I was deprived of my liberty.
To get out of the prison, she told me, was impossible at present, as
every person entering and going out underwent strict examination; but I
had some idea that she said this to keep me where I was; and though I
loved her as well as I was able to love, for having saved my life, the
sort of existence I led was not one my spirit could long endure. I can
say, most solemnly, that she remained as pure in heart and mind as it
was possible for the purest to be. She allowed my caresses--she returned
them--but there was such a modesty in her spotless nature, that it
repelled the slightest exhibition of passion. At night she would leave
the room while I undressed, and, when I was in bed, she would come and
lay by my side upon the bed in her clothes, and, with her arms round
my neck, and her cheek upon mine, we went to sleep. When she made her
toilet, she would draw the curtains round me, kiss me, and tell me not
to move; and her innocence and gentleness seemed to exert upon me such
a spell, that I did'nt dare move an inch, or make the slightest attempt
to watch her proceedings. Extraordinary was the care with which this
guileless creature endeavoured to avoid a discovery. She watched over me
as if I was her treasure, and appeared as if she knew no enjoyment but
in my presence. I know not what she would have made of me in time,
for I was as a child in her hands; but I began to grow restless at
this imprisonment, and was seeking an opportunity to bring it to a
termination. This was brought about sooner than I expected, and, in a
manner, too, I did not at all anticipate.

"One day, while we were enjoying ourselves in our usual quiet manner, we
heard footsteps approaching the door. She had just time to throw some
work, upon which she had been employed, into my lap, and tell me to sew
away as well as I could, when the door opened, and her father entered.

"'Hullo, who's that young woman?' he inquired, rather surlily.

"'Oh! it's only a person come to help me on with some work, father,' his
daughter replied.

"'Oh!' he exclaimed, scrutinising my appearance very earnestly. Now, I
was never any great hands at hemming and stitching: I held the needle
like an oar, and pricked my fingers more than I did the stuff I was
required to sew.

"'Is she a good work-woman?' asked the old man, approaching nearer to
me, and watching my awkward labours with more attention than I desired.

"'Capital, father!' said my angel.

"'Humph!' he responded, in the same gruff tone.

"'Do good work-women usually hold the needle in the left hand?'

"'Oh, she works left-handed,' replied Virgo. Catch a woman off her guard
if you can, thought I.

"'Humph!' exclaimed the old fellow; and then, while I was busily engaged
in sewing my fingers together, and before I could have the slightest
idea of what he intended, he snatched the turban off my head.

"'Ah, ah! you young gallows-bird!' he cried, in a tone of exultation;
'I've found you, have I? I thought you couldn't have given me the slip
completely. But come along,' he added, as he clutched me forcibly by the
arm. 'You shall be hanged this time, be assured.'

"'Not if I can help it, old boy!' said I, as I tripped up his heels;
then, snatching a knife that lay at hand, I put my knee upon his chest,
and held the blade over his throat.

"'Call assistance, you hussey!' screamed the prostrate jailer to his
daughter, who seemed in an agony of terror.

"'If you speak another word, I'll cut your throat,' said I. 'And you,
Virgo, if you don't wish your father to be killed before your face,
which I shall be obliged to do to save myself, you will hand me some
rope, with which I can bind him in such a manner as will prevent his
giving the alarm before I have escaped.'

"'Oh, save him!' she exclaimed earnestly.

"'Quick, quick!' I cried. The rope was brought, and I tied the old boy
down, safe and sound, and gagged his mouth as he was muttering curses on
us both.

"'There is only one way of escaping from this place,' she observed
with considerable anxiety in her features, as she saw me preparing to
depart.

"'How? let me know it instantly, for I have not a moment to lose,' I
replied.

"'You will be stopped at the gate, unless I am with you,' she added,
gazing on me with tears in her eyes.

"'Well, come then, sweet one,' said I, hastily; 'you will lead a dog's
life of it, if you remain here; and I will do the best I can for you
when you are out of it.'

"She looked grateful and affectionate; instantly arranged my dress,
which had become disordered by the struggle; hastily collected a few
valuables; and, opening the door, we went out together. I have lived a
good many years since then, but I must acknowledge that I never lived so
happily as I did in the little bed-room of the jailer's daughter. I was
striding along the narrow passages of the prison, when she stopped me,
and told me that if I proceeded at that rate, I could not avoid being
discovered, and bade me, as near as I could, imitate her manner of
walking; so I immediately began to tread the ground as if I was picking
my way over cherry stones, and after threading a multitude of dreary
passages, we arrived at the gate, where, being in company with Virgo, I
excited no suspicion, and with merely a word or two of greeting from the
attendants, we passed into the street.

"I was now in the open air; I had at last escaped the stifling
atmosphere of a prison; and any one, having been used to the freedom of
the wide seas and the excitement of a life of enterprise, who has been
immured for months within stone walls, enduring the dreary monotony of
imprisonment, may imagine what were my feelings when I found myself
again in the enjoyment of my liberty; but what to do now I was free was
the next consideration. The dress I wore could not conceal me long,
especially when, as I knew must be the case, the manner of my escape
was made public; and as it would be unsafe for me to remain in the
neighbourhood, I saw that it might encumber my flight; and what to do
with Virgo was another puzzle: she who had risked so much for me I felt
ought not to be abandoned; but I knew it would be impossible for us
to remain together. I told her of this, but she begged so hard to be
allowed to remain with me, and seemed to despair so completely at the
thought of our separation, that I resolved at any rate that we should
not part company till all hope of remaining near each other with any
safety was destroyed.

