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

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


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

Title: Aaron Trow
Author: Trollope, Anthony
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Aaron Trow" ***

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



Transcribed from the 1864 Chapman and Hall “Tales of All Countries”
edition by David Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org



                               AARON TROW.


I WOULD wish to declare, at the beginning of this story, that I shall
never regard that cluster of islets which we call Bermuda as the
Fortunate Islands of the ancients.  Do not let professional geographers
take me up, and say that no one has so accounted them, and that the
ancients have never been supposed to have gotten themselves so far
westwards.  What I mean to assert is this—that, had any ancient been
carried thither by enterprise or stress of weather, he would not have
given those islands so good a name.  That the Neapolitan sailors of King
Alonzo should have been wrecked here, I consider to be more likely.  The
vexed Bermoothes is a good name for them.  There is no getting in or out
of them without the greatest difficulty, and a patient, slow navigation,
which is very heart-rending.  That Caliban should have lived here I can
imagine; that Ariel would have been sick of the place is certain; and
that Governor Prospero should have been willing to abandon his
governorship, I conceive to have been only natural.  When one regards the
present state of the place, one is tempted to doubt whether any of the
governors have been conjurors since his days.

Bermuda, as all the world knows, is a British colony at which we maintain
a convict establishment.  Most of our outlying convict establishments
have been sent back upon our hands from our colonies, but here one is
still maintained.  There is also in the islands a strong military
fortress, though not a fortress looking magnificent to the eyes of
civilians, as do Malta and Gibraltar.  There are also here some six
thousand white people and some six thousand black people, eating,
drinking, sleeping, and dying.

The convict establishment is the most notable feature of Bermuda to a
stranger, but it does not seem to attract much attention from the regular
inhabitants of the place.  There is no intercourse between the prisoners
and the Bermudians.  The convicts are rarely seen by them, and the
convict islands are rarely visited.  As to the prisoners themselves, of
course it is not open to them—or should not be open to them—to have
intercourse with any but the prison authorities.

There have, however, been instances in which convicts have escaped from
their confinement, and made their way out among the islands.  Poor
wretches!  As a rule, there is but little chance for any that can so
escape.  The whole length of the cluster is but twenty miles, and the
breadth is under four.  The prisoners are, of course, white men, and the
lower orders of Bermuda, among whom alone could a runagate have any
chance of hiding himself, are all negroes; so that such a one would be
known at once.  Their clothes are all marked.  Their only chance of a
permanent escape would be in the hold of an American ship; but what
captain of an American or other ship would willingly encumber himself
with an escaped convict?  But, nevertheless, men have escaped; and in one
instance, I believe, a convict got away, so that of him no farther
tidings were ever heard.

For the truth of the following tale I will not by any means vouch.  If
one were to inquire on the spot one might probably find that the ladies
all believe it, and the old men; that all the young men know exactly how
much of it is false and how much true; and that the steady, middle-aged,
well-to-do islanders are quite convinced that it is romance from
beginning to end.  My readers may range themselves with the ladies, the
young men, or the steady, well-to-do, middle-aged islanders, as they
please.

Some years ago, soon after the prison was first established on its
present footing, three men did escape from it, and among them a certain
notorious prisoner named Aaron Trow.  Trow’s antecedents in England had
not been so villanously bad as those of many of his fellow-convicts,
though the one offence for which he was punished had been of a deep dye:
he had shed man’s blood.  At a period of great distress in a
manufacturing town he had led men on to riot, and with his own hand had
slain the first constable who had endeavoured to do his duty against him.
There had been courage in the doing of the deed, and probably no malice;
but the deed, let its moral blackness have been what it might, had sent
him to Bermuda, with a sentence against him of penal servitude for life.
Had he been then amenable to prison discipline,—even then, with such a
sentence against him as that,—he might have won his way back, after the
lapse of years, to the children, and perhaps, to the wife, that he had
left behind him; but he was amenable to no rules—to no discipline.  His
heart was sore to death with an idea of injury, and he lashed himself
against the bars of his cage with a feeling that it would be well if he
could so lash himself till he might perish in his fury.

And then a day came in which an attempt was made by a large body of
convicts, under his leadership, to get the better of the officers of the
prison.  It is hardly necessary to say that the attempt failed.  Such
attempts always fail.  It failed on this occasion signally, and Trow,
with two other men, were condemned to be scourged terribly, and then kept
in solitary confinement for some lengthened term of months.  Before,
however, the day of scourging came, Trow and his two associates had
escaped.

I have not the space to tell how this was effected, nor the power to
describe the manner.  They did escape from the establishment into the
islands, and though two of them were taken after a single day’s run at
liberty, Aaron Trow had not been yet retaken even when a week was over.
When a month was over he had not been retaken, and the officers of the
prison began to say that he had got away from them in a vessel to the
States.  It was impossible, they said, that he should have remained in
the islands and not been discovered.  It was not impossible that he might
have destroyed himself, leaving his body where it had not yet been found.
But he could not have lived on in Bermuda during that month’s search.
So, at least, said the officers of the prison.  There was, however, a
report through the islands that he had been seen from time to time; that
he had gotten bread from the negroes at night, threatening them with
death if they told of his whereabouts; and that all the clothes of the
mate of a vessel had been stolen while the man was bathing, including a
suit of dark blue cloth, in which suit of clothes, or in one of such a
nature, a stranger had been seen skulking about the rocks near St.
George.  All this the governor of the prison affected to disbelieve, but
the opinion was becoming very rife in the islands that Aaron Trow was
still there.

A vigilant search, however, is a task of great labour, and cannot be kept
up for ever.  By degrees it was relaxed.  The warders and gaolers ceased
to patrol the island roads by night, and it was agreed that Aaron Trow
was gone, or that he would be starved to death, or that he would in time
be driven to leave such traces of his whereabouts as must lead to his
discovery; and this at last did turn out to be the fact.

There is a sort of prettiness about these islands which, though it never
rises to the loveliness of romantic scenery, is nevertheless attractive
in its way.  The land breaks itself into little knolls, and the sea runs
up, hither and thither, in a thousand creeks and inlets; and then, too,
when the oleanders are in bloom, they give a wonderfully bright colour to
the landscape.  Oleanders seem to be the roses of Bermuda, and are
cultivated round all the villages of the better class through the
islands.  There are two towns, St. George and Hamilton, and one main
high-road, which connects them; but even this high-road is broken by a
ferry, over which every vehicle going from St. George to Hamilton must be
conveyed.  Most of the locomotion in these parts is done by boats, and
the residents look to the sea, with its narrow creeks, as their best
highway from their farms to their best market.  In those days—and those
days were not very long since—the building of small ships was their chief
trade, and they valued their land mostly for the small scrubby
cedar-trees with which this trade was carried on.

