Infomotions, Inc.Afloat and Ashore A Sea Tale / Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851



Author: Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851
Title: Afloat and Ashore A Sea Tale
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): clawbonny; lucy; rupert; hardinge; neb; wallingford; marble; emily; ship; miss merton; captain
Contributor(s): Frewer, Ellen E. [Translator]
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Title: Afloat And Ashore

Author: James Fenimore Cooper

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AFLOAT AND ASHORE

A SEA TALE

BY

JAMES FENIMORE COOPER







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



PREFACE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




AFLOAT AND ASHORE.



CHAPTER I.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER II.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER III.

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


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

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

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

"Drags at each remove a lengthening chain.'"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


DEAR RUPERT:

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

Affectionately, yours,

GRACE WALLINGFORD.

To Mr. Rupert Hardinge.


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


DEAR MILES:

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

Good-bye.


LUCY HARDINGE.

To Mr. Miles Wallingford.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER IV.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Nose, Mr. Marble?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER V.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER VI.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"From Calcutta. And where are _you_ from?"

"Guadaloupe. Vair you go, eh?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Ay, ay! What ship is that?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER VII.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER VIII.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER IX.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Ship ahoy!"

"Hilloa! What brig's that?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER X.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XI.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XII.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XIII.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


"Is there any wind, boy?"

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

"Is it rising or falling water, Miles?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XIV.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XV.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Do you see the boat, sir?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Crust isn't down, sir."

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

"Ay, ay! sir."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XVI.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"You must remember all the circumstances, Captain Marble, and you will
find consolation. The ship was surprised, as we surprised the Lady of
Nantes."

"That's just it--put that on a general principle, now, and where are
you? Surprisers mustn't be surprised. Had we set a quarter-watch, sir,
it never could have happened; and nothing less than a quarter-watch
should have been set in a strange haven. What mattered it, that it was
an uninhabited island, and that the ship was land-locked and
well-moored, and the holding-ground was capital? It is all of no
account when you come to look at the affair in the way of duty. Why,
old Robbins, with his rivers in the ocean, would never have been
caught in this miserable manner."

Then Marble fairly gave in, placed his two hard hands on his face, and
I could see tears trickling from beneath them, as if water were
squeezed from a stone.

"The chances of the sea, Captain Marble," I said, greatly shocked at
such an exhibition, coming from such a quarter--"the chances of the
sea are sometimes too much for the best sailors. We should look at
this loss, as we look at the losses occasioned by a gale--then there
is some hope left, after all."

"I should like to know what--to me, there is no land ahead."

"Surprisers may not only be surprised, but they may carry on their old
trade again, and surprise once more, in their turn."

"What do you mean by that, Miles," said Marble, looking up eagerly,
and speaking as quick as lightning; "are you generalizing, or have you
any particular project in view?"

"Both, Sir. Generalizing, so far as taking the chances of war are
concerned, and particularizing, as to a certain notion that has come
into my head."

"Out with the last, Miles--out with it, boy; the Lord made you for
something uncommon."

"First, let me know, Captain Marble, whether you have had any further
conversation with Monsieur Le Compte?  whether he has said any more on
the subject of our future proceedings?"

"I just left the grinning rascal--these amiable smiles of his, Miles,
are only so many grins thrown into our faces to let us feel his good
luck; but, d--n him, if I ever get home, I'll fit out a privateer and
be after him, if there's a fast-going schooner to be had in all
America for love or money. I think I'd turn pirate, to catch the
villain!"

Alas! poor Marble. Little would he, who never got higher than a mate,
unless by accident, be likely to persuade your cautious ship-owners to
intrust him with a vessel of any sort, to go tilting against
wind-mills afloat, in that fashion.

"But, why go to America for a schooner, Captain Marble, when the
French are polite enough to give us one here, exactly where we are?"

"I begin to understand you, boy. There is a little consolation in the
idee, but this Frenchman has already got my commission, and without
the document we should be no better than so many pirates."

"I doubt that, sir, even were a ship to act generally, provided she
actually sailed with a commission, and lost it by accident.
Commissions are all registered, and proof of our character could be
found at home."

"Ay, for the Crisis, but not for this 'Pretty Polly'"--for so Marble
translated Petite Pauline--"The commission is only good for the vessel
that is named in it."

"I don't know that, Captain Marble. Suppose our ship had been sunk in
an action in which we took our enemy, could we not continue our voyage
in the prize, and fight anything that came in our way, afterwards?"

