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Title: Afloat and Ashore: A Sea Tale
Author: Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851
Language: English
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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 "Afloat and Ashore: A Sea Tale" ***

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AFLOAT AND ASHORE

A SEA TALE



By James Fenimore Cooper



"Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits." _Two Gentlemen of Verona_



PREFACE.

The writer has published so much truth which the world has insisted was
fiction, and so much fiction which has been received as truth, that, in
the present instance, he is resolved to say nothing on the subject. Each
of his readers is at liberty to believe just as much, or as little,
of the matter here laid before him, or her, as may suit his, or her
notions, prejudices, knowledge of the world, or ignorance. If anybody
is disposed to swear he knows precisely where Clawbonny is, that he
was well acquainted with old Mr. Hardinge, nay, has often heard him
preach--let him make his affidavit, in welcome. Should he get a little
wide of the mark, it will not be the first document of that nature,
which has possessed the same weakness.

It is possible that certain captious persons may be disposed to inquire
into the _cui bono?_ of such a book. The answer is this. Everything
which can convey to the human mind distinct and accurate impressions
of events, social facts, professional peculiarities, or past history,
whether of the higher or more familiar character, is of use. All that
is necessary is, that the pictures should be true to nature, if not
absolutely drawn from living sitters. The knowledge we gain by our
looser reading, often becomes serviceable in modes and manners little
anticipated in the moments when it is acquired.

Perhaps the greater portion of all our peculiar opinions have their
foundation in prejudices. These prejudices are produced in consequence
of its being out of the power of any one man to see, or know, every
thing. The most favoured mortal must receive far more than half of all
that he learns on his faith in others; and it may aid those who can
never be placed in positions to judge for themselves of certain phases
of men and things, to get pictures of the same, drawn in a way to give
them nearer views than they might otherwise obtain. This is the greatest
benefit of all light literature in general, it being possible to render
that which is purely fictitious even more useful than that which is
strictly true, by avoiding extravagancies, by pourtraying with fidelity,
and, as our friend Marble might say, by "generalizing" with discretion.

This country has undergone many important changes since the commencement
of the present century. Some of these changes have been for the better;
others, we think out of all question, for the worse. The last is a fact
that can be known to the generation which is coming into life, by report
only, and these pages may possibly throw some little light on both
points, in representing things as they were. The population of the
republic is probably something more than eighteen millions and a half
to-day; in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred, it was but a
little more than five millions. In 1800, the population of New-York was
somewhat less than six hundred thousand souls; to-day it is probably a
little less than two millions seven hundred thousand souls. In 1800,
the town of New-York had sixty thousand inhabitants, whereas, including
Brooklyn and Williamsburg, which then virtually had no existence,
it must have at this moment quite four hundred thousand. These are
prodigious numerical changes, that have produced changes of another
sort. Although an increase of numbers does not necessarily infer an
increase of high civilization, it reasonably leads to the expectation
of great melioration in the commoner comforts. Such has been the result,
and to those familiar with facts as they now exist, the difference will
probably be apparent in these pages.

Although the moral changes in American society have not kept even
pace with those that are purely physical, many that are essential have
nevertheless occurred. Of all the British possessions on this continent,
New-York, after its conquest from the Dutch, received most of the social
organization of the mother country. Under the Dutch, even, it had some
of these characteristic peculiarities, in its patroons; the lords of the
manor of the New Netherlands. Some of the southern colonies, it is true,
had their caciques and other semi-feudal, and semi-savage noblesse, but
the system was of short continuance; the peculiarities of that section
of the country, arising principally from the existence of domestic
slavery, on an extended scale. With New-York it was different. A
conquered colony, the mother country left the impression of its own
institutions more deeply engraved than on any of the settlements that
were commenced by grants to proprietors, or under charters from the
crown. It was strictly a royal colony, and so continued to be, down to
the hour of separation. The social consequences of this state of things
were to be traced in her habits unlit the current of immigration became
so strong, as to bring with it those that were conflicting, if not
absolutely antagonist. The influence of these two sources of thought is
still obvious to the reflecting, giving rise to a double set of social
opinions; one of which bears all the characteristics of its New England
and puritanical origin, while the other may be said to come of the
usages and notions of the Middle States, proper.

This is said in anticipation of certain strictures that will be likely
to follow some of the incidents of our story, it not being always
deemed an essential in an American critic, that he should understand
his subject. Too many of them, indeed, justify the retort of the man
who derided the claims to knowledge of life, set up by a neighbour,
that "had been to meetin' and had been to mill." We can all obtain some
notions of the portion of a subject that is placed immediately before
our eyes; the difficulty is to understand that which we have no means of
studying.

On the subject of the nautical incidents of this book, we have
endeavoured to be as exact as our authorities will allow. We are fully
aware of the importance of writing what the world thinks, rather than
what is true, and are not conscious of any very palpable errors of this
nature.

It is no more than fair to apprize the reader, that our tale is not
completed in the First Part, or the volumes that are now published.
This, the plan of the book would not permit: but we can promise those
who may feel any interest in the subject, that the season shall not
pass away, so far as it may depend on ourselves, without bringing the
narrative to a close. Poor Captain Wallingford is now in his sixty-fifth
year, and is naturally desirous of not being hung up long on the
tenter-hooks of expectation, so near the close of life. The old
gentleman having seen much and suffered much, is entitled to end his
days in peace. In this mutual frame of mind between the principal, and
his editors, the public shall have no cause to complain of unnecessary
delay, whatever may be its rights of the same nature on other subjects.

The author--perhaps editor would be the better word--does not feel
himself responsible for all the notions advanced by the hero of this
tale, and it may be as well to say as much. That one born in the
Revolution should think differently from the men of the present day, in
a hundred things, is to be expected. It is in just this difference of
opinion, that the lessons of the book are to be found.



AFLOAT AND ASHORE.



CHAPTER I.

  "And I--my joy of life is fled,
  My spirit's power, my bosom's glow;
  The raven locks that grac'd my head,
  Wave in a wreath of snow!
  And where the star of youth arose,
  I deem'd life's lingering ray should close,
  And those lov'd trees my tomb o'ershade,
  Beneath whose arching bowers my childhood play'd."
  MRS. HEMANS.


I was born in a valley not very remote from the sea. My father had been
a sailor in youth, and some of my earliest recollections are connected
with the history of his adventures, and the recollections they excited.
He had been a boy in the war of the revolution, and had seen some
service in the shipping of that period. Among other scenes he witnessed,
he had been on board the Trumbull, in her action with the Watt--the
hardest-fought naval combat of that war--and he particularly delighted
in relating its incidents. He had been wounded in the battle, and bore
the marks of the injury, in a scar that slightly disfigured a face,
that, without this blemish, would have been singularly handsome. My
mother, after my poor father's death, always spoke of even this scar
as a beauty spot. Agreeably to my own recollections, the mark scarcely
deserved that commendation, as it gave one side of the face a grim and
fierce appearance, particularly when its owner was displeased.

My father died on the farm on which he was born, and which descended to
him from his great-grandfather, an English emigrant that had purchased
it of the Dutch colonist who had originally cleared it from the woods.
The place was called Clawbonny, which some said was good Dutch others
bad Dutch; and, now and then, a person ventured a conjecture that it
might be Indian. Bonny it was, in one sense at least, for a lovelier
farm there is not on the whole of the wide surface of the Empire State.
What does not always happen in this wicked, world, it was as good as
it was handsome. It consisted of three hundred and seventy-two acres of
first-rate land, either arable, or of rich river bottom in meadows, and
of more than a hundred of rocky mountain side, that was very tolerably
covered with wood. The first of our family who owned the place had built
a substantial one-story stone house, that bears the date of 1707 on one
of its gables; and to which each of his successors had added a little,
until the whole structure got to resemble a cluster of cottages thrown
together without the least attention to order or regularity. There were
a porch, a front door, and a lawn, however; the latter containing half a
dozen acres of a soil as black as one's hat, and nourishing eight or
ten elms that were scattered about, as if their seeds had been sown
broad-cast. In addition to the trees, and a suitable garniture of
shrubbery, this lawn was coated with a sward that, in the proper
seasons, rivalled all I have read, or imagined, of the emerald and shorn
slopes of the Swiss valleys.

Clawbonny, while it had all the appearance of being the residence of an
affluent agriculturist, had none of the pretension of these later times.
The house had an air of substantial comfort without, an appearance that
its interior in no manner contradicted. The ceilings, were low, it is
true, nor were the rooms particularly large; but the latter were warm
in winter, cool in summer and tidy, neat and respectable all the year
round. Both the parlours had carpets, as had the passages and all the
better bed-rooms; and there were an old-fashioned chintz settee, well
stuffed and cushioned, and curtains in the "big parlour," as we called
the best apartment,--the pretending name of drawing-room not having
reached our valley as far back as the year 1796, or that in which my
recollections of the place, as it then existed, are the most vivid and
distinct.

We had orchards, meadows, and ploughed fields all around us; while the
barns, granaries, styes, and other buildings of the farm, were of solid
stone, like the dwelling, and all in capital condition. In addition to
the place, which he inherited from my grandfather, quite without any
encumbrance, well stocked and supplied with utensils of all sorts, my
father had managed to bring with him from sea some fourteen or fifteen
thousand dollars, which he carefully invested in mortgages in the
county. He got twenty-seven hundred pounds currency with my mother,
similarly bestowed; and, two or three great landed proprietors, and
as many retired merchants from York, excepted, Captain Wallingford was
generally supposed to be one of the stiffest men in Ulster county. I do
not know exactly how true was this report; though I never saw anything
but the abundance of a better sort of American farm under the paternal
roof, and I know that the poor were never sent away empty-handed. It as
true that our wine was made of currants; but it was delicious, and there
was always a sufficient stock in the cellar to enable us to drink
it three or four years old. My father, however, had a small private
collection of his own, out of which he would occasionally produce
a bottle; and I remember to have heard Governor George Clinton,
afterwards, Vice President, who was an Ulster county man, and who
sometimes stopped at Clawbonny in passing, say that it was excellent
East India Madeira. As for clarets, burgundy, hock and champagne, they
were wines then unknown in America, except on the tables of some of
the principal merchants, and, here and there, on that of some travelled
gentleman of an estate larger than common. When I say that Governor
George Clinton used to stop occasionally, and taste my father's Madeira,
I do not wish to boast of being classed with those who then composed
the gentry of the state. To this, in that day, we could hardly aspire,
though the substantial hereditary property of my family gave us a local
consideration that placed us a good deal above the station of ordinary
yeomen. Had we lived in one of the large towns, our association would
unquestionably have been with those who are usually considered to be one
or two degrees beneath the highest class. These distinctions were much
more marked, immediately after the war of the revolution, than they are
to-day; and they are more marked to-day, even, than all but the most
lucky, or the most meritorious, whichever fortune dignifies, are willing
to allow.

The courtship between my parents occurred while my father was at home,
to be cured of the wounds he had received in the engagement between the
Trumbull and the Watt. I have always supposed this was the moving cause
why my mother fancied that the grim-looking scar on the left side of
my father's face was so particularly becoming. The battle was fought in
June 1780, and my parents were married in the autumn of the same year.
My father did not go to sea again until after my birth, which took place
the very day that Cornwallis capitulated at Yorktown. These combined
events set the young sailor in motion, for he felt he had a family to
provide for, and he wished to make one more mark on the enemy in
return for the beauty-spot his wife so gloried in. He accordingly got a
commission in a privateer, made two or three fortunate cruises, and was
able at the peace to purchase a prize-brig, which he sailed, as master
and owner, until the year 1790, when he was recalled to the paternal
roof by the death of my grandfather. Being an only son, the captain, as
my father was uniformly called, inherited the land, stock, utensils and
crops, as already mentioned; while the six thousand pounds currency
that were "at use," went to my two aunts, who were thought to be well
married, to men in their own class of life, in adjacent counties.

My father never went to sea after he inherited Clawbonny. From that
time down to the day of his death, he remained on his farm, with
the exception of a single winter passed in Albany as one of the
representatives of the county. In his day, it was a credit to a man to
represent a county, and to hold office under the State; though the abuse
of the elective principle, not to say of the appointing power, has
since brought about so great a change. Then, a member of congress was
_somebody_; now, he is only--a member of congress.

We were but two surviving children, three of the family dying infants,
leaving only my sister Grace and myself to console our mother in her
widowhood. The dire accident which placed her in this, the saddest of
all conditions for a woman who had been a happy wife, occurred in the
year 1794, when I was in my thirteenth year, and Grace was turned of
eleven. It may be well to relate the particulars.

There was a mill, just where the stream that runs through our valley
tumbles down to a level below that on which the farm lies, and empties
itself into a small tributary of the Hudson. This mill was on our
property, and was a source of great convenience and of some profit to
my father. There he ground all the grain that was consumed for domestic
purposes, for several miles around; and the tolls enabled him to fatten
his porkers and beeves, in a way to give both a sort of established
character. In a word, the mill was the concentrating point for all the
products of the farm, there being a little landing on the margin of
the creek that put up from the Hudson, whence a sloop sailed weekly
for town. My father passed half his time about the mill and landing,
superintending his workmen, and particularly giving directions about the
fitting of the sloop, which was his property also, and about the gear
of the mill. He was clever, certainly, and had made several useful
suggestions to the millwright who occasionally came to examine and
repair the works; but he was by no means so accurate a mechanic as he
fancied himself to be. He had invented some new mode of arresting the
movement, and of setting the machinery in motion when necessary; what
it was, I never knew, for it was not named at Clawbonny after the fatal
accident occurred. One day, however, in order to convince the millwright
of the excellence of this improvement, my father caused the machinery
to be stopped, and then placed his own weight upon the large wheel, in
order to manifest the sense he felt in the security of his invention.
He was in the very act of laughing exultingly at the manner in which the
millwright shook his head at the risk he ran, when the arresting power
lost its control of the machinery, the heavy head of water burst into
the buckets, and the wheel whirled round carrying my unfortunate father
with it. I was an eye-witness of the whole, and saw the face of my
parent, as the wheel turned it from me, still expanded in mirth. There
was but one revolution made, when the wright succeeded in stopping
the works. This brought the great wheel back nearly to its original
position, and I fairly shouted with hysterical delight when I saw my
father standing in his tracks, as it might be, seemingly unhurt. Unhurt
he would have been, though he must have passed a fearful keel-hauling,
but for one circumstance. He had held on to the wheel with the tenacity
of a seaman, since letting go his hold would have thrown him down a
cliff of near a hundred feet in depth, and he actually passed between
the wheel and the planking beneath it unharmed, although there was only
an inch or two to spare; but in rising from this fearful strait, his
head had been driven between a projecting beam and one of the buckets,
in a way to crush one temple in upon the brain. So swift and sudden had
been the whole thing, that, on turning the wheel, his lifeless body
was still inclining on its periphery, retained erect, I believe, in
consequence of some part of his coat getting attached, to the head of
a nail. This was the first serious sorrow of my life. I had always
regarded my father as one of the fixtures of the world; as a part of the
great system of the universe; and had never contemplated his death as
a possible thing. That another revolution might occur, and carry the
country back under the dominion of the British crown, would have seemed
to me far more possible than that my father could die. Bitter truth now
convinced me of the fallacy of such notions.

It was months and months before I ceased to dream of this frightful
scene. At my age, all the feelings were fresh and plastic, and grief
took strong hold of my heart. Grace and I used to look at each other
without speaking, long after the event, the tears starting to my eyes,
and rolling down her cheeks, our emotions being the only communications
between us, but communications that no uttered words could have made so
plain. Even now, I allude to my mother's anguish with trembling. She
was sent for to the house of the miller, where the body lay, and arrived
unapprised of the extent of the evil. Never can I--never shall I forget
the outbreakings of her sorrow, when she learned the whole of the
dreadful truth. She was in fainting fits for hours, one succeeding
another, and then her grief found tongue. There was no term of
endearment that the heart of woman could dictate to her speech, that was
not lavished on the lifeless clay. She called the dead "her Miles," "her
beloved Miles," "her husband," "her own darling husband," and by such
other endearing epithets. Once she seemed as if resolute to arouse
the sleeper from his endless trance, and she said, solemnly,
"_Father_--dear, _dearest_ father!" appealing as it might be to the
parent of her children, the tenderest and most comprehensive of all
woman's terms of endearment--"Father--dear, dearest father! open your
eyes and look upon your babes--your precious girl, and noble boy! Do not
thus shut out their sight for ever!"

But it was in vain. There lay the lifeless corpse, as insensible as
if the spirit of God had never had a dwelling within it. The principal
injury had been received on that much-prized scar; and again and again
did my poor mother kiss both, as if her caresses might yet restore
her husband to life. All would not do. The same evening, the body
was carried to the dwelling, and three days later it was laid in the
church-yard, by the side of three generations of forefathers, at a
distance of only a mile from Clawbonny. That funeral service, too, made
a deep impression on my memory. We had some Church of England people
in the valley; and old Miles Wallingford, the first of the name, a
substantial English franklin, had been influenced in his choice of a
purchase by the fact that one of Queen Anne's churches stood so near
the farm. To that little church, a tiny edifice of stone, with a
high, pointed roof, without steeple, bell, or vestry-room, had three
generations of us been taken to be christened, and three, including
my father, had been taken to be buried. Excellent, kind-hearted,
just-minded Mr. Hardinge read the funeral service over the man whom
his own father had, in the same humble edifice, christened. Our
neighbourhood has much altered of late years; but, then, few higher than
mere labourers dwelt among us, who had not some sort of hereditary claim
to be beloved. So it was with our clergyman, whose father had been
his predecessor, having actually married my grand-parents. The son had
united my father and mother, and now he was called on to officiate at
the funeral obsequies of the first. Grace and I sobbed as if our
hearts would break, the whole time we were in the church; and my poor,
sensitive, nervous little sister actually shrieked as she heard the
sound of the first clod that fell upon the coffin. Our mother was spared
that trying scene, finding it impossible to support it. She remained at
home, on her knees, most of the day on which the funeral occurred.

Time soothed our sorrows, though my mother, a woman of more than common
sensibility, or, it were better to say of uncommon affections, never
entirely recovered from the effects of her irreparable loss. She had
loved too well, too devotedly, too engrossingly, ever to think of a
second marriage, and lived only to care for the interests of Miles
Wallingford's children. I firmly believe we were more beloved because
we stood in this relation to the deceased, than because we were her own
natural offspring. Her health became gradually undermined, and, three
years after the accident of the mill, Mr. Hardinge laid her at my
father's side. I was now sixteen, and can better describe what passed
during the last days of her existence, than what took place at the
death of her husband. Grace and I were apprised of what was so likely to
occur, quite a month before the fatal moment arrived; and we were not
so much overwhelmed with sudden grief as we had been on the first great
occasion of family sorrow, though we both felt our loss keenly, and my
sister, I think I may almost say, inextinguishably. Mr. Hardinge had
us both brought to the bed-side, to listen to the parting advice of our
dying parent, and to be impressed with a scene that is always healthful,
if rightly improved. "You baptized these two dear children, good Mr.
Hardinge," she said, in a voice that was already enfeebled by physical
decay, "and you signed them with the sign of the cross, in token of
Christ's death for them; and I now ask of your friendship and pastoral
care to see that they are not neglected at the most critical period of
their lives--that when impressions are the deepest, and yet the most
easily made. God will reward all your kindness to the orphan children
of your friends." The excellent divine, a man who lived more for others
than for himself, made the required promises, and the soul of my mother
took its flight in peace.

Neither my sister nor myself grieved as deeply for the loss of this last
of our parents, as we did for that of the first. We had both seen so
many instances of her devout goodness, had been witnesses of so great a
triumph of her faith as to feel an intimate, though silent, persuasion
that her death was merely a passage to a better state of existence--that
it seemed selfish to regret. Still, we wept and mourned, even while,
in one sense, I think we rejoiced. She was relieved from, much bodily
suffering, and I remember, when I went to take a last look at her
beloved face, that I gazed on its calm serenity with a feeling akin to
exultation, as I recollected that pain could no longer exercise dominion
over her frame, and that her spirit was then dwelling in bliss. Bitter
regrets came later, it is true, and these were fully shared--nay, more
than shared--by Grace.

After the death of my father, I had never bethought me of the manner
in which he had disposed of his property. I heard something said of his
will, and gleaned a little, accidentally, of the forms that had been
gone through in proving the instrument, and of obtaining its probate.
Shortly after my mother's death, however, Mr. Hardinge had a free
conversation with both me and Grace on the subject, when we learned,
for the first time, the disposition that had been made. My father had
bequeathed to me the farm, mill, landing, sloop, stock, utensils, crops,
&c. &c., in full property; subject, however, to my mother's use of
the whole until I attained my majority; after which I was to give her
complete possession of a comfortable wing of the house, which had every
convenience for a small family within itself, certain privileges in the
fields, dairy, styes, orchards, meadows, granaries, &c., and to pay
her three hundred pounds currency, per annum, in money. Grace had four
thousand pounds that were "at use," and I had all the remainder of the
personal property, which yielded about five hundred dollars a-year. As
the farm, sloop, mill, landing, &c., produced a net annual income of
rather more than a thousand dollars, besides all that was consumed in
housekeeping, I was very well off, in the way of temporal things, for
one who had been trained in habits as simple as those which reigned at
Clawbonny.

My father had left Mr. Hardinge the executor, and my mother an executrix
of his will, with survivorship. He had also made the same provision
as respected the guardians. Thus Grace and I became the wards of the
clergyman alone on the death of our last remaining parent. This was
grateful to us both, for we both truly loved this good man, and,
what was more, we loved his children. Of these there were two of ages
corresponding very nearly with our own; Rupert Hardinge being not quite
a year older than I was myself, and Lucy, his sister, about six months
younger than Grace. We were all four strongly attached to each other,
and had been so from infancy, Mr. Hardinge having had charge of my
education as soon as I was taken from a woman's school.

I cannot say, however, that Rupert Hardinge was ever a boy to give his
father the delight that a studious, well-conducted, considerate and
industrious child, has it so much in his power to yield to his parent.
Of the two, I was much the best scholar, and had been pronounced by
Mr. Hardinge fit to enter college, a twelvemonth before my mother died;
though she declined sending me to Yale, the institution selected by my
father, until my school-fellow was similarly prepared, it having been
her intention to give the clergyman's son a thorough education, in
furtherance of his father's views of bringing him up to the church. This
delay, so well and kindly meant, had the effect of changing the whole
course of my subsequent life.

My father, it seems, wished to make a lawyer of me, with the natural
desire of seeing me advanced to some honourable position in the State.
But I was averse to anything like serious mental labour, and was
greatly delighted when my mother determined to keep me out of college a
twelvemonth in order that my friend Rupert might be my classmate. It is
true I learned quick, and was fond of reading; but the first I could not
very well help, while the reading I liked was that which amused, rather
than that which instructed me. As for Rupert, though not absolutely
dull, but, on the other hand, absolutely clever in certain things,
he disliked mental labour even more than myself, while he liked
self-restraint of any sort far less. His father was sincerely pious, and
regarded his sacred office with too much reverence to think of bringing
up a "cosset-priest," though he prayed and hoped that his son's
inclinations, under the guidance of Providence, would take that
direction. He seldom spoke on the subject himself, but I ascertained his
wishes through my confidential dialogues with his children. Lucy seemed
delighted with the idea, looking forward to the time when her brother
would officiate in the same desk where her father and grandfather had
now conducted the worship of God for more than half a century; a period
of time that, to us young people, seemed to lead us back to the dark
ages of the country. And all this the dear girl wished for her brother,
in connection with his spiritual rather than his temporal interests,
inasmuch as the living was worth only a badly-paid salary of one
hundred and fifty pounds currency per annum, together with a small
but comfortable rectory, and a glebe of five-and-twenty acres of very
tolerable land, which it was thought no sin, in that day, for the
clergyman to work by means of two male slaves, whom, with as many
females, he had inherited as part of the chattels of his mother.

I had a dozen slaves also; negroes who, as a race, had been in the
family almost as long as Clawbonny. About half of these blacks were
singularly laborious and useful, viz., four males and three of the
females; but several of the remainder were enjoying _otium_, and not
altogether without _dignitate_, as heir-looms to be fed, clothed and
lodged, for the good, or evil, they had done. There were some small-fry
in our kitchens, too, that used to roll about on the grass, and
munch fruit in the summer, _ad libitum;_ and stand so close in the
chimney-corners in cold weather, that I have often fancied they must
have been, as a legal wit of New York once pronounced certain eastern
coal-mines to be, incombustible. These negroes all went by the
patronymic of Clawbonny, there being among them Hector Clawbonny, Venus
Clawbonny, Caesar Clawbonny, Rose Clawbonny--who was as black as a
crow--Romeo Clawbonny, and Julietta, commonly called Julee, Clawbonny;
who were, with Pharaoh, Potiphar, Sampson and Nebuchadnezzar, all
Clawbonnys in the last resort. Neb, as the namesake of the herbiferous
king of Babylon was called, was about my own age, and had been a sort of
humble playfellow from infancy; and even now, when it was thought proper
to set him about the more serious toil which was to mark his humble
career, I often interfered to call him away to be my companion with
the rod, the fowling-piece, or in the boat, of which we had one that
frequently descended the creek, and navigated the Hudson for miles at a
time, under my command. The lad, by such means, and through an off-hand
friendliness of manner that I rather think was characteristic of my
habits at that day, got to love me as a brother or comrade. It is not
easy to describe the affection of an attached slave, which has blended
with it the pride of a partisan, the solicitude of a parent, and the
blindness of a lover. I do think Neb had more gratification in believing
himself particularly belonging to Master Miles, than I ever had in any
quality or thing I could call my own. Neb, moreover liked a vagrant
life, and greatly encouraged Rupert and myself in idleness, and a
desultory manner of misspending hours that could never be recalled.
The first time I ever played truant was under the patronage of Neb,
who decoyed me away from my books to go nutting on the mountain stoutly
maintaining that chestnuts were just as good as the spelling-book, or
any primer that could be bought in York.

I have forgotten to mention that the death of my mother, which occurred
in the autumn, brought about an immediate change in the condition of our
domestic economy. Grace was too young, being only fourteen, to preside
over such a household, and I could be of little use, either in the way
of directing or advising. Mr. Hardinge, who had received a letter to
that effect from the dying saint, that was only put into his hand the
day after the funeral, with a view to give her request the greater
weight, rented the rectory, and came to Clawbonny to live, bringing with
him both his children. My mother knew that his presence would be of the
greatest service to the orphans she left behind her; while the money
saved from his own household expenses might enable this single-minded
minister of the altar to lay by a hundred or two for Lucy, who, at his
demise, might otherwise be left without a penny, as it was then said,
cents not having yet come much into fashion.

This removal gave Grace and me much pleasure, for she was as fond of
Lucy as I was of Rupert, and, to tell the truth, so was I, too. Four
happier young people were not to be found in the State than we thus
became, each and all of us finding in the arrangement exactly the
association which was most agreeable to our feelings. Previously, we
only saw each other every day; now, we saw each other all day. At night
we separated at an early hour, it is true, each having his or her room;
but it was to meet at a still earlier hour the next morning, and to
resume our amusements in company. From study, all of us were relieved
for a month or two, and we wandered through the fields; nutted, gathered
fruit, or saw others gather it as well as the crops, taking as much
exercise as possible in the open air, equally for the good of our
bodies, and the lightening of our spirits.

I do not think vanity, or any feeling connected with self-love, misleads
me, when I say it would have been difficult to find four young people
more likely to attract the attention of a passer-by, than we four were,
in the fall of 1797. As for Rupert Hardinge, he resembled his mother,
and was singularly handsome in face, as well as graceful in movements.
He had a native gentility of air, of which he knew how to make the most,
and a readiness of tongue and a flow of spirits that rendered him an
agreeable, if not a very instructive companion. I was not ill-looking,
myself, though far from possessing the striking countenance of my
young associate. In manliness, strength and activity, however, I had
essentially the advantage over him, few youths of my age surpassing me
in masculine qualities of this nature, after I had passed my twelfth
year. My hair was a dark auburn, and it was the only thing about my
face, perhaps, that would cause a stranger to notice it; but this hung
about my temples and down my neck in rich ringlets, until frequent
applications of the scissors brought it into something like subjection.
It never lost its beauty entirely, and though now white as snow, it
is still admired. But Grace was the one of the party whose personal
appearance would be most likely to attract attention. Her face beamed
with sensibility and feeling, being one of those countenances on which
nature sometimes delights to impress the mingled radiance, sweetness,
truth and sentiment, that men ascribe to angels. Her hair was lighter
than mine; her eyes of a heavenly blue, all softness and tenderness;
her cheeks just of the tint of the palest of the coloured roses; and her
smile so full of gentleness and feeling, that, again and again, it
has controlled my ruder and more violent emotions, when they were fast
getting the mastery. In form, some persons might have thought Grace, in
a slight degree, too fragile, though her limbs would have been delicate
models for the study of a sculptor.

Lucy, too, had certainly great perfection, particularly in figure;
though in the crowd of beauty that has been so profusely lavished on the
youthful in this country, she would not have been at all remarked in
a large assembly of young American girls. Her face was pleasing
nevertheless; and there was a piquant contrast between the raven
blackness of her hair the deep blue of her eyes, and the dazzling
whiteness of her skin. Her colour, too, was high, and changeful with
her emotions. As for teeth, she had a set that one might have travelled
weeks to meet with their equals; and, though she seemed totally
unconscious of the advantage, she had a natural manner of showing them,
that would have made a far less interesting face altogether agreeable.
Her voice and laugh, too, when happy and free from care, were joyousness
itself.

It would be saying too much, perhaps, to assert that any human being was
ever totally indifferent to his or her personal appearance. Still, I do
not think either of our party, Rupert alone excepted, ever thought on
the subject, unless as it related to others, down to the period Of which
I am now writing. I knew, and saw, and felt that my sister was far more
beautiful than any of the young girls of her age and condition that I
had seen in her society; and I had pleasure and pride in the fact. I
knew that I resembled her in some respects, but I was never coxcomb
enough to imagine I had half her good-looks, even allowing for
difference of sex. My own conceit, so far as I then had any--plenty of
it came, a year or two later--but my own conceit, in 1797, rather ran
in the direction of my athletic properties, physical force, which was
unusually great for sixteen, and stature. As for Rupert, I would not
have exchanged these manly qualities for twenty times his good looks,
and a thought of envy never crossed my mind on the subject. I fancied
it might be well enough for a parson to be a little delicate, and a good
deal handsome; but for one who intended to knock about the world as I
had it already in contemplation to do, strength, health, vigour, courage
and activity, were much more to be desired than beauty.

Lucy I never thought of as handsome at all. I saw she was pleasing;
fancied she was even more so to me than to any one else; and I never
looked upon her sunny, cheerful and yet perfectly feminine face, without
a feeling of security and happiness. As for her honest eyes, they
invariably met my own with an open frankness that said, as plainly as
eyes could say anything, there was nothing to be concealed.



CHAPTER II.

  "Cease to persuade, my loving Proteus;
  Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits;--
  I rather would entreat thy company
  To see the wonders of the world abroad."
  _Two Gentlemen of--Clawbonny._


During the year that succeeded after I was prepared for Yale, Mr.
Hardinge had pursued a very judicious course with my education. Instead
of pushing me into books that were to be read in the regular course of
that institution, with the idea of lightening my future labours, which
would only have been providing excuses for future idleness, we went back
to the elementary works, until even he was satisfied that nothing more
remained to be done in that direction. I had my two grammars literally
by heart, notes and all. Then we revised as thoroughly as possible,
reading everything anew, and leaving no passage unexplained. I learned
to scan, too, a fact that was sufficient to make a reputation for a
scholar, in America, half a century since. {*] After this, we turned our
attention to mathematics, a science Mr. Hardinge rightly enough
thought there was no danger of my acquiring too thoroughly. We mastered
arithmetic, of which I had a good deal of previous knowledge, in a
few weeks, and then I went through trigonometry, with some of the more
useful problems in geometry. This was the point at which I had arrived
when my mother's death occurred.

{Footnote *: The writer's master taught him to scan Virgil in 1801.
This gentleman was a graduate of Oxford. In 1803, the class to which the
writer then belonged in Yale, was the first that ever attempted to
scan in that institution. The quantities were in sad discredit in this
country, years after this, though Columbia and Harvard were a little in
advance of Yale. All that was ever done in the last college, during the
writer's time, was to scan the ordinary hexameter of Homer and Virgil.]

As for myself, I frankly admit a strong disinclination to be learned.
The law I might be forced to study, but practising it was a thing
my mind had long been made up never to do. There was a small vein of
obstinacy in my disposition that would have been very likely to carry
me through in such a determination, even had my mother lived, though
deference to her wishes would certainly have carried me as far as the
license. Even now she was no more, I was anxious to ascertain whether
she had left any directions or requests on the subject, either of which
would have been laws to me. I talked with Rupert on this matter, and
was a little shocked with the levity with which he treated it. "What
difference can it make to your parents, _now_," he said, with an
emphasis that grated on my nerves, "whether you become a lawyer, or a
merchant, or a doctor, or stay here on your farm, and be a farmer, like
your father?"

"My father had been a sailor," I answered, quick as lightning.

"True; and a noble, manly, gentleman-like calling it is! I never see a
sailor that I do not envy him his advantages. Why, Miles, neither of us
has ever been in town even, while your mother's boatmen, or your own, as
they are now, go there regularly once a-week. I would give the world to
be a sailor."

"You, Rupert! Why, you know that your father in tends, or, rather,
wishes that you should become a clergyman."

"A pretty appearance a young man of my figure would make in the pulpit,
Miles, or wearing a surplice. No, no; there have been two Hardinges
in the church in this century, and I have a fancy also to the sea. I
suppose you know that my great-grandfather was a captain in the navy,
and _he_ brought _his_ son up a parson; now, turn about is fair play,
and the parson ought to give a son back to a man-of-war. I've been
reading the lives of naval men, and it's surprising how many clergymen's
sons, in England, go into the navy, and how many sailors' sons get to be
priests."

"But there is no navy in this country now--not even a single
ship-of-war, I believe."

"That is the worst of it. Congress _did_ pass a law, two or three years
since, to build some frigates, but they have never been launched.
Now Washington has gone out of office, I suppose we shall never have
anything good in the country."

I revered the name of Washington, in common with the whole country, but
I did not see the _sequitur_. Rupert, however, cared little for logical
inferences, usually asserting such things as he wished, and wishing such
as he asserted. After a short pause, he continued the discourse.

"You are now substantially your own master," he said, "and can do as you
please. Should you go to sea and not like it, you have only to come back
to this place, where you will be just as much the master as if you had
remained here superintending cattle, cutting hay, and fattening pork,
the whole time."

"I am not my own master, Rupert, any more than you are yourself. I am
your father's ward, and must so remain for more than five years to come.
I am just as much under his control as you, yourself."

Rupert laughed at this, and tried to persuade me it would be a good
thing to relieve his worthy fether of all responsibility in the affair,
if I had seriously determined never to go to Yale, or to be a lawyer,
by going off to sea clandestinely, and returning when I was ready. If I
ever was to make a sailor, no time was to be lost; for all with whom he
had conversed assured him the period of life when such things were best
learned, was between sixteen and twenty. This I thought probable enough,
and I parted from my friend with a promise of conversing further with
him on the subject at an early opportunity.

I am almost ashamed to confess that Rupert's artful sophism nearly
blinded my eyes to the true distinction between right and wrong. If Mr.
Hardinge really felt himself bound by my father's wishes to educate me
for the bar, and my own repugnance to the profession was unconquerable,
why should I not relieve him from the responsibility at once by assuming
the right to judge for myself, and act accordingly? So far as Mr.
Hardinge was concerned, I had little difficulty in coming to a
conclusion, though the profound deference I still felt for my father's
wishes, and more especially for those of my sainted mother, had a hold
on my heart, and an influence on my conduct, that was not so easily
disposed of. I determined to have a frank conversation with Mr.
Hardinge, therefore, in order to ascertain how far either of my parents
had expressed anything that might be considered obligatory on me. My
plan went as far as to reveal my own desire to be a sailor, and to see
the world, but not to let it be known that I might go off without his
knowledge, as this would not be so absolutely relieving the excellent
divine "from all responsibility in the premises," as was contemplated in
the scheme of his own son.

An opportunity soon occurred, when I broached the subject by asking Mr.
Hardinge whether my father, in his will, had ordered that I should be
sent to Yale, and there be educated for the bar. He had done nothing of
the sort. Had he left any particular request, writing, or message on the
subject, at all? Not that Mr. Hardinge knew. It is true, the last had
heard his friend, once or twice, make some general remark which would
lead one to suppose that Captain Wallingford had some vague expectations
I might go to the bar, but nothing further. My mind felt vastly relieved
by these admissions, for I knew my mother's tenderness too well to
anticipate that she would dream of absolutely dictating in a matter
that was so clearly connected with my own happiness and tastes. When
questioned on this last point, Mr. Hardinge did not hesitate to say that
my mother had conversed with him several times concerning her views, as
related to my career in life. She wished me to go to Yale, and then
to read law, even though I did not practise. As soon as this, much was
said, the conscientious servant of God paused, to note the effect on
me. Reading disappointment in my countenance, I presume, he immediately
added, "But your mother, Miles, laid no restraint on you; for she knew
it was _you_ who was to follow the career, and not herself. 'I should as
soon think of commanding whom he was to marry, as to think of forcing, a
profession on him,' she added. 'He is the one who is to decide this, and
he only. We may try to guide and influence him, but not go beyond this.
I leave you, dear sir, to do all you think best in this matter, certain
that your own wisdom will be aided by the providence of a kind Master.'"

I now plainly told Mr. Hardinge my desire to see the world, and to be a
sailor. The divine was astounded at this declaration, and I saw that he
was grieved. I believe some religious objections were connected with
his reluctance to consent to my following the sea, as a calling. At any
rate, it was easy to discover that these objections were lasting
and profound. In that day, few Americans travelled, by way of an
accomplishment, at all; and those few belonged to a class in society so
much superior to mine, as to render it absurd to think of sending,
me abroad with similar views. Nor would my fortune justify such
an expenditure. I was well enough off to be a comfortable and free
housekeeper, and as independent as a king on my own farm; living in
abundance, nay, in superfluity, so far as all the ordinary wants were
concerned; but men hesitated a little about setting up for gentlemen at
large, in the year 1797. The country was fast getting rich, it is true,
under the advantages of its neutral position; but it had not yet been
long enough emancipated from its embarrassments to think of playing the
nabob on eight hundred pounds currency a-year. The interview terminated
with a strong exhortation from my guardian not to think of abandoning my
books for any project as visionary and useless as the hope of seeing the
world in the character of a common sailor.

I related all this to Rupert, who, I now perceived for the first
time, did not hesitate to laugh at some of his father's notions, as
puritanical and exaggerated. He maintained that every one was the best
judge of what he liked, and that the sea had produced quite as fair a
proportion of saints as the land. He was not certain, considering the
great difference there was in numbers, that more good men might not be
traced in connection with the ocean, than in connection with any other
pursuit.

"Take the lawyers now, for instance, Miles," he said, "and what can you
make out of them, in the way of religion, I should like to know? They
hire their consciences out at so much _per diem_, and talk and reason
just as zealously for the wrong, as they do for the right."

"By George, that is true enough, Rupert. There is old David Dockett, I
remember to have heard Mr. Hardinge say always did double duty for his
fee, usually acting as witness, as well as advocate. They tell me he
will talk by the hour of facts that he and his clients get up between
them, and look the whole time as if he believed all he said to be true."

Rupert laughed at this sally, and pushed the advantage it gave him by
giving several other examples to prove how much his father was mistaken
by supposing that a man was to save his soul from perdition simply
by getting admitted to the bar. After discussing the matter a little
longer, to my astonishment Rupert came out with a plain proposal that
he and I should elope, go to New York, and ship as foremastlads in some
Indiaman, of which there were then many sailing, at the proper season,
from that port. I did not dislike the idea, so far as I was myself
concerned; but the thought of accompanying Rupert in such an adventure,
startled me. I knew I was sufficiently secure of the future to be able
to risk a little at the present moment; but such was not the case with
my friend. If I made a false step at so early an age, I had only to
return to Clawbonny, where I was certain to find competence and a home;
but, with Rupert, it was very different. Of the moral hazards I ran,
I then knew nothing, and of course they gave me no concern. Like all
inexperienced persons, I supposed myself too strong in virtue to be
in any danger of contamination; and this portion of the adventure was
regarded with the self-complacency with which the untried are apt
to regard their own powers of endurance. I thought myself morally
invulnerable.

But Rupert might find it difficult to retrace any serious error made
at his time of life. This consideration would have put an end to the
scheme, so far as my companion was concerned, had not the thought
suggested itself that I should always have it in my own power to aid my
friend. Letting something of this sort escape me, Rupert was not slow in
enlarging on it, though this was done with great tact and discretion. He
proved that, by the time we both came of age, he would be qualified to
command a ship, and that, doubtless, I would naturally desire to invest
some of my spare cash in a vessel. The accumulations of my estate alone
would do this much, within the next five years, and then a career of
wealth and prosperity would lie open before us both.

"It is a good thing, Miles, no doubt," continued this tempting sophist,
"to have money at use, and a large farm, and a mill, and such things;
but many a ship nets more money, in a single voyage, than your whole
estate would sell for. Those that begin with nothing, too, they tell me,
are the most apt to succeed; and, if we go off with our clothes only, we
shall begin with nothing, too. Success may be said to be certain. I like
the notion of beginning with nothing, it is so American!"

It is, in truth, rather a besetting weakness of America to suppose
that men who have never had any means for qualifying themselves for
particular pursuits, are the most likely to succeed in them; and
especially to fancy that those who "begin poor" are in a much better way
for acquiring wealth than they who commence with some means; and I was
disposed to lean to this latter doctrine myself, though I confess I
cannot recall an instance in which any person of my acquaintance has
given away his capital, however large and embarrassing it may have been,
in order to start fair with his poorer competitors. Nevertheless, there
was something taking, to my imagination, in the notion of being the
fabricator of my own fortune. In that day, it was easy to enumerate
every dwelling on the banks of the Hudson that aspired to be called a
seat, and I had often heard them named by those who were familiar with
the river. I liked the thought of erecting a house on the Clawbonny
property that might aspire to equal claims, and to be the owner of a
_seat_; though only after I had acquired the means, myself, to carry out
such a project. At present, I owned only a _house_; my ambition was, to
own a _seat_.

In a word, Rupert and I canvassed this matter in every possible way
for a month, now leaning to one scheme, and now to another, until I
determined to lay the whole affair before the two girls, under a solemn
pledge of secrecy. As we passed hours in company daily, opportunities
were not wanting to effect this purpose. I thought my friend was a
little shy on this project; but I had so much affection for Grace, and
so much confidence in Lucy's sound judgment, that I was not to be turned
aside from the completion of my purpose. It is now more than forty years
since the interview took place in which this confidence was bestowed;
but every minute occurrence connected with it is as fresh in my mind as
if the whole had taken place only yesterday.

We were all four of us seated on a rude bench that my mother had caused
to be placed under the shade of an enormous oak that stood on the most
picturesque spot, perhaps, on the whole farm, and which commanded a
distant view of one of the loveliest reaches of the Hudson. Our side of
the river, in general, does not possess as fine views as the eastern,
for the reason that all our own broken, and in some instances
magnificent back-ground of mountains, fills up the landscape for our
neighbours, while we are obliged to receive the picture as it is set in
a humbler frame; but there are exquisite bits to be found on the western
bank, and this was one of the very best of them. The water was as placid
as molten silver, and the sails of every vessel in sight were hanging
in listless idleness from their several spars, representing commerce
asleep. Grace had a deep feeling for natural scenery, and she had a
better mode of expressing her thoughts, on such occasions, than is usual
with girls of fourteen. She first drew our attention to the view by one
of her strong, eloquent bursts of eulogium; and Lucy met the remark
with a truthful, simple answer, that showed abundant sympathy with
the sentiment, though with less of exaggeration of manner and feeling,
perhaps. I seized the moment as favourable for my purpose, and spoke
out.

"If you admire a vessel so much, Grace," I said, "you will probably be
glad to hear that I think of becoming a sailor."

A silence of near two minutes succeeded, during which time I affected to
be gazing at the distant sloops, and then I ventured to steal a glance
at my companions. I found Grace's mild eyes earnestly riveted on
my face; and, turning from their anxious expression with a little
uneasiness, I encountered those of Lucy looking at me as intently as if
she doubted whether her ears had not deceived her.

"A sailor, Miles!"--my sister now slowly repeated--"I thought it settled
you were to study law."

"As far from that as we are from England; I've fully made up my mind to
see the world if I can, and Rupert, here--"

"What of Rupert, here?" Grace asked, a sudden change again coming over
her sweet countenance, though I was altogether too inexperienced to
understand its meaning. "_He_ is certainly to be a clergyman--his dear
father's assistant, and, a long, long, _very_ long time hence, his
successor!"

I could see that Rupert was whistling on a low key, and affecting to
look cool; but my sister's solemn, earnest, astonished manner had more
effect on us both, I believe, than either would have been willing to
own.

"Come, girls," I said at length, putting the best face on the matter,
"there is no use in keeping secrets from _you_--but remember that what
I am about to tell you _is_ a secret, and on no account is to be
betrayed."

"To no one but Mr. Hardinge," answered Grace. "If you intend to be a
sailor, he ought to know it."

"That comes from looking at our duties superficially," I had caught this
phrase from my friend, "and not distinguishing properly between their
shadows and their substance."

"Duties superficially! I do not understand you, Miles. Certainly Mr.
Hardinge ought to be told what profession you mean to follow. Remember,
brother, he now fills the place of a parent to you."

"He is not more _my_ parent than Rupert's--I fancy you will admit that
much!"

"Rupert, again! What has Rupert to do with your going to sea?"

"Promise me, then, to keep my secret, and you shall know all; both you
and Lucy must give me your words. I know you will not break them, when
once given."

"Promise him, Grace," said Lucy, in a low tone, and a voice that, even
at that age, I could perceive was tremulous. "If we promise, we shall
learn everything, and then may have some effect on these headstrong boys
by our advice."

"Boys! _You_ cannot mean, Lucy, that Rupert is not to be a
clergyman--your father's assistant; that Rupert means to be a sailor,
too?"

"One never knows what boys will do. Let us promise them, dear; then we
can better judge."

"I do" promise you, Miles, "said my sister, in a voice so solemn as
almost to frighten me.

"And I, Miles," added Lucy; but it was so low, I had to lean forward to
catch the syllables.

"This is honest and right,"--it was honest, perhaps, but very
wrong,--"and it convinces me that you are both reasonable, and will be
of use to us. Rupert and I have both made up our minds, and intend to be
sailors."

Exclamations followed from both girls, and another long silence
succeeded.

"As for the law, hang all law!" I continued, hemming, and determined to
speak like a man. "I never heard of a Wallingford who was a lawyer."

"But you have _both_ heard of Hardinges who were clergymen," said Grace,
endeavouring to smile, though the expression of her countenance was so
painful that even now I dislike to recall it.

"And sailors, too," put in Rupert, a little more stoutly than I thought
possible. "My father's grandfather was an officer in the navy."

"And _my_ father was a sailor himself--in the navy, too."

"But there is no navy in this country now, Miles," returned Lucy, in an
expostulating tone.

"What of that? There are plenty of ships. The ocean is just as big, and
the world just as wide, as if we had a navy to cover the first. I see no
great objection on that account--do you, Ru?"

"Certainly not. What we want is to go to sea, and that can be done in an
Indiaman, as well as in a man-of-war."

"Yes," said I, stretching myself with a little importance. "I fancy an
Indiaman, a vessel that goes all the way to Calcutta, round the Cape
of Good Hope, in the track of Vasquez de Gama, isn't exactly an Albany
sloop."

"Who is Vasquez de Gama?" demanded Lucy, with so much quickness as to
surprise me.

"Why, a _noble_ Portuguese, who discovered the Cape of Good Hope, and
first sailed round it, and then went to the Indies. You see, girls, even
_nobles_ are sailors, and why should not Rupert and I be sailors?"

"It is not that, Miles," my sister answered; "every honest calling
is respectable. Have you and Rupert spoken to Mr. Hardinge on this
subject?"

"Not exactly--not spoken--hinted only--that is, blindly--not so as to be
understood, perhaps."

"He will _never_ consent, boys!" and this was uttered with something
very like an air of triumph.

"We have no intention of asking it of him, Grace. Rupert and I intend to
be off next week, without saying a word to Mr. Hardinge on the subject."

Another long, eloquent silence succeeded, during which I saw Lucy bury
her face in her apron, while the tears openly ran down my sister's
cheek.

"You _do_ not--_cannot_ mean to do anything so cruel, Miles!" Grace at
length said.

"It is exactly because it will not be cruel, that we intend to do
it,"--here I nudged Rupert with my elbow, as a hint that I wanted
assistance; but he made no other reply than an answering nudge, which
I interpreted into as much as if he had said in terms, "You've got
into the scrape in your own way, and you may get out of it in the same
manner." "Yes," I continued, finding succour hopeless, "yes, _that's_
just it."

"What is just it, Miles? You speak in a way to show that you are not
satisfied with yourself--neither you nor Rupert is satisfied with
himself, if the truth were known."

"I not satisfied with _myself!_ Rupert not satisfied with _himself!_
You never were more mistaken in your life, Grace. If there ever were two
boys in New York State that _were_ well satisfied with themselves, they
are just Rupert and I."

Here Lucy raised her face from the apron and burst into a laugh, the
tears filling her eyes all the while.

"Believe them, dear Grace," she said. "They are precisely two
self-satisfied, silly fellows, that have got some ridiculous notions in
their heads, and then begin to talk about 'superficial views of duties,'
and all such nonsense. My father will set it all right, and the boys
will have had their talk."

"Not so last, Miss Lucy, if you please. Your father will not know a
syllable of the matter until you tell him all about it, after we
are gone. We intend 'to relieve him from all responsibility in the
premises.'"

This last sounded very profound, and a little magnificent, to my
imagination; and I looked at the girls to note the effect. Grace was
weeping, and weeping only; but Lucy looked saucy and mocking, even while
the tears bedewed her smiling face, as rain sometimes falls while the
sun is shining.

"Yes," I repeated, with emphasis, "'of all responsibility in the
premises.' I hope that is plain English, and good English, although I
know that Mr. Hardinge has been trying to make you both so simple in
your language, that you turn up your noses at a profound sentiment,
whenever you hear one."

In 1797, the grandiose had by no means made the deep invasion into the
everyday language of the country, that it has since done. Anything of
the sublime, or of the recondite, school was a good deal more apt to
provoke a smile, than it is to-day--the improvement proceeding, as
I have understood through better judges than myself, from the great
melioration of mind and manners that is to be traced to the speeches in
congress, and to the profundities of the newspapers. Rupert, however,
frequently ornamented his ideas, and I may truly say everything
ambitious that adorned my discourse was derived from his example. I
almost thought Lucy impertinent for presuming to laugh at sentiments
which came from such a source, and, by way of settling my own
correctness of thought and terms, I made no bones of falling back on my
great authority, by fairly pointing him out.

"I thought so!" exclaimed Lucy, now laughing with all her heart, though
a little hysterically; "I thought so, for this is just like Rupert,
who is always talking to me about 'assuming the responsibility,' and
'conclusions in the premises,' and all such nonsense. Leave the boys to
my father, Grace, and he will 'assume the responsibility' of 'concluding
the premises,' and the whole of the foolish scheme along with it!"

This would have provoked me, had not Grace manifested so much sisterly
interest in my welfare that I was soon persuaded to tell _her_--that
minx Lucy overhearing every syllable, though I had half a mind to tell
her to go away--all about our project.

"You see," I continued, "if Mr. Hardinge knows anything about our plan,
people will say he ought to have stopped us. 'He a clergyman, and not
able to keep two lads of sixteen or seventeen from running away and
going to sea!' they will say, as if it were so easy to prevent two
spirited youths from seeing the world. Whereas, if he knew nothing about
it, nobody can blame him. That is what I call 'relieving him from the
responsibility.' Now, we intend to be off next week, or as soon as the
jackets and trowsers that are making for us, under the pretence of
being boat-dresses, are finished. We mean to go down the river in the
sail-boat, taking Neb with us to bring the boat back. Now you know
the whole story, there will be no occasion to leave a letter for Mr.
Hardinge; for, three hours after we have sailed, you can tell him
everything. We shall be gone a year; at the end of that time you may
look for us both, and glad enough shall we all be to see each other.
Rupert and I will be young men then, though you call us boys now."

This last picture a good deal consoled the girls. Rupert, too, who had
unaccountably kept back, throwing the labouring-oar altogether on me,
came to the rescue, and, with his subtle manner and oily tongue, began
to make the wrong appear the right. I do not think he blinded his own
sister in the least, but I fear he had too much influence over mine.
Lucy, though all heart, was as much matter-of-fact as her brother was a
sophist. He was ingenious in glozing over truths; she, nearly unerring
in detecting them. I never knew a greater contrast between two human
beings, than there was between these two children of the same parents,
in this particular. I have heard that the son took after the mother, in
this respect, and that the daughter took after the father; though Mrs.
Hardinge died too early to have had any moral influence on the character
of her children.

We came again and again to the discussion of our subject during the next
two or three days. The girls endeavoured earnestly to persuade us to ask
Mr. Hardinge's permission for the step we were about to undertake;
but all in vain. We lads were so thoroughly determined to "relieve the
divine from all responsibility in the premises," that they might as well
have talked to stones. We knew these just-minded, sincere, upright girls
would not betray us, and continued obdurate to the last. As we expected,
as soon as convinced their importunities were useless, they seriously
set about doing all they could to render us comfortable. They made
us duck bags to hold our clothes, two each, and mended our linen,
stockings, &c., and even helped to procure us some clothes more suited
to the contemplated expedition than most of those we already possessed.
Our "long togs," indeed, we determined to leave behind us, retaining
just one suit each, and that of the plainest quality. In the course of
a week everything was ready, our bags well lined, being concealed in
the storehouse at the landing. Of this building I could at any moment
procure the key, my authority as heir-apparent being very considerable,
already, on the farm.

As for Neb, he was directed to have the boat all ready for the
succeeding Tuesday evening, it being the plan to sail the day after the
Wallingford of Clawbonny (this was the name of the sloop) had gone on
one of her regular trips, in order to escape a pursuit. I had made all
the calculations about the tide, and knew that the Wallingford would go
out about nine in the morning, leaving us to follow before midnight. It
was necessary to depart at night and when the wharf was clear, in order
to avoid observation.

Tuesday was an uneasy, nervous and sad day for us all, Mr. Hardinge
excepted. As the last had not the smallest distrust, he continued calm,
quiet, and cheerful as was his wont. Rupert had a conscience-stricken
and furtive air about him, while the eyes of the two dear, girls were
scarcely a moment without tears. Grace seemed now the most composed
of the two, and I have since suspected that she had had a private
conversation with my ingenious friend, whose convincing powers were of
a very extraordinary quality, when he set about their use in downright
earnest. As for Lucy, she seemed to me to have been weeping the entire
day.

At nine o'clock it was customary for the whole family to separate, after
prayers. Most of us went to bed at that early hour, though Mr. Hardinge
himself seldom sought his pillow until midnight. This habit compelled
us to use a good deal of caution in getting out of the house, in which
Rupert and myself succeeded, however, without discovery, just as the
clock struck eleven. We had taken leave of the girls in a hasty manner,
in a passage, shaking hands, and each of us kissing his own sister,
as he affected to retire for the night. To own the truth, we were much
gratified in finding how reasonably Grace and Lucy behaved, on the
occasion, and not a little surprised, for we had expected a scene,
particularly with the former.

We walked away from the house with heavy hearts, few leaving the
paternal roof for the first time, to enter upon the chances of the
world, without a deep sense of the dependence in which they had hitherto
lived. We walked fast and silently, and reached the wharf in less than
half an hour, a distance of near two miles. I was just on the point of
speaking to Neb, whose figure I could see in the boat, when I caught a
glimpse of two female forms within six feet of me. There were Grace and
Lucy, in tears, both waiting our arrival, with a view to see us depart!
I confess I was shocked and concerned at seeing these two delicate girls
so far from their home, at such an hour; and my first impulse was to see
them both safely back before I would enter the boat; but to this neither
would consent. All my entreaties were thrown away, and I was obliged to
submit.

I know not exactly how it happened, but of the fact I am certain; odd as
it may seem, at a moment like that, when about to separate, instead of
each youth's getting his own sister aside to make his last speeches, and
say his last say to, each of us got his friend's sister aside. I do not
mean that we were making love, or anything of the sort; we were a little
too young, perhaps, for that; but we obeyed an impulse which, as Rupert
would have said, "produced that result."

What passed between Grace and her companion, I do not know. As for Lucy
and myself, it was all plain-sailing and fair dealing. The excellent
creature forced on me six gold pieces, which I knew had come to her as
an heirloom from her mother, and which I had often heard her declare
she never meant to use, unless in the last extremity. She knew I had but
five dollars on earth, and that Rupert had not one; and she offered me
this gold. I told her Rupert had better take it; no, _I_ had better take
it. I should use it more prudently than Rupert, and would use it for
the good of both. "Besides, you are rich," she said, smiling through her
tears, "and can repay me--I _lend_ them to you; to Rupert I should have
to _give_ them." I could not refuse the generous girl, and took the
money, all half-joes, with a determination to repay them with interest.
Then I folded her to my heart, and kissed her six or eight times with
fervour, the first time I had done such a thing in two years, and tore
myself away. I do not think Rupert embraced Grace, but I confess I do
not know, although we were standing within three or four yards of each
other, the whole time.

"Write, Miles--write, Rupert," said the sobbing girls leaning forward
from the wharf, as we shoved off. It was not so dark but we could see
their dear forms for several minutes, or until a bend in the creek put a
dark mass of earth between us and them.

Such was the manner of my departure from Clawbonny, in the month of
September, 1797. I wanted a few days of being seventeen; Rupert was
six months older, and Neb was his senior, again, by near a twelvemonth.
Everything was in the boat but our hearts. Mine, I can truly say,
remained with the two beloved creatures we left on the wharf; while
Rupert's was betwixt and between, I fancy--seldom absolutely deserting
the dear tenement in which it was encased by nature.



CHAPTER III.

  "There's a youth in this city, it were a great pity
  That he from our lasses should wander awa';
  For he's bonny and braw, weel-favoured witha',
  And his hair has a natural buckle and a'.
  His coat is the hue of his bonnet so blue;
  His pocket is white as the new-driven snaw;
  His hose they are blue, and his shoon like the slae,
  And his clean siller buckles they dazzle us a'."
  BURNS.


We had selected our time well, as respects the hour of departure. It was
young ebb, and the boat floated swiftly down the creek, though the high
banks of the latter would have prevented our feeling any wind, even
if there were a breeze on the river. Our boat was of some size,
sloop-rigged and half-decked; but Neb's vigorous arms made her move
through the water with some rapidity, and, to own the truth, the lad
sprang to his work like a true runaway negro. I was a skilful oarsman
myself, having received many lessons from my father in early boyhood,
and being in almost daily practice for seven mouths in the year. The
excitement of the adventure, its romance, or what for a short time
seemed to me to be romance, and the secret apprehension of being
detected, which I believe accompanies every clandestine undertaking,
soon set me in motion also. I took one of the oars, and, in less than
twenty minutes, the Grace & Lucy, for so the boat was called, emerged
from between two, high, steep banks, and entered on the broader bosom of
the Hudson.

Neb gave a half-suppressed, negro-like cry of exultation, as we shot
out from our cover, and ascertained that there was a pleasant and fair
breeze blowing. In three minutes we had the jib and mainsail on the
boat, the helm was up, the sheet was eased off, and we were gliding
down-stream at the rate of something like five miles an hour. I took the
helm, almost as a matter of course; Rupert being much too indolent to do
anything unnecessarily, while Neb was far too humble to aspire to such
an office while Master Miles was there, willing and ready. In that day,
indeed, it was so much a matter of course for the skipper of a Hudson
river craft to steer, that most of the people who lived on the banks
of the stream imagined that Sir John Jervis, Lord Anson, and the other
great English admirals of whom they had read and heard, usually amused
themselves with that employment, out on the ocean. I remember the hearty
laugh in which my unfortunate father indulged, when Mr. Hardinge once
asked him how he could manage to get any sleep, on account of this
very duty. But we were very green, up at Clawbonny, in most things that
related to the world.

The hour that succeeded was one of the most painful I ever passed in my
life. I recalled my father, his manly frankness, his liberal bequests in
my favour, and his precepts of respect and obedience; all of which, it
now seemed to me, I had openly dishonoured. Then came the image of my
mother, with her love and sufferings, her prayers, and her mild but
earnest exhortations to be good. I thought I could see both these
parents regarding me with sorrowful, though not with reproachful
countenances. They appeared to be soliciting my return, with a species
of silent, but not the less eloquent, warnings of the consequences.
Grace and Lucy, and their sobs, and admonitions, and entreaties to
abandon my scheme, and to write, and not to remain away long, and all
that tender interest had induced two warm-hearted girls to utter at
our parting, came fresh and vividly to my mind. The recollection proved
nearly too much for me. Nor did I forget Mr. Hardinge, and the distress
he would certainly feel, when he discovered that he had not only lost
his ward, but his only son. Then Clawbonny itself, the house, the
orchards, the meadows, the garden, the mill, and all that belonged to
the farm, began to have a double value in my eyes, and to serve as so
many cords attached to my heart-strings, and to remind me that the rover

"Drags at each remove a lengthening chain.'"

I marvelled at Rupert's tranquility. I did not then understand his
character as thoroughly as I subsequently got to know it. All that he
most prized was with him in the boat, in fact, and this lessened his
grief at parting from less beloved objects. Where Rupert was, there was
his paradise. As for Neb, I do believe his head was over his shoulder,
for he affected to sit with his face down-stream, so long as the hills
that lay in the rear of Clawbonny could be at all distinguished. This
must have proceeded from tradition, or instinct, or some latent negro
quality; for I do not think the fellow fancied _he_ was running away. He
knew that his two young masters were; but he was fully aware he was my
property, and no doubt thought, as long as he staid in my company, he
was in the line of his legitimate duty. Then it was _my_ plan that he
should return with the boat, and perhaps these backward glances were no
more than the shadows of coming events, cast, in his case, _behind_.

Rupert was indisposed to converse, for, to tell the truth, he had eaten
a hearty supper, and began to feel drowsy; and I was too much wrapped up
in my own busy thoughts to solicit any communications. I found a sort of
saddened pleasure in setting a watch for the night, therefore, which had
an air of seaman-like duty about it, that in a slight degree revived
my old taste for the profession. It was midnight, and I took the first
watch myself, bidding my two companions to crawl under the half-deck,
and go to sleep. This they both did without any parley, Rupert occupying
an inner place, while Neb lay with his legs exposed to the night air.

The breeze freshened, and for some time I thought it might be necessary
to reef, though we were running dead before the wind. I succeeded in
holding on, however, and I found the Grace & Lucy was doing wonders in
my watch. When I gave Rupert his call at four o'clock, the boat was just
approaching two frowning mountains, where the river was narrowed to
a third or fourth of its former width; and, by the appearance of the
shores, and the dim glimpses I had caught of a village of no great size
on the right bank, I knew we were in what is called Newburgh Bay. This
was the extent of our former journeyings south, all three of us having
once before, and only once, been as low as Fishkill Landing, which lies
opposite to the place that gives this part of the river its name.

Rupert now took the helm, and I went to sleep. The wind still continued
fresh and fair, and I felt no uneasiness on account of the boat. It is
true, there were two parts of the navigation before us of which I had
thought a little seriously, but not sufficiently so to keep me awake.
These were the Race, a passage in the Highlands, and Tappan Sea; both
points on the Hudson of which the navigators of that classical stream
were fond of relating the marvels. The first I knew was formidable only
later in the autumn, and, as for the last, I hoped to enjoy some of its
wonders in the morning. In this very justifiable expectation, I fell
asleep.

Neb did not call me until ten o'clock. I afterwards discovered that
Rupert kept the helm for only an hour, and then, calculating that from
five until nine were four hours, he thought it a pity the negro should
not have his share of the glory of that night. When I was awakened, it
was merely to let me know that it was time to eat something--Neb would
have starved before he would precede his young master in that necessary
occupation--and I found Rupert in a deep and pleasant sleep at my side.

We were in the centre of Tappan, and the Highlands had been passed in
safety. Neb expatiated a little on the difficulties of the navigation,
the river having many windings, besides being bounded by high mountains;
but, after all, he admitted that there was water enough, wind enough,
and a road that was plain enough. From this moment, excitement kept us
wide awake. Everything was new, and everything seemed delightful. The
day was pleasant, the wind continued fair, and nothing occurred to mar
our joy. I had a little map, one neither particularly accurate, nor very
well engraved; and I remember the importance with which, after having
ascertained the fact myself, I pointed out to my two companions the
rocky precipices on the western bank, as New Jersey! Even-Rupert was
struck with this important circumstance. As for Neb, he was actually in
ecstasies, rolling his large black eyes, and showing his white teeth,
until he suddenly closed his truly coral and plump lips, to demand what
New Jersey meant? Of course I gratified this laudable desire to obtain
knowledge, and Neb seemed still more pleased than ever, now he had
ascertained that New Jersey was a State. Travelling was not as much
of an every-day occupation, at that time, as it is now; and it was, in
truth, something for three American lads, all under nineteen, to be able
to say that they had seen a State, other than their own.

Notwithstanding the rapid progress we had made for the first few hours
of our undertaking, the voyage was far from being ended. About noon the
wind came out light from the southward, and, having a flood-tide, we
were compelled to anchor. This made us all uneasy, for, while we were
stationary, we did not seem to be running away. The ebb came again, at
length, however, and then we made sail, and began to turn down with the
tide. It was near sunset before we got a view of the two or three
spires that then piloted strangers to the town. New York was not the
"commercial emporium" in 1796; so high-sounding a title, indeed, scarce
belonging to the simple English of the period, it requiring a very
great collection of half-educated men to venture on so ambitious an
appellation--the only emporium that existed in America, during the
last century, being a slop-shop in Water street, and on the island of
Manhattan. _Commercial_ emporium was a flight of fancy, indeed, that
must have required a whole board of aldermen, and an extra supply of
turtle, to sanction. What is meant by a _literary_ emporium, I leave
those editors who are "native and to the _manor_ born," to explain.

We first saw the State Prison, which was then new, and a most imposing
edifice, according to our notions, as we drew near the town. Like the
gallows first seen by a traveller in entering a strange country, it was
a pledge of civilization. Neb shook his head, as he gazed at it, with a
moralizing air, and said it had a "wicked look." For myself, I own I
did not regard it altogether without dread. On Rupert it made less
impression than on any of the three. He was always somewhat obtuse on
the subject of morals.{*]

{Footnote *: It may be well to tell the European who shall happen to
read this book, that in America a "State's Prison" is not for prisoners
of State, but for common rogues: the term coming from the name borne by
the local governments.]

New York, in that day, and on the Hudson side of the town, commenced
a short distance above Duane street. Between Greenwich, as the little
hamlet around the State Prison was called, and the town proper, was an
interval of a mile and a half of open fields, dotted here and there with
country-houses. Much of this space was in broken hills, and a few piles
of lumber lay along the shores. St. John's church had no existence, and
most of the ground in its vicinity was in low swamp. As we glided
along the wharves, we caught sight of the first market I had then ever
seen--such proofs of an advanced civilization not having yet made their
way into the villages of the interior. It was called "The Bear," from
the circumstance that the first meat ever exposed for sale in it was of
that animal; but the appellation has disappeared before the intellectual
refinement of these later times--the name of the soldier and statesman,
Washington, having fairly supplanted that of the bear! Whether this
great moral improvement was brought about by the Philosophical Society,
or the Historical Society, or "The Merchants," or the Aldermen of New
York, I have never ascertained. If the latter, one cannot but admire
their disinterested modesty in conferring this notable honour on the
Father of his country, inasmuch as all can see that there never has been
a period when their own board has not possessed distinguished members,
every way qualified to act as god-fathers to the most illustrious
markets of the republic. But Manhattan, in the way of taste, has never
had justice done it. So profound is its admiration for all the higher
qualities, that Franklin and Fulton have each a market to himself, in
addition to this bestowed on Washington. Doubtless there would have
been Newton Market, and Socrates Market, and Solomon Market, but for
the patriotism of the town, which has forbidden it from going out of
the hemisphere, in quest of names to illustrate. Bacon Market
would doubtless have been too equivocal to be tolerated, under any
circumstances. Then Bacon was a rogue, though a philosopher, and markets
are always appropriated to honest people. At all events, I am rejoiced
the reproach of having a market called "The Bear" has been taken away,
as it was tacitly admitting our living near, if not absolutely in, the
woods.

We passed the Albany basin, a large receptacle for North River craft,
that is now in the bosom of the town and built on, and recognized in it
the mast-head of the Wallingford. Neb was shown the place, for he was to
bring the boat round to it, and join the sloop, in readiness to return
in her. We rounded the Battery, then a circular stripe of grass, with
an earthen and wooden breastwork running along the margin of the
water, leaving a narrow promenade on the exterior. This brought us to
White-Hall, since so celebrated for its oarsmen, where we put in for a
haven. I had obtained the address of a better sort of sailor-tavern in
that vicinity, and, securing the boat, we shouldered the bags, got a boy
to guide us, and were soon housed. As it was near night, Rupert and
I ordered supper, and Neb was directed to pull the boat round to the
sloop, and to return to us in the morning; taking care, however, not to
let our lodgings be known.

The next day, I own I thought but little of the girls, Clawbonny, or Mr.
Hardinge. Neb was at my bed-side before I was up, and reported the Grace
& Lucy safe alongside of the Wallingford, and expressed himself ready to
wait on me in my progress in quest of a ship. As this was the moment of
action, little was said, but we all breakfasted, and sallied forth, in
good earnest, on the important business before us. Neb was permitted
to follow, but at such a distance as to prevent his being suspected of
belonging to our party--a gentleman, with a serving-man at his heels,
not being the candidate most likely to succeed in his application for a
berth in the forecastle.

So eager was I to belong to some sea-going craft, that I would not stop
even to look at the wonders of the town, before we took the direction
of the wharves. Rupert was for pursuing a different policy, having an
inherent love of the genteeler gaieties of a town, but I turned a deaf
ear to his hints, and this time I was master. He followed me with some
reluctance, but follow he did, after some remonstrances that bordered
on warmth. Any inexperienced eye that had seen us passing, would have
mistaken us for two well-looking, smart young sailor-boys, who had
just returned from a profitable voyage, and who, well-clad, tidy and
semi-genteel, were strolling along the wharves as _admirateurs_, not to
say critics, of the craft. _Admirateurs_ we were, certainly, or _I_ was,
at least; though knowledge was a point on which we Were sadly deficient.

The trade of America was surprisingly active in 1797. It had been preyed
upon by the two great belligerents of the period, England and France,
it is true; and certain proceedings of the latter nation were about to
bring the relations of the two countries into a very embarrassed state;
but still the shipping interest was wonderfully active, and, as a whole,
singularly successful. Almost every tide brought in or took out ships
for foreign ports, and scarce a week passed that vessels did not arrive
from, or sail for, all the different quarters of the world. An Indiaman,
however, was our object; the voyage being longer, the ships better, and
the achievement greater, than merely to cross the Atlantic and return.
We accordingly proceeded towards the Fly Market, in the vicinity of
which, we had been given to understand, some three or four vessels of
that description were fitting out. This market has since used its wings
to disappear, altogether.

I kept my eyes on every ship we passed. Until the previous day, I had
never seen a square-rigged vessel; and no enthusiast in the arts ever
gloated on a fine picture or statue with greater avidity than my soul
drank in the wonder and beauty of every ship I passed. I had a large,
full-rigged model at Clawbonny; and this I had studied under my father
so thoroughly, as to know the name of every rope in it, and to have some
pretty distinct notions of their uses. This early schooling was now
of great use to me, though I found it a little difficult, at first,
to trace my old acquaintances on the large scale in which they now
presented themselves, and amid the intricate mazes that were drawn
against the skies. The braces, shrouds, stays and halyards, were all
plain enough, and I could point to either, at a moment's notice; but
when it came to the rest of the running rigging, I found it necessary to
look a little, before I could speak with certainty.

Eager as I was to ship, the indulgence of gazing at all I saw was so
attractive, that it was noon before we reached an Indiaman. This was a
pretty little ship of about four hundred tons, that was called the John.
Little I say, for such she would now be thought, though a vessel of her
size was then termed large. The Manhattan, much the largest ship out of
the port, measured but about seven hundred tons; while few even of
the Indiamen went much beyond five hundred. I can see the John at this
moment, near fifty years after I first laid eyes on her, as she then
appeared. She was not bright-sided, but had a narrow, cream-coloured
streak, broken into ports. She was a straight, black-looking craft,
with a handsome billet, low, thin bulwarks, and waistcloths secured
to ridge-ropes. Her larger spars were painted the same colour as her
streak, and her stern had a few ornaments of a similar tint.

We went on board the John, where we found the officers just topping off
with the riggers and stevedores, having stowed all the provisions and
water, and the mere trifle of cargo she carried. The mate, whose name
was Marble, and a well-veined bit of marble he was, his face resembling
a map that had more rivers drawn on it than the land could feed, winked
at the captain and nodded his head towards us as soon as we met his eye.
The latter smiled, but did not speak.

"Walk this way, gentlemen--walk this way, if you please," said Mr.
Marble, encouragingly, passing a ball of spun-yarn, all the while, to
help a rigger serve a rope. "When did you leave the country?"

This produced a general laugh, even the yellow rascal of a mulatto, who
was passing into the cabin with some crockery, grinning in our faces
at this salutation. I saw it was now or never, and determined not to be
brow-beaten, while I was too truthful to attempt to pass for that I was
not.

"We left home last night, thinking to be in time to find berths in one
of the Indiamen that is to sail this week."

"Not _this_ week, my son--not till _next_," said Mr. Marble, jocularly.
"Sunday is _the_ day. We run from Sunday to Sunday--the better day, the
better deed, you know. How did you leave father and mother?"

"I have neither," I answered, almost choked. "My mother died a few
months since, and my father, Captain Wallingford, has now been dead some
years."

The master of the John was a man of about fifty, red-faced,
hard-looking, pock-marked, square-rigged, and of an exterior that
promised anything but sentiment. Feeling, however, he did manifest,
the moment I mentioned my father's name. He ceased his employment, came
close to me, gazed earnestly in my face, and even looked kind.

"Are you a son of Captain Miles Wallingford?" he asked in a low
voice--"of Miles Wallingford, from up the river?"

"I am, sir; his only son. He left but two of us, a son and a daughter;
and, though under no necessity to work at all, I wish to make this Miles
Wallingford as good a seaman as the last, and, I hope, as honest a man."

This was said manfully, and with a spirit that must have pleased; for
I was shaken cordially by the hand, welcomed on board, invited into the
cabin, and asked to take a seat at a table on which the dinner had
just been placed. Rupert, of course, shared in all these favours. Then
followed the explanations. Captain Robbins, of the John, had first gone
to sea with my father, for whom I believe he entertained a profound
respect. He had even served with him once as mate, and talked as if he
felt that he had been under obligations to him. He did not question
me very closely, seeming to think it natural enough that Miles
Wallingford's only son should wish to be a seaman.

As we sat at the table, even, it was agreed that Rupert and I should
join the ship, as green hands, the very next morning, signing the
articles as soon as we went on shore. This was done accordingly, and I
had the felicity of writing Miles Wallingford to the roll d'equipage, to
the tune of eighteen dollars per month--seamen then actually receiving
thirty and thirty-five dollars per month--wages. Rupert was taken also,
though Captain Robbins cut _him_ down to thirteen dollars, saying, in
a jesting way, that a parson's son could hardly be worth as much as the
son of one of the best old ship-masters who ever sailed out of America.
He was a shrewd observer of men and things, this new friend of mine, and
I believe understood "by the cut of his jib" that Rupert was not likely
to make a weather-earing man. The money, however, was not of much
account in our calculations; and lucky enough did I think myself in
finding so good a berth, almost as soon as looked for. We returned to
the tavern and staid that night, taking a formal leave of Neb, who was
to carry the good news home, as soon as the sloop should sail.

In the morning a cart was loaded with our effects, the bill was
discharged, and we left the tavern. I had the precaution not to go
directly alongside the ship. On the contrary, we proceeded to an
opposite part of the town, placing the bags on a wharf resorted to by
craft from New Jersey, as if we intended to go on board one of them. The
cartman took his quarter, and drove off, troubling himself very little
about the future movements of two young sailors. Waiting half an hour,
another cart was called, when we went to the John, and were immediately
installed in her forecastle. Captain Robbins had provided us both with
chests, paid for out of the three months' advance, and in them we found
the slops necessary for so long a voyage. Rupert and I immediately put
on suits of these new clothes, with regular little round tarpaulins,
which so much altered us in appearance, even from those produced by our
Ulster county fittings, that we scarce knew each other.

Rupert now went on deck to lounge and smoke a segar, while I went aloft,
visiting every yard, and touching all three of the trucks, before I
returned from this, my exploring expedition. The captain and mates and
riggers smiled at my movements, and I overheard the former telling his
mate that I was "old Miles over again." In a word, all parties seemed
pleased with the arrangement that had been made; I had told the officers
aft of my knowledge of the names and uses of most of the ropes; and
never did I feel so proud as when Mr. Marble called out, in a loud
tone--

"D'ye hear there, Miles--away aloft and unreeve them fore-top-gallant
halyards, and send an end down to haul up this new rope, to reeve a
fresh set."

Away I went, my head buzzing with the complicated order, and yet I had
a very tolerable notion of what was to be done. The unreeving might
have been achieved by any one, and I got through with that without
difficulty; and, the mate himself helping me and directing me from the
deck, the new rope was rove with distinguished success. This was the
first duty I ever did in a ship, and I was prouder of it than of any
that was subsequently performed by the same individual. The whole time
I was thus occupied, Rupert stood lounging against the foot of the
main-stay, smoking his segar like a burgomaster. His turn came next,
however, the captain sending for him to the cabin, where he set him at
work to copy some papers. Rupert wrote a beautiful hand, and he wrote
rapidly. That evening I heard the chief-mate tell the dickey that the
parson's son was likely to turn out a regular "barber's clerk" to the
captain. "The old man," he added, "makes so many traverses himself on a
bit of paper, that he hardly knows at which end to begin to read it; and
I shouldn't wonder if he just stationed this chap, with a quill behind
his ear, for the v'y'ge."

For the next two or three days I was delightfully busy, passing half the
time aloft. All the sails were to be bent, and I had my full share in
the performance of this duty. I actually furled the mizen-royal with my
own hands--the ship carrying standing royals--and it was said to be very
respectably done; a little rag-baggish in the bunt, perhaps, but secured
in a way that took the next fellow who touched the gasket five minutes
to cast the sail loose. Then it rained, and sails were to be loosened to
dry. I let everything fall forward with my own hands, and, when we came
to roll up the canvass again, I actually managed all three of the royals
alone; one at a time, of course. My father had taught me to make a
flat-knot, a bowline, a clove-hitch, two half-hitches, and such sort of
things; and I got through with both a long and a short splice tolerably
well. I found all this, and the knowledge I had gained from my
model-ship at home of great use to me; so much so, indeed, as to induce
even that indurated bit of mortality, Marble, to say I "was the ripest
piece of green stuff he had ever fallen in with."

All this time, Rupert was kept at quill-driving. Once he got leave to
quit the ship--it was the day before we sailed--and I observed he went
ashore in his long-togs, of which each of us had one suit. I stole away
the same afternoon to find the post-office, and worked up-stream as far
as Broadway, not knowing exactly which way to shape my course. In that
day, everybody who was anybody, and unmarried, promenaded the west side
of this street, from the Battery to St. Paul's Church, between the hours
of twelve and half-past two, wind and weather permitting. There I
saw Rupert, in his country guise, nothing remarkable, of a certainty,
strutting about with the best of them, and looking handsome in spite of
his rusticity. It was getting late, and he left the street just as I saw
him. I followed, waiting until we got to a private place before I would
speak to him, however, as I knew he would be mortified to be taken for
the friend of a Jack-tar, in such a scene.

Rupert entered a door, and then reappeared with a letter in his hand.
He, too, had gone to the post-office, and I no longer hesitated about
joining him.

"Is it from Clawbonny?" I asked, eagerly. "If so, from Lucy, doubtless?"

"From Clawbonny--but from Grace," he answered, with a slight change of
colour. "I desired the poor girl to let me know how things passed off,
after we left them; and as for Lucy, her pot-hooks are so much out of
the way, I never want to see them."

I felt hurt, offended, that my sister should write to any youngster but
myself. It is true, the letter was to a bosom friend, a co-adventurer,
one almost a child of the same family; and I had come to the office
expecting to get a letter from Rupert's sister, who had promised, while
weeping on the wharf, to do exactly the same thing for me; but there
_is_ a difference between one's sister writing to another young man, and
another young man's sister writing to oneself. I cannot even now explain
it; but that there _is_ a difference I am sure. Without asking to see a
line that Grace had written, I went into the office, and returned in a
minute or two, with an air of injured dignity, holding Lucy's epistle in
my hand.

After all, there was nothing in either letter to excite much
sensibility. Each was written with the simplicity, truth and feeling of
a generous-minded, warm-hearted female friend, of an age not to distrust
her own motives, to a lad who bad no right to view the favour other than
it was, as an evidence of early and intimate friendship. Both epistles
are now before me, and I copy them, as the shortest way of letting the
reader know the effect our disappearance had produced at Clawbonny. That
of Grace was couched in the following terms:


DEAR RUPERT:

Clawbonny was in commotion at nine o'clock this morning, and well it
might be! When your father's anxiety got to be painful, I told him the
whole, and gave him the letters. I am sorry to say, he wept. I wish
never to see such a sight again. The tears of two such silly girls as
Lucy and I, are of little account--but, Rupert, to behold an aged man
we love and respect like him, a minister of the gospel too, in tears! It
was a hard sight to bear. He did not reproach us for our silence, saying
he did not see, after our promises, how we could well do otherwise. I
gave your reasons about "responsibility in the premises;" but I don't
think he understood them. Is it too late to return? The boat that
carried you down can bring you back; and oh! how much rejoiced shall
we all be to see you! Wherever you go, and whatever you do, boys, for I
write as much to one as to the other, and only address to Rupert because
he so earnestly desired it; but wherever you go, and whatever you do,
remember the instructions you have both received in youth, and how much
all of us are interested in your conduct and happiness.

Affectionately, yours,

GRACE WALLINGFORD.

To Mr. Rupert Hardinge.


Lucy had been less guarded, and possibly a little more honest. She wrote
as follows:


DEAR MILES:

I believe I cried for one whole hour after you and Rupert left us, and,
now it is all over, I am vexed at having cried so much about two such
foolish fellows. Grace has told you all about my dear, dear father, who
cried too. I declare, I don't know when I was so frightened! I thought
it _must_ bring you back, as soon as you hear of it. What will be done,
I do not know; but _something_, I am certain Whenever father is in
earnest, he says but little. I know he is in earnest _now_. I believe
Grace and I do nothing but think of you; that is, she of _you_, and I
of Rupert; and a little the other way, too--so now you have the whole
truth. Do not fail, on any account, to write before you go to sea, if
you _do_ go to sea, as I hope and trust you will not.

Good-bye.


LUCY HARDINGE.

To Mr. Miles Wallingford.

P.S. Neb's mother protests, if the boy is not home by Saturday night,
she will go after him. No such disgrace as a runaway ever befel her or
hers, and she says she will not submit to it. But I suppose we shall see
_him_ soon, and with him _letters_.


Now, Neb had taken his leave, but no letter had been trusted to his
care. As often happens, I regretted the mistake when it was too late;
and all that day I thought how disappointed Lucy would be, when she came
to see the negro empty-handed. Rupert and I parted in the street, as he
did not wish to walk with a sailor, while in his own long-togs. He did
not _say_ as much; but I knew him well enough to ascertain it, without
his speaking. I was walking very fast in the direction of the ship,
and had actually reached the wharves, when, in turning a corner, I
came plump upon Mr. Hardinge. My guardian was walking slowly, his face
sorrowful and dejected, and his eyes fastened on every ship he passed,
as if looking for his boys. He saw me, casting a vacant glance over
my person; but I was so much changed by dress, and particularly by the
little tarpaulin, that he did not know me. Anxiety immediately drew his
look towards the vessels, and I passed him unobserved. Mr. Hardinge
was walking _from_, and I _towards_ the John, and of course all my risk
terminated as soon as out of sight.

That evening I had the happiness of being under-way, in a real
full-rigged ship. It is true, it was under very short canvass, and
merely to go into the stream. Taking advantage of a favourable wind and
tide, the John left the wharf under her jib, main-top-mast staysail, and
spanker, and dropped down as low as the Battery, when she sheered into
the other channel and anchored. Here I was, then, fairly at anchor in
the stream, Half a mile from any land but the bottom, and burning to see
the ocean. That afternoon the crew came on board, a motley collection,
of lately drunken seamen, of whom about half were Americans, and the
rest natives of as many different countries as there were men. Mr.
Marble scanned them with a knowing look, and, to my surprise, he told
the captain there was good stuff among them. It seems he was a better
judge than I was myself, for a more unpromising set of wretches, as to
looks, I never saw grouped together. A few, it is true, appeared well
enough; but most of them had the air of having been dragged through--a
place I will not name, though it is that which sailors usually quote
when describing themselves on such occasions. But Jack, after he has
been a week at sea, and Jack coming on board to duty, after a month of
excesses on shore, are very different creatures, morally and physically.

I now began to regret that I had not seen a little of the town. In 1797,
New York could not have had more than fifty thousand inhabitants,
though it was just as much of a paragon then, in the eyes of all good
Americans, as it is today. It is a sound patriotic rule to maintain that
_our_ best is always _the_ best, for it never puts us in the wrong. I
have seen enough of the world since to understand that we get a great
many things wrong-end foremost, in this country of ours; undervaluing
those advantages and excellencies of which we have great reason to be
proud, and boasting of others that, to say the least, are exceedingly
equivocal. But it takes time to learn all this, and I have no intention
of getting ahead of my story, or of my country; the last being a most
suicidal act.

We received the crew of a Saturday afternoon, and half of them turned in
immediately. Rupert and I had a good berth, intending to turn in and out
together, during the voyage; and this made us rather indifferent to
the movements of the rest of our extraordinary associates. The kid, at
supper, annoyed us both a little; the notion of seeing one's food in
a round _trough_, to be tumbled over and cut from by all hands, being
particularly disagreeable to those who have been accustomed to plates,
knives and forks, and such other superfluities. I confess I thought of
Grace's and Lucy's little white hands, and of silver sugrar-toogs, and
of clean plates and glasses, and table-cloths--napkins and silver forks
were then unknown in America, except on the very best tables, and not
always on them, unless on high days and holidays--as we were going
through the unsophisticated manipulations of this first supper.
Forty-seven years have elapsed, and the whole scene is as vivid to my
mind at this moment, as if it occurred last night. I wished myself one
of the long-snouted tribe, several times, in order to be in what is
called "keeping."

I had the honour of keeping an anchor-watch in company with a grum old
Swede, as we lay in the Hudson. The wind was light, and the ship had a
good berth, so my associate chose a soft plank, told me to give him a
call should anything happen, and lay down to sleep away his two hours in
comfort. Not so with me. I strutted the deck with as much importance as
if the weight of the State lay on my shoulders--paid a visit every five
minutes to the bows, to see that the cable had not parted, and that the
anchor did not "come home"--and then looked aloft, to ascertain that
everything was in its place. Those were a happy two hours!

About ten next morning, being Sunday, and, as Mr. Marble expressed it,
"the better day, the better deed," the pilot came off, and all hands
were called to "up anchor." The cook, cabin-boy, Rupert and I, were
entrusted with the duty of "fleeting jig" and breaking down the coils of
the cable, the handspikes requiring heavier hands than ours. The anchor
was got in without any difficulty, however, when Rupert and I were
sent aloft to loose the fore-top-sail. Rupert got into the top via the
lubber's hole, I am sorry to say, and the loosing of the sail on both
yard-arms fell to my duty. A hand was on the fore-yard, and I was next
ordered up to loose the top-gallant-sail. Canvass began to fall and open
all over the ship, the top-sails were mast-headed, and, as I looked down
from the fore-top-mast cross-trees, where I remained to overhaul the
clew-lines, I saw that the ship was falling off, and that her sails
were filling with a stiff north-west breeze. Just as my whole being was
entranced with the rapture of being under-way for Canton, which was then
called the Indies, Rupert called out to me from the top. Ha was pointing
at some object on the water, and, turning, I saw a boat within a hundred
feet of the ship. In her was Mr. Hardinge, who at that moment caught
sight of us. But the ship's sails were now all full, and no one on deck
saw, or at least heeded, the boat. The John glided past it, and, the
last I saw of my venerated guardian, he was standing erect, bare-headed,
holding both arms extended, as if entreating us not to desert him!
Presently the ship fell off so much, that the after-sails hid him from
my view.

I descended into the top, where I found Rupert had shrunk down out of
sight, looking frightened and guilty. As for myself, I got behind the
head of the mast, and fairly sobbed. This lasted a few minutes, when an
order from the mate called us both below. When I reached the deck, the
boat was already a long distance astern, and had evidently given up the
idea of boarding us. I do not know whether I felt the most relieved or
pained by the certainty of this fact.



CHAPTER IV.

  "There is a tide in the affairs of men,
  Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune
  Omitted, all the voyage of their life
  Is bound in shallows, and in miseries.
  On such a full sea are we now afloat;
  And we must take the current when it serves,
  Or lose our ventures."
  Brutus--Julius Caesar.


In four hours from the time when Rupert and I last saw Mr. Hardinge, the
ship was at sea. She crossed the bar, and started on her long journey,
with a fresh north-wester, and with everything packed on that she would
bear. We took a diagonal course out of the bight formed by the coasts of
Long Island and New Jersey, and sunk the land entirely by the middle
of the afternoon. I watched the highlands of Navesink, as they vanished
like watery clouds in the west, and then I felt I was at last fairly
out of sight of land. But a foremast hand has little opportunity for
indulging in sentimen, as he quits his native shore; and few, I fancy,
have the disposition. As regards the opportunity, anchors are to be got
in off the bows, and stowed; cables are to be unbent and coiled down;
studding-gear is to be hauled out and got ready; frequently boom-irons
are to be placed upon the yards, and the hundred preparations made, that
render the work of a ship as ceaseless a round of activity as that of a
house. This kept us all busy until night, when the watches were told off
and set. I was in the larboard, or chief-mate's watch, having actually
been chosen by that hard-featured old seaman, the fourth man he named;
an honour for which I was indebted to the activity I had already
manifested aloft. Rupert was less distinguished, being taken by the
captain for the second-mate's watch, the very last person chosen. That
night Mr. Marble dropped a few hints on the subject, which let me into
the secret of these two selections. "You and I will get along well
together, I see that plainly, Miles," he said, "for there's quicksilver
in your body. As for your friend in t'other watch, it's all as it should
be; the captain has got one hand the most, and such as he is, he is
welcome to him. He'll blacken more writing paper this v'y'ge, I reckon,
than he'll tar down riggin'." I thought it odd, however, that Rupert,
who had been so forward in all the preliminaries of our adventure,
should fall so far astern in its first practical results.

It is not my intention to dwell on all the minute incidents of this, my
first voyage to sea, else would it spin out the narrative unnecessarily,
and render my task as fatiguing to the reader, as it might prove to
myself. One occurrence, however, which took place three days out,
must be mentioned, as it will prove to be connected with important
circumstances in the end. The ship was now in order, and was at least
two hundred leagues from the land, having had a famous run off the
coast, when the voice of the cook, who had gone below for water, was
heard down among the casks, in such a clamour as none but a black can
raise, with all his loquacity awakened.

"There's _two_ niggers at that work!" exclaimed Mr. Marble, after
listening an instant, glancing his eye round to make certain the mulatto
steward was not in the discussion. "No _one_ darkey ever could make all
that outcry. Bear a hand below, Miles, and see if Africa has come aboard
us in the night."

I was in the act of obeying, when Cato, the cook, was seen rising
through the steerage-hatch, dragging after him the dark poll of another
black, whom he had gripped by the wool. In an instant both were on
deck, when, to my astonishment, I discovered the agitated countenance of
Nebuchadnezzar Clawbonny. Of course the secret was out, the instant the
lad's glistening features were recognised.

Neb, in a word, had managed to get on board the ship before she hauled
out into the stream, and lay concealed among the water-casks, his
pockets crammed with ginger-bread and apples, until discovered by the
cook, in one of his journeys in quest of water. The food of the lad had
been gone twenty-four hours, and it is not probable the fellow could
have remained concealed much longer, had not this discovery taken place.
The instant he was on deck, Neb looked eagerly around to ascertain how
far the ship had got from the land, and, seeing nothing but water on
every side of him, he fairly grinned with delight. This exasperated Mr.
Marble, who thought it was adding insult to injury, and he gave the lad
a cuff on the ear that would have set a white reeling. On Neb, however,
this sharp blow produced no effect, falling as it did on the impregnable
part of his system.

"Oh! you're a nigger, be you?" exclaimed the mate, waxing warmer
and warmer, as he: fancied himself baffled by the other's powers of
endurance. "Take that, and let us see if you're full-blooded!"

A smart rap on the shin accompanying these words, Neb gave in on the
instant. He begged for mercy, and professed a readiness to tell all,
protesting he was not "a runaway nigger"--a term the mate used while
applying the kicks.

I now interfered, by telling Mr. Marble, with all the respect due from
a green hand to a chief-mate, who Neb really was, and what I supposed to
be his motives for following me to the ship. This revelation cost me a
good deal in the end, the idea of Jack's having a "waiting-man" on board
giving rise to a great many jokes at my expense, during the rest of the
voyage. Had I not been so active, and so _willing,_ a great source of
favour on board a ship, it is probable these jokes would have been much
broader and more frequent. As it was, they annoyed me a good deal;
and it required a strong exercise of all the boyish regard I really
entertained for Neb, to refrain from turning-to and giving him a sound
threshing for his exploit, at the first good occasion. And yet, what was
his delinquency compared to my own? He had followed his master out of
deep affection, blended somewhat, it is true, with a love of adventure;
while, in one sense, I had violated all the ties of the heart, merely to
indulge the latter passion.

The captain coming on deck, Neb's story was told, and, finding that no
wages would be asked in behalf of this athletic, healthy, young negro,
he had no difficulty in receiving him into favour. To Neb's great
delight, he was sent forward to take his share on the yards and in the
rigging, there being no vacancy for him to fill about the camboose, or
in the cabin. In an hour the negro was fed, and he was regularly placed
in the starboard-watch. I was rejoiced at this last arrangement, as
it put the fellow in a watch different from my own, and prevented his
officious efforts to do my work. Rupert, I discovered, however, profited
often by his zeal, employing the willing black on every possible
occasion. On questioning Neb, I ascertained that he had taken the boat
round to the Wallingford, and had made use of a dollar or two I had
given him at parting, to board in a house suitable to his colour, until
the ship was ready for sea, when he got on board, and stowed himself
among the water-casks, as mentioned.

Neb's apparition soon ceased to be a subject of discourse, and his
zeal quickly made him a general favourite. Hardy, strong, resolute, and
accustomed to labour, he was early of great use in all the heavy drags;
and aloft, even, though less quick than a white would have been, he got
to be serviceable and reasonably expert. My own progress--and I say
it without vanity, but simply because it was true--was the subject of
general remark. One week made me familiar with the running gear; and, by
that time, I could tell a rope by its size, the manner in which it led,
and the place where it was belayed, in the darkest night, as well as the
oldest seaman on board. It is true, my model-ship had prepared the way
for much of this expertness; but, free from all seasickness, of which I
never had a moment in my life, I set about learning these things in
good earnest, and was fully rewarded for my pains. I passed the
weather-earing of the mizen-top-sail when we had been out a fortnight,
and went to those of the fore and main before we crossed the line. The
mate put me forward on all occasions, giving me much instruction in
private; and the captain neglected no opportunity of giving me useful
hints, or practical ideas. I asked, and was allowed to take my regular
trick at the wheel, before we got into the latitude of St. Helena; and
from that time did my full share of seaman's duly on board, the nicer
work of knotting, splicing, &c., excepted. These last required a little
more time; but I am satisfied that, in all things but judgment, a clever
lad, who has a taste for the business, can make himself a very useful
and respectable mariner in six months of active service.

China voyages seldom produce much incident. If the moment of sailing
has been judiciously timed, the ship has fair winds much of the way,
and generally moderate weather. To be sure, there are points on the long
road that usually give one a taste of what the seas sometimes are; but,
on the whole, a Canton voyage, though a long one, cannot be called a
rough one. As a matter of course, we had gales, and squalls, and the
usual vicissitudes of the ocean, to contend with, though our voyage to
Canton might have been called quiet, rather than the reverse. We were
four months under our canvass, and, when we anchored in the river,
the clewing up of our sails, and getting from beneath their shadows,
resembled the rising of a curtain on some novel scenic representation.
John Chinaman, however, has been so often described, particularly of
late, that I shall not dwell on his peculiarities. Sailors, as a class,
are very philosophical, so far as the peculiarities and habits of
strangers are concerned, appearing to think it beneath the dignity of
those who visit all lands, to betray wonder at the novelties of any.
It so happened that no man on board the John, the officers, steward
and cook excepted, had ever doubled the Cape of Good Hope before this
voyage; and yet our crew regarded the shorn polls, slanting eyes, long
queues, clumsy dresses, high cheek-bones, and lumbering shoes, of the
people they now saw for the first time, with just as much indifference
as they would have encountered a new fashion at home. Most of them,
indeed, had seen, or fancied they had seen, much stranger sights in the
different countries they had visited; it being a standing rule,
with Jack to compress everything that is wonderful into the "last
voyage"--that in which he is engaged for the present time being usually
set down as common-place, and unworthy of particular comment. On this
principle, _my_ Canton excursion _ought_ to be full of marvels, as it
was the progenitor of all that I subsequently saw and experienced as a
sailor. Truth compels me to confess, notwithstanding, that it was one
of the least wonderful of all the voyages I ever made, until near its
close.

We lay some months in the river, getting cargo, receiving teas, nankins,
silks and other articles, as our supercargo could lay hands on them.
In all this time, we saw just as much of the Chinese as it is usual for
strangers to see, and not a jot more. I was much up at the factories,
with the captain, having charge of his boat; and, as for Rupert, he
passed most of his working-hours either busy with the supercargo ashore,
or writing in the cabin. I got a good insight, however, into the uses
of the serving-mallet, the fid, marlinspike and winch, and did something
with the needle and palm. Marble was very good to me, in spite of his
nor-west face, and never let slip an occasion to give a useful hint.
I believe my exertions on the outward-bound passage fully equalled
expectations, and the officers had a species of pride in helping to make
Captain Wallingford's son worthy of his honourable descent. I had taken
occasion to let it be known that Rupert's great-grandfather had been
a man-of-war captain; but the suggestion was met by a flat, refusal to
believe it from Mr. Kite, the second-mate, though Mr. Marble remarked
it _might_ be so, as I admitted that both his father and grandfather had
been, or were, in the Church. My friend seemed fated to achieve nothing
but the glory of a "barber's clerk."

Our hatches were got on and battened down, and we sailed for home early
in the spring of 1798. The ship had a good run across the China Sea,
and reached the Indies in rather a short passage. We had cleared all
the islands, and were fairly in the Indian Ocean, when an adventure
occurred, which was the first really worthy of being related that we met
in the whole voyage. I shall give it, in as few words as possible.

We had cleared the Straits of Sunda early in the morning, and had made
a pretty fair run in the course of the day, though most of the time in
thick weather. Just as the sun set, however, the horizon became clear,
and we got a sight of two small sail seemingly heading in towards
the coast of Sumatra, proas by their rig and dimensions. They were so
distant, and were so evidently steering for the land, that no one gave
them much thought, or bestowed on them any particular attention. Proas
in that quarter were usually distrusted by ships, it is true; but the
sea is full of them, and far more are innocent than are guilty of any
acts of violence. Then it became dark soon after these craft were seen,
and night shut them in. An hour after the sun had set, the wind fell to
a light air, that just kept steerage-way on the ship. Fortunately, the
John was not only fast, but she minded her helm, as a light-footed girl
turns in a lively dance. I never was in a better-steering ship, most
especially in moderate weather.

Mr. Marble had the middle watch that night, and of course I was on deck
from midnight until four in the morning. It proved misty most of the
watch, and for quite an hour we had a light drizzling rain. The ship,
the whole time, was close-hauled, carrying royals. As everybody seemed
to have made up his mind to a quiet night, one without any reefing or
furling, most of the watch were sleeping about the decks, or wherever
they could get good quarters, and be least in the way. I do not know
what kept me awake, for lads of my age are apt to get all the sleep they
can; but I believe I was thinking of Clawbonny, and Grace, and Lucy; for
the latter, excellent girl as she was, often crossed my mind in those
days of youth and comparative innocence. Awake I was, and walking in
the weather-gangway, in a sailor's trot. Mr. Marble, he I do believe was
fairly snoozing on the hen-coops, being, like the sails, as one might
say, barely "asleep." At that moment I heard a noise, one familiar to
seamen; that of an oar falling in a boat. So completely was my mind bent
on other and distant scenes, that at first I felt no surprise, as if we
were in a harbour surrounded by craft of various sizes, coming and going
at all hours. But a second thought destroyed this illusion, and I looked
eagerly about me. Directly on our weather-bow, distant perhaps a cable's
length, I saw a small sail, and I could distinguish it sufficiently well
to perceive it was a proa. I sang out "Sail ho! and close aboard!"

Mr. Marble was on his feet in an instant. He afterwards told me that
when he opened his eyes, for he admitted this much to me in confidence,
they fell directly on the stranger. He was too much of a seaman to
require a second look, in order to ascertain what was to be done. "Keep
the ship away--keep her broad off!" he called out to the man at the
wheel. "Lay the yards square--call all hands, one of you--Captain
Robbins, Mr. Kite, bear a hand up; the bloody proas are aboard us!" The
last part of this call was uttered in a loud voice, with the speaker's
head down the companion-way. It was heard plainly enough below, but
scarcely at all on deck.

In the mean time, everybody was in motion. It is amazing how soon
sailors are wide awake when there is really anything to do! It appeared
to me that all our people mustered on deck in less than a minute, most
of them with nothing on but their shirts and trowsers. The ship was
nearly before the wind, by the time I heard the captain's voice; and
then Mr. Kite came bustling in among us forward, ordering most of the
men to lay aft to the braces, remaining himself on the forecastle, and
keeping me with him to let go the sheets. On the forecastle, the strange
sail was no longer visible, being now abaft the beam; but I could hear
Mr. Marble swearing there were two of them, and that they must be the
very chaps we had seen to leeward, and standing in for the land, at
sunset. I also heard the captain calling out to the steward to bring him
a powder-horn. Immediately after, orders were given to let fly all our
sheets forward, and then I perceived that they were waring ship. Nothing
saved us but the prompt order of Mr. Marble to keep the ship away, by
which means, instead of moving towards the proas, we instantly began to
move from them. Although they went three feet to our two, this gave us a
moment of breathing time.