As one goes from St. George to Hamilton the road runs between two seas;
that to the right is the ocean; that on the left is an inland creek,
which runs up through a large portion of the islands, so that the land on
the other side of it is near to the traveller.  For a considerable
portion of the way there are no houses lying near the road, and, there is
one residence, some way from the road, so secluded that no other house
lies within a mile of it by land.  By water it might probably be reached
within half a mile.  This place was called Crump Island, and here lived,
and had lived for many years, an old gentleman, a native of Bermuda,
whose business it had been to buy up cedar wood and sell it to the
ship-builders at Hamilton.  In our story we shall not have very much to
do with old Mr. Bergen, but it will be necessary to say a word or two
about his house.

It stood upon what would have been an island in the creek, had not a
narrow causeway, barely broad enough for a road, joined it to that larger
island on which stands the town of St. George.  As the main road
approaches the ferry it runs through some rough, hilly, open ground,
which on the right side towards the ocean has never been cultivated.  The
distance from the ocean here may, perhaps, be a quarter of a mile, and
the ground is for the most part covered with low furze.  On the left of
the road the land is cultivated in patches, and here, some half mile or
more from the ferry, a path turns away to Crump Island.  The house cannot
be seen from the road, and, indeed, can hardly be seen at all, except
from the sea.  It lies, perhaps, three furlongs from the high road, and
the path to it is but little used, as the passage to and from it is
chiefly made by water.

Here, at the time of our story, lived Mr. Bergen, and here lived Mr.
Bergen’s daughter.  Miss Bergen was well known at St. George’s as a
steady, good girl, who spent her time in looking after her father’s
household matters, in managing his two black maid-servants and the black
gardener, and who did her duty in that sphere of life to which she had
been called.  She was a comely, well-shaped young woman, with a sweet
countenance, rather large in size, and very quiet in demeanour.  In her
earlier years, when young girls usually first bud forth into womanly
beauty, the neighbours had not thought much of Anastasia Bergen, nor had
the young men of St. George been wont to stay their boats under the
window of Crump Cottage in order that they might listen to her voice or
feel the light of her eye; but slowly, as years went by, Anastasia Bergen
became a woman that a man might well love; and a man learned to love her
who was well worthy of a woman’s heart.  This was Caleb Morton, the
Presbyterian minister of St. George; and Caleb Morton had been engaged to
marry Miss Bergen for the last two years past, at the period of Aaron
Trow’s escape from prison.

Caleb Morton was not a native of Bermuda, but had been sent thither by
the synod of his church from Nova Scotia.  He was a tall, handsome man,
at this time of some thirty years of age, of a presence which might
almost have been called commanding.  He was very strong, but of a
temperament which did not often give him opportunity to put forth his
strength; and his life had been such that neither he nor others knew of
what nature might be his courage.  The greater part of his life was spent
in preaching to some few of the white people around him, and in teaching
as many of the blacks as he could get to hear him.  His days were very
quiet, and had been altogether without excitement until he had met with
Anastasia Bergen.  It will suffice for us to say that he did meet her,
and that now, for two years past, they had been engaged as man and wife.

Old Mr. Bergen, when he heard of the engagement, was not well pleased at
the information.  In the first place, his daughter was very necessary to
him, and the idea of her marrying and going away had hardly as yet
occurred to him; and then he was by no means inclined to part with any of
his money.  It must not be presumed that he had amassed a fortune by his
trade in cedar wood.  Few tradesmen in Bermuda do, as I imagine, amass
fortunes.  Of some few hundred pounds he was possessed, and these, in the
course of nature, would go to his daughter when he died; but he had no
inclination to hand any portion of them over to his daughter before they
did go to her in the course of nature.  Now, the income which Caleb
Morton earned as a Presbyterian clergyman was not large, and, therefore,
no day had been fixed as yet for his marriage with Anastasia.

But, though the old man had been from the first averse to the match, his
hostility had not been active.  He had not forbidden Mr. Morton his
house, or affected to be in any degree angry because his daughter had a
lover.  He had merely grumbled forth an intimation that those who marry
in haste repent at leisure,—that love kept nobody warm if the pot did not
boil; and that, as for him, it was as much as he could do to keep his own
pot boiling at Crump Cottage.  In answer to this Anastasia said nothing.
She asked him for no money, but still kept his accounts, managed his
household, and looked patiently forward for better days.

Old Mr. Bergen himself spent much of his time at Hamilton, where he had a
woodyard with a couple of rooms attached to it.  It was his custom to
remain here three nights of the week, during which Anastasia was left
alone at the cottage; and it happened by no means seldom that she was
altogether alone, for the negro whom they called the gardener would go to
her father’s place at Hamilton, and the two black girls would crawl away
up to the road, tired with the monotony of the sea at the cottage.  Caleb
had more than once told her that she was too much alone, but she had
laughed at him, saying that solitude in Bermuda was not dangerous.  Nor,
indeed, was it; for the people are quiet and well-mannered, lacking much
energy, but being, in the same degree, free from any propensity to
violence.

“So you are going,” she said to her lover, one evening, as he rose from
the chair on which he had been swinging himself at the door of the
cottage which looks down over the creek of the sea.  He had sat there for
an hour talking to her as she worked, or watching her as she moved about
the place.  It was a beautiful evening, and the sun had been falling to
rest with almost tropical glory before his feet.  The bright oleanders
were red with their blossoms all around him, and he had thoroughly
enjoyed his hour of easy rest.  “So you are going,” she said to him, not
putting her work out of her hand as he rose to depart.

“Yes; and it is time for me to go.  I have still work to do before I can
get to bed.  Ah, well; I suppose the day will come at last when I need
not leave you as soon as my hour of rest is over.”

“Come; of course it will come.  That is, if your reverence should choose
to wait for it another ten years or so.”

“I believe you would not mind waiting twenty years.”

“Not if a certain friend of mine would come down and see me of evenings
when I’m alone after the day.  It seems to me that I shouldn’t mind
waiting as long as I had that to look for.”

“You are right not to be impatient,” he said to her, after a pause, as he
held her hand before he went.  “Quite right.  I only wish I could school
myself to be as easy about it.”

“I did not say I was easy,” said Anastasia.  “People are seldom easy in
this world, I take it.  I said I could be patient.  Do not look in that
way, as though you pretended that you were dissatisfied with me.  You
know that I am true to you, and you ought to be very proud of me.”