"By George, that does look reasonable. Here was I just threatening to
go out as a pirate, yet hesitating about taking my own."

"Do not the crews of captured vessels often rise upon their captors,
and recapture their own vessels? and were any of them ever called
pirates? Besides, nations at war authorise almost every sort of
hostile act against their enemies."

"Miles, I have been mistaken--you _are_ a good seaman, but natur'
meant you for a lawyer! Give me your hand, boy; I see a gleam of hope
ahead, and a man can live on less hope than food."

Marble then told me the substance of the conversation he had held with
Captain Le Compte. The latter had expressed a sudden and violent
impatience to be off--I understood the cause in a moment; he wished to
separate Emily from her old acquaintance, as soon as possible--intending
to put the schooner into the water for us, that very afternoon, and to
sail himself in the morning. This was a sudden resolution, and the
French were moving heaven and earth to carry it into effect. I confess
to some little regret at hearing it, for it was pleasant to meet the
Mertons in that unexpected manner, and the influence of woman in such
a solitude is unusually great. I now told Marble of my discovery, and
when he had got through with his expressions of wonder, I carried him
to the tents, and led him into the presence of his old acquaintances.
In consequence of this visit, I enjoyed another half hour's _tete a
tete_ with Emily, Marble soon taking the Major to walk with him,
beneath the trees.

We were both recalled to a sense of our real situation, by the
reappearance of Monsieur Le Compte. I cannot say that our conqueror
behaved in the least unhandsomely towards us, notwithstanding his
evident jealousy. He had the tact to conceal most of his feelings, and
owing either to liberality or to art, he assumed an air of generous
confidence, that would be much more likely to touch the feelings of
the maid he sought, than any acts of severity. First asking permission
of Miss Merton, he even invited us, and himself, to dine with the
Major, and, on the whole, we had an agreeable entertainment.  We had
turtle and champaigne, and both of a quality that was then out of the
reach of all the aldermen of London or New York; begging pardon of the
Sir Peters and Sir Johns of Guildhall, for putting them, in any sense,
on a level with the "gentleman from the Fourth Ward" or "the gentleman
from the Eleventh Ward;" though, if the truth must be told, the last
very often eat the best dinners, and drink, out of all comparison, the
best wines. Who pays, is a fact buried in the arcana of aldermanic
legerdemain.  It was late before we left the table, though Monsieur Le
Compte quitted us early.


At five o'clock precisely we were summoned to witness the
launch. Champaigne and claret had brought Marble into good humour, nor
was I at all out of spirits, myself.  Emily put on her hat, and took
her parasol, just as she would have done at home, and accepting my
arm, she walked to the ship-yard, like all the rest of us. Getting her
a good place for the sight, I accompanied Marble to take a look at the
"Pretty Poll," which had not as yet attracted as much of our attention
as she ought. I had suggested to him the probability of an occasion
offering to rise upon the Frenchman, while their attention was taken
up with the schooner; but Monsieur Le Compte warily kept quite half
his men in the ship, and this put the attempt out of the question,
since the guns of the Crisis would have swept any part of the island.

The French mechanics deserved great credit for the skill they had
manifested in the construction of _La Petite Pauline._ She was
not only a safe and commodious craft for her size, but, what was of
great importance to us, her lines promised that she would turn out to
be a fast sailer. I afterwards ascertained that Captain Le Compte had
been her draftsman, possessing not only much taste for, but a good
deal of practice in, the art. The ship in which the Merton's had taken
passage to Bombay, had the copper for a teak-built frigate and sloop
of war in her, and this had been transferred, among; other articles,
to la Pauline, before the prize was burned. Availing himself of this
circumstance, Monsieur Le Compte had actually coppered his schooner,
and otherwise he had made her as neat and commodious as possible. I
make no doubt he intended to surprise his friends at Marseilles, by
showing what clever mariners, wrecked on an island of the Pacific,
could do, on an emergency. Then, doubtless, he found it pleasant to
linger on this island, eating fresh cocoa-nuts, with delicious turtle,
and making love to Emily Merton. Some of the charms of "Pretty Poll"
were fairly to be attributed to the charms of the young lady.

