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Title: Arthur Brown, The Young Captain - The Pleasent Cove Series
Author: Kellogg, Elijah
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.

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                         TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES:

—Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.

—Bold text has been rendered as =bold text=.



                      _THE PLEASANT COVE SERIES._

                             ARTHUR BROWN,

                          THE YOUNG CAPTAIN.

                                  BY

                         REV. ELIJAH KELLOGG,

     AUTHOR OF THE ELM ISLAND STORIES—“LION BEN,” “CHARLIE BELL,”
            “THE BOY-FARMERS,” “THE ARK,” “THE YOUNG SHIP-
                    BUILDERS,” “THE HARD-SCRABBLE.”

                            _ILLUSTRATED._

                                BOSTON:

                      LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO.



      Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by

                           LEE AND SHEPARD,

      in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

                  COPYRIGHT, 1898, BY ELIJAH KELLOGG.

                        _All Rights Reserved._

                           =ARTHUR BROWN.=


                            Norwood Press:

                Berwick & Smith, Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.



PREFACE.


NOTWITHSTANDING kindness is at times rewarded with ingratitude, and
even positive injury, it is by no means so frequent an occurrence as
persons naturally censorious, or whose minds have been soured by an
unblest experience, would have us suppose.

Benefits conferred usually excite gratitude, and sometimes, when the
donors have passed away are repaid, with interest, to their posterity.

The story of Arthur Brown presents a striking illustration of this
principle. Lashed to a raft, perishing with cold and hunger in the edge
of the surf, he is rescued by Captain Rhines, who, when a boy, poor
and unable either to read or write, had been instructed and started
in business by Arthur’s father, who was afterwards lost at sea. The
old captain, discovering, in the person he had perilled his life to
save, the only son of his benefactor, receives him with open arms,
with a nobility of soul that strengthens our faith in human nature,
freely bestowing both time and property to aid the son and family of
his benefactor, and repay the old debt. His efforts in this direction,
together with those of the young man to help himself, at a most
stirring period of our country’s history, the adventures growing out of
those efforts, and the consequent development of character, will, we
trust, prove interesting, and not without instruction.

Some references have necessarily been made to characters of the “Elm
Island Series,” the reasons for which are given in the introductory
chapter, and the references so explained as to render the connection
plain to the reader.



CONTENTS


                                                        PAGE

                            CHAPTER I.
  INTRODUCTORY.                                            9

                           CHAPTER II.
  THE WRECK AND THE RESCUE.                               16

                           CHAPTER III.
  A GLAD SURPRISE.                                        30

                            CHAPTER IV.
  CAPTAIN RHINES MANIFESTS HIS GRATITUDE.                 44

                             CHAPTER V.
  “WE WERE PUT INTO THIS WORLD TO HELP ONE ANOTHER.”      60

                            CHAPTER VI.
  THE YOUNG CAPTAIN UNDER FIRE.                           74

                           CHAPTER VII.
  LITTLE NED AND HIS MOTHER.                              94

                            CHAPTER VIII.
  MOONLIGHT CONVERSATION BY THE BROOK.                   106

                             CHAPTER IX.
  THE GRIFFINS.                                          122

                              CHAPTER X.
  WHERE THE HARD STREAK CAME FROM.                       137

                             CHAPTER XI.
  RECONNOITRING.                                         155

                             CHAPTER XII.
  DID I BEAR IT LIKE A MAN, WALTER?                      169

                             CHAPTER XIII.
  THE BASKET-MAKER.                                      181

                             CHAPTER XIV.
  A STRANGE DISCOVERY.                                   191

                              CHAPTER XV.
  HOMEWARD BOUND.                                        204

                             CHAPTER XVI.
  DEAR-BOUGHT WIT.                                       223

                            CHAPTER XVII.
  DEATH AND BURIAL OF TIGE RHINES.                       240

                           CHAPTER XVIII.
  THE MEETING.                                           253

                            CHAPTER XIX.
  NED AMONG THE GRIFFINS.                                272

                             CHAPTER XX.
  A MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE.                            283



                             ARTHUR BROWN,

                          THE YOUNG CAPTAIN.



CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY.


IN the series of books denominated the “Elm Island Stories” (commencing
at the period when the old “Continental Congress,” which had fought the
war of the revolution, was superseded by the Federal Government, and
running through successive years) were introduced certain characters
in whom our juvenile readers became so much interested, that they have
assured us they could not abruptly surrender their acquaintance, at
least not without some slight knowledge of their future prospects,
especially as we were compelled to conclude our tale when most of them
were on the very threshold of manhood. Desiring to gratify, and, at
the same time, render them somewhat familiar with the history and
progress of their native land in those snapping times included between
the outbreak of the French revolution and the embargo, so prolific in
gain and adventure to those possessing the enterprise, and daring to
profit by them, and during which American commerce took such mighty
strides, we must of necessity, at the commencement of this volume, make
some slight reference to persons and places previously described. For
the benefit of those who have not read the former series, we introduce
a brief sketch, referring those who may desire more accurate knowledge
to those books.

Our old acquaintances can pursue, with this chapter, the course we used
to adopt, when compelled to read one of Buckminster’s sermons aloud to
the family, after having been twice to meeting, brought home the texts
and heads of the sermon, and to Sabbath school—_skip_, skipped all we
dared to, skipped all we could.

The scene of the “Elm Island Stories” is laid in eastern Maine, when it
was little better than a forest, save a rim of clearings and incipient
towns along the sea-shore.

Captain Rhines, who lived on the shore at a place named from him and
his ancestors Rhineville, but then a plantation unincorporated, was a
noble specimen of a sea captain—shrewd, kindly, self-made, of a daring
nature, controlled by clear, cool judgment.

His son Ben, possessing all the sterling qualities of his father, is
a giant in strength, and in the very prime of life. Though in general
of most even temper, and only by long provocations excited to wrath,
yet, when thoroughly roused, he was terrible; hence his name, _Lion
Ben_. Becoming enamoured of Sally Hadlock, who will only marry him on
condition that he relinquishes the sea, he buys Elm Island, situated
among the breakers, six miles from the main land, and inaccessible at
some periods by reason of the surf; fertile as to soil, and covered
with a heavy growth of timber. With nothing to depend upon but their
hands, and obliged to mortgage the island at the outset, this resolute
pair sit down among the woods to achieve independence. He is greatly
assisted in all his plans and purposes by Uncle Isaac Murch, a man in
middle life, who, in boyhood, was captured by the Penobscot Indians,
and adopted into their tribe—a most shrewd, resolute, genial being,
with very strong attachment to youth, their unfailing friend and ally
in every good purpose.

While Lion Ben is cutting off the spars and raising crops to pay for
the island, some plunderers from the British Provinces, seeing but
one house on the island, and supposing they had but little resistance
to encounter, landed and insulted Ben’s wife. She flies to her
husband, who is at work near by in the woods, who encounters and
nearly kills the intruders. Among them is an English orphan boy, by
the name of Charlie Bell, who had shipped with them as cook, being
ignorant of their character. He remains, and is adopted by Lion Ben.
He turns out to be a boy of most excellent principle, of remarkable
mechanical genius, and learns the trade of a ship carpenter; makes
the acquaintance of Captain Rhines’s youngest boy, John, and of Fred
Williams, the miller’s son.

Fred is a boy naturally smart, and inclined to mischief. By associating
with a miserable wretch by the name of Pete Clash, an importation from
the Provinces, and another by the name of Godsoe, a home production,
he is led into evil courses. These boys, while in the woods one day,
plotting mischief against Uncle Isaac, being surprised by John Rhines,
and finding that he will expose them, attempt to flog him; but he
is rescued by his dog Tige, who tears Pete and Fred, injuring Fred
so severely that he is at the point of death, which brings him to
reflection and reform.

Pete Clash, attempting to meddle with Uncle Isaac’s fish flakes,
is caught by the old hunter in a wolf trap, and so threatened and
frightened by him, that he leaves the place, together with Godsoe.
John, Fred, and Charlie now became fast friends, and Uncle Isaac their
mutual friend and adviser.

John Rhines becomes a blacksmith, Fred works with his father in the
mill. Charlie and John accumulate money by labor and ventures sent
to the West Indies, and set up Fred in trade. These three boys, with
another by the name of Isaac Murch, a protégé of Captain Rhines,
_undertake_ to build a vessel, and _do_ build her, and send her to the
French West Indies, calling her the Hard-scrabble, in commemoration of
the desperate nature of the undertaking. She arrives at Martinique at a
lucky moment, and pays for herself, and more too. They afterwards build
another called the Casco, of larger dimensions, of which Isaac Murch
becomes the master, surrendering the Hard-scrabble to another captain.
Joe Griffin, to whom reference is made, is a friend of Lion Ben, a
mighty man with an axe, a great wrestler, and kind-hearted, but a most
inveterate practical joker.

Walter Griffin, a younger brother of Joe, inheriting all the grit of
this rugged race, enters the store of Fred Williams as a clerk; but the
Griffin blood rebels under the monotony and constraint, and he takes to
the water. Peterson, the black pilot, was for many years addicted to
intemperance. During that period some roguish boys got him into a store
when intoxicated, poured molasses on his head, then applied flour,
alternating the layers, till his head was as large as a half bushel;
for many years after which he was known by the nickname of Flour, but,
having become a sober and industrious man, has accumulated property, is
respected by the whole community, and the nickname is forgotten.

The period at which this series commences is after the French
revolution, when the star of Nelson was rising above the horizon, and
Napoleon Bonaparte, a colonel of the artillery, was planting batteries
at Toulon, and giving the English blockading fleet a taste of his
quality.

These young men are now in possession of capital. John Rhines is
living at home with his father; Fred is engaged in trade, and just
married to a daughter of Captain Rhines. Charlie Bell is living on a
farm in a most beautiful spot, called “Pleasant Cove,” upon which he
chanced to stumble one lovely night in summer while sailing, became
enraptured with and bought it, married another daughter of the captain,
and settled down on it in a log house, while it was a forest, has one
child, now a babe, and having built the Casco on his own shore, hopes
to be able to cultivate the soil (an occupation he dearly loves), and
to carry out those ideas of taste and beauty which in childhood he had
gathered from the vales and ancestral homes of his native land.



CHAPTER II.

THE WRECK AND THE RESCUE.


IT was the middle of October, about ten o’clock in the forenoon; there
was no rain falling, but it was blowing—O, how it was blowing!—a
tearing gale from the south-west, which roared through, the tree
tops, and there was a tremendous sea in the bay. But under the lee of
Pleasant Point, entirely sheltered from the wind by the high land and
the woods, a shooting match had just been abruptly broken off by Sol
Chase (a boy of sixteen, who put up the turkeys) declaring that it was
no kind of use to set up, if such marksmen as Joe Griffin and Uncle
Isaac were going to shoot.

“Well, Sol, we won’t fire any more,” said Joe; “you boys may do your
own shooting.”

“Let us do something we can all do,” said Charlie. “Uncle Isaac, let us
play knives. I’ll blaze this pine tree for a mark.”

“Blaze a pine tree! Half of you won’t be able to hit the tree. Take the
barn door.”

“We haven’t got knives,” said Ricker.

“I’ve got my hunting knife,” said Uncle Isaac; “one knife will do for
the whole of us.”

“I’ve got an Indian tomahawk in the house,” said Charlie; “one that you
gave me, Uncle Isaac, long ago.”

A bull’s eye was marked out on the barn door; the knife was held by the
point of the blade, and flung. Uncle Isaac, when, after the first two
trials, he had ascertained his distance, hit the centre of the target
every time; Joe Griffin nearly as often; Charlie, Fred, and John, who
had at other times practised a good deal with Uncle Isaac and each
other, twice out of three times.

“It takes Walter Griffin to throw a knife. He’d hit that mark every
time.”

“I wish he was here,” said Fred. “I feel, since he went to sea, as
though about half of me was gone.”

As to the rest, some hit within six inches; others didn’t hit the door;
and others flung the knife so that it struck flatways, or on the end of
the handle.

“Now let’s throw the tomahawk,” said Charlie.

In this game none of them could approach Uncle Isaac, who flung it with
a force and precision that would soon have made a breach in Charlie’s
barn door; but as the rest could not fling it with any accuracy, they
soon tired of it.

“I’ll put up a mark for you, Uncle Isaac,” said Joe Bradish.

He had a soft hat, bran new; put it on for the first time that day.

“What will you give me for a shot at my hat, at six hundred yards?”

“Three shillings.”

“Done.”

Bradish rolled his hat carefully up, and thrust it into a mortise in
the post of a rail fence.

“I thought I was to have the whole bigness of the hat to fire at;
that’s a small mark for such a long distance.”

“That’s just like him,” said Charlie; “always doing some mean,
underhand trick.”

“You was to fire at the hat. There’s the hat. Now measure off the six
hundred yards,” said Bradish.

“Don’t measure it that way,” said Uncle Isaac to the boys, who were
about to measure in the direction that the hat was shoved into the hole.

“What difference does it make?” asked Bradish.

“’Cause it does. I’ve a right to fire in any direction I like, at six
hundred yards.”

Uncle Isaac fired, and the ball, just grazing the edge of the post,
went through every fold of the hat crossways, the rifle ball whirling
as it went, cutting it all to pieces.

“You’ve spoilt my new hat,” said Bradish, with a rueful face, holding
it up, all full of holes, like a colander.

“That’s what you get by trying to cheat: good enough for you,” was the
cry.

Scarcely had the laugh subsided, when Will Griffin was seen coming on
horseback at full speed, and as he drew near, he bawled out, “Uncle
Isaac, Joe, Master Bell, Captain Rhines wants you to come just as quick
as you can; there’s a vessel cast away—folks going to be drowned on
the Brant rocks.”

When they reached the cove, they found Captain Rhines, in the
Perseverance, her sails close reefed and set, hatches fastened down,
and the vessel hauled in against a perpendicular ledge, while he was
holding her by a rope fast to a tree.

“Jump aboard!” he cried. “There’s people on a raft, coming right in
before the wind and sea, and they will go right into the breakers on
the Brant rocks, except we can get them off. I happened to be looking
with the glass, and saw them.”

“We’ll do what men can do,” said Uncle Isaac. “Hadn’t we better call at
the island, and get Ben? It’s right on our road.”

“That’s a good thought. Wonder I didn’t think of it.”

Ben had not noticed the raft, but he saw the schooner coming, and knew
that it must be a matter of life and death that would bring men to the
island in such a gale. Both he and Sally met them at the shore.

“I want you, my little boy,” cried Captain Rhines, as the schooner
luffed up beside the wharf, in the still water of Elm Island harbor.
“There’s a raft coming before the wind and sea, with people on it, and
a signal of distress flying. It’s breaking thirty feet high on the
Brant rocks, and they will soon be in that surf, unless we take them
off.”

No more was said. Ben jumped aboard, and the schooner, close hauled,
stood boldly out into that tremendous sea. The men all commenced to
lash themselves. Charlie was forward. He had made the end of a rope
fast to the foremast, and put it around his waist; but, before he could
secure the other end, she shipped a sea over the bows, that filled her
all full, and bore Charlie before it like a feather. In another instant
it would have taken him overboard, when nothing could have saved him;
but Joe caught him as he was going over the rail.

“A miss is as good as a mile,” said Captain Rhines. “She shakes off the
water like a Newfoundland dog. Ben, take the axe, and knock off the
waist boards, and then the sea can have a fair chance to get out as
fast as it comes in.”

They were now nearing the raft, as it came rapidly down before the sea,
while the crew of the schooner were endeavoring to cut athwart its
path. Catching glimpses of it in moments when the raft and the schooner
both chanced to be on the top of a sea at the same instant, they
perceived that it was constructed of the yards and smaller spars of a
vessel, with an elevation amid-ships, where an upright spar was secured
by shrouds, on which an English flag was flying. On this elevation
were dark objects, that Captain Rhines (at home) had made out, with his
glass, to be human beings.

“If they are people, father,” said Ben, who, confident to hold himself
against the sea, had gone into the bows, “they are dead; for there’s
nothing moves, only as the sea moves it.”

“Perhaps not, Ben. They are lashed, chilled, and most dead, but I’ve
seen men brought to that apparently had but a few more breaths to draw.”

In a few moments Ben shouted, “There’s folks there, four or six, I
can’t tell which. I see one move his arm a little.”

“What are we going to do?” asked Captain Rhines. “I thought there would
be some one able to take a line and make it fast, and then we might
tow them clear of the breakers and into some lee, where we could get
them off; but if there’s nobody to take a line, we’ve got to carry one
ourselves.”

“Let the raft go by us,” said Ben, “and follow it up astern with the
schooner. I’ll take a line in the canoe.”

“I’ll go with you,” said Joe; but Charlie insisted upon sharing the
peril with his father. They took in all but the foresail, reefed to the
smallest possible dimensions, leaving only a little of the peak, as it
was difficult to make the schooner go slow enough to keep from running
on to the raft and knocking her to pieces; but by luffing into the wind
they managed to keep her clear till Ben and Charlie got into the canoe,
and with a small line reached the raft, to which was made fast a larger
one, which they hauled to them and secured.

There was no such thing as returning against that sea; they must take
their chance with those they came to save. If the rope parted, or the
little vessel failed to tow her charge clear of the surf, they were
lost. During the interval occupied in fastening to the raft, it had
made fearful progress towards the rocks, that could now be plainly seen
ahead, the sea breaking on them in sheets of foam. Never was the clear
judgment and resolute nature of Captain Rhines put to a severer test
than now. He must carry sail enough to drive the Perseverance through
the water with sufficient speed to clear the rocks. On the other hand,
there was danger, if he carried too much sail, of either parting the
rope, in which case Ben and Charlie, with those they went to save,
would perish, or of taking the masts out of the schooner; and also
danger of the seas boarding her over the stern.

It was most fortunate for the crew of the schooner, that when they
grappled to the raft they were a long distance off, and well over to
the edge of the breakers, consequently had to work the raft but very
little to windward. Every time the little vessel rose on one of those
tremendous seas, when the raft was perhaps in the hollow of another,
she quivered and trembled, and it seemed as if she must be crushed
bodily down beneath the sea.

“Isaac,” said the captain, who had one hand on the rope, “I think this
will bear more strain. Unless we go ahead a little faster, we shall
hardly clear that ragged point making out to the leeward.”

“I’m afraid, Benjamin, it will take the mast out of her.”

“So am I, but we must risk it. There’s no other way. It’s sartain death
to go into that surf.”

There was one other way. A stroke of the axe upon the “taut” rope, and
the schooner, freed from her encumbrance, would have gone off like a
bird from the ragged reef and boiling surf, leaving their comrades to
perish; but no such thought could find lodgment in the bosoms of the
men on board the Perseverance.

“Give her the sail, Isaac,” said the captain; “it’s the only way.”

Beneath the increased canvas, the schooner plunged and quivered, as
though every timber would part company.

They were near the breakers; the roar of the surf was terrible; every
time the great wave rolled back, the black, ragged points of the rock
could be seen for a moment. It was now but a couple of gunshots from
them, and they were in the outer edge of the breaker. Not a word was
spoken. Captain Rhines coolly eyed the surf, while he managed the helm
with consummate skill. Slowly the noble little vessel drew along by the
reef, but the raft was the length of the hawser farther in.

“If that sea breaks on them, they are gone,” cried Captain Rhines, as
a huge wall of water, thirty feet in height, came sweeping along, its
overhanging edge white with foam.

Ben and Charlie each seized one edge of the canoe, evidently hoping,
that though full of water, its buoyancy might support and aid them in
swimming; but the wave broke just before it reached them, lifting the
raft almost on end, flooding it with spray, buried them to their necks
in water, and almost tore them from the raft, to which they clung by
the shrouds of the upright spar, while the canoe was swept away. So
near were they to the reef, that one end of the wave broke upon the
rock, and the raft was covered with kelp torn from it by the force of
the sea. While they were yet in the very edge of the broken water, the
foremast breaking off four or five feet above deck, went over the bows.

“Thank God!” exclaimed Captain Rhines; “had it gone three minutes
sooner, we had all been lost.”

Drifting along before the wind and sea, they gradually came into
smoother water, when Ben, flinging himself overboard, swam to the
schooner. With his aid they raised the broken spar, lashed it to the
stump, and contrived to spread a portion of the sail.

“Ben,” asked his father, “what have you got on the raft? Are they dead
or alive?”

“There’s four of them, father; one a black man, the cook or steward,
for his hands are soft, a sailor, a boy fifteen or sixteen, and a young
man, I should judge about twenty, who, I think, was mate of the vessel,
by his dress. They have got just the breath of life in them; starved
with cold and hunger, and nothing but skin and bones. I thought that
sea would have killed them, but they are alive yet.”

“God help them, but we can’t get to the island, or my cove, with this
broken spar. We must run for Charlie’s.”

“Let us run under the lee of Smutty Nose,” said Ben, “get rid of this
raft, and take the bodies on board, then we can go faster, else they
will be dead before we get there.”

They luffed up under the island in smooth water, took Charlie on board,
the dead and the living, and permitting the raft to go adrift, made all
the sail they could spread for Pleasant Cove. They carried the nearly
lifeless bodies into the cuddy, put them in berths, and covered them
with clothes. There were flint, steel, and tinder aboard, but no wood.
They took the bottom boards out of a berth and split them up to kindle,
and Ben cut up the handspikes, which were white oak, and split up the
windlass.

“Father,” said Charlie, “I’ll make a new and better one.”

With this supply they soon had the little place warm enough. When they
reached the cove they found John Rhines there. He had been away, and
arriving home just after the party set out, had kept watch of their
movements. It was twelve o’clock at night when they landed. The gale
was over, the clouds had disappeared, and a clear moonlight made it
nearly as light as day. The wet clothing was instantly stripped from
the chilled limbs of the seamen; they were put into warm blankets,
and hot applications made. So affecting was the sight of these living
skeletons that Mary burst into tears.

“Poor creatures! What they must have suffered!” she exclaimed. “They
will die; they are as good as dead now.”

“No, they ain’t,” replied the captain, who had been putting cold water
down their throats with a spoon, and found that they swallowed. “Kill a
chicken, Charlie; we’ll give them some broth by and by; too much would
kill them as dead as a stone. Now, Mary, a little supper or breakfast,
whichever you call it, wouldn’t hurt the rest of us, after all we’ve
been through this day and night.”

The rising sun was pouring its light into the windows, as with grateful
hearts they sat down to eat, the captain rising every few minutes to
administer a spoonful of the warm broth to his patients. The clergyman
and neighbors were sent for, and funeral services performed. Then the
American flag was put over the coffins, and they were borne to the
grave.

“I wish we could have saved them,” said the captain; “but we will do
all we can—give them Christian burial.”

Charlie and Uncle Isaac made the coffins for the two who died, and
Captain Rhines and John dug their graves. On the eastern side of the
cove a perpendicular cliff rose abruptly from the soil, with a little
strip of green turf between it and the beach. Here they were buried.
The white man had the name of “J. Watts” tattooed on his right arm;
the name of the black was afterwards ascertained to be John Davis, and
Charlie cut the names into the cliff—a most enduring memorial.



CHAPTER III.

A GLAD SURPRISE.


IN the course of three hours, it was evident that both of the rescued
persons were reviving fast. Though unable to speak, they swallowed
eagerly all that Captain Rhines thought proper to give; the expression
returned to their eyes and features, and their limbs twitched with
convulsive starts.

“Charlie,” said the captain, “I’ll take these people home in the
schooner.”

“Leave them here, we can take care of them; and leave the schooner too.
I’ll make a new mast and windlass for her.”

“It is too much for Mary, with a young child,—two invalids to take
care of.”

“No, it ain’t, father; they will be all right, as soon as it will do to
let them eat and drink.”

“I’ll take the young man, at any rate, and you may have the boy.”

They wrapped him in a blanket, and he was so emaciated that Charlie
took him in his arms as though he had been an infant, and put him into
the whale boat.

“Wife,” said the captain, the next morning, as he sat watching his
charge, as he lay sleeping, after having eaten more than he had allowed
him at one time before, “do you know that since this young man has come
to himself a bit he looks very natural to me. I’ve seen him, or some of
his folks, before.”

“It wouldn’t be at all strange if you had, for you have been a
traveller all your life.”

“It beats all how familiar his features look; and the more I look
at him, the more the likeness grows upon me. He’s the very image of
somebody I’ve known and loved right well, but to save me, I can’t tell
who. He’ll be strong enough to talk when he wakes, and I’ll know who he
is, and all about it. Only see, Mary, how the color has come into his
lips! they are not drawn apart as they were. See how his eyeballs are
filled out, and his fingers; and his nose is not so sharp as it was.
He’s doing first rate.”

As the captain had predicted, the young man, who had been within a
hair’s breadth of eternity, awoke a few minutes before noon, extremely
weak, but free from stupor, and in partial possession of his faculties,
and inquired where he was.

“You are among friends, young man, and safe; make yourself easy. Where
are you from?”

“Salem.”

“Salem! Was you born and brought up in Salem?”

“Yes, sir.”

“What is your name?”

“Brown, sir.”

“What is your father’s business?”

“He was a shipmaster, but he is not living.”

“Was his name Arthur?” cried the captain, more eagerly, his face
flushing, and then becoming very pale.

“Yes, sir.”

“And was he cast away in the Roanoke on Abaco, and all hands lost?”

“Just so, sir.”

“God bless you, my son,” shouted the captain, leaping from his chair,
and grasping both hands of the seaman, while tears of gladness,
streaming from his eyes, fell thick and fast on the pale features of
his wondering guest; “your father was one of God Almighty’s noblemen;
the first and best friend I ever had. All I am and all I’ve got in the
world I owe to him. Didn’t you never hear him tell about Ben Rhines,
the long-legged boy just out of the woods, with pine pitch sticking to
him, that had to make his mark on the ship’s articles, that he learned
to read and write, and made a shipmaster of?”

“O, yes, sir, a great many times.”

“Well, I’m Ben Rhines, what there is left of him. Is your mother
living? and what family did your father leave?”

“My mother is living in Salem. Father left three children, two girls
and myself; he also took a nephew to bring up after his father died.”

“Did he leave property?”

“No, sir. He owned a large part of the Roanoke, and there was no
insurance on her. My mother was left poor; father wasn’t a man to lay
up money.”

“No, he had too large a heart. I’m glad of it. I’ve got enough for
both, thank God! I thought I’d got enough to take me well through, and
shouldn’t try to make any more,—but I will. I’ll just give my mind to
making money. I’ll make lots of it. I’ll go to sea again. I’ve got a
glorious use for money now. But how came you in an English ship? Among
all the friends your father had, and the hundreds whom, to my certain
knowledge, he helped into business, was there not one who thought
enough of his obligations to do for his son?”

“Yes, sir. After father was lost, mother kept a boarding-house for
masters and mates of vessels, and many of his former friends boarded
with her, and set up our girls in a dry goods store. My cousin went
into a grocery store. I was the youngest. When I left school I went on
board a ship, belonging to a friend of father’s, as a cabin boy. He
put me right along. I am only twenty-one last July, the fourteenth.
The ship was sold in Liverpool; and by the captain’s good word, I got
a mate’s berth in an English ship, knowing if I got across to Halifax,
I could easily get home from there. The ship sprung a leak: the crew
and second mate took the boats, nautical instruments, and nearly all
the provisions, and left. They didn’t like the captain; he was a hard
man, and there had been quarrelling all the voyage. Finally they put on
their jackets (they might have kept the ship free), and told him they
had as many friends in hell as he had, and left. They offered to take
me with them; but I thought it my duty to stick by the captain and the
ship.”

“But how came the cook, the seaman, and the boy to stick by you. Why
didn’t they join the strongest party?”

“The black was a slave in Jamaica. The captain took a liking to him,
bought him when he was nineteen, and gave him his liberty. He wouldn’t
leave the captain. The sailor was a townie and shipmate of mine in the
other ship; the boy belongs in Salem, the son of one of our neighbors,
and was also with me in the other ship, and a better boy never stepped
on a vessel’s deck. We three stuck together. Captain Rhines, is there
any way I can get a letter to my mother, to inform her of my safety,
and also of the boy’s? She knows I was on my passage in the Madras to
Halifax, and that it is time for the ship to arrive there, and if the
crew are picked up or get ashore they will report us as lost.”

“We have a mail now once a week. It will go day after to-morrow.”

At this period of the conversation Mrs. Rhines came into the room, when
the captain, rushing at her, half smothered her with kisses.

“Why, what is the matter, Benjamin?” she exclaimed, noticing his
flushed face, and the traces of tears on it.

“Matter, Molly!” bursting out afresh; “the matter is, we’ve got another
boy. You know, wife, how much you have heard me tell about Mr. Brown,
the mate of the first square-rigged vessel I went to sea in, that did
everything, and more too, for me?”

“Indeed, Benjamin, I guess I have.”

“This is his boy, lying here on this lounge!—his only son, named for
him.”

“How glad I am, Benjamin!—glad on your account, and on my own, for the
sake of his mother.”

“Don’t you think, wife, when I took his father by the hand, to bid him
good by, as I was about to step aboard the James Welch as first officer
(through and _only_ through his means), I said, with a full heart, ‘Mr.
Brown, how can I ever repay you?’ His reply was, ‘Ben, do by other
young men you may fall in with, and who are starting in the world with
nobody to help them, as I have by you.’ And now a kind Providence has
put it in my power to save the life of his son, so help me God, if ever
a debt was paid, principal, interest, and _compound_ interest, this
shall be. Kiss him, wife.”

Mrs. Rhines kissed the wasted cheek of the young man, and assured him
that she was, equally with her husband, interested in his welfare, and
rejoiced to receive him as a member of their household.

“Now, Arthur,” said the captain, “you are our boy. You are just as much
at home in this house as we are ourselves, and the more we can do for
you the better we shall like it. John, here is your brother.”

This whole-souled declaration elicited no reply. The young man,
exhausted by the long and exciting conversation, had fallen asleep.

“Poor boy! he is weak. Only see the great sores on him. See what a
sight of little boils are coming out all over his arms.”

“That, wife, is soaking in salt water so long; and the sores are where
the ropes he was lashed with chafed him.”

Utterly unable to keep the discovery confined to himself and family any
longer, he mounted his horse, and rode full speed to tell Uncle Isaac
and Charlie. When he reached Charlie’s, he found the boy (who was less
accustomed to exposure) had recovered strength much more slowly than
the mate. The moment he saw the captain, he wanted to know how Mr.
Brown was getting along.

“You like Mr. Brown?” said the captain, after replying to his question.

“_Like_ him, sir! You can’t help liking him. Every man on board liked
him. The men wanted him to go with them in the boats; but they wouldn’t
have the captain, and he thought it was his duty to stick by him.”

“Do you think you will want to go to sea any more?”

“I shall go if Mr. Brown goes. How can I get home, sir, when I get my
strength again?”

“It will be some time before you will be fit to go. When that time
comes, I’ll get you home.”

“Could I send a letter, when I am able to write?”

“Mr. Brown’s going to write to-morrow to his folks and yours. What is
your name, my boy?”

“Edward Gates, sir. They call me Ned on board ship.”

“You are from Salem, too?”

“Yes, sir. Mr. Brown and I live on the same street—King Street. His
house is only four doors from mine.”

“Then you’ve always known him?”

“O, yes, sir. I went to school with him. He was one of the big boys,
and I was a little one. I used to say my lessons to him when the master
was busy, and sometimes he kept school when the master was sick.
Sometimes, when his father’s ship was in port, he would get her yawl
boat, and give us little fellows a sail.”

After the building of the Casco, Charlie had been enabled to gratify
his taste for cultivating the soil and improving his place. The
Hard-scrabble, under the command of Seth Warren, and the Casco, under
that of Isaac Murch, had made profitable voyages. Charlie and John
found themselves in possession both of means and leisure. Charlie had
built a large house, roomy enough to contain his men whenever he wanted
to build more vessels, a barn, workshop, and other out-buildings. Hard
wood stumps soon decay, white pine will last fifty years, and oak much
longer than beech, maple or birch. The slope in front of the house
presented a most enchanting view. Directly in front of the house was
a most noble growth of forest trees, where the birch, beech, maple,
and oak, in associate beauty, intermingled their huge trunks, covered
with moss, and of such majestic height as to permit the buildings to
be seen between their stems. A footpath wound among them to the outer
edge, where, between their gnarled and twisted roots, gleamed the clear
waters of Silver Spring.