As our sheets were all flying forward, and remained so for a few
minutes, it gave me leisure to look about. I soon saw both proas, and
glad enough was I to perceive that they had not approached materially
nearer. Mr. Kite observed this also, and remarked that our movements had
been so prompt as "to take the rascals aback." He meant, they did not
exactly know what we were at, and had not kept away with us.

At this instant, the captain and five or six of the oldest seamen began
to cast loose all our starboard, or weather guns, four in all, and
sixes. We had loaded these guns in the Straits of Banca, with grape and
canister, in readiness for just such pirates as were now coming down
upon us; and nothing was wanting but the priming and a hot logger-head.
It seems two of the last had been ordered in the fire, when we saw the
proas at sunset; and they were now in excellent condition for service,
live coals being kept around them all night by command. I saw a cluster
of men busy with the second gun from forward, and could distinguish the
captain pointing it.

"There cannot well be any mistake, Mr. Marble?" the captain observed,
hesitating whether to fire or not.

"Mistake, sir? Lord, Captain Robbins, you might cannonade any of the
islands astarn for a week, and never hurt an honest man. Let 'em have
it, sir; I'll answer for it, you do good."

This settled the matter. The loggerhead was applied, and one of our
sixes spoke out in a smart report. A breathless stillness succeeded.
The proas did not alter their course, but neared us fast. The captain
levelled his night-glass, and I heard him tell Kite, in a low voice,
that they were full of men. The word was now passed to clear away all
the guns, and to open the arm-chest, to come at the muskets and pistols.
I heard the rattling of the boarding-pikes, too, as they were cut adrift
from the spanker-boom, and fell upon the deck. All this sounded very
ominous, and I began to think we should have a desperate engagement
first, and then have all our throats cut afterwards.

I expected now to hear the guns discharged in quick succession, but they
were got ready only, not fired. Kite went aft, and returned with three
or four muskets, and as many pikes. He gave the latter to those of the
people who had nothing to do with the guns. By this time the ship was on
a wind, steering a good full, while the two proas were just abeam, and
closing fast. The stillness that reigned on both sides was like that
of death. The proas, however, fell a little more astern; the result of
their own manoeuvring, out of all doubt, as they moved through the water
much faster than the ship, seeming desirous of dropping into our wake,
with a design of closing under our stern, and avoiding our broad-side.
As this would never do, and the wind freshened so as to give us four
or five knot way, a most fortunate circumstance for us, the captain
determined to tack while he had room. The John behaved beautifully,
and came round like a top. The proas saw there was no time to lose, and
attempted to close before we could fill again; and this they would have
done with ninety-nine ships in a hundred. The captain knew his vessel,
however, and did not let her lose her way, making everything draw again
as it might be by instinct. The proas tacked, too, and, laying up much
nearer to the wind than we did, appeared as if about to close on our
lee-bow. The question was, now, whether we could pass them or not before
they got near enough to grapple. If the pirates got on board us, we were
hopelessly gone; and everything depended on coolness and judgment. The
captain behaved perfectly well in this critical instant, commanding a
dead silence, and the closest attention to his orders.

I was too much interested at this moment to feel the concern that I
might otherwise have experienced. On the forecastle, it appeared to
us all that we should be boarded in a minute, for one of the proas was
actually within a hundred feet, though losing her advantage a little
by getting under the lee of our sails. Kite had ordered us to muster
forward of the rigging, to meet the expected leap with a discharge of
muskets, and then to present our pikes, when I felt an arm thrown around
my body, and was turned in-board, while another person assumed my place.
This was Neb, who had thus coolly thrust himself before me, in order
to meet the danger first. I felt vexed, even while touched with the
fellow's attachment and self-devotion, but had no time to betray either
feeling before the crews of the proas gave a yell, and discharged some
fifty or sixty matchlocks at us. The air was full of bullets, but they
all went over our heads. Not a soul on board the John was hurt. On our
side, we gave the gentlemen the four sixes, two at the nearest and two
at the sternmost proa, which was still near a cable's length distant. As
often happens, the one seemingly farthest from danger, fared the worst.
Our grape and canister had room to scatter, and I can at this distant
day still hear the shrieks that arose from that craft! They were
like the yells of fiends in anguish. The effect on that proa was
instantaneous; instead of keeping on after her consort, she wore short
round on her heel, and stood away in our wake, on the other tack,
apparently to get out of the range of our fire.

I doubt if we touched a man in the nearest proa. At any rate, no noise
proceeded from her, and she came up under our bows fast. As every gun
was discharged, and there was not time to load them, all now depended on
repelling the boarders. Part of our people mustered in the waist,
where it was expected the proa would fall alongside, and part on the
forecastle. Just as this distribution was made, the pirates cast their
grapnel. It was admirably thrown, but caught only by a ratlin. I saw
this, and was about to jump into the rigging to try what I could do to
clear it, when Neb again went ahead of me, and cut the ratlin with his
knife. This was just as the pirates had abandoned sails and oars, and
had risen to haul up alongside. So sudden was the release, that twenty
of them fell over by their own efforts. In this state the ship passed
ahead, all her canvass being full, leaving the proa motionless in her
wake. In passing, however, the two vessels were so near, that those aft
in the John distinctly saw the swarthy faces of their enemies.

We were no sooner clear of the proas than the order was given, "ready
about!" The helm was put down, and the ship came into the wind in a
minute. As we came square with the two proas, all our larboard guns were
given to them, and this ended the affair. I think the nearest of the
rascals got it this time, for away she went, after her consort, both
running off towards the islands. We made a little show of chasing, but
it was only a feint; for we were too glad to get away from them, to
be in earnest. In ten minutes after we tacked the last time, we ceased
firing, having thrown some eight or ten round-shot after the proas, and
were close-hauled again, heading to the south-west.

It is not to be supposed we went to sleep again immediately. Neb was
the only man on board who did, but he never missed an occasion to eat or
sleep. The captain praised us, and, as a matter of course in that day,
he called all hands to "splice the main-brace." After this, the watch
was told to go below, as regularly as if nothing had happened. As for
the captain himself, he and Mr. Marble and Mr. Kite went prying about
the ship to ascertain if anything material had been cut by what
the chief-mate called "the bloody Indian matchlocks." A little
running-rigging had suffered, and we had to reeve a few new ropes in the
morning; but this terminated the affair.

I need hardly say, all hands of us were exceedingly proud of our
exploit. Everybody was praised but Neb, who, being a "nigger," was in
some way or other overlooked. I mentioned his courage and readiness to
Mr. Marble, but I could excite in no one else the same respect for the
poor fellow's conduct, that I certainly felt myself. I have since lived
long enough to know that as the gold of the rich attracts to itself the
gold of the poor, so do the deeds of the unknown go to swell the fame of
the known. This is as true of nations, and races, and families, as it is
of individuals; poor Neb belonging to a proscribed colour, it was not
in reason to suppose he could ever acquire exactly the same credit as a
white man.

"Them darkies do sometimes blunder on a lucky idee," answered Mr. Marble
to one of my earnest representations, "and I've known chaps among 'em
that were almost as knowing as dullish whites; but everything out of the
common way with 'em is pretty much chance. As for Neb, however, I will
say this for him; that, for a nigger, he takes things quicker than any
of his colour I ever sailed with. Then he has no sa'ce, and that is a
good deal with a black. White sa'ce is bad enough; but that of a nigger
is unbearable."

Alas! Neb. Born in slavery, accustomed to consider it arrogance to think
of receiving even his food until the meanest white had satisfied his
appetite, submissive, unrepining, laborious and obedient--the highest
eulogium that all these patient and unobtrusive qualities could obtain,
was a reluctant acknowledgment that he had "no sa'ce." His quickness
and courage saved the John, nevertheless; and I have always said it, and
ever shall.

A day after the affair of the proas, all hands of us began to brag. Even
the captain was a little seized with this mania; and as for Marble,
he was taken so badly, that, had I not known he behaved well in the
emergency, I certainly should have set him down as a Bobadil. Rupert
manifested this feeling, too, though I heard he did his duty that night.
The result of all the talk was to convert the affair into a very heroic
exploit; and it subsequently figured in the journals as one of the deeds
that illustrate the American name.

From the time we were rid of the proas, the ship got along famously
until we were as far west as about 52°, when the wind came light from
the southward and westward, with thick weather. The captain had been
two or three times caught in here, and he took it into his head that the
currents would prove more favourable, could he stand in closer to the
coast of Madagascar than common. Accordingly, we brought the ship on
a bowline, and headed up well to the northward and westward. We were a
week on this tack, making from fifty to a hundred miles a day, expecting
hourly to see the land. At length we made it, enormously high
mountains, apparently a long distance from us, though, as we afterwards
ascertained, a long distance inland; and we continued to near it. The
captain had a theory of his own about the currents of this part of the
ocean, and, having set one of the peaks by compass, at the time the land
was seen, he soon convinced himself, and everybody else whom he tried to
persuade, Marble excepted, that we were setting to windward with visible
speed. Captain Robbins was a well-meaning, but somewhat dull man; and,
when dull men, become theorists, they usually make sad work with the
practice.

All that night we stood on to the northward and westward, though Mr.
Marble had ventured a remonstrance concerning a certain head-land that
was just visible, a little on our weather-bow. The captain snapped his
fingers at this, however; laying down a course of reasoning, which,
if it were worth anything, ought to have convinced the mate that the
weatherly set of the current would carry us ten leagues to the southward
and westward of that cape, before morning. On this assurance, we
prepared to pass a quiet and comfortable night.

I had the morning watch, and when I came on deck, at four, there was no
change in the weather. Mr. Marble soon appeared, and he walked into the
waist, where I was leaning on the weather-rail, and fell into discourse.
This he often did, sometimes so far forgetting the difference in
our stations _afloat_--not _ashore_; _there_ I had considerably the
advantage of him--as occasionally to call me "sir." I always paid
for this inadvertency, however, it usually putting a stop to the
communications for the time being. In one instance, he took such prompt
revenge for this implied admission of equality, as literally to break
off short in the discourse, and to order me, in his sharpest key, to go
aloft and send some studding-sails on deck, though they all had to be
sent aloft again, and set, in the course of the same watch. But offended
dignity is seldom considerate, and not always consistent.

"A quiet night, Master Miles"--_this_ the mate _could_ call me, as
it implied superiority on his part--"A quiet night, Master Miles,"
commenced Mr. Marble, "and a strong westerly current, accordin'
to Captain Robbins. Well, to my taste gooseberries are better than
currents, and _I'd_ go about. That's my manner of _generalizing_."

"The captain, I suppose, sir, from that, is of a different opinion?"

"Why, yes, somewhatish,--though I don't think he knows himself exactly
what his own opinion is. This is the third v'y'ge I've sailed with the
old gentleman, and he is half his time in a fog or a current. Now, it's
his idee the ocean is full of Mississippi rivers, and if one could
only find the head of a stream, he might go round the world in it. More
particularly does he hold that there is no fear of the land when in a
current, as a stream never sets on shore. For my part, I never want any
better hand-lead than my nose."

"Nose, Mr. Marble?"

"Yes, nose, Master Miles. Haven't you remarked how far we smelt the
Injees, as we went through the islands?"

"It is true, sir, the Spice Islands, and all land, they say--"

"What the devil's that?" asked the mate, evidently startled at something
he _heard_, though he appeared to _smell_ nothing, unless indeed it
might be a rat.

"It sounds like water washing on rocks, sir, as much as anything I ever
heard in my life!"

"Ready about!" shouted the mate. "Run down and call the captain,
Miles--hard a-lee--start everybody up, forward."

A scene of confusion followed, in the midst of which the captain,
second-mate, and the watch below, appeared on deck. Captain Robbins took
command, of course, and was in time to haul the after-yards, the ship
coming round slowly in so light a wind. Come round she did, however,
and, when her head was fairly to the southward and eastward, the captain
demanded an explanation. Mr. Marble did not feel disposed to trust his
nose any longer, but he invited the captain to use his ears. This all
hands did, and, if sounds could be trusted, we had a pretty lot of
breakers seemingly all around us.

"We surely can go out the way we came in, Mr. Marble?" said the captain,
anxiously.

"Yes, sir, if there were no _current_; but one never knows where a
bloody current will carry him in the dark."

"Stand by to let go the anchor!" cried the captain. "Let run and clew
up, forward and aft. Let go as soon as you're ready, Mr. Kite."

Luckily, we had kept a cable bent as we came through the Straits, and,
not knowing but we might touch at the Isle of France, it was still bent,
with the anchor fished. We had talked of stowing the latter in-board,
but, having land in sight, it was not done. In two minutes it was
a-cock-bill, and, in two more, let go. None knew whether we should find
a bottom; but Kite soon sang out to "snub," the anchor being down,
with only six fathoms out. The lead corroborated this, and we had the
comfortable assurance of being not only among breakers, but just near
the coast. The holding-ground, however, was reported good, and we went
to work and rolled up all our rags. In half an hour the ship was snug,
riding by the stream, with a strong current, or tide, setting exactly
north-east, or directly opposite to the captain's theory. As soon as
Mr. Marble had ascertained this fact, I overheard him grumbling about
something, of which I could distinctly understand nothing but the words
"Bloody cape--bloody current."



CHAPTER V.

  "They hurried us aboard a bark;
  Bore us some leagues to sea; where they prepared
  A rotten carcass of a boat, not rigg'd,
  Nor tackle, sail, nor mast: the very rats
  Instinctively had girt us--"
  _Tempest._


The hour that succeeded in the calm of expectation, was one of the most
disquieting of my life. As soon as the ship was secured, and there no
longer remained anything to do, the stillness of death reigned among
us; the faculties of every man and boy appearing to be absorbed in the
single sense of hearing--the best, and indeed the only, means we then
possessed of judging of our situation. It was now apparent that we were
near some place or places where the surf was breaking on land; and
the hollow, not-to-be-mistaken bellowings of the element, too plainly
indicated that cavities in rocks frequently received, and as often
rejected, the washing waters. Nor did these portentous sounds come from
one quarter only, but they seemed to surround us; now reaching our
ears from the known direction of the land, now from the south, the
north-east, and, in fact, from every direction. There were instances
when these moanings of the ocean sounded as if close under our stern,
and then again they came from some point within a fearful proximity to
the bows.

Happily the wind was light, and the ship rode with a moderate strain
on the cable, so as to relieve us from the apprehension of immediate
destruction. There was a long, heavy ground-swell rolling in from, the
south-west, but, the lead giving us, eight fathoms, the sea did not
break exactly where we lay; though the sullen washing that came to our
ears, from time to time, gave unerring notice that it was doing so quite
near us, independently of the places where it broke upon rocks. At one
time the captain's impatience was so goading, that he had determined to
pull round the anchorage in a boat, in order to anticipate the approach
of light; but a suggestion from Mr. Marble that he might unconsciously
pull into a roller, and capsize, induced him to wait for day.

The dawn appeared at last, after two or three of the longest hours
I remember ever to have passed. Never shall I forget the species of
furious eagerness with which we gazed about us. In the first place, we
got an outline of the adjacent land; then, as light diffused itself more
and more into the atmosphere, we caught glimpses of its details. It was
soon certain we were within a cable's length of perpendicular cliffs
of several hundred feet in height, into whose caverns the sea poured at
times, producing those frightful, hollow moanings, that an experienced
ear can never mistake. This cliff extended for leagues in both
directions, rendering drowning nearly inevitable to the shipwrecked
mariner on that inhospitable coast. Ahead, astern, outside of us, and
I might almost say all around us, became visible, one after another,
detached ledges, breakers and ripples; so many proofs of the manner in
which Providence had guided us through the hours of darkness.

By the time the sun appeared, for, happily, the day proved bright
and clear, we had obtained pretty tolerable notions of the critical
situation in which we were placed by means of the captain's theory of
currents. The very cape that we were to drift past, lay some ten leagues
nearly dead to windward, as the breeze then was; while to leeward, far
as the eye could reach, stretched the same inhospitable, barrier of rock
as that which lay on our starboard quarter and beam. Such was my first
introduction to the island of Madagascar; a portion of the world, of
which, considering its position, magnitude and productions, the mariners
of Christendom probably know less than of any other. At the time of
which I am writing, far less had been learned of this vast country
than is known to-day, though the knowledge of even our own immediate
contemporaries is of an exceedingly limited character.

Now that the day had returned, the sun was shining on us cheerfully, and
the sea looked tranquil and assuring, the captain became more pacified.
He had discretion enough to understand that time and examination were
indispensable to moving the ship with safety; and he took the wise
course of ordering the people to get their breakfasts, before he set
us at work. The hour that was thus employed forward, was passed aft in
examining the appearance of the water, and the positions of the reefs
around the ship. By the time we were through, the captain had swallowed
his cup of coffee and eaten his biscuit; and, calling away four of the
most athletic oarsmen, he got into the jolly-boat, and set out on the
all-important duty of discovering a channel sea-ward. The lead was kept
moving, and I shall leave the party thus employed for an hour or more,
while we turn our attention in-board.

Marble beckoned me aft, as soon as Captain Robbins was in the boat,
apparently with a desire to say something in private. I understood the
meaning of his eye, and followed him down into the steerage, where all
that was left of the ship's water was now stowed, that on deck having
been already used. The mate had a certain consciousness about him that
induced great caution, and he would not open his lips until he had
rummaged about below some time, affecting to look for a set of blocks
that might be wanted for some purpose or other, on deck. When this
had lasted a little time, he turned short round to me, and let out the
secret of the whole manoeuvre.

"I'll tell you what, Master Miles," he said, making a sign with a finger
to be cautious, "I look upon this ship's berth as worse than that of a
city scavenger. We've plenty of water all round us, and plenty of rocks,
too. If we knew the way back, there is no wind to carry us through it,
among these bloody currents, and there's no harm in getting ready for
the worst. So do you get Neb and the gentleman"--Rupert was generally
thus styled in the ship--"and clear away the launch first. Get
everything out of it that don't belong there; after which, do you put
these breakers in, and wait for further orders. Make no fuss, putting
all upon orders, and leave the rest to me."

I complied, of course, and in a few minutes the launch was clear. While
busy, however, Mr. Kite came past, and desired to know "what are you at
there?" I told him 'twas Mr. Marble's orders, and the latter gave his
own explanation of the matter.

"The launch may be wanted," he said, "for I've no notion that jolly-boat
will do to go out as far as we shall find it necessary to sound. So I am
about to ballast the launch, and get her sails ready; there's no use in
mincing matters in such a berth as this."

Kite approved of the idea, and even went so far as to suggest that it
might be well enough to get the launch into the water at once, by way of
saving time. The proposition was too agreeable to be rejected, and, to
own the truth, all hands went to work to get up the tackles with a will,
as it is called. In half an hour the boat was floating alongside
the ship. Some said she would certainly be wanted to carry out the
stream-anchor, if for nothing else; others observed that half a dozen
boats would not be enough to find all the channel we wanted; while
Marble kept his eye, though always in an underhand way, on his main
object. The breakers we got in and stowed, filled with _fresh_ water, by
way of ballast. The masts were stepped, the oars were put on board,
and a spare compass was passed dawn, lest the ship might be lost in the
thick weather, of which there was so much, just in that quarter of the
world. All this wars said and done so quietly, that nobody took the
alarm; and when the mate called out, in a loud voice, "Miles, pass a
bread-bag filled and some cold grub into that launch--the men may be
hungry before they get back," no one seemed to think more was meant than
was thus openly expressed. I had my private orders, however, and managed
to get quite a hundred-weight of good cabin biscuit into the launch,
while the cook was directed to fill his coppers with pork. I got some of
the latter _raw_ into the boat, too; _raw_ pork being food that sailors
in no manner disdain. They say it eats like chestnuts.

In the mean time, the captain was busy in his exploring expedition, on
the return from which he appeared to think he was better rewarded than
has certainly fallen to the lot of others employed on another expedition
which bears the same name. He was absent near two hours, and, when
he got back, it was to renew his theory of what Mr. Marble called his
"bloody currents."

"I've got behind the curtain, Mr. Marble," commenced Captain Robbins,
before he was fairly alongside of the ship again, whereupon Marble
muttered "ay! ay! you've got behind the rocks, too!" "It's all owing to
an eddy that is made in-shore by the main current, and we have stretched
a _leetle_ too far in."

Even I thought to myself, what would have become of us had we stretched
a _leetle_ further in! The captain, however, seemed satisfied that he
could carry the ship out, and, as this was all we wanted, no one was
disposed to be very critical. A word was said about the launch, which
the mate had ordered to be dropped astern, out of the way, and the
explanation seemed to mystify the captain. In the meanwhile, the pork
was boiling furiously in the coppers.

All hands were now called to get the anchor up. Rupert and I went aloft
to loosen sails, and we staid there until the royals were mast-headed.
In a very few minutes the cable was up and down, and then came the
critical part of the whole affair. The wind was still very light, and
it was a question whether the ship could be carried past a reef of rocks
that now began to show itself above water, and on which the long, heavy
rollers, that came undulating from the south-western Atlantic, broke
with a sullen violence that betrayed how powerful was the ocean, even
in its moments of slumbering peacefulness. The rising and falling of its
surface was like that of some monster's chest, as he respired heavily in
sleep.

Even the captain hesitated about letting go his hold of the bottom, with
so strong a set of the water to leeward, and in so light a breeze.
There was a sort of bight on our starboard bow, however, and Mr. Marble
suggested it might be well to sound in that direction, as the water
appeared smooth and deep. To him it looked as if there were really an
eddy in-shore, which might hawse the ship up to windward six or eight
times her length, and thus more than meet the loss that must infallibly
occur in first casting her head to seaward. The captain admitted the
justice of this suggestion, and I was one of those who were told to go
in the jolly-boat on this occasion. We pulled in towards the cliffs, and
had not gone fifty yards before we struck an eddy, sure enough, which
was quite as strong as the current in which the ship lay. This was
a great advantage, and so much the more, because the water was of
sufficient depth, quite up to the edge of the reef which formed the
bight, and thus produced the change in the direction of the set.
There was plenty of room, too, to handle the ship in, and, all things
considered, the discovery was extremely fortunate. In the bottom of the
bight we should have gone ashore the previous night, had not our ears
been so much better than our noses.

As soon as certain of the facts, the captain pulled back to the ship,
and gladdened the hearts of all on board with the tidings. We now manned
the handspikes cheerily, and began to heave. I shall never forget the
impression made on me by the rapid drift of the ship, as soon as the
anchor was off the bottom, and her bows were cast in-shore, in order
to fill the sails. The land was so near that I noted this drift by the
rocks, and my heart was fairly in my mouth for a few seconds. But the
John worked beautifully, and soon gathered way. Her bows did not not
strike the eddy, however, until we got fearful evidence of the strength
of the true current, which had set us down nearly as low as the reef
outside, to windward of which it was indispensable for us to pass.
Marble saw all this, and he whispered me to tell the cook to pass the
pork into the launch at once--hot to mind whether it were particularly
well done, or not. I obeyed, and had to tend the fore-sheet myself, for
my pains, when the order was given to "ready about."

The eddy proved a true friend, but it did not carry us up much higher
than the place where we had anchored, when it became necessary to
tack. This was done in season, on account of our ignorance of all the
soundings, and we had soon got the John's head off-shore again. Drawing
a short distance ahead, the main-top-sail was thrown aback, and the ship
allowed to drift. In proper time, it was filled, and we got round once
more, looking into the bight. The manoeuvre was repeated, and this
brought us up fairly under the lee of the reef, and just in the position
we desired to be. It was a nervous instant, I make no doubt, when
Captain Robbins determined to trust the ship in the true current, and
run the gauntlet of the rocks. The passage across which we had to steer,
before we could possibly weather the nearest reef was about a cable's
length in width, and the wind would barely let us lay high enough
to take it at right-angles. Then the air was so light, that I almost
despaired of our doing anything.

Captain Robbins put the ship into the current with great judgment. She
was kept a rap-full until near the edge of the eddy, and then her helm
was put nearly down, all at once. But for the current's acting, in one
direction, on her starboard bow, and the eddy's pressing, in the other,
on the larboard quarter, the vessel would have been taken aback; but
these counteracting forces brought her handsomely on her course again,
and that in a way to prevent her falling an inch to leeward.

Now came the trial. The ship was kept a rap-full, and she went steadily
across the passage, favoured, perhaps, by a little more breeze than had
blown most of the morning. Still, our leeward set was fearful, and, as
we approached the reef, I gave all up. Marble screwed his lips together,
and his eyes never turned from the weather-leeches of the sails.
Everybody appeared to me to be holding his breath, as the ship rose on
the long ground-swells, sending slowly ahead the whole time. We passed
the nearest point of the rocks on one of the rounded risings of the
water, just touching lightly as we glided by the visible danger. The
blow was light, and gave little cause for alarm. Captain Robbins now
caught Mr. Marble by the hand, and was in the very act of heartily
shaking it, when the ship came down very much in the manner that a man
unexpectedly lights on a stone, when he has no idea of having anything
within two or three yards of his feet. The blow was tremendous, throwing
half the crew down; at the same instant, all three of the topmasts went
to leeward.

One has some difficulty in giving a reader accurate notions of the
confusion of so awful a scene. The motion of the vessel was arrested
suddenly, as it might be by a wall, and the whole fabric seemed to be
shaken to dissolution. The very next roller that came in, which would
have undulated in towards the land but for us, meeting with so large a
body in its way, piled up and broke upon our decks, covering everything
with water. At the same time, the hull lifted, and, aided by wind, sea
and current, it set still further on the reef, thumping in a way
to break strong iron bolts, like so many sticks of sealing-wax, and
cracking the solid live-oak of the floor-timbers as if they were made of
willow. The captain stood aghast! For one moment despair was painfully
depicted in his countenance; then he recovered his self-possession and
seamanship. He gave the order to stand by to carry out to windward the
stream-anchor in the launch, and to send a kedge to haul out by, in the
jolly-boat. Marble answered with the usual "ay, ay, sir!" but before he
sent us into the boats, he ventured to suggest that the ship had bilged
already. He had heard timbers crack, about which he thought there could
be no mistake. The pumps were sounded, and the ship had seven feet water
in her hold. This had made in about ten minutes. Still the captain would
not give up. He ordered us to commence throwing the teas overboard, in
order to ascertain, if possible, the extent of the injury. A place was
broken out in the wake of the main-hatch, and a passage was opened
down into the lower-hold, where we met the water. In the mean time, a
South-Sea man we had picked up at Canton, dove down under the lee of the
bilge of the ship. He soon came back and reported that a piece of
sharp rock had gone quite through the planks. Everything tending to
corroborate this, the captain called a council of all hands on the
quarter-deck, to consult as to further measures.

A merchantman has no claim on the services of her crew after she is
hopelessly wrecked. The last have a lien in law, on the ship and cargo,
for their wages; and it is justly determined that when this security
fails, the claim for services ends. It followed, of course, that as soon
as the John was given over, we were all our own masters; and hence the
necessity for bringing even Neb into the consultation. With a vessel of
war it would have been different. In such a case, the United States
pays for the service, ship or no ship, wreck or no wreck; and the seaman
serves out his term of enlistment, be this longer or shorter. Military
discipline continues under all circumstances.

Captain Robbins could hardly speak when we gathered round him on the
forecastle, the seas breaking over the quarter-deck in a way to render
that sanctuary a very uncomfortable berth. As soon as he could command
himself, he told us that the ship was hopelessly lost. How it had
happened, he could not very well explain himself, though he ascribed
it to the fact that the currents did not run in the direction in which,
according to all sound reasoning, they ought to run. This part of the
speech was not perfectly lucid, though, as I understood our unfortunate
captain, the laws of nature, owing to some inexplicable influence, had
departed, in some way or other, from their ordinary workings, expressly
to wreck the John. If this were not the meaning of what he said, I did
not understand this part of the address.

The captain was much more explicit after he got out of the current. He
told us that the island of Bourbon was only about four hundred miles
from where we then were, and he thought it possible to go that distance,
find some small craft, and come back, and still save part of the cargo,
the sails, anchors, &c. &c. We might make such a trip of it as would
give us all a lift, in the way of salvage, that might prove some
compensation for our other losses. This sounded well, and it had at
least the effect to give us some present object for our exertions; it
also made the danger we all ran of losing our lives, less apparent. To
land on the island of Madagascar, in that day, was out of the question.
The people were then believed to be far less civilized than in truth
they were, and had a particularly bad character among mariners.
Nothing remained, therefore, but to rig the boats, and make immediate
dispositions for our departure.

Now it was that we found the advantage of the preparations already made.
Little remained to be done, and that which was done, was much better
done than if we had waited until the wreck was half full of water,
and the seas were combing in upon her. The captain took charge of the
launch, putting Mr. Marble, Rupert, Neb, myself and the cook, into the
jolly-boat, with orders to keep as close as possible to himself. Both
boats had sails, and both were so arranged as to row in calms, or
head-winds. We took in rather more than our share of provisions and
water, having two skillful caterers in the chief-mate and cook; and,
having obtained a compass, quadrant, and a chart, for our portion of
the indispensables, all hands were ready for a start, in about two hours
after the ship had struck.

It was just noon when we cast off from the wreck, and stood directly
off the land. According to our calculations, the wind enabled us to run,
with a clean full, on our true course. As the boats drew out into the
ocean, we had abundant opportunities of discovering how many dangers we
had escaped; and, for my own part, I felt deeply grateful, even then, as
I was going out upon the wide Atlantic in a mere shell of a boat, at the
mercy we had experienced. No sooner were we fairly in deep water, than
the captain and mate had a dialogue on the subject of the currents
again. Notwithstanding all the difficulties his old theory had brought
him into, the former remained of opinion that the true current set to
windward, and that we should so find it as soon as we got a little
into the offing; while the mate was frank enough to say he had been of
opinion, all along, that it ran the other way. The latter added that
Bourbon was rather a small spot to steer for, and it might be better to
get into its longitude, and then find it by meridian observations, than
to make any more speculations about matters of which we knew nothing.

The captain and Mr. Marble saw things differently, and we kept away
accordingly, when we ought to have luffed all we could. Fortunately the
weather continued moderate, or our little boat would have had a bad time
of it. We outsailed the launch with ease, and were forced to reef in
order not to part company. When the sun set, we were more than twenty
miles from the land, seeing no more of the coast, though the mountains
inland were still looming up grandly in the distance. I confess, when
night shut in upon us, and I found myself on the wide ocean, in a boat
much smaller than that with which I used to navigate the Hudson, running
every minute farther and farther into the watery waste, I began to think
of Clawbonny, and its security, and quiet nights, and well-spread board,
and comfortable beds in a way I had never thought of either before. As
for food, however, we were not stinted; Mr. Marble setting us an example
of using our teeth on the half boiled pork, that did credit to his
philosophy. To do this man justice, he seemed to think a run of four
hundred miles in a jolly-boat no great matter, but took everything as
regularly as if still on the deck of the John. Each of us got as good a
nap as our cramped situations would allow.

The wind freshened in the morning, and the sea began to break. This made
it necessary to keep still more away, to prevent filling at times, or
to haul close up, which might have done equally well. But the captain
preferred the latter course, on account of the current. We had ticklish
work of it, in the jolly-boat, more than once that day, and were
compelled to carry a whole sail in order to keep up with the launch,
which beat us, now the wind had increased. Marble was a terrible fellow
to carry on everything, ship or boat, and we kept our station admirably,
the two boats never getting a cable's length asunder, and running most
of the time within hail of each other. As night approached, however, a
consultation was held on the subject of keeping in company. We had now
been out thirty hours, and had made near a hundred and fifty miles, by
our calculation. Luckily the wind had got to be nearly west, and we were
running ahead famously, though it was as much as we could do to keep the
jolly-boat from filling. One hand was kept bailing most of the time, and
sometimes all four of us were busy. These matters were talked over, and
the captain proposed abandoning the jolly-boat altogether, and to take
us into the launch, though there was not much vacant space to receive
us. But the mate resisted this, answering that he thought he could
take care of our boat a while longer, at least. Accordingly, the old
arrangement was maintained, the party endeavouring to keep as near
together as possible.

About midnight it began to blow in squalls, and two or three times we
found it necessary to take in our sails, our oars, and pull the boat
head to sea, in order to prevent her swamping. The consequence was,
that we lost sight of the launch, and, though we always kept away to
our course as soon as the puffs would allow, when the sun rose we saw
nothing of our late companions. I have sometimes thought Mr. Marble
parted company on purpose, though he seemed much concerned next morning
when he had ascertained the launch was nowhere to be seen. After looking
about for an hour, and the wind moderating, we made sail close on the
wind; a direction that would soon have taken us away from the launch,
had the latter been close alongside when we first took it. We made good
progress all this day, and at evening, having now been out fifty-four
hours, we supposed ourselves to be rather more than half-way on the road
to our haven. It fell calm in the night, and the next morning we got the
wind right aft. This gave us a famous shove, for we sometimes made six
and seven knots in the hour. The fair wind lasted thirty hours, during
which time we must have made more than a hundred and fifty miles, it
falling nearly calm about an hour before dawn, on the morning of the
fourth day out. Everybody was anxious to see the horizon that morning,
and every eye was turned to the east, with intense expectation, as the
sun rose. It was in vain; there was not the least sign of land visible.
Marble looked sadly disappointed, but he endeavoured to cheer us up with
the hope of seeing the island shortly. We were then heading due east,
with a very light breeze from the north-west. I happened to stand up in
the boat, on a thwart, and, turning my face to the southward, I caught a
glimpse of something that seemed like a hummock of land in that quarter.
I saw it but for an instant; but, whatever it was, I saw it plain
enough. Mr. Marble now got on the thwart, and looked in vain to catch
the same object. He said there was no land in that quarter--could be
none--and resumed his seat to steer to the eastward, a little north. I
could not be easy, however, but remained on the thwart until the
boat lifted on a swell higher than common, and then I saw the brown,
hazy-looking spot on the margin of the ocean again. My protestations
now became so earnest, that Marble consented to stand for an hour in
the direction I pointed out to him. "One hour, boy, I will grant you,
to shut your mouth," the mate said, taking out his watch, "and that you
need lay nothing to my door hereafter." To make the most of this hour, I
got my companions at the oars, and we all pulled with hearty good-will.
So much importance did I attach to every fathom of distance made, that
we did not rise from our seats until the mate told us to stop rowing,
for the hour was up. As for himself, he had not risen either, but kept
looking behind him to the eastward, still hoping to see land somewhere
in that quarter.

My heart beat violently as I got upon the thwart, but there lay my hazy
object, now never dipping at all. I shouted "land ho!" Marble jumped
up on a thwart, too and no longer disputed my word. It was land, he
admitted, and it must be the island of Bourbon, which we had passed to
the northward, and must soon have given a hopelessly wide berth. We went
to the oars again with renewed life, and soon made the boat spin. All
that day we kept rowing, until about five in the afternoon, when we
found ourselves within a few leagues of the island of Bourbon, where
we were met by a fresh breeze from the southward, and were compelled to
make sail. The wind was dead on end, and we made stretches under the lee
of the island, going about as we found the sea getting to be too heavy
for us, as was invariably the case whenever we got too far east or west.
In a word, a lee was fast becoming necessary. By ten, we were within a
mile of the shore, but saw no place where we thought it safe to attempt
a landing in the dark; a long, heavy sea setting in round both sides of
the island, though the water did not break much where we remained. At
length the wind got to be so heavy, that we could not carry even our
sail double-reefed, and we kept two oars pulling lightly in, relieving
each other every hour. By daylight it blew tremendously, and glad enough
were we to find a little cove where it was possible to get ashore. I had
then never felt so grateful to Providence as I did when I got my feet on
_terra-firma_.

We remained on the island a week, hoping to see the launch and her crew;
but neither appeared. Then we got a passage to the Isle of France, on
arriving at which place we found the late gale was considered to have
been very serious. There was no American consul in the island, at
that time; and Mr. Marble, totally without credit or means, found it
impossible to obtain a craft of any sort to go to the wreck in. We were
without money, too, and, a homeward-bound Calcutta vessel coming in, we
joined her to work our passages home, Mr. Marble as dickey, and the rest
of us in the forecastle. This vessel was called the Tigris, and belonged
to Philadelphia. She was considered one of the best ships out of
America, and her master had a high reputation for seamanship and
activity. He was a little man of the name of Digges, and was under
thirty at the time I first knew him. He took us on board purely out of
a national feeling, for his ship was strong-handed without us, having
thirty-two souls, all told, when he received us five. We afterwards
learned that letters sent after the ship had induced Captain Digges to
get five additional hands in Calcutta, in order to be able to meet the
picaroons that were then beginning to plunder American vessels, even
on their own coast, under the pretence of their having violated certain
regulations made by the two great belligerents of the day, in Europe.
This was just the commencement of the _quasi_ war which broke out a few
weeks later with France.

Of all these hostile symptoms, however, I then knew little and cared
less. Even Mr. Marble had never heard of them and we five joined the
Tigris merely to get passages home, without entertaining second thoughts
of running any risk, further than the ordinary dangers of the seas.

The Tigris sailed the day we joined her, which was the third after we
reached Mauritius, and just fifteen days after we had left the wreck. We
went to sea with the wind at the southward, and had a good run off
the island, making more than a hundred miles that afternoon and in the
course of the night. Next morning, early, I had the watch, and an order
was given to set top-gallant studding-sails. Rupert and I had got into
the same watch on board this vessel, and we both went aloft to reeve the
gear. I had taken up the end of the halyards, and had reeved them, and
had overhauled the end down, when, in raising my head, I saw two small
lug-sails on the ocean, broad on our weather-bow, which I recognised in
an instant for those of the John's launch. I cannot express the feeling
that came over me at that sight. I yelled, rather than shouted, "Sail
ho!" and then, pushing in, I caught hold of a royal-backstay, and was on
deck in an instant. I believe I made frantic gestures to windward, for
Mr. Marble, who had the watch, had to shake me sharply before I could
let the fact be known.

As soon as Marble comprehended me, and got the bearings of the boat, he
hauled down all the studding-sails, braced sharp up on a wind, set the
mainsail, and then sent down a report to Captain Digges for orders. Our
new commander was a humane man, and having been told our whole story, he
did not hesitate about confirming all that had been done. As the people
in the launch had made out the ship some time before I saw the boat, the
latter was running down upon us, and, in about an hour, the tiny sails
were descried from the deck. In less than an hour after this, our
mainyard swung round, throwing the topsail aback, and the well-known
launch of the John rounded-to close under our lee; a rope was thrown,
and the boat was hauled alongside.

Everybody in the Tigris was shocked when we came to get a look at the
condition of the strangers. One man, a powerful negro, lay dead in
the bottom of the boat; the body having been kept for a dreadful
alternative, in the event of his companions falling in with no other
relief. Three more of the men were nearly gone, and had to be whipped on
board as so many lifeless bales of goods. Captain Robbins and Kite, both
athletic, active men, resembled spectres, their eyes standing out of
their heads as if thrust from their sockets by some internal foe; and
when we spoke to them, they all seemed unable to answer. It was not
fasting, or want of food, that had reduced them to this state, so much
as want of water. It is true, they had no more bread left than would
keep body and soul together for a few hours longer; but of water they
had tasted not a drop for seventy odd hours! It appeared that, during
the gale, they had been compelled to empty the breakers to lighten the
boat, reserving only one for their immediate wants. By some mistake,
the one reserved was nearly half-empty at the time; and Captain Robbins
believed himself then so near Bourbon, as not to go on an allowance
until it was too late. In this condition had they been searching for the
island quite ten days, passing it, but never hitting it. The winds had
not favoured them, and, the last few days, the weather had been such as
to admit of no observation. Consequently, they had been as much out of
their reckoning in their latitude, as in their longitude.

A gleam of intelligence, and I thought of pleasure, shot athwart the
countenance of Captain Robbins, as I helped him over the Tigris's side.
He saw I was safe. He tottered as he walked, and leaned heavily on me
for support. I was about to lead him aft, but his eye caught sight of a
scuttlebutt, and the tin-pot on its head. Thither he went, and stretched
out a trembling hand to the vessel. I gave him the pot as it was, with
about a wine-glass of water in it This he swallowed at a gulp, and then
tottered forward for more. By this time Captain Digges joined us, and
gave the proper directions how to proceed. All the sufferers had
water in small quantities given them, and it is wonderful with what
expressions of delight they received the grateful beverage. As soon as
they understood the necessity of keeping it as long as possible in their
mouths, and on their tongues, before swallowing it, a little did them a
great deal of good. After this, we gave them some coffee, the breakfast
being ready, and then a little ship's biscuit soaked in wine. By such
means every man was saved, though it was near a month before all were
themselves again. As for Captain Robbins and Kite, they were enabled to
attend to duty by the end of a week, though nothing more was exacted of
them than they chose to perform.



CHAPTER VI.

         "The yesty waves
  Confound and swallow navigation up."
  _Macbeth._


Poor Captain Robbins! No sooner did he regain his bodily strength, than
he began to endure the pain of mind that was inseparable from the
loss of his ship. Marble, who, now that he had fallen to the humbler
condition of a second-mate, was more than usually disposed to be
communicative with me, gave me to understand that our old superior had
at first sounded Captain Digges on the subject of proceeding to the
wreck, in order to ascertain what could be saved; but the latter had
soon convinced him that a first-rate Philadelphia Indiaman had something
else to do besides turning wrecker. After a pretty broad hint to this
effect, the John, and all that was in her, were abandoned to their fate.
Marble, however, was of opinion that the gale in which the launch came
so near being lost, must have broken the ship entirely to pieces, giving
her fragments to the ocean. We never heard of her fate, or recovered a
single article that belonged to her.

Many were the discussions between Captain Robbins and his two mates,
touching the error in reckoning that had led them so far from their
course. In that day, navigation was by no means as simple a thing as it
has since become. It is true, lunars were usually attempted in India
and China ships; but this was not an every-day affair, like the present
morning and afternoon observations to obtain the time, and, by means of
the chronometer, the longitude. Then we had so recently got clear of the
islands, as to have no great need of any extraordinary head-work; and
the "bloody currents" had acted their pleasure with us for eight or ten
days before the loss of the ship. Marble was a very good navigator,
one of the best I ever sailed with, in spite of the plainness of his
exterior, and his rough deportment; and, all things considered, he
treated his old commander with great delicacy, promising to do all he
could, when he got home, to clear the matter up. As for Kite, he knew
but little, and had the discretion to say but little. This moderation
rendered our passage all the more agreeable.

The Tigris was a very fast ship, besides being well-found. She was a
little larger than the John, and mounted twelve guns, nine-pounders. In
consequence of the additions made to her crew, one way and another, she
now mustered nearer fifty than forty souls on board. Captain Digges had
certain martial tastes, and, long before we were up with the Cape, he
had us all quartered and exercised at the guns. He, too, had had an
affair with some proas, and he loved to converse of the threshing he had
given the rascals. I thought he envied us our exploit, though this might
have been mere imagination on my part, for he was liberal enough in his
commendations. The private intelligence he had received of the relations
between France and America, quickened his natural impulses; and, by the
time we reached St. Helena, the ship might have been said to be in good
fighting order for a merchantman. We touched at this last-mentioned
island for supplies, but obtained no news of any interest. Those who
supplied the ship could tell us nothing but the names of the Indiamen
who had gone out and home for the last twelvemonth, and the prices of
fresh meat and vegetables. Napoleon civilized them, seventeen years
later.

We had a good run from St. Helena to the calm latitudes, but these
last proved calmer than common. We worried through them after a while,
however, and then did very well until we got in the latitude of the
Windward Islands. Marble one day remarked to me that Captain Digges
was standing closer to the French island of Guadaloupe than was at all
necessary or prudent, if he believed in his own reports of the danger
there existed to American commerce, in this quarter of the ocean.

I have lived long enough, and have seen too much of men and things, to
fancy my country and countrymen right in all their transactions, merely
because newspapers, members of congress, and fourth of July orators,
are pleased to affirm the doctrine. No one can go much to sea without
reading with great distrust many of the accounts, in the journals of
the day, of the grievous wrongs done the commerce of America by the
authorities of this or that port, the seizure of such a ship, or the
imprisonment of some particular set of officers and men. As a rule,
it is safer to assume that the afflicted parties deserve all that has
happened to them, than to believe them immaculate; and, quite likely,
much more, too. The habit of receiving such appeals to their sympathies,
renders the good people of the republic peculiarly liable to impositions
of this nature; and the mother who encourages those of her children who
fetch and carry, will be certain to have her ears filled with complaints
and tattle. Nevertheless, it is a fact beyond all dispute, that the
commerce of the country was terribly depredated on by nearly all the
European belligerents, between the commencement of the war of the French
revolution and its close. So enormous were the robberies thus committed
on the widely extended trade of this nation, under one pretence or
another, as to give a colouring of retributive justice, if not of moral
right, to the recent failures of certain States among us to pay their
debts. Providence singularly avenges all wrongs by its unerring course;
and I doubt not, if the facts could be sifted to the bottom, it would
be found the devil was not permitted to do his work, in either case,
without using materials supplied by the sufferers, in some direct or
indirect manner, themselves. Of all the depredations on American trade
just mentioned, those of the great sister republic, at the close of the
last century, were among the most grievous, and were of a character
so atrocious and bold, that I confess it militates somewhat against my
theory to admit that France owns very little of the "suspended debt;"
but I account for this last circumstance by the reparation she in part
made, by the treaty of 1831. With England it is different. She drove us
into a war by the effects of her orders in council and paper blockades,
and compelled us to expend a hundred millions to set matters right. I
should like to see the books balanced, not by the devil, who equally
instigated the robberies on the high seas, and the "suspension" or
"repudiation" of the State debts; but by the great Accountant who keeps
a record of all our deeds of this nature, whether it be to make money
by means of cruising ships, or cruising scrip. It is true, these rovers
encountered very differently-looking victims, in the first place; but it
is a somewhat trite remark, that the aggregate of human beings is pretty
much the same in all situations. There were widows and orphans as
much connected with the condemnation of prizes, as with the prices of
condemned stock; and I do not see that fraud is any worse when carried
on by scriveners and clerks with quills behind their ears, than when
carried on by gentlemen wearing cocked hats, and carrying swords
by their sides. On the whole, I am far from certain that the
account-current of honesty is not slightly--honesty very _slightly_
leavens either transaction--in favour of the non-paying States, as men
do sometimes borrow with good intentions, and fail, from inability,
to pay; whereas, in the whole course of my experience, I never knew a
captor of a ship who intended to give back any of the prize-money, if he
could help it. But, to return to my adventures.

We were exactly in the latitude of Guadaloupe, with the usual breeze,
when, at daylight, a rakish-looking brig was seen in chase. Captain
Digges took a long survey of the stranger with his best glass, one that
was never exhibited but on state occasions, and then he pronounced
him to be a French cruiser; most probably a privateer. That he was a
Frenchman, Marble affirmed, was apparent by the height of his top-masts,
and the shortness of his yards; the upper spars, in particular, being
mere apologies for yards. Everybody who had any right to an opinion, was
satisfied the brig was a French cruiser, either public or private.

The Tigris was a fast ship, and she was under top-mast and top-gallant
studding-sails at the time, going about seven knots. The brig was on an
easy bowline, evidently looking up for our wake, edging off gradually as
we drew ahead. She went about nine knots, and bade fair to close with us
by noon. There was a good deal of doubt, aft, as to the course we ought
to pursue. It was decided in the end, however, to shorten sail and let
the brig come up, as being less subject to cavils, than to seem to avoid
her. Captain Digges got out his last letters from home, and I saw him
showing them to Captain Robbins, the two conning them over with great
earnestness. I was sent to do some duty near the hencoops, where they
were sitting, and overheard a part of their conversation. From the
discourse, I gathered that the proceedings of these picaroons were often
equivocal, and that Americans were generally left in doubt, until
a favourable moment occurred for the semi-pirates to effect their
purposes. The party assailed did not know when or how to defend himself,
until it was too late.

"These chaps come aboard you, sometimes, before you're aware of what
they are about," observed Captain Robbins.

"I'll not be taken by surprise in that fashion," returned Digges, after
a moment of reflection. "Here, you Miles, go forward and tell the cook
to fill his coppers with water, and to set it boiling as fast as he can;
and tell Mr. Marble I want him aft. Bear a hand, now, youngster, and
give them a lift yourself."

Of course I obeyed, wondering what the captain wanted with so much hot
water as to let the people eat their dinners off cold grub, rather than
dispense with it; for this was a consequence of his decree. But we
had not got the coppers half-filled, before I saw Mr. Marble and Neb
lowering a small ship's engine from the launch, and placing it near the
galley, in readiness to be filled. The mate told Neb to screw on the
pipe, and then half a dozen of the men, as soon as we got through with
the coppers, were told to fill the engine with sea-water. Captain Digges
now came forward to superintend the exercise, and Neb jumped on the
engine, flourishing the pipe about with the delight of a "nigger." The
captain was diverted with the black's zeal, and he appointed him captain
of the firemen on the spot.

"Now, let us see what you can do at that forward dead eye, darky," said
Captain Digges, laughing. "Take it directly on the strap. Play away,
boys, and let Neb try his hand."

It happened that Neb hit the dead-eye at the first jet, and he showed
great readiness in turning the stream from point to point, as ordered.
Neb's conduct on the night of the affair with the proas had been told
to Captain Digges, who was so well pleased with the fellow's present
dexterity, as to confirm him in office. He was told to stick by the
engine at every hazard. Soon after, an order was given to clear for
action. This had an ominous sound to my young ears, and, though I have
no reason to suppose myself deficient in firmness, I confess I began to
think again of Clawbonny, and Grace, and Lucy; ay, and even of the mill.
This lasted but for a moment, however, and, as soon as I got at work,
the feeling gave me no trouble. We were an hour getting the ship ready,
and, by that time, the brig was within half a mile, luffing fairly up on
our lee-quarter. As we had shortened sail, the privateer manifested no
intention of throwing a shot to make us heave-to. She seemed disposed to
extend courtesy for courtesy.

The next order was for all hands to go to quarters. I was stationed in
the main-top, and Rupert in the fore. Our duties were to do light work,
in the way of repairing damages; and the captain, understanding that we
were both accustomed to fire-arms, gave us a musket a-piece, with orders
to blaze away as soon as they began the work below. As we had both stood
fire once, we thought ourselves veterans, and proceeded to our stations,
smiling and nodding to each other as we went up the rigging. Of the two,
my station was the best, since I could see the approach of the brig, the
mizen-top-sail offering but little obstruction to vision after she got
near; whereas the main-top-sail was a perfect curtain, so far as
poor Rupert was concerned. In the way of danger, there was not much
difference as to any of the stations on board, the bulwarks of the ship
being little more than plank that would hardly stop a musket-ball; and
then the French had a reputation for firing into the rigging.

As soon as all was ready, the captain sternly ordered silence. By this
time the brig was near enough to hail. I could see her decks quite
plainly, and they were filled with men. I counted her guns, too, and
ascertained she had but ten, all of which seemed to be lighter than
our own. One circumstance that I observed, however, was suspicious. Her
forecastle was crowded with men, who appeared to be crouching behind the
bulwarks, as if anxious to conceal their presence from the eyes of those
in the Tigris. I had a mind to jump on a back-stay and slip down on
deck, to let this threatening appearance be known; but I had heard some
sayings touching the imperative duty of remaining at quarters in face of
the enemy, and I did not like to desert my station. Tyroes have always
exaggerated notions both of their rights and their duties, and I had
not escaped the weakness. Still, I think some credit is due for the
alternative adopted. During the whole voyage, I had kept a reckoning,
and paper and pencil were always in my pocket, in readiness to catch a
moment to finish a day's work. I wrote as follows on a piece of
paper, therefore, as fast as possible, and dropped the billet on the
quarter-deck, by enclosing a copper in the scrawl, _cents_ then being
in their infancy. I had merely written--"The brig's forecastle is filled
with armed men, hid behind the bulwarks!" Captain Digges heard the fall
of the copper, and looking up--nothing takes an officer's eyes aloft
quicker than to find anything coming out of a top!--he saw me pointing
to the paper. I was rewarded for this liberty by an approving nod.
Captain Digges read what I had written, and I soon observed Neb and the
cook filling the engine with boiling water. This job was no sooner done
than a good place was selected on the quarter-deck for this singular
implement of war, and then a hail came from the brig.

"Vat zat sheep is?" demanded some one from the brig.

"The Tigris of Philadelphia, from Calcutta _home_. What brig is _that_?"

"_La Folie--corsair Français_. From vair you come?"

"From Calcutta. And where are _you_ from?"

"Guadaloupe. Vair you go, eh?"

"Philadelphia. Do not luff so near me; some accident may happen."

"Vat you call '_accident_?' Can nevair hear, eh? I will come _tout
près_."

"Give us a wider berth, I tell you! Here is your jib boom nearly foul of
my mizen-rigging."

"Vat mean zat, bert' vidair? eh! _Allons, mes enfants, c'est le
moment_!"

"Luff a little, and keep his spar clear," cried our captain. "Squirt
away, Neb, and let us see what you can do!"

The engine made a movement, just as the French began to run out on
their bowsprit, and, by the time six or eight were on the heel of the
jib-boom, they were met by the hissing hot stream, which took them _en
echelon_, as it might be, fairly raking the whole line. The effect
was instantaneous. Physical nature cannot stand excessive heat, unless
particularly well supplied with skin; and the three leading Frenchmen,
finding retreat impossible, dropped incontinently into the sea,
preferring cold water to hot--the chances of drowning, to the certainty
of being scalded. I believe all three were saved by their companions
in-board, but I will not vouch for the fact. The remainder of the
intended boarders, having the bowsprit before them, scrambled back upon
the brig's forecastle as well as they could, betraying, by the
random way in which their hands flew about, that they had a perfect
consciousness how much they left their rear exposed on the retreat. A
hearty laugh was heard in all parts of the Tigris, and the brig,
putting her helm hard up, wore round like a top, as if she were scalded
herself.{*]

{Footnote *: This incident actually occurred in the war of 1798]

We all expected a broadside now; but of that there was little
apprehension, as it was pretty certain we carried the heaviest battery,
and had men enough to work it. But the brig did not fire, I suppose
because we fell off a little ourselves, and she perceived it might
prove a losing game. On the contrary, she went quite round on her heel,
hauling up on the other tack far enough to bring the two vessels exactly
_dos à dos_. Captain Digges ordered two of the quarter-deck nines to be
run out of the stern-ports; and it was well he did, for it was not in
nature for men to be treated as our friends in the brig had been served,
without manifesting certain signs of ill-humour. The vessels might have
been three cables' lengths asunder when we got a gun. The first I knew
of the shot was to hear it plunge through the mizen-top-sail, then
it came whistling through my top, between the weather-rigging and the
mast-head, cutting a hole through the main-top-sail, and, proceeding
onward, I heard it strike something more solid than canvass. I thought
of Rupert and the fore-top in an instant, and looked anxiously down on
deck to ascertain if he were injured.

"Fore-top, there!" called out Captain Digges. "Where did that shot
strike?"

"In the mast-head," answered Rupert, in a clear, firm voice. "It has
done no damage, sir."

"Now's your time, Captain Robbing--give 'em a reminder."

Both our nines were fired, and, a few seconds after, three cheers arose
from the decks of our ship. I could not see the brig, now, for the
mizen-top-sail; but I afterwards learned that we had shot away her gaff.
This terminated the combat, in which the glory was acquired principally
by Neb. They told me, when I got down among the people again, that the
black's face had been dilated with delight the whole time, though he
stood fairly exposed to musketry, his mouth grinning from ear to ear.
Neb was justly elated with the success that attended this exhibition of
his skill, and described the retreat of our enemies with a humour and
relish that raised many a laugh at the discomfited privateersman. It is
certain that some of the fellows must have been nearly parboiled.

I have always supposed this affair between la Folie and the Tigris to
have been the actual commencement of hostilities in the _quasi_ war
of 1798-9 and 1800. Other occurrences soon supplanted it in the public
mind; but we of the ship never ceased to regard the adventure as one of
great national interest. It did prove to be a nine days' wonder in the
newspapers.

From this time, nothing worthy of being noted occurred, until we reached
the coast. We had got as high as the capes of Virginia, and were running
in for the land, with a fair wind, when we made a ship in-shore of us.
The stranger hauled up to speak us, as soon as we were seen. There was
a good deal of discussion about this vessel, as she drew near, between
Captain Digges and his chief-mate. The latter said he knew the vessel,
and that it was an Indiaman out of Philadelphia, called the Ganges, a
sort of sister craft to our own ship; while the former maintained, if it
were the Ganges at all, she was so altered as scarcely to be recognised.
As we got near, the stranger threw a shot under our fore-foot, and
showed an American pennant and ensign. Getting a better look at her, we
got so many signs of a vessel-of-war in our neighbour, as to think
it wisest to heave-to, when the other vessel passed under our
stern, tacked, and lay with her head-yards aback, a little on our
weather-quarter. As she drew to windward, we saw her stern, which had
certain national emblems, but no name on it. This settled the matter.
She was a man-of-war, and she carried the American flag! Such a thing
did not exist a few months before, when we left home, and Captain Digges
was burning with impatience to know more. He was soon gratified.

"Is not that the Tigris?" demanded a voice, through a trumpet, from the
stranger.

"Ay, ay! What ship is that?"

"The United States' Ship Ganges, Captain Dale; from the capes of the
Delaware, bound on a cruise. You're welcome home, Captain Digges; we may
want some of your assistance under a cockade."

Digges gave a long whistle, and then the mystery was out. This proved
to be the Ganges, as stated, an Indiaman bought into a new navy, and the
first ship-of-war ever sent to sea under the government of the country,
as it had existed since the adoption of the constitution, nine years
before. The privateers of France had driven the republic into an
armament, and ships were fitting out in considerable numbers; some
being purchased, like the Ganges, and others built expressly for the new
marine. Captain Digges went on board the Ganges, and, pulling an oar
in his boat, I had a chance of seeing that vessel also. Captain Dale,
a compact, strongly-built, seaman-like looking man, in a blue and white
uniform, received our skipper with a cordial shake of the hand, for
they had once sailed together, and he laughed heartily when he heard the
story of the boarding-party and the hot water. This respectable officer
had no braggadocia about him, but he intimated that it would not be
long, as he thought, before the rovers among the islands would have
their hands full. Congress was in earnest, and the whole country was
fairly aroused. Whenever that happens in America, it is usually to take
a new and better direction than to follow the ordinary blind impulses
of popular feelings. In countries where the masses count for nothing,
in the every-day working of their systems, excitement has a tendency to
democracy; but, among ourselves, I think the effect of such a condition
of things is to bring into action men and qualities that are commonly of
little account, and to elevate, instead of depressing, public sentiment.

I was extremely pleased with the manly, benevolent countenance of
Captain Dale, and had half a desire to ask leave to join his ship on the
spot. If that impulse had been followed, it is probable my future life
would have been very different from what it subsequently proved. I
should have been rated a midshipman, of course; and, serving so early,
with a good deal of experience already in ships, a year or two would
have made me a lieutenant, and, could I have survived the pruning of
1801, I should now have been one of the oldest officers in the service.
Providence directed otherwise; and how much was lost, or how much
gained, by my continuance in the Tigris, the reader will learn as we
proceed.

As soon as Captain Digges had taken a glass or two of wine with his
old acquaintance, we returned to our own ship, and the two vessels made
sail; the Ganges standing off to the northward and eastward, while
we ran in for the capes of the Delaware. We got in under Cape May, or
within five miles of it, the same evening, when it fell nearly calm. A
pilot came off from the cape in a row-boat, and he reached us just at
dark. Captain Robbins now became all impatience to land, as it was of
importance to him to be the bearer of his own bad news. Accordingly,
an arrangement having been made with the two men who belonged to the
shore-boat, our old commander, Rupert and myself, prepared to leave the
ship, late as it was. We two lads were taken for the purpose of
manning two additional oars, but were to rejoin the ship in the bay, if
possible; if not, up at town. One of the inducements of Captain Robbins
to be off, was the signs of northerly weather. It had begun to blow a
little in puffs from the north-west; and everybody knew, if it came on
to blow seriously from that quarter, the ship might be a week in getting
up the river, her news being certain to precede her. We hurried off
accordingly, taking nothing with us but a change of linen, and a few
necessary papers.

We got the first real blast from the north-west in less than five
minutes after we had quitted the Tigris's side, and while the ship was
still visible, or, rather, while we could yet see the lights in her
cabin-windows, as she fell off before the wind. Presently the lights
disappeared, owing, no doubt, to the ship's luffing again. The symptoms
now looked so threatening, that the pilot's men proposed making an
effort, before it was too late, to find the ship; but this was far
easier said than done. The vessel might be spinning away towards Cape
Henlopen, at the rate of six or seven knots; and, without the means of
making any signal in the dark, it was impossible to overtake her. I do
believe that Captain Robbins would have acceded to the request of
the men, had he seen any probability of succeeding; as it was, there
remained no alternative but to pull in, and endeavour to reach the land.
We had the light on the cape as our beacon, and the boat's head was kept
directly for it, as the wisest course for us to pursue.

Changes of wind from south-east to north-west are very common on the
American coast. They are almost always sudden; sometimes so much so, as
to take ships aback; and the force of the breeze usually comes so
early, as to have produced the saying that a "nor'-wester comes butt-end
foremost." Such proved to be the fact in our case. In less than half
an hour after it began to blow, the wind would have brought the most
gallant ship that floated to double-reefed topsails, steering by, and
to reasonably short-canvass, running large. We may have pulled a mile
in this half hour, though it was by means of a quick stroke and great
labour. The Cape May men were vigorous and experienced, and they did
wonders; nor were Rupert and I idle; but, as soon as the sea got up, it
was as much as all four of us could do to keep steerage-way on the boat.
There were ten minutes, during which I really think the boat was kept
head to sea by means of the wash of the waves that drove past, as we
barely held her stationary.

Of course, it was out of the question to continue exertions that were
as useless as they were exhausting. We tried the expedient, however, of
edging to the northward, with the hope of getting more under the lee of
the land, and, consequently, into smoother water; but it did no good.
The nearest we ever got to the light must have considerably exceeded a
league. At length Rupert, totally exhausted, dropped his oar, and fell
panting on the thwart. He was directed to steer, Captain Robbins taking
his place. I can only liken our situation at that fearful moment to the
danger of a man who is clinging to a cliff its summit and safety almost
in reach of his hand, with the consciousness that his powers are fast
failing him, and that he must shortly go down. It is true, death was not
so certain by our abandoning the effort to reach the land, but the
hope of being saved was faint indeed. Behind us lay the vast and angry
Atlantic, without an inch of visible land between us and the Rock of
Lisbon. We were totally without food of any sort, though, luckily, there
was a small breaker of fresh water in the boat. The Cape May men had
brought off their suppers with them, but they had made the meal;
whereas the rest of us had left the Tigris fasting, intending to make
comfortable suppers at the light.

At length Captain Robbins consulted the boatmen, and asked them what
they thought of our situation. I sat between these men, who had been
remarkably silent the whole time, pulling like giants. Both were young,
though, as I afterwards learned, both were married; each having a wife,
at that anxious moment, waiting on the beach of the cape for the return
of the boat. As Captain Robbins put the question, I turned my head,
and saw that the man behind me, the oldest of the two, was in tears. I
cannot describe the shock I experienced at this sight. Here was a man
accustomed to hardships and dangers, who was making the stoutest and
most manly efforts to save himself and all with him, at the very
moment, so strongly impressed with the danger of our situation, that his
feelings broke forth in a way it is always startling to witness, when
the grief of man is thus exhibited in tears. The imagination of this
husband was doubtless picturing to his mind the anguish of his wife at
that moment, and perhaps the long days of sorrow that were to succeed.
I have no idea he thought of himself, apart from his wife: for a finer,
more manly resolute fellow, never existed, as he subsequently proved, to
the fullest extent.

It seemed to me that the two Cape May men had a sort of desperate
reluctance to give up the hope of reaching the land. We were a strong
boat's crew, and we had a capital, though a light boat; yet all would
not do. About midnight, after pulling desperately for three hours, my
strength was quite gone, and I had to give up the oar. Captain
Robbins confessed himself in a very little better state, and, it being
impossible for the boatmen to do more than keep the boat stationary, and
that only for a little time longer, there remained no expedient but to
keep off before the wind, in the hope of still falling in with the ship.
We knew that the Tigris was on the starboard tack when we left her, and,
as she would certainly endeavour to keep as close in with the land as
possible, there was a remaining chance that she had wore ship to keep
off Henlopen, and might be heading up about north-north-east, and laying
athwart the mouth of the bay. This left us just a chance--a ray of hope;
and it had now become absolutely necessary to endeavour to profit by it.

The two Cape May men pulled the boat round, and kept her just ahead of
the seas, as far as it was in their power; very light touches of the
oars sufficing for this, where it could be done at all. Occasionally,
however, one of those chasing waves would come after us, at a racer's
speed, invariably breaking at such instants, and frequently half-filling
the boat. This gave us new employment, Rupert and myself being kept
quite half the time bailing. No occupation, notwithstanding the danger,
could prevent me from looking about the cauldron of angry waters, in
quest of the ship. Fifty times did I fancy I saw her, and as often
did the delusive idea end in disappointment. The waste of dark waters,
relieved by the gleaming of the combing seas, alone met the senses.
The wind blew directly down the estuary, and, in crossing its mouth, we
found too much swell to receive it on our beam, and were soon compelled,
most reluctantly though it was, to keep dead away to prevent swamping.
This painful state of expectation may have lasted half an hour, the boat
sometimes seeming ready to fly out of the water, as it drifted before
the gale, when Rupert unexpectedly called out that he saw the ship!

There she was, sure enough, with her head to the northward and
eastward, struggling along through the raging waters, under her fore and
main-top-sails, close-reefed, and reefed courses, evidently clinging to
the land as close as she could, both to hold her own and to make good
weather. It was barely light enough to ascertain these facts, though
the ship was not a cable's length from us when first discovered.
Unfortunately, she was dead to leeward of us, and was drawing ahead so
fast as to leave the probability she would forereach upon us, unless
we took to all our oars. This was done as soon as possible, and away
we went, at a rapid rate, aiming to shoot directly beneath the Tigris's
lee-quarter, so as to round-to under shelter of her hull, there to
receive a rope.

We pulled like giants. Three several times the water slapped into us,
rendering the boat more and more heavy; but Captain Bobbins told us to
pull on, every moment being precious. As I did not look round--_could_
not well, indeed--I saw no more of the ship until I got a sudden glimpse
of her dark hull, within a hundred feet of us, surging ahead in the
manner in which vessels at sea seem to take sudden starts that carry
them forward at twice their former apparent speed. Captain Robbins had
begun to hail, the instant he thought himself near enough, or at the
distance of a hundred yards; but what was the human voice amid the music
of the winds striking the various cords, and I may add _chords_, in the
mazes of a square-rigged vessel's hamper, accompanied by the base of
the roaring ocean! Heavens! what a feeling of despair was that, when the
novel thought suggested itself almost simultaneously to our minds, that
we should not make ourselves heard! I say simultaneously, for at the
same instant the whole five of us set up a common, desperate shout to
alarm those who were so near us, and who might easily save us from the
most dreadful of all deaths--starvation at sea. I presume the fearful
manner in which we struggled at the oars diminished the effect of our
voices, while the effort to raise a noise lessened our power with the
oars. We were already to leeward of the ship, though nearly in her wake,
and our only chance now was to over take her. The captain called out
to us to pull for life or death, and pull we did. So frantic were our
efforts, that I really think we should have succeeded, had not a sea
come on board us, and filled us to the thwarts. There remained no
alternative but to keep dead away, and to bail for our lives.

I confess I felt scalding tears gush down my cheeks, as I gazed at the
dark mass of the ship just before it was swallowed up in the gloom.
This soon occurred, and then, I make no doubt, every man in the
boat considered himself as hopelessly lost. We continued to bail,
notwithstanding; and, using hats, gourds, pots and pails, soon cleared
the boat, though it was done with no other seeming object than to avert
immediate death. I heard one of the Cape May men pray. The name of his
wife mingled with his petitions to God. As for poor Captain Robbins,
who had so recently been in another scene of equal danger in a boat, he
remained silent, seemingly submissive to the decrees of Providence.

In this state we must have drifted a league dead before the wind, the
Cape May men keeping their eyes on the light, which was just sinking
below the horizon, while the rest of us were gazing seaward in ominous
expectation of what awaited us in that direction, when the hail of "Boat
ahoy!" sounded like the last trumpet in our ears. A schooner was passing
our track, keeping a little off, and got so near as to allow us to be
seen, though, owing to a remark about the light which drew all eyes to
windward, not a soul of us saw her. It was too late to avert the blow,
for the hail had hardly reached us, when the schooner's cut-water came
down upon our little craft, and buried it in the sea as if it had been
lead. At such moments men do not think, but act. I caught at a bob-stay,
and missed it. As I went down into the water, my hand fell upon some
object to which I clung, and, the schooner rising at the next instant, I
was grasped by the hair by one of the vessel's men. I had hold of one of
the Cape May men's legs. Released from my weight, this man was soon in
the vessel's head, and he helped to save me. When we got in-board, and
mustered our party it was found that all had been saved but Captain
Robbins. The schooner wore round, and actually passed over the wreck of
the boat a second time; but our old commander was never heard of more!



CHAPTER VII.

  "Oh! forget not the hour, when through forest and vale
  We returned with our chief to his dear native halls!
  Through the woody Sierra there sigh'd not a gale,
  And the moonbeam was bright on his battlement walls;
  And nature lay sleeping in calmness and light,
  Round the house of the _truants_, that rose on our sight."
  MRS. HEMANS.


We had fallen on board an eastern coaster, called the Martha Wallis,
bound from James' River to Boston, intending to cross the shoals. Her
watch had seen us, because the coasters generally keep better look-outs
than Indiamen; the latter, accustomed to good offings, having a trick
of letting their people go to sleep in the night-watches. I made a
calculation of the turns on board the Tigris, and knew it was Mr.
Marble's watch when we passed the ship; and I make no question he was,
at that very moment, nodding on the hencoops--a sort of trick he had.
I cannot even now understand, however, why the man at the wheel did
not hear the outcry we made. To me it appeared loud enough to reach the
land.

Sailors ordinarily receive wrecked mariners kindly. Our treatment on
board the Martha Wallis was all I could have desired, and the captain
promised to put us on board the first coaster she should fall in with,
bound to New York. He was as good as his word, though not until more
than a week had elapsed. It fell calm as soon as the north-wester blew
its pipe out, and we did not get into the Vineyard Sound for nine days.
Here we met a craft the skipper knew, and, being a regular Boston and
New York coaster, we were put on board her, with a recommendation to
good treatment The people of the Lovely Lass received us just as we had
been received on board the Martha Wallis; all hands of us living aft,
and eating codfish, good beef and pork, with duff (dough) and molasses,
almost _ad libitum_. From this last vessel we learned all the latest
news of the French war, and how things were going on in the country. The
fourth day after we were put on board this craft, Rupert and I landed
near Peck's Slip, New York, with nothing on earth in our possession, but
just in what we stood. This, however, gave us but little concern--I had
abundance at home, and Rupert was certain of being free from want, both
through me and through his father.

I had never parted with the gold given me by Lucy, however. When we got
into the boat to land at the cape, I had put on the belt in which I kept
this little treasure, and it was still round my body. I had kept it as a
sort of memorial of the dear girl who had given it to me; but I now saw
the means of making it useful, without disposing of it altogether. I
knew that the wisest course, in all difficulties, was to go at once to
head-quarters. I asked the address of the firm that owned, or rather
_had_ owned the John, and proceeded to the counting-house forthwith. I
told my story, but found that Kite had been before me. It seems that the
Tigris got a fair wind, three days after the blow, that carried her up
to the very wharves of Philadelphia, when most of the John's people had
come on to New York without delay. By communications with the shore at
the cape, the pilot had learned that his boat had never returned, and
our loss was supposed to have inevitably occurred. The accounts of
all this were in the papers, and I began to fear that the distressing
tidings might have reached Clawbonny. Indeed, there were little obituary
notices of Rupert and myself in the journals, inserted by some hand
piously employed, I should think, by Mr. Kite. We were tenderly treated,
considering our _escapade_; and _my_ fortune and prospects were dwelt on
with some touches of eloquence that might have been spared.

In that day, however, a newspaper was a very different thing from what
it has since become. Then, journals were created merely to meet the
demand, and news was given as it actually occurred; whereas, now, the
competition has produced a change that any one can appreciate, when it
is remembered to what a _competition in news_ must infallibly lead. In
that day, our own journals had not taken to imitating the worst features
of the English newspapers--talents and education are not yet cheap
enough in America to enable them to imitate the best--and the citizen
was supposed to have some rights, as put in opposition to the press. The
public sense of right had not become blunted by familiarity with abuses,
and the miserable and craven apology was never heard for not enforcing
the laws, that nobody cares for what the newspapers say. Owing to
these causes, I escaped a thousand lies about myself, my history, my
disposition, character and acts. Still, I was in print; and I confess
it half-frightened me to see my death announced in such obvious letters,
although I had physical evidence of being alive and well.

The owners questioned me closely about the manner in which the John
was lost, and expressed themselves satisfied with my answers. I then
produced my half-joes, and asked to borrow something less than their
amount on their security. To the latter part of the proposition,
however, these gentlemen would not listen, forcing a check for a
hundred dollars on me, desiring that the money might be paid at my own
convenience. Knowing I had Clawbonny, and a very comfortable income
under my lee, I made no scruples about accepting the sum, and took my
leave.

Rupert and I had now the means of equipping ourselves neatly, though
always in sailor guise. After this was done, we proceeded to the Albany
basin, in order to ascertain whether the Wallingford were down or not.
At the basin we learned that the sloop had gone out that very forenoon,
having on board a black with his young master's effects; a lad who was
said to have been out to Canton with young Mr. Wallingford, and who was
now on his way home, to report all the sad occurrences to the family in
Ulster. This, then, was Neb, who had got thus far back in charge of our
chests, and was about to return to slavery.

We had been in hopes that we might possibly reach Clawbonny before
the tidings of our loss. This intelligence was likely to defeat the
expectation; but, luckily, one of the fastest sloops on the river, a
Hudson packet, was on the point of sailing, and, though the wind held
well to the northward, her master thought he should be able to turn
up with the tides, as high as our creek, in the course of the next
eight-and-forty hours. This was quite as much as the Wallingford could
do, I felt well persuaded; and, making a bargain to be landed on the
western shore, Rupert and I put our things on board this packet, and
were under way in half an hour's time.

So strong was my own anxiety, I could not keep off the deck until we had
anchored on account of the flood; and much did I envy Rupert, who had
coolly turned in as soon as it was dark, and went to sleep. When the
anchor was down, I endeavoured to imitate his example. On turning out
next morning, I found the vessel in Newburgh Bay, with a fair wind.
About twelve o'clock I could see the mouth of the creek, and the
Wallingford fairly entering it, her sails disappearing behind the trees,
just as I caught sight of them. As no other craft of her size ever went
up to that landing, I could not be mistaken in the vessel.

By getting ashore half a mile above the creek, there was a farm-road
that would lead to the house by a cut so short, as nearly to bring us
there as soon as Neb could possibly arrive with his dire, but false
intelligence. The place was pointed out to the captain, who had
extracted our secret from us, and who good-naturedly consented to do all
we asked of him. I do think he would have gone into the creek itself,
had it been required. But we were landed, with our bag of clothes--one
answered very well for both--at the place I have mentioned, and, taking
turn about to shoulder the wardrobe, away we went, as fast as legs could
carry us. Even Rupert seemed to feel on this occasion, and I do think he
had a good deal of contrition, as he must have recollected the pain he
had occasioned his excellent father, and dear, good sister.

Clawbonny never looked more beautiful than when I first cast eyes on
it, that afternoon. There lay the house in the secure retirement of its
smiling vale, the orchards just beginning to lose their blossoms; the
broad, rich meadows, with the grass waving in the south wind, resembling
velvet; the fields of corn of all sorts; and the cattle, as they stood
ruminating, or enjoying their existence in motionless self-indulgence
beneath the shade of trees, seemed to speak of abundance and considerate
treatment. Everything denoted peace, plenty and happiness. Yet this
place, with all its blessings and security, had I wilfully deserted to
encounter pirates in the Straits of Sunda, shipwreck on the shores
of Madagascar, jeopardy in an open boat off the Isle of France, and a
miraculous preservation from a horrible death on my own coast!

At no great distance from the house was a dense grove, in which Rupert
and I had, with our own hands, constructed a rude summer-house, fit to
be enjoyed on just such an afternoon as this on which we had returned.
When distant from it only two hundred yards, we saw the girls enter the
wood, evidently taking the direction of the seat. At the same moment I
caught a glimpse of Neb moving up the road from the landing at a snail's
pace, as if the poor fellow dreaded to encounter the task before him.
After a moment's consultation, we determined to proceed at once to the
grove, and thus anticipate the account of Neb, who must pass so near the
summer-house as to be seen and recognised. We met with more obstacles
than we had foreseen or remembered, and when we got to a thicket close
in the rear of the bench, we found that the black was already in the
presence of his two "young mistresses."

The appearance of the three, when I first caught a near view of them,
was such as almost to terrify me. Even Neb, whose face was usually as
shining as a black bottle, was almost of the colour of ashes. The poor
fellow could not speak, and, though Lucy was actually shaking him to
extract an explanation, the only answer she could get was tears. These
flowed from Neb's eyes in streams, and at length the fellow threw
himself on the ground, and fairly began to groan.

"Can this be shame at having run away?" exclaimed Lucy, "or does it
foretell evil to the boys?"

"He knows nothing of _them_, not having been with them--yet, I am
terrified."

"Not on my account, dearest sister," I cried aloud; "here are Rupert and
I, God be praised, both in good health, and safe."

I took care to remain hid, as I uttered this, not to alarm more than one
sense at a time; but both the girls shrieked, and held out their arms.
Rupert and I hesitated no longer, but sprang forward. I know not how it
happened, though I found, on recovering my self-possession, that I was
folding Lucy to my heart, while Rupert was doing the same to Grace. This
little mistake, however, was soon rectified, each man embracing his
own sister, as in duty bound, and as was most decorous. The girls shed
torrents of tears, and assured us, again and again, that this was the
only really happy moment they had known since the parting on the
wharf, nearly a twelvemonth before. Then followed looks at each other,
exclamations of surprise and pleasure at the changes that had taken
place in the appearance of all parties, and kisses and tears again, in
abundance.

As for Neb, the poor fellow was seen in the road, whither he had fled
at the sound of my voice, looking at us like one in awe and doubt. Being
satisfied, in the end, of our identity, as well as of our being in the
flesh, the negro again threw himself on the ground, rolling over and
over, and fairly yelling with delight. After going through this process
of negro excitement, he leaped up on his feel, and started for the
house, shouting at the top of his voice, as if certain the good
intelligence he brought would secure his own pardon--"Master Miles come
home!--Master Miles come home!"

In a few minutes, quiet was sufficiently restored among us four,
who remained at the seat, to ask questions, and receive intelligible
answers. Glad was I to ascertain that the girls had been spared the news
of our loss. As for Mr. Hardinge, he was well, and busied, as usual, in
discharging the duties of his holy office. He had told Grace and Lucy
the name of the vessel in which we had shipped, but said nothing of the
painful glimpse he had obtained of us, just as we lifted our anchor, to
quit the port. Grace, in a solemn manner, then demanded an outline
of our adventures. As Rupert was the spokesman on this occasion,
the question having been in a manner put to him as oldest, I had an
opportunity of watching the sweet countenances of the two painfully
interested listeners. Rupert affected modesty in his narration, if he
did not feel it, though I remarked that he dwelt a little particularly
on the shot which had lodged so near him, in the head of the Tigris's
foremast. He spoke of the whistling it made as it approached, and the
violence of the blow when it struck. He had the impudence, too, to speak
of my good-luck in being on the other side of the top, when the shot
passed through my station; whereas I do believe that the shot passed
nearer to me than it did to himself. It barely missed me, and by all
I could learn Rupert was leaning over by the top-mast rigging when it
lodged. The fellow told his story in his own way, however, and with so
much unction that I observed it made Grace look pale. The effect on Lucy
was different. This excellent creature perceived my uneasiness, I half
suspected, for she laughed, and, interrupting her brother, told
him, "There--that's enough about the cannon-ball; now let us hear of
something else." Rupert coloured, for he had frequently had such frank
hints from his sister, in the course of his childhood; but he had too
much address to betray the vexation I knew he felt.

To own the truth, my attachment for Rupert had materially lessened with
the falling off of my respect. He had manifested so much selfishness
during the voyage--had shirked so much duty, most of which had fallen on
poor Neb--and had been so little of the man, in practice, whom he used
so well to describe with his tongue--that I could no longer shut my eyes
to some of his deficiencies of character. I still liked him; but it was
from habit, and perhaps because he was my guardian's son, and Lucy's
brother. Then I could not conceal from myself that Rupert was not, in a
rigid sense, a lad of truth. He coloured, exaggerated, glossed over and
embellished, if he did not absolutely invent. I was not old enough then
to understand that most of the statements that float about the world
are nothing but truths distorted, and that nothing is more rare than
unadulterated fact; that truths and lies travel in company, as described
by Pope in his Temple of Fame, until--

"This or that unmixed, no mortal e'er shall find."

In this very narration of our voyage, Rupert had left false impressions
on the minds of his listeners, in fifty things. He had made far more
of both our little skirmishes, than the truth would warrant, and he had
neglected to do justice to Neb in his account of each of the affairs.
Then he commended Captain Robbins's conduct in connection with the loss
of the John, on points that could not be sustained, and censured him for
measures that deserved praise. I knew Rupert was no seaman--was pretty
well satisfied, by this time, he never would make one--but I could not
explain all his obliquities by referring them to ignorance. The manner,
moreover, in which he represented himself as the principal actor, on all
occasions, denoted so much address, that, while I felt the falsity of
the impressions he left, I did not exactly see the means necessary to
counteract them. So ingenious, indeed, was his manner of stringing facts
and inferences together, or what _seemed_ to be facts and inferences,
that I more than once caught myself actually believing that which, in
sober reality, I knew to be false. I was still too young, not quite
eighteen, to feel any apprehensions on the subject of Grace; and was too
much accustomed to both Rupert and his sister, to regard either with any
feelings very widely different from those which I entertained for Grace
herself.

As soon as the history of our adventures and exploits was concluded, we
all had leisure to observe and comment on the alterations that time had
made in our several persons. Rupert, being the oldest, was the least
changed in this particular. He had got his growth early, and was only
a little spread. He had cultivated a pair of whiskers at sea, which
rendered his face a little more manly--an improvement, by the way--but,
the effects of exposure and of the sun excepted, there was no very
material change in his exterior. Perhaps, on the whole, he was improved
in appearance. I think both the girls fancied this, though Grace did not
say it, and Lucy only half admitted it, and that with many reservations.
As for myself, I was also full-grown, standing exactly six feet in my
stockings, which was pretty well for eighteen. But I had also spread; a
fact that is not common for lads at that age. Grace said I had lost all
delicacy of appearance; and as for Lucy, though she laughed and blushed
she protested I began to look like a great bear. To confess the truth,
I was well satisfied with my own appearance, did not envy Rupert a jot,
and knew I could toss him over my shoulder whenever I chose. I stood the
strictures on my appearance, therefore, very well; and, though no
one was so much derided and laughed at as myself, in that critical
discussion, no one cared less for it all. Just as I was permitted to
escape, Lucy said, in an under tone--

"You should have staid at home, Miles, and then the changes would have
come so gradually, no one would have noticed them, and you would have
escaped being told how much you are altered, and that you are a _bear_."

I looked eagerly round at the speaker, and eyed her intently. A look of
regret passed over the dear creature's face, her eyes looked as penitent
as they did soft, and the flush that suffused her countenance rendered
this last expression almost bewitching. At the same instant she
whispered--"I did not really mean _that_."

But it was Grace's turn, and my attention was drawn to my sister. A year
had made great improvements in Grace. Young as she was, she had lost
much of the girlish air, in the sedateness and propriety of the young
woman. Grace had always something more of these last than is common; but
they had now completely removed every appearance of childish, I might
almost say of girlish, frivolity. In person, her improvement was great;
though an air of exceeding delicacy rather left an impression that such
a being was more intended for another world, than this. There was ever
an air of fragility and of pure intellectuality about my poor sister,
that half disposed one to fancy that she would one day be translated to
a better sphere in the body, precisely as she stood before human eyes.
Lucy bore the examination well. She was all woman, there being nothing
about _her_ to create any miraculous expectations, or fanciful pictures;
but she was evidently fast getting to be a very lovely woman. Honest,
sincere, full of heart, overflowing with the feelings of her sex, gentle
yet spirited, buoyant though melting with the charities; her changeful,
but natural and yet constant feelings in her, kept me incessantly
in pursuit of her playful mind and varying humours. Still, a more
high-principled being, a firmer or more consistent friend, or a more
accurate thinker on all subjects that suited her years and became her
situation, than Lucy Hardinge, never existed. Even Grace was influenced
by her judgment, though I did not then know how much my sister's mind
was guided by her simple and less pretending friend's capacity to
foresee things, and to reason on their consequences.

We were more than an hour uninterruptedly together, before we thought
of repairing to the house. Lucy then reminded Rupert that he had not yet
seen his father, whom she had just before observed alighting from his
horse at the door of his own study. That he had been apprised of the
return of the runaways, if not prodigals, was evident, she thought, by
his manner; and it was disrespectful to delay seeking his forgiveness
and blessing. Mr. Hardinge received us both without surprise, and
totally without any show of resentment. It was about the time
he expected our return, and no surprise was felt at finding this
expectation realized, as a matter of course, while resentment was almost
a stranger to his nature. We all shed tears, the girls sobbing aloud;
and we were both solemnly blessed. Nor am I ashamed to say I knelt
to receive that blessing, in an age when the cant of a pretending
irreligion--there is as much cant in self-sufficiency as in hypocrisy,
and they very often go together--is disposed to turn into ridicule the
humbling of the person, while asking for the blessing of the Almighty
through the ministers of his altars; for kneel I did, and weep I did,
and, I trust, the one in humility and the other in contrition.

When we had all become a little calm, and a substantial meal was placed
before us adventurers, Mr. Hardinge demanded an account of all that had
passed. He applied to me to give it, and I was compelled to discharge
the office of an historian, somewhat against my inclination. There was
no remedy, however, and I told the story in my own simple manner, and
certainly in a way to leave very different impressions from many of
those made by the narrative of Rupert. I thought once or twice, as I
proceeded, that Lucy looked sorrowful, and Grace looked surprised. I do
not think I coloured in the least, as regarded myself, and I know I did
Neb no more than justice. My tale was soon told, for I felt the whole
time as if I were contradicting Rupert, who, by the way, appeared
perfectly unconcerned--perfectly unconscious, indeed--on the subject of
the discrepancies in the two accounts. I have since met with men who
did not know the truth when it was even placed very fairly before their
eyes.

Mr. Hardinge expressed his heartfelt happiness at having us back again,
and, soon after, he ventured to ask if we were satisfied with what we
had seen of the world. This was a home question, but I thought it best
to meet it manfully. So far from being satisfied, I told him it was my
ardent desire to get on board one of the letters-of-marque, of which
so many were then fitting out in the country, and to make a voyage to
Europe. Rupert, however, confessed he had mistaken his vocation, and
that he thought he could do no better than to enter a lawyer's office.
I was thunderstruck at this quiet admission of my friend, of his
incapacity to make a sailor, for it was the first intimation I heard
of his intention. I had remarked a certain want of energy, in various
situations that required action, in Rupert, but no want of courage; and
I had ascribed some portion of his lassitude to the change of condition,
and, possibly, of food; for, after all, that godlike creature, man, is
nothing but an animal, and is just as much influenced by his stomach and
digestion as a sheep, or a horse.

Mr. Hardinge received his son's intimation of a preference of
intellectual labours to a more physical state of existence, with a
gratification my own wishes did not afford him. Still, he made no
particular remark to either at the time, permitting us both to enjoy our
return to Clawbonny, without any of the drawbacks of advice or lectures.
The evening passed delightfully, the girls beginning to laugh heartily
at our own ludicrous accounts of the mode of living on board ship, and
of our various scenes in China, the Isle of Bourbon, and elsewhere.
Rupert had a great deal of humour, and a very dry way of exhibiting it;
in short, he was almost a genius in the mere superficialities of life;
and even Grace rewarded his efforts to entertain us, with laughter to
tears. Neb was introduced after supper, and the fellow was both censured
and commended; censured for having abandoned the household gods, and
commended for not having deserted their master. His droll descriptions
of the Chinese, their dress, pigtails, shoes and broken English,
diverted even Mr. Hardinge, who, I believe, felt as much like a boy on
this occasion, as any of the party. A happier evening than that which
followed in the little _tea_-parlour, as my dear mother used to call it,
was never passed in the century that the roof had covered the old walls
of Clawbonny.

Next day I had a private conversation with my guardian, who commenced
the discourse by rendering a sort of account of the proceeds of my
property during the past year. I listened respectfully, and with some
interest; for I saw the first gave Mr. Hardinge great satisfaction, and
I confess the last afforded some little pleasure to myself. I found that
things had gone on very prosperously. Ready money was accumulating, and
I saw that, by the time I came of age, sufficient cash would be on hand
to give me a ship of my own, should I choose to purchase one. From that
moment I was secretly determined to qualify myself to command her in the
intervening time. Little was said of the future, beyond an expression
of the hope, by my guardian, that I would take time to reflect before I
came to a final decision on the subject of my profession. To this I said
nothing beyond making a respectful inclination of the head.

For the next month, Clawbonny was a scene of uninterrupted merriment and
delight. We had few families to visit in our immediate neighbourhood,
it is true; and Mr. Hardinge proposed an excursion to the Springs--the
country was then too new, and the roads too bad, to think of
Niagara--but to this I would not listen. I cared not for the
Springs--knew little of, and cared less for fashion--and loved Clawbonny
to its stocks and stones. We remained at home, then, living principally
for each other. Rupert read a good deal to the girls, under the
direction of his father; while I passed no small portion of my time
in athletic exercises. The Grace & Lucy made one or two tolerably long
cruises in the river, and at length I conceived the idea of taking the
party down to town in the Wallingford. Neither of the girls had ever
seen New York, or much of the Hudson; nor had either ever seen a ship.
The sloops that passed up and down the Hudson, with an occasional
schooner, were the extent of their acquaintance with vessels; and I
began to feel it to be matter of reproach that those in whom I took so
deep an interest, should be so ignorant. As for the girls themselves,
they both admitted, now I was a sailor, that their desire to see a
regular, three-masted, full-rigged ship, was increased seven-fold.

Mr. Hardinge heard my proposition, at first, as a piece of pleasantry;
but Grace expressing a strong desire to see a large town, or what was
thought a large town in this country, in 1799, and Lucy looking wistful,
though she remained silent under an apprehension her father could not
afford the expense of such a journey, which her imagination rendered a
great deal more formidable than it actually proved to be, the excellent
divine finally acquiesced. The expense was disposed of in a very simple
manner. The journey, both ways, would be made in the Wallingford; and
Mr. Hardinge was not so unnecessarily scrupulous as to refuse passages
for himself and children in the sloop, which never exacted passage-money
from any who went to or from the farm. Food was so cheap, too, as to
be a matter of no consideration; and, being entitled legally to receive
that at Clawbonny, it made no great difference whether it were taken on
board the vessel, or in the house. Then there was a Mrs. Bradfort in
New York, a widow lady of easy fortune, who was a cousin-german of Mr.
Hardinge's--his father's sister's daughter--and with her he always staid
in his own annual visits to attend the convention of the Church--I beg
pardon, of the Protestant Episcopal Church, as it is now _de rigueur_
to say; I wonder some ultra does not introduce the manifest improvement
into the Apostles' Creed of saying, "I believe in the Holy Protestant
Episcopal Catholic Church, &c."--but, the excellent divine, in his
annual attendance on the convention, was accustomed to stay with his
kinswoman, who often pressed him to bring both Lucy and Grace to
see her; her house in Wall street being abundantly large enough to
accommodate a much more numerous party. "Yes," said Mr. Hardinge, "that
shall be the arrangement. The girls and I will stay with Mrs. Bradfort,
and the young men can live at a tavern. I dare say this new City Hotel,
which seems to be large enough to contain a regiment, will hold even
_them_. I will write this very evening to my cousin, so as not to take
her by surprise."

In less than a week after this determination, an answer was received
from Mrs. Bradfort; and, the very next day, the whole party, Neb
included, embarked in the Wallingford. Very different was this passage
down the Hudson from that which had preceded it. Then I had the sense of
error about me, while my heart yearned towards the two dear girls we had
left on the wharf; but now everything was above-board sincere, and by
permission. It is scarcely necessary to say that Grace and Lucy were
enchanted with everything they saw. The Highlands, in particular, threw
them both into ecstasies, though I have since seen so much of the world
as to understand, with nearly all experienced tourists, that this is
_relatively_ the worst part of the scenery of this beautiful river. When
I say _relatively_, I mean as comparing the _bolder_ parts of our stream
with those of others--speaking of them as _high lands_--many other
portions of this good globe having a much superior _grandeur_, while
very few have so much lovely river scenery compressed into so small a
space as is to be found in the other parts of the Hudson.

In due time we arrived in New York, and I had the supreme happiness of
pointing out to the girls the State's Prison, the Bear Market, and the
steeples of St. Paul's and Trinity-_old_ Trinity, as it was so lately
the fashion to style a church that was built only a few years before,
and which, in my youth, was considered as magnificent as it was
venerable. That building has already disappeared; and another edifice,
which is now termed splendid, _vast_, and I know not what, has
been reared in its place. By the time this is gone, and one or two
generations of buildings have succeeded, each approaching nearer to the
high standard of church architecture in the old world, the Manhattanese
will get to understand something of the use of the degrees of comparison
on such subjects. When that day shall arrive, they will cease to be
provincial, and--not till then.

What a different thing was Wall street, in 1799, from what it is to-day?
Then, where so many Grecian temples are now reared to Plutus, were rows
of modest provincial dwellings; not a tittle more provincial, however,
than the thousand meretricious houses of bricks and marble that have
since started up in their neighbourhood, but far less pretending,
and insomuch the more creditable. Mrs. Bradfort lived in one of these
respectable abodes, and thither Mr. Hardinge led the way, with just as
much confidence as one would now walk into Bleeker street, or the Fifth
Avenue. Money-changers were then unknown, or, if known, were of so
little account that they had not sufficient force to form a colony and
a league by themselves. Even the banks did not deem it necessary to be
within a stone's throw of each other--I believe there were but two--as
it might be in self-defence. We have seen all sorts of expedients
adopted, in this sainted street, to protect the money-bags, from the
little temple that was intended to be so small as only to admit the
dollars and those who were to take care of them, up to the edifice that
might contain so many rogues, as to render things safe on the familiar
principle of setting a thief to catch a thief. All would not do. The
difficulty has been found to be unconquerable, except in those cases in
which the homely and almost worn-out expedient of employing honest men,
has been resorted to. But, to return from the gossipings of old age to
an agreeable widow, who was still under forty.

Mrs. Bradfort received Mr. Hardinge in a way to satisfy us all that she
was delighted to see him. She had prepared a room for Rupert and myself,
and no apologies or excuses would be received. We had to consent to
accept of her hospitalities. In an hour's time, all were established,
and I believe all were at home.

I shall not dwell on the happiness that succeeded. We were all too young
to go to parties, and, I might almost add, New York itself was too young
to have any; but in the last I should have been mistaken, though there
were not as many _children's_ balls in 1799, perhaps, after allowing for
the difference in population, as there are to-day. If too young to be
company, we were not too young to see sights. I sometimes laugh as I
remember what these were at that time. There was such a museum as would
now be thought lightly of in a western city of fifteen or twenty years'
growth--a circus kept by a man of the name of Ricketts--the theatre
in John street, a very modest Thespian edifice--and a lion, I mean
literally the beast, that was kept in a cage quite out of town, that
his roaring might not disturb people, somewhere near the spot where the
_triangle_ that is called Franklin _Square_ now is. All these we saw,
even to the theatre; good, indulgent Mr. Hardinge seeing no harm in
letting us go thither under the charge of Mrs. Bradfort. I shall never
forget the ecstasy of that night! The novelty was quite as great to
Rupert and myself as it was to the girls; for, though we had been to
China, we had never been to the play.

Well was it said, "Vanity, vanity--all is vanity!" He that lives as long
as I have lived, will have seen most of his opinions, and I think I
may add, _all_ his tastes, change. Nothing short of revelation has
a stronger tendency to convince us of the temporary character of our
probationary state in this world, than to note for how short a period,
and for what imperfect ends, all our hopes and success in life have been
buoying us up, and occupying our minds. After fifty, the delusion begins
to give way; and, though we may continue to live, and even to be happy,
blind indeed must be he who does not see the end of his road, and
foresee some of the great results to which it is to lead. But of all
this, our quartette thought little in the year 1799.



CHAPTER VIII.

  "Thou art the same, eternal sea!
  The earth hath many shapes and forms
  Of hill and valley, flower and tree;
  Fields that the fervid noontide warms,
  Or Winter's rugged grasp deforms,
  Or bright with Autumn's golden store;
  Thou coverest up thy face with storms,
  Or smilest serene--but still thy roar
  And dashing foam go up to vex the sea-beat shore."
  LUNT.


I had a free conversation with my guardian, shortly after we reached
town, on the subject of my going to sea again. The whole country was
alive with the armament of the new marine; and cocked-hats, blue coats
and white lapels, began to appear in the streets, with a parade that
always marks the new officer and the new service. Now, one meets
distinguished naval men at every turn, and sees nothing about their
persons to denote the profession, unless in actual employment afloat,
even the cockade being laid aside; whereas in 1799 the harness was put
on as soon as the parchment was received, and only laid aside to turn
in. Ships were building or equipping in all parts of the country; and it
is matter of surprise to me that I escaped the fever, and did not apply
to be made a midshipman. Had I seen another captain who interested me
as much as Captain Dale, I make no doubt my career would have been
quite different: but, as things were, I had imbibed the prejudice that
Southey, in his very interesting, but, in a professional sense, very
worthless, life of Nelson, has attributed to that hero--"aft, the more
honour; forward, the better man." Thus far, I had not got into the
cabin-windows, and, like all youngsters who fairly begin on the
forecastle, felt proud of my own manhood and disdain of hazards and
toil. I determined, therefore, to pursue the course I had originally
pointed out to myself, and follow in the footsteps of my father.

Privateers were out of the question in a war with a country that had
no commerce. Nor do I think I would have gone in a privateer under any
circumstances. The business of carrying on a warfare merely for gain,
has ever struck me as discreditable; though it must be admitted
the American system of private-armed cruisers has always been more
respectable and better conducted than that of most other nations. This
has been owing to the circumstance that men of a higher class than
is usual in Europe, have embarked in the enterprises. To a
letter-of-marque, however, there could be no objection; her regular
business is commerce; she arms only in self-defence, or, if she capture
anything, it is merely such enemies as cross her path, and who would
capture her if they could. I announced to Mr. Hardinge, therefore, my
determination not to return to Clawbonny, but to look for a berth in
some letter-of-marque, while then in town.

Neb had received private instructions, and my sea dunnage, as well as
his own, was on board the Wallingford--low enough the wreck had reduced
both to be--and money obtained from Mr. Hardinge was used to purchase
more. I now began to look about me for a ship, determined to please my
eye as to the vessel, and my judgment as to the voyage. Neb had orders
to follow the wharves on the same errand. I would sooner trust Neb
than Rupert on such a duty. The latter had no taste for ships; felt no
interest in them; and I have often wondered why he took a fancy to go
to sea at all. With Neb it was very different. He was already an expert
seaman; could hand, reef and steer, knot and splice, and was as useful
as nine men in ten on board a vessel. It is true, he did not know when
it became necessary to take in the last reef--had no notion of stowing
a cargo so as to favour the vessel, or help her sailing; but he would
break out a cask sooner than most men I ever met with. There was too
much "nigger" in him for head-work of that sort, though he was ingenious
and ready enough in his way. A sterling fellow was Neb, and I got in
time to love him very much as I can conceive one would love a brother.

One day, after I had seen all the sights, and had begun to think
seriously of finding a ship, I was strolling along the wharves on the
latter errand, when I heard a voice I knew cry put, "There, Captain
Williams, there's just your chap; he'll make as good a third-mate as can
be found in all America." I had a sort of presentiment this applied
to me, though I could not, on the instant, recall the speaker's
name. Turning to look in the direction of the sounds, I saw the
hard countenance of Marble, alongside the weather-beaten face of a
middle-aged shipmaster, both of whom were examining me over the nettings
of a very promising-looking armed merchantman. I bowed to Mr. Marble,
who beckoned me to come on board, where I was regularly introduced to
the master.

This vessel was called the Crisis, a very capital name for a craft in a
country where crisises of one sort or another occur regularly as often
as once in six months. She was a tight little ship of about four hundred
tons, had hoop-pole bulwarks, as I afterwards learned, with nettings
for hammocks and old junk, principally the latter; and showed ten
nine-pounders, carriage-guns, in her batteries. I saw she was loaded,
and was soon given to understand that her shipping-articles were then
open, and the serious question was of procuring a third-mate. Officers
were scarce, so many young men were pressing into the navy; and Mr.
Marble ventured to recommend me, from near a twelvemonth's knowledge of
my character. I had not anticipated a berth aft quite so soon, and yet I
had a humble confidence in my own ability to discharge the duty. Captain
Williams questioned me for fifteen or twenty minutes, had a short
conversation with Mr. Marble alone, and then frankly offered me the
berth. The voyage was to be round the world, and it took my fancy at the
very sound. The ship was to take a cargo of flour to England; there, she
was to receive a small assorted cargo for the North-West Coast, and some
of the sandal-wood islands; after disposing of her toys and manufactures
in barter, she was to sail for Canton, exchange her furs, wood and other
articles for teas, &c., and return home. To engage in this voyage, I
was offered the berth I have mentioned, and thirty dollars a-month. The
wages were of little moment to me, but the promotion and the voyage
were of great account. The ship, too, carried out letters-of-marque and
reprisal with her, and there were the chances of meeting some Frenchman
in the European waters, at least.