"In this dilemma, I thought of a smuggler's widow, who carried on a
little bit of a trade in the outskirts of the town, to whom I had done
many a good turn out of regard for her husband, a brave-spirited fellow,
who was shot by my side, while defending a cargo from the greedy
clutches of the revenue rascals, and to her humble abode I bent my way.
Glad, indeed, was she to see me, when I made myself known to her. I
never knew a creature who appeared more delighted; and having told her
how I was situated, actively she sat about insuring my safety. The next
day, as I had anticipated, the particulars of my escape, with many
exaggerations, were published all over the country. A price was set upon
my head, and every hole and corner was searched, in the hope of finding
the fugitive. I never felt more satisfaction than when I cut the
petticoats. I was always kicking my shins against them. They hurt my
spirit, and almost stifled my manhood. I was now dressed in a suit
of sober brown, like a young apprentice, and I passed as the widow's
nephew; serving in her shop, and going about her errands, as knowingly
as if I had been a shop-boy all my life. For my sake the widow paid
every possible attention to Virgo, who seemed never easy but when I
was with her. The fear of discovery was always in her heart. She was
restless, anxious, and melancholy.

"After a few months of this kind of life I grew quite as tired of it
as I had been of my existence in the little bed-room of the gaoler's
daughter. I longed for the freedom of the open sea. I felt an
unconquerable desire to return to a life of enterprise. The chase,
I thought, must by this time have been given up in despair; and,
consequently, that now I might steer my course wherever I pleased. As I
was reflecting upon the most available means of satisfying my desires,
while alone pursuing some employment in the widow's little shop, who
should enter, to inquire his direction to a neighbouring street, but the
very last person I desired to see--Virgo's father.

"'No! surely! humph! ha! Yes, it must be. You rascal, I've found you, at
last,' exclaimed the old brute, as he approached, and seized me by the
collar. I had a wooden mallet in my hand at the moment; I gave it a
swing round, and the gaoler fell senseless at my feet. Without stopping
to acquaint any one with what I had done, I ran out of the house; and
bending my way to the water-side, I inquired if any ship was on the
point of sailing, and hearing that a merchant-vessel was waiting for a
few hands before she started, I presented myself on board, offered my
services, was engaged, and was sailing, far out of the reach of all
pursuit, the same evening.

"Our voyage was a long one. We were bound to China: the crew were a
medley of various nations picked up at random. The captain was proud
and tyrannical; ignorant of his duty, yet continually interfering with
those who were better seamen than himself. His mate was a mean-spirited
sycophant, who exceeded his superior in insolence and tyranny.
Punishments were frequent, and often without any thing like sufficient
cause; and the men became discontented, grumbled, and at last began
to threaten vengeance on their oppressors. To add to their causes of
complaint the provisions fell short, which was entirely owing to the
mismanagement of the captain--the men were placed on short allowance;
and their officers, instead of endeavouring to render the privation as
endurable as possible, by their arrogance and oppression seemed to seek
every opportunity of increasing their miseries. Secret meetings were
held in the ship--plans of resistance were discussed by the crew--and
every day made an open revolt among them more probable. Neither the
captain nor his mate appeared to entertain the least apprehension of
danger, for they did not alter their behaviour in the slightest degree.
In the conspiracies which had been agitated I had always been an
active hand--I counselled the boldest measures, and advised their
early adoption; but although my ability in seamanship was generally
acknowledged, they had no knowledge of my character, and wanted what
they called a more experienced leader. The mutiny broke out, however,
at last, before all our plans were ripe.

"I had committed some slight offence, so trifling, that men of any sense
would have passed it over; but I was seized upon by the despots, and
sentenced to a hundred lashes. I was rather a favourite with all, and a
loud murmur of discontent arose amongst the crew as soon as my sentence
became known; but their cries were unheeded. I was being lashed to the
grating, and both the tyrants were swearing at and threatening the men
for not showing more alacrity in proceeding with my punishment, when
the mate was felled to the deck with a handspike, and the captain was
whipped up in the arms of a tall negro and hurled overboard. All
who opposed would have met with similar treatment; but there was no
opposition, nor was there any commiseration for the fate of the men
who had been killed. I was speedily released from my disagreeable
situation, and then we commenced overhauling the cargo, which we found
valuable, and examining the stores, which were pronounced inadequate for
the wants of a long voyage. Many plans were agitated by which we might
govern our future conduct. Some were for sailing for Borneo, and there
disposing of the ship and cargo for the benefit of the crew; others were
for steering direct for Sumatra; there disposing of the cargo, and sail
from thence to enjoy ourselves with the proceeds in one or other of the
islands in the Indian Ocean. I advised, that as we were close upon the
Philippine islands, where we should meet with plenty of customers for
what we did not require, and could easily purchase from them whatever
we wanted, it was not advisable to risk a longer voyage. We could there
dispose of that portion of the cargo that found the readiest market,
have the ship disguised, and fitted with as many guns as she could
carry, and afterwards commence war against all the rich vessels we met
from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean.

"All the bold spirits among the crew applauded this proposal; but the
timorous dispositions saw in it too much danger, and gave it their
opposition; however, when it was found that the provisions would not
last a longer voyage, part of the plan was agreed upon, and the helm was
turned towards Mindanao. I was ambitious of being chosen captain, for
which office I knew myself better fitted than any of my companions,
but I was disappointed; and a man rather more than thirty, a native
of Mozambique, on the southern coast of Africa, was promoted to the
command, who was bold enough for a leader in an attack of boarders, but
had not the seamanship that could conduct a vessel through every variety
of danger. I concealed my disappointment as well as I could, determining
to wait my opportunity till I could put forth my claims in a way that
should insure their being properly acknowledged. I had some staunch
friends among my associates, and these were the bravest of the whole
crew. I saw that with a few more of the same kind nothing could prevent
the realisation of my ambition.

"We anchored in a noble bay in the island I have mentioned; and as I
was thought, even by the captain, to know more of the value of the
things than any of the others, I was sent ashore, in company with two
or three messmates considerably older than myself, to arrange about
the sale. We were dressed as merchants; and as no one appeared to have
any suspicion of our real characters, we soon negotiated, upon what
we thought very favourable terms, a sale of a great portion of our
merchandise. A division having been made of the proceeds, here most of
those upon whom I could not depend left us, a proceeding with which
I was exceedingly well satisfied; and my intentions were put into
execution with regard to the alterations required in the ship to make
her fit for piratical expeditions, that gratified me in a similar
degree.