Almost any summer or autumn morning, about nine o’clock, you might see
a gray squirrel sitting on one of the great tree roots, viewing himself
in the transparent water, washing his face, and making his toilet by
its aid. Scattered all along on the surface of the slope margining
the beach were clumps and single trees, of peculiar beauty and vast
size, which Charlie, by abstaining from the use of fire, had spared;
thus preserving what it would have required seventy years, and a large
outlay, to have obtained by planting.

Neither the mill nor the shop could be seen, except in one direction;
that is, when you were directly in front, they were so embosomed in
foliage, Charlie having left the growth around them, for he was in
possession of ideas of taste and beauty, of which neither Captain
Rhines, Uncle Isaac, or John had the least conception. It was a
pleasant sight, as you sailed away in the summer, to obtain indistinct
glimpses of the water between the tree trunks as it poured off the
dam, listen to the click of the saw, and catch through the leaves
the gleams of the carpenters’ axes; while far beyond, as the land
gradually rose, large fields of corn and grain, with their vivid green,
presented a most singular and beautiful contrast to the black limbs
and barkless trunks of the girdled trees among which they lay, their
hollow trunks—some standing upright, others fallen—affording a most
excellent roost for the crows, who paid their respects to Charlie’s
corn when it was in the blade.

At the lower edge of an immense forest of maple and birch, from which
every vestige of underbrush had been removed, were seen the walls of
a sap camp; while, instead of a path leading to the house, marked by
spotted trees, a carriage road had been made, so that Captain Rhines
could ride back and forth in his wagon, and Parson Goodhue in his
chaise—for he had arrived to that dignity. It was not, however, much
like the vehicle bearing that appellation at the present time. The
wheels and arms were large enough for a modern team wagon; the frame
of the top was made of iron; instead of leather, it was covered with
painted canvas, and on the sides were projections, like the wings of a
bird, to throw off the mud.

Charlie and Joe cut a footpath through the forest, between their farms,
and put logs across the gullies and sloughs, so that they could go back
and forth conveniently.

Two other notable events occurred this year. You know Uncle Isaac
was not a whit like most elderly people, any more than chalk is like
cheese. There was nothing stereotyped about him. He made a cider
mill, to replace his white oak beam and wooden maul. When he went to
Thomaston to see General Knox’s mills, he saw a cider press, in which
the cheese was pressed with wooden screws. The apples, also, instead of
being pounded to pieces in a trough, with a wooden maul, were ground
between nuts, made with grooves and projections fitting into each
other, and turned by a horse. Uncle Isaac took the pitch of the thread
of the screws, and when he came home made press and mill.

Ben also, that fall, brought over to his father and Charlie a bushel of
apples apiece, which he had raised from his young orchard.

“What do you think now about making cider on Elm Island?”

Charlie said, “I think, when you get ready, there will be a mill for
you;” and told him what Uncle Isaac had done.

Uncle Isaac didn’t stop here. He made his wife and Sally Rhines a
cheese-press, with screws. The way they pressed cheese before this was,
to put a lever under the sill of the house, place the cheese under it,
and then put rocks on the other end of the lever. At Ben’s suggestion,
he also made a press to press hay. Before this, they carried it loose
on board vessels, and couldn’t take any great amount, although, in
Massachusetts, presses had come in use, and Ben had seen them.



CHAPTER IV.

CAPTAIN RHINES MANIFESTS HIS GRATITUDE.


NED and the mate now began to mend rapidly. In the enjoyment of
abundant food and rest, inhaling the bracing air of autumn, and with
all the fruit they chose to eat, their sunken cheeks filled out, the
flesh covered their limbs, their muscles assumed their wonted vigor,
and they rapidly regained all that buoyancy which pertains to youth
and high health. Mrs. Rhines, Hannah Murch, and Mrs. Ben Rhines made
them clothes. And thus arrayed, as the evenings were now getting of
considerable length, they went around on social visits, with Charlie
and John, among the neighbors, and over to Elm Island; made friends,
and won good opinions every day.

Captain Rhines, instead of manifesting any disposition to take them to
Salem in the Perseverance, as he had promised at their arrival, said
not a word about it. Instead he seemed very earnest in laying plans,
and inventing amusements to make them contented where they were. One
day it was a gunning excursion by water; again hunting in the woods. At
another time he wanted them to help him about some harvesting, which
they were more than willing to do, and seemed never so happy as when
they were doing something for their benefactor.

The captain’s line of conduct was a sore puzzle to John and Charlie,
and indeed to all the family. The Perseverance must have a new mast and
windlass before she could go to Salem. But although Charlie had made
both, the captain would not let him put them in.

One day Charlie, John, and Ben were together on the island, and this
fruitful subject of conjecture came up.

“Ben,” said John, “what do you suppose the reason is father don’t take
Ned and Mr. Brown home? He said, when they were first picked up, that
he would take them to Salem in the Perseverance as soon as they were
fit to go. They are all right now, and want to see their folks.”

“He seems,” said Charlie, “to have forgotten all about it. I don’t
believe he wants to take them, for I’ve had the mast and windlass made
these three weeks, and he won’t let me put them in.”

“I’m sure I don’t know,” said Ben. “Father ain’t like most old folks.
He likes to have young people around him. Mother says he talks hours
and hours with Brown. Perhaps he don’t like to lose their company. If
you want to know, Charlie, why don’t you and John ask him?”

“I don’t like to.”

“Well, get Uncle Isaac to. He will ask in a moment; indeed, if there’s
a special reason, I’ll warrant he knows it now.”

“What seems more singular to me,” said Charlie, “is, that after telling
how much he thought of Arthur’s father and mother, how much he was
willing to do for his children, even to cut the last piece of bread in
two, that he don’t _do something_—build him a vessel. I have got out
board and ceiling plank at the mill, and deck plank all sawed out. It
would be a capital time now to get a frame and set her up this fall,
let her season through the winter, finish her in the summer, and rig
her before cold weather.”

“Benjamin,” said Uncle Isaac (as they shot into a thickly wooded cove
to rest their backs, on their way home from a fowling excursion),
laying his paddle across the float, and leaning both elbows on it, “why
don’t you take these boys home? they want to go.”

“Do they want to go?”

“To be sure. Isn’t it natural they should want to see their parents and
friends, after being at death’s door?”

“But their parents know they are comfortable, and they hear from each
other every week.”

“That isn’t like seeing them. There’s another thing; the boys want to
build a vessel for this young man, and so does Ben.”

“Ben wants to, does he?”

“Yes.”

“Hum.”

“He seems to be a nice, steady, well-informed young man.”

“Is that the way it strikes you, Isaac?”

“Yes.”

“The fact is, Isaac,” beginning to pick the leaves of a beech limb,
which hung over the float, and chew them up, “I am ready and willing,
and count it a privilege to do all I can for this boy, and his father’s
family; but whether building a vessel, and putting him in her, is the
_best_ way to do it, I am not clear.”

While they were engaged in this conversation, the boat had drifted
under the limbs of a birch, that had never regained its upright
position after being bent down by the ice and snow of the previous
winter.

“What have you got that’s good in that red box, Isaac?”

“I’ve got a chicken, boiled eggs, bread, butter, cheese, and
doughnuts,” he replied, placing the box on the middle thwart of the
boat, and removing the cover.

“There’s something to wash it down,” said the captain, unrolling a jug,
carefully wrapped in the folds of his long jacket. “That’s some of the
coffee I brought home in the Ark; it’s warm, too. We might as well eat
now as any time, for by the tide it can’t be far from noon.”

Uncle Isaac twisted one of the long, slender limbs of the birch into
a string, and making it fast to a thole-pin hole, it held the boat
stationary, while the two friends, sitting face to face in the warm
sunshine, gossipped and ate; and having eaten nothing since three
o’clock that morning, evidently enjoyed the repast, the warm sunshine,
and the sheltered nook, so highly as to wish to prolong the pleasure,
and ate very deliberately, till the meal was brought to an abrupt
termination by the entire consumption of the contents of both box and
jug.

“We were speaking, Isaac,” said the captain, “about this young man,
and about building him a vessel. If I was able to build him one, fit
her for sea, load her, and say to him, ‘Here, my boy, take her, and do
the best you can for yourself and me;’ and then if he made a ‘funger,’
pocket the loss, I would lay the keel to-morrow. But in doing that, I
must be concerned with others, and risk other people’s money. Here are
Ben, Fred, John, and Charlie, all ready to strike, only waiting for me
to say the word; and Mr. Welch would take hold in a moment if I should
say to him, ‘Here is a young man, who I think capable, wants a vessel
built.’ Now, how do I know he is capable of taking charge of a vessel
and managing business in these squally times, with the English and
French pitching into our commerce, and pirates to boot? A master of a
vessel must have grit and cool judgment—qualities that don’t always
nor often go together. He’s very young, has been only one voyage and
part of another as mate; of course has had but little experience. Some
men make first-rate mates, but poor masters; others poor mates, but
excellent masters. Then, if he should make a losing voyage of it, I
should feel very bad, and the rest (though they did not say it) might
feel that they had been brought into difficulties, and lost money
through me.”

“He is as old, and has had as much experience as Isaac had when he
became master. You was keen enough for putting him ahead; far more than
I was, though he is my own nephew, and has done splendidly. This young
man has had the best of schooling, and ten times the privileges Isaac
ever had.”

“_Schooling! privileges!_” cried the captain; “I wouldn’t give _that_
(snapping his fingers) for the schooling and privileges. What do they
amount to, if the man hasn’t got _Indian suet_,—hasn’t got the
articles in him? They _help_, but they can’t put anything _into_ a man.
I knew Isaac from the egg. I watched him as he grew up. There’s a great
deal in the _blood_. I knew the breed he came of, both sides. He sailed
with me. I taught him, and knew him through and through,—knew he had
the root of the matter in him. But in regard to this young man, I know
only the father. If he takes after his father in mind, as he does in
looks, he will be all right. But he may look like the father, and take
after the mother. I don’t know anything about her or her people.”

“You mean to help him, don’t you?”

“Reckon I do, if my life is spared. But I could help him without
building him a vessel, or involving other folks. I might give him a
couple of thousand dollars in cash, and let him help himself; or say
to him, ‘Arthur, go to Salem; see if some of your father’s friends,
and the people you’ve sailed for, won’t build you a vessel. I’ll take
an eighth or a fourth.’ I can help the mother,—that will be my own
concern, and nobody’s business,—and I shan’t involve others, and risk
their hard earnings.”

“But he’s been here some time. You’ve had him in your house all the
time, with opportunities for talking with him, and making up your mind.
What do you think?”

“I think well of him. I like him all round, think him capable, and, to
tell the truth, that is what I’ve been backing and filling for so long,
and keeping the boys back. I wanted _time_ to make up my mind, and have
you and the neighbors see and get acquainted with him, and find what
you all thought of him.”

“As far as my opinion is worth anything, I shouldn’t hesitate a moment.
There’s one little thing just settles the matter in my mind.”

“What is that, Isaac?”

“Why, his sticking by that captain. Here is a crew of men, the
sweepings of Liverpool; they take the boats, compass, and other
instruments, and shove off,—they’ve had trouble with the captain, and
are down on him, and mean to have their revenge,—leaving him to shift
for himself; the mate they like, and offer to take him with them—even
coax him to go; they have provision, water, and instruments, and are
not overloaded. In the boats, there’s no great risk; to remain, is
almost certain death. He is under no particular obligations to the
captain, who is an Englishman and a stranger, yet he sticks by him,
because he thinks it his duty. If _that_ ain’t pluck, principle, and
Christianity,—if that ain’t real manhood, I wonder where you’d find
it! There’s not one man in a hundred—no, not in a thousand—_would_
or _could_ have done it. And, Benjamin, ‘twill take a great deal to
make me believe that a man who has got all _that_ in him hasn’t all the
other qualities that go to make up a man.”

“It’s just what his father would have done. Well, Isaac, I’ll take them
to Salem. I’m acquainted there; have an old shipmate that knew his
father. I’ll see the captain he’s been mate with, and if they speak
well of him, we’ll go ahead.”

“John,” said his father, on his return home, “clap the saddle on the
horse, ride over to Charlie’s, and tell him he may get the schooner
ready as soon as he likes; and tell Fred to get his fish and potash
ready, for I’m going to Salem, and will take a freight to Boston, and
bring back any goods he wants.”

Captain Folger was sitting in his store just before noon, frequently
looking at his watch, for the demands of appetite were pressing,—he
had set up a ship-chandler’s store, after having spent the greater
part of life at sea,—when Captain Rhines entered, and most agreeably
surprised him.

“Why, Captain Ben!” exclaimed the old seaman, grasping his friend by
the hand, “what good wind has blown you hither?”

“I had business in Boston, and so called in here. It’s long since we’ve
met. I hardly thought you’d know me so readily.”

“_Know_ you! Old shipmates don’t forget each other.”

“So you’ve left off going to sea, and turned storekeeper!”

“Yes; it’s the most natural thing an old shipmaster can do to turn
ship-chandler, and have vessels and rigging to look after. I couldn’t
be contented ashore in any other business. I own some navigation,
and have that to look after. My shop is a loafing place for the old
captains, and we fight our battles over again, spin our yarns, plan
voyages, and keep each other’s spirits up. We heard about your going
to Cuba on a raft, and it was agreed on all hands it was the smartest
thing ever done in these parts, or anywhere. You ran a confounded risk,
but they say you made your Jack out of it.”

“Yes, I made _something_.”

“You knew Captain Brown, Arthur, who was lost on Abaco?”

“_Knew_ him! I guess I did. He was the means of putting me into
business.”

“He was the means of putting a great many into business.”

“Do you know his son?”

“What, young Arthur?”

“Yes.”

“To be sure. We’ve been much worried about him. The vessel he was in
foundered, but he has been picked up, so his mother tells me.”

“I picked him up, and brought him here not two hours ago. What kind of
a young man is he?”

“As fine a one as ever the sun shone upon; he is thought a great deal
of here, both upon his father’s account and his own.”

“Is there business in him, or only goodness?”

“Both; as much of one as the other.”

“Do you know Captain Bates, who he was mate with?”

“Yes.”

“Will you introduce me to him?”

“Yes; he’ll be in here about two o’clock, with half a dozen more old
web feet, that you know, or who have heard of you, and we’ll have a
jolly time of it. But come,” looking at his watch, “it is grub time; go
up to the house; you belong to me while you are here.”

“I will dine with you; but I made an engagement with young Brown to
meet me here at five o’clock, and I am to take tea with him.”

Captain Rhines met Captain Bates at three o’clock, who, in reply to
his questions in relation to young Brown, replied, “If you’ve got a
frigate, give it to him.” When Arthur came, according to appointment,
Ned Gates came with him.

“Captain Rhines,” said Ned, “father and mother want you to come to our
house, and stop with us while you are here.”

“He’s going to stay with us,” said Arthur.

“No, he ain’t,” said Captain Folger; “he belongs to me. He can go to
supper with Arthur, and he can dine to-morrow with you, Ned; but we are
old shipmates, and the rest of the time he belongs to me.”

Captain Rhines, while at Mrs. Brown’s, proposed that the whole family
should go down and live with him. But Mrs. Brown, who was a capable,
energetic woman, many years younger than her husband, would by no means
consent. She told him, in reply, that her daughters were doing well in
their store; that though her husband left her no money, he had left
the house clear of debt. That his nephew was learning a trade, and she
was doing well keeping boarders, and could not consent, by any means,
to live upon him, as she could not be happy in so doing; but as he had
announced his intentions of helping Arthur to a vessel, she should feel
under the greatest obligations.

Before leaving, he compelled her to accept a check upon Mr. Welch
for two thousand dollars, made the girls a present of five hundred
more, and a hundred to George Ferguson, the nephew, without which, he
declared, he could not sleep nights.

Having accomplished this, he felt quite satisfied and happy; and began
to talk with Arthur in relation to the intended vessel.

“What kind of a vessel do you want, Arthur, and what trade do you want
to go into?”

“I should prefer, sir, always with submission to your better judgment,
a sharp vessel, that will outsail the English cruisers, run the
gantlet, and carry provisions and supplies to France. There will be
risk, but I have an idea there will be corresponding profit.”

“That’s the talk, my boy,” cried the captain, delighted with a proposal
so congenial to his own hardy and enterprising nature. “I only wish I
was young enough to go into it myself. Now, if there’s a man in these
United States that can build a clipper that will show a clean pair of
heels to anything that swims, that man is Charles Bell.”

It was just after dinner, of a pleasant afternoon, Charlie and his wife
were seated in the sun, in the barn-door, husking corn, the sharp click
of a horse’s feet that overreached was heard.

“That’s father,” said Mary. “I know the click of the mare’s shoes.”

“Charlie!” shouted the captain, never stopping, till the mare’s feet
struck the heap of corn in the floor, sending the kernels in Mary’s
face, “grind your broad-axe. Arthur Brown wants a vessel that will show
her heels to the English frigates, run the blockade, and make the sweat
stand on a dolphin’s nose to keep up.”

“I am thankful,” cried Charlie, delighted, “that after so long a time
I am to build something that is not a box.”

“You can’t find a better model than the Hard-scrabble.”

“Than the Hard-scrabble?”

“No; she sails well when she is light, and with a free wind in ballast,
Isaac says there’s nothing will catch her. Just give her more depth,
so she can hold on, and put the sail on her, and I tell you she would
streak it. You must have breadth to carry sail.”

“Well, I’ll do the best I can.”



CHAPTER V.

“WE WERE PUT INTO THIS WORLD TO HELP ONE ANOTHER.”


IT was about eight o’clock Saturday night. Captain Rhines had sailed
that morning for Boston.

Mrs. Brown had finished her household business for the day, and was
seated before a bright fire in a cosy little sitting-room, reserved for
her private use. Her children were with her, the girls having closed
the store earlier than usual, and with the beloved and rescued son and
brother in the midst, they were talking over the exciting events of the
week.

“When I look back upon what has happened for the past two or three
weeks,” said the happy mother, “it seems like a dream. There I was, day
after day, and week after week, watching the papers, and no news of
the vessel, a short passage too. Then I got Captain Folger to write
to Halifax, and the consignee wrote that they supposed the vessel was
lost, as one of her boats, bottom up, had been found, and a bucket
that had the vessel’s name on it. A husband and son both buried in the
ocean. It tore open the old wounds, and they bled afresh; brought up
all the anguish of your father’s loss anew. I felt it was more than I
could bear. How I begged and plead with my heavenly Father for your
life, Arthur, the widow’s only hope! And some how, whenever I rose
from my knees, I felt better than when I knelt down; a feeling as
though, some how or other, the cup would pass from me, seemed to take
possession of me, and this feeling kept me, for the most part of the
time, on my knees. I felt better and happier there than anywhere else.”

“Don’t you think, mother, when I came to be on that raft, provisions
and water all gone, the captain raving mad and jumping overboard, my
shipmates dying one after another, that I didn’t think of you, and
that you were praying for me? Poor little Ned and I, our throats were
so dry and parched we couldn’t speak so as to be heard by each other
above the winds and waves. I fell into a doze, and dreamed I saw a most
beautiful grove of apple trees all in blossom, and a great long table
spread under them, covered with piles and piles of meat, and great
goblets, that held a gallon, full of the clearest water; and you was
sitting at it, and saying, ‘Come, Arthur, this is all for you.’ I tried
so hard to move towards you, it woke me; and I heard a shout, ‘Raft,
ahoy! Is there anybody can take a line?’ Then I knew there was help. I
tried to shout, but couldn’t. I could only raise my arm. Soon I heard
something strike the raft; a voice shouted, ‘All fast!’ and two men
stood over us. They were Mr. Ben Rhines and Charlie Bell. They told me
to keep my heart up, for they would stick by me; but I was so overcome
I fainted away.”

“Brother,” said Ellen, “didn’t you suffer terribly before you got so
low as that?”

“Tongue can’t describe it; but the thirst was the worst. But here I am
now, sitting before this comfortable fire, in this old room where we
have spent so many happy hours, with you all around me. I’m sure, as
mother says, it seems like a dream to me.”

“I hope,” said the widow, “such trials and such mercies will make us
better; they certainly should.”

“I feel that it has been good for me,” said Eliza. “I thought, when
we were in that agony of uncertainty, ‘O that I, too, could pray with
mother! that I had a right to, as I felt she had! But when Captain
Rhines’s letter came, I did go to God with tears of thankfulness, and
trust I was accepted.”

“I thought, if my poor boy’s life could only be spared, even if he was
a cripple, or injured for life, I could ask no more. And then to have
him come home so well and happy, with such a friend as God has raised
up for us all in Captain Rhines! Yet I can never think upon him and his
kindness but it makes me reflect upon myself.”

“Why so, mother?” said Arthur.

“Your father was of most open and generous nature, far too much so
for his own interest, and, as I then thought, for that of his family,
while my disposition was very different. My parents were poor, and I
was brought up by a relative, early taught hardship, knew the value of
money, and was naturally prudent. Your father would take the clothes
off his back to put on anybody else. I used to go to sea with him,
when we were first married; and when sailors came on board without
clothes, he would give them clothing, fix them all up, and make them
comfortable. I used to tell him, sometimes, that if they drank,
gambled, and threw all their money away, they ought to suffer the
consequences, and his first duty was to his family. But it was no use
to reason with him; he couldn’t help it—couldn’t bear to see anybody
suffer; and at length I refrained from saying anything on the subject,
but tried to economize all I could, to offset his liberality. He never
concerned himself about household matters, was gone a great part of the
time, and left everything to me.

“He would come home, and bring barrels of sugar and molasses for family
use, and bags of coffee, and have them hauled up to the house; and also
quantities of fine cloths from Europe and the East Indies for me and
the children, and material for towels, curtains, and bedding. After he
was gone, I would live as prudently as possible, sell a great part of
the things sent home, and put by the money against time of need.

“After our third child was born, he began to alter gradually, and
seemed to have different ideas, became more prudent, and, as he was a
man of great business talent, began to accumulate, and soon owned a
good part of the vessel, and, had he lived, would have become a wealthy
man, but was taken away in a moment. There was no insurance on the ship
or cargo, and all he had accumulated was gone, except this house. Then,
being left a widow, with a young family, I found the benefit of the
little I had saved.”

“I’m sure, mother,” said Eliza, “I don’t see what you have to reflect
on, except with satisfaction. You were not saving for yourself, but for
us children, and for father, had he lived to be old, and past labor.”

“Ah, but I was so anxious that your father should lay up something for
his family, that after he was gone, I felt that perhaps I had said more
than I ought; sometimes, too, I would discourage him from doing for
others, when it did not consist in giving money; when he would spend a
great deal of time at sea in teaching some young man navigation, when,
as I thought, he ought to have been asleep in his berth, or resting;
often, when he was on shore, and I wanted him to go with me, he
would be running here and there, night and day, to get a vessel built
for somebody, and oftentimes get small thanks for it, as I told him.
Then he would say, ‘Harriet, we were put into this world to help each
other; we ought not to feel vexed or disappointed if we do not always
receive gratitude from those we have befriended, when we consider how
ungrateful we are ourselves to our Maker, but do our duty.’ These
things often came up in memory, after he was taken away, and I would
have given anything if I had not said some things, and could have taken
them back.”

“But, mother,” said Ellen, “I don’t think you ought to feel so. You
meant it for his good.”

“I thought I did, at the time; but since then I have felt there was a
good deal of selfishness at the bottom, that ought not to have been
there; that your father felt it, and it pained him, for I could see a
shade of sadness flit across his face, like a cloud across the sun in a
spring morning.”

“Don’t cry, mother,” said Arthur, putting his arm around her, and
wiping away the tear that trembled on her cheek.

“But when,” she continued, in a voice broken with emotion, “in the
midst of my anguish about you, that letter came from Pleasant Cove,
telling me your life had been saved by Captain Rhines (one of the very
boys your father had worked so hard to help), so full of sentiments of
affection for your father, and gratitude for the favors he had received
from him, and a few days later your letter, telling me of their
kindness to you and Ned, I was overcome.”

“O, mother, I can’t tell you one half they did for me, because it can’t
be told; for it was not only what they did, but the way they did it. It
came so right out of the heart. They seemed to love to do it, and it
was done with such looks and tones of love.”

“Yes; and when that noble man came up here, and couldn’t do
enough—wanted to take us all home with him—insisting upon it, didn’t
I feel condemned for trying to hinder your father from helping others,
and telling him he got small thanks for it? Here, now, is one of those
very persons, becoming a father to his son, putting him right into
business at once.”

“Well, mother, I’ve made up my mind to one thing—I’ll try to show
myself my father’s son, and practise that which I approve of so much
in others. I’ll let Captain Rhines, Mr. Ben, Charlie, John, and the
others see that I am not deficient in gratitude. If God gives me life
and strength, the grass shan’t grow on that vessel’s bottom. I’ll make
her a happy vessel for sailors, and help every young man I can, as
father told Captain Rhines to do when he asked him how he could repay
him. And as he has helped me, whether I get any thanks for it or not,
I’ll look higher than that for my reward,—I’ll get it in doing my
duty. I’ll begin with my shipmate, little Ned Gates.”

“I am glad to hear you talk thus, Arthur. Your father’s principle was
the true one,—do right because it is right,—and from all I have
seen, it generally bears the best fruit even in this life. There was
your uncle David, just the opposite of your father; always saving
for his children; so close as to be on the edge of dishonesty, if
not actually dishonest; never had a thought or care for any one but
himself or his own, and, just as he had amassed a large property, went
into a great speculation in his old age for the sake of getting more,
when he had more than enough already risked the whole, and lost the
whole. Now, worn out, and broken down, without a house over his head,
everybody says, ‘Served him right,’ and his children all poor, while
your father’s good name and deeds have been money at interest for his
family, and the bread he cast upon the waters has come back after many
days.”

“Mother, there’s one thing I want you to do before I go to sea.”

“What is that, Arthur?”

“Just send off these boarders,—no longer make a slave of
yourself,—and take some comfort. The girls are doing well in the
store; George supports himself; I am going to have business, and
Captain Rhines has given you and the girls money; so there’s no need of
working, and wearing your life out now.”

“I couldn’t feel right, Arthur, if I were not earning something; a
thousand dollars would soon be spent, come to sit down and live upon
it; you may have hard luck at sea; the girls are doing well, to be
sure, but they have got to return the money that friends loaned them
to start with. I have put that thousand dollars in the bank, against
a rainy day; besides, I have another reason for wishing to earn
something.”

“What is it?” asked Ellen.

“I want to atone for past selfishness, and follow your father’s example
in doing what little I can to help those poorer than myself. It’s but
little I can do, to be sure, but I mean to do that little cheerfully,
and I trust ‘twill be accepted. There is the mother of poor James
Watts, who was on the raft, and died. She is poor, and bereft of all
her dependence, for he was a good boy, and gave her all his earnings,
while my child was spared, and friends raised up to help me; and I mean
to do all I can to help and comfort her. I mean to act on your father’s
principle, ‘Harriet, we were put into this world to help each other.’”

“At any rate, mother, you need not have so large a family and work so
hard; you can keep more help; you must gratify me in that.”

“Well, I will, my son.”

At this period of the conversation, the servant announced that a young
man wanted to see Arthur.

“It is Ned; tell him to come in here. Good evening, Edward; sit down
beside me; this is more comfortable than the raft.”

“Indeed it is, sir.”

“I suppose you hardly care to sail salt water any more, you’ve had such
bad luck this time.”

“O, yes, sir; old Captain Osborne tells me some people have all their
bad luck at once, and that it’s a good sign when a man falls overboard
before the vessel leaves the wharf, or is wrecked at the first going
off. He says that ship was cursed.”

“Was cursed!” said Mrs. Brown; “what did he mean by that?”

“He says, marm, that he knew that captain; that he was a cruel man to
sailors, abused and starved them (that I know to be true); that it was
thought he had murdered men. Are you going again, Mr. Brown?”

“Yes, Edward. Captain Rhines and his folks are building me a vessel; I
expect the keel is laid by this time.”

“Can I go with you, sir?”

“Yes, if your parents are willing.”

“They are willing I should go with _you_, sir.”

“It will be some months before the vessel is ready; now, you better go
to school, and get all the learning you can.”

“Yes, sir; shall I study navigation?”

“No; I’ll teach you that on board ship. Study arithmetic and
book-keeping, learn to keep accounts and write a business hand, and
study trigonometry and geography. If we live to get to sea in the ship,
we won’t starve, or abuse anybody, nor pass any wrecks, and try not to
have the vessel cursed. We know what it is, my boy, to starve, and to
be helped in distress, and will do as we have been done by.”

“Mr. Brown, don’t you think the folks at Pleasant Cove and round there
are the best folks that could be?”

“Yes, Ned.”

“But don’t you think Charlie is handsome,—the handsomest man that ever
was?”

“I think Captain Rhines is handsome.”

“Yes, sir; but Charlie Bell; is it any hurt for me to call him Charlie?
They all down there call each other so, and somehow I seem to love him
more when I don’t put the handle on.”

“No, indeed; do you love me better when you don’t put on the handle?”

“No, sir; because I have been used to calling you Mr. Brown, and it
comes natural, and I couldn’t love you any better than I do.”

“I suppose, Ned, Charlie looks handsome to you, and Captain Rhines to
me, because we had the most to do with them; but they are both really
fine-looking men. Most people would think John Rhines a finer specimen
of a man than Charlie. I have seen a great many men, but I never in
all my life saw so fine a proportioned young man as John Rhines; if he
lives, he’ll be almost as strong as Ben. Charlie is the handsomest,
John the most manly.”

“But, sir, do you know what I thought (I suppose I was wandering) after
they took us off the raft, and I kind of came to? I opened my eyes,
and Charlie was bending over the bed. I looked him right in the face;
such a beautiful face, so much goodness in it, I thought I had got to
heaven, and that an angel was hovering over me; and then, when I came
to myself, he was so kind,—fed me with a spoon, took me in his arms,
and put me in a chair, just as my mother would; and Ben Rhines, though
he ain’t handsome, he is just as good as the rest. Uncle Isaac and Fred
Williams, they are all just as good as they can be. I mean to go down
there, and stay a month at Pleasant Cove, and Elm Island. They asked me
to.”



CHAPTER VI.

THE YOUNG CAPTAIN UNDER FIRE.


THE day is breaking. A vessel of two hundred and fifty tons lies
completely enveloped in a dense, damp fog, and becalmed, off the coast
of France, in the Mediterranean.

It is impossible to discern an object twice the length of the vessel.
Let us go alongside, and see if we can arrive at any conclusion
respecting her character and business. She is evidently of American
build, though she shows no colors; but spreading a cloud of canvas,
modelled and rigged entirely with reference to speed, and though
unarmed, with a much larger crew than would be required in the ordinary
pursuits of commerce. The appearance of the crew as to dress is quite
in contrast to that of a ship’s crew at the present time, for during
the last forty years there has been a gradual change in the clothing
of seafaring men, rendering it not only more comfortable, but much
lighter.

