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Title: The Golden Harpoon - Lost Among the Floes
Author: Starbuck, Roger
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                                 THE

                           GOLDEN HARPOON;


                        LOST AMONG THE FLOES

                   A STORY OF THE WHALING GROUNDS.

                         BY ROGER STARBUCK.


                              NEW YORK:
                    BEADLE AND ADAMS, PUBLISHERS,
                         98 WILLIAM STREET.



     Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by
                         BEADLE AND COMPANY,
In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States for the
                   Southern District of New York.



                              CONTENTS

                                                                   PAGE
     I.  THE GOLDEN HARPOON.                                         9
    II.  THE RESULT.                                                19
   III.  A “STOVE” BOAT.                                            24
    IV.  IN CONFINEMENT.                                            33
     V.  THE BARRICADE.                                             39
    VI.  A SLIGHT CHANGE.                                           46
   VII.  ADRIFT.                                                    52
  VIII.  THE CHASE.                                                 60
    IX.  THE DISAPPEARANCE.                                         71
     X.  AN UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER--CONCLUSION.                       86



                         THE GOLDEN HARPOON.



                             CHAPTER I.

                         THE GOLDEN HARPOON.


On the morning of the 25th day of April, 18--, the whale-ship
Montpelier, of New London, anchored in one of the many bays that open
along the coast of Kamschatka, where it is washed by the waters of
the Sea of Ochotsk.

As soon as every thing was made snug alow and aloft, the skipper
rubbed his hands with complacency, and a satisfied expression was
seen to cross even the face of Mr. Briggs, the first mate, who was
the ship’s grumbler.

“Good quarters,” remarked the captain.

“Ay, ay, sir,” responded Briggs, “the tide is easy here and I don’t
think a gale would hurt us much--we are so shut in by the cliffs.
But,” he suddenly added, turning his glance toward a large field of
ice, about a league from the shore, “I don’t like the looks of yonder
floe. It may come upon us and give us a jam.”

“It will drift past us,” replied the captain; “the current tends to
the north’ard.”

“I’m not so sure of _that_,” said the mate, as he snatched a glass
from the mizzen fife-rail, and directed it toward the ice. “Them
undercurrents up this way sometimes plays the very smash. But if I
ain’t much mistaken, I see a bear moving along the floe.”

As he spoke, he passed the glass to his companion, who immediately
lifted it to his eye.

“Do you see the animal, captain?”

“Ay, ay, there it is, sure enough; a _brown_ bear, I believe.”

“Uncle!” exclaimed a gentle voice at this instant, and a light hand
fell upon the captain’s shoulder. “How wild! how picturesque! What
place _is_ this?”

The speaker was a girl of seventeen, with large brown eyes, a
_petite_ but well-rounded figure, and a countenance truly lovely
in its purity and expression. From her neck, by a strip of blue
ribbon, was suspended a golden harpoon of delicate workmanship, and
about four inches in length. It was the gift of the captain--her
only living relative--who had presented it to her on the day that he
complied with her request to accompany him on his present voyage.

And why did she wish to go to sea?

Firstly, because the bold and handsome Harry Marline had shipped in
the Montpelier as boat-steerer and harpooner’s aid. Secondly, because
she was much attached to her relative, who, having no children of his
own, always had treated his niece with the indulgent fondness of a
father.

You might have known this, had you seen the smile that crossed his
face as he turned and gazed with admiration upon the crimsoned cheek,
and the expressive eyes of the young girl.

“Good-morning, Alice,” he said. “I am glad to see you stirring so
early. How did you pass the night?”

“Very well, thank you,” she replied, raising herself upon the tips of
her toes, and presenting her lips for a kiss, which was immediately
granted. “Very well, indeed; but you have not answered my question.
What place is this?”

“It has no particular name that I ever heard of,” replied the
captain. “But, you have been long enough at sea, now, Alice, to
perceive that I’ve chosen a good place for an anchorage--”

“If it wasn’t for the ice,” interrupted Briggs.

“An excellent place,” continued the captain, paying no attention to
the words of his companion, “a position well sheltered, where the
craft can lie while we fill her with oil--secure from every danger--”

“Except that of ice,” doggedly persisted the mate.

“Secure from _every_ danger,” repeated the captain, turning sharply
toward his first officer.

“Oh! I am so glad!” cried Alice, clapping her white hands with an
enthusiasm natural to a girl of seventeen. “It is such a wild,
beautiful place. And, on pleasant days, I can bring my sewing on
deck. It will be very nice sitting here and looking up now and then
at those great towering cliffs that rise so far above the tops of our
mast-heads.”

“Until the ice comes,” said Briggs.

“Why, Mr. Briggs, what do you mean?” said Alice, turning toward the
first officer with an expression of alarm upon her face; “this is the
third time I’ve heard you speak about the ice. Is there really danger
to be apprehended from it?”

“Ay, ay, Miss Alice, plenty of it,” bluntly responded the mate, “and
unless--”

“You must not mind him, niece,” interrupted the captain. “He fancies
there is danger from that floe that you see off the quarter; but, you
may believe me, when I tell you, that it will have drifted past us
before night.”

“There are undercurrents that’ll bring it upon us before the
morning,” persisted Briggs. “This isn’t the first time I’ve sailed in
these waters.”

“Oh, uncle!” said the young girl, placing both hands upon the
captain’s shoulder; “the mate is an old sailer of this sea, while
this is the first time that _you_ have ventured in this quarter. I
think you had better take his advice.”

“Fiddlestick!” exclaimed the captain; “what does a girl know about
seafaring matters?”

“Ay, ay, sir, she’s a girl, but she’s got an uncommon wise head for
all that. Mark ye, Captain Howard,” he added, feeling so highly
gratified by the favorable remark of the skipper’s niece, that he was
disposed to be complimentary--“mark ye, I’ve seen women enough in my
day, but I’ve never seen one as had a longer head than Miss Alice!”

The maid blushed, and bit her lips to conceal a smile, while Briggs,
believing that his words had pleased her, but fearing that she might
think he had merely been trying to flatter, pursued the subject in a
manner so earnest, that his sincerity could not be doubted.

“Ay, ay, sir--a long head has this young girl, and I don’t mean to
flatter her when I say it. She’s about the first woman I ever saw
with such a head. To look at her, it’s true, you mightn’t think that
she was blessed in that way. But, my eyes! neither would you think
that a horse’s head was so long as a flour barrel!”

“You had better stick to currents and icebergs, Mr. Briggs, and leave
the complimenting of girls to those who understand the art better
than you do,” said the captain, a little resentfully. “Young ladies,
as a general rule, do not care to be told that they have long heads?”

“Indeed, uncle,” cried Alice, in a voice that faltered with the
efforts she made to restrain her laughter, “indeed, uncle, I feel
much obliged to the mate for the compliment he has paid me.”

“Oh, well,” said her uncle, dryly, “there is no accounting for
tastes--especially for those of women. If Briggs’ remark pleased you,
I have no more to say.”

“He was sincere, dear uncle, and you know that sincerity _always_
pleases me.”

“Even when you are told that you have a long head?”

“That was a figurative expression on the part of Mr. Briggs.”

“Ay, ay, that’s it,” broke forth the mate, “figgerin’ is the word.
I’m poor at figgers myself, but my eyes do me instead, for they have
good sight and are good at measuring. And that’s why I can calculate
almost to the minute when that ice-floe, which is now about a league
from us, will be upon us, jamming our timbers.”

“It will never reach us,” replied the captain, in a decided voice;
“you can even perceive that it is moving north’ard now, and--”

He paused suddenly and turned his gaze toward the ice, upon which the
eyes of the mate had suddenly seemed fixed with steady intensity.

“Ay, there it is again,” shouted the first officer, as a column
of vapor shot upward from the center of the floe. “There
blows!--there--there blows! The ice is alive with whales, captain
Howard!”

“Clear away the boats, there!” shouted the latter.

These words were addressed to the sailors lounging about the
windlass, some of them smoking, and others engaged in patching
threadbare coats and jackets.

“Lively--lively, men!” yelled the captain, as the “tailors” paused to
thrust the garments upon which they had been working, into the many
little “cubby-holes” about the windlass, and the smokers proceeded
to knock the ashes from their pipes. “Call all hands!”

This command was promptly obeyed, and a dozen men who had been lying
asleep upon chests in the forecastle came bounding through the open
scuttle.

By this time the decks of the Montpelier presented a scene of bustle
and excitement, such as always takes place on board a vessel of her
class when whales have been sighted, and preparations are being made
to lower away. The men rushed to the falls; the harpooners sprung
into their respective boats to prepare the line-tubs and their craft;
while the captain and his officers hurried the movements of their
crews with frantic gesticulations and excited voices.

In the midst of the uproar stood Alice Howard, watching with dilating
eyes and blushing cheeks the movements of Harry Marline, who belonged
to the mate’s boat, and who, more than once, while arranging his
irons, contrived to direct a quick but smiling glance toward the
spot where she stood. She had been so long an inmate of her uncle’s
vessel, that--but for the presence of her lover--the scene passing
before her eyes would have excited but little interest in her bosom.

The hoarse shouts of the captain and the many expletives that
even her presence did not prevent the mate from uttering, jarred
unpleasantly upon her spirit, and more than once she pressed her
little hands against her ears to shut out the hard words that saluted
them.

At last, however, the necessary preparations were completed, and the
captain then gave the order to lower away. As the four boats dropped
simultaneously into the water, he advanced to the side of his niece,
and grasped her hand.

“Good-by, Alice. When we return, I hope we will bring whales
alongside. Take good care of yourself while I am absent. There are
plenty of books in the cabin to amuse you, I trust.”

“Oh yes, I shall get along very well. But _do_ be careful, dear
uncle, and don’t have any of your boats stoven, or any of your men
hurt.”

“Ay, ay, good-by!” and with a parting kiss the captain sprung into
his boat and issued the command to “give way!”

The light vessels darted with arrowy swiftness from the ship’s side,
and, a moment afterward, the bow of each was heading for the floe.

Alice then ran to the bulwarks, and stood watching the boats with a
vague feeling of uneasiness that she had never before experienced.

The voices of the officers as they shouted encouragement to their
crews, and the dull sound of the oars as they were worked in the
row-locks, fell unpleasantly on her ears. She strove to recall the
feelings of pleasurable excitement that she had been wont to indulge
upon similar occasions; but, the effort was made in vain, and tears
of vexation rose to her eyes, because she was unable to subdue her
melancholy.

In the mean time the four boats continued to recede rapidly from the
ship, and presently the young girl perceived that they were upon the
outer edge of the ice-field. A few minutes later their crews had
worked them so far among the bergs that they were out of sight.

Alice was then on the point of moving in the direction of the
companion-way, when she felt a hand upon her arm. Turning, she beheld
a face and figure, the singular appearance of which we shall at once
describe.

The face, which was that of a man about forty years of age, was
very large and square, with enormous ears, round, twinkling blue
eyes, a flat nose, and a pair of lips that kept moving from side to
side, producing a ludicrous effect upon the whole countenance. An
old-fashioned pigtail, carefully tied near its extremity, and well
greased with whale oil, hung from the back of the head, keeping time
with the movements of the wearer, and giving to the huge glazed
sou’wester that crowned his skull, the appearance of a very unnatural
animal, with a black shell and a long tail. Passing on, we come to
the figure, which was not unlike that of a cask, while the arms were
of enormous length. The legs, on the contrary, were very short. The
dress of this person, besides the sou’wester alluded to, consisted of
a Guernsey frock--so profusely ornamented with patches of different
sizes and hues, as to remind the spectator of “Joseph’s coat of many
colors”--and pants of canvas-duck, very coarse, but scrupulously
clean, with the bottoms flowing loosely around a pair of neat,
well-fitting pumps.

“Good-morning, John Stump,” said Alice, as the sailor lifted his
sou’wester and bowed, scraping his right foot as he did so.

“_Jack_ Stump, if it please your pretty lips, miss--for I always feel
as though I was turned wrong side out when anybody calls me John.
Jack’s the name that I’ve always gone by, ever since I was as big as
a turtle.”

“Oh, very well--Jack Stump it shall be, then. You have something
particular to say to me, Jack,” she added, as the seaman suddenly
placed his forefinger upon the side of his flat nose, while his great
blue eyes began to roll in his head.

“Ay, ay,” he said, at last, in a low voice, “I’ve been a-trying to
get out, what I wanted to say to you, sweet lass but your beauty
choked the words in my throat, as a stick of candy put in the mouth
of a baby stops its squalling. Such beauty as yours, miss--”

“That will do, Jack,” interrupted Alice, with a gratified smile, for
she was too truthful to pretend that the compliment did not please
her; “that will do, and I am much obliged to you. But you have
aroused my curiosity, and I would thank you to come to the point at
once.”

“Here it goes, then,” said Stump, speaking in a voice of mysterious
confidence, “here it goes, sure enough, which is, that I’m a friend
to you and the captain, and I wish that everybody in the ship was the
same.”

“Why! how is this, Jack? My father’s crew are all friendly to us, are
they not?”

“Good grub!” said Stump, in a deep voice, “is the first consideration
in a whaler. Good officers the second, and good luck the third. Them
are the three things that wins men’s hearts--them are the things that
have won mine. But there are some beings that has the shape of men,
and yet they ain’t men for all that;--amphibious animals like, that
has more of the shark than human natur’ in their corporosities, and
believe me, Miss Alice, there are such creatur’s in this bark. Just
turn your pretty eyes forward, young lady--sly like, as you women
know so well how to do--and look at them five blue-skinned devils
standin’ there by the windlass a-whispering and talking together.
D’ye see ’em?”

“I do,” replied Alice. “Four New Zealanders and the Portuguese
steward; but what of that?”

Stump seized the end of his pigtail with his left fingers, and
bringing it over his shoulder, placed his right hand upon it.

“It’s an honest pigtail--Miss Howard, and I always swear by it on
occasions of this kind, when a Bible isn’t handy. And now,” he added,
in a solemn voice, “here goes my oath, which is that them fellows
forward are a-plotting and hatching to do harm--though what harm
exactly I can’t tell, but I think it’s as well to be prepared!”

“Why Jack! how you talk. What ground can you have for these strange
suspicions? My father, with all his officers and the greater part of
the crew, away, too,” added the young girl, with a shudder.

“Ay, ay,” responded the shipkeeper, allowing his pigtail to drop
to its original position, “and that’s why we must be on our guard.
Them devils forward were all laid up with the rheumatiz a while
ago, so that they couldn’t go in the boats, and now look at ’em,
a-standin’ up as well and hearty as you and I. That’s suspicious to
begin with. Then again I overheard one of ’em talking about freeing
that quarrelsome mutineer, Tom Lark, who, you know, the skipper
put in irons a week ago--because he refused duty--and shut up in
the run. They said something about his understanding navigation;
and I couldn’t hear any more because they saw that I was near them
a-listening and they closed their mouths all of a sudden.”

“What shall we do? What _can_ we do?” cried Alice, in considerable
alarm.

“That’s a hard question to answer, seeing as I’m all alone without
any man to help me. But you may be sartain that Jack Stump will stick
to you and do what he can. You had better go below now, and lock
the door of your room while I dodge around and find out something
about the plans of the rascals. Of one thing, hows’ever, you may be
assured, and it is that the plotters can’t do anything just now,
seeing as the wind has gone down and there isn’t a breath of air
stirring, and--ay, ay, Miss Alice, a beautiful morning!” he suddenly
added, in a louder tone. “I’ve sailed the sea in every kind of a
craft for thirty years, and never knew a finer mornin’ than this!
What do you think of that?”

Alice opened her blue eyes upon the speaker, surprised by this abrupt
change in the thread of his discourse. But in a few moments she
understood the cause, for a light footstep suddenly saluted her ear,
and she divined that a third person had passed behind them and taken
his position near the rail, not far from the spot they occupied.
With woman’s ready tact, she refrained from turning her head even to
get a glimpse of the intruder, and proceeded at once to reply to her
companion’s remark.

“I am surprised to hear you say so. The weather is not as a general
thing very clear in the Ochotsk sea, I believe.”

“Not a bit of it, Miss Alice. There ain’t many heavy gales here at
this season of the year, it’s true, but there’s plenty of fogs. If I
hadn’t such a good paunch in me,” added Jack, placing his hand upon
that protuberant portion of his body, “I should have died with the
rheumatiz long ago. But this has presarved my soul as a good purse
presarves the money in it. Just give a sly look at that blue devil,
will you--a-listening with all his ears,” continued the speaker,
partially turning his head under the pretense of shaking his pigtail.

Alice moved closer to the rail, and directing her glances toward the
water, contrived to obtain a good view from beneath the corners of
her eyes of the individual who stood upon the other side of her.

He was a tall New Zealander, with a sinewy face, high cheek-bones,
and that peculiarly fierce eagle gleam of the eye, natural to the
people of his race. There was a ring in each ear, another hanging
pendent from his nostrils, and his countenance was disfigured in many
places by “tattoo” marks of yellow and blue. On the present occasion
his thin lips wore a peculiarly sinister expression, that excited
much uneasiness in the bosom of Alice, notwithstanding that she had
been accustomed during the voyage to see the wild natives of the
Pacific shores. The islander, however, seemed perfectly unconscious
of the presence of those who were so stealthily watching him, but
with his face thrust forward over the rail, and his chin supported
by his hands, he remained as motionless as a statue, gazing steadily
toward the floe that glittered in the distance.

“Do you see any thing of the boats, Driko?” inquired Stump, quitting
his original position and placing himself between Alice and the
native.

“De boat me no see. Dey too far in ’e ice. No comee back to bark
nebber more.”

“And why not, I’d like to know. You must not make such a foolish
speech as that again, ‘Blueskin.’ You frighten Miss Howard!” and
seizing his pigtail, he gave the savage a light blow across the nose
with it, as he spoke.

“Takee care!” gritted the native, starting upright with glittering
eyes and placing a hand upon his sheath-knife, “takee care, you
Stump. No strikee me too much with ‘piggle-tail,’ or me makee you
Stump no more.”

“And boil me afterwards in the try-pot, I suppose, seein’ as that’s
one of your ‘pow-wow’ customs!”

“Hi! hi! hi!” gritted the New Zealander, while a malicious smile
flashed across his dark face. “Me like plenty Stump to eat. Good for
boil more better dan whale--dis Stump so fat make very much good!”

“Ay, ay, too good for such a lean, ravenous, blue-skinned rascal
as you are, to digest. But how about those boats. Why do you think
they’ll never come back?”

“Nebber come back to bark--no nebber more!” exclaimed the savage,
with a sinister laugh; and turning upon his heel, with the air of one
not caring to be questioned further, he made his way to the forward
part of the vessel and joined his four shipmates.

“You had better go below, Alice,” said Stump, “and that will look
as though you don’t suspect that anything is wrong. Trust to me to
ferret out the rascals’ plans.”

“But they may murder you!” shudderingly murmured the young girl.

“Put your hand there!” exclaimed Stump, straightening himself, and
indicating his left breast.

“Oh! I know your heart is all right. But--”

“Put your hand there,” persisted Stump again, pointing toward his
heart.

This time Alice obeyed, and she felt the stock of a revolver that was
concealed beneath the Guernsey frock.

“You are armed!”

“Ay, ay!” exclaimed Stump, “two hearts, like two heads, are better
than one. An iron heart for the blueskins---- ’em, and Stump’s own
heart for Alice Howard, at your sarvice!”

And making his best bow, the speaker turned and rolled off like a
cask of oil, in the direction of the windlass.

Alice then moved to the companion-way and descended into the cabin.



                             CHAPTER II.

                             THE RESULT.


As Stump rolled on, he turned his glances seaward, and perceived
that a light breeze from the north-west was beginning to wrinkle
the surface of the water. He could feel it fanning his temples and
stirring the pigtail upon his back. He glanced uneasily toward his
dusky shipmates and saw a momentary gleam of exultation flash across
their dark features as they were turned in the direction of the
ripples gradually spreading over the bosom of the ocean.

Driko stood a little apart from the rest of his shipmates and Stump
did not fail to notice that the eyes of this savage were now directed
significantly aloft as though he felt impatient to loosen the
topsails.

The watchful seaman felt that he could no longer entertain a doubt
in regard to the intentions of the conspirators, and gliding behind
the try-works, he seated himself upon the cooper’s bench, in the
hope that a few moments’ reflection might suggest to him some plan
that would enable him to defeat their schemes. But scarcely had he
begun to reflect, when, chancing to turn his eyes in the direction
of the main-top, his glances alighted upon a roll of red bunting
that had been carefully placed in that quarter. It was the recall
signal, which was used as a summons to the boats to return when they
were absent from the vessel, and it was deemed expedient that they
should come back. On every such occasion, the bunting was hoisted to
the main truck by means of the signal halliards which were always
kept rove for that purpose. Stump sprung from the bench, mentally
pronouncing himself a fool because the idea suggested by the sight of
the red cloth had not occurred to him before. The boats he thought
could not by this time be so far from the vessel that their occupants
would not perceive the signal when he should have hoisted it to its
proper position; but feeling conscious that there was no time to
lose, he began at once to waddle toward the main rigging as fast as
the bulky proportions of his body would permit.