"While our vessel was changing her appearance, I was leading a life
of indolent luxury. The part of the island near which we had anchored
abounded in the most delightful kind of scenery. Plains, rich with
vegetation--forests of gigantic trees, bending beneath their heavy crops
of tempting fruit--and a sky over head always looking down with a warm
delicious aspect--and there were other enjoyments in which I also had
an abundant share. I found hearts not less warm than their climate, and
looks not less glowing than their skies. To these pleasures I abandoned
myself with all the heedlessness of such a wild unbridled nature as mine
had always been. I revelled in a continual intoxication of the passions.
I was entranced in a perpetual dream of luxurious enjoyment. But madly
as I plunged into the dissipation with which I was surrounded, I never
was so happy as I was while I remained in the little bed-room of the
gaoler's daughter; and I have often found myself turning away from the
voluptuous beauties whose ready smiles I had purchased, to think of the
innocent love of the simple Virgo, who had shown to me such wonderful
disinterestedness in her devotion. But these thoughts were of little
avail, and why should they be otherwise? Man was made to enjoy the
pleasures within his reach, or why were those pleasures created to tempt
him with their near approximation? I did nothing more, therefore, in
giving loose to the passions that formed part of my nature, than was
natural, and the excesses into which they led were forced upon me as
things impossible to be avoided.

"It was in this island I first formed the acquaintance of Master Boor,
who was then a clerk in a merchant's counting-house. We met at some
place of licentious indulgence. A similarity of tastes soon made us
intimate--and a certain quickness of comprehension possessed by both
made each familiar with the character of the other. I found him a deep,
designing, low minded wretch, whose sole object was the accumulation
of money by any means that cunning could devise or cruelty execute.
He thought me an admirable agent to assist in carrying his plans into
execution, and believing that he would be particularly useful in my
pursuits, I lent myself in some measure to forward his designs. His
true disposition he had well concealed from the people by whom he was
surrounded, who placing unbounded confidence in his integrity, by
degrees gave up to him nearly the entire management of their business.
To him at all times I disposed of my plunder, and although I found
him an avaricious scoundrel, over-reaching me in every way, he was
too necessary to be quarrelled with. Chiefly by his assistance I got
intelligence of what desirable ships were on the neighbouring seas,
where they were to be found, and how the vessels of war protecting their
traffic were best to be avoided; and soon as ever our ship could be got
into proper trim for our purposes, we commenced a career of plunder
which in a few years made us the terror and scourge of that part of the
world.

"I had made myself so useful to the captain by this time, that he had
named me his second in command, and intrusted me with the principal
duties of the ship, with the idea of so concealing his own inefficiency;
but I was not to be satisfied with a second place, when I knew the first
was my right; and having now attained to the full maturity of manhood,
and having about me a numerous crew of brave fellows, the majority of
whom I knew were in my interest, I set about devising a plan by which my
ambitious ideas might be satisfied. The man was of a fiery temper when
roused, and hesitated not to commit any action to rid himself of an
enemy. I watched my opportunity, picked a quarrel with him:--he attacked
me with his usual violence, and after a short struggle I slew him on the
deck. It was a fair stand-up fight, and none of the men attempted to
interfere. After the body had been cast into the sea, I was unanimously
voted into the vacant command: some through fear, and some through
choice, desired that I should become their captain; but I cared not what
they thought, or what they felt. I resolved, now I had obtained the
superiority I wanted, to allow no obstacles that were likely to prevent
me from retaining it. It was a difficult thing to get a band of fierce
unruly men to obey the commands of one of themselves, but I knew that
the strong will only be ruled by the strongest, and that fear was the
surest chain to control the reckless; so I soon began to show them I
was not to be trifled with--I made them pay the most implicit obedience
to my commands--well rewarded those whom I found most tractable, and
punished with instant death all who attempted resistance. In this way I
created around me a set of daring spirits, ready to obey my slightest
wish, and willing to follow wherever I chose to lead.

"By this time Boor had become a partner in the house whose servant he
had previously been, and seemed to live in much estimation with his
coadjutors; but he had not been above a year in this promotion, when
both his partners died suddenly in a way best known to himself; and as
he produced a will, in which he was made sole heir to their property,
he took possession of the whole business, and went on with his usual
cunning and treachery, accumulating money as fast as he could. I
continued to live, sometimes enjoying myself like a prince on shore, at
other times, when afloat, striking terror wherever I went. But in that
part of the world, I found that this state of things could not last much
longer. The daring manner with which our proceedings were carried on,
the boldness with which we plundered, and the fierceness with which
we destroyed, while it created alarm among the merchants, forced the
governments to use something like activity in their measures for our
extermination. Ships of war were sent after us in every direction: we
were chased from sea to sea, and from coast to coast, with a rapidity
that allowed us no repose; and every day, at considerable disadvantages,
we were obliged to fight our way wherever we went, continually losing
some of the bravest of the crew, and not being allowed a single
opportunity of gaining any prizes. However, by the intelligence I
received from Boor, I managed to elude being taken; and as he found that
suspicions of his true character were afloat on the island, and that
arrangements were being made to take him into custody upon charges
he would have found it difficult to answer, he secretly and suddenly
disposed of the greater portion of his property; and by an arrangement
with me, he embarked on board my ship as soon as I could with safety
appear on the coast, when, without losing a moment's time, we steered
direct for the southern coast of Africa; and soon after my landing him
at his desire at Caffreton, he commenced business there as a broker of
merchandise, with a great portion of which he was supplied through me.