At that time, sailors wore, for head covering, tarpaulins. These were
generally made by the men themselves at leisure moments on board ship.
The process was this: as the course of trade in those days was chiefly
to the West Indies, they procured the leaves of the dwarf palm, which
they split into proper widths and platted, making the button, in the
middle of the crown, of the same material, though some, as a matter
of fancy, took the lead tags that came on bolts of canvas, and some
a piece of money, and punching holes in the rim, began their work on
that. After the braid was made, it was sewed together with ravellings
of duck; then, if there was a pig killed on board, or a porpoise
harpooned, they soaked the hat in the blood and let it dry, to make
it stiff (this was sailors’ paste), then covered it with canvas, then
mixed tar, grease, and salt water together, and daubed it with the
composition to render it water-proof; but after a while they found that
black paint was just as good, and much lighter. Then tarpaulins gave
way to peaked red caps, Scotch caps, and finally the present dress was
adopted. But the crew of the brigantine wore tarpaulins of still more
ancient dates, and of enormous weight, made by covering thick wool hats
with tar and canvas. The dress of landsmen at that time was breeches
and long hose, but sailors wore trousers very wide at the bottom of
the legs, the rule for the width, being the length of the foot; on
their feet, for dress-up to go ashore, slippers that showed the joint
of the great toe. Sheath knives were not worn, except occasionally by
some Spanish sailor; they used large, square-pointed jack-knives of
English manufacture, slung to the neck by a lanyard. The officers, both
captain and mate, wore at sea short jackets. If a mate then had worn
a long-tail coat, the sailors would have cut the tails off with their
jack-knives. Every one of the ship’s company wore his hair in a cue,
which was wound, when at sea, with an eel-skin, but with a ribbon when
going ashore, and hung down the back. When at work it was frequently
coiled around the top of the head and covered with the hat. Men prided
themselves on the length of their cue, and in their watch below,
watchmates combed out and tied up each other’s cues, and the cook or
steward took care of the captain’s.

She looks, for all the world, like a slaver. The use of copper on
the bottom of vessels was scarcely known then, and as she rolls to
windward, little spots of grease are seen floating on the water, and we
perceive that her bottom is covered with a coat of tallow and soap, to
increase her speed to the utmost.

There is something in the appearance of the man who is climbing
the main rigging that seems familiar. Looking more closely, we are
delighted to recognize our old acquaintance Walter Griffin, now growing
into a lithe, fine-looking young man. He is acting as second mate, that
officer being sick with a carbuncle on the back of his neck, the pain
of which made him nearly frantic.

Walter was remarkably keen of sight and quick of hearing, and therefore
went aloft as lookout, instead of a sailor. Although there was no
possibility of discerning anything from the deck at any considerable
distance, yet as the fog hung low, it was somewhat clearer aloft. There
was also a probability that the fog might scale when the sun rose, or a
breeze springing up sweep it away.

There is evidently great anxiety among the ship’s company to gain
intelligence, for all hands are on deck, the men clustered as thick as
bees on the forecastle. The mate, a stranger, paces the quarter-deck.
As Walter goes aloft aft, and another man forward, he cautions them, if
they see or hear anything, not to hail the deck, but make a signal. A
real racer, and no mistake, this craft. Lashed to the bulwarks are huge
sweeps, with which the numerous crew (for they are evidently picked
men of large proportions) can move her with considerable speed in a
calm. But what is she? Some slaver from the French islands, built in
Baltimore, and trying to get home? But how comes Walter Griffin there?
To increase our surprise, as we look at the men grouped together on
the forecastle, we recognize, seated on the heel of the bowsprit, our
old friend Peterson, the largest man of the crew, and just behind him
his son, who is fast emulating the massive proportions of his sire;
but the usually cheerful face of the black was clouded with anxiety.
On the end of the windlass, with one arm flung over the bitt, sits
Sydney Chase, on the shank of the best bower anchor George Warren,
a brother of Seth; and leaning against the stock of the anchor, in
whispered conversation with him, is another old acquaintance, Danforth
Eaton, recalling Elm Island, with all its home-like associations and
interests. We almost expect to see Uncle Isaac and Captain Rhines make
their appearance next. Between the knight-heads is Enoch Hadlock,
a brother of Sally Rhines. The rest of the crew are Pettigrews,
Godsoes, Merrithews, Lancasters, Warrens, Athertons, and Elwells, all
belonging to Rhinesville, Pleasant Cove, or thereabouts. While thus
perplexed, we gaze, seeking for some clew to guide us and unravel
the mystery, the vessel, having no steerage-way, swings lazily
round in the tide, presenting her stern to full view, where we read
“Arthur Brown, Pleasant Cove,” and recognize in the boy sitting on
the foretop-gallant-yard, little Ned, and the next moment the manly,
handsome face of Arthur Brown appears in the companion way.

It is all out now. Charlie has ground his broad-axe to some purpose.
This is the vessel built by the Hard-scrabble boys and Captain
Rhines for Arthur Brown, the noble offering of a manly, grateful
heart, repaying to the son the debt incurred to the deceased parent,
and bearing on her stern the name of him whose body sleeps beneath
the waves that wash the cliffs of Abaco. What a contrast to the
Hard-scrabble! what a testimony of the energy and progressive ideas
of her builders! She is a model of symmetry and beauty; yet you can
plainly see the lines of the West Wind, of famous memory. Charlie has
put his whole soul in her; give her wind, she has evidently little to
fear from the clumping British men-of-war.

But there is not a breath of wind; she lies helpless off the port of
Marseilles, which the English are blockading, deeply laden with a
cargo, every article of which is contraband of war.

It is the period when, after the outbreak of the French revolution,
England had declared war against France, and, supreme at sea, was
capturing the French West Indies, and blockading their home ports.
The great majority of the people in this country, especially all the
mercantile portion of the community, sympathized with France; they
cherished a feeling of gratitude to her as our ally in the war of the
revolution, a bitter hatred against England, growing out of the right
of search, which she exercised in the impressment of seamen, which
eventually led to the war of 1812.

It was all the government could do, aided by the great personal
influence of Washington, to restrain the country from entering into
alliance with France against England, and coming to open hostilities.
In this state of things, sharp vessels, manned by resolute men,
conducted by skilful pilots, influenced by motives of friendship and
self-interest on one side, and a bitter sense of oppression on the
other, broke the blockade which Great Britain (whose fleets were
scattered over a vast extent of ocean) attempted to maintain in respect
to the French coasts and West Indies, and supplied them with both arms
and provisions.

This is the errand of the Arthur Brown to run the blockade of
Marseilles, and accounts for the feeling of anxiety evident upon the
faces of both officers and crew, since their fortunes are alike at
stake, as each one, in lieu of wages, receives a share in the profits
of the voyage, and if captured breaking the blockade both ship and
cargo would be confiscated. There was also another and more terrible
cause for anxiety—the dread of impressment. The commanders of English
ships were accustomed to take men by force from American vessels,
claiming them as British, disregarding the custom-house protection,
which declared them to be American citizens, sometimes even tearing
them up, and they were dragged away to spend their lives in the British
fleets. A terrible instance is on record, illustrating the dread
which in the minds of seamen was connected with impressment. A fine,
stalwart, young American seaman, being about to be taken by force from
an American merchantman, under pretence that he was an Englishman,
seeing no way of escape from a bondage worse than death, clasped the
boarding officer in his arms and leaped overboard with him, when both
sank, to rise no more till the great day of account.

In the course of half an hour, in obedience to a signal from Walter, a
man ascended the rigging, and, coming down, reported that Griffin was
sure he heard a rooster crow, and also the sound of oars in a rowlock.

The tide, which was at the flood, had drifted the vessel to the
neighborhood of a large rock, that was dimly seen through the fog. The
captain called Peterson aft. “What rock is that, Peterson?” The black
gave him the French name, and pointed it out to him on the chart.

“Then we are right in with the land?”

“Yes, massa cap’n; there’s another one inside this, right abreast the
harbor.”

Peterson, who was getting somewhat in years, having broken off his
intemperate habits, and obtaining good and constant employment at
home, had given up all thoughts of ever again going to sea; but
Captain Rhines persuaded him to go in the “Arthur Brown” as pilot and
interpreter. Peterson’s parents were Guinea negroes; but the boy was
born in Martinique, where his parents were slaves, and was sold, when
a child, to the master of a vessel that traded to Marseilles, during
which time he became perfectly acquainted with the harbor. The French
captain finally sold him to Captain Hadlock, the father of Sally
Rhines, who sold him to Peterson, with whom he remained till slavery
was abolished in New England.

Captain Rhines had frequently availed himself of his knowledge as
pilot, well knew his worth and reliability, and therefore insisted
upon his going with Arthur Brown. No other person on board could speak
a word of French, except Walter Griffin, and he not fluently, as he
had learned it but a short time before, but was daily improving by
conversation with Peterson.

There was now a signal from the foremast, Ned Gates reporting that he
heard blows as of a hammer on iron; and while all hands were anxiously
listening, the sound of a boatswain’s whistle was faintly audible.

“Man the sweeps,” cried the captain, running to the compass to note the
quarter from which the sound came. Taking the helm himself, while the
whole ship’s company applied their force to the sweeps, he steered in
a direction opposite to that from which the sound that had so alarmed
them proceeded. An hour thus passed without any repetition of the
sounds, when the fog suddenly lifted, the sun broke out, and they found
themselves almost within range of an English frigate on the port bow,
while a sloop of war lay some miles off on the other quarter. The crew
redoubled their efforts at the oars.

“It’s no use, boys,” said the mate; “you might as well put on your
jackets; the frigate is getting out her boats; they’ll be alongside of
us before we can sweep half a mile.”

“Sweep away, men,” cried the young captain, who was coolly watching the
clouds; “something may yet turn up in our favor.”

The man-o’-war’s-men, well aware of the character of the chase by the
efforts put forth to escape, and anticipating a rich prize, strained
every nerve, coming down upon their helpless victim with the speed of
an arrow. The sound of the oars in the rowlocks could now be distinctly
heard as the two leading boats diverged, one making for the fore and
the other for the main chains of the “Arthur.”

An expression of bitter anguish passed over the face of Arthur, as
he felt that all his fair prospects, the hopes of Captain Rhines and
others who had so nobly stepped forth to aid and start him in life,
were to be blighted in the bud.

The boats were now close aboard, and the bowmen stood up to grapple the
prize.

“Pull, men, for your lives!” shouted the captain, whose eye caught the
sails; “there’s a breeze coming; _her length_, only her _length_ ahead.”

They exerted themselves to the utmost, while, in pure recklessness,
Peterson burst into a song used by whalemen when towing a whale.

Despite their efforts, the foremost boat gained the quarter, and flung
a grappling; it caught. Just then a light air filled the loftier sails,
although there was not a breath of wind on deck. Slight as it was, it
was sufficient to shoot the swift craft ahead with accelerated speed,
leaving one boat far astern, towing and well nigh upsetting the other.
A sharp axe in the hand of Peterson descended upon the grappling
warp, and the boat was left astern, as the increasing breeze filled,
partially, the larger sails of the “Arthur.”

A broadside burst from the side of the frigate; but the shot all fell
far short, covering the water with foam.

The breeze now sensibly increased. The direction in which it sprung up
brought the frigate dead to windward.

“Dis be a bully grappling,” said Peterson, taking up the now harmless
implement. “Me take him home to Massa Rhines, to moor his boat with.”

The light breeze, which propelled the swift brigantine with
considerable velocity, was scarcely felt by the frigate; but as it
gradually freshened she began to move through the water, and picking up
her boats, crowded all sail in pursuit. But she had, during the light
wind, lost much precious time, profiting by which the brigantine had
increased the distance between them.

But now the situation of things was entirely reversed. The frigate,
though no match for the swift, sharp-built American, close-hauled on
a wind; yet dead before it, her great bulk and vast cloud of sail
rendered her superior; besides, as she could carry sail much longer,
and the wind was every moment increasing, she would, after a while,
drown the smaller vessel out. She was too near, at the outset, for the
brigantine to haul on the wind, and endeavor to cross her bows, as
already the shots from her guns began to fall uncomfortably near. The
wind was blowing in squalls; when the squall struck, the frigate would
gain, and almost heave her shot on board; when the wind slacked, the
brigantine would gain. Directly ahead lay a cluster of islands, reefs,
and outlying rocks; one island was called Pomegues, the other Rataneau.
These islands are now connected by a breakwater; then they were not.
The brow of the young captain now wore an expression of great anxiety;
he called the mate and Peterson to his councils.

“We are doing all we can,” said the captain to his subordinates, “and
as the wind increases we bury and she gains; her shot will soon be
coming aboard.”

“I see no way,” replied the mate, “but to haul our sheets aft, and
endeavor to cross her bows. If we could once get him on a wind, we
could shake him off.”

“Then,” replied the captain, “she would run square down on us; it
is useless to attempt that. What is your advice, pilot?” addressing
himself to the black, who was too modest to obtrude his opinion upon
his superiors.

“Massa cap’n,” said the black, “dis darky know all dese rocks jes as
little boy know his letters in de book. Dis island on de starboard
hand, he Rataneau; bold water close along shore, till get down to de
pint; den he shoal, many rocks, bad place. It low water now; we luff
right round de pint ob de island, right in among de shoals and rocks.”

“Then we shall go ashore.”

“Nebber you fear. Dis chile carry you clear. Dis darky know frigate no
dare come in. We drew leben feet ob water. ‘Spose he draw twenty-fibe;
he stand off good way; his shot no reach us. Den you be on de wind,
close-hauled, beat up ’twixt de islands and de main, hab smooth water;
’spose frigate he try beat up too; he no do any ting; wid dis vessel
on de wind, he nowhar. ’Spose he beat up toder side; den he hab _rough
water_; he do noting at all.”

There was not much time for deliberation, for, even while they were
speaking, a shot carried away the port davit, and splintered the planks
of the stern.

“If that shot had struck the main boom,” said the mate,—“and it did
not lack much of it,—all had been up with us.”

“You are right, pilot. Mr. Rogers, brace up the yards.”

While this manœuvre was being executed, a succession of terrible
screams arose from the forward part of the ship.

“Some poor fellow is struck,” cried the captain; “run forward, Mr.
Rogers, and see who it is.”

The second mate was now heard singing out, “Avast hauling on that
fore-brace. Slack it off handsomely.” Four or five men were at the same
time seen running up the fore-rigging.

In those days iron trusses to lower yards by (which they swing in all
directions as easily as a door on its hinges) were not known; but they
were made of rope, covered with leather, and very stiff. A man must be
sent up to overhaul them when the yards were swung.

Danforth Eaton went up to overhaul the weather-truss. The wind blew
the end of his cue—he had the longest cue on board—into the hole of
the cleat; it jammed fast, and the men bracing the yard hauled it in,
pulling out the hair by the roots, starting the skin from the flesh,
and well nigh breaking his neck.

“Cut the blasted thing off,” cried the sufferer (his eyes bloodshot,
and the tears streaming down his cheeks) to Walter, who was the first
to reach him.

Eaton never wore another cue, and his example was followed by a few of
his shipmates; and at length cues went out of fashion altogether.

The next shot fell wide; but as both vessels were now brought nearer
to the wind, it was evident, by the balls falling short, that the
brigantine was increasing the distance between them, which became still
greater as the man-of-war, afraid of the shoals, gave the island a
wider berth, while the brigantine, under the skilful pilotage of the
black, running as near as possible to the rocks, rounded the point of
the island, gradually coming up more and more to the wind, till, having
passed the last shoal, at a signal from Peterson, the yards were braced
sharp, the main sheet hauled flat aft, and she shot out into a clear
channel.

“Dere,” cried the black (who had stood on the bow, with his eye
glancing alternately from the water to the sails), as he flung his
tarpaulin upon the deck, and wiped the sweat from his forehead, “where
dat frigate now? Dis chile no see her,” he exclaimed, looking straight
to windward. “You ole man, Peterson, you lose de eyesight.”

A merry laugh went round, as the captain exclaimed, “You are looking
the wrong way, Peterson. Look to leeward. Well done, my old pilot;
reckon on a suit of clothes for yourself, and a dress for the old
woman. I see you are all Captain Rhines recommended you to be, and more
too.”

“Me tank you, massa cap’n; tank you, sar. Cap’n Rhines he know dis
chile well as he know hisself; wind blow awful; big sea; take two men
hold toder man’s hair on; ship scudding; Massa Rhines, he come on deck;
‘Mr. Strout!’ ‘Ay, ay, sar.’ ‘Who got de helm?’ ‘Flour, sar.’ (Dey call
me Flour den.) He say, ‘Den I go below. Gib me call, any change in de
weder.’ ‘Ay, ay, sar.’”

“Here comes another,” said the mate, as a hundred gun ship, aroused by
the firing, stood out from the roadstead of Marseilles.

“Here comes Grandfather Bull,” cried the captain, proud of the sailing
qualities of his craft. “On a taut bowline I wouldn’t fear their whole
navy. Come along, old gentleman.”

The fleets of Great Britain were at this time so fully occupied in all
parts of the world, that but a small number of vessels could be spared
to blockade the most important of the French ports, the heavier ships
lying just out of range of the forts, and patrolling the roadstead with
boats, while the lighter vessels scoured the coast. In bad weather they
were obliged to ride it out in an open roadstead, or run to sea—a time
always improved by the blockade-runners who were inside to get out,
and by those outside, while the fleet was scattered, to run in.

It was of the greatest importance for blockade-runners to ascertain the
position of the fleet in the daytime, and, eluding the outside vessels,
run by the others in the night, taking the chance of an attack from
their boats, and a broadside. In making the coast in thick weather,
they were always liable to find themselves, as in the present instance,
in the very jaws of the enemy.

Nothing but her sweeps saved the “Arthur Brown,” by preventing the
boats from boarding her, till the breeze came. The frigate, finding the
chase was hopeless, tacked ship, and returned to the coast; but so far
were the crew of the brigantine from relinquishing their purpose, that
they kept in sight, and the moment the twilight came on, stood in for
the land, guided by the frigate’s lights, while all was dark on board
the brigantine.



CHAPTER VII.

LITTLE NED AND HIS MOTHER.


WHEN Walter Griffin flung down the yard-stick, and jumped over Fred
Williams’s counter for the last time, he went directly on board the
Casco, and made several voyages to Cadiz with Isaac Murch, who valued
his services highly, and offered him promotion to remain with him;
but arriving from a voyage while the “Arthur Brown” was building,
the temptation to go in her on shares, and engage in all the perils
and excitements attendant upon running the gauntlet of the enemy’s
cruisers, proved perfectly irresistible to a boy of Walter’s sanguine,
fearless nature; and, as the vessel would be launched and away before
he could make another voyage and return, he resolved to wait for her.

In order to make the most of his time, he went over to Elm Island to
study navigation with Lion Ben, and then, by Captain Rhines’s advice,
to Salem, where was a French family, who, having fled from their native
country, during the revolution, in poverty, leaving their property
behind, supported themselves by teaching French, giving music lessons,
and employing themselves in any way which would bring the means of
subsistence. They also found no lack of sympathy among the inhabitants,
who, being a seafaring community, not only shared in the universal good
will at that time felt towards the French, but also were naturally
touched by the miseries of those who, having seen better days, and
accustomed to every comfort, found themselves, in old age, poor and in
a strange land.

Fred Williams had an uncle in Salem, a tanner. Walter boarded with him,
doing work enough in the tan-yard to defray the expense of his board.
Thus, under the instruction of persons of culture, and in daily contact
with them, he not only obtained a knowledge of the language, but
learned to speak it properly, and in a manner quite different from the
patois of Peterson, which, picked up from the lower class of people,
was, however, fluent, coarse, and vulgar.

Salem, as our readers will recollect, was the home of Ned Gates, who,
ready to like anybody who came from the neighborhood of Pleasant Cove,
received Walter with open arms, insisted upon having him at his house
to tea, and to stay all night, about half the time, and spent every
spare moment he could get with him.

Ned would go down to the yard and help Walter break bark, pull hides
out of the pits, take out the spent tan, and hang up the sides of
leather to dry, in order that his friend might have more time to study
French, and stuck to him like his skin. Were they not going to be
shipmates together, and share in perils?

Ned’s parents never wanted him to go to sea, and did all in their
power to prevent it; but finding his heart set upon it to such an
extent that he was utterly indifferent to everything else, and
unhappy, they yielded with the best grace possible. But when he was
shipwrecked, and came so near perishing with hunger on the raft, they
were greatly encouraged, thinking it would incline him to comply with
their wishes and abandon the sea. Ned’s mother was not only a most
affectionate parent, but a warm-hearted Christian woman. Like all
Christian mothers, she had been accustomed to hear her little boy say
his prayers, and continued the practice after he came to be a large
boy. Ned would leave the light burning, and his mother would come up,
sit by his bedside, hear him repeat the Lord’s Prayer, then kneel down
beside the bed and pray herself. Ned was a good boy, and loved his
mother dearly, but was full of life, and sometimes would do something
out of the way, so much so, that his mother, after hearing him say his
prayer, would get up, take the candle in her hand as though about to
leave the room, observing, “Edward, you have been a bad boy, to-day; I
don’t know as I ought to pray with you to-night.” This never failed to
bring Ned to terms. He would own up, if it was any concealed mischief,
confess, and promise amendment, for he could not bear to go to sleep
till his mother had prayed with him; yet he was nearly sixteen years
old, as smart a boy as ever went aloft to furl a royal or reeve signal
halyards. When the crew abandoned the sinking ship, Ned, as we have
before stated, preferred to stick by the captain.

Who says vulgarity, coarseness, and profanity are necessary
concomitants of courage?

“Edward,” said his mother, as he took the candle to go to bed, the
first night after getting home from Pleasant Cove, “leave the light;
I’ll come and get it.”

“Mother,” said he, after saying his prayers, “how nice it seems to be
once more in the old bed, and say my prayers to you, as I used to do!”

“I hope, Edward, you didn’t forget them while you were away from me.”

“I never turned in a night without it; but I didn’t have any mother to
come and get the light and kiss me when I got through.”

“I hope, my child, you did more than that. I hope, when you were
undergoing such misery on that dreadful raft, you prayed to God in your
own words, and out of your own heart.”

“No, I didn’t, mother.”

“Not pray, when there seemed nothing but death before you—a child
instructed as you have been?”

“No, mother. I suppose you want me to tell you just as it was.”

“Certainly, my child; but didn’t the captain, James Watts, or Arthur
Brown?”

“The captain was swearing part of the time, and crying the rest. One
minute he’d say he knew some vessel would come along and take us off,
and seem quite cheerful; the next minute he would wring his hands,
and swear, and cry, and say we should all starve to death on that
raft. After the little water and provision the men left us was gone,
he took to drinking salt water. It made him crazy, just as Mr. Brown
told him it would, for he said he had heard his father say so. Then
he ran off on the idea that we were going to kill and eat him. If he
saw us talking together, he would say we were plotting to kill him
and drink his blood. Mr. Brown said the second mate told him that he
passed a crew of men once on a wreck, and wouldn’t take any notice of
their signals, though they hoisted a signal of distress, and now he was
getting his pay for it. I suppose it was the idea he took in his head,
that we would kill and eat him, that made him jump overboard in the
night, when we were all asleep.”

“That was awful; but didn’t Arthur Brown or James Watts ever call upon
God?”

“Not as I know of; what they did inside I don’t know, but I never heard
them.”

“It seems very strange to me that a boy brought up to know and respect
all good things taught in the Catechism, and who never went to bed a
night in his life, till he went from home, without saying his prayers,
and having his mother pray with him, should be on a raft in the ocean,
starving, death staring him in the face, and not call upon God. I can’t
understand it; I should think that would be just the time, if ever in
the world.”

“Well, it ain’t, mother, though it may seem strange to you. It seems
strange to myself now; but I suppose, if I was in the same place, I
should do just so again. I did think of my prayers, and said them, as I
told you; but whenever I thought of doing anything more, it seemed to
me so mean to pray to God because I was in a hard place, when I never
did it when I wasn’t, that I couldn’t—I didn’t dare to. Then I was
thinking, most of the time, about being taken off, watching for some
vessel, or dreaming and thinking about eating and drinking.”

“Dreaming about eating?”

“O, yes, mother, that was the worst of it; when my tongue was so
swelled, as big as two tongues, and I was so weak from hunger that I
could hardly move, I’d fall into a doze, and dream that there was a
great table set full of everything that I loved, and then wake up, and
find it all a dream. One time I dreamed I was travelling on a road in
a real hot day, and saw a little wood on the side of a hill. I went to
it, and right between two great maple trees was a barrel sunk down in
the ground, and full of clear, cold water. It was a boiling spring, and
a flat stone right beside it. I thought I knelt down on the stone, and
looked way down into the clear, beautiful water, saw grains of sand
rolling over and over in it, and tried to drink; but whenever I got my
parched lips close to the water, it went away, and in my struggles to
reach it I woke; and there right before me was poor James Watts’s dead
face, and Mr Brown looking so pale and ghostly I thought he was dead,
and I all alone on the wide ocean. When I saw it was all a dream, I
burst into tears; after that, began to grow stupid and wandering, and
didn’t sense anything more till I found myself in a bed, and somebody
putting water in my mouth; and don’t you think, mother, I went right
back where I left off in my dream, and thought I was drinking out of
that spring? but it was Charlie Bell’s wife putting water in my mouth.
I tell you what it is, mother; people may think so who don’t know; but
if they were in such a place, they would find it wasn’t a very nice
time to be good.”

“My dear boy,” replied his mother, affected to tears by the narration,
“now that God has restored you to us, you have suffered so much, and
seen what the life of a sailor is, and what they are exposed to, I hope
you will never leave us again. You are all the son I have got—do stay
with us and your sisters. You have had a good education; your father
will take you right into the store with him, or he will set you up in
business, when you are old enough. There is Henry Bradshaw, that you
used to sit with in school; your old playmate; you used to love him,
and was just like a brother with him. He is going into business soon.
You can go with him, or you can learn a trade. Your father will send
you to college—he will do anything for you to keep you at home. If you
could only know what we underwent, after we heard the vessel was lost,
and thought you were lost in her, and what a thanksgiving there was in
the house after we got Captain Rhines’s letter, you certainly never
would leave us again.”

Ned was not taken by surprise, for he knew his mother’s heart, and
loved her. It was no easy task to deny the plea of such a mother, under
such circumstances, and the very first night of getting home, too. He
lay a long time silent, with eyes shut fast. His mother saw the tears
come out from under the closed lids, and, as she wiped them away, began
to hope her desires were to be realized.

“Mother,” at length he said, “you will think I am the worst, most
hard-hearted boy that ever was in the world.”

The mother trembled, but made no reply.

“Mother, I must go to sea. I can’t, indeed, I can’t stay at home.”

“But only think what you suffered, and how near you were to death.”

“But I didn’t die, mother. I’m all right now, and heavier than I ever
was in my life. I was weighed in Mr. Williams’s store the day before I
left, and weighed ten pounds more than I ever did before, without my
coat or waistcoat. Only think of that.”

“But only think what you suffered!”

“Don’t people suffer at home, mother? Just see what Will Webb has
suffered, all tied up in knots with rheumatism; and Tom Savage, with
the spine complaint. I do believe, if I knew I should go through all I
have been through the next voyage, I should have to go. Ain’t I a fool,
mother?”

“I think you are very foolish to leave a good home and kind parents
without any necessity for such hardships. Only think of your cousin,
poor James Ross, who fell from the main-mast and was killed, the very
first day out.”

“Well, mother, perhaps he would have died if he had been at home.
Captain Rhines says, when God wants a man, he’ll call him; and anybody
is just as safe on the royal yard as on deck, or at home in his bed.
Isn’t that so, mother?”

“I don’t know, my dear; I think I should a great deal rather have you
at home in this bed. Suppose you are sick at sea. There is no one to
take care of you.”

“Yes, mother, Captain Brown and Walter will.”

Mrs. Gates knelt down beside the bed, and prayed for submission to bear
what she felt to be a bitter trial—resigning a beloved, affectionate
boy to the hardships and chances of a life at sea.

“Mother,” said Ned, as she took the light in her hand to go down
stairs, “isn’t Walter Griffin a splendid boy?”

“Yes; too good a boy to go to sea.”



CHAPTER VIII.

MOONLIGHT CONVERSATION BY THE BROOK.


WALTER well deserved the praise lavished upon him by Ned. He had
little resemblance to his brother Joe, or indeed any other member
of the family, except in size. He was of large frame; Joe had great
square jaws, high cheek bones, his hair coarse and bristling, and
his joints large,—he was what is termed, in common parlance,
double-jointed,—and, though exceeding agile, was loose-limbed, and
somewhat awkward in his movements.

Walter, on the other hand, was compactly built, graceful in all his
movements; fair complexion, regular features, fine hair, that curled
upon the least exertion, and something in the expression of his face
that inspired confidence and attracted at once; though full of humor,
he possessed not a particle of Joe’s fondness for practical jokes.
Every whit as resolute and fond of rough sports as any of his race,
he had what none of the rest possessed—imagination and sentiment; he
was thoughtful, reflective, and a vein of almost feminine delicacy ran
through his whole nature.

All that Joe thought of, when he looked upon a noble maple, was, how
much potash it would make, whether a keel-piece could be got out of it;
or upon a majestic pine, how many boards it would scale.

But Walter looked upon them with other eyes; the murmur of the streams
and the glance of the river through the green foliage appealed to
susceptibilities that did not exist in the breast of the other. In
all other respects he was Griffin to the backbone. He was a universal
favorite; all the boys loved Walter Griffin, and he loved them in
return. He loved John Rhines, Fred Williams, and Uncle Isaac, but
Charlie Bell was his ideal of perfection, and, though so much his
senior, seemed nearer than all the rest. The thoughtful tenderness of
Charlie’s nature touched an answering chord in that of Walter; he found
something there, he could not find among his mates.

Charlie, trading with Fred, and owning a portion of the goods, was
often in the store, and brought a good deal in contact with Walter;
they naturally grew together.

When he found Charlie was going to be married, he told John he was real
sorry, because he knew he shouldn’t see so much of him, and he was
afraid he wouldn’t love him so much. But he soon found, to his great
gratification, that “the more angels in the heart, the more room.”

No sooner was Charlie married than he bought a pew in the
meeting-house, and asked Walter to sit with him (as Mr. Griffin had a
large family, and their pew was always crowded), and frequently invited
him to tea; he soon began to feel at home there, and found that he saw
a great deal more of Charlie than when he was obliged to go on to Elm
Island to see him, or met him occasionally at the store.

Charlie’s religion was not something put upon him like lacker upon
metal, but it was a part of him, as much so as the very blood in the
chambers of his heart, or the pulse in his veins; it made him happy,
and it was an instinct with him to communicate that which so blessed
himself to those he loved. It was not a task; he could not help it.
‘Twas just as much a part of his nature, as to press the hand or kiss
the lips of those he loved.

The period occupied by our narrative was long before the era of Sabbath
schools, notwithstanding young people by no means grew up, in the days
of our fathers, without religious instruction, and that of the most
substantial kind; since _parents then_ discharged, in respect to their
children, the duties which are now but too often surrendered to Sabbath
school teachers, and the material for mission schools, now so abundant,
did not then exist.

Parson Goodhue was accustomed, once a month, to assemble all the
children, as also the older boys and girls, in the school-house on
Saturday afternoon, and to put them the questions contained in the
Westminster Catechism, previously committed to memory.

Walter Griffin had made all his preparations for going to sea, as a
green hand, in the Casco, with Isaac Murch; the ship was ready to sail
Monday, for Cadiz. Walter having attended the catechising for the last
time, when he saw all his schoolmates, and received a parting blessing
from the good minister, started up to Pleasant Cove, to take leave of
Charlie, whom he met coming from the barn, where he had been tying up
his oxen.

“Good evening, Mr. Bell.”

“Good evening, Walter. I was afraid you would go away without coming to
see me.”

“I couldn’t think of that, sir; I came up to the school-house, and then
kept on.”

“Then you are all dressed for Sabbath, and I shan’t let you go from
here to-night; stop right here, and go to meeting with us in the
morning.”

“I fear I shall hinder you, sir.”

“Not a whit. Uncle Isaac has been helping me break up, and has just
gone from here; we’ve done work enough for one day. I’m going to clean
up and rest; come, go in; supper is about ready.”

Walter assisted Charlie to milk, and do his chores, and as the twilight
came on, they sat down together beneath a tree near the edge of a bank,
where the brook met the waters of the bay.

It was a most picturesque, lovely spot, one that Charlie dearly
loved, and to which he never took any one who he knew was incapable
of appreciating it; he didn’t like to have his chosen spots like an
unfenced common, for everybody and everything to trample on.