Not until he had gained the seventh ratlin in the shrouds, did he
venture to direct a glance toward the spot where he had last seen his
five shipmates, and he then gave his lips a satisfactory twist toward
his right ear, for the men were engaged in earnest conversation and
the face of each of them was turned from him. He continued his way as
speedily as he could, and presently succeeded in passing the futtock
shrouds and in drawing himself into the top. Seizing the bunting, he
at once proceeded to unroll it, and a few moments afterward it might
have been seen dancing merrily aloft, as he pulled upon the slender
halliards. The breeze, which by this time had freshened considerably,
rustled among the folds of the cloth as it ascended, and when it
had reached its proper position, its broad red surface streamed out
from the mast in a manner that elicited a sigh of the most intense
satisfaction from the lips of Stump.

“Ay, ay,” he muttered, as he continued to gaze aloft, “there’ll be
a rumpus among the boats off there in the ice, when they see that.
Those rascally ‘pow-wows’ are in for it now.”

At this moment a yell of surprise and rage broke upon the ears of the
speaker, and turning his head, he saw Driko directing the attention
of his companions to the signal at the truck. No sooner was the red
bunting perceived by the other four seamen, than the whole number,
with curses and ejaculations, rushed into the waist and ordered the
shipkeeper to pull down the signal at once and to come down himself,
if he valued his life.

“Not a bit of it,” replied the sturdy seaman, thrusting his hands
in his pockets and calmly gazing upon the upturned faces of the
conspirators, “not a bit of it. That rag at the truck doesn’t come
down while I have an arm to keep it where it is. You may make up your
minds upon that point.”

The men exchanged glances and then held a moment’s whispered
consultation, after which they rushed simultaneously toward the main
shrouds upon the larboard side.

Stump waited very quietly until Driko, the foremost of the party,
had swung himself into the rigging, and then drawing his revolver,
which, although it was quite rusty, looked very formidable with its
six loaded barrels, he pointed it at the head of the astonished New
Zealander and ordered him back.

“Ay, ay, blast you!” he added, giving his lips an ominous twist as he
spoke. “You see I’m prepared. I know all about your infarnal plans to
take the ship, and if you make another step in this direction, you
are a dead pow-wow, that’s sartain!”

The Kanaka paused, and after he had ducked his head three or four
times, in a vain effort to get it out of the range of the threatening
weapon, he looked up with an expression of surprise, which, if not
real, was certainly well feigned.

“Me no understand. You speakee me take ship. Don’t know what you
mean. No want to take ship--me likee capen too much. De signal me no
like to see, because capen he no like to come aboard when he after
whale. He make plenty angry when he see de signal!”

“Bosh! you deceitful blueskin; it’s all bosh. Just as though I didn’t
hear you and your chums there a-whispering and plotting to free the
mutineer, Tom Lark!”

The dark blood rushed to the faces of those who listened, and they
exchanged rapid glances. Driko, however, presently looked up again
and replied:

“Hi! hi! You hear we speak about Tom Lark! Why we so speak? Because
de ice ’e come to jam de ship and ’sposing we bring Tom Lark from de
run, Tom Lark good sailor--good navigatem--and he save de ship. Dat’s
why we speak so much Tom Lark!”

“Bosh again, blast you! For you know that, although I know nothin’ of
navigation, I’d be as handy in working the ship clear of the ice, as
Tom Lark!”

“Me no believe so,” replied Driko, shaking his head. “Navigatem more
good as plenty go to sea. But no use me speak to you. You no think me
tell truth. Me leaves you. You keep signal at de truck and when capen
come, he scold you much.”

The islander sprung to the deck, and rejoined his shipmates, who
had been listening to the foregoing conversation with sullen faces,
and with their uneasy glances directed, at intervals of every few
moments, toward the red bunting fluttering at the mast-head. The
whole party now withdrew to the forward part of the vessel, but
presently they changed their position, sitting down close to the
try-works, where they were screened from the watchful eyes of the
shipkeeper.

“Blast ’em!” muttered the latter, “they are planning some deviltry
or other, and I must keep on my guard, until the rest of the crew
returns, which won’t be long, unless they are so wedged in the ice
that it’s difficult for ’em to get out.”

He turned his eyes toward the floe, as he spoke, and gazed long and
earnestly in that direction. But he was unable to see the boats, and
a sigh of disappointment rose to his lips.

He gave his pigtail an impatient jerk, and again directed his glances
toward the try-works, just in time to witness a spectacle which was
certainly a startling proof that the utmost vigilance on his part
could not be thrown away in his present position.

Towering above the try-works, with his tall, lithe figure drawn back,
and his keen, glistening eyes blazing with a deadly purpose, stood
the savage, Driko, holding in his uplifted hands a well-sharpened
harpoon, which he was in the act of darting, point foremost, into the
corpulent body of Stump.

The latter had so much respect for the wonderful skill of the
islander in the use of the barbed weapon with which he was now armed,
that he drew back, screening himself behind the mast, with a celerity
which was remarkable in a man of his caliber. The movement, however,
was well-timed, for the next moment the deadly iron flew whistling
upon its way, and, passing close to the mast, struck the revolver
held in his hand with a force that sent the weapon flying from the
grasp of its owner into the sea!

A yell of exultation followed, and then the mutineers rushed to the
main rigging, and, leaping into the shrouds, proceeded to mount in
the direction of the top, with cat-like agility.

Stump, however, did not lose his self-possession, but, seizing both
parts of the signal halliards, he gave them a sudden jerk, that
served to unfasten them, and, still contriving to keep them taut,
commenced to ascend the topmast rigging, intending to make his way to
the top-gallant cross-trees, and, when there, keep his adversaries at
bay, as long as possible, by means of his legs and his fists.

Unfortunately, as the reader is already aware, the corpulent body of
this seaman rendered him incapable of very active exertion, and, as a
natural consequence, his enemies gained upon him rapidly.

He was still in the topmast rigging, when he felt two strong hands
pulling the bottom of his pants, in an unceremonious manner, and
with a force that made it difficult for him to keep his position. He
vainly strove to disengage himself from the vice-like grasp, and,
while he was still struggling to free himself, he saw Driko, who had
crossed from the topmast rigging on the other side, descending toward
him, with his long knife between his teeth.

“Go down, quick, you, Stump!” gritted the savage, as he seized his
knife with his right hand. “Go down, me say, or knife quick cut de
windpipe. No care kill you now, unless you like. Plenty time, by and
by!”

“Ay, ay, blast you; you’ve got me in your toils, at last. But it’s a
deep sea that hasn’t any bottom, and you may boil me in one of your
pow-wow pots if I don’t come out even with you yet!”

Before replying, Driko severed the signal halliards with his knife,
and, pulling down the red bunting, rolled it up, and allowed it to
drop to the deck.

“Hi! hi! you poor Stump!” he then said; “you think you play me more
trick. But me put you, by and by, where you no more make tricks. You
see, more soon you like!”

He motioned, as he spoke, to the man who still maintained his hold
of Stump’s pants, and, finding himself released for the present, and
resistance useless, the shipkeeper proceeded to descend the rigging,
Driko following, closely, with his long knife held in readiness for
use, in case of opposition.

They had no sooner gained the deck, than Stump was surrounded by the
five savages, and thrown down.

They fastened his arms behind his back with strong cords; secured his
ankles in like manner, and then dropped him into the main hold, like
a pig, closing and fastening the hatch above him.



                            CHAPTER III.

                           A “STOVE” BOAT.


The Montpelier’s boats, at the moment when Stump succeeded in
hoisting the recall signal, were lying motionless in an open space
of water, situated near the center of the floe to which we have
already alluded. This little lake, of which the surrounding bergs and
compact squares of ice formed the shores, was of sufficient size to
contain all the boats, and the captain and his mates had expressed
much satisfaction because the position afforded them every facility
to maneuver their light vessels in case of the appearance of whales
in their vicinity. Upright, in the stern-sheets, with his steering
oar under his arm, stood each officer, throwing keen glances around
him, in every direction, and now and then addressing an angry word
to some awkward booby among his crew, who, by moving an arm or a
leg, caused his paddle to strike against his thwart. Nor were the
mates the only watchers, for the young harpooners, conspicuous among
whom towered the tall, neatly-dressed figure of Harry Marline, were
equally on the alert, piercing the many long, glittering galleries,
winding passages, fantastic arches, and caverns among the ice, with
their penetrating and practiced glances; while, seated close to the
gunwales of their boats--each man with his paddle ready for use--the
swarthy crews directed their indolent glances toward the reflection
of their own faces in the still surface of the water, or watched the
countless numbers of seals that stared upon them with timid eyes from
the polished floors of their floating halls.

One of the sailors threw a glance toward the bay where the ship was
anchored, and which was so far off that only the three masts of the
vessel could be distinguished, and these but faintly, on account
of the gray background beyond. But the red signal, flying at the
main-truck, did not escape the keen eyes of the spectator, and he at
once called the attention of the officer of his boat--Mr. Briggs--to
this circumstance.

“Ay, ay, blast you!” replied the irritable Briggs; “you are always
fancying that you see the recall signal. If it was a whale, now, I’ll
wager my pipe that you wouldn’t see it, even though the creature
spouted right under your nose! You’ve a strong imagination, Bates,
for signals, even when there ain’t any to be seen!”

“You can see it, sir, by turning your head. I am sure I wasn’t
deceived!”

“I wouldn’t believe you, though you took your oath upon a stack of
Bibles as high as the fore-truck. So, just keep your eyes the other
way, and don’t let me catch you lookin’ after signals again!”

As the man resumed his former position, however, the mate, after
having leisurely filled his pipe, and placed it in his mouth, turned
and looked toward the bay.

Unfortunately, this happened a second after Driko had pulled down the
red bunting, and dropped it to the deck. As a natural consequence,
Mr. Briggs, after having carefully surveyed the three naked royal
masts, came to the conclusion that Bates’ imagination had deceived
him.

“You thick-skinned lubber!” he muttered, in a low voice, seizing a
paddle, and lifting it, with the intention of breaking it across his
informer’s skull; “you empty-pated greenhorn, this isn’t the first
time that--”

“There blows! blows!--there blows! A whale right ahead, sir, and two
more to windward!” interrupted Harry Marline, addressing the mate, in
a shrill, penetrating whisper.

Quickly, but noiselessly, replacing the paddle in the bottom of the
boat, the first officer, with his teeth set, and his eyes glaring,
seized his steering-oar firmly, and hissed out his orders to the crew.

“Paddle ahead--every mother’s son of you! Spring! spring! my
lads--softly, but heartily--spring! It’s a bull!”

The men obeyed, and, shooting into a narrow passage, about a hundred
yards from the mouth of which the first whale, a huge bowhead, was
leisurely rolling and spouting, unconscious of the near vicinity of
enemies, the mate’s boat darted swiftly, and almost noiselessly,
upon its course, followed by the other three boats. The officers of
the latter, how ever, soon became aware that it would be necessary
for them to turn their attention to the whales to windward, for the
channel was too narrow to enable them to pass the mate’s boat, which,
on that account, would certainly be the first to reach the monster
ahead of it.

But, as the harsh grating of the cedar planks against the compact
masses of ice, among which the rear boats must be directed when their
course should be changed, would certainly “gally” (frighten) the
leviathan in the passage, the captain made a sign to the second and
third officers to stop the exertions of their men for the present.

This silent mandate was obeyed, and the three boats soon became
nearly motionless, their officers and crews watching the progress of
the mate with breathless interest.

He was nearing the whale with great rapidity, and the huge animal,
as it rolled leisurely along, with its great barnacled hump rising
and dripping in the cool element, still seemed unconscious of the
vicinity of foes.

“Stand up, Harry!” whispered Briggs, when the boat was within seven
fathoms of the intended prey; and quickly, but noiselessly, springing
to his feet, the young harpooner seized his iron, and stood prepared.

The mate now pointed the bow of the boat directly toward the hump of
the monster, and then, in a scarcely audible whisper, ordered his men
to stop pulling, and take their places upon their thwarts.

This command was readily obeyed, but the light boat still continued
to glide on under the impetus which it had received, and, in a few
moments, it was within four fathoms of the leviathan.

“Now then--give it to him!” thundered Briggs.

The barbed weapon flew whistling from the hands of the stout-armed
harpooner, with a force that buried it to the socket in the whale’s
hump. The second iron immediately followed.

“Starn! starn all!” roared the mate, as the startled giant of the
deep, writhing with pain, threw his tremendous body toward the boat.
“Starn, you beef-eating rascals--_starn_!”

But the oar-blades, striking against the ice, greatly impeded the
motions of the men, and the boat was not yet quite out of the
monster’s reach, when, lifting his tremendous flukes, he brought
them down sideways with a force which would have shivered the forward
part of the little craft to atoms had not the watchful Briggs, by a
dexterous movement of his steering-oar, caused the bow to swing off
to the right.

The little craft, however, did not wholly escape injury, for it
received a light tap from the edge of the creature’s flukes, which
caused the cedar planks to crack in more than one place, and
dislodged the bow oarsman from his thwart.

The man was not injured, and he resumed his place, just as the whale
disappeared in the green depths of the sea.

Away went the boat with the speed of a whirlwind, the line smoking as
it ran around the loggerhead, and the tub oarsman pouring water upon
it to prevent it from burning.

The harpooner and the mate now changed places, the latter individual
taking his station in the bow, after Marline had relieved him in the
stern-sheets. Each of the two men found it difficult to maintain
his position, for the whale had, this time, “milled” (turned under
water), and was now dragging the light boat through heavy fragments
of ice, that caused it to sway from side to side with that quick,
jerking motion which only a well-balanced body can resist.

The constant jamming of the boat against the rough edges of the
floating bergs, through which it was forced onward like a wedge,
seamed it with many cracks; but, as the bottom had not yet been
injured, the water did not enter with sufficient rapidity to
overpower the efforts of the man who was “bailing out.”

“Look out there! look to your oars!” shouted Briggs, as the flying
vessel approached the entrance to one of those floating tunnels
that form one of the many icy curiosities of the northern seas. It
was about twenty feet in length, and the passage was so narrow--the
roof so low--that the mate, as they continued to approach it, placed
his hand upon the knife in the bow, feeling half conscious that it
was his duty to sever the line and loose the whale, rather than to
risk the lives of himself and his crew by attempting the dangerous
channel; for when he should have entered it, the slightest deviation
of the boat from its direct course, would result in its destruction.

He threw a glance behind him, to see whether, in case such an
event should take place, his fellow-officers would be near enough
to witness it and to come to the rescue in time; but his surprise
may well be imagined, when he discovered that the three vessels he
had left astern were no longer visible, on account of one of those
sudden fogs so common in that region, and which now covered the whole
surface of the ice behind him, and also the open stretch of blue
water beyond.

“Well!” he exclaimed, turning to Marline, “here’s a dirty fog coming
upon us, without a moment’s warning!”

“There were signs of it before we struck the whale--in fact, when we
first lowered!” replied the harpooner. “I saw it gathering in the
nor’west, and a breeze has sprung up since then and hurried it along.”

“Ay, ay, I don’t doubt it,” answered Briggs. “But there’s no time
to lose in chattering about it. What d’ye say, men,” he added,
addressing the crew; “shall we cut, or hold on and try the tunnel? I
am willing to try it for one.”

“So am I!” cried Bates, and the rest of the men expressing themselves
in a similar manner, the mate breathed a sigh of relief, for he now
felt as though a load had been lifted from his conscience.

By this time the boat was within a few feet of the tunnel, and the
men placed their oars lengthwise across the thwarts, so that they
might not come in contact with the sides of the narrow passage, and
bowed their heads to prevent them from striking against the low,
jagged roof of ice.

With unabated speed the light vessel flew on, and presently it
darted, with the swiftness of a discharged arrow, into the mouth of
the archway.

The crew fairly held their breath with anxiety, and kept their eyes
upon the pointed bow of the little craft, which was now in a straight
line with the opening at the further ends, but which, at any moment,
was liable to swerve either to the right or the left. In fact, before
the boat had reached the center of the passage, there was a loud,
swashing noise, as the larboard gunwale heeled over, until it was
almost level with the water, while the bows dipped and swayed with
that uncertain motion which almost invariably serves as a warning to
the crew of a fast boat, that the whole is about to change its course.

“Trim boat! trim boat, every man!” hissed the mate, through his
closely compressed teeth, “and stand by, Marline, to do what you can
to keep the bows from swinging.”

“Ay, ay, sir, but that won’t be much,” responded the harpooner, “for
there’s little room in this narrow channel to work a steering-oar.”

Scarcely had the speaker concluded, when Briggs, whose watchful
eye had noted every motion of the little craft, perceived that the
boat’s head was about to swing to the right and strike against the
side of the passage; and seizing a knife, he quickly severed the
running line, thus freeing the vessel from the whale but not in time
to prevent the bow, under the impetus it had already received, from
being dashed with considerable force against the icy wall.

The result of the concussion was the cracking of the light cedar
planks near the bottom of the boat; and the water now entered the
craft with such rapidity, that the exertions of three men were
required to prevent the vessel from filling.

The rest of the crew were ordered to “take their paddles,” and as
they worked vigorously, the boat was soon clear of the dangerous
channel.

By this time, however, the fog had become so dense that the after
oarsman could scarcely distinguish the person of the harpooner, who
had just exchanged places with the mate, so that he now occupied his
proper position in the bow.

The loss of the whale had increased the ill-humor of Briggs, and he
proceeded to bemoan his “bad luck,” as he called it, in true sailor
terms. Stamping upon his cap, several times, he wound up by stating
that he wished all ice-tunnels were sent to the pit to be melted in
brimstone.

This rude witticism was received with a shout of laughter by Tom
Plaush, the little Portuguese, who pulled the tub oar, and who
was always ready to show his appreciation of all jokes--however
stale--that fell from the lips of any of the officers. The laugh had
a good effect upon Briggs, who, believing that he had said something
brilliant, assumed a waggish air, and glided at once into a pleasant
humor.

The good-humor of the mate, however, was not destined to continue
for a long time; for like a rusty wheel which has been set in
motion by the application of oil to certain parts of it, but which
stops and gets in bad condition again the moment it meets with an
obstruction--so when at length the boat became jammed between heavy
fragments of ice that rendered it impossible for the crew to use
their oars with success, the irritability of Briggs again made itself
manifest. Rough contact with the floating bergs, through which the
light craft had been forced, after it passed out of the tunnel, had
so widened the cracks in the thin planks, that the water entered with
a rapidity that, taxed to the utmost the energies of those engaged in
bailing. The mate sprung upon one of the blocks of ice by which they
were surrounded, and ordered every man with the exception of Marline
to imitate his example.

“I want a man I can depend upon to take charge of the boat,” he said,
addressing the young harpooner, “while I go with the crew to search
for our shipmates and inform ’em of our condition!”

“Wouldn’t it be better, sir,” suggested Marline, “for all of us to
stay here, and wait for the other boats? If we blow the boat-horn I
have no doubt that they will soon reach us.”

“Ay, ay,” growled the mate, impatiently, “and do you suppose that
I would be contented to stay here in this plight, waiting for the
boats? Not a bit of it, young man. I am now in a hurry to get aboard
ship, for that cutting from the whale has spoilt all _my_ fun.”

“If you will take my advice, you’ll not go far, in search of the
other boats,” said Marline, “for I think it hardly possible that you
will find them, in this fog.”

“And I think exactly the other way,” retorted the mate, impatiently.
“All a man has to do to find ’em is to follow his own nose to the
north’ard, as I take it; for we’ve been going south, and the other
boats must be somewhere astern of us--not far off either.”

At this moment the sound of a horn was heard, apparently
proceeding from the direction in which the mate had stated that
his fellow-officers might be found; and he now turned his eyes
triumphantly toward the harpooner.

“Ay, ay--d’ye see, young man--it’s just as I said. Them boats are
astarn of us, though further off than I thought they were. But
by moving quickly over the ice, we’ll soon reach ’em. Come on,
men--there’s no time to lose,” he added, turning to the crew.

Leaping from berg to berg, the five men followed closely upon the
footsteps of their leader, and in a few seconds they were all
shrouded from the view of the harpooner by the dense fog.

“It’s a wild-goose chase,” muttered Marline, as he proceeded to
bail out the boat, “and nobody except a man of Briggs’ restless and
impatient nature would have thought of undertaking it until he had
first sounded the horn, and that had failed to bring our shipmates to
us.”

As minute after minute passed away, and neither the party nor the
boats made their appearance, the young man became more confirmed
than ever in his opinion, that Briggs’ expedition was a useless
undertaking. He even began to fear that the mate and his men had lost
themselves among the floating galleries and caverns of ice, and were,
therefore, neither able to advance in the right direction nor to
return.

Once or twice, since the departure of his shipmates, he had heard the
sound of a horn, but the notes of the instrument were so faint that
he believed the boats were receding from, instead of approaching, the
spot he occupied.