I examined the vessel, the berth I was to occupy, made a great many
shy glances at the captain, to ascertain his character by that profound
expedient, analyzing his looks, and finally determined to ship, on
condition Neb should be taken as an ordinary seaman. As soon as Marble
heard this last proposal, he explained the relation in which the black
stood to me, and earnestly advised his being received as a seaman. The
arrangement was made accordingly, and I went at once to the notary and
signed the articles. Neb was also found, and he was shipped too; this
time regularly, Mr. Hardinge attending and giving his sanction to what
was done. The worthy divine was in excellent spirits, for that very day
he had made an arrangement with a friend at the bar to place Rupert in
his office, Mrs. Bradfort insisting on keeping her young kinsman in her
house, as a regular inmate. This left on the father no more charge than
to furnish Rupert with clothes, and a few dollars of pocket-money. But I
knew Rupert too well to suppose he would, or could, be content with the
little he might expect from the savings of Mr. Hardinge. I was not in
want of money. My guardian had supplied me so amply, that not only had
I paid my debt to the owners of the John, and fully equipped myself for
the voyage, but I actually possessed dollars enough to supply all my
probable wants during the expected absence. Many of the officers and men
of the Crisis left behind them orders with their wives and families to
receive their wages, in part, during their absence, as letters from
time to time apprised the owners that these people were on board, and
in discharge of their several duties. I determined on giving Rupert the
benefit of such an arrangement. First presenting him with twenty dollars
from my own little store, I took him with me to the counting-house,
and succeeded, though not without some difficulty, in obtaining for my
friend a credit of twenty dollars a-month, promising faithfully to repay
any balance that might arise against me in consequence of the loss of
the ship, or of any accident to myself. This I was enabled to do on the
strength of my credit as the owner of Clawbonny; for, as is usual in
these cases, I passed for being much richer than I really was, though
far from being poor.

I will acknowledge that, while I felt no reluctance at making this
arrangement in favour of Rupert, I felt mortified he should accept it.
There are certain acts we may all wish to perform, and, yet, which
bring regrets when successfully performed. I was sorry that _my_ friend,
Lucy's brother, Grace's admirer--for I was quick enough in perceiving
that Rupert began to entertain fancies of that sort--had not pride
enough to cause him to decline receiving money which must be earned by
the sweat of my brow, and this, moreover, in a mode of life he had
not himself sufficient resolution to encounter a second time. But he
accepted the offer, and there was an end of it.

As everything was alive in 1798, the Crisis was ready to sail in three
days after I joined her. We hauled into the North river, as became
the dignity of our voyage, and got our crew on board. On the whole, we
mustered a pretty good body of men, ten of them being green; fellows who
had never seen the ocean, but who were young, healthy and athletic, and
who promised to be useful before a great while. Including those aft, we
counted thirty-eight souls on board. The ship was got ready in hopes of
being able to sail of a Thursday, for Captain Williams was a thoughtful
man, and was anxious to get the ship fairly at sea, with the first work
done, previously to the next Sabbath. Some small matters, however, could
not be got through with in time; and, as for sailing of a Friday, that
was out of the question. No one did that in 1798, who could help it.
This gave us a holiday, and I got leave to pass the afternoon and
evening ashore.

Rupert, Grace, Lucy and I took a long walk into the country that
evening; that is, we went into the fields, and along the lanes, for
some distance above the present site of Canal street. Lucy and I walked
together, most of the time, and we both felt sad at the idea of so long
a separation as was now before us. The voyage might last three years;
and I should be legally a man, my own master, and Lucy a young woman of
near nineteen, by that time. Terrible ages in perspective were these,
and which seemed to us pregnant with as many changes as the life of a
man.

"Rupert will be admitted to the bar, when I get back," I casually
remarked, as we talked the matter over.

"He will, indeed," the dear girl answered. "Now you _are_ to go, Miles,
I almost regret my brother is not to be in the ship; you have known each
other so long, love each other so much, and have already gone through
such frightful trials in company."

"Oh! I shall do well enough--there'll be Neb; and as for Rupert, I think
he will be better satisfied ashore than at sea. Rupert is a sort of a
natural lawyer."

By this I merely meant he was good at a subterfuge, and could tell his
own story.

"Yes, but Neb is not Rupert, Miles," Lucy answered, quick as thought,
and, I fancied, a little reproachfully.

"Very true--no doubt I shall miss your brother, and that, too, very
much, at times; but all I meant in speaking of Neb was, as you know,
that he and I like each other, too, and have been through just the same
trials together, you understand, and have known each other as long as I
can remember."

Lucy was silent, and I felt embarrassed, and a little at a loss what to
say next. But a girl approaching sixteen, and who is with a youth who
possesses her entire confidence, is not apt to be long silent. Something
she will say; and how often is that something warm with natural feeling,
instinct with truth, and touching from its confiding simplicity!

"You will sometimes think of us, Miles?" was Lucy's next remark, and it
was said in a tone that induced me to look her full in the face, when I
discovered that her eyes were suffused with tears.

"Of that you may be _very_ certain, and I hope to be rewarded in kind.
But, now I think of it, Lucy, I have a debt to pay you, and, at the same
time, a little interest. Here are the half-joes you forced me to take
last year, when we parted at Clawbonny. See, they are exactly the same
pieces; for I would as soon have parted with a finger, as with one of
them."

"I had hoped they might have been of use to you, and had quite forgotten
them. You have destroyed an agreeable illusion."

"Is it not quite as agreeable to know we had no occasion for them? No,
here they are; and, now I go with Mr. Hardinge's full approbation, you
very well know I can be in no want of money. So, there is your gold; and
here, Lucy, is some interest for the use of it."

I made an effort to put something into the dear girl's hand as I
spoke, but all the strength I could properly apply was not equal to the
purpose. So tightly did she keep her little fingers compressed, that I
could not succeed without a downright effort at force.

"No--no--Miles," she said hurriedly--almost huskily; "that will never
do! I am not Rupert--you may prevail with him; never with _me_!"

"Rupert! What can Rupert have to do with such a thing as this locket?
Youngsters don't wear lockets."

Lucy's fingers separated as easily as an infant's, and I put my little
offering into her hand without any more resistance. I was sorry,
however, to discover that, by some means unknown to me, she had become
acquainted with the arrangement I had made as respected the twenty
dollars a month. I afterwards ascertained that this secret had leaked
out through Neb, who had it from one of the clerks of the counting-house
who had visited the ship, and repeated it to Mrs. Bradfort's black maid,
in one of his frequent visits to the house. This is a common channel of
information, though it seldom proves as true as it did in this instance.

I could see that Lucy was delighted with her locket. It was a very
pretty ornament, in the first place, and it had her own hair, that of
Grace, Rupert, and my own, very prettily braided together, so as to form
a wreath, made like a rope, or a grummet, encircling a combination of
letters that included all our initials. In this there was nothing that
was particular, while there was much that was affectionate. Had I not
consulted Grace on the subject, it is possible I should have been less
cautious, though I declare I had no thought of making love. All this
time I fancied I felt for, and trusted Lucy as another sister. I was
shrewd enough to detect Rupert's manner and feeling towards my own
sister, and I felt afraid it was, or soon would be, fully reciprocated;
but as to imagining myself in love with Lucy Hardinge, or any one else,
the thought never crossed my mind, though the dear girl herself so often
did!

I saw Lucy's smile, and I could not avoid noticing the manner in
which, once or twice, unconsciously to herself, I do believe, this
simple-minded, sincere creature, pressed the hand which retained the
locket to her heart; and yet it made no very lively impression on my
imagination at the time. The conversation soon changed, and we began to
converse of other things. I have since fancied that Grace had left us
alone in order that I might return the half-joes to Lucy, and offer
the locket; for, looking round and seeing the latter in its new owner's
hand, while Lucy was bestowing on it one of the hundred glances of
grateful pleasure it received that afternoon, she waited until we came
up, when she took my arm, remarking, as this was to be our last evening
together, she must come in for her share of the conversation. Now, I
solemnly affirm that this was the nearest approach to anything like a
love-scene that had ever passed between Lucy Hardinge and myself.

I would gladly pass over the leave-taking, and shall say but little
about it. Mr. Hardinge called me into his room, when we got back to the
house. He spoke earnestly and solemnly to me, recalling to my mind many
of his early and most useful precepts. He then kissed me, gave me his
blessing, and promised to remember me in his prayers. As I left him, and
I believe he went on his knees as soon as my back was turned, Lucy was
waiting for me in the passage. She was in tears, and paler than common,
but her mind seemed made up to sustain a great sacrifice like a woman.
She put a small, but exceedingly neat copy of the Bible into my hand,
and uttered, as well as emotion would permit--"There, Miles; _that_
is _my_ keepsake. I do not ask you to think of _me_ when you read; but
think of _God_." She then snatched a kiss, and flew into her room and
locked the door. Grace was below, and she wept on my neck like a child,
kissing me again and again, and calling me "her brother--her dear, her
_only_ brother." I was obliged actually to tear myself away from Grace.
Rupert went with me to the ship, and passed an hour or two on board.
As we crossed the threshold, I heard a window open above my head, and,
looking up, I saw Lucy, with streaming eyes, leaning forward to say,
"Write, Miles--write as often as you possibly can."

Man must be a stern being by nature, to be able to tear himself from
such friends, in order to encounter enemies, hardships, dangers and
toil, and all without any visible motive. Such was my case, however,
for I wanted not for a competency, or for most of those advantages
which might tempt one to abandon the voyage. Of such a measure, the
possibility never crossed my mind. I believed that it was just as
necessary for me to remain third-mate of the Crisis, and to stick by the
ship while she would float, as Mr. Adams thinks it necessary for him to
present abolition petitions to a congress, which will not receive them.
We both of us, doubtless, believed ourselves the victims of fate.

We sailed at sun-rise, wind and tide favouring. We had anchored off
Courtlandt street, and as the ship swept past the Battery I saw Rupert,
who had only gone ashore in the pilot's boat at day-light, with two
females, watching our movements. The girls did not dare to wave their
handkerchiefs; but what cared I for that--I knew that their good wishes,
kind wishes, tender wishes, went with me; and this little touch of
affection, which woman knows so well how to manifest, made me both happy
and sad for the remainder of the day.

The Crisis was an unusually fast ship, faster even than the Tigris;
coppered to the bends, copper-fastened, and with a live-oak frame. No
better craft sailed out of the republic. Uncle Sam had tried to purchase
her for one of his new navy; but the owners, having this voyage in view,
refused his tempting offers. She was no sooner under her canvass, than
all hands of us perceived we were in a traveller; and glad enough were
we to be certain of the fact, for we had a long road before us. This,
too, was with the wind free, and in smooth water; whereas those who knew
the vessel asserted her _forte_ was on a bowline and in a sea-that is to
say, she would sail relatively faster than most other craft, under the
latter circumstances.

There was a strange pleasure to me, notwithstanding all I had suffered
previously, all the risks I had run, and all I had left behind me, in
finding myself once more on the broad ocean. As for Neb, the fellow was
fairly enraptured. So quickly and intelligently did he obey his orders,
that he won a reputation before we crossed the bar. The smell of the
ocean seemed to imbue him with a species of nautical inspiration, and
even I was astonished with his readiness and activity. As for myself, I
was every way at home. Very different was this exit from the port, from
that of the previous year. Then everything was novel, and not a little
disgusting. Now I had little, almost nothing, to learn--literally
nothing, I might have said, were it not that every ship-master has
certain _ways_ of his own, that it behooves all his subordinates to
learn as quickly as possible. Then I lived aft, where we not only
had plates, and table-cloths, and tumblers, and knives and forks; but
comparatively _clean_ articles of the sort. I say comparatively, the two
other degrees being usually wanting in north-west traders.

The Crisis went to sea with a lively breeze at south-west, the wind
shifting after she had got into the lower bay. There were a dozen sail
of us altogether, and in our little fleet were two of Uncle Sam's men,
who felt disposed to try their hands with us. We crossed the bar, all
three of us, within a cable's length of each other, and made sail
in company, with the wind a trifle abaft the beam. Just as Navesink
disappeared, our two men-of-war, merchantmen altered, hauled up on
bowlines, and jogged off towards the West Indies, being at the
time about a league astern of us. This success put us all in high
good-humour, and had such an effect on Marble in particular, that he
began to give it as his opinion that our only superiority over them
would not be found confined to sailing, on an experiment. It is very
convenient to think favourably of one's self, and it is certainly
comfortable to entertain the same notion as respects one's ship.

I confess to a little awkwardness at first, in acting as an officer.
I was young, and commanded men old enough to be my father--regular
sea-dogs, who were as critical in all that related to the niceties of
the calling, as the journalist who is unable to appreciate the higher
qualities of a book, is hypercritical on its minor faults. But a few
days gave me confidence, and I soon found I was obeyed as readily as the
first-mate. A squall struck the ship in my watch, about a fortnight out,
and I succeeded in getting in sail, and saving everything, canvass and
spars, in a way that did me infinite service aft. Captain Williams
spoke to me on the subject, commending the orders I had given, and
the coolness with which they had been issued; for, as I afterwards
understood, he remained some time in the companion-way, keeping the
other two mates back, though all hands had been called, in order to see
how I could get along by myself in such a strait. On this occasion, I
never saw a human being exert himself like Neb. He felt that my honour
was concerned. I do really think the fellow did two men's duty, the
whole time the squall lasted. Until this little incident occurred,
Captain Williams was in the habit of coming on deck to examine the
heavens, and see how things were getting on, in my night-watches; but,
after this, he paid no more visits of this sort to me, than he paid to
Mr. Marble. I had been gratified by his praises; but this quiet mode of
showing confidence, gave me more happiness than I can express.

We had a long passage out, the wind hanging to the eastward near three
weeks. At length we got moderate southerly breezes, and began to travel
on our course. Twenty-four hours after we had got the fair wind, I had
the morning watch, and made, as the day dawned, a sail directly abeam of
us, to windward, about three leagues distant, or just hull down. I
went into the main-top, and examined her with a glass. She was a ship,
seemingly of about our own size, and carrying everything that would
draw. I did not send word below until it was broad daylight, or for
near half an hour; and in all that time her bearings did not vary any
perceptible distance.

Just as the sun rose, the captain and chief-mate made their appearance
on deck. At first they agreed in supposing the stranger a stray English
West-Indiaman, bound home; for, at that time, few merchant vessels were
met at sea that were not English or American. The former usually sailed
in convoys, however; and the captain accounted for the circumstance that
this was not thus protected, by the fact of her sailing so fast.
She might be a letter-of-marque, like ourselves, and vessels of that
character did not take convoy. As the two vessels lay exactly abeam of
each other, with square yards, it was not easy to judge of the sparring
of the stranger, except by means of his masts. Marble, judging by the
appearance of his topsails, began to think our neighbour might be a
Frenchman, he had so much hoist to the sails. After some conversation on
the subject, the captain ordered me to brace forward the yards, as far
as our studding-sails would allow, and to luff nearer to the stranger.
While the ship was thus changing her course, the day advanced, and our
crew got their breakfast.

As a matter of course, the strange ship, which kept on the same line
of sailing as before, drew ahead of us a little, while we neared her
sensibly. In the course of three hours we were within a league of her,
but well on her lee-quarter. Marble now unhesitatingly pronounced her
to be a Frenchman, there being no such thing as mistaking the sails. To
suppose an Englishman would go to sea with such triangles of royals, he
held to be entirely out of the question; and then he referred to me to
know if I did not remember the brig "we had licked in the West Indies,
last v'y'ge, which had just such r'yals as the chap up there to
windward?" I could see the resemblance, certainly, and had remarked the
same peculiarity in the few French vessels I had seen.

Under all the circumstances, Captain Williams determined to get on the
weather-quarter of our neighbour, and take a still nearer look at him.
That he was armed, we could see already; and, as near as we could make
out, he carried twelve guns, or just two more than we did ourselves. All
this was encouraging; sufficiently so, at least, to induce us to make a
much closer examination than we had yet done.

It took two more hours to bring the Crisis, fast as she sailed, on
the weather-quarter of her neighbour, distant about a mile. Here our
observations were much more to the purpose, and even Captain
Williams pronounced the stranger to be a Frenchman, "and, no doubt, a
letter-of-marque, like ourselves." He had just uttered these words,
when we saw the other vessel's studding-sails coming down her royals and
top-gallant-sails clewing up, and all the usual signs of her stripping
for a fight. We had set our ensign early in the day, but, as yet, had
got no answering symbol of nationality from the chase. As soon as she
had taken in all her light canvass, however, she clewed up her courses,
fired a gun to windward, and hoisted the French _tri-color_, the most
graceful flag among the emblems of Christendom, but one that has been as
remarkably unsuccessful in the deeds it has witnessed on the high seas,
as it has been remarkable for the reverse on land. The French have not
been wanting in excellent sailors--gallant seamen, too; but the results
of their exploits afloat have ever borne a singular disproportion to the
means employed--a few occasional exceptions just going to prove that the
causes have been of a character as peculiar, as these results have,
in nearly all ages, been uniform. I have heard the want of success in
maritime exploits, among the French, attributed to a want of sympathy,
in the nation, with maritime things. Others, again, have supposed that
the narrow system of preferring birth to merit, which pervaded the whole
economy of the French marine, as well as of its army, previously to the
revolution, could not fail to destroy the former, inasmuch as a man
of family would not consent to undergo the toil and hardships that
are unavoidable to the training of the true seaman. This last reason,
however, can scarcely be the true one, as the young English noble has
often made the most successful naval officer; and the marine of France,
in 1798, had surely every opportunity of perfecting itself, by downright
practice, uninjured by favouritism, as that of America. For myself,
though I have now reflected on the subject for years, I can come to no
other conclusion than that national character has some very important
agency--or, perhaps, it might be safer to say, _has_ had some very
important agency--through some cause or other, in disqualifying France
from becoming a great naval power, in the sense of skill; in that of
mere force, so great a nation must always be formidable. Now she
sends her princes to sea, however, we may look for different results.
Notwithstanding the fact that an Englishman, or an American, rarely went
alongside of a Frenchman, in 1798, without a strong moral assurance of
victory, he was sometimes disappointed. There was no lack of courage in
their enemies, and it occasionally happened that there was no lack of
skill. Every manifestation that the experience of our captain could
detect, went to show that we had fallen in with one of these exceptions.
As we drew nearer to our enemy, we perceived that he was acting like
a seaman. His sails had been furled without haste or confusion; an
infallible evidence of coolness and discipline when done on the eve of
battle, and signs that the watchful seaman, on such occasions, usually
notes as unerring indications of the sort of struggle that awaits him.
It was consequently understood, among us on the quarter-deck, that we
were likely to have a warm day's work of it. Nevertheless, we had gone
too far to retreat without an effort, and we began, in our turn, to
shorten sail, in readiness for the combat. Marble was a prince of a
fellow, when it came to anything serious. I never saw him shorten sail
as coolly and readily as he did that very day. We had everything ready
in ten minutes after we began.

It was rare, indeed, to see two letters-of-marque set-to as coolly,
and as scientifically as were the facts with the Crisis and _la Dame
de Nantes;_ for so, as we afterwards ascertained, was our antagonist
called. Neither party aimed at any great advantage by manoeuvring; but
we came up alongside of "The Lady," as our men subsequently nick-named
the Frenchman, the two vessels delivering their broadsides nearly at
the same instant. I was stationed on the forecastle, in charge of the
head-sheets, with orders to attend generally to the braces and the
rigging, using a musket in moments that were not otherwise employed.
Away went both my jib-sheet blocks at the beginning, giving me a very
pretty job from the outset. This was but the commencement of trouble;
for, during the two hours and a half that we lay battering _la Dame de
Nantes_, and she lay battering us, I had really so much to attend to in
the way of reeving, knotting, splicing, and turning in afresh, that I
had scarcely a minute to look about me, in order to ascertain how the
day was going. I fired my musket but twice. The glimpses I did manage
to take were far from satisfactory, however; several of our people being
killed or wounded, one gun fairly crippled by a shot, and our rigging
in a sad plight. The only thing encourag'ng was Neb's shout, the fellow
making it a point to roar almost as loud as his gun, at each discharge.

It was evident from the first that the Frenchman had nearly twice as
many men as we carried. This rendered any attempt at boarding imprudent,
and, in the way of pounding, our prospects were by no means flattering.
At length I heard a rushing sound over my head, and, looking up, I saw
that the main-top-mast, with the yards and sails, had come down on
the fore-braces, and might shortly be expected on deck. At this point,
Captain Williams ordered all hands from the guns to clear the wreck. At
the same instant, our antagonist, with a degree of complaisance that
I could have hugged him for, ceased firing also. Both sides seemed to
think it was very foolish for two merchantmen to lie within a cable's
length of each other, trying which could do the other the most harm; and
both sides set about the, by this time, very necessary duty of repairing
damages. While this was going on, the men at the wheel, by a species of
instinctive caution, did their whole duty. The Crisis luffed all she
was able, while _la Dame de Nantes_ edged away all she very conveniently
could, placing more than a mile of blue water between the two vessels,
before we, who were at work aloft, were aware they were so decidedly
running on diverging lines.

It was night before we got our wreck clear; and then we had to look
about us, to get out spare spars, fit them, rig them, point them,
and sway them aloft. The last operation, however, was deferred until
morning. As it was, the day's work had been hard, and the people really
wanted rest. Rest was granted them at eight o'clock; at which hour,
our late antagonist was visible about a league distant, the darkness
beginning to envelope her. In the morning the horizon was clear, owing
to the repulsion which existed in so much force between the two vessels.
It was not our business to trouble ourselves about the fate of our
adversary, but to take heed of our own. That morning we go' up our
spars, crossed the yards, and made sail again. We had several days'
work in repairing all our damages; but, happening to be found for a long
voyage, and well found, too, by the end of a week the Crisis was in as
good order as if we had not fought a battle. As for the combat, it was
one of those in which either side might claim the victory, or not, as it
suited tastes. We had very ingenious excuses for our failure, however;
and I make no doubt the French were just as ready, in this way, as we
were ourselves.

Our loss in this engagement amounted to two men killed outright, and to
seven wounded, two of whom died within a few days. The remaining wounded
all recovered, though the second-mate, who was one of them, I believe
never got to be again the man he had been. A canister-shot lodged near
his hip, and the creature we had on board as a surgeon was not the hero
to extract it. In that day, the country was not so very well provided
with medical men on the land, as to spare many good ones to the sea.
In the new navy, it was much the fashion to say, "if you want a leg
amputated, send for the carpenter; he _does_ know how to use a saw,
while it is questionable whether the doctor knows how to use anything."
Times, however, are greatly altered in this respect; the gentlemen
who now compose this branch of the service being not only worthy of
commendation for their skill and services, but worthy of the graduated
rank which I see they are just now asking of the justice of their
country, and which, as that country ordinarily administers justice, I am
much afraid they will ask in vain.



CHAPTER IX.

                                   "If we
    Cannot defend our own door from the dog,
    Let us be worried; and our nation lose
    The name of hardiness, and policy."
    _Henry V._


The combat between the Crisis and _la Dame de Nantes_ took place
in 42.37'.12" north latitude, and 34.16'.43" west longitude, from
Greenwich. This was very near the centre of the northern Atlantic, and
gave us ample time to get our ship in good condition before we drew
in with the land. Shortly after the affair, the wind came out light at
northeast, forcing us down nearer to the Bay of Biscay than was at all
convenient, when bound to London. The weather grew foggy, too, which is
not usual on the coast of Europe, with the wind at east, and the nights
dark. Just a fortnight after the action, I was awakened early one
morning by a rough shake of the shoulder from Marble, who had the watch,
but who was calling me at least an hour before the time. "Bear a hand
and turn out," he said; "I want you on deck, Mr. Wallingford." I obeyed,
of course, and soon stood in the presence of the chief-mate, rubbing my
eyes diligently, as if they had to be opened by friction.

It was just six bells, or seven o'clock, and one of the watch was on the
point of making the bell proclaim as much, when Mr. Marble ordered him
not to strike the hour. The weather was thick, or rather foggy, and the
wind light, with very little sea going. All this I had time to notice,
to listen to the unusual order about the bell, and to gape twice, before
the male turned to me. He seized my arm, carried me on the lee side
of the quarter-deck, shook his finger at a vacant spot in the fog, and
said--

"Miles, my boy, down yonder, within half a mile of this very spot, is
our friend the Frenchman!"

"How is it possible you can know that, Mr. Marble?" I demanded in
surprise.

"Because I have seen him, with these two good-looking eyes of mine. This
fog opens and shuts like a playhouse-curtain, and I got a peep at the
chap, about ten minutes since. It was a short look, but it was a sure
one; I would swear to the fellow in any admiralty court in Christendom."

"And what do you intend to do, Mr. Marble? We found him a hard subject
in clear weather; what can we do with him in thick?"

"That depends on the old man; his very natur' is overlaid by what
has happened already, and I rather think he will be for a fresh
skrimmage"--Marble was an uneducated Kennebunk man, and by no means
particular about his English. "There'll be good picking in that French
gentleman, Master Miles, for those who come in at the beginning of the
plunder!"

The chief-mate then told me to go below and turn up all hands, making as
little rumpus about it as possible. This I did; and when I returned
to the deck, I found the fingers of Marble going again, with Captain
Williams for his auditor, just as they had gone to me, a few minutes
earlier. Being an officer, I made no scruples about joining the party.
Marble was giving his account of the manner in which he had momentarily
seen the enemy, the canvass he was under, the course he was steering,
and the air of security that prevailed about him. So much, he insisted
he had noted, though he saw the ship for about twenty seconds only. All
this, however, might be true, for a seaman's eye is quick, and he has
modes of his own for seeing a great deal in a brief space of time.
Marble now proposed that we should go to quarters, run alongside of the
Frenchman, pour in a broadside, and board him in the smoke. Our success
would be certain, could we close with him without being seen; and
it would be almost as certain, could we engage him with our guns by
surprise. The chief-mate was of opinion we had dosed him in the other
affair, in a way to sicken him; this time we should bring him to with a
round turn!

The "old man" was pleased with the notion, I saw at a glance; and I
confess it took my fancy also. We all felt very sore at the result
of the other attempt, and here it seemed as if fortune gave us a good
occasion for repairing the evil.

"There can be no harm in getting ready, Mr. Marble," the captain
observed; "and when we are ready ourselves we shall know better what to
think of the matter."

This was no sooner said, than away we went to clear ship. Our task was
soon done; the tompions were got out, the guns cast loose, ammunition
was brought up, and a stand of grape was put in over the shot in every
piece in both batteries. As the men were told the motive, they worked
like dray-horses; and I do not think we were ten minutes before the ship
was ready to go into action, at a moment's notice.

All this time, Captain Williams refused to keep the ship away. I believe
he wanted to get a look at our neighbour himself, for he could not but
foresee what might be the consequences, should he run down in the fog,
and engage a heavier vessel than his own, without the ceremony of a
hail. The sea was covered with Englishmen, and one of their cruisers
might not very easily pardon such a mistake, however honestly made. But
preparation seems to infer a necessity for performance. When everything
was ready, all eyes were turned aft in a way that human nature could
hardly endure, and the captain was obliged to yield. As Marble, of all
on board, had alone seen the other vessel, he was directed to conn the
Crisis in the delicate operation she was about to undertake.

As before, my station was on the forecastle. I had been directed to
keep a bright look-out, as the enemy would doubtless be first seen from
forward. The order was unnecessary, however, for never did human beings
gaze into a fog more anxiously, than did all on board our ship on this
occasion. Calculating by the distance, and the courses steered, we
supposed ten or fifteen minutes would bring us square alongside of Mr.
Marble's ship; though some among us doubted his having seen any vessel
at all. There was about a five-knot breeze, and we had all our square
sails set, knowing it was necessary to go a little faster than our
adversary, to catch up with him. The intense expectation, not to say
anxiety, of such a scene, is not easily described. The surrounding fog,
at times, seemed filled with ships; but all vanished into _thick_ air,
one after another, leaving nothing but vapour. Severe orders had been
given for no one to call out, but, the moment the ship was seen, for
the discoverer to go aft and report. At least a dozen men left their
quarters on this errand, all returning in the next instant, satisfied
they had been deceived. Each moment, too, increased the expectation; for
each moment must we be getting nearer and nearer to her, if any vessel
were really there. Quite twenty minutes, however, passed in this manner,
and no ship was seen. Marble continued cool and confident, but the
captain and second-mate smiled, while the people began to shake their
heads, and roll the tobacco into their cheeks. As we advanced, our own
ship luffed by degrees, until we had got fairly on our old course again,
or were sailing close upon the wind. This change was made easily, the
braces not having been touched; a precaution that was taken expressly to
give us this advantage. When we found ourselves once more close upon
the wind, we gave the matter up forward, supposing the mate had been
deceived. I saw by the expression of the captain's face that he was
about to give the order to secure the guns, when, casting my eyes
forward, there was a ship, sure enough, within a hundred yards of us!
I held up both arms, as I looked aft, and luckily caught the captain's
eye. In an instant, he was on the forecastle.

It was easy enough to see the stranger now. There he was in the
fog, looking mystical and hazy; but there he was, under his
main-top-gallant-sail, close-hauled, and moving ahead in all the
confidence of the solitude of the ocean. We could not see his hull, or
so faintly as only to distinguish its mass; but from his tops up,
there was no mistaking the objects. We had shot away the Frenchman's
mizen-royal-mast. It was a pole, and there the stump stood, just as it
was when we had last seen him on the evening of the day of the combat.
This left no doubt of the character of our neighbour, and it at once
determined our course. As it was, we were greatly outsailing him, but
an order was immediately given to set the light staysails. As Captain
Williams passed aft, he gave his orders to the men in the batteries.
In the mean time, the second-mate, who spoke very good New York French,
came upon the forecastle, in readiness to answer the expected hail. As
the Crisis was kept a little free, in order to close, and as she sailed
so fast, it was apparent we were coming up with the chase, hand over
hand.

The two ships were not more than a hundred feet asunder when
the Frenchmen first saw us. This blindness was owing to several
circumstances. In the first place, ten men look forward in a ship,
where one looks aft. Those who looked aloft, too, were generally on
the quarter-deck, and this prevented them from looking astern. Then the
Frenchman's crew had just gone to their breakfasts, most of them eating
below. She was so strong-handed, moreover, as to give a forenoon's watch
below, and this still left many of the sluggards in their hammocks. In
that day, even a French ship-of-the-line was no model of discipline or
order, and a letter-of-marque was consequently worse. As it afterwards
appeared, we were first seen by the mate of the watch, who ran to the
taffrail, and, instead of giving an order to call all hands, he hailed
us. Mr. Forbank, our second-mate, answered; mumbling his words so, that,
if they were bad French, they did not sound like good English. He got
out the name "Le Hasard, de Bordeaux," pretty plainly, however; and this
served to mystify the mate for a few seconds. By the end of that time,
our bows were doubling on the Frenchman's quarter, and we were sheering
into him so fast as quite to distract the Nantes man. The hail had been
heard below, however, and the Frenchmen came tumbling up by the dozen,
forward and aft.

Captain Williams was a prime seaman, and one of the coolest men that
ever lived. Everything that day was done at precisely the proper moment.
The Frenchman attempted to keep off, but our wheel was so touched as to
keep us lapping in nearly a parallel line with them, the whole time; and
our forward sails soon becalmed even their mainsail. Of course we
went two feet to their one. Marble came on the forecastle, just as our
cat-head was abreast of "The Lady's" forward-rigging. Less than a minute
was required to take us so far forward, and that minute was one of great
confusion among the French. As soon as Marble got on the forecastle, he
made a signal, the ensign was run up, and the order was given to fire.
We let fly all five of our nine-pounders, loaded with two round and a
stand of grape, at the same moment. At the next instant, the crash of
the ships coming foul of each other was heard. Marble shouted "Come on,
boys!" and away he, and I, and Neb, and all hands of us, went on board
of the Frenchman like a hurricane. I anticipated a furious hand to hand
conflict; but we found the deck deserted, and had no difficulty whatever
in getting possession. The surprise, the rush, and the effect of the
broadside, gave us an easy victory. The French captain had been nearly
cut in two by a nine-pound shot, moreover, and both of the mates were
severely wounded. These accidents contributed largely to our success,
causing the enemy to abandon the defence as hopeless. We had not a soul
hurt.

The prize proved to be the ship I have mentioned, a letter-of-marque,
from Guadaloupe, bound to Nantes. She was a trifle larger than the
Crisis, mounted twelve French nines, and had eighty-three souls on board
when she sailed. Of these, however, no less than twenty-three had been
killed and wounded in our previous affair with her, and several were
absent in a prize. Of the wounded, nearly all were still in their
hammocks. Among the remainder, some sixteen or eighteen suffered by our
close and destructive broadside on the present occasion, reducing the
efficient part of her crew to about our own numbers. The vessel was
new and valuable, and her cargo was invoiced at something like sixty
thousand dollars, having some cochineal among it.

As soon as assured of our victory, the Crisis's main-top-sail was braced
aback, as well as it could be, and her helm put down. At the same time,
the Dame was kept away, and the two ships went clear of each other.
Little injury had been done by the collision, or the grinding; and, in
consequence of our guns having been so much shotted, no damage whatever
was done the lower masts of the prize. The shot had just force enough to
pass through the bulwarks, make splinters, and to lodge. This left both
vessels in good condition for going into port.

At first it was determined to leave me in _la Dame de Nantes,_ as
prize-master, with directions to follow the Crisis into Falmouth,
whither she was bound for orders. But, on further examination, it was
discovered that the crew of an American brig was on board the prize as
prisoners; _la Dame de Nantes_ having captured the vessel only two days
before we met the former the first time, taken out her people, manned
her, and ordered her for Nantes. These Americans, including the master
and two mates, amounted to thirteen souls in all, and they enabled us
to make a different disposition of the prize. The result of an hour or
two's deliberations was as follows:

Our old second-mate, whose hurt was likely to require better care than
could be had on the North-west Coast, was put on board the French ship
as prize-master, with orders to make the best of his way to New York.
The master and chief-mate of the American brig agreed to act under him,
and to assist in carrying _la Dame_ across the ocean. Three or four
of our invalids were sent home also, and the liberated Americans took
service for the passage. All the French wounded were left in the ship,
under the charge of their own surgeon, who was a man of some little
merit, though a good deal of a butcher, as was too much the fashion of
that day.

It was dark before all the arrangements were made, when _la Dame de
Nantes_ turned short round on her heel, and made sail for America. Of
course our captain sent in his official report by her, and I seized a
moment to write a short letter to Grace, which was so worded as to be
addressed to the whole family. I knew how much happiness a line from me
would bestow, and I had the pleasure to inform them, also, that I was
promoted to be second-mate--the second-mate of the American brig having
shipped as my successor in the rank of third-officer.

The parting on the wide ocean, that night, was solemn, and, in some
respects, sad. We knew that several who were in _la Dame de Nantes_
would probably be left behind, as she travelled her long, solitary
path, in the depths of the ocean; and there were the chances that she,
herself, might never arrive. As respects the last, however, the odds
were in her favour, the American coast being effectually cleared of
French privateers by that time; and I subsequently received eleven
hundred and seventy-three dollars for my share in that exploit. How I
was affected by the circumstance, and what I did with the money, will
appear in the sequel.

The Crisis made sail on a bowline, at the same moment her prize filled
away for America; Miles Wallingford a much more important personage than
he had been a few hours before. We put the prisoners below, keeping a
good watch over them, and hauled off to the northward and westward, in
order to avoid any French cruisers that might be hovering on their own
coast. Captain Williams seemed satisfied with the share of glory he had
obtained, and manifested no further disposition to seek renown in arms.
As for Marble, I never knew a man more exalted in his own esteem, than
he was by the results of that day's work. It certainly did him great
credit; but, from that hour, woe to the man who pretended to dispute
with him concerning the character of any sail that happened to cross our
path.

The day after we parted company with our prize, we made a sail to the
westward, and hauled up to take a look at her, the wind having shifted.
She was soon pronounced to be an American; but, though we showed our
colours, the stranger, a brig, manifested no disposition to speak us.
This induced Captain Williams to make sail in chase, more especially
as the brig endeavoured to elude us by passing ahead, and the run was
pretty nearly on our course. At 4, P. M. we got near enough to throw a
nine-pound shot between the fellow's masts, when the chase hove-to, and
permitted us to come up. The brig proved to be the prize of _la Dame
de Nantes_, and we took possession of her forthwith. As this vessel was
loaded with flour, pot and pearl ashes, &c., and was bound to London, I
was put in charge of her, with a young man of my own age, of the name of
Roger Talcott, for my assistant, having six men for my crew. Of course
the Frenchmen, all but one who acted as cook and steward excepted, were
received on board the Crisis. Neb went with me, through his own and my
earnest entreaties, though spared by Marble with great reluctance.

This was my first command; and proud enough did I feel on the occasion,
though almost dying with the apprehension of doing something wrong. My
orders were, to make the Lizard light, and to crawl along up-channel,
keeping close in with the English coast; Captain Williams anticipating
instructions to go to the same port to which the Amanda (the brig) was
bound, and expecting to overtake us, after he had called at Falmouth
for his orders. As the Crisis could go four feet to the Amanda's three,
before sunset our old ship was hull down ahead of us.

When I took charge of the deck the next morning, I found myself on the
wide ocean, with nothing in sight, at the age of eighteen, and in the
enemy's seas, with a valuable vessel to care for, my way to find into
narrow waters that I had never entered, and a crew on board, of whom
just one-half were now on their first voyage. Our green hands had
manifested the aptitude of Americans, and had done wonders in the way of
improvement; but a great deal still remained to be learned. The Crisis's
complement had been too large to employ everybody at all sorts of work,
as is usually done in a merchant-vessel with her ordinary number of
hands and the landsmen had to take their chances for instruction.
Notwithstanding, the men I got were stout, healthy, willing and able to
pull and haul with the oldest salts.

By the arrangement that had been made, I was now thrown upon my own
resources. Seamanship, navigation, address, prudence, all depended on
me. I confess I was, at first, nearly as much depressed by the novelty
and responsibility of my command, as Neb was delighted. But it is
surprising how soon we get accustomed to changes of this sort. The first
five or six hours set me quite at my ease, though it is true nothing
occurred in the least out of the usual way; and, by the time the sun
set, I should have been happy, could I have got over the uneasiness
produced by the darkness. The wind had got round to south-west, and blew
fresh. I set a lower and a top-mast studding-sail, and by the time the
light had entirely vanished, the brig began to drag after her canvass in
a way to keep me wide awake. I was at a loss whether to shorten sail
or not. On the one hand, there was the apprehension of carrying away
something; and, on the other, the fear of seeming timid in the eyes of
the two or three seamen I had with me. I watched the countenances of
these men, in order to glean their private sentiments; but, usually,
Jack relies so much on his officers, that he seldom anticipates evils.
As for Neb, the harder it blew, the greater was his rapture. He appeared
to think the wind was Master Miles's, as well as the ocean, the brig,
and himself. The more there was of each, the richer I became. As for
Talcott, he was scarcely as good a seaman as myself, though he was
well-educated, had good manners, was well-connected, and had been my
original competitor for the office of third-mate. I had been preferred
only through the earnest recommendations of Marble. Talcott, however,
was as expert a navigator as we had in the ship, and had been placed
with me on that account; Captain Williams fancying two heads might prove
better than one. I took this young man into the cabin with me, not only
as a companion, but to give him consideration with the people forward.
On shore, though less fortunate in the way of state, he would have been
considered as fully my equal in position.

Talcott and myself remained on deck together nearly the whole of the
first night and the little sleep I did get was caught in a top-mast
studding-sail that lay on the quarterdeck, and which I had determined
not to set, after rowsing it up for that purpose. When daylight
returned, however, with a clear horizon, no increase of wind, and
nothing in sight, I was so much relieved as to take a good nap until
eight. All that day we started neither tack nor sheet, nor touched a
brace. Towards evening I went aloft myself to look for land, but without
success, though I knew, from our observation at noon, it could not be
far off. Fifty years ago the longitude was the great difficulty with
navigators. Both Talcott and myself did very well with the lunars, it is
true; but there was no chance to observe, and even lunars soon get out
of their reckoning among currents and tides. Glad enough, then, was I to
hear Neb sing but "Light ahead!" from the fore-top-sail-yard. This was
about ten o'clock. I knew this light must be the Lizard, as we were too
far to the eastward for Scilly. The course was changed so as to bring
the light a little on the weather-bow; and I watched for its appearance
to us on deck with an anxiety I have experienced, since, only in the
most trying circumstances. Half an hour sufficed for this, and then I
felt comparatively happy. A new beginner even is not badly off with
the wind fresh at south-west, and the Lizard light in plain view on
his weather-bow, if he happen to be bound up-channel. That night,
consequently, proved to be more comfortable than the previous.

Next morning there was no change, except in the brig's position. We were
well in the channel, had the land as close aboard as was prudent, and
could plainly see, by objects ashore, that we were travelling ahead at a
famous rate. We went within a mile of the Eddystone, so determined was
I to keep as far as possible from the French privateers. Next morning we
were up abreast of the Isle of Wight; but the wind had got round to the
southward and eastward, becoming much lighter, and so scant as to bring
us on a taut bowline. This made England a lee-shore, and I began to be
as glad to get off it, as I had lately been to hug it.

All this time, it will easily be understood that we kept a sharp
look-out, on board the brig, for enemies. We saw a great many sail,
particularly as we approached the Straits of Dover, and kept as much
aloof from all as circumstances would allow. Several were evidently
English vessels-of-war, and I felt no small concern on the subject of
having some of my men impressed; for at that period, and for many years
afterwards, ships of all nations that traded with the English lost many
of their people by this practice, and the American craft more than any
other. I ascribed to our sticking so close to the coast, which we did
as long as it was at all safe, the manner in which we were permitted to
pass unnoticed, or, at least, undetained. But, as we drew nearer to the
narrow waters, I had little hope of escaping without being boarded. In
the mean while, we made short stretches off the land, and back again,
all one day and night, working slowly to the eastward. We still met with
no interruption. I was fast getting confidence in myself; handling the
Amanda, in my own judgment, quite as welt as Marble could have done
it, and getting my green hands into so much method and practice, that I
should not have hesitated about turning round and shaping our course
for New York, so far as the mere business of navigating the vessel was
concerned.

The lights on the English coast were safe guides for our movements, and
they let me understand how much we made or lost on a tack. Dungeness was
drawing nearer slowly, to appearances, and I was beginning to look
out for a pilot; when Talcott, who had the watch, about three in the
morning, came with breathless haste into the cabin, to tell me there was
a sail closing with us fast, and, so far as he could make her out in the
darkness, she was lugger-rigged. This was startling news indeed, for it
was almost tantamount to saying the stranger was a Frenchman. I did not
undress at all, and was on deck in a moment. The vessel in chase was
about half a mile distant on our lee-quarter, but could be plainly
enough distinguished, and I saw at a glance she was a lugger. There were
certainly English luggers; but all the traditions of the profession had
taught me to regard a vessel of that particular rig as a Frenchman. I
had heard of privateers from Dunkirk, Boulogne, and various other ports
in France, running over to the English coast in the night, and making
prizes, just as this fellow seemed disposed to serve us. Luckily, our
head was toward the land, and we were looking about a point and a
half to windward of the light on Dungeness, being also favoured with a
flood-tide, so far as we could judge by the rapid drift of the vessel to
windward.

My decision was made in a minute. I knew nothing of batteries, or where
to seek protection; but there was the land, and I determined to make for
it as fast as I could. By keeping the brig a good full, and making
all the sail she could carry, I thought we might run ashore before the
lugger could get alongside us. As for her firing, I did not believe she
would dare to attempt that, as it might bring some English cruiser on
her heels, and France was some hours' sail distant. The fore and mizen
top-gallant-sails were set as fast as possible, the weather-braces
pulled upon a little, the bowlines eased, and the brig kept a rap-full.
The Amanda was no flyer, certainly; but she seemed frightened as much
as we were ourselves, that night. I never knew her to get along so fast,
considering the wind; and really there was a short time when I began to
think she held her own, the lugger being jammed up as close as she could
be. But this was all delusion, that craft coming after us more like a
sea-serpent than a machine carried ahead by canvass. I was soon certain
that escape from such a racer by sailing, was altogether out of the
question.

The land and light were now close aboard us, and I expected every moment
to hear the brig's keel grinding on the bottom. At this instant I caught
a faint glimpse of a vessel at anchor to the eastward of the point, and
apparently distant about a quarter of a mile. The thought struck me that
she might be an English cruiser, for they frequently anchored in such
places; and I called out, as it might be instinctively, "luff!" Neb
was at the helm, and I knew by his cheerful answer that the fellow was
delighted. It was lucky we luffed as we did, for, in coming to the wind,
the vessel gave a scrape that was a fearful admonisher of what would
have happened in another minute. The Amanda minded her helm beautifully,
however, and we went past the nearest land without any further hints,
heading up just high enough to fetch a little to windward of the vessel
at anchor. At the next moment, the lugger, then about a cable's length
from as, was shut in by the land. I was now in great hopes the Frenchman
would be obliged to tack; but he had measured his distance well, and
felt certain, it would seem, that he could lay past. He reasoned,
probably, as Nelson is _said_ to have reasoned at the Nile, and as some
of his captains unquestionably _did_ reason; that is, if there was water
enough for us, there was water enough for him. In another minute I saw
him, jammed nearly into the wind's eye, luffing past the point, and
falling as easily into our wake as if drawn by attraction.

All this time, the night was unbroken by any sound. Not a hail, nor a
call, our own orders excepted, and they had been given in low tones, had
been audible on board the Amanda. As regards the vessel at anchor, she
appeared to give herself no concern. There she lay, a fine ship, and,
as I thought, a vessel-of-war, like a marine bird asleep on its proper
element. We were directly between her and the lugger, and it is possible
her anchor-watch did not see the latter. The three vessels were not more
than half a cable's length asunder; that is, we were about that distance
from the ship, and the lugger was a very little farther from us. Five
minutes must determine the matter. I was on the brig's forecastle,
anxiously examining all I could make out on board the ship, as her size,
and shape, and rig, became slowly more and more distinct; and I hailed--

"Ship ahoy!"

"Hilloa! What brig's that?"

"An American, with a French privateer-lugger close on board me, directly
in my wake. You had better be stirring!"

I heard the quick exclamation of "The devil there is!" "Bloody Yankees!"
came next. Then followed the call of "All hands." It was plain enough
my notice had set everything in motion in that quarter. Talcott now
came running forward to say he thought, from some movements on board the
lugger, that her people were now first apprised of the vicinity of the
ship. I had been sadly disappointed at the call for all hands on board
the ship, for it was in the manner of a merchantman, instead of that of
a vessel-of-war. But we were getting too near to remain much longer in
doubt. The Amanda was already sweeping up on the Englishman's bows, not
more than forty yards distant.

"She is an English West-Indiaman, Mr. Wallingford," said one of my
oldest seamen; "and a running ship; some vessel that has deserted or
lost her convoy."

"Do you _know_ anything of the lugger?" demanded an officer from on
board the ship, in a voice that was not very amicable.

"No more than you see; she has chased me, close aboard, for the last
twenty minutes."

There was no reply to this for a moment, and then I was asked--"To tack,
and give us a little chance, by drawing him away for a few minutes. We
are armed, and will come out to your assistance."

Had I been ten years older, experience in the faith of men, and
especially of men engaged in the pursuit of gain, would have prevented
me from complying with this request; but, at eighteen, one views these
things differently. It did appear to me ungenerous to lead an enemy in
upon a man in his sleep, and not endeavour to do something to aid the
surprised party. I answered "ay, ay!" therefore, and tacked directly
alongside of the ship. But the manoeuvre was too late, the lugger coming
in between the ship and the brig, just as we began to draw ahead again,
leaving him room, and getting a good look at us both. The Englishman
appeared the most inviting, I suppose, for she up helm and went on board
of him on his quarter. Neither party used their guns. We were so near,
however, as plainly to understand the whole, to distinguish the orders,
and even to hear the blows that were struck by hand. It was an awful
minute to us in the brig. The cries of the hurt reached us in the
stillness of that gloomy morning, and oaths mingled with the clamour.
Though taken by surprise, John Bull fought well; though we could
perceive that he was overpowered, however, just as the distance, and the
haze that was beginning to gather thick around the land, shut in the two
vessels from our view.

The disappearance of the two combatants furnished me with a hint how
to proceed. I stood out three or four minutes longer, or a sufficient
distance to make certain we should not be seen, and tacked again. In
order to draw as fast as possible out of the line of sight, we kept the
brig off a little, and then ran in towards the English coast, which was
sufficiently distant to enable us to stand on in that direction some
little time longer. This expedient succeeded perfectly; for, when we
found it necessary to tack again, day began to dawn. Shortly after, we
could just discern the West-Indiaman and the lugger standing off the
land, making the best of their way towards the French coast. In 1799, it
is possible that this bold Frenchman got his prize into some of his
own ports, though three or four years later it would have been a nearly
hopeless experiment. As for the Amanda, she was safe; and Nelson did not
feel happier, after his great achievement at the Nile, than I felt at
the success of my own expedient. Talcott congratulated me and applauded
me; and I believe all of us were a little too much disposed to ascribe
to our own steadiness and address, much that ought fairly to have been
imputed to chance.

Off Dover we got a pilot, and learned that the ship captured was the
Dorothea, a valuable West-Indiaman that had stolen away from her convoy,
and come in alone, the previous evening. She anchored under Dungeness at
the first of the ebb, and, it seems, had preferred taking a good night's
rest to venturing out in the dark, when the flood made. Her berth was a
perfectly snug one, and the lugger would probably never have found her,
had we not led her directly in upon her prey.

I was now relieved from all charge of the brig; and a relief I found it,
between shoals, enemies, and the tides, of which I knew nothing. That
day we got into the Downs, and came-to. Here I saw a fleet at anchor;
and a pretty stir it made among the man-of-war's-men, when our story was
repeated among them. I do think twenty of their boats were alongside
of us, to get the facts from the original source. Among others who thus
appeared, to question me, was one old gentleman, whom I suspected of
being an admiral. He was in shore-dress, and came in a plain way; the
men in his boat declining to answer any questions; but they paid him
unusual respect. This gentleman asked me a great many particulars, and
I told him the whole story frankly, concealing or colouring nothing. He
was evidently much interested. When he went away, he shook me cordially
by the hand, and said--"Young gentleman, you have acted prudently and
well. Never mind the grumbling of some of our lads; they think only of
themselves. It was your right and your duty to save your own vessel, if
you could, without doing anything dishonourable; and I see nothing wrong
in your conduct. But it's a sad disgrace to us, to let these French
rascals be picking up their crumbs in this fashion, right under our
hawse-holes."



CHAPTER X.

  "How pleasant and how sad the turning tide
  Of human life, when side by side
  The child and youth begin to glide
  Along the vale of years:
  The pure twin-being for a little space,
  With lightsome heart, and yet a graver face.
  Too young for woe, though not for tears."
  ALLSTON.


With what interest and deference most Americans of any education
regarded England, her history, laws and institutions, in 1799! There
were a few exceptions--warm political partisans, and here and there
an individual whose feelings had become embittered by some particular
incident of the revolution--but surprisingly few, when it is recollected
that the country was only fifteen years from the peace. I question if
there ever existed another instance of as strong provincial admiration
for the capital, as independent America manifested for the mother
country, in spite of a thousand just grievances, down to the period
of the war of 1812. I was no exception to the rule, nor was Talcott.
Neither of us had ever seen England before we made the Lizard on
this voyage, except through our minds' eyes; and these had presented
quantities of beauties and excellencies that certainly vanished on a
nearer approach. By this I merely mean that we had painted in too high
colours, as is apt to be the case when the imagination holds the pencil;
not that there was any unusual absence of things worthy to be commended.
On the contrary, even at this late, hour, I consider England as a
model for a thousand advantages, even to our own inappreciable selves.
Nevertheless, much delusion was blended with our admiration.

English history was virtually American history; and everything on the
land, as we made our way towards town, which the pilot could point out,
was a source of amusement and delight. We had to tide it up to London,
and had plenty of leisure to see all there was to be seen. The Thames is
neither a handsome, nor a very magnificent river; but it was amazing to
witness the number of vessels that then ascended or descended it.
There was scarce a sort of craft known to Christendom, a few of the
Mediterranean excepted, that was not to be seen there; and as for the
colliers, we drifted through a forest of them that seemed large enough
to keep the town a twelvemonth in fire-wood, by simply burning their
spars. The manner in which the pilot handled our brig, too, among the
thousand ships that lay in tiers on each side of the narrow passage we
had to thread, was perfectly surprising to me; resembling the management
of a coachman in a crowded thoroughfare, more than the ordinary working
of a ship. I can safely say I learned more in the Thames, in the way of
keeping a vessel in command, and in doing what I pleased with her,
than in the whole of my voyage to Canton and back again. As for Neb,
he rolled his dark eyes about in wonder, and took an occasion to say to
me--"He'll make her talk, Masser Miles, afore he have done." I make
no doubt the navigation from the Forelands to the bridges, as it was
conducted thirty years since, had a great influence on the seamanship of
the English. Steamers are doing away with much of this practice, though
the colliers still have to rely on themselves. Coals will scarcely pay
for tugging.

I had been directed by Captain Williams to deliver the brig to her
original consignee, an American merchant established in the modern
Babylon, reserving the usual claim for salvage. This I did, and that
gentleman sent hands on board to take charge of the vessel, relieving me
entirely from all farther responsibility. As the captain in his letter
had, inadvertently I trust, mentioned that he had put "Mr. Wallingford,
his _third_ mate," in charge, I got no invitation to dinner from the
consignee; though the affair of the capture under Dungeness found its
way into the papers, _viâ_ Deal, I have always thought, with the
usual caption of "Yankee Trick." Yankee trick! This phrase, so often
carelessly used, has probably done a great deal of harm in this country.
The young and ambitious--there are all sorts of ambition, and, among
others, that of being a rogue; as a proof of which, one daily hears
people call envy, jealousy, covetousness, avarice, and half of the
meaner vices, ambition--the young and _ambitious_, then, of this
country, too often think to do a _good_ thing, that shall have some of
the peculiar merit of a certain other good thing that they have heard
laughed at and applauded, under this designation. I can account in no
other manner for the great and increasing number of "Yankee tricks" that
are of daily occurrence among us. Among other improvements in taste,
not to say in morals, that might be introduced into the American press,
would be the omission of the histories of these rare inventions. As
two-thirds of the editors of the whole country, however, are Yankees,
I suppose they must be permitted to go on exulting in the cleverness
of their race. We are indebted to the Puritan stock for most of our
instructors--editors and school-masters--and when one coolly regards the
prodigious progress of the people in morals, public and private virtue,
honesty, and other estimable qualities, he must indeed rejoice in the
fact that our masters so early discovered "a church without a bishop."

I had an opportunity, while in London, however, of ascertaining that
the land of our fathers, which by the way has archbishops, contains
something besides an unalloyed virtue in its bosom. At Gravesend we took
on board _two_ customhouse officers, (they always set a rogue to watch
a rogue, in the English revenue system,) and they remained in the
brig until she was discharged. One of these men had been a gentleman's
servant, and he owed his place to his former master's interest. He was a
miracle of custom-house integrity and disinterestedness, as I discovered
in the first hour of our intercourse. Perceiving a lad of eighteen in
charge of the prize, and ignorant that this lad had read a good deal of
Latin and Greek under excellent Mr. Hardinge, besides being the heir
of Clawbonny, I suppose he fancied he would have an easy time with him.
This man's name was Sweeney. Perceiving in me an eager desire to see
everything, the brig was no sooner at her moorings, than he proposed a
cruise ashore. It was Sweeney who showed me the way to the consignee's,
and, that business accomplished, he proposed that we should proceed on
and take a look at St. Paul's, the Monument, and, as he gradually found
my tastes more intellectual than he had at first supposed, the
wonders of the West End. I was nearly a week under the pilotage of the
"Admirable Sweeney." After showing me the exteriors of all the things of
mark about the town, and the interiors of a few that I was disposed to
pay for, he descended in his tastes, and carried me through Wapping, its
purlieus and its scenes of atrocities. I have always thought Sweeney was
sounding me, and hoping to ascertain my true character, by the course he
took; and that he betrayed his motives in a proposition which he finally
made, and which brought our intimacy to a sudden close. The result,
however, was to let me into secrets I should probably have never learned
in any other manner. Still, I had read and heard too much to be easily
duped; and I kept myself not only out of the power of my tempter, but
out of the power of all that could injure me, remaining simply a curious
observer of what was placed before my eyes. Good Mr. Hardinge's lessons
were not wholly forgotten; I could run away from him, much easier than
from his precepts.

I shall never forget a visit I made to a house called the Black Horse,
in St. Catherine's Lane. This last was a narrow street that ran across
the site of the docks that now bear the same name; and it was the resort
of all the local infamy of Wapping. I say _local_ infamy; for there were
portions of the West End that were even worse than anything which a mere
port could produce. Commerce, that parent of so much that is useful to
man, has its dark side as everything else of earth; and, among its other
evils, it drags after it a long train of low vice; but this train
is neither so long nor so broad as that which is chained to the
chariot-wheels of the great. Appearances excepted, and they are far less
than might be expected, I think the West End could beat Wapping out
and out, in every essential vice; and, if St. Giles be taken into the
account, I know of no salvo in favour of the land over the sea.

Our visit to the Black Horse was paid of a Sunday, that being the
leisure moment of all classes of labourers, and the day when, being
attired in their best, they fancied themselves best prepared to appear
in the world. I will here remark, that I have never been in any portion
of Christendom that keeps the Sabbath precisely as it is kept in
America. In all other countries, even the most rigorously severe in
their practices, it is kept as a day of recreation and rest, as well as
of public devotion. Even in the American towns, the old observances are
giving way before the longings or weaknesses of human nature; and Sunday
is no longer what it was. I have witnessed scenes of brawling, blasphemy
and rude tumult, in the suburbs of New York, on Sundays, within the
last few years, that I have never seen in any other part of the world
on similar occasions; and serious doubts of the expediency of the
high-pressure principle have beset me, whatever may be the just
constructions of doctrine. With the last I pretend not to meddle; but,
in a worldly point of view, it would seem wise, if you cannot make men
all that they ought to be, to aim at such social regulations as shall
make them as little vile as possible. But, to return to the Black Horse
in St. Catherine's Lane--a place whose very name was associated with
vileness.

It is unnecessary to speak of the characters of its female visiters.
Most of them were young, many of them were still blooming and handsome,
but all of them were abandoned. "I need tell you nothing of these
girls," said Sweeney, who was a bit of a philosopher in his way,
ordering a pot of beer, and motioning me to take a seat at a vacant
table--"but, as for the men you see here, half are house-breakers and
pickpockets, come to pass the day genteelly among you gentlemen-sailors.
There are two or three faces here that I have seen at the Old Bailey,
myself; and how they have remained in the country, is more than I can
tell you. You perceive these fellows are just as much at their ease, and
the landlord who receives and entertains them is just as much at _his_
ease, as if the whole party were merely honest men."

"How happens it," I asked, "that such known rogues are allowed to go at
large, or that this inn-keeper dares receive them?"

"Oh! you're a child yet, or you would not ask such a question! You must
know, Master Wallingford, that the law protects rogues as well as honest
men. To convict a pickpocket, you must have witnesses and jurors to
agree, and prosecutors, and a sight of things that are not as plenty
as pocket-handkerchiefs, or even wallets and Bank of England notes.
Besides, these fellows can prove an alibi any day in the week. An alibi,
you must know--"

"I know very well what an alibi means, Mr. Sweeney."

"The deuce you do!" exclaimed the protector of the king's revenue,
eyeing me a little distrustfully. "And pray how should one as young as
you, and coming from a new country like America, know that?"

"Oh!" said I, laughing, "America is just the country for
_alibis_--everybody is everywhere, and nobody anywhere. The whole nation
is in motion, and there is every imaginable opportunity for _alibis_."

I believe I owed the development of Sweeney's "ulterior views" to
this careless speech. He had no other idea of the word than its legal
signification; and it must have struck him as a little suspicious that
one of my apparent condition in life, and especially of my years, should
be thus early instructed in the meaning of this very useful professional
term. It was a minute before he spoke again, having been all that time
studying my countenance.

"And pray, Master Wallingford," he then inquired, "do you happen to know
what _nolle prosequi_ means, too?"

"Certainly; it means to give up the chase. The French lugger under
Dungeness entered a _nolle prosequi_ as respects my brig, when she found
her hands full of the West-Indiaman."

"So, so; I find I have been keeping company all this time with a knowing
one, and I such a simpleton as to fancy him green! Well, that I should
live to be done by a raw Jonathan!"

"Poh, poh, Mr. Sweeney, I can tell you a story of two of our naval
officers, that took place just before we sailed; and then you will learn
that all hands of us, on the other side of the Big Pond, understand
Latin. One of these officers had been engaged in a duel, and he found it
necessary to lie hid. A friend and shipmate, who was in his secret, came
one day in a great hurry to tell him that the authorities of the State
in which the parties fought had entered a _nolle prosequi"_ against
the offenders. He had a newspaper with the whole thing in it, in print.
"What's a _nolle prosequi_, Jack?" asked Tom. "Why, it's Latin, to be
sure, and it means some infernal thing or other. We must contrive to
find out, for it's half the battle to know who and what you've got to
face." "Well, you know lots of lawyers, and dare show your face; so,
just step out and ask one." "I'll trust no lawyer; I might put the
question to some chap who has been fee'd. But we both studied a little
Latin when boys, and between us we'll undermine the meaning." Tom
assented, and to work they went. Jack had the most Latin; but, do all
he could, he was not able to find a "_nolle_" in any dictionary. After
a great deal of conjecture, the friends agreed it must be the root of
"knowledge," and that point was settled. As for "_prosequi_" it was
not so difficult, as "sequor" was a familiar word; and, after some
cogitation, Jack announced his discoveries. "If this thing were in
English, now," he said, "a fellow might understand it. In that case, I
should say that the sheriff's men were in "pursuit of knowledge;" that
is, hunting after _you_; but Latin, you remember, was always an inverted
sort of stuff, and that '_pro_' alters the whole signification. The
paper says they've '_entered_ a _nolle prosequi;_' and the 'entered'
explains the whole. 'Entered a nolle' means, have entered on the
knowledge, got a scent; you see it is law English; 'pro' means 'how,'
and 'sequi,' 'to give chase.' The amount of it all is, Tom, that they
are on your heels, and I must go to work and send you off, at once, two
or three hundred miles into the interior, where you may laugh at them
and their 'nolle prosequis' together." {*]

{Footnote *: There is said to be foundation for this story.]

Sweeney laughed heartily at this story, though he clearly did not take
the joke, which I presume he fancied lay concealed under an American
flash language; and he proposed by way of finishing the day, to carry me
to an entertainment where, he gave me to understand, American officers
were fond of sometimes passing a few minutes. I was led to a Wapping
assembly-room, on entering which I found myself in a party composed of
some forty or fifty cooks and stewards of American vessels, all as black
as their own pots with partners of the usual colour and bloom of English
girls I have as few prejudices of colour as any American well can
have; but I will confess this scene struck me as being painfully out of
keeping. In England, however, nothing seemed to be thought of it; and
I afterwards found that marriages between English women, and men of all
the colours of the rainbow, were very common occurrences.

When he had given me this ball as the climax of his compliments, Sweeney
betrayed the real motive of all his attentions. After drinking a pot of
beer extra, well laced with gin, he offered his services in smuggling
anything ashore that the Amanda might happen to contain, and which I,
as the prize-master, might feel a desire to appropriate to my own
particular purposes. I met the proposal with a little warmth, letting my
tempter understand that I considered his offer so near an insult, that
it must terminate our acquaintance. The man seemed astounded. In the
first place, he evidently thought all goods and chattels were made to be
plundered, and then he was of opinion that plundering was a very
common "Yankee trick." Had I been an Englishman, he might possibly have
understood my conduct; but, with him, it was so much a habit to fancy
an American a rogue, that, as I afterwards discovered, he was trying
to persuade the leader of a press-gang that I was the half-educated and
illegitimate son of some English merchant, who wished to pass himself
off for an American. I pretend not to account for the contradiction,
though I have often met with the same moral phenomena among his
countrymen; but here was as regular a rogue as ever cheated, who
pretended to think roguery indigenous to certain nations, among whom his
own was not included.

At length I was cheered with the sight of the Crisis, as she came
drifting through the tiers, turning, and twisting, and glancing along,
just as the Amanda had done before her. The pilot carried her to
moorings quite near us; and Talcott, Neb and I were on board her,
before she was fairly secured. My reception was very favourable, Captain
Williams having seen the account of the "Yankee trick" in the papers;
and, understanding the thing just as it had happened, he placed the most
advantageous construction on all I had done. For myself, I confess I
never had any misgivings on the subject.

All hands of us were glad to be back in the Crisis again. Captain
Williams had remained at Falmouth longer than he expected, to make
some repairs that could not be thoroughly completed at sea, which alone
prevented him from getting into the river as soon as I did myself. Now
the ship was in, we no longer felt any apprehension of being impressed,
Sweeney's malignancy having set several of the gang upon the scent after
us. Whether the fellow actually thought I was an English subject or not,
is more than I ever knew; but I felt no disposition myself to let
the point be called in question, before my Lord Chief Justice of a
Rendezvous. The King's Bench was more governed by safe principles, in
its decisions, than the gentlemen who presided in these marine courts of
the British navy.

As I was the only officer in the ship who had ever seen anything of
London, my fortnight's experience made me a notable man in the cabin. It
was actually greater preferment for me than when I was raised from third
to be second-mate. Marble was all curiosity to see the English capital,
and he made me promise to be his pilot, as soon as duty would allow time
for a stroll, and to show him everything I had seen myself. We soon got
out the cargo, and then took in ballast for our North-West voyage; the
articles we intended to traffic with on the coast, being too few and too
light to fill the ship. This kept us busy for a fortnight, after which
we had to look about us to obtain men to supply the places of those
who had been killed, or sent away in _la Dame de Nantes_. Of course
we preferred Americans; and this so much the more, as Englishmen were
liable to be pressed at any moment. Fortunately, a party of men that had
been taken out of an American ship, a twelvemonth before, by an English
cruiser, had obtained their discharges; and they all came to London,
for the double purpose of getting some prize-money, and of obtaining
passages home. These lads were pleased with the Crisis and the voyage,
and, instead of returning to their own country, sailor-like, they
took service to go nearly round the world. These were first-rate
men--Delaware-river seamen--and proved a great accession to our force.
We owed the windfall to the reputation the ship had obtained by her
affairs with the letter-of-marque; an account of which, copied from the
log-book and a little embellished by some one on shore, he consignee had
taken care should appear in the journals. The history of the surprise,
in particular, read very well; and the English were in a remarkably good
humour, at that time, to receive an account of any discomfiture of a
Frenchman. At no period since the year 1775, had the American character
stood so high in England as it did just then; the two nations, for a
novelty, fighting on the same side. Not long after we left London,
the underwriters at Lloyd's actually voted a handsome compliment to an
American commander for capturing a French frigate. Stranger things have
happened than to have the day arrive when English and American fleets
may be acting in concert. No one can tell what is in the womb of time;
and I have lived long enough to know that no man can foresee who will
continue to be his friends, or a nation what people may become its
enemies.

The Crisis at length began to take in her bales and boxes for the
North-West Coast, and, as the articles were received slowly, or a few
packages at a time, it gave us leisure for play. Our captain was in
such good humour with us, on account of the success of the outward-bound
passage, that he proved very indulgent. This disposition was probably
increased by the circumstance that a ship arrived in a very short
passage from New York, which spoke our prize; all well, with a smacking
southerly breeze, a clear coast, and a run of only a few hundred miles
to make. This left the almost moral certainty that _la Dame de Nantes_
had arrived safe, no Frenchman being likely to trust herself on that
distant coast, which was now alive with our own cruisers, going to or
returning from the West Indies.

I had a laughable time in showing Marble the sights of London. We began
with the wild beasts in the Tower, as in duty bound; but of these our
mate spoke very disparagingly. He had been too often in the East "to
be taken in by such animals;" and, to own the truth, the cockneys were
easily satisfied on the score of their _menagerie_. We next went to
the Monument; but this did not please him. He had seen a shot-tower in
America--there was but one in that day--that beat it out and out as to
height, and he thought in beauty, too. There was no reasoning against
this. St. Paul's rather confounded him. He frankly admitted there was no
such church at Kennebunk; though he did not know but Trinity, New
York, "might stand up alongside of it." "Stand up along side of it!" I
repeated, laughing. "Why, Mr. Marble, Trinity, steeple and all, could
stand up in it--_under_ that dome-and then leave more room in
this building than all the other churches in New York contain, put
altogether."

It was a long time before Marble forgave this speech. He said it was
"unpatriotic;" a word which was less used in 1799 than it is used
to-day, certainly; but which, nevertheless, _was_ used. It often meant
then, as now, a thick and thin pertinacity in believing in provincial
marvels; and, in this, Marble was one of the most patriotic men with
whom I ever met. I got him out of the church, and along Fleet street,
through Temple Bar, and into the Strand, however, in peace; and then we
emerged into the arena of fashion, aristocracy and the court. After a
time, we worked our way into Hyde Park, where we brought up, to make our
observations.

Marble was deeply averse to acknowledging all the admiration he really
felt at the turn-outs of London, as they were exhibited in the Park, of
a fine day, in their season. It is probable the world elsewhere never
saw anything approaching the beauty and magnificence that is here daily
seen, at certain times, so far as beauty and magnificence are connected
with equipages, including carriages, horses and servants. Unable to find
fault with the _tout ensemble_, our mate made a violent attack on the
liveries. He protested it was indecent to put a "hired man"--the word
_help_ never being applied to the male sex, I believe, by the most
fastidious New England purist--in a cocked hat; a decoration that
ought to be exclusively devoted to the uses of ministers of the gospel,
governors of States, and militia officers. I had some notions of the
habits of the great world, through books, and some little learned
by observation and listening; but Marble scouted at most of my
explanations. He put his own construction on everything he saw; and I
have often thought, since, could the publishers of travels have had the
benefit of his blunders, how many would have profited by them. Gentlemen
were just then beginning to drive their own coaches; and I remember,
in a particular instance, an ultra in the new mode had actually put his
coachman in the inside, while he occupied the dickey in person. Such
a gross violation of the proprieties was unusual, even in London; but
there sat Jehu, in all the dignity of cotton-lace, plush, and a cocked
hat. Marble took it into his head that this man was the king, and no
reasoning of mine could persuade him to the contrary. In vain I pointed
out to him a hundred similar dignitaries, in the proper exercise of
their vocation, on the hammer-cloths; he cared not a straw--this was not
showing him one _inside_; and a gentleman inside of a carriage, who wore
so fine a coat, and a cocked hat in the bargain, could be nothing less
than some dignitary of the empire; and why not the king! Absurd as all
this will seem, I have known mistakes, connected with the workings of
our own institutions, almost as great, made by theorists from Europe.

While Marble and I were wrangling on this very point, a little
incident occurred, which led to important consequences in the end.
Hackney-coaches, or any other public conveyance, short of post-chaises
and post-horses, are not admitted into the English parks. But
glass-coaches are; meaning by this term, which is never used in America,
hired carriages that do not go on the stands. We encountered one of
these glass-coaches in a very serious difficulty. The horses had
got frightened by means of a wheelbarrow, aided probably by some bad
management of the driver, and had actually backed the hind-wheels of the
vehicle into the water of the canal. They would have soon had the whole
carriage submerged, and have followed it themselves, had it not been
for the chief-mate and myself. I thrust the wheelbarrow under one of
the forward-wheels, just in time to prevent the final catastrophe; while
Marble grasped the spoke with his iron gripe, and, together, he and the
wheelbarrow made a resistance that counterbalanced the backward tendency
of the team. There was no footman; and, springing to the door, I aided a
sickly-looking, elderly man--a female who might very well have been his
wife, and another that I took for his daughter--to escape. By my agency
all three were put on the dry land, without even wetting their feet,
though I fared worse myself. No sooner were they safe, than Marble,
who was up to his shoulders in the water, and who had made prodigious
efforts to maintain the balance of power, released his hold, the
wheelbarrow gave way at the same moment, and the whole affair, coach and
horses, had their will, and went, stern foremost, overboard. One of the
horses was saved, I believe, and the other drowned; but, a crowd
soon collecting, I paid little attention to what was going on in the
carriage, as soon as its cargo was discharged.

The gentleman we had saved, pressed my hand with fervour, and Marble's,
too; saying that we must not quit him--that we must go home with him. To
this we consented, readily enough, thinking we might still be of use. As
we all walked towards one of the more private entrances of the Park, I
had an opportunity of observing the people we had served. They were very
respectable in appearance; but I knew enough of the world to see that
they belonged to what is called the middle class in England. I thought
the man might be a soldier; while the two females had an air of great
respectability, though not in the least of fashion. The girl appeared to
be nearly as old as myself, and was decidedly pretty. Here, then, was an
adventure! I had saved the life of a damsel of seventeen, and had only
to fall in love, to become the hero of a romance.

At the gate, the gentleman stopped a hackney-coach, put the females in,
and desired us to follow. But to this we would not consent, both being
wet, and Marble particularly so. After a short parley, he gave us an
address in Norfolk Street, Strand; and we promised to stop there on our
way back to the ship. Instead of following the carriage, however, we
made our way on foot into the Strand, where we found an eating-house,
turned in and eat a hearty dinner each, the chief-mate resorting to some
brandy in order to prevent his taking cold. On what principle this is
done, I cannot explain, though I know it is often practised, and in all
quarters of the world.

As soon as we had dined and dried ourselves, we went into Norfolk
street. We had been told to ask for Major Merton, and this we did. The
house was one of those plain lodging-houses, of which most of that part
of the town is composed: and we found the Major and his family in the
occupation of the first floor, a mark of gentility on which some stress
is laid in England. It was plain enough, however, to see that these
people were not rolling in that splendour, of which we had just seen so
much in the Park.

"I can trace the readiness and gallantry of the English tar in your
conduct," observed the Major, after he had given us both quite as warm
a reception as circumstances required, at the same time taking out his
pocket-book, and turning over some bank-notes. "I wish, for your sakes,
I was better able than I am to reward you for what you have done; but
twenty pounds is all I can now offer. At some other time, circumstances
may place it in my power to give further and better proofs of my
gratitude."

As this was said, the Major held two ten-pound notes towards Marble,
doubtless intending that I should receive one of them, as a fair
division of the spoils. Now, according to all theory, and the
established opinion of the Christian world, America is _the_ avaricious
country; the land, of all others, in which men are the most greedy of
gain; in which human beings respect gold more, and themselves less, than
in any other portion of this globe. I never dispute anything that is
settled by the common consent of my fellow-creatures, for the simple
reason that I know the decision must be against me; so I will concede
that money _is_ the great end of American life--that there is little
else to live for, in the great model republic. Politics have fallen into
such hands, that office will not even give social station; the people
are omnipotent, it is true; but, though they can make a governor, they
cannot make gentlemen and ladies; even kings are sometimes puzzled to do
that; literature, arms, arts, and fame of all sorts, are unattainable in
their rewards, among us as in other nations, leaving the puissant dollar
in its undisturbed ascendency; still, as a rule, twenty Europeans can
be bought with two ten-pound Bank of England notes, much easier than two
Americans. I leave others to explain the phenomenon; I only speak of the
_fact_.

Marble listened to the Major's speech with great attention and respect,
fumbling in his pocket for his tobacco-box, the whole time. The box was
opened just as the Major ended, and even I began to be afraid that
the well-known cupidity of Kennebunk was about to give way before the
temptation, and the notes were to be stowed alongside of the tobacco but
I was mistaken. Deliberately helping himself to a quid, the chief-mate
shut the box again, and then he made his reply.

"Quite ginerous in you, Major," he said, "and all ship-shape and right.
I like to see things done just in that way. Put up the money; we thank
you as much as if we could take it, and that squares all accounts. I
would just mention, however, to prevent mistakes, as the other idee
might get us impressed, that this young man and I are both born
Americans--he from up the Hudson somewhere, and I from York city,
itself, though edicated down east."

"Americans!" resumed the Major, drawing himself up a little stiffly;
"then _you_, young man," turning to me, and holding out the notes, of
which he now seemed as anxious to be rid, as I had previously fancied
he was sorry to see go--"_you_ will do me the favour to accept of this
small token of my gratitude."

"It is quite impossible, sir," I answered, respectfully. "We are not
exactly what we seem, and you are probably deceived by our roundabouts;
but we are the first and second officers of a letter-of-marque."

At the word "officers," the Major drew back his hand, and hastily
apologised. He did not understand us even then, I could plainly see;
but he had sufficient sagacity to understand that his money would not be
accepted. We were invited to sit down, and the conversation continued.

"Master Miles, there," resumed Marble, "has an estate, a place called
Clawbonny, somewhere up the Hudson; and he has no business to be sailing
about the world in jacket and trowsers, when he ought to be studying
law, or trying his hand at college. But as the old cock crows, the young
'un l'arns; his father was a sailor before him, and I suppose that's the
reason on't."

This announcement of my position ashore did me no harm, and I could see
a change in the deportment of the whole family--not that it had ever
treated me haughtily, or even coldly; but it now regarded me as more
on a level with itself. We remained an hour with the Mertons, and I
promised to repeat the call before we sailed. This I did a dozen times,
at least; and the Major, finding, I suppose, that he had a tolerably
well-educated youth to deal with, was of great service in putting me in
a better way of seeing London. I went to both theatres with the family,
taking care to appear in a well-made suit of London clothes, in which I
made quite as respectable a figure as most of the young men I saw in the
streets. Even Emily smiled when she first saw me in my long-togs, and I
thought she blushed. She was a pretty creature; gentle and mild in her
ordinary deportment, but full of fire and spirit at the bottom, as
I could see by her light, blue, English eye. Then she had been
well-educated; and, in my young ignorance of life, I fancied she knew
more than any girl of seventeen I had ever met with. Grace and Lucy were
both clever, and had been carefully taught by Mr. Hardinge; but the
good divine could not give two girls, in the provincial retirement of
America, the cultivation and accomplishments that were within the reach
of even moderate means in England. To me, Emily Merton seemed a marvel
in the way of attainments; and I often felt ashamed of myself, as I
sat at her side, listening to the natural and easy manner in which she
alluded to things, of which I then heard for the first time.



CHAPTER XI.

    "Boatswain!"
      "Here, master: what cheer?"
    "Good: speak to the mariners; fall to 't
    Yarely, or we run ourselves aground: bestir, bestir."
    _Tempest._


As Captain Williams wished to show me some favour for the manner in
which I had taken care of the brig, he allowed me as much time ashore
as I asked for. I might never see London again; and, understanding I
had fallen into good company, he threw no obstacle in the way of
my profiting by it. So careful was he, indeed, as to get one of the
consul's clerks to ascertain who the Mertons were, lest I should become
the dupe of the thousands of specious rogues with which London abounds.
The report was favourable, giving us to understand that the Major had
been much employed in the West Indies, where he still held a moderately
lucrative, semi-military appointment, being then in England to settle
certain long and vexatious accounts, as well as to take Emily, his only
child, from school. He was expected to return to the old, or some other
post, in the course of a few months. A portion of this I gleaned from
Emily herself, and it was all very fairly corroborated by the account of
the consul's clerk. There was no doubt that the Mertons were persons of
respectable position; without having any claims, however, to be placed
very high. From the Major, moreover, I learned he had some American
connexions, his father having married in Boston.

For my part, I had quite as much reason to rejoice at the chance which
threw me in the way of the Mertons, as they had. If I was instrumental
in saving their lives, as was undeniably the case, they taught me more
of the world, in the ordinary social sense of the phrase, than I had
learned in all my previous life. I make no pretensions to having seen
London society; that lay far beyond the reach of Major Merton himself,
who was born the son of a merchant, when merchants occupied a much lower
position in the English social scale than they do to-day, and had
to look to a patron for most of his own advancement. But, he was a
gentleman; maintained the notions, sentiments, and habits of the caste;
and was properly conscious of my having saved his life when it was in
great jeopardy. As for Emily Merton, she got to converse with me
with the freedom of a friend; and very pleasant it was to hear pretty
thoughts expressed in pretty language, and from pretty lips. I could
perceive that she thought me a little rustic and provincial; but I had
not been all the way to Canton to be brow-beaten by a cockney girl,
however clever and handsome. On the whole--and I say it without vanity,
at this late day--I think the impression left behind me, among these
good people, was favourable. Perhaps Clawbonny was not without its
influence; but, when I paid my last visit, even Emily looked sorrowful,
and her mother was pleased to say they should all miss me much. The
Major made me promise to hunt him up, should I ever be in Jamaica, or
Bombay; for one of which places he expected to sail himself, with his
wife and daughter, in the course of a few months. I knew he had had
one appointment, thought he might receive another, and hoped everything
would turn out for the best.

The Crisis sailed on her day; and she went to sea from the Downs, a week
later, with a smacking southerly wind. Our Philadelphians turned out
a noble set of fellows; and we had the happiness of beating an English
sloop-of-war, just as we got clear of the channel, in a fair trial of
speed. To lessen our pride a little, a two-decker that was going to the
Mediterranean, treated us exactly in the same manner, only three days
later. What made this last affair more mortifying, was the fact that
Marble had just satisfied himself, and all hands, that, a sloop-of-war
being the fastest description of vessel, and we having got the better
of one of them, it might be fairly inferred we could outsail the whole
British navy. I endeavoured to console him, by reminding him that
"the race was not always to the swift." He growled out some sort of an
answer, denouncing all sayings, and desiring to know out of what book I
had picked up that nonsense.

I have no intention of dwelling on every little incident that occurred
on the long road we were now travelling. We touched at Madeira, and
landed an English family that went there for the benefit of an invalid;
got some fruit, fresh meat and vegetables, and sailed again. Our next
stopping-place was Rio, whither we went for letters from home, the
captain being taught to expect them. The ship's letters were received,
and they were filled with eulogiums on our good conduct, having been
written after the arrival of _la Dame de Nantes;_ but great was my
disappointment on finding there was not even a scrawl for myself.

Our stay at Rio was short, and we left port with a favourable slant of
wind, running as far north as 50°, in a very short time. As we drew near
to the southern extremity of the American continent, however, we
met with heavy weather and foul winds. We were now in the month that
corresponds to November in the northern hemisphere, and had to double
The Horn at that unpropitious season of the year, going westward. There
is no part of the world of which navigators have given accounts so
conflicting, as of this celebrated passage. Each man appears to have
described it as he found it, himself, while no two seem to have found
it exactly alike. I do not remember to have ever heard of calms off
Cape Horn; but light winds are by no means uncommon, though tempests are
undoubtedly the predominant characteristic. Our captain had already
been round four times, and he held the opinion that the season made no
difference, and that it was better to keep near the land. We shaped
our course accordingly for Staten Land, intending to pass through the
Straits of Le Maire and hug the Horn, as close as possible, in doubling
it. We made the Falkland Islands, or West Falkland rather, just as the
sun rose, one morning, bearing a little on our weather-quarter, with the
wind blowing heavily at the eastward. The weather was thick, and, what
was still worse, there was so little day, and no moon, that it was
getting to be ticklish work to be standing for a passage as narrow
as that we aimed at. Marble and I talked the matter over, between
ourselves, and wished the captain could be persuaded to haul up, and
try to go to the eastward of the island, as was still possible, with the
wind where it was. Still, neither of us dared propose it; I, on account
of my youth, and the chief-mate, as he said, on account of "the old
fellow's obstinacy." "He likes to be poking about in such places,"
Marble added, "and is never so happy as when he is running round the
ocean in places where it is full of unknown islands, looking for sandal
wood, and bêche-la-mar! I'll warrant you, he'll give us a famous time of
it, if he ever get us up on the North-West Coast." Here the consultation
terminated, we mates believing it wiser to let things take their course.

I confess to having seen the mountains on our weather-quarter disappear,
with melancholy forebodings. There was little hope of getting any
observation that day; and to render matters worse, about noon, the
wind began to haul more to the southward. As it hauled, it increased in
violence, until, at midnight, it blew a gale; the commencement of such a
tempest as I had never witnessed in any of my previous passages at sea.
As a matter of course, sail was reduced as fast as it became necessary,
until we had brought the ship down to a close-reefed main-top-sail, the
fore-top-mast staysail, the fore-course, and the mizen-staysail. This
was old fashioned Canvass; the more recent spencer being then unknown.

Our situation was now far from pleasant. The tides and currents, in that
high latitude, run with great velocity; and, then, at a moment when it
was of the greatest importance to know precisely where the ship was, we
were left to the painful uncertainty of conjecture, and theories
that might be very wide of the truth. The captain had nerve enough,
notwithstanding, to keep on the larboard tack until daylight, in the
hope of getting in sight of the mountains of Terra del Fuego. No one,
now, expected we should be able to fetch through the Straits; but it
would be a great relief to obtain a sight of the land, as it would
enable us to get some tolerably accurate notions of our position.
Daylight came at length, but it brought no certainty. The weather was
so thick, between a drizzling rain, sea-mist and the spray, that it was
seldom we could see a league around us, and frequently not half a mile.
Fortunately, the general direction of the eastern coast of Terra del
Fuego, is from north-west to south-east, always giving us room to ware
off shore, provided we did not unexpectedly get embarrassed in some one
of the many deep indentations of that wild and inhospitable shore.

Captain Williams showed great steadiness in the trying circumstances in
which we were placed. The ship was just far enough south to render it
probable she could weather Falkland Islands, on the other tack, could we
rely upon the currents; but it would be ticklish work to undertake such
a thing, in the long, intensely dark nights we had, and thus run the
risk of finding ourselves on a lee shore. He determined, therefore, to
hold on as long as possible, on the tack we were on, expecting to get
through another night, without coming upon the land, every hour now
giving us the hope that we were drawing near to the termination of the
gale. I presume he felt more emboldened to pursue this course by the
circumstance that the wind evidently inclined to haul little by little,
more to the southward, which was not only increasing our chances of
laying past the islands, but lessened the danger from Terra del Fuego.

Marble was exceedingly uneasy during that second night. He remained on
deck with me the whole of the morning watch; not that he distrusted
my discretion in the least, but because he distrusted the wind and the
land. I never saw him in so much concern before, for it was his habit to
consider himself a timber of the ship, that was to sink or swim with the
craft.

"Miles," said he, "you and I know something of these 'bloody currents,'
and we know they take a ship one way, while she looks as fiercely the
other as a pig that is dragged aft by the tail. If we had run down the
50th degree of longitude, now, we might have had plenty of sea-room, and
been laying past the Cape, with this very wind; but, no, the old fellow
would have had no islands in that case, and he never could be happy
without half-a-dozen islands to bother him."

"Had we run down the 50th degree of longitude," I answered, "we should
have had twenty degrees to make to get round the Horn; whereas, could
we only lay through the Straits of Le Maire, six or eight of those very
same degrees would carry us clear of everything."

"Only lay through the Straits of Le Maire, on the 10th November, or what
is the same thing in this quarter of the world, of May, and with
less than nine hours of day-light! And such day-light, too! Why, our
Newfoundland fogs, such stuff as I used to eat when a youngster and
a fisherman, are high noon to it! Soundings are out of the question
hereabouts; and, before one has hauled in the deep-sea, with all its
line out, his cut-water may be on a rock. This ship is so weatherly and
drags ahead so fast, that we shall see _terra firma_ before any one has
a notion of it. The old man fancies, because the coast of Fuego trends
to the north-west, that the land will fall away from us, as fast as we
draw towards it. I hope he may live long enough to persuade all hands
that he is right!"

Marble and I were conversing on the forecastle at the time, our eyes
turned to the westward, for it was scarcely possible for him to look in
any other direction, when he interrupted himself, by shouting
out--"hard up with the helm--spring to the after-braces, my lads--man
mizen-staysail downhaul!" This set everybody in motion, and the captain
and third-mate were on deck in a minute. The ship fell off, as soon as
we got the mizen-staysail in, and the main-topsail touching. Gathering
way fast, as she got the wind more aft, her helm threw her stern up,
and away she went like a top. The fore-topmast staysail-sheet was
tended with care, and yet the cloth emitted a sound like the report of
a swivel, when the sail first filled on the other tack. We got the
starboard fore-tack forward, and the larboard sheet aft, by two
tremendously severe drags, the blocks and bolts seeming fairly to
quiver, as they felt the strains. Everything succeeded, however, and
the Crisis began to drag off from the coast of Terra del Fuego, of a
certainty; but to go whither, no one could precisely tell. She headed
up nearly east, the wind playing about between south-and-by-east, and
south-east-and-by-south. On that course, I own I had now great doubt
whether she could lay past the Falkland Islands, though I felt persuaded
we must be a long distance from them. There was plenty of time before us
to take the chances of a change.

As soon as the ship was round, and trimmed by the wind on the other
tack, Captain Williams had a grave conversation with the chief-mate, on
the subject of his reason for what he had done. Marble maintained he had
caught a glimpse of the land ahead--"Just as you know I did of la Dame
de Nantes, Captain Williams," he continued, "and seeing there was no
time to be lost, I ordered the helm hard up, to ware off shore." I
distrusted this account, even while it was in the very process of coming
out of the chief mate's mouth, and Marble afterwards admitted to me,
quite justly; but the captain either was satisfied, or thought it
prudent to seem so. By the best calculations I afterwards made, I
suppose we must have been from fifteen to twenty leagues from the
land when we wore ship; but, as Marble said, when he made his private
confessions, "Madagascar was quite enough for me, Miles, without
breaking our nose on this sea-gull coast; and there may be 'bloody
currents' on this side of the Cape of Good Hope, as well as on the
other. We've got just so much of a gale and a foul wind to weather, and
the ship will do both quite as well with her head to the eastward, as
with her head to the westward."

All that day the Crisis stood on the starboard tack, dragging through
the raging waters as it might be by violence; and just as night shut in
again, she wore round, once more, with her head to the westward. So
far from abating, the wind increased, and towards evening we found it
necessary to furl our topsail and fore-course. Mere rag of a sail as the
former had been reduced to, with its four reefs in, it was a delicate
job to roll it up. Neb and I stood together in the bunt, and never did
I exert myself more than on that occasion. The foresail, too, was a
serious matter, but we got both sails in without losing either. Just as
the sun set, or as night came to increase the darkness of that gloomy
day, the fore-topmast-staysail went out of the bolt-rope, with a report
that was heard all over the ship; disappearing in the mist, like a cloud
driving in the heavens. A few minutes later, the mizen-staysail was
hauled down in order to prevent it from travelling the same road. The
jerks even this low canvass occasionally gave the ship, made her tremble
from her keel to her trucks.

For the first time, I now witnessed a tempest at sea. Gales, and pretty
hard ones, I had often seen; but the force of the wind on this occasion,
as much exceeded that in ordinary gales of wind, as the force of these
had exceeded that of a whole-sail breeze. The seas seemed crushed, the
pressure of the swooping atmosphere, as the currents of the air went
howling over the surface of the ocean, fairly preventing them from
rising; or, where a mound of water did appear, it was scooped up and
borne off in spray, as the axe dubs inequalities from the log. In less
than an hour after it began to blow the hardest, there was no very
apparent swell--the deep breathing of the ocean is never entirely
stilled--and the ship was as steady as if hove half out, her lower
yard-arms nearly touching the water, an inclination at which they
remained as steadily as if kept there by purchases. A few of us were
compelled to go as high as the futtock-shrouds to secure the sails, but
higher it was impossible to get. I observed that when I thrust out a
hand to clutch anything, it was necessary to make the movement in such
a direction as to allow for lee-way, precisely as a boat quarters the
stream in crossing against a current. In ascending it was difficult to
keep the feet on the ratlins, and in descending, it required a strong
effort to force the body down towards the centre of gravity. I make no
doubt, had I groped my way up to the cross-trees, and leaped overboard
my body would have struck the water, thirty or forty yards from the
ship. A marlin-spike falling from either top, would have endangered no
one on deck.

When the day returned, a species of lurid, sombre light was diffused
over the watery waste, though nothing was visible but the ocean and the
ship. Even the sea-birds seemed to have taken refuge in the caverns of
the adjacent coast, none re-appearing with the dawn. The air was full
of spray, and it was with difficulty that the eye could penetrate as far
into the humid atmosphere as half a mile. All hands mustered on deck, as
a matter of course, no one wishing to sleep at a time like that. As for
us officers, we collected on the forecastle, the spot where danger would
first make itself apparent, did it come from the side of the land. It
is not easy to make a landsman understand the embarrassments of our
situation. We had had no observations for several days, and had been
moving about by dead reckoning, in a part of the ocean where the tides
run like a mill-tail, with the wind blowing a little hurricane. Even
now, when her bows were half submerged, and without a stitch of canvass
exposed, the Crisis drove ahead at the rate of three or four knots,
luffing as close to the wind as if she carried after-sail. It was
Marble's opinion that, in such smooth water, do all we could, the vessel
would drive towards the much-dreaded land again, between sun and sun of
that short day, a distance of from thirty to forty miles. "Nor is this
all, Miles," he added to me, in an aside, "I no more like this 'bloody
current,' than that we had over on the other side of the pond, when we
broke our back on the rocks of Madagascar. You never see as smooth water
as this, unless when the wind and current are travelling in the same
direction." I made no reply, but there all four of us, the captain and
his three mates, stood looking anxiously into the vacant mist on our
lee-bow, as if we expected every moment to behold our homes. A silence
of ten minutes succeeded, and I was still gazing in the same direction,
when by a sort of mystic rising of the curtain, I fancied I saw a
beach of long extent, with a dark-looking waste of low bottom extending
inland, for a considerable distance. The beach did not appear to
be distant half a knot, while the ship seemed to glide along it, as
compared with visible objects on shore, at a rate of six or eight miles
the hour. It extended, almost in a parallel line with our course, too,
as far as could be seen, both astern and ahead.

"What a strange delusion is this!" I thought to myself, and turned to
look at my companions, when I found all looking, one at the other, as if
to ask a common explanation.

"There is no mistake here," said captain Williams, quietly. "That is
_land_, gentlemen."

"As true as the gospel," answered Marble, with the sort of steadiness
despair sometimes gives. "What is to be done, sir?"

"What _can_ be done, Mr. Marble?--We have not room to ware, and, of
the two, there seems, so far as I can judge more sea-room ahead than
astern."

This was so apparent, there was no disputing it. We could still see the
land, looking low, chill, and of the hue of November; and we could
also perceive that ahead, if anything, it fell off a little towards the
northward, while astern it seemingly stretched in a due line with our
course. That we passed it with great velocity, too, was a circumstance
that our eyes showed us too plainly to admit of any mistake. As the ship
was still without a rag of sail, borne down by the wind as she had been
for hours, and burying to her hawse-holes forward, it was only to a
racing tide, or current of some sort, that we could be indebted for our
speed. We tried the lead, and got bottom in six fathoms!

The captain and Marble now held a serious consultation; That the ship
was entering some sort of an estuary was certain, but of what depth, how
far favoured by a holding ground, or how far without any anchorage at
all, were facts that defied our inquiries. We knew that the land called
Terra del Fuego was, in truth, a cluster of islands, intersected
by various channels and passages, into which ships had occasionally
ventured, though their navigation had never led to any other results
than some immaterial discoveries in geography. That we were entering one
of these passages, and under favourable circumstances, though so purely
accidental, was the common belief; and it only remained to look out for
the best anchorage, while we had day-light. Fortunately, as we drove
into the bay, or passage, or what ever it was, the tempest lifted
less spray from the water, and, owing to this and other causes, the
atmosphere gradually grew clearer. By ten o'clock, we could see fully
a league, though I can hardly say that the wind blew less fiercely than
before. As for sea, there was none, or next to none; the water being as
smooth as in a river.

The day drew on, and we began to feel increased uneasiness at the
novelty of our situation. Our hope and expectation were to find some
anchorage; but to obtain this it was indispensable also to find a
lee. As the ship moved forward, we still kept the land in view, on our
starboard hand, but that was a lee, instead of a weather shore; the
last alone could give our ground-tackle any chance, whatever, in such
a tempest. We were drawing gradually away from this shore, too, which
trended more northerly, giving us additional sea-room. The fact that we
were in a powerful tide's way, puzzled us the most. There was but one
mode of accounting for the circumstance. Had we entered a bay, the
current must have been less, and it seemed necessary there should be
some outlet to such a swift accumulation of water. It was not the mere
rising of the water, swelling in an estuary, but an arrow-like glancing
of the element, as it shot through a pass. We had a proof of this last
fact, about eleven o'clock, that admitted of no dispute. Land was seen
directly ahead, at that hour, and great was the panic it created. A
second look, however, reassured us, the land proving to be merely a
rocky islet of some six or eight acres in extent. We gave it a berth,
of course, though we examined closely for an anchorage near it, as we
approached. The islet was too low and too small to make any lee, nor did
we like the looks of the holding-ground. The notion of anchoring there
was consequently abandoned; but we had now some means of noting our
progress. The ship was kept a little away, in order to give this island
a berth, and the gale drove her through the water at the rate of seven
or eight knots. This, however, was far from being our whole speed, the
tide sweeping us onward at a furious rate, in addition. Even Captain
Williams thought we must be passing that rock at the rate of fifteen
knots!

It was noon, and there was no abatement in the tempest, no change in
the current, no means of returning, no chance of stopping; away we
were driven, like events ruled by fate. The only change was the gradual
clearing up of the atmosphere, as we receded from the ocean, and got
farther removed from its mists and spray. Perhaps the power of the gale
had, in a small degree, abated, by two o'clock, and it would have been
possible to carry some short sail; but there being no sea to injure us,
it was unnecessary, and the ship continued to drive ahead, under bare
poles. Night was the time to dread.

There was, now, but one opinion among us, and that was this:--we thought
the ship had entered one of the passages that intersect Terra del Fuego,
and that there was the chance of soon finding a lee, as these channels
were known to be very irregular and winding. To run in the night seemed
impossible; nor was it desirable, as it was almost certain we should be
compelled to return by the way we had entered, to extricate ourselves
from the dangers of so intricate a navigation. Islands began to appear,
moreover, and we had indications that the main passage itself, was
beginning to diminish in width. Under the circumstances, therefore, it
was resolved to get everything ready, and to let go two anchors, as soon
as we could find a suitable spot. Between the hours of two and four, the
ship passed seventeen islets, some of them quite near; but they afforded
no shelter. At last, and it was time, the sun beginning to fall very
low, as we could see by the waning light, we saw an island of some
height and size ahead, and we hoped it might afford us a lee. The
tide had changed too, and that was in our favour. Turning to windward,
however, was out of the question, since we could carry no sail, and the
night was near. Anchor, then, we must, or continue to drive onward in
the darkness, sheered about in all directions by a powerful adverse
current. It is true, this current would have been a means of safety, by
enabling us to haul up from rocks and dangers ahead, could we carry any
canvass; but it still blew too violently for the last. To anchor, then,
it was determined.

I had never seen so much anxiety in Captain Williams's countenance,
as when he was approaching the island mentioned. There was still light
enough to observe its outlines and shores, the last appearing bold and
promising. As the island itself may have been a mile in circuit, it made
a tolerable lee, when close to it. This was then our object, and the
helm was put to starboard as we went slowly past, the tide checking our
speed. The ship sheered into a sort of roadstead--a very wild one it
was--as soon as she had room. It was ticklish work, for no one could
tell how soon we might hit a rock; but we went clear, luffing quite near
to the land, where we let go both bowers at the same instant. The ship's
way had been sufficiently deadened, by throwing her up as near the wind
as she could be got, and there was no difficulty in snubbing her. The
lead gave us seven fathoms, and this within pistol-shot of the shore. We
knew we were temporarily safe. The great point was to ascertain how
the vessel would tend, and with how much strain upon her cables. To
everybody's delight, it was found we were in a moderate eddy, that drew
the ship's stern from the island, and allowed her to tend to the wind,
which still had a fair range from her top-sail yards to the trucks.
Lower down, the tempest scuffled about, howling and eddying, and
whirling first to one side, and then to the other, in a way to prove how
much its headlong impetuosity was broken and checked by the land. It is
not easy to describe the relief we felt at these happy chances. It
was like giving foothold to some wretch who thought a descent of the
precipice was inevitable.

The ship was found to ride easily by one cable, and the hands were sent
to the windlass to heave up the other anchor, as our lead told us, we
had rocks beneath us, and the captain was afraid of the chafing. The
larboard-bower anchor was catted immediately, and there it was left
suspended, with a range of cable overhauled, in readiness to let go at a
moment's notice. After this, the people were told to get their suppers.
As for us officers, we had other things to think of. The Crisis
carried a small quarter-boat, and this was lowered into the water, the
third-mate and myself manned its oars, and away we went to carry the
captain round the ship, in order that he might ascertain the soundings,
should it be necessary to get under way in the night. The examination
was satisfactory, on all points but one; that of the holding-ground; and
we returned to the vessel, having taken good care to trust ourselves in
neither the wind nor the current. An anchor-watch was set, with a mate
on deck, four hours and four hours, and all hands turned in.

I had the morning watch. What occurred from seven o'clock (the captain
keeping the dog-watches himself,) until a few minutes before four, I
cannot tell in detail, though I understood generally, that the wind
continued to blow in the same quarter, though it gradually diminished in
violence, getting down to something like a mere gale, by midnight. The
ship rode more easily; but, when the flood came in, there was no longer
an eddy, the current sucking round each side of the island in a very
unusual manner. About ten minutes before the hour when it was my regular
watch on deck, all hands were called; I ran on deck, and found the ship
had struck adrift, the cable having parted. Marble had got the vessel's
head up to the wind, under bare poles as before, and we soon began to
heave in the cable. It was found that the mischief had been done by
the rocks, the strands being chafed two-thirds through. As soon as the
current took the vessel's hull with force, the cable parted. We lost our
anchor, of course, for there was no possible way of getting back to the
island at present, or until the ebb again made.

It wanted several hours of day, and the captain called a council. He
told us, he made no doubt that the ship had got into one of the Terra
del Fuego passages, guided by Providence; and, as he supposed we must
be almost as far south as Staten Land, he was of opinion we had made
an important discovery! Get back we could not, so long as the wind held
where it was, and he was disposed to make sail, and push the examination
of the channel, as far as circumstances would allow. Captain Williams
had a weakness on this point, that was amiable and respectable perhaps,
but which hardly comported with the objects and prudence of a
trading ship-master. We were not surprised, therefore, at hearing his
suggestion; and, in spite of the danger, curiosity added its impulses to
our other motives of acquiescing. We could not get back as the wind then
was, and we were disposed to move forward. As for the dangers of the
navigation, they seemed to be lessening as we advanced, fewer islands
appearing ahead, and the passage itself grew wider. Our course, however,
was more to the southward bringing the ship close up by the wind, once
more.

The morning promised to be lighter than we had found the weather for
several days, and we even experienced some benefit from the moon. The
wind, too, began to back round to the eastward again, as we approached
the dawn; and we got the three top-sails, close-reefed, the fore-course,
and a new fore-top-mast stay-sail, on the ship. At length day
appeared, and the sun was actually seen struggling among dark masses of
wild-looking, driving clouds. For the first time since we entered those
narrow waters, we now got a good look around us. The land could be seen
in all directions.

The passage in which we found the Crisis, at sunrise on the morning of
the second of these adventurous days, was of several leagues in width;
and bounded, especially on the north, by high, precipitous mountains,
many of which were covered with snow. The channel was unobstructed;
and not an island, islet, or rock, was visible. No impediment to our
proceeding offered, and we were still more encouraged to push on. The
course we were steering was about south-south-west, and the captain
predicted we should come out into the ocean to the _westward_ of the
Straits of Le Maire, and somewhere near the Cape itself. We should
unquestionably make a great discovery! The wind continued to back round,
and soon got to be abaft the beam. We now shook our reefs out, one after
another, and we had whole topsails on the vessel by nine o'clock. This
was carrying hard, it must be owned; but the skipper was determined to
make hay while the sun shone. There were a few hours, when I think
the ship went fifteen knots by the land, being so much favoured by
the current. Little did we know the difficulties towards which we were
rushing!