It was a warm evening, the first of September; the season had been
moist and shady; not a leaf gave token of decay. Just above them they
saw the white foam of the water, as it fell in broken wreaths of foam
over the precipice, and caught again the gleam of it through the
leaves, as with tranquil current it met the waters of the bay, rolling
with a low ripple upon the white sand of the beach.

They sat with their backs against a large oak that grew double, forking
just above their heads, and thus, being rather flat than round, offered
a convenient rest.

“Walter,” said Charlie, putting his arm around the boy, and drawing his
head on to his breast, “how do you like this spot?”

“I think it is most beautiful. I could sit here all night and listen to
that waterfall, and watch the moonbeams glancing on the water.”

“The first time I ever saw this place, I came here alone, on very much
such a night as this. I loved it then, and have loved it more and more
ever since. I shall miss you very much, Walter; only think how many
Sabbath days we’ve sat side by side in meeting; I hope there’s some
good come of it all. Walter, do you ever pray?”

There was no reply, but a tear fell on Charlie’s hand; at length he
said, “No, sir; I never did.”

“But you say the Lord’s Prayer?”

“No, sir.”

“Didn’t your mother learn you to say it when a child?”

“No, sir; there ain’t any goodness in our folks; we are a hard, rough
set; ain’t like other people; only think about wrestling, shooting, and
falling timber. When Joe became religious, he wanted to have prayers
Sabbath night; but father wouldn’t hear to it. Now he’s got a house of
his own, he can do as he likes.”

“But you are not a rough, thoughtless boy, Walter; you are a gentle,
loving boy, and you think; all the Griffin there is in you, is on the
outside; you love the woods, flowers, the waters, and this beautiful
spot touches you, just as it does me.”

Walter made no reply, but pressed Charlie’s hand.

“And you love me?”

“I do, Mr. Bell, with all my heart and soul.”

“Then how can you help loving God, who made everything and everybody
that you love and admire?”

“I know I ought.”

“Perhaps you don’t like to have me talk to you in this way.”

“Yes, sir, I do; I could hear you talk forever.”

“Walter, I don’t believe there was ever a boy in the world had more
friends than you have.”

“That is just what I was thinking myself, this very afternoon, when all
the boys and girls came round me at the catechising, and seemed sorry
to have me go away.”

“Don’t you think you owe a good deal to your Maker? and ought you not
to tell him so?”

“Yes, sir, I know I ought to; but I can’t.”

“You could ask me to speak to the captain, and get you a chance to go
in the Casco.”

“O, sir, you, Mr. Rhines, and Uncle Isaac are so good, I don’t feel
afraid to ask you anything.”

“God is better.”

“But he seems a great way off.”

“He would seem near if you would go to him, and try to get acquainted.
Besides, he has spoken first, and asked you to come.”

“I’m afraid you will think I am a very rude boy.”

“You are like all boys, and all the rest of us, before we begin to
think of better things. Now, Walter, there’s just one thing I want you
to do.”

“What is that, sir?”

“You know I have been on the ocean somewhat, and know what it is to be
there, and how sailor men feel, although you will soon know much more
about the matter than I do. There is no time, as you will soon learn,
when a sailor man spends his time so well as in the middle watch of a
pleasant night, when it is fair weather and moderate—everything going
along smooth. It is then, if a man has any conscience, it wakes up;
if he has had good bringing up, and good instructions, they come to
his mind; it is then his thoughts are homeward bound, and he thinks of
parents, brothers, sisters, and all he loves best on earth. Then he
travels over the whole ground, from childhood clear along. You’ll find
it so.”

“I expect I shall spend many an hour in that way, and then I shall
think of you and all your kindness to me.”

“It isn’t kindness, Walter; it is more than that. I have enjoyed it as
much as you. There are some beautiful nights at sea, as well as dark
and dismal ones. There will be nights just like this, when the moon
will glance on the long swell just as it now does on the little ripple
on that beach, and the stars will seem like so many eyes looking down
upon you, and the royal will look in the shadow as if it reached the
sky.”

“I know I shall enjoy such nights, and wish them longer.”

“They make up for a good many rough ones, and you can live them over
many times. Well, when such a night comes, I want you, as you look on
the moon and stars, to remember that as the same moon is shining on me,
looking down on this little brook, and into the cove, so the same good
heavenly Father is over us both; that then I shall look at that moon,
and think of you; this little nook, the trees, and all we’ve said to
one another here will travel out on the ocean to meet you; then perhaps
you may think, I wonder if some good friend is not thinking of and
praying for me; ought I not to do something for myself?”

“I thank you for all these pleasant thoughts. I never thought of such
things before. It is not the way Parson Goodhue talks to us about
religion.”

“Well, he is a wise man. I can only talk in a simple way, as it comes
to me, and out of my heart.”

“But you don’t talk to me like as anybody else does. Captain Rhines
often gives me good advice, and so does Uncle Isaac, about not
drinking, and getting into bad company, or being profane, and about
saving my money. But you don’t, somehow, seem to give me advice, or
ever mention those things. I like to have them take notice of me, and
always thank them; but when you talk _with_ me,—for you don’t seem to
talk _at_ me,—I want to put my arms right round your neck.”

“Don’t spoil a good mind, Walter.” And the boy actually embraced him.
“People have different ways of looking at the same thing,” continued
Charlie; “you wouldn’t want all your friends to be just alike—would
you?”

“No, indeed, sir, any more than I would want all the flowers to be of
one form and color, or all the birds to look alike and sing the same
song.”

“Well, if you only love Him who made and gave you everything half as
well as you love me, who have done, and can do, very little for you,
all these other matters will take care of themselves.”

“Please talk some more, sir.”

“It is time to go. We’ve been here a great while. They will all be
a-bed.”

“O, sir, we haven’t been here but a little while.”

“How long do you think?”

“Half an hour.”

“We’ve been here an hour and a half; I know by the tide. It was high
water when we sat down here. You see that white rock just breaking the
water?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, when that rock is fairly out, it is two hours ebb. Walter, what
makes you so bent upon going to sea? You might do well on a farm. Fred
would, in the course of another year, take you in as partner. If you
want money, I will lend it to you. Then you can be at home among your
friends. Is it because you think you can make money faster?”

“No, sir; I don’t think money is everything. There’s Isaac Murch, as
straightforward, kind-hearted a fellow as ever lived,—as smart a man
as was ever wrapped up in skin; but he thinks money is everything.
He’ll give, too, especially to a good cause; but it comes hard. He’ll
go through a deal to get a dollar. I mean to have a good living,—I
think that’s for every one who strives for it,—and earn my wages,
wherever I am. I don’t believe in wasting, or any of your low stuff,
but I had rather have friends who love me for my own sake, good health,
enjoy myself, and have others enjoy themselves with me, than all the
money in the world.”

“Money won’t buy happiness, Walter.”

“You know, sir, you were saying just now that you hoped you shouldn’t
have to grind your broad-axe again for six years; you did so long to
turn over some of this wild land, plant an orchard, have grain, fruit
and flowers, and cattle in the pastures.”

“Yes, and I felt more than I said.”

“But haven’t you made pretty much all the property you have out of the
sea?”

“Yes.”

“Yet you want to work on the land.”

“Because I love to. I love to work with tools, but I want some time to
plant and sow, and see things grow, whether I make anything or not;
it’s my nature.”

“So it’s my nature to go to sea. I wish you could see all the boats
Flour (I mean Peterson) has made and rigged for me. I wouldn’t care if
there was only land enough to build wharves to tie vessels up, to clean
and grave their bottoms, and all the rest was water.”

“But it is a hard life, and rude company. You are a quiet, thoughtful
boy, and as affectionate as a woman.”

“There’s a hard streak in all us Griffins; so I suppose there must be
in me.”

This was the boy Ned Gates was so much attached to, and helped do his
work at the tan-yard, and respecting whom Mrs. Gates said he was too
good to go to sea (this good lady seeming to think it best to have only
bad men at sea).

Naturally adapted to sea life, he was already (but little more than a
boy) acting as second mate, and, by his keenness of perception, was the
first to discern the whereabouts of the enemy.

To say that Walter and Ned were intimate, and enjoyed themselves
together, would be superfluous. They were fortunately in the same
watch, slept in the same berth, and became more attached to each other
every day. Ned was smart and ambitious, but light. He always aspired
to furl the royal, which he could do well enough, when it was dry, at
any rate, by furling the yard-arms first; but when it was wet, and a
gale of wind, it was rather more than a match for him. At such times,
Walter, who knew the ambition and grit of his little shipmate, and was
unwilling to mortify him before the crew, would wait till he saw the
sail blow away from him once or twice, and then run up and help him.

Ned was very desirous of raising a cue, and even had dim visions of a
beard. He sported a concern about three inches in length, and which
very much resembled the appendage of a Suffolk pig. It was so short
that Walter, who combed and dressed it for him when the rest of the
watch were asleep, found it very difficult to make the eel-skin stay
on, even with a clove hitch, and, to Ned’s great indignation, suggested
that he should put some tar on it, in order to make the string stick.
Walter, on the other hand, boasted a cue nearly a foot in length, and
the rudiments of a beard.

Whenever he shaved (which luxury he sometimes indulged in, by the
solicitations of Ned, on Sunday morning in port, when the rest were
ashore, to avoid disparaging remarks), Ned sat looking at him with the
greatest reverence, and indulging in visions of the future, although,
as yet, his lip was guiltless even of down.



CHAPTER IX.

THE GRIFFINS.


THOSE of our readers who are familiar with the Elm Island stories have
already known a good deal of the Griffin family in the persons of Joe
and Henry, with a slight introduction to Walter and Will.

Suppose, now, for the better understanding of Walter’s declaration,
“there’s a hard streak in all of us Griffins,” we accompany Parson
Goodhue (who is a great friend of the Griffins, and for whom Walter is
named) in one of his parochial visits to the homestead.

The good man, like most of the ministers of that day, had a farm of
eighty acres, kept a horse, sheep, three cows, and a yoke of oxen,
and did considerable work himself, always feeding his own cattle. He
had, in addition, a wood lot of fifty acres. The parishioners were in
the habit of getting together in the fall, cutting his year’s stock
of wood, and piling it up in the woods; when snow came they put their
teams together and hauled it to the door, when the boys and young men
assembled and cut it for the fire; on such occasions they came about
noon, and had supper and a grand time at the parsonage in the evening,
the girls coming about two o’clock, bringing with them abundant
supplies and preparing the repast.

The Griffin family consisted of eight persons—the parents and six
children, all boys, Joseph, Henry, Walter, William, Edmund, and
Winthrop. One hot forenoon, about eleven o’clock, and just after
haying, Parson Goodhue, in all the glory of the snow-white wig, silk
stockings, and polished silver shoe-buckles (which Lion Ben of Elm
Island had presented to him after his adventure with the wild gander),
was wending his way by a road that skirted the bank of the river,
to Edmund Griffin’s. He was mounted on a very finely proportioned,
snug built, calico-colored mare, a pacer. A large blue saddle-cloth
protected his garments from the hairs (as he was quite fastidious about
his dress), and he was provided with a capacious pair of saddle-bags,
long experience having convinced the good man that it was a most proper
precaution, when visiting the Griffins, to be well provided with
saddle-bags.

It is said, we know not with how much truth, that dappled horses are
of superior intelligence, and can more easily be taught all kinds
of tricks; and for this reason they are often found in the circus.
However this may be, one thing is sure—that Parson Goodhue’s mare was
intelligent enough, and vexed his soul to that extent he sometimes
feared she received diabolical aid. But Dapple, as he called her, was
such a capital roadster, carried him so easily, and was sound in wind
and limb, that the parson, who dearly loved a good animal, bore it
patiently.

In those days the doors of all out-buildings were universally fastened
with wooden latches, or buttons, as also a great proportion of the
doors of the dwellings.

There was not a door or gate upon the premises of her master, or
any of his neighbors, but Dapple could and would open, a fence she
could not get over, or a pair of bars she could not take down (unless
they were pinned), provided a sufficient motive presented itself.
Notwithstanding she had been reared from a colt in the family of a
clergyman, under the very droppings of the sanctuary, received the
best of instruction, and the best examples had been proposed for her
imitation, she would appropriate without the least scruple; in short,
though we grieve to say it, she was a downright, incorrigible, sneaking
thief; she was no respecter of persons or character, but would steal
from saint or sinner, rich or poor; she would even take from the widow
Hadlock and Aunt Molly Bradish (that good old soul, when she was
alive), walk right into poor Mrs. Yelf’s cornfield right before her
eyes, because she knew that Robert was at sea, and the old lady could
not get at her for rheumatism.

Parson Goodhue lived so near to the meeting-house that he and his
family always walked to meeting, thus Sabbath was a leisure day to
her; and even on that day, when all other horses and good people were
at meeting, and her good master was inculcating morality, she would
(if she could get loose) take the opportunity to commit trespass; in
short, she was the grief of her master and the pest of the parish, was
covered with scars she had received for her misdeeds, and would have
been killed had she belonged to any other person than Parson Goodhue,
whom everybody loved. She would back up against a door and turn the
buttons, would lift the latch or pull the string of one with her teeth,
and break or get off any yoke or clogs that were put on her. The
most singular part of the whole matter was, that she would sometimes
go for a month peaceably, in the pasture, and the good parson would
feel quite encouraged, hoping it was a radical reformation; when just
as he began to solace himself with this idea, and accord her larger
liberty, she would abuse it to act worse than ever. At one time Dapple
had gone quietly in the pasture for nearly six weeks, and the hopes
of her master were raised to the highest pitch. Adjoining the pasture
was a most excellent piece of wheat, just full in the milk, belonging
to Jotham Lancaster. Dapple had not been permitted for a long time to
go out of a Sabbath day; but her conduct had been so unexceptionable,
that her master determined to trust her, especially as there was a
high stone wall in good repair around the pasture. So, before going
to meeting, he turned her out; when he returned at noon, he found her
quietly feeding, and told Captain Rhines he verily believed Dapple had
got over her tricks.

“Hang her,” was his reply, “I wouldn’t trust her.”

When the parson came home at night, there she was, in that beautiful
field of wheat. If she had merely eaten what she wanted in one place,
it might have been borne; but she had gone all over it, trampling down
here and there, then lain down, and rolled in half a dozen places;
and when found, was quietly feeding out in the grass. She had, with
her teeth, flung off the top pole, pushed over the top rocks with her
breast, and then jumped over.

The next week John Rhines made a pair of iron fetters, to fasten one of
her hind legs to one of her fore ones, permitting her to scuffle along
and feed, but not to jump, and made a present of them to Mr. Goodhue,
saying, “She can’t jump with these, I know.”

Dapple now went quietly for some time. Captain Rhines said to her
master, “I guess you’ve got her this time.”

Vain delusion! she was probably meditating, in the “recesses of a mind
capacious of such things,” upon the means and methods of evading this
new device; that her meditations bore fruit was soon manifest. Parson
Goodhue, returning from meeting in the afternoon, found her in the
midst of his own corn. There was not a length of fence down; the bars
were all up, and pinned, so that she could not remove them with her
teeth. There was not a stone displaced in the wall, and the fetters
were fast to her feet. As her master took down the bars to lead her
out, he gazed upon her almost with fear; he was not superior to the
superstitions of his day, and was almost apprehensive of some satanic
agency.

The story got abroad; John and Fred determined to watch her. They shut
her up in the barn with nothing to eat, till she was very hungry, then
turned her into the pasture just at night, and concealing themselves,
kept watch. Dapple went to feeding, stopping every once in a while to
look around and listen; at length, seeing or hearing no one, she made
directly for the bars, and attempted to take them down with her teeth;
but they were pinned at each end. She then tried to push them over by
backing up against them; but they were braced by stakes nailed to the
posts, and set in the ground; she then put her head between the lower
bar and the one next to it above, sprung the two sufficiently to insert
her shoulders, then her whole body, and shoved herself through, coming
down whack on her side, while the bars sprung together as before; then
getting up and shaking herself, with a look of profound satisfaction,
was making for the corn, when she was accosted in not very flattering
terms by her observers. John said he never saw anybody look more silly,
or more worked, than she did.

It was a matter of great surprise to the neighbors, and the town talk,
that the mare never paid her respects to Joe Griffin, as in the fields
of all others (except Captain Rhines’s, where Tige kept watch and ward)
she ran riot; while Joe’s (whose land was new, just taken from the
forest, and raised splendid crops of corn and grain) were unmolested
by the common enemy; they were passed by to commit depredations on the
fields of Charlie Bell, that adjoined.

We will let our readers into the mystery. The second year after Joe
worked his place, he got up very early one morning, just as the day
broke, to go out gunning; there was Dapple in the corn for the first
time. As Joe had recently moved into the neighborhood, she probably,
as an old resident, felt it would be polite to call. Joe well knew
the character of his visitor, and what he might expect in future. He,
however, manifested not the least sign of anger; didn’t even throw a
stone, or hit her with a stake; but turned her out, put up the fence,
and went off gunning; not even mentioning the matter to his wife, who
had not yet risen.

Dapple, who had made up her mind to receive a pounding, thought Mr.
Griffin was one of the best of men, and resolved to cultivate his
acquaintance.

Three nights after, she paid him another visit, and going along the
fence, found the old gap but very indifferently mended; taking off
some small poles with her teeth, she cleared the great bottom log at
a jump; but the instant she touched the ground on the other side, it
gave way beneath her feet, and she found herself in a pit. Bitter were
her reflections; she accused herself of imbecility for not interpreting
aright such forbearance in a Griffin; and awaited, with fear and
trembling, the approach of morning. Just as the day broke, she heard
footsteps, and Joe made his appearance. A smile of satisfaction passed
over his face, as he gave one look, and disappeared, returning soon
with a shovel in one hand, and a bundle of long, tough beech withes
in the other. Then, standing on the edge of the pit, he began most
unmercifully to apply them, with all the strength and endurance of an
arm that had scarcely its rival in the community. On head, rump, and
ribs the horrible tempest fell. In vain poor Dapple kicked, and reared,
and ran round the pit, which was not large enough for her to get out of
reach of the blows. For an hour, without intermission, this terrible
scourging continued, when, reeking with perspiration, Joe threw down
the rod, and took up the shovel.

Dapple expected nothing less than to be buried alive, and with death
staring her in the face, remembered with compunction the manner in
which she had abused the kindness of the good old man, and despised all
his wise counsels. But her quick discernment soon discovered that Joe
was about to dig the earth at one end to an inclined plane to let her
out, and instantly all her remorse and resolutions for a better life
were at an end.

When he had graded the pit, as he thought, sufficiently, he
administered a few blows with the flat of the shovel, and an energy
that sent Dapple flying from the pit like a hen from a hawk, observing,
as he went leisurely to work to fill up the hole, “Much obliged to you,
neighbor, for this visit; call again the first opportunity.”

When Joe had filled up the pit, he flung some brush over, took the
pail, and went to milking, never mentioning the matter, even to his
wife, till years afterwards.

The mare never found opportunity to comply with Joe’s kind invitation.
He might have left his crops out of doors for all her.

Dapple mended her pace as she approached the rising ground on which the
Griffin homestead was located, for she had often proved the hospitality
of its stable and pastures. The buildings were situated on the summit
of a hill, which rose quite abruptly from the river. The blazing sun
poured down upon a house of enormous size, the lower rooms finished,
the rest a shell. Not a tree or a bush, save one old stub, stood near
it. There was not the least attempt at a garden, but, far out in the
field, in the midst of the corn, cabbage, beets, carrots, and onions
were growing, and peas now ripe in the pod.

On one side of the front door was a goose-pen; on the other a molasses
hogshead, into which an upright board conducted the rain water from the
eaves. The only approach to anything in the shape of plants was some
house leek (then considered a sovereign remedy for _corns_), in an old
skillet.

At a short distance from the end door was a small enclosure, made by
driving stakes into the ground, in which were roots of wormwood, tansy,
comfrey, lovage, and sweet agrimony, while an enormous hop-vine covered
a great part of the front of the house. All about the door-yard were
shingle bolts, bunches of shingles, old yokes, logs, sticks of hewn
timber, drags, sleds, with the stakes in, broken and whole, and a
brush-harrow was tipped up against the house, right under one of the
front windows, while between them the skin of a bear, recently killed,
was stretched and nailed to the clapboards.

Beside the end door stood a leech, that had been set up in the spring,
to make soap, and suffered to stand through the summer, as Mrs.
Griffin liked to have weak lye to scour with. Within a gun-shot of
the western end of the house stood the stub of a massive pine, which
had been broken off about twenty-five feet from the ground, and was
hollow, having the opening on the north-west side. In the cavity were
augers, planes, saws, chisels, shovels, axes, and canting dogs, thrown
together in most admirable confusion. The tools were of English make,
and evidently of excellent temper, but covered with rust. From the dead
limbs on the outside hung rusty scythes and a grain cradle. This was
the Griffin tool-chest. An eighth of a mile from the house, down under
the hill, was the well.

In the rough climate of New England, the inhabitants were solicitous
to place their buildings in a lee, either under the side of a hill,
the protection of a wood, or to dispose the buildings themselves in
such a manner as to give them a sheltered and sunny door and barn-yard.
But here the barn was a great distance from the house, the buildings
disposed without the least reference to shelter, as though the
occupants were insensible to wind or weather. Yet in other respects
everything betokened plenty and thrift; the walls were well built of
rocks of great size, and handsomely laid up; the barns were large, and
through the open doors the hay could be seen, brought so far over the
floors that the mows nearly touched each other, leaving barely room to
swing a flail.

An immense log crib, the top covered with boards and shingles, where
the long yellow ears of corn showed through the chinks, attested that
the thrifty owner kept a year’s stock of bread on hand. On a scaffold
of poles, laid over the high beams, bundles of last year’s flax were
visible, while the number of milking-stools, hanging on the barn-yard
fence, gave token of a large dairy.

To complete the picture, four great hogs were rooting in the chips
after thistle roots, and a white mare, with a sucking colt and two
half-grown ones, was standing in the shade, on the north side of the
house. As Parson Goodhue gained the summit of the hill, and was not
far from the old stub, he saw approaching some one whose form was
nearly concealed by a huge back-load of spruce poles, from twenty to
twenty-five feet in length, and bearing in one hand an axe. As he
flung the poles from his shoulder, and stood erect, he caught sight of
the minister.

“Halloo, parson! Good morning. Glad to see you. _Hot_—ain’t it?”

“Good morning, Edmund,” replied his visitor, apparently not the least
disconcerted by the rudeness of the reception, and extending his hand,
which the other enclosed in his great palm, and shook with a heartiness
that caused the good man to reel in his saddle.

“How are you, Elizabeth, and all the children?”

“Well, so’s to be crawling. Lizzy always keeps herself worked down.
‘Tain’t so much the work,—though we milk seven cows, for Lizzy’s a
master hand to turn off work, and real rugged,—but she’s forever
scrubbing and scouring. I tell her ‘tain’t a bit of use, but she will
do it. Then father’s a good deal of care.”

“How is the old gentleman?”

“He’s real strong at the stomach; eats and sleeps as well as ever he
did; but he sometimes has the rheumatics.”



CHAPTER X.

WHERE THE HARD STREAK CAME FROM.


THIS was Edmund Griffin, the proprietor of seven hundred acres of
excellent land, a very large stock of cattle, and money besides—the
strongest man in town (leaving out Lion Ben, who was an exception to
everybody), now that Captain Rhines and Uncle Isaac were getting in
years. He was not remarkably tall, being barely six feet in his boots,
but of vast proportions. There was no beauty about Edmund; his hair was
coarse as rope-yarn, inclining to red, and, where it was not confined
by a cue, bristling; his waist was small in proportion to the great
breadth of his shoulders and hips, his joints large, his lips and
teeth very prominent, which gave him the appearance of coming at you.
The whole expression of his face was extremely rugged, and would have
been fierce, had it not been neutralized by the kindly expression of
a clear, mild eye. His voice, also, was rather loud and hearty than
harsh in its tones. A skein of woollen yarn was tied round him for a
belt, his breeches of dye-pot blue, and a flannel shirt that had once
been bright red, but so bleached by the sun and perspiration as not to
show any red save under the armpits and below the girdle, from a pocket
in the breast of which stuck out the end of a purse made of a sheep’s
bladder; his open collar revealed a finely-formed throat, and a breast
covered with a thick mass of curling brown hair. This great, brawny man
was possessed of remarkable mechanical genius. With those great fingers
of his he could execute the nicest jobs, and he was constantly resorted
to by the neighbors; and yet there was not a sled or cart on the
premises that had a decent tongue in it; they were all made by cutting
down a forked tree, and sticking in the fork with the bark on.

“You’re getting fat, parson—fat as a porpoise; you don’t do work
enough; you ought to have been in the woods with me this forenoon;
‘twould make the gravy run, and take some of the grease out of you.”

“What are you going to do with those poles, Edmund?”

“Make pike-poles to drive logs with, in the fall freshet.”

Parson Goodhue was much attached to Edmund Griffin, who had grown up
under him, and whom he had married when he was but twenty and his wife
nineteen, and, though now surrounded by a large family, was in the very
maturity of his strength; for he well knew that, though the outside was
as rough as the coat of the alligator, there was a noble and generous
nature within, and a kindly heart throbbed beneath that hairy bosom and
faded shirt.

For many a long year he had been seeking his good, and striving in vain
to impress him with religious ideas; but it was like lifting a wet
cannon ball; he eluded all his efforts; he could find no chink in his
armor. He was always at meeting with his family, rain or shine, and an
attentive hearer. Anything, everything he would do for Parson Goodhue,
except listen to religious conversation; _that_ he would always avoid.
He had no sympathy in that direction, nor his wife either, and the
children naturally grew up with the same ideas. Even the old father,
ninety years of age, and tottering on the verge of eternity, seemed
to have no notions beyond the present; and all his talk was about
lifting, wrestling, and the Indian fights, in which he had played a
most conspicuous part, and, though he could with difficulty get across
the room, would, every few weeks, have his rifle brought to him, and
clean and oil the lock.

“Lizzy,” shouted Mr. Griffin, in a voice that might be heard a mile.

This brought to the door a woman of a noble form, dark-brown hair,
and one of the sweetest faces the eye ever rested upon, and, though
evidently just from the cheese-tub, very neatly dressed.

“Lizzy, here’s Parson Goodhue come to stay to dinner, and a fortnight
longer, I hope.”

“So do I,” was the reply of his wife, as she welcomed the visitor.

“Let the mare go, parson; she knows the way to the barn; come, let’s go
into the house.”

“I rather think, Edmund, I had better hitch her to this stub; if she
goes to the barn alone, she will certainly be in mischief;” but as the
minister stepped forward, with the bridle in his hand, to execute his
design, Griffin caught him by the shoulders, and exclaiming, “Bless me!
where is the man going?” lifted and set him aside, as though he had
been a feather; at the same time dropping a stone upon the trencher of
a bear trap, the great jaws sprung together with a clang that caused
Parson Goodhue to jump clear from the ground in mortal fear.

“Goodness, Edmund, do you set bear-traps for your friends?”

“No, parson; I’m sorry for your fright, but you see, we caught a bear
last night, and the boys have been playing with the trap, and left it
set. If you had got into it, ‘twould have broken your leg.”

What a contrast between the outside and the inside of the house, where
Elizabeth Griffin held undisputed sway! Silver was not brighter than
the pewter on the shelves, and white as the snow flake were dressers
and the nicely-sanded floor of the best room into which the visitor
was ushered, where, seated in his arm-chair, was Joseph Griffin,
the grandfather, a vast ruin, the great bones and cords of the old
Indian-killer standing out in bold relief through the shrunken flesh.

“Father’s master hard of hearing, and his eyesight has failed him a
good deal,” said his son; “but otherways he’s just as bright as he ever
was; knows all that’s going on, and all the young folks.”

“Father,” he shouted, as they entered the room, “here’s Mr. Goodhue,
come to see you.”

“Glad to see him; give him a cheer.”

“Good morning, Mr. Griffin,” said the minister, placing his chair close
to the old gentleman; “you have been spared to a great age.”

“_Spared!_ I never spared myself. I allers took the but-end of a log,
and the bunt of a topsail. Nobody can say that Joe Griffin ever spared
himself. Young man (Mr. Goodhue was on the wrong side of sixty), when I
was of your age, I had more strength than I knew what to do with.”

“I said you had lived to a great age.”

“Yes; I’ve been here a good while. I was through the French and Indian
wars. I was at the takin’ of Quebec, in ‘59, but I was too old for this
last one.”

“I trust, sitting here alone so much as you do, and knowing that you
are living on borrowed time, that you often think on your latter end,
and endeavor to prepare for it.”

“Leetle end; leetle end of what?”

“I say, I hope you are prepared to go.”

“I don’t go anywhere; I can’t for the rheumatics, only to town meetin’,
and then they put me into Isaac Murch’s wagin; before he had that, they
hauled me on an ox sled.”

“I mean, I hope you are prepared to die, and meet your Maker.”

“O, die, is it? I never killed nobody (except in fair fight), and
nobody ever killed me. I never abused my neighbors, or the cattle, and
I think it’s everybody’s duty to live just as long as they kin. It’s
an awful thing to kill yourself; when anybody has sich thoughts, they
ought to put ‘em right out o’ their minds.”

“Do you think that is all the preparation you need?”

“I allers kept up good line fence, and give good weight and measure. I
s’pose the less we do, the less there’s charged to us.”

Mr. Goodhue now relinquished the effort in despair; as Uncle Isaac
would have said, he could find nothing to nail to. The old man had
grown up, like the beasts he hunted, without culture, and could neither
read nor write. But, although he found great difficulty in hearing, he
could talk fast enough, and however impervious to religious sentiment,
was shrewd enough in other matters.

The subject which at that period most divided the opinions and agitated
the minds of the people, was the state of affairs in France, and our
relations to that nation. That nation having dethroned their king,
and proclaimed liberty and equality, naturally expected to receive
fraternal sympathy and aid from this country, and from the people whom
they had aided in their recent struggle for liberty.

The members in Congress were divided in sentiment on the subject.
The people at large, especially the mercantile portion of the
community (who were very much embittered against England on account
of the impressment of seamen and the right of search), felt that the
movement in France was resistance to arbitrary power, a struggle for
self-government against oppression, and a mere carrying out of the
principles of our own revolution, that we owed it to the cause of
liberty, and were obligated in gratitude to aid them to the extent of
entering into an offensive and defensive alliance, and declaring war
with Great Britain. The party espousing these sentiments was large
and influential, and a strong pressure was brought to bear upon the
administration. To complicate matters still more, Genet, the French
minister, a hot-headed, overbearing man, appealed to the prejudices and
sympathies of the people, and, without the sanction or knowledge of the
government, attempted to raise men and arms, and fit out privateers to
prey on British commerce, and sell their prizes in American ports.

On the other hand, Washington, and those of cooler heads and calmer
judgment, shocked at the excesses of the French revolution, and having
no confidence in the capacity of the French people for self-government,
were as resolutely opposed to any interference. Old Mr. Griffin, in
opposition to his son and the great majority of his neighbors, was of
the latter party, and Mr. Goodhue was of the same opinion.

“What’s that rapscallion’s name, parson, that’s come over here, and is
kickin’ up sich a dust, and tryin’ to get us into a quarrel with the
old country?”

“Genet, the French minister,” replied Mr. Goodhue, rejoiced at the
introduction of a topic in respect to which their sympathies were in
unison.

“A minister goin’ about tryin’ to stir up people agin their government,
and to git up a war!”

“He’s not a minister of the gospel, but a sort of ambassador.”