"I now began to feel rather desirous of knowing what had become of
Virgo; for in all the scenes of danger and of pleasure in which I
had since moved, I could not banish from my mind the cheerful, pure,
and devoted little creature, who had risked so much to preserve my
existence. Many years had passed by; I had become more stern and savage:
knowing that every man's hand was raised against me, I showed but little
mercy when any of the class to which I was opposed fell into my power;
but though I was continually the daring leader in scenes of bloodshed,
and in all animal gratifications upon every fitting opportunity
abandoned myself with no other thought than to get as much pleasure into
the moment as the moment could possess, I had frequently found myself
looking back to what always appeared my happiest hours, to the innocent
enjoyments I had known in the little bedroom of the gaoler's daughter;
and finding myself, comparatively speaking, so near Madagascar, and
knowing that I was so altered by time and climate that it was impossible
for me to be recognised by any of my old acquaintances, I resolved to
visit the old town, and try if I could discover the only being in the
world for whom I ever entertained any thing like affection. The external
character of the ship was always so mercantile, that the most knowing
seamen were deceived by her; and as whenever I entered a port I took
especial caution to make the men and every part of the vessel within
observation disguised in such a manner that no suspicion could be
entertained, I felt satisfied that from that quarter there was also no
occasion for apprehension.

"I found the old widow in her old place--she was the same as ever. I
was welcomed and wondered at as soon as I discovered to her who I was.
I found her, but the dear one I had sought I never found. When she
was told that I had left her, her heart seemed smitten with a sudden
melancholy--her cheerfulness departed for ever--and day after day she
pined till her smile was turned into darkness, and her pure spirit
floated among breakers, struck, struggled, and went down. The news
almost made me mad. I became as savage as a tiger; the last touch of
humanity seemed to have fled from my nature; and from that moment I
commenced an unrelenting warfare against my fellow-men. I was right.
They had no sympathies for me, and why should I have any for them? All
sought my destruction, and I destroyed all in return. But wherever I
looked around the world I observed the same fierce enmity prevailing.
All were waging war upon each other. The powerful crushed the weak--the
rich trampled on the poor--and the idle preyed upon the labour of the
industrious. It was well for them to boast of such things as justice and
mercy, and love and virtue, and charity and religion: I laughed at them
and their fine catalogue of hypocrisies. I saw the thin veil of spotless
lace with which they sought to conceal their own rottenness and filth. I
scorned their hollow professions; I hated their mean vices.

"I quickly left a place that had become detestable; and for the first
time since my boyhood I visited that part of the coast near which was
situated the dwelling of my family. Here I learned that my affectionate
parents had long since mingled with the dust, leaving their hopeful
heir, hated by all the neighbourhood for his detestable deeds and
tyrannical disposition, the inheritor of their property. Finding that
he had committed offences that deserved summary punishment, without
asking his permission I brought him to trial: his guilt was undeniable;
and I thought the ends of justice would be best accomplished if I
turned him over for punishment to the people whom he had so cruelly
wronged. What they did with him I do not exactly know, but I never
heard of him afterwards. I then took possession of the old house,--had
many alterations made in it, the more completely to fit it for my
purpose--managed the approaches so as to render it inaccessible to all
but friends, and used it as an asylum after my piratical expeditions. By
Boor's assistance I carried on the same game which had made me famous in
the Indian Seas, and with the same effect. The mere mentioning my name
struck terror into the hearts of merchant-captains and their crews--all
the feeble were frightened, and all the bold were in pursuit. But Boor
by this time had become rich, and fancying that his connection with me
was too hazardous to be continued any longer, after some fresh act of
daring upon my part, when the whole coast seemed up in arms against
me, as I ascertained, he gave secret information as to where I was
most likely to be found. An expedition of several well armed ships
was immediately fitted out, of which I had timely notice from another
quarter, and sought to avoid; but when I thought I had given them the
slip, and was bearing down upon what I imagined was a rich merchant
vessel, I discovered that I was approaching into the very net from which
I was most desirous of escaping; and was obliged to put up every stitch
of canvass, and make use of every manoeuvre in the hope of getting
away. My ship was a splendid sailer; but I found myself held in chase by
vessels whose powers were equal to hers, and I should have inevitably
been taken or killed in the struggle: but in the night a terrific storm
came on; and as I was creeping along-shore, with the hope of avoiding
the ships in chase, knowing that they would keep out at sea, she struck
on a rock, in a short time went to pieces, and of all the crew none were
saved but myself, my lieutenant, and my clerk.

"This catastrophe would have been enough to have damped the energies of
any man; but I was made of different stuff. I had got some money about
me, which I knew would be a letter of recommendation in any part of the
world; so when we got on shore we lived in some sort of style, and there
I fell in with one Captain Compass--a foolish, communicative creature,
from whom I learned that he was going to Columbus, with the intention
of endeavouring to get the command of one of the ships belonging to
Master Porphyry the rich merchant, to whom he had strong letters of
recommendation. By mutual consent we travelled together, and at the
first favourable moment I took charge of his letters, and my lieutenant
took charge of him. I lost no time in presenting myself with my
credentials to Master Porphyry, by whom I was placed in the command of
the Albatross--a vessel which, from the first moment I saw it, I had the
strongest inclination to appropriate. I found that nothing could be done
during the voyage to Africa; but upon my arrival at Caffreton I sought
my old associate Boor, by whom I had been given over as lost, but whom
the prospect of getting a rich cargo on the most advantageous terms
induced to assist me as far as he was able. When my arrangements were
completed, I called upon him, as he thought, to settle about the amount
to be paid, but as I knew to put into execution a plan I had devised to
punish him for his treachery. I was shown as usual into a little room
at the back of his office, in which I had noticed a large iron cupboard
wherein he secured his valuables. He kept haggling with me some time,
and at last the price was agreed upon, and he gave me the money. Before
he had the slightest suspicion of my intentions, I suddenly caught hold
of him by the throat till I had squeezed the breath out of his wretched
body: his struggles were feeble, and he hadn't time to utter a cry. I
quickly thrust the lifeless carcass into the iron cupboard, locked it,
put the key in my pocket, and walked away as if nothing had happened.