While his mind was still busy with conjectures and fears, he suddenly
started to his feet, listening with eager attention, for he fancied
he heard a rushing noise ahead of him like that of some heavy object
forging slowly through the ice. The noise became louder every
moment, and presently the ears of the young man were saluted with
the creaking of ropes, the dull flapping of canvas, and the murmur
of voices. An instant afterward the broad black bows and the square
foresail of a ship loomed up indistinctly through the fog, a few
fathoms ahead of the boat, which lay directly in the track of the
vessel.

“Ship ahoy!” thundered Marline. “Up helm, and keep off, or you will
run me down!”

He was evidently heard by those on board, for a dark face was
suddenly thrust over the bulwarks forward, but its owner, instead of
directing the man at the wheel to “keep off,” ordered him to “luff.”

The head of the advancing ship, as she came booming on, was therefore
within a few feet of the boat before it could obey the helm, the
consequence of which was that the bows of the little craft received
a thump from the vessel as she swung to windward, that caused a few
of the thin planks to give way like the shell of an egg beneath the
blow of a man’s fist.

The boat filled rapidly, and as it sunk the young harpooner leaped
upon one of the blocks of ice by which he was surrounded, in time to
seize a rope, which was thrown to him by Tom Lark, as the ship came
up into the wind with her main topsails aback.

“The Montpelier!” shouted Marline--“the Montpelier, by all that’s
good!”

“Ay, ay,” gruffly responded Lark, “and the less said about it the
better!”

The speaker was a tall man, of herculean frame, and with one of those
swarthy, hang-dog faces, that never fail to inspire the beholder with
feelings of distrust. He wore gray pants, a fez cap of blue cloth,
and a black woolen shirt, the latter of which, being open at the
throat, disclosed the sinewy muscles of an enormous neck.

“What is the ship doing here?” pursued Harry. “We left her anchored
in the bay. And how came you at liberty? Where is Stump? and Alice
How--”

“One question at a time, youngster,” interrupted Lark, with a broad
grin. “You’ll know every thing presently, and--”

“There’s villainy at work here, Tom Lark--ay, downright villainy!”
cried the harpooner, as a suspicion of the truth flashed upon his
mind.

Grasping the lower part of the main chains, and drawing himself to
the rail, he sprung upon the deck, to be confronted by the mutineer,
who drew from one of the pockets of his Guernsey a heavy pistol,
which he pointed at the head of the youth.

“You’ve got yourself into a hornet’s nest, youngster. It might have
been better for you if you had stuck to the ice!”

“Ay, ay,” said Marline, with perfect coolness, as he fixed his clear,
unwavering eye upon the face of the giant. “You have the advantage of
me, at present, and can murder me if you wish, but you will swing for
it in the end.”

“Thank you, for your good advice,” gruffly responded the other, “but,
I have no intention of murdering you--leastways, not just now--unless
you try to kick against what you can’t help. I’m just using this
iron to keep you quiet, while the steward goes after the handcuffs!”

“And by what authority,” angrily demanded the young man, “do you
thus--”

“Tut! tut!” growled the mutineer, “none of your polly-wow with me,
lad. You know how things are as well as I do. I generally do what I
please in my own ship.”

“And dare you pretend that this vessel--”

“Is mine? Certainly,” interrupted Lark. “She’s mine by the law of
equal rights. Captain Howard had her for awhile. Now, it’s my turn.
I’ve been confined in the run a long time, and need a little fresh
air, besides the satisfaction of putting some of the captain’s
friends in my place. As you are the first of these that I’ve met
with, you shall have the honor of filling that position. I rebelled
against Captain Howard’s authority--you rebel against mine. Captain
Howard puts _me_ in the run--Captain Lark puts _you_ in the run.
That’s what I call equal rights!”



                             CHAPTER IV.

                           IN CONFINEMENT.


The steward--a tall man with a long face, dark gray eyes, and thin
lips, advanced, and proceeded to secure the handcuffs to the wrists
of the young man.

The latter eyed him sternly, for a few moments, before he ventured to
address him.

“What has the captain ever done to you, Joseph,” he then said, “that
you should thus turn traitor?”

“He! he! he!” laughed the Portuguese, “Captain Lark more better as
Captain Howard. He take de ship to some port and sell him--cargo and
all. Den me get big share of de profit.”

Marline had benefited this man in many ways--had often, by kindly
interposition, shielded him from the blows of the first mate; had
even, on one occasion, saved him from falling overboard while he
was aloft assisting the watch to reef the main topsail in a gale
of wind; and yet the ungrateful villain seemed now to exult in the
misfortunes of his benefactor.

“Where is Alice?” inquired the latter, as the steward locked the
handcuffs.

The Portuguese chuckled, but did not reply.

“Speak!” cried the harpooner, fiercely. “Where is she?”

“Why, of course, in de cabin--in her own room--me fasten her in so
she can’t get out!”

“You are a sneaking wretch, Joseph!”

“What you say? No call me dat--I tell you,” cried the steward, as he
pushed the young man against the rail.

The chief mutineer interposed. With the stock of his pistol he dealt
the Portuguese a blow upon the head that felled him to the deck.

“Equal rights!” he said, quietly, as he pointed to the prostrate
man, and placed the pistol in his pocket; “that’s the law aboard o’
this craft, in future. This way, Driko, Amolo, and Black Squall,” he
added, motioning to three of the New Zealanders; “take Marline to
the run, and fasten the hatch the same as it was fastened when I was
there!”

The men obeyed with alacrity, and Marline was in the run. No sooner
had the hatch been secured, than he heard the rushing of the water,
and the grinding of the icebergs against the ship’s bottom, as she
boomed upon her way.

His reflections were certainly very gloomy. The thought that Alice
was only separated from him by a few planks, and yet that he could
neither hold converse with her, nor go to her in case that Tom Lark,
or any of his party, should insult her, worked upon his mind until it
was wrought up to the highest pitch of excitement.

“What are the plans of these mutineers in regard to the young
girl?” he asked himself again and again, and although it seemed to
him that they _must_ respect the purity, the loveliness, and the
goodness of one who had benefited them by a thousand of those kindly
little attentions to their welfare and comfort which a woman in a
ship--especially if she have influence with the captain--has it in
her power to bestow, yet there was a presentiment within him that
whispered of trouble and suffering.

And with his head bowed upon his bosom--with his manacled hands
against his brow, and his heart beating loud and fast with
anxiety--he offered up a silent but fervent prayer to God, to spare
his beautiful Alice--to shield her from all harm--and restore her to
the arms of those who loved her.

That prayer was scarcely finished when he felt a hand upon his arm,
and on lifting his head, he was enabled to make out in the gloom with
which he had by this time become familiar, the outlines of a human
countenance.

“Hist!” whispered a low voice, “don’t speak too loud; it’s
me--Stump--and this if I ain’t mistaken is Harry Marline!”

“Ay, ay, you are right!” cried the harpooner, much surprised, “but
where in the name of heaven, Stump, did you come from? You were
not confined here were you? I thought you were in league with the
mutineers.”

“That’s the way of the world,” muttered the shipkeeper, mournfully.
“Yes--yes, that’s the way with ’em all! Sarcumstances always goes
against a man, hows’ever honest he may be! But I didn’t think it,
Marline--no, blast me if I did--that _you_, my chum, would ever mix
up my deeds with those of them infarnal scoundrels!”

“Forgive me!” exclaimed the young man, joyfully grasping the hand of
his friend as tightly as his irons would admit. “I was altogether too
hasty, and I’m sorry for it. But, tell me how you came here.”

“Ay, ay,” said Stump. “I’ll explain matters willingly enough,
especially as it will give me a chance to curse those rascally
blueskins again, and to show you as I always was for maintaining,
that them creatur’s ain’t to be trusted.”

He proceeded to tell his story, commencing with those incidents with
which the reader is already acquainted.

“Yes,” continued the exasperated seaman, as soon as he had described
the manner in which he had been thrust into the hole, “they fastened
the hatches above me, and then I heard ’em go aft, and presently
the voice of Tom Lark ordering ’em to cut the cable, and loosen the
topsails, broke upon my ears, so that I knowed they had set that big
hang-dog rascal at liberty. Scarcely was the ship under way, when I
also heard that wild fiend Driko, proposing to Lark to knock me in
the head, and thus get rid of me. But Tom, you know, although he is
a parfect savage when he holds a grudge against anybody, doesn’t
care to shed blood when he can get along without it, and that was
the reason, as I take it, that he refused to comply with the polite
request of that infarnal pow-wow.”

“Did you overhear any thing that gave you an idea of what Lark
intended to do with the ship?”

“Not a bit of it, but I haven’t a doubt that he intends to take the
craft into some out o’ the way port, and sell her--cargo and all.”

“That’s very probable,” replied his friend. “It’s a pity,” he added,
“it’s a pity that the captain and his boat’s crew didn’t stay aboard
as they are in the habit of doing. Then this misfortune might have
been prevented.”

“Ay, ay, but we’ll be even with ’em yet,” replied the narrator, “and
now I’ll tell you how I came here, which was done by a little of that
‘injunyewity’ for which the Stump natur’ has always been famous. As
soon as I perceived that the craft was under way, says I to myself,
‘Why,’ says I, ‘I’m only fastened with ropes, and p’raps if I can
find the old saw which is somewhere in the hold, I can make short
work of ’em. And so I crept about as well as I was able, looking
for the instrument, which I soon came afoul of. It was a long time
hows’ever before I could get it in the right position, for I could
only use my teeth to do that, and they ain’t quite as parfect as the
teeth of a shark, seeing as three of ’em were once knocked out by
an old woman, because I took her part against her husband who was
beating her--blast him--and the rest are almost ruined by the long
use of baccy and the habit of biting off the ends of spun yarn. Well,
I tugged and pulled with my teeth for a long time and at last got the
saw ship-shape. Then I turned my back to it, and by running the ropes
that was about my wrists, up and down the edge, I soon had ’em apart.
The rest was easy, and I was glad enough, lad--mightily glad to find
myself freed from the cords.”

“And afterward you heard the mutineers as they led me to the run,”
said Marline, “and you thought you’d take a cruise in this direction
to see who the prisoner was. Isn’t that so?”

“Exactly,” repeated Stump, “but I didn’t dream who it was until I had
crept close to that big opening in the partition that divides the run
from the steerage. Then, as I’d got familiar-like with the dark, I
was surprised enough to see you, and I couldn’t imagine how you came
here, which is the same even now.”

Marline at once proceeded to enlighten his companion, and as soon as
he had concluded, the shipkeeper seized both the hands of his friend
and gave them a hearty squeeze.

“Misfortunes attends the best of us,” he said philosophically, “but
we’ll hope for the best--ay, ay, we’ll hope for the best, and work
for it too. The gal--Miss Alice--is the great ‘consideration,’ and if
we can only get her safe, why, if we can do _that_ it’s all right.”

“You do not think they’ll attempt to harm her?” cried Marline,
interrogatively.

“I don’t know about Tom Lark,” replied Stump, “but, as to them
pow-wows, I wouldn’t trust ’em--not one of ’em. The flesh of that gal
is tender, and them fellows are cannibals and like good grub.”

“Can not you contrive some way for me to get an interview with
Alice?” said Harry.

Stump gave his pigtail a jerk.

“I don’t see how it could be done,” he said, thoughtfully. “The
hatches are all fastened above us--the door of _her_ room is locked
besides, and--and--ay! ay! I have it!” he suddenly interrupted,
“which is that that rascally steward must open the hatch before long
to pass you some food, and p’raps I’ll get a chance to pounce on him,
gag him and tie him up. The rest will be as easy as the greasing of
a marlinspike. I’ll get--if he has ’em about him, which I think is
likely--the key of her room and the one which unlocks your handcuffs.”

“Thanks!--a thousand thanks, for this happy thought, my dear chum!”
cried the harpooner.

“P’raps we may even be able to bag the mutineers themselves,” said
the shipkeeper, “to shut ’em all up--the pow-wows in the forecastle,
and Lark in the cabin. It’s wonderful--parfectly wonderful,” he
added, thoughtfully, “how one idee leads to another. Them that is
given to reflection, and the Stumps were always famous for that,
propagates idees--fairly breeds ’em--one from another!”

“Hush!” whispered Marline. The sound of footsteps approaching the
hatch was heard.

“It’s him--it’s that rascally Portuguese,” muttered the
shipkeeper. “I’d know that walk of his from a thousand, lad. It’s
peculiar--something like the tramp of a mule, and them that walks so
ain’t to be trusted. Now the walk of the Stumps in every generation
has been like that of a duck--a sort of waddle, and them that moves
in that way generally takes to the water.”

The noise of the crow-bar--by means of which the hatch had been
secured--was heard, as the implement was removed, and the next
moment, just as Stump drew back, the trap was pulled aside from the
opening, into which a face--the owner of which had stooped upon
his knees--was thrust. Without waiting to take a survey of it, the
shipkeeper seized the intruder by the hair of the head and pulled him
head foremost into the run. But, before he had quite accomplished
this feat, and yet when it was too late to draw back, he had seen the
face clearly enough to recognize the harsh and decided lineaments of
Tom Lark, which were different in every respect from those of the
steward.

“Ay, ay, that _was_ a mistake, sure enough!” cried Stump, scrambling
quickly through the opening, as soon as the uplifted legs of the
prostrate man beneath had been removed from it, “such a mistake as I
never made before in my life, and as prudence is the better part of
valor, I think I am parfectly justified in getting out of the run!”

He lifted his feet clear of the aperture just in time to escape the
hand of the mutineer as the latter, who had by this time risen from
his uncomfortable posture, made a furious attempt to clutch the
bottoms of his pants.

“You wretched imp of Satan!” roared Lark, in a voice of thunder, as
the other eluded his grasp, “you shall suffer for this trick!”

And he thrust a hand into the side-pocket of his Guernsey, to procure
his pistol.

Stump saw the movement, and quickly seizing the crow-bar lying at his
feet, he dealt the mutineer such a heavy blow upon his head--which
projected at least eighteen inches above the combings of the
hatch--that he dropped senseless into the run.

“It was all done in self defense!” cried the shipkeeper, as he
leaped back into the hold. “Ay, ay--that it was, sure enough. But,
bad as the man is--and he’s a parfect shark--it cost me something
to give him that blow, seeing as I’m not in the habit of indulging
myself in that way. I hope I haven’t committed murder--I hope he
isn’t dead!”

“He’s only stunned, I guess,” replied Marline. “He’ll soon come to
his senses.”

“You think he will?” cried Stump, twitching his pigtail a little
nervously. “You think he’ll broach to again? My eyes! seeing as
that’s the case, then I think it would be as well to take time by the
forelock--to provide myself with his pistol, and to make him fast, so
he can’t do any more harm. He’ll never forgive me--no, never--when
he gets over his faint. It’s astonishing how the human family holds
grudges!” And, drawing his sheath-knife, he proceeded, with all
possible dispatch, to cut from one of the numerous coils of ratlin
stuff lying about him, a sufficient number of the twisted strands to
secure the arms and legs of the giant.

This task was soon accomplished, after which the mutineer was
properly secured, and his pistol transferred from his own to the
pocket of his conqueror.

“Now, then,” said the latter, breathing a sigh of relief, “I think
he’ll be surprised when he wakes.”



                             CHAPTER V.

                           THE BARRICADE.


The shipkeeper had hardly concluded, when he heard footsteps
descending the companion-way, and peering through the hatch, he saw
the steward just as that worthy--still pale and bloody from the
effects of the wounds he had received--gained the bottom of the short
staircase.

With a low cry of exultation, Stump pulled himself quickly out of the
run, and, rushing upon the startled Portuguese, caught him by the
throat, at the same time presenting his pistol at his head.

“No noise, you miserable sneak, or down you go, a dead porpoise sure
enough. Just hand over the key that unlocks Miss Howard’s room,
together with the one that belongs to Marline’s handcuffs!”

“I--I--de--de---- You no kill me!” stammered the steward, nearly
frightened out of his wits.

“The keys--the keys!” muttered Stump, shaking him violently; “it’s
the keys I want--d’ye hear?”

“I--I--give you ’em quick,” gasped Joseph, while his eyes fairly
rolled in his head with terror.

“Here--here,” he added, pulling the required instruments from his
pocket--“here dey be, and now you no kill me!”

In order to receive the keys, the shipkeeper let go of the steward’s
throat, and his joy was so great when the articles were in his hands,
that for a moment, while contemplating them, he almost forgot the
presence of the mutineer.

The latter was not slow to take advantage of this circumstance. He
bounded up the companion-way, and disappeared, before Stump could
lift his pistol.

“Ay, ay--the rascal’s gone, sure enough!” cried the shipkeeper, in a
tone of mortification, “and it’s l’arned me a lesson, which is, that
them that doesn’t keep their eyes squinted both ways, or that allows
their pleasures to turn ’em aside from their duties, is bound to
suffer for it in the end.”

“Never mind,” said Marline, who had risen, and was looking through
the open hatchway; “but, come quick and unlock these handcuffs. That
fellow, I can even hear now giving the alarm on deck, and the sooner
my arms are at liberty, the better will it be for us both!”

“There’s plenty of truth in that,” replied the shipkeeper, as he now
set himself to work to unfasten the irons from his friend’s wrists,
“plenty of truth in that, and--”

“How! Why! A thousand devils! What does this mean?” interrupted the
voice of Tom Lark, at this juncture. “Ho! halloa there--on deck!”

“That rascal has come to, at last!” cried Stump, “and, although it
consoles me to think that I didn’t kill a fellow creatur’, there
isn’t music enough in that voice--which is something atween the roar
of a bull and the grunting of sea-hog--to give any pleasure.”

Marline’s handcuffs dropped clanking to the deck, as his chum spoke,
and the young man sprung lightly from the run. The shipkeeper
secured the trap above the hatch, while the other, rushing up the
companion-way, fastened the door leading to it, by hooking it on the
inside.

This task was not accomplished a moment too soon, for a number
of kicks and blows were now dealt against the door, and together
with the roaring voice of Tom Lark--who evidently chafed in his
confinement like a mad bull--created a din such as is seldom heard in
a whale-ship!

“Well, my eyes,” soliloquized Stump, “them noises are sartainly not
very inviting, nor those that make ’em very chival-_rie_-ous, seeing
that a young lady lodges in this hotel!”

“They will pound the door to pieces before many hours,” said Marline,
“and before that happens I must make sure of the rifle that hangs in
the captain’s state-room, so that we can show a good resistance to
the bloodthirsty wretches.”

“Ay, ay, bloodthirsty is the word,” said Stump. “Them five pow-wows
on deck are mad enough by this time to eat us alive. They ain’t at
all particular, they ain’t, about the quality of their grub when they
be angry. It’s parfectly astonishing how few ‘raal’ ‘epichewers’
there is in this world!”

Marline did not pause to reply to this philosophical remark. He
hastened to the state-room and procured the rifle--which was
already loaded--together with a bullet-pouch, and an old-fashioned
powder-horn, containing a small supply of ammunition.

“Now, then, my friend, quick! Give me the key to Alice’s apartment.”

“Here it is!” replied the shipkeeper, placing the instrument in his
hand, “and mighty glad, I warrant you, will be the poor gal to see
you. So, away you go, and God bless you both, while Stump keeps
guard.”

A very few steps carried the young man to the door which he sought,
and which was nearly in a straight line with the foot of the stairway.

He placed his rifle against the carved wainscot, and turned the key
in the lock of the door. Then he knocked gently upon one of the
panels; but a half-smothered cry of alarm was the only response to
the summons.

“Do not fear, dear Alice; it is I--Harry Marline!”

The door was quickly opened, and Alice, with surprise and pleasure
beaming in her great brown eyes, stood before him.

She looked so beautiful in her excitement, that Harry stood for a
moment staring upon her like one under the influence of a spell. As
the long lashes of those innocent eyes gradually drooped under his
admiring glance, he was unable to resist the impulse that sprung up
within him. He threw an arm around the pretty waist, and drawing the
unresisting girl to his bosom, kissed her with a fervor peculiar to
seafaring men.

She gently disengaged herself from his embrace. “Oh! Harry, I am so
glad to see you. I have been so frightened! Those terrible noises!
What are they trying to do now? They are at the cabin-door!”

“To break it open,” replied Harry.

“Who? the mutineers?”

“Yes.”

“Why, I--I thought, when I saw you, that all this was over--that you
and your gallant crew had come aboard and persuaded those misguided
men to return to their duty.”

“I came alone,” said the harpooner, and he then proceeded to make her
acquainted with those occurrences of which the reader has already
been informed.

“Dear Harry,” faltered the young girl, “how you must have suffered. I
am sorry, now, that you came aboard.”

“Sorry?”

“Yes, because, in addition to what you have already endured, you will
have more trouble. The mutineers will soon break open the door, and,
then--then--Oh! my God! What if they should kill you?”

“Fear not for me, dear girl,” replied the harpooner, “I am armed--and
so is Stump. We can make a stout resistance and we will protect you
as long as we can stand.”

“I do not fear for myself,” replied Alice, “I don’t think they would
injure me. But you and your friend--what can you do against three
times your number?”