“Wal, I wish my eye was as quick and my hand as steady as ‘twas
once, and I had him within range of my rifle; I’d put an eend to his
trampin’;” at the same time striking his cane violently on the floor.
Captain Rhines was here t’other day, settin’ right where you set, and
sayin’ we never should got our liberty, if’t hadn’t been for them are
French; that one good turn deserved another; and all that. I ups and
tells him, I does, says I, the French waited till they see how the cat
was goin’ to jump, and that we were like to wear the old bull-dog out,
and then comes in to bet on the winnin’ horse. I telled him the French
were well enough, but it wasn’t so much for any love to us they come;
England had took Canada, and robbed ‘em of their colonies, and now
they wanted to pay her in her own coin, and help us get clear on ‘em;
they’ll eny time send over troops to help the Irish when they undertake
to rise.”

“I think you are right in that, Mr. Griffin.”

“If we should go into war with England now, it would make an eend of
our leetle commerce; but if we go on as we’ve begun, in a few years we
shall be able to fight our own battles, no thanks to eny on ‘em.”

“I’m perfectly willing to abide by the judgment of General Washington,
Hamilton, and those who have carried us thus far. I believe Washington
was raised up and divinely appointed to carry us through the
revolutionary war, as evidently as Moses was to lead the children of
Israel to the promised land.”

“That’s the talk, parson. I don’t know enything ‘bout Moses, and them
old characters, but I know ‘bout Gineral Washington, cause I fought
under him, when he was kernel; yes, I go in for the old horse that
never balked at the steepest hill, but allus pulled, whether the load
went, or whether other horses pulled or not.”

“Yes, my old friend, the heart of the country rests safely on
Washington.”

“Then, parson, he’s a prayin’ man. Isaac Murch told me that; he said,
that winter at Valley Forge, when the soldiers were barefoot, and
suffered so much, there was an hour at noon when he couldn’t be seen;
if an express came, he wouldn’t be disturbed; it was allers thought and
said among the men, that he was at prayer. I allers thought them are
the sort of men to foller.”

“Certainly; because in following them we may hope for the aid of Him by
whom they are guided.”

“There’s a great many in this place, parson, if you allow that there’s
any good thing in an Englishman, cry out, ‘Tory’!”

“That’s too much the case, I know.”

“I don’t want to swaller an Englishman whole. I know they press our
seamen, and are overbearin’; but, then, they press their own likewise,
take a man from his own doorstep; but ‘tain’t the people, it’s the
government, does that. They say this new man that’s come up—What’s his
name?”

“Bonaparte.”

“That he’s goin’ to lick the English into shoe-strings.”

“Then he’ll do what has not been done for the last two hundred years.”

“I tell you it ain’t in ‘em, parson; it’ ain’t in the men that live on
frogs and soup to lick the men that eat beef and pork, I don’t care
who they’re led by. When I was payin’ for my place, I follered the
sea a good deal. I have been in English ports and French ports; fought
side by side with Englishmen, and aginst Frenchmen; and I don’t care
who knows it, I like an Englishman better’n a Frenchman eny day. When
it’s good weather at sea, and everything goin’ well, an Englishman is
a grouty chap; he’ll growl at the wind, the ship, the grub, and the
usage; but let there come a gale of wind, a raal tryin’ time, the lee
riggin’ hangin’ in bights, men three or four hours on a yard tryin’ to
smother a sail, or the ship sprung a leak and like to go down, I tell
you, John Bull is there. The harder it blows, the blacker it looks,
and the tougher it comes, the higher his spirit rises; then they’re a
Protestant people, and that’s a thing goes a good ways with me.”

Our readers may suspect that the old gentleman was not so obtuse in
relation to religious matters as he appeared; an idea of this kind
seemed to cross the mind of Mr. Goodhue, for he instantly attempted to
introduce a religious conversation; but the old man shrunk from it as
speedily as a turtle draws his head into the shell when apprehensive of
danger.

When Edmund Griffin returned to the kitchen, he said, “Come, wife,
ain’t you going to do something? There ain’t a speck of fire on the
hearth.”

“What of that? I’ve got baked beans, brown bread, pies, and an Indian
pudding in the oven, and I must put this cheese in press.”

“_Baked beans!_ I want to kill some chickens, make a smother, and give
the old gentleman a good tuck out.”

“Well, then, make me up a fire; the boys are all in the field.”

He brought in a great log, and threw it on the hearth; then, bringing
in a huge armful of wood, the moment he was inside the door, let drive
right into the middle of the room, at the same time kicking the door to
with his feet. Proceeding to put on the log, instead of using the great
kitchen shovel to rake forward the ashes from the back, he put in his
foot, and, after scraping out a hole, flung on the log with such force
that the coals and ashes flew all over the room.

“Edmund, what a splutter you do make! Do go and get the chickens. I had
rather make two fires than clean up after you.”

Taking the mare’s bridle on his arm, he put her in the barn; returning
with the bridle in one hand, and a dish of corn in the other, he threw
it among the fowls; as they were busily eating, he brought down the
bridle on the flock with such force as to prostrate half a dozen, and
picking them up, cut off their heads, and soon transferred them to the
kitchen table.

“Why, Edmund,” cried his wife, looking them over, “what a careless
creature you are! Half of these are old hens; and, as sure as I live,
you’ve killed Winthrop’s setting hen. She was just ready to hatch. He
will cry his eyes out. I do wish I’d gone myself; the chickens are all
lost, and we shall have to throw the hen away. She’s all skin and bone.”

“Never mind, wife; the boy can set another. Have you got everything you
want now?”

“No. I want you to wash yourself, and put on a clean shirt and clothes.
They’re on the bed.”

“What’s the use, wife? I’m well enough.”

“I tell you, you shan’t come to dinner looking so!” she exclaimed,
pushing him into the bedroom, and pulling the skein of yarn from his
waist.

With a groan he obeyed, and, making him sit down on the edge of the
bed, she combed out his cue, and tied it up with a black ribbon,
instead of the eel-skin.

Mr. Goodhue, who had a large family of his own, was very fond of
children, and it was a curious sight to see Winthrop Griffin tugging
the stately old minister by the hand, to see his fowl and playthings,
his tame crow, and the woodchuck he had caught. The good man also
sincerely sympathized with him respecting the loss of his hen and
expected brood of chickens.

Mrs. Griffin would have persuaded the minister to lie down after
dinner; but as the boys were going to work in the field, he wished to
read the Scriptures and have prayers before they went away, it being
his constant custom. The parents and children all listened with the
greatest respect and attention, but all attempts to engage the seniors
in conversation of a religious nature were useless.

After the evening meal, when Parson Goodhue prepared to depart,
Dapple, true to her instincts, was found in a chamber over the stable
where Griffin kept grain. She had gone up a flight of stairs, but all
attempts to induce her to go down by the same were unavailing.

“Look here, parson,” said Edmund; “let me knock her on the head, and
take her for wolf bait—there’s a bounty on wolves,—and I’ll give you
my roan colt, that’s worth a dozen of her.”

But Mr. Goodhue entreated for the life of his beast. Griffin, then
putting a great pile of hay on the stable floor beneath, took up the
boards of the floor above, and forced her to jump down.

“What a strange family,” said the good man to himself as he returned,
his saddle-bags stuffed to their utmost extent. “I would be content
with less respect and kindness shown to myself if they would only
manifest some respect for my Master. How sad to see that old man
so thoughtless! Well, the children are different. Joe is a good
man,—there is certainly encouragement there,—and Walter takes after
his mother; if she was anywhere else, she would be different.”

In the course of the autumn, Dapple ended her eventful life; in trying
to get over a fence with the fetters on, she got cast, and beat herself
to death, thus dying as she had lived. Two days after, the parson, on
going to his barn to feed his cattle, found a noble-looking roan horse
in Dapple’s stall, a present from Edmund Griffin.

In this slight glance at the Griffins, we have seen where the hard
streak came from. That old grandfather’s was gradually diluted as it
mingled with other and more kindly blood, till in Walter rudeness had
become attempered to firmness, and nothing more.



CHAPTER XI.

RECONNOITRING.


IT was an overcast night; there was no moon; the stars were bright
overhead, but around the edge of the horizon they were obscured by thin
clouds, through which a star occasionally shone.

The brigantine, with all sail set, was running in for the land, the
dark outline of which could be dimly seen in the distance. The French
had put out the light on Planier Island, and removed all the buoys from
the shoals and reefs, that they might not be of advantage to the enemy;
but the lights of the English frigate could be seen far ahead, as she
also stood in for the land, her commander not dreaming he was followed
by the vessel, so nearly his prize, and which he supposed effectually
frightened from that locality.

“It would have been a very valuable prize to us, could we have taken
her,” said the captain of the frigate to his lieutenant; (”and at one
time I thought she was ours,) not merely as far as the value of her
cargo was concerned; but we could have put a few guns aboard of her,
and a crew, and she is so fast she would have taken everything on the
coast; our prize-money would soon have amounted to something very
handsome.”

“Where did the Yankees learn to build such vessels? Before the war they
couldn’t make their own mouse-traps.”

“It was the war taught them; they wanted privateers to prey on our
merchantmen and supply ships. They wanted sharp vessels to run into
neutral ports, and escape our frigates, and they built them. Since they
set up for themselves, they make rigging and duck, roll iron, and forge
anchors, and there’s no telling where they will stop.”

“We may catch her yet, if we could get her before the wind, where she
could not run into shoal water, or have the good fortune to come across
her in a calm.”

“He’ll not come here again; he’s run too great a risk. He will be more
likely to try Toulon; perhaps go round into the Bay of Biscay, to some
of the ports on the other side.”

The wind, which had blown very fresh all through the afternoon and
first part of the night, had moderated to a good working breeze.

As the watch on board the brigantine that brought twelve o’clock came
on deck, a large rock was discovered right ahead; the topsail was hove
to the mast, and the vessel became stationary. The captain, calling the
whole crew aft, said to them, “Boys, I want to put a man on that rock,
to watch this frigate and the sixty-four, see which way they stand in
the morning, and where they go; also to look into the roadstead, and
see what vessels are there, and how they lie; in short, to keep himself
concealed, and get all the information he can. To-morrow night I’ll run
in, and take him off. Who’ll volunteer?”

Before the words were fairly out of his mouth, or any other could
reply, Walter Griffin exclaimed, “I will go, sir.”

Peterson had from Walter’s childhood cherished a great affection for
him, and Walter loved the black with all his heart. It was at first
a childhood liking (as children care very little about color), which
increased as he grew older; and Peterson, by reforming his habits,
became deserving of respect.

Peterson was not merely a finished sailor and first-rate calker, but
was also exceedingly ingenious in making kites, windmills, boats,
sleds, carts, squirts, popguns, sawyers, and all those things that
children and boys want; and no one but Uncle Isaac could equal him in
the manufacture of bows and arrows.

Peterson lived not far from Walter’s father. Every leisure day Walter
was there; everything he wanted Peterson made, and, as he outgrew
kites and bows, instructed him in wrestling, making sailor knots, and
built him a skiff; when, therefore, he came to be shipmate with him,
he felt that the boy was in a manner committed to him, and under his
protection, and instantly interfered.

“Massa cap’n, dat boy no fit to go; he too young; s’pose come gale
ob wind; vessel driben to sea; no get him off long time; boy be
frightened, die, p’rhaps starve. Hab to show hisself; den English
man-o’-war take him; nebber see his farder or mudder no more. Boy no
‘sperience to know what to look for; me go, meself.”

Walter, however, insisted upon going; he had a right to go; the captain
called for volunteers, and he had volunteered, and was going.

“But you too young, chile, for such ting.”

“_Young_,” replied Walter, in high dudgeon; “I shipped before the mast,
and have a man’s wages, and can steer my trick, and do my duty.”

“I can’t do without _you_, pilot,” said the captain.

Several others had also intended to volunteer, and now came forward;
but Walter had been too quick for them, and claimed his right.

“Captain,” said Fred Williams, as he took leave of Arthur Brown,
“you’ll find one of our young men aboard, Walter Griffin (he’s not
much more than a boy, but he’s a choice one); I know him through and
through. He never should have left me if I could have helped it; but he
seems one of those made to go to sea. Put him anywhere, trust him with
any matter, and he will give a good account of himself. You will find
him better, on an emergency, than many older persons; for he belongs to
an iron-sided race, and what he lacks in experience he will make up in
mother wit.”

All that the captain had seen of Walter went to corroborate Fred’s
statement, and he determined to try him.

Little Ned now besought the captain to permit him to share the
adventure with Walter, but he refused, telling him he had promised his
mother not to expose him unnecessarily; that one was enough, and two
would be more likely to attract attention.

Ned turned away, with a tear in his eye, and walked forward. Flinging
his arms round his friend’s neck, he said, “He won’t let me go, Walter.
It’s too bad; we might have such a good time!”

The boat was manned, and beef, bread, water, and raw pork put into her.
The raw pork was in addition, as that could, on occasion, be eaten raw;
and if the vessel should be blown off the coast, he might be left there
a good while, and no fire could be made to cook, without attracting
notice.

The captain, after giving him his instructions, put into his hands
a spy-glass. “There,” said he, “is a glass with which you can read
letters three inches long a mile away.” He then shook hands with him at
the side, bidding him take care of himself, and keep a bright lookout,
while the tender-hearted black fairly shed tears.

“Look out for de man-o’-war, sonnie. S’pose he ketch you, Peterson
chase you all ober de world but he git you.”

“Good by, dear Walter,” cried Ned, throwing his arms around his
friend’s neck, as he stood up in the stern sheets to step on the rock.

“Good by, Ned,” said Walter, returning the embrace.

The provision and water were landed, and the boat pulled rapidly away.
Walter sat down upon the rock, listening to the sound of the oars in
the rowlocks, and watching the phosphorescence of the water as it
flashed on their blades. All these tokens of departure, of little
moment on ordinary occasions, now possessed not a little interest. He
marked the ring of the iron, as the hook of the davit-fall went into
the ring-bolt, and heard the man say, “Hoist away,” the creak of the
blocks, and the slat of the canvas, as the sails filled, then the
low, rushing sound of the vessel’s bow as it parted the water. It was
a lonely moment to the brave boy, when the last low sound betokening
companionship was lost in the dash of midnight waves, the gleam of her
white canvas faded from his view, and he was left on the wild rock
alone. He had never been taught to breathe a petition for protection,
or to depend upon aught but himself. His conversation with Charlie by
the brook constituted the only appeal of a religious nature ever made
to his heart.

He knew not the nature or extent of the rock on which he had been so
unceremoniously deposited, and, clambering up to where he was above
the flow of the tide, placed his provisions beside him, and determined
to keep watch till the day broke, that he might have time to examine
the place before he could be observed from any passing boat or vessel.
Fearing, if he went to sleep, he might sleep too long, and finding a
flat place on the rock, he paced back and forth, to keep himself awake.

Little Ned, feeling very lonely in the absence of his watch-mate,
attached himself to Peterson, between whom and Walter there was such
a good understanding, in order that he might talk about Walter,
Pleasant Cove, the Griffins, and all the people and boys he had become
acquainted with there.

The rock on which Walter was placed might have been, at low water,
half an acre in extent, and irregular in its form, the eastern end
rising in a high bluff, with deep water around and close to it; but
the western end sloped into long, ragged ridges, honeycombed by the
everlasting dash of surf, and terminating in long reefs, upon which the
sea broke with a continuous roar. Between these ridges were openings
or coves, quite wide at the extremities of the reefs, shoaling and
narrowing as they ran up into the main portion of the rock, in such a
manner that it was easy to enter them in a boat between the breaking
points, and land, in good weather, with perfect safety.

The heads of these coves were filled with those materials the sea
usually flings up—sea-weeds, shells, barrel staves, chips, planks, and
broken pieces of vessels.

On the eastern end of the rock was a patch of turf extending from the
edge of the bold cliffs along the heads of the coves, covered with
bushes and scrub trees, dwarfed by the sea winds, and thickly matted
together.

The sun had risen clear, bringing with it a moderate easterly breeze.
The English frigate before referred to is passing within musket shot of
the eastern extremity of the rock. A close observer might have noticed
the branches of a pine bush move in a direction opposite to the wind,
and in a few moments the head of a man is cautiously thrust through the
branches. It is Walter Griffin. He watches with keen eyes the course of
the man-o’-war, and, as she increases the distance between them, crawls
to the shelter of a ledge, and, resting his glass over it, watches her
till she disappears from view. From his position he can command a view
of the roadstead, the men-of-war lying at anchor in it, the forts, and
the entrance to the port.

At the head of one of the coves, in which there was a little beach
of white sand, a portion of the stern frame of a vessel had, by the
conjunction of a high tide and a gale of wind, been flung high on the
rocks, extending from one side to the other, leaving a space of several
feet between it and the beach. Here Walter had bestowed his water and
food.

Having made all the observation possible, he retired to this place,
and, with some dry sea-weed for a bed, lay down for a nap, as he had
been up the entire night.

When he awoke, he espied a French fisherman, fishing among the kelp for
rock-fish. Looking cautiously around, to be sure that no vessel was in
sight, he, after a while, succeeded in attracting his attention, and
prevailing upon him to row into one of the passages between the rocks,
where he met him.

“Who are you?” asked the fisherman, resting upon his oars, and
surprised to be addressed in his own language by one who, he perceived,
was of another nation.

“An American.”

“Have you run away from the man-o’-war?” asked the Frenchman, taking
him for some impressed American seaman, who had swum off from a British
vessel.

“No; I was put ashore here last night from an American vessel, that is
trying to run the blockade, to watch the fleet; she will stand in for
the land again to-night.”

“The vessel they were chasing yesterday?”

“Yes.”

“We thought you were gone.”

“We thought so ourselves, till the wind came.”

“Men sometimes swim ashore from the fleet. I thought you had swam to
the rock. I’ve got an Englishman in my house now who ran away a week
ago.”

“Why don’t they take you prisoner?”

“They don’t trouble the fishermen, and when they want fish, they pay
for them; but our vessels and the Spaniards take ‘em without thanks or
money.”

“What time in the day is it?”

“By the tide, about eleven o’clock.”

“Could you take me ashore in your boat, so that I could have a good
look at the fleet and harbor, and see the Englishman you spoke of, and
bring me back after dark?”

“I can take you ashore well enough, but bringing you back is another
matter; the English have boats rowing around the roadstead in the
night; if they saw me going out after dark, they would suspect
something, and stop me.”

“I would give a good deal to get inside the roadstead, and to see that
deserter.”

“I’ll do all I can to help you. I’ll take you along shore to one of the
creeks where there is no watch kept, and set you off from there.”

The Frenchman made Walter lie down in the bottom of the boat, covered
him with sea-weed, and flung fish over him; he then put up his sail,
and steered boldly into the roadstead. As he passed one of the English
ships, he was hailed and asked for a mess of fish; he went alongside,
and flung the fish on the grating of the side ladder, and receiving his
money, kept on.

“If they had known who was under these fish,” said the fisherman to
Walter, pulling the sea-weed off from him, as they came under the guns
of the French castle, “it would have put an end to my fishing.”

He now conducted Walter to the observatory, situated on very high
ground, in which was a powerful telescope, and from which he could
track the frigate and sloop of war as they ran along the coast, and
see perfectly the position of the ships in the roadstead. He found the
flag-ship lay the farthest in, just out of range of the forts, and so
moored as to completely command the channel. Having taken careful note
of all these things, and made a rough draft on paper, he went to the
fisherman’s house, where he found the English sailor, who informed him
of many particulars that were important, and among other things, that a
supply ship was daily expected on the coast and was eagerly looked for,
as provisions were growing short in the fleet.

“What is her name?” asked Walter.

“The Severn.”

“Where has that frigate probably gone?”

“To Toulon.”

“And the sixty-four?”

“Round the other side, to carry despatches.”

“How big is the flag-ship?”

“A hundred guns.”

“Do they keep a keen lookout?”

“Yes; it is no use to try to run by her at night; she wouldn’t leave
you a stick to do it with.”



CHAPTER XII.

DID I BEAR IT LIKE A MAN, WALTER?


IT was nearly one o’clock at night, when the brigantine hove to, off
the rock, a boat put off, and the sharp voice of Ned, crying, “Are you
there, Walter?” came over the waves. But it was now blowing fresh, the
sky obscured by clouds, and no possibility of landing on the rock,
which was white with foam, it being so small that the sea ran all round
it. The boat, pulled by men who had been all their lives brought up
among the surf, and accustomed to working around breakers, was backed
in within two seas of the rock, and held there by the oars, while she
stood almost on end.

“Now, shipmate,” said Danforth Eaton, standing up in the stern sheets,
with a coil of rope in his hand, “look out for the line, and jump for
it.”

Walter caught the line, and making it fast round his waist, flung
himself into the surf, and was hauled aboard, where he was joyfully
received by Ned, to whom one day and a portion of two nights had seemed
a week.

When the young captain had received Walter’s information, he
complimented him very much for the shrewdness he had manifested;
and as all were equally interested (the profits of the voyage being
divided in this manner, the vessel, that is, the owners, drew a certain
proportion, the captain, mates, and crew another, according to their
rank), he spread the whole matter before the ship’s company.

Said the young captain to his crew, “The wind is fair, and plenty of
it; the tide also is with us, and sets up the harbor; we should go
like a shot; the frigate and sixty-four are out of the way; there is
no moon, and it is overcast; if they fire at us, they will have to
fire by guess, for they can’t sight over the black cannon; probably we
shall not have so many things in our favor again. I am in for trying it
to-night; but I want your opinions, for we must run the risk of their
broadsides.”

“I reckon,” said Danforth Eaton, “that when we shipped aboard this
craft, we knew what we had to kalkerlate on; we expect to get our
profit out of our risk; I’m for trying it now.”

His opinion being assented to by the crew, the brigantine, with a
spanking breeze and every sail set, was steered directly for the
roadstead, a little over two miles distant. It seemed but a moment,
so rapid was her progress, before the high lands of Marseilles were
throwing their shadows before her path. Walter acting as second
mate, his station was in his watch on deck, aft. He, however, still
shared Ned’s berth, as the second mate was sick in his own. It was
now his watch below; but in the present circumstances, no one felt
any inclination to sleep, and he was, with all the rest of the crew,
forward. At such a time, it is natural for those most acquainted to
get together, and the men were divided into little knots, conversing
in low tones. Walter, Enoch Hadlock, and Ben Peterson, having been
schoolmates, and grown up together, formed one group, with Ned nestled
close to the side of Walter.

“Walter,” said Ben, “do you expect, if we make the run, and a heap of
money, to have the second mate’s share, while he’s off duty?”

“No, indeed; I have no right to it. He can’t help having a carbuncle. I
wouldn’t take it if it was offered me. I wouldn’t be so mean.”

“But if you’re doing second mate’s duty—”

“The honor pays for that.”

“Perhaps you think it is a stepping-stone. I hope it is.”

“I don’t know about that.”

“We shall soon see what our young captain is made of,” said Eaton, as
the dark hull and long masts of the ship of the line began to appear;
“I only wish we were well through it.”

A man-o’-war cutter was now seen on the lee bow.

“What ship is that?” was the hail.

“The Severn, supply.”

Thus boats and ships were passed, the night being too dark, and the
brigantine going too quick to admit of a close scrutiny. The name
of the expected store-ship being given, also completely disarmed
suspicion. They were now rapidly nearing the flag-ship, of a hundred
guns—the last and most fearful ordeal. A death-like stillness now
pervaded the brigantine, broken only by the rushing of the vessel
through the water, the straining of the cordage, and the moan of the
wind through the rigging.

“Walter,” whispered Ned, “do you feel afraid?”

“No, Ned; do you?”

“I guess not; but I feel as I never did before. I wish we were doing
something, and it was not so dreadfully still,” said the boy, putting
his arm round his companion’s waist, as they sat side by side on the
windlass, gazing through the darkness at the lights of the man-of-war.
“Kiss me, Walter.”

He put his arms round his friend, and pressed his lips to his cheek.
So dark was the night now grown, and so rapid the passage of the
vessel, that the stern lights of the ship bore over the cat-head of the
brigantine.

The young captain now took the helm, when a hail came from the ship
that thrilled the blood of every man on board.

“What ship is that? Reply, or I’ll sink you.”

“The Severn, store vessel.”

The ports of the man-of-war were triced up, and by the gleam of the
battle lantern, the gunners could be seen standing by their pieces.

“Ay, ay. Come to, under the stern, and report on board at six o’clock
in the morning.”

“Ay, ay,” was the reply; and “Hard a-lee! Haul aft the main sheet!”
were shouted, in loud tones, on board the brigantine.

The officer of the deck, who could distinguish nothing, hearing these
orders, was for an instant deceived—an instant that was the salvation
of the brigantine, going twelve knots under the combined force of wind
and tide. Perceiving immediately that it was a ruse, he gave orders to
fire. The horizon was lit up by the flash of guns, and the midnight
stillness broken by the roar of cannon. But so well had the brigantine
improved her opportunity, that but one or two of the forward guns were
brought to bear on her.

As the iron shower came hurtling on, and passed, a groan was heard near
the foot of the main-mast. It came from little Ned, who was struck as
he came aft with an order from the pilot.

“Bear it like a man, Neddie,” cried Walter, as he held him in his arms.
“Are you hurt much?”

“Yes, bad, Walter.” And he fainted.

“Take care of him,” said the captain, “till the vessel is brought to.”

For a few moments every one was exerting himself to the utmost, in
order to bring the vessel, under such a press of sail, to anchor under
the guns of the castle of St. Nicolas.

She was somewhat disabled, a round shot having cut off her main boom
at the jaws to such an extent that it broke and fell on deck, carrying
away the rail. Several shot had passed through the sails and bulwarks,
one had cut off the tiller-head, and the mate had received a wound in
the leg; so that the attention of the captain was fully occupied in
taking care of the vessel.

During this period, which, though really but a short time, seemed an
age to Walter, he sat with his back against the main-mast, his arms
around Neddie’s waist, and felt the warm blood oozing slowly through
his fingers.

The artillery now began to thunder from the castle at the boats of the
fleet, which, enraged at the audacity and success of the enterprise,
endeavored to follow and cut out the brigantine, but, finding the enemy
aware of their designs, relinquished it.

A boat was immediately sent to the castle for a surgeon, who, having
restored Ned by stimulants, proceeded to examine his hurts, and
ascertained that he had received a severe flesh wound in the thigh from
a splinter, parts of which still remained in the wound. He had also
received a musket ball in the groin, which, passing round the body
without breaking the bone, could be felt in the flesh of the back, near
the spine. Being just beneath the skin, he pronounced neither of the
wounds mortal.

“Thank God for that!” exclaimed the captain.

The surgeon wished to fasten him to the cabin table while he performed
the operation; but Ned resisted this, declaring he could bear it if the
captain would stand beside him, and Walter would hold his hand. The
extraction of the splinters was more painful than even the cutting for
the ball; but the little fellow bore it all with firmness, scarcely
uttering a groan, and without aid from any of the means now in use to
produce insensibility, they being at that period unknown.

“Didn’t I bear it like a man, Walter?” asked Ned, when the operation
was over.

“Bravely,” answered Walter.

The captain would not send Ned to the hospital, but hired a room for
him in the house of Jacques Bernoux, the fisherman whose acquaintance
Walter made on the rock, and sent Walter and Peterson alternately to
take care of him, going daily himself to see him.

Ned, who was as sweet-tempered as ambitious, had always been the pet
of the crew, most of whom he had known while at Pleasant Cove; they
were, therefore, always ready to watch of a night whenever needed, and
there were so many of them that the duty was not at all burdensome.

Boys of Ned’s age learn a language with great rapidity, and he soon
began to pick up words, and talk with the people of the house. Nothing
could exceed the kindness of Peterson to the little wounded fellow. He
was so strong he could lift him easily, and, as he gradually recovered,
made him many little messes (being a skillful cook) that were very
grateful to the convalescent. Ned began to love his black friend
dearly, and always called him James.

To the surprise of all but the surgeon, Ned recovered a great deal
faster than the first mate, Mr. Rogers, who was only wounded in the
leg, the ball passing through. The wound continued to run, and seemed
as if it never would heal, while Ned could walk across the floor with
the aid of Walter.

One day Ned was sitting in a chair, propped up with pillows, and
eating, with the greatest relish, a nice breakfast Peterson had
prepared for him. “James,” said he, laying down his knife and fork,
“I’m glad I was wounded.”

“Glad you wounded! Glad you hab so much pain, be sick so long, make de
cap’n so much trouble, all ob us feel bad! Nebber hear sich ting afore.”

“I didn’t mean I was glad of that, or that I should want to be wounded
again; but I’m glad, now it’s over, I’ve been through it.”

“I know what you tink; you tink, when you git home to Salem, farder,
mudder so glad cause you wasn’t killed; den, when you walks in de
street, all de people say, ‘Dere Ned Gates; he one smart boy; he been
shipwrecked, almost starve on a raft; been wounded two times runnin’ de
blockade; see what dat boy been through.’ Den all de boys dey open dere
eyes wide and stare, say notin’.”

“That is it, James. I _have_ been through a good deal—haven’t I, for a
boy no older than I am?”

“Dat de Lord; he carry you through dat cause you good boy.”

“I ain’t a very good boy, James.”

“What de reason? Cap’n say you good boy, mate say you good boy,
eberybody say so.”

The brigantine, as she lay under the guns of the fort, was recognized
by the officers of the blockading fleet as the vessel they had chased,
and so nearly taken, and they determined she should not escape them a
second time, therefore kept incessant watch.

The roadstead of Marseilles is exposed to severe gales, during which,
the blockading fleet were compelled to run to sea. The captain of the
brigantine had made too much money to run any unnecessary risk in
getting home; he, therefore, determined to wait for a gale of wind that
should drive his antagonists to sea, before he attempted to run out.
This gave time for Ned to recover sufficiently to go in the vessel. As
the mate, Mr. Rogers, was not well enough to do duty, Walter was put
in his place, which offended the second mate very much, who thought,
and said to the captain, that the place belonged to him; to which
the captain replied, that Griffin had run some risk in volunteering
to go on the rock; that it was _principally_, if not entirely, due
to his shrewdness in getting hold of the fisherman, and obtaining
the information he did from the English sailor, that their adventure
succeeded, and they were not sunk by the man-of-war. He therefore
considered promotion no more than a suitable reward, especially as the
second mate, though a good seaman, was not a navigator. Thus Walter
experienced at the outset the benefit of knowledge, as well as of pluck
and principle.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE BASKET-MAKER.


IT was a glad day to Ned, when he had so far recovered that the
surgeon, yielding to his solicitations, told him he might go on board
the vessel, spend most of the day, and come back at night.

The fisherman’s house was not far from the pier. Walter and Peterson
made a chair, by taking hold of each other’s wrists, and Ned, seated on
it, with an arm round each of their necks, was taken on board.

The weather was warm, and some blankets from Walter’s berth were spread
on the hen-coop, and a pillow placed so that Ned could lie down or sit
up, as he chose, see what was going on, and chat with his shipmates,
who were all rejoiced to see him on board again. Peterson prepared his
dinner, but Ned wanted to eat with the rest, it seemed so much more
sociable, having been compelled for so long a time to eat alone.

It was just after dinner; Ned was sitting, propped up with pillows,
the captain seated near by, watching him, when he noticed an old man,
apparently over sixty years of age, in seaman’s dress, coming along the
gangway plank. His hair, where it came outside his tarpaulin, was gray;
he stooped very much, appearing feeble, and bore on his back a large
number of articles manufactured of willows, and strung together by a
cord.

Approaching the captain, he deposited the bundle on the deck, evidently
much fatigued, and asked, in English, if he would like to buy any
of his work—market-baskets, knife-baskets, table-mats, ladies’
work-baskets, and many articles, merely ornamental, of superior
workmanship and most beautifully stained.

There was something in his whole demeanor that was both modest and
prepossessing—quite the reverse of street-venders in general.

“There,” said he, “is a market-basket that would be very handy on board
ship; and here,”—producing a basket nearly square, and with partings
in it for tumblers,—“is an article that would be very convenient on
a cabin table, or in a ship’s pantry. Many of my articles are made for
vessels’ use, as I deal much with seafaring men.”

Arthur Brown, who was of quick sympathies, was interested in the old
gentleman, and touched by seeing a man of his years, apparently infirm,
thus employed, felt inclined to converse, especially as he spoke
English.