“I am proud of you, Anastasia—” on hearing which she got up and
courtesied to him.  “I am proud of you; so proud of you that I feel you
should not be left here all alone, with no one to help you if you were in
trouble.”

“Women don’t get into trouble as men do, and do not want any one to help
them.  If you were alone in the house you would have to go to bed without
your supper, because you could not make a basin of boiled milk ready for
your own meal.  Now, when your reverence has gone, I shall go to work and
have my tea comfortably.”  And then he did go, bidding God bless her as
he left her.  Three hours after that he was disturbed in his own lodgings
by one of the negro girls from the cottage rushing to his door, and
begging him in Heaven’s name to come down to the assistance of her
mistress.

When Morton left her, Anastasia did not proceed to do as she had said,
and seemed to have forgotten her evening meal.  She had been working
sedulously with her needle during all that last conversation; but when
her lover was gone, she allowed the work to fall from her hands, and sat
motionless for awhile, gazing at the last streak of colour left by the
setting sun; but there was no longer a sign of its glory to be traced in
the heavens around her.  The twilight in Bermuda is not long and enduring
as it is with us, though the daylight does not depart suddenly, leaving
the darkness of night behind it without any intermediate time of warning,
as is the case farther south, down among the islands of the tropics.  But
the soft, sweet light of the evening had waned and gone, and night had
absolutely come upon her, while Anastasia was still seated before the
cottage with her eyes fixed upon the white streak of motionless sea which
was still visible through the gloom.  She was thinking of him, of his
ways of life, of his happiness, and of her duty towards him.  She had
told him, with her pretty feminine falseness, that she could wait without
impatience; but now she said to herself that it would not be good for him
to wait longer.  He lived alone and without comfort, working very hard
for his poor pittance, and she could see, and feel, and understand that a
companion in his life was to him almost a necessity.  She would tell her
father that all this must be brought to an end.  She would not ask him
for money, but she would make him understand that her services must, at
any rate in part, be transferred.  Why should not she and Morton still
live at the cottage when they were married?  And so thinking, and at last
resolving, she sat there till the dark night fell upon her.

She was at last disturbed by feeling a man’s hand upon her shoulder.  She
jumped from her chair and faced him,—not screaming, for it was especially
within her power to control herself, and to make no utterance except with
forethought.  Perhaps it might have been better for her had she screamed,
and sent a shrill shriek down the shore of that inland sea.  She was
silent, however, and with awe-struck face and outstretched hands gazed
into the face of him who still held her by the shoulder.  The night was
dark; but her eyes were now accustomed to the darkness, and she could see
indistinctly something of his features.  He was a low-sized man, dressed
in a suit of sailor’s blue clothing, with a rough cap of hair on his
head, and a beard that had not been clipped for many weeks.  His eyes
were large, and hollow, and frightfully bright, so that she seemed to see
nothing else of him; but she felt the strength of his fingers as he
grasped her tighter and more tightly by the arm.

“Who are you?” she said, after a moment’s pause.

“Do you know me?” he asked.

“Know you!  No.”  But the words were hardly out of her mouth before it
struck her that the man was Aaron Trow, of whom every one in Bermuda had
been talking.

“Come into the house,” he said, “and give me food.”  And he still held
her with his hand as though he would compel her to follow him.

She stood for a moment thinking what she would say to him; for even then,
with that terrible man standing close to her in the darkness, her
presence of mind did not desert her.  “Surely,” she said, “I will give
you food if you are hungry.  But take your hand from me.  No man would
lay his hands on a woman.”

“A woman!” said the stranger.  “What does the starved wolf care for that?
A woman’s blood is as sweet to him as that of a man.  Come into the
house, I tell you.”  And then she preceded him through the open door into
the narrow passage, and thence to the kitchen.  There she saw that the
back door, leading out on the other side of the house, was open, and she
knew that he had come down from the road and entered on that side.  She
threw her eyes around, looking for the negro girls; but they were away,
and she remembered that there was no human being within sound of her
voice but this man who had told her that he was as a wolf thirsty after
her blood!

“Give me food at once,” he said.

“And will you go if I give it you?” she asked.

“I will knock out your brains if you do not,” he replied, lifting from
the grate a short, thick poker which lay there.  “Do as I bid you at
once.  You also would be like a tiger if you had fasted for two days, as
I have done.”

She could see, as she moved across the kitchen, that he had already
searched there for something that he might eat, but that he had searched
in vain.  With the close economy common among his class in the islands,
all comestibles were kept under close lock and key in the house of Mr.
Bergen.  Their daily allowance was given day by day to the negro
servants, and even the fragments were then gathered up and locked away in
safety.  She moved across the kitchen to the accustomed cupboard, taking
the keys from her pocket, and he followed close upon her.  There was a
small oil lamp hanging from the low ceiling which just gave them light to
see each other.  She lifted her hand to this to tare it from its hook,
but he prevented her.  “No, by Heaven!” he said, “you don’t touch that
till I’ve done with it.  There’s light enough for you to drag out your
scraps.”

She did drag out her scraps and a bowl of milk, which might hold perhaps
a quart.  There was a fragment of bread, a morsel of cold potato-cake,
and the bone of a leg of kid.  “And is that all?” said he.  But as he
spoke he fleshed his teeth against the bone as a dog would have done.

“It is the best I have,” she said; “I wish it were better, and you should
have had it without violence, as you have suffered so long from hunger.”

“Bah!  Better; yes!  You would give the best no doubt, and set the hell
hounds on my track the moment I am gone.  I know how much I might expect
from your charity.”

“I would have fed you for pity’s sake,” she answered.

“Pity!  Who are you, that you should dare to pity me!  By —, my young
woman, it is I that pity you.  I must cut your throat unless you give me
money.  Do you know that?”

“Money!  I have got no money.”

“I’ll make you have some before I go.  Come; don’t move till I have
done.”  And as he spoke to her he went on tugging at the bone, and
swallowing the lumps of stale bread.  He had already finished the bowl of
milk.  “And, now,” said he, “tell me who I am.”