“But they have only harpoons and lances while we are provided with
fire-arms. I have your father’s rifle and--”

“I think I have heard him say that it is damaged so it won’t go off.”

“I will soon decide that point,” said Marline, and he lifted the
weapon and scanned the lock.

“You are right, Alice, the piece can not be discharged, but it can be
made useful in other respects.”

Crash! went a heavy ax, against the cabin-door, at this juncture, and
the sharp edge of the instrument was seen to protrude through the
wood-work!

“Ay, ay!” cried Stump, “there it goes--it’s a-going--the door!”

And even as he spoke, another tremendous blow shivered one of the
panels into fragments.

“This way, friend Stump!” cried Marline, “we must form a barricade.”

The shipkeeper came, and the two proceeded to erect a sort of
breastwork with a sofa, a few chairs and a table, which were firmly
secured with ratlin stuff across the doorway of Alice’s apartment.
The whole work was completed with great dispatch, and was viewed with
much satisfaction by the two sailors, for they felt confident that
they could prevent the mutineers from passing this barrier.

Alice, who had been led by Marline to the further corner of the
apartment, stood with clasped hands and pale cheeks watching the
movements of her friends, and it was with a sinking heart that she at
length heard the door of the cabin give way with a tremendous crash
before the repeated blows of the ax!

Then a terrific yell broke upon her ear, as the savage Driko,
flourishing a sharp hatchet around his head, and followed by the
rest of the mutineers, armed with long lances, rushed down the
companion-way.

“This way, lads! this way!” roared Tom Lark, from the run, “I am tied
hand and foot! Come and set me free--quick! I am dying to give them
two rascals a lesson on equal rights!”

“None of that, you infarnal pow-wow!” cried Stump, pointing his
pistol at the head of the Kanaka, who was now moving toward the
hatch, “none of that or you are a dead fish! It’s parfectly
astonishing,” he added, “to hear such an imp of Satan as that
creatur’ in the hold a-prating about equal rights!”

Every one of the mutineers halted. The sight of Stump’s weapon, and
the rifle in Marline’s hand, had not been anticipated by these men.
They looked at one another in surprise, and even seemed disposed to
beat a retreat.

Observing these signs of indecision, the resolution of the harpooner
was formed in an instant. Motioning to Stump to follow him, he
suddenly leaped over the barricade, and coolly advanced toward the
party, with the muzzle of his piece directed toward them.

“Put down your arms, and return to your duty--every man of you!” he
cried, sternly, “if you value your lives! I do not feel disposed to
trifle with you!”

“No, not a bit of it!” cried the doughty little shipkeeper, as he
covered the head of Driko with his pistol. “You are dead pow-wows of
a sartainty, if you don’t obey. You can’t expect any mercy from _me_,
at any rate, after the way you tumbled me into the main hold!”

“No--no!” yelled the prisoner in the run, “don’t yield to ’em, men.
Pitch into ’em--they can’t fire but two shots at the most. You
miserable imp of a Driko, where are you? Why don’t you attack ’em?
They are only two and you are four! One good assault and you can cut
’em to pieces--perhaps without the loss of a man!”

“My eyes!” cried Stump, with a low whistle, “it’s marvelous to hear
the way that animal is urgin’ on his pow-wows, while he himself
is out of harm’s way. Them that does that ain’t always the most
persuasive, seeing as it’s only examples that’s contagious.”

And the speaker was right, for the mutineers, becoming more
irresolute as they marked the firm purpose that shone in the steady
eyes of their two adversaries, were deaf to the commands of Lark.

“Come, down with your lances--or we’ll fire!” shouted Marline, “and
we’ll do the same if you attempt to retreat. Remember that whether
you fly from or attack us, two of you at least must fall!”

This was not to be disputed, and, dropping his weapon, Driko motioned
to his three followers to imitate his example. They obeyed, and the
harpooner then ordered the whole party to the deck. The command
met with the same success as that which had attended the previous
one. The four men, with cowed and sullen faces, ascended the
companion-way, followed by their two conquerors, who still retained
their arms; and as soon as they were on deck, Marline gave orders to
“wear” (veer) ship.

As the vessel was under whole topsails, it seemed impossible that
this duty could be executed by the few men now in the craft; but, the
harpooner and his friend lent their assistance, and the yards were
swung round at last. As the wind was now from the westward, Marline
soon afterward squared topsails and stood due east--hoping that this
course would soon enable him to fall in with some of the boats. The
man at the wheel, who was none other than the Portuguese steward
Joseph, was doubtless much surprised at the change of commanders;
but, whatever may have been his thoughts, the coward was too prudent
to express them. He was an excellent steersman, and he now did his
best, evidently hoping by this means to find favor in the eyes of the
man whom he had insulted while he was a helpless prisoner.

“That’s right, keep her steady!” cried Marline, approvingly, “and you
there on the knightheads!” he added, glancing forward--“look sharp
for the boats and the ice!”

“Ay, ay,” answered the dusky seaman, and his voice was far from
cheerful.

Descending into the cabin--after having ordered Stump to keep close
to the companion-way, and to maintain a vigilant watch--the young man
now entered the apartment occupied by Alice.

She bounded forward to meet him, and did not offer any very decided
objection to the embrace with which he received her.

“I am so glad!” she said, as she gently disengaged herself after he
had kissed her at least a dozen times, “I am so glad that the mutiny
was subdued without bloodshed--that you are safe and uninjured!”

“And what is still better, I trust that we will soon fall in with the
boats,” said Marline. “I wore round about ten minutes ago.”

“Wore round? What is that?” inquired Alice.

“What? you, a sailor’s niece, don’t know what it is to wear ship!”

“How should I?” retorted Alice. “You know that I never took any
interest in your salt-water phrases, nor much in any thing pertaining
to the ocean.”

“Why then did you go to sea?”

The cheeks of the young girl were instantly covered with blushes.
Her heart beat rapidly. She lowered her eyes and did not speak until
she could muster sufficient resolution to lift them to the face of
her interrogator. Then the glances of both met--a heaven of womanly
tenderness in hers, and in his the deep, strong passion of the man.

She stepped toward him, placed both hands upon his arms and hiding
her face in his bosom, said, in a tremulous voice:

“Why should I not acknowledge it? It was that I might be near you!”

“And Alice,” said he, “if you were not in this ship it would lose
all attraction for me. God shield you from all harm,” he added, as a
sudden indefinable presentiment for which he could not account, swept
over his spirit, “and preserve you, that we may both be made happy.”

Then the lovers seated themselves, and with their hands interlocked,
talked of the future, which they were pleased to fancy would be full
of sunshine and without a cloud.



                             CHAPTER VI.

                          A SLIGHT CHANGE.


They were very unpleasantly interrupted by the sharp report of a
pistol, apparently proceeding from the deck, and springing to his
feet, the harpooner darted up the companion-way.

As he emerged from the entrance, however, he was seized and thrown
down before he could use his rifle, by three of the New Zealanders,
who had evidently been lying in wait for him. They fastened his arms
and his legs with strong cords, and then stepping back a few paces,
glared upon him with Satanic exultation. At the same moment, turning
his eyes to the right, he saw the corpulent figure of Stump lying
near the foot of the mizzen-mast, and, bending over it, the sinewy
form of the savage Driko. The islander was engaged in securing the
limbs of the prostrate man with ropes, and upon raising his head
to obtain a better view, Marline perceived that the poor fellow
was senseless. His pistol was lying by his side, and near that a
belaying-pin, the latter of which, the young man at once divined, had
been used to deal the shipkeeper the blow which had deprived him of
consciousness.

“Ay, ay,” said one of the New Zealanders, as though he guessed our
hero’s thoughts, “De Portuguese at de wheel go behind him and knock
him down with pin--strikee on de head--and den de pistol ’e go off,
and we know you den pretty soon come up from de cabin, and we wait
for you. Hi! hi! hi! Very good dis way to catch you!”

The fierce Driko had by this time finished his task, and rising to
his feet, he now turned his eagle eyes, blazing with fury, upon the
face of Marline.

“You makee lay down lances, eh? You makee you captain of dis ship,
eh? Now _me_ captain, and me killee _you_!”

With which words he moved to the carpenter’s chest, took therefrom a
keen-edged hatchet, then rushed to the side of the prostrate youth,
and lifted the weapon on high to deal the fatal blow!

At that critical instant, a cry of anguish was heard, as Alice--who
had been alarmed by the prolonged absence of her lover, and who
naturally experienced a presentiment of evil--rushed from the
companion-way, and threw herself between the glittering steel and the
body of the harpooner!

“Spare him! spare him! Oh, for heaven’s sake, Driko--stay your hand!”
she cried, in tones of such earnest entreaty, that even the stern
islander was moved. He remembered--and the wild men of the Pacific
isles seldom forget a favor--that this young girl had once, while the
vessel was anchored near Honolulu, and the captain was ashore, saved
him from being flogged by the flinty-hearted Briggs.

But then, he had afterward made her a present of a beautiful string
of pearls, and had thought at the time that the gift would cancel
the obligation. Now, however, many doubts upon this subject passed
through his mind, as he looked down upon the sweet, earnest face of
the fair pleader, and listened to her beseeching voice.

He remained buried in reflection for some time, and then in order to
put an end to his perplexity, turned to his companions, and solicited
their opinion upon the all-important question.

An animated discussion between them--one which was kept up with
unabated ardor for nearly a quarter of an hour--was the result;
and then the dusky “lawyers” unanimously decided that the gift of
pearls did not quite release Driko from his obligations to his pretty
benefactress.

The islander promptly threw his hatchet aside, and implied, by a
dignified motion of his hand to Alice, that he would spare her
lover’s life.

“Me get out of de ‘tankee’ (thank you) in dis way,” said he, “and me
no owe you any more. S’posee Marline makee me mad again, why den,
habbing no more tankee, me killee, _quick_.”

“Well, blast me!” cried Stump, who had by this time recovered his
senses, “that’s what I call a lubberly way of reasoning, although
good enough, I suppose, for a pow-wow. But, I tell you what it is,
blackskin--if you were only a little more than half civilized, you’d
feel that you was under etarnal obligations to that gal for saving
your hide. She’s a sort of omnipotent creatur’, she is, and the
contrast atween her pretty skin and them tater (tattoo) marks upon
yours, is wonderfully striking and pictur’sque! Besides--”

The mutineers did not give the shipkeeper an opportunity to conclude
his observations. Two of them lifted him to his feet, and hurried
him along to the main-hold, in which they bundled him without any
ceremony. Marline was soon afterward transferred to the same quarter,
and Alice was led back to her apartment--the door of which was then
closed and locked.

“Well,” said Stump, as he rolled over upon his back after the hatch
had been secured above the heads of the two prisoners, “here we
are again, thrown into nearly the same situation as we was before.
We ain’t made much progress in good luck, and as misfortunes never
comes single, I suppose there’ll be more breakers presently. That
Portuguese sarved me a most unmannerly trick sure enough, and if I
ever get hold of his long head, I shall punch it of a sartainty.
But, I’ve l’arned by it another lesson, which is that them that
doesn’t look on both sides of a question, is pretty sure to get
swamped.”

“Ay, ay,” responded Marline, “and I ought to have thought to caution
you to be on your guard against that sneaking villain at the wheel.
Do you suffer any from the effects of the blow?”

“I’ve a hard head,” replied the shipkeeper, “which has always been a
distinguishin’ feature of the Stumps, and mine is peculiar in that
way, seeing as I was much given to butting when I was a youngster, at
school, a l’arning my letters. I didn’t make much progress in books
on that account; I was always and etarnally a-having these butting
matches with my little shipmates, and the more I butted, the harder
my head grew, which is the reason, as I take it, that after awhile
I couldn’t get any l’arnin’ into it. As a nat’ral consequence, the
blow I got from the Portuguese--blast him--hasn’t affected my in’ard
functions.”

“I am glad to hear it,” replied Marline. “And now we must hope for
the best. I think it very likely that the ship will be seen and
boarded before long, by our shipmates in the boats.”

“If hoping on my part will do any good, she sartainly will be;
and now I think that we might as well make a s’arch for that saw
which proved a friend to me the other time I was here. It isn’t
particularly wise to put up with troubles, when they can be
prevented.”

And the speaker, with much difficulty, proceeded to roll himself
about in different directions, in order that he might come into
contact with the instrument. This, however, was not to be found, and
after he had fruitlessly exerted himself until every bone in his body
ached, the shipkeeper worked himself back to the side of his chum,
declaring that he believed the Kanakas had guessed the manner in
which he had previously liberated himself, and so had carried away
the tool.

“Never mind,” replied Marline, “if we remain quiet, the cords will
not give us much inconvenience.”

He had scarcely spoken, when a stream of light, caused by the opening
of the run-hatch, darted into the after-part of the hold; an
occurrence which was duly commented upon by Stump.

“Ay, ay,” said he, “they are a-setting Tom Lark at liberty; and, as
soon as that animal gets on deck, he’ll wear ship, and then there’ll
be no chance for the craft to fall in with any of the boats. It’s
really miraculous, it is, the amount of mischief that such a wolf can
make before the law brings him to justice, and--”

“Hark!” interrupted Marline, “the ship is in the ice now!”

“So she is,” replied Stump, as the grinding of the floating bergs
against the vessel’s sides and her bottom, became louder each moment;
“she’s in for it sure enough, and now if that infarnal champion
for ‘equal rights’ as he calls ’em, doesn’t look out he’ll have us
a-going to the locker below in a stove ship, which I wouldn’t relish
exactly, seeing as my hands and feet are tied criminal-like, and Davy
Jones might make a mistake and take me for a pirate. When I go below
I’d prefer to go as an honest tar should, with neither ropes nor
handcuffs about me. There!” he added, as the after hold again became
dark, “they’ve taken him out; he’s at liberty, the big mule--and a
mighty pleasant time we’ll have of it. We are prisoners now for a
sartainty.”

“It is too soon yet to despair,” replied Marline. “Lark will wear
ship of course, but even then, there’ll be a chance of his falling in
with the boats. So keep up your spirits, my friend.”

“My spirits ain’t sunk yet,” retorted Stump, “and I think it would be
a heavy sea that ’ud sink ’em. To make light of our misfortun’s is
the surest way of getting rid of ’em, and it’s astonishing to me how
some of my fellow creatur’s will fret themselves about small matters,
and think _their_ troubles is ‘catamount’ to everybody else’s.”

“There’s some truth in that,” retorted Marline, “and there’s nothing
like meeting our misfortunes with a brave front. But look, my
friend,” he suddenly added in a whisper, as he lifted his head, “it
seems to me that I can make out the outlines of a figure moving about
in the steerage. There is certainly somebody there, or I am very much
deceived.”

“Ay, ay,” replied Stump, “you are sartainly right. I see the
creatur’, and I can’t imagine who he is, seeing as only the faint
outlines of him is visible. But if he stays there much longer we’ll
get a clearer squint of him, for we are getting more accustomed-like
to the darkness every minute. It’s a-making parfect cats of us--it
is--so far as our eyes are consarned--this being in confinement; only
I hope that it won’t prevent us from seeing clear in the daylight.”

The harpooner was about to reply, when both men suddenly beheld
a number of jets of blue flame shoot up amid the gloom of the
after-hold, shedding a faint, unearthly light upon surrounding
objects, and thus bringing into bold relief the long, cruel face and
gleaming eyes of the Portuguese steward.

“Blast him!” ejaculated Stump, “there he is, sure enough, and if
them blue flames ain’t prognostical of his future downfall into the
great lower hold, that’s prepared for such sinners, then you may have
my pigtail, which is dearer to me than life. But, what the infarnal
blackskin intends to do with that furnace of blazing charcoal that he
carries, baffles my scrutiny into human natur’.”

“We shall soon see,” replied the harpooner--a terrible suspicion
flashing through his mind, “we shall soon see. The villain is capable
of any crime.”

“He’s a sneaking wretch,” added the shipkeeper, “as is proved by
his doing every thing in a sneaking way. He must have been one of
them that just liberated the chief mutineer, and in his gen’ral
underhand manner, he’s contrived to remain in the hold, escaping the
observation of Lark, who was too glad, I’ll warrant, when he found
himself free to pay attention to his sat’lite. But what _can_ the
infarnal imp be going to do with that charcoal furnace?”

Stump, however, was soon enlightened, and the suspicions of his chum
confirmed; for the steward now advanced rapidly toward them, and
placed the furnace upon a cask within a few yards of their feet. Then
he darted forward, and drawing a pump-bolt from his pocket, he thrust
it into the mouth of the shipkeeper and secured it with strong cords,
heedless of the indignant remonstrances of the harpooner, and his
loud hail to those on deck; for the young man did not believe that
they were cognizant of the infernal plans of the Portuguese.

“Ay, ay,” said the latter, “you may cry until you be hoarse, but
neither Lark nor de men will heed you, for dey t’ink you only do
it so as dey can you let out of de hold. Hey! hey! hey! dis is fine
revenge for de knock-down you make Lark give me. Now den, me gag you
de same as Stump!” And suiting the action to the words, he forced an
iron belaying-pin, with which he was provided, into the mouth of the
prisoner.

“Dere,” said he, malignantly, when he had secured the
instrument--“now me leave you and go on deck. De charcoal burn in de
furnace, and de gas kill you before long time, de same as a rat!”

With which comfortable assurance he departed, and the two men soon
afterward heard him open the run-hatch in order to make his way into
the cabin.

Bound and helpless--deprived even of the consolation of speech--the
situation of the two was now miserable enough. The deadly gas from
the burning charcoal was fast poisoning the close atmosphere of the
hold, and the prisoners could taste the sickening vapor as it entered
their throats.

The air became more stifling every moment. The seamen felt their
temples throb with violence--an acute pain tearing through the brain
like a knife shot at intervals into the head of each.

They believed that their doom was sealed--that they were destined
to expire in this miserable pent-up spot, with their rebellious
shipmates within hailing distance of them, and yet--if we except the
Portuguese--unaware of their condition.



                            CHAPTER VII.

                               ADRIFT.


As soon as the steward had fastened the hatch of the run, he made his
way to the deck. Tom Lark was standing near the mizzen-mast watching
the operations of three of the men, who, in obedience to his orders,
had commenced to unlash an old half-shattered boat that was secured
to the beams, extending crossways above the quarter-deck.

“Come! come! bear a hand there!” he shouted. “We must get the boat
alongside as soon as possible. Here, you, steward,” he added, turning
to that functionary, “jump up there, and help those men.”

“Ay, ay, sir,” said the Portuguese, in a cringing tone of voice; “me
glad to do what you tell me!” and he mounted to the beams.

The lashings were soon unfastened, and, by means of a tackle, which
had been rigged over the steerage hatch, a few days previously, the
boat was hoisted, and then lowered alongside.

“It leaks bad,” said Driko, who had jumped into the vessel, for the
purpose of receiving the oars, and the other articles which Lark had
ordered to be passed into it.

“Never mind the leak,” said the giant; “the little craft is good
enough for those that are to occupy it. I shall let ’em have some
provision for the sake of the gal. That’s what I call equal rights!”

A breaker of fresh water, another of hard bread, together with pork
and beef, were accordingly placed in the vessel. Then followed a
couple of line-tubs, a boat-sail, and a bucket of tar, with a brush.

“The two rascals can make a tent with them things for the gal. I
haven’t any thing against _her_, and so don’t see why she shouldn’t
be made as comfortable as she can be, considering the circumstances,
and according to the law of equal rights.”

The ship was now running at the rate of about seven knots, along the
eastern edge of the floe, and, as the boat had been lowered upon the
larboard side, it was between the ship and the ice--the latter not
being further than five fathoms from it.

“If me may be so bold,” said the steward, obsequiously, to the
self-constituted captain, “me would like to ask whether you be going
to put de prisoners in de boat?”

“Ay, ay,” answered Lark, roughly; “but why do you ask?”

“Because me wanted to know whether me shouldn’t go into de cabin and
tell Miss Alice to get ready, and gag de mouths of dat Stump and
Marline.”

“And why should they be gagged?” cried the giant. “You must be mad!”

“Oh, because me t’ink you no like to hear dem--especially dis
Stump--talk to you, and call you bad names!” stammered the frightened
Portuguese, who readily foresaw that, the instant the hatch was
opened, the villainous trick which he had performed, without the
sanction of Lark, would be discovered. The reader will, therefore,
understand the reason why he wished to obtain the consent of the
giant to the measure he had proposed. Should he succeed in doing
this, he might make his way rapidly from the run to the spot occupied
by the prisoners, and conceal the furnace before the main hold could
be opened. The smoke, that had already emanated from the coal, would,
of course, be perceived, and would excite much astonishment. But the
gags in the mouths of the prisoners would prevent them from betraying
the author of the mischief.

Thus far, and no further, extended the hastily-formed conclusions of
the Portuguese, who was certainly not a very deep thinker. It did not
occur to his confused brain that the gags would at once be taken from
the prisoners to enable _them_ to explain the cause of the smoke, and
of their own half-senseless condition!