Quite early in the day, land appeared ahead, and Marble began to predict
that our rope was nearly run out. We were coming to the bottom of a
deep bay. Captain Williams thought differently; and when he discovered
a narrow passage between two promontories, he triumphantly predicted our
near approach to the Cape. He had seen some such shape to the mountains
inland, in doubling the Horn, and the hill-tops looked like old
acquaintances. Unfortunately we could not see the sun at meridian,
and got no observation. For several hours we ran south-westerly, in a
passage of no great width, when we came to a sudden bend in our course,
which led us away to the north-west. Here we still had the tide with us,
and we then all felt certain that we had reached a point where the ebb
must flow in a direction contrary to that in which we had found it, in
the other parts of the passage. It followed, that we were now halfway
through to the ocean, though the course we were steering predicted a
sinuous channel. We were certainly not going now towards Cape Horn.

Notwithstanding the difficulties and doubts which beset us, Captain
Williams packed on the ship, determined to get ahead as fast as he
could, while there was light. It no longer blew a gale, and the wind was
hauling more to the southward again. It soon got to be right aft, and
before sunset it had a little westing in it. Fortunately, it moderated,
and we set our main-sail and top-gallant-sails. We had carried a lower
and top-mast studding-sails nearly all day. The worst feature in our
situation, now, was the vast number of islands, or islets, we met. The
shore on each side was mountainous and rude, and deep indentations were
constantly tempting us to turn aside. But, rightly judging that the set
of the tide was a lair index to the true course, the captain stood on.

The night that followed was one of the most anxious I ever passed. We
were tempted to anchor a dozen times, in some of the different bays, of
which we passed twenty; but could not make up our minds to risk another
cable. We met the flood a little after sunset, and got rid of it before
morning. But the wind kept hauling, and at last it brought us fairly on
a taut bow-line; under top-gallant-sails, however. We had come too far
to recede, or now would have been the time to turn round, and retrace
our steps. But we hoped every moment to reach some inclination south,
again, that would carry us into the open sea. We ran a vast many chances
of shipwreck, passing frightfully near several reefs; but the same good
Providence which had so far protected us, carried us clear. Never was I
so rejoiced as when I saw day returning.

We had the young ebb, and a scant wind, when the sun rose next day. It
was a brilliant morning, however, and everybody predicted an observation
at noon. The channel was full of islands, still, and other dangers
were not wanting; but, as we could see our way, we got through them all
safely. At length our course became embarrassed, so many large islands,
with passages between them, offering on different sides. One headland,
however, lay before us; and, the ship promising to weather it, we held
on our way. It was just ten o'clock as we approached this cape, and we
found a passage westward that actually led into the ocean! All hands
gave three cheers as we became certain of this fact, the ship tacking as
soon as far enough ahead, and setting seaward famously with the tide.

Captain Williams now told us to get our quadrants, for the heavens were
cloudless, and we should have a horizon in time for the sun. He was
anxious to get the latitude of our discovery. Sure enough, it so fell
out, and we prepared to observe; some predicting one parallel, some
another. As for the skipper himself, he said he thought we were still to
the eastward of the Cape; but he felt confident that we had come out to
the westward of Le Maire. Marble was silent; but he had observed, and
made his calculations, before either of the others had commenced the
last. I saw him scratch his head, and go to the chart which lay on the
companionway. Then I heard him shout--

"In the Pacific, by St. Kennebunk!"--he always swore by this pious
individual when excited--"We have come through the Straits of Magellan
without knowing it!"



CHAPTER XII.

  "Sound trumpets, ho!--weigh anchor--loosen sail--
  The seaward-flying banners chide delay;
  As if't were heaven that breathes this kindly gale,
  Our life-like bark beneath it speeds away.--"
  PINKNEY.


The stout ship Crisis had, like certain persons, done a good thing
purely by chance, Had her exploit happened in the year 1519, instead of
that of 1800, the renowned passage we had just escaped from would
have been called the Crisis Straits, a better name than the mongrel
appellation it now bears; which is neither English, nor Portuguese. The
ship had been lost, like a man in the woods, and came out nearer home,
than those in her could have at all expected. The "bloody currents"
had been at the bottom of the mistake, though this time they did good,
instead of harm. Any one who has been thoroughly lost on a heath, or in
a forest, or, even in a town, can comprehend how the head gets turned on
such occasions, and will understand the manner in which we had mystified
ourselves.

I shall remember the feelings of delight with which I looked around me,
as the ship passed out into the open ocean, to my dying day. There lay
the vast Pacific, its long, regular waves rolling in towards the coast,
in mountain-like ridges, it is true, but under a radiant sun, and in
a bright atmosphere. Everybody was cheered by the view, and never did
orders sound more pleasant in my ears, than when the captain called out,
in a cheerful voice, "to man the weather braces." This command was given
the instant it was prudent; and the ship went foaming past the last cape
with the speed of a courser. Studding-sails were then set, and, when
the sun was dipping, we had a good offing, were driving to the northward
under everything we could carry, and had a fair prospect of an excellent
run from the neighbourhood of Terra del Fuego, and its stormy seas.

It is not my intention to dwell on our passage along the western coast
of South America. A voyage to the Pacific was a very different thing in
the year 1800, however, from what it is to-day. The power of Spain was
then completely in the ascendant, intercourse with any nation but the
mother country, being strictly prohibited. It is true, a species of
commerce, that was called the "forced trade on the Spanish Main" existed
under that code of elastic morals, which adapts the maxim of "your
purse or your life" to modern diplomacy, as well as to the habits of
the highwayman. According to divers masters in the art of ethics now
flourishing among ourselves, more especially in the atmosphere of the
journals of the commercial communities, the people that "_can_ trade
and _won't_ trade, _must be made to trade_." At the commencement of the
century, your mercantile moralists were far less manly in the avowal of
their sentiments, though their practices were in no degree wanting in
the spirit of our more modern theories. Ships were fitted out, armed,
and navigated, on this just principle, quite as confidently and
successfully as if the tongue had declared all that the head had
conceived.

Guarda-Costas were the arguments used, on the other side of this knotty
question, by the authorities of Spain; and a very insufficient argument,
on the whole, did they prove to be. It is an old saying, that vice is
twice as active as virtue; the last sleeping, while the former is hard
at work. If this be true of things in general, it is thrice true as
regards smugglers and custom-house officers. Owing to this circumstance,
and sundry other causes, it is certain that English and American vessels
found the means of plundering the inhabitants of South America, at the
period of which I am writing, without having recourse to the no longer
reputable violence of Dampier, Wood, Rogers, or Drake. As I feel bound
to deal honestly with the reader, whatever I may have done by the
Spanish laws, I shall own that we made one or two calls, as we proceeded
north, shoving ashore certain articles purchased in London, and taking
on board dollars, in return for our civility. I do not know whether I
am bound, or not, to apologize for my own agency in these irregular
transactions--regular, would be quite as apposite a word--for, had I
been disposed to murmur, it would have done my morals no good, nor the
smuggling any harm. Captain Williams was a silent man, and it was
not easy to ascertain precisely what he _thought_ on the subject of
smuggling; but, in the way of _practice_, I never saw any reason to
doubt that he was a firm believer in the doctrine of Free Trade. As for
Marble, he put me in mind of a certain renowned editor of a well-known
New York journal, who evidently thinks that all things in heaven and
earth, sun, moon, and stars, the void above and the caverns beneath us,
the universe, in short, was created to furnish materials for newspaper
paragraphs; the worthy mate, just as confidently believing that coasts,
bays, inlets, roadsteads and havens, were all intended by nature, as
means to run goods ashore wherever the duties, or prohibitions, rendered
it inconvenient to land them in the more legal mode. Smuggling, in
his view of the matter, was rather more creditable than the regular
commerce, since it required greater cleverness.

I shall not dwell on the movements of the Crisis, for the five months
that succeeded her escape from the Straits of Magellan. Suffice it to
say, that she anchored at as many different points on the coast; that
all which came up the main-hatch, went ashore; and all that came
over the bulwarks, was passed down into the run. We were chased by
_guarda-costas_ seven times, escaping from them on each occasion, with
ease; though we had three little running fights. I observed that Captain
Williams was desirous of engaging these emissaries of the law, as easily
as possible, ordering us to fire altogether at their spars. I have since
thought that this moderation proceeded from a species of principle that
is common enough--a certain half-way code of right and wrong--which
encouraged him to smuggle, but which caused him to shrink from taking
human life. Your half-way rogues are the bane of honesty.

After quitting the Spanish coast, altogether, we proceeded north, with
the laudable intention of converting certain quantities of glass-beads,
inferior jack-knives, frying-pans, and other homely articles of the same
nature, into valuable furs. In a word, we shaped our course for that
district which bids fair to set the mother and daughter by the ears, one
of these days, unless it shall happen to be disposed of _à la Texas_,
or, what is almost as bad, _à la Maine_, ere long. At that time the
whole north-west coast was unoccupied by white men, and I felt no
scruples about trading with the natives who presented themselves with
their skins as soon as we had anchored, believing that they had the best
right to the country and its products. We passed months in this traffic,
getting, at every point where we stopped, something to pay us for our
trouble.

We went as far north as 53°, and that is pretty much all I ever knew of
our last position. At the time, I thought we had anchored in a bay on
the main land, but I have since been inclined to think it was in one
of the many islands that line that broken coast. We got a very secure
berth, having been led to it by a native pilot who boarded us several
leagues at sea, and who knew enough English to persuade our captain that
he could take us to a point where sea-otter skins might be had for the
asking. Nor did the man deceive us, though a more unpromising-looking
guide never had charge of smuggling Christians. He carried us into a
very small bay, where we found plenty of water, capital holding-ground,
and a basin as smooth as a dock. But one wind--that which blew from the
north-west--could make any impression on it, and the effects of
even that were much broken by a small island that lay abreast of the
entrance; leaving good passages, on each side of it, out to sea. The
basin itself was rather small, it is true, but it did well enough for a
single ship. Its diameter may have been three hundred yards, and I never
saw a sheet of natural water that was so near a circle. Into a place
like this, the reader will imagine, we did not venture without taking
the proper precautions. Marble was sent in first, to reconnoitre and
sound, and it was on his report that Captain Williams ventured to take
the ship in.

At that time, ships on the North-West Coast had to use the greatest
precautions against the treachery and violence of the natives. This
rendered the size of our haven the subject of distrust; for, lying in
the middle of it, where we moored, we were barely an arrow's flight from
the shore, in every direction but that which led to the narrow entrance.
It was a most secure anchorage, as against the dangers of the sea, but
a most insecure one as against the dangers of the savages. This we all
felt, as soon as our anchors were down; but, intending to remain only
while we bartered for the skins which we had been told were ready
for the first ship that should offer, we trusted to vigilance as our
safeguard in the interval.

I never could master the uncouth sounds of the still more uncouth
savages of that distant region. The fellow who carried us in had a name
of his own, doubtless, but it was not to be pronounced by a Christian
tongue, and he got the _sobriquet_ of the Dipper from us, owing to the
manner in which he ducked at the report of our muskets, which had been
discharged by Marble merely with the intention to renew the cartridges.
We had hardly got into the little basin, before the Dipper left us,
returning in an hour, however, with a canoe loaded to the water's edge,
with beautiful skins, and accompanied by three savages as wild-looking,
seemingly as fierce, and certainly as avaricious as he was himself.
These auxiliaries, through various little circumstances, were known
among us that same afternoon, by the several appellations of Smudge,
Tin-pot, and Slit-nose. These were not heroic names, of a certainty, but
their owners had as little of the heroic in their appearance, as
usually falls to the lot of man in the savage state. I cannot tell the
designation of the tribes to which these four worthies belonged, nor do
I know any more of their history and pursuits than the few facts which
came under my own immediate observation. I did ask some questions of the
captain, with a view to obtain a few ideas on this subject, but all
he knew was, that these people put a high value on blankets, beads,
gun-powder, frying-pans, and old hoops, and that they set a remarkably
low price on sea-otter skins, as well as on the external coverings
of sundry other animals. An application to Mr. Marble was still less
successful, being met by the pithy answer that he was "no naturalist,
and knew nothing about these critturs, or any wild beasts, in general."
Degraded as the men certainly were, however, we thought them quite
good enough to be anxious to trade with them. Commerce, like misery,
sometimes makes a man acquainted with strange bed-fellows.

I had often seen our own Indians after they had become degraded by their
intercourse with the whites and the use of rum, but never had I beheld
any beings so low in the scale of the human race, as the North-Western
savages appeared to be. They seemed to me to be the Hottentots of our
own continent. Still they were not altogether without the means of
commanding our respect. As physical men they were both active and
strong, and there were gleams of ferocity about them, that all their
avarice and art could not conceal. I could not discover in their usages,
dress, or deportment, a single trace of that chivalrous honour which
forms so great a relief to the well-established cruelty of the warrior
of our own part of the continent. Then, these sea-otter dealers had some
knowledge of the use of fire-arms, and were too well acquainted with the
ships of us civilized men to have any superstitious dread of our power.

The Dipper, and his companions, sold us one hundred and thirty-three
sea-otter skins the very afternoon we anchored. This, of itself, was
thought to be a sufficient reward for the trouble and risk of coming
into this unknown basin. Both parties seemed pleased with the results
of the trading, and we were given to understand that, by remaining
at anchor, we might hope for six or eight times our present number of
skins. Captain Williams was greatly gratified with the success with
which he had already met, and having found that all the Dipper had
promised came true, he determined to remain a day or two, in his present
berth, in order to wait for more bargains. This resolution was no sooner
communicated to the savages than they expressed their delight, sending
off Tin-pot and Slit-nose with the intelligence, while the Dipper
and Smudge remained in the ship, apparently on terms of perfect
good-fellowship with everybody on board. The gentry of the North-West
Coast being flagrant thieves, however, all hands had orders to keep
a good look-out on our two guests, Captain Williams expressing his
intention to flog them soundly, should they be detected in any of their
usual light-fingered dexterity.

Marble and myself observed that the canoe, in which the messengers left
us, did not pull out to sea, but that it entered a small stream, or
creek, that communicated with the head of the bay. As there was no duty
on board, we asked the captain's permission to explore this spot; and,
at the same time, to make a more thorough examination of our haven,
generally. The request being granted, we got into the yawl, with four
men, all of us armed, and set out on our little expedition. Smudge, a
withered, grey-headed old Indian, with muscles however that resembled
whip-cord, was alone on deck, when this movement took place. He watched
our proceedings narrowly, and, when he saw us descend into the boat,
he very coolly slipped down the ship's side, and took his place in the
stern-sheets, with as much quiet dignity as if he had been captain.
Marble was a good deal of a ship's martinet in such matters, and he did
not more than half like the familiarity and impudence of the procedure.

"What say you, Miles," he asked, a little sharply, "shall we take this
dried ourang-outang ashore with us, or shall we try to moisten him a
little, by throwing him overboard'!"

"Let him go, by all means, Mr. Marble. I dare say the man wishes to be
of use, and he has only a bad manner of showing it."

"Of use! He is worth no more than the carcase of a whale that has been
stripped of its blubber. I say, Miles, there would be no need of the
windlass to heave the blanket off of this fish!"

This professional witticism put Marble in good humour with himself, and
he permitted the fellow to remain. I remember the thoughts that passed
through my mind, as the yawl pulled towards the creek, on that occasion,
as well as if it had all occurred yesterday. I sat looking at the
semi-human being who was seated opposite, wondering at the dispensation
of Divine Providence which could leave one endowed with a portion of the
ineffable; nature of the Deity, in a situation so degraded. I had seen
beasts in cages that appeared to me to be quite as intelligent, and
members of the diversified family of human caricatures, or of the
baboons and monkeys, that I thought were quite as agreeable objects to
the eye. Smudge seemed to be almost without ideas. In his bargains, he
had trusted entirely to the vigilance of the Dipper, whom we supposed to
be some sort of a relation; and the articles he received in exchange
for his skins, failed to arouse in his grim, vacant countenance, the
smallest signs of pleasure. Emotion and he, if they had been acquainted,
now appeared to be utter strangers to each other; nor was this apathy in
the least like the well-known stoicism of the American Indian; but had
the air of downright insensibility. Yet this man assuredly had a soul,
a spark of the never-dying flame that separates man from all the other
beings of earth!

The basin in which the Crisis lay was entirely fringed with forest. The
trees in most places even overhung the water, forming an impenetrable
screen to everything inland, at the season when they were in leaf. Not a
sign of a habitation of any sort was visible; and, as we approached the
shore, Marble remarked that the savages could only resort to the place
at the moments when they had induced a ship to enter, in order to trade
with them.

"No--no," added the mate, turning his head in all directions, in
order to take a complete survey of the bay; "there are no wigwams, or
papooses, hereabouts. This is only a trading-post; and luckily for us,
it is altogether without custom-house officers."

"Not without smugglers, I fancy, Mr. Marble, if contriving to get other
people's property without their knowledge, can make a smuggler. I never
saw a more thorough-looking thief than the chap we have nick-named the
Dipper. I believe he would swallow one of our iron spoons, rather than
not get it!"


"Ay, there's no mistake about him, 'Master Mile,' as Neb calls you. But
this fellow here, hasn't brains enough to tell his own property from
that of another man. I would let him into our bread-lockers, without
any dread of his knowing enough to eat. I never saw such a vacancy in a
human form; a down-east idiot would wind him up in a trade, as handily
as a pedlar sets his wooden clocks in motion."

Such was Marble's opinion of the sagacity of Mr. Smudge; and, to own
the truth, such, in a great measure, was my own. The men laughed at the
remarks--seamen are a little apt to laugh at chief-mates' wit--and their
looks showed how thoroughly they coincided with us in opinion. All this
time, the boat had been pushing ahead, and it soon reached the mouth of
the little creek.

We found the inlet deep, but narrow and winding. Like the bay itself,
it was fringed with trees and bushes, and this in a way to render it
difficult to get a view of anything on the land; more especially as
the banks were ten or fifteen feet in height. Under the circumstances,
Marble proposed that we should land on both sides of the creek, and
follow its windings on foot, for a short distance, in order to get a
better opportunity to reconnoitre. Our dispositions were soon made.
Marble and one of the boat's crew, each armed, landed on one side of
the inlet, while Neb and myself, similarly provided, went ashore on the
other. The two remaining men were ordered to keep abreast of us in the
boat, in readiness to take us on board again, as soon as required.

"Leave that Mr. Smudge in the boat, Miles," Marble called out across the
creek, as I was about to put foot on the ground. I made a sign to that
effect to the savage, but when I reached the level ground on the top of
the bank, I perceived the fellow was at my elbow. It was so difficult to
make such a creature understand one's wishes, without the aid of speech,
that, after a fruitless effort or two to send him back by means of
signs, I abandoned the attempt, and moved forward, so as to keep the
whole party in the desired line. Neb offered to catch the old fellow
in his arms, and to carry him down to the yawl; but I thought it more
prudent to avoid anything like violence. We proceeded, therefore,
accompanied by this escort.

There was nothing, however, to excite alarm, or awaken distrust. We
found ourselves in a virgin forest, with all its wildness, dampness,
gloomy shadows, dead and fallen trees, and unequal surface. On my side
of the creek, there was not the smallest sign of a foot-path; and Marble
soon called out to say, he was equally without any evidences of the
steps of man. I should think we proceeded quite a mile in this manner,
certain that the inlet would be a true guide on our return. At length a
call from the boat let us know there was no longer water enough to float
it, and that it could proceed no farther. Marble and myself descended
the banks at the same moment, and were taken in, intending to return in
the yawl. Smudge glided back to his old place, with his former silence.

"I told you to leave the ourang-outang behind," Marble carelessly
observed, as he took his own seat, after assisting in getting the boat
round, with its head towards the bay. "I would rather have a rattlesnake
for a pet, than such a cub."

"It is easier said than done, sir. Master Smudge stuck to me as close as
a leech."

"The fellow seems all the better for his walk--I never saw him look half
as amiable as he does at this moment."

Of course this raised a laugh, and it induced me to look round. For
the first time, I could detect something like a human expression in the
countenance of Smudge, who seemed to experience some sensation a little
akin to satisfaction.

"I rather think he had taken it into his head we were about to desert
the coppers," I remarked, "and fancied he might lose his supper. Now, he
must see we are going back, he probably fancies he will go to bed on a
full stomach."

Marble assented to the probability of this conjecture, and the
conversation changed. It was matter of surprise to us that we had met
no traces of anything like a residence near the creek, not the smallest
sign of man having been discovered by either. It was reasonable to
expect that some traces of an encampment, at least, would have been
found. Everybody kept a vigilant look-out at the shore as we descended
the creek; but, as on the ascent, not even a foot-print was detected.

On reaching the bay, there being still several hours of day-light,
we made its entire circuit, finding nowhere any proof of the former
presence of man. At length, Marble proposed pulling to the small wooded
island that lay a little without the entrance of the haven, suggesting
that it was possible the savages might have something like an encampment
there, the place being more convenient as a look-out into the offing,
than any point within the bay itself. In order to do this, it was
necessary to pass the ship; and we were hailed by the captain, who
wished to know the result of our examinations. As soon as he learned our
present object, he told us to come alongside, intending to accompany us
to the island in person. On getting into the boat, which was small and
a little crowded by the presence of Smudge, Captain Williams made a sign
for that personage to quit the yawl. He might as well have intimated
as much to one of the thwarts! Laughing at the savage's stupidity, or
obstinacy, we scarce knew which to term it, the boat was shoved off, and
we pulled through the entrance, two hundred yards outside perhaps, until
our keel grated against the low rocks of this islet.

There was no difficulty in landing; and Neb, who preceded the party,
soon gave a shout, the proof that he had made some discovery. Every
man among us now looked to his arms, expecting to meet an encampment
of savages; but we were disappointed. All that the negro had discovered
were the unequivocal traces of a former bivouac; and, judging from a
few of the signs, that of no very recent occupation. The traces were
extensive, covering quite half of the interior of the island; leaving
an extensive curtain of trees and bushes, however, so as completely to
conceal the spot from any eyes without. Most of the trees had been burnt
down, as we at first thought, in order to obtain fuel; but, farther
examination satisfied us, that it had been done as much by accident, as
by design.

At first, nothing was discovered in this encampment, which had every
appearance of not having been extensively used for years, though the
traces of numerous fires, and the signs of footsteps, and a spring
in the centre, indicated the recent occupation, of which I have just
spoken. A little further scrutiny, however, brought to light certain
objects that we did not note without much wonder and concern. Marble
made the first discovery. It was impossible for seamen to mistake the
object, which was the head of a rudder, containing the tiller-hole, and
which might have belonged to a vessel of some two hundred and fifty,
or three hundred tons. This set all hands of us at work, and, in a few
minutes we found, scattered about, fragments of plank, top-timbers,
floor-timbers, and other portions of a ship, all more or less burnt, and
stripped of every particle of metal. Even the nails had been drawn by
means of perseverance and labour. Nothing was left but the wood, which
proved to be live-oak, cedar and locust, the proofs that the unfortunate
craft had been a vessel of some value. We wanted no assurance of this,
however, as none but a North-West trader could well have got as high up
the coast, and all vessels of that class were of the best description.
Then the locust, a wood unknown to the ship-builders of Europe, gave
us the nearly certain assurance that this doomed craft had been a
countryman.

At first, we were all too much occupied with our interesting discovery
to bethink us of Smudge. At length, I turned to observe its effect on
the savage. He evidently noted our proceedings; but his feelings, if the
creature had any, were so deeply buried beneath the mask of dullness,
as completely to foil my penetration. He saw us take up fragment
after fragment, examine them, heard us converse over them, though in a
language he could not understand, and saw us throw them away, one after
another, with seemingly equal indifference. At length he brought a
half-burned billet to the captain, and held it before his eyes, as if he
began to feel some interest in our proceedings. It proved to be merely
a bit of ordinary wood, a fragment of one of the beeches of the forest
that lay near an extinguished pile; and the act satisfied us all, the
fellow did not comprehend the reason of the interest we betrayed. He
clearly knew nothing of the strange vessel.

In walking around this deserted encampment, the traces of a pathway to
the shore were found. They were too obvious to be mistaken, and led us
to the water in the passage opposite to that by which the Crisis had
been carried in by the Dipper, and at a point that was not in view from
her present anchorage. Here we found a sort of landing, and many of the
heavier pieces of the wreck; such as it had not been thought necessary
to haul up to the fires, having no metal about them. Among other things
of this sort, was a portion of the keel quite thirty feet long, the
keelson bolts, keelson, and floor-timbers all attached. This was the
only instance in which we discovered any metal; and this we found,
only because the fragment was too strong and heavy to be manageable.
We looked carefully, in all directions, in the hope of discovering
something that might give us an insight into the nature of the disaster
that had evidently occurred, but, for some time without success. At
length I strolled to a little distance from the landing, and took a seat
on a flat stone, which had been placed on the living rock that faced
most of the island, evidently to form a resting-place. My seat proved
unsteady, and in endeavouring to adjust it more to my mind, I removed
the stone, and discovered that it rested on a common log-slate. This
slate was still covered with legible writing, and I soon had the whole
party around me, eager to learn the contents. The melancholy record was
in these precise words: viz.--

"The American brig Sea-Otter, John Squires, master, _coaxed_ into this
bay, June 9th, 1797, and seized by savages, on the morning of the 11th.
Master, second-mate, and seven of the people killed on the spot. Brig
gutted first, then hauled up _here_, and burnt to the water's edge for
the iron. David King, first-mate, and six others, viz., George Lunt,
Henry Webster, Stephen Stimpson and John Harris, seamen, Bill Flint,
cook, and Peter Doolittle, boy, still living, but God only knows what is
to be our fate. I shall put this slate beneath the stone I now sit on,
in the hope it may one day let our friends learn what has happened."--

We looked at each other, astounded. Both the captain and Marble
remembered to have heard that a brig in this trade, called the
Sea-Otter, was missing; and, here, by a communication that was little
short of miraculous, we were let into the secret of her disappearance.

"_Coaxed_ in--" repeated the captain, running his eye over the writing,
which had been thus singularly preserved, and that, in a situation where
one would think it might have been discovered a thousand times.--"Yes,
yes--I now begin to understand the whole matter. If there were any wind,
gentlemen, I would go to sea this very night."

"That would be hardly worth our while, Captain Williams," the chief-mate
answered, "since we are now on our guard, and I feel pretty certain that
there are no savages in our neighbourhood. So far, the Dipper and his
friends have traded with us fairly enough, and it is likely they have
more skins to dispose of. This chap, whom the people have christened
Smudge, takes matters so coolly, that I hardly think he knows anything
about the Sea-Otter, which may have been cut off by another gang,
altogether."

There was good reason in these remarks, and they had their effect on the
captain. The latter, however, determined to put Smudge to the proof,
by showing him the slate, and otherwise bringing him under such
a cross-examination as signs alone could effect. I dare say, an
indifferent spectator would have laughed at witnessing our efforts to
confound the Indian. We made grimaces, pointed, exclaimed, hallooed,
swore, and gesticulated in vain. Smudge was as unmoved at it all, as the
fragment of keel to which he was confronted. The fellow either did not,
or would not understand us. His stupidity defied our tests; and Marble
gave the matter up in despair, declaring that "the beast knows nothing
of anything, much less of the Sea-Otter." As for the slate, he did not
seem to have the smallest notion what such a thing meant.

We returned to the ship, carrying with us the slate, and the report
of our discoveries. All hands were called, and the captain made us
a speech. It was sufficiently to the point, though it was not in the
least, of the "God-like" character. We were told how ships were lost
by the carelessness of their crews; reminded we were on the North-West
Coast, where a vessel with a few boxes of beads and bales of blankets,
to say nothing of her gunpowder, firearms, and metals, was as valuable,
as a vessel laden with gold dust would be in one of our own ports.
Vigilance, while on watch, and obedience to the orders of the vessel, in
the event of an alarm, were the principal things dwelt on. By observing
these two great requisites, we should all be safe enough; whereas, by
disregarding them, we should probably share the fate of the people of
the brig, of which we had just discovered some of the remains.

I will confess, I passed an uncomfortable night. An unknown enemy
is always a formidable enemy; and I would rather have fought three
_guarda-costas_ at once, than lie where we did, in a bay as smooth as
a looking-glass, surrounded by forests as silent as a desert, and in a
well-armed ship, that was prepared at all points, to meet her foes, even
to her boarding-nettings.

Nothing came of it all. The Dipper and Smudge eat their supper with the
appetites of injured innocence, and slept like tops. If guilty, we
all agreed that they must be utterly destitute of consciences. As for
ourselves, we were on the alert until near morning, the very moment when
the danger would probably be the greatest, provided there were any at
all; and then weariness overcame all who were not on the look-out, and
some who were. Still, nothing happened. The sun returned to us in due
season, gilding the tree-tops with its beams; our little bay began to
bask in its glory, and with the cheerfulness that usually accompanies
such a scene, vanished most of our apprehensions for the moment. A night
of reflection had quieted our fears, and we all woke up next morning, as
indifferent to the fate of the Sea-Otter, as was at all decent.



CHAPTER XIII.

  "The monarch mind--the mystery of commanding,
  The godlike power--the art Napoleon,
  Of winning, fettering, moulding, wielding, banding
  The hearts of millions, till they move as one;
  Thou hast it."
  HALLECK--_Red Jacket_.


Smudge and the Dipper behaved admirably all next day. Beef, pork and
bread--those great desiderata of life, which the European is apt to say
form the _primum mobile_ of American existence--seemed to engross their
thoughts; and when they were not eating, they were busy with sleep. At
length we grew ashamed of watching such mere animals, and turned
our thoughts to other subjects. We had understood the Dipper, that
eight-and-forty hours must elapse before we might expect to see any more
skins; and Captain Williams, passing from alarm to extreme security,
determined to profit by a lovely day, and send down, or rather strip,
all three of the top-masts, and pay some necessary attention to their
rigging. At nine o'clock, accordingly, the hands were turned-to, and
before noon the ship was pretty thoroughly _en deshabille_. We sent as
little down as possible, keeping even the top-sail-yards aloft, though
without their lifts or braces, steadying them by guys; but the top-masts
were lowered as far as was found possible, without absolutely placing
the lower yards on the hammock-cloths. In a word, we put the ship in the
most unmanageable position, without absolutely littering our decks. The
security of the haven, and the extreme beauty of the weather, emboldened
the captain to do this; apprehension of every sort appearing to have
quite taken leave of him.

The work proceeded merrily. We had not only a strong crew, but we had
a good crew; and our Philadelphians were in their element, the moment
there was a question of the rigging. By sunset, the chafes were
examined, and parcelled, and served anew; and the top-mast rigging was
all got up and put over the mast-heads again, and everything was ready
to sway upon in the morning. But an uncommonly active day required a
good night's rest; and the people were all ordered to turn in, as soon
as they had supped. The ship was to be left to the vigilance of the
captain and the three mates, during the night.

The anchor-watch was set at eight, and ran from two hours, to two
hours. My turn commenced at midnight, and was to last until two; Marble
succeeding me from two until four, when all hands were to be called
to get our sticks aloft. When I turned out at twelve, I found the
third-mate conversing, as well as he could, with the Dipper; who, with
Smudge, having slept so much of the day, appeared disposed to pass the
night in smoking.

"How long have these fellows been on deck?" I asked of the third-mate,
as he was about to go below.

"All my watch; I found them with the captain, who passed them over to
me for company. If that chap, the Dipper, only knew anything of a human
language, he would be something of society; but I'm as tired of making
signs to him, as I ever was with a hard day's work."

I was armed, and felt ashamed of manifesting fear of an unarmed man.
Then the two savages gave no additional cause of distrust; the Dipper
having taken a seat on the windlass, where he was smoking his pipe
with an appearance of philosophy that would have done credit to
the gravest-looking baboon. As for Smudge, he did not appear to be
sufficiently intellectual to smoke; an occupation that has at least
the merit of affecting the air of wisdom and reflection. I never could
discover whether your great smokers were actually wiser than the rest of
the race, or not; but, it will be admitted, they occasionally seem to
be so. It was a pity Smudge did not have recourse to the practice, as it
might have given the fellow an appearance of sometimes cogitating. As it
was, while his companion was enjoying his pipe at the windlass, he kept
strolling about the deck, much as a pig would have wandered in the same
place, and seemingly with the same object.

I took charge of the decks with a very lively sense of the peculiarity
of our situation. The security that prevailed on board struck me as
unnatural; and yet I could detect no particular reason for immediate
alarm. I might be thrown overboard or murdered by the two savages on
deck, it was very true; but of what use would it be to destroy me,
since they could not hope to destroy all the rest on board without being
discovered. The night was star-lit, and there was little chance of a
canoe's approaching the ship without my seeing it; a circumstance that,
of itself, in a great measure, removed the danger. I passed the first
quarter of an hour in reflecting on these things; and then, as use
accustomed me to my situation, I began to think less of them, and to
revert to other subjects.

Clawbonny, Grace, Lucy, and Mr. Hardinge, often rose before my mind's
eye, in those distant seas. It was seldom I passed a tranquil watch
at night, without revisiting the scenes of my boyhood, and wandering
through my own fields, accompanied by my beloved sister, and her quite
as well beloved friend. How many hours of happiness had I thus passed on
the trackless wastes of the Pacific and the Atlantic; and with how much
fidelity did memory recall the peculiar graces, whether of body or mind,
of each of the dear girls in particular! Since my recent experience in
London, Emily Merton would occasionally adorn the picture, with her more
cultivated discourse and more finished manner; and yet I do not remember
to have ever given her more than a third place on the scale of my
admiration.

On the present occasion I was soon lost in ruminations on the past, and
in imagining events for the future. I was not particularly expert at
building castles in the air; but what youth of twenty, or maiden of
sixteen, never reared some sort of a fabric of this nature? These
fanciful structures are the results of inexperience building with the
materials of hope. In my most imaginative moments, I could even fancy
Rupert an industrious, staid lawyer, adorning his profession, and
rendering both Lucy and Grace happy. Beyond this, it was not easy for
the human faculties to conceive.

Lucy sang sweetly. At times, her songs fairly haunted me, and for hours
I could think of nothing but their tender sentiment and their touching
melody. I was no nightingale myself, though I sometimes endeavoured to
hum some one of the airs that floated in my recollection, like beautiful
visions of the past. This night, in particular, my thoughts recurred
to one of these songs that told of affection and home; and I stood, for
several minutes, leaning over the railing forward, humming the tune to
myself, while I endeavoured to recall not only the words, but the sweet
voice that was wont to give them so much thrilling pathos. I did this
sometimes at Clawbonny; and time and again had Lucy placed her soft
little hand on my mouth, as she would laughingly say, "Miles, Miles! do
not spoil so pretty a song! You will never succeed with music, so work
the harder with your Latin." Sometimes she would steal behind me--I
fancied I could hear her breathing at my shoulder, even as I leaned
over the rail--and would apply her hand slyly to my lips, in her many
attempts of this nature. So vivid did one of these scenes become, that
I thought I really felt the soft smooth hand on my mouth, and I was
actually about to kiss it, when something that was smooth enough,
certainly, but which was very far from being soft, passed between my
teeth, and I felt it drawn so tight as completely to prevent my calling
out. At the same moment, my arms were seized from behind, and held as if
grasped by a vice. Turning, as well as I was able, I found that rascal
Smudge had been breathing within an inch of my ear, while he passed the
gag; and the Dipper was busy in lashing my arms together behind my back.
The whole had been done so suddenly, and yet with so much skill, that I
was a helpless prisoner, as it might be, in a single instant!

Resistance being as much out of my power as it was to give any alarm, I
was soon secured, hands and feet, and placed carefully in the waist, a
little out of the way; for I probably owed my life solely to the wish
of Smudge to keep me as his slave. From that instant every appearance
of stupidity vanished from this fellow's countenance and manner, and
he became the moving spirit, and I might say the soul, of all the
proceedings of his companions. As for myself, there I sat, lashed to a
spar, utterly unable to help myself, an unwilling witness of all that
followed. I felt the imminent danger of our situation, but I think I
felt the disgrace of having such a surprise occur in my watch, more even
than the personal risks I ran!

In the first place, I was disarmed. Then, the Dipper took a lantern
which stood on the binnacle, lighted it, and showed it, for half
a minute, above the taffrail. His signal must have been instantly
answered, for he soon extinguished the light, and moved about the deck,
in attentive watchfulness to seize any straggler, who might happen to
come on deck. Little fear of that, however, weariness chaining the men
to their berths as closely as if they had been bolted down with iron. I
now expected to see the fellows fill the yawl with effects, and run away
with them, for, as yet, I could not believe that two men would have the
hardihood to attack such a ship's company as ours.

I reckoned without my host. It might have been ten minutes after I was
seized, that dark-looking figures began to climb the ship's sides,
until more than thirty of them were on her decks. This was done so
noiselessly, too, that the most vigilant attention on my part gave no
notice of their approach, until they stood among us. All these men were
armed; a few with muskets; others with clubs, and some with bows and
arrows. So far as I could discover, each had some sort of a knife, and a
few had hatchets, or tomahawks. To my great regret, I saw that three or
four were immediately stationed at the companion-way, aft, and as many
more at the booby-hatch, forward. This was effectually commanding the
only two passages by which the officers and men would be likely to
ascend, in the event of their attempting to come on deck. It is true,
the main hatch, as well as that of the steerage, was used by day,
but both had been covered over night, and no one would think of using
either, unless aware of the danger that existed on deck.

I suffered a good deal, both from the gag and the ropes that bound my
limbs, and yet I hardly thought of the pain, so intense was my curiosity
as to what was to follow. After the savages were all on board, the first
quarter of an hour passed in making their dispositions, Smudge, the
stupid, inanimate, senseless Smudge, acting as leader, and manifesting
not only authority, but readiness and sagacity. He placed all his people
in ambush, so that, one appearing from below, would not at once be
apprized of the change that had taken place on deck, and thus give the
savages time to act. After this, another quarter of an hour passed,
during which the fall of a pin might almost have been heard, so
profound was the silence. I shut my eyes in this terrific interval, and
endeavoured to pray.

"On deck, here--forward, there!" said a voice suddenly, that, at once,
I knew to be the captain's. I would have given the world to be able to
answer, in order to warn him of the danger, but this was impossible. I
did groan, and I believe the captain heard me; for he moved away from
the cabin-door, and called out "Mr. Wallingford--where have you got to,
Mr. Wallingford?" He was without his hat, having come on deck half-clad,
simply to ascertain how went the night, and it makes me shudder, even
now, to write about the blow that fell on his unprotected skull. It
would have felled an ox, and it crushed him on the spot. The caution of
his murderers prevented his falling, however, for they did not wish to
alarm the sleepers below; though the plash on the water that followed,
could not fail to reach ears which took in every sound with the avidity
of mine. Thus perished Captain Williams, a mild, well-meaning man, an
excellent seaman, and one whose principal fault was want of caution. I
do not think the water was necessary to complete his fate, as nothing
human could have survived such a blow.

Smudge had been the principal actor in this frightful scene; and, as
soon as it was over, he caused his men to return to their ambushes. I
now thought the officers and men were to be murdered, in this manner,
as one by one they appeared on deck. It would soon be time for Marble
to turn out, though there was the hope he might not unless called, and
I could not do this office, situated as I was. But, I was mistaken.
Instead of enticing any men on deck, the savages pursued a different
course. Having destroyed the captain, they closed the doors of the
companion-way, drew over the booby-hatch, and adopted the safe expedient
of making all below prisoners. This was not done altogether without
noise, and the alarm was evidently given by the means taken to secure
the fastenings. I heard a rush at the cabin-doors, which was soon
followed by one at the booby-hatch; but Smudge's ingenuity had been
sufficient to prevent either from being successful.

As soon as certain that their prisoners were safe, the savages came and
loosened the ropes of my arms sufficiently to put me more at my ease.
They removed those which bound my feet entirely, and, at the same
instant, the gag was taken from my mouth. I was then led to the
companionway, and, by a sign, given to understand I might communicate
with my friends below. In the management of all this, I found that
Smudge, the semi-human, dull, animal-seeming Smudge, was at the head.
I also came to the conclusion my life was to be spared, for a time at
least, and for some purpose that, as yet, baffled my conjectures. I did
not call out immediately, but waited until I heard a movement on the
ladder, when I complied with the orders of my captors and masters.

"Mr. Marble," I cried, loud enough to be heard below, "is that you?"

"Ay, ay--and is that you, Master Miles?"

"This is I. Be cautious how you act, Mr. Marble. The savages are in
possession of the upper deck, and I am their prisoner. The people are
all below, with a strong watch at the fore-scuttle."

I heard a long, low whistle, within the companion-way doors, which it
was easy enough to interpret into an expression of the chief-mate's
concern and wonder. For myself, I saw no use in attempting concealment,
but was resolved to speak out fully, even though it might be at the risk
of betraying some of my feelings to my captors, among whom I thought
it probable there might be more than one who understood something of
English.

"We miss Captain Williams below here," Marble resumed, after a short
delay. "Do you know anything of his movements?"

"Alas! Mr. Marble--poor Captain Williams can be of no service to any of
us, now."

"What of him?" was demanded in a clear, full voice and as quick as
lightning. "Let me know, at once."

"He has been killed by a blow from a club, and is thrown overboard."

A dead silence followed, and it lasted near a minute.

"Then it has fallen to my duty to decide what is to be done!" Marble
at length exclaimed. "Miles, are you at liberty?--dare you say what you
think?"

"I am held here, by two of the savages, whose prisoner I certainly am.
Still, Mr. Marble, they encourage me to speak, but I fear some among
them understand what we say."

There was another pause, during which the mate was doubtless reflecting
on the best course to pursue.

"Harkee, Miles," Marble continued, "we know each other, and can tell
what is meant without blabbing. How old are you, out there, on deck."

"Quite thirty years, Mr. Marble--and good stout years they are, too."

"Well provided for, with sulphur and the pills, or only with Indian
tools, such as our boys sometimes play with?"

"A little of the first--half-a-dozen, perhaps; with some of the last,
and a plenty of carvers."

An impatient push from the Dipper warned me to speak plainer, and
satisfied me that the fellow could comprehend what passed, so long as we
confined ourselves to a straight, forward discourse. This discovery had
the effect to put me still more on my guard.

"I understand you, Miles," Marble answered, in a thoughtful manner; "we
must be on our guard. Do you think they mean to come below?"

"I see no signs at present--but _understanding_--" emphasizing the
word, "is more general than you imagine, and no secrets must be told. My
advice is 'Millions for defence, and not a cent for tribute.'"

As this last expression was common in the mouths of the Americans of the
day, having been used on the occasion of the existing war with France, I
felt confident it would be understood. Marble made no answer, and I
was permitted to move from the companion-way, and to take a seat on the
hen-coops. My situation was sufficiently remarkable. It was still dark;
but enough light fell from the stars to permit me to see all the swarthy
and savage forms that were gliding about the decks, and even to observe
something of the expression of the countenances of those, who, from time
to time, came near to stare me in the face. The last seemed ferociously
disposed; but it was evident that a master-spirit held all these wild
beings in strict subjection; quelling the turbulence of their humours,
restraining their fierce disposition to violence, and giving concert and
design to all their proceedings. This master-spirit was Smudge! Of the
fact, I could not doubt; his gestures, his voice, his commands, giving
movement and method to everything that was done. I observed that he
spoke with authority and confidence, though he spoke calmly. He was
obeyed, without any particular marks of deference, but he was obeyed
implicitly. I could also see that the savages considered themselves as
conquerors; caring very little for the men under hatches.

Nothing material occurred until day dawned. Smudge--for so I must
continue to call this revolting-looking chief, for want of his true
name--would permit nothing to be attempted, until the light became
sufficiently strong to enable him to note the proceedings of his
followers. I subsequently ascertained, too, that he waited for
reinforcements, a yell being raised in the ship, just as the sun
appeared, which was answered from the forest. The last seemed fairly
alive with savages; nor was it long before canoes issued from the creek,
and I counted one hundred and seven of these wretches on board the ship.
This was their whole force, however, no more ever appearing.

All this time, or for three hours, I had no more communication with
our own people. I was certain, however, that they were all together, a
junction being easy enough, by means of the middle-deck, which had no
other cargo than the light articles intended for the north-west trade,
and by knocking down the forecastle bulk-head. There was a sliding board
in the last, indeed, that would admit of one man's passing at a time,
without having recourse to this last expedient. I entertained no doubt
Marble had collected all hands below; and, being in possession of plenty
of arms, the men having carried their muskets and pistols below with
them, with all the ammunition, he was still extremely formidable. What
course he would pursue, I was obliged to conjecture. A sortie would
have been very hazardous, if practicable at all; and it was scarcely
practicable, after the means taken by Smudge and the Dipper to secure
the passages. Everything, so far as I was concerned, was left to
conjecture.

The manner in which my captors treated me, excited my surprise. As soon
as it was light, my limbs were released, and I was permitted to walk
up and down the quarter-deck to restore the circulation of the blood. A
clot of blood, with some fragments of hair, marked the spot where poor
Captain Williams had fallen; and I was allowed to dash a bucket of water
over the place, in order to wash away the revolting signs of the murder.
For myself, a strange recklessness had taken the place of concern, and
I became momentarily indifferent to my fate. I expected to die, and I
am now ashamed to confess that my feelings took a direction towards
revenge, rather than towards penitence for my past sins. At times, I
even envied Marble, and those below, who might destroy their enemies
at a swoop, by throwing a match into the magazine. I felt persuaded,
indeed, it would come to that before the mate and men would submit to
be the captives of such wretches as were then in possession of the deck.
Smudge and his associates, however, appeared to be perfectly indifferent
to this danger, of the character of which they were probably ignorant.
Their scheme had been very cunningly laid; and, thus far, it was
perfectly successful.

The sun was fairly up, and the savages began to think seriously of
securing their prize, when the two leaders, Smudge and the Dipper,
approached me in a manner to show they were on the point of commencing
operations. The last of these men I now discovered had a trifling
knowledge of English, which he had obtained from different ships. Still
he was a savage, to all intents and purposes, the little information
thus gleaned, serving to render his worst propensities more dangerous,
rather than, in any manner, tempering them. He now took the lead,
parading all his men in two lines on the deck, making a significant
gesture towards his fingers, and uttering, with emphasis, the word
"count." I did count the wretches, making, this time, one hundred and
six, exclusively of the two leaders.

"Tell him, down there"--growled the Dipper, pointing below.

I called for Mr. Marble, and when he had reached the companion-way, the
following conversation took place between us:

"What is it now, Miles, my hearty?" demanded the chief-mate.

"I am ordered to tell you, sir, that the Indians number one hundred and
eight, having just counted them, for this purpose."

"I wish there were a thousand, as we are about to lift the deck from the
ship, and send them all into the air. Do you think they can understand
what I say, Miles?"

"The Dipper does, sir, when you speak slow and plain. He has only half a
notion of what you now mean, as I can see by his countenance."

"Does the rascal hear me, now?--is he anywhere near the companion-way?"

"He does, and is--he is standing, at this moment, on the larboard side
of the companion-way, kneeling one knee, on the forward end of the
hen-coop."

"Miles"--said Marble, in a doubting sort of a voice.

"Mr. Marble--I hear what you say."

"Suppose--eh--lead through the companion-way--eh--what would happen to
_you?_"

"I should care little for that, sir, as I've made up my mind to be
murdered. But it would do no good, just now, and might do harm. I will
tell them, however, of your intention to blow them up, if you please;
perhaps _that_ may make them a little shy."

Marble assented, and I set about the office, as well as I could. Most
of my communication had to be made by means of signs; but, in the end,
I succeeded in making the Dipper understand my meaning. By this man the
purport was told to Smudge, in terms. The old man listened with grave
attention, but the idea of being blown up produced no more effect on
him, than would have been produced by a message from home to tell him
that his chimney was on fire, supposing him to have possessed such a
civilized instrument of comfort. That he fully comprehended his friend,
I could see by the expression of his ourang-outang-looking countenance.
But fear was a passion that troubled him very little; and, sooth to say,
a man whose time was passed in a condition as miserable as that in which
he habitually dwelt, had no great reason to set a very high value on
his life. Yet, these miserable wretches never commit suicide! That is
a relief reserved rather for those who have become satiated with human
enjoyments, nine pampered sensualists dying in this mode, for one poor
wretch whose miseries have driven him to despair.

I was astonished at seeing the intelligence that gleamed in the
baboon-like face of Smudge, as he listened to his friend's words.
Incredulity was the intellectual meaning in his eye, while indifference
seemed seated in his whole visage.

It was evident the threat had made no impression, and I managed to let
Marble understand as much, and that in terms which the Dipper could not
very well comprehend. I got no answer, a death-like stillness reigning
below decks, in lieu of the bustle that had so lately been heard there.
Smudge seemed struck with the change, and I observed he was giving
orders to two or three of the elder savages, apparently to direct a
greater degree of watchfulness. I confess to some uneasiness myself,
for expectation is an unpleasant guest, in a scene like that, and more
especially when accompanied by uncertainty.

Smudge now seemed to think it time to commence his operations in
earnest. Under the direction of the Dipper a quantity of line was thrown
into the yawl, studding-halyards, and such other rope of convenient size
as could be found in the launch, and the boat was towed by two or
three canoes to the island. Here the fellows made what seamen call a
"guess-warp," of their rope; fastening one end to a tree, and paying
out line, as the yawl was towed back again to the ship. The Dipper's
calculation proved to be sufficiently accurate, the rope reaching from
the vessel to the tree.

As soon as this feat was accomplished, and it was done with sufficient
readiness, though somewhat lubberly, twenty or thirty of the savages
clapped on the warp, until they had tautened it to as great a strain as
it would bear. After this they ceased pulling, and I observed a search
around the galley in quest of the cook's axe, evidently with a design to
cut the cables. I thought this a fact worth communicating to Marble, and
I resolved to do so at the risk of my life. "The Indians have run a line
to the island, and are about to cut the cables, no doubt intending to
warp the ship ashore; and that, too, at the very spot where they once
had the Sea-Otter."

"Ay, ay--let them go on; we'll be ready for them in time," was the only
answer I received.

I never knew whether to ascribe the apathy the savages manifested to
this communication, to a wish that the fact might be known to the people
below, or to indifference. They certainly proceeded in their movements
with just as much coolness as if they had the ship all to themselves.
They had six or eight canoes, and parties of them began to move round
the vessel, with precisely the same confidence as men would do it in a
friendly port. What most surprised me were the quiet and submission to
orders they observed. At length the axe was found secreted in the
bows of the launch, and Marble was apprised of the use to which it was
immediately applied, by the heavy blows that fell upon the cables.

"Miles," said the chief-mate--"these blows go to my heart! Are the
blackguards really in earnest?"

"The larboard bower is gone, sir, and the blows you now hear are on the
starboard, which is already half in two--that finishes it; the ship now
hangs only by the warp."


"Is there any wind, boy?"

"Not a breath of it in the bay, though I can see a little ripple on the
water, outside."

"Is it rising or falling water, Miles?"

"The ebb is nearly done--they'll never be able to get the ship up on the
shelving rock where they had the Sea-Otter, until the water rises ten or
twelve feet."

"Thank God for that! I was afraid they might get her on that accursed
bed, and break her back at once."

"Is it of any importance to us, Mr. Marble? What hope can we have of
doing anything against such odds, and in our circumstances?"

"The odds I care nothing for, boy. My lads are screwed up so tight,
they'd lick the whole North-West Coast, if they could only get on deck
without having their fashion-pieces stove in. The circumstances, I
allow, must count for a great deal."

"The ship is moving fast towards the island--I see no hope for us, Mr.
Marble!"

"I say, Miles, it is worth some risk to try and save the craft--were
it not for fear of you, I would have played the rascals a trick half an
hour since."

"Never mind me, sir--it was my fault it has happened, and I ought to
suffer for it--do what duty and discretion tell you is best."

I waited a minute after this, in intense expectation, not knowing what
was to follow, when a report made me fancy for an instant some attempt
was making to blow up the deck. The wails and cries that succeeded,
however, soon let me into the real state of the case. A volley of
muskets had been fired from the cabin-windows, and every individual in
two canoes that were passing at the time, to the number of eleven,
were shot down like bullocks. Three were killed dead, and the remainder
received wounds that promised to be mortal. My life would have been the
instant sacrifice of this act, had it not been for the stern authority
of Smudge, who ordered my assailants off, with a manner and tone that
produced immediate compliance. It was clear I was reserved for some
peculiar fate.

Every man who could, rushed into the remaining canoes and the ship's
yawl, in order to pick up the killed and wounded, as soon as the nature
of the calamity was known. I watched them from the taffrail, and soon
ascertained that Marble was doing the same from the windows below me.
But the savages did not dare venture in a line with a fire that had
proved so fatal, and were compelled to wait until the ship had moved
sufficiently ahead to enable them to succour their friends, without
exposing their own lives. As this required some distance, as well as
time, the ship was not only left without a canoe, or boat of any sort,
in the water, but with only half her assailants on board of her. Those
who did remain, for want of means to attack any other enemy, vented
their spite on the ship, expending all their strength in frantic efforts
on the warp. The result was, that while they gave great way to the
vessel, they finally broke the line.

I was leaning on the wheel, with Smudge near me, when this accident
occurred. The tide was still running ebb, and with some strength; and
the ship was just entering the narrow passage between the island and the
point that formed one termination of the bay, heading, of course,
toward the tree to which the warp had been secured. It was an impulsive
feeling, rather than any reason, that made me give the vessel a sheer
with the helm, so as to send her directly through the passage, instead
of letting her strike the rocks. I had no eventual hope in so doing,
nor any other motive than the strong reluctance I felt to have the good
craft hit the bottom. Luckily, the Dipper was in the canoes, and it
was not an easy matter to follow the ship, under the fire from her
cabin-windows, had he understood the case, and been disposed to do
so. But, like all the rest in the canoes, he was busy with his wounded
friends, who were all carried off towards the creek. This left me master
of the ship's movements for five minutes, and by that time she had drawn
through the passage, and was actually shooting out into the open ocean.

This was a novel, and in some respects an embarrassing situation. It
left a gleam of hope, but it was a hope without a direction, and almost
without an object. I could perceive that none of the savages on board
had any knowledge of the cause of our movement, unless they might
understand the action of the tide. They had expected the ship to be run
ashore at the tree; and here she was gliding into the ocean, and was
already clear of the passage. The effect was to produce a panic, and
fully one-half of those who had remained in the ship, jumped overboard
and began to swim for the island. I was momentarily in hope all
would take this course; but quite five-and-twenty remained, more from
necessity than choice, as I afterwards discovered, for they did not know
how to swim. Of this number was Smudge, who probably still remained to
secure his conquest. It struck me the moment was favourable, and I went
to the companion-way, and was about to remove its fastenings, thinking
the ship might be recovered during the prevalence of the panic. But a
severe blow, and a knife gleaming in the hands of Smudge, admonished me
of the necessity of greater caution. The affair was not yet ended,
nor was my captor a man as easily disconcerted as I had incautiously
supposed. Unpromising as he seemed, this fellow had a spirit that fitted
him for great achievements, and which, under other circumstances, might
have made him a hero. He taught me the useful lesson of not judging of
men merely by their exteriors.



CHAPTER XIV.

  _Court_--"Brother John Bates, is not that the morning which
  breaks yonder?"
  _Bates_.--"I think it be; but we have no great cause to desire
  the approach of day."
  _Will_.--"We see yonder the beginning of the day; but I think
  we shall never see the end of it----"
  _Henry V._


The ship did not lose her steerage-way. As soon as past the point of the
island, a gentle southerly breeze was felt; and, acting on the spars and
hull, it enabled me, by putting the helm a little up, to keep her head
off shore, and thus increase her distance from the bay. The set of the
tide did more for her than the wind, it is true; but the two, acting in
unison, carried her away from the coast at a rate that nearly equalled
two knots in the hour. This was slow moving, certainly, for a vessel in
such a strait; but it would require fifteen or twenty minutes for the
canoes to return from the creek, and make the circuit of the island by
the other channel. By that time we should be near half a mile at sea.

Smudge, beyond a question, understood that he was in a dilemma, though
totally ignorant of some of the leading difficulties of his case. It was
plain to me he could not comprehend why the ship took the direction of
the offing, for he had no conception of the power of the rudder. Our
tiller worked below, and it is possible this circumstance mystified him,
more small vessels in that day managing their helms without the aid of
the wheel, than with it. At length the movement of the vessel became too
palpable to admit of further delay; and this savage approached me, with
a drawn knife, and a manner that proved natural affection had not been
the motive of his previous moderation. After flourishing his weapon
fiercely before my eyes, and pressing it most significantly, once or
twice, against my breast, he made signs for me to cause the ship to
turn round and re-enter the port. I thought my last moment had come, but
naturally enough pointed to the spars, giving my master to understand
that the vessel was not in her usual trim. I believe I was understood
as to this part of my excuses, it being too apparent that our masts and
yards were not in their usual places, for the fact to be overlooked even
by a savage. Smudge, however, saw that several of the sails were bent,
and he pointed to those, growling out his threats, should I refuse to
set them. The spanker, in particular, being near him, he took hold of
it, shook it, and ordered me to loosen it forthwith.

It is scarcely necessary to say, I obeyed this order with secret joy.
Casting loose the brails, I put the out-hauler in the hands of a dozen
of the savages, and set the example of pulling. In a minute we had
this sail spread, with the sheet a little eased off. I then led a party
forward, and got the fore and main stay-sails on the ship. To these
were added the mizen stay-sail, the only other piece of canvass we could
show, until the top-masts were fidded. The effect of these four sails,
however, was to add at least another knot to the way of the ship, and
to carry her out sooner to a point where she felt the full force of the
light breeze that was blowing from the south-east. By the time the four
sails were set, we were fully a quarter of a mile from the island, every
instant getting more fairly into the true currents of the air.

Smudge watched me with the eyes of a hawk. As I had obeyed his own
orders in making sail, he could not complain of that; but the result
evidently disappointed him. He saw we were still moving in the wrong
direction, and, as yet, not a canoe was visible. As for these last, now
the vessel had way on her, I was not without hopes of being able to
keep them exposed to the fire from the cabin-windows, and, finally, of
getting rid of them by drawing off the land to a distance they would
not be likely to follow. The Dipper, however, I was aware, was a bold
fellow--knew something of vessels--and I was determined to give a hint
to Marble to pick _him_ off, should he come within range of his muskets.

In the meantime the alarm and impatience of Smudge and his companions,
very sensibly increased. Five minutes were an age in the circumstances
in which they were placed, and I saw that it would soon be necessary
to adopt some new expedient, or I might expect to be sacrificed to the
resentment of these savages. Necessity sharpens the wits, and I hit upon
a scheme which was not entirely without the merit of ingenuity. As it
was, I suppose I owed my life to the consciousness of the savages, that
they could do nothing without me.

Smudge, with three or four of the fiercest of his companions, had begun
again to menace me with the knife, making signs, at the same time, for
me to turn the ship's head towards the land. I asked for a little room,
and then describing a long circle on the deck, pointing to the four
sails we had set, and this in a way to tell them that under the canvass
we carried, it would be necessary to go a great distance in order to
turn round. When I had succeeded in communicating this idea, I forthwith
set about giving them to understand that by getting up the top-masts,
and making more sail, we might return immediately. The savages
understood me, and the explanation appearing reasonable to them, they
went aside and consulted together. As time pressed, it was not long
before Smudge came to me with signs to show him and his party how to get
the remainder of the sails set. Of course, I was not backward in giving
the desired information.

In a few minutes, I had a string of the savages hold of the mast-rope,
forward, a luff-tackle being applied. As everything was ready aloft, all
we had to do was to pull, until, judging by the eye, I thought the
spar was high enough, when I ran up the rigging and clapped in the fid.
Having the top-mast out of the way, without touching any of its rigging,
I went down on the fore-yard, and loosened the sail. This appeared
so much like business, that the savages gave sundry exclamations of
delight; and, by the time I got on deck, they were all ready to applaud
me as a good fellow. Even Smudge was completely mystified; and when I
set the others at work at the jeer-fall to sway up the fore-yard, he was
as active as any of them. We soon had the yard in its place, and I went
aloft to secure it, touching the braces first so as to fill the sail.

The reader may rest assured I did not hurry myself, now I had things in
so fair a way. I could perceive that my power and importance increased
with every foot we went from the land; and the ship steering herself
under such canvass, the wheel being a trifle up, there was no occasion
for extraordinary exertion on my part. I determined now to stay aloft as
long as possible. The yard was soon secured, and then I went up into the
top, where I began to set up the weather-rigging. Of course, nothing was
very thoroughly done, though sufficiently so for the weather we had.

From the top I had a good view of the offing, and of the coast for
leagues. We were now quite a mile at sea, and, though the tide was no
longer of any use to us, we were drawing through the water quite at the
rate of two knots. I thought that the flood had made, and that it took
us a little on our lee-bow, hawsing us up to windward. Just as I had got
the last lanyard fastened, the canoes began to appear, coming round
the island by the farther passage, and promising to overtake us in the
course of the next twenty minutes. The crisis demanded decision, and I
determined to get the jib on the ship. Accordingly, I was soon on deck.

Having so much the confidence of the savages, who now fancied their
return depended on me, I soon had them at work, and we had the stay set
up in two or three minutes. I then ran out and cast off the gaskets,
when my boys began to hoist at a signal from me. I have seldom been so
happy as when I saw that large sheet of canvass open to the air. The
sheet was hauled in and belayed as fast as possible, and then it
struck me I should not have time to do any more before the canoes would
overtake us. It was my wish to communicate with Marble. While passing
aft, to effect this object, I paused a moment to examine the movement of
the canoes; old Smudge, the whole time, expressing his impatience that
the ship did not turn round. I make no doubt I should have been murdered
a dozen times, had I lives enough, were it not that the savages felt how
dependent they were on me, for the government of the vessel. I began
to see my importance, and grew bold in proportion. As for the canoes,
I took a look at them through a glass, They were about half-a-mile
distant; had ceased paddling, and were lying close together, seemingly
in consultation. I fancied the appearance of the ship, under canvass,
had alarmed them, and that they began to think we had regained the
vessel, and were getting her in sailing condition again, and that it
might not be prudent to come too near. Could I confirm this impression,
a great point would be gained. Under the pretence of making more sail,
in order to get the ship's head round, a difficulty I had to explain to
Smudge by means of signs some six or eight times, I placed the savages
at the _main_-top-mast mast-rope, and told them to drag. This was a
task likely to keep them occupied, and what was more, it kept them all
looking forward, leaving me affecting to be busied aft. I had given
Smudge a segar too, to put him in good humour, and I had also taken the
liberty to light one for myself.

Our guns had all been primed, levelled, and had their tompions taken out
the night before, in readiness to repel any assault that might be made.
I had only to remove the apron from the after-gun, and it was ready to
be discharged. Going to the wheel, I put the helm hard up, until our
broadside bore on the canoes. Then glancing along my gun, until I saw
it had a tolerable range, I clapped the segar to the priming, springing
back to the wheel, and putting the helm down. The explosion produced a
general yell among the savages, several of whom actually leaped into the
chains ready to go overboard, while Smudge rushed towards me, fiercely
brandishing his knife. I thought my time had come! but, perceiving
that the ship was luffing fast, I motioned eagerly forward, to draw the
attention of my assailant in that quarter. The vessel was coming-to, and
Smudge was easily induced to believe it was the commencement of turning
round. The breathing time allowed me to mystify him with a few more
signs; after which, he rejoined his people, showed them exultingly the
ship still luffing, and I make no doubt, he thought himself, and induced
the rest to think, that the gun had a material agency in producing all
these apparent changes. As for the canoes, the grape had whistled
so near them, that they began to paddle back, doubtless under the
impression, that we were again masters of the ship, and had sent them
this hint to keep aloof.

Thus far I had succeeded beyond my most sanguine expectations; and
I began to entertain lively hopes of not only saving my life, but of
recovering the command of the vessel. Could I manage to get her out
of sight of land, my services would be so indispensable, as almost to
insure success. The coast was very low, and a run of six or eight hours
would do this, provided the vessel's head could be kept in the right
direction. The wind, moreover, was freshening, and I judged that the
Crisis had already four knots way on her. Less than twenty miles would
put all the visible coast under water. But, it was time to say something
to Marble. With a view to lull distrust, I called Smudge to the
companion-way, in order that he might hear what passed, though I felt
satisfied, now that the Dipper was out of the ship, not a soul remained
among the savages, who could understand a syllable of English, or knew
anything of vessels. The first call brought the mate to the door. "Well,
Miles; what is it?"--he asked--"what meant the gun, and who fired it?"

"All right, Mr. Marble. I fired the gun to keep off the canoes, and it
has had the effect I wished."

"Yes; my head was out of the cabin-window at the time, for I believed
the ship was waring, and thought you had given up, and were going back
into port. I saw the roundshot strike within twenty fathoms of the
canoes, and as for the grape, some of it flew beyond them. Why, we are
more than half a league from the land, boy!--Will Smudge stand that much
longer?"

I then told Marble precisely how we were situated on deck, the sail we
were under, the number of savages we had on board, and the notion the
savages entertained on the subject of turning the ship round. It is not
easy to say which listened with the most attention, Marble, or Smudge.
The latter made frequent gestures for me to turn the ship towards the
coast, for by this time she had the wind abeam again, and was once more
running in a straight line. It was necessary, on more accounts than one,
to adopt some immediate remedy for the danger that began to press on me
anew. Not only must Smudge and his associates be pacified, but, as the
ship got into the offing, she began to feel the ground-swell, and her
spars, aloft, were anything but secure. The main-top-mast was about
half-up, and it was beginning to surge and move in the cap, in a way I
did not like. It is true, there was not much danger yet; but the wind
was rising, and what was to be done, ought to be done at once. I was
not sorry, however, to perceive that five or six of the savages, Smudge
among the number, began to betray signs of sea-sickness. I would have
given Clawbonny, at the moment, to have had all the rascals in rough
water!

I now endeavoured to make Smudge understand the necessity of my having
assistance from below, both to assist in turning the vessel, and in
getting the yards and masts into their places. The old fellow shook his
head, and looked grave at this. I saw he was not sick enough yet, to
be indifferent about his life. After a time, however, he pronounced the
names of Neb and Yo, the blacks having attracted the attention of the
savages, the last being the cook. I understood him, he would suffer
these two to come to my assistance, provided it could be done without
endangering his own ascendency. Three unarmed men could hardly be
dangerous to twenty-five who were armed; and then I suspected that he
fancied the negroes would prove allies to himself, in the event of a
struggle, rather than foes. As for Neb, he made a fatal mistake; nor was
he much nearer the truth in regard to Joe-or Yo, as he called him--the
cook feeling quite as much for the honour of the American flag, as the
fairest-skinned seaman in the country. It is generally found, that the
loyalty of the negroes is of proof.

I found means to make Smudge understand the manner in which these two
blacks could be got on deck, without letting up the rest. As soon as he
fairly comprehended the means to be used, he cheerfully acquiesced, and
I made the necessary communication to Marble. A rope was sent down,
over the stern-boat, to the cabin-windows, and Neb took a turn round his
body; when he was hauled up to the gunwale of the boat, into which he
was dragged by the assistance of the savages. The same process was used
with Joe. Before the negroes were permitted to go aloft, however, Smudge
made them a brief oration, in which oracular sentences were blended with
significant gestures, and indications of what they were to expect,
in the event of bad behaviour. After this, I sent the blacks into the
main-top, and glad enough I thought they were both to get there.

Thus reinforced, we had the main-top-mast fidded in a very few minutes.
Neb was then directed to set up the rigging, and to clear away the yard,
so it might be got into its place. In a word, an hour passed in active
exertions, at the end of which, we had everything rove, bent, and in
its place, on the main-mast, from the top-mast-head to the deck. The
top-gallant-mast was lying fore and aft in the waist, and could not
then be touched; nor was it necessary. I ordered the men to loosen both
sails, and to overhaul down their rigging. In the eyes of Smudge, this
looked highly promising; and the savages gave a yell of delight when
they saw the top-sail fairly filled and drawing. I added the main-sail
to the pressure, and then the ship began to walk off the coast, at a
rate that promised all I hoped for. It was now necessary for me to stick
by the wheel, of the uses of which Smudge began to obtain some notions.
At this time, the vessel was more than two leagues from the island, and
objects began to look dim along the coast. As for the canoes, they
could no longer be seen, and chasing us any farther was quite out of the
question. I felt that the crisis was approaching.

Smudge and his companions now became more and more earnest on the
subject of turning the ship round. The indistinctness of the land began
seriously to alarm them, and sea-sickness had actually placed four of
their number flat on the deck. I could see that the old fellow himself
was a good deal affected, though his spirit, and the risks he ran, kept
him in motion, and vigilantly on the watch. It was necessary to seem to
do something; and I sent the negroes up into the fore-top, to get the
top sail-yard in its place, and the sail set. This occupied another
hour, before we were entirely through, when the land was getting nearly
_awash_. As soon as the mizen-top-sail was set, I braced sharp up, and
brought the ship close upon the wind. This caused the Indians to wilt
down like flowers under a burning sun, just as I expected; there being,
by this time, a seven-knot breeze, and a smart head-sea on. Old Smudge
felt that his forces were fast deserting him, and he now came to me,
in a manner that would not be denied, and I felt the necessity of doing
something to appease him. I got the savages stationed as well as I
could, hauled up the main-sail, and put the ship in stays. We tacked
better than I could have believed possible, and when my wild captors saw
that we were actually moving in the direction of the land, again, their
delight was infinite. Their leader was ready to hug me; but I avoided
this pleasure in the best manner I could. As for the consequences, I
had no apprehensions, knowing we were too far off to have any reason to
dread the canoes, and being certain it was easy enough to avoid them in
such a breeze.

Smudge and his companions were less on the alert, as soon as they
perceived the ship was going in the proper direction. They probably
believed the danger in a measure over, and they began to yield a little
to their physical sufferings. I called Neb to the wheel, and leaning
over the taffrail, I succeeded in getting Marble to a cabin-window,
without alarming Smudge. I then told the mate to get all his forces in
the forecastle, having observed that the Indians avoided that part of
the vessel, on account of the heavy plunges she occasionally made, and
possibly because they fancied our people were all aft. As soon as the
plan was understood, I strolled forward, looking up at the sails, and
touching a rope, here and there, like one bent on his ordinary duty.
The savage stationed at the fore-scuttle was as sick as a dog, and with
streaming eyes, he was paying the landsmen's tribute to the sea. The
hatch was very strong, and it was secured simply by its hasp and a bit
of iron thrust through it. I had only to slip my hand down, remove the
iron, throw open the hatch, when the ship's company streamed up on deck,
Marble leading.

It was not a moment for explanations. I saw, at a glance, that the mate
and his followers regarded the situation of the ship very differently
from what I did myself. I had now been hours with the savages, had
attained a little of their confidence, and knew how dependent they
were on myself for their final safety; all of which, in a small degree,
disposed me to treat them with some of the lenity I fancied I had
received from them, in my own person. But, Marble and the crew had been
chafing below, like caged lions, the whole time, and, as I afterwards
learned, had actually taken an unanimous vote to blow themselves up,
before they would permit the Indians to retain the control of the
vessel. Then poor Captain Williams was much beloved forward, and his
death remained to be avenged. I would have said a word in favour of my
captors, but the first glance I got at the flushed face of the mate,
told me it would be useless. I turned, therefore, to the sick savage
who had been left as a sentinel over the fore-scuttle, to prevent his
interference. This man was armed with the pistols that had been taken
from me, and he showed a disposition to use them. I was too quick in my
motions, however, falling upon him so soon as to prevent one who was not
expert with the weapons from using them. We clenched, and fell on the
deck together, the Indian letting the pistols fall to meet my grasp.

As this occurred, I heard the cheers of the seamen; and Marble, shouting
out to "revenge Captain Williams," gave the order to charge. I soon had
my own fellow perfectly at my mercy, and got him so near the end of the
jib downhaul, as to secure him with a turn or two of that rope. The
man made little resistance, after the first onset; and, catching up
the pistols, I left him, to join in what was doing aft. As I lay on the
deck, I heard several plunges into the water, and then half-a-dozen of
most cruelly crushing blows succeeded. Not a shot was fired by either
party, though some of our people, who had carried all their arms below
the night the ship was seized, used their pikes with savage freedom.
By the time I got as far aft as the main-mast, the vessel was our
own. Nearly half the Indians had thrown themselves into the sea; the
remaining dozen had either been knocked in the head like beeves, or were
stuck, like so many porkers. The dead bodies followed the living into
the sea. Old Smudge alone remained, at the moment of which I have
spoken.

The leader of the savages was examining the movements of Neb, at the
moment the shout was raised; and the black, abandoning the wheel, threw
his arms round those of the old man, holding him like a vice. In this
situation he was found by Marble and myself, who approached at the same
instant, one on each side of the quarter-deck.

"Overboard with the blackguard!" called out the excited mate; "overboard
with him, Neb, like a trooper's horse!"

"Hold--" I interrupted, "spare the old wretch, Mr. Marble;--he spared
me."

A request from me would, at any moment, outweigh an order from the
captain, himself, so far as the black was concerned, else Smudge would
certainly have gone into the ocean, like a bundle of straw. Marble
had in him a good deal of the indifference to bodily suffering that is
generated by habit, and, aroused, he was a dangerous, and sometimes a
hard man; but, in the main, he was not cruel; and then he was always
manly. In the short struggle which he had passed, he had actually
dropped his pike, to knock an Indian down with his fist; bundling the
fellow through a port without ceremony, ere he had time to help himself.
But he disdained striking Smudge, with such odds against him; and he
went to the helm, himself, bidding Neb secure the prisoner. Glad of this
little relief to a scene so horrible, I ran forward, intending to bring
my own prisoner aft, and to have the two confined together, below. But
I was too late. One of the Philadelphians had just got the poor wretch's
head and shoulders through the bow-port, and I was barely in time to see
his feet disappear.

Not a cheer was given for our success. When all was over, the men stood
gazing at each other, stern, frowning, and yet with the aspects of those
who felt they had been, in a manner, disgraced by the circumstances
which led them to the necessity of thus regaining the command of their
own vessel. As for myself, I ran and sprang upon the taffrail, to look
into the ship's wake. A painful sight met me, there! During the minute
or two passed in the brief struggle, the Crisis had gone steadily ahead,
like the earth moving in its orbit, indifferent to the struggles of the
nations that are contending on its bosom. I could see heads and arms
tossing in our track for a hundred fathoms, those who could not swim
struggling to the last to preserve their existence. Marble, Smudge and
Neb, were all looking in the same direction, at that instant. Under an
impulse I could not control, I ventured to suggest that we might yet
tack and save several of the wretches.

"Let them drown, and be d----d!" was the chief-mate's sententious
answer.

"No--no--Masser Mile," Neb ventured to add, with a remonstrating shake
of the head--"dat will nebber do--no good ebber come of Injin. If you
don't drown him, he sartain drown you."

I saw it was idle to remonstrate; and by this time one dark spot, after
another, began to disappear, as the victims sank in the ocean. As for
Smudge, his eye was riveted on the struggling forms of his followers, in
a manner to show that traces of human feeling are to be found, in some
aspect or other, in every condition of life. I thought I could detect
workings of the countenance of this being, indurated as his heart had
become by a long life of savage ferocity, which denoted how keenly he
felt the sudden destruction that had alighted on his tribe. He might
have had sons and grandsons among those struggling wretches, on whom
he was now gazing for the last time. If so, his self-command was almost
miraculous; for, while I could see that he felt, and felt intensely, not
a sign of weakness escaped him. As the last head sunk from view, I could
see him shudder; a suppressed groan escaped him; then he turned his face
towards the bulwarks, and stood immovable as one of the pines of his own
forests, for a long time. I asked Marble's permission to release the old
man's arms, and the mate granted it, though not without growling a few
curses on him, and on all who had been concerned in the late occurrences
on board the ship.

There was too much duty to be done, to render all secure, to suffer
us to waste much time in mere sympathy. All the top-mast rigging,
backstays, &c., had to be set up afresh, and gangs were sent about
this duty, forward and aft. The blood was washed from the decks, and a
portion of the crew got along the top-gallant-masts, and pointed them.
The topsails were all close-reefed, the courses hauled up, the spanker
and jib taken in, and the ship hove-to. It wanted but two hours of
sunset when Mr. Marble had got things to his mind. We had crossed
royal-yards, and had everything set that would draw, from the trucks
down. The launch was in the water towing astern; the ship was then about
a mile from the southern passage into the bay, towards which she was
steering with the wind very much as it had been since an hour after
sunrise, though slightly falling. Our guns were loose, and the crew was
at quarters. Even I did not know what the new captain intended to do,
for he had given his orders in the manner of one whose mind was too
immovably made up, to admit of consultation. The larboard battery was
manned, and orders had been given to see the guns on that side levelled
and ready for firing. As the ship brushed past the island, in entering
the bay, the whole of this broadside was delivered in among its bushes
and trees. We heard a few yells, in reply, that satisfied us the grape
had told, and that Marble had not miscalculated the position of some of
his enemies, at least.

When the ship entered the little bay, it was with a moderate and steady
movement, the breeze being greatly broken by the forests. The main-yard
was thrown aback, and I was ordered into the launch, with its crew
armed. A swivel was in the bows of the boat, and I pulled into the
creek, in order to ascertain if there were any signs of the savages. In
entering the creek, the swivel was discharged, according to orders, and
we soon detected proofs that we disturbed a bivouac. I now kept loading
and firing this little piece into the bushes, supporting it with
occasional volleys of musketry, until pretty well satisfied that we had
swept the shore effectually. At the bivouac, I found the canoes, and our
own yawl, and what was some little revenge for what had happened, I also
found a pile of no less than six hundred skins, which had doubtless been
brought to trade with us, if necessary, in order to blind-our eyes until
the favourable moment for the execution of the conspiracy should offer.
I made no scruple about confiscating these skins, which were taken on
board the ship.

I next went to the island, on which I found one man dying with a
grape-shot wound, and evidence that a considerable party had left it,
as soon as they felt our fire. This party had probably gone outside the
island, but it was getting too late to follow. On my return, I met the
ship coming out, Captain Marble being determined not to trust her
inside another night. The wind was getting light, and, the tides running
fiercely in that high latitude, we were glad to make an offing again
while there was still day. The success with the skins greatly mollified
the new captain, who declared to me that, after he had hanged Smudge in
sight of his own shores, he should "feel something like himself again."

We passed the night under our top-sails, standing off and on, with the
wind steady, but light, at the southward. Next morning, the duty of
the ship went on as usual, until the men had breakfasted, when we stood
again into the bay. This time, we hove-to so as to get one of the buoys,
when we dropped the stream, leaving the top-sails set. We then hove up
the anchor, securing the range of cable that was bent to it. Both of the
anchors, and their ranges of cable, were thus recovered; the ends of the
last being entered at the hawse-holes, and the pieces spliced. This work
may have occupied us four hours; after which, the stream-anchor was
hove up, catted and fished. Marble then ordered a whip rove at the
fore-yard-arm.

I was on the quarter-deck when this command was suddenly given. I wished
to remonstrate, for I had some tolerably accurate notions of legality,
and the rights of persons. Still, I did not like to say anything; for
Captain Marble's eye and manner were not the least in the trifling mood,
at that instant. The whip was soon rove, and the men stood looking aft,
in silent expectation.

"Take that murdering blackguard forward, fasten his arms behind his
back, place him on the third gun, and wait for orders," added our new
captain, sternly.

No one dared hesitate about obeying these orders, though I could see
that one or two of the lads disliked the business.

"Surely," I ventured to say, in a low voice, "you are not in earnest,
Mr. Marble!"

"_Captain_ Marble, if you please, Mr. Wallingford. I am now master of
this vessel, and you are her chief-mate. I intend to hang your friend
Smudge, as an example to the rest of the coast. These woods are full of
eyes at this moment; and the sight they'll presently see, will do more
good than forty missionaries, and threescore and ten years of preaching.
Set the fellow up on the gun, men, as I ordered. This is the way to
generalize with an Indian."

In a moment, there stood the hapless wretch, looking about him with an
expression that denoted the consciousness of danger, though it was not
possible he could comprehend the precise mode of his execution. I went
to him, and pressed his hand, pointing upward, as much as to say his
whole trust was now in the Great Spirit. The Indian understood me, for
from that instant he assumed an air of dignified composure, like one
every way prepared to meet his fate. It is not probable, with his
habits, that he saw any peculiar hardship in his own case; for he
had, doubtless, sacrificed many a prisoner under circumstances of less
exasperation than that which his own conduct had provoked.

"Let two of the 'niggers' take a turn with the end of the whip round the
chap's neck," said Marble, too dignified to turn Jack Ketch in person,
and unwilling to set any of the white seamen at so ungracious an office.
The cook, Joe, and another black, soon performed this revolting duty,
from the odium of which a sailor seldom altogether escapes.

I now perceived Smudge looking upward, seeming to comprehend the nature
of the fate that awaited him. The deeply-seated principle within him,
caused a dark shadow to pass over a countenance already so gloomy and
wrinkled by suffering and exposure; and he turned his look wistfully
towards Marble, at whose command each order in succession had been
obeyed. Our new captain caught that gaze, and I was, for a single
moment, in hope he would relent, and let the wretch go. But Marble had
persuaded himself he was performing a great act of nautical justice; nor
was he aware, himself, how much he was influenced by a feeling allied to
vengeance.

"Sway away!" he called out; and Smudge was dangling at the yard-arm in a
few seconds.

A block of wood could not have been more motionless than the body of
this savage, after one quivering shudder of suffering had escaped it.
There it hung, like a jewel-block, and every sign of life was soon taken
away. In a quarter of an hour, a man was sent up, and, cutting the rope,
the body fell, with a sharp plunge, into the water, and disappeared.

At a later day, the account of this affair found its way into the
newspapers at home. A few moralists endeavoured to throw some doubts
over the legality and necessity of the proceedings, pretending that more
evil than good was done to the cause of sacred justice by such disregard
of law and principles; but the feeling of trade, and the security of
ships when far from home, were motives too powerful to be put down by
the still, quiet remonstrances of reason and right. The abuses to which
such practices would be likely to lead, in cases in which one of the
parties constituted himself the law, the judge, and the executioner,
were urged in vain against the active and ever-stimulating incentive of
a love of gold. Still, I knew that Marble wished the thing undone when
it was too late, it being idle to think of quieting the suggestions
of that monitor God has implanted within us, by the meretricious and
selfish approbation of those who judge of right and wrong by their own
narrow standard of interest.



CHAPTER XV.

  _1st Lord_.--"Throca movonsas, cargo, cargo, cargo."
  _All_.--"Cargo, cargo, villianda par corbo, cargo."
  _Par_.--"O! ransome, ransome:--Do not hide mine eyes"
  _1st Sold_.--"Boskos Thromuldo boskos."
  _Par_.--"I know you are the Muskos' regiment,
              And I shall lose my life for want of language.--"
  _All's Well That Ends Well._


The Crisis was tacked, as soon as the body of Smudge was cut down, and
she moved slowly, her crew maintaining a melancholy silence, out of
the little haven. I never witnessed stronger evidence of sadness in the
evolutions of a vessel; the slow and stately departure resembling that
of mourners leaving the grave on which they had just heard the fall of
the clod. Marble told me afterwards, he had been disposed to anchor,
and remain until the body of poor Captain Williams should rise, as it
probably would within the next forty-eight hours; but the dread of a
necessity of sacrificing more of the natives, induced him to quit the
fatal spot, without paying the last duties to our worthy old commander.
I always regretted we did not remain, for I think no Indian would have
come near us, had we continued in the harbour a month.

It was high-noon when the ship once more issued into the broad bosom
of the Pacific. The wind was at south-east, and as we drew off from the
land, it came fresh and steady. About two, having an offing of ten or
twelve miles, orders were issued to set all the larboard studding-sails,
and we stood to the southward and westward under a press of canvass.
Every one saw in this change, a determination to quit the coast; nor did
we regret the measure, for our trade had been quite successful, down to
the moment of the seizure, but could hardly be prosperous after what
had passed. I had not been consulted in the affair at all, but the
second-mate having the watch, I was now summoned to the cabin, and let
into the secret of our future movements. I found Marble seated at the
cabin table, with Captain Williams's writing-desk open before him, and
sundry papers under examination.

"Take a seat, Mr. Wallingford," said the new master, with a dignity and
manner suited to the occasion. "I have just been overhauling the old
man's instructions from the owners, and find I have done right in
leaving these hang-gallows rascals to themselves, and shaping our
course to the next point of destination. As it is, the ship has done
surprisingly well. There are $67,370 good Spaniards down in the run, and
that for goods which I see are invoiced at just $26,240; and when
you consider that no duties, port-charges, or commissions are to be
deducted, but that the dollars under our feet are all our own, without
any drawbacks, I call the operation a good one. Then that blundering
through the Straits, though it must never be talked of in any other
light than a bold push for a quick passage, did us a wonderful deal of
good, shoving us ahead near a month in time. It has put us so much ahead
of our calculations, indeed, that I would cruise for Frenchmen for five
or six weeks, were there the least probability that one of the chaps was
to the westward of the Horn. Such not being the fact, however, and there
still being a very long road before us, I have thought it best to push
for the next point of destination. Read that page of the owner's idees,
Mr. Wallingford, and you will get their advice for just such a situation
as that in which we find ourselves."

The passage pointed out by Captain Marble was somewhat parenthetical,
and was simply intended to aid Captain Williams, in the event of his not
being able to accomplish the other objects of his voyage. It had a
place in the instructions, indeed, solely on account of a suggestion of
Marble's himself, the project being one of those favourite schemes of
the mate, that men sometimes maintain through thick or thin, until they
get to be ruling thoughts. On Captain Williams it had not weighed a
feather; his intention having been to proceed to the Sandwich Islands
for sandalwood, which was the course then usually pursued by North-West
traders, after quitting the coast. The parenthetical project, however,
was to touch at the last island, procure a few divers, and proceed in
quest of certain islands where it was supposed the pearl fishery would
succeed. Our ship was altogether too large, and every way too expensive,
to be risked in such an adventure, and so I told the ex-mate without any
scruple. But this fishery was a "fixed idea," a quick road to wealth,
in the new captain's mind, and finding it in the instructions, though
simply as a contingent course, he was inclined to regard it as the great
object of the voyage. Such it was in his eyes, and such it ought to be,
as he imagined, in those of the owners.

Marble had excellent qualities in his way, but he was not fit to command
a ship. No man could stow her better, fit her better, sail her better,
take better care of her in heavy weather, or navigate her better; and
yet he wanted the judgment necessary to manage the property that must
be committed to his care, and he had no more ideas of commercial thrift,
than if he had never been employed in any of the concerns of commerce.
This was, in truth, the reason he had never risen any higher in his
profession, the mercantile instinct--one of the liveliest and most acute
to be found in natural history--forewarning his different owners that he
was already in the berth nature and art had best qualified him to fill.
It is wonderful how acute even dull men get to be, on the subject of
money!

I own my judgment, such as it was at nineteen, was opposed to the
opinion of the captain. I could see that the contingency contemplated
by the instructions had not arisen, and that we should be acting more in
conformity with the wishes of the owners, by proceeding to the Sandwich
Islands in quest of sandal-wood, and thence to China, after a cargo
of teas. Marble was not to be convinced, however, though I think my
arguments shook him a little. What might have been the result, it is
difficult to say, had not chance befriended the views of each of us,
respectively. It is proper to add, that Marble availed himself of
this opportunity to promote Talcott, who was brought into the cabin as
third-mate. I rejoiced greatly in this addition to our little circle on
the quarter-deck, Talcott being a man of education, much nearer my own
age than the two others, and united to me by unusual ties since our
common adventure in the prize. I was not only rejoiced to be able to
associate with him, but to hear him called _Mr_. Talcott.

We had a long, but mild, passage to the Sandwich Islands. This group
occupied a very different place, in the opinions of the world, in the
year 1800, from that it fills to-day. Still it had made some small
advances in civilization since the time of Cook. I am told there are
churches, taverns, billiard-tables, and stone dwellings in these islands
now, which are fast turning to the Christian religion, and obtaining the
medley of convenience, security, vice, roguery, law and comfort, that is
known as civilization. It was far different then, our reception being
by men who were but a small degree removed from savages. Among those
who first came on board us, however, was the master of an American brig,
belonging to Boston, whose vessel had got on a reef, and bilged. He
intended to remain by the wreck, but wished to dispose of a considerable
amount of sandal-wood that was still in his vessel, and for the safety
of which he was under great concern, as the first gale of wind might
scatter it to the winds of the ocean. If he could obtain a fresh stock
of goods to trade on, he proposed remaining on the islands until another
vessel belonging to the same owners, which was expected in a few
months, should arrive, on board which vessel he intended to embark
with everything he could save from the wreck, and such wood as he could
purchase in the interim. Captain Marble rubbed his hands with delight,
when he returned from a visit to the wreck, his arrangements all
completed.

"Luck is with us, Master Miles," he said, "and we'll be off for them
pearl fisheries next week. I have bought all the sandal-wood in the
wreck, paying in trumpery, and at prices only about double Indian trade,
and we will heave up, and carry the ship round to the wreck, and begin
to take in this afternoon. There is capital holding-ground inside the
reef, and the ship can be safely carried within a hundred fathoms of her
cargo!"

All turned out as Marble had hoped and predicted, and the Crisis was
back at her anchorage in front of the village, which is now the city of
Honolulu, within the week named. We got our supply of hogs, and having
procured four of the best divers going, we sailed in quest of Captain
Marble's Eldorado of pearls. I was less opposed to the scheme than I
had been, for we were now so much in advance of our time, that we could
afford to pass a few weeks among the islands, previously to sailing for
China. Our course was to the south-west, crossing the line in about 170°
west longitude. There was a clear sea, for more than a fortnight, while
we were near the equator, the ship making but little progress. Glad
enough was I to hear the order given to turn more to the northward
again; for the heat was oppressive, and this was inclining towards our
route to China. We had been out from Owyhee, as it was then usual
to call the island where Cook was killed--Hawaii, as it is called
to-day--we had been out from this island, about a month, when Marble
came up to me one fine, moon-light evening, in my watch, rubbing
his hands, as was his custom when in good humour, and broke out as
follows:--

"I'll tell you what, Miles," he said, "you and I have been salted down
by Providence for something more than common! Just look back at all our
adventures in the last three years, and see what they come to. Firstly,
there was shipwreck over here on the coast of Madagascar," jerking his
thumb over a shoulder in a manner that was intended to indicate about
two hundred degrees of longitude, that being somewhat near our present
distance from the place he mentioned, in an air line; "then followed
the boat business under the Isle of Bourbon, and the affair with the
privateer off Guadaloupe. Well, as if that wern't enough, we ship
together again in this vessel, and a time we had of it with the French
letter-of-marque. After that, a devil of a passage we made of it through
the Straits of Magellan. Then came the melancholy loss of Captain
Williams, and all that business; after which we got the sandal-wood out
of the wreck, which I consider the luckiest transaction of all."

"I hope you don't set down the loss of Captain Williams among our luck,
sir!"

"Not I, but the stuff is all logged together, you know; and, in
overhauling for one idee, in such a mess, a fellow is apt to get hold
of another. As I was saying, we have been amazingly lucky, and I expect
nothing else but we shall discover an island yet!"

"Can that be of any great service to us? There are so many owners ready
to start up and claim such discoveries, that I question if it would do
us any great benefit."

"Let them start up--who cares for them; we'll have the christening, and
that's half the battle. Marble Land, Wallingford Bay, Talcott Hills, and
Cape Crisis, would look well on a chart--ha! Miles?"

"I have no objection to see it, sir."

"Land ho!" cried the look-out on the forecastle.

"There it is now, by George!" cried Marble, springing forward--"I
overhauled the chart half an hour since, and there ought to be nothing
within six hundred miles of us."

There it was, sure enough, and much nearer to us than was at all
desirable. So near, indeed, that the wash of the breakers on the reef
that so generally lies off from the low coral islands of the Pacific,
was distinctly audible from the ship. The moon gave a strong light, it
is true, and the night was soft and balmy; but the air, which was very
light, blew directly towards this reef, and then there were always
currents to apprehend. We sounded, but got no bottom.

"Ay, this is one of your coral reefs, where a man goes on the rocks from
off soundings, at a single jump," muttered Marble, ordering the ship
brought by the wind on the best tack to haul off shore. "No notice, and
a wreck. As for anchoring in such a place, a fellow might as well run a
line out to Japan; and, could an anchor find the bottom, the cable would
have some such berth as a man who slept in a hammock filled with open
razors."

All this was true enough; and we watched the effect of our change of
course with the greatest anxiety. All hands were called, and the men
were stationed, in readiness to work the ship. But, a few minutes
satisfied us, the hope of clawing off, in so light an air, was to the
last degree vain. The vessel set in fast towards the reef, the breakers
on which now became apparent, even by the light of the moon; the certain
sign they were fearfully near.

This was one of those moments in which Marble could show himself to be
a true man. He was perfectly calm and self-possessed; and stood on the
taffrail, giving his orders, with a distinctness and precision I had
never seen surpassed. I was kept in the chains, myself, to watch the
casts of the lead. No bottom, however, was the never-failing report;
nor was any bottom expected; it being known that these reefs were quite
perpendicular on their seaward side. The captain called out to me,
from time to time, to be active and vigilant, as our set inshore was
uncontrollable, and the boats, if in the water, as the launch could not
be for twenty minutes, would be altogether useless. I proposed to lower
the yawl, and to pull to leeward, to try the soundings, in order to
ascertain if it were not possible to find bottom at some point short of
the reef, on which we should hopelessly be set, unless checked by some
such means, in the course of the next fifteen or twenty minutes.

"Do it at once, sir," cried Marble. "The thought is a good one, and does
you credit, Mr. Wallingford."

I left the ship in less than five minutes, and pulled off, under the
ship's lee-bow, knowing that tacking or waring would be out of the
question, under the circumstances. I stood up in the stern-sheets, and
made constant casts with the hand-lead, with a short line, however, as
the boat went foaming through the water. The reef was now plainly
in sight, and I could see, as well as hear, the long, formidable
ground-swells of the Pacific, while fetching up against these solid
barriers, they rolled over, broke, and went beyond the rocks in angry
froth. At this perilous instant, when I would not have given the poorest
acre of Clawbonny to have been the owner of the Crisis, I saw a spot
to leeward that was comparatively still, or in which the water did
not break. It was not fifty fathoms from me when first discovered; and
towards it I steered, animating the men to redoubled exertions. We were
in this narrow belt of smooth water, as it might be in an instant, and
the current sucked the boat through it so fast, as to allow time to make
but a single cast of the lead. I got bottom; but it was in six fathoms!

The boat was turned, and headed out again, as if life and death depended
on the result. The ship was fortunately within sound of the voice,
steering still by the wind, though setting three feet towards the reef,
for one made in the desired direction; and I hailed.

"What now, Mr. Wallingford?" demanded Marble, as calmly as if anchored
near a wharf at home.

"Do you see the boat, sir?"

"Quite plainly;--God knows you are near enough to be seen."

"Has the ship steerage-way on her, Captain Marble?"

"Just that, and nothing more to boast of."

"Then ask no questions; but try to follow the boat. It is the only hope;
and it may succeed."

I got no answer; but I heard the deep, authoritative voice of Marble,
ordering the "helm up," and the men "to man the weather-braces." I could
scarcely breathe, while I stood looking at the ship's bows, as they fell
off, and noted her slow progress ahead. Her speed increased sensibly,
however, and I kept the boat far enough to windward to give the vessel
room fairly to enter the pass. At the proper moment, we moved towards
the inlet, the Crisis keeping more and more away, in order to follow.
I was soon in the pass itself, the water breaking within ten fathoms on
each side of me, sending portions of its foam, to the very blades of our
oars; but the lead still gave me six fathoms. At the next cast, I got
ten; and then the shin was at the point where I had just before found
six. Two breakers were roaring behind me, and I pulled round, and waited
for the ship, steering to the southward, sounding as I went. I could
see that the ship hauled up, and that I was already behind the reef.
Straining my voice, I now called out--

"Anchor, sir--bear a hand and anchor, as soon as possible."

Not a word came back; but up went the courses, followed by the
top-gallant-sails, after which down went the jib. I heard the fore and
main-top-sail-halyards overhauling themselves, spite of the roar of the
breakers, and then the ship luffed into the wind. Glad enough was I to
hear the heavy plunge of one of the bowers, as it fell from the cathead
into the water. Even then I remained stationary, to note the result. The
ship took her scope of cable freely, after which I observed that she was
brought up. The next moment I was on board her.

"A close shave, Mr. Wallingford," said Marble, giving me a squeeze of
the hand, that said more for his feelings than any words such a being
could utter; "and many thanks for your piloting. Is not that land I see,
away here to leeward--more to the westward, boy?"

"It is, sir, beyond a doubt. It must be one of the coral islands; and
this is the reef that usually lies to seaward from them. There is the
appearance of trees ashore!"

"It's a discovery, youngster, and will make us all great names!
Remember, this passage I call 'Miles's Inlet;' and to the reef, I give
the name of 'Yawl Reef.'"

I could not smile at this touch of Marble's vanity, for concern left
me no thoughts but for the ship. The weather was now mild and the bay
smooth; the night was fine, and it might be of the last importance to
us to know something more of our situation. The cable might chafe off,
probably _would_, so near a coral reef; and I offered to pull in towards
the land, sounding as I went, and otherwise gaining the knowledge that
might be necessary to our security. After a little reflection, the
captain consented, ordering me to take provisions and water in the boat,
as the duty might detain me until morning.

I found the bay between the reef and the island about a league in
_breadth_, and across its entire _width_, the soundings did not vary
much from ten fathoms. The outer barrier of rock, on which the sea
broke, appeared to be an advanced wall, that the indefatigable little
insects had erected, as it might be, in defence of their island, which
had probably been raised from the depths of the ocean, a century or two
ago, by some of their own ancestors. The gigantic works completed by
these little aquatic animals, are well known to navigators, and give us
some tolerably accurate notions of the manner in which the face of the
globe has been made to undergo some of its alterations. I found the land
easy of access, low, wooded, and without any sign of habitation. The
night was so fine that I ventured inland, and after walking more than
a mile, most of the distance in a grove of cocoa and bananas, I came
to the basin of water that is usually found in the islands of this
particular formation. The inlet from the sea was at no great distance,
and I sent one of the men back to the yawl, with orders for the boat
to proceed thither. I next sounded the inlet and the bay, and found
everywhere a sandy bottom, and about ten fathoms of water. As I
expected, the shoalest spot was the inlet; but in this, which I sounded
thoroughly, there was nowhere less than five. It was now midnight; and
I should have remained on the island until morning, to make further
surveys by daylight, had we not seen the ship, under her canvass, and
so much nearer to us than we had supposed possible, as to satisfy me she
was drifting in fast towards the land. Of course I did not hesitate, but
pulled on board.


It was as I suspected. The rocks so near the reef had chafed off the
cable; the ship struck adrift, and Marble was under his canvass waiting
my return, in order to ascertain where he might anchor anew. I told him
of the lagoon in the centre of the island, and gave him every assurance
of there being water enough to carry in any craft that floats. My
reputation was up, in consequence of the manner the ship had been taken
through the first inlet, and I was ordered to conn her into this new
haven.


The task was not difficult. The lightness of the wind, and uncertainty
about the currents proving the only source of embarrassment, I succeeded
in finding the passage, after a short trial; and sending the boat ahead,
under Talcott, as an additional precaution, soon had the Crisis floating
in the very centre of this natural dock. Sail was shortened as we came
in, and the ship made a flying moor; after which we lay as securely, at
if actually in some basin wrought by art. It is my opinion, the
vessel would have ridden out the hardest gale, or anything short of a
hurricane, at single anchor, in that place. The sense of security was
now so strong upon us, that we rolled up our canvass, set an anchor
watch of only one man, and turned in.

I never laid my head down, on board ship, with greater satisfaction,
than I did that night. Let the truth be frankly stated. I was perfectly
satisfied with myself. It was owing to my decision and vigilance that
the ship was saved, when outside the reef, out of all question; and
I think she would have been lost after she struck adrift, had I
not discovered her present berth. There she was, however, with land
virtually all round her, a good bottom, plenty of water, and well
moored. As I have said already, she could not be better secured in an
artificial dock. In the midst of the Pacific, away from all custom-house
officers, in a recently discovered and uninhabited island, there was
nothing to fear. Men sleep soundly in such circumstances, and I should
have been in a deep slumber in a minute after I was in my berth, had not
Marble's conversation kept me awake, quite unwillingly on my part,
for five minutes. His state-room door was open, and, through it, the
following discourse was held.

"I think, on the whole," commenced the captain, "it will be better to
_generalize_ a little more,"--this was a favourite expression of the
ex-mate's, and one he often used without exactly knowing its application
himself.--"Yes, to generalize a little more; it shall be Marble Land,
Wallingford Bay, Yawl, Reef, _Talcott_ Inlet, Miles's Anchorage--and a
d----d bad anchorage it was, Miles; but, never mind, we must take the
good with the bad, in this wicked world."

"Very true, sir; but as for taking that anchorage, you must excuse me,
as I shall never take it again."

"Perhaps not. Well, this is what I call comfort--ha! Talcott?--Is
Talcott asleep, Miles?"

"He and the second-mate are hard at it, sir--full and by, and going ten
knots," I muttered, wishing my tormentor in Japan, at the moment.

"Ay; they are rackers at a sleep! I say, Miles, such a discovery as
this will make a man's fortune! The world generalizes in discoveries,
altogether, making no great matter of distinction between your
Columbuses, Cooks, or Marbles. An island is an island and he who first
discovers it, has the credit. Poor Captain Williams! He would have
sailed this ship for a whole generation, and never found anything in the
way of novelty."

"Except the Straits--" I muttered very indistinctly, breathing deep and
hard.

"Ay, that _was_ an affair! Hadn't you and I been aboard, the ship never
would have done that. We are the very offspring of luck! There was the
affair of the wreck off Madagascar--there are bloody currents in the
Pacific, too, I find, Miles."

"Yes, sir--hard-a-weather--"

"The fellow's dreaming. One word, boy, before you cut loose from all
reason and reflection. Don't you think it would be a capital idea to
poke in a little patriotism among the names; patriotism goes so far
in our part of the world. Congress Rocks would be a good title for the
highest part of the reef, and Washington Sands would do for the landing
you told me of. Washington should have a finger in the pie."

"Crust isn't down, sir."

"The fellow's off, and I may as well follow, though it is not easy to
sleep on the honour of a discovery like this. Good night, Miles!"

"Ay, ay! sir."