“I suppose you are Aaron Trow,” she answered, very slowly.  He said
nothing on hearing this, but continued his meal, standing close to her so
that she might not possibly escape from him out into the darkness.  Twice
or thrice in those few minutes she made up her mind to make such an
attempt, feeling that it would be better to leave him in possession of
the house, and make sure, if possible, of her own life.  There was no
money there; not a dollar!  What money her father kept in his possession
was locked up in his safe at Hamilton.  And might he not keep to his
threat, and murder her, when he found that she could give him nothing?
She did not tremble outwardly, as she stood there watching him as he ate,
but she thought how probable it might be that her last moments were very
near.  And yet she could scrutinise his features, form, and garments, so
as to carry away in her mind a perfect picture of them.  Aaron Trow—for
of course it was the escaped convict—was not a man of frightful, hideous
aspect.  Had the world used him well, giving him when he was young ample
wages and separating him from turbulent spirits, he also might have used
the world well; and then women would have praised the brightness of his
eye and the manly vigour of his brow.  But things had not gone well with
him.  He had been separated from the wife he had loved, and the children
who had been raised at his knee,—separated by his own violence; and now,
as he had said of himself, he was a wolf rather than a man.  As he stood
there satisfying the craving of his appetite, breaking up the large
morsels of food, he was an object very sad to be seen.  Hunger had made
him gaunt and yellow, he was squalid with the dirt of his hidden lair,
and he had the look of a beast;—that look to which men fall when they
live like the brutes of prey, as outcasts from their brethren.  But still
there was that about his brow which might have redeemed him,—which might
have turned her horror into pity, had he been willing that it should be
so.

“And now give me some brandy,” he said.

There was brandy in the house,—in the sitting-room which was close at
their hand, and the key of the little press which held it was in her
pocket.  It was useless, she thought, to refuse him; and so she told him
that there was a bottle partly full, but that she must go to the next
room to fetch it him.

“We’ll go together, my darling,” he said.  “There’s nothing like good
company.”  And he again put his hand upon her arm as they passed into the
family sitting-room.

“I must take the light,” she said.  But he unhooked it himself, and
carried it in his own hand.

Again she went to work without trembling.  She found the key of the side
cupboard, and unlocking the door, handed him a bottle which might contain
about half-a-pint of spirits.  “And is that all?” he said.

“There is a full bottle here,” she answered, handing him another; “but if
you drink it, you will be drunk, and they will catch you.”

“By Heavens, yes; and you would be the first to help them; would you
not?”

“Look here,” she answered.  “If you will go now, I will not say a word to
any one of your coming, nor set them on your track to follow you.  There,
take the full bottle with you.  If you will go, you shall be safe from
me.”

“What, and go without money!”

“I have none to give you.  You may believe me when I say so.  I have not
a dollar in the house.”

Before he spoke again he raised the half empty bottle to his mouth, and
drank as long as there was a drop to drink.  “There,” said he, putting
the bottle down, “I am better after that.  As to the other, you are
right, and I will take it with me.  And now, young woman, about the
money?”

“I tell you that I have not a dollar.”

“Look here,” said he, and he spoke now in a softer voice, as though he
would be on friendly terms with her.  “Give me ten sovereigns, and I will
go.  I know you have it, and with ten sovereigns it is possible that I
may save my life.  You are good, and would not wish that a man should die
so horrid a death.  I know you are good.  Come, give me the money.”  And
he put his hands up, beseeching her, and looked into her face with
imploring eyes.

“On the word of a Christian woman I have not got money to give you,” she
replied.

“Nonsense?”  And as he spoke he took her by the arm and shook her.  He
shook her violently so that he hurt her, and her breath for a moment was
all but gone from her.  “I tell you you must make dollars before I leave
you, or I will so handle you that it would have been better for you to
coin your very blood.”

“May God help me at my need,” she said, “as I have not above a few penny
pieces in the house.”

“And you expect me to believe that!  Look here!  I will shake the teeth
out of your head, but I will have it from you.”  And he did shake her
again, using both his hands and striking her against the wall.

“Would you—murder me?” she said, hardly able now to utter the words.

“Murder you, yes; why not?  I cannot be worse than I am, were I to murder
you ten times over.  But with money I may possibly be better.”

“I have it not.”

“Then I will do worse than murder you.  I will make you such an object
that all the world shall loathe to look on you.”  And so saying he took
her by the arm and dragged her forth from the wall against which she had
stood.

Then there came from her a shriek that was heard far down the shore of
that silent sea, and away across to the solitary houses of those living
on the other side,—a shriek, very sad, sharp, and prolonged,—which told
plainly to those who heard it of woman’s woe when in her extremest peril.
That sound was spoken of in Bermuda for many a day after that, as
something which had been terrible to hear.  But then, at that moment, as
it came wailing through the dark, it sounded as though it were not human.
Of those who heard it, not one guessed from whence it came, nor was the
hand of any brother put forward to help that woman at her need.

“Did you hear that?” said the young wife to her husband, from the far
side of the arm of the sea.

“Hear it!  Oh Heaven, yes!  Whence did it come?”  The young wife could
not say from whence it came, but clung close to her husband’s breast,
comforting herself with the knowledge that that terrible sorrow was not
hers.

But aid did come at last, or rather that which seemed as aid.  Long and
terrible was the fight between that human beast of prey and the poor
victim which had fallen into his talons.  Anastasia Bergen was a strong,
well-built woman, and now that the time had come to her when a struggle
was necessary, a struggle for life, for honour, for the happiness of him
who was more to her than herself, she fought like a tigress attacked in
her own lair.  At such a moment as this she also could become wild and
savage as the beast of the forest.  When he pinioned her arms with one of
his, as he pressed her down upon the floor, she caught the first joint of
the forefinger of his other hand between her teeth till he yelled in
agony, and another sound was heard across the silent water.  And then,
when one hand was loosed in the struggle, she twisted it through his long
hair, and dragged back his head till his eyes were nearly starting from
their sockets.  Anastasia Bergen had hitherto been a sheer woman, all
feminine in her nature.  But now the foam came to her mouth, and fire
sprang from her eyes, and the muscles of her body worked as though she
had been trained to deeds of violence.  Of violence, Aaron Trow had known
much in his rough life, but never had he combated with harder antagonist
than her whom he now held beneath his breast.

“By—I will put an end to you,” he exclaimed, in his wrath, as he struck
her violently across the face with his elbow.  His hand was occupied, and
he could not use it for a blow, but, nevertheless, the violence was so
great that the blood gushed from her nostrils, while the back of her head
was driven with violence against the floor.  But she did not lose her
hold of him.  Her hand was still twined closely through his thick hair,
and in every move he made she clung to him with all her might.  “Leave go
my hair,” he shouted at her, but she still kept her hold, though he again
dashed her head against the floor.