“Yes, you must be mad!” cried the giant, as he fixed his great, round
eyes upon the livid face of the steward; “and I don’t know but what
it would be as well for me to set you adrift with the prisoners. That
would be equal rights!”

“Oh, no! no!” cried Joseph, trembling from head to foot; “me no like
to go with dem. Dey kill me, _sure_!”

“Very well, then, don’t talk any more about gags, and such nonsense.
If you do, I shall think you are mad, and I don’t want any madmen in
this ship. Off with the main-hatch, men!” he added, turning to the
two islanders at his elbow; “and move about lively, for we’ve lost
time enough already.”

He was obeyed with alacrity, but the hold had scarcely been opened,
when an exclamation of astonishment from the Kanakas drew the giant
to the spot in time to inhale the gas, and to perceive the thin puffs
of smoke that curled upward from the hatch.

With a loud oath, he leaped through the opening, and he then
perceived the burning coal, and, also, that his two prisoners were
gagged. To pass the heated furnace to the Kanakas, with an order to
throw it overboard at once, was, with the mutineer, the work of an
instant; then, lifting each of the two prostrate men, one after the
other, in his herculean arms, he soon had them placed on deck.

“Now then!” he cried, as he climbed to the combings of the hatch,
“take those gags from the mouths of the prisoners.”

The islanders obeyed, and, as soon as the sufferers had recovered
sufficiently to speak, Lark addressed them:

“It was against my orders that you were served in the way you have
been; for, although I owe you a grudge for disputing my authority,
I wouldn’t go to work to satisfy it in any such sneaking manner as
charcoal and gags, which ain’t in the vocabulary of equal rights. Who
was the man that did this mischief? I wish to know, so that I can
punish him.”

“Ay, ay!” cried Stump, for, thanks to an excellent constitution,
both himself and his friend were rapidly recovering from the
effects of the deadly carbon. “Ay, ay; that’s a square question,
and desarves to be squarely answered. In the first place, then, you
are parfectly correct when you say that the way we’ve been treated
isn’t in the ‘vocalbubblery’ of equal rights. Them that has suffered
as we have can be reasonably sartain upon that p’int, and I’ll say,
in concluding, that, if I ever get hold of the head of Portuguese
Joe--which was the creatur’ that caused all our woes--I shall give it
a miraculous punching.”

The eyes of the giant flashed fire, and, rushing aft to the
mizzen-mast, near which the steward had stationed himself, he caught
the trembling wretch by the throat, and shook him until he was almost
senseless.

“You miserable imp! Do you dare to go against the orders of Captain
Lark? Do you dare to set _my_ authority at defiance? Do you dare--”

“Mercy! mercy! mercy!” shrieked the Portuguese, trembling in every
limb. “Me won’t do it any more! Me will do any thing you want me to!”

“If I wasn’t so short-handed, I should blow out your brains!”
thundered the mutineer; “but I want every man to work the ship,
and so I shall content myself by tying you up in the rigging, and
flogging you like a dog! That’s what I call equal rights!”

“No! no! no!” gasped the coward, clasping both hands; “only let me
go dis time, and never more will me do what you no like. Me cook for
you--wash for you--every t’ing me do, if you let me go!”

But the giant relentlessly dragged the wretch to the mizzen rigging
and fastened his wrists to the shrouds.

“And now,” said he, “as soon as I have set the prisoners adrift and
have tacked ship, I shall give you a lesson with a rope’s-end that
you won’t easily forget!”

The Portuguese continued his cries for mercy; but, without heeding
him, the chief of the mutineers now turned, and ordered the New
Zealanders to bring the prisoners aft.

“I am going to set you adrift,” he said, addressing the two seamen as
soon as he had been obeyed, “and you won’t starve--leastways not just
yet, as there’s some provisions in the boat.”

“And Alice!” cried Marline; “you--”

“She’ll go with you,” interrupted Lark, “and there’s the means in the
boat to make a tent for her. The craft is stove and won’t hold you
long, but you must make the best of it. That’s equal rights!”

“No, blast me if it is!” cried Stump, “and you can’t make it out
any way you try. Putting three people in a stove boat is about as
unreasonable a thing as can be imagined, seeing as to go down isn’t
to go up. You are a parfect humbug, Captain Lark!”

“Silence!” said Lark, sternly, “you are an ignoramus and don’t know
any thing about my laws, which I again tell you are all founded upon
the great principle of equal rights. This is my ship--you came aboard
of it--you rebel against my authority--and I set you adrift in a
_stove_ boat to punish you for the mutiny, which is perfect justice,
and would be understood as such by any person who, like me, believes
in equal rights.”

“Well, shiver me!” replied the shipkeeper, giving vent to a whistle
something like the piping of a boatswain’s mate, “if you don’t pull
and twist things about in the most lubberly fashion I ever saw, and
all for the purpose of making ’em look ship-shape, which they can’t
and never will be for all that, so help me Stump. Why, skin my eyes!
you might as well put a greenhorn in a tub on deck and then insist
for a sartainty that he could lift himself clear of the bulwarks
by pulling upon the sides of the tub. Them that says the days of
miracles is past would be mistaken if the doctrine ‘breeched’ by you
was a true one, which isn’t the case, by any means.”

“That’s enough,” said Lark, “that’s enough. The more you talk the
more you show your ignorance of the entire subject of our argument.
I don’t wish to say any more to you for I perceive that you know
nothing of equal rights!” And, turning impatiently away, he ordered
one of the islanders to go below and bring Alice to the deck.

“Tell her from me,” said Marline, addressing the man as he was about
to depart upon his mission, “to wrap herself up as comfortably as she
can, as, thanks to this rascal,” he added, directing an angry glance
toward Lark, who received it with the most imperturbable coolness,
“she is about to undergo many privations and hardships!”

“God bless the little thing!” ejaculated Stump, in a fervent tone.
“It’s a raal shame--blow me if it isn’t, to turn that sweet creatur’
out of house and home, who hasn’t never done nothing to desarve such
punishment. I’d lay down my life for her any moment--ay, more than
that, I’d give her my pigtail if such a present would do her any
good. But you’ll be brought to justice, Captain Lark. Them that acts
like you, must be brought to justice in the end!”

“Amen!” answered Lark, ironically, and at that instant his attention
was drawn to another quarter by the sudden loud flapping of the
ship’s canvas against the masts.

“How do you head there?” he thundered to the man at the wheel.

“No’th, half east, sir--the wind has hauled ahead!”

“Ay, ay, so it has!” cried Lark; “keep her off for the present, White
Squall!”

“Ay, ay, sir,” answered the islander, as he put up his wheel.

But, as the vessel fell off, a cracking, grinding sound was heard
under the weather quarter, and upon looking over the rail, the
mutineer perceived that that part of the ship had swung against the
ice, forcing into it the boat alongside with a power that caused the
already injured planks to give way in several places.

“Unhook the tackle, Driko, and let the boat go. It’s no use now, for
it’s stove so bad that it wouldn’t float an infant. We’ll set the
prisoners adrift on the ice, and if they choose to fish up the boat,
afterward, they can do so. That’s equal rights!”

By the time he concluded, the New Zealander had obeyed his order, and
both men watched the boat until it had sunk out of sight among the
huge blocks of ice.

“Now then, luff!” shouted Lark to the helmsman.

“Ay, ay, sir!” and down went the helm.

Then, as the ship came into the wind, the giant, with the assistance
of Driko, succeeded in backing the main topsail.

A minute later and the vessel had drifted with the current alongside
of the floe.

“Now then,” said Lark, as he fastened the lower part of a rope around
the breast of Marline, just beneath the arm-pits, “over you go!”

And motioning to the islander to take hold of the other part of the
piece of rigging, he passed the still bound harpooner over the ship’s
rail, and, cautioning Driko to maintain his hold, let go of his
burden. But the rope slipped from the hands of the islander, and as a
natural consequence, the young man was precipitated to the ice with a
force which, for a few minutes, deprived him of his senses.

He partially regained them in time to see the corpulent body of
Stump--bound hand and foot--dangling above him as it was being
lowered to the ice, and also the form of Alice Howard, as the young
girl, closely wrapped in her fur cloak, and with a pale countenance,
was descending the ship’s side by means of the man-ropes and the
steps which had been prepared for her accommodation.

The young man raised himself upon his elbow, feeling bewildered, and
half inclined to believe that he was dreaming. But the rough voice of
Tom Lark, and a far gentler voice uttered at nearly one and the same
moment, soon dissipated the mist from his brain, and enabled him to
comprehend the truth.

“Round with the yards, men. Lively! lively!”

“Dear Harry, speak to me--are you much hurt?”

Then the vision of the ship fading away in the mist, as she boomed
upon her new course, was partially hidden from the eyes of the
harpooner by the fair young face of Alice Howard that was bent full
of sympathy toward his own, while she proceeded to cut, with his
sheath-knife, the cords about his ankles and wrists.

“My own Alice, here on the ice! Heaven help her!” cried Marline, as
he threw his arm impulsively around the waist of the sweet girl.
“Without shelter--without--”

“Answer me, Harry, are you much hurt?”

“If we could erect some kind of a canopy to cover you--ay, if we
could only do that,” continued the harpooner, still, in his anxiety
for the comfort of Alice, forgetting to answer her question, “then
there would be some consolation in the matter.”

“You _are_ hurt--badly injured!” murmured the girl, with tears in her
eyes, “and that is the reason why you will not reply to me.”

“Hurt? No, indeed--I was only stunned!” And the young man sprung
lightly to his feet.

Alice also arose, and placed her hand upon the shoulder of her lover,
looking into his face with a bright smile.

“I am _so_ glad,” she said, “I am happy now!”

“Ay, ay, but blow me if I am!” grunted Stump, who, with his hands
and his ankles so closely bound that he was forced to sit in a
“doubled-up” position upon the cold surface of the ice, was certainly
in an uncomfortable situation. “No, not a bit of it. These quarters
are worse than that cursed hold; and if you don’t untie me pretty
soon, I shall commit suicide--much as that goes against the Stump
nature--by rolling over the edge of the ice into the water.”



                            CHAPTER VIII.

                             THE CHASE.


As the Montpelier bowled upon her way, after Lark had so
unceremoniously left his prisoners upon the ice, the giant rubbed
his hands with delight, and glancing up at the squared topsails,
which were now filled by the northerly breeze, he thus communed with
himself:

“It’s all right now. A fair wind, and the craft cleared of all
unnecessary rubbish. That’s as it should be--that’s equal rights!”

His eye fell upon the steward as he spoke, when he suddenly
remembered that he had another duty to perform before he could
experience that intense satisfaction which, in his opinion should be
felt by the captain of a newly-acquired ship.

So, he dispatched one of the islanders into the cabin for the
“cat-o’-nine-tails,” an old heirloom that had descended to Briggs
from a nautical grandsire, who was famed for his dexterous and
frequent use of this instrument.

The native soon returned, and, armed with this cruel weapon, the
chief mutineer advanced to the mizzen shrouds, to commence the work
of punishment.

The Portuguese writhed like a serpent beneath the torture, which was
inflicted with an unsparing hand, and his screams rung in unearthly
peals through every corner of the ship--thrilling the hearts of the
New Zealanders even with the most uncomfortable sensations.

The captain, himself, soon became disgusted with these cries, and,
wishing to entertain himself in a more agreeable manner, cut the
steward loose, and, by a dexterous movement of his right leg, sent
him headlong to the companion-way, ordering him, in a very impolite
manner, to go below and prepare his dinner.

“Keep a sharp look-out there, ahead!” he shouted to the man upon the
look-out, “and if you see any thing in the shape of a boat, let me
know it at once!”

“Ay, ay, sir,” responded the islander, as he peered with redoubled
vigilance through the thick fog that covered sky and sea.

With another glance aloft, and a hasty look at the compass, Captain
Lark then stepped to the companion-way, with the intention of
descending and hastening the movements of his steward. But, he had
not quite reached the middle of the staircase, when one of those
prolonged and unearthly cries, such as only the wild men of the
Pacific isles can utter, broke upon his ear and caused him to start.

“Boat, O-o-o!”

And before the shrill, vibrating voice had quite died away, the
captain cleared the entrance of the companion-way with a bound, and
ordering the man at the wheel to keep off a couple of points, rushed
forward and sprung upon the knightheads.

Yes, there it was, sure enough--a boat lying just a little off the
starboard bow, within ten fathoms of the ship, with her oars apeak
and her crew looming up like grim phantoms in the fog!

“Ship ahoy!” shouted a deep, stentorian voice, which Lark immediately
recognized as that of the hoary-headed Briggs; “isn’t that the
Montpelier?”

“No,” promptly answered the mutineer, and, as he spoke, the bows of
the ship fell rapidly off, “it’s the Neptune!”

“Blow me, but I know that voice!” retorted the mate. “It’s Tom
Lark’s, and--and--ay, may I be swallowed by a shark if the craft
_isn’t_ the Montpelier! My eyes can’t deceive me with regard to a
vessel I’ve once sailed in! Pull ahead, Mr. Spooner!”

“Ay, ay, sir,” retorted the second mate, and he ordered his crew to
take to their oars.

By this time the ship--which had been kept off a couple of points,
thus bringing the wind upon the quarter--had forged ahead so far that
the boat was now abreast the main-rigging; and, as the oar-blades of
its crew splashed in the water, the mutineer rushed to the waist, and
watched the approaching vessel with an anxious eye.

“A pull on the lee-braces, men!” he shouted to the three islanders,
who, besides the man at the wheel and the steward in the cabin, now
constituted the crew of the Montpelier. They were all strong men,
and, with the assistance of their powerful leader, they soon had the
yards properly braced, to agree with the new course of the ship.
The latter was now booming along through the water, at the rate of
eight knots, with a man at the wheel who understood his business;
for the New Zealander, besides his readiness in learning to wield
the barbed harpoon, soon acquires a good practical knowledge of
seamanship. “White Squall”--so named by his shipmates, on account of
his fitful temper--was no exception to the rule, and he handled the
spokes like a veteran--keeping the vessel so straight that even a
frigate’s quartermaster could not have found fault with his steering.
Lark’s tormentor, however, was still dashing along toward the ship,
with that peculiar rapidity which characterizes the whale-boat--a
craft which, being sharp at both ends, and gracefully and lightly
modeled, is especially formed for speed. The boat was pulled with
“double-banked oars”--that is, Briggs and his party, who were in
the boat, assisted the crew of the second mate, and it soon was not
further than seven fathoms from the Montpelier, abreast the mizzen
rigging; and the grim-visaged Briggs, with a voice which certainly
could not fail to make an impression, was doing his utmost to
encourage the men.

A suspicion of the truth had flashed across his mind at the moment
when Lark answered his hail, and, as there were many thousands of
dollars already belonging to him, as his share of the cargo now in
the Montpelier, he did not feel at all inclined to allow the vessel
to escape him.

“Oh! you lubberly rascal, you! But there’ll be some fine flogging
in that craft when I get aboard of it!” he shouted, as Captain
Lark, with a pipe in his mouth, and his loaded pistol in his right
hand, although kept out of sight, coolly peered at him over the
quarter-rail.

“Nonsense,” replied this individual, blowing a defiant puff of smoke
toward the boat. “You’ll never get a chance for that, my jolly mate!
Twist me if I don’t think it’s an impudent piece of business--your
wishing to board _my_ ship, when I’m not willing you should!”

“Why, you villain!” roared Briggs, perfectly furious; “you talk as
though the vessel belonged to you. I’ll teach you better manners
presently!”

“The craft _is_ mine,” retorted the mutineer. “You and Captain Howard
have enjoyed her and had the good of her for two years. Now, _I_ take
possession, and I doubt, were the ship alive, that she would not be
mightily pleased with her change of owners. That’s equal rights!”

During this conversation, the boat had lessened, another fathom, the
distance between it and the ship, and Captain Lark became aware that
it was time to show a little resistance.

Accordingly, he ordered the three islanders to arm themselves with
harpoons, and take their station at his side--a command which they
obeyed with alacrity.

“And now,” said the chief mutineer, leveling his pistol at the head
of the second mate, “you’ll have the goodness to tell your men to
stop pulling. I do not care to have you any nearer, and the sooner
you act according to _my_ directions, the better will it be for you!
If you object, I shall be obliged to send a bullet through your
brains; but if, on the contrary, you comply, I shall leave you in
unmolested possession of your boat. That’s equal rights!”

But the second mate, who was a brave old fellow, and who, having
“seen some fighting” in a frigate during the war of 1812, was
familiar with gunpowder as well as with whales, coolly eyed the
mutineer, and replied:

“Fire, and be hung to you! You can’t scare me with any such little
plaything as that; besides which, I know you are nothing of a
marksman, and couldn’t hit the broadside of a frigate, though it were
but a few fathoms off! Pull ahead, lads!”

“We’ll see about that!” replied Lark, and, taking deliberate aim, he
fired.

The second mate did not utter a word of complaint; but the hand that
held the steering-oar dropped bleeding and powerless by his side.

Seizing the implement with his left, however, he still encouraged
his men, in a low, stern tone, that denoted his sufferings, and the
effort he made to prevent the expression of them.

The next moment, Briggs had taken his place, and, tearing off a piece
of the boat flag, the wounded man, with the assistance of the after
oarsman, proceeded to wind it about the bleeding hand.

As soon as this task was accomplished, his assistant seized the
boat-keg, with the intention of pouring some of the fresh water
it contained upon the rag. But, of all the precious elements in
this world, that simple but invaluable one, fresh water, is most
prized, and hoarded with most scrupulous care, by seafaring men,
whose prolonged absence from hospitable shores renders it difficult
for them to procure a sufficient supply of the treasure. Hence, it
followed that Mr. Spooner very promptly and decidedly pushed aside
the keg.

“Not a drop,” said he, “shall be wasted on me. We’ll need that water,
badly enough, before we get through with this business!”

Another bullet, at this instant, came whistling toward the boat, and,
striking the handle of one of the oars, passed through the sleeve of
the mate’s jacket.

“Spring, men, spring!” roared Briggs. “Lay back to your oars with a
will, and we’ll be aboard the craft before that big rascal can load
and fire again.”

“I’m not so sure of that,” replied Lark, as he proceeded to charge
both barrels of his weapon. “Some of you must suffer before you board
me, if you succeed in doing that little piece of business at all. I
shan’t give you any quarter, as why should I? You wish to board _my_
ship; I don’t wish you to do so. You insist, and I kill some of you
men--that’s equal rights!”

“I’ll teach you equal rights with them cat-o’-nine-tails of mine,”
thundered Briggs. “They were made for just such rascals as you are.”

“Ay, ay, excellent,” responded Lark. “I’ve been practicing with ’em,
and I like ’em pretty well. Now, then, Driko,” he added, turning to
that worthy, “let us see what stuff you are made of. Dart your iron,
and pin Briggs.”

“Ay, ay, sir,” responded the swarthy islander.

And, bending back, with his long, lithe figure stretched to its
utmost tension, he lifted the barbed weapon, and directed the point
toward the heart of the mate.

To say that the latter could stand unmoved before the point of this
deadly instrument, directed by an arm and an eye so unerring as those
of Driko, would be to declare that Briggs was more than human. He
turned pale, and stood prepared to dodge the harpoon, when it should
be thrown, and, viewing his emotion, the men relaxed their exertions
a little, in order to turn their glances over their shoulders.
Then the glimpses which they caught of the uplifted weapon, which
the islander had not yet quite placed to his satisfaction, created
considerable confusion.

The oars of two of the men “caught crabs,” and the rest fairly turned
around upon their thwarts.

“What are you about, there?” yelled Mr. Spooner, with flashing eyes.
“The harpoon isn’t pointed at you; it’s directed at Mr. Briggs!”

A fact which that worthy knew but too well, and which, when it was
thus verbally expressed by his brother officer, did not inspire him
with any very comfortable sensations. He was now “ducking” his head,
and twisting himself about in a manner which would certainly have
been deemed ludicrous under different circumstances.

“Whiz-z-z!” came the deadly weapon at last, and down went Briggs,
with a suddenness that caused him to tumble over the after oarsman.
He had dodged the iron in time, but it had passed close to his ear,
just grazing it and severing one of his locks.

“Now then, one good dash, men!” he roared, springing to his feet,
“and we’ll be alongside!”

But at that instant, another iron came whizzing from the ship, and
the ’midship oarsman fell back with a low groan, as the barbed
instrument entered his body.

The horror and confusion resulting from this calamity was such
that the exertions of the crew at the oars were entirely suspended
for some moments; and it was not until the dying sailor had been
carefully placed in the stern-sheets, that any thing like order could
be restored.

Then the men again took to their oars, although they were now so far
astern of the ship that she was nearly out of sight in the thick fog.

“Never mind, lads!” cried the dauntless second mate. “We’ll be up
with ’em yet, for if I ain’t mistaken there’ll be a calm before many
hours. The breeze has already fallen away a little.”

And so the men, anxious to avenge their shipmate whose dead face and
glazed eyes in the stern-sheets, confronted them, tugged and strained
at the oars with redoubled energy.