The men began to wedge up, the moment we were all present, and this
portion of the labour was _soon_ completed.  Monsieur Le Compte
then took his station in the head of the schooner. Making a profound
bow to Emily, as if to ask her permission, the signal was given; the
spur-shores were knocked away, and the little craft slid off into the
water so easily, making so little ripple as she shot a hundred fathoms
into the bay, as to give the assurance she would prove a fast
vessel. Just as she was water-borne, Le Compte dashed a bottle against
the tiller, and shouted, at the top of his voice, "_succes a la
Belle Emelie._"

I turned to Emily, and saw by the blush that she understood French,
while the manner in which she pouted her pretty plump lip betrayed the
humour in which the compliment had been received.

In a few minutes, Captain Le Compte landed, and, in a set speech, he
gave up the schooner to our possession. We were told not to consider
ourselves as prisoners, our captain handsomely admitting that he had
gained no laurels by his victory.

"We shall go away good friend," he concluded, "mais, suppose we shall
meet, and _nos dux republique_ shall not be at peace, then each
must fight for _son pavillion!_"

This was a good concluding sentiment, for such a scene.  Immediately
after the Mertons and their domestics, of whom there were a man and a
woman, embarked, I took leave of them on the beach, and, either my
observation, or my vanity, induced me to think Emily got into the boat
with reluctance.  Many good wishes were exchanged, and the Major
called out to us, "we shall meet again, gentlemen--there has been a
Providence in our previous intercourse. Adieu, until _then_."

The French were now in a great bustle. Most of the articles they
intended to carry away were already on board the ship; and, by the
time it was dusk, they had closed their communication with the
land. When Captain Le Compte took his leave of us, I could not but
thank him for his many civilities. He had certainly dealt generously
by us, though I still think his sudden departure, which made us fall
heirs to many things we otherwise might not have so done, was owing to
his wish to remove Emily Merton, as quickly as possible, from my
sight.

At daylight next morning, Neb came to the officers' tents to say, the
ship was getting her anchors. I was up and dressed in a moment. The
distance to the inlet was about a mile, and I reached it, just as the
Crisis was cast. In a few minutes she came sweeping into the narrow
pass, under her topsails, and I saw Emily and her father, leaning over
the hammock-cloths of the quarter-deck. The beautiful girl was so
near, that I could read the expression of her soft eyes, and I fancied
they were filled with gentle concern.  The Major called out, "God
bless you, dear Wallingford"--then the ship swept past, and was soon
in the outer bay.  Half an hour later, or before I left the spot, she
was at sea, under everything that would draw from her trunks down.



CHAPTER XVII.

  "I better brook the loss of brittle life,
  Than those proud titles thou hast won of me;
  They wound my thoughts, worse than thy sword my flesh."
  SHAKESPEARE


Half-way between this inlet and the ship-yard, I found Marble,
standing with his arms folded, gazing after the receding ship. His
countenance was no longer saddened; but it was fierce. He shook his
hand menacingly at the French ensign, which was flying at our old
gaff, and said--

"Ay, d----n you, flutter away; you quiver and shake now like one of
your coxcombs pigeon-winging; but where will you be this day two
months? Miles, no man but a bloody Frenchman would cast away a ship,
there where this Mister Count has left the bones of his vessel; though
_here_, where we came so nigh going, it's a miracle any man could
escape. Hadn't we brought the Crisis through that opening first, he
never would have dared to go out by it."

I confess I saw little about Monsieur Le Compte's management but skill
and good seamanship; but nothing is more painful to most men than to
admit the merit of those who have obtained an advantage over them.
Marble could not forget his own defeat; and the recollection jaundiced
his eyes, and biassed his judgment.

"I see our people are busy, already, sir," I remarked, by way of
drawing the captain's attention to some other subject.  "They have
hauled the schooner up to the yard, and seem to be getting along spars
for shores."

"Ay, ay--Talcott has his orders; and I expect you will bestir
yourself. I shall step the masts myself, and you will get all the
rigging ready to be put into its place, the moment it is
possible. That Frenchman calculated, he told me to my face, that we
might get to sea in a fortnight; I will let him see that a set of
Yankees can rig and stow his bloody schooner, in three days, and then
leave themselves time to play."