There was still light in the room, for when he first grasped her with
both his hands, he had put the lamp down on a small table.  Now they were
rolling on the floor together, and twice he had essayed to kneel on her
that he might thus crush the breath from her body, and deprive her
altogether of her strength; but she had been too active for him, moving
herself along the ground, though in doing so she dragged him with her.
But by degrees he got one hand at liberty, and with that he pulled a
clasp knife out of his pocket and opened it.  “I will cut your head off
if you do not let go my hair,” he said.  But still she held fast by him.
He then stabbed at her arm, using his left hand and making short,
ineffectual blows.  Her dress partly saved her, and partly also the
continual movement of all her limbs; but, nevertheless, the knife wounded
her.  It wounded her in several places about the arm, covering them both
with blood;—but still she hung on.  So close was her grasp in her agony,
that, as she afterwards found, she cut the skin of her own hands with her
own nails.  Had the man’s hair been less thick or strong, or her own
tenacity less steadfast, he would have murdered her before any
interruption could have saved her.

And yet he had not purposed to murder her, or even, in the first
instance, to inflict on her any bodily harm.  But he had been determined
to get money.  With such a sum of money as he had named, it might, he
thought, be possible for him to win his way across to America.  He might
bribe men to hide him in the hold of a ship, and thus there might be for
him, at any rate, a possibility of escape.  That there must be money in
the house he had still thought when first he laid hands on the poor
woman; and then, when the struggle had once begun, when he had felt her
muscles contending with his, the passion of the beast was aroused within
him, and he strove against her as he would have striven against a dog.
But yet, when the knife was in his hand, he had not driven it against her
heart.

Then suddenly, while they were yet rolling on the floor, there was a
sound of footsteps in the passage.  Aaron Trow instantly leaped to his
feet, leaving his victim on the ground, with huge lumps of his thick
clotted hair in her hand.  Thus, and thus only, could he have liberated
himself from her grasp.  He rushed at the door, and there he came against
the two negro servant-girls who had returned down to their kitchen from
the road on which they had been straying.  Trow, as he half saw them in
the dark, not knowing how many there might be, or whether there was a man
among them, rushed through them, upsetting one scared girl in his
passage.  With the instinct and with the timidity of a beast, his impulse
now was to escape, and he hurried away back to the road and to his lair,
leaving the three women together in the cottage.  Poor wretch!  As he
crossed the road, not skulking in his impotent haste, but running at his
best, another pair of eyes saw him, and when the search became hot after
him, it was known that his hiding-place was not distant.

It was some time before any of the women were able to act, and when some
step was taken, Anastasia was the first to take it.  She had not
absolutely swooned, but the reaction, after the violence of her efforts,
was so great, that for some minutes she had been unable to speak.  She
had risen from the floor when Trow left her, and had even followed him to
the door; but since that she had fallen back into her father’s old
arm-chair, and there sat gasping not only for words, but for breath also.

At last she bade one of the girls to run into St. George, and beg Mr.
Morton to come to her aid.  The girl would not stir without her
companion; and even then, Anastasia, covered as she was with blood, with
dishevelled hair, and her clothes half torn from her body, accompanied
them as far as the road.  There they found a negro lad still hanging
about the place, and he told them that he had seen the man cross the
road, and run down over the open ground towards the rocks of the
sea-coast.  “He must be there,” said the lad, pointing in the direction
of a corner of the rocks; “unless he swim across the mouth of the ferry.”
But the mouth of that ferry is an arm of the sea, and it was not probable
that a man would do that when he might have taken the narrow water by
keeping on the other side of the road.

At about one that night Caleb Morton reached the cottage breathless with
running, and before a word was spoken between them, Anastasia had fallen
on his shoulder and had fainted.  As soon as she was in the arms of her
lover, all her power had gone from her.  The spirit and passion of the
tiger had gone, and she was again a weak woman shuddering at the thought
of what she had suffered.  She remembered that she had had the man’s hand
between her teeth, and by degrees she found his hair still clinging to
her fingers; but even then she could hardly call to mind the nature of
the struggle she had undergone.  His hot breath close to her own cheek
she did remember, and his glaring eyes, and even the roughness of his
beard as he pressed his face against her own; but she could not say
whence had come the blood, nor till her arm became stiff and motionless
did she know that she had been wounded.

It was all joy with her now, as she sat motionless without speaking,
while he administered to her wants and spoke words of love into her ears.
She remembered the man’s horrid threat, and knew that by God’s mercy she
had been saved.  And he was there caressing her, loving her, comforting
her!  As she thought of the fate that had threatened her, of the evil
that had been so imminent, she fell forward on her knees, and with
incoherent sobs uttered her thanksgivings, while her head was still
supported on his arms.

It was almost morning before she could induce herself to leave him and
lie down.  With him she seemed to be so perfectly safe; but the moment he
was away she could see Aaron Trow’s eyes gleaming at her across the room.
At last, however, she slept; and when he saw that she was at rest, he
told himself that his work must then begin.  Hitherto Caleb Morton had
lived in all respects the life of a man of peace; but now, asking himself
no questions as to the propriety of what he would do, using no inward
arguments as to this or that line of conduct, he girded the sword on his
loins, and prepared himself for war.  The wretch who had thus treated the
woman whom he loved should be hunted down like a wild beast, as long as
he had arms and legs with which to carry on the hunt.  He would pursue
the miscreant with any weapons that might come to his hands; and might
Heaven help him at his need as he dealt forth punishment to that man, if
he caught him within his grasp.  Those who had hitherto known Morton in
the island, could not recognise the man as he came forth on that day,
thirsty after blood, and desirous to thrust himself into personal
conflict with the wild ruffian who had injured him.  The meek
Presbyterian minister had been a preacher, preaching ways of peace, and
living in accordance with his own doctrines.  The world had been very
quiet for him, and he had walked quietly in his appointed path.  But now
the world was quiet no longer, nor was there any preaching of peace.  His
cry was for blood; for the blood of the untamed savage brute who had come
upon his young doe in her solitude, and striven with such brutal violence
to tear her heart from her bosom.

He got to his assistance early in the morning some of the constables from
St. George, and before the day was over, he was joined by two or three of
the warders from the convict establishment.  There was with him also a
friend or two, and thus a party was formed, numbering together ten or
twelve persons.  They were of course all armed, and therefore it might be
thought that there would be but small chance for the wretched man if they
should come upon his track.  At first they all searched together,
thinking from the tidings which had reached them that he must be near to
them; but gradually they spread themselves along the rocks between St.
George and the ferry, keeping watchman on the road, so that he should not
escape unnoticed into the island.