The breeze, as Mr. Spooner had declared, was gradually dying away,
and Captain Lark deemed it necessary to set the top-gallant sails,
which he now had an opportunity of doing, as the boat was too far
astern at present to give any trouble.

The additional canvas, when the yards had been hoisted, and the sails
sheeted home, increased the speed of the ship to such a degree that
her pursuers could do but little more than keep her in sight; and
when an hour had passed with no better result, the oarsmen became so
fatigued by their almost frantic exertions, that the breath came from
their lips in short, rapid gasps, while the perspiration rolled in
big drops from their foreheads.

It was at this juncture that Lark--who stood upon the round-house
rubbing his hands with great glee, and mentally predicting the entire
discomfiture of Spooner and his crew--was startled by an exclamation
from one of the islanders in the waist. He turned quickly, and was
still more startled by the sudden apparition of another boat a few
fathoms off the lee beam, and rapidly approaching the ship!

“Ship ahoy!” thundered the voice of Captain Howard; “isn’t that the
Montpelier?”

“Up helm! Stand by with your harpoons, men!” roared the mutineer,
springing to the quarter-deck with a bound and cocking his pistol.

But, before the vessel could fall off a quarter of a point, the bow
of the boat struck her side, and a couple of her crew succeeded, a
moment afterward, in grasping the man-ropes.

But Lark’s pistol pointed at the head of one of them, and a
harpoon directed at the heart of the other, together with a fierce
declaration from the mutineer, that he would shoot the first man that
attempted to board him, rather startled the two sailors and caused
them to let go their hold.

The captain, however, whose previous suspicions of foul play were now
confirmed, darted to the bow with ready presence of mind, and, by
means of the boat-hook drew the little vessel under the mizzen-chains
before she could drop astern, and ordered his harpooner to secure
her with a rope. This was soon done, but, at the same instant, the
islanders threw their deadly weapons, which would certainly have
done terrible execution, had not the bow oarsman, whose eye had not
quitted his enemies for a moment, warded them off by means of the
drag--a square, thick piece of wood, with a rope attached to the
middle. With an oath of disappointment, the mutineer then ordered the
islanders to procure more arms, and leaning far over the rail as he
spoke, in order to make his aim sure, he directed his pistol at the
captain.

But before he could pull the trigger, the boat-hatchet was hurled
at his head with unerring precision, by the same courageous seaman
who had foiled the murderous intentions of the dusky islanders. The
back of the weapon struck the giant upon the temple with great force,
felling him to the deck like an ox. Then, arming themselves with
lances, the boat’s crew, headed by their captain, scrambled pell-mell
up the ship’s side.

Perceiving the uselessness of resistance, as they were outnumbered by
six to three, the New-Zealanders surrendered themselves, and every
one of them, not excepting the man at the wheel--who was relieved
by the orders of the captain, were ironed and thrust into the run.
Tom Lark--_Captain_ Lark no longer--who recovered his senses by the
time these little preliminaries had been gone through with, was also
secured with handcuffs--there are always plenty of these articles
in a whaleship--and placed in the hold to enjoy the company of his
fellow-conspirators.

“Ay, ay,” said this interesting character, as he was pushed through
the open hatchway, “my prospects have received a sudden check. I
haven’t had much opportunity to enjoy my newly acquired property,
which is no sooner in my hands than it escapes ’em. That isn’t in the
vocabulary of equal rights!”

It was about this time that the man at the wheel, upon casting a
careless glance over his shoulder, saw the boat of the second mate,
which was faintly distinguishable in the fog astern. He notified the
captain, who immediately had the main topsail backed and the ship
brought into the wind.

But he felt so much anxiety with regard to his niece and her
companions--for Driko had at once informed him of the disposition
that had been made of them by the chief mutineer--that he scarcely
heeded the boat when it dashed alongside.

The hearty shake of the hand which he received from Mr. Spooner,
however, as the old man confronted him, recalled him to himself.

“This has been a bad business,” said the poor fellow, as a contortion
caused by the pain in his wounded hand passed over his face. “Tom
Block was killed!”

“What!” cried the captain, with a start, “Tom--”

“Ay, ay,” interrupted the mate, “killed by a harpoon thrown by one of
the mutineers;” and he then proceeded to give a graphic description
of the incident.

“I am sorry--very sorry that this has happened!” cried the captain,
with much emotion.

“Shall we hoist the boats?” inquired Briggs, at this juncture.

“Ay, ay, the waist-boat, but not mine,” replied the captain, “for I
shall presently go in search of Alice!”

“And what shall we do with the body of Tom Block?”

“Sew it up immediately. We will have the burial as soon as we can.”

Accordingly, as soon as the boat had been hoisted, the corpse was
placed upon the carpenter’s bench--palms, twine and needles were
procured; a piece of an old sail was wrapped around the lifeless
form, which was securely stitched up, after a number of bricks had
been placed in the bottom of the shroud. Then the flag was hoisted
at half-mast, the gangway plank made ready to receive its burden,
and the captain, with an open Bible in his hand, stood ready to read
the funeral service. The men mustered at the given signal, and, with
uncovered heads, listened respectfully to the words that were read to
them from the Holy Book. The chapter was well chosen--well calculated
to touch the hearts of those rough men with its simple yet beautiful
truths, and when the reader had finished, and the shrouded body,
after sliding adown the sloping board, dropped into the water with a
dull splash--the crew walked forward with a feeling of consolation
that they had not dreamed they could experience so soon after the
death of their shipmate.

“He always did his duty--Tom did!” said an old seaman, “and if he
don’t go aloft it won’t be his fault!”

“Ay, ay,” responded another, “there’s a good deal of satisfaction in
that idea, although it’s hard to lose a chum so sudden-like. I’ll
miss him mighty bad--I will--as we always messed together--eating out
of the same pan and using the same knife and fork.”

“That _is_ hard,” responded the old tar, “but after you’ve lost as
many chums as I have, you won’t think so much of a matter of this
kind.”

Further conversation was now prevented by the voice of the captain
ordering the men to wear ship, and as soon as this task had been
accomplished, two men were posted upon the knightheads to keep a good
look-out.

This duty, however, was soon rendered almost unnecessary, by a dead
calm, which fell upon the sea before the vessel had advanced a mile
upon her new course. The sails hung motionless upon the yards, and a
feeling of unaccountable drowsiness stole over the weary helmsman. He
could scarcely keep his eyes open, and it was only the presence of
the captain, who, with rapid and impatient strides was walking the
quarter-deck, that prevented him from indulging in sleep.

“Mr. Spooner,” said the skipper, addressing the second mate, who was
near the companion-way bathing his wounded hand in cold water, “I
can’t endure this fearful suspense much longer. I shall have my boat
manned immediately after supper, and shall go in search of Alice!”

“Hadn’t you better wait until morning?” said the old man. “We are at
the least about four leagues from the ice, by this time, and then in
the darkness of the night--it is getting dark even now--coupled with
this fog, you won’t stand much chance of finding your niece.”

“I can’t endure this suspense. I should lose my senses before
morning! I _must_ look for her, and that as soon as possible!”

“Supper is ready, sir!” cried, at this moment, the Portuguese
steward, Joseph, thrusting his head through the companion-way.

Joe had escaped the handcuffs by a plausible tale, in which he made
it appear that he had no hand in the conspiracy to take the ship, and
had exhibited the red stripes upon his back, stating that Lark had
flogged him because he rebelled against his measures. Howard, who
was not of a suspicious nature, credited this story; but the steward
fearing that the prisoners in the run--or if not they, the young
harpooner, Harry Marline, and his friend Stump--(in case they should
ever be picked up)--would eventually betray him, had resolved to make
his escape from the ship as soon as possible.

The helmsman, whose drowsiness has been noticed, had been drugged
by the Portuguese, who had presented him with a glass of drugged
liquor soon after he took his position at the wheel. The consequence
was that, by the time the decks were deserted by the officers and
crew--who had gone below to get their suppers--the steersman’s head
dropped upon his breast and he fell into a deep slumber.

The next moment the steward--who, under pretense of going to the
locker for a certain dish, had contrived to make his way stealthily
to the deck--glided to the waist-boat, cautiously glancing around him
to make sure that he was not observed, quickly severed with his knife
the lashings and also the falls. Then he pushed the vessel overboard,
and making his way to the captain’s boat, he sprung into it, severed
the rope that held it to the ship, and seized the steering-oar.

“Free!” he muttered, exultingly, as he rapidly sculled the craft
away from the Montpelier, and gave the other boat a shove with his
foot, “me clear of dis vessel at last, and me soon be picked up by
some other ship, for de Ochotsk Sea is full of ’em. De cap’n can no
come after me,” he added, glancing toward the waist-boat, which was
drifting off with the current. “He! he! he! me serve ’em fine trick.
Good idee dat, to cut adrift Spooner’s boat, so dey no can catch me.
Dey hang me, sure, if dey did!”

As he spoke he redoubled his exertions, and he was soon so far from
the Montpelier that he would have been completely shrouded by the
fog from the gaze of any person on deck. The boats were not missed
until half an hour afterward. The captain was the first to perceive
the loss, which overwhelmed him with astonishment, indignation,
and grief. The helmsman was awakened and questioned, but he could
throw no light upon the subject; and it was not until many hours
afterward--when the prolonged absence of the steward from the cabin
began to be remarked--that any definite conclusions began to be
formed.

“Ay, ay,” said Briggs, in his blunt way, “I always _did_ suspect that
fellow; and now I feel certain that he has deserted the ship, and
that he cut away the other boat to prevent us from catching him!”

“It is a terrible loss,” replied the captain, with a groan--“the loss
of those boats, at the present moment; for we have not another in the
ship, and so have no means of going in search of Alice. God help her!
God help the poor girl!”



                             CHAPTER IX.

                         THE DISAPPEARANCE.


To return to the little party upon the ice.

We left our friend Stump, sitting in a very uncomfortable position,
near the edge of the frozen block, and complaining because the lovers
had not yet unfastened his bonds.

“Oh, a thousand pardons, my dear friend!” replied Alice, blushing
deeply. “It was, indeed, very wrong, on my part, to forget you.”

“I am more to blame, Alice, than you are,” interrupted Marline,
drawing his sheath-knife, and proceeding to cut the cords from the
wrists and ankles of the prostrate seaman. “Ay, ay, old chum,” he
added, as Stump, with a sigh of relief, arose to his feet, and began
to kick the “cramp” from his little legs; “it is all my fault that
you were overlooked.”

“Never mind apologies, now,” replied Stump, “seeing as the way you
acted was parfectly nat’ral, considering that you hadn’t met for half
an hour. But those pow-wows, twist ’em, have sarved us a lubberly
trick; for, besides taking the ship, they haven’t left me a drop of
’ile to grease my pigtail with!”

“Your pigtail, friend Jack, is of but little consequence, at
present,” said the harpooner; “it will doubtless need oiling more
than it does now, before we are picked up.”

“Ay, ay, there’s some truth in that last,” retorted Stump, with a
mournful “grin,” “and I’m sorry for it, because I always like to keep
the ‘thing’ neat and shining like, when there’s a young lass to look
at it.”

“Then you may set your mind at ease, my friend,” said Alice, kindly,
“for I like the pigtail as well without it as with it.”

“The Stumps always wore ’em ’iled,” said the shipkeeper, shaking his
head; “but it’s consoling to me, at any rate, Miss Alice, to hear you
say that you like mine as well when it doesn’t shine as when it does.”

“We are certainly in a very disagreeable situation, at present,” said
Marline.

“There’s no disputing that p’int,” replied Stump, as he threw a
woeful glance around him. “There isn’t a very fine prospectus spread
out before us, seeing as these cold blocks and bergs of ice don’t
look quite as comfortable as the quarters we are used to. Then,
again, we ain’t got any provision to live on, which is another
parfectly overpowering consideration.”

“It’s a pity,” said Marline, “that the captain and his crew did not
remain aboard the ship, as they are accustomed to do. Then all this
trouble would have been prevented. You and I, Stump, can easily
endure the hardships before us; but, with Alice, it is different.”

“Indeed,” said the captain’s niece, assuming a gay tone; “you will
find that I can bear them, too. Besides,” she continued, “as soon
as the fog clears, we will see the other boats, and then we can go
ashore, and build a tent, and make a good fire.”

“All this will come to pass, in time, I have no doubt,” replied
Harry, “and very soon, too, if Briggs and the men, who left me about
an hour before the ship stove my boat, have succeeded in their
purpose, which was to find our friends. But, if they have failed, and
have lost themselves, we may have to pass the night upon the ice, and
perhaps a great portion of the next day, for this fog, in my opinion,
will be of long duration.”

“Never mind,” said the young girl. “You perceive I have a thick
fur cloak, which will keep me warm enough, under almost any
circumstances; but you and Stump, I am sorry to see, are not very
thickly clad.”

The two seamen laughed, good-humoredly.

“We are used to roughing it, as you know, Alice,” said Harry, “and
don’t feel the cold.”

“Ay, ay,” cried Stump, “that’s it; our hides are as tough as
bull-fish, and we can only feel consarn on your account, sweet lass,
for it must be owned that this fog isn’t as good for your lungs as
the steam from a cup of tea.”

“It won’t hurt me, nevertheless,” said Alice, smiling; “for I have a
good constitution, and you know I have remained on the deck of the
Montpelier, in a thick fog, and when the weather was much colder than
it is now.”

“Well, blast my eyes!” cried Stump, in admiration, “if ever I saw
such a parfect little duck of a philosopher before! There are few
women that could speak so cheery-like under present sarcumstances.”

“You are right, there, chum,” said Harry, warmly. “I have seen girls,
before now, that would do nothing but moan and faint, were they to
find themselves in a predicament of this kind.”

Alice did not attempt to conceal the glowing manifestations of
pleasure that her lover’s compliment called forth upon her cheek, and
in her eyes. But, before the blush and the smile had faded from her
face--with the natural desire to defend her sisters, which animates
the bosom of every true-hearted woman--she added:

“It is hardly just, Harry, to imply that any woman would act
unbecomingly under circumstances in which you have never seen her
placed. A girl, who shrinks and trembles when threatened with some
light misfortune, may show much bravery and fortitude upon occasions
of great peril.”

“True enough,” said the harpooner; “but you must acknowledge,” he
added, smiling, “that there are some young women who, by their
general behavior alone, give the most unequivocal proofs of a nature
too weak and frivolous to evince resolution, or unselfish devotion,
under any circumstances.”

“That’s so,” put in Stump, “and Molly Banks, of Nantucket, was one of
them kind. In my young days, I made a lubber of myself, by proposing
to splice hands with that young she. But, she hadn’t enough devotion
in her natur’, she said, to marry a man that wore a pigtail.” This
took me all aback, as well it might; says I, “Why, Molly,” says I,
“the Stumps always wore ’em, and mine is very becoming to me!”

“Nonsense!” says she, “it’s too old-fashioned; I’d never have courage
to take a husband with one of them things.”

“All right,” says I, as I sheered off, “a woman that hasn’t neither
devotion nor courage, isn’t to _my_ taste.”

“You are a sensible man, Jack,” cried Harry, smiling. “I think I
should have acted in the same manner, had I been in your place.”

“The damsel was certainly unworthy of you, friend Stump, and showed
herself to be a very frivolous creature,” said Alice.

She drew her cloak more closely about her as she spoke, for a cold,
drizzling rain had just commenced to fall, increasing the chilliness
of the atmosphere, and dampening the young girl’s cheeks and the
thick braids of her hair.

Her lover, who had been watching her with tender concern, now
motioned to Stump, and made his way to the spot near which the boat
that Lark had provided for their accommodation had been stove and
sunk. The wreck of the little craft was still partially visible, for,
as the two men perceived, upon making an examination of it, the keel
had become wedged in a narrow fissure that extended across a shelf of
ice about a foot and a half beneath the surface of the water.

“This is fortunate!” cried the harpooner, “for the wreck and its
contents will be of great service to us. We can pull the boat out of
the water, I think, with a little exertion.”

“Ay, ay,” replied Stump, “we can do it with the help of some of the
whale line--a few coils of which are still left in one of the tubs,
as you can see for yourself.”

The young man threw off his jacket, as his shipmate spoke, and rolled
up one of his shirt sleeves to his shoulder. Then stooping over
the edge of the ice, he plunged his naked arm into the partially
submerged boat, and seizing the end of the rope to which the
shipkeeper had alluded, he drew it up and proceeded to coil the
line upon the surface of the frozen raft. After this task had been
accomplished, a part of the rope was secured to the shattered bow
of the boat, whose contents, consisting of a few lances, a couple
of harpoons, a hatchet, a small bucket of tar with a brush, the two
line-tubs, the boatsail, a few large chunks of salt beef, a breaker
of fresh water--another containing hard bread--and a few of the other
articles, were taken out. Then both Marline and his chum grasped that
part of the line which was about a fathom from the place where it was
fastened, and tugged and strained at it until they had succeeded in
raising the head of the vessel above the edge of the ice. A quarter
of an hour’s work accomplished the rest, and, as the shattered craft
lay dripping before them, upon the ice, the little party exchanged
glances of the most intense satisfaction.

“We’ll soon have a shelter rigged for you now, Alice,” said the
harpooner, as the young girl, who had been watching the operations of
her lover with much interest, glided to his side.

She looked up gratefully into his face as he spoke, and placed her
hand upon his arm.

“How will you do it?” she inquired, “with that broken boat and those
line-tubs?”

“You shall see,” replied Marline, and drawing his sheath knife, he
commenced to cut the pieces of rope-yarn that held the sail to the
mast.

It had previously been unrolled by Stump, and as the last rope-yarn
was severed, the shipkeeper twisted the cloth into as small a compass
as possible. Both men then seized it and began to wring it out, for
it had become thoroughly soaked, and required a “little drying”
before it could be used for the purposes in view. The manner in which
the two seamen handled the cloth as they squeezed it, seemed droll
enough to Alice, and more than once, as Harry glanced toward her, he
saw a sly smile hovering about the corners of her mouth. The task,
however, was soon accomplished, and, spreading out the sail, the
harpooner then proceeded to cover it with a coat of tar, so that the
rain might not penetrate the cloth; while Stump, in accordance with
the directions of the young man, lashed one of the line-tubs--turned
upon its side--to the after part of the boat, and the other in like
manner to the forward part. An oar was then placed lengthways above
the vessel, with each of its ends resting upon one of the tubs,
to which it was securely fastened in a short time by the skillful
fingers of the harpooner and his companion.

The tarred sail was then thrown across the oar and secured to the
broken gunwales, in such a manner as to form quite a respectable
roof, and which could be opened at any moment on one side. So much
having been done, the young man seized the hatchet, and knocking
away all the thwarts, with the exception of one, gave them to Stump,
directing him to stop up the holes in the sides of the vessel with
them, as well as he could. While the shipkeeper was engaged in this
duty, Marline examined the inside bottom of the boat, and was glad
to perceive that the planks which covered it were still in good
condition.

He wiped them with a piece of canvas, until they were as dry as he
could make them in this manner; and then, with the roll of sail-cloth
that had been found among the other contents of the vessel, he
assisted Stump in his efforts to stop up some of the many crevices
and holes in the broken bows and sides of the boat.

“There, Alice!” he cried, springing out upon the ice, as soon as this
duty was finished, “you can now go into your ark, which will at least
keep you from getting wet.”

“It is very nice,” said the young girl, “but is there room for us
all?”

“Oh yes, in case we should care to go in. But Jack and I prefer to
stay outside for the present, so as to watch for Briggs and his
party, or for any of the boats.”

As he spoke, he seized the hand that Alice extended to him, and
helped her into the vessel--his heart throbbing with delight as
he listened to the praises that she lavished upon the simple
accommodations which had been prepared for her.

“It is almost as warm and snug here,” she said, when she had seated
herself, “as the cabin of the Montpelier.”

“My eyes!” whispered Stump in Harry’s ear, “it’s a raal pleasure to
do any thing for this gal; she takes every thing so ship-shape and
sailor-like!”

“I am glad it pleases you, Alice,” said Marline, “but with the help
of a few blankets it might have been improved.”

“Indeed, Harry, there is not the least need of them, so far as I am
concerned, for I have my cloak, which will keep me warm enough.”

The harpooner was about to reply, when Stump twitched his arm,
causing him to turn his head.

The shipkeeper moved to the edge of the ice-raft, by a wink of the
eye implying that he desired Marline to follow him. Wondering what
he could wish to say to him, of a secret nature, the young man made
his way to the side of his companion, who then addressed him in a low
voice:

“I didn’t wish to alarm the gal,” said he, “but you can perceive
that the tide is changing, and that we’ll soon, on that account, be
drifting in a direction that won’t be likely to carry us toward the
boats.”

“Ay, ay, that’s true enough,” said the harpooner; “I expected it; but
we must trust to Providence.”