"Of what followed after I got on board, none of you here want being
told; and I have only to add to those who are now my prisoners, that
Master Porphyry I keep alive, because I consider it my interest to do
so, and tell him, that if he falls into my plans he will insure his own
safety and that of his companions; if he opposes them, he must expect to
meet with the fate of hundreds who have preceded him."

Oriel Porphyry looked proudly, and made no reply.

"Well, captain, that is the most interesting 'munication that ever
was--isn't it, Master Log?" inquired the lieutenant.

"Interesting--interesting!" exclaimed the captain's clerk, aroused from
his sleep, and rubbing his drowsy eyes--"most interesting--most cruelly
interesting--upon my word most ferociously interesting, Mister Scrum--I
mean Lieutenant Rifle."



CHAP. X.

THE PIRATE'S RETREAT.


The Albatross was creeping up the Mozambique channel, with her captain
at her helm, who showed an extraordinary degree of knowledge of the
coast, piloting the ship through narrow passages lined with breakers,
and surrounded by stupendous rocks, amid which the waves kept lashing
each other into foam on every side. Threading the mazes of this
intricate labyrinth, the ship was borne through a long opening between
huge masses of granite, in which it seemed utterly impossible for any
vessel to keep afloat, and then entered a snug little bay, perfectly
concealed from observation by passing ships by the surrounding rocks,
and there she cast anchor. Boats were let down, and the prisoners, well
guarded, were taken ashore. Upon landing, they found themselves upon
a clean shingly beach, leading to a soil of exceeding verdure, where
trees of immense proportions bowed their luxuriant heads to the passing
breeze; and parasitical and creeping plants, of wonderful variety and
beautiful appearance, twisted and twined among the rocks, and over the
gigantic trees. There the bread-fruit tree spread its welcome burden,
and the raven palm held out its green abundance. Further on, the
cocoa-nut bent down its branches, overladen with their grateful
fruit--while limes, oranges, tamarinds, and figs, on every side, offered
their refreshing stores. Among the flowering plants, the most remarkable
was the _anramatico_, whose bell-shaped flower contained nearly half a
gallon of water, always pure and fresh, and whose excellent fruit was
formed like a cup and cover. Among these, several flamingoes were
noticed, in their scarlet liveries, like sentinels upon duty--and troops
of gaudy paroquets were chattering among the branches of the trees.
There the green lizard ran along the bank, and the grey chameleon glided
among the boughs.

The party proceeded on through fields of maize, rice, sugar-canes,
yams, and bananas, into a thick forest of gloomy trees, from among
which they disturbed the wild hogs at their roots, and the monkeys in
their branches--occasionally they would meet with a porcupine, or a
babyroussa--and more than once they came upon a troop of bisons, or a
stray zebra, who were munching the green herbage. Flocks of pigeons were
flying wildly about, and innumerable singing birds were endeavouring to
create a living harmony in the forest. After proceeding in this manner
about a mile, the captain and his followers began to ascend a steep
rock, covered with every species of tropical verdure, and they passed,
with increasing difficulty, from precipice to precipice till they came
to an immense black chasm that yawned fearfully before them. Over this
there was no passing. Here the captain fired a pistol, and the report,
reverberating through the hollow rocks, was repeated with a thousand
echoes, that called up from the dreary depths of the abyss flights of
monstrous bats, several hawks, and two or three gigantic eagles, that
whirled round and round over the heads of the intruders, and then
disappeared in various directions. Immediately afterwards a troop of
armed men, of the dark olive complexion of the country, clad in loose
tunics, and lower garments reaching to the knee--with naked legs and
arms--were seen descending the rock on the other side; and, as soon as
they noticed the captain, they set up a cry of welcome, and danced and
shouted in joyful recognition.

They immediately threw a thick rope across the chasm, which was made
fast to a neighbouring tree--another rope was fastened within a foot of
it--over these, two strong hoops were sent across, connected with each
other, and affixed to a strong rope, and by resting the body within
these, and holding the ropes by the arms, each individual of the party
was dragged in safety to the other side of the rock. From thence they
proceeded along a narrow path cut in the rock, winding upwards to the
top, and then descended on the other side, where, at the foot of the
descent, they beheld a low, heavy, antique mansion, strongly built, and
almost hid among plantations of the raven palm. Here they were joined
by several more of the same sort of men as those by whom they had been
assisted over the chasm; and the delight they evinced at the return of
their master was equally noisy and wild as that previously shown by
their companions.

"Welcome, gentlemen," said the captain, turning to his prisoners,
"welcome to my humble abode. It does not look so imposing as the
mansions to which some of you have been accustomed, but I think you
will find in it every thing likely to make your captivity endurable."

"Your abode looks most invitingly, noble captain," observed Zabra,
apparently much delighted; "and if the interior accord with the promise
of what we see, I doubt much if either of us will have any desire to
quit its attractions."

Oriel Porphyry glanced angrily upon his friend, and again a suspicion
of treachery entered his mind; but his attention was soon directed into
another channel, when, upon entering the house, he found it fitted up
in the most sumptuous style of Eastern taste. The spacious rooms
were floored with marble, that threw a delicious coolness into the
atmosphere, and flowers growing out of beautiful vases filled the
air with fragrance. Here were ottomans and couches to attract the
indolent--and at the open windows the grapes hung in clusters to tempt
the thirsty. All the furniture was costly and elegant, and every room
breathed an air of luxurious enjoyment.

Here the pirate chief kept his prisoners closely watched, but allowed
them every comfort that his house afforded. The wounded men were
carefully attended to; and through the skill of Doctor Tourniquet, and
the benefit they derived from strolling about in the neighbourhood,
which they were allowed to do when well guarded, they became
convalescent. Zabra was more than ever in favour with the captain, and,
by the same attractions, gained the good will of every one of the wild
gang whom he commanded. They let him go where he pleased, and do as he
pleased; and he had excited so complete a confidence in his captors,
that they left him to roam about unguarded at all times, when the rest
were watched with the most jealous care. Not only was he allowed this
indulgence, but they showed him all the secrets of their retreat;
conducted him into subterranean caves, where piles of the most valuable
merchandise were stored, and led him into the vaults where their
ammunition and weapons, in great abundance, were laid up ready for use.
He also went several times with them from the house to the ship, till he
could find his way alone.