Such was the account Marble afterwards gave me of the termination of the
dialogue. Sleep, sleep, sleep! Never did men enjoy their rest more than
we did for the next five hours, the ship being as silent as a church on
a week-day, during the whole time. For myself, I can safely say I heard
nothing, or knew nothing, until I was awakened by a violent shake of the
shoulder. Supposing myself to have been aroused for an ordinary watch at
sea, I was erect in an instant, and found the sun's rays streaming into
my face, through the cabin-windows. This prevented me, for a moment,
from seeing that I had been disturbed by Captain Marble himself. The
latter waited until he perceived I could understand him, and then he
said, in a grave, meaning manner--

"Miles, there is a mutiny in the ship! Do you understand me, Mr.
Wallingford?--a bloody mutiny!"

"A mutiny, Captain Marble! You confound me, sir--I had thought our
people perfectly satisfied."

"Umph! One never knows whether the copper will come up head or tail. I
thought, when I turned in last night, it was to take the surest nap I
ever tasted afloat; and here I awake and find a mutiny!"

I was on my feet and dressing in an instant, as a matter of course,
having first gone to the berths of the two other mates, and given each a
call.

"But how do you know this, Captain Marble?" I resumed, as soon as there
was a chance. "I hear no disturbance, and the ship is just where we left
her," glancing through the cabin-windows; "I think you must be mistaken,
sir."

"Not I. I turned out, ten minutes since, and was about to go on deck to
get a look at your basin, and breathe the fresh air, when I found the
companion-doors fastened, precisely Smudge-fashion. I suppose you will
allow that no regular ship's company would dare to fasten the officers
below, unless they intended to seize the craft."

"This is very extraordinary! Perhaps some accident has befallen the
doors. Did you call out, sir?"

"I thumped like an admiral, but got no answer. When on the point of
trying the virtue of a few kicks, I overheard a low laugh on deck,
and that let me into the secret of the state of the nation at once.
I suppose you will all admit, gentlemen, when sailors laugh at their
officers, as well as batten them down, that they must be somewhat near a
state of mutiny."

"It does look so, indeed, sir. We had better arm the moment we are
dressed, Captain Marble."

"I have done that already, and you will each find loaded pistols in my
state-room."

In two minutes from that moment, all four of us were in a state for
action, each man armed with a brace of ship's pistols, well-loaded and
freshly primed. Marble was for making a rush at the cabin-doors, at
once; but I suggested the improbability of the steward or Neb's being
engaged in any plot against the officers, and thought it might be well
to ascertain what had become of the two blacks, before we commenced
operations. Talcott proceeded instantly to the steerage, where the
steward slept, and returned in a moment to report that he had found him
sound asleep in his berth.

Reinforced by this man, Captain Marble determined to make his first
demonstration by way of the forecastle, where, by acting with caution, a
surprise on the mutineers might be effected. It will be remembered that
a door communicated with the forecastle, the fastenings of which were on
the side of "'twixt decks." Most of the cargo being in the lower hold,
there was no difficulty in making our way to this door, where we stopped
and listened, in order to learn the state of things on the other side of
the bulkhead. Marble had whispered to me, as we groped our way along in
the sort of twilight which pervaded the place, the hatches being on and
secured, that "them bloody Philadelphians" must be at the bottom of the
mischief, as our old crew were a set of as "peaceable, well-disposed
chaps as ever eat duff (dough) out of a kid."

The result of the listening was to produce a general surprise. Out
of all question, snoring, and that on no small scale of the gamut of
Morpheus, was unequivocally heard. Marble instantly opened the door, and
we entered the forecastle, pistols in hand. Every berth had its tenant,
and all hands were asleep! Fatigue, and the habit of waiting for calls,
had evidently kept each of the seamen in his berth, until that instant.
Contrary to usage in so warm a climate, the scuttle was on, and a trial
soon told us it was fast.

"To generalize on this idee, Miles," exclaimed the captain, "I should
say we are again battened down by savages!"

"It does indeed look so, sir; and yet I saw no sign of the island's
being inhabited. It may be well, Captain Marble, to muster the crew,
that we may learn who's who."

"Quite right--do you turn 'em up, and send 'em all aft into the cabin,
where we have more daylight."

I set about awaking the people, which was not difficult, and in a few
minutes everybody was sent aft. Following the crew, it was soon found
that only one man was missing, and he was the very individual whom we
had left on deck, when we had all gone below on securing the ship. Every
soul belonging to the vessel was present in the cabin, or steerage, but
this solitary man--Philadelphians and all!

"It can never be that Harris has dared to trifle with us," said Talcott;
"and yet it does look surprisingly like it."

"Quite sure, Miles, that Marble Land is an uninhabited island?" said the
captain, interrogatively.

"I can only say, sir, that it is as much like all the other uninhabited
coral islands we have passed, as one pea is like another; and that there
were no signs of a living being visible last night. It is true, we saw
but little of the island, though to all appearances there was not much
to see."

"Unluckily, all the men's arms are on deck, in the arm-chest,
or strapped to the boom or masts. There is no use, however, in
dillydallying against one man; so I will make a rumpus that will soon
bring the chap to his bearings."

Hereupon Marble made what he called a rumpus in good earnest. I thought,
for a minute, he would kick the cabin-doors down.

"'Andzomelee-'andzomelee," said some one on deck. "Vat for you make so
much kick?"

"Who the devil are you?" demanded Marble, kicking harder than ever.
"Open the cabin-doors, or I'll kick them down, and yourself overboard."

"Monsieur--sair," rejoined another voice, "_tenez_--you air
_prisonnier_. _Comprenez-vous_--prisonair, eh?"

"These are Frenchmen, Captain Marble," I exclaimed, "and we are in the
hands of the enemy."

This was astounding intelligence; so much so, that all had difficulty in
believing it. A further parley, however, destroyed our hopes, little by
little, until we entered into an arrangement with those on deck, to the
following effect: I was to be permitted to go out, in order to ascertain
the real facts of our situation; while Marble and the remainder of the
crew were to remain below, passive, until the result should be reported.
Under this arrangement, one of the cabin-doors was opened, and I sallied
forth.

Astonishment almost deprived me of the power of vision, when I looked
around me. Quite fifty armed white men, sailors and natives of France,
by their air and language, crowded round me, as curious to see me, as I
could possibly be to see them. In their midst was Harris, who approached
me with an embarrassed and sorrowful air--

"I know I deserve death, Mr. Wallingford," this man commenced; "but
I fell asleep after so much work, and everything looking so safe and
out-of-harm's-way like; and when I woke up, I found these people on
hoard, and in possession of the ship."

"In the name of wonder, whence come they, Harris? is there a French ship
at the island?"

"By all I can learn and see, sir, they are the crew of a wrecked
letter-of-marque--an Indiaman of some sort or other; and finding a good
occasion to get off the island, and make a rich prize, they have helped
themselves to the poor Crisis--God bless her! say I, though she is now
under the French flag, I suppose."

I looked up at the gaff, and, sure enough, there was flying the
_tri-color!_



CHAPTER XVI.

  "The morning air blows fresh on him:"
  "The waves dance gladly in his sight;"
  "The sea-birds call, and wheel, and skim--"
  "O, blessed morning light!"
  "He doth not hear their joyous call; he sees
   No beauty in the wave, nor feels the breeze."
  DANA.


Truth is, truly, often stranger than fiction. The history of the
circumstances that brought us into the hands of our enemies will fully
show this. La Pauline was a ship of six hundred tons, that carried
letters-of-marque from the French government. She sailed from France a
few weeks after we had left London, bound on a voyage somewhat similar
to our own, though neither sea-otter skins, sandal-wood, nor pearls,
formed any part of her contemplated bargains. Her first destination was
the French islands off Madagascar, where she left part of her cargo,
and took in a few valuables in return. Thence she proceeded to the
Philippine Islands, passing in the track of English and American
traders, capturing two of the former, and sinking them after taking out
such portions of cargo as suited her own views. From Manilla, la Pauline
shaped her course for the coast of South America, intending to leave
certain articles brought from France, others purchased at Bourbon, the
Isle of France, and the Philippines, and divers bales and boxes found in
the holds of her prizes, in that quarter of the world, in exchange for
the precious metals. In effecting all this, Monsieur Le Compte, her
commander, relied, firstly, on the uncommon sailing of his ship;
secondly, on his own uncommon boldness and dexterity, and thirdly on the
well-known disposition of the South Americans to smuggle. Doubloons and
dollars taking up but little room, he reserved most of the interior of
his vessel, after his traffic on the "Main," for such property as might
be found in the six or eight prizes he calculated, with certainty,
on making, after getting to the eastward of the Horn. All these
well-grounded anticipations had been signally realized down to a period
of just three months to a day, prior to our own arrival at this unhappy
island.

On the night of the day just mentioned, la Pauline, without the smallest
notice of the vicinity of any danger, running in an easy bowline, and
without much sea, had brought up on another part of the very reef from
which we had made so narrow an escape. The rocks being coral, there
was little hope for her; and, in fact, they appeared through her bottom
within two hours after she struck. The sugars taken in at the Isle of
France, as a ground tier of ballast, were soon rendered of doubtful
value, as a matter of course, but the weather remaining pleasant,
Captain Le Compte succeeded, by means of his boats, in getting
everything else of value on the island, and forthwith set about breaking
up the wreck, in order to construct a craft that might carry himself and
his people to some civilized land. Having plenty of tools, and something
like sixty men, great progress had been made in the work, a schooner of
about ninety tons being then so far completed, as to be nearly ready to
be put in the water. Such was the state of things, when, one fine night,
we arrived in the manner already related. The French kept constant
look-outs, and it seems we were seen, a distant speck on the ocean, just
as the sun set, while the low trees of the island eluded our vigilance.
By the aid of a good night-glass, our movements were watched, and a boat
was about to be sent out to warn us of our danger, when we passed within
the reef. Captain Le Compte knew the chances were twenty to one that
we were an enemy, and he chose to lie concealed to watch the result. As
soon as we had anchored within the basin, and silence prevailed in the
ship, he manned his own gig, and pulled with muffled oars up under our
bows, to reconnoitre. Finding everything quiet, he ventured into the
fore-chains, and thence on deck, accompanied by three of his men. He
found Harris, snoring with his back supported against a gun-carriage,
and immediately secured him. Then, it only remained to close the
forescuttle and the cabin-doors, and to fasten them, to have us all
prisoners below. The boat was sent for more men, and hours before any of
us in the berths were awake, the ship had effectually changed masters.
Harris told our story, and the captors knew our whole history, from the
day of sailing down to the present time.

Much of this I learned in subsequent conversations with the French, but
enough of it was related to me then, to let me understand the outlines
of the truth. My eyes also let me into many secrets. I found the island,
by day-light, substantially as I had supposed it to be. It was not so
large, however, as it had seemed to me by the aid of the moon, though
its general character was the same. The basin in which the ship lay
might have covered a hundred and fifty acres in extent, the belt of land
which encircled it, varying in breadth from a quarter of a mile to three
miles. Most of the island was an open grove, lying at an elevation of
from ten to thirty feet above the ocean; and we ascertained there were
several springs of the sweetest water on it. Nature, by one of its
secret processes, had covered the earth with a beautiful short grass;
and the French, with their usual attention to the table, and their
commendable activity, had already several materials for salads, &c.,
in full growth. String-beans might be had for asking, and _petits pois_
were literally a drug. I saw the tents of the French, extending in a
line beneath the shades of the trees; and there was la Petite Pauline
(the schooner) on her ways, actually undergoing the process of receiving
her first coat of paint. As for la Pauline, herself, I could just
discover her lower mast-heads, inclining at an angle of forty-five
degrees from the perpendicular, through a vista in the trees.

There was a good-humoured common sense in all the proceedings of Mons.
Le Compte, that showed he was a philosopher in the best sense of the
word. He took things without repining himself, and wished to make others
as happy as circumstances would allow. At his suggestion, I invited
Marble on deck; and, after making my own commander acquainted with the
state of the facts, we both listened to the propositions of our captor.
Mons. Le Compte, all his officers, and not a few of his men, had been
prisoners, some time or other, in England, and there was no difficulty
in carrying on the negotiations in our mother tongue.

"_Votre bâtiment_--your _sheep_, shall become French--_bien
entendu_"--commenced our captor--"vid her _cargaison--rig,_ and
_tout cela. Bien; c'est convenu._ I shall not exact _rigueur_ in _mes
conditions._ If you shall have _possible_ to take your _sheep_ from
_nous autres Français_--_d'accord._ Every man for himself _et sa
nation._ Zere is the _pavillion Français_--and zere it shall fly, so
long as we shall not help--_mais--parole d'honneur_, ze prize come
cheep, and shall be sell very dear--_entendez vous? Bien._ Now, sair, I
shall put you and all your peepl' on ze island, vere you shall take our
place, while we take your place. Ze arm shall be in our hand, while ze
sheep stay, but we leave you _fusils, poudre et tout cela_, behind."

This was nearly verbatim, the programme of capitulation, as laid down by
Captain Le Compte. As for Marble, it was not in his nature to acquiesce
in such an arrangement, without much cavilling and contention. But _cui
bono?_ We were in Mons. le Compte's hands; and, though disposed to deal
very handsomely by us, it was easy enough to see he was determined
to make his own conditions. I succeeded, at last, in making Marble
understand that resistance was useless; and he submitted, though with
some such grace as a man, who has not been mesmerized, submits to
an amputation--those who _have,_ are said rather to delight in the
amusement.

The terms of the capitulation--and they differed but little from
surrendering at discretion--were no sooner agreed to, than our people
were ordered into the forecastle, whence they were transferred to the
boats, in readiness to be sent ashore. All the chests, and private
effects, were moved out, in the most honourable manner, and sent into la
Pauline's boats, which lay prepared to receive them. As for us officers,
we were put in the gig, Neb and the cabin steward being charged with the
duty of looking after our private property. When everybody, the blacks
excepted, was in a boat, we shoved off, and proceeded towards the
landing, as chop-fallen and melancholy a party as ever took possession
of a newly-discovered country. Marble affected to whistle, for he was
secretly furious at the _nonchalance_ manifested by Captain Le Compte;
but I detected him in getting parts of Monny Musk and the Irish
Washerwoman, into the same strain. To own the truth, the ex-mate was
morally much disturbed. As for myself, I considered the affair as an
incident of war, and cared much less.

"_Voila, messieurs_," exclaimed Monsieur Le Compte, flourishing his arm,
with an air of unsurpassed generosity; "you shall be master here, so
soon after we shall go away, and take our leetl' property wid us!"

"He's d----d generous, Miles," growled Marble, in my ear. "He'll leave
us the island, and the reef, and the cocoa-nuts, when he has gone off
with our ship, and her cargo. I'll bet all I'm worth, he tows off his
bloody schooner, in the bargain."

"There is no use in complaining, sir; and by keeping on good terms with
the French, we may fare the better."

The truth of this was soon apparent. Captain Le Compte invited us all to
share his breakfast, and we repaired to the tent of the French
officers, with that purpose. In the mean time, the French sailors were
transferring the few articles they intended to carry away, to the ship,
with the generous object of leaving their own tents to the immediate
occupation of us prisoners. As Monsieur Le Compte's plan was to proceed
to the Spanish Main, in order to complete his contemplated traffic in
that quarter, no sooner were the tents prepared, than the French began
also to ship such articles of their own, as it had originally been
proposed to exchange for Spanish dollars. In the mean time, we sat down
to breakfast.

"_C'est la fortune de guerre!_--vat you call fortune of war,
_messieurs_," observed Captain Le Compte, whirling the stick in a vessel
of chocolate, in a very artistical manner, all the while. "_Bon--c'est
excellente--Antoin--_"

Antoin appeared in the shape of a well-smoked, copper-coloured
cabin-boy. He was told to take a small pitcher of the chocolate, with
Captain Le Compte's compliments to _mademoiselle_, and to tell her there
was now every prospect of their quitting the island in a very few days,
and of seeing _la belle France_, in the course of the next four or five
months. This was said in French, and rapidly, with the vehemence of one
who felt all he uttered, and more too but I knew enough of the language
to understand its drift.

"I suppose the fellow is generalizing on our misfortunes, in his d----d
lingo," growled Marble; "but, let him look out--he's not home yet, by
many a thousand miles!"

I endeavoured to explain it all to Marble; but it was useless; he
insisted the Frenchman was sending chocolate from his own table, to his
crew, in order to play the magnifico, on the score of his own good luck.
There was no use in "kicking against the pricks," and I let Marble enjoy
the pleasure of believing the worst of his captor; a sort of Anglo-Saxon
propensity, that has garnished many a page in English and American
history--to say nothing of the propensities and histories of others,
among the great family of nations.

When breakfast was over, Monsieur Le Compte led me aside, in a walk
under the trees, to explain his views and intentions. He gave me to
understand I had been selected for this communication, on account of his
observing the state of mind of my captain. I also comprehended a little
French, which was quite convenient in a conversation with one who
interlarded his English so much with phrases taken from his mother
tongue. I was given to understand that the French would put the schooner
into the water that very evening, and that we should find her masts,
rigging, and sails all fitted for her. With activity, she could be ready
to quit the island in a fortnight, at the farthest. A portion of our own
provisions would be landed, as better suited to our habits than those
which had been taken from la Pauline, while a portion of the last would
be transferred to the Crisis, for the same reason, as applied to the
French. As for water-casks, &c., they were all arranged; everything, of
the sort having been taken from the wreck, with little or no difficulty,
immediately after the loss of the ship. In a word, we should have little
more to do, than to step the masts, rig our craft, stow her hold, and
proceed at once to the nearest friendly port.

"I zink you shall go to Canton," added Monsieur Le Compte. "Ze distance
shall not be much more than to Sout' America; and zere you shall find
plenty of your _compatriotes_. Of course, you can sleep and go _chez
vous_--vat you call 'home,' with _toute la facilité_. Oui--_cet
arrangement est admirable._" So the arrangement might appear to him,
though I confess to a decided 'preference to remaining in the "blind
Crisis," as our men had got to call her, after her blundering through
the Straits of Magellan. "_Allons!_" exclaimed the French captain,
suddenly. "We are near ze tent of Mademoiselle--we shall go and demand
how she carry herself _ce beau matin!_" On looking up, I saw two small
tents within fifty yards of us. They were beautifully placed, in the
midst of a thicker portion of the grove than usual, and near a spring of
the most exquisitely limpid water I ever beheld. These tents were made
of new canvass, and had been fashioned with care and skill. I could see
that the one we first approached was carpeted over, and that it had
many of the appliances of a comfortable abode. Mons. Le Compte, who
was really a good-looking fellow under forty, put on his most amiable
appearance as he got near the canvass-door; and he hemmed once or twice,
as respectfully as he could, by way of letting his presence be known.
In an instant, a maid-servant came out to receive him. The moment I laid
eyes on this woman, it struck me her face was familiar, though I could
not recall the place, or time, where, or when, we had before met. The
occurrence was so singular, that I was still ruminating on it, when I
unexpectedly found myself standing in the tent, face to face with Emily
Merton and her father! We recognised each other at a glance, and, to
Mons. Le Compte's amazement, hearty greetings passed between us, as old
acquaintances. Old acquaintances, however, we could scarce be called;
but, on an uninhabited island in the South Seas, one is glad to meet any
face that he has ever met before. Emily looked less blooming than when
we had parted, near a twelvemonth before, in London; but she was still
pretty and pleasing. Both she and her father were in mourning, and, the
mother not appearing, I at once guessed the truth. Mrs. Merton was an
invalid when I knew her, though I had not anticipated for her so speedy
a death. I thought Captain Le Compte appeared vexed at my reception.
Still, he did not forget his good manners; and he rose, saying he would
leave me with my friends to make mutual explanations, while he proceeded
to overlook the duty of the day. On taking his leave, I was not
pleased to see him approach and kiss Emily's hand. The act was done
respectfully, and not entirely without grace; but there were a feeling
and manner in it that could not well be mistaken. Emily blushed, as she
wished him good morning, and turning to look at me, in spite of a kind
of dog-in-the-manger sensation, I could not forbear smiling.

"Never, Mr. Wallingford, never!" Emily said, with emphasis, the instant
her admirer was out of hearing. "We are at his mercy, and must keep
terms with him; but I can never marry a _foreigner_."

"That is poor encouragement for Wallingford, my dear," said her father,
laughing, "should he happen to take a fancy to you himself."

Emily looked confused, but, what, for the circumstances, was better
still, she looked concerned.

"I am sure, dear sir," she answered, with a quickness I thought
charming, "I am sure Mr. Wallingford will not suppose I meant
anything so rude. Then, he is no importunate suitor of mine, like this
disagreeable Frenchman, who always seems to me more like a Turkish
master, than like one who really respects a woman. Besides--"

"Besides what, Miss Merton?" I ventured to ask, perceiving that she
hesitated.

"Besides, Americans are hardly foreigners to _us_," added Emily,
smiling; "for we have even American relatives, you know, father."

"Quite true, my dear, and came near being Americans ourselves. Had
my father established himself where he married, as had been his first
intention, such would have been our national character. But, Mons. Le
Compte has given us a moment to tell our stories to each other, and I
think it will not be a very long moment. Let one of us commence, if we
wish the offices done without unpleasant listeners."

Emily urged me to begin, and I did not hesitate. My story was soon told.
Major Merton and his daughter understood all about the capture of the
ship in the basin, though they were ignorant of the vessel's name. I
had only to relate our voyage on the main, and the death of Captain
Williams, therefore, to have my whole story told. I made it all the
shorter, from an impatience to hear the circumstances which had thrown
my friends into their present extraordinary position.

"It seems extraordinary enough, beyond doubt," Major Merton began, the
moment I left him an opening by my closing remark, "but it is all very
simple, when you commence at the right end of the sad story, and follow
events in the order in which they occurred."

"When you left us in London, Wallingford, I supposed we were on the
point of sailing for the West Indies, but a better appointment soon
after offering in the East, my destination was changed to Bombay. It
was important that I should reach my port at as early a day as possible;
and, no regular Indiaman being ready, I took passage in a licensed
running vessel, a ship of no size, or force. Nothing occurred until we
had got within three or four days' sail of our port, when we fell in
with la Pauline, and were captured. At first, I think Captain Le Compte
would have been willing to let me go on parole, but no opportunity
offered, and we went with the ship to Manilla. While there, the
melancholy loss happened, which, no doubt, you have comprehended from
our mourning; and I was strongly in hopes of making some arrangements
that would still enable me to save my situation. But, by this time,
Monsieur Le Compte had become an open admirer of Emily, and I suppose it
is hopeless to expect any liberation, so long as he can invent excuses
to frustrate it."

"I trust he does not abuse his power, in any way, and annoy Miss Merton
with importunities that are unpleasant to her."

Emily rewarded me for the warmth with which I spoke, with a sweet smile
and a slight blush.

"Of that I cannot accuse him, in one sense at least," resumed Major
Merton. "Mons. Le Compte does all for us that his sense of delicacy can
suggest; and it was not possible for passengers to be more comfortable,
or retired, on board ship, than we were in the Pauline. That vessel had
a poop, and its cabin was given up entirely to our use. At Manilla, I
was permitted to go at large, on a mere verbal assurance of returning;
and, in all other particulars, we have been treated as well as
circumstances would very well allow. Nevertheless, Emily is too young
to admire a suitor of forty, too English to admire a foreigner, and too
well-born to accept one who is merely a merchant sailor--I mean one who
is nothing, and has nothing, but what his ship makes him, or can give
him."

I understood Major Merton's distinction; he saw a difference between the
heir of Clawbonny, pursuing his adventures for the love of the sea, and
a man who pursued the sea as an adventurer. It was not very delicately
made, but it was pretty well, as coming from an European to an American;
the latter being assumed _ex gratia_, to be a being of an inferior
order, morally, politically, physically, socially and in every other
sense, but the pecuniary. Thank Heaven! the American dollar is admitted,
pennyweight for pennyweight, to a precedency immediately next to that
of the metal dollar of Europe. It even goes before the paper _thaler_ of
Prussia.

"I can readily imagine Miss Merton would look higher than Captain
Le Compte, for various reasons," I answered, making a sort
of acknowledgment for the distinction in my favour, by bowing
involuntarily, "and I should hope that gentleman would cease to be
importunate as soon as convinced he cannot succeed."

"You do not know a Frenchman, Mr. Wallingford," rejoined Emily. "He is
the hardest creature on earth to persuade into the notion that he is not
adorable."

"I can hardly believe that this weakness extends as far as the sailors,"
said I, laughing. "At all events, you will be released the instant you
reach France."

"Sooner too, I trust, Wallingford," resumed the father. "These Frenchmen
can have it their own way, out here in the solitude of the Pacific; but,
once in the Atlantic, I shall expect some British cruiser to pick us up,
long ere we can reach France."

This was a reasonable expectation, and we conversed about it for some
time. I shall not repeat all that passed; but the reader can have no
difficulty in understanding, that Major Merton and myself communicated
to each other every fact that was likely to be of interest to men in our
situation. When I thought it prudent to take my leave, he walked some
distance with me, holding his way to a point on the outer side of the
island, where I could get a view of the wreck. Here he left me, for the
moment, while I proceeded along the beach, ruminating on all that had
passed.

The process by which nature uses her materials to found islands in the
midst of oceans like the Pacific, is a curious study. The insect that
forms the coral rock, must be an industrious little creature, as there
is reason to think that some of the reefs that have become known to
navigators within the last sixty or seventy years, have since been
converted into islands bearing trees, by their labours. Should the work
go on, a part of this vast sea will yet be converted into a continent;
and, who knows but a railroad may yet run across that portion of our
globe, connecting America with the old world? I see that Captain Beechy,
in his voyage, speaks of a wreck that occurred in 1792, on a _reef_,
where, in 1826, he found an island near three leagues long, bearing tall
trees. It would be a curious calculation to ascertain, if one family of
insects can make an island three leagues long, in thirty-four years, how
many families it would take to make the grading of the railroad I have
mentioned. Ten years since, I would not have ventured a hint of this
nature, for it might have set speculation in motion, and been the
instrument of robbing more widows and orphans of their straitened
means; but, Heaven be praised! we have at length reached a period in the
history of the country, when a man may venture on a speculation in the
theory of geography without incurring the risk of giving birth to some
wild--if not unprincipled--speculation in dollars and cents.

As I drew near the outer shore of the island, opposite to the wreck,
I came unexpectedly on Marble. The poor fellow was seated on a raised
projection of coral rock, with his arms folded, and, was in so thorough
a brown study, that he did not even hear my footsteps in approaching,
though I purposely trod heavily, in order to catch his ear. Unwilling to
disturb him, I stood gazing at the wreck myself, for some little time,
the place affording a much better view of it than any other point from
which it had met my eye. The French had made far greater inroads upon
their vessel, than the elements. She had struck to leeward of the
island, and lay in a spot where, indeed, it might take years to break
her entirely up, in that placid sea. Most of her upper works, however,
were gone; and I subsequently discovered that her own carpenters had
managed to get out even a portion of her floor-timbers, leaving the
fabric bound together by those they left. Her lower masts were standing,
but even her lower yards had been worked up, in order to make something
useful for the schooner. The beach, at no great distance, was still
strewed with objects brought from the reef, and which it had not yet
been found necessary to use.

At length a movement of mine attracted Marble's attention, and he turned
his head towards me. He seemed glad I had joined him, and expressed
himself happy, also, that he saw me alone.

"I have been generalizing a little on our condition, Miles," he said,
"and look at it which end forward I may, I find it bad enough; almost
enough to overcome me. I loved that ship, Mr. Wallingford, as much as
some folks love their parents--of wife or children, I never had any--and
the thought that she has fallen into the hands of a Frenchman, is too
much for my natur'. Had it been Smudge, I could have borne up against
it; but, to haul down one's colours to a wrack, and a bloody French
wrack, too, it is superhuman!"

"You must remember all the circumstances, Captain Marble, and you will
find consolation. The ship was surprised, as we surprised the Lady of
Nantes."

"That's just it--put that on a general principle, now, and where are
you? Surprisers mustn't be surprised. Had we set a quarter-watch, sir,
it never could have happened; and nothing less than a quarter-watch
should have been set in a strange haven. What mattered it, that it
was an uninhabited island, and that the ship was land-locked and
well-moored, and the holding-ground was capital? It is all of no
account when you come to look at the affair in the way of duty. Why, old
Robbins, with his rivers in the ocean, would never have been caught in
this miserable manner."

Then Marble fairly gave in, placed his two hard hands on his face, and
I could see tears trickling from beneath them, as if water were squeezed
from a stone.

"The chances of the sea, Captain Marble," I said, greatly shocked at
such an exhibition, coming from such a quarter--"the chances of the
sea are sometimes too much for the best sailors. We should look at this
loss, as we look at the losses occasioned by a gale--then there is some
hope left, after all."

"I should like to know what--to me, there is no land ahead."

"Surprisers may not only be surprised, but they may carry on their old
trade again, and surprise once more, in their turn."

"What do you mean by that, Miles," said Marble, looking up eagerly, and
speaking as quick as lightning; "are you generalizing, or have you any
particular project in view?"

"Both, Sir. Generalizing, so far as taking the chances of war are
concerned, and particularizing, as to a certain notion that has come
into my head."

"Out with the last, Miles--out with it, boy; the Lord made you for
something uncommon."

"First, let me know, Captain Marble, whether you have had any further
conversation with Monsieur Le Compte? whether he has said any more on
the subject of our future proceedings?"

"I just left the grinning rascal--these amiable smiles of his, Miles,
are only so many grins thrown into our faces to let us feel his good
luck; but, d--n him, if I ever get home, I'll fit out a privateer and be
after him, if there's a fast-going schooner to be had in all America for
love or money. I think I'd turn pirate, to catch the villain!"

Alas! poor Marble. Little would he, who never got higher than a mate,
unless by accident, be likely to persuade your cautious ship-owners to
intrust him with a vessel of any sort, to go tilting against wind-mills
afloat, in that fashion.

"But, why go to America for a schooner, Captain Marble, when the French
are polite enough to give us one here, exactly where we are?"

"I begin to understand you, boy. There is a little consolation in the
idee, but this Frenchman has already got my commission, and without the
document we should be no better than so many pirates."

"I doubt that, sir, even were a ship to act generally, provided she
actually sailed with a commission, and lost it by accident. Commissions
are all registered, and proof of our character could be found at home."

"Ay, for the Crisis, but not for this 'Pretty Polly'"--for so Marble
translated Petite Pauline--"The commission is only good for the vessel
that is named in it."

"I don't know that, Captain Marble. Suppose our ship had been sunk in an
action in which we took our enemy, could we not continue our voyage in
the prize, and fight anything that came in our way, afterwards?"

"By George, that does look reasonable. Here was I just threatening to go
out as a pirate, yet hesitating about taking my own."

"Do not the crews of captured vessels often rise upon their captors, and
recapture their own vessels? and were any of them ever called pirates?
Besides, nations at war authorise almost every sort of hostile act
against their enemies."

"Miles, I have been mistaken--you _are_ a good seaman, but natur' meant
you for a lawyer! Give me your hand, boy; I see a gleam of hope ahead,
and a man can live on less hope than food."

Marble then told me the substance of the conversation he had held
with Captain Le Compte. The latter had expressed a sudden and violent
impatience to be off--I understood the cause in a moment; he wished to
separate Emily from her old acquaintance, as soon as possible--intending
to put the schooner into the water for us, that very afternoon, and
to sail himself in the morning. This was a sudden resolution, and the
French were moving heaven and earth to carry it into effect. I confess
to some little regret at hearing it, for it was pleasant to meet the
Mertons in that unexpected manner, and the influence of woman in such a
solitude is unusually great. I now told Marble of my discovery, and when
he had got through with his expressions of wonder, I carried him to
the tents, and led him into the presence of his old acquaintances. In
consequence of this visit, I enjoyed another half hour's _tête à tête_
with Emily, Marble soon taking the Major to walk with him, beneath the
trees.

We were both recalled to a sense of our real situation, by the
reappearance of Monsieur Le Compte. I cannot say that our conqueror
behaved in the least unhandsomely towards us, notwithstanding his
evident jealousy. He had the tact to conceal most of his feelings, and
owing either to liberality or to art, he assumed an air of generous
confidence, that would be much more likely to touch the feelings of the
maid he sought, than any acts of severity. First asking permission of
Miss Merton, he even invited us, and himself, to dine with the Major,
and, on the whole, we had an agreeable entertainment. We had turtle and
champaigne, and both of a quality that was then out of the reach of all
the aldermen of London or New York; begging pardon of the Sir Peters and
Sir Johns of Guildhall, for putting them, in any sense, on a level with
the "gentleman from the Fourth Ward" or "the gentleman from the Eleventh
Ward;" though, if the truth must be told, the last very often eat the
best dinners, and drink, out of all comparison, the best wines. Who
pays, is a fact buried in the arcana of aldermanic legerdemain. It was
late before we left the table, though Monsieur Le Compte quitted us
early.


At five o'clock precisely we were summoned to witness the launch.
Champaigne and claret had brought Marble into good humour, nor was I at
all out of spirits, myself. Emily put on her hat, and took her parasol,
just as she would have done at home, and accepting my arm, she walked to
the ship-yard, like all the rest of us. Getting her a good place for the
sight, I accompanied Marble to take a look at the "Pretty Poll," which
had not as yet attracted as much of our attention as she ought. I had
suggested to him the probability of an occasion offering to rise upon
the Frenchman, while their attention was taken up with the schooner; but
Monsieur Le Compte warily kept quite half his men in the ship, and this
put the attempt out of the question, since the guns of the Crisis would
have swept any part of the island.

The French mechanics deserved great credit for the skill they had
manifested in the construction of _La Petite Pauline._ She was not
only a safe and commodious craft for her size, but, what was of great
importance to us, her lines promised that she would turn out to be a
fast sailer. I afterwards ascertained that Captain Le Compte had been
her draftsman, possessing not only much taste for, but a good deal of
practice in, the art. The ship in which the Merton's had taken passage
to Bombay, had the copper for a teak-built frigate and sloop of war
in her, and this had been transferred, among; other articles, to
la Pauline, before the prize was burned. Availing himself of this
circumstance, Monsieur Le Compte had actually coppered his schooner, and
otherwise he had made her as neat and commodious as possible. I make no
doubt he intended to surprise his friends at Marseilles, by showing what
clever mariners, wrecked on an island of the Pacific, could do, on
an emergency. Then, doubtless, he found it pleasant to linger on this
island, eating fresh cocoa-nuts, with delicious turtle, and making love
to Emily Merton. Some of the charms of "Pretty Poll" were fairly to be
attributed to the charms of the young lady.

The men began to wedge up, the moment we were all present, and this
portion of the labour was _soon_ completed. Monsieur Le Compte then took
his station in the head of the schooner. Making a profound bow to Emily,
as if to ask her permission, the signal was given; the spur-shores were
knocked away, and the little craft slid off into the water so easily,
making so little ripple as she shot a hundred fathoms into the bay, as
to give the assurance she would prove a fast vessel. Just as she was
water-borne, Le Compte dashed a bottle against the tiller, and shouted,
at the top of his voice, "_succés à la Belle Emelie._"

I turned to Emily, and saw by the blush that she understood French,
while the manner in which she pouted her pretty plump lip betrayed the
humour in which the compliment had been received.

In a few minutes, Captain Le Compte landed, and, in a set speech, he
gave up the schooner to our possession. We were told not to consider
ourselves as prisoners, our captain handsomely admitting that he had
gained no laurels by his victory.

"We shall go away good friend," he concluded, "mais, suppose we shall
meet, and _nos dux republique_ shall not be at peace, then each must
fight for _son pavillion!_"

This was a good concluding sentiment, for such a scene. Immediately
after the Mertons and their domestics, of whom there were a man and
a woman, embarked, I took leave of them on the beach, and, either my
observation, or my vanity, induced me to think Emily got into the boat
with reluctance. Many good wishes were exchanged, and the Major called
out to us, "we shall meet again, gentlemen--there has been a Providence
in our previous intercourse. Adieu, until _then_."

The French were now in a great bustle. Most of the articles they
intended to carry away were already on board the ship; and, by the time
it was dusk, they had closed their communication with the land. When
Captain Le Compte took his leave of us, I could not but thank him for
his many civilities. He had certainly dealt generously by us, though
I still think his sudden departure, which made us fall heirs to many
things we otherwise might not have so done, was owing to his wish to
remove Emily Merton, as quickly as possible, from my sight.

At daylight next morning, Neb came to the officers' tents to say, the
ship was getting her anchors. I was up and dressed in a moment. The
distance to the inlet was about a mile, and I reached it, just as the
Crisis was cast. In a few minutes she came sweeping into the narrow
pass, under her topsails, and I saw Emily and her father, leaning over
the hammock-cloths of the quarter-deck. The beautiful girl was so near,
that I could read the expression of her soft eyes, and I fancied they
were filled with gentle concern. The Major called out, "God bless you,
dear Wallingford"--then the ship swept past, and was soon in the outer
bay. Half an hour later, or before I left the spot, she was at sea,
under everything that would draw from her trunks down.



CHAPTER XVII.

  "I better brook the loss of brittle life,
  Than those proud titles thou hast won of me;
  They wound my thoughts, worse than thy sword my flesh."
  SHAKESPEARE


Half-way between this inlet and the ship-yard, I found Marble, standing
with his arms folded, gazing after the receding ship. His countenance
was no longer saddened; but it was fierce. He shook his hand menacingly
at the French ensign, which was flying at our old gaff, and said--

"Ay, d----n you, flutter away; you quiver and shake now like one of
your coxcombs pigeon-winging; but where will you be this day two months?
Miles, no man but a bloody Frenchman would cast away a ship, there where
this Mister Count has left the bones of his vessel; though _here_, where
we came so nigh going, it's a miracle any man could escape. Hadn't we
brought the Crisis through that opening first, he never would have dared
to go out by it."

I confess I saw little about Monsieur Le Compte's management but skill
and good seamanship; but nothing is more painful to most men than to
admit the merit of those who have obtained an advantage over them.
Marble could not forget his own defeat; and the recollection jaundiced
his eyes, and biassed his judgment.

"I see our people are busy, already, sir," I remarked, by way of drawing
the captain's attention to some other subject. "They have hauled the
schooner up to the yard, and seem to be getting along spars for shores."

"Ay, ay--Talcott has his orders; and I expect you will bestir yourself.
I shall step the masts myself, and you will get all the rigging ready
to be put into its place, the moment it is possible. That Frenchman
calculated, he told me to my face, that we might get to sea in a
fortnight; I will let him see that a set of Yankees can rig and stow his
bloody schooner, in three days, and then leave themselves time to play."

Marble was not a man of idle vaunts. He soon had everybody at work, with
a system, order, silence, and activity, that proved he was master of
his profession. Nor was the language which might sound so boastful to
foreign ears, altogether without its justification. Forty Americans
were a formidable force; and, well directed, I make no doubt they would
accomplish far more than the ordinary run of French seamen, as they were
governed and managed in the year 1800, and, counting them man for man,
would have accomplished in double the time. Our crew had now long acted
together, and frequently under the most trying circumstances; and
they showed their training, if men ever did, on the present occasion.
Everybody was busy; and we had the shears up, and both masts stepped, in
the course of a few hours. By the time the main-mast was in, I had
the fore-mast rigged, the jib-boom in its place, the sprit-sail yard
crossed--everything carried a spar under its bowsprit then--and the
lower yard up. It is true, the French had got everything ready for us;
and when we turned the hands to, after dinner, we actually began to
strike in cargo, water, provisions, and such other things, as it was
intended to carry away. At dusk, when we knocked off work, the Emily
looked like a sea-going craft, and there was every prospect of our
having her ready for sea, by the following evening. But, the duty had
been carried on, in silence. Napoleon said there had been more noise
made in the little schooner which carried him from l'Orient to Basque
Roads, than was made on board the line-of-battle ship that conveyed him
to St. Helena, during the whole passage. Since that memorable day, the
French have learned to be silent on board ship, and the fruits remain to
be seen.

That night, Marble and myself consulted together on the aspect of
things--or, as he expressed it, "we generalized over our prospects."
Monsieur Le Compte had done one thing which duty required of him. He
did not leave us a kernel of the gunpowder belonging to either ship; nor
could we find a boarding-pike, cutlass, or weapon of any sort, except
the officers' pistols. We had a canister of powder, and a sufficiency
of bullets for the last, which had been left as, out of an _esprit de
corps_, or the feeling of an officer, which told him we might possibly
need these means to keep our own crew in order. Such was not the fact,
however, with the particular people we happened to have; a more orderly
and reasonable set of men never sailing together. But, Monsieur Le
Compte knew it was his duty to put it out of their power to trouble us,
so far as it lay in his; but, at the same time, while he left us the
means of safety, he provided against our doing any further injury to his
own countrymen. In this he had pretty effectually succeeded, so far as
armament was concerned.

The next morning I was up with the appearance of the dawn, and, having
suffered much from the heat the preceding day, I walked to a suitable
spot, threw off my clothes, and plunged into the basin. The water was
transparent almost as air; and I happened to select a place where the
coral grew within a few yards of the surface. As I dove, my eye fell on
a considerable cluster of large oysters that were collected on the rock,
and, reaching them, I succeeded in bringing up half a dozen that clung
to each other. These dives I repeated, during the next quarter of an
hour, until I had all the oysters, sixty or eighty in number, safe on
the shore. That they were the pearl oysters, I knew immediately; and
beckoning to Neb, the fellow soon had them snug in a basket, and put
away in a place of security. The circumstance was mentioned to Marble,
who, finding no more heavy drags to be made, ordered the Sandwich
Islanders to take a boat and pass a few hours in their regular
occupation, on account of the owners--if, indeed, the last had any
further claim on our services. These men met with tolerable success,
though, relatively, nothing equal to mine. What, just then, was of far
more importance, they made a discovery of an arm-chest lying on the
bottom of the basin, at the anchorage of the Crisis, and which had
doubtless been sunk there by the French. We had all la Pauline's boats
but the captain's gig. I went in one of them with a gang of hands, and,
the divers securing a rope to the handles of the chest, we soon got it
in. It turned out to be one of the arm-chests of the Crisis, which the
French had found in their way and thrown overboard, evidently preferring
to use weapons to which they were accustomed. They had done better by
carrying the chest out to sea, and disposing of it in fifty or a hundred
fathom water.

The prize was turned over to the gunner, who reported that it was the
chest in which we kept our cutlasses and pistols, of both of which there
was a sufficient supply to give every man one of each. There were also
several horns of powder, and a bag of bullets; but the first was ruined
by the water. As for the arms, they were rubbed dry, oiled, and put away
again in the chest, after the last had stood a whole day, in the hot
sun, open. Thus, through the agency of men brought for a very different
purpose, we were put in possession of the means of achieving the
exploit, which might now be said to form the great object of our lives.

That day we got everything on board the schooner that it was thought
desirable to take with us. We left much behind that was valuable, it is
true, especially the copper; but Marble wisely determined that it was
inexpedient to put the vessel deeper than good ballast-trim, lest it
should hurt her sailing. We had got her fairly to her bearings, and this
was believed to be as low as was expedient. It is true, a great deal
remained to be stowed; the deck being littered, and the hold, the
ground-tier excepted, in great confusion. But our bread, water, beef,
pork, and other eatables, were all there, and in abundance; and, though
not to be had for the asking, they were still to be had. The sails were
bent, and the only anchor, la Pauline's stream, with her two largest
kedges, was on our bows. While in this condition, Marble gave the
unexpected order for all hands to come on board, and for the shore-fasts
to be cast off.

Of course, there was no dissenting to so positive a command. We had
signed new shipping-articles for the schooner, extending the engagements
made when we entered on board the Crisis, to this new vessel, or any
other she might capture. The wind was a steady trade, and, when we
showed our main-sail and jib to it, the little craft glided athwart the
basin like a duck. Shooting through the pass, Marble tacked her twice,
as soon as he had an offing; and everybody was delighted with the
quickness with which she was worked. There was barely light enough to
enable us to find our way through the opening in the reef; and, just
thirty-eight hours after the Crisis sailed, we were on her track. We had
only conjecture to guide us as to the ship's course, with the exception
of the main fact of her having sailed for the west coast of South
America; but we had not failed to notice that she disappeared in the
north-east trades on a bow-line. We put the schooner as near as possible
on the same course, making a proper allowance for the difference in the
rig of the two vessels.

The distance run that night, satisfied us all that Mons. Le Compte was
a good draftsman. The schooner ran 106 miles in twelve hours, against
a very respectable sea, which was at least ten or fifteen more than the
Crisis could have done under the same circumstances. It is true, that
what was close-hauled for her, was not close-hauled for us; and, in this
respect, we had the advantage of her. Marble was so well pleased with
our night's work, that when he came on deck next morning, the first
thing he did was to order a bottle of rum to be brought him, and then
all hands to be called. As soon as the people were up, he went forward,
got into the head, and commanded every body to muster on the forecastle.
Marble now made a speech.

"We have some good, and some bad luck, this v'y'ge, men," he said; "and,
when we generalize on the subject, it will be found that good luck has
usually followed the bad luck. Now, the savages, with that blackguard
Smudge, knocked poor Captain Williams in the head, and threw him
overboard, and got the ship from us; then came the good luck of getting
her back again. After this, the French did us that unhandsome thing:
now, here comes the good luck of their leaving us a craft that will
overhaul the ship, when I needn't tell _you,_ what will come of it."
Here all hands, as in duty bound, gave three cheers. "Now, I neither
sail nor fight in a craft that carries a French name. Captain Count
christened the schooner the--Mr. Wallingford will tell you her exact
name."

"_La Belle Emélie,_" said I, "or the Beautiful Emily."

"None of your belles for me, nor your Beautiful Emilys either," cried
Marble, smashing the bottle over the schooner's nose; "So here goes
three cheers again, for the 'Pretty Poll,' which was the name the craft
was born to, and the name she shall bear, as long as Moses Marble sails
her."

From that moment, the schooner was known by the name of the "Pretty
Poll." I met with portions of our crew years afterwards, and they always
spoke of her by this appellation; sometimes familiarly terming her the
"Poll," or the "Polly."

All the first day out, we were busy in making ourselves comfortable, and
in getting the Polly's trim. We succeeded so well in this last, that,
according to our calculations, we made a knot an hour more than the
Crisis could have done under the same circumstances, fast as the ship
was known to be. As the Crisis had about thirty-eight hours the start
of us, and ran, on an average, about seven knots the hour for all that
time, it would require about ten days to overtake her. Of course this
could only happen, according to our own calculations, when we were from
eighteen hundred to two thousand miles from the island. For my own part,
I sincerely hoped it would not occur at all, at sea; feeling satisfied
our only chances of success depended on surprise. By following the
vessel into some port, it might be possible to succeed; but, for an
unarmed schooner to attack a ship like the Crisis, with even a large
crew on board; it seemed rashness to think of it. Marble, however, would
not listen to my remonstrances. He insisted we had more than powder
enough to load all our pistols half-a-dozen times each, and, laying the
ship plump aboard, the pistols would do the rest. I was silenced, quite
as a matter of course, if not convinced.

The fifth day out, Neb came to me, saying--"Master Miles, somet'ing must
be done wid 'em 'ere 'ysters! Dey smell, onaccountable; and de people
swear dey will t'row 'em overboard, if I don't eat 'em. I not hungry
enough for _dat_, sir."

These were the pearl oysters, already mentioned, which had been
hastening to dissolution and decomposition, by the heat of the hold. As
the captain was as much concerned in this portion of the cargo, as I was
myself, I communicated the state of things to him, and he ordered the
bags and barrels on deck, forthwith. It was well something was done, or
I doubt not a disease would have been the consequence. As decomposition
was the usual process by which to come at the treasures of these
animals, however, everything was exactly in the state we wished.

An uninterested observer would have laughed, at seeing the employment
of the quarter-deck, for the next four hours. Marble, and the two mates,
attacked a barrel belonging to the captain, while Neb and I had my own
share to ourselves. It was a trying occupation, the odour far exceeding
in strength that of the Spice Islands. We stood it, however--for
what will not man endure for the sake of riches? Marble foresaw the
difficulties, and had once announced to the mates that they then would
"open on shares." This had a solacing influence, and amid much mirth and
sundry grimaces, the work went on with tolerable rapidity. I observed,
however, that Talcott threw one or two subjects, that doubtless were
tougher than common, overboard, after very superficial examinations.

The first seven oysters I examined, contained nothing but seed pearl,
and not many of these. Neb opened, and I examined; and the latter
occupation was so little to my taste, that I was just on the point of
ordering the whole lot thrown overboard, when Neb handed me another.
This oyster contained nine beautiful pearls, of very uniform dimensions,
and each about as large as a good-sized pea. I dropped them into a bowl
of fresh water, whence they came out sweet, pearly, and lustrous. They
were of the sort known as the "white water," which is the kind
most prized among Christian nations, doubtless on account of their
harmonizing so well with the skins of their women. No sooner was my
luck known, than it brought all the other "pearl fishermen" around me;
Marble, with his nostrils plugged with oakum, and a quid of tobacco in
his mouth, that was as large as a small potatoe.

"By George, Miles, that looks like business," the captain exclaimed,
going back to his work, with renovated zeal, "though it is a calling fit
only for hogs and scavengers! Did I embark in it largely, I would keep
as many clerks as a bank. What do you suppose now, these nine chaps may
be worth?"

"Some fifty dollars, or thereabouts--you see, sir, they are quite
large--much larger than it is usual to see our women wear."

The ninth of my oysters produced eleven pearls, and all about the size
and quality of the first. In a few minutes I had seventy-three just such
pearls, besides a quantity of seed pearl. Then followed a succession of
barren shells; a dozen not giving a pearl. The three that succeeded them
gave thirty-one more; and another yielded four pearls, each of which
was as large as a small cherry. After that, I got one that was almost
as large as a common hickory-nut, and six more of the size of the
cherry-sized pearls. In addition to these, I got in all, one hundred and
eighty-seven of the size of peas, besides a large handful of the seed
pearl. I afterwards ascertained, that the pearls I had thus obtained
were worth in the market about eighteen hundred dollars; as they were
far more remarkable for their beauty, than for their size.

Notwithstanding the oakum plugs, and the tobacco, and the great quantity
of shells his divers had found, for they had brought up something like
two hundred and fifty oysters in the course of the day, the party of the
captain found in all, but thirty-six pearls, the seed excepted; though
they obtained some beautiful specimens among the shells. From that
moment, Marble discontinued the trade, and I never heard him say
anything more on the subject of pursuing it. My own beauties were put
carefully away, in reserve for the time when I might delight the eyes
of certain of my female friends with them. I never intended to sell one,
but they were very precious to me on other accounts. As for the crew,
glad enough were they to be rid of such uncomfortable shipmates. As I
gazed on the spotless and lustrous pearls, and compared them with the
revolting tenements from which they had just been redeemed, I likened
them to the souls of the just escaping from their tenements of clay, to
enjoy hereafter an endless existence of purity.

In the meantime, the Pretty Poll continued to find her way along miles
and miles of the deserted track across the Pacific. Marble had once
belonged to a Baltimore clipper, and he sailed our craft probably much
better than she would have been sailed by Mons. Le Compte, though that
officer, as I afterwards learned, had distinguished himself in command
of a lugger-privateer, in the British Channel. Our progress was
generally from a hundred and fifty to two hundred and twenty miles in
twenty-four hours; and so it continued to be for the first ten days, or
the period, when, according to our own calculations, we ought to be near
the Crisis, had that vessel steered a course resembling our own. For
my own part, I neither wished nor expected to see the ship, until we
reached the coast of South America, when we might ascertain her position
by communicating with the shore. As for the _guarda-costas_, I knew we
could easily elude them, and there might be a small chance of regaining
the vessel, something like the way in which we had lost her. But
Marble's impatience, and the keenness with which he felt our disgrace,
would not make terms even with the elements; and I do believe, he would
have run alongside of the Crisis in a gale of wind, could he have come
up with her. The chance of our having sailed so far, however, on a line
so nearly resembling that of the chase as to bring us together, was so
very small, that few of us thought it worth our consideration.

On the morning of the eleventh day, the look-out we had kept on the
fore-top-sail-yard, sang out "Sail-ho!" Marble and myself were soon on
the yard, there being nothing visible from the deck. The upper
sails, top-gallant-sails, and royals of a ship were visible on our
weather-quarter, distant from fifteen to twenty miles. As we were now
in the track of whalers, of which there were a good many in that part of
the Pacific, I thought it was probable this was one; but Marble laughed
at the notion, asking if I had ever heard of a whaler's carrying royals
on her cruising ground. He affirmed it was the Crisis, heading the same
way we were ourselves, and which had only got to windward of us, by
keeping a better luff. We had calculated too much on the schooner's
weatherly qualities, and had allowed her to fall off more than was
necessary, in the night-watches.

The Pretty Poll was now jammed up on a wind, in the hope of closing
with the chase in the course of the night. But the wind had been growing
lighter and lighter for some hours, and by noon, though we had neared
the chase so much as to be able to see her from deck, there was every
prospect of its falling calm; after which, in the trades, it would
be surprising if we did not get a blow. To make the most of our time,
Marble determined to tack, when we had just got the chase a point off
our weather-bow. An hour after tacking, an object was seen adrift on the
ocean, and keeping away a little to close with it, it was ascertained to
be a whale-boat, adrift. The boat was American built, had a breaker of
water, the oars, and all the usual fittings in it; and the painter
being loose, it had probably been lost, when towing in the night, in
consequence of having been fastened by _three_ half-hitches.

The moment Marble ascertained the condition of this boat, he conceived
his plan of operations. The four Sandwich Islanders had been in whalers,
and he ordered them into the boat, put in some rum, and some food, gave
me his orders, got in himself, and pulled ahead, going off at five knots
the hour, leaving the schooner to follow at the rate of two. This was
about an hour before sunset; and by the time it was dark, the boat had
become a mere speck on the water, nearly half-way between us and the
ship, which was now some fifteen miles distant, heading always in the
same direction.

My orders had been very simple. They were, to stand on the same course,
until I saw a light from the boat, and then tack, so as to run on a
parallel line with the ship. The signal was made by Marble about nine
o'clock. It was immediately answered from the schooner. The light in the
boat was concealed from the ship, and our own was shown only for a few
seconds, the disappearance of Mr. Marble's telling us in that brief
space, that our answer was noted. I tacked immediately; and, taking
in the fore-sail, stood on the directed course. We had all foreseen a
change in the weather, and probably a thunder-squall. So far from its
giving Marble any uneasiness, he anticipated the blow with pleasure,
as he intended to lay the Crisis aboard in its height. He fancied that
success would then be the most certain. His whole concern was at not
being able to find the ship in the darkness; and it was to obviate this
difficulty that he undertook to pilot us up to her in the manner I have
just mentioned.

After getting round, a sharp look-out was kept for the light. We caught
another view of it, directly on our weather-beam. From this we inferred
that the ship had more wind than we felt; inasmuch as she had materially
altered her position, while we had not moved a mile since we tacked.
This was on the supposition that Marble would endeavour to follow the
movements of the ship. At ten, the tempest broke upon us with tropical
violence, and with a suddenness that took everybody by surprise. A
squall had been expected; but no one anticipated its approach for
several hours; and we had all looked for the return of the whale-boat,
ere that moment should come. But, come it did, when least expected; the
first puff throwing our little schooner down, in a way to convince us
the elements were in earnest. In fifteen minutes after the first blast
was felt, I had the schooner, under a reefed foresail, and with that
short canvass, there were instants, as she struggled up to the summit of
the waves, that it seemed as if she were about to fly out of the water.
My great concern, however, was for the boat, of which nothing could now
be seen. The orders left by Marble anticipated no such occurrence
as this tempest, and the concert between us was interrupted. It was
naturally inferred among us, in the schooner, that the boat would
endeavour to close, as soon as the danger was foreseen; and, as this
would probably be done, by running on a converging line, all our efforts
were directed to keeping the schooner astern of the other party, in
order that they might first reach the point of junction. In this manner
there _was_ a chance of Marble's finding the schooner, while there was
little of our finding the boat. It is true, we carried several lights;
but as soon as it began to rain, even a bonfire would not have been seen
at a hundred yards. The water poured down upon us, as if it fell from
spouts, occasionally ceasing, and then returning in streams.

I had then never passed so miserable a night; even that in which Smudge
and his fellows murdered Captain Williams and seized the ship, being
happiness in comparison. I loved Marble. Hardy, loose, in some respects,
and unnurtured as he was in others, the man had been steadily my friend.
He was a capital seaman; a sort of an instinctive navigator; true as the
needle to the flag, and as brave as a lion. Then, I knew he was in his
present strait on account of mortified feeling, and the rigid notions he
entertained of his duty to his owners. I think I do myself no more than
justice, when I say that I would gladly have exchanged places with him,
any time that night.

We held a consultation on the quarter-deck, and it was determined that
our only chance of picking up the boat, was by remaining as nearly as
possible, at the place where her crew must have last seen the schooner.
Marble had a right to expect this; and we did all that lay in our power
to effect the object; waring often, and gaining on our tacks what
we lost in coming round. In this manner we passed a painful and most
uncomfortable night; the winds howling about us a sort of requiem for
the dead, while we hardly knew when we were wallowing in the seas or
not, there being so much water that came down from the clouds, as nearly
to drown us on deck.

At last the light returned, and soon after the tempest broke, appearing
to have expended its fury. An hour after the sun had risen, we got the
trade-wind again, the sea became regular once more, and the schooner was
under all her canvass. Of course, every one of us officers was aloft,
some forward, some aft, to look out for the boat; but we did not see her
again. What was still more extraordinary, nothing could be seen of the
ship! We kept all that day cruising around the place, expecting to find
at least the boat; but without success.

My situation was now altogether novel to me. I had left home rather more
than a twelvemonth before, the third officer of the Crisis. From this
station, I had risen regularly to be her first officer; and now, by a
dire catastrophe, I found myself in the Pacific, solely charged with the
fortunes of my owners, and those of some forty human beings. And this,
too, before I was quite twenty years old.

Marble's scheme of attacking the ship had always seemed to me to be wild
and impracticable. This was while it was _his_ project, not my own. I
still entertained the same opinion, as regards the assault at sea; but
I had, from the first, regarded an attempt on the coast as a thing much
more likely to succeed. Then Emily, and her father, and the honour of
the flag, and the credit I might personally gain, had their influence;
and, at sunset, all hope of finding the boat being gone, I ordered sail
made on our course.

The loss of the whale-boat occurred when we were about two thousand
miles from the western coast of South America. We had a long road before
us, consequently; and, as I had doubted whether the ship we had seen
was the Crisis, it was necessary to be in motion, if anything was to be
effected with our old enemies. The reader may feel some desire to know
in what manner my succession to the command was received by the people.
No man could have been more implicitly obeyed. I was now six feet and an
inch in height, of a powerful and active frame, a good seaman, and had
the habit of command, through a twelvemonth's experience. The crew knew
me, having seen me tried, from the weather-earings down; and it is very
likely I possessed more of their confidence than I deserved. At all
events, I was as implicitly obeyed as if I had sailed from New York at
their head. Everybody regretted Marble; more, I think, than we regretted
poor Captain Williams, though it must have been on account of the manner
we saw him disappear, as it might be, from before our eyes; since, of
the two, I think the last was the most estimable man. Nevertheless,
Marble had his strong points, and they were points likely to take
with seamen; and they had particularly taken with us. As for the four
Sandwich Islanders, I do not know that they occupied any of our minds at
all. We had been accustomed to regard them as strange beings, who came
from that ocean to which they had thus suddenly returned.

Fifteen days after the loss of the whale-boat, we made the peaks of the
Andes, a very few degrees to the southward of the equator. From some
casual remarks made by the French, and which I had overheard, I had been
led to believe they intended to run for Guayaquil, or its vicinity;
and I aimed at reaching the coast near the same point. We had been in,
ourselves, at several bays and roadsteads, moreover, on this part of
the shore, on our way north; and I felt at home among them. We
had acquaintances, too, who could not fail to be of use to us; and
everything conspired to render this an advantageous land-fall.

On the evening of the twenty-ninth day after quitting the island, we
took the schooner into an open roadstead, where we had carried on some
extensive traffic in the ship, about eight months before, and where I
fancied we should still be recognised. As was expected, we had scarcely
anchored, before a Don Pedro Something, a fellow with a surprising
string of names, came off to us in a boat, in order to ascertain who we
were, and what we wanted. Perhaps it would be better to say, what we had
that _he_ wanted. I knew the man at a glance, having delivered to him,
myself, three boat-loads of goods, and received a small bag of doubloons
in exchange. A very few words, half-English, half-Spanish, served to
renew our acquaintance; and I gave our old friend to understand that I
was in search of the ship, from which I had been separated on some extra
duty. After beating the bush to discover all he could, the Don Pedro
gave me to understand that _a_ ship had gone in behind an island that
was only ten miles to the southward of us, that very afternoon; that he
had seen her himself, and had supposed she might be his old friend the
Crisis, until he saw the French ensign at her gaff. This was sufficient,
and I made inquiries for a pilot. A man qualified to carry us to the
place was found in one of the boatmen. As I feared the news of the
arrival of a schooner might be carried to the ship, much as we had
got our intelligence, no time was lost, but we were under-way by ten
o'clock. At midnight we entered the pass between the main and the
island; there I got into a boat, and pulled ahead, in order to
reconnoitre. I found the ship lying close under a high bluff, which made
a capital lee, and with every sign about her of tranquillity. Still, I
knew a vessel that was always in danger from the _guarda-costas_, and
which relied on the celerity of its movements for its safety, would have
a vigilant look-out. Accordingly, I took a cool and careful examination
of the ship's position, landing and ascending the bluff, in order to
do this at my ease. About two o'clock in the morning, I returned to the
schooner.

When I put my foot on the Polly's deck again, she was quite near the
point, or bluff, having set down towards it during my absence. All hands
were on deck, armed, and in readiness. Expectation had got to be so
keen, that we had a little difficulty in keeping the men from cheering;
but silence was preserved, and I communicated the result of my
observations in as few words as possible. The orders were then given,
and the schooner was brought under short sail, for the attack. We were
so near our side of the bluff, while the ship lay so near the other,
that my principal apprehension was of falling to leeward, which might
give the French time to muster, and recollect themselves. The canvass,
accordingly, was reduced to the fore-sail, though the jib, main-sail,
and top-sail were all loose, in readiness to be set, if wanted. The
plan was to run the ship aboard, on her starboard-bow, or off-side,
as respected the island; and to do this with as little of a shock as
possible.

When everything was ready, I went aft, stood by the man at the helm, and
ordered him to bear up. Neb placed himself just behind me. I knew it was
useless to interfere, and let the fellow do as he pleased. The pilot had
told me the water was deep, up to the rocks of the bluff; and we hugged
the land as close as possible, in rounding the point. At the next moment
the ship was in sight, distant less than a hundred fathoms. I saw we had
good way, and, three minutes later, I ordered the fore-sail brailed. At
the same instant I walked forward. So near were we, that the flapping of
the canvass was heard in the ship, and we got a hail. A mystified
answer followed, and then crash came our bows along those of the Crisis.
"Hurrah! for the old craft!" shouted our men, and aboard we tumbled in
a body. Our charge was like the plunge of a pack of hounds, as they leap
through a hedge.

The scene that followed was one of wild tumult. Some twenty pistols were
fired, and a good many hard blows were struck; but the surprise secured
us the victory. In less than three minutes, Talcott came to report to me
that our lads had complete possession of the deck, and that the French
asked for quarter. At first, the enemy supposed they had been seized by
a _guarda-costa_, for the impression had been general among them that we
intended to quit the island for Canton. Great was the astonishment
among them when the truth came to be known. I heard a great many
"_sacr-r-r-es!_" and certain other maledictions in low French, that it
is scarcely worth while to repeat.

Harris, one of the-Philadelphians, and the man who had got us into the
difficulty by falling asleep on his watch, was killed; and no less
than nine of our men, myself among the number, were hurt in this brisk
business. All the wounds, however, were slight; only three of the
injuries taking the parties off duty. As for the poor fellow who fell,
he owed his death to risking too much, in order to recover the ground he
had lost.

The French fared much worse than ourselves. Of those killed outright,
and those who died before morning, there were no less than sixteen; our
fellows having fired a volley into a group that was rushing on deck,
besides using their cutlasses with great severity for the first minute
or two. This was on the principle that the first blow was half the
battle. There were few wounded; most of those who fell being cut or
thrust at by several at the same time--a species of attack that left
little chance for escape. Poor Mons. Le Compte was found stone-dead at
the cabin-doors, having been shot in the forehead, just as he put his
foot on the deck. I heard his voice once in the fray, and feared it
boded no good; but the silence which succeeded was probably caused by
his just then receiving the fatal bullet. He was in his shirt.



CHAPTER XVIII

  _1st Witch_. "Hail!"
  _2d Witch_.  "Hail!"
  _3d Witch_.  "Hail!"
  _1st Witch_. "Lesser than Macbeth, and greater."
  _2d Witch_.  "Not so happy, yet much happier."
  MACBETH.


I hope I shall be believed in saying, if Marble had been with us when
we retook the ship, I should have been perfectly happy. He was not,
however, and regret was left to mingle in our triumph. I had a hasty
interview with Major Merton that night, and communicated all that was
necessary to quiet the apprehensions of his daughter. Emily was in her
state-room, and had been alarmed, as a matter of course; but when she
learned that all was over, and had terminated successfully, her fears
yielded to reason. Of course, both she and her father felt it to be a
great relief that they were no longer prisoners.

We were no sooner fairly in command of our old ship, again, than I had
all hands called to get the anchor. We hove up, and passed out to sea
without delay, it being necessary to cover our movements with as much
mystery as possible, in order to prevent certain awkward demands from
the Spanish government, on the subject of the violation of neutral
territory. A hint from Major Merton put me on my guard as respected this
point, and I determined to disappear as suddenly as we had arrived,
in order to throw obstacles in the way of being traced. By day-light,
therefore, both the ship and schooner were four leagues from the
land, and on the "great highway of nations;" a road, it may be said in
passing, that was then greatly infested by foot-pads and other robbers.

Just as the sun rose, we buried the dead. This was done decently, and
with the usual ceremony, the triumph of victory giving place to the sad
reflections that are so apt to succeed to the excited feelings of most
of our struggles. I saw poor Le Compte disappear from sight with regret,
and remembered his recent hopes, his generous treatment, his admiration
of Emily, and all that he had so lately thought and felt, as a warning
of the fragile nature of life, and that which life can bestow. Thus
terminated an acquaintance of a month; but a month that had been
pregnant with incidents of great importance to myself.

It now became necessary to decide on our future course. I had the ship,
just as the French got her from us, with the addition of those portions
of their own cargo with which they had intended to trade on the coast of
South America. These consisted of silks and various fancy articles, with
a little wine, and would be nearly as valuable at home as they were in
Spanish America. I was strongly averse to smuggling, and the ship having
already followed out her original instructions on this point, I saw no
necessity for pursuing the ungrateful trade any further. Could I return
to the island, and get the articles of value left on it by the French,
such as the copper they had not used, and divers pales received from
the Bombay ship, which had been abandoned by us all under a tent, more
profit would accrue to my owners than by any illicit commerce we could
now possibly carry into effect on the coast.

While Talcott, and the new chief-mate, and myself were discussing these
points, the cry of "sail ho!" was heard. A large ship had suddenly hove
up out of the morning's mist, within a mile of us, and I thought, at
first, we had got under the guns of a Spanish man-of-war. A second look
at her, however, satisfied us all, that, though heavy and armed, she was
merely one of those clumsy traders that sailed, periodically, from the
colonies to Spain. We went to quarters, and cleared ship, but made no
effort to avoid the stranger. The Spaniards, of the two, were the most
uneasy, I believe, their country being then at war with England; but we
spoke each other without coming to blows. As soon as the strangers saw
the American ensign, they expressed a wish to communicate with us; and,
unwilling to let them come on board us, I volunteered a visit to the
Spanish captain. He received me with formal politeness, and, after some
preliminary discourse, he put into my hands some American newspapers,
which contained a copy of the treaty of peace between the United States
and France. On looking over the articles of this new compact, I found
that, had our recapture of the Crisis been delayed to that very day,
at noon, it would have been illegal. The two nations, in fact, were at
peace, when the French seized the ship, but the customary provisions as
to captures in distant seas, just brought us within the saving clauses.
Such is war, and its concomitants!

In the course of half an hour's conversation, I discovered that the
Spaniard intended to touch at Valparaiso, and called, in order to get
men, his own having suffered, up the coast, with the small-pox. His ship
was large, carried a considerable armament, and he should not deem her
safe from the smaller English cruisers, unless he doubled the Cape much
stronger handed than he then was. I caught at the idea, and inquired
what he thought of Frenchmen? They would answer his purpose, for France
and Spain had a common enemy, and nothing would be easier than to send
the French from Cadiz to Marseilles. A bargain was consequently struck
on the spot.

When I got back on board the Crisis, I had all the prisoners mustered on
deck. They were made acquainted with the offers of the Spanish captain,
with the fact that peace now existed between our respective countries,
and with the chance that presented itself, so opportunely, for them to
return home. The proposition was cheerfully accepted, anything being
better than captivity. Before parting, I endeavoured to impress on the
French the necessity of prudence on the subject of our recapturing the
Crisis in Spanish waters, inasmuch as the circumstance might induce an
inquiry as to what took the ship there; it being well understood that
the mines were the punishment of those who were taken in the contraband
trade in that quarter of the world. The French promised fairly.
Whether they kept their words I never knew, but, if they did not, no
consequences ever followed from their revelations. In such a case,
indeed, the Spanish government would be very apt to consider the
question one that touched the interests of smugglers alike, and to feel
great indifference between the parties. At all events, no complaints
were ever made to the American government; or, if made, they never
reached my ears, or those of my owners. It is most probable nothing was
ever said on the subject.

About noon we had got rid of our prisoners. They were allowed to take
away with them all their own effects, and, as usually happens in such
cases, I make little doubt some that belonged to other persons. The
ships then made sail, each on her own course; the Spaniard running down
the coast, while we spread our studding-sails for the island. As soon as
this was done, I felt relieved from a great burthen, and had leisure
to think of other matters. I ought to mention, however, that I put the
second-mate, or him who had become chief-mate by my own advancement, in
command of the "Pretty Poll," giving him two experienced seamen as his
own mates, and six men, to sail her. This made Talcott the Crisis' first
officer, and glad was I to see him in a station a little suited to his
attainments.

That evening, just as the sun was setting, I saw Emily again, for the
first time since she had stood leaning over the rail as the Crisis shot
through the inlet of the lagoon. The poor girl was pale, and it was
evident, while she could not but rejoice at her liberation, and her
release from the solicitations of the unfortunate Le Compte, that his
death had cast a shade of sadness over her pretty features. It could not
well be otherwise, the female breast ever entertaining its sympathies
for those who submit to the influence of its owner's charms. Then, poor
Le Compte had some excellent qualities, and he treated Emily, as she
admitted to me herself, with the profoundest respect, and delicacy.
His admiration could scarce be an offence in _her_ eyes, however
disagreeable it proved, in certain points of view.

Our meeting partook of the character of our situation, being a mixture
of melancholy and happiness. I rejoiced in our success, while I
regretted Marble, and even our late enemies, while the Major and his
daughter could not but remember all the gloomy particulars of their
late, and, indeed, of their present position.

"We seem to be kept, like Mahomet's coffin, sir," Emily observed, as
she looked affectionately at her father, "suspended between heaven and
earth--the Indies and America--not knowing on which we are to alight.
The Pacific is our air, and we are likely to breathe it, to our heart's
content."

"True, love--your comparison is not an unhappy one. But, Wallingford,
what has become of Captain Marble in these stirring times? You have not
left him, Sancho Panza like, to govern Barritaria, while you have come
to recover his ship?"

I told my passengers of the manner in which our old friend had
disappeared, and inquired if anything had been seen of the whale-boat,
or the schooner, on the night of the tropical tempest.

"Nothing"--answered the Major. "So far from expecting to lay eyes on the
'Beautiful Emily,' again, we supposed you would be off for Canton by the
end of the fortnight that succeeded our own departure. At least, that
was poor Le Compte's version of the matter. I am certain however, that
no sail was seen from this ship, during the whole passage; nor, had we
any storm like that you have described. More beautiful weather, I never
met at sea."

Upon this, I sent for the log-book, and ascertained, by day and date,
that the Crisis was not within fifty leagues of the spot, where
we encountered the thunder-squall. Of course the ship we saw was a
stranger; most probably a whaler. This destroyed any little hope that
was left concerning Marble's fate.

But it is time I should mention a _galanterie_ of poor Le Compte's. He
was well provided with shipwrights--better, indeed, than with seamen--as
was apparent by the readiness with which he had constructed the
schooner. During the passage from Marble Land, he had set these workmen
about building a poop on the Crisis' quarter-deck, and I found the work
completed. There was a very pretty, airy cabin, with two state-rooms
communicating with light quarter-galleries, and everything that is
customary with such accommodations. Furniture had been made, with French
dexterity and taste, and the paint was just dry to receive it. Emily and
her father were to take possession of these new accommodations the very
day succeeding that in which the ship fell again into our hands. This
alteration was not such as I would have made, as a seaman; and I wonder
Mons. Le Compte, who had the gauntlet to run through the most formidable
navy in the world, should have ventured on it, since it sensibly
affected the ship's sailing on a wind. But, now it was peace, I cared
little about it, and determined to let it remain, so long, at least, as
Miss Merton continued on board.

That very night, therefore, the Major occupied one of the state-rooms,
and his daughter the other. Imitating poor Le Compte's gallantry, I gave
them a separate table, though I took quite half my meals with them, by
invitation. Emily did not absolutely dress my wound, a flesh injury in
the shoulder, that office falling to her father's share, who had seen
a good deal of service, and was familiar with the general treatment of
hurts of this nature; but she could, and did, show many of those gentle
and seductive attentions, that the tenderness of her sex can alone
bestow, with full effect, on man. In a fortnight my hurt was cured,
though Emily had specifics to recommend, and advice to bestow, until we
were both ashamed to allude to the subject any longer.

As for the passage, it was just such a one as might be expected to
occur, in the trades of the Pacific. The ship was under studding-sails
nearly the whole time, making, day in and day out, from a hundred and
twenty to two hundred miles in the twenty-four hours. The mates kept the
watches, and I had little to do, but to sit and chat with the Major and
his daughter, in the cool, airy cabin, that Le Compte had provided for
us; listen to Emily's piano, which had been transferred from the prize,
and subsequently saved from the wreck; or read aloud out of some of the
two or three hundred beautifully bound, and sweetly-scented volumes
that composed her library. In that day, people read Pope, and Young, and
Milton, and Shakspeare, and that sort of writers; a little relieved
by Mrs. Radcliffe, and Miss Burney, and Monk Lewis, perhaps. As for
Fielding and Smollet, they were well enough in their place, which was
not a young lady's library, however. There were still more useful books,
and I believe I read everything in the ship, before the voyage ended.
The leisure of a sea-life, in a tranquil, well-ordered vessel, admits
of much study; and books ought to be a leading object in the fitting
out that portion of a vessel's equipment which relates chiefly to the
welfare of her officers and crew.

Time passed pleasantly enough, with a young fellow who had certainly
some reason to be satisfied with his own success thus far in life, and
who could relieve the tedium of ship's duty in such society. I cannot
say I was in love, though I often thought of Emily when she was not
before my eyes, and actually dreamt of her three times, in the
first fortnight after the re-capture of the ship. What was a little
remarkable, as I conceive, I often found myself drawing comparisons
between her and Lucy, though I hardly knew why, myself. The result was
very much after this sort;--Emily had vastly the advantage in all that
related to art, instruction, training--I am wrong, Mr. Harding had given
his daughter a store of precise, useful knowledge, that Emily did not
possess; and then I could not but see that Lucy's tact in moral feeling,
was much of the highest order of the two. But, in purely conventional
attainments, in most that relates to the world, its usages, its finesse
of feeling and manner, I could see that Emily was the superior. Had
I known more myself, I could have seen that both were provincial--for
England, in 1801, was but a province, as to mere manners, though on a
larger scale than America is even now--and that either would have been
remarked for peculiarities, in the more sophisticated circles of the
continent of Europe. I dare say, half my own countrymen would have
preferred Lucy's nature to the more artificial manner of Emily; but,
it will not do to say that even female deportment, however delicate and
feminine nature may have made it, cannot be improved by certain general
rules for the government of that which is even purely conventional. On
the whole, I wished that Lucy had a little of Emily's art, and Emily a
good deal more of Lucy's nature. I suppose the perfection in this sort
of thing is to possess an art so admirable that it shall appear to be
nature, in all things immaterial, while it leaves the latter strictly in
the ascendant, in all that is material.

In person, I sometimes fancied Emily was the superior, and, sometimes,
when memory carried me back to certain scenes that had occurred during
my last visit to Clawbonny, that it was Lucy. In complexion, and perhaps
in eyes, the English girl beat her rival; possibly, also, in the teeth;
though Lucy's were very even and white; but, in the smile, in the
outline of the face, most especially in the mouth, and in the hands,
feet, and person generally, I think nine judges in ten would have
preferred the American. One peculiar charm was common to both; and it is
a charm, though the strongest instance I ever saw of it in my life,
was in Italy, that may be said to belong, almost exclusively, to the
Anglo-Saxon race: I mean that expression of the countenance which so
eminently betokens feminine purity and feminine tenderness united; the
look which artists love to impart to the faces of angels. Each of the
girls had much of this; and I suppose it was principally owing to their
heavenly blue eyes. I doubt if any woman with black, or hazel eyes
notwithstanding all the brilliancy of their beauty, ever possessed this
charm in the higher degree. It belonged to Grace even more than to Lucy
or Emily; though, of the two last, I think the English girl possessed
it, in a slight degree, the most, so far as it was connected with mere
shading and colour; while the American exhibited the most of it, in
moments of feeling and emotion. Perhaps, this last advantage was owing
to Lucy's submitting most to nature, and to her impulses. It must be
remembered, however, that I had not seen Lucy, now, for near two
years; and two of the most important years of a young female's life, as
respected her personal appearance.

As relates to character, I will not now speak as plainly as I shall be
called on to do, hereafter. A youth of twenty is not the best judge of
such things, and I shall leave events to tell their own story, in this
particular.

We had been at sea a fortnight, when happening to allude to the pearl
fishery, I bethought me of my own prizes. A ship that carries a
numerous crew, is a sort of _omnium gatherum_, of human employments.
For ordinarily manned craft, seamen are necessary; but ships of war,
privateers and letters-of-marque, can afford, as poor Marble
would express it, to generalize. We had several tradesmen in the
Crisis--mechanics, who found the restraints of a ship necessary for
their own good--and, among others, we happened to have a goldsmith. This
man had offered to perforate my pearls, and to string them; an operation
to which I consented. The fellow had performed his task as well as could
be desired, and supplying from his own stores a pair of suitable clasps,
had formed the whole into a simple, but as beautiful a necklace, as I
ever laid eyes on. He had put the largest pearl of all directly in
the centre, and then arranged the remainder, by placing several of the
smaller together separated by one of the second size, until the whole
formed a row that would much more than encircle my own neck, and which,
of course, would drop gracefully round that of a female.

When I produced this beautiful ornament, one that a woman of rank
might have coveted, Emily did not endeavour to conceal her admiration.
Unaccustomed, herself, to the higher associations of her own country,
she had never seen a necklace of the same value, and she even fancied
it fit for a queen. Doubtless, queens usually possess much more precious
pearls than those of mine, and yet it was to be supposed they would not
disdain to wear even such as they. Major Merton examined the necklace
carefully, and I could see by his countenance, he was surprised and
pleased.

On the whole, I think it may be questioned, if any other man enjoys
as many _physical_ advantages with the same means, as the Americans.
I speak more of his habits, than of his opportunities; but I am of
opinion, after seeing a good deal of various parts of the world, that
the American of moderate fortune has more physical indulgences than any
other man. While this is true, however, as a whole, there are certain
points on which he signally fails. He fails _often_, when it comes to
the mere outward exhibition; and it is probable there is not a single
well-ordered household--meaning for the purposes of comfort and
representation united--in the whole country. The particular deficiency,
if deficiency it be, applies in an almost exclusive degree to the use
of precious stones, jewelry, and those of the more valuable metals in
general. The ignorance of the value of precious stones is so great, that
half the men, meaning those who possess more or less of fortune, do
not even know the names of those of the commoner sorts. I doubt, if one
educated American in twenty could, even at this moment, tell a sapphire
from an amethyst, or a turquoise from a garnet; though the women are
rather more expert as lapidaries. Now, I was a true American in this
respect; and, while I knew I possessed a very beautiful ornament, I had
not the smallest idea of its value, as an article of commerce. With the
Major it was different. He had studied such things, and he had a taste
for them. The reader will judge of my surprise, therefore, when I heard
him say:--

"That necklace, in the hands of Rundle and Bridges, would bring a
thousand pounds, in London!"

"Father!" exclaimed Emily.

"I do think it. It is not so much the size of the pearls, though these
largest are not common even in that particular, but it is their extreme
beauty; their colour and transparency--their _water_, as it is called."

"I thought that a term applied only to diamonds"--observed Emily, with
an interest I wished she had not manifested.

"It is also applied to pearls--there are pearls of what is called the
'white water,' and they are of the sort most prized in Europe. The
'yellow water' are more esteemed among nations of darker skins; I
suppose that is the secret. Yes, I think if you send this necklace to
London, Wallingford, you will get six or eight hundred pounds for it."

"I shall never sell it, sir--at least, not as long as I can avoid it."

I saw that Emily looked at me, with an earnestness for which I could not
account.

"Not sell it!--" repealed her father--"Why, what in the name of Neptune
can _you_ do with such an ornament?"

"Keep it. It is strictly my own. I brought it up, from the bottom of the
sea, with my own hands; removed the pearls from what the editors would
call their 'native homes' myself, and I feel an interest in them, that I
never could feel in any ornament that was purchased."

"Still, this will prove rather an expensive taste. Pray, What interest
do you obtain for money, in your part of the world, Wallingford?"

"Six per cent., in New York, sir, perhaps, on the better sort of
permanent securities."

"And how much is sixty pounds sterling, when turned into dollars?"

"We usually say five for one, though it is not quite that; from
two hundred and eighty to two hundred and ninety, all things
considered--though two hundred and sixty-six, nominally, or
thereabouts."

"Well, even two hundred and sixty-six dollars a year, is a good deal for
a young man like you to pay, for the pleasure of saying he owns a pearl
necklace that he cannot use."

"But it cost me nothing, sir, and of course I can lose nothing by it."

"I rather think you will lose what I tell you, if the ornament can be
sold for that sum. When a man has property from which he might derive an
income, and does not, he is, in one sense, and that the most important,
a loser."

"I have a sister, Major Merton; I may possibly give it to her--or,
should I marry, I would certainly give it to my wife."

I could see a smile struggling about the mouth of the major, which I
was then too young, and I may add, too American, to understand. The
incongruity of the wife of a man of two thousand, or five and twenty
hundred dollars a-year, wearing two years' income round her neck, or of
being magnificent in only one item of her dress, household, or manner
of living, never occurred to my mind. We can all laugh when we read of
Indian chiefs wearing uniform-coats, and cocked-hats, without any other
articles of attire; but we cannot imagine inconsistencies in our own
cases, that are almost as absurd in the eyes of highly sophisticated and
conventional usages. To me, at that age, there was nothing in the least
out of the way, in Mrs. Miles Wallingford's wearing the necklace, her
husband being unequivocally its owner. As for Emily, she did not smile,
but continued to hold the necklace in her own very white, plump hand,
the pearls making the hand look all the prettier, while the hand
assisted to increase the lustre of the pearls. I ventured to ask her to
put the necklace on her neck. She blushed slightly, but she complied.

"Upon my word, Emily," exclaimed the gratified father, "you become each
other so well, that I am losing a prejudice, and begin to believe even a
poor man's daughter may be justified in using such an ornament."

The sight was certainly sufficient to justify anything of the sort. The
dazzling whiteness of Miss Merlon's skin, the admirable outlines of
her throat and bust, and the flush which pleasure gave her cheeks,
contributed largely to the beauty of the picture. It would have been
difficult to say, whether the charms of the woman ornamented the pearls,
or those of the pearls ornamented the woman! I remember I thought, at
the time, my eyes had never dwelt on any object more pleasing, than was
Miss Merton during the novelty of that spectacle. Nor did the pleasure
cease, on the instant; for I begged her to continue to wear the necklace
during the remainder of the day; a request with which she had the good
nature to comply. Which was most gratified by this exhibition, the young
lady or myself, it might be difficult to say; for there is a mutual
satisfaction in admiring, and in being admired.

When I went into the cabin to say good-night, I found Emily Merton, with
the necklace in her hand, gazing at it, by the light of a powerful lamp,
with eyes as liquid and soft as the pearls themselves. I stood still to
admire her; for never before had I seen her so bewitchingly beautiful.
Her countenance was usually a little wanting in intellectual expression,
though it possessed so much of that which I have described as _angelic_;
but, on this occasion, _it seemed to me_, to be full of ideas. Can it
be possible, whispered conceit--and what very young man is entirely free
from it--can it be possible, she is now thinking how happy a woman Mrs.
Miles Wallingford will one day be?--Am I in any manner connected with
that meditating brow, that reflecting air, that fixed look, that pleased
and yet doubting expression?

"I was about to send for you, Captain Wallingford," said Emily, the
instant she saw me, and confirming my conceited conjectures, by blushing
deeper than I had seen her before, in the whole of that blushing,
sensitive, and enjoyable day; "about to send for you, to take charge of
your treasure."

"And could you not assume that much responsibility, for a single night?"

"'T would be too great--it is an honour reserved for Mrs. Wallingford,
you know."

This was smilingly said, I fancied sweetly and kindly, and yet it was
said not altogether without something that approached to an _équivoque_;
a sort of manner that the deep, natural feeling of Grace, and
needle-like truth of Lucy had rendered unpleasant to me. I took the
necklace, shook the young lady's hand for good-night--we always did
that, on meeting and parting for the day--paid my compliments to the
father, and withdrew.

I was dressing next morning, when Neb came bolting into my state-room,
with his Clawbonny freedom of manner, his eyes looking lobsters, and
_his_ necklace of pearl, glittering between a pair of lips that
might have furnished a cannibal two famous steaks. As soon as fairly
established in command, I had brought the fellow aft, berthing him
in the steerage, in order to have the benefit of more of his personal
service than I could obtain while he was exclusively a foremast Jack.
Still, he kept his watch; for it would have been cruel to deprive, him
of that pleasure.

"Oh! Masser Mile!" exclaimed the black, as soon as he could speak; "'e
boat!--'e boat!"


"What of the boat?--Is any one overboard?"

"'E whale-boat, sir!--Poor Captain Marble--'e whale-boat, sir!"

"I understand you, Neb--go on deck, and desire the officer of the watch
to heave-to the ship, as soon as it is proper; I will come up, the
instant I can."

Here, then, I thought, Providence has brought us on the track of the
unfortunate whale-boat; and we shall doubtless see the mutilated remains
of some of our old companions--poor Marble, doubtless, from what Neb
said--well, the will of God be done. I was soon dressed; and, as I went
up the cabin-ladder, the movement on deck denoted the nature of the
excitement that now prevailed generally, in the ship. Just as I reached
the quarter-deck, the main-yard swung round, and the sails were brought
aback. The whole crew was in commotion, and it was some little time
before I could learn the cause.

The morning was misty, and the view round the ship, until within a few
minutes, had been confined to a circle of less than a mile in diameter.
As the sun rose, however, the mist broke away gradually, and then the
watch caught a view of the whale-boat mentioned by Neb. Instead of being
floating about on the ocean, with the remains of its unfortunate crew
lying in its bottom, as I had expected to see it, when I caught the
first glimpse of the unlooked-for object, it was not a mile distant,
pulling briskly for us, and containing not only a full, but a strong and
an animated crew.

Just at that instant, some one cried out "Sail-ho!" and sure enough, a
ship was seen some four or five miles to leeward, a whaler evidently,
turning to windward, under easy canvass, in order to rejoin her boat,
from which she had lately been separated by the night and the fog.
This, then, was no more than a whaler and her boat; and, on sweeping the
horizon with a glass, Talcott soon discovered, a mile to windward of the
boat, a dead whale, with another boat lying by it, in waiting for the
approach of the ship, which promised to fetch as far to windward, on its
next tack.

"They desire to speak us, I suppose, Mr. Talcott," I remarked. "The ship
is probably an American; it is likely the captain is in the boat, and he
wishes to send letters or messages home."

A shout came from Talcott, at the next instant--then he cried out--

"Three cheers, my lads; I see Captain Marble in that boat, as plainly as
I see the boat itself!"

The cheers that followed, were a spontaneous burst of joy. They reached
the approaching boat, and gave its inmate an earnest of his reception.
In three more minutes. Marble was on the deck of his old ship. For
myself, I was unable to speak; nor was poor Marble much better off
though more prepared for the interview.

"I knew you, Miles; I knew you, and the bloody 'Pretty Poll,'" he at
last got out, the tears running down his cheeks like water, "the moment
the fog lifted, and gave me a fair glimpse. They've got her--yes--d----n
her--God bless her, I mean--they've got her, and the bloody Frenchmen
will not go home with _that_ feather in their caps. Well, it couldn't
have happened to a cleverer fellow; and I'm just as happy as if I had
done it myself!"

There he stood, sound, safe, and sturdy as ever; and the four Sandwich
Islanders were all in the boat, just as well as if they had never
quitted the ship. Every man of the crew had to shake hands with Marble,
congratulations were to be exchanged, and a turbulent quarter of an hour
passed, before it was possible to get a coherent account from the man of
what had befallen him. As soon as practicable, however, he motioned for
silence, and told his own story aloud, for the benefit of all hands.

"You know how I left you, men," Marble commenced, swabbing his eyes and
cheeks, and struggling to speak with something like an appearance of
composure, "and the errand on which I went. The last I saw of you was
about half an hour before the gust broke. At that time I was so near the
ship, as to make out she was a whaler; and, nothing doubting of being
in sight of you in the morning, I thought it safer to pull alongside of
_her_, than to try to hunt for the schooner in the dark. I found an old
shipmate in the whaler's captain, who was looking for a boat that had
struck adrift the night before; and both parties were pleased. There was
not much time for compliments, however, as you all know. The ship bore
up to speak you, and then she bore up, again and again, on account of
the squalls. While Mr. Wallingford was probably hugging the wind in
order to find _me_, we were running off to save our spars; and next
morning we could see nothing of you. How else we missed each other, is
more than I can say; for I've no idee you went off and left me out here,
in the middle of the ocean--"

"We cruised for you, within five miles of the spot, for a whole day!" I
exclaimed, eagerly.

"No, no--Captain Marble," the men put in, in a body, "we did all that
men could do, to find you."

"I know it! I could swear to it, without a word from one of you. Well,
that's the whole story. We could not find you, and I stuck by the ship
as a matter of course, as there was no choice between that and jumping
overboard; and here has the Lord brought us together again, though we
are every inch of five hundred miles from the place where we parted."

I then took Marble below, and related to him all that had occurred since
the separation. He listened with the deepest interest, manifesting
the strongest sympathy in our success. Nothing but expressions of
gratification escaped him, until I remarked, as I concluded my account--

"And here is the old ship for you, sir, just as we lost her; and glad am
I to see her once more in so good hands."

"Who put that bloody poop on her, you or the Frenchman, Miles?"

"The Frenchman. Now it is peace, however, it is no great matter; and the
cabin is very convenient for the Major and his daughter."

"It's just like 'em! Spoiling the neatest quarter-deck on the ocean,
with a bloody supernumerary cabin!"

"Well, sir, as you are master now, you can have it all cut away again,
if you think proper."

"I! I cut away anything! I take the command of this ship from the man
who has so fairly won it! If I do, may I be d----d!"

"Captain Marble! You astonish me by this language, sir; but it
is nothing more than a momentary feeling, of which your own good
sense--nay, even your duty to the owners--will cause you to get rid."

"You never were more mistaken in your life, Master Miles Wallingford,"
answered Marble, solemnly. "I thought of all this the moment I
recognised the ship, and that was as soon as I saw her; and my mind
was made up from that instant. I cannot be so mean as to come in at the
seventh hour, and profit by your courage and skill. Besides, I have no
legal right to command here. The ship was more than twenty-four hours in
the enemy's hands, and she comes under the usual laws of recapture and
salvage."

"But the owners, Captain Marble--remember there is a cargo to be taken
in at Canton, and there are heavy interests at stake."

"By George, that would make me so much the more firm. From the first, I
have thought matters would be better in your hands than mine; you have
an education, and that's a wonderful thing, Miles. As to sailing a ship,
or stowing her, or taking care of her in heavy weather, or finding my
way across an ocean, I'll turn my back on no man; but it's a different
thing when it comes to figures and calculations."

"You disappoint me greatly in all this, sir; we have gone through so
much together--"

"We did not go through _the recapture of this vessel_ together, boy."

"But it was _your_ thought, and, but for an accident, would have been
your _deed_."

"I don't know that; I have reflected coolly in the matter, after I got
over my mortification; and I think we should have been flogged, had
we attacked the French at sea. Your own plan was better, and capitally
carried out. Harkee, Miles, this much will I do, and not a jot more.
You are bound to the island, I take it for granted, to pick up odds and
ends; and then you sail for Canton?"

"Precisely--I am glad you approve of it, as you must by seeing into it
so readily."

"Well, at the island, fill up the schooner with such articles as will be
of no use at Canton. Let her take in the copper, the English goods, and
the like of that; and I will carry her home, while you can pursue the
v'y'ge in the ship, as you alone have a right to do."

No arguments of mine could turn Marble from his resolution. I fought
him all day on the subject, and at night he was put in command of the
"Pretty Poll," with our old second-mate for his first officer.



CHAPTER XIX.

  "Thou shalt seek the beach of sand,
  Where the water bounds the elfin land;
  Thou shalt watch the oozy brine
  Till the sturgeon leaps in the light moonshine."
  DRAKE.


There is but a word to say of the whaler. We spoke her, of course, and
parted, leaving her her boat. She passed half an hour, close to us, and
then went after her whale. When we lost sight of her, she was cutting
in the fish, as coolly as if nothing had happened. As for ourselves, we
made the best of our way for the island.

Nothing worth relating occurred during the remainder of the passage.
We reached our place of destination ten days after we found Marble;
and carried both the ship and schooner into the lagoon, without any
hesitation or difficulty. Everything was found precisely as we had
left it; two months having passed as quietly as an hour. The tents were
standing, the different objects lay where they had been hastily dropped
at our hurried departure, and everything denoted the unchangeable
character of an unbroken solitude. Time and the seasons could alone have
produced any sensible alteration. Even the wreck had neither shifted her
bed, nor suffered injury. There she lay, seemingly an immovable fixture
on the rocks, and as likely to last, as any other of the durable things
around her.

It is always a relief to escape from the confinement of a ship, even if
it be only to stroll along the vacant sands of some naked beach. As soon
as the vessels were secured, we poured ashore in a body, and the people
were given a holiday. There was no longer an enemy to apprehend; and
we all enjoyed the liberty of movement, and the freedom from care that
accompanied our peculiar situation. Some prepared lines and commenced
fishing; others hauled the seine; while the less industriously disposed
lounged about, selected the fruit of the cocoa-nut tree, or hunted
for shells, of which there were many, and those extremely beautiful,
scattered along the inner and outer beaches, or lying, visible, just
within the wash of the water. I ordered two or three of the hands to
make a collection for Clawbonny; paying them, as a matter of course, for
their extra services. Their success was great; and I still possess the
fruits of their search, as memorials of my youthful adventures.

Emily and her maid took possession of their old tents, neither of
which had been disturbed; and I directed that the necessary articles of
furniture should be landed for their use. As we intended to remain eight
or ten days at Marble Land, there was a general disposition to make
ourselves comfortable; and the crew were permitted to bring such things
ashore as they desired, care being had for the necessary duties of the
ships. Since quitting London, we had been prisoners, with the short
interval of our former visit to this place, and it was now deemed wisest
to give the people a little relaxation. To all this, I was advised by
Marble; who, though a severe, and so often seemingly an obdurate man,
was in the main disposed to grant as much indulgence, at suitable
moments, as any officer I ever sailed with. There was an ironical
severity, at times, about the man, which misled superficial observers.
I have heard of a waggish boatswain in the navy, who, when disposed to
menace the crew with some of his official visitations, used to cry out,
"Fellow-citizens, I'm coming among you;" and the anecdote never recurs
to my mind, without bringing Marble back to my recollection. When in
spirits, he had much of this bitter irony in his manner; and his own
early experience had rendered him somewhat insensible to _professional_
suffering; but, on the whole, I always thought him a humane man.

We went into the lagoon, before the sun had risen; and before the
breakfast hour of those who lived aft, we had everything landed that
was necessary, and were in possession of our tents. I had ordered Neb to
attend particularly to the wants of the Mertons; and, precisely as the
bell of the ship struck eight, which, at that time of day, meant
eight o'clock, the black came with the major's compliments, inviting
"_Captain_" Wallingford and "_Captain_" Marble to breakfast.

"So it goes, Miles," added my companion, after promising to join the
party in a few moments. "This arrangement about the schooner leaves us
both captains, and prevents anything like your downhill work, which is
always unpleasant business. _Captain_ Marble and _Captain_ Wallingford
sound well; and I hope they may long sail in company. But natur' or art
never meant me for a captain."

"Well, admitting this, where there are _two_ captains, one must outrank
the other, and the senior commands. You should be called _Commodore_
Marble."

"None of your pleasantry, Miles," returned Marble, with a severe look
and a shake of the head; "it is by your favour, and I hope by your
good opinion, that I am master of even that little, half-blooded, part
French, part Yankee, schooner. It is my second, and I think it will be
my last command. I have generalized over my life, upon a large scale,
within the last ten days, and have come to the conclusion that the Lord
created me to be your mate, and not you to be mine. When natur' means
a man for anything partic'lar, she doesn't set him adrift among human
beings, as I was set adrift."

"I do not understand you, sir--perhaps you will give me an outline of
your history; and then all will be plain."

"Miles, oblige me in one particular--it will cost you no great struggle,
and will considerably relieve my mind."

"You have only to name it, sir, to be certain it will be done."

"Drop that bloody _sir_, then; it's unbecoming now, as between you and
me. Call me Marble, or Moses; as I call you, Miles."

"Well, be it so. Now for this history of yours, which you have promised
to give me, by the way, any time these two years."

"It can be told in a few words; and I hope it may be of service. A human
life, properly generalized on, is at any time as good as most sermons.
It is full of what I call the morality of idees. I suppose you know to
what I owe my names?"

"Not I--to your sponsors in baptism, like all the rest of us, I
suppose."

"You're nearer the truth than you may imagine, this time, boy. I was
found, a child of a week old, they tell me, lying in a basket, one
pleasant morning, in a stone-cutter's yard, on the North River side of
the town, placed upon a bit of stone that was hewing out for the head of
a grave, in order, as I suppose, that the workmen would be sure to
find me, when they mustered at their work. Although I have passed for a
down-easter, having sailed in their craft in the early part of my life,
I'm in truth York born."

"And is this all you know of your origin, my dear Marble?"

"All I _want_ to know, after such a hint. A man is never anxious to make
the acquaintance of parents who are afraid to own him. I dare say, now,
Miles, that _you_ knew, and loved, and respected _your_ mother?"

"Love, and respect her! I worshipped her, Marble; and she deserved it
all, if ever human being did!"

"Yes, yes; I can understand _that_," returned Marble, making a hole in
the sand with his heel, and looking both thoughtful and melancholy. "It
must be a great comfort to love and respect a mother! I've seen them,
particularly young women, that I thought set quite as much store by
their mothers, as they did by themselves. Well, no matter; I got into
one of poor Captain Robbins's bloody currents at the first start, and
have been drifting about ever since, just like the whale-boat with which
we fell in, pretty much as the wind blew. They hadn't the decency to pin
even a name--they might have got one out of a novel or a story-book, you
know, to start a poor fellow in life with--to my shirt; no--they just
set me afloat on that bit of a tombstone, and cast off the standing part
of what fastened me to anything human. There they left me, to generalize
on the 'arth and its ways, to my heart's content."

"And you were found next morning, by the stone-cutter, when he came,
again, to use his chisel."

"Prophecy couldn't have better foretold what happened. There I was
found, sure enough; and there I made my first escape from destruction.
Seeing the basket, which it seems was one in which he had brought his
own dinner, the day before, and forgotten to carry away with him, he
gave it a jerk to cast away the leavings, before he handed it to the
child who had come to take it home, in order that it might be filled
again, when out I rolled on the cold stone. There I lay, as near the
grave as a tomb-stone, when I was just a week old."

"Poor fellow--you could only know this by report, however. And what was
done with you?"

"I suppose, if the truth were known, my father was somewhere about
that yard; and little do I envy the old gentleman his feelings, if he
reflected much, over matters and things. I was sent to the Alms-House,
however; stone-cutters being nat'rally hard-hearted, I suppose. The fact
that I was left among such people, makes me think so much the more,
that my own father must have been one of them, or it never could have
happened. At all events, I was soon rated on the Alms-House books; and
the first thing they did was to give me some name. I was No. 19, for
about a week; at the age of fourteen days, I became Moses Marble."

"It was an odd selection, that your 'sponsors in baptism' made!"

"Somewhat--Moses came from the scriptur's, they tell me; there being a
person of that name, as I understand, who was turned adrift pretty much
as I was, myself."

"Why, yes--so far as the basket and the abandonment were concerned;
but he was put afloat fairly, and not clapped on a tomb-stone, as if to
threaten him with the grave at the very outset."

"Well, Tombstone came very near being my name. At first, they thought of
giving me the name of the man for whom the stone was intended; but, that
being Zollickoffer, they thought I never should be able to spell it.
Then came Tombstone, which they thought melancholy, and so they called
me Marble; consaiting, I suppose, it would make me _tough._"

"How long did you remain in the Alms-House, and at what age did you
first go to sea?"

"I staid among them the public feeds, until I was eight years old, and
then I took a hazy day to cut adrift from charity. At that time, Miles,
our country belonged to the British--or they treated it as if it did,
though I've heard wiser men than myself say, it was always our own, the
king of England only happening to be our king--but I was born a British
subject, and being now just forty, you can understand I went to sea
several years before the revolution."

"True--you must have seen service in that war, on one side, or the
other?"

"If you say _both_ sides, you'll not be out of the way. In 1775, I was
a foretop-man in the Romeny 50, where I remained until I was transferred
to the Connecticut 74--"

"The what?" said I, in surprise. "Had the English a line-of-battle ship
called the Connecticut?"

"As near as I could make it out: I always thought it a big compliment
for John Bull to pay the Yankees."

"Perhaps the name of your ship was the Carnatic? The sounds are not
unlike."

"Blast me, if I don't think you've hit it, Miles. Well, I'm glad of
it, for I run from the ship, and I shouldn't half like the thought of
serving a countryman such a trick. Yes, I then got on board of one
of our sloops, and tried my hand at settling the account with my old
masters. I was taken prisoner for my pains, but worried through the war
without getting my neck stretched. They wanted to make it out, on board
the old Jarsey, that I was an Englishman, but I told 'em just to prove
it. Let 'em only prove where I was born, I said, and I would give it
up. I was ready to be hanged, if they could only prove where I was born.
D----, but I sometimes thought I never _was_ born, at all."