“Them that trusts entirely to that,” said Stump, oracularly,
“don’t always come out right in the end, which isn’t the fault
of Providence, hows’ever, but the fault of them that don’t take
advantage of the chances and such like which it offers to ’em to get
out of their scrapes. There was a chaplain on board of the Minerva, a
craft that I once sailed in, and during a terrific gale that we had,
the ship leaked badly and we’d all have gone to Davy Jones, if we had
taken the advice of the Bible-man, who wanted us to leave the pumps
and pray to God to save the vessel. My eyes! she would have gone down
in no time if we’d done that; but the captain was a sensible man, and
ordered us to pump away, by which means we saved the craft, which we
wouldn’t have done if we had leaned on Providence!”

“You did perfectly right in your case,” said the young man, “and your
words would seem to imply that there is some means that Providence
offers us to get out of our present uncomfortable situation. If so I
should be glad to hear you explain yourself.”

“Here goes, then,” replied Stump, smoothing his pigtail. “The land,
you know, is not much more than a league to the east’ard of us, and
we have a couple of oars. With them oars, it’s my honest opinion that
we might contrive to work this block of ice that we are standing on,
to the shore, which would be much better than to let the current
carry us any further from the boats. As to Briggs and his party,
there is no use waiting for them, for we couldn’t do ’em any good if
they should come.”

“True enough!” exclaimed Harry. “I wonder that this plan did not
occur to me. We had better go to work at once!”

And the two men were preparing themselves for the task, when the
sound of a horn, blown from a distance which could not have been
greater than a quarter of a mile from the spot they occupied, saluted
their ears. The noise was repeated several times, and it drew the
pretty Alice from her miniature ark.

“Surely, Harry, that is one of our boats,” she said, moving to the
side of the young man. “Oh, I am so glad!”

“It is a pity that we have no horn,” said the harpooner, in a voice
of regret, “otherwise we could now make our position known.”

“But the boat will come to us as things are, perhaps,” suggested
Alice.

“It may, or it may not,” answered Harry. “I think it very likely that
it will turn off in some other direction before it gets here, and for
that reason, I think I shall try to go to _it_.”

“Oh no!” cried the young girl, anxiously. “Briggs and his party ought
to serve as a warning to you. I would not do so, for the world. You
will certainly lose yourself as the others have done.”

“You have not the least reason to be alarmed, Alice,” retorted the
young man; “the boats were much further off when Briggs left me than
this one is now, and besides I have only to go in a straight line to
get to it.”

This assurance somewhat quieted the fears of Alice, but, some minutes
elapsed before the persuasions of her lover could reconcile her to
his departure. At length, however, impressing a kiss upon her cheek,
and assuring her that he would soon be back, he moved away, leaving
the young girl to watch him until the fog had shut his form from her
view.

Even then she did not stir from her position, but kept her eyes
turned toward the spot where Marline had disappeared; and as minute
after minute passed, she still remained, gently refusing to comply
with the entreaties of Stump, who wished her to return to the ark
that she might not be exposed to the rain.

Half an hour passed, still, neither her lover nor the boat appeared
to calm her uneasiness; and when the time had lengthened into a
full hour, she turned her pale, agitated countenance toward the
shipkeeper, and expressed her anxiety in a tremulous voice.

“There’s not the least reason to be alarmed, Miss Alice,” said Stump,
“not the least. The lad has probably reached the boat long before
this, and has got into it. But it is probably so jammed in the ice,
that they can’t get here in a moment.”

The young girl shook her head.

“No, no!” she cried, “he wouldn’t have entered the boat; he would
have come right back after finding it, if nothing had happened!”

Perceiving that he was unable to calm her fears, the shipkeeper
reflected a moment and then drew a small pocket compass from his
Guernsey, and looked at it. He had formed the resolution to go in
search of Marline.

“I’ll bring you news of the lad in a short time,” he said, turning to
the young girl and exhibiting the compass. “This instrument will let
me know my bearings, so that I can easily find my way back.”

“You will soon return, my friend?”

“Ay, ay, bless you, very soon, for I’ve sworn to stick to you, and my
conscience wouldn’t allow me to remain long absent.”

And ducking his head, by way of a bow, Stump departed, presenting
a comical figure, as he leaped from berg to berg. He made his way,
with a celerity which would not have been expected of a man of his
proportions--moving in the direction of the horn which was still
blowing, but which, it struck him, did not sound so near as it did an
hour before.

This circumstance made him feel uneasy, for, if Harry had succeeded
in reaching the boat, it would not now be receding instead of
advancing. He hurried on, however, until a sloping iceberg, about ten
feet high and fifteen feet in length, barred his further progress.
This he would be obliged to scale before he could proceed, for he
could not go around it on account of a channel of water, too wide to
cross, that bounded it on each side. He looked up dubiously at the
top of the frozen pile, and, while still hesitating at its base, he
fancied he heard a shout close to his ear.

He looked around in amazement, and as he did so, the cry was
repeated, this time louder than before, and seeming to emerge from
the very heart of the iceberg.

“Who is that?” cried the shipkeeper, “and where are you?”

“It is I--Harry Marline,” retorted the voice. “Is that you, Stump?”

“Ay, ay, it’s me, bless your eyes, but skin me if I see how you could
have condensed yourself so as to get into this solid chunk of ice!”

“You are mistaken,” retorted the laughing voice of the harpooner,
“there’s a rift in the berg like a ravine. You can see it if you
climb to the top where I was before I slipped into it.”

“And is this where you’ve been all the time?”

“Yes. The inner sides of my quarters are so slippery that I can’t
climb them! You had better get a rope and--”

“I have a bunch of ratlin stuff in my pocket!” interrupted Stump, who
generally carried a little of every thing useful about him, “which I
guess will do.”

And pulling out the bunch of rigging, he fastened one of its ends to
his pigtail--for he did not like the taste of tar sufficiently to put
the strands in his mouth--and proceeded to scramble to the top of the
ice, which he finally gained with much difficulty. Peering through
the mouth of the rift, he saw the upturned face of Marline, toward
which he now lowered the disengaged end of the piece of rigging. It
was soon in the young man’s hand, and Stump was about to unfasten the
other end from the pendent mass of hair, so as to secure it to one of
the rough projections of ice, when his foot slipped, causing him to
descend half way down the frozen declivity, which he had mounted with
so much trouble, and where he now hung suspended by his pigtail to
the rope; for the young harpooner, believing that his corpulent chum
was clinging to it with his hands, and that he was doing him a good
service by holding on to the piece of rigging, had not allowed it to
escape his grasp!

So there hung the stout little shipkeeper, kicking his legs, and
vociferating in an excited manner, until at length he succeeded in
turning himself and grasping the rope with both hands.

“You sarved me a bad trick, Marline, without knowing it,” he said, as
soon as he had regained the top of the berg. “Blast me if I think my
pigtail will ever recover from the effects of it.”

And he then proceeded to explain the predicament in which he had
been placed. The harpooner expressed his sympathy and regret, after
which Stump proceeded very carefully to fasten the rope to an icy
projection near the mouth of the crevice.

Assured that the rope was perfectly secure, Harry clambered hand over
hand, until he had gained the top of the berg, and then expressed his
intention of continuing his search for the boats.

“As for you, Stump,” he added, “you had better make your way back
to Alice, as speedily as possible, so as to calm her fears on my
account.”

“Willingly enough will I do that,” replied the shipkeeper, gently
smoothing his ruffled pigtail, “for I’m mightily tired of this
ice-cruising business--I’ll give you my word for that.”

The two men separated, soon afterward, but not until Stump had
presented the pocket-compass to his chum and delivered a long tirade
upon its merits.

“You are sure you can find your way back--are you not?” shouted
Harry, after he had gone a few paces.

“Ay, ay,” responded Stump, “there isn’t a doubt upon that p’int. All
I have to do is to follow my nose, which won’t twist either to the
right or the left, seeing as its parfectly flat.”

Each of the seamen then continued his course--the shipkeeper waddling
along toward the spot where he had left Alice, which was not more
than five hundred yards from the scene of his late adventure, and
the young harpooner darting swiftly forward in the direction of the
blowing horn.

Stump strained his eyes, as he neared the point of his destination,
eager to get a glimpse of the captain’s fair niece. In order to
relieve her anxiety as soon as possible, he kept up a continual
shouting as he advanced.

“It’s all right, Miss Alice--bless your pretty eyes--it’s all right!
I’ve seen him, I have, and he’s well and hearty! He was penned up in
a sort of seal-hole, but I got him out of it in quick time, and he’s
now started off again after the boats.”

Quickening his pace as he moved on, he had soon made so much progress
that the little ark, looming up through the fog, directly ahead of
him, suddenly broke upon his view. Then looking around him in every
direction, and not seeing Alice, he stopped short, and rubbed his
eyes, to make sure that they had not been disarranged in such a
manner as to deceive him.

The next moment he laughed very quietly to himself.

“What a lubber I am getting to be, to think that the poor gal would
have stood where I left her all this time. She’s gone into her little
cubby-hole, and is now, I dare say, a-grieving and taking on in a sad
fashion. And that’s why she didn’t answer my shouting as I came on.
Ay, ay, that’s it, sure enough!”

Eager to soothe the young girl with the news of her lover’s safety,
he hurried forward until he had gained the side of the boat, when he
hastily threw aside the end of the tarred cloth that covered it. To
his astonishment and dismay, the vessel was empty!

       *       *       *       *       *

Little did the harpooner imagine this as he moved onward over the
floating bergs. Hope made his step light and his heart buoyant. The
horn was still being blown, and he doubted not that he would soon
reach the boat. Suddenly, however, the sound of the instrument became
hushed. He paused, waiting in vain for a repetition of the familiar
notes. He heard only the whispering noise of the rain, the gurgling
of the seal, as it rolled about in the water, impatient for the
sunshine, and the cry of the northern bird, as it wheeled in circles
through the foggy air. Now and then, it is true, a louder and more
startling noise would salute his ears, when some huge mass of ice,
becoming loosened on the summit of a miniature cathedral, would fall,
with a tremendous crash, to the base of the tower.

He continued his search a quarter of an hour longer, when his further
progress was prevented by a channel not less than fifteen feet wide,
and which separated the floe into two parts. As he was turning to
retrace his steps, his attention was drawn to a number of little
eddies that suddenly appeared upon the surface of the water. Round
and round they whirled, becoming larger every moment. A peculiar
noise, resembling the distant rolling of a drum, rose up from the
depths of the sea. The berg upon which he stood, trembled like a rock
when the rumbling earthquake approaches its foundation. At length
the little whirlpools vanished; the water bubbled and broke into
ripples--then parted with a roar, as the hump of a huge whale rose
above the surface. Marline had no difficulty in recognizing this
monster as the same from which Briggs had been obliged to ‘cut;’ for
he saw his own irons protruding from its body. The barbed instruments
seemed to madden the creature with pain. It rolled and plunged from
side to side, so furiously lashing the water with its flukes, that
the harpooner was enveloped in clouds of spray. In order to escape
this uncomfortable shower-bath, he ascended a “crystal tower,” the
upper part of which, though out of range of the flying drops of
water, yet afforded him a good view of the whale. He continued to
watch the monster with much interest, feeling sorry that he had not
the means with which to put an end to its sufferings. The noise
of its spouting was inexpressibly mournful; it was not unlike the
half-smothered shriek of a drowning man, heard amid the roaring of
the blast. Soon, however, the animal became silent: for a few seconds
it remained nearly motionless: then it rushed quickly backward and
breached (sprung upward) nearly its full length out of the sea. For
an instant, with its fins extended and the tremendous proportions of
its body fully exposed, it hovered in the air, and then came crashing
down with a noise like the bursting of a thunder-bolt! The upheaving
waters dashing against the icebergs, agitated them on all sides. The
frozen mass occupied by Marline, rocked so violently that he could
scarcely maintain his position. He descended from it just in time to
catch a glimpse of the whale’s uplifted flukes, as the monster dove
into the green depths of the sea.

“Ay, ay,” he muttered, sorrowfully, “there it goes at last--back
again to its watery chambers below, as though it would flee from the
torturing pain caused by those barbed irons. Would to heaven that we
had succeeded in killing it! It must suffer terribly!”

He turned, and, glancing at the compass in his possession, hurried
off, with the intention of returning to the ark. He had not gone
far, however, when he heard upon his right a light pattering noise,
such as a dog might have made in running over the ice. His curiosity
being excited, he moved in the direction of the sound, peering keenly
through the fog as he advanced. The footfalls receded rapidly, but
pressing steadily forward, the young man was enabled, before long, to
distinguish the faint outline of some animal gliding swiftly on ahead
of him. He quickened his steps into a run; as he did so the object
disappeared behind an iceberg. Marline soon gained the frozen mass,
but the creature, whatever it was, had vanished.

“This is strange!” muttered the harpooner. “The animal must be pretty
swift of foot to get out of my sight so quickly; though it is true
the fog would hide it, if it were only a few yards from me. Perhaps,
however, it has crawled into some hollow in the ice.”

So saying, he commenced to peer into the nooks and crevices among the
bergs, after which he climbed to their summits to look for rifts,
using his boat-hatchet freely when he encountered any rugged mass
that might contain a secret chamber; but his search was unrewarded.
He thrust the hatchet in his belt, and had turned once more for
the purpose of making his way to the ark, when his glance fell
upon an object that caused him to utter an exclamation of surprise
and horror. He advanced a few steps to assure himself that he was
not deceived by any peculiarity in the formation of the ice; then
he moved to the side of the object and eyed it closely. It was
the skeleton of a human being, extended upon a shelf of ice that
protruded from the lower part of a lofty berg. Bleached by wind and
sunshine it had evidently lain here for many weeks. Every particle
of flesh had been stripped from its bones by some hungry bear that
had been cast adrift upon the floe. It lay upon its back so that its
hollow sockets, partially glazed over with ice, were turned upward as
if it were trying to discover whether or not its spirit had passed
to the ethereal shores of Heaven. Marline gazed upon it for a long
time, and then clapped his hand to his brow, as though some sudden
recollection had flashed across his mind.

“Ay, ay!” he exclaimed, as he pointed to the broken ribs of the
skeleton; “it must be so! The remains before me are none other than
those of George Wills, whose story was related to me by one of the
crew of the Comus, a week ago.”

He turned away with a sigh, and once more consulting his compass,
moved off in the direction of the ark.

The story of which he had spoken, may be told in a few words.

George Wills, a native of Nantucket, sailed from New Bedford in the
whaler Comus, on the 18th of September, 18--. Being a strong, active
young man, and an excellent sailor, he was soon promoted from a
foremast hand to the position of harpooner in the mate’s boat. In
due course of time the vessel arrived upon the whaling grounds, in
the Ochotsk Sea, where there was no lack of opportunities for the
new boat-steerer to try his skill in wielding the barbed iron. Much
to his own satisfaction and that of the first officer, he proved as
expert in this work as he was in handling the marlinespike and the
oar.

One morning the four boats were got ready for one of those protracted
whale-hunts so common in the north-west. The crews were provided with
a plentiful stock of provisions and fresh water, as they intended to
remain absent from the ship for several days. George Wills being very
partial to expeditions of this kind, was in excellent spirits. Little
did he imagine the gloomy fate in store for him.

At five o’clock, A. M., the boats were lowered; and after pulling
about fifteen miles from the ship, the crews sighted whales in a
large floe to leeward. The eight vessels were soon in the ice, and
separating, each gave chase to a whale. Before long the mate’s boat
was within five fathoms of a huge bowhead.

“Stand up, George!”

“Ay, ay, sir!”

“Give it to him!”

But before the harpooner could dart, he received a blow upon
the breast from the whale’s ponderous flukes, and fell over the
gunwale--dead!

“Ay, ay, he’s gone, sure enough--poor Wills!” exclaimed the mate, as
the men dragged the body into the boat. “I don’t know where I shall
find another like him. There blows! there blows! right ahead of us!
Put the body in the ice, men, and do it quickly but gently. God have
mercy on the poor fellow’s soul! There blows! blows! blows! Lively
with that body, lads, it’s high time we were after that whale! We’ll
come back and pick up the corpse after we’ve captured that ‘oil-but!’
Heaven pity Wills’ poor old mother! Come, men, bear a hand there;
one hundred barrels a-waiting for us to come and take ’em! Poor
Wills!--he’s gone to that ‘boom’ from which no man returns! What
d’ye say, men, are you ready?”

The men having by this time placed the body upon a shelf of ice,
sprung into the boat and seized their paddles. The whale was
overtaken and fastened to; but after it had towed the boat a long
distance, the line became “foul” and the mate was obliged to cut.
A thick fog having risen in the mean time, he was now unable to
find the spot where the body of George Wills had been left. After
pulling in many different directions for a number of hours, he gave
up the search. On the next day, the fog having cleared, the search
was continued, but without success. The body was never found by the
crew of the Comus, and, as the reader already knows, it was only
mere chance that directed the footsteps of Marline to the ice-tomb
containing the fleshless remains. Leaving him to muse upon his
melancholy discovery, while pursuing his way toward the ark, we will
now return to Stump.



                             CHAPTER X.

                AN UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER--CONCLUSION.


Staring at the deserted boat, with open mouth and distended eyes, the
shipkeeper remained for a few moments as motionless as though he had
been frozen to the ice beneath his feet. Then, in a voice tremulous
with emotion, he shouted the young girl’s name, again and again; but
there came no response. Nothing was to be heard save the surging of
the water around the sides and in the hollows of the ice, together
with the light pattering of the falling rain.

“God help the poor thing--God help her, wherever she may be!”
groaned Stump. “It can’t be possible that she became so anxious-like
as to start off to look for her lover, herself, after I left her,
or I would have met her. I shall never forgive myself for leaving
her alone--no, never. There’s something always happening to
women--sickness, or something else--and I ought to have remembered
that and stuck close by her side.”

He moved off--passing from berg to berg, and shouting the name of
the lost girl, as he proceeded. But he was soon obliged to sit down
to compose himself; for he loved Alice with an affection fully equal
to that which a kind father feels for an only daughter, and her
prolonged absence inspired him with emotions of grief such as he had
never before experienced.

“She isn’t lost--no, no, it can’t be!” he burst forth. “She is a good
gal, and Providence watches over them kind. She is young--and yet
I’ve never known her to laugh at my pigtail--not that there’s any
thing about it to laugh at for that matter--like some of her sex that
I’ve come across in my wanderings. Ay, ay, she’s an angel, and God
will take care of her.”

At that moment he heard a shout which he recognized as that of his
chum, and his response soon brought the young man to his side.

“Where is she? Where is Alice? She is not where we left her!”

“God only knows!” replied Stump. “I’ve been a-calling her, and
searching for her in vain, ever since my return!”

The young harpooner compressed his lips tightly. His head drooped,
and his tall frame trembled, so great was his agitation.

“Stump,” he at length said, in a hoarse voice, “What can have become
of her? My God!--perhaps she has slipped into the water and been
drowned!”

“No, no,” cried Stump, “that last couldn’t happen. She is too careful
for that, you may depend upon it. One of the boats couldn’t have come
and taken her away, neither.”

“It is my opinion that all the boats are a long distance off, by this
time,” replied Marline. “I didn’t even succeed in finding the one I
have been looking for, for the horn suddenly stopped blowing; and the
blocks of ice have now become so closely wedged, that no boat could
have reached Alice soon enough to take her away before your return.
No, no, she is on the ice, and if we look carefully for her, we may
find her before night.”

Then, with anxious faces and beating hearts, the two men moved away,
threading the many intricate passages among the icy rocks with swift
steps, peering into every cavern and hollow they encountered. But the
crystal chambers were empty, and mockingly echoed back their voices,
as they shouted the name of Alice.

They continued their search until the shadows of night put an end to
their fruitless exertions; then, in the faint hope that the young
girl might have returned to the ark during their absence, they made
their way to the point from which they had first started, by means of
the pocket-compass in Harry’s possession.

But, the captain’s niece had not come back, and the two men seated
themselves beside the little retreat, both remaining silent for a
long time under the influence of a feeling akin to despair. The
harpooner was the first to speak:

“I can never know a moment’s peace until Alice is found,” said he,
“for I can not rid my mind of the idea that she is in some position
in which she is suffering both mental and physical pain.”

“We’ll find her when the fog clears--ay, ay, we’ll have her then,
I’ll warrant you,” returned Stump, pressing the hand of his chum.
“And now,” he added, throwing open the side of the canvas-roof, “you
had better turn in and get a nap, while I remain up and keep a sort
of a watch.”

“No, no,” responded the young man, “for I am confident that I
could not sleep at present, and I doubt that I shall close my eyes
throughout the whole night. If either of us sleeps, you must be the
man to do so.”

“I may do it, lad--ay, ay, I may do so after awhile, which wouldn’t
be the case, hows’ever, if I wasn’t confident that we’ll find the
gal in the morning. I’ll even go further than that,” added Stump,
thrusting his arm into the boat, and drawing forth the breaker of
hard bread, and the chunk of salt meat, which he had carefully
wrapped in a piece of canvas. “I’ll even go further, and acknowledge
that I am hopeful enough to feel hungry, and to believe that you’ll
help me eat some of our allowance.”