Oriel Porphyry was not long allowed to remain in ignorance of the
conditions upon which his life and the lives of his companions might be
preserved; and these were, that he should sail in the Albatross on his
destination, as if nothing had transpired--negotiate a sale of the
merchandise it contained--and betray into the captain's hands such of
his father's ships as he might meet with on his voyage. These proposals
were immediately spurned; but the entreaties of Doctor Tourniquet and
the professor, and his own consideration for the poor men whose safety
was in his hands, at last induced him to adopt a temporising policy. He
seemed to listen with some attention to the captain's propositions, and,
as the pirates thought, not unwillingly; but he was only waiting for an
opportunity to attempt some desperate struggle, by which the liberation
of himself and friends might be effected. This apparent acquiescence
gained for him a greater degree of liberty, and a less strict
surveillance, than he had previously known; and then, when they found
themselves entirely free from observation, Zabra and he often met
together, and had long and earnest conferences. Zabra, too, took every
opportunity to converse with Hearty and the others, who had recovered
from their wounds, and all seemed to listen to him with extraordinary
interest. These men had intimated to the captain, that they had no
objection to join his band on condition that they were not separated
from Master Porphyry; and as they associated with the pirates, with
every appearance of sociality and sincerity, the captain, though he did
not then allow their request, left them in a less guarded state than he
had previously done. Then Zabra's communications with them became more
frequent, and their conferences with one another appeared to increase in
interest.

One day, when the captain, and about half his band, had gone out
shooting wild hogs in the adjacent woods, the rest of the pirates, with
their prisoners, were mingled together, talking and joking, and amusing
themselves among the trees at the back of the house, and Hearty was
looking anxiously every now and then as if he was waiting for some one
to join his party. His companions also shared in the laugh, and in the
sport which was proceeding, but it seemed as if their thoughts were
otherwise employed. They were evidently inattentive to what was going
on around them. They evinced a restlessness--an anxiety--an impatience
not characteristic of men engaged in amusement; and now and then looks
passed between them in which there appeared more meaning than was
visible to the others. But the pirates heeded not these things. They
thought only of the sport in which they were occupied; and being
well armed, and much out-numbering their prisoners, who were without
weapons, they had not the slightest fear or expectation of their
attempting an escape. At last the boy Loop was observed turning the
corner of the house, carrying a heavy bundle on his head. As soon as he
was seen, Hearty and his companions hastily put their right arms into
the upper part of their vests, each produced a pistol, and in an instant
eight or ten of the pirates fell dead or wounded at their feet. With a
shout, the sailors rushed towards the boy Loop, whose bundle, containing
weapons, was soon appropriated, and then, amid yells and imprecations,
cheers and shouts, there commenced a war of extermination between the
two parties. The pirates were taken quite by surprise, and were put in
confusion by the fierceness and suddenness of the attack. They still
outnumbered their opponents, but while they gathered together, and were
seeking to revenge their fallen comrades, a discharge of fire-arms
in their rear from Oriel Porphyry, Zabra, Doctor Tourniquet, and
the professor, still more diminished their numbers, and still more
distracted their attention. They were not allowed a moment of inaction.
At once from both sides came the attack. Pistols were only discharged,
when it was almost impossible to miss; but the chief weapon was the
sword, and with this Hearty, Boggle, Climberkin, and Ardent, well backed
by their companions, and Oriel Porphyry, closely followed by Zabra,
Fortyfolios, and the doctor, cut down all who opposed them. The conflict
was fierce. Oriel Porphyry displayed an energy that nothing could
resist. He hewed his way through the thickest of his foes, and they fell
like reeds before his sword; while a stern scorn was breathing from his
handsome features, and his fine manly figure seemed to dilate with the
pride of conscious power. Close to his side came Zabra, whose exertions
were not so effective; but his object seemed more to be to defend Oriel
than to attack the pirates. Several times the arm that threatened the
destruction of the young merchant was rendered powerless by the ready
interference of his youthful friend, and the pistol levelled at his head
dropped harmless to the ground. It soon became a struggle of man to
man. Each singled out his opponent, and when he was disposed of, looked
out for another. In a few minutes the state of the parties had changed
exceedingly. A great number of the pirates had fallen, and the rest,
unable to withstand the fierceness of the encounter, appeared desirous
of making their escape. They were pressed so closely, that only three
out of the whole band got away, and each of these was severely wounded.

"Now, my brave fellows, we have not a moment to lose," exclaimed Oriel
Porphyry. "Zabra, you will lead the way. Climberkin, you are much hurt,
I'm afraid?"

"O, it's nothing, sir," replied the man cheerfully, although he
was bleeding from several deep gashes: "we've nearly all got a few
scratches; but I wouldn't have cared being cut to pieces, now I behold
these blood-thirsty villains so reg'larly done for."

"Well, we must get forward, or the others may be upon us. Let every one
look to his weapons, and be in readiness to use them. You go on, Zabra:
I will follow you in a few minutes."

The young merchant hastily re-entered the house, while the others
proceeded up the acclivity, and before they reached the top, he
joined them. "Hullo, my friends!" he cried, with a face glowing with
excitement: "just take one parting glance at this den of infamy, and
I will stake my existence it will give you pleasure."