"You are surely an American, Marble? A Manhattanese, born and educated?"

"Why, as it is not likely any person would import a child a week old, to
plant it on a tombstone, I conclude I am. Yes, I must be _that_; and
I have sometimes thought of laying claim to the property of Trinity
Church, on the strength of my birth-right. Well, as soon as the war was
over, and I got out of prison, and that was shortly after you were born,
Captain Wallingford, I went to work regularly, and have been ever since
sarving as dickey, or chief-mate, on board of some craft or other. If
I had no family bosom to go into, as a resting-place, I had my bosom to
fill with solid beef and pork, and that is not to be done by idleness."

"And, all this time, my good friend, you have been living, as it might
be, alone in the world, without a relative of any sort?"

"As sure as you are there. Often and often, have I walked through the
streets of New York, and said to myself, Among all these people, there
is not one that I can call a relation. My blood is in no man's veins,
but my own."

This was said with a bitter sadness, that surprised me. Obdurate, and
insensible to suffering as Marble had ever appeared to me, I was not
prepared to find him giving such evidence of feeling. I was then young,
but now am old; and one of the lessons learned in the years that have
intervened, is not to judge of men by appearances. So much sensibility
is hidden beneath assumed indifference, so much suffering really exists
behind smiling countenances, and so little does the exterior tell the
true story of all that is to be found within, that I am now slow to
yield credence to the lying surfaces of things. Most of all had I
learned to condemn that heartless injustice of the world, that renders
it so prompt to decide, on rumour and conjectures, constituting itself a
judge from which there shall be no appeal, in cases in which it has not
taken the trouble to examine, and which it had not even the power to
examine evidence.

"We are all of the same family, my friend," I answered, with a good
design at least, "though a little separated by time and accidents."

"Family!--Yes, I belong to my own family. I'm a more important man in
my family, than Bonaparte is in his; for I am all in all; ancestors,
present time and posterity!"

"It is, at least, your own fault you are the last; why not marry and
have children?"

"Because my parents did not set me the example," answered Marble, almost
fiercely. Then clapping his hand on my shoulder, in a friendly way,
as if to soothe me after so sharp a rejoinder, he added in a gentler
tone--"Come, Miles, the Major and his daughter will want their
breakfasts, and we had better join them. Talking of matrimony, there's
the girl for you, my boy, thrown into your arms almost nat'rally, as one
might say."

"I am far from being so sure of that. Marble." I answered, as both began
to walk slowly towards the tent "Major Merton might hot think it an
honour, in the first place, to let his daughter marry a Yankee sailor."

"Not such a one as myself, perhaps; but why not one like you? How
many generations have there been of you, now, at the place you call
Clawbonny?"

"Four, from father to son, and all of us Miles Wallingfords."

"Well, the old Spanish proverb says 'it takes three generations to make
a gentleman;' and here you have four to start upon. In _my_ family, all
the generations have been on the same level, and I count myself old in
my sphere."

"It is odd that a man like you should know anything of old Spanish
proverbs!"

"What? Of _such_ a proverb, think you, Miles? A man without even a
father or mother--who never had either, as one may say--and he not
remember such a proverb! Boy, boy, I never forget anything that so
plainly recalls the tomb-stone, and the basket, and the Alms-House, and
Moses, and the names!"

"But Miss Merton might object to the present generation," I resumed,
willing to draw my companion from his bitter thoughts, "however
favourably disposed her father might prove to the last."

"That will be your own fault, then. Here you have her, but on the
Pacific Ocean, all to yourself; and if you cannot tell your own story,
and that in a way to make her believe it, you are not the lad I take you
for."

I made an evasive and laughing answer; but, being quite near the tent
by this time, it was necessary to change the discourse. The reader may
think it odd, but that was the very first time the possibility of my
marrying Emily Merton ever crossed my mind. In London, I had regarded
her as an agreeable acquaintance, with just as much of the colouring of
romance and of the sentimental about our intercourse, as is common with
youths of nineteen and girls a little younger; but as nothing more. When
we met on the island, Emily appeared to me like a friend--a _female_
friend--and, of course, one to be viewed with peculiarly softened
feelings; still, as only a friend. During the month we had just passed
in the same ship, this tie had gradually strengthened; and I confess
to a perfect consciousness of there being on board a pretty girl in
her nineteenth year, of agreeable manners, delicate sentiments, and
one whose presence gave the Crisis a charm she certainly never enjoyed
during poor Captain Williams's time. Notwithstanding all this, there
was something--though what that something was, I did not then know
myself--which prevented me from absolutely falling in love with my fair
guest. Nevertheless, Marble's suggestion was not unpleasant to me; but,
on the other hand, it rather conduced to the satisfaction of my present
visit.

We were kindly received by our hosts, who always seemed to remember the
commencement of our acquaintance, when Marble and myself visited them
together. The breakfast had a little of the land about it; for Mons.
Le Compte's garden still produced a few vegetables, such as lettuce,
pepper-grass, radishes, &c.; most of which, however, had sown
themselves. Three or four fowls, too, that he had left on the island
in the hurry of his departure, had begun to lay; and Neb having found a
nest, we had the very unusual treat of fresh eggs. I presume no one will
deny that they were sufficiently "country-laid."

"Emily and myself consider ourselves as old residents here," the Major
observed, as he gazed around him, the table being set in the open air,
under some trees; "and I could almost find it in my heart to remain on
this beautiful island for the remainder of my days--quite, I think, were
it not for my poor girl, who might find the society of her old father
rather dull work, at her time of life."

"Well, Major," said Marble, "you have only to let your taste be known,
to have the ch'ice among all our youngsters to be her companion. There
is Mr. Talcott, a well-edicated and mannerly lad enough, and of good
connexions, they tell me; and as for Captain Wallingford here, I will
answer for _him_. My life on it, he would give up Clawbonny, and the
property on which he is the fourth of his name, to be king, or Prince of
Wales of this island, with such company!"

Now, it was Marble, and not I, who made this speech; and yet I heartily
wished it unsaid. It made me feel foolish and I dare say it made me
look foolish; and I know it caused Emily to blush. Poor girl! she, who
blushed so easily, and was so sensitive, and so delicately situated--she
was entitled to have more respect paid to her feelings. The Major and
Marble, however, took it all very coolly, continuing the discourse as if
nothing out of the way had been said.

"No doubt--no doubt," answered the first; "romance always finds votaries
among young people, and this place may well excite romantic feelings in
those who are older than these young men. Do you know, gentlemen, that
ever since I have known this island, I have had a strong desire to pass
the remainder of my days on it? The idea I have just mentioned to you,
therefore, is by no means one of a moment's existence."

"I am glad, at least, dear sir," observed Emily, laughing, "that the
desire has not been so strong as to induce you to make formal proposals
on the subject."

"You, indeed, are the great obstacle; for what could I do with a
discontented girl, whose mind would be running on balls, theatres, and
other amusements? We should not have even a church."

"And, Major Merton," I put in, "what could you, or any other man, do
with _himself_, in a place like this, without companions, books, or
occupation ?"

"If a conscientious man, Miles, he might think over the past; if a wise
one, he would certainly reflect on the future. I should have books,
since Emily and I could muster several hundred volumes between us; and,
_with_ books, I should have companions. What could I do? I should
have everything to create, as it might be, and the pleasure of seeing
everything rising up under my own hand. There would be a house to
construct--the materials of that wreck to collect--ropes, canvass,
timber, tar, sugar, and divers other valuables that are still out on the
reef, or which lie scattered about on the beach, to gather together, and
save against a rainy day. Then I would have a thought for my poultry;
and possibly you might be persuaded to leave me one or two of these
pigs, of which I see the French forgot half a dozen, in their haste to
cheat the Spaniards. Oh! I should live like a prince and be a prince
_regnant_ in the bargain."

"Yes, sir, you would be captain and all hands, if that would be any
gratification; but I think you would soon weary of your government, and
be ready to abdicate."

"Perhaps so, Miles; yet the thought is pleasant to me: but for this
dear girl, it would be particularly so. I have very few relatives; the
nearest I have being, oddly enough, your own country-people, gentlemen.
My mother was a native of Boston, where my father, a merchant, married
her; and I came very near being a Yankee myself, having been born but a
week after my parents landed in England. On my father's side, I have not
five recognised relatives, and they are rather distant; while those on
my mother's are virtually all strangers. Then I never owned a foot of
this earth on which we live, in my life--"

"Nor I," interrupted Marble, with emphasis.

"My father was a younger son; and younger sons in England are generally
lack-lands. My life has been such, and, I may add, my means such, that
I have never been in the way of purchasing even enough earth to bury me
in; and here, you see, is an estate that can be had for asking. How much
land do you fancy there is in this island, gentlemen? I mean, apart
from the beach, the sands and rocks; but such as has grass, and bears
trees--ground that might be tilled, and rendered productive, without
much labour?"

"A hundred thousand acres," exclaimed Marble, whose calculation was
received with a general laugh.

"It seems rather larger to me, sir," I answered, "than the farm at
Clawbonny. Perhaps there may be six or eight hundred acres of the
sort of land you mention; though the whole island must contain several
thousands--possibly four, or five."

"Well, four or five thousand acres of land make a good estate--but, as
I see Emily is getting frightened, and is nervous under the apprehension
of falling heir to such extensive possessions, I will say no more about
them."

No more _was_ said, and we finished our breakfasts, conversing of the
past, rather than of the future. The Major and Marble went to stroll
along the groves, in the direction of the wreck; while I persuaded Emily
to put on her hat and stroll--the other way.

"This is a singular notion of my father's," my fair companion remarked,
after a moment of musing; "nor is it the first time, I do assure you,
on which he has mentioned it. While we were here before, he spoke of it
daily."

"The scheme might do well enough for two ardent lovers," said I,
laughing; "but would scarcely be Wise for an elderly gentleman and his
daughter. I can imagine that two young people, warmly attached to
each other, might get along in such a place for a year or two, without
hanging themselves; but I fancy even love would tire out, after a while,
and they would set about building a boat, in which to be off."

"You are not very romantic, I perceive, Mr. Wallingford," Emily
answered, and I thought a little reproachfully. "Now, I own that to my
taste, I could be happy anywhere--here, as well as in London, surrounded
by my nearest and dearest friends."

"Surrounded! Ay, that would be a very different matter. Let me have your
father, yourself, honest Marble, good Mr. Hardinge, Rupert, dear, dear
Grace, and Lucy, with Neb and some others of my own blacks, and I should
ask no better home. The island is only in twenty, has plenty of shade
some delicious fruits, and Would be easily tilled--one might do here, I
acknowledge, and it would be pleasant to found a colony."

"And who are all these people you love so well, Mr. Wallingford, that
their presence would make a desert island pleasant?"

"In the first place, Major Merton is a half-pay officer in the British
service, who has been appointed to some civil station in India"--I
answered, gallantly. "He is a respectable, agreeable, well-informed
gentleman, a little turned of fifty, who might act as Judge and
Chancellor. Then he has a daughter--"

"I know more of her and her bad qualities than you do yourself,
_Sire_--but who are Rupert, and Grace, and Lucy--_dear, dear_ Grace,
especially?"

"Dear, _dearest_ Grace, Madam, is my sister--my _only_ sister--all the
sister I ever can have, either by marriage, or any other means, and
sisters are usually _dear_ to young men, I believe."

"Well--I knew you had a sister, and a _dear_ sister, but I also knew you
had but one. Now as to Rupert--"

"He is not another sister, you may be well assured. I have mentioned
to you a friend from childhood, who went to sea with me, at first, but,
disliking the business, has since commenced the study of the law."

"That, then, is Rupert. I remember some such touches of his character,
but did not know the name. Now, proceed on to the next--"

"What, Neb!--You know _him_ almost as well as I do myself. He is yonder
feeding the chickens, and will save his passage money."

"But you spoke of another--that is--was there not a Mr.--, Hardinge was
the name, I think?"

"Oh! true--I forgot Mr. Hardinge and Lucy, though they would be two of
the most important of the colonists. Mr. Hardinge is my guardian,
and will continue to be so a few months longer, and Lucy is his
daughter--Rupert's sister--the old gentleman is a clergyman, and would
help us to keep Sundays as one should, and might perform the marriage
ceremony, should it ever be required."

"Not much danger of that, I fancy, on your _desert_ island--your
Barrataria"--observed Miss Merton, quickly.

I cannot explain the sensitiveness of certain young ladies on such
points, unless it be through their consciousness. Now, had I been
holding this idle talk with Lucy, the dear, honest creature would have
laughed, blushed ever so little, possibly, and nodded her head in frank
assent; or, perhaps, she would have said "oh! certainly," in a way to
show that she had no desire to affect so silly a thing as to wish one to
suppose she thought young people would not get married at Marble Land,
as well as Clawbonny, or New York. Miss Merton, however, saw fit to
change the discourse, which soon turned on her father's health. On this
subject she was natural and full of strong affection. She was anxious to
get the Major out of the warm latitudes. His liver had been touched in
the West Indies, but he had hoped that he was cured, or he never would
have accepted the Bombay appointment. Experience, however, was giving
reason to suspect the contrary, and Emily wished him in a cold climate
as soon as possible, and that with an earnestness that showed she
regarded all that had been said about the island as sheer pleasantry.
We continued the conversation for an hour when, returning to the tent,
I left my fair companion with a promise to be as active as possible, in
order to carry the ship into a higher latitude. Still I did not deem the
island a particularly dangerous place, notwithstanding its position; the
trades and sea breezes, with its ample shades, rendering the spot one of
the most delightful tropical abodes I had ever been in.

After quitting Emily, I went to join Marble, who was alone, pacing a
spot beneath the trees, that poor Le Compte had worn into a path, and
which he had himself called his "quarter-deck."


"This Major Merton is a sensible man, Miles," the ex-mate began, as
soon as I dropped in alongside of him, and joined in his semi-trot;
"a downright, sensible sort of a philosopher-like man, accordin' to my
notion."

"What has he been telling you, now, that has seized your fancy so much
stronger than common?"

"Why, I was thinking of this idee of his, to remain on the island, and
pass the remainder of the v'y'ge here, without slaving day and night to
get up two or three rounds of the ladder of promotion, only to fall down
again."

"And did the Major speak of such things? I know of no disappointments of
his, to sour him with the world."

"I was not speaking for Major Merton, but for myself, Miles. To tell
you the truth, boy, this idee seems just suited to me, and I have almost
made up my mind to remain behind, here, when you sail."

I looked at Marble with astonishment; the subject on which the Major had
spoken in pleasantry, rather than with any real design of carrying his
project into execution, was one that my old messmate regarded seriously!
I had noted the attention with which he listened to our discourse,
during breakfast, and the strong feeling with which he spoke at the
time, but had no notion of the cause of either. I knew the man too well,
not to understand, at once, that he was in sober earnest, and had too
much experience of his nature, not to foresee the greatest difficulty
in turning him from his purpose. I understood the true motive to be
professional mortification at all that occurred since he had succeeded
Captain Williams in command; for Marble was much too honest and too
manly, to think for a moment of concealing his own misfortunes behind
the mantle offered by my success.

"You have not thought of this matter sufficiently, my friend," I
answered, evasively, knowing the folly of attempting to laugh the
matter off--"when you have slept on it a night, you will see things
differently."

"I fancy not, Miles. Here is all I want, and just what I want. After
you have taken away everything that can be required for the vessels, or
desirable to the owners, there will be enough left to keep me a dozen
lives."

"It is not on account of food, that I speak--the island alone in its
fruits, fish and birds, to say nothing as to the seeds, and fowls, and
pigs, we could leave you, would be sufficient to keep fifty men;
but, think of the solitude, the living without object, the chances of
sickness--the horrible death that would follow to one unable to rise and
assist himself, and all the other miseries of being alone. Depend on
it, man was not created to live alone. Society is indispensable to him,
and--"

"I have thought of it all, and find it entirely to my taste. I tell you,
Miles, I should be exactly in my sphere, in this island, and that as a
hermit. I do not say I should not like _some_ company, if it could
be yourself, or Talcott, or the Major, or even Neb; but no company is
better than bad; and as for asking, or _allowing_ any one to stay with
me, it is out of the question. I did, at first, think of keeping the
Sandwich Islanders; but it would be bad faith, and they would not be
likely to remain quiet, after the ship had sailed. No, I will remain
alone. You will probably report the island when you get home, and that
will induce some vessel, which may be passing near, to look for me, so I
shall hear of you all, every four or five years."

"Gracious heaven! Marble, you cannot be serious in so mad a design?"

"Just look at my situation, Miles, and decide for yourself. I am without
a friend on earth--I mean nat'ral friend--I know what sort of friend you
are, and parting with you will be the toughest of all--but I have not a
relation on the wide earth--no property, no home no one to wish to see
me return, not even a cellar to lay my head in. To me all places are
alike, with the exception of this, which, having discovered, I look upon
as my own."

"You have a _country_, Marble; and that is the next thing to family and
home--overshadows all."

"Ay, and I'll have a country here. This will be America, having been
discovered by Americans, and in their possession. You will leave me the
buntin', and I'll show the stars and stripes of a 4th of July, just as
you will show 'em, in some other part of the world. I was born Yankee,
at least, and I'll die Yankee, I've sailed under that flag, boy, ever
since the year '77, and will not sail under another you may depend on
it."

"I never could justify myself to the laws for leaving a man behind me in
such a place."

"Then I'll run, and that will make all right. But, you know well enough,
boy, that leaving a captain is one thing, and leaving a man another."

"And what shall I tell all your acquaintances, those who have sailed
with you so often and so long, has become of their old ship-mate?"

"Tell 'em that the man who was once _found_, is now _lost_," answered
Marble, bitterly. "But I am not such a fool as to think myself of
so much importance as you seem to imagine. The only persons who will
consider the transaction of any interest will be the newspaper gentry,
and they will receive it only as _news_, and thank you about half as
much as they would for a murder, or a robbery, or the poisoning of a
mother and six little children."

"I think, after all, you would scarcely find the means of supporting
yourself," I added, looking round in affected doubt; for I felt, at each
instant, how likely my companion was to adhere to his notion, and this
from knowing him so well. "I doubt if the cocoa is healthy, all the year
round, and there must be seasons when the trees do not bear."

"Have no fear of that sort. I have my own fowling-piece, and you will
leave me a musket, or two, with some ammunition. Transient vessels,
now the island is known, will keep up the supply. There are two hens
setting, at this moment, and a third has actually hatched. Then one of
the men tells me there is a litter of pigs, near the mouth of the bay.
As for the hogs and the poultry, the shell-fish and berries will keep
them; but there are fifteen hogsheads of sugar on the beach, besides
thirty or forty more in the wreck, and all above water. There are casks
of beans and peas, the sea-stores of the French, besides lots of other
things. I can plant, and fish, and shoot, and make a fence from the
ropes of the wreck, and have a large garden, and all that a man can
want. Our own poultry, you know, has long been out; but there is still a
bushel of Indian-corn left, that was intended for their feed. One quart
of that, will make me a rich man, in such a climate as this, and with
soil like that on the flat between the two groves. I own a chest of
tools, and am, ship-fashion, both a tolerable carpenter and blacksmith;
and I do not see that I shall want for anything. You _must_ leave half
the things that are scattered about, and so far from being a man to
be pitied, I shall be a man to be envied. Thousands of wretches in the
greatest thoroughfares of London, would gladly exchange their crowded
streets and poverty, for my solitude and abundance."

I began to think Marble was not in a state of mind to reason with, and
changed the subject. The day passed in recreation, as had been intended;
and next morning we set about filling up the schooner. We struck in all
the copper, all the English goods, and such portions of the Frenchman's
cargo as would be most valuable in America. Marble, however, had
announced to others his determination to remain behind, to abandon the
seas, and to turn hermit. As his first step, he gave up the command of
the Pretty Poll, and I was obliged to restore her, again, to our old
third-mate, who was every way competent to take care of her. At the end
of the week, the schooner was ready, and despairing of getting Marble
off in _her_, I ordered her to sail for home, viâ Cape Horn; giving
especial instructions not to attempt Magellan. I wrote to the owners,
furnishing an outline of all that had occurred, and of my future plans,
simply remarking that Mr. Marble had declined acting out of motives of
delicacy, since the re-capture of the ship; and that, in future, their
interests must remain in my care. With these despatches the schooner
sailed. Marble and I watched her until her sails became a white speck on
the ocean, after which she suddenly disappeared.

As for the ship, she was all ready; and my only concern now was
in relation to Marble. I tried the influence of Major Merton; but,
unfortunately, that gentleman had already said too much in favour of our
friend's scheme, in ignorance of its effect, to gain much credit when
he turned round, and espoused the other side. The arguments of Emily
failed, also. In fact, it was not reason, but feeling that governed
Marble; and, in a bitter hour, he had determined to pass the remainder
of his days where he was. Finding all persuasion useless, and the
season approaching when the winds rendered it necessary to sail, I was
compelled to yield, or resort to force. The last I was reluctant to
think of; nor was I certain the men would have obeyed me had I ordered
them to use it. Marble had been their commander so long, that he might,
at any moment, have re-assumed the charge of the ship; and it was not
probable his orders would have been braved under any circumstances that
did not involve illegality, or guilt. After a consultation with the
Major, I found it necessary to yield to this whim, though I did so with
greater reluctance than I ever experienced on any other occasion.



CHAPTER XX.

  "Pass on relentless world! I grieve
    No more for all that thou hast riven!
  Pass on, in God's name--only leave
    The things thou never yet hast given.--"
  LUNT.


After every means had been uselessly exhausted to persuade Marble from
his design, it only remained to do all we could to make him comfortable
and secure. Of enemies, there was no danger, and care was not necessary
for defence. We got together, however, some of the timber, planks and
other materials, that were remaining at the shipyard, and built him a
cabin, that offered much better shelter against the tropical storms that
sometimes prevailed, than any tent could yield. We made this cabin
as wide as a plank is long, or twelve feet, and some five or six feet
longer. It was well sided and tightly roofed, having three windows and a
door. The lights of the wreck supplied the first, and her cabin-door the
last. We had hinges, and everything that was necessary to keep things in
their place. There was no chimney required, fire being unnecessary for
warmth in that climate; but the French had brought their camboose
from the wreck, and this we placed under a proper covering at a short
distance from the hut, the strength of one man being insufficient to
move it. We also enclosed, by means of ropes, and posts made of the ribs
of the wreck, a plot of ground of two acres in extent, where the land
was the richest and unshaded, so as to prevent the pigs from injuring
the vegetables; and, poor Marble knowing little of gardening, I had a
melancholy pleasure in seeing the whole piece dug, or rather hoed up,
and sown and planted myself, before we sailed. We put in corn, potatoes,
peas, beans, lettuce, radishes, and several other things, of which
we found the seeds in the French garden. We took pains, moreover, to
transport from the wreck, many articles that it was thought might prove
of use, though they were too heavy for Marble to handle. As there
were near forty of us, all busy in this way for three or four days, we
effected a great deal, and may be said to have got the island in order.
I felt the same interest in the duty, that I should in bestowing a child
for life.

Marble, himself, was not much among us all this time. He rather
complained that I should leave him nothing to do, though I could see
he was touched by the interest we manifested in his welfare. The French
launch had been used as the means of conveyance between the wreck
and the beach, and we found it where it had been left by its original
owners, anchored to-leeward of the island, and abreast of the ship. It
was the last thing I meddled with and it was my care to put it in such a
state that, at need, it might be navigated across that tranquil sea, to
some other island, should Marble feel a desire to abandon his solitude.
The disposition I made of the boat was as follows:--

The launch was large and coppered, and it carried two lug-sails. I had
both masts stepped, with the yards, sails, sheets, &c. prepared, and put
in their places; a stout rope was next carried round the entire boat,
outside, and a few inches below the gunwale, where it was securely
nailed. From this rope, led a number of lanyards, with eyes turned into
their ends. Through these eyes I rove a sort of ridge-rope, leading it
also through the eyes of several stancheons that were firmly stepped on
the thwarts. The effect, when the ridge-rope was set up, was to give
the boat the protection of this waist-cloth, which inclined inboard,
however, sufficiently to leave an open passage between the two sides, of
only about half the beam of the boat. To the ridge-rope and lanyards,
I had tarpaulins firmly attached, tacking their lower edges strongly to
the outer sides of the boat. By this arrangement, when all was in its
place, and properly secured, a sea might break, or a wave slap against
the boat, without her taking in much water. It doubled her security in
this particular, more than answering the purposes of a half-deck and
wash-board. It is true, a very heavy wave might carry all away; but very
heavy waves would probably fill the boat, under any circumstances. Such
a craft could only find safety in her buoyancy; and we made her as safe
as an undecked vessel very well could be.

Marble watched me while I was superintending these changes in the
boat, with a good deal of interest; and one evening--I had announced an
intention to sail next morning, the Major and Emily having actually gone
on board--that evening, he got my arm, and led me away from the spot,
like a man who has urgent business. I could see that he was much
affected, and had strong hopes he intended to announce a change of
purpose. His hand actually trembled, the whole time it grasped my arm.

"God bless you! Miles--God bless you, dear boy!" he said, speaking with
difficulty, as soon as we were out of earshot from the others. "If any
being could make me pine for the world, it would be such a friend as
you. I could live on without father or mother, brother or sister, ship
or confidence of my owners, good name even, were I sure of meeting such
a lad as yourself in only every thousandth man I fell in with. But,
young as you are, you know how it is with mankind; and no more need
be said about it. All I ask now is, that you will knock off with this
'making him comfortable,' as you call it, or you'll leave me nothing
to do for myself. I can fit out that boat as well as e'er a man in the
Crisis, I'd have you to know."

"I am well aware of that, my friend; but I am not so certain that you
_would._ In that boat, I am in hopes you will follow us out to sea, and
come on board again, and take your old place as master."

Marble shook his head, and I believe he saw by my manner that I had
no serious expectations of the sort I named. We walked some distance
farther, in silence, before he again spoke. Then he said suddenly, and
in a way to show how much his mind was troubled--

"Miles, my dear fellow, you must let me hear from you!"

"Hear from me! By what means, pray? You cannot expect the
Postmaster-General will make a mail-route between New York and this
island?"

"Poh! I'm getting old, and losing my memory. I was generalizing on
friendship, and the like of that, and the idee ran away with me. I know,
of course, when you are out of sight, that I shall be cut off from the
rest of the world--probably shall never see a human face again. But what
of that? My time cannot be long now, and I shall have the fish, fowls
and pigs to talk to. To tell you the truth, Miles. Miss Merton gave me
her own Bible yesterday, and, at my request, she pointed out that part
which gives the account about Moses in the bulrushes, and I've just been
looking it over: it is easy enough, now, to understand why I was called
Moses."

"But Moses did not think it necessary to go and live in a desert, or on
an uninhabited island, merely because he was found in those bulrushes."

_"That_ Moses had no occasion to be ashamed of his parents. It was
fear, not shame, that sent him adrift. Nor did Moses ever let a set of
lubberly Frenchmen seize a fine, stout ship, like the Crisis, with a
good, able-bodied crew of forty men on board her."

"Come, Marble, you have too much sense to talk in this manner. It is,
fortunately, not too late to change your mind; and I will let it be
understood that you did so at my persuasion."

This was the commencement of a final effort on my part to induce my
friend to abandon his mad project. We conversed quite an hour, until
I had exhausted my breath, as well as my arguments, indeed; and all
without the least success. I pointed out to him the miserable plight he
must be in, in the event of illness; but it was an argument that had
no effect on a man who had never had even a headach in his life. As for
society, he cared not a straw for it when ashore, he often boasted;
and he could not yet appreciate the effects of total solitude. Once or
twice, remarks escaped him as if he thought it possible I might one
day return; but they were ventured in pleasantry, rather than with any
appearance of seriousness. I could see that the self-devoted hermit had
his misgivings, but I could obtain no verbal concession from him to that
effect. He was reminded that the ship must positively sail next day,
since it would not do to trifle with the interests of the owners any
longer.

"I know it, Miles," Marble answered, "and no more need be said on the
subject. Your people are through with their work, and here comes Neb to
report the boat ready to go off. I shall try my hand ashore to-night,
alone; in the morning, I suppose you would like to take an old shipmate
by the hand for the last time, and you will nat'rally look for me at the
water-side. Good-night! Before we part, however, I may as well thank you
for the supply of clothes I see you have put in my hut. It was scarcely
wanted, as I have enough needles and thread to supply a slop-shop; and
the old duck left by the French will keep me in jackets and trowsers for
the remainder of my days. Good-night, my dear boy! God bless you--God
bless you!"

It was nearly dark, but I could see that Marble's eyes looked moist, and
feel that his hand again trembled. I left him, not without the hope
that the solitude of this night, the first in which he had been left by
himself, would have the effect to lessen his desire to be a hermit.
When I turned in, it was understood that all hands were to be called at
daylight, and the ship unmoored.

Talcott came to call me, at the indicated moment. I had made him
chief-mate, and taken one of the Philadelphians for second officer; a
young man who had every requisite for the station, and one more than
was necessary, or a love of liquor. But, drunkards do tolerably well
on board a ship in which reasonable discipline is maintained. For that
matter, Neptune ought to be a profound moralist, as youths are very
generally sent to sea to cure most of the ethical flings. Talcott was
directed to unmoor, and heave short. As for myself, I got into a boat
and pulled ashore, with an intention of making a last and strong appeal
to Marble.

No one was visible on the island when we reached it. The pigs and fowls
were already in motion, however, and were gathering near the door of the
hut, where Marble was accustomed to feed them about that hour; the fowls
on _sugar_, principally. I proceeded to the door, opened it, entered the
place, and found it empty! Its late inmate was then up, and abroad. He
had probably passed a sleepless night, and sought relief in the fresh
air of the morning. I looked for him in the adjacent grove, on the outer
beach, and in most of his usual haunts. He was nowhere visible. A little
vexed at having so long a walk before me, at a moment when we were so
much pressed for time, I was about to follow the grove to a distant part
of the island, to a spot that I knew Marble frequented a good deal, when
moody; but my steps were arrested by an accidental glance at the lagoon.
I missed the Frenchman's launch, or the boat I had: myself caused to be
rigged with so much care, the previous day, for the intended hermit's
especial advantage. This was a large boat; one that had been constructed
to weigh a heavy anchor; and I had left her, moored between a grapnel
and the shore, so securely, as to forbid the idea she could have been
moved, in so quiet a time, without the aid of hands. Rushing to the
water, I got into my own boat, and pulled directly on board.

On reaching the ship, a muster of all hands was ordered. The result
proved that everybody was present, and at duty. It followed that Marble,
alone, had carried the boat out of the lagoon. The men who had had the
anchor-watches during the past night, were questioned on the subject;
but no one had seen or heard anything of a movement in the launch. Mr.
Talcott was told to continue his duty, while I went aloft myself, to
look at the offing. I was soon in the main-top-mast cross-trees, where
a view was commanded of the whole island, a few covers excepted, of all
the water within the reef, and of a wide range without. Nowhere was the
boat or Marble to be seen. It was barely possible that he had concealed
himself behind the wreck, though I did not see how even this could be
done, unless he had taken the precaution to strike the launch's masts.

By this time, our last anchor was aweigh, and the ship was clear of
the bottom. The top-sails had been hoisted before I went aloft, and
everything was now ready for filling away. Too anxious to go on deck,
under such circumstances, and a lofty position being the best for
ascertaining the presence of rocks, I determined to remain where I was,
and conn the ship through the passes, in my own person. An order was
accordingly given to set the jib, and to swing the head-yards, and get
the spanker on the ship. In a minute, the Crisis was again in motion,
moving steadily towards the inlet. As the lagoon was not entirely free
from danger, coral rocks rising in places quite near the surface of the
water, I was obliged to be attentive to the pilot's duty, until we
got into the outer bay, when this particular danger in a great measure
disappeared. I could then look about me with more freedom. Though we so
far changed our position, as respected the wreck, as to open new views
of it, no launch was to be seen behind it. By the time the ship reached
the passage through the reef, I had little hope of finding it there.

We had got to be too familiar with the channels, to have any difficulty
in taking the ship through them; and we were soon fairly to windward of
the reef. Our course, however, lay to leeward; and we passed round the
southern side of the rocks, under the same easy canvass, until we got
abreast, and within half a cable's length of the wreck. To aid my own
eyes, I had called up Talcott and Neb; but neither of us could obtain
the least glimpse of the launch. Nothing was to be seen about the wreck;
though I took the precaution to send a boat to it. All was useless.
Marble had gone out to sea, quite alone, in the Frenchman's launch; and,
though twenty pairs of eyes were now aloft, no one could even fancy that
he saw anything in the offing, that resembled a boat.

Talcott and myself had a private interview on the subject of Marble's
probable course. My mate was of opinion, that our friend had made the
best of his way for some of the inhabited islands, unwilling to remain
here, when it came to the pinch, and yet ashamed to rejoin us. I could
hardly believe this; in such a case, I thought he would have waited
until we had sailed; when he might have left the island also, and nobody
been the wiser. To this Talcott answered that Marble probably feared our
importunities; possibly, compulsion. It seemed singular to me, that a
man who regretted his hasty decision, should adopt such a course;
and yet I was at a loss to explain the matter much more to my own
satisfaction. Nevertheless, there was no remedy. We were as much in the
dark as it was possible to be with a knowledge of the circumstance that
the bird had flown.

We hovered around the reef for several hours, most of which time I
passed in the cross-trees, and some of it on the royal-yard. Once,
I thought I saw a small speck on the ocean, dead to windward, that
resembled a boat's sail; but there were so many birds flying about, and
glancing beneath the sun's rays, that I was reluctantly compelled to
admit it was probably one of them. At meridian, therefore, I gave the
order to square away, and to make sail on our course. This was done
with the greatest reluctance, however, and not without a good deal of
vaciliation of purpose. The ship moved away from the land rapidly, and
by two o'clock, the line of cocoa-nut trees that fringed the horizon
astern, sunk entirely beneath the rolling margin of our view. From that
moment, I abandoned the expectation of ever seeing Moses Marble again,
though the occurrence left all of us sad, for several days.

Major Merton and his daughter were on the poop, nearly the whole of this
morning. Neither interfered in the least; for the old soldier was too
familiar with discipline to venture an opinion concerning the management
of the ship. When we met at dinner, however, the conversation naturally
turned on the disappearance of our old friend.

"It is a thousand pities that pride should have prevented Marble from
acknowledging his mistake," observed the Major, "and thus kept him from
getting a safe passage to Canton, where he might have left you, and
joined another ship had he thought it necessary."

"Where we shall do the same thing, I suppose, dear sir," added
Emily, with a manner that I thought marked, "and thus relieve Captain
Wallingford from the encumbrance of our presence."

"Me!--call your delightful society anything but an enumbrance, I beg of
you, Miss Merton," I rejoined in haste.

"Now, that Mr. Le Compte has furnished this comfortable cabin, and
you are no longer at any inconvenience to yourselves, I would not be
deprived of the advantage and pleasure of this association, for more
than I dare mention."

Emily looked gratified; while her father appeared to me to be
thoughtful. After a brief pause, however, the Major resumed the
discourse.

"I should certainly feel myself bound to make many apologies for the
trouble we are giving," he said, "especially, since I understand from
Wallingford, he will not accept, either for himself or his owners,
anything like compensation even for the food we consume, were it not
that we are here by constraint, and not by any agency of our own. As
soon as we reach Canton, however, I shall feel it a duty to get on board
the first English ship that will receive us."

I stole a glance at Emily, but could not understand the expression of
her countenance, as she heard this announcement. Of course, I made an
earnest protest against the Major's doing anything of the sort; and yet
I could not well find any sufficient reason for urging him to remain
where he was, beyond my own gratification. I could not go to either
England, or Bombay; and I took it for granted Major Merton wished to
proceed, at once, to one, if not to both of these places. We conversed,
a little generally perhaps, on the subject for some time longer; and
when I left the cabin, it struck me, Emily's melancholy had, in no
degree, lessened.

It is a long road to traverse over half of the Pacific. Weeks and weeks
were thus occupied; Talcott and myself profiting by every suitable
occasion, to enjoy the advantages of the association chance had thus
thrown in our way. I make no doubt I was greatly benefited by my
constant communications with the Mertons; the Major being a cultivated,
though not a particularly brilliant, man; while I conceive it to
be utterly impossible for two young men, of our time of life and
profession, to be daily, almost hourly, in the company of a young woman
like Emily Merton, without losing some of the peculiar roughness of
the sea, and getting, in its place, some small portion of the gentler
qualities of the saloon. I date a certain _a plomb_, an absence of
shyness in the company of females, from this habitual intercourse
with one of the sex who had, herself, been carefully educated in
the conventionalities of respectable, if not of very elegant or
sophisticated society.

At length we reached the China seas, and falling in to windward, we made
a quick run to Canton. It now became necessary for me to attend to the
ship and the interests of my owners; suffering my passengers to land
at Whampoa, with the understanding we were to meet before either party
sailed. I soon disposed of the sandal-wood and skins, and found no
difficulty in procuring teas, nankins, china-ware, and the other
articles pointed out, in the instructions to poor Captain Williams.
I profited by the occasion, also, to make certain purchases on my own
account, that I had a presentiment would be particularly agreeable
to the future mistress of Clawbonny, let that lady turn out to be
whomsoever she might. The dollars obtained on the west coast of South
America enabled me to do this; my instructions giving the necessary
authority to use a few of them on private account. My privilege as
master rendered all proper.

In a word, the residence of six or eight weeks at Canton, proved a very
advantageous affair for those whose money was embarked in the Crisis.
Sandal-wood and sea-otter skins brought particularly high prices; while
teas, and the manufactures of the country, happened to be low. I had no
merit in this; not a particle; and yet I reaped the advantage, so far as
advantage was connected with the mere reputation of the voyage; success
being of nearly as great account in commerce, as in war. It is true,
I worked like a dog; for I worked under an entirely novel sense of
responsibility, and with a feeling I am certain that could never have
oppressed me in the care of my own property; and I deserved some portion
of the credit subsequently obtained. At all events, I was heartily
rejoiced when the hatches were on, and the ship was once more ready for
sea.

It now became a duty, as well as a pleasure, to seek Major Merton, whom
I had seen but once or twice during the last two months. He had passed
that time at Whampao, while I had been either at the factories, or
on board. The Major was occupied when I called; and Emily received me
alone. When she learned that I was ready to sail for home, and had
come to take my leave, it was easy to see that she was uneasy, if
not distressed. I felt unhappy at parting too, and perhaps I had less
scruple about saying as much.

"God only knows, Miss Merton, whether we are ever to be permitted to see
each other again," I remarked, after the preliminary explanations had
been made.

The reader will remember that I am now an old man, and that vanity no
longer has any of that influence over me which it might be supposed
to possess over one of more juvenile hopes and feelings; that I relate
facts, without reference to their effect on myself, beyond the general
salvo of some lingering weaknesses of humanity. I trust, therefore, I
shall be understood in all my necessary allusions to the estimation in
which I was apparently held by others. Emily fairly started when I
made this remark concerning the probable duration of the approaching
separation, and the colour left her cheek. Her pretty white hand
shook, so that she had difficulty in using her needle; and there was an
appearance of agitation and distress about the charming girl, that I had
never before witnessed in one whose manner was usually so self-possessed
and calm. I _now_ know the reason why I did not throw myself on my
knees, and beg the charming girl to consent to accompany me to America,
though I wondered at myself afterwards, when I came to reflect coolly
on all that passed, for my stoicism. I will not affirm that I fancied
Emily's agitation to be altogether owing to myself; but I confess to
an inability to account for it, in any other manner, as agreeable
to myself. The appearance of Major Merton at that instant, however,
prevented everything like a scene, and probably restored us both to
a consciousness of the necessity of seeming calm. As for the Major,
himself, he was evidently far from being unconcerned, something having
occurred to disturb him. So very apparent was this, that I commenced the
discourse by asking if he were unwell.

"Always _that,_ I fear, Miles," he answered; "my physician has just told
me frankly, unless I get into a cold climate as soon as possible, my
life will not be worth six months' purchase."

"Then sail with me, sir," I cried, with an eagerness and heartiness that
must have proved my sincerity. "Happily, I am not too late to make the
offer; and, as for getting away, I am ready to sail to-morrow!"

"I am forbidden to go near Bombay," continued the Major, looking
anxiously at his daughter; "and that appointment must be abandoned. If I
could continue to hold it, there is no probability of a chance to reach
my station this half-year."

"So much the better for me, sir. In four or five months from this
moment, I will land you in New York, where you will find the climate
cold enough for any disease. I ask you as friends--as guests--not as
passengers; and to prove it, the table of the upper cabin, in future,
shall be mine. I have barely left room in the lower cabin to sleep or
dress in, having filled it with my own private venture, as is my right."

"You are as generous as kind, Miles; but what will your owners think of
such an arrangement?"

"They have no right to complain. The cabin and passengers, should any
of the last offer, after deducting a very small allowance for the ship's
portion of the food and water, are mine by agreement. All the better
food I find at my own charge; and, should you insist on remunerating the
owners for the coarser, or such as they find, you can do so, it will be
less than a hundred dollars, at the most."

"On these conditions, then, I shall thankfully profit by your offer;
attaching, however, one more that I trust you may be permitted to
fulfil. It is important to me that I reach England--can you touch at St.
Helena?"

"Willingly, if it be your wish. The health of the crew, moreover, may
render it desirable."

"There, then, I will quit you, if an opportunity offer to proceed to
England. Our bargain is made, dear Miles; and to-morrow I shall be ready
to embark."

I think Emily never looked more beautiful than she did while listening
to this arrangement. It doubtless relieved her mind on the painful
subject of her father's health, and I fancied it relieved it also on the
subject of our own immediate separation. Months must elapse before we
could reach St. Helena; and who could foresee what those months might
bring forth? As I had a good deal to do at such a moment, I took my
leave, with my feelings lightened, as it might be, of a burthen. The
reader will at once infer, I was in love. But he will be mistaken. I was
not in love; though my imagination, to use a cant phrase of some of the
sects, was greatly exercised. Lucy, even then, had a hold of my _heart_
in a way of which I was ignorant myself; but it was not in nature for a
youth, just approaching his majority, to pass months and months, almost
alone, in the society of a lovely girl who was a year or two his junior,
and not admit some degree of tenderness towards her in big feelings. The
circumstances were sufficient to try the constancy of the most faithful
swain that ever lived. Then, it must be remembered that I had never
professed love to Lucy--was not at all aware that she entertained any
other sentiment towards me than that she entertained towards Rupert;
whereas Emily--but I will not prove myself a coxcomb on paper, whatever
I might have been, at the moment, in my own imagination.

Next day, at the appointed hour, I had the happiness to receive my old
passengers. It struck me that Talcott was as much gratified as I was
myself; for he, too, had both pleasure and improvement in Emily Morton's
society. It has often been said that the English East-India ships are
noted for quarrelling and making love. The quarrels may be accounted for
on the same principle as the love-making, viz., propinquity; the same
proximity producing hostility in whose sterner natures, that, in others
of a gentler cast, produces its opposite feeling. We sailed, and it is
scarcely necessary to tell the reader how much the tedium of so long a
voyage, and the monotony of a sea-voyage, was relieved by the graces
and gentle intercourse of our upper cabin. The other apartment being so
crowded and hot, I passed most of my time in the poop, which was both
light and airy. Here I generally found the father and daughter, though
often the latter alone. I played reasonably well on the flute and
violin, and had learned to accompany Emily on her piano, which, it will
be remembered, Mons. Le Compte had caused to be transferred from the
Bombay ship to his own vessel, and which had subsequently been saved
from the wreck.

Talcott played also on the flute, far better than I did myself; and we
frequently made a trio, producing very respectable sea-music--better,
indeed, than Neptune often got for his smiles. In this manner, then,
we travelled our long road, sometimes contending with head-winds and
cross-seas, sometimes becalmed, and sometimes slipping along at a rate
that rendered everybody contented and happy.

In passing the Straits of Sunda, I related to Major Merton and Emily the
incidents of the John's affair with the proas, and her subsequent loss
on the island of Madagascar; and was rewarded by the interest they
took in the tale. We all spoke of Marble, as indeed we often did, and
expressed our regrets at his absence. The fate of my old shipmate was
frequently discussed among us, there being a great diversity of opinion
on the subject. As for the Major, he thought poor Marble must be lost
at sea, for he did not perceive how any one man could manage a boat all
alone by himself. Talcott, who had juster notions of what a seaman could
do, was of opinion that our late commander had run to leeward, in the
hope of finding some inhabited island, preferring the association of
even cannibals, when it came to the trying moment, to total solitude.
I thought he had gone to windward, the boat being so well equipped for
that service, and that Marble was in the expectation of falling in with
some of the whalers, who were known to be cruising in certain latitudes.
I was greatly struck, however, by a remark made by Emily, on the evening
of the very day when we passed the Straits of Sunda.

"Should the truth be ever known, gentlemen," she said, "I am of opinion
it will be found that poor Mr. Marble only left the island to escape
from your importunities, and returned to it after the ship disappeared;
and that he is there at this moment, enjoying all the happiness of a
hermit."

This might be true, and from that hour the thought would occasionally
recur to my mind. As I looked forward to passing at least several more
years at sea, I secretly determined to ascertain the fact for myself,
should occasion ever offer. In the mean time, the Crisis had reached a
part of the ocean where, in those days, it was incumbent on those who
had the charge of a ship to keep a vigilant look-out for enemies. It
seems we were not fated to run the gauntlet of these pirates entirely
unharmed.

Early on the following morning, I was awoke by Talcott's giving me a
hearty shake of the shoulder.

"Turn out at once, Captain Wallingford," cried my mate, "the rascals are
closing around us like crows about a carcase. As bad luck will have it,
we have neither room nor breeze, to spare. Everything looks like a busy
morning for us, sir."

In just three minutes from that moment, I was on deck, where all hands
were soon collected, the men tumbling up, with their jackets in their
hands. Major Merton was already on the poop, surveying the scene with a
glass of his own; while the two mates were clearing away the guns,
and getting the ship in a state to make a suitable defence. To me, the
situation was altogether novel. I had been six times in the presence of
enemies before, and twice as commander; but never under circumstances
that called so imperiously for seamanship and good conduct. The ocean
seemed covered with enemies, Major Merton declaring that he could count
no less than twenty-eight proas, all full of men, and some of them armed
with artillery. These chaps were ahead, astern, to windward, and to
leeward; and, what was worse, they had just wind enough to suit their
purposes, there being about a five-knot breeze. It was evident that
the craft acted in concert, and that they were desperately bent on
our capture, having closed around us in this manner in the night.
Nevertheless, we were a warm ship for a merchantman; and not a man in
the Crisis betrayed any feeling that indicated any other desire than a
wish to resist to the last. As for Neb, the fellow was in a broad grin,
the whole time; he considered the affair as a bit of fun. Yet this negro
was afraid to visit certain places about the farm in the dark, and could
not have been induced to cross a church-yard alone, under a bright sun,
I feel well persuaded. He was the oddest mixture of superstitious dread
and lion-hearted courage, I ever met with in my life.

It was still early, when the proas were near enough to commence serious
operations. This they did, by a nearly simultaneous discharge of about a
dozen guns, principally sixes, that they carried mounted in their bows.
The shot came whistling in among our spars and rigging, literally from
every direction, and three struck, though they were not of a size to do
any serious injury. Our people were at quarters, having managed to man
both batteries, though it left scarcely any one to look after the braces
and rigging, and none but the officers with small-arms.

Mr. Merton must have felt that he and his daughter's liberty, if not
their lives, were in the keeping of a very youthful commander; still,
his military habits of subordination were so strong, he did not venture
even a suggestion. I had my own plan, and was just of an age to think
it derogatory to my rank, to ask advice of any one. The proas were
strongest ahead and on both bows, where they were collecting to the
number of near twenty, evidently with the intention of boarding, should
an opportunity offer; while, astern, and on our quarter, they were much
fewer, and far more scattered. The reason of all this was apparent by
our course, the pirates naturally supposing we should continue to stand
on.

Orders were given to haul up the mainsail and to man the spanker-brails.
The men were taken from the starboard battery, exclusively, to perform
this work. When all was ready, the helm was put up, and the ship was
brought as short round on her heel, as possible, hauling up, on an
easy bowline, on the other tack. In coming round, we delivered all our
larboard guns among the crowd of enemies, well crammed with grape; and
the distance being just right for scattering, this broadside was not
without effect. As soon as braced up, on the other tack, we opened
starboard and larboard, on such of the chaps as came within range;
clearing our way as we went. The headmost proas all came round in chase;
but, being from half a mile to a mile astern, we had time to open a way
out of the circle, and to drive all the proas who were now ahead of
us, to take refuge among the crowd of their fellows. The manoeuvre was
handsomely executed; and, in twenty minutes we ceased firing, having all
our enemies to the westward of us, and in one group: this was an immense
advantage, as it enabled us to fight with a single broadside, prevented
our being raked, and rendered our own fire more destructive, by exposing
to it a more concentrated, and, at the same time, a larger object. I
ought to have said before, that the wind was at the southward.

The Crisis now tacked, setting the courses and royals. The ship lay up
well, and the proas having collected around their admiral, there was a
prospect of her passing to windward of everything. Six of the fellows,
however, seemed determined to prevent this, by hauling close on a wind,
and attempting to cross our bows, firing as they did so. The ship stood
on, apparently as if to intercept them; when, finding ourselves near
enough, we kept away about three points, and swept directly down in the
very centre of the main body of the proas. As this was done, the enemy,
taken by surprise, cleared a way for us, and we passed the whole of
them, delivering grape and canister, as fast as we could deal it out. In
the height of the affair, and the thickest of the smoke, three or four
of the proas were seen quite near us, attempting to close; but I did not
think it necessary to call the people from the guns, which were worked
with great quickness, and did heavy execution. I fancy the pirates found
it hotter than they liked, for they did not keep on with us; though our
lofty sails gave us an advantage, and would have enabled us to leave
them, had they pursued a different course. As it was, we were clear of
them, in about five minutes; and the smoke beginning to rise, we soon
got a view of what had been done in that brief space. In order to
increase our distance, however, we still kept away, running pretty fast
through the water.

By the confusion which prevailed among the pirates, the rascals had been
well peppered. One had actually sunk, and five or six were round the
spot, endeavouring to pick up the crew. Three more had suffered in
their spars, and the movements indicated that all had enough. As soon as
satisfied of this, I hauled the ship up to her course, and we continued
to leave the cluster of boats, which remained around the spot where
their consort had gone down. Those of the fellows to windward, however,
did not seem disposed to give it up, but followed us for two hours, by
which time the rest of their flotilla were hull down. Believing there
was now plenty of room, I tacked towards these persevering gentry, when
they went about like tops, and hauled off sharp on a wind. We tacked
once more to our course, and were followed no further.

The captain of a pepper ship afterwards told me, that our assailants
lost forty-seven men, mostly killed, or died of their hurts, and that
he had understood that the same officer commanded the Crisis that had
commanded the "John," in _her_ affair, near the same spot. We had some
rigging cut, a few of our spars slightly injured, and two men hurt, one
of whom happened to be Neb. The man most hurt died before we reached
the Cape, but more from the want of surgical assistance, than from the
original character of his wound. As for Neb, he went to duty before we
reached St. Helena. For my part, I was surprised one of the proas did
not get down his throat, his grin being wide enough, during the whole
affair, to admit of the passage of a two-decker.

We went into the island, as had been agreed, but no ship offering and
none being expected soon, it became necessary for my passengers to
continue on with us to New York. Emily had behaved uncommonly well in
the brush with the pirates, and everybody was glad to keep her in the
ship. The men swore she brought good luck, forgetting that the poor girl
must have met with much ill-luck, in order to be in the situation in
which she was actually placed.

Nothing occurred on the passage from St. Helena to New York, worthy of
being specially recorded. It was rather long, but I cannot say it was
unpleasant. At length our reckoning told us to look out for land. The
Major and Emily were on deck, all expectation, and ere long we heard the
welcome cry. A hazy cloud was just visible on our lee-bow. It grew more
and more dense and distinct, until it showed the hues and furrows of a
mountain-side. The low point of the Hook, and the higher land beyond,
then came in view. We glided past the light, doubled the Spit, and got
into the upper bay, just an hour before the sun of a beautiful day in
June was setting. This was in the year of our Lord 1802.



CHAPTER XXI.

  "Drink! drink! to whom shall we drink?
  To a friend or a mistress?--Come, let me think!
  To those who are absent or those who are here?
  To the dead that we loved, or the living still dear?
  Alas! when I look I find none of the last!
  The present is barren--let's drink to the past."
  PAULDING.


Though strictly a Manhattanese as a sailor, I shall not run into
rhapsody on the subject of the beauties of the inner or outer bay of
this prosperous place. No man but one besotted with provincial conceit
could ever think of comparing the harbour of New York with the Bay of
Naples; nor do I know two places, that have the same great elements of
land and water that are less alike. The harbour of New York is barely
pretty; not a particle more, if quite as much; while the Bay of Naples
is almost what its owners so fondly term it, "a little bit of heaven,
fallen upon earth." On the other hand, however, Naples, as a haven, is
not to be mentioned in the same breath with the great American mart,
which, _as a port_, has no competitor within the circle of my
knowledge, Constantinople alone excepted. I wish my semi-townsmen, the
Manhattanese, could be persuaded of these facts, as, when they _do_
brag, as the wisest of mortals sometimes will, they might brag of their
strong, and not of their weak points, as is now too often the case.

The Major, Emily and myself, stood on the poop, regarding the scene, as
the ship glided onward, before a good south-east breeze. I watched the
countenances of my companions with interest, for I had the nervousness
of a tyro and a provincial, on the subject of the opinions of the people
of other lands, concerning everything that affected my own. I could
see that the Major was not particularly struck; and I was disappointed,
_then_, whatever may be my opinion _now_. Emily better answered my
hopes. Whether the charming girl really felt the vast contrast between a
view of the unbroken expanse of the ocean, and the scene before her,
or was disposed to please her host, she did not hesitate to express
delight. I let her understand how much I was gratified; and thus
our long, long voyage, and that, so far as degrees of longitude were
concerned, nearly embraced the circuit of the earth, may be said to have
terminated with the kindest feelings.

The ship was off Bedlow's, and the pilot had begun to shorten sail,
when a schooner crossed our fore-foot, beating down. I had been too
much occupied with the general movement of the bay, to notice one small
craft; but, this vessel happening to tack quite near us, I could not but
turn my eyes in her direction. At that instant I heard a shout from Neb,
who was furling one of the royals. It was one of those irrepressible
"nigger gollies" that often escaped from the fellow involuntarily.

"What do you mean by that uproar, on the mizen-royal yard," I called out
angrily--for the _style_ of my ship had now become an object of concern
with me. "Keep silence, sir, or I'll find a way to instruct you in the
art."

"Lord!--masser Mile--" cried the negro, pointing eagerly towards the
schooner--"there go Pretty Poll."

It was our old craft sure enough, and I hailed her, incontinently.

"Pretty Polly, ahoy!"

"Halloo!"

"Where are you bound, sir; and when did that schooner get in from the
Pacific?"

"We are bound to Martinique--The Poll got home from the South Seas about
six months since. This is her third voyage to the West Indies, since."

Here then was the certainty that the cargo sent home, and the letter
with it, were all safe. I must be expected, and the owners would soon
hear of my arrival. We were not kept long in doubt; for, as the ship
entered the Hudson, a boat approached, and in her were two of the
principal members of our firm. I had seen them, and that is all; but
my own letters, and the report of the officer who brought home the
schooner, had told them all about me. Could Nelson, after his victory
of the Nile, have walked into the King of England's private cabinet
with the news of his own success, his reception would not have been more
flattering than that I now received. I was "Captain Wallingforded" at
every sentence; and commendations were so intermixed with inquiries
about the value of the cargo, that I did not know which to answer first.
I was invited to dine the very next day by both the gentlemen in the
same breath; and when I raised some objections connected with the duty
of the ship, the invitations were extended from day to day, for a week.
So very welcome is he who brings us gold!

We went alongside of a North River wharf, and had everything secure,
just as the sun was setting. The people were then allowed to go ashore
for the night. Not a soul of them asked for a dollar; but the men walked
up the wharf attended by a circle of admiring landlords, that put them
all above want. The sailor who has three years' pay under his lee, is
a sort of Rothschild on Jack's Exchange. All the harpies about our lads
knew that the Crisis and her teas, &c. were hypothecated to meet their
own ten and twenty dollar advances.

I dressed myself hurriedly, and ordered Neb to imitate my example. One
of the owners had kindly volunteered to see Major Merton and Emily to
a suitable residence, with an alacrity that surprised me. But the
influence of England, and Englishmen, in all America, was exceedingly
great forty years since. This was still more true in New York, than in
the country generally; and a half-pay English Major was a species of
nobleman among the better sort of Manhattanese of that day. How many of
these quasi lords have I seen, whose patents of nobility were merely
the commissions of captains and lieutenants, signed by the Majesty of
England! In that day--it is nonsense to deny it--the man who had served
_against_ the country, provided he was a "British officer," was a better
man than he who had served in our own ranks. This was true, however,
only as regarded _society;_ the ballot-boxes, and the _people_, giving
very different indications of their sentiments on such subjects. Nor
is this result, so far as New York was concerned, as surprising as, at
first sight, it may possibly appear. Viewed as a class, the gentry of
New York took sides with the crown. It is true, that the portion of
this gentry which might almost be called _baronial_--it was strictly
_manorial_--was pretty equally divided, carrying with them their
collaterals; but the larger portions of this entire class of the elite
of society took sides with the crown; and the peace of '83 found no
small part of them in possession of their old social stations; the
confiscations affecting few beyond the most important, and the richest
of the delinquents. I can give an instance, within my own immediate
knowledge, of the sort of justice of these confiscations. The head of
one of the most important of all the colonial families, was a man of
indolent habits, and was much indisposed to any active pursuits. This
gentleman was enormously rich, and his estates were confiscated and
sold. Now this attainted traitor had a younger brother who was actually
serving in the British army in America, his regiment sharing in the
battles of Bunker Hill, Brandywine, Monmouth, &c. But the Major was a
younger son; and, in virtue of that republican merit, he escaped the
consequences of his adhesion to the service of the crown; and after
the revolution, the cadet returned to his native country, took quiet
possession of a property of no inconsiderable amount, while his senior
passed his days in exile, paying the bitter penalty of being rich in a
revolution. It was a consequence of the peculiarities first mentioned,
that the Manhattanese society set so high a value on English connection.
They still admired, as the provincial only can admire; and they
worshipped, as the provincial worships; or, at a safe distance. The
strange medley of truth, cant, selfishness, sophistry and good faith,
that founded the political hostility to the movements of the French
revolution, had as ardent believers in this country, as it had in
England itself; and this contributed to sustain the sort of feeling
I have described. Of the fact, there can be no doubt, as any one will
testify who knew New York society forty years ago.

No wonder then, that Major Merton and Emily fared well, on their sudden
arrival in the country. Some romance, moreover, was attached to their
adventures; and I had no great reason to give myself any anxiety on
their account. There was little doubt of their soon being much more at
home, than I could hope to be, though in my native land.

Neb soon reported himself ready for shore-duty, and I ordered him to
follow me. It was my intention to proceed to the counting-house of the
owners, to receive some letters that awaited me, and, after writing
short answers, to despatch the black at once to Clawbonny, with the
intelligence of my return. In 1802, the Battery was the court-end of
the town, and it was a good deal frequented by the better classes,
particularly at the hour at which I was now about to cross it. I have
never returned from a voyage, especially to Europe, without being
particularly struck with two things in the great Western Emporium--since
the common councils and the editors insist on the word--viz., the
provincial appearance of everything that meets the eye, and the beauty
of the younger females; meaning, however, by the last, the true, native,
portion of the population, and not the throng from Ireland and Germany,
who now crowd the streets; and who, certainly, as a body, are not in
the least remarkable for personal charms. But an American can tell an
American, man or woman, as soon as he lays eyes on either; and there
were few besides native girls on the Battery at the time of which I
am writing. As there were many children taking their evening walk,
and black servants were far more common than now, Neb had his share of
delights, too, and I heard him exclaim "Golly!" twice, before we reached
the centre of the Battery. This exclamation escaped him on passing as
many sable Venuses, each of whom bridled up at the fellow's admiration,
and doubtless was as much offended as the sex is apt to be on such
occasions.

I must have passed twenty young women, that evening, either of whom
would induce a youth to turn round to look again; and, for the moment, I
forgot my errand. Neither Neb nor I was in any hurry. We were strolling
along, in this manner, gazing right and left, when a party approached,
under the trees, that drew all my attention to itself. In front walked
a young man and young woman, who were dressed simply, but with a taste
that denoted persons of the better class. The former was remarkable for
nothing, unless it might be a rattling vivacity, of which large doses
were administered to his fair companion, who, seemingly, swallowed it
less reluctantly than doses of another sort are so often received. At
least, I thought so, while the two were at a distance, by the beautiful
glistening teeth that were shining like my own spotless pearls, between
lips of coral. The air, beauty, figure, and, indeed, all connected with
this singularly lovely young creature, struck my imagination at once. It
was not so much her beauty, though that was decided and attractive, as
the admixture of feminine delicacy with blooming health; the walk, so
natural and yet so full of lightness and grace; the laugh, so joyous
and still so quiet and suited to her sex; and the entire air and manner,
which denoted equally, buoyant health and happiness, the gracefulness
of one who thought not of herself, and the refinement which is quite as
much the gift of native sentiment, as the fruit of art and association.
I could not tell what her companion was saying; but, as they approached,
I fancied them acknowledged lovers, on whom fortune, friends, and
circumstances smiled alike. A glance aside told me that even Neb was
struck by the being before him, and that he had ceased looking at the
sable Venuses, to gaze at this.

I could not keep my gaze off the face of this lovely creature, who did
not let me get a good look of her dark-blue eyes, however, until I
was quite near, when they were naturally turned towards the form that
approached. For a few seconds, while in the very act of passing, we
looked intently at each other, and the charm said to be possessed by
certain animals, was not more powerful than was our mutual gaze. In this
manner we had actually passed each other, and I was still in a sort of
mystified prance, when I heard suddenly, in a voice and tone that caused
every nerve to thrill within me, the single word--

"Miles!"

Turning, and taking another look, it was impossible any longer to
mistake. Lucy Hardinge stood before me, trembling, uncertain, her face
now pale as death, now flushed to scarlet, her hands clasped, her look
doubting, eager, shrinking, equally denoting hope and fear, and all
so blended, as to render her the most perfect picture of female truth,
feeling, diffidence, and natural modesty, I had ever beheld.

"Lucy--is it--_can_ it be possible!--It is then _you_, I thought so
gloriously beautiful, and that without knowing you, too."

I take it for granted, had I studied a week, I should not have composed
a more grateful salutation than this, which burst forth in a way that
set all the usual restraints of manners at defiance. Of course, I felt
bound to go through with the matter as prosperously as I had commenced,
and in spite of the publicity of the place, in spite of half a dozen
persons, who heard what passed, and had turned, smiling, to see what
would come next, in spite of the grave-looking gentleman who had so
lately been all vivacity and gaiety, I advanced, folded the dear girl to
my heart, and gave her such a kiss, as I'll take upon myself to say, she
had never before received. Sailors, usually, do not perform such
things by halves, and I never was more in earnest in my life. Such a
salutation, from a young fellow who stood rather more than six feet in
his stockings, had a pair of whiskers that had come all the way from the
Pacific with very little trimming, and who possessed a manliness about
him of which mere walking up and down Broadway would have robbed a young
Hercules, had the effect to cover poor Lucy with blushes and confusion.

"There--that will do, Miles," she said, struggling to get free--"a
truce, I pray you. See, yonder are Grace and my father, and Rupert."

There they all were, sure enough, the whole family having come out, to
take an evening walk, in company with a certain Mr. Andrew Drewett,
a young gentleman who was a fellow-student of Rupert's, and who, as I
afterwards ascertained, was a pretty open admirer of Rupert's sister.
There was a marked difference in the manner in which I was received by
Grace and Lucy. The first exclaimed "Miles!" precisely as the last had
exclaimed; her colour heightened, and tears forced themselves into her
eyes, but she could not be said to blush. Instead of first manifesting
an eagerness to meet my salute, and then shrinking sensitively from
it, she flung her delicate arms round my neck, without the slightest
reserve, both arms too, kissed me six or eight times without stopping,
and then began to sob, as if her heart would break. The spectators, who
saw in all this the plain, honest, natural, undisguised affection of
a sister, had the good taste to walk on, though I could see that their
countenances sympathised with so happy a family meeting. I had but a
moment to press Grace to my heart, before Mr. Hardinge's voice drew my
attention to him. The good old man forgot that I was two inches taller
than he was himself; that I could, with ease, have lifted him from the
earth, and carried him in my arms, as if he were an infant; that I
was bronzed by a long voyage, and had Pacific Ocean whiskers; for he
caressed me as if I had been a child, kissed me quite as often as Grace
had done, blessed me aloud, and then gave way to his tears, as freely
as both the girls. But for this burst of feeling on the part of a
grey-headed old clergyman, I am afraid our scene would not altogether
have escaped ridicule. As it was, however, this saved us. Clergymen were
far more respected in America, forty years ago, than they are to-day,
though I think they have still as much consideration here as in most
other countries; and the general respect felt for the class would have
insured us from any manifestations of the sort, without the nature and
emotion which came in its aid. As for myself, I was glad to take refuge
in Rupert's hearty but less sentimental shake of the hand. After this,
we all sought a seat, in a less public spot, and were soon sufficiently
composed to converse. As for the gentleman named Drewett, he waited long
enough to inquire of Lucy who I was, and then he had sufficient tact to
wish us all good evening. I overheard the little dialogue which produced
this explanation.

"A close friend, if not a near relation, Miss Hardinge?" he observed,
inquiringly.

"Oh, yes," answered the smiling, weeping girl, with the undisguised
truth of her honest nature--"both friend and relative."

"May I presume to ask the name?"

"The name, Mr. Drewett!--Why it is Miles--dear Miles--you surely have
heard us speak of Miles--but I forget; you never were at Clawbonny--is
it not a most joyful surprise, dearest, dearest Grace!"

Mr. Andrew Drewett waited, I thought, with most commendable patience for
Grace to squeeze Lucy's hand, and to murmur her own felicitations, when
he ventured to add--

"You were about to say something, Miss Hardinge?"

"Was I--I declare I have forgotten what it was. Such a surprise--such a
joyful, blessed surprise--I beg pardon, Mr. Drewett--ah. I remember now;
I was about to say that this is Mr. Miles Wallingford, of Clawbonny, the
gentleman who is my father's ward--Grace's brother, you know."

"And how related to yourself, Miss Hardinge?" the gentleman continued, a
little perseveringly.

"To me! Oh! very, very near--that is--I forget so much this
evening--why, not at all."

It was at this moment Mr. Drewett saw fit to make his parting
salutations with studied decorum, and to take his leave in a manner so
polite, that, though tempted, I could not, just at the moment, stop the
current of my feelings, to admire. No one seemed to miss him, however,
and we five, who remained, were soon seated in the spot I have
mentioned, and as much abstracted from the scene around us, as if we had
been on the rustic bench, under the old elm, on the lawn--if I dare
use so fine a word, for so unpretending a place--at Clawbonny. I had my
station between Mr. Hardinge and Grace, while Lucy sat next her
father, and Rupert next to my sister. My friend could see me, without
difficulty, owing to his stature, while I saw the glistening eyes of
Lucy, riveted on my face, as leaning on her father's knee, she bent her
graceful form forward, in absorbed attention.

"We expected you; we have not been taken _altogether_ by surprise!"
exclaimed good Mr. Hardinge, clapping his hand on my shoulder, as if
to say he could now begin to treat me like a man. "I consented to come
down, just at this moment, because the last Canton ship that arrived
brought the intelligence that the Crisis was to sail in ten days."

"And you may judge of our surprise," said Rupert, "when we read the
report in the papers, 'The Crisis, _Captain Wallingford_.'"

"I supposed my letters from the island had prepared you for this," I
observed.

"In them, you spoke of Mr. Marble, and I naturally concluded, when it
came to the pinch, the man would resume the command, and bring the ship
home. Duty to the owners would be apt to induce him."

"He did not," I answered, a little proudly perhaps, forgetting poor
Marble's probable situation, for an instant, in my own vanity. "Mr.
Marble understood well, that if I knew nothing else, I knew how to take
care of a ship."

"So it seems, my dear boy, indeed, so it doth seem!" said Mr. Hardinge,
kindly. "I hear from all quarters, you conduct commended; and the
recovery of the vessel from the French, was really worthy of Truxtun
himself."

At that day, Truxtun was the great gun of American naval idolatry, and
had as much local reputation, as Nelson himself enjoyed in England. The
allusion was a sore assault on my modesty; but I got along with it, as
well as I could.

"I endeavoured to do my duty, sir," I answered, trying not to look at
Lucy, and seem meek; "and it would have been a terrible disgrace to have
come home, and been obliged to say the French got the ship from us, when
we were all asleep."

"But you took a ship from the French, in that manner, and kept her too!"
said a soft voice, every intonation of which was music to me.

I looked round and saw the speaking eyes of Lucy, just clear of the grey
coat of her father, behind which she instinctively shrank, the instant
she caught my glance.

"Yes," I answered, "we did something of that sort, and were a little
more fortunate than our enemies. But, you will recollect we were much
favoured by the complaisance of poor Monsieur Le Compte, in leaving us a
schooner to work our mischief in."

"I have always thought that part of your story, Miles, a little
extraordinary," observed Mr. Hardinge; "though I suppose this
Frenchman's liberality was, in some measure, a matter of necessity, out
there, in the middle of the Pacific."

"I hardly think you do Captain Le Compte justice, sir. He was a
chivalrous fellow, and every way a gallant seaman. It is possible,
he was rather more in a hurry than he might have been, but for his
passengers--that is all--at least, I have always suspected that the wish
to have Miss Merton all to himself, induced him to get rid of us as soon
as possible. He evidently admired her, and could have been jealous of a
dead-eye."

"Miss Merton!" exclaimed Grace. "Jealous!"

"Miss Merton!" put in Rupert, leaning forward, curiously.

"Miss Merton! And jealous of dead-eyes, and wishing to get rid of us!"
said Mr. Hardinge, smiling. "Pray who is Miss Merton? and who are the
_us_? and what are the dead-eyes?"

Lucy was silent.

"Why, sir, I thought I wrote you all about the Mertons. How we met them
in London, and then found them prisoners to Monsieur Le Compte; and that
I intended to carry them to Canton, in the Crisis!"

"You told us some of this, certainly; but, though you may have written
'all about' a _Major_ Merton, you _forgot_ to tell us 'about _all_
the Mertons. This is the first syllable I have ever had about a _Miss_
Merton. How is it, girls--did Miles speak of any one but the Major, in
his letter?"

"Not a syllable to me, sir, of any young lady, I can assure you,"
replied Grace, laughing. "How was it to you, Lucy?"

"Of course he would not tell me that which he thought fit to conceal
from his own sister," said Lucy, in a low voice.

"It is odd I should have forgotten to mention her," I cried,
endeavouring to laugh it off. "Young men do not often forget to write
about young ladies."

"This Miss Merton is young, then, brother?"

"About your own age, Grace."

"And handsome--and agreeable--and accomplished?"

"Something like yourself, my dear."

"But handsome, I take it for granted, Miles," observed Mr. Hardinge,
"by the manner in which you have omitted to speak of her charms, in your
letters!"

"Why sir, I think most persons--that is the world in general--I mean
such as are not over-fastidious, would consider Miss Merton particularly
handsome--agreeable in person and features, I would be understood to
say."

"Oh! you are sufficiently explicit; everybody can understand you," added
my laughing guardian, who had no more thought of getting me married to
his own daughter, than to a German princess of a hundred and forty-five
quarterings, if there are any such things; "some other time we will have
the particulars of her eyes, hair, teeth, &c., &c."

"Oh! sir, you may save me the trouble, by looking at her yourself,
to-morrow, since she and her father are both here."

"_Here!_" exclaimed all four in a breath; Lucy's extreme surprise
extorting the monosyllable from her reserve, even a little louder than
from the rest.

"Certainly, here; father, daughter, and servants; I dare say I omitted
to speak of the servants in my letters, too; but a poor fellow who has
a great deal to do, cannot think of everything in a minute. Major Merton
has a touch of the liver complaint; and it would not do to leave him
in a warm climate. So, no other chance offering, he is proceeding to
England, by the way of America."

"And how long had you these people on board your ship, Miles?" Grace
asked, a little gravely.

"Actually on board, with myself, about nine months, I should think; but
including the time in London, at Canton, and on the island, I should
call our acquaintance one of rather more than a year's standing."

"Long enough, certainly, to make a young lady sufficiently obvious to a
young gentleman's memory, not to be forgotten in his letters."

After this pointed speech, there was a silence, which Mr. Hardinge broke
by some questions about the passage home from Canton. As it was getting
cool on the Battery, however, we all moved away, proceeding to Mrs.
Bradfort's. This lady, as I afterwards discovered, was much attached to
Lucy, and had insisted on giving her these opportunities of seeing the
world. She was quite at her ease in her circumstances, and belonged to
a circle a good deal superior to that into which Grace and myself could
have claimed admission, in right of our own social position. Lucy had
been well received as her relative, and as a clergyman's daughter; and
Grace on her own account, as I afterwards learned. It would be attaching
too much credit to Clawbonny, to say that either of the girls had not
improved by this association; though it was scarcely possible to make
Grace more feminine and lady-like than she had been made by nature.
The effect on Lucy was simply to put a little reserve on her native
frankness, and sturdy honesty; though candour compels me to say, that
mingling with the world, and, especially the world to which they had
been introduced by Mrs. Bradfort, had certainly increased the native
charm of manner that each possessed. I began to think Emily Merton so
far from possessing any advantage over the two girls, might now improve
a little herself, by associating with them.

At the house, I had to tell my whole story, and to answer a multitude of
questions. Not a syllable more was said about Miss Merton; and even Lucy
had smiles to bestow and remarks to make, as before. When we got to the
lights, where the girls could remove their shawls and hats, I made each
of them stand before me, in order to ascertain how much time had altered
them. Grace was now nineteen; and Lucy was only six months her junior.
The greatest change was in the latter. Her form had ripened into
something as near as possible to girlish perfection. In this respect she
had the advantage of Grace, who was a little too slight and delicate;
whereas, Lucy, without any of the heaviness that so often accompanies
a truly rounded person, and which was perhaps a slight defect in
Emily Merton's figure, was without an angle of any sort, in her
entire outline. Grace, always so handsome, and so intellectual in the
expression of her countenance, had improved less in this respect, than
Lucy, whose eyes had obtained a tenderness and feeling that rendered
them, to me, even more attractive than those of my own dear sister. In
a word, any man might have been proud, at finding two such admirable
creatures interested in him, as interested, every look, smile, syllable,
and gesture of these dear girls, denoted they were in me.

All this time, Neb had been overlooked. He had followed us to the house,
however, and was already engaged in a dark-coloured flirtation with a
certain Miss Chloe Clawbonny, his own second-cousin, in the kitchen; a
lady who had attracted a portion of his admiration, before we sailed,
and who had accompanied her young mistress to town. As soon as it was
ascertained the fellow was below, Lucy, who was quite at home in her
kinswoman's house, insisted on his being introduced. I saw by the
indulgent smile of Mrs. Bradfort, that Lucy was not exceeding her
conceded privileges, and Neb was ordered up, forthwith. Never was there
a happier fellow than this 'nigger' appeared to be, on that occasion. He
kept rolling his tarpaulin between his fingers, shifting his weight from
leg to leg, and otherwise betraying the confusion of one questioned by
his betters; for, in that day, a _negro_ was ready enough to allow he
had his betters, and did not feel he was injured in so doing. At the
present time, I am well aware that the word is proscribed even in the
State's Prisons; everybody being just as good as everybody else; though
some have the misfortune to be sentenced to hard labour, while others
are permitted to go at large. As a matter of course, the selections made
through the ballot-boxes, only go to prove that "one man is as good as
another."

Our party did not separate until quite late. Suppers were eaten in 1802;
and I was invited to sit down with the rest of the family, and a gay
set we were. It was then the fashion to drink toasts; gentlemen giving
ladies, and ladies gentlemen. The usage was singular, but very general;
more especially in the better sort of houses. We men drank our wine,
as a matter of course; while the ladies sipped theirs, in that pretty
manner in which females moisten their lips, on such occasions. After a
time, Mrs. Bradfort, who was very particular in the observance of forms,
gaily called on Mr. Hardinge for his toast.


"My dear Mrs. Bradfort," said the divine, good-humouredly, "if it were
not in your own house, and contrary to all rule to give a person who is
present, I certainly should drink to yourself. Bless me, bless me, whom
shall I give? I suppose I shall not be permitted to give our new Bishop,
Dr. Moore?"

The cry of "No Bishop!" was even more unanimous than it is at this
moment, among those who, having all their lives dissented from episcopal
authority, fancy it an evidence of an increasing influence to join in a
clamour made by their own voices; and this, moreover, on a subject that
not one in a hundred among them has given himself the trouble even to
skim. Our opposition--in which Mrs. Bradfort joined, by the way--was of
a very different nature, however; proceeding from a desire to learn what
lady Mr. Hardinge could possibly select, at such a moment. I never saw
the old gentleman so confused before. He laughed, tried to dodge the
appeal, fidgeted, and at last fairly blushed. All this proceeded, not
from any preference for any particular individual of the sex, but from
natural diffidence, the perfect simplicity and nature of his character,
which caused him to be abashed at even appearing to select a female
for a toast. It was a beautiful picture of masculine truth and purity!
Still, we would not be put off; and the old gentleman, composing his
countenance five or six times in vain efforts to reflect, then looking
as grave as if about to proceed to prayer, raised his glass, and said--

"Peggy Perott!"

A general laugh succeeded this announcement, Peggy Perott being an
old maid who went about tending the sick for hire, in the vicinity of
Clawbonny, and known to us all as the ugliest woman in the county.

"Why do you first insist on my giving a toast, and then laugh at it
when given?" cried Mr. Hardinge, half-amused, half-serious in his
expostulations. "Peggy is an excellent woman, and one of the most useful
I know."

"I wonder, my dear sir, you did not think of adding a sentiment!" cried
I, a little pertly.

"And if I had, it would have been such a one as no woman need be ashamed
to hear attached to her name. But enough of this; I have given Peggy
Perott, and you are bound to drink her"--that we had done already; "and
now, cousin, as I have passed through the fiery furnace--"

"Unscathed?" demanded Lucy, laughing ready to kill herself.

"Yes, unscathed, miss: and now, cousin, I ask of you to honour us with a
toast."

Mrs. Bradfort had been a widow many years, and was fortified with the
panoply of her state. Accustomed to such appeals, which, when she was
young and handsome, had been of much more frequent occurrence than of
late, she held her glass for the wine with perfect self-possession,
and gave her toast with the conscious dignity of one who had often been
solicited in vain "to change her condition."

"I will give you," she said, raising her person and her voice, as if to
invite scrutiny, "my dear old friend, good Dr. Wilson."

It was incumbent on a single person to give another who was also single;
and the widow had been true to the usage; but "good Dr. Wilson" was a
half-superannuated clergyman, whom no one could suspect of inspiring
anything beyond friendship.

"Dear me--dear me!" cried Mr. Hardinge, earnestly; "how much more
thoughtful, Mrs. Bradfort, you are than myself! Had I thought a moment,
_I_ might have given the Doctor; for I studied with him, and honour him
vastly."

This touch of simplicity produced another laugh--how easily we all
laughed that night!--and it caused a little more confusion in the
excellent divine. Mrs. Bradfort then called on me, as was her right;
but I begged that Rupert might precede me, he knowing more persons, and
being now a sort of man of the world.

"I will give the charming Miss Winthrop," said Rupert, without a
moment's hesitation, tossing off his glass with an air that said, "how
do you like _that?_"

As Winthrop was a highly respectable name, it denoted the set in which
Rupert moved; and as for the young lady I dare say she merited his
eulogium, though I never happened to see her. It was something, however,
in 1802, for a youngster to dare to toast a Winthrop, or a Morris, or
a Livingston, or a de Lancey, or a Stuyvesant, or a Beekman, or a Van
Renssellaer, or a Schuyler, or a Rutherford, or a Bayard, or a Watts, or
a Van Cortlandt, or a Verplanck, or a Jones, or a Walton, or any of
that set. They, and twenty similar families, composed the remnant of
the colonial aristocracy, and still made head, within the limits of
Manhattan, against the inroads of the Van--something elses. Alas! alas!
how changed is all this, though I am obliged to believe it is all for
the best.

"Do _you_ know Miss Winthrop?" I asked of Grace, in a whisper.

"Not at all; I am not much in that set," she answered, quietly. "Rupert
and Lucy have been noticed by many persons whom I do not know."

This was the first intimation I got, that my sister did not possess all
the advantages in society that were enjoyed by her friend. As is always
the case where it is believed to be our _loss_, I felt indignant at
first; had it been the reverse, I dare say I should have fancied it all
very right. Consequences grew out of these distinctions which I could
not then foresee, but which will be related in their place. Rupert now
called on Grace for her toast, a lady commonly succeeding a gentleman.
My sister did not seem in the least disconcerted: but, after a moment's
hesitation, she said--

"Mr. Edward Marston."

This was a strange name to me, but I afterwards ascertained it belonged
to a respectable young man who visited Mrs. Bradfort's, and who stood
very well with all his acquaintances. I looked at Rupert, to note the
effect; but Rupert was as calm as Grace herself had been, when he gave
Miss Winthrop.

"I believe I have no one to call upon but you, Miles," said Grace,
smiling.

"Me! Why, you all know I am not acquainted with a soul. Our Ulster
county girls have almost all gone out of my recollection; besides, no
one would know them here, should I mention twenty."

"You strangely forget, brother, that most of us are Ulster county folk.
Try if you can recall no young lady--"

"Oh! easily enough, for that matter; a young fellow can hardly have
lived nine months in the same cabin with Emily, and not think of her,
when hard pushed; I will give you, Miss Emily Merton."

The toast was drunk, and I thought Mr. Hardinge looked thoughtful, like
one who had a guardian's cares, and that Grace was even grave. I did
not dare look at Lucy, though I could have toasted her all night, had it
been in rule to drink a person who was present. We began to chat again,
and I had answered some eight or ten questions, when Mrs. Bradfort, much
too precise to make any omissions, reminded us that we had not yet been
honoured with Miss Lucy Hardinge's toast. Lucy had enjoyed plenty
of time to reflect; and she bowed, paused a moment as if to summon
resolution, and then mentioned--

"Mr. Andrew Drewett."

So, then, Lucy Hardinge toasted this Mr. Drewett--the very youth with
whom she had been in such animated discourse, when I first met the
party! Had I been more familiar with the world, I should have thought
nothing of a thing that was so common; or, did I understand human nature
better, I might have known that no sensitive and delicate woman would
betray a secret that was dear to her, under so idle a form. But I
was young, and ready myself to toast the girl I preferred before the
universe; and I could not make suitable allowances for difference of sex
and temperament. Lucy's toast made me very uncomfortable for the rest
of the evening; and I was not sorry when Rupert reminded me that it was
eleven, and that he would go with me to a tavern, in order to look for a
room.

The next morning was passed in transacting the business of the ship. I
found myself much noticed among the merchants and ship-masters; and one
of my owners took me on 'Change, that I might see and be seen. As the
papers had spoken of the recapture of the Crisis, on the arrival of the
Pretty Poll, and had now each an article on the arrival of the ship,
I had every reason to be satisfied with my reception. There are men so
strong in principle, as well as intellect, I do suppose, that they can
be content with the approbation of their own consciences, and who can
smile at the praises or censure of the world, alike; but I confess to
a strong sympathy with the commendation of my fellow-creatures, and as
strong a distaste for their disapprobation. I know this is not the way
to make a very great man; for he who cannot judge, feel and act for
himself, will always he in danger of making undue sacrifices to the
wishes of others; but you can have no more of a cat than the skin; and
I was sufficiently proud at finding myself a miniature hero, about the
lower end of Wall-street, and in the columns of the newspapers. As for
these last, no one can complain of their zeal in extolling everything
national. To believe them, the country never was wrong, or defeated, or
in a condition to be defeated, except when a political opponent could be
made to suffer by an opposite theory; and then nothing was ever
right. As to fame, I have since discovered they consider that of each
individual to be public property, in which each American has a part and
parcel--the editors, themselves, more than the man who has thrown
the article into the common lot. But I was young in 1802, and even a
paragraph in my praise in a newspaper had a certain charm for me, that I
will not deny. Then I _had_ done well, as even my enemies, if I had any
must have admitted.



CHAPTER XXII.

  "Ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats, and
  water-rats, water-thieves, and land-thieves; I mean pirates; and
  then, there is the peril of waters, winds and rocks: the man is,
  notwithstanding, sufficient;--three thousand ducats;--I think I may
  take his bond."--_Shylock_.


I saw Grace, and Lucy, and Rupert, and good Mr. Hardinge, every day; but
I could not find time to call on the Mertons, until near the close of a
week. I then paid them a visit, and found them glad to see me, but not
at all in want of my attentions to make them comfortable. The Major had
exhibited his claims to the British consul, who happened to be a native
Manhattanese, and was well-connected, a circumstance that then gave
him an influence in society, that his commission alone would not have
conferred. Colonel Barclay, for so was this gentleman called, had taken
the Mertons by the hand, as a matter of course; and his example being
followed by others, I found that they were already in the best circle of
the place. Emily mentioned to me the names of several of those with whom
she had exchanged visits; and I knew at once, through Lucy's and Grace's
conversation, and from my own general knowledge of the traditions of the
colony and state, that they were among the leading people of the land,
socially if not politically; a class altogether above any with whom
I had myself ever associated. Now, I knew that the master of a
merchantman, whatever might be his standing with his owner, or
consignee, or the credit he had gained among his fellows, was not likely
to get admission into this set; and there was the comfortable prospect
before me, of having my own sister and the two other girls I admired
most and loved best in the world--next to Grace, of course--visiting
round in houses, of which the doors were shut against myself. This is
always unpleasant, but in my case it turned out to be more.

When I told Emily that Grace and Lucy were in town, and intended coming
to see her that very morning, I thought she manifested less curiosity
than would have been the case a month before.

"Is Miss Hardinge a relative of Mr. Rupert Hardinge, the gentleman
to whom I was introduced at dinner, yesterday," she demanded, after
expressing the pleasure it would give her to see the ladies.

I knew that Rupert had dined out the day before, and, there being no one
else of the same name, I answered in the affirmative.

"He is the son of a respectable clergyman, and of very good connections,
I hear."

"The Hardinges are so considered among us; both Rupert's father and
grandfather were clergymen, and his great-grandfather was a seaman--I
trust _you_ will think none the worse of him, for that."

"A sailor! I had supposed, from what some of those present said--that
is, I did not know it."

"Perhaps they told you that his great-grandfather was a _British
officer?_"

Emily coloured, and then she laughed faintly; admitting, however, that I
had guessed right.

"Well, all this was true," I added, "though he was a sailor. Old Captain
Hardinge--or Commodore Hardinge, as he used to be called, for he once
commanded a squadron--was in the English navy."

"Oh! that sort of a sailor!"--cried Emily, quickly--"I did not know that
it was usual to call gentlemen in the navy, seamen."

"They would make a poor figure if they were not, Miss Merton--you might
as well say that a judge is no lawyer."

This was enough, however, to satisfy me that Miss Merton no longer
considered the master of the Crisis the first man in the world.

A ring announced the arrival of the two girls. They were shown up, and
I soon had the satisfaction of seeing these three charming young women
together. Emily received her two guests very courteously, and was
frank--nay warm--in the expression of her gratitude for all that I had
done for herself and her father. She even went back so far as to speak
of the occurrence in the Park, at London, and was gracious enough to
declare that she and her parents owed their lives to my interference.
All this gave her listeners great pleasure, for I believe neither ever
tired of hearing my praises. After this opening, the conversation turned
on New York, its gaieties, and the different persons known to them
mutually. I saw that the two girls were struck with the set Miss Merton
was in, which was a shade superior even to that of Mrs. Bradfort's,
though the fusion which usually accompanies that sort of thing, brought
portions of each circle within the knowledge of the other. As the
persons named were utter strangers to me, I had nothing to say, and
sat listening in silence. The opportunity was improved by comparing the
girls with each other.

In delicacy of appearance, Grace and Lucy each had the advantage of the
English beauty. Their hands and feet were smaller, their waists finer,
and their _tournures_, generally, I thought the most pleasing. Emily
had the advantage in complexion, though her colour had less fineness and
delicacy. Perhaps her teeth were the most brilliant; though Grace and
Lucy, particularly the latter, had very fine teeth. The English girl's
shoulders and bust, generally, would have been more admired than those
of most American--particularly than most New York--girls; but it was not
possible to surpass those of Lucy. As a whole, Emily's countenance
had the most spirit, Lucy's the most finesse and feeling. I make
no comparison with the expression of Grace's countenance, which was
altogether too remarkable for its intellectual character, to be included
in anything like a national classification. I remember I thought, as
they sat there in a row conversing frankly and cheerfully together, Lucy
the handsomest, in her pretty neat morning-dress; while I had my doubts
whether Emily would not have extorted the most applause in a ball-room.
This distinction is mentioned, because I believe it national.

The visit lasted an hour; for I had expressed a wish to all parties that
they would become acquainted, and the girls seemed mutually pleased. As
they chatted, I listened to the tones of their voices, and fancied,
on the whole, that Emily had slightly the advantage in intonation and
accent; though it was scarcely perceptible, and it was an advantage that
was attended by a slight sacrifice of the charm of natural utterance.
She was a little more artificial in this respect than her companions,
and insomuch less pleasing though, had the comparison been made with the
Manhattan _style_ of the present day, the odds would have been immensely
in her favour. In 1802, however, some attention was still paid to the
utterance, tones of voice, and manner of speaking of young ladies. The
want of it all, just now, is the besetting vice of the whole of
our later instruction of the sex; it being almost as rare a thing
now-a-days, to find a young American girl who speaks her own language
gracefully, as it is to find one who is not of pleasing person.

When the young ladies parted, it was with an understanding that they
were soon to meet again. I shook hands with Emily, English fashion, and
took my leave at the same time.

"Well, Miles," said Grace, as soon as we were in the street, "you have
certainly been of service to a very charming young woman--I like her,
excessively."

"And you, Lucy--I hope you agree with Grace, in thinking my friend,
Emily Merton, a charming young woman."

Lucy did not speak as frankly, or as decidedly as Grace, so far as
manner was concerned; though she coincided in words.

"I am of the same opinion," she said, in a tone that was far less
cheerful than her usually very cheerful manner. "She is one of the
loveliest creatures I ever saw--and it is no wonder--"

"What is no wonder, dear?" asked Grace, observing that her friend
hesitated to proceed.

"Oh! I was about to say something silly, and had better not finish the
speech. But, what a finished manner Miss Merton possesses;--do you not
think so, Grace?"

"I wish she had a little less of it, dear; that is precisely what I
should find fault with in her deportment. It _is_ manner; and, though we
all must have some, it strikes me it ought not to be seen. I think all
the Europeans we saw in town, last winter, Lucy, had more or less of
this manner."

"I dare say it would seem so to _us_; notwithstanding, it may be very
agreeable to those who are used to it--a thing to miss, when one gets
much accustomed to it."

As Lucy made this remark, I detected a furtive and timid glance at
myself. I was mystified at the time, and was actually so silly as to
think the dear girl was talking at me, and to feel a little resentment.
I fancied she wished to say, "There, Master Miles, you have been in
London, and on a desert island in the South Seas--the very extremes
of human habits--and have got to be so sophisticated, so very
un-Clawbonnyish, as to feel the necessity of a _manner_, in the young
ladies with whom you associate." The notion nettled me to a degree that
induced me to pretend duty, and to hurry down to the ship. Whom should
I meet, in Rector Street, but Mr. Hardinge, who had been across to the
Hudson in search of me.

"Come hither, Miles," said the excellent old man, "I wish to converse
with you seriously."

As Lucy was uppermost in my thoughts at the moment, I said to
myself--"What can the dear old gentleman have to say, now?"

"I hear from all quarters the best accounts of you, my dear boy," Mr.
Hardinge continued, "and I am told you make a very superior seaman.
It is a feather in your cap, indeed, to have commanded an Indiaman a
twelve-month before you are of age. I have been conversing with my old
friend John Murray, of the house of John Murray and Sons, one of the
very best merchants in America, and he says 'push the boy ahead, when
you find the right stuff in him. Get him a ship of his own, and that
will put him on the true track. Teach him early to have an eye to his
own interests, and it will make a man of him, at once.' I have thought
the matter over, have had a vessel in my eye, for the last month, and
will purchase her at once, if you like the plan."

"But, have I money enough for such a thing, my dear sir--after having
sailed in the John, and the Tigris, and the Crisis, I should not like to
take up with any of your B's, No. 2."

"You have forgotten to mention the 'Pretty Poll,' Miles," said the
divine, smiling. "Be under no fear, however, for your dignity; the
vessel I have in treaty, is all you could wish, they tell me, having
made but one voyage, and is sold on account of the death of her owner.
As for money, you will remember I have thirteen thousand dollars of your
income invested in stocks, and stocks that cost but ten. The peace has
brought everything up, and you are making money, right and left. How
have your own pay and private venture turned out?"

"Perfectly well, sir. I am near three thousand dollars in pocket, and
shall have no need to call on you, for my personal wants. Then I have
my prize-money to touch. Even Neb, wages and prize-money, brings me nine
hundred dollars. With your permission, sir, I should like to give the
fellow his freedom."

"Wait till you are of age, Miles, and then you can do as you please. I
hold four thousand dollars of your invested money, which has been paid
in, and I have placed it in stocks. Altogether, I find we can muster,
in solid cash, more than twenty thousand dollars, while the price of the
ship, as she stands, almost ready for sea, is only fifteen. Now, go and
look at the vessel; if you like her, I will close the bargain at once."

"But, my dear Mr. Hardinge, do you think yourself exactly qualified to
judge of the value of a ship?"

"Poh! poh! don't imagine I am so conceited as to purchase on my own
knowledge. I have taken some of the very best advice of the city.
There is John Murray, to begin with--a great ship-holder, himself--and
Archibald Gracie, and William Bayard--all capital judges, have taken an
interest in the affair. Three others of my friends have walked round to
look at the vessel, and all approve--not a dissenting voice."

"May I ask, sir, who have seen her, besides the gentlemen you have
named? they, I admit, are, indeed, good judges."

"Why?--why--yes--do you happen to know anything of Dr. Benjamin Moore,
now, Miles?"

"Never heard of him, sir, in my life; but a physician can be no great
judge of a ship."

"No more of a physician than yourself, boy--Dr. Benjamin Moore, the
gentleman we elected Bishop, while you were absent--"

"Oh! he you wished to toast, instead of Miss Peggy Perott--" cried I,
smiling. "Well, what does the Bishop think of her--if he approve, she
_must_ be orthodox."

"He says she is the handsomest vessel he ever laid eyes on, Miles; and
let me tell you, the favourable opinion of so good a man as Dr. Moore,
is of value, even though it be about a ship."

I could not avoid laughing, and I dare say most of the readers will
also, at this touch of simplicity; and yet, why should not a Bishop know
as much of ships, as a set of ignoramuses who never read a theological
book in their lives, some of them not even the Bible, should know about
Bishops? The circumstance was not a tittle more absurd than many that
are occurring daily before our eyes, and to which, purely from habit, we
submit, very much as a matter of course.

"Well, sir," I replied, as soon as I could, "I will look at the ship,
get her character, and give you an answer at once. I like the idea, for
it is pleasant to be one's own master."

In that day, $15,000 would buy a very excellent ship, as ships went.
The vessel I was taken to see, was coppered and copper-fastened,
butt-bolted, and she measured just five hundred tons. She had a great
reputation as a sailer, and what was thought a good deal of in 1802,
was Philadelphia built. She had been one voyage to China, and was little
more than a year old, or the best possible age for a vessel. Her name
was the "Dawn," and she carried an "Aurora" for her figure-head. Whether
she were, or were not inclined to Puseyism, I never could ascertain,
although I can affirm she had the services of the Protestant Episcopal
Catholic Church read on board her afterwards, on more than one occasion.

The result of my examination and inquiries was favourable, and, by the
end of the week, the Dawn was purchased. The owners of the Crisis were
pleased to express their regrets, for they had intended that I should
continue in the command of their vessel, but no one could object to
a man's wishing to sail in his own employment. I made this important
acquisition, at what was probably the most auspicious moment of American
navigation. It is a proof of this, that, the very day I was put in
possession of the ship, good freights were offered to no less than four
different parts of the world. I had my choice between Holland, France,
England, and China. After consulting with my guardian, I accepted that
to France, which not only paid the best, but I was desirous of seeing
more of the world than had yet fallen to my share. I could make a voyage
to Bordeaux and back in five months, and by the end of that time I
should be of age, and consequently my own master. As I intended to have
great doings at Clawbonny on that occasion, I thought it might be well
not to go too far from home. Accordingly, after shipping Talcott and the
Philadelphian, whose name was Walton, for my mates, we began to take in
cargo, as soon as possible.

In the meantime, I bethought me of a visit to the paternal home. It was
a season of the year, when most people, who were anybodies, left town,
and the villas along the shores of the Hudson had long been occupied.
Mr. Hardinge, too, pined for the country and his flock. The girls had
had enough of town, which was getting to be very dull, and everybody,
Rupert excepted, seemed anxious to go up the river. I had invited the
Mertons to pass part of the summer at the farm, moreover, and it was
time the invitation should be renewed, for the Major's physicians had
advised him to choose some cooler residence than the streets of a hot
close town could furnish, during the summer months. Emily had been
so much engrossed with the set into which she had fallen, since her
landing, and which it was easy for me to see was altogether superior
to that in which she had lived at home, that I was surprised at the
readiness with which she urged her father to redeem his promise.

"Mr. Hardinge tells me, sir, that Clawbonny is really a pretty spot,"
she said, "and the country around it is thought to be very healthy. You
cannot get answers from home (she meant England) for several months, and
I know Captain Wallingford will be happy to receive us. Besides, we are
pledged to accept this additional favour from him."

I thought Major Merton felt some of my own surprise at Emily's
earnestness and manner, but his resistance was very feeble. The old
gentleman's health, indeed, was pretty thoroughly undermined, and I
began to have serious doubts of his living even to return to Europe. He
had some relatives in Boston, and had opened a correspondence with them,
and I had thought, more than once, of the expediency of apprising them
of his situation. At present however nothing better could be done than
to get him into the country.

Having made all the arrangements with the others, I went to persuade
Rupert to be of the party, for I thought it would make both Grace and
Lucy so much the happier.

"Miles, my dear fellow," said the young student, gaping, "Clawbonny is
certainly a capitalish place, but, you will admit it is somewhat stupid
after New York. My good kinswoman, Mrs. Bradfort, has taken such a fancy
to us all, and has made me so comfortable--would you believe it, boy,
she has actually given me six hundred a year, for the last two years,
besides making Lucy presents fit for a queen. A sterling woman is she,
this cousin Margaret of ours!"

I heard this, truly, not without surprise; for, in settling with my
owners, I found Rupert had drawn every cent to which he was entitled,
under the orders I had left when I last went to sea.

As Mrs. Bradfort was more than at her ease, however, had no nearer
relative than Mr. Hardinge, and was much attached to the family, I had
no difficulty in believing it true, so far as the lady's liberality was
concerned. I heartily wished Rupert had possessed more self-respect; but
he was, as he was!

"I am sorry you cannot go with us," I answered, "for I counted on you to
help amuse the Mertons--"

"The Mertons!--Why, surely, they are not going to pass the summer at
Clawbonny!"

"They quit town with us, to-morrow. Why should not the Mertons pass the
summer at Clawbonny?"

"Why, Miles, my dear boy, you know how it is with the world--how it is
with these English, in particular. They think everything of rank, you
know, and are devotees of style and appearance, and all that sort of
thing, you know, as no one understands better than myself; for I pass
most of my time in the English set, you know."

I did not _then_ understand what had come over Rupert, though it is all
plain enough to me, _now_. He had, truly enough, got into what was then
called the English set. Now, there is no question, that, so far as the
natives, themselves, were concerned, this was as good a set as ever
existed in his country; and, it is also beyond all cavil, that many
respectable English persons, of both sexes, were occasionally found in
it; but, it had this great defect:--_every_ Englishman who wore a
good coat, and had any of the slang of society, made his way into the
outskirts, at least, of this set; and Rupert, whose own position was not
yet thoroughly confirmed, had fallen a great deal into the association
of these accidental comers and goers. They talked large, drank deep, and
had a lofty disdain for everything in the country, though it was very
certain they were just then in much better company where they were,
than they had ever been at home. Like most tyroes, Rupert fancied these
blustering gentry persons to imitate; and, as they seldom conversed
ten minutes without having something to say of my Lord A----or Sir John
B----, persons they had _read_ of, or seen in the streets, he was weak
enough to imagine they knew all about the dignitaries of the British
Empire. As Rupert was really a gentleman, and had good manners
naturally, it was a grievous thing to see him fashioning himself anew,
as it might be, on such very questionable models,

"Clawbonny is not a stylish place, I am ready to allow," I answered,
after a moment of hesitation; "still it is respectable. There is a good
farm, a valuable mill, and a good, old, comfortable, straggling, stone
house."

"Very true, Miles, my dear fellow, and all as dear to me, you know, as
the apple of my eye--but _farmish_--young ladies like the good
things that comes from farms, but do not admire the homeliness of the
residence. I speak of young English ladies, in particular. Now, you
see, Major Merton is a field-officer, and that is having good rank in a
respectable profession, you know--I suppose you understand, Miles, that
the king puts most of his sons into the army, or navy--all this makes a
difference, you understand?"

"I understand nothing about it; what is it to me where the king of
England puts his sons?"

"I wish, my dear Miles, if the truth must be said, that you and I had
been a little less boyish, when we were boys, than happened to be the
case. It would have been all the better for us both."

"Well, I wish no such thing. A boy should be a boy, and a man a man. I
am content to have been a boy, while I was a boy. It is a fault in this
country, that boys fancy themselves men too soon."

"Ah! my dear fellow, you _will_ not, or _do_ not understand me. What I
mean is, that we were both precipitate in the choice of a profession--I
retired in time, but you persevere; that is all."

"You did retire in season, my lad, if truth is what you are after; for,
had you staid a hundred years on board ship, you never would have made a
sailor."

When I said this, I fancied I had uttered a pretty severe thing. Rupert
took it so coolly, however, as to satisfy me at once, that he thought
differently on the subject.

"Clearly, it is not my vocation. Nature intended me for something
better, I trust, and I mistook a boyish inclination for a taste. A
little experience taught me better, and I am now where I feel I ought to
be. I wish, Miles, you had come to the study of the law, at the time you
went to sea. You would have been, by this time, at the bar, and would
have had a definite position in society."