“This is beautiful work,” he observed. “I have seen a great deal of it
in England and Germany, where excellent work is made, but never any
superior to this. You are surely master of your business.”

“I should be, considering I have been at it for the greater part of my
life since I was twelve years old, and we have no knowledge that any of
our ancestors were ever anything but weavers of sallies,—that’s what
we call the rods the baskets are made of.”

“You seem infirm. Have you been sick?”

“No, captain; I am worn down with wounds and hardships, but, most of
all, with a sore heart.”

“Then you’ve been a soldier?”

“No, sir; a sailor. I was born in Lincolnshire, England, in the fens.
There my forefathers all lived and followed their trade. A happier
man, sir, the sun never shone upon than myself. I had an affectionate
wife,—a right godly woman, and thrifty,—and three children. I
employed four, sometimes five men. My oldest child was a boy. He worked
in the shop. We paid our rent easy, and were getting along nicely,
when, in the midst of all this happiness, I was pressed, torn from my
family, and put aboard a hulk. Wouldn’t you think, sir, that would
break a man down?”

“I should, indeed, my friend,” replied Captain Brown, greatly moved,
“and I feel for you, from the bottom of my heart.”

The tears were running down little Ned’s cheeks as he sat propped up on
the hen-coop.

“It must have been long ago,” continued the captain.

“Not so very long, sir. Only about ten years.”

“Indeed!”

“How old might you take me to be, sir?”

“Sixty, or thereabouts.”

“I am but forty-seven. Ought to be in my prime. But O, sir, to have a
wife and family, and be forever separated from them, in a strange land,
and not know whether they are dead or alive, or whether they are in
distress or not,—only to know that they are dead to you, and you to
them,—it keeps gnawing at the heart-strings.”

“It must, indeed. But how did you get clear from the navy?”

“It was near the close of the American war. The frigate I belonged
to was in action with a French seventy-four. I was wounded and flung
overboard for dead. The cold water revived me, and I clung to the
wreck of our spars, which were shot away. The French vessel won the
battle, being a much heavier ship. I was picked up, brought ashore at
Toulon, and lay a long time in the hospital, wishing for death; but
I recovered, and since then have, though feeble, made a living by my
trade. The people here are very kind.”

“What is your name, my friend?”

“Bell—John Bell, sir.”

“Why, that is the name of the man who built this vessel, and is part
owner.”

“Indeed, sir, I hope he is a happier man than I am.”

“He is a happy man, and deserves to be, for he tries to make others
happy.”

The captain bought a good many articles of the basket-maker, and then
sent him forward among the crew, who purchased so largely that there
remained but very little to carry away. Peterson bought a work-basket
for Captain Rhines’s wife, and Enoch Hadlock another for old Mrs. Yelf.

Walter was away, for, as he could speak French, the captain had sent
him to make some purchases for him. Walter, indeed, had plenty of
business in this way, being spokesman for all hands.

The captain insisted upon the basket-maker stopping to supper; but
something in his appearance prevented him from offering him money as a
gift,—he felt it might wound his feelings,—but he gave him a cordial
invitation to come on board and eat or sleep, whenever his business
led him in that direction. The next night, when Walter went over to
see Ned, he mentioned the circumstance of the basket-maker’s coming on
board, showed him his purchases, and told him he was an Englishman, and
that his name was Bell. This excited Walter’s curiosity. He inquired
further about it, and Ned, who had been deeply touched by the man’s
pitiful story, repeated the whole conversation between him and the
captain, word for word. When he concluded, Walter sat for a few
moments, with his hands clasped over his knees, as though striving to
recall something.

At length he said, “Ned Gates, as sure as you are lying on that bed,
the basket-maker is our Charlie Bell’s father.”

“Charlie Bell’s father?” said Ned, sitting bolt upright, and then
screaming at the twinge the effort occasioned, because of his wound.

“Yes, Charlie Bell’s father.”

“But the man is an Englishman.”

“So is Charlie Bell.”

“I never knew that before.”

“He was an English boy; came to Elm Island as poor as he could be, with
some bad men,—but he didn’t know they were bad when he started,—that
came to rob; but they came to the wrong place, for Lion Ben most killed
‘em, kept the boy, and brought him up. I’ve heard our Joe and Mr.
Williams tell about it a thousand times.”

“What if it should turn out to be so?”

“I tell you it is so; I’m certain sure it is. His father was a
basket-maker, and was pressed; I heard Mr. Williams say so; and when
they were boys, Charlie, Mr. Bell, and John Rhines used to make
baskets, and Mr. Williams sold ‘em at the mill; and when I first went
to tend store for him, there were some of ‘em in the store.”

“If your Joe or Mr. Williams were only here, we could ask them, and
know all about it.”

“Yes, Joe, they said, used to live on Elm Island half the time before
he was married. I remember another thing Joe said.”

“What is that?”

“He said he made baskets of willows, and colored them red, blue, and
green, real handsome, and said that was the way they did in England.”

“But the basket-maker said, if I remember right, that it was about ten
years ago, and that his son was large enough to work in the shop at
light work. O, Walter, wouldn’t I be glad, and wouldn’t the captain be
glad (when Mr. Bell saved our lives), to be the means of taking his
father home to him?”

“Don’t you think somebody else would be glad too, you little monkey,
you?”

“The boys didn’t sleep much that night, having worked each other up to
such a state of excitement. In the morning Walter went on board, full
of the news, and opened the whole matter to the captain, who was as
much astonished as Ned; being entirely ignorant of the antecedents
of Charlie, he supposed him a native of the country. After patiently
listening with the deepest interest to all that Walter had to say, he
acknowledged that the probabilities were very strong, but, much less
sanguine, did not express a very decided opinion.

“He said he had a wife and three children,” observed the captain; “what
became of them? were they ever at Elm Island?”

Walter had never heard them mentioned; but he was very young when
Charlie came to Elm Island, and might not have heard half that
occurred. Captain Brown turned the matter over in his mind, and
conversed with Walter, who daily recollected some fresh corroborating
circumstance, till at length he determined, the next time the
basket-maker came on board, to broach the matter to him, even at the
risk of exciting unfounded hopes. Day after day they expected his
appearance; but he came not. Walter searched the streets and piers, but
in vain.

The time of year now drew on when periodical gales were expected, and
the vessel would be likely to go to sea.

“He may be sick, Walter,” said Ned; “for he looked pale and half sick
the day he was aboard.”

“He may be dead,” said Walter; “and we never should know it, in this
great city. I wish I had seen him; if he was Charlie Bell’s father, I
could tell; I know I could see something of the look.”

“I saw, when he pulled his hat off,” said Ned, “that his hair, where it
was not gray, is the same color as Charlie’s.”



CHAPTER XIV.

A STRANGE DISCOVERY.


CAPTAIN BROWN had employed Jacques Bernoux, the French fisherman, to
get the spy-glass Walter had forgotten and left on the rock, and he
came on board, one morning, to bring it.

“Do you know a man who goes about the piers and streets selling
baskets? an old man, and an Englishman?” said Walter.

“John Bell?”

“That’s the name.”

“Yes; pass his place every day going to my boat.”

“Will you ask him to come on board the vessel to-morrow?” asked the
captain.

“Yes, sir.”

Early the next morning the basket-maker made his appearance with a
large burden of baskets; he had been so engaged manufacturing that it
kept him out of the streets—the reason that Walter couldn’t find him.

The captain, taking him into the cabin, said, “My friend, when you was
here, a few days ago, you gave me some particulars of your life. This
young man, Mr. Griffin, my mate, was not present; but having heard
what then passed between us, he has not a doubt but that Charles Bell,
who built and is part owner of this vessel, is your oldest son. As for
myself, residing in another part of the country, I have no personal
knowledge of the circumstances; but I must say that as related by him,
they seem to me most probable. But you can hear what he has to say
about it, and judge for yourself.”

While the captain was speaking, the basket-maker became very pale,
trembled, and big tears rolled down his hollow cheeks.

“For the sake of Heaven, captain,” he exclaimed, “do not raise in this
sad heart hopes that may have no foundation. I’ve made up my mind to
endure the worst, as God shall give me strength, till I lay these bones
in the grave.”

“I am the last person to do that; but I have been turning the subject
over in my mind ever since you were here last, and the more I reflect
upon the young man’s story, the more the probability of it grows upon
me.”

The basket-maker, hearing these words, made a sign to Walter, who
gave him substantially the same statement he had made to Ned and the
captain. The old man was deeply affected; he evidently saw strong
grounds for believing the person described was his child, but was
fearful of cherishing a premature hope.

“I can bear what I have borne,” he said, “but the disappointment would
drive me mad. You say, young man, that you have known this person
intimately?”

“Yes, sir, as well as it’s possible for one person to know another.”

“And that his name is Charles?”

“Yes, sir.”

“What’s his age?”

“I think about twenty-three.”

“My son, if living, would be twenty-three next Michaelmas. What sort of
a looking man is this Charles Bell?”

“Hair, eyes, and complexion just like yours, but he is not so large a
man as you are.”

“Those are the features of my boy,” replied the old man, evidently
gaining confidence as he continued his inquiries.

“You say you didn’t know this Charles Bell when he first came to Elm
Island, and this Mr. Rhines and his wife took him.”

“No, sir; I was too young; but I’ve heard my brother talk about it.”

“My boy,” said the old man, “was a most loving boy, very much attached
to his mother. I don’t believe he would leave her and his brother and
sister. You never heard him mention his parents or family—did you?”

“This Charles Bell’s mother is dead. I never heard him speak of any
brother or sister.”

“How do you know his mother is dead?”

“Because, sir, he went to St. John’s two or three years ago, brought
her body from there, and buried it on his place, under an elm tree—a
beautiful spot. I’ve seen it a hundred times.”

The old man’s countenance fell. “It cannot be,” he said, “that my
wife, with young children and small means, would leave England,
and all her and my relations, and go to the colonies; and yet the
time, circumstances, and personal appearance of the young man tally
precisely.”

“I know it’s your son,” said Walter; “nobody can make me believe it
ain’t. He looks as much like you as my two hands look alike, saving the
difference in age, and his voice is like yours.”

“Do you expect to come here again, captain?”

“Yes, if we get off clear this time, and can run the gantlet. You know
it is all luck and chance with us.”

“I can send a letter by you, and that will remove all doubts, and
settle the whole matter.”

“But I hoped you would feel sure enough to take passage with us. You
can do better in the States than here.”

“I could not bear to go over there expecting to meet a son, and be
disappointed. I’m making a very good living here.”

“I think you’d better go.”

“Well, captain, I’ve about as much as I can carry at present, and am
somewhat confused. I will go about my regular business the rest of the
day; that will steady my mind; and perhaps I may think of some question
that this young man can answer, that will throw more light on the
matter; and I will be on board again in the morning.”

Resisting all solicitations to stop to dinner, the old man departed
with his load.

“I know it’s his son,” said Walter, as they were eating dinner. “I feel
it in my bones, and I think we ought to persuade him to go.”

“I have not much doubt,” replied the captain. “People are always
emigrating from England to St. John’s and Canada. Her relatives might
have gone, and taken her with them. I shall persuade him in the morning
to go, if I can.”

The second mate, who was a Marblehead man, and had listened to the
conversation, now inquired, “Don’t all this crew belong right there?
and wouldn’t they be likely to know more about it than Mr. Griffin?
Most of them are much older than he is.”

“To be sure they would,” cried Walter. “There’s Danforth Eaton helped
clear Elm Island when Charlie Bell first came there; then there’s
Peterson, and Enoch Hadlock,—what a ninny I was not to think of that
before he went away!—there’s not _one_ of them but knows more about
his _first_ coming there than I do.”

Leaving his dinner, Walter ran forward, and soon returned, saying that
Eaton knew all about it.

When John Bell came on board the next morning, he seemed calm,
collected, and much more hopeful. Sending for Eaton, the captain said
to him, “Eaton, I want you to tell us all you know about Charles Bell’s
coming to Elm Island, and about his parents, if you know or have heard
anything about them, and I want you to begin at the bottom.”

“What I know, cap’n, isn’t hearsay, but I had it all from his own lips.”

“So much the better.”

“You see, cap’n, about that time there was some Tories come up from the
provinces—”

“We know,” said the captain, interrupting him, “how he got to the
island; but what we are most concerned to ascertain is, who his parents
were, and how he came into the hands of those pirates (for they were no
better) who brought him to Elm Island. Can you tell us anything about
that?”

“Reckon I kin tell you all about it; but I must tell it in my own way.
If you keep putting in and interrupting me, I shall get all mixed up.”

“Well, go on.”

“You see, arter this boy come on the island, Lion Ben he hires me and
Joe Griffin, the next winter, to cut spars and clear land. Charlie Bell
was a little, slender, half-starved, pitiful-looking creatur’, then,
but he was willing and clever, and soon begun to pick up. Most of the
winter he drove the team; but along in March, when it was bad hauling,
he helped me chop. I tapped a maple, to have sap to drink while I was
chopping. One day we comes into the woods arter dinner, and before we
went to work, sot down by the sap tree, in the sun. I sets on a stump,
same as where that stool is, and he on another, same as where that
old gentleman is setting. I takes a good drink of the sap, and hands
the dipper to him; says I, ‘Charlie, tell me your history, or part of
it, like as you did Joe and Fred Williams.’ He didn’t want ter, but I
coaxed him. Then he said, the way his father come to be pressed, was
all through another man, that courted his mother when she was a gal,
but she liked his father better; he couldn’t give her up, and allers
hild that old grudge agin his father. He said his father had agreed to
work for the government, and if he had only got his name on the roll,
couldn’t have been touched any more than if he had been a peer of the
kingdom. This feller, I forget his name—” “Robert Rankin,” said the
basket-maker. “That’s it, old man, by jingo,—who thought, if he was
out of the way, he could get her, after all,—told the press-gang, and
they took him as he was on the road to the place where he would have
been safe.”

The tears were streaming down John Bell’s cheeks, and his hands were
lifted in gratitude to Heaven; but he would not interrupt Eaton by a
question.

“He said, soon arter his father was gone, he was killed in an action,
and his mother carried on the business for a while; but this feller
kept prosecutin’ her, and wantin’ her to have him, till she couldn’t
stand it any longer. So she packed up everything, and went to St.
John’s, where she had a brother; but when she got there, he’d gone
to furrin parts, and she took sick and died. Then the boy, destitute
and wandering about the streets and docks to pick up a living, fell
inter the hands of them are reprobates, thinking they were honest
fishermen, and went cook for them. The rest you say you know. Good as a
story-book—ain’t it?”

“Eaton,” said the captain, sternly, “this is Mr. Bell’s father.”

“His _father_! Then he wasn’t killed. I didn’t dream of that, or I
shouldn’t have spoken like as I did. I see now he favors him.”

“Did he tell you,” asked the father, “what became of the other
children?”

“I axed him if there was any more of ‘em. He said his mother’s
relations took ‘em.”

There was an oppressive pause in the conversation after Eaton had gone
forward. John Bell sat with his handkerchief over his face, while the
others, respecting his emotions, were silent.

“No doubt, there can be none,” he said, at length, “that my poor
wife is dead—God only knows what she suffered, in poverty and among
strangers; that two of my children—whether alive or dead I know
not—are in England, and that the other is in America. I may yet see
_him_. I ought to be thankful for that.”

“Your son, Mr. Bell,” said the captain, “is well to do; able to provide
you with every comfort; and, what is more, respected and beloved.”

“And he owns land?”

“Yes; six hundred acres.”

“That seems like a dream to me, for none of our folks ever owned a foot
of land. I always loved the earth, and loved to work on it, even when
it was the freehold of another. I feel there may yet be some happiness
in store for me.”

“You are not an old man yet, Mr. Bell,” said the captain, “and good
news and good spirits will make you ten years younger; so bring all
your things on board, and prepare to go with us, the first gale that
scatters the blockaders.”

“I don’t suppose there is any doubt now. I know there can’t be. Still,
you know a person in my situation feels they can’t be too certain; and
there is just one thing more that has come to mind since I was here. I
would like to ask of this young man whether he ever noticed any scar on
my son’s face.”

“Yes, sir,” replied Walter; “it is on his right jaw, and close to his
ear,—runs up behind the ear, into his hair.”

“Then I’ll indulge no more in doubt. It would be ungrateful. I
never shall forget when he received the cut that made that scar, it
frightened me so. Though it was long ago, it seems but the other day.”

“How did it happen, Mr. Bell?” asked Walter.

“I suppose you never saw any basket rods growing?”

“No, sir.”

“In England, we plant them in rows, three feet apart, and as straight
as an arrow. They grow seven or eight feet high, and make a nice place
for the children to play. I was cutting the sallies with a large
knife, as sharp as a razor. My little children, with their cousins,
who had come to see them, were playing hide-and-seek among the rows,
when Charlie ran in the way of my knife, and I cut a dreadful gash in
his cheek, that made that scar. And now I will leave you, and make my
preparations for the voyage.”

“Not till you have taken dinner with us,” said the captain; “and,
Mr. Bell, I expect you to make the vessel your home, and sleep here
whenever it suits your convenience.”

“Thank you, captain. My quarters on shore are not so spacious or
elegant that I should feel inclined to refuse so handsome and hearty an
offer.”

When the meal was concluded, Mr. Bell went on shore.

“Only see,” said Walter, looking after him, as he went up the pier,
“how quick he steps, and how much straighter he is.”

“There’s a new heart in him,” said the captain. “He’s something to live
for and look forward to now. In a week’s time he’ll be another man. As
far as I am concerned, I had rather carry _him_ home, than the richest
cargo. And now, Mr. Griffin, run up and tell the good news to Ned.”



CHAPTER XV.

HOMEWARD BOUND.


NED had of late recovered rapidly, could walk quite well, and was on
board the vessel very often, and went about the city some; but the
doctor advised that he should not go on board the vessel to live till
she was ready to sail. Ned had not seen Walter since his promotion, but
Peterson had been up and informed him of it.

“Well, Ned,” said Walter, as he entered the room, “it has turned out
just as I told you it would; the basket-maker is Charlie’s father, and
no mistake.”

“I am so glad, Mr. Griffin! and he will go back with us—won’t he?”

“Ned, my boy, just leave that handle off, and call me Walter, as you
always did. It makes me sick.”

“But you are mate now; Peterson told me so.”

“What of that? When we are on board ship, call me what you like; but
not when we are alone, as we are now, you little monkey,” patting his
cheek.

“We shan’t sleep together any more,” said Ned, in a desponding tone.

“No, Ned, I shall have to live aft; and that is not the worst of it; we
shall now be in different watches.”

“I know it. I shall be in Mr. Baxter’s watch. And we used to have such
good times in our watch on deck, talking about home, Pleasant Cove,
and all the folks there. Walter, who do you like best of all the folks
there, out of your own family?”

“Charlie Bell.”

“So do I, and well I might. He saved my life. Ain’t he handsome?”

“Yes; and just as good as he is handsome. A first rate
wrestler—there’s none of the young ones can throw him but John Rhines
and Ben Peterson.”

“What, this Ben aboard here?”

“Yes.”

“I’m afraid, if I call you Walter all the time when we are alone, that
I shall forget to put the Sir on sometimes before the men.”

“If you do, I shan’t hit you on the head with a belaying pin.”

“I tell you what I could do, Walter.”

“What?”

“I might swap watches with Enoch Hadlock. He is in your watch.”

“Yes, you _could_, but I wouldn’t.”

“Why not? Then we should be in the same watch again, and we could walk
the deck, and talk, and have good times together, as we used to.”

“I’ll tell you, Ned; if you should swap watches with Hadlock, and get
into my watch, it would make trouble. If I happened to give you a soft
job, and somebody else a hard one, they would say I was partial—made
fish of one, and flesh of another.”

“I never thought of that.”

“We shouldn’t be together any more for being in the same watch. You
would be forward, and I should be aft.”

“Shouldn’t we be together when it was my trick at the helm?”

“Yes, but we couldn’t talk. It is against the rules of the ship, and
very unseamanlike, for an officer, or anybody, to make talk with a man
at the helm. You couldn’t come aft to talk with me, and if I should go
forward to talk with you, it would make growling directly, and set all
the men against you.”

“I see how it is,” said Ned, sadly. “The good times are all over.
There’s going to be a great, high, solid wall, reaching clear up to the
sky, built right up between us.”

“O, not so bad as that, Ned. There will be cracks and chinks in it,
where we can peek through, and boys must change into men some time or
other.”

“I suppose so, Walter; but I wish the change had not come quite yet.”

“I wish so, too. There’s time enough for me these some years yet. But
it would never have done for me to refuse the berth when it was offered
me. It would have looked as though I did not know how to appreciate
kind treatment, and I should never have had another offer. We can’t
have everything and keep everything.”

The ambitions, cares, and responsibilities of practical life lay a
ruthless hand upon the sympathies and yearnings of young hearts, and
the conversation of the boys may, to the minds of older persons who
read these pages, recall similar experiences, when the relations of
master and servant were rudely thrust between playfellows and near
friends.

“Cheer up, Ned,” said Walter, noticing the downcast looks of his
friend; “we will sleep together once more, at any rate. I’m going to
stay here to-night, and take you aboard with me in the morning; that’s
the order.”

When they were snug in bed, Ned lay for a long time silent. Walter
thought him asleep, and had just begun to doze himself, when he was
roused by Ned exclaiming, abruptly, “I’m sure I shouldn’t want to be a
king.”

“Nor I either; I don’t believe in ‘em; but what in the world has put
that into your head just now?”

“Well, I have been thinking over all the good times we’ve had when
we were in the same watch, slept in the same berth, and ate out of
the same kid. In good weather we could sit side by side under the lee
of the boat, or under the rail, and talk and enjoy ourselves. In our
forenoon watch below, we could comb each other’s hair, tie our cues,
read and study navigation; then, being in the same watch, we always got
liberty ashore together. Right in the midst of all these good times
comes up this chief mate’s affair, takes you right away from me, and
sticks you up on the quarter-deck. It’s no longer Ned and Walter; O,
no; it’s Mr. Griffin and Gates. I can’t speak to you, for fear the men
should think I was currying favor; you can’t speak to me, lest there
should be growling about partiality. O, I shouldn’t want to be a king,
to be stuck up for everybody to look at, and nobody to love. If people
obeyed me, I should know it was because they couldn’t help it; if they
pretended to love me, I should be sure they lied.”

“But I ain’t a king, Ned.”

“No; but you are a mate, and if just being a mate is going to make such
an awful gap, what must being a king make? It must be a lonesome thing
to be a king.”

“What a queer fellow you are, Ned! I always thought you were about as
spunky and ambitious a boy as I ever knew. You wouldn’t want to be a
boy always—would you?”

“No; I don’t know as I should want to be _always_ a boy; but I don’t
like stepping over the edge all of a sudden; at any rate, I don’t like
to see everybody else stepping over, and leaving me to be boy alone.”

“Perhaps you’ll get to be second mate next voyage, and then we can be
together again.”

“I might if I was older, or if I was only a Griffin, or a Murch, or a
Rhines, who are as big when they are seventeen as others when they are
men grown. Here you are, a great fellow, your feet sticking out of bed,
while my toes are only down to your knees.”

“But you are growing all the time; you can steer a good trick now, and
do anything that your strength is equal to, as well as any man in the
vessel; you must be patient, Ned.”

“O, if I was only a little bigger, so that I could furl the royal in
wet weather, or when it blows hard! I didn’t use to care so much for
you, but I should so hate to have any of the crew come up to help me!”

“I’ll have a bunt-line rove for it.”

“O, thank you; then I can handle it any time.”

“Ned, do you think it is the beef makes the man?”

“Not altogether; but I think there must be more beef than I’ve got.”

“That is a fault that will be daily mending: see how much you’ve
done since you left home; you have obtained a very good knowledge of
navigation.”

“I shouldn’t have done so much, if I had not been wounded. I have had
lots of time to study since I have been getting better; so there’s some
good come out of it. That’s just what mother’s always saying—every
thing is for the best. I wonder if she’d been here the night I was hit,
if she would have thought _that_ was for the best.”

“I’ll warrant she’ll think it is all for the best, Ned, when you get
home safe and sound.”

“That she will, when she gets me in that old bed again, prays with me
and kisses me. Ain’t I a great baby, Walter?”

“Not a bit of it, Ned; you’re just right.”

“I wish I was good, Wal, just to please my mother, it’s all she thinks
about.”

“I wish _I_ was, just to please Charlie Bell; at any rate, we’ll do the
best we can.”

“O, Wal, it’s nothing at all to be good here, with such a crew as
this, all nice, steady men, well brought up. You never sailed in an old
country vessel—did you?”

“No; I have only sailed with just such a crew as we have here, and part
of them are the same men.”

“Then you don’t know anything about it. Such a set of reprobates as we
had in that ship I was cast away in, cursing, swearing, fighting all
the time; the captain never came on deck without his pistols in his
pockets; half the crew didn’t know who their father or mother was; the
crew were fighting among themselves, and the captain quarrelling with
his mates, full of liquor all the time; and such deviltry as they tried
to put into my head! I tell you, Walter, there was not the least need
of that ship being lost (and I heard Mr. Brown tell Captain Rhines the
same thing); the men might have kept her free just as well as not; we
were not far from land.”

“Why didn’t they, then?”

In the first place, the men were harassed to death, kept out of their
watch, working up jobs all the time, and half starved; the captain’s
idea seemed to be to keep them so used up that they wouldn’t have
strength or pluck to rise and take the ship from him, and it came back
on his own head; they hadn’t strength enough, when the ship sprung
a-leak, to work the pumps; and besides, they were so worn out, and
hated him so, that they were desperate, thought it was their turn now,
and if they could only drown him, they didn’t care what became of
themselves. I tell you, Wal, I think, when a boy is away from home,
and thrown into bad places and bad company, it makes a good deal of
difference how he’s been brought up, and whether he’s come of nice
folks.”

“I guess it does, Ned, because he has a good character to sustain, and
thinks, when he’s tempted, ‘How can I disgrace my folks? what would my
parents, brothers and sisters say? and how would they feel if I should
do this thing?’ Then there’s another thing comes of being well brought
up.”

“What is that, Wal?”

“A boy that has been well brought up, and has learning, has hopes; he
knows he can make something of himself, and means to; whereas those
poor fellows, who, as you say, didn’t know who their fathers and
mothers were, had no ambition or hope of ever rising, and so made up
their minds to enjoy themselves after their own fashion.”

“That’s so, for I’ve heard them say so. There was one of them, my
watch-mate, Dick Cameron, a very decent fellow when the rum was out
of him, and I used to talk with him; but all he would say was, ‘It’s
all well for you, who have learning, and friends, and a chance to be
something; but it’s no use for me.’”

“How big a man was Dick Cameron?”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Why, I mean, how much did he weigh?”

“O, he was a stout, thick-set man—the strongest man in the ship, and
always took the bunt of a sail. I shouldn’t wonder if he weighed nearly
two hundred.”

“Now, see; it’s just as I told you a while ago. It isn’t beef that
makes a man, but it’s pluck, knowledge, and good principles.”

“And friends.”

“He’ll have friends if he has those things. They will raise him up
friends anywhere. Here you are, fretting because you don’t weigh two
hundred, like Dick Cameron, and are not twenty-one. But if anything
should happen to the officers of this vessel, all this crew of twenty
great, stout men, second mate and all, couldn’t get this vessel home.
They would have to fall back on Ned Gates, if he hasn’t got any cue to
speak of, and can’t furl the royal when it blows hard, and the sail is
wet and heavy.”

“I won’t whine any more, Walter.”

“It wouldn’t make one farthing’s difference as to age or size, with
such a crew as this, all neighbors. If you are only modest, and know
your duty, they would take pride in seeing you go ahead.”

“Well, I won’t feel so any more. Let us talk about something else.”

“I’ll tell you when we can get together, and it will be nobody’s
business.”

“When?”

“When the voyage is up, then you can go home with me to my house.”

“But shall we have time before the vessel goes again?”

“Plenty. They will have to pick up a cargo. The articles to carry, many
of them, have to be imported from other countries—the salt-petre from
England or the East Indies.”

“Wouldn’t I like it? Wouldn’t I have the best time that ever was in
this world?”

“You better believe it.”

“I shall see Charlie Bell and his wife, and the baby, Lion Ben, Uncle
Isaac, and old Tige.”

“Yes, and I’ll get Uncle Isaac, our Joe, and Charlie Bell to go hunting
with us. It will be right in bear time, and about town-meeting time,
and they’ll have a wrestling match. Our Joe is champion, but father can
throw him; only he’s done wrestling in the ring. But I suppose, if any
stranger came along, as Ricker did, he’d take hold, for the credit of
the place. But father never saw the day he was so stout as grandfather.
Did you ever see my grandsir?”

“No, I never saw any of your folks but Joe.”

“Well, he’s an old man now, but you can see, by his great bones and
cords, as big as an ox’s, what he was once. When Hen, and I, and Will
were little boys, he used to get us up in the floor, and set us to
wrestling.”

“I shouldn’t think an old man would care about wrestling and such
things.”

“He ain’t old _inside_; no older than ever he was. O, I’ll tell you the
funniest thing. You must know, we milk seven cows, and have awful big
churnings. One rainy day mother had our great churn, full of cream,
sitting in the chimney corner, because it was a rainy day, and father
was going to churn for her. Grandsir he ties a string to the churn
handle, sat in his chair, and held the end of it, and told us boys to
jump over it, and see which could jump the highest. Every little while
he would put the string up a little higher. It was Hen’s turn to jump,
and just as he was going over, grandsir twitched up the string, and
caught his feet. Over went the churn, the cover came out, and there was
that cream all over the floor. Grandsir was too old to get out of the
way; it filled his shoes full, ran into the fireplace, and soaked Hen
all through in front before he could get up. The dog lay asleep before
the fire. It ran all over him. He jumped up, and went all round the
room, switching his tail, and flinging the cream over everything. We
laughed; it frightened the baby; he began to scream, and you never saw
such a scrape.”

“What did your mother say?”

“She didn’t say much. She is one of the best mothers that ever was,
always one way. She isn’t religious, like your mother, ‘cause there
ain’t any religion in our folks. She is too good to have such a tearing
set of boys round her.”

“Will you go in the woods, and camp out? I never was in the big woods.
There ain’t any woods round Salem.”

“Well, there’s woods enough round our way. It’s all woods. You can get
bear’s grease enough to make your cue grow three inches a night, and
eat bear’s meat till you grow big enough to fill up the boots of a
second mate. Come, let’s go to sleep.”

When they went on board in the morning, the wind was blowing fresh, and
the sea beginning to heave into the roadstead.

The captain made his way to the observatory (taking Walter with him),
from which he enjoyed a view of the roadstead and all in it. Here he
sat, watching the blockading fleet with all the interest with which
a beleaguered rat contemplates the movements of his enemy, the cat.
Ned Gates had been despatched to find Mr. Bell, and tell him to get
his things on board the vessel, accompanied by the fisherman’s boy
as pilot. Ned traversed alleys and by-ways, till, in the dark, damp
basement of a squalid tenement he found the object of his search. It
was a wretched place, the walls low and dripping with moisture; in one
corner was a large trough, nearly full of water, in which the willow
rods lay soaking, in order to make them pliable to work; the floor was
littered with pieces of willows, of all colors, which had been trimmed
off; the walls were hung all round with willows, stripped into thin
shavings, and made into skeins. In another corner was a rough berth,
built up like those on shipboard, where the old gentleman slept, and on
a shelf, at the head of it, his Bible; evincing that, in his loneliness
and sorrow, he found consolation in the Word of God. There was also a
rusty stove, a few cooking utensils, a rickety table, and some rough
chairs, made of willow with the bark on.

The old gentleman was seated on a wooden platform, a little inclined,
with his back against the wall, employed in finishing a basket of such
delicate workmanship, such tastefully arranged and beautiful colors, as
to elicit the most unbounded expressions of admiration from Ned.

The old gentleman was evidently highly gratified with the praise
bestowed upon his work.