They had scarcely turned round for the purpose of complying with this
request, when they observed flames issuing from the windows of the
house. In so dry a climate fire burnt rapidly, and very quickly the
whole place was a sheet of flame. While they were gazing, a loud noise
like an earthquake shook the ground upon which they stood, and they
beheld the house lifted up high into the air--the walls crack--the
timbers split into pieces--and in a moment the retreat of the pirates
was a mass of smoking ruins, and the air was darkened with a thick smoke
and a shower of ashes. The men gave three hearty cheers, and proceeded
merrily on their way. They descended the mountain till they came to
the chasm where the rude bridge they had previously used remained.
First, Hearty got within the hoops, and with the assistance of the
ropes dragged himself across: when the hoops were pulled back, each in
succession passed over; and the last was in the act of crossing as the
pirate chief and the rest of his followers appeared upon the summit
of the mountain. A yell of mingled ferocity and hatred arose as they
witnessed the escape of their prisoners; and with malignity in their
eyes and curses on their lips, they, as rapidly as possible, commenced
descending the rock with the intention of overtaking the fugitives.

"Cut the ropes! cut the ropes!" shouted Oriel, and in an instant the
swords of all the party were hacking at the thick twists of hemp; and
as the pirates descended on the other side they were severed, and the
ends fell into the abyss. A volley of pistol bullets and a chorus of
imprecations arose from the enraged and baffled villains, but they did
no mischief, and they were only answered by a triumphant cheer from the
crew of the Albatross. The fugitives now rapidly pursued their way till
they came to the sea shore, where they found two boats high and dry;
these were immediately launched into the sea, and pulling the oars
vigorously, they were soon by the side of the Albatross. There were not
above half a dozen of the pirates left in charge of the ship, but these
had noticed the approach of the boats, and seeing who they contained,
were prepared to give them a hostile reception. A gun was brought to
bear upon them--they saw it pointed--fired--and in the next moment the
shot whizzed over their heads. With another cheer of triumph the brave
fellows mounted the ship's side. Every obstacle was used to prevent
their boarding, and the few who were in the ship, from the determination
with which they defended it, seemed likely still to remain its masters.
At this instant, when Oriel and his party were unavailingly attempting
to make good a footing upon the deck, assistance came from a quarter
from whence any thing so welcome had never been anticipated.

Roly Poly was pursuing his avocations in the cook-house when he heard
the affray, and looking out observed exactly the state of the opposing
parties. By him the pirates had never been regarded with any thing like
affection. They had treated him with great disrespect. They esteemed
not his art, and spoke contemptuously of his skill. His resolve was soon
made, and as quickly executed. Dipping a mop in a copper of boiling
water, in which his cookery was going on, he hurried as fast as his fat
limbs could carry him upon deck.

"See how Roly Poly come to 'sist him friends," cried he, exultingly, as
he began to use his strange weapon among the pirates with a dexterity
that scattered them right and left. "Ha! you call my boofliful puddin'
'choke dog'--take dat you libellious vagabone," and with a forcible
sweep the scalding mop descended upon his face, sending him howling off
his heels. "Ha! you say my lumptious soup wishy-washy,--take dat, you
ignrant jackmorass!" and a resistless blow upon the ear levelled him
with his companion, yelling with pain; and thus he proceeded till he
had cleared a way for Oriel Porphyry and his coadjutors, who quickly
silenced all opposition. "I hab you now, you fellar!" shouted Roly
Poly, striding in triumph over one of his victims, and seemingly
intent upon ramming the scalding mop down the man's throat. "Like your
imprence, I tink, you fellar! to go for to say I boil sich nice puddin
I make, in nassy dishcloth!"

"Hubble, bubble, hubble, bloo!" said the choking wretch.

"Now I gib you puddin debblis nice, you fellar!" cried the fat cook,
ramming away with all his might.

"Hobble, a bobble, a gobble, a gloo!" were the only sounds that were
heard in reply.

"Dis nebber boil in nassy dishcloth, you fellar!"

"Grow, a row, a row, ow, oo, oo, oo!"

"Like your 'bominable imprence, you fellar!"

"Rug, a rug, a glug."

"Take debblis good care you nebber say no more sich diclus
impossumbilties. Ha! him dead as herrin' now," observed the unrelenting
negro; and then adding, "But serb him berry right--berry right,
indeed--a fellar!" he shouldered his mop, and turned on his heel.

"Up with the anchor, and get out to sea as fast as you can," exclaimed
Oriel Porphyry.

"If I might advise, sir," said Hearty, respectfully, "I should recommend
an unkimmon deal o' care in steerin through these shallows. I paid
'ticular notice when we entered this here rascally neighbourhood. I've a
notion them varmint never had sich a reglar spiflification since they
commenced their murderin rigs--and I'm sartan sure the ship'll be lost
if we don't look out pretty sharpish."

"Well, what is best to be done?" asked Oriel. "You, of all of us, are
best acquainted with these matters--what do you advise."

"Why I advises this," replied the old man: "I thinks it's best, under
all the 'cumstances o' the case, for a boat to be sent a little forrard
takin soundins, while I takes the helm and pilots the ship 'cordingly."

"Let it be done, then," said Master Porphyry; "and as I have the
greatest confidence in your skill and experience, and as I wish to show
in some appropriate manner how much I regard the fidelity and courage
you have evinced in my service, from this time I intrust the entire
management of the ship to you, allowing you to choose your own officers
from among those of your shipmates whom you think most fitted for the
duties you will require from them."

At this announcement a cheer of loud congratulation proceeded from
the delighted crew, among whom Hearty, by the inoffensiveness of
his conduct, his general kindness, and approved courage, had become
remarkably popular; but the old seaman appeared as if he did not know
what to make of so unexpected a piece of intelligence. His honest,
weather-beaten countenance assumed a variety of different expressions,
and his confusion for some time prevented his utterance. However, at
last, making an effort, he stammered, and as well as the state of his
feelings would allow,--

"Thank 'ee, sir. But though I desarves nuffin o' the sort, and ar'n't
hardly got gumption enough for the sitivation, I'll do all as I can as
long as there's a timber afloat in this here craft, or as long as ever I
can be of any sarvice to the owners."