Notwithstanding his boast, however, which in reality was but a _ruse_
to cheer the drooping spirits of his companion, the shipkeeper, while
bringing his teeth together with a clicking sound, and smacking his
lips as though he were enjoying his meal with a keen relish, scarcely
tasted a morsel. But a half-smothered sigh escaped him when he
perceived that his well-meant trick failed to produce the intended
effect; for Marline would not partake of the food. “Some other time,”
said he, “I’m not hungry now.”

And Stump rolled up the provision again, and dropped it into the
boat, muttering rapidly to himself in an undertone:

“That’s the way with ’em--ay, ay, that’s the way with them lovers
the world over. They live on moonlight when they’re together, and
on grief when they are separated, and it’s only when they find
themselves a-dying for the want of nourishment, that they pitch into
the provisions.”

In order, however, to carry out the deception he had commenced, the
shipkeeper now crawled into the boat, remarking that he should try a
little nap after his meal.

Accordingly, he soon began to snore; but the noises that emanated
from his nostrils were so loud and peculiar--for in his anxiety to
perform his part well, he went far beyond the limits prescribed by
nature--that Marline, notwithstanding his anguish, could not fail to
penetrate the _ruse_.

Not dreaming that such was the case, however, Stump continued to
snore, while thoughts something like the following passed through his
mind:

“Ay, ay--I never tried to deceive anybody before--twist me if I did.
But it’s in a good cause--that it is--and there’s no use for me to
flinch now. Here’s this poor lad a-worrying out his life about this
gal, and I am tortured about it too, though not exactly in the same
way. But, he _must_ be cheered up--ay, that he must; and if snoring
can do it--why if that can do it, there’s nothing more simple.”

A peculiar noise, like that which might have been made by the
rubbing of some person’s hands against the outside surface of that
portion of the tarred roof opposite to the position occupied by the
harpooner, turned the reflections of the shipkeeper into another
channel. His nose became silent, and raising himself upon his elbow,
he listened eagerly, wondering who the author of the disturbance
could be.

The scratching continued, and just as the shipkeeper was on the point
of calling the attention of his chum to it, the edge of the tarred
cloth resting upon the gunwale, was pushed up, and Stump beheld a
pair of fierce looking eyes gleaming upon him through the gloom.

He drew quickly back, at the same time giving vent to a prolonged
whistle of astonishment.

“Who is that!” he yelled, at length, in a voice so shrill and
startling, that Marline sprung to his feet. “Ay, blast you, who are
you? Not the devil, surely, for that creatur’ never comes to disturb
honest men! Speak! you infernal ghoul-eyed thing--speak and tell me
who or what you be!”

But before the sailor had concluded, the mysterious orbs disappeared,
like two sparks of fire that are suddenly quenched.

“What is the matter, Stump?” inquired Harry, thrusting his head into
the boat at the same moment.

His friend’s explanation was short, but graphic.

“Perhaps your imagination deceived you,” said the young man.

“Imagination! As true as my name is Stump, I haven’t a bit of
that article in me. The Stumps have all been matter-of-fact, from
generation to generation!”

Harry then proposed that an immediate search should be made for the
mysterious creature, and, followed by Stump, who had provided himself
with a harpoon and the boat hatchet, he moved quickly forward. They
had not gone far when they heard a low growl, which seemed to proceed
from some one of the masses of ice directly ahead of them. They were
also enabled to distinguish a pair of gleaming eyes bent fiercely
upon them, and which Stump declared were the same he had seen peering
into the boat.

“Quick--the harpoon!” whispered Marline, as a dark form, rapidly
approaching them, now became visible--“it’s a bear!”

The iron was soon in the young man’s hand, and lifting it, he darted
it into the creature’s side. The bear, however, came on, tossing his
head, snapping his teeth, and uttering ferocious growls; and before
Marline had quite recovered his balance upon the slippery surface of
the ice, the beast was so close to him, that he could feel its breath
in his face; for the animal had by this time raised itself upon its
hind-legs and drawn back its fore-paws preparatory to plunging its
claws into the shoulders of the young man.

Stump, however, now rushed forward and buried the sharp edge of the
boat hatchet deep in the animal’s neck, when, with a snarl of agony
and rage, bruin turned upon his new adversary. Retreating backward,
the latter continued to deal blow after blow upon the bear’s neck,
until the hatchet was knocked from his grasp by a stroke from the paw
of his opponent.

Stump slipped at the same moment, falling upon his back, and the
next instant the bear, which had paused for a few seconds, seemingly
for the purpose of twisting its half-severed head into its natural
position, was about to throw itself upon the prostrate man, when
Marline plunged his sheath-knife into the creature’s stomach, drawing
the edge--“Norwegian fashion”--along its belly, and ripping open the
flesh.

The blood of the already weakened animal poured forth in a perfect
torrent, and with a faint growl of defiance, the bear fell expiring
upon the ice.

“Ay, ay,” said Stump, as he regained his feet and proceeded to smooth
his ruffled pigtail, “he’s a dead lubber, sure enough. I’ve heard
stories before now about them creatur’s up this way, not showing
much fight, but twist me if I don’t think this one is an exception,
although he isn’t much taller than a common-sized Newfoundland dog,
and very lean at that.”

“The animal was half starved, as you can perceive by its appearance,”
replied Marline, “and that accounts for its ferocity. As a general
thing a bear of this kind will run before an armed man.”

“Ay, ay, this creatur’ hasn’t had any thing to eat for a long time
I’ll be bound, having got adrift, somehow, on the ice. It’s a brown
bear, I think, although it’s so dark that it’s hard to make out the
color. My eyes! I never yet liked to meet an enemy in the dark!”

Marline did not reply, but with a pale and agitated countenance stood
looking down upon the dead body at his feet.

“Hasn’t it occurred to you, Stump,” he said at length, “that this
animal may have been the cause of the disappearance of--”

“Sure enough!” interrupted the shipkeeper, starting, “and singular
it is, that the idea didn’t get into my head before. Depend upon it,
that creatur’ is at the bottom of the whole thing. But God help her!”
he suddenly added, shuddering, “it can’t be that--that--”

“I understand what you would say,” broke forth the harpooner; “but
you may set your mind at ease upon that score. Alice has _not_ been
devoured by the bear, for if she had been the animal would not have
attacked us so soon afterward.”

“Ay, ay!” cried Stump, brightening up, “I didn’t think of that. It’s
as you say--the bear didn’t eat the poor gal. I ought to have known
it by his being so lean, for he couldn’t o’ swallowed such a plump
lass as she is, without showing it. No--no. She saw the ravenous
creatur’ and she’s gone and hid herself somewhere and is afraid to
come out. We’ll find her in the morning, lad, depend upon it!”

The two men made their way back to the block of ice upon which the
ark was situated, where they remained, sleepless and watchful, until
the gray dawn began to creep into the mist. Then they moved off to
continue the search. But they had not gone far when Stump suddenly
uttered a loud cry, while his eyes--fixed upon some particular
point--gleamed with a peculiar expression.

“What is it? What do you see?” cried Marline.

“It’s gone, now!” cried Stump; “it’s gone, sure enough; and more’s
the wonder. It’s a miracle--a parfect miracle; for my eyes didn’t
deceive me; I’m sure of that!”

“For God’s sake, tell me; what was it?”

“It was that little golden harpoon--the gift that the captain gave to
Miss Alice!”

“What? How?--the _harpoon_? You must have been deceived. Where did
you see it?”

“Where that lump of ice, right ahead of us, rises up. The harpoon was
on top of it. I saw the shine of the gold--I’m sure of it! But it was
only for a moment, for the thing disappeared, all of a sudden--faded
away from my sight!”

“Impossible! Have your senses left you, Stump?”

“Not a bit of it, lad. I saw the harpoon as plainly as I see you!”

“Are you positive upon--”

“Ay, ay; ready to swear to it?” interrupted the other, resorting to
his pigtail.

The harpooner darted to the projection of ice to which the shipkeeper
had alluded, and eagerly scanned every nook and crevice around it,
for the idea had occurred to him that the harpoon, owing to some
imperceptible motion of the berg, might have been dislodged from its
position.

But the golden bauble was not found.

“It’s parfectly wonderful!” cried Stump. “Here was the harpoon, right
plump and plain, a minute ago, and now it’s gone. Well, well, them
that says the days of miracles is past must be infarnal liars, and--”

He paused, suddenly, and, fairly trembling with excitement, touched
the arm of his companion.

“There--there it is, lad, again! sure enough. There, where that small
mass of ice sticks out like a knot from the side of the berg, right
ahead of us!”

“I see it!” cried Harry, darting forward, and, in a few moments,
he would have seized it, had not the little bauble suddenly and
mysteriously disappeared from his view!

He carefully scanned the projecting mass of ice, but he saw nothing
to explain the singular phenomenon that had just occurred.

“It’s a queer bit of gold--my eyes, if it isn’t!” cried Stump, “to
run away from its friends in that style, seeing as it isn’t through
miserliness that we are after it. There’s a miracle about it, sure
enough!”

As the shipkeeper concluded, he chanced to direct his eyes toward a
hole in that part of the ice near his feet, and he then beheld two
little twinkling orbs looking up at him from the cavity. He started
back, with a cry of surprise, but, the next moment, he condemned
himself for this unnecessary display of emotion.

“To think that I should be startled by a seal a-looking up at me
from his hole!” he exclaimed, as the inquiring eyes of Marline were
bent upon his face; “for that was all, lad--I’m ashamed to own
it--that was all that made me cry out.”

He stamped upon the ice, impatiently, as he spoke, and, probably
alarmed by the noise thus made, the seal crawled from the cavity,
and dove into a narrow channel of water that extended along the base
of the berg; but, before it had accomplished this feat, the two men,
to their surprise and unbounded joy, had caught sight of the golden
harpoon, which was suspended to the neck of the little creature by
means of a strip of blue ribbon!

“Ay, ay; I told you so,” exclaimed Stump, gleefully rubbing his
hands. “The gal is still alive; for who but herself could have tied
that bit of gold to the neck of the seal!”

“Certainly!” responded Marline, with gleaming eyes; “and, without
doubt, we can find the whereabouts of Alice by closely tracking this
creature, which will probably go to the point from which it first
started. It has been hurt by a blow from a boat-hook, or some other
implement. I know that by the way it moved.”

“And that’s why it takes to the water,” replied his companion; “for
the creatur’ knows that salts is good for its wound, and it’s only by
cruising along the edge of the channel that we’ll sight it again.”

Accordingly, the two men, with their gaze still resting upon the
narrow strip of water, proceeded along its icy shore. They had not
gone far when they saw the seal lying motionless upon a small berg, a
few feet ahead of them.

But it moved slowly away as they advanced--so slowly, in fact, that
they were obliged to slacken their pace, in order not to alarm the
timid animal. Occasionally, it would vanish, by moving under some
overhanging mass of ice; but, the next moment, their eyes would again
catch the gleam of the golden harpoon, as its bearer emerged to their
view. In this manner they followed it for a full half-hour, at the
end of which time the creature glided toward a hole, near the base of
a berg--one which, as it was near the eastern edge of the floe, had
not hitherto been encountered by the men during their search.

“Ay, ay!” cried Stump, “there it goes, sure enough, into the hole,
and--and--my eyes!” he suddenly interrupted, “it’s only got half-way
in, after all, for the p’int of the harpoon has caught in a crevice,
and holds the little lubber fast!”

He darted forward, as he concluded, seized the struggling animal,
and, disengaging the bauble from its neck, passed it to Marline. At
the same moment, a musical voice was heard to emerge from between the
thick ice-walls of the berg:

“Is that you, my friend? Heaven be praised!”

Both men uttered a simultaneous shout of joy.

“It is she--it is Alice!” cried Marline, bounding forward. “Thank
God! she is found at last!”

“Ay, ay!” retorted the shipkeeper, clapping his hands, and dancing
around the frozen mass, like a wild islander; “I felt pretty sartain
that blessed little creatur’ would lead us the right way! We are
here, Miss Alice!--both of us!” he added, raising his voice; “so keep
up a good heart, till we get you out, which we’ll do in the tying of
a square knot!”

In fact, Harry had already begun to ascend one of the sides of the
crystal pile, and soon afterward, as the berg was not very high, he
had gained its summit. Here he found an aperture, which was barely
large enough to admit a human body, and which led into one of those
small, curiously-formed cells, which are found among the many crystal
wonders fashioned by Nature’s hand.

And, in this narrow chamber, the sides of which were too smooth to
enable her to climb them, stood the niece of Captain Howard, looking
up at her lover, as he peered through the opening, which was not more
than five feet above her head.

By means of the “ratlin-cords,” in Stump’s possession, the young girl
was soon extricated from her uncomfortable quarters. Then, under the
natural impulse of the moment, Marline clasped her to his breast,
while she, with a glad but faint cry, pillowed her weary head upon
his bosom.

“My own Alice, found at last!”

“Harry--dear Harry! Thank Heaven! we meet again!”

“Ay, ay!” cried Stump; “so you do; and it does my heart good to see
it. It was that pretty idee of yours--that of fastening the harpoon
to the seal--that brought it all about. But I think we’d better get
back to your ‘hotel,’ as soon as we can, seeing as you’ll be more
comfortable there than you are here. The fog,” he added, glancing
around him, “will soon clear before the northerly breeze, which has
been fresh’ning since midnight; and, if I ain’t mistaken, we’ll see
some of the boats when that happens.”

Accordingly, the little party moved off in the direction of the ark,
and, as they proceeded, Alice explained to her two friends the cause
of her disappearance. Soon after Stump had quitted her to search for
Marline, she heard a low growl, at no great distance from the spot
she occupied, and, at the same moment, she beheld a ferocious-looking
bear moving toward her. Obeying the impulse of the moment, she turned
and fled, the animal pursuing her, and it was not until she found
herself near the eastern edge of the floe, that she ventured to look
behind her. Then, to her horror and dismay, she perceived that the
savage beast was within a few feet of her. There was, however, within
reach of her hand, a curiously-shaped iceberg, and the thought now
occurred to her that, if she could gain its summit, the bear would
not be able to follow her up the slippery ascent. Accordingly, with
the strength and activity of desperation, she scaled the glittering
mass, in the top of which she found the opening already alluded to,
and through which, by an unguarded movement, she was precipitated
into the cell or cavity beneath. She heard the savage growls of
rage from her pursuer without, as the beast, with rapid but clumsy
movements, vainly endeavored to clamber the slippery sides of the
berg; and, finally, the sound of the retreating footsteps of the
baffled animal saluted her ears. Not long afterward she distinguished
the far-off voices of Stump and Marline, who, by this time, had
commenced to search for her. She responded, as loudly as she could,
but the thickness of the ice-walls prevented her voice from reaching
the two sailors--a fact of which she was convinced by the receding of
the shouts. They became fainter every moment, and, with a weary sigh,
she had crouched in a corner of her cell, when her glance alighted
upon the form of a seal, as it emerged from a small hole opposite
to her. Then the happy thought of fastening the golden harpoon to
the creature’s neck flashed upon her mind. Her friends, she thought,
would certainly see the little traveler, during its wanderings about
the floe, and would finally track the animal to its retreat, to
which, prompted by instinct, it would probably return before many
hours. Be this as it might, however, the novelty of the idea pleased
her, and so, creeping cautiously toward the seal, which, owing to the
wound it had received, was not very active, she finally succeeded
in grasping it and in securing the golden bauble to its neck by the
strip of blue ribbon which was taken from her hair. Then she released
the little prisoner, and was pleased to see it crawl away from her
and disappear through its hole. The reader knows the rest.

By the time the young girl concluded her story, the fog had cleared
sufficiently to enable the party to see for nearly half a league
across the watery expanse stretching away to the south.

The faint booming of a gun was now heard in that direction, and it
was followed by a joyful exclamation from Stump. With a loud cheer he
tossed his sou’wester into the air.

“That gun is from the ship!” he exclaimed, “it’s that lubberly
six-pounder that she carries, forward. I can’t mistake the sound.”

He was right; but an hour elapsed before enough of the fog had lifted
to enable the spectators to see the vessel, which was nearly a league
to the south’ard, heading directly for the floe. The shipkeeper
seized an oar, and fastening a piece of canvas to it, waved it about
his head. Ere long the signal was answered by that of the Montpelier,
which was “run up” to the truck, and when the vessel had approached
within a mile of the floe, her main topsail was “backed”; then a
boat was lowered. It soon struck the ice, and Alice was received in
her uncle’s arms; while Mr. Briggs advanced and shook hands with his
harpooner.

Explanations followed, and while the captain’s niece was relating her
story to her uncle, Mr. Briggs proceeded to give Marline an account
of the adventures of himself and his companions after they had parted
from the young men on the floe.

“It was not until we had wandered about for some time,” said he,
“that we succeeded in sighting one of the boats--that of the second
mate. We shouted to him; he picked us up, and I then told him that I
had left you alone upon the ice to take charge of my stove boat, and
that we must contrive to work his craft to the spot where you were,
so that we could pick you up. By this time, hows’ever, the blocks and
bergs had become so closely jammed together, that none of us could
see how we were a-going to do what I proposed. Spooner declared that
the boat would certainly be knocked to pieces before we got to you,
if we tried to force her through them bergs. But, as I insisted, the
second mate gave in, and we went to work. But, bless your eyes, you
might as well have tried to push the craft through a rock as to force
her through them tightly-squeezing lumps of ice! Still, we tugged
and strained, using oars and paddles, and sometimes jumping out of
the boat to lighten her; and, at last, after we had worked for about
three hours, a-sounding our horn all the time, and after we’d got so
far among the bergs that we didn’t think we could ever get out again,
and all without seeing or hearing anything of you, I came to the
conclusion that my craft had got sunk, and that you’d been picked up
by one of the other boats; and so I said to Spooner, that we’d better
be for getting out of our ticklish quarters if he didn’t want his
boat to get stove.”

“Ay, ay,” here interposed Stump, “and there’s sartainly a moral in
that part of your story, seeing as it shows how difficulties always
makes us parfectly willing to believe that it’s best to do what
we’re most inclined to do, a-leaving our duty entirely out of the
consideration.”

As the shipkeeper was a sort of privileged character, the mate took
no notice of his remark beyond a slight frown. Then again turning to
Marline, he continued:

“It took us as long, if not longer, to get out of the ice than to
get in, but, we got clear at last, and Spooner had just given orders
to the men to take to their oars--for he intended to make for the
shore--when suddenly we heard, ahead of us, a sound like the rushing
of a ship through the water. The crew were then made to stop pulling,
and we were a-sitting with our oars apeak, when, my eyes! what should
come looming out of the fog, and making straight for us, but the
Montpelier itself!”

And Briggs then went on to describe those incidents concerning the
chase--the death of Tom Block--the final recapture of the ship by
Captain Howard--and, lastly, the loss of the two boats; all of which
are already familiar to the reader.

“All that we could do after the loss of our boats,” continued the
narrator, “was to wait for a breeze, which, as you know, didn’t
spring up until midnight. Then we headed for the floe, as you can
perceive, and were fortunate enough, soon afterward, to pick up the
third mate, whose boat it is you see alongside of us. You know the
rest, lads, and so that ends the story.”

We have but little more to add.

The whole party returned to the Montpelier, in which, after she had
partaken of refreshments, and enjoyed the luxury of sleep, Alice
recovered her youthful spirits, together with the bloom that had, in
a measure, been banished by the hardships she had suffered.

A week from that time the vessel left the sea of Ochotsk,
homeward-bound. She arrived at her destined port in a few months, and
the trial of all the mutineers--with the exception of the Portuguese
steward (who shortly after his desertion from the Montpelier, had
been picked up by the whaler Comus only to be lost overboard shortly
afterward during a heavy gale of wind)--was then commenced.

Tom Lark and Driko were sentenced to be hung; the rest, to be
imprisoned for life.

Alice Howard and Harry Marline were married before a select party of
friends--among whom was Stump, with his pigtail beautifully oiled for
the occasion--at the house of the bride’s uncle. They are now living,
contented and happy, in a pleasant cottage on the outskirts of New
Bedford.

Stump, who still follows a seafaring life, comes to see them, once
in a while, and on every such occasion, as may well be imagined, he
receives a hearty welcome, not only from Alice and her husband, but
also from two other Marlines--two little pocket editions with chubby
faces and fat hands, who think almost as much of “Uncle Stump” as
they do of the pretty GOLDEN HARPOON that now hangs suspended from
the wall of their mother’s chamber.


                              THE END.



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                         Transcriber’s Notes

  The Table of Contents at the beginning of the book was created by
  the transcriber.

  Inconsistencies in hyphenation such as “boat-sail”/“boatsail”
  have been maintained.

  Minor punctuation and spelling errors have been silently corrected
  and, except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the
  text, especially in dialogue, and inconsistent or archaic usage,
  have been retained.

  Page 46: “The cheeks of the youg” changed to “The cheeks of the
  young”.

  Page 48: “unabated ardor for nearly a qaarter” changed to “unabated
  ardor for nearly a quarter”.

  Page 56: “and all for the pursose” changed to “and all for the
  purpose”.

  Page 61: “a boat lying just a little off the starbord” changed to
  “a boat lying just a little off the starboard”.



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



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