“I am glad you like it,” said he; “I have spent a vast deal of time
and work upon it; indeed, it is all I have done since I heard my son
was living. I design it as a present for my daughter, if I am ever
permitted to see her. It is said, self-praise goes but little ways;
yet, when I was working at my trade in England, I had the reputation
of doing the best work of any man in the fens, and that is saying a
good deal. I used to think, when Charles was growing up, he would make
a first-rate workman; but he has found better business than making
baskets.”

“He can do anything,” said Ned. “He can make a ship, a bedstead, or a
fiddle.”

“He takes that from his mother’s folks. They were shipwrights and
joiners; but mine were all basket-makers, from the beginning. I’m going
to take my tools, some basket-rods, and dye-stuffs; the rest I have
given to a young man who learned his trade of me.”

He then drew from a chest a pair of nice broad-cloth breeches, silk
hose, and other things to correspond, a nice pair of shoes, with silver
buckles, and, arraying himself, accompanied Ned on board the vessel.

The gale increased as the day wore away.

“There they go,” said the captain, as one of the frigates loosed her
topsails and made sail.

“I reckon,” said Walter, “they’ll find that when the cat’s away the
mice will play.”

The frigate was soon followed by another, till at length only the
line-of-battle ship remained. Long she held on against a tremendous
sea, till, at length, Walter, who had taken her bearings over a
projecting point, exclaimed, “She drags; she will have to go.”

In a few moments the men were seen mounting the rigging, and she also
joined the rest. She, under short sail, drifted very fast to leeward.
The frigates, carrying all the sail they could smother to, and sharper
built, made desperate efforts to keep to windward, and did better,
especially one which had been taken from the French, that outsailed
all the rest; but they all gradually fell to leeward, leaving a clear
offing.

“Good by, dear friends,” said Captain Brown, highly elated with the
turn matters were taking; “sorry to part, but your room is better than
your company.”

When the basket-maker made his appearance with Ned, he was scarcely
recognized by the captain and Walter, so changed was his appearance,
and so sprightly were his looks. Noticing their astonishment, he
observed to the captain, “I had contrived to lay by a little, by
prudence and hard work, for I couldn’t bear the thought of being a
pauper in a foreign land, and that I might have somewhat to give me
Christian burial; and I thought I would fix myself up a bit, that my
son might not be ashamed of me, should I be spared to see him.”

By twelve o’clock at night the gale moderated, the brigantine got under
way, and as the sun rose was far beyond the reach of her enemies.



CHAPTER XVI.

DEAR-BOUGHT WIT.


NED had been accustomed, in all ordinary weather, to take his trick
at the helm with the rest; but the captain would not permit it for
the first fortnight out, greatly to the annoyance of Ned, who prided
himself very much on being able to steer. Wheels were not in use then,
and the old-fashioned tiller with which vessels were steered came
against the hips, sometimes with a good deal of force, and the captain
was fearful of causing Ned’s wound to break out again; neither would
he permit him to stand his watch. All day he was on deck, pulled and
hauled with the rest, and went aloft.

As Ned didn’t care for turning in till nine, ten, or even twelve
o’clock, of a pleasant night, when he had not been fatigued through
the day, Mr. Bell—who was naturally inclined to make all the
inquiries possible about his son, and the new country to which he was
going—sought out Ned in the pleasant evenings, and whiled away many
an hour in conversation most interesting to both. Ned described the
personal appearance of the son to his father, and also that of Lion
Ben, told all the stories he had ever heard of his enormous strength,
and his encounter with the pirates, recounted the beauties of Elm
Island, of Charlie’s farm, and sketched the characters of Captain
Rhines and Uncle Isaac. No doubt the virtues and attractions of Charlie
received their just due in the description of so enthusiastic an
admirer.

“You say, Ned, that my son owns six hundred acres of land.”

“Yes, sir; and a saw-mill on it; and the machinery came from
England,—that is, the crank, saw, and mill chain.”

“Why, a man must be immensely rich to own so much land. There must be
some mistake about it.”

“No, sir, there ain’t; for Mr. Griffin, the mate’s brother, his next
neighbor, told me so, and I’ve been in the mill. He owns more than
that, sir; he owns part of this vessel, and part of the Casco (a great
mast ship of seven hundred tons), and one fourth of the Hard-scrabble;
and he built the whole of them.”

“I can’t understand how he came by so much money at his age, for he’s
not much more than a boy now.”

“Perhaps Lion Ben, Uncle Isaac, and Captain Rhines gave it to him, they
think so much of him.”

“I don’t believe that. People are not so fond of giving away money.
There must be some mistake. All my forefathers have been prudent,
hard-working people, and never one of them owned a foot of land.”

“Well, sir, I don’t know how it is, but I know _it is so_. I will call
Danforth Eaton. He can explain it all, I dare say.”

“Do, young man.”

Eaton told Mr. Bell about the ventures that Charlie sent in the Ark,
which gave him the first money he ever possessed; also about his
learning the ship carpenter’s trade; and astonished the old gentleman
by telling him that Charlie’s land cost only seventy-five cents an
acre. He also told him about the building of the Hard-scrabble, and how
much money she made. Upon these matters Eaton was an authority, as he
had worked on all the vessels Charlie had built, and knew the whole
matter from the beginning, whereas Walter Griffin was too young to be
familiar with the events of Charlie’s boyhood, and the information of
Ned was all second hand.

As the voyage approached its termination, the excitement of the father
increased. Ned was now able to stand his watch, and often, at twelve
o’clock, the old gentleman would come on deck, and spend the remainder
of the night talking with him and Eaton, and also with Peterson, whose
acquaintance he had now made.

When, by the captain’s reckoning, the vessel was nearly up with the
land, and men were sent aloft to look out for it, he became quite
nervous, thinking, perhaps, the happiness of possessing and meeting
such a son was too great a boon. Again, he imagined that he might die
before the vessel arrived, or that, after all, there might be some
mistake. “God only knows what is in store for me,” he said, brushing
the tear from his eye, as a joyous scream from the royal yard, in the
shrill tones of Ned, proclaimed, “Land, O!”

Let us now see what the unconscious object of all this solicitude
is doing. He is about half way between his house and Uncle Isaac’s,
walking at a smart pace, and with the air of one bound upon a long
walk. It was early autumn. As he approached the house, he saw Uncle
Isaac in the barn floor, winnowing grain in the primitive fashion.

“Good afternoon, Charlie. Go into the house. I’ll be there in a moment.
I’m almost through.”

“I can’t stop, Uncle Isaac. I’m going farther.”

“Where to?”

“Over to Mr. Colcord’s, to look at a cow. He’s got seven. He told me I
might have my pick of them for fifteen dollars.”

“What! Jim Colcord?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I wouldn’t have anything to do with him.”

“Why not?”

“Because he’s the most narrow-contracted creetur that ever lived. He
soaks out mackerel, and then takes the water to make hasty-pudding, in
order to save the salt. Robert Yelf worked for him one year in haying
time. Didn’t you never hear him tell about his jumping into the loaf of
hot rye and Indian bread?”

“No, sir; what did he do that for?”

“I’ll tell you. One day, his wife had cooked all her dinner in the
brick oven, except some potatoes that she had baked in the ashes. She
had baked beans, Indian pudding, a hind quarter of lamb, and a great
loaf of rye and Indian bread in an iron pan that would hold a peck. He
had a number of hands at work for him, getting hay. He’s rich the old
screw, but so mean that he never allows himself or his family decent
clothes, and always goes barefoot. He’s got a noble woman for a wife,
too, as ever God made, and a nice family of children.”

“I believe such men always get the best of wives.”

“It’s a good deal so, Charlie, I guess. Well, as I was saying, coming
into the house that day, just afore twelve o’clock, and seeing no pots
or kettles on the fire, he took it into his head that his wife had made
no preparation for dinner; that the men would come in at twelve, have
to wait, and he should lose some time.”

“Whereas,” said Charlie, “the dinner was all in the oven, and ready to
be put on the table.”

“Just so. He instantly began to jump up and down on the hearth, and
curse and swear. His wife, who was scared to death of him, began to
take the victuals out of the oven, to let him see it was all right. The
first thing she came to was the great iron pan of rye and Indian bread,
which she put down on the hearth. Thinking, in his passion, that this
was all, he jumped right into it with his bare feet.”

“I guess it burnt him some.”

“I guess you’d think so; if there’s anything in this world that’s hot,
or holds heat, it’s rye and Indian bread. It stuck between his toes,
and scalded to the bone. He ran round the room, howling and swearing,
and the tears running down his cheeks.”

“Served him right.”

“I think so. Now, if I were you, I wouldn’t have anything to do with
him; he’ll cheat you, sure.”

“I reckon I can tell a good cow when I see her.”

“Perhaps you can; but he’s cheated as smart men as you are. Let me go
and trade for you.”

Charlie would by no means consent to that, but set off on his errand.

“Well,” said Uncle Isaac, as they parted, “it is said, bought wit is
good; perhaps it is, if you don’t buy it too dear.” When, at length, at
the place, he was received by Colcord with the greatest cordiality; but
Charlie saw that the house and all the surroundings accorded precisely
with Uncle Isaac’s description of his character.

Colcord himself was a meagre-looking being; although in years, he
was barefoot, and so was his wife. Charlie also noticed that the
small quantity of wood at the door seemed to be rotten windfalls
and dead limbs of trees, though he possessed a large extent of very
heavily timbered woodland. Three boys, whose dress barely served the
purposes of decency, completed this singular family. The youngest,
notwithstanding his rags and a certain timidity of expression (the
result of hard usage), was a most intelligent, noble-looking boy, with
whose face Charlie instantly fell in love; his heart went out to these
boys.

“I have known hardship and poverty,” he said to himself, “but I thank
God I never had a father who, when I asked him for an egg, would
give me a scorpion. _My_ poor father did all in his power to give me
schooling, and make my childhood happy.—You remember,” said Charlie
to Mr. Colcord, “the talk we had some time since about cows, when you
told me that for fifteen dollars I should have my pick out of seven.
This is the day set, and I have come to look them over.”

“Andrew,” said Colcord, to the oldest boy, “drive the cows into the
yard.”

After Charlie had examined each cow in succession, he said, “Mr.
Colcord, here are but six cows; I was to have my choice of seven.”

“It is true, Mr. Bell, I did say so; but when I came home and told my
wife, she took on at such a rate about my selling _that_ cow, that I’ve
tied her up in the barn. She won’t consent to part with her; it would
break her heart. You must excuse me there.”

Charlie’s suspicions were roused in an instant. All that Uncle Isaac
had told him in respect to the sharp practice of the man rushed at
once to his recollection. He was determined to have that cow, at any
rate, and instantly asked to see Mrs. Colcord, intending to make her a
present, to reconcile her to the loss of the cow; but he was told she
had gone away to spend the day.

“The old rascal,” soliloquized Charlie, “has shut up his best cow,
thinking I wouldn’t notice there were but six in the yard.—Mr.
Colcord,” he said, “it was a fair contract between us. You agreed to
let me take my pick of seven cows. I am here, according to agreement,
with the cash. I’ll have that cow, or none.”

“Well, if I _must_, I must,” said the old man; “but my wife will cry
her eyes out;” and he flung open the cow-house.

Charlie felt so sure that this was the best cow of the herd, that he
never stopped to examine her closely, asked no questions, didn’t even
take hold of her teats, to see if she milked easy, or to examine the
quality of the milk, but put a rope on her head, and drove her off,
congratulating himself, all the way along, that he had outwitted the
old sneak.

“Guess Uncle Isaac won’t say any more about bought wit,” thought he.
“Couldn’t have done better than that himself.”

It was about the middle of the afternoon when Charlie reached home. At
the usual time his wife went to the barn to milk, and began with the
new comer.

“She has got nice teats, and milks easy, at any rate,” said Mrs. Bell.

[Illustration: THE KICKING COW. Page 233.]

The words were scarcely out of her mouth when the cow gave the pail a
kick so vicious as to send it spinning over the floor, spattering her
with milk.

“It is because she is in a strange place, and is afraid of a stranger,”
said Mrs. Bell; and, holding the pail in one hand, she continued to
milk with the other. The cow began to kick, first with one leg and
then the other, without an instant’s intermission, so that to milk was
impossible.

Charlie, who was in the barn-yard, milking the other cows, now came to
the rescue. “I never saw a cow I couldn’t milk,” he said; and taking
up one of her fore legs, fastened it to the rack with a rope. “Kick
now, if you can.” Placing the pail on the floor, he began to milk with
both hands; but the vicious brute, springing from the floor, fell over
upon him, spilling the milk, breaking the bail of the pail, upsetting
Charlie’s milking-stool, and leaving him at full length on the floor,
in not the most amiable mood (for his wife could not refrain from
laughing). He beat her to make her get up, but she was sullen, and get
up she wouldn’t. He twisted her tail, but she wouldn’t start. He then,
with both hands, closed her mouth and nostrils, strangling her till
she was glad to jump up. Thinking she had got enough of it, he began
again to milk, when away went the pail into the manger, and the milk
into Charlie’s face. Provoked now beyond endurance, he beat her till
she roared; but the moment he touched her teats, she began to kick as
bad as ever. In short, all the way he could milk her at all was to
fasten her to the stake next the side of the barn, build a fence on
the other side, so that she couldn’t run around either way, then tie
her hind legs together, milk her till she threw herself down, and then
finish the operation as she lay.

While all this was going on, the dog kept up a furious barking.

“What is that dog barking about, Mary?”

“I’m sure I don’t know. Perhaps there’s a skunk or a woodchuck under
the barn.”

If it was a skunk, he was peeping through a knot-hole in the back
barn-door.

As they came in with their milk, Joe Griffin was approaching the door,
having come to borrow a chain and canting dog.

Charlie now perceived that the cunning old wretch had shut up this
pest, and feigned reluctance to part with her, on purpose to draw him
on.

“I don’t believe,” said Mrs. Bell, “but what his wife was at home all
the time. He knew, if you spoke to her, she would tell you the whole
truth, for she is an excellent woman.”

Charlie resolved to keep the thing from the knowledge of every one,
_especially_ of Uncle Isaac, whose assertion, “He has cheated as smart
men as you are,” recurred most unpleasantly to his recollection.

“Mary,” said he,” we must not breathe a word of this to any
soul,—father’s folks, Joe Griffin, or, above all, Uncle Isaac. I had
rather pocket the loss than have it known that I got so taken in. I’ll
dry her up, and fat her. She’s a large cow, and will make a lot of
beef.”

But such things will always, in some way or other, leak out. While
Charlie imagined that himself and wife alone possessed the secret, it
was known to half the town, and they were chuckling over it. Indeed, it
had come to the ears of Lion Ben, on Elm Island, whose adopted son he
was.

A fortnight after the occurrences related, Fred Williams and Joe
Griffin were standing in the doorway of Fred’s store, when they espied
Lion Ben coming from Elm Island in his big canoe, which he was forcing
through the water with tremendous strokes.

Landing, and dragging the heavy craft out of the water as though she
was an egg-shell, he merely nodded to Joe and Fred, and proceeded with
rapid strides in the direction of Charlie Bell’s.

“What can that mean, Joe?” asked Fred. “He never spoke to us.”

Fred was his brother-in-law, Joe one of his most intimate friends.

“It means that he is angry. Didn’t you notice his face? I never saw him
angry, though I’ve known him ever since I was a boy; but I’ve heard say
he is awful when he rises. A common man would be no more in his hands
now than a fly in the clutch of a lion.”

Ben went directly into Charlie’s pasture, avoiding him, hunted
around there till he found the kicking cow, and pulling a rope from
his pocket, put it over her horns, and led her in the direction of
Colcord’s. Uncle Isaac was butchering a lamb at his door when Ben came
along with the cow, and was just about to speak to him; but catching
one glimpse of his face, he dropped his knife, and pretending not to
see him, walked into the barn.

“Isaac,” cried his wife from the window. “_Isaac_, Ben has just gone
by.”

“I saw him.”

“_Saw_ him; then why didn’t you speak to him, and ask him to come in,
and stop to dinner?”

“He’s got the cow Jim Colcord sold to Charlie. I guess he’s on his way
to call the old viper to account for his trick. When he is in one of
those rages you’d better go near a she catamount than him.”

“Will he murder him?”

“I hope not.”

“It is some ways there. Ben can’t hold his passion long, and will most
likely get over it somewhat before he gets there.”

“If he don’t, much as I abhor the old creetur, I pity him.”

When Ben arrived at Colcord’s the family were at dinner; seeing an ox
cart in the barn-yard, he tied the cow to it. He entered the kitchen
without knocking, where the family were seated at the dinner-table,
seized old Colcord by the nape of the neck, carried him, pale as a
ghost, with eyes starting from their sockets, and too nearly strangled
to scream, into the barn-yard; here Ben sat down upon the cart-tongue,
flung his victim across his knees, and while he was alternately
screaming murder, and begging for mercy, slapped him with his terrible
paw, till the blood came through his breeches, while the family looked
on, crying and trembling.

Ben, as a redresser of wrongs, considered it his duty, not only
to inflict punishment for his knavery in the matter of the cow,
but likewise for the abuse he had for years inflicted upon his
uncomplaining wife and children.

When he had finished the castigation, he ordered him to bring the
money Charlie paid him for the cow, and ten dollars additional for his
trouble in whipping him. Colcord brought the money, but, fearing to
approach Ben, put it on the cart tongue.

After counting it, Ben called for a basin of water, soap, and a towel,
observing, that he was accustomed to wash his hands after handling
carrion, and informing him (after wiping his hands, as he hung the
towel on the wheel of the cart) that, if compelled to come there
again, he should most probably make an end of him.

That night Charlie hunted the pasture over in vain for the cow; but the
next morning Uncle Isaac came over, told him where the cow was, and
handed him the money, which Ben had left with him on his return.

“How did father find it out?” asked Charlie.

“Captain Rhines told him.”

“Who told Captain Rhines?”

“I did.”

“Who told you?”

“Joe Griffin.”

“How in the world came he, or anybody else, to know anything about it?”

“That’s more than I know; but he said you had to build a fence round
her, and tie her hind legs together to milk her, and when she couldn’t
kick, she’d lie down.”

“I bought wit pretty dear, Uncle Isaac.”

“Not quite so dear as Jim Colcord did. They say he can’t sit down, and
won’t be able to till snow flies.”



CHAPTER XVII.

DEATH AND BURIAL OF TIGE RHINES.


THERE is no animal that seems to be so closely allied to man as the
dog. He lives in his master’s smiles, defends his person, guards his
property, and is grateful for the smallest favors.

In respect to other animals, they are naturally shy; we must attach
them to us by food and caresses.

Take, for instance, a kitten, born in the house, and her parents before
her for generations; yet the moment it gets its eyes open, it will
round up its back, and spit at the little boy or girl who approaches to
fondle it, and must be wonted; but a puppy, why, the moment his eyes
are open, he’s right on to you, and you have hard work to keep him from
licking your face.

When the family leaves the house, the cat will seldom, if ever, follow
them, because she cares more about the place than the people; but the
dog’s home is where his master is.

John Rhines’s dog, Tige, a Newfoundland of the largest size,
possessed—as those who have read the Elm Island stories know—a
sagacity greater than that which generally pertains even to that noble
breed.

Tige Rhines, as he was called, was known and loved by both young and
old, the protector and playmate of all the children, and bore on his
neck a broad brass collar, on which were inscribed the date of the year
and the day on which he pulled little Fannie Williams from the bottom
of the mill-pond, and many other things that he had done.

For many years Tige had been gradually losing his activity, and was
quite infirm with age. He had never been accustomed to leave the home
of his master, except when sent upon some errand, with a basket or
letter in his mouth, unless with some of the family; but after Mary
and Elizabeth were married, he would once in a while go to visit each
of them in the forenoon, stop to dinner and tea, see the babies, and
go home at night. He would also go down to the cove in front of the
house, and play with the children of the neighborhood by the hour
together. All through Fannie Williams’s childhood (whose life he saved)
he was, whenever she came up to see him, which was generally once a
month, sent home with her by Captain Rhines. But age, which comes alike
upon dogs and men, had compelled him to relinquish all these pleasant
excursions. His legs had grown stiff and crooked; his glossy black coat
had become a dirty yellow, except along the back and at the roots of
the tail; his intelligent eye was dim; and all around his eyes and nose
gray hairs were plentifully scattered. It was with great difficulty
he could walk; he would attempt sometimes to follow John to the barn,
go part way there, and moan because he could get no farther; then
John would go back and pat and comfort him. Everything that care and
affection could do to render him comfortable and happy in his old age,
was done by Captain Rhines and John.

As the weather grew cooler, John made him a bed of sheep-skins with
the wool on; for though once apparently insensible to cold, never
hesitating in the dead of winter to plunge into the waves, he now
trembled before every blast. Captain Rhines would catch smelts and
bring to him, for Tige was a dear lover of fish; John would put him
in the cart, haul him down in the field, and put him in the sun, at
the end of the piece where he was digging potatoes, and as the sun
went down, cover him with his jacket. The children around brought him
titbits, and all the dogs in the neighborhood came to visit him. He
at length became so feeble it was with difficulty he could get out of
his kennel. Mornings when John went to the barn to feed the cattle, he
would bid him good morning; Tige would wag his tail and look wistfully
in his face, unable to rise.

One morning, John, as he passed the kennel, spoke, as usual; but not
hearing the noise of Tige’s tail striking against the side of the
house, he went back and looked in; he was stretched out, apparently
asleep; he put his fingers in his mouth; there was no warmth. “He is
dead! poor old Tige,” cried John; “there never was such a dog in this
world, and never will be again. I never will love another dog;” and
he burst into tears; “I don’t care if I do cry,” he said, at length,
wiping away the tears; “he’s been my playmate, ever since I was a boy;
has saved my life; and nobody sees me; but if Charlie and Fred were
here, they would cry, too.”

Captain Rhines was not yet up. John fed the cattle, and then went to
the door of his bedroom.

“Father.”

“What is it, John?”

“Tige’s dead.”

“I’m sorry; poor fellow! I’d give the best cow I’ve got in the barn to
have him back as smart as he was once.”

“_I’d_ give them _all_, father.”

“Well, we’ve done all we could for him, John, and he’s gone where
the good dogs go. It will make Ben feel bad; he and Tige were great
friends.”

“And Fannie, father.”

“Yes.”

It was soon known in the neighborhood. About nine o’clock, Fannie
Williams came in, now grown to be, by universal consent, the prettiest
girl in town; industrious, capable, and, as Captain Rhines was
accustomed to say, as good as she was handsome.

“Is Tige dead, John?” she asked, taking the chair he proffered her.

“Yes, Fannie.”

She was silent for a few minutes, then began to cry.

“Don’t cry, Fannie,” said John.

“I know it’s foolish, but I can’t help it; you know he saved my life.”

“That he did,” said the captain; “for I took you from his jaws, when he
brought you to the shore. I would cry as much as I had a mind to.”

“I’m sure,” said Mrs. Rhines, “I don’t see what anybody could be made
of, not to feel bad to lose such a good creature as Tige, even if he
was a dumb animal. I used to feel just as safe with him, when Captain
Rhines was at sea, and I left alone with the children, as though the
men folks were round. When Captain Rhines was about home, or we had
a hired man, he would lie under the big maple, or, if it was cold
weather, in his house; but the very first night I was left alone, he
would (without my saying a word to him) come right into the house, and,
after I went to bed, stretch himself out before my bedroom door; it
seemed as if he knew.”

“_Knew!_ I guess he did know,” said John; “only think how long he smelt
us before we got here, when Charlie and I came from Portland, and how
glad he was to see us! I thought he would have jumped out of his skin.”

John persuaded Fannie to stop to dinner, as Tige was to be buried in
the afternoon.

“Where would you bury him, father?”

“I’ll tell you, John. Under the big maple, where he loved so much to
lie in the hot summer days.”

While this conversation was going on at Captain Rhines’s, Joe Griffin,
Charlie, and Fred were expatiating upon the merits of Tige, and
regretting his loss, in Fred’s store. Joe Bradish came in, and after
listening a while to their conversation, broke in with, “Such a fuss
about a dog—an old dog, that ought to have been knocked on the head
years ago. Anybody would think it was a Christian you was lamenting
about.”

Fred was naturally of a warm temper, shared in the universal feeling
of dislike to Bradish, and this rough remark, in his present state of
feeling, was more than he could bear.

“There _was_ more Christianity in him than there ever was in _you_,”
retorted Fred; “more in one of his nails than in your whole body. He
saved the lives of three of us, when we went to sleep in the tide’s
way, at Indian Cave. If it hadn’t been for him, I should have been as
miserable to-day as Pete Clash. It will be news to me when I hear of
your lifting a finger to help anybody. You may keep still or leave the
store.”

Bradish, without making any reply, went out.

“You’ve lost his custom, I reckon,” said Charlie.

“It won’t be much loss. He came in here the other day, lolling round,
and upset the inkstand upon a whole piece of muslin. I was out of
doors, and before I could get in, it went through the whole piece. He
said he was master sorry, supposed he ought to buy something, and would
take a darning-needle.”

The three friends, with Fannie and Captain Rhines’s family, buried
Tige beneath a large rock maple that stood on the side of the hill, in
the edge of the orchard. It was all full of holes, where Ben and John
had tapped it. Between its roots they had made many a hoard of apples;
and here Tige had loved to lie, as it was a cool place, and from it he
could see everything that moved upon the water. They put a stone at
the grave, on which his noble deeds were recorded.

John Rhines had long cherished a secret attachment to Fannie Williams;
but the death of Tige occasioned a mingling of sympathies that brought
matters to a focus, and after a short engagement they were married.
Captain Rhines and his wife, with whom Fannie had been a favorite from
childhood, were highly gratified; for since their daughters had married
and gone, the large house seemed lonely, and this beautiful, lively,
sweet-tempered girl was to them a perfect treasure.

A week after the occurrences narrated, a stranger, in the dress of a
working man, with his coat on his arm, came into Fred’s store, and
called for some crackers and cheese, and half a pint of new rum.

Fred placed before him the crackers and cheese, but told him he must go
to the other store for the liquor. He then called for a quart of cider.
After eating, drinking, and resting a while, and smoking his pipe,
he took a piece of chalk from his pocket, and drew a line across the
floor. “There,” said he, “the first man that steps over that line has
got to take hold of me.”

This was altogether too much for Fred, who instantly stepped over the
line. They went out before the door, and the stranger threw Fred in a
moment, and several others who came in. The thing was noised abroad,
and quite a crowd assembled, but they were careful not to step over the
line. Fred sent for Charlie, and the stranger threw him. The matter was
now getting serious; the reputation of the town was at stake.

“Send for Joe Griffin,” said Uncle Isaac.

Joe had gone up river after logs.

“Then send for Edmund Griffin.”

He had gone with Joe. A boy was now despatched for Joel Ricker, who
brought back word that he was on Elm Island, doing some joiner-work for
Lion Ben.

“Then,” said Uncle Isaac, “we must send for the Lion. This fellow
shan’t go off and make his brags that he has stumped the place, and
got off clear. I’ll take hold of him myself first, though I haven’t
wrestled these twenty-five year.”

“Why haven’t we thought of John Rhines?” said Fred.

“Sure enough,” said Uncle Isaac; “he’ll handle him.”

“John,” said the captain, “has gone to Tom Stanley’s to buy a yoke
of oxen; but I’ve got a horse that will go there and back in three
quarters of an hour, if anybody will drive him.”

“I’ll go,” said Fred.

By the time John arrived, half the town was there. A ring was made
before the door.

“You’ve brought a man big enough this time,” said the stranger, looking
up at John, who towered far above him.

They took hold. John threw him as easily as he had thrown Fred, while
shout after shout went up from the crowd, who had been holding their
breath, in anxious suspense.

“You _crushed_ me down by main strength,” said the stranger; “but I
would like to try you at arms’ length.”

They took hold at arms’ length, and although the grapple was longer,
John threw him twice.

“You have stout men up in this place,” said he. “I am thirty years old
next July, and this is the first time I’ve been thrown since I was
nineteen.”

“_Men!_” said Uncle Isaac. “You have as yet wrestled only with boys.
Our men all happen to be away.”

“If you call these boys, I should like to see your men.”

“Here comes one of them,” said Uncle Isaac, pointing towards the water.

The eyes of the stranger, following the direction of his finger, rested
upon the massive shoulders of Lion Ben, who was approaching the shore
in his big canoe, pulling cross-handed, while Joel Ricker, with his
tools in his lap, was sitting in the stern.

They landed, wondering much at the crowd assembled. Ricker walked up
the beach with his tools, while Ben followed, dragging the canoe with
one hand over the gravel.

The stranger gazed with dilating eyes, as he straightened up to his
full proportions. Then he went to the canoe, but found himself unable
to move it, even down hill.

“What may I call your name, friend?” asked Uncle Isaac, approaching.

“Libby—Lemuel Libby, from Black Pint, in Scarboro’.”

Uncle Isaac then introduced him to Captain Rhines, John, and Lion Ben,
at the same time informing him that they were the father and two sons.
Libby gazed a moment upon these superb specimens of manly vigor, and
resuming his clothes, said, “This is no place for common men, like me.
I’ll make tracks for home.”

“Not so, friend Libby,” said John. “Everything has been done fair and
above-board. There’s no occasion for hardness. Spend the night with me.
I’ll take the horse, and start you on your way in the morning.”

“Neighbors,” said Captain Rhines, who was greatly delighted at the
triumph of his son, “I invite you all to take dinner at our house
to-morrow, at twelve o’clock; and Mr. Libby will stop and eat with us.”

“The house won’t hold us, Benjamin,” said Uncle Isaac.

“Well, the barn will. We’ll make two crews, and set two tables.”

“John,” said Charlie, after the crowd had dispersed, “do you remember
what you said so long ago?”

“No. What was it?”

“That you meant to be the greatest wrestler, and marry the handsomest
girl. I don’t see but you are in a fair way to do both, if all tales
are true.”



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE MEETING.


LITTLE dreaming of the happiness in store for him, Charlie, having
gathered in his harvest and husked his corn, now occupied himself in
preparing to put a hedge around his mother’s grave.

A _hedge_. How significant that word to him, reared amid the vales of
Lincolnshire! It recalled all the associations of his childhood, and
of the sunny spring mornings, when, sitting beneath the shelter of
the hedge-rows, he watched the ducks sport in the pools below, while
beside him the hens were scratching and burrowing in the warm earth
beneath the bank for worms and grubs, and he, a happy, careless boy,
was pounding a willow stick on his knee with the handle of his knife,
to make the bark slip, for a whistle; listening to the birds in the
hedge above him, and watching the mimic waves produced by the wind as
it swept over the osiers.

His intention was to surround the little promontory (around whose sides
murmur the clear waters of the brook and the majestic elm that shadows
it, whose pendent branches, with their extremities, approached within a
few feet of the grave-stone) with hedge.

Mr. Welch, several years before, had imported plants from England, and
also ivy. It was from him he expected to obtain his plants—“quicks”
Charlie called them—for he was no novice in hedging. The ivy he
purposed to plant at the roots of the great elm.

This occupation had revived all the associations of his boyhood, and
fond recollections of other days, often bringing tears to his eyes.

“A beautiful land is England,” said he, as he wiped the sweat from his
brow and rested upon his spade; “and those sweet spots in the fens I
shall never forget; but this is sweeter, for it is my own. What I do
here, I do for myself, my wife, and little one.”

That evening, as he sat with the babe in his lap, while his wife was
clearing off the supper table, he said to her, “Mary, it don’t seem
to look, or to be, just right that I should have a grave-stone for my
mother, and none for my father, brother, and sister.”

“But they are not buried here. You wouldn’t wish to put stones where
there are no bodies.”

“But I might have _something_. I’ve seen in the churchyards at home
monuments with the names of people on them who were not buried under
them, but had died at sea, or been killed in battle, as father was. I
might do that.”

“Why don’t you?”

“I think I will; and the very next time the schooner goes to Boston,
when I send for my quicks and ivy, I’ll inquire of Mr. Welch about it.”