Marble was not a man of idle vaunts. He soon had everybody at work,
with a system, order, silence, and activity, that proved he was master
of his profession. Nor was the language which might sound so boastful
to foreign ears, altogether without its justification. Forty Americans
were a formidable force; and, well directed, I make no doubt they
would accomplish far more than the ordinary run of French seamen, as
they were governed and managed in the year 1800, and, counting them
man for man, would have accomplished in double the time. Our crew had
now long acted together, and frequently under the most trying
circumstances; and they showed their training, if men ever did, on the
present occasion. Everybody was busy; and we had the shears up, and
both masts stepped, in the course of a few hours. By the time the
main-mast was in, I had the fore-mast rigged, the jib-boom in its
place, the sprit-sail yard crossed--everything carried a spar under
its bowsprit then--and the lower yard up. It is true, the French had
got everything ready for us; and when we turned the hands to, after
dinner, we actually began to strike in cargo, water, provisions, and
such other things, as it was intended to carry away. At dusk, when we
knocked off work, the Emily looked like a sea-going craft, and there
was every prospect of our having her ready for sea, by the following
evening. But, the duty had been carried on, in silence.  Napoleon said
there had been more noise made in the little schooner which carried
him from l'Orient to Basque Roads, than was made on board the
line-of-battle ship that conveyed him to St. Helena, during the whole
passage. Since that memorable day, the French have learned to be
silent on board ship, and the fruits remain to be seen.

That night, Marble and myself consulted together on the aspect of
things--or, as he expressed it, "we generalized over our prospects."
Monsieur Le Compte had done one thing which duty required of him. He
did not leave us a kernel of the gunpowder belonging to either ship;
nor could we find a boarding-pike, cutlass, or weapon of any sort,
except the officers' pistols. We had a canister of powder, and a
sufficiency of bullets for the last, which had been left as, out of an
_esprit de corps_, or the feeling of an officer, which told him
we might possibly need these means to keep our own crew in order. Such
was not the fact, however, with the particular people we happened to
have; a more orderly and reasonable set of men never sailing together.
But, Monsieur Le Compte knew it was his duty to put it out of their
power to trouble us, so far as it lay in his; but, at the same time,
while he left us the means of safety, he provided against our doing
any further injury to his own countrymen.  In this he had pretty
effectually succeeded, so far as armament was concerned.

The next morning I was up with the appearance of the dawn, and, having
suffered much from the heat the preceding day, I walked to a suitable
spot, threw off my clothes, and plunged into the basin. The water was
transparent almost as air; and I happened to select a place where the
coral grew within a few yards of the surface. As I dove, my eye fell
on a considerable cluster of large oysters that were collected on the
rock, and, reaching them, I succeeded in bringing up half a dozen that
clung to each other. These dives I repeated, during the next quarter
of an hour, until I had all the oysters, sixty or eighty in number,
safe on the shore. That they were the pearl oysters, I knew
immediately; and beckoning to Neb, the fellow soon had them snug in a
basket, and put away in a place of security. The circumstance was
mentioned to Marble, who, finding no more heavy drags to be made,
ordered the Sandwich Islanders to take a boat and pass a few hours in
their regular occupation, on account of the owners--if, indeed, the
last had any further claim on our services. These men met with
tolerable success, though, relatively, nothing equal to mine.  What,
just then, was of far more importance, they made a discovery of an
arm-chest lying on the bottom of the basin, at the anchorage of the
Crisis, and which had doubtless been sunk there by the French. We had
all la Pauline's boats but the captain's gig. I went in one of them
with a gang of hands, and, the divers securing a rope to the handles
of the chest, we soon got it in. It turned out to be one of the
arm-chests of the Crisis, which the French had found in their way and
thrown overboard, evidently preferring to use weapons to which they
were accustomed. They had done better by carrying the chest out to
sea, and disposing of it in fifty or a hundred fathom water.

The prize was turned over to the gunner, who reported that it was the
chest in which we kept our cutlasses and pistols, of both of which
there was a sufficient supply to give every man one of each. There
were also several horns of powder, and a bag of bullets; but the first
was ruined by the water. As for the arms, they were rubbed dry, oiled,
and put away again in the chest, after the last had stood a whole day,
in the hot sun, open. Thus, through the agency of men brought for a
very different purpose, we were put in possession of the means of
achieving the exploit, which might now be said to form the great
object of our lives.

That day we got everything on board the schooner that it was thought
desirable to take with us. We left much behind that was valuable, it
is true, especially the copper; but Marble wisely determined that it
was inexpedient to put the vessel deeper than good ballast-trim, lest
it should hurt her sailing. We had got her fairly to her bearings, and
this was believed to be as low as was expedient. It is true, a great
deal remained to be stowed; the deck being littered, and the hold, the
ground-tier excepted, in great confusion.  But our bread, water, beef,
pork, and other eatables, were all there, and in abundance; and,
though not to be had for the asking, they were still to be had. The
sails were bent, and the only anchor, la Pauline's stream, with her
two largest kedges, was on our bows. While in this condition, Marble
gave the unexpected order for all hands to come on board, and for the
shore-fasts to be cast off.