"I am very glad I did not. What the deuce should I have done as a
lawyer--or what advantage would it have been to me, to be admitted to
the bar?"

"Advantage!--Why, my dear fellow, every advantage in the world. You know
how it is, in this country, I suppose, in the way of society, my dear
Miles?"

"Not I--and, by the little I glean from the manner you sheer about in
your discourse, I wish to know nothing. Do young men study law merely to
be genteel?"

"Do not despise knowledge, my boy; it is of use, even in trifles. Now,
in this country, you know, we have very few men of mere leisure--heirs
of estates, to live on their incomes, as is done in Europe; but,
nine-tenths of us must follow professions, of which there are only
half-a-dozen suitable for a gentleman. The army and navy are nothing,
you know; two or three regiments scattered about in the woods, and
half-a-dozen vessels. After these, there remain the three learned
professions, divinity, law and physic. In our family, divinity has run
out, I fear. As for physic, 'throw physic to the dogs,' as Miss Merton
says--"

"Who?" I exclaimed, in surprise. "'Throw physic to the dogs'--why that
is Shakspeare, man!"

"I know it, and it is Miss Emily Merlon's, too. You have made us
acquainted with a charming creature, at least, Miles, by this going to
sea. Her notions on such subjects are as accurate as a sun-dial."

"And, has Miss Emily Merton ever conversed with you, on the subject of
_my_ profession, Rupert?"

"Indeed, she has; and regretted it, again and again. You know as well
as I do, Miles, to be a sailor, other than in a navy, is not a _genteel_
profession!"

I broke out into a fit of laughter, at this remark. It struck me as
infinitely droll, and as somewhat silly. I knew my precise position
in society, perfectly; had none of the silly swaggering about personal
merit, and of "one man's being as good as another," that has since got
into such general use among us; and understood perfectly the useful
and unavoidable classifications that take place in all civilized
communities, and which, while they are attended by certain disadvantages
as exceptions, produce great benefits as a whole, and was not disposed
at all to exaggerate my claims, or to deny my deficiencies. But, the
idea of attaching any considerations of _gentility_ to my noble, manly,
daring profession, sounded so absurd, I could not avoid laughing. In a
few moments, however, I became grave.

"Harkee, Rupert," said I: "I trust Miss Merton does not think I
endeavoured to mislead her as to my true position, or to make her think
I was a greater personage than I truly am?"

"I'll not answer for that. When we were first acquainted, I found she
had certain notions about Clawbonny, and your _estate_, and all that,
which were rather English, you know. Now, in England an _estate_ gives a
man a certain consideration, whereas land is so plenty with us, that we
think nothing of the man who happens to own a little of it. _Stock_,
in America, as it is so much nearer ready-money, is a better thing than
land, you know."

How true was this, even ten years since; how false is it to-day!
The proprietor of tens of thousands of acres, was, indeed, under the
paper-money _regime_, a less important man than the owner of a handful
of scrip, which has had all its value squeezed out of it, little by
little. That was truly the age when the representative of property was
of far more importance than the property itself; and all because the
country existed in a fever, that set everything in motion. We shall see
just such times, again, I fear.

"But what had Emily Merton to do with all this?"

"Miss Merton? Oh! she is English, you know, and felt as English persons
always do, at the sound of acres. I set it all right, however, and you
need be under no concern."

"The devil you did! And, pray, in what manner was this done? _How_ was
the matter set right?"

Rupert took the segar from his mouth, suffered the smoke to issue, by
a small, deliberate jet, cocking his nose up at the same time as if
observing the stars, and then deigned to give me an answer. Your smokers
have such a disdainful, ultra-philosophical manner, sometimes!

"Why, just in this way, my fine fellow. I told her Clawbonny was a
_farm_, and not an _estate_, you know; that did a good deal, of itself.
Then, I entered into an explanation of the consideration of farmers
in this country, you know, and made it all as plain as A B C. She is a
quick girl, is Emily, and takes a thing remarkably soon."

"Did Miss Merton say anything to induce you to suppose she thought the
less of me, for these explanations."

"Of course not--she values you, amazingly--quite worships you, _as a
sailor_--thinks you a sort of merchant-captain Nelson, or Blake, or
Truxtun, and all that sort of thing. All young ladies, however, are
exceedingly particular about professions, I suppose you know, Miles, as
well as I do myself."

"What, Lucy, Rupert?--Do you imagine Lucy cares a straw about my not
being a lawyer, for instance?"

"Do I?--out of all question. Don't you remember how the girls
wept--Grace as well as Lucy--when we went to sea, boy. It was all on
account of the _un_gentility of the profession, if a fellow can use such
a word."

I did not believe this, for I knew Grace better, to say the least; and
thought I understood Lucy sufficiently, at that time, to know she wept
because she was sorry to see me go away. Still, Lucy had grown from a
very young girl, since I sailed in the Crisis, into a young woman, and
might view things differently, now, from what she had done three years
before. I had not time, however, for further discussion at that moment,
and I cut the matter short.

"Well, Rupert, what am I to expect?" I asked; "Clawbonny, or no
Clawbonny?"

"Why, now you say the Mertons are to be of the party I suppose I shall
have to go; it would be inhospitable else. I do wish, Miles, you would
manage to establish visiting relations with some of the families on the
other side of the river. There are plenty of respectable people within a
few hours' sail of Clawbonny."

"My father, and my grandfather, and my great-grand-father, managed, as
you call it, to get along, for the last hundred years, well enough on
the west side; and, although we are not quite as genteel as the _east_,
we will do well enough. The Wallingford sails early in the morning, to
save the tide; and I hope your lordship will turn out in season, and not
keep us waiting. If you do, I shall be _ungenteel_ enough to leave you
behind."

I left Rupert with a feeling in which disgust and anger were blended.
I wish to be understood, more particularly as I know I am writing for a
stiff-necked generation. I never was guilty of the weakness of decrying
a thing because I did not happen to possess it myself. I knew my own
place in the social scale perfectly; nor was I, as I have just said, in
the least inclined to fancy that one man was as good as another. I knew
very well that this was not true, either in nature or in the social
relations; in political axioms, any more than in political truths. At
the same time, I did not believe nature had created men unequal, in the
order of primogeniture from male to male. Keeping in view all the facts,
I was perfectly disposed to admit that habits, education, association,
and sometimes chance and caprice, drew distinctions that produced great
benefits, as a whole; in some small degree qualified, perhaps, by cases
of individual injustice. This last exception, however, being applicable
to all things human, it had no influence on my opinions, which were
sound and healthful on all these points; practical, common-sense-like,
and in conformity with the decisions of the world from the time of Moses
down to our own, or, I dare say, of Adam himself, if the truth could be
known; and, as I have said more than once in these rambling memoir's,
I was not disposed to take a false view of my own social position. I
belonged, at most, to the class of small proprietors, as they existed in
the last century, and filled a very useful and respectable niche between
the yeoman and gentleman, considering the last strictly in reference to
the upper class of that day. Now, it struck me that Emily Merton, with
her English notions, might very well draw the distinctions Rupert had
mentioned; nor am I conscious of having cared much about it, though she
did. If I were a less important person on _terra firma_, with all the
usages and notions of ordinary society producing their influence, than I
had been when in command of the Crisis, in the centre of the Pacific, so
was Miss Merton a less important young lady, in the midst of the beauty
of New York, than she had been in the isolation of Marble Land. This I
could feel very distinctly. But Lucy's supposed defection did more than
annoy me. I felt humbled, mortified, grieved. I had always known that
Lucy was better connected than I was myself, and I had ever given Rupert
and her the benefit of this advantage, as some offset to my own and
Grace's larger means; but it had never struck me that either the brother
or sister would be disposed to look down upon us in consequence. The
world is everywhere--and America, on account of its social vicissitudes,
more than most other countries--constantly exhibiting pictures of the
struggles between fallen consequence and rising wealth. The last may,
and does have the best of it, in the mere physical part of the strife;
but in the more moral, if such a word can be used, the quiet ascendency
of better manners and ancient recollections is very apt to overshadow
the fussy pretensions of the vulgar aspirant, who places his claims
altogether on the all-mighty dollar. It is vain to deny it; men ever
have done it, and probably ever will defer to the past, in matters of
this sort--it being much with us, in this particular, as it is with our
own lives, which have had all their greatest enjoyments in bygone
days. I knew all this--felt all this--and was greatly afraid that Lucy,
through Mrs. Bradfort's influence, and her town associations, might have
learned to regard me as Captain Wallingford, of the merchant-service,
and the son of another Captain Wallingford of the same line in life. I
determined, therefore, to watch her with jealous attention, during the
few days I was to remain at Clawbonny. With such generous intentions,
the reader is not to be surprised if I found some of that for which I so
earnestly sought--people being very apt to find precisely the thing for
which they look, when it is not lost money.

The next morning we were all punctual, and sailed at the proper hour.
The Mertons seemed pleased with the river, and, having a fresh southerly
wind in our favour, with a strong flood-tide, we actually landed at
the mill the same afternoon. Everything is apt to be agreeable when the
traveller gets on famously; and I thought I never saw Emily in better
spirits than she was when we first reached the top of the ascent that
lies above the landing. I had given her my arm, as due to hospitality,
while the others got up as they could; for I observed that Rupert
assisted no one. As for Lucy, I was still too much vexed with her, and
had been so all day, to be as civil as I ought. We were soon at a point
that commanded a view of the house, meadows, orchards and fields.

"This, then, is Clawbonny!" exclaimed Emily, as soon as I pointed
out the place to her. "Upon my word, a very pretty farm, Captain
Wallingford. Even prettier than you represented it to be, Mr. Rupert
Hardinge."

"Oh! I always do justice to everything of Wallingford's, you know. We
were children together, and became so much attached in early life, that
it's no wonder we remain so in these our later days."

Rupert was probably nearer the truth than he imagined, when he made this
speech; my regard for him, by this time, being pretty much reduced
to habit; and certainly it had no increase from any fresh supplies of
respect. I began to hope he might not marry Grace, though I had formerly
looked forward to the connection as a settled thing. "Let him get Miss
Merton, if he can," I said to myself: "it will be no great acquisition,
I fancy, to either side."

How different was it with his father, and, I may add, with Lucy! The old
gentleman turned to me, with tears in his eyes; pointed to the dear old
house, with a look of delight; and then took my arm, without reference
to the wants of Miss Merton, and led me on, conversing earnestly of my
affairs, and of his own stewardship. Lucy had her father's arm, on the
other side; and the good divine was too much accustomed to her, to mind
the presence of his daughter. Away we three went, therefore, leading the
way, while Rupert took charge of Emily and Grace. Major Merton followed,
leaning on his own man.

"It is a lovely--it is a lovely spot, Miles," said Mr. Hardinge; "and
I do most sincerely hope you will never think of tearing down that
respectable-looking, comfortable, substantial, good old-fashioned house,
to build a new one."

"Why should I, dear sir? The house, with an occasional addition, all
built in the same style, has served us a century, and may very well
serve another. Why should I wish for more, or a better house?"

"Why, sure enough? But, now you are a sort of a merchant, you may grow
rich, and wish to be the proprietor of a _seat_."

The time had been, when such thoughts often crossed my mind; but I
cared less for them, then. To own a _seat_, was the great object of
my ambition in boyhood; but the thought had weakened by time and
reflection.

"What does Lucy think of the matter? Do I want, or indeed deserve, a
better house?"

"I shall not answer either question," replied the dear girl, a little
saucily, I thought. "I do not understand your wants, and do not choose
to speak of your deservings. But I fancy the question will be settled
by a certain Mrs. Wallingford, one of these days. Clever women generally
determine these things for their husbands."

I endeavoured to catch Lucy's eye, when this was said, by leaning a
little forward myself; but the girl turned her head in such a manner as
prevented my seeing her face. The remark was not lost on Mr. Hardinge,
however, who took it up with warmth, and all the interest of a most pure
and disinterested affection.

"I suppose you _will_ think of marrying one of these days, Miles," he
said; "but, on no account, marry a woman who will desert Clawbonny, or
who would wish materially to alter it. No good-hearted woman, indeed--no
_true_-hearted woman--would ever dream of either. Dear me! dear me! the
happy days and the sorrowful days--the gracious mercies of Providence,
and the chastening afflictions--that I myself have seen, and felt, and
witnessed, under these same roofs!"

This was followed by a sort of enumeration of the events of the last
forty years, including passages in the lives of all who had dwelt at the
farm; the whole concluding with the divine's solemnly repeating--"No,
no! Miles; do not think, even, of marrying a woman who would wish you to
desert, or materially alter, Clawbonny."



CHAPTER XXIII.

  "If thou be'st rated by thy estimation,
  Thou dost deserve enough; and yet enough
  May not extend so far as to the lady."
  _Merchant of Venice_.


Next morning, I was early afoot, and I found Grace as much alive to the
charms of home, as I was myself. She put on a gypsy, and accompanied me
into the garden, where to my surprise, I found Lucy. It looked like old
times to be in that spot, again, with those two dear girls. Rupert alone
was wanting to complete the picture; but, I had an intimate conviction
that Rupert, as he had been at least, could never come within the
setting of the family group again. I was rejoiced, however, to see Lucy,
and more so, just where I found her, and I believe told her as much with
my eyes. The charming girl looked happier than she had appeared the day
before, or for many previous days indeed, and I felt less apprehension
than of late, concerning her having met with any agreeable youth of a
more _genteel_ profession than that of a merchant-captain.

"I did not expect to find you here, Miss Lucy," cried Grace, "eating
half-ripe currants, too, or my eyes deceive me, at this early hour in
the morning. It is not twenty minutes since you were in your own room,
quite unadorned."

"The green fruit of dear Clawbonny is better than the ripe fruit of
those vile New York markets!" exclaimed Lucy, with a fervour so natural
as to forbid any suspicion of acting. "I should prefer a Clawbonny
potatoe, to a New York peach!"

Grace smiled, and, as soon as Lucy's animation had a little subsided,
_she_ blushed.

"How much better would it be, Miles," my sister resumed, "could you be
induced to think and feel with us, and quit the seas, to come and live
for the rest of your days on the spot where your fathers have so long
lived before you. Would it not, Lucy?"

"Miles will never do _that_," Lucy answered, with emphasis. "Men are
not like us females who love everything we love at all, with our whole
hearts. Men prefer wandering about, and being shipwrecked, and left on
desert islands, to remaining quietly at home, on their own farms. No,
no; you'll never persuade Miles to do _that_."

"I am not astonished my brother thinks desert islands such pleasant
abodes, when he can find companions like Miss Merton on them."

"You will remember, sister of mine, in the first place, that Marble Land
is very far from being a desert island at all; and, in the next, that I
first found Miss Merton in Hyde Park, London; almost in the canal, for
that matter."


"I think it a little odd that Miles never told us all about this, in his
letters, at the time, Lucy. When young gentlemen drag young ladies out
of canals, their friends at home have a right to know something of the
matter."

How much unnecessary misery is inflicted by unmeaning expressions like
this. Grace spoke lightly, and probably without a second thought about
the matter; but the little she said, not only made me thoughtful and
uneasy, but it drove everything like a smile from the usually radiant
countenance of her friend. The conversation dragged; and soon after, we
returned together to the house.

I was much occupied that morning, in riding about the place with Mr.
Hardinge, and in listening to his account of his stewardship, With
the main results I was already acquainted--nay, possessed them in the
Dawn,--but the details had all to be gone over, with the most minute
accuracy. A more simple-minded being there was not on earth than Mr.
Hardinge; and, that my affairs turned out so well was the result of the
prosperous condition of the country at that day, the system my father
had adopted in his life-time, and the good qualities of the different
agents he had chosen, every one of whom remained in the situation in
which he was at the sad moment of the fatal accident at the mill. Had
matters really depended on the knowledge and management of the most
excellent divine, they would soon have been at sixes and sevens.

"I am no believer in miracles, my dear Miles," observed my guardian,
with amusing self-complacency; "but I do think a change has been wrought
in me, to meet the emergencies of a situation, in which the interests of
two orphans have been so suddenly intrusted to my guidance and care. God
be thanked! everything prospers; your affairs, as well as those of
my dear Grace. It is wonderful, boy, how a man of my habits has been
directed in his purchases of wheat, for instance; I, who never bought
a bushel until the whole responsibility of your mills fell upon my
shoulders I take no credit to myself for it--no credit to myself!"

"I hope the miller has not been backward, my dear sir, in giving you all
the assistance in his power."

"Morgan?--yes; he is always ready, and you know I never forget to send
him into the market to both buy and sell. Really, his advice has been
so excellent, that to me it has the appearance of being almost
miraculous--prophetic, I should say, were it not improper. We should
avoid all exaggeration in our gratitude, boy."

"Very truly, sir. And in what manner have you managed to get along so
well with the crops, on the place, itself?"

"Favoured by the same great adviser, Miles. It is really wonderful,
the crops we have had; and the judgment that has been so providentially
shown in the management of the fields, as well as of the mills!"

"Of course, sir, old Hiram (Neb's uncle) has always been ready to give
you his aid?--Hiram has a great deal of judgment, in his way."

"No doubt--no doubt--Hiram and I have done it all, led by a Providential
counsel. Well, my boy, you ought to be satisfied with your earthly lot;
for every thing seems to prosper that belongs to you. Of course, you
will marry, one of these days, and transmit this place to your son, as
it has been received from your fathers?"

"I keep that hope in perspective, sir; or, as we sailors say, for a
sheet-anchor."

"Your hope of salvation, boy, is your sheet-anchor, I trust.
Nevertheless, we are not to be too hard on young men, and must let them
have a little romance in their compositions. Yes, yes; I trust you will
not become so much wedded to your ship, as not to think of taking a
wife, one of these days. It will be a happy hour to me, when I can see
another Mrs. Miles Wallingford at Clawbonny. She will be the third; for
I can remember your grandmother."

"Can you recommend to me a proper person to fill that honourable
station, sir?" said I, smiling to myself, and exceedingly curious to
hear the answer.

"What do you think of this Miss Merton, boy? She is handsome, and that
pleases young men; clever, and that pleases old ones; well-educated,
and that will last, when the beauty is gone; and, so far as I can judge,
amiable; and that is as necessary to a wife, as fidelity. _Marry no
woman, Miles, that is not amiable!_"

"May I ask _what_ you call amiable, sir?--And, when that question is
answered, I may venture to go so far as to inquire _whom_ you call
amiable?"

"Very sensible distinctions, and such as are entitled to fair answers;
at least the first. I do not call levity, amiability; nor mere
constitutional gaiety. Some of the seemingly most light-hearted women
I have ever known, have been anything but amiable. There must be an
unusual absence of selfishness,--a person must live less for herself,
than others--or rather, must find her own happiness in the happiness of
those she loves, to make a truly amiable woman. Heart and principle
are at the bottom of what is truly amiable; though temperament and
disposition undoubtedly contribute. As for the whom, your own sister
Grace is a truly amiable young woman. I never knew her do anything to
hurt another's feelings in my life."

"I suppose you will admit, sir, I cannot very well marry Grace?"

"I wish you could, with all my heart--yes, with all my heart! Were not
you and Grace brother and sister, I should consider myself well quit of
the responsibility of my guardianship, in seeing you man and wife."

"As that is out of the question, I am not without hopes you can mention
another who will do just as well, so far as I am concerned."

"Well, there is this Miss Merton--though I do not know her well enough
to venture absolutely on a recommendation. Now, I told Lucy, no later
than yesterday, while we were on the river, and as you were pointing out
to Miss Merton the forts in the Highlands, that I thought you would
make one of the handsomest couples in the state--and, moreover, I told
her--bless me, how this corn grows! The plants will be in tassel in
a few days, and the crop must turn out most beneficent--truly,
truly--there is a providence in all things; for, at first, I was for
putting the corn on yonder hill-side, and the potatoes here; but old
Hiram was led by some invisible agency to insist on this field for the
corn, and the hill-side for the potatoes--and, now, look, and see what
crops are in promise! Think of a nigger's blundering on such a thing?"

In 1802, even well-educated and well-intentioned clergymen had no
scruples in saying "nigger."

"But, sir, you have quite forgotten to add what else you told Lucy?"

"True--true--it is very natural that you should prefer hearing me talk
about Miss Merton, to hearing me talk about potatoes--I'll tell _that_
to Lucy, too, you may depend on it."

"I sincerely hope you will do no such thing, my dear sir," I cried, in
no little alarm.

"Ah! that betrays guilt--consciousness, I should say; for what guilt can
there be in a virtuous love?--and rely on it, both the girls shall know
all about it. Lucy and I often talk over your matters, Miles; for she
loves you as well as your own sister. Ah! my fine fellow, you blush at
it, like a girl of sixteen! But, there is nothing to be ashamed of, and
there is no occasion for blushes."

"Well, sir, letting my blushes--the blushes of a shipmaster!--but
setting aside my blushes, for mercy's sake _what more_ did you tell
Lucy?"

"What more? Why I told her how you had been on a desert island, quite
alone as one might say, with Miss Merton, and how you had been at sea,
living in the same cabin as it were, for nine months; and it would be
wonderful--wonderful, indeed, if two so handsome young persons
should not feel an attachment for each other. Country might make some
difference, to be sure--"

"And station, sir?--What do you think would be the influence of the
difference of station, also?"

"Station!--Bless me, Miles; what difference in station is there between
you and Miss Merton; that it should cause any obstacle to your union?"

"You know what it is, sir, as well as I do myself. She is the daughter
of an officer in the British army, and I am the master of a ship. You
will admit, I presume, Mr. Hardinge, that there is such, a thing as a
difference in station?"

"Beyond all question. It is exceedingly useful to remember it; and
I greatly fear the loose appointments of magistrates and other
functionaries, that are making round the country, will bring all our
notions on such subjects into great confusion. I can understand that one
man is as good as another in _rights_, Miles; but I cannot understand
he is any _better_, because he happens to be uneducated, ignorant, or a
blackguard."

Mr. Hardinge was a sensible man in all such distinctions, though so
simple in connection with other matters.

"You can have no difficulty, however, in understanding that, in New
York, for instance, I should not be considered the equal of Major
Merton--I mean socially, altogether, and not in personal merit, or the
claims which years give--and of course, not the equal of his daughter?"

"Why--yes--I know what you mean, now. There may be some little
inequality in that sense, perhaps; but Clawbonny, and the ship, and the
money at use, would be very apt to strike a balance."

"I am afraid not, sir. I should have studied law, sir, had I wished to
make myself a gentleman."

"There are lots of vulgar fellows getting into the law, Miles--men who
have not half your claims to be considered gentlemen. I hope you do not
think I wished you and Rupert to study law in order to make gentlemen of
you?"

"No, sir; it was unnecessary to take that step as regards Rupert, who
was fully born in the station. Clergymen have a decided position all
over the world, I believe; and then you are extremely well connected
otherwise, Mr. Hardinge. Rupert has no occasion for such an
assistance--with me it was a little different."

"Miles--Miles--this is a strange fancy to come over a young man in your
situation--and who, I am afraid, has been the subject of envy, only too
often, to Rupert!"

"If the truth were known, Mr. Hardinge, I dare say both Rupert and Lucy,
in their secret hearts, think they possess advantages, in the way of
social station, that do not belong to Grace and myself."

Mr. Hardinge looked hurt, and I was soon sorry that I had made this
speech. Nor would I have the reader imagine that what I had said,
proceeded in the least from that narrow selfish feeling, which, under
the blustering pretension of equality, presumes to deny the existence
of a very potent social fact; but simply from the sensitiveness of
feelings, which, on this subject, were somewhat in danger of becoming
morbid, through the agency of the most powerful passion of the
human heart--or, that which has well been called the master-passion.
Nevertheless, Mr. Hardinge was much too honest a man to deny a truth,
and much too sincere to wish even to prevaricate about it, however
unpleasant it might be to acknowledge it, in all its unpleasant
bearings.

"I now understand you, Miles; and it would be idle to pretend that
there is not some justice in what you say, though I attach very little
importance to it, myself. Rupert is not exactly what I could wish him to
be in all things, and possibly _he_ may be coxcomb enough, at times,
to fancy he has this slight advantage over you,--but, as for Lucy, I'll
engage she never thinks of you but as a second brother--and that she
loves you exactly as she loves Rupert."

Mr. Hardinge's simplicity was of proof, and it was idle to think of
making any impression on it. I changed the subject, therefore, and this
was easily enough done, by beginning again to talk about the potatoes. I
was far from being easy, nevertheless; for I could not avoid seeing that
the good divine's restlessness might readily widen the little breach
which had opened between his daughter and myself.

That day, at dinner, I discovered that Grace's winter in town had led
to a sensible melioration of the domestic economy; most especially as
related to the table. My father and mother had introduced some changes,
which rendered the Clawbonny household affairs a little different from
those of most other of the Ulster county families near our own class;
but their innovations, or improvements, or whatever they might be
called, were far from being as decided as those introduced by their
daughter. Nothing, perhaps, sooner denotes the condition of people, than
the habits connected with the table. If eating and drinking be not done
in a certain way, and a way founded in reason, too, as indeed are nearly
all the customs of polished life, whatever may be the cant of the ultras
of reason--but, if eating and drinking be not done in a certain way,
your people of the world perceive it sooner than almost anything else.
There is, also, more of common sense and innate fitness, in the usages
of the table, so long as they are not dependent on mere caprice, than
in almost any other part of our deportment; for everybody must eat, and
most persons choose to eat decently. I had been a little nervous on the
subject of the Mertons, in connection with the Clawbonny table, I will
confess; and great was my delight when I found the breakfast going off
so well. As for the Major, himself by no means familiar with the higher
classes of his own country, he had that great stamp of a gentleman,
simplicity; and he was altogether above the cockney distinctions of
eating and drinking; those about cheese and malt liquors, and such
vulgar niceties; nor was he a man to care about the silver-forkisms; but
he understood that portion of the finesse of the table which depended
on reason and taste, and was accustomed to observe it. This I knew from
near a twelve month's intercourse, and I had feared we might turn out to
be a little too rustic.

Grace had made provisions against all this, with a tact and judgment for
which I could have worshipped her. I knew the viands, the vegetables,
and the wines would all be good of their kind, for in these we seldom
failed; nor did I distrust the cookery, the _English_-descended families
of the Middle States, of my class, understanding that to perfection;
but I feared we should fail in those little incidents of style
and arrangement, and in the order of the service, that denote a
well-regulated table. This is just what Grace had seen to; and I found
that a great revolution had been quietly effected in this branch of our
domestic economy during my absence; thanks to Grace's observations while
at Mrs. Bradfort's.

Emily seemed pleased at dinner, and Lucy could again laugh and smile.
After the cloth was removed, the Major and Mr. Hardinge discussed a
bottle of Madeira, and that too of a quality of which I had no reason to
be ashamed; while we young people withdrew together to a little piazza,
that was in the shade at that hour, and took seats, for a chat. Rupert
was permitted to smoke, on condition that he would not approach
within fifteen feet of the party. No sooner was this little group thus
arranged, the three girls in a crescent, than I disappeared.

"Grace, I have not yet spoken to you of a necklace of pearls possessed
by your humble servant," I cried, as my foot again touched the
piazza.--"I would not say a word about it--"

"Yet, Lucy and I heard all about it--" answered Grace with provoking
calmness, "but would not ask to see it, lest you should accuse us of
girlish curiosity. We waited your high pleasure, in the matter."

"You and Lucy heard I had such a necklace!"

"Most unquestionably; I, Grace Wallingford, and she, Lucy Hardinge. I
hope it is no infringement on the rights of Mr. Miles Clawbonny"--so
the girls often called me, when they affected to think I was on my
high-ropes--"I hope it is no infringement on the rights of Mr. Miles
Clawbonny to say as much."

"And pray how _could_ you and Lucy know anything about it?"

"That is altogether another question; perhaps we may accord an answer,
after we have seen the necklace."

"Miss Merton told us, Miles," said Lucy, looking at me with gentleness,
for she saw I really wished an answer; and what could Lucy Hardinge ever
refuse me, that was right in itself when she saw my feelings were really
interested?

"Miss Merton? Then I have been betrayed, and the surprise I anticipated
is lost."

I was vexed, and my manner must have shown it in a slight degree. Emily
coloured, bit her lip, and said nothing; but Grace made her excuses with
more spirit than it was usual for _her_ to show.

"You are rightly punished, Master Miles," she cried; "for you had no
business to anticipate surprises. They are vulgar things at best, and
they are worse than that when they come from a distance of fifteen
thousand miles--from a brother to a sister. Besides, you have surprised
us sufficiently once, already, in connection with Miss Merton."

"I!" I exclaimed.

"Me!" added Emily.

"Yes, I and me; did you tell us one word about her, in your letters?
and have you not now both surprised and delighted us, by making us
acquainted with so charming a person? I can pardon such a surprise, on
account of its consequences; but nothing so vulgar as a surprise about
pearls."

Emily blushed now; and in her it was possible to tell the difference
between a blush and the suffusion that arose from a different feeling;
but she looked immensely superior to anything like explanations.

"Captain Wallingford"--how I disliked that _Captain_--"Captain
Wallingford can have but little knowledge of young ladies," she said,
coldly, "if he supposes such pearls as he possesses would not form the
subject of their conversation."

I was coxcomb enough to fancy Emily was vexed that I had neglected to be
more particular about her being on the island, and her connection with
the ship. This might have been a mistake; however.

"Let us see the pearls, Miles; and that will plead your apology," said
Lucy.

"There, then--your charming eyes, young ladies, never looked on pearls
like those, before."

Female nature could not suppress the exclamations of belight that
succeeded. Even Rupert, who had a besetting weakness on the subject
of all personal ornaments, laid aside his segar, and came within the
prescribed distance, the better to admire. It was admitted all round,
New York had nothing to compare with them. I then mentioned that they
had been fished up by myself from the depths of the sea.

"How much that adds to their value!" said Lucy, in a low voice, but in
her warm, sincere manner.

"That was getting them _cheap_, was it not, Miss Wallingford?" inquired
Emily, with an emphasis I disliked.

"Very; though I agree with Lucy, it makes them so much the more
valuable."

"If Miss Merton will forget my charge of treason, and condescend to put
on the necklace, you will all see it to much greater advantage than at
present. If a fine necklace embellishes a fine woman, the advantage is
quite reciprocal. I have seen my pearls once already on her neck, and
know the effect."

A wish of Grace's aided my application, and Emily placed the ornaments
around her throat. The dazzling whiteness of her skin gave a lustre to
the pearls that they certainly did not previously possess. One scarcely
knew which to admire the most--the ornaments, or their setting.

"How very, very beautiful they are _now!_" cried Lucy, in generous
admiration. "Oh! Miss Merton, pearls should ever be your ornaments."

"_Those_ pearls, you mean, Lucy," put in Rupert, who was always
extremely liberal with other people's means; "the necklace ought never
to be removed."

"Miss Merton knows their destination," I said, gallantly, "and the terms
of ownership."

Emily slowly undid the clasp, placed the string before her eyes, and
looked at it long and silently.

"And what is this destination, Miles? What these terms of ownership?" my
sister asked.

"Of course he means them for you, dear," Lucy remarked in haste. "For
whom else can he intend such an ornament?"

"You are mistaken, Miss Hardinge. Grace must excuse me for being a
little selfish this time, at least. I do not intend those pearls for
Miss Wallingford, but for Mrs. Wallingford, should there ever be such a
person."

"Upon my word, such a double temptation, my boy, I Wonder Miss Merton
ever had the fortitude to remove them from the enviable position they
so lately occupied," cried Rupert, glancing meaningly towards Emily, who
returned the look with a slight smile.

"Of course, Miss Merton understood that my remark was ventured in
pleasantry," I said stiffly, "and not in presumption. It was decided,
however, when in the Pacific, that these pearls ought to have that
destination. It is true, Clawbonny is not the Pacific, and one may be
pardoned for seeing things a little differently _here_, from what they
appeared _there_. I have a few more pearls, however, very inferior in
quality I confess, to those of the necklace; but, such as they are, I
should esteem it a favour, ladies, if you would consent to divide them
equally among you. They would make three very pretty rings, and as many
breast-pins."

I put into Grace's hands a little box containing all the pearls that had
not been placed on the string. There were many fine ones among them, and
some of very respectable size, though most were of the sort called seed.
In the whole, there were several hundreds.

"We will not balk his generosity," said Grace, smiling--"so, Miss
Merton, we will separate the pearls into three parcels, and draw lots
for them. Here are handsome ornaments among them!"

"They will have one value with you, at least, Grace, and quite likely
with Lucy, while they might possibly possess another with Miss Merton. I
fished up every one of those pearls with my own hands."

"Certainly, that will give them value with both Lucy and me, dearest
Miles, as would the simple fact that they are your gift--but what is to
give them their especial value with Miss Merton?"

"They may serve to remind Miss Merton of some of her hair-breadth
escapes, of the weeks passed on the island, and of scenes that, a
few years hence, will probably possess the colours of a dream, in her
recollection."

"_One_ pearl I will take, with this particular object"--said Emily, with
more feeling than I had seen her manifest since she had got back into
the world, "if Miss Wallingford will do me the favour to select it."

"Let it be enough for a ring, at least," Grace returned, in her own
sweetest manner. "Half a dozen of the finest of these pearls, of which
one shall be on Miles' account, and five on mine."

"On those conditions, let it then be six. I have no occasion for pearls
to remind me how much my father and my self owe to Captain Wallingford."

"Come, Rupert," added Grace; "you have a taste in these things, let
us have your aid in the selection." Rupert was by no means backward in
complying, for he loved to be meddling in such matters.

"In the first place," he said, "I shall at once direct that the number
be increased to seven; this fine one in the centre, and three on each
side, gradually diminishing in size. We must look to quality, and not to
weight, for the six puisne judges, as we should call them in the courts.
The Chief Justice will be a noble-looking fellow, and the associates
ought to be of good quality to keep his honour's company."

"Why do you not call your judges 'my lords,' as we do in England, Mr.
Hardinge?" inquired Emily, in her prettiest manner.

"_Why,_ sure enough! I wish with all my heart we did, and then a man
would have something worth living for."

"Rupert!" exclaimed Lucy, colouring--"you know it is because our
government is republican, and that we have no nobles among us. Nor
do you say exactly what you think; you would not be 'my lord,' if you
could."

"As I never shall be a 'my lord,' and I am afraid never a 'your
honour'--There, Miss Merton--there are numbers two and three--observe
how beautifully they are graduated as to size."

"Well, 'your honour,'" added Grace, who began to be a little uneasy at
the manner Rupert and Emily exhibited towards each other--"well, 'your
honour,' what is to come next?"

"Numbers four and five, of course--and here they are, Miss Merton; as
accurately diminished, as if done by hand. A beautiful ring it will
make--I envy those who will be recalled to mind, by so charming an
object."

"You will now be one of those yourself, Mr. Hardinge"--observed Emily,
with great tact--"for you are fully entitled to it, by the trouble you
are giving yourself, and the taste and judgment you possess."

Lucy looked petrified. She had so long accustomed herself to think
of Grace as her future sister, that the open admiration expressed in
Rupert's countenance, which was too manifest to escape any of us, first
threw a glimmering of light on suspicions of the most painful nature. I
had long seen that Lucy understood her brother's character better than
any of us--much better, indeed, than his simple-minded father; and,
as for myself, I was prepared to expect anything but consistency and
principle in his conduct. Dearly as I prized Lucy, and by this time
the slight competition that Emily Merton had presented to my fancy,
had entirely given way to the dear creature's heart, and nature,--but,
dearly as I prized Lucy, I would greatly have preferred that my sister
should not marry her brother; and, so far from feeling resentment on
account of his want of fidelity, I was rather disposed to rejoice at
it. I could appreciate his want of merit, and his unfitness to be the
husband of such a woman as Grace, even at my early age; but, alas! I
could not appreciate the effects of his inconstancy on a heart like that
of my sister. Could I have felt as easy on the subject of Mr. Andrew
Drewett, and of my own precise position in society, I should have cared
very little, just then, about Rupert, and his caprices.

The pearls for the ring were soon selected by Rupert, and approved of
by Grace, after which I assumed the office of dividing the remainder
myself. I drew a chair, took the box from Rupert, and set about the
task.

"I shall make a faithful umpire, girls," I observed, as pearl after
pearl was laid, first on one spot, then on another--"for I feel no
preference between you--Grace is as Lucy; Lucy is as Grace, with me."

"That may be fortunate, Miss Hardinge, since it indicates no preference
of a particular sort, that might require repressing," said Emily,
smiling significantly at Lucy. "When gentlemen treat young ladies
as sisters, it is a subject of rejoicing. These sailors need severe
lessons, to keep them within the rules of the land."

Why this was said, I did not understand; but Rupert laughed at it, as
if it were a capital thing. To mend the matter, he added, a little
boisterously for him--

"You see, Miles, you had better have taken to the law--the ladies cannot
appreciate the merits of you tars."

"So it would seem," I returned, a little drily, "after all Miss Merton
has experienced and seen of the trade."

Emily made no reply, but she regarded her pearls with a steadiness that
showed she was thinking more of their effect than that of either her own
speech or mine. I continued to divide the pearls, and soon had the work
complete.

"What am I to do, now?"--I asked--"Will you draw lots, girls, or will
you trust to my impartiality?"

"We will certainly confide in the last," answered Grace. "The division
is so very equitable that I do not well see how you can defraud either."

"That being the case, this parcel is for you, Lucy; and, Grace, that is
your's."

Grace rose, put her arms affectionately around my neck, and gave me one
of the hundred kisses that I had received, first and last, for presents
of one sort and another. The deep attachment that beamed in her
saint-like eyes, would of itself have repaid me for fifty such gifts.
At the moment, I was almost on the point of throwing her the necklace
in the bargain; but some faint fancies about Mrs. Miles Wallingford
prevented me from so doing. As for Lucy, not a little to my surprise,
she received the pearls, muttered a few unintelligible words, but did
not even rise from her chair. Emily seemed to tire of this, so she
caught up her gypsy, said the evening was getting to be delightful, and
proposed a walk. Rupert and Grace cheerfully acquiesced, and the three
soon left the place, Lucy preparing to follow, as soon as a maid could
bring her hat, and I excusing myself on the score of business in my own
room.

"Miles"--said Lucy, as I was about to enter the house, she herself
standing on the edge of the piazza on the point of following the party,
but holding towards me the little paper box in which I had placed her
portion of the pearls.

"Do you wish me to put them away for you, Lucy?"

"No, Miles--not for _me_--but for _yourself_--for Grace--for _Mrs. Miles
Wallingford_, if you prefer that."

This was said without the slightest appearance of any other feeling than
a gentle request. I was surprised, and scarce knew what to make of it;
at first, I refused to take the box.

"I hope I have done nothing to merit this, Lucy?" I said,
half-affronted, half-grieved.

"Remember, Miles," the dear girl answered--"we are no longer children,
but have reached an age when it is incumbent on us to respect
appearances a little. These pearls must be worth a good deal of money,
and I feel certain my father, when he came to think of it, would scarce
approve of my receiving them."

"And this from _you_, dear Lucy!"

"This from me, dear Miles," returned the precious girl, tears glistening
in her eyes, though she endeavoured to smile. "Now, take the box, and we
will be just as good friends as ever."

"Will you answer me one question, as frankly and as honestly as you used
to answer all my questions?"

Lucy turned pale and she stood reflecting an instant before she spoke.

"I can answer no question before it is asked," was at length her answer.

"Have you thought so little of my presents as to have thrown away the
locket I gave you, before I sailed for the North-West coast?"

"No, Miles; I have kept the locket, and shall keep it as long as I live.
It was a memorial of our childish regard for each other; and, in that
sense, is very dear to me. You will let me keep the locket, I am sure!"

"If it were not you, Lucy Hardinge, whom I know to be truth itself, I
might be disposed to doubt you, so many strange things exist, and so
much caprice, especially in attachments, is manifested here, ashore!"

"You need doubt nothing I tell you, Miles--on no account would I deceive
you."

"That I believe--nay, I see, it is your present object to _undeceive_
me. I do not doubt anything you tell me, Lucy. I wish I could see that
locket, however; show it to me, if you have it on your person."

Lucy made an eager movement, as if about to produce the locket; then she
arrested the impetuous indication, while her cheeks fairly burned with
the blushes that suffused them.

"I see how it is, Lucy--the thing is not to be found. It is mislaid, the
Lord knows where, and you do not like to avow it."

The locket, at that moment, lay as near the blessed creature's heart
as it could be placed; and her confusion proceeded from the shame of
letting that fact be known. This I could not see, and consequently did
not know. A very small and further indication of feeling on my part,
might have betrayed the circumstance; but pride prevented it, and I took
the still extended box, I dare say in a somewhat dramatic manner. Lucy
looked at me earnestly; I saw it was with difficulty that she kept from
bursting into tears.

"You are not hurt, Miles?" she said.

"I should not be frank if I denied it. Even Emily Merton, you saw,
consented to accept enough pearls for a ring."

"I did perceive it; and yet, you remember, she felt the impropriety of
receiving such large gifts from gentlemen. Miss Merton has gone through
so much, so much in your company, Miles, that no wonder she is willing
to retain some little memorial of it all, until--"

She hesitated; but Lucy chose not to finish the sentence. She had been
pale; but her cheeks were now like the rose, again.

"When Rupert and I first went to sea, Lucy, you gave me your little
treasure in gold--every farthing you had on earth, I fancy."

"I am glad I did, Miles; for we were very young, then, and you had been
so kind to me, I rejoice I had a little gratitude. But, we are now in
situations," she added, smiling so sweetly, as to render it difficult
for me to refrain from catching her in my arms, and folding her to my
heart; "that place both of us above the necessity of receiving aid of
this sort."

"I am glad to hear this--though _I_ shall never part with the dear
recollection of the half-joes."

"Or I with that of the locket. We will retain these, then, as keepsakes.
My dear Mrs. Bradfort, too, is very particular about Rupert or myself
receiving favours of this sort, from any but herself. She has adopted
us, in a manner; and I owe to her liberality, the means of making the
figure I do. Apart from that, Miles, we are all as poor as we have ever
been."

I wished Rupert had half his sister's self-respect and pride of
character. But he had not; for in spite of his kinswoman's prohibitions,
he had not scrupled to spend nearly three years of the wages that
accrued to me as third-mate of the Crisis. For the money I cared not a
stiver; it was a very different thing as to the feeling.

As for Lucy, she hastened away, as soon as she had induced me to accept
the box; and I had no choice but to place all the pearls together, and
put them in Grace's room, as my sister had desired me to do with her own
property before proceeding on her walk.

I determined I would converse confidentially with Grace, that very
evening, about the state of affairs in general, and if possible, learn
the worst concerning Mr. Andrew Drewett's pretensions. Shall I
frankly own the truth? I was sorry that Mrs. Bradfort had made Lucy
so independent; as it seemed to increase the chasm that I fancied was
opening between us.



CHAPTER XXIV.

  "Your name abruptly mentioned, casual words
  Of comment on your deeds, praise from your uncle,
  News from the armies, talk of your return,
  A word let fall touching your youthful passion
  Suffused her cheek, called to her drooping eye
  A momentary lustre."


I had no difficulty in putting my project of a private interview with
Grace, in execution in my own house. There was one room at Clawbonny,
that, from time immemorial, had been appropriated exclusively to the use
of the heads of the establishment; It was called the "family room," as
one would say "family-pictures" or "family--plate." In my father's time,
I could recollect that I never dreamed of entering it, unless asked
or ordered; and even then, I always did so with some such feeling as I
entered a church. What gave it a particular and additional sanctity
in out eyes, also, was the fact that the Wallingford dead were always
placed in their coffins, in this room, and thence they were borne to
their graves. It was a very small triangular room, with the fire-place
in one corner, and possessing but a single window, that opened on a
thicket of rose-bushes, ceringos, and lilacs. There was also a light
external fence around this shrubbery, as if purposely to keep listeners
at a distance. The apartment had been furnished when the house was
built, being in the oldest part of the structures, and still retained
its ancient inmates. The chairs, tables, and, most of the other
articles, had actually been brought from England, by Miles the First, as
we used to call the emigrant; though, he was thus only in reference to
the Clawbonny dynasty, having been something like Miles the Twentieth,
in the old country. My mother had introduced a small settee, or some
such seat as the French would call a _causeuse;_ a most appropriate
article, in such a place.

In preparation for the interview I had slipped into Grace's hand a piece
of paper, on which was written "meet me in the family-room, precisely at
six!" This was sufficient; at the hour named, I proceeded to the room,
myself. The house of Clawbonny, in one sense, was large for an American
residence; that is to say, it covered a great deal of ground, every one
of the three owners who preceded me, having built; the two last leaving
entire the labours of the first. My turn had not yet come, of course;
but the reader knows already that I, most irreverently, had once
contemplated abandoning the place, for a "seat" nearer the Hudson. In
such a _suite_ of constructions, sundry passages became necessary, and
we had several more than was usual at Clawbonny, besides having as many
pairs of stairs. In consequence of this ample provision of stairs, the
chambers of the family were totally separated from those of all the rest
of the house.

I began to reflect seriously, on _what_ I had to say, and _how_ it
was to be said, as I walked through the long passage which led to the
"family-room," or the "triangle," as my own father had nicknamed the
spot. Grace and I had never yet held what might be termed a family
consultation; I was too young to think of such a thing, when last at
home, and no former occasion had offered since my return. I was still
quite young, and had more diffidence than might have been expected in
a sailor. To me, it was far more embarrassing to open verbal
communications of a delicate nature, than it would have been to work a
ship in action. But for this _mauvaise honte_, I do think I should have
been explicit with Lucy, and not have parted from her on the piazza, as
I did, leaving everything in just as much doubt as it had been before a
word passed between us. Then I entertained a profound respect for Grace;
something more than the tenderness of a brother for a sister; for,
mingled with my strong affection for her, was a deference, a species
of awe of her angel-like character and purity, that made me far more
disposed to receive advice from her, than to bestow it. In the frame of
mind which was natural to all these blended feelings, I laid my hand on
the old-fashioned brass latch, by which the door of the "triangle"
was closed. On entering the room, I found my sister seated on the
"causeuses," the window open to admit air, the room looking snug but
cheerful, and its occupant's sweet countenance expressive of care, not
altogether free from curiosity. The last time I had been in that room,
it was to look on the pallid features of my mother's corpse, previously
to closing the coffin. All the recollections of that scene rushed upon
our minds at the same instant; and taking a place by the side of Grace,
I put an arm around her waist, drew her to me, and, receiving her head
on my bosom, she wept like a child. My tears could not be altogether
restrained, and several minutes passed in profound silence. No
explanations were needed; I knew what my sister thought and felt, and
she was equally at home as respects my sensations. At length we regained
our self-command, and Grace lifted her head.

"You have not been in this room since, brother?" she observed, half
inquiringly.

"I have not, sister. It is now many years--many for those who are as
young as ourselves."

"Miles, you will think better about that 'seat,' and never abandon
Clawbonny--never destroy this blessed room!"

"I begin to think and feel differently on the subject, from what I once
did. If this house were good enough for our forefathers, why is it not
good enough for me. It is respectable and comfortable, and what more do
I want?

"And so warm in winter, and so cool in summer; with good thick stone
walls; while everything they build now is a shingle palace! Besides,
you can add your portion, and each addition has already been a good
deal modernized. It is so pleasant to have a house that partakes of the
usages of different periods!"

"I hardly think I shall ever abandon Clawbonny, my dear; for I find it
growing more and more precious as other ties and expectations fail me."

Grace drew herself entirely from my arms, and looked intently, and, as I
fancied, anxiously at me, from the other corner of the settee. Then she
affectionately took one of my hands, in both her own, and pressed it
gently.

"You are young to speak of such things, my dear brother," she said with
a tone and air of sadness, I had never yet remarked in her voice and
manner; "much too young for a man; though I fear we women are born to
know sorrow!"

I could not speak if I would, for I fancied Grace was about to make some
communications concerning Rupert. Notwithstanding the strong affection
that existed between my sister and myself, not a syllable had ever been
uttered by either, that bore directly on our respective relations with
Rupert and Lucy Hardinge. I had long been certain that Rupert, who was
never backward in professions, had years before spoken explicitly to
Grace, and I made no doubt they were engaged, though probably subject
to some such conditions as the approval of his father and myself;
approvals, that neither had any reason for supposing would be
withheld. Still, Grace had never intimated anything of the sort, and
my conclusions were drawn from conjectures founded as I imagined on
sufficient observation. On the other hand, I had never spoken to Grace,
of my love for Lucy. Until within the last month, indeed, when jealousy
and distrust came to quicken the sentiment, I was unconscious myself
with how much passion I did actually love the dear girl; for, previously
to that, my affection had seemed so much a matter of course, was united
with so much that was fraternal, in appearance at least, that I had
never been induced to enter into an inquiry as to the nature of this
regard. We were both, therefore, touching on hallowed spots in our
hearts, and each felt averse to laying bare the weakness.

"Oh! you know how it is with life, Grace," I answered, with affected
carelessness, after a moment's silence; "now all sun-shine, and now all
clouds--I shall probably never marry, my dear sister, and you, or your
children, will inherit Clawbonny; then you can do as you please with the
house. As a memorial of myself, however, I will leave orders for stone
to be got out this fall, and, next year, I will put up the south wing,
of which we have so much talked, and add three or four rooms in which
one will not be ashamed to see his friends."

"I hope your are ashamed of nothing that is at Clawbonny, now, Miles--as
for your marrying, my dear brother, that remains to be seen; young men
do not often know their own minds on such a subject, at your age."

This was said, not altogether without pleasantry, though there was a
shade of sadness in the countenance of the beloved speaker, that
from the bottom of my heart I wished were not there. I believe Grace
understood my concern, and that she shrunk with virgin sensitiveness
from touching further on the subject, for she soon added--

"Enough of this desponding talk. Why have you particularly desired to
see me, here, Miles?"

"Why? Oh! you know I am to sail next week, and we have never been
here--and, now we are both of an age to communicate our thoughts to each
other--I supposed--that is--there must be a beginning of all things, and
it is as well to commence now, as any other time. You do not seem more
than half a sister, in the company of strangers like the Mertons, and
Hardinges!"

"Strangers, Miles! How long have you regarded the last as strangers?"

"Certainly not strangers in the way of acquaintance, but strangers to
our blood. There is not the least connection between us and them."

"No, but much love; and love that has lasted from childhood. I cannot
remember the time when I have not loved Lucy Hardinge."

"Quite true--nor I. Lucy is an excellent girl, and one is almost certain
of always retaining a strong regard for _her_. How singularly the
prospects of the Hardinges are changed by this sudden liking of Mrs.
Bradfort!"

"It is not sudden, Miles. You have been absent years, and forget how
much time there has been to become intimate and attached. Mr. Hardinge
and Mrs. Bradfort are sister's children; and the fortune of the last,
which, I am told, exceeds six thousand a-year, in improving real estate
in town, besides the excellent and valuable house in which she lives,
came from their common grandfather, who cut off Mrs. Hardinge with a
small legacy, because she married a clergyman. Mr. Hardinge is Mrs.
Bradfort's heir-at-law, and it is by no means unnatural that she should
think of leaving the property to those who, in one sense, have as good a
right to it as she has herself."

"And is it supposed she will leave Rupert her heir?"

"I believe it is--at least--I think--I am afraid--Rupert himself
imagines it; though doubtless Lucy will come in for a fair share. The
affection of Mrs. Bradfort for Lucy is very strong--so strong, indeed,
that she offered, last winter, openly to adopt her, and to keep her with
her constantly. You know how true and warm-hearted a girl Lucy is, and
how easy it is to love her."

"This is all new to me--why was not the offer accepted?"

"Neither Mr. Hardinge nor Lucy would listen to it. I was present at the
interview in which it was discussed, and our excellent guardian thanked
his cousin for her kind intentions; but, in his simple way, he declared,
as long as life was spared him, he felt it a duty to keep his girl; or,
at least, until he committed her to the custody of a husband, or death
should part them."

"And Lucy?"

"She is much attached to Mrs. Bradfort, who is a good woman in the main,
though she has her weaknesses about the world, and society, and such
things. Lucy wept in her cousin's arms, but declared she never could
leave her father. I suppose you do not expect," added Grace, smiling,
"that _she_ had anything to say about a husband."

"And how did Mrs. Bradfort receive this joint declaration of resistance
to her pleasure, backed, as the last was, by dollars?"

"Perfectly well. The affair terminated by Mr. Hardinge's consenting to
Lucy's passing each winter in town, until she marry. Rupert, you know,
lives there as a student at law, at present, and will become established
there, when admitted to the bar."

"And I suppose the knowledge that Lucy is likely to inherit some of
the old Bleecker estate, has not in the least diminished her chance
of finding a husband to remove her from the paternal custody of her
father?"

"No husband could ever make Lucy anything but Mr. Hardinge's daughter;
but you are right, Miles, in supposing that she has been sought. I am
not in her secrets, for Lucy is a girl of too much principle to make a
parade of her conquests, even under the pretence of communicating them
to her dearest friend--and in that light, beyond all question, does she
regard me; but I feel as morally certain as one can be, without actually
knowing the facts, that Lucy refused _one_ gentleman, winter before
last, and three last winter."

"Was Mr. Andrew Drewett of the number?" I asked, with a precipitation of
which I was immediately ashamed.

Grace started a little at the vivacity of my manner, and then she
smiled, though I still thought sadly.

"Of course not," she answered, after a moment's thought, "or he would
not still be in attendance. Lucy is too frank to leave an admirer in
doubt an instant after his declaration is made, and her own mind made
up; and not one of all those who, I am persuaded, have offered, has ever
ventured to continue more than a distant acquaintance. As Mr. Drewett
never has been more assiduous than down to the last moment of our
remaining in town, it is impossible he should have been rejected. I
suppose you know Mr. Hardinge has invited him here?"

"Here? Andrew Drewett? And why is he coming here?"

"I heard him ask Mr. Hardinge's permission to visit us here; and you
know how it is with our dear, good guardian--the milk of human kindness
himself, and so perfectly guileless that he never sees more than is said
in such matters, it was impossible he could refuse. Besides, he likes
Drewett, who, apart from some fashionable follies, is both clever and
respectable. Mr. Drewett has a sister married into one of the best
families on the other side of the river, and is in the habit of coming
into the neighbourhood every summer; doubtless he will cross from his
sisters house to Clawbonny."

I felt indignant for just one minute, and then reason resumed its sway.
Mr. Hardinge, in the first place, had the written authority, or request,
of my mother that he would invite whom he pleased, during my minority,
to the house; and, on that score, I felt no disapprobation. But it
seemed so much like braving my own passion, to ask an open admirer of
Lucy's to my own house, that I was very near saying something silly.
Luckily I did not, and Grace never knew what I suffered at this
discovery. Lucy had refused several offers--that was something; and I
was dying to know what sort of offers they were. I thought I might at
least venture to ask that question.

"Did you know the four gentlemen that you suppose Lucy to have refused?"
said I, with as indifferent an air as I could assume, affecting to
destroy a cobweb with my rattan, and even carrying my acting so far as
to make an attempt at a low whistle.

"Certainly; how else should I know anything about it? Lucy has never
said a word to me on the subject; and, though Mrs. Bradfort and I
have had our pleasantries on the subject, neither of us is in Lucy's
secrets."

"Ay, your pleasantries on the subject! That I dare say. There is no
better fun to a woman than to see a man make a fool of himself in this
way; little does _she_ care how much a poor fellow suffers!"

Grace turned pale, and I could see that her sweet countenance became
thoughtful and repentant.

"Perhaps there is truth in your remark, and justice n your reproach,
Miles. None of us treat this subject with as much, seriousness as it
deserves, though I cannot suppose any woman can reject a man whom she
believes to be seriously attached to her, without feeling for him.
Still, attachments of this nature affect your sex less than ours, and
I believe few men die of love. Lucy, moreover, never has, and I believe
never would encourage any man whom she did not like; this principle must
have prevented any of that intimate connection, without which the heart
never can get much interested. The passion that is produced without
any exchange of sentiment or feeling, Miles, cannot be much more than
imagination or caprice."

"I suppose those four chaps are all famously cured, by this time, then?"
said I, pretending again to whistle.

"I cannot answer for that--it is so easy to love Lucy, and to love her
warmly. I only know they visit her no longer, and, when they meet her in
society, behave just as I think a rejected admirer would behave, when he
has not lost his respect for his late flame. Mrs. Bradfort's fortune
and position may have had their influence on two; but the others I think
were quite sincere."

"Mrs. Bradfort is quite in a high set, Grace--altogether above what we
have been accustomed to?"

My sister coloured a little, and I could see she was not at her ease.
Still, Grace had too much self-respect, and too much character, ever to
feel an oppressive inferiority, where it did not exist in essentials;
and she had never been made to suffer, as the more frivolous and vain
often suffer, by communications with a class superior to their own;
especially when that class, as always happens, contains those who,
having nothing else to be proud of, take care to make others feel their
inferiority.

"This is true, Miles," she answered; "or I might better say, both are
true. Certainly I never have seen as many well-bred persons as I meet
in her circle--indeed, we have little around us at Clawbonny to teach
us any distinctions in such tastes. Mr. Hardinge, simple as he is, is so
truly a gentleman, that he has not left us altogether in the dark as to
what was expected of us; and I fancy the higher people truly are in the
world, the less they lay stress on anything but what is substantial, in
these matters."

"And Lucy's admirers--and Lucy herself--"

"How, Lucy herself?"

"Was she well received--courted--admired? Met as an equal, and treated
as an equal? And you, too?"

"Had you lived more in the world, Miles, you would not have asked the
question. But Lucy has been always received as Mrs. Bradfort's daughter
would have been received; and as for myself, I have never supposed it
was not known exactly who I am."

"_Captain_ Miles Wallingford's daughter, and _Captain_ Miles
Wallingford's sister," said I, with a little bitterness on each
emphasis.

"Precisely; and a girl proud of her connections with both," rejoined
Grace, with strong affection.

"I wish I knew one thing, Grace; and I think I _ought_ to know it, too."

"If you can make the last appear, Miles, you may rest assured you shall
know it, if it depend on me."

"Did any of these gentry--these soft-handed fellows--ever think of
offering to _you_?"

Grace laughed, and she coloured so deeply--oh! how heavenly was her
beauty, with that roseate tint on her cheek!--but she coloured so
deeply, that I felt satisfied that she, too, had refused her suitors.
The thought appeased some of my bitter feelings, and I had a sort of
semi-savage pleasure in believing that a daughter of Clawbonny was not
to be had for the asking, by one of that set. The only answers I got
were these disclosures by blushes.

"What are the fortune and position of this Mr. Drewett, since you are
resolved to tell me nothing of your own affairs?"

"Both are good, and such as no young lady can object to. He is even said
to be rich."

"Thank God! _He_ then is not seeking Lucy in the hope of getting some of
Mrs. Bradfort's money?"

"Not in the least. It is so easy to love Lucy, for Lucy's sake, that
even a fortune-hunter would be in danger of being caught in his own
trap. But Mr. Drewett is above the necessity of practising so vile a
scheme for making money."

Here, that the present generation may not be misled, and imagine
fortune-hunting has come in altogether within the last twenty years,
I will add that it was not exactly a trade, in this country--a regular
occupation--in 1802, as it has become, in 1844. There were such things
then, certainly, as men, or women, who were ready to marry anybody who
would make them rich; but I do not think theirs was a calling to which
either sex served regular apprenticeships, as is practised to-day.
Still, the business was carried on, to speak in the vernacular, and
sometimes with marked success.

"You have not told me, Grace," I resumed, "whether you think Lucy is
pleased, or not, with the attentions of this gentleman."

My sister looked at me intently, for a moment, as if to ascertain how
far I could, or could not, ask such a question with indifference. It
will be remembered that no verbal explanations had ever taken place
between us, on the subject of our feelings towards the companions of our
childhood, and that all that was known to either was obtained purely
by inference. Between myself and Lucy nothing had ever passed, indeed,
which might not have been honestly referred to our long and early
association, so far as the rules of intercourse were concerned, though I
sometimes fancied I could recall a hundred occasions, on which Lucy
had formerly manifested deep attachment for myself; nor did I doubt
her being able to show similar proofs, by reversing the picture. This,
however, was, or I had thought it to be, merely the language of the
heart; the tongue having never spoken. Of course, Grace had nothing but
conjecture on this subject, and alas! she had begun to see how possible
it was for those who lived near each other to change their views on such
subjects; no wonder, then, if she fancied it still easier, for those who
had been separated for years.


"I have not told you, Miles," Grace answered, after a brief delay,
"because it would not be proper to communicate the secrets of my friend
to a young man, even to you, were it in my power, as it is not, since
Lucy never has made to me the slightest confidential communication, of
any sort or nature, touching love."

"Never!" I exclaimed--reading my fancied doom in the startling fact; for
I conceived it impossible, had she ever really loved me, that the
matter should not have come up in conversation between two so closely
united--"Never! What, no girlish--no childish preference--have you never
had no mutual preferences to reveal?"

"Never"--answered Grace, firmly, though her very temples seemed
illuminated--"Never. We have been satisfied with each other's affection,
and have had no occasion to enter into any unfeminine and improper
secrets, if any such existed."

A long, and I doubt not a mutually painful pause succeeded.

"Grace," said I, at length--"I am not envious of this probable accession
of fortune to the Hardinges, but I think we should all have been much
more united--much happier--without it."

My sister's colour left her face, she trembled all over, and she became
pale as death.

"You may be right, in some respects, Miles," she answered, after a time.
"And, yet, it is hardly generous to think so. Why should we wish to
see our oldest friends; those who are so very dear to us, our excellent
guardian's children, less well off than we are ourselves? No doubt, no
doubt, it may seem better to _us_, that Clawbonny should be the castle
and we its possessors; but others have their rights and interests as
well as ourselves. Give the Hardinges money, and they will enjoy every
advantage known in this country--more than money can possibly give
us--why, then, ought we to be so selfish as to wish them deprived of
this advantage? Place Lucy where you will, she will always be Lucy; and,
as for Rupert, so brilliant a young man needs only an opportunity, to
rise to anything the country possesses!"

Grace was so earnest, spoke with so much feeling, appeared so
disinterested, so holy I had almost said, that I could not find, in my
heart, the courage to try her any farther. That she began to distrust
Rupert, I plainly saw, though it was merely with the glimmerings of
doubt. A nature as pure as her's, and a heart so true, admitted with
great reluctance, the proofs of the unworthiness of one so long loved.
It was evident, moreover, that she shrunk from revealing her own great
secret, while she had only conjectures to offer in regard to Lucy;
and even these she withheld, as due to her sex, and the obligations of
friendship. I forgot that I had not been ingenuous myself, and that
I made no communication to justify any confidence on the part of my
sister. That which would have been treachery in her to say, under this
state of the case, might have been uttered with greater frankness on
my own part. After a pause, to allow my sister to recover from her
agitation, I turned the discourse to our own more immediate family
interests, and soon got off the painful subject altogether.

"I shall be of age, Grace." I said, in the course of my explanations,
"before you see me again. We sailors are always exposed to more chances
and hazards than people ashore; and, I now tell you, should anything
happen to me, my will may be found in my secretary; signed and sealed,
the day I attain my majority. I have given orders to have it drawn up
by a lawyer of eminence, and shall take it to sea with me, for that very
purpose."

"From which I am to infer that I must not covet Clawbonny," answered
Grace, with a smile that denoted how little she cared for the fact--"You
give it to our cousin, Jack Wallingford, as a male heir, worthy of
enjoying the honour."

"No, dearest, I give it to _you_. It is true, the law would do this for
me; but I choose to let it be known that I wish it to be so. I am aware
my father made that disposition of the place, should I die childless,
before I became of age; but, once of age, the place is all mine; and
that which is all mine, shall be all thine, after I am no more."

"This is melancholy conversation, and, I trust, useless. Under
the circumstances you mention, Miles, I never should have expected
Clawbonny, nor do I know I ought to possess it. It comes as much from
Jack Wallingford's ancestors, as from our own; and it is better it
should remain with the name. I will not promise you, therefore, I will
not give it to him, the instant I can."

This Jack Wallingford, of whom I have not yet spoken, was a man of
five-and-forty, and a bachelor. He was a cousin-german of my father's,
being the son of a younger brother of my grandfather's, and somewhat of
a favourite. He had gone into what was called the new countries, in that
day, or a few miles west of Cayuga Bridge, which put him into Western
New York. I had never seen him but once and that was on a visit he paid
us on his return from selling quantities of pot and pearl ashes in town;
articles made oh his new lands. He was said to be a prosperous man, and
to stand little in need of the old paternal property.

After a little more conversation on the subject of my will, Grace and I
separated, each more closely bound to the other, I firmly believed,
for this dialogue in the "family room." Never had my sister seemed more
worthy of all my love; and, certain I am, never did she possess more of
it. Of Clawbonny she was as sure, as my power over it could make her.

The remainder of the week passed as weeks are apt to pass in the
country, and in summer. Feeling myself so often uncomfortable in the
society of the girls, I was much in the fields; always possessing the
good excuse of beginning to look after my own affairs. Mr. Hardinge took
charge of the Major, an intimacy beginning to spring up between these
two respectable old men. There were, indeed, so many points of common
feeling, that such a result was not at all surprising. They both loved
the church--I beg pardon, the Holy Catholic Protestant Episcopal Church.
They both disliked Bonaparte--the Major hated him, but my guardian
hated nobody--both venerated Billy Pitt, and both fancied the French
Revolution was merely the fulfilment of prophecy, through the agency
of the devils. As we are now touching upon times likely to produce
important results, let me not be misunderstood. As an old man, aiming,
in a new sphere, to keep enlightened the generation that is coming into
active life, it may be necessary to explain. An attempt has been made
to induce the country to think that Episcopalian and tory were something
like synonymous terms, in the "times that tried men's souls." This is
sufficiently impudent, _per se_, in a country that possessed Washington,
Jay, Hamilton, the Lees, the Morrises, the late Bishop White, and so
many other distinguished patriots of the Southern and Middle States;
but men are not particularly scrupulous when there is an object to be
obtained, even though it be pretended that Heaven is an incident of that
object. I shall, therefore, confine my explanations to what I have said
about Billy Pitt and the French.

The youth of this day may deem it suspicious that an Episcopal
divine--_Protestant_ Episcopal, I mean; but it is so hard to get the use
of new terms as applied to old thoughts, in the decline of life!--may
deem it suspicious that a Protestant Episcopal divine should care
anything about Billy Pitt, or execrate Infidel France; I will,
therefore, just intimate that, in 1802, no portion of the country dipped
more deeply into similar sentiments than the descendants of those who
first put foot on the rock of Plymouth, and whose progenitors had just
before paid a visit to Geneva, where, it is "said or sung," they had
found a "church without a bishop, and a state without a king." In a
word, admiration of Mr. Pitt, and execration of Bonaparte, were by no
means such novelties in America, in that day, as to excite wonder. For
myself, however, I can truly say, that, like most Americans who went
abroad in those stirring times, I was ready to say with Mercutio, "a
plague on both your houses;" for neither was even moderately honest, or
even decently respectful to ourselves. Party feeling, however, the most
inexorable, and the most unprincipled, of all tyrants, and the bane of
American liberty, notwithstanding all our boasting, decreed otherwise;
and, while one half the American republic was shouting hosannas to
the Great Corsican, the other half was ready to hail Pitt as the
"Heaven-born Minister." The remainder of the nation felt and acted as
Americans should. It was my own private opinion, that France and England
would have been far better off, had neither of these worthies ever had a
being.

Nevertheless, the union of opinion between the divine and the Major, was
a great bond of union, in friendship. I saw they were getting on well
together, and let things take their course. As for Emily, I cared very
little about her, except as she might prove to be connected with Rupert,
and through Rupert, with the happiness of my sister. As for Rupert,
himself, I could not get entirely weaned from one whom I had so much
loved in boyhood; and who, moreover, possessed the rare advantage
of being Lucy's brother, and Mr. Hardinge's son. "Sidney's sister,
Pembroke's mother," gave him a value in my eyes, that he had long ceased
to possess on his own account.

"You see, Neb," I said, towards the end of the week, as the black and
I were walking up from the mill in company, "Mr. Rupert has altogether
forgotten that he ever knew the name of a rope in a ship. His hands are
as white as a young lady's!"

"Nebber mind dat, Masser Mile. Masser Rupert nebber feel a saterfaction
to be wracked away, or to be prisoner to Injin! Golly! No gentleum to be
envy, sir, 'em doesn't enjoy _dat!_"

"You have a queer taste. Neb, from all which I conclude you expect to
return to town with me, in the Wallingford, this evening, and to go out
in the Dawn?"

"Sartain, Masser Mile! How you t'ink of goin' to sea and leave nigger at
home?"

Here Neb raised such a laugh that he might have been heard a hundred
rods, seeming to fancy the idea he had suggested was so preposterous as
to merit nothing but ridicule.

"Well, Neb, I consent to your wishes; but this will be the last voyage
in which you will have to consult me on the subject, as I shall make out
your freedom papers, the moment I am of age."

"What dem?" demanded the black, quick as lightning.

"Why, papers to make you your own master--a free man--you surely know
what that means. Did you never hear of free niggers?"

"Sartin--awful poor debble, dey be, too. You catch Neb, one day, at
being a free nigger, gib you leave to tell him of it, Masser Mile!"

Here was another burst of laughter, that sounded like a chorus in
merriment.

"This is a little extraordinary, Neb! I thought, boy, all slaves pined
for freedom?"

"P'rhaps so; p'rhaps not. What good he do, Masser Mile, when heart and
body well satisfy as it is. Now, how long a Wallingford family lib,
here, in dis berry spot?"--Neb always talked more like a "nigger," when
within hearing of the household gods, than he did at sea.

"How long? About a hundred years, Neb--just one hundred and seven, I
believe; to be accurate."

"And how long a Clawbonny family, at 'e same time, Masser Mile?"

"Upon my word, Neb, your pedigree is a little confused, and I cannot
answer quite as certainly. Eighty or ninety, though, I should think, at
least; and, possibly a hundred, too. Let me see--you called old Pompey
your grand-father; did you not, Neb?"

"Sart'in--berry good grandfader, too, Masser Mile. Ole Pomp a won'erful
black!"

"Oh! I say nothing touching the quality--I dare say he was as good as
another. Well, I think that I have heard old Pompey's grandfather was an
imported Guinea, and that he was purchased by my great-grandfather about
the year 1700."

"Dat just as good as gospel! Who want to make up lie about poor debble
of nigger? Well, den, Masser Mile, in all dem 1700 year, did he ebber
hear of a Clawbonny that want to be a free nigger? Tell me dat, once,
an' I hab an answer."

"You have asked me more than I can answer, boy; for, I am not in the
secret of your own wishes, much less in those of all your ancestors."

Neb pulled off his tarpaulin, scratched his wool, rolled his black eyes
at me, as if he enjoyed the manner in which he had puzzled me; after
which he set off on a tumbling excursion, in the road, going like a
wheel on his hands and feet, showing his teeth like rows of pearls, and
concluding the whole with roar the third, that sounded as if the hills
and valleys were laughing, in the very fatness of their fertility. The
physical _tour de force,_ was one of those feats of agility in which Neb
had been my instructor, ten years before.

"S'pose I free, who do sich matter for you, Masser Mile?" cried Neb,
like one laying down an unanswerable proposition. "No, no, sir,--I
belong to you, you belong to me, and we belong to one anodder."

This settled the matter for the present, and I said no more. Neb was
ordered to be in readiness for the next day; and at the appointed hour,
I met the assembled party to take my leave, on this, my third departure
from the roof of my fathers. It had been settled the Major and Emily
were to remain at the farm until July, when they were to proceed to the
Springs, for the benefit of the water, after living so long in a hot
climate. I had passed an hour with my guardian alone, and he had no
more to say, than to wish me well, and to bestow his blessing. I did not
venture an offer to embrace Lucy. It was the first time we had parted
without this token of affection; but I was shy, and I fancied she
was cold. She offered me her hand, as frankly as ever, however, and I
pressed it fervently, as I wished her adieu. As for Grace, she wept
in my arms, just as she had always done, and the Major and Emily shook
hands cordially with me, it being understood I should find them in New
York, at my return. Rupert accompanied me down to the sloop.

"If you should find an occasion, Miles, let us hear from you," said
my old friend. "I have a lively curiosity to learn something of the
Frenchmen; nor am I entirely without the hope of soon gratifying the
desire, in person."

"You!--If you have any intention to visit France, what better
opportunity, than to go in my cabin? Is it business, that will take you
there?"

"Not at all; pure pleasure. Our excellent cousin thinks a gentleman of a
certain class ought to travel; and I believe she has an idea of getting
me attached to the legation, in some form or other."

This sounded so odd to me! Rupert Hardinge, who had not one penny to rub
against another, so lately, was now talking of his European tour, and of
legations! I ought to have been glad of his good fortune, and I fancied
I was. I said nothing, this time, concerning his taking up any portion
of my earnings, having the sufficient excuse of not being on pay myself.
Rupert did not stay long in the sloop, and we were soon under way. I
looked eagerly along the high banks of the creek, fringed as it was with
bushes, in hopes of seeing Grace, at least; nor was I disappointed.
She and Lucy had taken a direct path to the point where the two waters
united, and were standing there, as the sloop dropped past. They both
waved their handkerchiefs, in a way to show the interest they felt in
me; and I returned the parting salutations by kissing my hand again
and again. At this instant, a sail-boat passed our bows, and I saw
a gentleman standing up in it, waving his handkerchief, quite as
industriously as I was kissing my hand. A look told me it was Andrew
Drewett, who directed his boat to the point, and was soon making his
bows to the girls in person. His boat ascended the creek, no doubt with
his luggage; while the last I saw of the party it was walking off in
company, taking the direction of the house.



CHAPTER XXV.

  "Or feeling--, as the storm increases,
  The love of terror nerve thy breast,
  Didst venture to the coast:
  To see the mighty war-ship leap
  From wave to wave upon the deep,
  Like chamois goat from steep to steep,
  Till low in valley lost."
  ALLSTON.


Roger Talcott had not been idle during my absence. Clawbonny was so dear
to me, that I had staid longer than was proposed in the original plan;
and I now found the hatches on the Dawn, a crew shipped, and nothing
remaining but to clear out. I mean the literal thing, and not the slang
phrase, one of those of which so many have crept into the American
language, through the shop, and which even find their way into print;
such as "charter coaches," "on a boat," "on board a stage," and other
similar elegancies. "_On_ a boat" always makes me--, even at my present
time of life. The Dawn was cleared the day I reached town.

Several of the crew of the Crisis had shipped with us anew, the poor
fellows having already made away with all their wages and prize-money,
in the short space of a month! This denoted the usual improvidence of
sailors, and was thought nothing out of the common way. The country
being at peace, a difficulty with Tripoli excepted, it was no longer
necessary for ships to go armed. The sudden excitement produced by the
brush with the French had already subsided, and the navy was reduced to
a few vessels that had been regularly built for the service; while the
lists of officers had been curtailed of two-thirds of their names.
We were no longer a warlike, but were fast getting to be a strictly
commercial, body of seamen. I had a single six-pounder, and half a
dozen muskets, in the Dawn, besides a pair or two of pistols, with just
ammunition enough to quell a mutiny, fire a few signal-guns, or to kill
a few ducks.

We sailed on the 3rd of July. I have elsewhere intimated that the
Manhattanese hold exaggerated notions of the comparative beauty of
the scenery of their port, sometimes presuming to compare it even with
Naples; to the bay of which it bears some such resemblance as a Dutch
canal bears to a river flowing through rich meadows, in the freedom and
grace of nature. Nevertheless, there _are_ times and seasons when the
bay of New York offers a landscape worthy of any pencil. It was at one
of these felicitous moments that the Dawn cast off from the wharf, and
commenced her voyage to Bordeaux. There was barely air enough from the
southward to enable us to handle the ship, and we profited by a morning
ebb to drop down to the Narrows, in the midst of a fleet of some forty
sail; most of the latter, however, being coasters. Still, we were a
dozen ships and brigs, bound to almost as many different countries. The
little air there was, seemed scarcely to touch the surface of the water;
and the broad expanse of bay was as placid as an inland lake, of a
summer's morning. Yes, yes--there are moments when the haven of New York
does present pictures on which the artist would seize with avidity; but,
the instant nature attempts any of her grander models, on this, a
spot that seems never to rise much above the level of commercial
excellencies, it is found that the accessaries are deficient in
sublimity, or even beauty.

I have never seen our home waters so lovely as on this morning. The
movements of the vessels gave just enough of life and variety to the
scene to destroy the appearance of sameness; while the craft were too
far from the land to prevent one of the most unpleasant effects of
the ordinary landscape scenery of the place--that produced by the
disproportion between the tallness of their spars, and the low character
of the adjacent shores. As we drew near the Narrows, the wind increased;
and forty sail, working through the pass in close conjunction,
terminated the piece with something like the effect produced by a
_finale_ in an overture. The brightness of the morning, the placid
charms of the scenery, and the propitious circumstances under which I
commenced the voyage, in a commercial point of view, had all contributed
to make me momentarily forget my private griefs, and to enter cheerfully
into the enjoyment of the hour.

I greatly disliked passengers. They appealed to me to lessen the dignity
of my position, and to reduce me to the level of an inn-keeper, or
one who received boarders. I wished to command a ship, not to take in
lodgers; persons whom you are bound to treat with a certain degree of
consideration, and, in one sense, as your superiors. Still, it had too
much of an appearance of surliness, and a want of hospitality, to refuse
a respectable man a passage across the ocean, when he might not get
another chance in a month, and that, too, when it was important to
himself to proceed immediately. In this particular instance, I became
the dupe of a mistaken kindness on the part of my former owners. These
gentlemen brought to me a Mr. Brigham--Wallace Mortimer Brigham was his
whole name, to be particular--as a person who was desirous of getting to
France with his wife and wife's sister, in order to proceed to Italy
for the health of the married lady, who was believed to be verging on
a decline. These people were from the eastward, and had fallen into
the old error of Americans, that the south of France and Italy had
residences far more favourable for such a disease, than our own country.
This was one of the provincial notions of the day, that were entailed on
us by means of colonial dependency. I suppose the colonial existence is
as necessary to a people, as childhood and adolescence are to the man;
but, as my Lady Mary Wortley Montagu told her friend, Lady Rich--"Nay;
but look you, my dear madam, I grant it a very fine thing to continue
always fifteen; _that_, everybody must approve of--it is quite fair:
but, indeed, indeed, one need not be five years old."

I was prevailed on to take these passengers, and I got a specimen of
their characters even as we dropped down the bay, in the midst of the
agreeable scene to which I have just alluded. They were _gossips_; and
that, too, of the lowest, or personal cast. Nothing made them so happy
as to be talking of the private concerns of their fellow-creatures; and,
as ever must happen where this propensity exists, nine-tenths of what
they said rested on no better foundation than surmises, inferences drawn
from premises of questionable accuracy, and judgments that were entered
up without the authority, or even the inclination, to examine witnesses.
They had also a peculiarity that I have often remarked in persons of
the same propensity; most of their gossiping arose from a desire to
make apparent their own intimacy with the private affairs of people of
mark--overlooking the circumstance that, in thus making the concerns of
others the subjects of their own comments, they were impliedly admitting
a consciousness of their own inferiority; men seldom condescending thus
to busy themselves with the affairs of any but those of whom they
feel it to be a sort of distinction to converse. I am much afraid
good-breeding has more to do with the suppression of this vice, than
good principles, as the world goes. I have remarked that persons of a
high degree of self-respect, and a good tone of manners, are quite free
from this defect of character; while I regret to be compelled to say
that I have been acquainted with divers very saintly _professors_,
including one or two parsons, who have represented the very _beau ideal_
of scandal.

My passengers gave me a taste of their quality, as I have said, before
we had got a mile below Governor's Island. The ladies were named Sarah
and Jane; and, between them and Wallace Mortimer, what an insight did
I obtain into the private affairs of sundry personages of Salem, in
Massachusetts, together with certain glimpses in at Boston folk; all,
however, referring to qualities and facts that might be classed among
the real or supposed. I can, at this distant day, recall Scene 1st, Act
1st, of the drama that continued while we were crossing the ocean, with
the slight interruption of a few days, produced by sea-sickness.

"Wallace," said Sarah, "did you say, yesterday, that John Viner had
refused to lend his daughter's husband twenty thousand dollars, to get
him out of his difficulties, and that he failed in consequence?"

"To be sure. It was the common talk through Wall Street yesterday, and
everybody believes it"--there was no more truth in the story, than in
one of the forty reports that have killed General Jackson so often, in
the last twenty years. "Yes, no one doubts it--but all the Viners are
just so! All of us, in our part of the world, know what to think of the
Viners."

"Yes, I suppose so," drawled Jane. "I've heard it said this John Viner's
father ran all the way from the Commons in Boston, to the foot of State
Street, to get rid of a dun against this very son, who had his own
misfortunes when he was young."

"The story is quite likely true in part," rejoined Wallace, "though it
can't be _quite_ accurate, as the old gentleman had but one leg, and
_running_ was altogether out of the question with _him_. It was probably
old Tim Viner, who ran like a deer when a young man, as I've heard
people say."

"Well, then, I suppose he ran his horse," added Jane, in the same quiet,
drawling tone. "_Something_ must have run, or they never would have got
up the story."

I wondered if Miss Jane Hitchcox had ever taken the trouble to ascertain
who _they_ were! I happened to know both the Viners, and to be quite
certain there was not a word of truth in the report of the twenty
thousand dollars, having heard all the particulars of the late failure
from one of my former owners, who was an assignee, and a considerable
creditor. Under the circumstances, I thought I would hint as much.

"Are you quite sure that the failure of Viner & Co. was owing to the
circumstance you mention, Mr. Brigham?" I inquired.

"Pretty certain. I am '_measurably acquainted_' with their affairs, and
think I am tolerably safe in saying so."

Now, "measurably acquainted" meant that he lived within twenty or thirty
miles of those who _did_ know something of the concerns of the house in
question, and was in the way of catching scraps of the gossip that fell
from disappointed creditors. How much of this is there in this good
country of ours! Men who live just near enough to one another to feel
the influence of all that rivalry, envy, personal strifes and personal
malignancies, can generate, fancy they are acquainted, from this
circumstance, with those to whom they have never even spoken. One-half
the idle tales that circulate up and-down the land, come from authority
not one tittle better than this. How much would men learn, could they
only acquire the healthful lesson of understanding that _nothing_,
which is much out of the ordinary way, and which, circulates as received
truths illustrative of character, is true in _all_ its material parts,
and very little in _any_. But, to return to my passengers, and that
portion of their conversation which most affected myself. They continued
commenting on persons and families by name, seemingly more to keep their
hands in, than for any other discoverable reason, as each appeared to
be perfectly conversant with all the gossip that was started; when
Sarah casually mentioned the name of Mrs. Bradfort, with some of whose
_supposed_ friends, it now came out, they had all a general visiting
acquaintance.

"Dr. Hosack is of opinion she cannot live long, I hear," said Jane, with
a species of fierce delight in killing a fellow-creature, provided it
only led to a gossip concerning her private affairs. "Her case has been
decided to be a cancer, now, for more than a week, and she made her will
last Tuesday."

"Only last Tuesday!" exclaimed Sarah, in surprise. "Well, I heard
she had made her will a twelvemonth since, and that she left all her
property to young Rupert Hardinge; in the expectation, some persons
thought, that he might marry her."

"How could that be, my dear?" asked the husband; "in what would she be
better off for leaving her own property to her husband?"

"Why, by law, would she not? I don't exactly know how it would happen,
for I do not particularly understand these things; but it seems natural
that a woman would be a gainer if she made the man she was about to
marry her heir. She would have her thirds in his estate, would she not?"

"But, Mrs. Brigham," said I, smiling, "is it quite certain Mrs. Bradfort
wishes to marry Rupert Hardinge, at all?"

"I know so little of the parties, that I cannot speak with certainty in
the matter, I admit, Captain Wallingford."

"Well, but Sarah, dear," interposed the more exacting Jane, "you are
making yourself unnecessarily ignorant. You very well know how intimate
we are with the Greenes, and they know the Winters perfectly well, who
are next-door neighbours to Mrs. Bradfort. I don't see how you can say
we haven't good means of being 'measurably' well-informed."

Now, I happened to know through Grace and Lucy, that a disagreeable old
person, of the name of Greene did live next door to Mrs. Bradfort;
but, that the latter refused to visit her, firstly, because she did not
happen to like her, and secondly, because the two ladies belonged to
very different social circles; a sufficient excuse for not visiting
in town, even though the parties inhabited the same house. But, the
Brighams, being Salem people, did not understand that families might
reside next door to each other, in a large town, for a long series of
months, or even years, and not know each other's names. It would not be
easy to teach this truth, one of every-day occurrence, to the inhabitant
of one of our provincial towns, who was in the habit of fancying he had
as close an insight into the private affairs of all his neighbours, as
they enjoyed themselves.

"No doubt we are all as well off as most strangers in New York,"
observed the wife; "still, it ought to be admitted that we may
be mistaken. I have heard it said there is an old Mr. Hardinge, a
clergyman, who would make a far better match for the lady, than his son.
However, it is of no great moment, now; for, when our neighbour
Mrs. John Foote, saw Dr. Hosack about her own child, she got all the
particulars out of him about Mrs. Bradfort's case, from the highest
quarter, and I had it from Mrs. Foote, herself."

"I could not have believed that a physician of Dr. Hosack's eminence
and character would speak openly of the diseases of his patients," I
observed, a little tartly, I am afraid.

"Oh! he didn't," said Sarah, eagerly--"he was as cunning as a fox,
Mrs. Foote owned herself, and played her off finely; but Mrs. Foote
was cunninger than any half-dozen foxes, and got it all out of him by
negations."

"Negations!" I exclaimed, wondering what was meant by the term, though I
had understood I was to expect a little more philosophy and metaphysics,
not to say algebra, in my passengers, than usually accompanied
petticoats in our part of the world.

"Certainly, _negations_" answered the matron, with a smile as complacent
as that which usually denotes the consciousness of intellectual
superiority. "One who is a little practised, can ascertain a fact as
well by means of negatives as affirmatives. It only requires judgment
and use."

"Then Mrs. Bradfort's disease is only ascertained by the negative
process?"

"So I suppose--but what does one want more," put in the husband;--"and
that she made her will last week, I feel quite sure, as it was generally
spoken of among our friends."

Here were people who had been in New York only a month, looking out for
a ship, mere passengers as it might be, who knew more about a family
with which I had myself such an intimate connection, than its own
members. I thought it no wonder that such a race was capable of
enlightening mankind, on matters and things in general. But the game did
not end here.

"I suppose Miss Lucy Hardinge will get something by Mrs. Bradfort's
death," observed Miss Jane, "and that she and Mr. Andrew Drewett will
marry as soon as it shall become proper."

Here was a speculation, for a man in my state of mind! The names were
all right; some of the incidents, even, were probable, if not correct;
yet, how could the facts be known to these comparative strangers?
Did the art of gossiping, with all its meannesses, lies, devices,
inventions, and cruelties, really possess so much advantage over the
intercourse of the confiding and honest, as to enable those who practise
it to discover facts hidden from eye-witnesses, and eye-witnesses, too,
that had every inducement of the strongest interest in the issue, not
to be deceived? I felt satisfied, the moment Mrs. Greene's name was
mentioned, that my passengers were not in the true New York set; and,
justly enough, inferred they were not very good authority for one
half they said; and, yet, how could they know anything of Drewett's
attachment to Lucy, unless their information were tolerably accurate?

I shall not attempt to repeat all that passed while the ship dropped
down the bay; but enough escaped the gossips to render me still more
unhappy than I had yet been, on the subject of Lucy. I could and did
despise these people; that was easy enough; but it was not so easy
to forget all that they said and surmised. This is one of the causes
attendant on the habit of loose talking; one never knowing what
to credit, and what not. In spite of all my disgust, and a firm
determination not to contribute in any manner to the stock in trade
of these people, I found great difficulty in evading their endless
questions. How much they got out of me, by means of the process of
negations, I never knew; but they got no great matter through direct
affirmatives. Something, however, persons so indefatigable, to whom
gossiping was the great aim of life, must obtain, and they ascertained
that Mr. Hardinge was my guardian, that Rupert and I had passed our
boyhoods in each other's company, and that Lucy was even an inmate of my
own house the day we sailed. This little knowledge only excited a desire
for more, and, by the end of a week, I was obliged to submit to devices
and expedients to pump me, than which even the thumbscrew was scarcely
more efficient. I practised on the negative system, myself, with a
good deal of dexterity, however, and threw my inquisitors off, very
handsomely, more than once, until I discovered that Wallace Mortimer,
determined not to be baffled, actually opened communications with Neb,
in order to get a clearer insight into my private affairs. After this,
I presume my readers will not care to hear any more about these gentry,
whose only connection with my life grew out of the misgivings they
contributed largely to create in my mind, touching the state of Lucy's
affections. This much they did effect, and I was compelled to submit
to their power. We are all of us, more or less, the dupes of knaves and
fools.

All this, however, was the fruits of several weeks' intercourse, and
I have anticipated events a little, in order to make the statements in
connection. Meeting a breeze, as has been said already, the Dawn got
over the bar, about two o'clock, and stood off the land, on an easy
bowline, in company with the little fleet of square-rigged vessels that
went out at the same time. By sunset, Navesink again dipped, and I was
once more fairly at sea.

This was at the period when the commerce of America was at its height.
The spirit shown by the young Republic in the French affair had
commanded a little respect, though the supposed tendencies of the new
administration was causing anything but a cordial feeling towards the
country to exist in England. That powerful nation, however, had made a
hollow peace with France the previous March, and the highway of nations
was temporarily open to all ships alike; a state of things that
existed for some ten months after we sailed. Nothing to be apprehended,
consequently, lay before me, beyond the ordinary dangers of the ocean.
For these last, I was now prepared by the experience of several years
passed almost entirely on board ship, during which time I had encircled
the earth itself in my peregrinations.

Our run off the coast was favourable, and the sixth day out, we were
in the longitude of the tail of the Grand Bank. I was delighted with my
ship, which turned out to be even more than I had dared to hope for.
She behaved well under all circumstances, sailing even better than she
worked. The first ten days of our passage were prosperous, and we were
mid-ocean by the 10th of the month. During this time I had nothing to
annoy me but the ceaseless _cancans_ of my passengers. I had heard the
name of every individual of note in Salem; with certain passages in his
or her life, and began to fancy I had lived a twelvemonth in the place.
At length, I began to speculate on the reason why this morbid propensity
should exist so much stronger in that part of the world than in any
other I had visited. There was nothing new in the disposition of the
people of small places to gossip, and it was often done in large towns;
more especially those that did not possess the tone of a capital. Lady
Mary Wortley Montagu and Horace Walpole wrote gossip, but it was spiced
with wit, as is usual with the scandal of such places as London and
Paris; whereas this, to which I was doomed to listen, was nothing more
than downright impertinent, vulgar, meddling with the private affairs
of all those whom the gossips thought of sufficient importance to talk
about. At Clawbonny, we had our gossip too, but it was innocent, seldom
infringed much on the truth, and usually respected the right of every
person to possess certain secrets that might remain inviolate to the
world. No such rules prevailed with my passengers. Like a certain editor
of a newspaper of my acquaintance, who acts as if he fancied all things
in heaven and earth were created expressly to furnish materials
for "paragraphs," they appeared to think that everybody of their
acquaintance existed for no other purpose than to furnish them food
for conversation. There must have been some unusual cause for so
much personal _espionnage_, and, at length, I came to the following
conclusion on the subject. I had heard that church government, among the
puritans, descended into all the details of life; that it was a part of
their religious duty to watch over each other, jog the memories of the
delinquents, and serve God by ferreting out vice. This is a terrible
inducement to fill the mind with the motes of a neighbourhood, and the
mind thus stowed, as we sailors say, will be certain to deliver cargo.
Then come the institutions, with their never-ending elections, and the
construction that has been put on the right of the elector to inquire
into all things; the whole consummated by the journals, who assume a
power to penetrate the closet, ay, even the heart,--and lay bare its
secrets. Is it any wonder, if we should become, in time, a nation of
mere gossips? As for my passengers, even Neb got to consider them as so
many nuisances.

From some cause or other, whether it was having these loose-tongued
people on board or not, is more than I can say, but certain it is, about
the time Salem was handsomely cleaned out, and a heavy inroad had been
made upon Boston, that the weather changed. It began to blow in gusts,
sometimes from one point of the compass, sometimes from another, until
the ship was brought to very short canvass, from a dread of being caught
unprepared. At length, these fantasies of the winds terminated in a
tremendous gale, such as I had seldom then witnessed; and such, indeed,
as I have seldom witnessed since. It is a great mistake to suppose that
the heaviest weather occurs in the autumnal, spring, or winter months.
Much the strongest blows I have ever known, have taken place in the
middle of the warm weather. This is the season of the hurricanes; and,
out of the tropics, I think it is also the season of _the_ gales. It
is true; these gales do not return annually, a long succession of years
frequently occurring without one; but, when they do come, they may be
expected, in our own seas, in July, August, or September.

The wind commenced at south-west, on this occasion, and it blew fresh
for several hours, sending us ahead on our course, at the rate of eleven
knots. As the sea got up, and sail was reduced, our speed was a little
diminished perhaps; but we must have made more than a hundred miles in
the first ten hours. The day was bright, cloudless, genial, and even
bland; there being nothing unpleasant in the feeling of the swift
currents of the air, that whirled past us. At sunset I did not quite
like the appearance of the horizon; and we let the ship wade through
it, under her three top-sails, single-reefed, her fore-course, and
fore-top-mast staysail. This was short canvass, for a vessel that had
the wind nearly over her taffrail. At nine o'clock, second reefs were
taken in, and at ten, the mizen-top-sail was furled. I then turned in,
deeming the ship quite snug, leaving orders with the mates to reduce the
sail, did they find the ship straining, or the spars in danger, and to
call me should anything serious occur. I was not called until daylight,
when Talcott laid his hand on my shoulder, and said, "You had better
turn out, Captain Wallingford; we have a peeler, and I want a little
advice."

It was a peeler, indeed, when I reached the deck. The ship was under
a fore-course and a close-reefed main-top-sail, canvass that can be
carried a long time, while running off; but which, I at once saw, was
quite too much for us. An order was given immediately, to take in the
top-sail. Notwithstanding the diminutive surface that was exposed, the
surges given by this bit of canvass, as soon as the clews were eased off
sufficiently to allow the cloth to jerk, shook the vessel's hull. It was
a miracle that we saved the mast, or that we got the cloth rolled up
at all. At one time, I thought it would be necessary to cut it from
the yard. Fortunately the gale was steady, this day proving bright and
clear, like that which had preceded.


The men aloft made several attempts to hail the deck, but the wind blew
too heavily to suffer them to be heard. Talcott had gone on the yard
himself, and I saw him gesticulating, in a way to indicate there was
something ahead. The seas were running so high that it was not easy
to obtain much of a look at the horizon; but, by getting into the
mizen-rigging, I had a glimpse of a vessel's spars, to the eastward of
us, and directly on our course. It was a ship under bare poles,
running as nearly before us as she could, but making most fearful yaws;
sometimes sheering away off to starboard, in a way to threaten her with
broaching-to; then taking a yaw to port, in which I could see all three
of her masts, with their yards pointed nearly at us. I got but one
glimpse of her hull, as it rose on a sea, at the same instant with the
Dawn, and it actually appeared as if about to be blown away, though I
took the stranger to be a vessel at least as large as we were ourselves.
We were evidently approaching her fast, though both vessels were going
the same way.

The Dawn steered beautifully, one of the greatest virtues in a ship,
under the circumstances in which we were then placed. A single man was
all that we had at the wheel, and he controlled it with ease. I could
see it was very different with the ship ahead, and fancied they had made
a mistake on board her, by taking in all their canvass. Talcott and the
gang aloft, had not got out of the top, however, before we had a hint
that it would be well to imitate the stranger's prudence. Though our
vessel steered so much better than another, no ship can keep on a
direct line, while running before the wind, in a heavy sea. The waves
occasionally fly past a vessel, like the scud glancing through the
air; then, they seem to pause, altogether, as if to permit the ship to
overtake them. When a vessel is lifted aft by one of these torrents of
rushing waters, the helm loses a portion of its power; and the part
of the vast machine that first receives the impulse, seems intent on
exchanging places with the bows, vessels often driving sideways before
the surges, for spaces of time that are exceedingly embarrassing to
the mariner. This happens to the best-steering ships, and is always one
source of danger in very heavy weather, to those that are running off.
The merit of the Dawn was in coming under command again, quickly, and
in not losing so much of the influence of her helm, as is frequently the
case with wild-steering craft. I understand there is a sloop-of-war now
in the navy, that is difficult to get through a narrow passage, in a
blow, in consequence of her having this propensity to turn her head
first one way, then another, like a gay horse that breaks his bridle.

The hint given, just as Talcott was quitting the top, and to which there
has been allusion, was given under the impulsion of one of these
driving seas. The Dawn still carried her fore-topmast stay-sail, a small
triangular piece of stout canvass, and which was particularly useful,
as leading from the end of the bowsprit towards the head of the
fore-top-mast, in preventing her from broaching-to, or pressing up with
her bows so near the wind, as to produce the danger of seas breaking
over the mass of the hull, and sweeping the decks. The landsman will
understand this is the gravest of the dangers that occur at sea, in very
heavy weather. When the ship is thrown broadside to the sea, or comes
up so as to bring the wind abeam, or even forward of the beam, as in
lying-to, there is always risk from this source. Another clanger, which
is called pooping, is of a character that one who is ignorant of
the might of the ocean when aroused, would not be apt to foresee. It
proceeds from the impetuous velocity of the waves, which, rushing ahead
so much faster than the vessel that is even driving before the gale,
breaks against the quarter, or stern, and throws its masses of water
along the deck, in a line with its keel. I suppose the President steamer
to have been lost by the first of these two dangers, as will appear in
the following little theory.

There is no doubt that well-constructed steamers are safer craft, the
danger from fire excepted, than the ordinary ship, except in very heavy
weather. With an ordinary gale, they can contend with sufficient power;
but, it is an unfortunate consequence of their construction, that
exactly as the danger increases, their power of meeting it diminishes.
In a very heavy swell, one cannot venture to resort to a strong head of
steam, since one wheel may be nearly out of water, while the other is
submerged, and thus endanger the machinery. Now, the great length of
these vessels renders it difficult to keep them up to the wind, or head
to sea, the safest of all positions for a vessel in heavy weather, while
it exposes them to the additional risk of having the water break aboard
them near the waist, in running dead before it. In a word, I suppose a
steamer difficult to be kept out of the trough, in very heavy weather;
and no vessel can be safe in the trough of the seas, under such
circumstances; one of great length less so than others. This is
true, however, only in reference to those steamers which carry the
old-fashioned wheel; Erricson's screw, and Hunter's submerged wheels,
rendering steam-ships, in my poor judgment, the safest craft in the
world.

The Dawn was overtaken by the seas, from time to time; and, then, like
everything else that floats, she yawed, or rather, had her stern urged
impetuously round, as if it were in a hurry to get ahead of the bows.
On these occasions, the noise made by the fore-top-mast stay-sail, as
it collapsed and filled, resembled the report of a small gun. We had
similar reports from the fore-sail, which, for moments at a time, was
actually becalmed, as the ship settled into the trough; and then became
distended with a noise like that of the shaking of a thousand carpets,
all filled with Sancho Panzas, at the same instant. As yet, the cloth
and gear had stood these violent shocks admirably; but, just as
Talcott was leading his party down, the ship made one of her side-long
movements; the stay-sail filled with a tremendous report, and away it
flew to leeward, taken out--of the bolt-rope as if it had been cut by
shears, and then used by the furies of the tempest. Talcott smiled, as
he gazed at the driving canvass, which went a quarter of a mile before
it struck the water, whirling like a kite that has broken its string,
and then he shook his head. I disliked, too, the tremendous surges of
the fore-sail, when it occasionally collapsed and as suddenly filled,
menacing to start every bolt, and to part every rope connected with
block or spar.

"We must get in that fore-course, Mr. Talcott," I said, "or we shall
lose something. I see the ship ahead is under bare-poles, and it were
better we were as snug. If I did not dislike losing such a wind, it
would be wiser to heave-to the ship; man the buntlines and clew-garnets,
at once, and wait for a favourable moment."

We had held on to our canvass too long; the fault of youth. As I had
determined to shorten sail, however, we now set about it in earnest, and
with all the precautions exacted by the circumstances. Everybody that
could be mustered, was placed at the clew-lines and buntlines, with
strict orders to do his best at the proper moments. The first-mate went
to the tack, and the second to the sheet. I was to take in the sail
myself. I waited for a collapse; and then, while the ship was buried
between two mounds of water, when it was impossible to see a hundred
yards from her in any direction, and the canvass was actually dropping
against the mast I gave the usual orders. Every man hauled, as if for
life, and we had got the clews pretty well up, when the vessel came out
of the cavern into the tempest, receiving the whole power of the gale,
with a sudden surge, into the bellying canvass. Away went everything, as
if the gear were cobwebs. At the next instant, the sail was in ribands.
I was deeply mortified, as well as rendered uneasy, by this accident, as
the ship ahead unquestionably was in full view of all that happened.

It was soon apparent, however, that professional pride must give place
to concern for the safety of the vessel. The wind had been steadily
increasing in power, and had now reached a pass when it became necessary
to look things steadily in the face. The strips of canvass that remained
attached to the yard, with the blocks and gear attached, threshed about
in a way to threaten the lives of all that approached. This was only at
the intervals when the ship settled into the troughs; for, while under
the full influence of the gale, pennants never streamed more directly
from a mast, than did these heavy fragments from the fore-yard. It was
necessary to get rid of them; and Talcott had just volunteered to go
on the yard with this end, when Neb sprang into the rigging without an
order, and was soon beyond the reach of the voice. This daring black had
several narrow escapes, more especially from the fore-sheet blocks;
but he succeeded in cutting everything adrift, and in leaving nothing
attached to the spar, but the bolt-rope of the head of the sail. It is
true, little effected this object, when the knife could be applied, the
threads of the stout canvass snapping at the touch.

As soon as the ship was under bare poles, though at the sacrifice of two
of her sails, I had leisure to look out for the other vessel. There she
was, more than half a mile ahead of us, yawing wildly, and rolling her
lower yard-arm, to the water's edge. As we drew nearer, I got better
glimpses of this vessel, which was a ship, and as I fancied, an English
West Indiaman, deep-loaded with the produce of the islands. Deep-loaded
as I fancied, for it was only at instants that she could be seen at all,
under circumstances to judge of this fact; sometimes her hull appearing
to be nearly smothered in the brine, and then, again, her copper
glistening in the sun, resembling a light vessel, kept under the care of
some thrifty housewife.