Ten times during the day did Anastasia send from the cottage up to
Morton, begging him to leave the search to others, and come down to her.
But not for a moment would he lose the scent of his prey.  What! should
it be said that she had been so treated, and that others had avenged her?
He sent back to say that her father was with her now, and that he would
come when his work was over.  And in that job of work the life-blood of
Aaron Trow was counted up.

Towards evening they were all congregated on the road near to the spot at
which the path turns off towards the cottage, when a voice was heard
hallooing to them from the summit of a little hill which lies between the
road and the sea on the side towards the ferry, and presently a boy came
running down to them full of news.  “Danny Lund has seen him,” said the
boy, “he has seen him plainly in among the rocks.”  And then came Danny
Lund himself, a small negro lad about fourteen years of age, who was
known in those parts as the idlest, most dishonest, and most useless of
his race.  On this occasion, however, Danny Lund became important, and
every one listened to him.  He had seen, he said, a pair of eyes moving
down in a cave of the rocks which he well knew.  He had been in the cave
often, he said, and could get there again.  But not now; not while that
pair of eyes was moving at the bottom of it.  And so they all went up
over the hill, Morton leading the way with hot haste.  In his waist-band
he held a pistol, and his hand grasped a short iron bar with which he had
armed himself.  They ascended the top of the hill, and when there, the
open sea was before them on two sides, and on the third was the narrow
creek over which the ferry passed.  Immediately beneath their feet were
the broken rocks; for on that side, towards the sea, the earth and grass
of the hill descended but a little way towards the water.  Down among the
rocks they all went, silently, Caleb Morton leading the way, and Danny
Lund directing him from behind.

“Mr. Morton,” said an elderly man from St. George, “had you not better
let the warders of the gaol go first; he is a desperate man, and they
will best understand his ways?”

In answer to this Morton said nothing, but he would let no one put a foot
before him.  He still pressed forward among the rocks, and at last came
to a spot from whence he might have sprung at one leap into the ocean.
It was a broken cranny on the sea-shore into which the sea beat, and
surrounded on every side but the one by huge broken fragments of stone,
which at first sight seemed as though they would have admitted of a path
down among them to the water’s edge; but which, when scanned more
closely, were seen to be so large in size, that no man could climb from
one to another.  It was a singularly romantic spot, but now well known to
them all there, for they had visited it over and over again that morning.

“In there,” said Danny Lund, keeping well behind Morton’s body, and
pointing at the same time to a cavern high up among the rocks, but quite
on the opposite side of the little inlet of the sea.  The mouth of the
cavern was not twenty yards from where they stood, but at the first sight
it seemed as though it must be impossible to reach it.  The precipice on
the brink of which they all now stood, ran down sheer into the sea, and
the fall from the mouth of the cavern on the other side was as steep.
But Danny solved the mystery by pointing upwards, and showing them how he
had been used to climb to a projecting rock over their heads, and from
thence creep round by certain vantages of the stone till he was able to
let himself down into the aperture.  But now, at the present moment, he
was unwilling to make essay of his prowess as a cragsman.  He had, he
said, been up on that projecting rock thrice, and there had seen the eyes
moving in the cavern.  He was quite sure of that fact of the pair of
eyes, and declined to ascend the rock again.

Traces soon became visible to them by which they knew that some one had
passed in and out of the cavern recently.  The stone, when examined, bore
those marks of friction which passage and repassage over it will always
give.  At the spot from whence the climber left the platform and
commenced his ascent, the side of the stone had been rubbed by the close
friction of a man’s body.  A light boy like Danny Lund might find his way
in and out without leaving such marks behind him, but no heavy man could
do so.  Thus before long they all were satisfied that Aaron Trow was in
the cavern before them.

Then there was a long consultation as to what they would do to carry on
the hunt, and how they would drive the tiger from his lair.  That he
should not again come out, except to fall into their hands, was to all of
them a matter of course.  They would keep watch and ward there, though it
might be for days and nights.  But that was a process which did not
satisfy Morton, and did not indeed well satisfy any of them.  It was not
only that they desired to inflict punishment on the miscreant in
accordance with the law, but also that they did not desire that the
miserable man should die in a hole like a starved dog, and that then they
should go after him to take out his wretched skeleton.  There was
something in that idea so horrid in every way, that all agreed that
active steps must be taken.  The warders of the prison felt that they
would all be disgraced if they could not take their prisoner alive.  Yet
who would get round that perilous ledge in the face of such an adversary?
A touch to any man while climbing there would send him headlong down
among the wave!  And then his fancy told to each what might be the nature
of an embrace with such an animal as that, driven to despair, hopeless of
life, armed, as they knew, at any rate, with a knife!  If the first
adventurous spirit should succeed in crawling round that ledge, what
would be the reception which he might expect in the terrible depth of
that cavern?

They called to their prisoner, bidding him come out, and telling him that
they would fire in upon him if he did not show himself; but not a sound
was heard.  It was indeed possible that they should send their bullets
to, perhaps, every corner of the cavern; and if so, in that way they
might slaughter him; but even of this they were not sure.  Who could tell
that there might not be some protected nook in which he could lay secure?
And who could tell when the man was struck, or whether he were wounded?

“I will get to him,” said Morton, speaking with a low dogged voice, and
so saying he clambered up to the rock to which Danny Lund had pointed.
Many voices at once attempted to restrain him, and one or two put their
hands upon him to keep him back, but he was too quick for them, and now
stood upon the ledge of rock.  “Can you see him?” they asked below.

“I can see nothing within the cavern,” said Morton.

“Look down very hard, Massa,” said Danny, “very hard indeed, down in deep
dark hole, and then see him big eyes moving!”

Morton now crept along the ledge, or rather he was beginning to do so,
having put forward his shoulders and arms to make a first step in advance
from the spot on which he was resting, when a hand was put forth from one
corner of the cavern’s mouth,—a hand armed with a pistol;—and a shot was
fired.  There could be no doubt now but that Danny Lund was right, and no
doubt now as to the whereabouts of Aaron Trow.