Two men then went in a boat in advance of the ship, taking soundings as
they rowed along, the result of which they continued to cry out to
Hearty, who with firm hand and steady eye stood at the helm, skilfully
piloting the ship through the midst of the rocks. Notwithstanding the
caution that was used, she was aground more than once; but immediately
she touched, she was backed off the rock by the skilful seamanship of
the anxious sailors; and in this way she floated slowly along, threading
the intricacies of this dangerous navigation, till she passed from
amidst the breakers into the open sea. It was an arduous task, and one
full of peril to the Albatross and her gallant crew; and it was not
without considerable anxiety that Oriel Porphyry and his companions
watched the vessel's progress from the deck. They spoke not to each
other, but looked to the huge masses of granite that rose around
them--and listened to the cry of the men in the boat with an interest
that had swallowed up every other consideration. But when the ship
was seen safely clearing her way through the deep waters, leaving the
foaming breakers far in her rear, each looked upon his neighbour as if
congratulating him on his escape; and Hearty, when he gave the helm
into the hands of Boggle, received the sincere thanks of all whom by
his skill he had saved from destruction.

"Zabra, you seem ill! What ails you?" exclaimed Oriel Porphyry, noticing
for the first time that the eyes of his young associate looked dim and
unsteady, and that he appeared as if unable, from weakness, to keep his
footing on the deck.

"Nothing, Oriel, nothing!" replied Zabra, faintly, as he caught hold of
the arm of his patron.

"Nay," cried the merchant's son, in tones of affectionate
solicitude--"you are wounded. I see the blood trickling through your
vest. How strange I should not have observed it before, and how wrong
of you not to have mentioned it. Doctor Tourniquet!" cried he to the
surgeon, who was discussing with the professor the philosophy of cause
and effect, "here is one who requires your immediate attention. I hope
there is nothing of much consequence, but whatever it may be, let it
receive all your skill."

Doctor Tourniquet hurried to his patient; but not without evincing much
concern in his good-natured countenance, when he noticed by whom he was
wanted.

"Not now, doctor, not now!" cried Zabra, hastily, and in evident
confusion, as Tourniquet was proceeding to examine the state of the
wound.

"But, my dear young friend," observed the surgeon, kindly, "unless you
let me take off part of your dress it is impossible that I can discover
the injury you have received, don't you see."

"Here! I will remove his tunic," said Oriel, eagerly coming forward to
assist the doctor.

"Oh no, no, no!" hastily exclaimed Zabra, retreating in alarm from the
proffered assistance. "I shall be better presently--that is--I am not
much hurt. It is nothing. It will get well without assistance."

"You must have your wound dressed, Zabra!" said Oriel Porphyry,
surprised that his young friend should exhibit such a disinclination to
intrust himself to the surgeon's treatment. "I dare say it will give you
but little pain, and will soon be over."

"I can say nothing on the subject till I have seen the wound, don't
you see," remarked the surgeon, in a slight degree offended at the
extraordinary want of confidence in his surgical skill evinced by his
patient.

"I am very faint," cried Zabra, looking bewildered around him, as he
leaned for support upon Master Porphyry--"very faint. I think I had
better descend to my berth, where the doctor can attend me."

"Very well," replied Oriel: "only you must let me assist you."

"Oh no, no!" exclaimed his young associate, eagerly. "Not now, Oriel.
The doctor's arm will be all the assistance I shall require. You can
come to me afterwards."

"You are a strange creature," observed the merchant's son. "But let it
be as you wish."

Doctor Tourniquet assisted his patient into a small cabin, into which
he had scarcely entered, before Zabra would have sunk on the floor in
a swoon, had not the surgeon observed his faintness, and prevented him
from falling. He then laid him gently on his back. The doctor never
before had had such an opportunity for noticing the rich and peculiar
beauty of the countenance before him. He gazed for several minutes
in undisguised admiration on the faultless features of his youthful
patient, with the full conviction that he had rarely, if ever, met with
any human face so attractive in its expression. The long black curls
which Zabra had allowed to grow till they nearly reached his shoulder
hung in shining clusters around his face and forehead; and the faint
bronze in his complexion appeared to heighten the grace in which the
features were modelled. Desirous of saving so much attraction to the
world, if it were endangered, he sought to examine the injury the youth
had received. It was a gun-shot wound in the shoulder. Doctor Tourniquet
was carefully unfastening and removing the upper part of his patient's
dress, for the purpose of getting at the wound, when he suddenly
started back, looking as if in the highest degree bewildered and
amazed--his ruddy countenance acquired an additional glow--and surprise
seemed to have had the power of taking away his breath; and after some
minutes' silent wondering, with eyes staring, and mouth opening wide, he
recovered sufficiently to be able to ejaculate a long drawn "whew!"


END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.


  LONDON:
  Printed by A. SPOTTISWOODE,
  New-Street-Square.



Transcriber's Note


A table of Contents has been added.

Text in italics has been placed between _underscores_ and text in small
capitals has been changed to all capitals.

Some punctuation errors have been corrected silently. Inconsistent use
of quotation marks in some parts of the book has not been changed.

The following corrections have been made, on page

  xii "imagin on" changed to "imagination" and "cean" to "ocean"
      (Cannot imagination make the sea dry land, and the earth ocean?)
   29 "bouyant" changed to "buoyant" (elegant, and buoyant)
   33 "pole" changed to "poll" (indignantly thrusting his woolly poll
      in the middle)
   74 "disrepect" changed to "disrespect" (and my person with
      disrespect)
   81 "reprepresented" changed to "represented" (for they represented,
      or were connected)
   99 "Abatross" changed to "Albatross" (and the Albatross was rushing
      through the waves)
  193 "un" changed to "sun" (with its own sun, moon and stars)
  268 "ound" changed to "found" (he found it fitted up in the most)
  287 "gettin" changed to "getting" (for the purpose of getting at the
      wound)
  288 "Spotiswoode" changed to "Spottiswoode". (Printed by A.
      Spottiswoode).

Otherwise the original was preserved, including archaic and inconsistent
spelling and hyphenation.





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