The Dawn did not fly, now all her canvass was gone, as fast as she had
previously done. She went through the water at a greater rate than the
vessel ahead; but it required an hour longer to bring the two ships
within a cable's length of each other. Then, indeed, we got a near view
of the manner in which the elements can play with such a mass of wood
and iron as a ship, when in an angry mood. There were instants when I
fancied I could nearly see the keel of the stranger for half its length,
as he went foaming up on the crest of a wave, apparently ready to quit
the water altogether; then again, he would settle away into the blue
abyss, hiding everything beneath his tops. When both vessels sunk
together, no sign of our neighbour was visible, though so near. We came
up after one of these deep plunges into the valleys of the ocean, and,
to our alarm, saw the English ship yawing directly athwart our course,
and within fifty fathoms of us. This was about the distance at which
I intended to pass, little dreaming of finding the other ship so
completely in our way. The Englishman must have intended to come a
little nearer, and got one of those desperate sheers that so often ran
away with him. There he was, however; and a breathless minute followed,
when he was first seen. Two vehicles dashing along a highway, with
frightened and run-away teams, would not present a sight one-half as
terrific as that which lay directly before our eyes.

The Dawn was plunging onward with a momentum to dash in splinters, did
she strike any resisting object, and yawing herself sufficiently to
render the passage hazardous. But the stranger made the matter ten-fold
worse. When I first saw him, in this fearful proximity, his broadside
was nearly offered to the seas, and away he was flying, on the summit of
a mountain of foam, fairly crossing our fore-foot. At the next moment,
he fell off before the wind, again, and I could just see his tops
directly ahead. His sheer had been to-port, our intention having been to
pass him on his starboard side; but, perceiving him to steer so wild,
I thought it might be well to go in the other direction. Quick as the
words could be uttered, therefore, I called out to port the helm. This
was done, of course; and just as the Dawn felt the new influence, the
other vessel took the same sheer, and away we both went to starboard,
at precisely the same instant. I shouted to right our helm to "hard
a-starboard," and it was well I did; a minute more would have brought us
down headlong on the Englishman. Even now we could only see his hull, at
instants; but the awful proximity of his spars denoted the full extent
of the danger. Luckily, we hit on opposite directions, or our common
destruction would have been certain. But, it was one thing, in that
cauldron of a sea, to determine on a course, and another to follow it.
As we rose on the last wave that alone separated us from the stranger,
he was nearly ahead; and as we glanced onward, I saw that we should
barely clear his larboard quarter. Our helm being already a starboard,
no more could be done. Should he take another sheer to port, we must
infallibly cut him in twain. As I have said, he had jammed his helm
to-port, and slowly, and with a species of reluctance, he inclined a
little aside. Then we came up, both ships rolling off, or our yards must
have interlocked, and passing his quarter with our bows, we each felt
the sheer at the same instant, and away we went asunder, the sterns of
the ships looking at each other, and certainly not a hundred feet apart.
A shout from Talcott drew me to our taffrail, and standing on that of
our neighbour, what or whom should I see waving his hat, but the red
countenance of honest Moses Marble!



CHAPTER XXVI.

  "At the piping of all hands,
  When the judgment signal's spread--
  When the islands and the lands,
  And the seas give up the dead,
  And the south and the north shall come;
  When the sinner is dismay'd,
  And the just man is afraid,
  Then heaven be thy aid,
  Poor _Tom_.'"
  BRAINARD.


The two ships, in the haste of their respective crews to get clear of
each other, were now running in the troughs; and the same idea would
seem to have suggested itself to me and the other master, at the same
instant. Instead of endeavouring to keep away again, one kept his helm
hard a-port, the other as hard a-starboard, until we both came by the
wind, though on opposite tacks. The Englishman set his mizen-stay-sail,
and though he made bad weather of it, he evidently ran much less risk
than in scudding. The seas came on board him constantly; but not in a
way to do any material damage. As for the Dawn, she lay-to, like a
duck, under bare poles. I had a spare stay-sail, stopped up in her
mizen-rigging, from the top down, and after that the ship was both easy
and dry. Once in a while, it is true, her bows would meet some fellow
heavier than common, and then we got a few hogsheads of water forward;
but it went out to leeward as fast as it came in to windward. At the
turn of the day, however, the gale broke, and the weather moderated
sensibly; both sea and wind beginning to go down.

Had we been alone, I should not have hesitated about bearing up, getting
some sail on the ship, and running off on my course, again; but, the
desire to speak the stranger, and have some communication with Marble,
was so strong, that I could not make up my mind to do so. Including
myself, Talcott, Neb, the cabin-steward, and six of the people forward,
there were ten of us on board, who knew the ex-mate; and, of the
whole ten, there was not a dissenting voice concerning his identity.
I determined, therefore, to stick by the Englishman, and at least have
some communication with my old friend. As for myself, I own I loved
Marble, uncouth and peculiar as he sometimes was. I owed him more
than any other man living, Mr. Hardinge excepted; for he had made me a
seaman, having been of use to me professionally, in a hundred ways. Then
we had seen so much in company, that I regarded him as a portion of my
experience, and as, in some measure, identified with my own nautical
career.

I was afraid at one moment, that the Englishman intended to remain as
he was, all night; but, about an hour before sunset, I had the
gratification to see him set his fore-sail, and keep off. I had wore
round, two hours before, to get the Dawn's head on the same tack
with him, and followed under bare poles. As the stranger soon set his
main-top-sail close reefed, and then his fore, it enabled us to make
a little sail also, in order to keep up with him. This we did all that
night; and, in the morning, both ships were under everything that would
draw, with a moderate breeze from the northward, and no great matter of
sea going. The English vessel was about a league to leeward of us, and
a little ahead. Under such circumstances, it was easy to close.
Accordingly, just as the two ships' companies were about to go to
breakfast, the Dawn ranged up under the lee-quarter of the stranger.

"What ship's that?" I hailed, in the usual manner.

"The Dundee; Robert Ferguson, master--what ship's that?"

"The Dawn; Miles Wallingford. Where are you from?"

"From Rio de Janeiro, bound to London. Where are _you_ from?"

"From New York, to Bordeaux. A heavy blow we have just had of it."

"Quite; the like of it, I've not seen in many a day. You've a pratty
sea-boat, yon!"

"She made capital weather, in the late gale, and I've every reason to be
satisfied with her. Pray, haven't you an American on board, of the name
of Marble? We fancied that we saw the face of an old shipmate on your
taffrail, yesterday, and have kept you company in order to inquire after
his news."

"Ay, ay," answered the Scotch master, waving his hand. "The chiel will
be visiting you prasently. He's below, stowing away his dunnage; and
will be thanking you for a passage home, I'm thinking."

As these words were uttered, Marble appeared on deck, and waved his hat,
again, in recognition. This was enough; as we understood each other, the
two ships took sufficient room, and hove-to. We lowered our boat, and
Talcott went alongside of the Dundee, in quest of our old shipmate.
Newspapers and news were exchanged; and, in twenty minutes, I had the
extreme gratification of grasping Marble once more by the hand.

My old friend was too much affected to speak, for some little time.
He shook hands with everybody, and seemed as much astonished as he was
delighted at finding so many of us together again; but not a syllable
did he utter for several minutes. I had his chest passed into the
cabin, and then went and took my seat alongside of him on the hen-coops,
intending to hear his story, as soon as he was disposed to give it. But,
it was no easy matter to get out of ear-shot of my passengers. During
the gale, they had been tongue-tied, and I had a little peace; but,
no sooner did the wind and sea go down, than they broke out in the old
spot, and began to do Boston, in the way they had commenced. Now, Marble
had come on board, in a manner so unusual, and it was evident a
secret history was to be revealed, that all three took post in the
companion-way, in a manner to render it impossible anything material
could escape them. I knew the folly of attempting a change of position
on deck; we should certainly be followed up; and, people of this class,
so long as they can make the excuse of saying they heard any part of a
secret, never scruple about inventing the portions that happen to escape
their ears. Consequently, I desired Marble and Talcott to follow me;
and, incontinently, I led the way into the main-top. I was obeyed, the
second-mate having the watch, and all three of us were soon seated with
our legs over the top-rim, as comfortable as so many gossips, who had
just finished their last cups, have stirred the fire, and drawn their
heads together to open a fresh-budget. Neither Sarah nor Jane could
follow us, thank God!

"There, d--n 'em" said I, a little pointedly; for it was enough to
make a much more, scrupulous person swear, "we've got the length of the
main-rigging between us, and I do not think they'll venture into the
top, this fine morning, in order to overhear what shall be said. It
would puzzle even Wallace Mortimer to do that, Talcott."

"If they do," observed Talcott, laughing, "we can retreat to the
cross-trees, and thence to the royal-yard."

Marble looked inquisitive, but, at the same time, he looked knowing.

"I understand," he said, with a nod; "three people with six sets of
ears--is it not so, Miles?"

"Precisely; though you only do them credit by halves, for you should
have added to this inventory forty tongues."

"Well, that is a large supply. The man, or woman, who is so well
provided, should carry plenty of ballast. However, as you say, they're
out of hail now, and must guess at all they repeat, if repeating it can
be called."

"Quite as much as nine-tenths of what they give as coming from others,"
observed Talcott. "People never can tell so much of other person's
affairs, without bailing out most of their ideas from their own
scuttle-butts."

"Well, let them go to--Bordeaux--" said I, "since they are bound there.
And now, my dear Marble, here we are, and dying to know all that has
happened to you. You have firm friends in Talcott and myself; either of
us, ready to give you his berth for the asking."

"Thank'ee, my dear boys--thank'ee, with all my heart and soul," returned
the honest fellow, dashing the moisture from his eyes, with the back
of his hand. "I believe you would, boys; I do believe you would, one or
both. I am glad, Miles, you came up into this bloody top, for I wouldn't
like to let your reg'lar 'long-shore harpies see a man of my time of
life, and one that has been to sea, now, man and boy, close on to forty
years, with as much blubber about him, as one of your right whales.
Well--and now for the log; for I suppose you'll insist on overhauling
it, lads?"

"That we shall; and see you miss no leaf of it. Be as particular as if
it were overhauled in an insurance case."

"Ay; they're bloody knaves, sometimes, them underwriters; und a fellow
need be careful to get his dues out of them--that is to say, _some_;
others, ag'in, are gentlemen, down to their shoe-buckles, and no sooner
see a poor shipwrecked devil, than they open their tills, and begin to
count out, before he has opened his mouth."

"Well, but your own adventures, my old friend; you forget we are dying
with curiosity."

"Ay--your cur'osity's a troublesome inmate, and will never be quiet as
long as one tries to keep it under hatches; especially female cur'osity.
Well, I must gratify you; and so I'll make no more bones about it,
though its giving an account of my own obstinacy and folly. I reckon,
now, my boys, you missed me the day the ship sailed from the island?"

"That we did, and supposed you had got tired of your experiment before
it began," I answered, "so were off, before we were ourselves."

"You had reason for so thinking; though you were out in your reckoning,
too. No; it happened in this fashion. After you left me, I began to
generalize over my sitiation, and I says to myself, says I, 'Moses
Marble, them lads will never consent to sail and leave you here, on this
island, alone like a bloody hermit,' says I. 'If you want to hold on,'
says I, 'and try your hand at a hermitage,' says I, 'or to play
Robinson Crusoe,' says I, 'you must be out, of the way when the Crisis,
sails'--boys, what's become of the old ship? Not a word have I heard
about her, yet!"

"She was loading for London, when we sailed, her owners intending to
send her the same voyage over again."

"And they refused to let you have her, Miles, on account of your youth,
notwithstanding all you did for them?"

"Not so; they pressed me to keep her, but I preferred a ship of my own.
The Dawn is my property, Master Moses!"

"Thank God! then there is one honest chap among the owners. And how did
she behave? Had you any trouble with the pirates?"

Perceiving the utter uselessness of attempting to hear his own story
before I rendered an account of the Crisis, and her exploits, I gave
Marble a history of our voyage, from the time we parted down to the day
we reached New York.

"And that scaramouch of a schooner that the Frenchman gave us, in his
charity?"

"The Pretty Poll! She got home safe, was sold, and is now in the
West-India trade. There is a handsome balance, amounting to some
fourteen hundred dollars, in the owners' hands, coming to you from
prize-money and wages."

It is not in nature, for any man to be sorry he has money. I saw by
Marble's eyes, that this sum, so unusually large for him to possess,
formed a new tie to the world, and that he fancied himself a much
happier man in possessing it. He looked at me earnestly, for quite a
minute, and then remarked, I make no doubt with sincere regret--

"Miles, if I had a mother living, now, that money might make her old
age comfortable! It seems that they who have no mothers, have money, and
they who have no money, have mothers."

I waited a moment for Marble to recover his self-command, and then urged
him to continue his story.

"I was telling you how I generalized over my sitiation," resumed the
ex-mate, "as soon as I found myself alone in the hut. I came to the
conclusion that I should be carried off by force, if I remained till
next day; and so I got into the launch, carried her out of the lagoon,
taking care to give the ship a berth, went through the reef, and kept
turning to windward, until day-break. By that time, the island was quite
out of sight, though I saw the upper sails of the ship, as soon as you
got her under way. I kept the top-gallant-sails in sight, until I made
the island, again; and as you went off, I ran in, and took possession of
my dominions, with no one to dispute my will, or to try to reason me out
of my consait."

"I am glad to hear you term that notion a conceit, for, certainly, it
was not reason. You soon discovered your mistake, my old mess-mate, and
began to think of home."

"I soon discovered, Miles, that if I had neither father, nor mother,
brother nor sister, that I had a country and friends. The bit of marble
on which I was found in the stone-cutter's yard, then seemed as dear to
me as a gold cradle is to a king's son; and I thought of you, and all
the rest of you--nay, I yearned after you, as a mother would yearn for
her children."

"Poor fellow, you were solitary enough, I dare say--had you no amusement
with your pigs and poultry?"

"For a day or two, they kept me pretty busy. But, by the end of a week,
I discovered that pigs and poultry were not made to keep company with
man. I had consaited that I could pass the rest of my days in the bosom
of my own family, like any other man who had made, his fortune and
retired; but, I found my household too small for such a life as that. My
great mistake was in supposing that the Marble family could be happy in
its own circle."

This was said bitterly, though it was said drolly, and, while it made

Talcott and myself laugh, it also made us sorry.

"I fell into another mistake, however, boys," Marble continued, "and
it might as well be owned. I took it into my head that I should be all
alone on the island, but I found to my cost, that the devil insisted on
having his share. I'll tell you how it is, Miles; a man must either look
ahead, or look astarn; there is no such thing as satisfying himself
with the present moorings. Now, this was my misfortune; for, ahead I
had nothing to look forward to; and astarn, what comfort had I in
overhauling past sins!"

"I think I can understand your difficulties, my friend; how did you
manage to get rid of them?"

"I left the island. You had put the Frenchman's launch in capital
condition, and all I had to do was to fill up the breakers with fresh
water, kill a hog and salt him away, put on board a quantity of biscuit,
and be off. As for eatables, you know there was no scarcity on the
island, and I took my choice. I make no doubt there are twenty hogsheads
of undamaged sugars, at this very moment, in the hold of that wreck,
and on the beach of the island. I fed my poultry on it, the whole time I
staid."

"And so you abandoned Marble Land to the pig's and the fowls?"

"I did, indeed, Miles; and I hope the poor creaturs will have a
comfortable time of it. I gave 'em what the lawyers call a quit-claim,
and sailed two months to a day after you went off in the Crisis."

"I should think, old shipmate, that your voyage must have been as
solitary and desperate as your life ashore."

"I'm amazed to hear, you say that. I'm never solitary at sea, one has
so much to do in taking care of his craft; and then he can always look
forward to the day he'll get in. But this generalizing, night and day,
without any port ahead, and little comfort in looking astarn, will soon
fit a man for Bedlam. I just: weathered Cape Crazy, I can tell you,
lads; and that, too, in the white water! As for my v'y'ge being
desperate, what was there to make it so, I should like to know?"

"You must have been twelve or fifteen hundred miles from any island
where you could look forward to anything like safety; and that is a
distance one would rather not travel all alone on the high seas."

"Pshaw! all consait. You're getting notional, Miles, now you're a master
and owner. What's a run of a thousand or fifteen hundred miles, in a
tight boat, and with plenty of grub and water? It was the easiest matter
in the world; and if it warn't for that bloody Cape Horn, I should have
made as straight a wake for Coenties' Slip, as the trending of the land
would have allowed. As it was, I turned to windward, for I knew the
savages to leeward weren't to be trusted. You see, it was as easy as
working out a day's work. I kept the boat on a wind all day, and long
bits of the night, too, until I wanted sleep; and then I hove her to,
under a reefed mainsail, and slept as sound as a lord. I hadn't an
uncomfortable moment, after I got outside of the reef again; and the
happiest hour of my life was that in which I saw the tree-tops of the
island dip."

"And how long were you navigating in this manner, and what land did you
first make?"

"Seven weeks, though I made half a dozen islands, every one of them just
such a looking object as that I had left. You weren't about to catch
me ashore again in any of them miserable places! I gave the old boat a
slap, and promised to stick by her as long as she would stick by me, and
I kept my word. I saw savages, moreover, on one or two of the islands,
and gave them a berth, having no fancy for being barbacued."

"And where did you finally make your land-fall?"

"Nowhere, so; far as the launch was concerned. I fell in with a Manilla
ship, bound to Valparaiso, and got on board her; and sorry enough was I
for the change, when I came to find out how they lived. The captain
took me in, however, and I worked my passage into port. Finding no ship
likely to sail soon, I entered with a native who was about to cross the
Andes, bound over on this side, for the east coast. Don't you remember,
Miles, monsters of mountains that we could see, a bit inland, and
covered with snow, all along the west side of South America? You must
remember the chaps I mean?"

"Certainly--they are much too plain, and objects much too striking, ever
to be forgotten, when once seen."

"Well them's the Andes; and rough customers they be, let me tell you,
boys. You know there is little amusement in a sailor's walking on the
levellest 'arth and handsomest highways, on account of the bloody ups
and downs a fellow meets with; and so you may get some idee of the time
we had of it, when I tell you, had all the seas we saw in the last
blow been piled on top of each other, they would have made but a large
pancake, compared to them 'ere Andes. Natur' must have outdone herself
in making 'em; and when they were thrown together, what good comes of
it all? Such mountains might be of some use in keeping the French and
English apart; but you leave nothing but bloody Spaniards on one side
of them Andes, and find bloody Spaniards and Portugeese on the other.
However, we found our way over them, and brought up at a place called
Buenos Ayres, from which I worked my passage round to Rio in a coaster.
At Rio, you know, I felt quite at home, having stopped in there often,
in going backward and forward."

"And thence you took passage in the Dundee for London, intending to get
a passage home by the first opportunity?"

"It needs no witch to tell that. I had to scull about Rio for several
months, doing odd jobs as a rigger, and the like of that, until, finding
no Yankee came in, I got a passage in a Scotchman. I'll not complain of
Sawney, who was kind enough to me as a shipwrecked mariner; for that was
the character I sailed under, hermits being no way fashionable among us
Protestants, though it's very different among them Catholic chaps, I can
tell you. I happened to mention to a landlady on the road, that I was
a sort of a hermit on his travels; when I thought the poor woman would
have gone down on her knees and worshipped me."

Here then was the history of Moses Marble, and the end of the colony
of Marble Land, pigs and poultry excepted. It was now my turn to be
examined. I had to answer fifty curious inquiries, some of which I
found sufficiently embarrassing. When, in answer to his interrogatories,
Marble learned that the Major and Miss Merton had actually been left at
Clawbonny, I saw the ex-mate wink at Talcott, who smiled in reply. Then,
where was Rupert, and how came on the law? The farm and mills were not
forgotten; and, as for Neb, he was actually ordered up into the top, in
order that there might be another shake of the hand, and that he might
answer for himself. In a word, nothing could be more apparent than the
delight of Marble at finding himself among us once more. I believed even
then, that the man really loved me; and the reader will remember how
long we had sailed together, and how much we had seen in company. More
than once did my old shipmate dash the tears from his eyes, as he spoke
of his satisfaction.

"I say, Miles--I say, Roger," he cried--"this is like being at home, and
none of your bloody hermitages! Blast me, if I think, now, I should
dare pass through a wood all alone. I'm never satisfied unless I see
a fellow-creatur', for fear of being left. I did pretty well with the
Scotchman, who _has_ a heart, though it's stowed away in oatmeal, but
_this_ is _home._ I must ship as your steward, Miles, for hang on to you
I will."

"If we ever part, again, until one or both go into dock, it will be your
fault, my old friend. If I have thought of you once, since we parted,
I have dreamed of you fifty times! Talcott and I were talking of you in
the late gale, and wondering what sail you would advise us to put the
ship under."

"The old lessons have not all been forgotten, boys; it was easy enough
to see that. I said to myself, as you stood down upon us, 'that chap
has a real sea-dog aboard, as is plain by the manner in which he has
everything snug, while he walks ahead like an owner in a hurry to be
first in the market.'"

It was then agreed Marble should keep a watch; whenever it suited him,
and that he should do just as he pleased aboard. At some future day,
some other arrangement might be made, though he declared his intention
to stick by the ship, and also announced a determination to be my
first-mate for life, as soon as Talcott got a vessel, as doubtless he
would, through the influence of his friends, as soon as he returned
home. I laughed at all this, though I bade him heartily welcome, and
then I nick-named him commodore, adding that he should sail with me
in that capacity, doing just as much, and just as little duty as he
pleased. As for money, there was a bag of dollars in the cabin, and he
had only to put his hand in, and take what he wanted. The key of the
locker was in my pocket, and could be had for asking. Nobody was more
delighted with this arrangement than Neb, who had even taken a fancy to
Marble, from the moment when the latter led him up from the steerage of
the John, by the ear.

"I say, Miles, what sort of bloody animals are them passengers of
your's?" Marble next demanded, looking over the rim of the top, down
at the trio on deck, with a good deal of curiosity expressed in his
countenance. "This is the first time I ever knew a ship-master driven
aloft by his passengers, in order to talk secrets!"

"That is because you never sailed with the Brigham family, my friend.
They'll pump you till you suck, in the first twenty-four hours, rely on
it. They'll get every fact about your birth, the island where you first
saw me, what you have been about, and what you mean to do; in a word,
the past, present, and future."

"Leave me to overlay their cur'osity," answered the ex-mate, or new
commodore--"I got my hand in, by boarding six weeks with a Connecticut
old maid, once, and I'll defy the keenest questioner of them all."

We had a little more discourse, when we all went below, and I introduced
Marble to my passengers, as one who was to join our mess. After this,
things went on in their usual train. In the course of the day, however,
I overheard the following brief dialogue between Brigham and Marble, the
ladies being much too delicate to question so rough a mariner.

"You came on board us, somewhat unexpectedly, I rather conclude, Captain
Marble?" commenced the gentleman.

"Not in the least; I have been expecting to meet the Dawn, just about
this spot, more than a month, now."

"Well, that is odd! I do not comprehend how such a thing could well be
foreseen?"

"Do you understand spherical trigonometry, sir?"

"I cannot say I am at all expert--I've looked into mathematics, but have
no great turn for the study."

"It would be hopeless, then, to attempt to explain the matter. If you
had your hand in at the spherical, I could make it all as plain as the
capstan."

"You and Captain Wallingford must be somewhat old acquaintances, I
conclude?"

"Somewhat," answered Marble, very drily.

"Have you ever been at the place that he calls Clawbonny? A queer name,
I rather think, Captain!"

"Not at all, sir. I know a place, down in the Eastern States, that was
called Scratch and Claw, and a very pretty spot it was."

"It's not usual for us to the eastward, to give names to farms and
places. It is done a little by the Boston folk, but they are notional,
as everybody knows."

"Exactly; I suppose it was for want of use, the chap I mean made out no
better in naming his place."

Mr. Brigham was no fool; he was merely a gossip. He took the hint, and
asked no more questions of Marble. He tried Neb, notwithstanding; but
the black having his orders, obeyed them so literally, that I really
believe we parted in Bordeaux, a fortnight later, without any of the
family's making the least discovery. Glad enough was I to get rid of
them; yet, brief as had been our intercourse, they produced a sensible
influence on my future happiness. Such is the evil of this habit of
loose talking, men giving credit to words conceived in ignorance and
uttered in the indulgence of one of the most contemptible of all our
propensities. To return to my ship.

We reached Bordeaux without any further accident, or delay. I discharged
in the usual way, and began to look about me, for another freight. It
had been my intention to return to New York, and to keep the festivities
of attaining my majority, at Clawbonny; but, I confess the discourse of
these eternal gossips, the Brighams, had greatly lessened the desire to
see home again, so soon. A freight for New York was offered me, but I
postponed an answer, until it was given to another ship. At length an
offer was made me to go to Cronstadt, in Russia, with a cargo of
wines and brandies, and I accepted it. The great and better informed
merchants, as it would seem, distrusted the continuance of the hollow
peace that then existed, and a company of them thought it might be well
to transfer their liquors to the capital of the czar, in readiness for
contingencies. An American ship was preferred, on account of her greater
speed, as well as on account of her probable neutral character, in the
event of troubles occurring at any unlooked-for moment. The Dawn took in
her wines and brandies accordingly, and sailed for the Baltic about
the last of August. She had a long, but a safe passage, delivering the
freight according to the charter-party, in good condition. While at
Cronstadt, the American consul, and the consignees of an American ship
that had lost her master and chief-mate by the smallpox, applied to
me to let Marble carry the vessel home. I pressed the offer on my old
friend, but he obstinately refused to have anything to do with the
vessel. I then recommended Talcott, and after some negotiation, the
latter took charge of the Hyperion. I was sorry to part with my mate, to
whom I had become strongly attached; but the preferment was so clearly
to his advantage, that I could take no other course. The vessel being
ready, she sailed the day after Talcott joined her; and, sorry am I to
be compelled to add, that she was never heard of, after clearing the
Cattegat. The equinox of that season was tremendously severe, and it
caused the loss of many vessels; that of the Hyperion doubtless among
the rest.

Marble insisted on taking Talcott's place, and he now became my
chief-mate, as I had once been his. After a little delay, I took in
freight on Russian government account, and sailed for Odessa. It was
thought the Sublime Porte would let an American through; but, after
reaching the Dardanelles, I was ordered back, and was obliged to leave
my cargo in Malta, which it was expected would be in possession of its
own knights by that time, agreeably to the terms of the late treaty.
From Malta I sailed for Leghorn, in quest of another freight. I pass
over the details of these voyages, as really nothing worthy of being
recorded occurred. They consumed a good deal of time; the delay at the
Dardanelles alone exceeding six weeks, during which negotiations were
going on up at Constantinople, but all in vain. In consequence of
all these detentions, and the length of the passages, I did not
reach Leghorn until near the close of March, I wrote to Grace and Mr.
Hardinge, whenever a favourable occasion offered, but I did not get a
letter from home, during the whole period. It was not in the power of
my sister or guardian--_late_ guardian would be the most accurate
expression, as I had been of age since the previous October--to write,
it being impossible for me to let them know when, or where, a letter
would find me. It followed, that while my friends at home were kept
tolerably apprised of my movements, I was absolutely in the dark as
respected them. That this ignorance gave me great concern, it would be
idle to deny; yet, I had a species of desperate satisfaction in keeping
aloof, and in leaving the course clear to Mr. Andrew Drewett. As
respects substantials, I had sent a proper power of attorney to Mr.
Hardinge, who, I doubted not, would take the same care of my temporal
interests he had never ceased to do since the day of my beloved mother's
death.

Freights were not offering freely at Leghorn, when the Dawn arrived.
After waiting a fortnight, however, I began to take in for America, and
on American account. In the meantime, the cargo coming to hand slowly,
I left Marble to receive it, and proceeded on a little excursion in
Tuscany, or Etruria, as that part of the world was then called. I
visited Pisa, Lucca, Florence, and several other intermediate towns. At
Florence, I passed a week looking at sights, and amusing myself the best
way I could. The gallery and the churches kept me pretty busy, and the
reader will judge of my surprise one day, at hearing my own name uttered
on a pretty high key, by a female voice, in the Duomo, or Cathedral of
the place. On turning, I found myself in the presence of the Brighams! I
was overwhelmed with questions in a minute. Where had I been? Where was
Talcott? Where was the ship? When did I sail, and whither did I sail?
After this came the communications. _They_ had been to Paris; had
seen the French Consul, and had dined with Mr. R. N. Livingston, then
negotiating the treaty of Louisiana; had seen the Louvre; had been to
Geneva; had seen the Lake; had seen Mont Blanc; had crossed Mont Cenis;
had been at Milan; Rome; had seen the Pope; Naples; had seen Vesuvius;
had been at Paestum; had come back to Florence, and _nous voici!_ Glad
enough was I, when I got them fairly within the gates of the City of the
Lily. Next came America; from which part of the world they received such
delightful letters! One from Mrs. Jonathan Little, a Salem lady then
residing in New York, had just reached them. It contained four sheets,
and was full of _news._ Then commenced the details; and I was compelled
to listen to a string of gossip that connected nearly all the people of
mark, my informants had ever heard of in the great _Commercial_ Emporium
that was to be. How suitable is this name! Emporium would not have been
sufficiently distinctive for a town in which "the merchants" are all in
all; in which they must have the post-office; in which they support the
nation by paying all the revenue; in which the sun must shine and the
dew fall to suit their wants; and in which the winds, themselves, may
be recreant to their duty, when they happen to be foul! Like the Holy
Catholic Protestant Episcopal Church, Trading Commercial Trafficking
Emporium should have been the style of such a place; and I hope, ere
long, some of the "Manor Born" genii of that great town, will see the
matter rectified.

"By the way, Captain Wallingford," cut in Jane, at one of Sarah's
breathing intervals, that reminded me strongly of the colloquial
Frenchman's "_s'il crache il est perdu,_" "You know something of poor
Mrs. Bradfort, I believe?"

I assented by a bow.

"It was just as we told you," cried Sarah, taking her revenge. "The poor
woman is dead! and, no doubt, of that cancer. What a frightful disease!
and how accurate has our information been, in all that affair!"

"I think her will the most extraordinary of all," added Mr. Brigham,
who, as a man, kept an eye more to the main chance. "I suppose you have
heard all about her will, Captain Wallingford?"

I reminded the gentleman that this was the first I had ever heard of the
lady's death.

"She has left every dollar to young Mr. Hardinge, her cousin's son;"
added Jane, "cutting off that handsome, genteel, young lady his sister,
as well as her father, without a cent"--in 1803, they just began to
speak of _cents_, instead of farthings--"and everybody says it was so
cruel!"

"That is not the worst of it," put in Sarah. "They _do_ say, Miss
Merton, the English lady that made so much noise in New York--let me
see, Mr. Brigham, what Earl's grand-daughter did we hear she was?--"

This was a most injudicious question, as it gave the husband an
opportunity to take the word out of her mouth.

"Lord Cumberland's, I believe, or some such person---but, no matter
whose. It is quite certain, General Merton, her father, consents to let
her marry young Mr. Hardinge, now Mrs. Bradfort's will is known; and, as
for the sister, he declares he will never give her a dollar."

"He will have sixteen thousand dollars a year," said Jane, with
emphasis.

"Six, my dear, six"--returned the brother, who had reasonably accurate
notions touching dollars and cents, or he never would have been
travelling in Italy; "six thousand dollars a year, was just Mrs.
Bradfort's income, as my old school-fellow Upham told me, and there
isn't another man in York, who can tell fortunes as true as himself. He
makes a business of it, and don't fail one time in twenty."

"And is it quite certain that Mr. Rupert Hardinge gets all the fortune
of Mrs. Bradfort?" I asked, with a strong effort to seem composed.

"Not the least doubt of it, in the world. Everybody is talking about
it; and there cannot well be a mistake, you know, as it was thought the
sister would be an heiress, and people generally take care to be pretty
certain about that class. But, of course, a young man with that fortune
will be snapped up, as a swallow catches a fly. I've bet Sarah a pair of
gloves we hear of his marriage in three months."

The Brighams talked an hour longer, and made me promise to visit them
at their hotel, a place I could not succeed in finding. That evening, I
left Florence for Leghorn, writing a note of apology, in order not to be
rude. Of course, I did not believe half these people had told me; but
a part, I made no doubt, was true. Mrs. Bradfort was dead, out of all
question; and I thought it possible she might not so far have learned to
distinguish between the merit of Lucy, and that of Rupert, to leave her
entire fortune to the last. As for the declaration of the brother that
he would give his sister nothing, that seemed to me to be rather strong
for even Rupert. I knew the dear girl too well, and was certain she
would not repine; and I was burning with the desire to be in the field,
now she was again penniless.

What a change was this! Here were the Hardinges, those whom I had known
as poor almost as dependants on my own family, suddenly enriched. I
knew Mrs. Bradfort had a large six thousand a year, besides her own
dwelling-house, which stood in Wall Street, a part of the commercial
emporium that was just beginning to be the focus of banking, and all
other monied operations, and which even then promised to become a
fortune of itself. It is true, that old Daniel M'Cormick still held his
levees on his venerable stoop, where all the heavy men in town used to
congregate, and joke, and buy and sell, and abuse Boney; and that the
Winthrops, the Wilkeses, the Jaunceys, the Verplancks, the Whites, the
Ludlows, and other families of mark, then had their town residences in
this well-known street; but coming events were beginning "to cast their
shadows before," and it was easy to foresee that this single dwelling
might at least double Rupert's income, under the rapid increase of the
country and the town. Though Lucy was still poor, Rupert was now rich.

If family connection, that all-important and magical influence, could
make so broad a distinction between us, while I was comparatively
wealthy, and Lucy had nothing, what, to regard the worst side of the
picture, might I not expect from it, when the golden scale preponderated
on her side. That Andrew Drewett would still marry her, I began to fear
again. Well, why not? I had never mentioned love to the sweet girl,
fondly, ardently as I was attached to her; and what reason had I for
supposing that one in her situation could reserve her affections for a
truant sailor? I am afraid I was unjust enough to regret that this piece
of good fortune should have befallen Rupert. He must do something for
his sister, and every dollar seemed to raise a new barrier between us.

From that hour, I was all impatience to get home. Had not the freight
been engaged, I think I should have sailed in ballast. By urging the
merchants, however, we got to sea May 15th, with a full cargo, a portion
of which I had purchased on my own account, with the money earned by
the ship, within the last ten months. Nothing occurred worthy of notice,
until the Dawn neared the Straits of Gibraltar. Here we were boarded
by an English frigate, and first learned the declaration of a new war
between France and England; a contest that, in the end, involved in
it all the rest of christendom. Hostilities had already commenced, the
First Consul having thrown aside the mask, just three days after we left
port. The frigate treated us well, it being too soon for the abuses that
followed, and we got through the pass without further molestation.


As soon as in the Atlantic, I took care to avoid everything we saw,
and nothing got near us, until we had actually made the Highlands of
Navesink. An English sloop-of-war, however, had stood into the angles of
the coast, formed by Long Island and the Jersey shore, giving us a
race for the Hook. I did not know whether I ought to be afraid of this
cruiser, or not, but my mind was made up, not to be boarded if it could
be helped. We succeeded in passing ahead, and entered the Hook, while
he was still a mile outside of the bar. I got a pilot on the bar, as was
then very usual, and stood up towards the town with studding-sails
set, it being just a twelvemoth, almost to an hour, from the day when
I passed up the bay in the Crisis. The pilot took the ship in near
Coenties slip, Marble's favourite berth, and we had her secured, and her
sails unbent before the sun set.



CHAPTER XXVII.

  "With look like patient Job's, eschewing evil;
  With motions graceful as a bird's in air;
  Thou art, in sober truth, the veriest devil
  That ere clinched fingers in a captive's hair."
  HALLECK.


There was about an hour of daylight, when I left the compting-house of
the consignees, and pursued my way up Wall Street to Broadway. I was
on my way to the City Hotel, then, as now, one of the best inns of
the town. On Trinity Church walk, just as I quitted the Wall Street
crossing, whom should I come plump upon in turning, but Rupert Hardinge?
He was walking down the street in some little haste, and was
evidently much surprised, perhaps I might say startled, at seeing me.
Nevertheless, Rupert was not easily disconcerted, and his manner at once
became warm, if not entirely free from embarrassment. He was in deep
mourning; though otherwise dressed in the height of the fashion.

"Wallingford!" he exclaimed--it was the first time he did not call
me "Miles,"--"Wallingford! my fine fellow, what cloud did you drop
from?--We have had so many reports concerning you, that your appearance
is as much a matter of surprise, as would be that of Bonaparte, himself.
Of course, your ship is in?"

"Of course," I answered, taking his offered hand; "you know I am wedded
to her, for better, for worse, until death or shipwreck doth us part."

"Ay, so I've always told the ladies--'there is no other matrimony in
Wallingford,' I've said often, 'than that which will make him a ship's
husband.' But you look confoundedly well--the sea agrees with you,
famously."

"I make no complaint of my health--but tell me of that of our friends
and families? Your father--"

"Is up at Clawbonny, just now--you know how it is with him. No change of
circumstances will ever make him regard his little smoke-house looking
church, as anything but a cathedral, and his parish as a diocese. Since
the great change in our circumstances, all this is useless, and I often
_think_--you know one wouldn't like to _say_ as much to _him_--but I
often _think_, he might just as well give up preaching, altogether."

"Well, this is good, so far--now for the rest of you, all. You meet my
impatience too coldly."

"Yes, you _were_ always an impatient fellow. Why, I suppose you need
hardly be told that I have been admitted to the bar."

"That I can very well imagine--you must have found your sea-training of
great service on the examination."

"Ah! my dear Wallingford--what a simpleton I was! But one is so apt to
take up strange conceits in boyhood, that he is compelled to look
back at them in wonder, in after life. But, which way are you
walking?"--slipping an arm in mine--"if up, I'll take a short turn
with you. There's scarce a soul in town, at this season; but you'll
see prodigiously fine girls in Broadway, at this hour,
notwithstanding--those that belong to the other sets, you know; those
that belong to families that can't get into the country among the
leaves. Yes, as I was saying, one scarce knows himself, after twenty.
Now, I can hardly recall a taste, or an inclination, that I cherished
in my teens, that has not flown to the winds. Nothing is permanent in
boyhood--we grow in our persons, and our minds, sentiments, affections,
views, hopes, wishes, and ambition; all take new directions."

"This is not very flattering, Rupert, to one whose acquaintance with you
may be said to be altogether boyish."

"Oh! of course I don't mean _that._ Habit keeps all right in such
matters; and I dare say I shall always be as much attached to you, as I
was in childhood. Still, we are on diverging lines, now, and cannot for
ever remain boys."

"You have told me nothing of the rest," I said, half choked, in my
eagerness to hear of the girls, and yet unaccountably afraid to ask.
I believe I dreaded to hear that Lucy was married. "How, and where is
Grace?"

"Oh! Grace!--yes, I forgot her, to my shame, as you would naturally wish
to inquire. Why, my dear _Captain,_ to be as frank as one ought with so
old an acquaintance, your sister is not in a good way, I'm much afraid;
though I've not seen her in an age. She was down among us in the autumn,
but left town for the holidays, for them she insisted on keeping at
Clawbonny, where she said the family had always kept them, and away she
went. Since then, she has not returned, but I fear she is far from well.
You know what a fragile creature Grace ever has been--so American!--Ah!
Wallingford! our females have no constitutions--charming as angels,
delicate as fairies, and all that; but not to be compared to the English
women in constitutions."

I felt a torrent of fire rushing through my blood, and it was with
difficulty I refrained from hurling the heartless scoundrel who leaned
on my arm, into the ditch. A moment of reflection, however, warned me
of the precipice on which I stood. He was Mr. Hardinge's son, Lucy's
brother; and I had no proofs that he had ever induced Grace to think he
loved her. It was so easy for those who had been educated as we four
had been, to be deceived on such a point, that I felt it unsafe to do
anything precipitately. Friendship, _habit_, as Rupert expressed it,
might so easily be mistaken for the fruits of passion, that one might
well be deceived. Then it was all-important to Grace's self-respect, to
her feelings, in some measure to her character, to be careful, that I
suppressed my wrath, though it nearly choked me.

"I am sorry to hear this," I answered, after a long pause, the
deep regret I felt at having such an account of my sister's health
contributing to make my manner seem natural; "very, _very_ sorry to hear
it. Grace is one that requires the tenderest care and watching; and I
have been making passage after passage in pursuit of money, when I am
afraid I should have been at Clawbonny, discharging the duties of a
brother. I can never forgive myself!"

"Money is a very good thing, Captain," answered Rupert, with a smile
that appeared to mean more than the tongue expressed--"a surprisingly
good thing is money! But you must not exaggerate Grace's illness, which
I dare say is merely constitutional, and will lead to nothing. I hope
your many voyages have produced their fruits?"

"And Lucy?" I resumed, disregarding his question concerning my own
success as an owner. "Where and how is she?"

"Miss Hardinge is in town--in her own--that is, in _our_ house--in Wall
Street, though she goes to _the place_ in the morning. No one who
can, likes to remain among these hot bricks, that has a pleasant
country-house to fly to, and open to receive him. But I forgot--I have
supposed you to know what it is very likely you have never heard?"

"I learned the death of Mrs. Bradfort while in Italy, and, seeing you in
black, at once supposed it was for her."

"Yes, that's just it. An excellent woman has been taken from us, and,
had she been my own mother, I could not have received greater kindnesses
from her. Her end, my dear Wallingford, was admitted by all the clergy
to be one of the most edifying known in the place for years."

"And Mrs. Bradfort has left you her heir? It is now time to congratulate
you on your good fortune. As I un-understand her estate came through
females to her, and from a common ancestor of hers and yours, there is
not the slightest reason why you should not be gratified by the bequest.
But Lucy--I hope she was not _altogether_ forgotten?"

Rupert fidgeted, and I could see that he was on tenter-hooks. As I
afterwards discovered, he wished to conceal the real facts from the
world; and yet he could not but foresee that I would probably learn them
from his father. Under all the circumstances, therefore, he fancied
it best to make me a confidant. We were strolling between Trinity and
Paul's church walks, then the most fashionable promenade in town; and,
before he would lay open his secret, my companion led me over by the
Oswego Market, and down Maiden Lane, lest he might betray himself to the
more fashionable stocks and stones. He did not open his lips until clear
of the market, when he laid bare his budget of griefs in something that
more resembled his old confidential manner, than he had seen fit to
exhibit in the earlier part of our interview.

"You must know, Miles," he commenced, "that Mrs. Bradfort was a very
peculiar woman--a very peculiar sort of a person, indeed. An, excellent
lady, I am ready to allow, and one that made a remarkably edifying and;
but one whose peculiarities, I have understood, she inherited with her
fortune. Women _do_ get the oddest conceits into their heads, you know,
and American women before all others; a republic being anything but
favourable to the continuation of property in the same line. Miss
Merton, who is a girl of excellent sense, as you well know yourself,
Miles, says, now, in England I should have succeeded, quite as a matter
of course, to _all_ Mrs. Bradfort's real estate."

"You, as a lawyer--a common law lawyer-can scarcely require the opinion
of an Englishwoman to tell you what the English laws would do in a
question of descent."

"Oh! they've a plaguey sight of statutes in that country, as well as
ourselves. Between the two, the common law is getting to be a very
uncommon sort of a law. But, to cut the matter short, Mrs. Bradfort made
a _will_."

"Dividing her property equally between you and Lucy, I dare say, to Miss
Merton's great dissatisfaction."

"Why, not just so, Miles--not exactly so; a very capricious, peculiar
woman was Mrs. Bradfort--"

I have often remarked, when a person has succeeded in throwing dust into
another's eyes, but is discarded on being found out, that the
rejected of principle is very apt to accuse his former dupe of being
_capricious_; when, in fact, he has only been _deceived_. As I said
nothing, however, leaving Rupert to flounder on in the best manner he
could, the latter, after a pause, proceeded--

"But her end was very admirable" he said, "and to the last degree
edifying. You must know, she made a will, and in that will she left
everything, even to the town and country houses, to--my sister."

I was thunder-struck! Here were all my hopes blown again to the winds.
After a long pause, I resumed the discourse.

"And whom did she leave as executor?" I asked, instantly foreseeing the
consequences should that office be devolved on Rupert, himself.

"My father. The old gentleman has had his hands full, between your
father and mother, and Mrs. Bradfort. Fortunately, the estate of the
last is in a good condition, and is easily managed. Almost entirely
in stores and houses in the best part of the town, well insured, a few
thousands in stocks, and as much in bonds and mortgages, the savings
from the income, and something like a year's rents in bank. A good seven
thousand a year, with enough surplus to pay for repairs, collection and
other charges."

"And all this, then, is Lucy's!" I exclaimed, feeling something like the
bitterness of knowing that such an heiress was not for me.

"Temporarily; though, of course, I consider Lucy as only my trustee for
half of it. You know how it is with the women; they fancy all us young
men spendthrifts, and, so, between the two, they have reasoned in this
way--'Rupert is a good fellow at bottom; but Rupert is young, and he
will make the money fly--now, I'll give it all to you, Lucy, in my will,
but, of course, you'll take care of your brother, and let him have half,
or perhaps two-thirds, being a male, at the proper time, which will be,
as soon as you come of age, and _can_ convey. You understand Lucy is but
nineteen, and _cannot_ convey these two years."

"And Lucy admits this to be true?--You have proof of all this?"

"Proof! I'd take my own affidavit of it. You see it is reasonable, and
what I had a right to expect. Everything tends to confirm it. Between
ourselves, I had quite $2000 of debt; and yet, you see, the good
lady did not leave me a dollar to pay even my honest creditors; a
circumstance that so pious a woman, and one who made so edifying an end,
would never think of doing, without ulterior views. Considering Lucy as
my trustee, explains the whole thing."

"I thought Mrs. Bradfort made you an allowance, Rupert; some $600 a
year, besides keeping you in her own house?"

"A thousand-but, what is $1000 a year to a fashionable man, in a town
like this. First and last, the excellent old lady, gave me about $5000,
all of which confirms the idea, that, at the bottom, she intended me
for her heir. What woman in her senses, would think of giving $5000 to
a relative to whom she did not contemplate giving _more_? The thing is
clear on its face, and I should certainly go into chancery, with anybody
but Lucy."

"And Lucy?--what says she to your views on the subject of Mrs.
Bradfort's intentions?"

"Why, you have some acquaintance with Lucy--used to be intimate
with her, as one might say, when children, and know something of her
character"--This to me, who fairly worshipped the earth on which the
dear girl trod!--"She never indulges in professions, and likes to take
people by surprise, when she contemplates doing them a service--" this
was just as far from Lucy's natural and honest mode of dealing, as it
was possible to be--"and, so, she has been as mum as one who has lost
the faculty of speech. However, she never speaks of her affairs to
others; _that_ is a good sign, and indicates an intention to consider
herself as my trustee; and, what is better still, and more plainly
denotes what her conscience dictates in the premises, she has empowered
her father to pay all my debts; the current income and loose cash, being
at her disposal, at once. It would have been better had she given me the
money, to satisfy these creditors with it, for I knew which had waited
the longest, and were best entitled to receive the dollars at once; but,
it's something to have all their receipts in my pocket, and to start
fair again. Thank Heaven, that much is already done. To do Lucy justice,
moreover, she allows me $1500 a year, _ad interim_. Now, Miles, I've
conversed with you, as with an old friend, and because I knew my father
would tell you the whole, when you get up to Clawbonny; but you will
take it all in strict confidence. It gives a fashionable young fellow so
silly an air, to be thought dependent on a sister; and she three years
younger than himself! So I have hinted the actual state of the case,
round among my friends; but, it is generally believed that I am in
possession already, and that Lucy is dependent on me, instead of my
being dependent on her. The idea, moreover, is capital for keeping off
fortune-hunters, as you will see at a glance."

"And will the report satisfy a certain Mr. Andrew Drewett?" I asked,
struggling to assume a composure I was far from feeling. "He was all
attention when I sailed, and I almost expected to hear there was no
longer a Lucy Hardinge."

"To tell you the truth, Miles, I thought so, too, until the death of
Mrs. Bradfort. The mourning, however, most opportunely came to put a
stop to anything of the sort, were it even contemplated. It would be so
awkward, you will understand, to have a brother-in-law before everything
is settled, and the trust is accounted for. _Au reste_--I am very well
satisfied with Andrew, and let him know I am his friend; he is well
connected; fashionable; has a pretty little fortune; and, as I sometimes
tell Lucy, that he is intended for her, as Mrs. Bradfort, no doubt,
foresaw, inasmuch as his estate, added to just one-third of that of
our dear departed cousin, would just make up the present income. On my
honour, now, I do not think the difference would be $500 per annum."

"And how does your sister receive your hints?"

"Oh! famously--just as all girls do, you know. She blushes, and
sometimes she looks vexed; then she smiles, and puts up her lip, and
says 'Nonsense!' and 'What folly!' 'Rupert, I'm surprised at you!' and
all that sort of stuff, which deceives nobody, you'll understand, not
even her poor, simple, silly brother. But, Miles, I must quit you now,
for I have an engagement to accompany a party to the theatre, and was on
my way to join them when we met. Cooper plays, and you know what a lion
_he_ is; one would not wish to lose a syllable of his Othello."

"Stop, Rupert--one word more before we part. From your conversation, I
gather that the Mertons are still here?"

"The Mertons! Why, certainly; established in the land, and among its
tip-top people. The Colonel finds his health benefited by the climate,
and he has managed to get some appointment which keeps him among us. He
has Boston relatives, moreover, and I believe is fishing up some claims
to property in that quarter. The Mertons here, indeed! what would New
York be without the Mertons!"

"And my old friend the Major is promoted, too--you called him Colonel, I
think?"

"Did I? I believe he is oftener called _General_ Merton, than anything
else. You must be mistaken about his being only a Major, Miles;
everybody here calls him either Colonel, or General."

"Never mind; I hope it is as you say. Good-bye, Rupert; I'll not betray
you, and--"

"Well-you were about to say--"

"Why, mention me to Lucy; you know we were acquainted when children.
Tell her I wish her all happiness in her new position, to which I do
not doubt she will do full credit; and that I shall endeavour to see her
before I sail again."

"You'll not be at the theatre this evening? Cooper is well worth
seeing--a most famous fellow in Othello!"

"I think not. Do not forget to mention me to your sister; and so, once
more, adieu!"

We parted--Rupert to go towards Broadway, at a great pace, and I to
lounge along, uncertain whither to proceed. I had sent Neb to inquire if
the Wallingford were down, and understood she would leave the basin at
sunrise. It was now my intention to go up in her; for, though I attached
no great importance to any of Rupert's facts, his report concerning my
sister's health rendered me exceedingly uneasy. Insensibly I continued
my course down Maiden Lane, and soon found myself near the ship. I went
on board, had an explanation with Marble, gave some orders to Neb, and
went ashore again, all in the course of the next half-hour. By a sort of
secret attraction, I was led towards the Park, and soon found myself at
the door of the theatre. Mrs. Bradfort had now been dead long enough to
put Lucy in second mourning, and I fancied I might get a view of her in
the party that Rupert was to accompany. Buying a ticket, I entered and
made my way up into the Shakspeare box. Had I been better acquainted
with the place, with the object in view I should have gone into the pit.

Notwithstanding the lateness of the season, it was a very full house.
Cooper's, in that day, was a name that filled every mouth, and he seldom
failed to fill every theatre in which he appeared. With many first-rate
qualifications for his art, and a very respectable conception of his
characters, he threw everything like competition behind him; though
there were a few, as there ever will be among the superlatively
intellectual, who affected to see excellencies in Fennel, and others,
to which this great actor could not aspire. The public decided against
these select few, and, as is invariably the case when the appeal is made
to human feelings, the public decided right. Puffery will force into
notice and sustain a false judgment, in such matters, for a brief space;
but nature soon asserts her sway, and it is by natural decisions that
such points are ever the most justly determined. Whatever appeals to
human sympathies, will be answered by human sympathies. Popularity too
often gains its ascendency behind the hypocrite's mask in religion;
it is usually a magnificent mystification in politics; it frequently
becomes the patriot's stalking-horse, on which he rides to power; in
social life, it is the reward of empty smiles, unmeaning bows, and
hollow squeezes of the hand; but with the player, the poet, and all
whose pursuits bring them directly in contact with the passions, the
imagination and the heart, it is the unerring test of merit, with
certain qualifications connected with the mind and the higher finish of
pure art. It may be questioned if Cooper were not the greatest actor of
his day, in a certain range of his own characters.

I have said that the house was full. I got a good place, however; though
it was not in the front row. Of course I could only see the side boxes
beneath, and not even quite all of them. My eyes ran eagerly over them,
and I soon caught a glimpse of the fine, curling hair of Rupert. He
sat by the side of Emily Merton, the Major--I knew he was a colonel or
general, only by means of a regular Manhattan promotion, which is so apt
to make hundreds of counts, copper captains, and travelling prodigies of
those who are very small folk at home--the Major sat next, and, at his
side, I saw a lady, whom I at once supposed to be Lucy. Every nerve in
my system thrilled, as I caught even this indistinct view of the
dear creature. I could just see the upper part of her face, as it was
occasionally turned towards the Major; and once I caught that honest
smile of hers, which I knew had never intentionally deceived.

The front seat of the box had two vacant places. The bench would hold
six, while it had yet only four. The audience, however, was still
assembling, and, presently, a stir in Lucy's box denoted the arrival
of company. The whole party moved, and Andrew Drewett handed an elderly
lady in, his mother, as I afterwards ascertained, and took the other
place himself. I watched the salutations that were exchanged, and
understood that the new comers had been expected. The places had been
reserved for them, and old Mrs. Drewett was doubtless the _chaperone;_
though, one having a brother and the other a father with her, the two
young ladies had not hesitated about preceding the elderly lady. They
had come from different quarters of the town, and had agreed to meet at
the theatre. Old Mrs. Drewett was very particular in shaking hands with
Lucy, though I had not the misery of seeing her son go through the same
ceremony. Still he was sufficiently pointed in his salutations; and,
during the movements, I perceived he managed to get next to Lucy,
leaving the Major to entertain his mother. All this was natural, and
what might have been expected; yet, it gave me a pang that I cannot
describe.

I sat, for half an hour, perfectly inattentive to the play, meditating
on the nature of my real position towards Lucy. I recalled the days of
childhood and early youth; the night of my first departure from home; my
return, and the incidents accompanying my second departure; the affair
of the locket, and all I had truly felt myself, and all that I had
supposed Lucy herself to feel, on those several occasions. Could it be
possible I had so much deceived myself, and that the interest the dear
girl had certainly manifested in me had been nothing but the fruits
of her naturally warm and honest heart--her strong disposition to
frankness-habit, as Rupert had so gently hinted in reference to
ourselves? Then I could not conceal from myself the bitter fact that I
was, now, no equal match for Lucy, in the eyes of the world. While she
was poor, and I comparatively rich, the inequality in social station
might have been overlooked; it existed, certainly, but was not so very
marked that it might not, even in that day, be readily forgotten; but
now, Lucy was an heiress, had much more than double my own fortune--had
a fortune indeed; while I was barely in easy circumstances, as persons
of the higher classes regarded wealth. The whole matter seemed reversed.
It was clear that a sailor like myself, with no peculiar advantages,
those of a tolerable education excepted, and who was necessarily so much
absent, had not the same chances of preferring his suit, as one of
your town idlers; a nominal lawyer, for instance, who dropped in at his
office for an hour or two, just after breakfast, and promenaded Broadway
the rest of the time, until dinner; or a man of entire leisure, like
Andrew Drewett, who belonged to the City Library set, and had no other
connection with business than to see that his rents were collected and
his dividends paid. The more I reflected, the more humble I became, he
less my chances seemed and I determined to quit the theatre, at once.
The reader will remember that I was New York born and bred, a state
of society in which few natives acted on the principle that "there
was nothing too high to be aspired to, nothing too low to be done."
I admitted I had superiors, and was willing to defer to the facts and
opinions of the world as I knew it.

In the lobby of the building, I experienced a pang at the idea of
quitting the place without getting one look at the face of Lucy. I was
in an humble mood, it is true, but that did not necessarily infer a
total self-denial. I determined, therefore, to pass into the pit, with
my box-check, feast my eyes by one long gaze at the dear creature's
ingenuous countenance, and carry away the impression, as a lasting
memorial of her whom I so well loved, and whom I felt persuaded I should
ever continue to love. After this indulgence, I would studiously avoid
her, in order to release my thoughts as much as possible from the
perfect thraldom in which they had existed, ever since I had heard
of Mrs. Bradfort's death. Previously to that time, I am afraid I
had counted a little more than was becoming on the ease of my own
circumstances, and Lucy's comparative poverty. Not that I had ever
supposed her to be in the least mercenary--this I knew to be utterly,
totally false--but because the good town of Manhattan, even in 1803,
was _tant soit peu_ addicted to dollars, and Lucy's charms would not
be likely to attract so many suitors, in the modest setting of a poor
country clergyman's means, as in the golden frame by which they had been
surrounded by Mrs. Bradfort's testamentary devise, even supposing Rupert
to come in for quite one half.

I had no difficulty in finding a convenient place in the pit; one, from
which I got a front and near view of the whole six, as they sat ranged
side by side. Of the Major and old Mrs. Drewett it is unnecessary to say
much. The latter looked as all dowager-like widows of that day used to
appear, respectable, staid, and richly attired. The good lady had come
on the stage during the revolution, and had a slightly military air--a
_parade_ in her graces, that was not altogether unknown to the _èlèves_
of that school. I dare say she could use such words as "martinets,"
"mowhairs," "brigadiers," and other terms familiar to her class. Alas!
how completely all these little traces of the past are disappearing from
our habits and manners!

As for the Major, he appeared much better in health, and altogether
altered in mien. I could readily detect the influence of the world on
him; He was evidently a so much greater man in New York than he had
been whew I found him in London, that it is not wonderful he felt the
difference. Between the acts, I remarked that all the principal persons
in the front rows were desirous of exchanging nods with the "British
officer," a proof that he was circulating freely in the best set, and
had reached a point, when "not to know him, argues yourself unknown."
{*]

{Footnote *: The miserable moral dependence of this country on Great
Britain, forty years since, cannot well be brought home to the present
generation. It is still too great, but has not a tithe of its former
force. The writer has himself known an Italian Prince, a man of family
and of high personal merit, pass unnoticed before a society that was
eager to make the acquaintance of most of the "agents" of the Birmingham
button dealers; and this simply because one came from Italy and the
other from England. The following anecdote, which is quite as true as
any other fact in this work, furnishes a good example of what is meant.
It is now a quarter of a century since the writer's first book appeared.
Two or three months after the publication, he was walking down Broadway
with a friend, when a man of much distinction in the New York circles
was passing up, on the other side-walk. The gentleman in question caught
the writer's eye, bowed, and _crossed the street_, to shake hands and
inquire after the author's health. The difference in years made this
attention marked. "You are in high favour," observed the friend, as the
two walked away, to "have ---- pay you such a compliment--your book must
have done this." "Now mark my words--I have been puffed in some English
magazine, and ---- knows it." The two were on their way to the author's
publishers, and, on entering the door, honest Charles Wiley put a puff
on the book in question into the writer's hand! What rendered the whole
more striking, was the fact that the paragraph was as flagrant a puff
as was ever written, and had probably been paid for, by the English
publisher. The gentleman in question was a man of talents and merit,
but he had been born half a century too soon, to enjoy entire mental
independence in a country that had so recently been a colony.]

Emily certainly looked well and happy. I could see that she was
delighted with Rupert's flattery, and I confess I cared very little
for his change of sentiment, or his success. That both Major and Emily
Merton were different persons in the midst of the world and in the
solitudes of the Pacific, was as evident as it was that I was a
different personage in command of the Crisis, and in the pit of the Park
theatre. I dare say, at that moment. Miss Merton had nearly forgotten
that such a man as Miles Wallingford existed, though I think she
sometimes recalled the string of magnificent pearls that were to
ornament the neck of his wife, should he ever find any one to have him.

But, Lucy, dear, upright, warm-hearted, truth-telling, beloved Lucy! all
this time, I forget to speak of her. There she sat in maiden loveliness,
her beauty still more developed, her eye as beaming, lustrous, feeling,
as ever, her blush as sensitive, her smile as sweet, and her movements
as natural and graceful. The simplicity of her half-mourning, too, added
to her beauty, which was of a character to require no further aid from
dress, than such as was dependent purely on taste. As I gazed at her,
enthralled, I fancied nothing was wanting to complete the appearance,
but my own necklace. Powerful, robust man as I was, with my frame
hardened by exposure and trials, I could have sat down and wept, after
gazing some time at the precious creature, under the feeling produced
by the conviction that I was never to renew my intercourse with her, on
terms of intimacy at least. The thought that from day to day we were to
become more and more strangers, was almost too much to be borne. As it
was, scalding tears forced themselves to my eyes, though I succeeded
in concealing the weakness from those around me. At length the tragedy
terminated, the curtain dropped, and the audience began to move about.
The pit which had, just before, been crowded, was now nearly empty, and
I was afraid of being seen. Still, I could not tear myself away, but
remained after nine-tenths of those around me had gone into the lobbies.

It was easy, now, to see the change which had come over Lucy's position,
in the attentions she received. All the ladies in the principal boxes
had nods and smiles for her and half the fashionable-looking young men
in the house crowded round her box, or actually entered it to pay their
compliments. I fancied Andrew Drewett had a self-satisfied air that
seemed to say, "you are paying your homage indirectly to myself, in
paying it to this young lady." As for Lucy, my jealous watchfulness
could not detect the smallest alteration in her deportment, so far as
simplicity and nature were concerned. She appeared in a trifling degree
more womanly, perhaps, than when I saw her last, being now in her
twentieth year; but the attentions she received made no visible change
in her manners. I had become lost in the scene, and was standing in a
musing attitude, my side face towards the box, when I heard a suppressed
exclamation, in Lucy's voice. I was too near her to be mistaken, and it
caused the blood to rush to my heart in a torrent. Turning, I saw the
dear girl, with her hand extended over the front of the box, her face
suffused with blushes, and her eyes riveted on myself. I was recognised,
and the surprise had produced a display of all that old friendship,
certainly, that had once existed between us, in the simplicity and truth
of childhood.

"Miles Wallingford!" she said, as I advanced to shake the offered
hand, and as soon as I was near enough to permit her to speak without
attracting too much attention--"_you_ arrived, and _we_ knew nothing of
it!"

It was plain Rupert had said nothing of having seen me, or of our
interview in the street. He seemed a little ashamed, and leaned forward
to say--

"I declare I forgot to mention, Lucy, that I met Captain Wallingford as
I was going to join the Colonel and Miss Merton. Oh! we have had a long
talk together, and it will save you a history of past events."

"I may, nevertheless, say," I rejoined, "how happy I am to see Miss
Hardinge looking so well, and to be able to pay my compliments to my old
passengers."

Of course I shook hands with the Major and Emily, bowed to Drewett, was
named to his mother, and was invited to enter the box, as it was not
quite in rule to be conversing between the pit and the front rows. I
forgot my prudent resolutions, and was behind Lucy in three minutes.
Andrew Drewett had the civility to offer me his place, though it was
with an air that said plain enough "what do _I_ care for _him_--he is
a ship-master, and I am a man of fashion and fortune, and can resume my
seat at any moment, while the poor fellow can only catch his chances, as
he occasionally _comes into port_." At least, I fancied his manner said
something like this.

"Thank you, Mr. Drewett," said Lucy, in her sweetest manner. "Mr.
Wallingford and I are very, _very_ old friends,--you know he is Grace's
brother, and you have been at Clawbonny"--Drewett bowed, civilly
enough--"and I have a thousand things to say to him. So, Miles, take
this seat, and let me hear all about your voyage."

As half the audience went away as soon as the tragedy ended, the second
seat of the box was vacated, and the other gentlemen getting on it, to
stretch their limbs, I had abundance of room to sit at Lucy's side,
half facing her, at the same time. As she insisted on hearing my story,
before we proceeded to anything else, I was obliged to gratify her.

"By the way, Major Merton," I cried, as the tale was closed, "an old
friend of yours, Moses Marble by name, has come to life again, and is at
this moment in New York."

I then related the manner in which I had fallen in with my old mate.
This was a most unfortunate self-interruption for me, giving the Major
a fair opportunity for cutting into the conversation. The orchestra,
moreover, giving notice that the curtain would soon rise for the
after-piece, the old gentleman soon got me into the lobby to hear the
particulars. I was supremely vexed, and I thought Lucy appeared sorry;
but there was no help for it, and then we could not converse while the
piece was going on.

"I suppose you care little for this silly farce," observed the Major,
looking in at one of the windows, after I had gone over Marble's affair
in detail. "If not, we will continue our walk, and wait for the ladies
to come out. Drewett and Hardinge will take good care of them."

I assented, and we continued to walk the lobby till the end of the act.
Major Merton was always gentleman-like; and he even behaved to me, as
if he remembered the many obligations he was under. He now communicated
several little facts connected with his own circumstances, alluding
to the probability of his remaining in America a few years. Our chat
continued some time, my looks frequently turning towards the door of the
box, when my companion suddenly observed--

"Your old acquaintances the Hardinges have had a lucky wind-fall--one, I
fancy, they hardly expected, a few years Since."

"Probably not; though the estate has fallen into excellent hands," I
answered. "I am surprised, however, that Mrs. Bradfort did not leave
the property to the old gentleman, as it once belonged to their common
grandfather, and he properly stood next in succession."

"I fancy she thought the good parson would not know what to do with it.
Now, Rupert Hardinge is clever, and spirited, and in a way to make a
figure in the world; and it is probably in better hands, than if it had
been left first to the old gentleman."

"The old gentleman has been a faithful steward to me, and I doubt not
would have proved equally so to his own children. But, does Rupert get
_all_ Mrs. Bradfort's property?"

"I believe not; there is some sort of a trust, I have heard him say; and
I rather fancy that his sister has some direct or reversionary interest.
Perhaps she is named as the heir, if he die without issue. There _was_ a
silly story, that Mrs. Bradfort had left everything to Lucy; but I
have, it from the best authority, that _that_ is not true--" The idea of
Rupert Hardinge's being the "best authority" for any thing; a fellow
who never knew what unadulterated truth was, from the time he was in
petticoats, or could talk!--"As I _know_ there is a trust, though one of
no great moment; I presume Lucy has some contingent interest, subject,
most probably, to her marrying with her brother's approbation, or some
such provision. The old lady was sagacious, and no doubt did all that
was necessary."

It is wonderful how people daily deceive themselves on the subject
of property; those who care the most about it, appearing to make the
greatest blunders. In the way of bequests, in particular, the lies that
are told are marvellous. It is now many years since I learned to take
no heed of rumours on such subjects, and least of all, rumours that come
from the class of the money-gripers. Such people refer everything to
dollars, and seldom converse a minute without using the word. Here,
however, was Major Merton evidently Rupert's dupe; though with what
probable consequences, it was not in my power to foresee. It was clearly
not my business to undeceive him; and the conversation, getting to be
embarrassing, I was not sorry to hear the movement which announced the
end of the act. At the box door, to my great regret, we met Mrs. Drewett
retiring, the ladies finding the farce dull, and not worth the time lost
in listening to it. Rupert gave me an uneasy glance, and he even dragged
me aside to whisper--"Miles, what I told you this evening, is strictly a
family secret, and was entrusted to a friend."

"I have nothing to do with your private concerns, Rupert--" I
answered,--"only, let me expect you to act honourably, especially when
women are concerned."

"Everything will come right, depend on it; the truth will set everything
right, and all will come out, just as I predicted."

I saw Lucy looking anxiously around, while Drewett had gone to order the
carriages to advance, and I hoped it might be for me. In a moment I was
by her side; at the next, Mr. Andrew Drewett offered his arm, saying,
her carriage "stopped the way." We moved into the outer lobby, in a
body, and then it was found that Mrs. Drewett's carriage was up first,
while Lucy's was in the rear. Yes, Lucy's carriage!--the dear girl
having come into immediate possession of her relative's houses,
furniture, horses, carriages, and everything else, without reserve, just
as they had been left behind by the last incumbent, when she departed
from the scene of life, to lie down in the grave. Mrs. Bradfort's arms
were still on the chariot, I observed, its owner refusing all Rupert's
solicitations to supplant them by those of Hardinge. The latter took his
revenge, however, by telling everybody how generous he was in keeping a
carriage for his sister.

The Major handed Mrs. Drewett in, and her son was compelled to say good
night, to see his mother home. This gave me one blessed minute with
Lucy, by herself. She spoke of Grace; said they had now been separated
months, longer than they ever had been before in their lives, and that
all her own persuasions could not induce my sister to rejoin her
in town, while her own wish to visit Clawbonny had been constantly
disappointed, Rupert insisting that her presence was necessary, for so
many arrangements about business.

"Grace is not as humble as I was, in old times, Miles," said the dear
girl, looking me in the face, half sadly, half reproachfully, the light
of the lamp falling full on her tearful, tender eyes, "and I hope you
are not about to imitate her bad example. She wishes us to know she has
Clawbonny for a home, but I never hesitated to admit how poor we were,
while you alone were rich."


"God bless you, Lucy!" I whispered, squeezing her hand with fervour--"It
cannot be _that_--have you heard anything of Grace's health?"

"Oh! she is well, I know--Rupert tells me _that_, and her letters are
cheerful and kind as ever, without a word of complaint. But I _must_
see her soon. Grace Wallingford and Lucy Hardinge were not born to live
asunder. Here is the carriage; I shall see you in the morning, Miles--at
breakfast, say--eight o'clock, precisely."

"It will be impossible--I sail for Clawbonny with the first of the
flood, and that will make at four. I shall sleep in the sloop."

Major Merton put Lucy into the carriage; the good-nights were passed,
and I was left standing on the lowest step of the building gazing after
the carriage, Rupert walking swiftly away.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

  "Hear me a little;
  For I have only been silent so long,
  And given way unto this course of fortune,
  By noting of the lady: I have mark'd
  A thousand blushing apparitions start
  Into her face; a thousand innocent shames
  In angel whiteness bear away those blushes--"
  SHAKESPEARE


I reached the Wallingford before eleven, where I found Neb in attendance
with my trunks and other effects. Being now on board my own craft,
I gave orders to profit by a favourable turn in the wind, and to get
under-way at once, instead of waiting for the flood. When I left the
deck, the sloop was above the State Prison, a point towards which
the town itself had made considerable progress since the time I first
introduced it to the reader. Notwithstanding this early start, we did
not enter the creek until about eight in the morning of the second day.

No sooner was the vessel near enough, than my foot was on the wharf, and
I began to ascend the hill. From the summit of the latter I saw my late
guardian hurrying along the road, it afterwards appearing that a stray
paper from town had announced the arrival of the Dawn, and that I was
expected to come up in the sloop. I was received with extended hands,
was kissed just as if I had still been a boy, and heard the guileless
old man murmuring his blessings on me, and a prayer of thankfulness.
Nothing ever changed good Mr. Hardinge, who, now that he could command
the whole income of his daughter, was just as well satisfied to live on
the three or four hundreds he got from his glebe and his parish, as he
ever had been in his life.

"Welcome back, my dear boy, welcome back!" added Mr. Hardinge, his
voice and manner still retaining their fervour. "I said you _must_--you
_would_ be on board, as soon as they reported the sloop in sight, for
I judged your heart by my own. Ah! Miles, will the time ever come when
Clawbonny will be good enough for you? You have already as much money as
you can want, and more will scarce contribute to your happiness."

"Speaking of money, my dear sir," I answered, "while I have to
regret the loss of your respectable kinswoman, I may be permitted
to congratulate you on the accession to an old family property--I
understand you inherit, in your family, all of Mrs. Bradfort's
estate-one valuable in amount, and highly acceptable, no doubt, as
having belonged to your ancestors."

"No doubt--no doubt--it is just as you say; and I hope these unexpected
riches will leave us all as devout servants of God, as I humbly trust
they found us. The property, however, is not mine, but Lucy's; I need
not have any reserve with you, though Rupert has hinted it might be
prudent not to let the precise state of the case be known, since it
might bring a swarm of interested fortune-hunters about the dear girl,
and has proposed that we rather favour the notion the estate is to be
divided among us. This I cannot do directly, you will perceive, as it
would be deception; but one may be silent. With you, however, it is
a different matter, and so I tell you the truth at once. I am made
executor, and act, of course; and this makes me the more glad to see
you, for I find so much business with pounds, shillings and pence draws
my mind off from the duties of my holy office, and that I am in danger
of becoming selfish and mercenary. A selfish priest, Miles, is as odious
a thing as a mercenary woman!"

"Little danger of your ever becoming anything so worldly, my dear sir.
But Grace-you have not mentioned my beloved sister?"

I saw Mr. Hardinge's countenance suddenly change. The expression of joy
instantly deserted it, and it wore an air of uncertainty and sadness. A
less observant man than the good divine, in all the ordinary concerns
of life, did not exist; but it was apparent that he now saw something to
trouble him.

"Yes, Grace," he answered, doubtingly; "the dear girl is here, and all
alone, and not as blithe and amusing as formerly. I am glad of your
return on her account, too, Miles. She is not well, I fear; I would have
sent for a physician last week, or the moment I saw her; but she insists
on it, there is no need of one. She is frightfully beautiful, Miles! You
know how it is with Grace--her countenance always seemed more fitted for
heaven than earth; and now it always reminds me of a seraph's that was
grieving over the sins of men!"

"I fear, sir, that Rupert's account, then, is true, and that Grace is
seriously ill?"

"I hope not, boy--I fervently pray not! She is not as usual--_that_ is
true; but her mind, her thoughts, all her inclinations, and, if I may
so express it, her energies, seem turned to heaven. There has been an
awakening in the spirit of Grace, that is truly wonderful. She reads
devout books, meditates, and, I make no doubt, prays, from morn till
night. This is the secret of her withdrawal from the world, and her
refusing of all Lucy's invitations. You know how the girls love each
other--but Grace declines going to Lucy, though she knows that Lucy
cannot come to her."

I now understood it all. A weight like that of a mountain fell upon my
heart, and I walked on some distance without speaking. To me, the words
of my excellent guardian sounded like the knell of a sister I almost
worshipped.

"And Grace--does she expect me, now?" I at length ventured to say,
though the words were uttered in tones so tremulous, that even the
usually unobservant divine perceived the change.

"She does, and delighted she was to hear it. The only thing of a worldly
nature that I have heard her express of late, was some anxious, sisterly
wish for your speedy return. Grace loves you, Miles, next to her God!"

Oh! how I wished this were true, but, alas! alas! I knew it was far
otherwise!

"I see you are disturbed, my dear boy, on account of what I have said,"
resumed Mr. Hardinge; "probably from serious apprehensions about your
sister's health. She is not well, I allow; but it is the effect of
mental ailments. The precious creature has had too vivid views of
her own sinful nature, and has suffered deeply, I fear. I trust, my
conversation and prayers have not been without their effect, through the
divine aid, and that she is now more cheerful--nay, she has assured me
within half an hour, if it turned out that you were in the sloop, she
should be happy!"

For my life, I could not have conversed longer on the painful subject;
I made no reply. As we had still a considerable distance to walk, I was
glad to turn the conversation to other subjects, lest I should become
unmanned, and sit down to weep in the middle of the road.

"Does Lucy intend to visit Clawbonny, this summer?" I asked, though it
seemed strange to me to suppose that the farm was not actually Lucy's
home. I am afraid I felt a jealous dislike to the idea that the dear
creature should have houses and lands of her own; or any that was not to
be derived through me.

"I hope so," answered her father, "though her new duties do not leave
Lucy as much her own mistress as I could wish. You saw her, and her
brother, Miles, I take it for granted?"

"I met Rupert in the street, sir, and had a short interview with the
Mertons and Lucy at the theatre. Young Mr. and old Mrs. Drewett were of
the party."

The good divine turned short round to me, and looked as conscious and
knowing as one of his singleness of mind and simplicity of habits could
look. Had a knife penetrated my flesh, I could not have winced more than
I did; still, I affected a manner that was very foreign to my feelings.

"What do you think of this young Mr. Drewett, boy?" asked Mr. Hardinge,
with an air of confidential interest, and an earnestness of manner,
that, with him, was inseparable from all that concerned his daughter.
"Do you approve?"

"I believe I understand you, sir;--you mean me to infer that Mr. Drewett
is a suitor for Miss Hardinge's hand."

"It would be improper to say this much, even to you, Miles, did not
Drewett take good care, himself, to let everybody know it."

"Possibly with a view to keep off other pretenders"--I rejoined, with a
bitterness I could not control.

Now, Mr. Hardinge was one of the last men in the world to suspect evil.
He looked surprised, therefore, at my remark, and I was probably not
much out of the way, in fancying that he looked displeased.

"That is not right, my dear boy," he said, gravely.

"We should try to think the best and not the worst, of our
fellow-creatures."--Excellent old man, how faithfully didst thou
practise on thy precept!--"It is a wise rule, and a safe one; more
particularly in connection with our own weaknesses. Then, it is but
natural that Drewett should wish to secure Lucy; and if he adopt no
means less manly than the frank avowal of his own attachment, surely
there is no ground of complaint."

I was rebuked; and what is more, I felt that the rebuke was merited. As
some atonement for my error, I hastened to add--

"Very truly, sir; I admit the unfairness of my remark, and can
only atone for it by adding it is quite apparent Mr. Drewett is not
influenced by interested motives, since he certainly was attentive to
Miss Hardinge previously to Mrs. Bradfort's death, and when he could not
possibly have anticipated the nature of her will."

"Quite true, Miles, and very properly and justly remarked. Now, to you,
who have known Lucy from childhood, and who regard her much as Rupert
does, it may not seem so very natural that a young man can love her
warmly and strongly, for herself, alone--such is apt to be the effect of
brotherly feeling; but I can assure you, Lucy is really a charming, as
we all know she is a most excellent, girl!"

"To whom are you speaking thus, sir! I can assure you, nothing is easier
than for me to conceive how possible it is for any man to love your
daughter. As respects Grace, I confess there, is a difference--for
I affirm she has always seemed to me too saintly, too much allied to
Heaven already, to be subject herself, to the passions of earth."

"That is what I have just been telling you, and we must endeavour to
overcome and humanize--if I may so express it--Grace's propensity. There
is nothing more dangerous to a healthful frame of mind, in a religious
point of view, Miles, than excitement--it is disease, and not faith, nor
charity, nor hope, nor humility, nor anything that is commanded; but our
native weaknesses taking a wrong direction, under a physical impulse,
rather than the fruits of repentance, and the succour afforded by the
spirit of God. We nowhere read of any excitement, and howlings and
waitings among the apostles."

How could I enlighten the good old man on the subject of my sister's
malady? That Grace, with her well-tempered mind, was the victim of
religious exaggeration, I did not for a moment believe; but that she had
had her heart blighted, her affections withered, her hopes deceived, by
Rupert's levity and interestedness, his worldly-mindedness and vanity, I
could foresee, and was prepared to learn; though these were facts not
to be communicated to the father of the offender. I made no answer, but
managed to turn the conversation towards the farm, and those interests
about which I could affect an interest that I was very far from feeling,
just at that moment. This induced the divine to inquire into the result
of my late voyage, and enabled me to collect sufficient fortitude to
meet Grace, with the semblance of firmness, at least.

Mr. Hardinge made a preconcerted signal, as soon as he came in view of
the house, that apprised its inmates of my arrival; and we knew, while
still half a mile from the buildings, that the news had produced a great
commotion. All the blacks met us on the little lawn--for the girls,
since reaching womanhood, had made this change in the old door-yard--and
I had to go through the process of shaking hands with every one of them.
This was done amid hearty bursts of laughter, the mode in which the
negroes of that day almost always betrayed their joy, and many a
"welcome home, Masser Mile!" and "where a Neb got to, dis time, Masser
Mile?" was asked by more than one; and great was the satisfaction, when
I told his generation and race that the faithful fellow would be up with
the cart that was to convey my luggage. But, Grace awaited me. I broke
through the throng, and entered the house. In the door I was met by
Chloe, a girl about my own sister's age, and a sort of cousin of Neb's
by the half-blood, who had been preferred of late years to functions
somewhat resembling those of a lady's maid. I say of the half-blood;
for, to own the truth, few of the New York blacks, in that day, could
have taken from their brothers and sisters, under the old _dictum_ of
the common law, which declared that none but heirs of the whole blood
should inherit. Chloe met me in the door-way, and greeted me with one
of her sweetest smiles, as she curtsied, and really looked as pleased
as all my slaves did, at seeing their _young_ master again. How they
touched my heart, at times, by their manner of talking about "_ole_
Masser, and _ole_ Missus," always subjects of regret among negroes who
had been well treated by them. Metaphysicians may reason as subtly as
they can about the races and colours, and on the aptitude of the black
to acquire, but no one can ever persuade me out of the belief of their
extraordinary aptitude to love. As between themselves and their masters,
their own children and those of the race to which they were subject, I
have often seen instances which have partaken of the attachment of
the dog to the human family; and cases in which the children of their
masters have been preferred to those of their own flesh and blood, were
of constant occurrence.

"I hope you been werry well, sah, Masser Mile," said Chloe, who had some
extra refinement, as the growth of her position.

"Perfectly, my good girl, and I am glad to see you looking so well--you
really are growing handsome, Chloe."

"Oh! Masser Mile---you so droll!--now you stay home, sah, long time?"

"I am afraid not, Chloe, but one never knows. Where shall I find my
sister?"

"Miss Grace tell me come here, Masser Mile, and say she wish to see you
in de family-room. She wait dere, now, some time."

"Thank you, Chloe; and do you see that no one interrupts us. I have not
seen my sister for near a year."

"Sartain, sah; all as you say." Then the girl, whose face shone like a
black bottle that had just been dipped in water, showed her brilliant
teeth, from ear to ear, laughed outright, looked foolish, after which
she looked earnest, when the secret burst out of her heart, in the
melodious voice of a young negress, that did not know whether to laugh
or to cry--"Where Neb, Masser Mile? what he do now; de _fel_-ler!"

"He will kiss you in ten minutes, Chloe; so put the best face on the
matter you are able."

"_Dat_ he wont--de sauce-box---Miss Grace teach me better dan _dat_."

I waited to hear no more, but proceeded towards the triangular little
room, with steps so hurried and yet so nervous, that I do not remember,
ever before to have laid my hand on a lock in a manner so tremulous--I
found myself obliged to pause, ere I could muster resolution to open the
door, a hope coming over me that the impatience of Grace would save me
the trouble, and that I should find her in my arms before I should
be called on to exercise any more fortitude. All was still as death,
however, within the room, and I opened the door, as if I expected to
find one of the bodies I had formerly seen in its coffin, in this
last abiding place above ground, of one dead. My sister was on the
_causeuse_, literally unable to rise from debility and agitation. I
shall not attempt to describe the shock her appearance gave me. I
was prepared for a change, but not one that placed her, as my heart
instantly announced, so near the grave!

Grace extended both arms, and I threw myself at her side, drew her
within my embrace, and folded her to my heart, with the tenderness with
which one would have embraced an infant. In this situation we both wept
violently, and I am not ashamed to say that I sobbed like a child. I
dare say five minutes passed in this way, without either of us speaking
a word.

"A merciful and all gracious God be praised! You are restored to me in
time, Miles!" murmured my sister, at length. "I was afraid it might be
too late."

"Grace!--Grace!--What means this, love?--my precious, my only, my most
dearly beloved sister, why do I find you thus?"

"Is it necessary to speak, Miles?--cannot you see?--_do_ you not see,
and understand it all?"

The fervent pressure I gave my sister, announced how plainly I
comprehended the whole history. That Grace could ever love, and forget,
I did not believe; but, that her tenderness for Rupert--one whom I knew
for so frivolous and selfish a being, should reduce her to this terrible
state, I had not indeed foreseen as a thing possible. Little did I then
understand how confidingly a woman loves, and how apt she is to endow
the being of her choice with all the qualities se could wish him to
possess. In the anguish of my soul I muttered, loud enough to be heard,
"the heartless villain!"

Grace instantly rose from my arms. At that moment, she looked more like
a creature of heaven, than one that was still connected with this wicked
world. Her beauty could scarcely be called impaired, though I dreaded
that she would be snatched away from me in the course of the interview;
so frail and weak did it appear was her hold of life. In some respects
I never saw her more lovely than she seemed on this very occasion.
This was when the hectic of disease imparted to the sweetest and most
saint-like eyes that were ever set in the human countenance, a species
of holy illumination. Her countenance, now, was pale and colourless;
however, and her look sorrowful and filled with reproach.

"Brother," she said, solemnly, "this _must_ not be. It is not what God
commands--it is not what I expected from you--what I have a right to
expect from one whom I am assured loves me, though none other of earth
can be said to do so."

"It is not easy, my sister, for a man to forget or forgive the wretch
who has so long misled you--misled us all, and then turned to another,
under the impulse of mere vanity."

"Miles, my kind and manly brother, listen to me," Grace rejoined,
fervently pressing one of my hands in both of hers, and scarcely able to
command herself, through alarm. "All thoughts of anger, of resentment,
of pride even, must be forgotten. You owe it to my sex, to the dreadful
imputations that might otherwise rest on my name--had I anything to
reproach myself with as a woman. I could submit to _any_ punishment; but
surely, surely, it is not a sin so unpardonable to be unable to command
the affections, that I deserve to have my name, after I shall be dead,
mixed up with rumours connected with such a quarrel. You have lived
as brothers, too--then there is good, excellent, truthful, pious
Mr. Hardinge; who is yet _my_ guardian, you know; and Lucy, dear,
true-hearted, faithful Lucy--"

"Why is not dear, true-hearted, faithful Lucy, here, watching over you,
Grace, at this very moment?" I demanded, huskily.

"She knows nothing of my situation--it is a secret, as well as its
cause, from all but God, myself, and you. Ah! I knew it would be
impossible to deceive your love, Miles! which has ever been to me, all
that a sister could desire."

"And Lucy! how has _her_ affection been deceived?--Has she too, eyes
only for those she has recently learned to admire?"

"You do her injustice, brother. Lucy has not seen me, since the great
change that I can myself see has come over me. Another time, I will
tell you all. At present I can only say, that as soon as I had certain
explanations with Rupert, I left town, and have studiously concealed
from dear Lucy the state of my declining health. I write to her weekly,
and get answers; everything passing between us as cheerfully, and
apparently, as happily as ever. No, do not blame Lucy; who, I am
certain, would quit everything and everybody to come to me, had she the
smallest notion of the truth. On the contrary, I believe she thinks I
would rather not have her at Clawbonny, just at this moment, much as
she knows I love her; for, one of Lucy's observation and opportunities
cannot but suspect the truth. Let me lie on your breast, brother; it
wearies me to talk so much."

I sat holding this beloved sister in my arms, fully an hour, neither of
us speaking. I was afraid of injuring her, by further excitement, and
she was glad to take refuge in silence, from the feelings of maiden
shame that could not be otherwise than mingled with such a dialogue. As
my cheek leaned on her silken hair, I could see large tears rolling down
the pallid cheeks; but the occasional pressure of the hands, told me
how much she was gladdened by my presence. After some ten or fifteen
minutes, the exhausted girl dropped into feverish and disturbed
slumbers, that I would have remained motionless throughout the night
to maintain. I am persuaded it was quite an hour before this scene
terminated. Grace then arose, and said, with one of her most angelic
smiles--

"You see how it is with me, Miles--feeble as an infant, and almost
as troublesome. You must bear with me, for you will be my nurse. One
promise I must have, dearest, before we leave this room."

"It is yours, my sister, let it be what it may; I can now refuse you
nothing," said I, melted to feminine tenderness. "And yet, Grace, since
_you_ exact a promise, _I_ have a mind to attach a condition."

"What condition, Miles, can you attach, that I will refuse? I consent to
everything, without even knowing your wishes."

"Then I promise not to call Rupert to an account for his conduct---not
to question him--nay, even not to reproach him," I rejoined, enlarging
my pledges, as I saw by Grace's eyes that she exacted still more.

The last promise, however, appeared fully to satisfy her. She kissed my
hand, and I felt hot tears falling on it.

"Now name your conditions, dearest brother," she said, after a little
time taken to recover herself; "name them, and see how gladly I shall
accept them all."

"I have but one--it is this. I must take the complete direction of the
care of you--must have power to send for what physician I please, what
friends I please, what advice or regimen I please!"

"Oh! Miles, you _could_ not--_cannot_ think of sending for _him_!"

"Certainly not; his presence would drive me from the house. With that
one exception, then, my condition is allowed?"

Grace made a sign of assent, and sunk on my bosom again, nearly
exhausted with the scene through which she had just gone. I perceived it
would not do to dwell any longer on the subject we had been alluding to,
rather than discussing; and for another hour did I sit sustaining that
beloved form, declining to speak, and commanding silence on her part. At
the end of this second little sleep, Grace was more refreshed than she
had been after her first troubled repose, and she declared herself able
to walk to her room, where she wished to lie on her own bed until the
hour of dinner. I summoned Chloe, and, together, we led the invalid to
her chamber. As we threaded the long passages, my sister's head rested
on my bosom, her eyes were turned affectionately upward to my face, and
several times I felt the gentle pressure of her emaciated hands, given
in the fervour of devoted sisterly love.

I needed an hour to compose myself, after this interview. In the privacy
of my own room, I wept like a child over the wreck of the being I had
left so beautiful and perfect, though even then the canker of doubt had
begun to take root. I had yet her explanations to hear, and resolved to
command myself so far as to receive them in a manner not to increase the
pain Grace must feel in making them. As soon as sufficiently calm, I
sat down to write letters. One was to Marble. I desired him to let the
second-mate see the ship discharged, and to come up to me by the return
of the sloop. I wished to see him in person, as I did not think I could
be able to go out in the vessel on her next voyage, and I intended him
to sail in her as master. It was necessary we should consult together
personally. I did not conceal the reason of this determination, though
I said nothing of the cause of my sister's state. Marble had a list of
physicians given him, and he was to bring up with him the one he could
obtain, commencing with the first named, and following in the order
given. I had earned ten thousand dollars, nett, by the labours of the
past year, and I determined every dollar of it should be devoted to
obtaining the best advice the country then afforded. I had sent for such
men as Hosack, Post, Bayley, M'Knight, Moore, &c.; and even thought of
endeavouring to procure Rush from Philadelphia, but was deterred from
making the attempt by the distance, and the pressing nature of the
emergency. In 1803, Philadelphia was about three days' journey from
Clawbonny, even allowing for a favourable time on the river; with a
moderately unfavourable, five or six; whereas the distance can now be
passed, including the chances of meeting the departures and arrivals of
the different lines, in from twelve to fifteen hours. Such is one of the
prodigious effects of an improved civilization; and in all that relates
to motion, and which falls short of luxury, or great personal comfort,
this country takes a high place in the scale of nations. That it is as
much in arrears in other great essentials, however, particularly in
what relates to tavern comforts, no man who is familiar with the better
civilization of Europe, can deny. It is a singular fact, that we have
gone backward in this last particular, within the present century, and
all owing to the increasingly gregarious habits of the population. But
to return to my painful theme, from which, even at this distance of
time, I am only too ready to escape.

I was on the point of writing to Lucy, but hesitated. I hardly knew
whether to summon her to Clawbonny or not. That she would come, and that
instantly, the moment she was apprised of Grace's condition, I did not
in the least doubt. I was not so mad as to do her character injustice,
because I had my doubts about being loved as I had once hoped to be.
That Lucy was attached to me, in one sense, I did not in the least
doubt; this, her late reception of me sufficiently proved; and I could
not question her continued affection for Grace, after all the latter had
just told me. Even did Lucy prefer Andrew Drewett, it was no proof she
was not just as kind-hearted, as ready to be of service, and as true in
her friendship, as she ever had been. Still, she was Rupert's sister,
must have penetration enough to understand the cause of Grace's illness,
and might not enter as fully into her wrongs as one could wish in a
person that was to watch the sick pillow. I resolved to learn more that
day, before this portion of my duty was discharged.

Neb was summoned, and sent to the wharf, with an order to get the
Wallingford ready to sail for town at the first favourable moment. The
sloop was merely to be in ballast, and was to return to Clawbonny with
no unnecessary delay. There was an eminent, but retired physician of
the name of Bard, who had a country residence on the other bank of
the Hudson, and within a few hours' sail from Clawbonny. I knew his
character, though I was not acquainted with him, personally. Few of us
of the right bank, indeed, belonged to the circles of the left, in
that day; the increasing wealth and population of the country has since
brought the western side into more notice. I wrote also to Dr. Bard,
inclosing a cheque for a suitable fee; made a strong appeal to his
feelings--which would have been quite sufficient with, such a man--and
ordered Neb to go out in the Grace and Lucy, immediately, to deliver the
missive. Just as this arrangement was completed, Chloe came to summon me
to my sister's room.

I found Grace still lying on her bed, but stronger, and materially
refreshed. For a moment, I began to think my fears had exaggerated the
danger, and that I was not to lose my sister. A few minutes of close
observation, however convinced me, that the first impression was the
true one. I am not skilled in the theories of the science, if there be
any great science about it, and can hardly explain, even now, the true
physical condition of Grace. She had pent up her sufferings in her own
bosom, for six cruel months, in the solitude of a country-house, living
most of the time entirely alone; and this, they tell me, is what few,
even of the most robust frames, can do with impunity. Frail as she had
ever seemed, her lungs were sound, and she spoke easily and with almost
all her original force, so that her wasting away was not the consequence
of anything pulmonary. I rather think the physical effects were to
be traced to the unhealthy action of the fluids, which were deranged
through the stomach and spleen. The insensible perspiration was affected
also, I believe; the pores of the skin failing to do their duty. I dare
say there is not a graduate of the thousand and one medical colleges of
the country, who is not prepared to laugh at this theory, while unable
quite likely to produce a better,--so much easier is it to pull down
than to build up; but my object is merely to give the reader a
general idea of my poor sister's situation. In outward appearance, her
countenance denoted that expression which the French so well describe,
by their customary term of "_fatigué_," rather than any other positive
indication of disease--Grace's frame was so delicate by nature, that a
little falling away was not as perceptible in her, as it would have been
in most persons; though her beautiful little hands wanted that fulness
which had rendered their taper fingers and roseate tint formerly so very
faultless. There must have been a good deal of fever, as her colour
was often higher than was formerly usual. It was this circumstance
that continued to render her beauty even unearthly, without its
being accompanied by the emaciation so common in the latter stages of
pulmonary disease, though its tendency was strongly to undermine her
strength.

Grace, without rising from her pillow, now asked me for an outline of my
late voyage. She heard me, I make no doubt, with real interest, for all
that concerned me, in a measure concerned her. Her smile was sweetness
itself, as she listened to my successes; and the interest she manifested
in Marble, with whose previous history she was well acquainted, was
not less than I had felt myself, in hearing his own account of his
adventures. All this delighted me, as it went to prove that I had
beguiled the sufferer from brooding over her own sorrows; and what
might not be hoped for, could we lead her back to mingle in the ordinary
concerns of life, and surround her with the few friends she so tenderly
loved, and whose absence, perhaps, had largely contributed to reducing
her to her present state? This thought recalled Lucy to my mind, and the
wish I had to ascertain how far it might be agreeable to the latter, to
be summoned to Clawbonny. I determined to lead the conversation to this
subject.

"You have told me, Grace," I said, "that you send and receive letters
weekly, to and from Lucy?"

"Each time the Wallingford goes and comes; and that you know is weekly.
I suppose the reason I got no letter to-day was owing to the fact that
the sloop sailed before her time. The Lord High Admiral was on board;
and, like wind and tide, _he_ waits for no man!"

"Bless you--bless you, dearest sister--this gaiety removes a mountain
from my heart!"

Grace looked pleased at first; then, as she gazed wistfully into
my face, I could see her own expression change to one of melancholy
concern. Large tears started from her eyes, and three or four followed
each other down her cheeks. All this said, plainer than words, that,
though a fond brother might be momentarily deceived, she herself
foresaw the end. I bowed my head to the pillow, stifled the groans that
oppressed me, and kissed the tears from her cheeks. To put an end to
these distressing scenes, I determined to be more business-like in
future, and suppress all feeling, as much as possible.

"The Lord High Admiral," I resumed, "is a species of Turk, on board
ship, as honest Moses Marble will tell you, when you see him, Grace.
But, now for Lucy and her letters--I dare say the last are filled with
tender secrets, touching such persons as Andrew Drewett, and others of
her admirers, which render it improper to show any of them to me?"

Grace looked at me, with earnestness, as if to ascertain whether I was
really as unconcerned as I affected to be. Then she seemed to muse,
picking the cotton of the spotless counterpane on which she was lying,
like one at a loss what to say or think.

"I see how it is," I resumed, forcing a smile; "the hint has been
indiscreet. A rough son of Neptune is not the proper confidant for the
secrets of Miss Lucy Hardinge. Perhaps you are right; fidelity to each
other being indispensable in your sex."

"It is not that, Miles. I doubt if Lucy ever wrote me a line, that you
might not see--in proof of which, you shall have the package of her
letters, with full permission to read every one of them. It will be like
reading the correspondence of another _sister_!"

I fancied Grace laid an emphasis on the last word she used; and I
started at its unwelcome sound--unwelcome, as applied to Lucy Hardinge,
to a degree that I cannot express. I had observed that Lucy never used
any of these terms, as connected with me, and it was one of the reasons
why I had indulged in the folly of supposing that she was conscious of
a tenderer sentiment. But Lucy was so natural, so totally free from
exaggeration, so just and true in all her feelings, that one could not
expect from her most of the acts of girlish weakness. As for Grace, she
called Chloe, gave her the keys of her secretary, and told her to bring
me the package she described.

"Go and look them over, Miles," said my sister, as I received the
letters; "there must be more than twenty of them, and you can read half
before the dinner hour. I will meet you at table; and let me implore you
not to alarm good Mr. Hardinge. He does not believe me seriously ill;
and it cannot benefit him or me, to cause him pain."

I promised discretion, and hastened to my own room, with the precious
bundle of Lucy's letters. Shall I own the truth? I kissed the papers,
fervently, before they were loosened, and it seemed to me I possessed a
treasure, in holding in my hand so many of the dear girl's epistles. I
commenced in the order of the date, and began to read with eagerness.
It was impossible for Lucy Hardinge to write to one she loved, and not
exhibit the truth and nature of her feelings. These appeared in every
paragraph in which it was proper to make any allusions of the sort.
But the letters had other charms. It was apparent, throughout, that the
writer was ignorant that she wrote to an invalid, though she could not
but know that she wrote to a recluse. Her aim evidently was to amuse
Grace, of whose mental sufferings she could not well be ignorant. Lucy
was a keen observer, and her epistles were filled with amusing comments
on the follies that were daily committed in New York, as well as in
Paris, or London. I was delighted with the delicate pungency of her
satire, which, however, was totally removed from vulgar scandal. There
was nothing in these letters that might not have been uttered in a
drawing-room, to any but the persons concerned; and yet they were filled
with a humour that rose often to wit, relieved by a tact and taste that
a man never could have attained. Throughout, it was apparent to me,
Lucy, in order to amuse Grace, was giving a full scope to a natural
talent--one that far surpassed the same capacity in her brother, being
as true as his was meritricious and jesuitical--which she had hitherto
concealed from us all, merely because she had not seen an occasion fit
for its use. Allusions in the letters, themselves, proved that Grace
had commented on this unexpected display of observant humour, and had
expressed her surprise at its existence. It was then as novel to my
sister as it was to myself. I was struck also with the fact, that
Rupert's name did not appear once in all these letters. They embraced
just twenty-seven weeks, between the earliest and the latest date; and
there were nine-and-twenty letters, two having been sent by private
conveyances; her father's, most probably, he occasionally making the
journey by land; yet no one of them contained the slightest allusion to
her brother, or to either of the Mertons. This was enough to let me know
how well Lucy understood the reason of Grace's withdrawal to Clawbonny.

"And how was it with Miles Wallingford's name?" some of my fair readers
may be ready to ask. I went carefully through the package in the course
of the evening, and I set aside two, as the only exceptions in which my
name did not appear. On examining these two with jealous care, I found
each had a postscript, one of which was to the following effect: "I see
by the papers that Miles has sailed for Malta having at last left those
stubborn Turks. I am glad of this, as one would not wish to have the
excellent fellow shut up in the Seven Towers, however honourable it may
have been." The other postscript contained this: "Dear Miles has got to
Leghorn, my father tells me, and may be expected home this summer.
How great happiness this will bring you, dearest Grace, I can well
understand; and I need scarcely say that no one will rejoice more to see
him again than his late guardian and myself."

That the papers were often looked over to catch reports of my movements
in Europe, by means of ships arriving from different parts of the world,
was apparent enough; but I scarce knew what to make of the natural and
simply affectionate manner in which my name was introduced. It might
proceed from a wish to gratify Grace, and a desire to let the sister
know all that she herself possessed touching the brother's movements.
Then Andrew Drewett's name occurred very frequently, though it was
generally in connection with that of his mother, who had evidently
constituted herself a sort of regular _chaperone_ for Lucy, more
especially during the time she was kept out of the gay world by her
mourning. I read several of these passages with the most scrupulous
attention, in order to detect the feeling with which they had been
written; but the most practised art could not have more successfully
concealed any secret of this sort, than Lucy's nature. This often proves
to be the case; the just-minded and true among men daily becoming the
profoundest mysteries to a vicious, cunning, deceptive and selfish
world. An honest man, indeed, is ever a parodox to all but those who see
things with his own eyes. This is the reason that improper motives are
so often imputed to the simplest and seemingly most honest deeds.

The result was, to write, entreating Lucy to come to Clawbonny; first
taking care to secure her father's assent, to aid my request. This was
done in a way not to awaken any alarm, and yet with sufficient strength
to render it tolerably certain she would come. On deliberate reflection,
and after seeing my sister at table, where she ate nothing but a light
vegetable diet, and passing the evening with her, I thought I could not
do less in justice to the invalid or her friend. I took the course with
great regret on several accounts; and, among others, from a reluctance
to appear to draw Lucy away from the society of my rival, into my own.
Yet what right had I to call myself the rival or competitor of a man
who had openly professed an attachment, where I had never breathed a
syllable myself that might not readily be mistaken for the language of
that friendship, which time, and habit, and a respect for each other's
qualities, so easily awaken among the young of different sexes? I had
been educated almost as Lucy's brother; and why should she not feel
towards me as one?

Neb went out in the boat as soon as he got his orders and the
Wallingford sailed again in ballast that very night. She did not remain
at the wharf an hour after her wheat was out. I felt easier when these
duties were discharged, and was better prepared to pass the night in
peace. Grace's manner and appearance, too, contributed to this calm;
for she seemed to revive, and to experience some degree of earthly
happiness, in having her brother near her. When Mr. Hardinge read
prayers that night, she came to the chair where I stood, took my hand
in hers, and knelt at my side. I was touched to tears by this act of
affection, which spoke as much of the tenderness of the sainted and
departed spirit, lingering around those it had loved on earth, as of the
affection of the world. I folded the dear girl to my bosom, as I left
her at the door of her own room that night, and went to my own pillow,
with a heavy heart. Seamen pray little; less than they ought, amid the
rude scenes of their hazardous lives. Still, I had not quite forgotten
the lessons of childhood, and sometimes practised on them. That night I
prayed fervently, beseeching God to spare my sister, if in his wisdom