A hand was put forth, a pistol was fired, and Caleb Morton still clinging
to a corner of the rock with both his arms was seen to falter.  “He is
wounded,” said one of the voices from below; and then they all expected
to see him fall into the sea.  But he did not fall, and after a moment or
two, he proceeded carefully to pick his steps along the ledge.  The ball
had touched him, grazing his cheek, and cutting through the light
whiskers that he wore; but he had not felt it, though the blow had nearly
knocked him from his perch.  And then four or five shots were fired from
the rocks into the mouth of the cavern.  The man’s arm had been seen, and
indeed one or two declared that they had traced the dim outline of his
figure.  But no sound was heard to come from the cavern, except the sharp
crack of the bullets against the rock, and the echo of the gunpowder.
There had been no groan as of a man wounded, no sound of a body falling,
no voice wailing in despair.  For a few seconds all was dark with the
smoke of the gunpowder, and then the empty mouth of the cave was again
yawning before their eyes.  Morton was now near it, still cautiously
creeping.  The first danger to which he was exposed was this; that his
enemy within the recess might push him down from the rocks with a touch.
But on the other hand, there were three or four men ready to fire, the
moment that a hand should be put forth; and then Morton could swim,—was
known to be a strong swimmer;—whereas of Aaron Trow it was already
declared by the prison gaolers that he could not swim.  Two of the
warders had now followed Morton on the rocks, so that in the event of his
making good his entrance into the cavern, and holding his enemy at bay
for a minute, he would be joined by aid.

It was strange to see how those different men conducted themselves as
they stood on the opposite platform watching the attack.  The officers
from the prison had no other thought but of their prisoner, and were
intent on taking him alive or dead.  To them it was little or nothing
what became of Morton.  It was their business to encounter peril, and
they were ready to do so;—feeling, however, by no means sorry to have
such a man as Morton in advance of them.  Very little was said by them.
They had their wits about them, and remembered that every word spoken for
the guidance of their ally would be heard also by the escaped convict.
Their prey was sure, sooner or later, and had not Morton been so eager in
his pursuit, they would have waited till some plan had been devised of
trapping him without danger.  But the townsmen from St. George, of whom
some dozen were now standing there, were quick and eager and loud in
their counsels.  “Stay where you are, Mr. Morton,—stay awhile for the
love of God—or he’ll have you down.”  “Now’s your time, Caleb; in on him
now, and you’ll have him.”  “Close with him, Morton, close with him at
once; it’s your only chance.”  “There’s four of us here; we’ll fire on
him if he as much as shows a limb.”  All of which words as they were
heard by that poor wretch within, must have sounded to him as the barking
of a pack of hounds thirsting for his blood.  For him at any rate there
was no longer any hope in this world.

My reader, when chance has taken you into the hunting-field, has it ever
been your lot to sit by on horseback, and watch the digging out of a fox?
The operation is not an uncommon one, and in some countries it is held to
be in accordance with the rules of fair sport.  For myself, I think that
when the brute has so far saved himself, he should be entitled to the
benefit of his cunning; but I will not now discuss the propriety or
impropriety of that practice in venery.  I can never, however, watch the
doing of that work without thinking much of the agonising struggles of
the poor beast whose last refuge is being torn from over his head.  There
he lies within a few yards of his arch enemy, the huntsman.  The thick
breath of the hounds make hot the air within his hole.  The sound of
their voices is close upon his ears.  His breast is nearly bursting with
the violence of that effort which at last has brought him to his retreat.
And then pickaxe and mattock are plied above his head, and nearer and
more near to him press his foes,—his double foes, human and canine,—till
at last a huge hand grasps him, and he is dragged forth among his
enemies.  Almost as soon as his eyes have seen the light the eager noses
of a dozen hounds have moistened themselves in his entrails.  Ah me!  I
know that he is vermin, the vermin after whom I have been risking my
neck, with a bold ambition that I might ultimately witness his
death-struggles; but, nevertheless, I would fain have saved him that last
half hour of gradually diminished hope.

And Aaron Trow was now like a hunted fox, doomed to be dug out from his
last refuge, with this addition to his misery, that these hounds when
they caught their prey, would not put him at once out of his misery.
When first he saw that throng of men coming down from the hill top and
resting on the platform; he knew that his fate was come.  When they
called to him to surrender himself he was silent, but he knew that his
silence was of no avail.  To them who were so eager to be his captors the
matter seemed to be still one of considerable difficulty; but, to his
thinking, there was no difficulty.  There were there some score of men,
fully armed, within twenty yards of him.  If he but showed a trace of his
limbs he would become a mark for their bullets.  And then if he were
wounded, and no one would come to him!  If they allowed him to lie there
without food till he perished!  Would it not be well for him to yield
himself?  Then they called again and he was still silent.  That idea of
yielding is very terrible to the heart of a man.  And when the worst had
come to the worst, did not the ocean run deep beneath his cavern’s month?

But as they yelled at him and hallooed, making their preparations for his
death, his presence of mind deserted the poor wretch.  He had stolen an
old pistol on one of his marauding expeditions, of which one barrel had
been loaded.  That in his mad despair he had fired; and now, as he lay
near the mouth of the cavern, under the cover of the projecting stone, he
had no weapon with him but his hands.  He had had a knife, but that had
dropped from him during the struggle on the floor of the cottage.  He had
now nothing but his hands, and was considering how he might best use them
in ridding himself of the first of his pursuers.  The man was near him,
armed, with all the power and majesty of right on his side; whereas on
his side, Aaron Trow had nothing,—not a hope.  He raised his head that he
might look forth, and a dozen voices shouted as his face appeared above
the aperture.  A dozen weapons were levelled at him, and he could see the
gleaming of the muzzles of the guns.  And then the foot of his pursuer
was already on the corner stone at the cavern’s mouth.  “Now, Caleb, on
him at once!” shouted a voice.  Ah me! it was a moment in which to pity
even such a man as Aaron Trow.

“Now, Caleb, at him at once!” shouted the voice.  No, by heavens; not so,
even yet!  The sound of triumph in those words raised the last burst of
energy in the breast of that wretched man; and he sprang forth, head
foremost, from his prison house.  Forth he came, manifest enough before
the eyes of them all, and with head well down, and hands outstretched,
but with his wide glaring eyes still turned towards his pursuers as he
fell, he plunged down into the waves beneath him.  Two of those who stood
by, almost unconscious of what they did, fired at his body as it made its
rapid way to the water; but, as they afterwards found, neither of the
bullets struck him.  Morton, when his prey thus leaped forth, escaping
him for awhile, was already on the verge of the cavern,—had even then
prepared his foot for that onward spring which should bring him to the
throat of his foe.  But he arrested himself, and for a moment stood there
watching the body as it struck the water, and hid itself at once beneath
the ripple.  He stood there for a moment watching the deed and its
effect, and then leaving his hold upon the rock, he once again followed
his quarry.  Down he went, head foremost, right on to the track in the
waves which the other had made; and when the two rose to the surface
together, each was struggling in the grasp of the other.