Here the conversation was interrupted by the entrance of John Rhines,
with a letter in his hand.

“Just give me that baby, and read this.”

“If ever I was glad of anything in my life, I am of this,” said
Charlie, when he had read the letter; “not on our account altogether,
but Captain Brown’s, he was just starting in life, and there were so
many looking at him; and how handsomely he speaks of Walter and little
Ned!”

“Ain’t it great?”

“Yes; she’s paid for herself with the freight she carried out.”

“I know it; and the back freight is all clear gain. There’s no loss,
except the main boom and a boat.”

“I’ll build another boat. I’ve got the stuff in the ship-yard, all
seasoned. The boom won’t be much; he can buy the stick, and Danforth
Eaton can make it. What did your father say? He was a long time making
up his mind whether it would do to trust him with a vessel or not, and
I know he’s been very anxious, though he said nothing.”

“_Say!_ I only wish you could have seen him when I brought in the
letter. Mother was just going to tie his cue; he glanced over it,
jumped up, and cut round the house like a boy of sixteen; made me put
the saddle on the mare, and in spite of all mother could do, went over
to tell Uncle Isaac, with his hair all flying in the wind. Won’t they
have a good time, talking it over?”

“Yes; and I know just what they’ll say.”

“What?”

“They’ll say he’s turned out just as they expected, when it was all
you, father, and I could do to get them started to build the vessel for
him.”

“Don’t be too confident, Charlie; the old folks know a thing or two;
remember the cow trade.”

Charlie blushed, and in order to turn the conversation, remarked, as he
looked again at the letter, “It seems he wants some beef and fish to
make up his next cargo.”

“Fred has got a lot on hand, just packed; father is going up in the
Perseverance to take it up, settle up the voyage, and bring home the
money. Have you heard the news, Charlie, Tom Bannister brought?”

“No; what is it?”

“Pete Clash and John Godsoe have turned up.”

“They have?”

“Yes; Tom saw ‘em on board a Guineaman in Havana; they pretended not
to know him, but he knew them. Just the place for them. Father says
these Guineamen have a long gun in the hold, and mount it when they get
outside, and are all pirates in disguise.”

The country, especially around the sea-coast, was now in a prosperous
condition. The settlements were pushed back to the head waters of
the streams, roads made, townships surveyed, town incorporated, and
vessels built; the timber trade assumed vast proportions, and money
was abundant, men began to break away from the rigid manners of the
primitive times, and ape the style of dress and living that prevailed
in England, which they had either seen or heard of.

Great numbers of cattle were raised on the lands newly burnt over.
Instead of driving the cattle to Brighton or Cambridge, as at the
present day in seaport towns and country villages, they were butchered,
and the beef packed at home, shipped to Spain and other countries of
Europe, and smuggled into Cuba for the use of the Spanish slavers. Fred
had added to his other business that of packing beef, and Uncle Isaac
and Joe Griffin bought the cattle for him. He had imported a cooper, by
the name of Wallace, from Standish, to make the barrels, who had taken
three boys as apprentices, thus increasing the business of the place.

Charlie, who as our readers know, was strongly attached to the
cultivation of the soil, had neither engaged in vessel or boat building
since the Arthur Brown was launched. John Rhines likewise found
plenty of employment upon the home farm, occasionally working in the
yard of Reed and Atherton, who came from Massachusetts, and set up
ship-building, built vessels, and took them to Massachusetts for sale.

Charlie, Fred, and John intended only to build vessels as they wanted
them, and repair old ones, or aid some industrious, enterprising young
man, who wanted a vessel.

They were influenced to this line of conduct very much by the opinions
of Uncle Isaac, who had a most wonderful power of making people think
as he did; one reason of which was, that he never manifested the least
assumption, and another, that he always placed matters in such a light
that those with whom he conversed seemed to convince themselves.

One day Uncle Isaac and the boys went pigeon shooting together; as they
were sitting by the fire after dinner, he said. “Where did that corn
come from that Seth Warren carried last vige in the Hard-scrabble?”

“From North Carolina,” replied Fred.

“Yes, and where did that cargo you are grinding now, that’s going into
the logging camps, come from?”

“From Baltimore.”

“Do you take in any corn now from round here?”

“When I first began to trade, I used to take in a great deal; but now,
except from yourself, Captain Rhines, Ben, Joe Griffin, and one or two
more, I don’t get five bushels in a year; but I sell lots to the people
round here.”

“It seems to me, when a people get so much taken up with building
vessels, fishing, cutting masts and ton timber, to send to England,
that they have to go to the southerd to buy corn to export, feed their
cattle in the logging swamps, bread their families, and fat their hogs,
they are in rather a poor way; that there’s more talk than cider;
that they ain’t getting rich so fast as they appear to be; when they
raise but little except on burns, never hauling out their dressing,
or ploughing the land, but keep going over and over, skimming and
skimming, that by and by they will have a very poor set of carcasses
left, and that if there should come a war, and all this exportation be
stopped, there would be pretty blue times. I don’t pretend to know, but
it appears to me that’s about the way things are done round here, and
all over the District of Maine.”

“I never thought of that before,” said Charlie.

“Nor I either,” said John.

“It’s just as Uncle Isaac says,” said Fred, “just to a T. When I first
began to trade, almost everybody had a few bushels of corn to sell,
some a good deal; and I never sold a bushel of corn, or meal, except
to fishermen from some other place; if any of our people wanted corn,
wheat or barley, they went to their neighbors.”

“I have thought a good deal about it,” said Uncle Isaac, “and I’ve
talked the matter over with Captain Rhines and Benjamin; it strikes
them pretty much as it does me; they ought to be better judges than
me, because they’ve had greater privileges. I helped about the
Hard-scrabble and the Casco, because I wanted to start you boys, build
up the place, and make business; but it never will do to have the
eggs all in one basket, for all to be ship-builders, lumbermen, or
fishermen. A ship don’t produce anything; she is herself a product,
manned from the land, and victualled from the land; everything comes
from the ground; we ourselves were made out of it; there must be
farmers to feed the rest. I mean, for the future, to put my money into
the land, except I see special reasons for helping somebody.”

When the Hard-scrabble was built, Captain Rhines and Ben rigged her,
and made the sails, as also those of the Casco, and the Arthur Brown;
but after Reed and Atherton began to build, a rigger and sail-maker
came into the place. Charlie Bell built the first pair of cart wheels,
that had an iron tire. Uncle Isaac and Captain Rhines for some time had
the only wagons; but in a few years, carts and wagons were more common,
and a blacksmith from Roxbury, who could do carriage work and make edge
tools, bought out Peter Brock.

The meeting between Captain Rhines and Arthur (his boy, as he called
him), in Boston, was a most interesting one. The old captain was
jubilant that all the owners were more than satisfied, and his own
judgment, in respect to the capacity of the young captain, borne out by
facts.

Though by no means given to the melting mood, he met his protégé with
moistening eyes. It is not within the province of language to describe
the joy that thrilled the breast of Arthur Brown, and shone in every
feature, as he put his hand in that of the captain, resulting from the
consciousness that he had more than answered the expectations and
justified the confidence reposed in him by his own friends and those of
his father, especially of Captain Rhines, Charlie, Lion Ben, and the
others who had risked their own lives to save his, and, not satisfied
with this, had also jeopardized their property, to open before him a
path to usefulness and honor.

“Where are the boys?” asked Captain Rhines, after he had talked half an
hour with Arthur.

“They started for home in a coaster yesterday. I have shipped them all
for the next voyage.”

“Where is Peterson?”

“Gone with them.”

“Walter and little Ned?”

“They went to Salem together after the vessel was discharged; are
coming back to-morrow, expecting to go home with you, or whoever came
up. Then you’re fully satisfied with me, captain?”

“_Satisfied!_ My dear boy, I should have been satisfied if you had done
half as well. There’s not a shipmaster in the country but would be
proud of much less than you have done.”

“Mr. Bell and your sons are satisfied?”

“Why, to be sure they are. I don’t know what they could be made of, if
they are not.”

“Well,” said Arthur, laying both his hands on the captain’s shoulders,
“I have brought home in this vessel that which will afford greater
satisfaction to Mr. Bell, yourself and family, than all the money I
have made this passage. I have brought home Mr. Bell’s father.”

“You must be jesting, or have been deceived. His father has been in his
grave for years.”

“No; he was not killed, as was supposed, but carried a prisoner
to France. He has told Eaton and Peterson the whole story of his
impressment, just as they say Charlie told it; told his son’s age,
looks, and the scar on his face. There’s no mistake—can’t be. You’ll
say so when you see him.”

“God ‘a mercy! Well, this is news indeed. But you didn’t mention it in
your letter.”

“His father didn’t want me to.”

“Where is he?”

“He’s gone to ride with Mr. Welch. I am to meet him there, and take
tea, and then he is coming aboard.”

“I’ll go there to tea. I have a standing invitation. Well, if I ain’t
glad! What do you suppose Charlie was about when I came away?”

“I’m sure I don’t know.”

“He was getting ready to put a hedge round the spot where his mother
lies; sent up by me to get the plants of Mr. Welch, and wanted me to
talk with him about a monument that he wanted to put up to his father’s
memory, and a brother and sister that he has heard died in England; and
also to get some plans and bring home to him. And now, instead of the
monumental plans, he’ll have the man himself.”

[The Mr. Welch referred to here is a wealthy merchant and ship owner,
an intimate friend of Captain Rhines, in whose employ he had sailed
the greater part of his life. His son James, a young man of singular
promise, but broken down by intemperance, was sent by his father to Elm
Island in order to get him out of the way of temptation, and restored
by the influence of Uncle Isaac.]

“But,” continued Captain Rhines, “the boys will be home before us, will
see Charlie, and let the cat out of the bag.”

“No, they won’t; I’ve told them not to.”

The Perseverance had now been away ten days, and Charlie was expecting
to receive his “quicks” at her return. He had, in the spring, ploughed
the ground intended for his hedge, and planted it with potatoes, to
subdue the tough sward. Having dug the potatoes, and spaded in a heavy
coating of manure, he was busily engaged (on one of those delightful
autumn mornings when the hoar frost is melting from the grass, and
dripping from the extremity of the leaves, and the muscles feel that
joyous thrill which the season of the year inspires) in levelling the
surface with a rake, removing the stones, twigs, and bark that had
fallen from the elm. Feeling a hand laid lightly upon his shoulder, he
raised his eyes, and looked Walter Griffin full in the face.

“Why, Walter,” he exclaimed, taking both his hands, and struck with the
expression of heartfelt joy which pervaded every feature, “how happy
you look!”

“I hope so. I’m sure I ought to.”

“He ain’t any happier than I am,” said a voice that Charlie well knew;
and stepping from behind the great tree, Ned Gates ran into his arms.

“Why, Ned, how you have grown! I should hardly know you.”

“Have I, truly, Mr. Bell?” replied Ned, excessively pleased.

“Yes; and see what a cue he’s got,” said Walter, turning him round.

“Be still, Wal; how you do like to poke fun at me.”

“Mr. Bell,” asked Walter, “can you bear good news?”

“I guess so.”

“But you never had any such news as this.”

“I stood it pretty well when the Ark made her great voyage, and when
Isaac Murch made so much money in the Hard-scrabble. I guess I can
stand this,” replied Charlie, thinking Walter was about to tell him how
much the Arthur Brown had made.

“O, it ain’t about money at all, but it’s something that will make you
gladder than if you had a pile of gold as big as Elm Island.”

“Then it must be that you have given your heart to God, Walter.”

The tears came into Walter’s eyes in a moment.

“And do you think so much of me, Mr. Bell?”

“Just so much.”

“Well, it is not that. _Your father has come._”

“My father, Walter, is dead, and I am preparing to put up a monument to
his memory, right where we stand.”

“You needn’t put up any monument, for he’s alive and well, and in
Captain Rhines’s house this minute.”

Charlie turned pale, staggered, and would have fallen to the ground,
but was so near the elm that he fell against it. Walter put his arm
around him, and he leaned his head on his friend’s shoulder.

“What made you tell him that way?” asked Ned.

“I didn’t mean to; but when he spoke to me about giving my heart to
God, I didn’t know what I said.”

“It’s over, now,” said Charlie, lifting his head from Walter’s shoulder.

“He wasn’t killed, Mr. Bell,” said Ned, “though he was flung overboard
for dead. The French picked him up, and we found him in Marseilles,
selling baskets.”

“I will go right up to Captain Rhines’s,” said Charlie. “You stop at
the house till I come back.”

“I must go home,” said Walter; “and Ned is going with me. I haven’t
been home yet. I didn’t want anybody to bring this news but myself and
Ned.”

When Charlie—his pale features still manifesting traces of the
feelings which had mastered him—entered the sitting-room, the captain,
taking him by the hand, pointed to the door of the parlor, which stood
ajar.

We will draw a veil over the meeting of father and son; but when, at
the expiration of half an hour, they came out together, traces of tears
were on the cheeks of both, but they were tears of joy. When Charlie
presented his wife to his father, and placed the child in his arms, “I
can now,” said the happy grand-parent, “say, in the words of old Jacob,
‘I had not thought to see _thy_ face, and lo! God hath also showed me
thy seed.’”

As they sat side by side, the old gentleman with the child on his knee,
Captain Rhines said,—

“I don’t see how anybody who ever saw Charlie could harbor any doubt
about Mr. Bell’s being his father—they favor each other so much.”

“Ah, captain,” was the reply, “put an old, faded, red shirt on me, all
stained up with osier sap, a tarpaulin hat, a bundle of baskets on
my back, and, more than all, the heart-broken look I wore then, you
yourself couldn’t have found much resemblance.”

As they returned to Pleasant Cove by the road that wound along the
slope of land towards the house, skirting the sugar orchard, the sun,
which was now getting low, illuminated with its level rays the whole
declivity, falling off in natural terraces to the shore, and flashed
upon the foliage of the rock-maples, now red as blood. Indian Island,
with its high cliffs rising up from the glassy bosom of the bay, the
white trunks and yellow leaves of its masses of tall birch contrasting
with the darker hues of the oak and ash, with which the edges of the
bank were fringed, presented a mingling of tints most delightful.

Mr. Bell, upon whom the glories of a New England forest in autumn
produced all the effect of novelty, was, for a while, silent with
wonder and delight.

He at length exclaimed, “How grand, how beautiful! And is all this land
and forest yours, my son?”

“Yes, father, and a great deal more than you can see from here. I
bought four hundred acres first, and two hundred more afterwards.
Father, do you see that large island, with a cleared spot on the side
of it?”

“With a house on it, that looks as though it were on fire, the sun is
shining so bright on the windows?”

“Yes, that’s the one; that is Elm Island, where Lion Ben and his wife
live, who have been a father and mother to me. God bless you, old Elm
Island. What happy years I have spent on you!”

They next proceeded to the little promontory, and Mr. Bell stood beside
the grave of her from whom he parted, in bitterness of heart, when he
was pressed on board the hulk at Sheerness.

“Poor Mary! She starved—saw poverty and sorrow enough in this world;
but I believe she is now experiencing infinitely more happiness than
would be hers, were it in our power to call her from the grave to join
us. I am glad, my son, that you have not set these quicks; we’ll make
the hedge together. When I am gone, you can lay me in this beautiful
spot beside her.”

They sat together beneath the elm, talking, till the stars began to
come out one after another; and when that night Charlie knelt down to
pray, it was with a heart full to overflowing with gratitude and joy.



CHAPTER XIX.

NED AMONG THE GRIFFINS.


IF a boy ever enjoyed himself in this world, Ned Gates did among
the Griffins. Their rough, but kindly, rollicking ways just suited
his sanguine temperament, and he suited them, from the youngest to
the oldest, and got through the crust at once. Indeed, there was
everything a wide-awake boy would naturally like. There was a charm,
in itself, about such a jolly house-full. Ned thought Edmund Griffin
was a splendid man, his wife one of the best of women, and as for the
old grandfather, despite his rough ways, he was a perfect treasure.
Evenings, Ned would nestle to his side, and coax him to tell him
stories about river driving, hunting, wrestling, and the Indian wars,
in which he had taken a prominent part.

Captain Brown had rewarded Jacques Bernoux very handsomely for the
assistance he had rendered Walter, and induced him to come to the
States, paying him seaman’s wages, and Walter brought him home with
him. Three or four more never made any difference at Edmund Griffin’s.
Jacques afforded much amusement by his attempts to speak English.

Being a leisure time of year, and the harvest in, it was hunting,
fishing, going to Elm Island,—Ned and Captain Rhines carried the news
of Mr. Bell’s arrival to Ben and Sally,—going with Edmund Griffin and
Joe up river, and coming down on the raft, breaking colts; and, to fill
his cup of happiness to the brim, Ned shot a moose. The boys caught a
bear in the trap, and Ned had an opportunity to taste of the meat, and
grease his cue with the fat.

There was another older person having a good time, and that was Mr.
Bell. His things having been brought to the house, he drew from the
recesses of an enormous chest the beautiful work-basket, and some
articles of household use, that he had made while in Marseilles, and
which had so excited the admiration of Ned. Mary was delighted—she had
never seen anything half so beautiful.

“You can’t come up to that, Charlie,” said his father.

“No, father, I can’t. I never saw any of your work so beautiful as
this.”

“I never had quite so strong a motive before,” said the old gentleman,
smiling.

The next day Charlie was called from home to run out a piece of land,
and was absent nearly a week. Finding lumber and tools in the shop,
his father made a trough to soak willow, a bench, and having cut some
native willows by the brook for the frame, in order to economize the
osiers, made a chair for the baby, and when Charlie returned, was
busily at work making one high enough for the child to sit at table in.

He was so much occupied with his work as not to notice his son, who
stood in the door watching him.

“Father,” said he, “I should think I had got back to Lincolnshire.”

“This is a better place than the fens, Charles. I’ll tell you what I’ve
been thinking about while at work here.”

“What is it, father?”

“All through my life, at home, I have been accustomed to look up to
the quality, and the country squires who owned lands, with a sort of
awe; and I have been thinking what a pleasant feeling it must be to own
a piece of land that God made, and that I should, before I die, like to
experience the feeling. Now, I have got a few pounds, that I managed to
lay up while in France. Why couldn’t I buy a little piece of land, and
have a little garden, and plant it? It would seem so pleasant to eat
anything that grew on my own land. But perhaps you’ll think I’m getting
childish, and that it’s an old man’s whim.”

“That’s just the way I used to feel at home, father; and when I came to
this country, I couldn’t rest for thinking how I should ever come to
own a piece of land. I would do it. Sam Edwards has a piece right on
the shore he wants to sell. Part of it’s cleared. There’s a small piece
between it and me that belongs to heirs, and is to be sold. I’ll buy
it, and then yours will join mine.”

“And I shall be a freeholder in my old age, after living a tenant all
the best of my life,” said the old gentleman, highly gratified.

“I’ll tell you what you can do, father. Next time the vessel goes to
Marseilles, get Jacques to procure some sallies for you, set them on
your land, and then you can have an osier holt, grow your own rods,
and make all the baskets you like, to pass away the time in the long
winters we have in this country.”

“Do you think they would grow here?”

“Anything will grow here, and there’s a swale on that place will suit
them exactly.”

The marriage of John Rhines and Fannie Williams added to the general
satisfaction. The infare, or second-day wedding, took place at Captain
Rhines’s, upon which occasion half the town were invited.

Uncle Isaac and Joe Griffin met Walter and Ned at the infare, and there
made an agreement to start the next week for the woods. Ned, who had
been kept quite closely at school till he went to sea, and had never in
his life shot anything larger than a pigeon or squirrel till he came
to Pleasant Cove, was perfectly wild with the anticipation, and kept
Walter awake so long talking about it, that he averred, if he didn’t
keep still, he wouldn’t sleep with him.

Charlie lent Ned a splendid gun, and they were busily employed running
balls and making preparations.

While the whole family at Edmund Griffin’s were spending an evening in
playing “blind man’s buff” in the great kitchen, the old grandfather
looking on and enjoying the sport as much as the rest, Joe, his face
bathed in tears, came to announce that Uncle Isaac was dreadfully hurt,
and could not live.

“How did it happen?” inquired the grandfather, the first to recover
from the effect produced by these sad tidings.

“You know what a hand Uncle Isaac always was to work alone. He went
into the woods to haul a large log, laid a skid, one end on the ground,
the other on a stump, calculating to roll the log up with the cattle,
so as to run the wheels under. He’s got a yoke of cattle that will
do anything he tells them to. He stood behind the log, and spoke to
the cattle, calculating to trig the log when it was up; but the chain
broke, and the log came back on him.”

“How did they know about it?” asked Edmund.

“He spoke to the cattle, threw chips at them, and started them home
with a part of the chain hanging to them; his wife knew something was
wrong, got some of the neighbors to go, and they brought him home.”

“He’s a very strong man; he may get over it.”

“No, he can’t, father; both legs are broken, and he’s hurt otherways;
the doctor says he can’t, though he may live some time. I must go, for
I’m going to watch with him to-night.”

“Tell ‘em, Joe, to send here, night or day; anything that we can do, it
will be a privilege to do it.”

As is the case when people feel deeply, little was said, and one after
another silently slipped off to bed. As soon as Lion Ben and Sally
heard of it, they came over and stopped at Captain Rhines’s. Ben, his
father, and Joe Griffin gave up everything to take care of and watch
with Uncle Isaac; for although the whole neighborhood offered and
pressed their services, he preferred that they should take care of him.
For some days he suffered intense pain, and was at times delirious;
but as death approached, the pain subsided, his mind became perfectly
clear, and the same hearty, kindly interest in the young that had ever
been a prominent trait of his character, resumed its wonted sway. A
few days before his death, he sent for John Rhines, Charlie, Fred
Williams, Walter, and Ned, preferring, as he was not able to talk with
each one separately, to see them together.

“Boys,” said he, “you have come to see the last of Uncle Isaac. John,
won’t you turn that hour-glass. The sand is run out. We have spent
a great many pleasant hours together; they are all over now; but I
want to tell you that they have been as pleasant to me as to you. It
is a great comfort to me that I have been spared to see my children,
and you, who seem as near to me as my own children, grow up to be
God-fearing, useful men in the world, and settled in life. It would
have been a comfort to me to have seen Isaac once more; but you must
tell him that his Uncle Isaac did not forget him in his last hours.
I have been a strong and a tough man in my time. I never was thrown,
seldom pulled up; very few could lift my load, plan work better, or
bring more to pass with an axe or scythe. I never saw but one man
who could outdo me in trapping game or with a rifle, and that was a
Penobscot Indian, and my foster-brother, John Conesus. I have left my
rifle with the walnut stock to him. I don’t fetch up these things
in any kind of a boasting way, but only to say to you that all these
matters that appeared great to me once, and no doubt do to you, seem
very small now. What I like most to think about ain’t what I’ve done
for myself, but to help others, especially to start young men, and get
‘em canted right, because any good done to the young always seemed to
me to go a great ways. I always did love to set a scion in a young
stock; it ain’t like grafting an old hollow tree, which, if it bears a
little fruit, soon rots down or blows over. If, at your time of life,
you feel and do thus, like as when you caught the fish and gave them to
poor Mrs. Yelf, and when you tried to make a good boy of Fred here—”

“We never should have done either,” said John, “if you hadn’t put it
into our heads.”

“More especially, if you should be owned of the Lord as a means
of grace to some fellow-creetur, you will find they will be the
pleasantest things to look back on, when you come to be where I am;
more so than chopping, wrestling, and getting property, though they
are all good in their place; such thoughts smooth a sick pillow
wonderfully. Not that I put any dependence in them, but in the marcy
of Him who gave me the heart to do them.”

After resting a while, and taking some stimulant, he motioned for
Walter and Ned to come near.

“I hear that Captain Brown gives you a good name, Walter, and that
you came home his first officer. We were about to go into the woods
together when I was hurt. I used to think you loved to go into the
woods with me.”

“O, Uncle Isaac, the happiest hours of my life have been spent in the
woods with you.”

“We never shall go there again; I am going to a better place—to
heaven. Walter, I hope we shall meet there. I haven’t strength to say
more; but you will remember the talks we’ve had at the camp fire. So
this is the little boy we took off the raft; he is not very little now,
though. Don’t cry, my son,” he said, laying his hand upon Ned’s head,
who had buried his face in the bed-clothes, and was sobbing audibly.
“It seems to me I am the best off of the two.”

“How _can_ that be, Uncle Isaac, when you are hurt so dreadfully, while
I am well?”

“Because, my son, I have got about through; I have run all the risk,
while you have just begun, have all the risk to run, and may be
shipwrecked. _I_ know what is before me—a better world; _you_ don’t
know what is before you. _I_ have had all _my_ trials; _yours_ are to
come. Captain Rhines tells me you have a Christian mother.”

“Yes, Uncle Isaac, she’s the best mother that ever was.”

“I had a praying mother; when I was younger than you I was torn from
her, and carried away by the Indians. I never forgot her words; in the
great woods, all alone, they came to mind, and through them I sought
and found the Lord.”

After parting with the boys, he seemed prostrated, fell into a doze,
and passed away without a struggle.

A few days after, Uncle Jonathan Smullen died, from decay of nature—a
very clever man, and kind neighbor; and it was said of him, he never
did anybody any harm; but Uncle Isaac was missed, and mourned by the
whole community. The seed of good principles he had sown in the minds
of young men kept coming up for years after he was in his grave, and
was resown by those who received it from them, a hundred times; nor
will their influence ever cease.



CHAPTER XX.

A MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE.


SCARCELY had Uncle Isaac been committed to the earth, when the nephew
he had so longed to see arrived in the Casco, sick with the fever and
ague. As the owners wished to send the vessel with despatch to one
of the French West India islands, they, at Isaac’s request, put Ezra
Aldrich in her as master. He was a native of the place, and relative of
Isaac, but never much liked by his schoolmates, being an overbearing
fellow.

In his youth he went two voyages with Captain Rhines, and afterwards in
English ships from Liverpool to Halifax.

“I don’t see,” said Captain Rhines, “what Isaac wants to put him in her
for.”

The first mate was an acquaintance and shipmate of Aldrich, by the name
of Percival, and, as Captain Rhines told his wife, as great a rascal
as the captain. There was some difficulty in getting a crew, but,
through the influence of Captain Rhines, who prevailed on Peterson
and Danforth Eaton to ship, a crew was mustered. Being all young men
from the neighborhood, who knew their duty and were able and willing
to do it, they were at first rather amused than otherwise with the
consequential airs and bluster of their new captain, in such strong
contrast to the manners of Captain Rhines and Captain Murch.

Aldrich seemed very much inclined to quarrel with Peterson, but having
a wholesome dread of the strength of the black, restrained himself. By
continual abuse, he at length irritated the good-natured negro to such
a degree, that he said to him, “Lookee ‘ere, Massa Aldrich; ‘member
when you little picaninny, runnin’ ‘bout barefoot; shirt flap he stick
out behind; your farder haul staves on a hand-sled, your mudder dig
clams; spose you gib me any more your jabber-juice, fling you ober de
rail.”

A week passed, when the captain, offended with Danforth Eaton, caught
up the end of a rope to flog him. Eaton took up another.

“What use do you intend to make of that rope, Eaton?” asked the
captain.

“Just the same use that you make of yours.”

The captain was a school-mate of Eaton, and knew very well the
result of a collision with him. But as they approached the land, the
deportment of the captain entirely changed. While the vessel was being
discharged, he bought soft bread, fresh meat, vegetables, and even
fruit, for the men. Seamen are little disposed to remember injuries,
and all old scores were now rubbed out.

The cook having gone to the hospital sick, Peterson had taken his place.

One evening, just as the men were about to turn in, the captain sent
Peterson ashore with some letters. In the morning, when the crew
turned out, he was among the missing. There was a good fire in the
fireplace,—stoves were not in use then,—the tea-kettle on, coffee
pounded in the mortar, some raw potatoes and onions peeled and
sliced, slices of raw pork in the frying-pan, salt beef chopped in a
kid,—everything prepared to make lob-scouse.

“Was he not a drinking man?” inquired the captain.

“He was once,” said Hurd, “but left it off years ago.”

“Halloo! What’s this?” said George Hoyt.

A handkerchief lay on the fender. They brought it aboard on the point
of a boat-hook.

“It’s Peterson’s,” said Elwell; “there’s his name on it.”

“It’s just as I thought,” said the captain. “He drank last night; that
waked up the old appetite, and as soon as he turned out this morning he
went for more, and fell off the gangway plank.”

A grappling was procured ashore, and the crew, under the direction of
the captain, who was deeply moved, grappled for the body the greater
part of the day, without success. In the meanwhile, the mate was making
inquiries on shore.

“The tide runs strong here,” said the captain; “it has swept him to
sea.”

“Poor Jim has gone, boys,” said Eaton, as, weary and dispirited, they
sat down to supper.

“Anybody wouldn’t have thought,” said Savage, “he’d a broke through,
after being a steady man so long. The captain feels bad, but he’s done
all a man could do.”

“Jim Peterson,” said Eaton, brushing away a tear with the back of his
hand, “was a black fellow, raal coal black, too,—a Guinea nigger, if
you please; but if he’d been washed overboard, I’d a risked my life to
save him quicker than for any shipmate I ever had; and I’m not all the
one would have done it.”

“That’s so, Dan. I’m sure I never thought anything about his color.”

“But I don’t believe anything about his getting drunk (though I’ve no
doubt the captain thinks so); for I’ve seen him tried and tempted hard
to weather, by old shipmates, time and time again. He went ashore to
get something to put in the stew; a sober man might make a misdeal in a
hurry. No power on earth will ever make me believe Jim was drunk.”

“Then why didn’t he sing out?”

“He might strike his head on something, and stun him. There’s a good
many will feel bad when we carry the news home, besides his own folks.”

“That’s so,” said Savage; “there’s nothing in the world that the
Rhineses wouldn’t do for Peterson, and always would; and it was just so
with the Griffins. I’ve heard that Peterson saved the captain’s life
once. I remember one time a parcel of us boys got some withes, tied
them together, and got a turn round Peterson’s waist when he was so
drunk he couldn’t chase us, and began to pull him round. First thing I
knew, I got a clip side of my head that sent me a rod; when I picked
myself up, I saw the boys, some on the ground, some runnin’, and Lion
Ben right among ‘em. I put her for home, and never stopped till I got
under mother’s bed; but the rim of my ear was cut through, and my head
was swelled for a week. I tell you, I looked sharp for Lion Ben after
that, whenever I wanted to have any fun with Peterson.”

When the vessel arrived home, Captain Murch took charge, and Aldrich
went back to Liverpool.

Percival, the mate, got to drinking, and became a miserable fellow;
went to Boston, and sailed before the mast, sometimes second mate, and
after his brief elevation, again before the mast; till, becoming so
notorious a drunkard that no captain would have him, he was employed as
a lumper about the wharves in Boston.

The next volume of this series, “THE YOUNG DELIVERERS,” will explain
the mystery attending the disappearance of Peterson, and present the
characters of Walter and Ned in an entirely new light.



_AMERICAN BOYS’ SERIES_


Ninety-five copyright books for boys by noted American Authors

[Illustration]

The books selected for this series are all thoroughly American, by
such favorite American authors of boys’ books as Oliver Optic, Elijah
Kellogg, P. C. Headley, Captain Farrar, George M. Towle, and others,
now made for the first time at a largely reduced price, in order to
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UNIFORM CLOTH BINDING NEW COVER DESIGN ILLUSTRATED Price per volume
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 1. =Adrift in the Ice Fields= By Capt. Chas. W. Hall

 2. =All Aboard, or Life on the Lake= By Oliver Optic

 3. =Ark of Elm Island= By Elijah Kellogg

 4. =Arthur Brown the Young Captain= By Elijah Kellogg

 5. =Boat Club, The, or the Bunkers of Rippleton= By Oliver Optic

 6. =Boy Farmers of Elm Island, The= By Elijah Kellogg

 7. =Boys of Grand Pré School= By Prof. James DeMille

 8. 




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