It was a foolish, nay, a mad deed to do.  The poor wretch who had first
fallen could not have escaped.  He could not even swim, and had therefore
flung himself to certain destruction when he took that leap from out of
the cavern’s mouth.  It would have been sad to see him perish beneath the
waves,—to watch him as he rose, gasping for breath, and then to see to
him sinking again, to rise again, and then to go for ever.  But his life
had been fairly forfeit,—and why should one so much more precious have
been flung after it?  It was surely with no view of saving that pitiful
life that Caleb Morton had leaped after his enemy.  But the hound, hot
with the chase, will follow the stag over the precipice and dash himself
to pieces against the rocks.  The beast thirsting for blood will rush in
even among the weapons of men.  Morton in his fury had felt but one
desire, burned with but one passion.  If the Fates would but grant him to
fix his clutches in the throat of the man who had ill-used his love; for
the rest it might all go as it would.

In the earlier part of the morning, while they were all searching for
their victim, they had brought a boat up into this very inlet among the
rocks; and the same boat had been at hand during the whole day.
Unluckily, before they had come hither, it had been taken round the
headland to a place among the rocks at which a government skiff is always
moored.  The sea was still so quiet that there was hardly a ripple on it,
and the boat had been again sent for when first it was supposed that they
had at last traced Aaron Trow to his hiding-place.  Anxiously now were
all eyes turned to the headland, but as yet no boat was there.

The two men rose to the surface, each struggling in the arms of the
other.  Trow, though he was in an element to which he was not used,
though he had sprung thither as another suicide might spring to certain
death beneath a railway engine, did not altogether lose his presence of
mind.  Prompted by a double instinct, he had clutched hold of Morton’s
body when he encountered it beneath the waters.  He held on to it, as to
his only protection, and he held on to him also as to his only enemy.  If
there was a chance for a life struggle, they would share that chance
together; and if not, then together would they meet that other fate.

Caleb Morton was a very strong man, and though one of his arms was
altogether encumbered by his antagonist, his other arm and his legs were
free.  With these he seemed to succeed in keeping his head above the
water, weighted as he was with the body of his foe.  But Trow’s efforts
were also used with the view of keeping himself above the water.  Though
he had purposed to destroy himself in taking that leap, and now hoped for
nothing better than that they might both perish together, he yet
struggled to keep his head above the waves.  Bodily power he had none
left to him, except that of holding on to Morton’s arm and plunging with
his legs; but he did hold on, and thus both their heads remained above
the surface.

But this could not last long.  It was easy to see that Trow’s strength
was nearly spent, and that when he went down Morton must go with him.  If
indeed they could be separated,—if Morton could once make himself free
from that embrace into which he had been so anxious to leap,—then indeed
there might be a hope.  All round that little inlet the rock fell sheer
down into the deep sea, so that there was no resting-place for a foot; it
but round the headlands on either side, even within forty or fifty yards
of that spot, Morton might rest on the rocks, till a boat should come to
his assistance.  To him that distance would have been nothing, if only
his limbs had been at liberty.

Upon the platform of rocks they were all at their wits’ ends.  Many were
anxious to fire at Trow; but even if they hit him, would Morton’s
position have been better?  Would not the wounded man have still clung to
him who was not wounded?  And then there could be no certainty that any
one of them would hit the right man.  The ripple of the waves, though it
was very slight, nevertheless sufficed to keep the bodies in motion; and
then, too, there was not among them any marksman peculiar for his skill.

Morton’s efforts in the water were too severe to admit of his speaking,
but he could hear and understand the words which were addressed to him.
“Shake him off, Caleb.”  “Strike him from you with your foot.”  “Swim to
the right shore; swim for it, even if you take him with you.”  Yes; he
could hear them all; but hearing and obeying were very different.  It was
not easy to shake off that dying man; and as for swimming with him, that
was clearly impossible.  It was as much as he could do to keep his head
above water, let alone any attempt to move in one settled direction.

For some four or five minutes they lay thus battling on the waves before
the head of either of them went down.  Trow had been twice below the
surface, but it was before he had succeeded in supporting himself by
Morton’s arm.  Now it seemed as though he must sink again,—as though both
must sink.  His mouth was barely kept above the water, and as Morton
shook him with his arm, the tide would pass over him.  It was horrid to
watch from the shore the glaring upturned eyes of the dying wretch, as
his long streaming hair lay back upon the wave.  “Now, Caleb, hold him
down.  Hold him under,” was shouted in the voice of some eager friend.
Rising up on the water, Morton made a last effort to do as he was bid.
He did press the man’s head down,—well down below the surface,—but still
the hand clung to him, and as he struck out against the water, he was
powerless against that grasp.

Then there came a loud shout along the shore, and all those on the
platform, whose eyes had been fixed so closely on that terrible struggle
beneath them, rushed towards the rocks on the other coast.  The sound of
oars was heard close to them,—an eager pressing stroke, as of men who
knew well that they were rowing for the salvation of a life.  On they
came, close under the rocks, obeying with every muscle of their bodies
the behests of those who called to them from the shore.  The boat came
with such rapidity,—was so recklessly urged, that it was driven somewhat
beyond the inlet; but in passing, a blow was struck which made Caleb
Morton once more the master of his own life.  The two men had been
carried out in their struggle towards the open sea; and as the boat
curved in, so as to be as close as the rocks would allow, the bodies of
the men were brought within the sweep of the oars.  He in the bow—for
there were four pulling in the boat—had raised his oar as he neared the
rocks,—had raised it high above the water; and now, as they passed close
by the struggling men, he let it fall with all its force on the upturned
face of the wretched convict.  It was a terrible, frightful thing to
do,—thus striking one who was so stricken; but who shall say that the
blow was not good and just?  Methinks, however, that the eyes and face of
that dying man will haunt for ever the dreams of him who carried that
oar!

Trow never rose again to the surface.  Three days afterwards his body was
found at the ferry, and then they carried him to the convict island and
buried him.  Morton was picked up and taken into the boat.  His life was
saved; but it may be a question how the battle might have gone had not
that friendly oar been raised in his behalf.  As it was, he lay at the
cottage for days before he was able to be moved, so as to receive the
congratulations of those who had watched that terrible conflict from the
shore.  Nor did he feel that there had been anything in that day’s work
of which he could be proud;—much rather of which it behoved him to be
thoroughly ashamed.  Some six months after that he obtained the hand of
Anastasia Bergen, but they did not remain long in Bermuda.  “He went
away, back to his own country,” my informant told me; “because he could
not endure to meet the ghost of Aaron Trow, at that point of the road
which passes near the cottage.”  That the ghost of Aaron Trow may be seen
there and round the little rocky inlet of the sea, is part of the creed
of every young woman in Bermuda.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Aaron Trow" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home