Of course, there was no dissenting to so positive a command.  We had
signed new shipping-articles for the schooner, extending the
engagements made when we entered on board the Crisis, to this new
vessel, or any other she might capture. The wind was a steady trade,
and, when we showed our main-sail and jib to it, the little craft
glided athwart the basin like a duck. Shooting through the pass,
Marble tacked her twice, as soon as he had an offing; and everybody
was delighted with the quickness with which she was worked. There was
barely light enough to enable us to find our way through the opening
in the reef; and, just thirty-eight hours after the Crisis sailed, we
were on her track. We had only conjecture to guide us as to the ship's
course, with the exception of the main fact of her having sailed for
the west coast of South America; but we had not failed to notice that
she disappeared in the north-east trades on a bow-line. We put the
schooner as near as possible on the same course, making a proper
allowance for the difference in the rig of the two vessels.

The distance run that night, satisfied us all that Mons.  Le Compte
was a good draftsman. The schooner ran 106 miles in twelve hours,
against a very respectable sea, which was at least ten or fifteen more
than the Crisis could have done under the same circumstances. It is
true, that what was close-hauled for her, was not close-hauled for us;
and, in this respect, we had the advantage of her. Marble was so well
pleased with our night's work, that when he came on deck next morning,
the first thing he did was to order a bottle of rum to be brought him,
and then all hands to be called. As soon as the people were up, he
went forward, got into the head, and commanded every body to muster on
the forecastle. Marble now made a speech.

"We have some good, and some bad luck, this v'y'ge, men," he said;
"and, when we generalize on the subject, it will be found that good
luck has usually followed the bad luck. Now, the savages, with that
blackguard Smudge, knocked poor Captain Williams in the head, and
threw him overboard, and got the ship from us; then came the good luck
of getting her back again. After this, the French did us that
unhandsome thing: now, here comes the good luck of their leaving us a
craft that will overhaul the ship, when I needn't tell _you,_
what will come of it." Here all hands, as in duty bound, gave three
cheers. "Now, I neither sail nor fight in a craft that carries a
French name. Captain Count christened the schooner the--Mr. Wallingford
will tell you her exact name."

"_La Belle Emelie,_" said I, "or the Beautiful Emily."

"None of your belles for me, nor your Beautiful Emilys either," cried
Marble, smashing the bottle over the schooner's nose; "So here goes
three cheers again, for the 'Pretty Poll,' which was the name the
craft was born to, and the name she shall bear, as long as Moses
Marble sails her."

From that moment, the schooner was known by the name of the "Pretty
Poll." I met with portions of our crew years afterwards, and they
always spoke of her by this appellation; sometimes familiarly terming
her the "Poll," or the "Polly."

All the first day out, we were busy in making ourselves comfortable,
and in getting the Polly's trim. We succeeded so well in this last,
that, according to our calculations, we made a knot an hour more than
the Crisis could have done under the same circumstances, fast as the
ship was known to be. As the Crisis had about thirty-eight hours the
start of us, and ran, on an average, about seven knots the hour for
all that time, it would require about ten days to overtake her. Of
course this could only happen, according to our own calculations, when
we were from eighteen hundred to two thousand miles from the
island. For my own part, I sincerely hoped it would not occur at all,
at sea; feeling satisfied our only chances of success depended on
surprise.  By following the vessel into some port, it might be
possible to succeed; but, for an unarmed schooner to attack a ship
like the Crisis, with even a large crew on board; it seemed rashness
to think of it. Marble, however, would not listen to my
remonstrances. He insisted we had more than powder enough to load all
our pistols half-a-dozen times each, and, laying the ship plump
aboard, the pistols would do the rest. I was silenced, quite as a
matter of course, if not convinced.

The fifth day out, Neb came to me, saying--"Master Miles, somet'ing
must be done wid 'em 'ere 'ysters! Dey smell, onaccountable; and de
people swear dey will t'row 'em overboard, if I don't eat 'em. I not
hungry enough for _dat_, sir."

These were the pearl oysters, already mentioned, which had been
hastening to dissolution and decomposition, by the heat of the
hold. As the captain was as much concerned in this portion of the
cargo, as I was myself, I communicated the state of things to him, and
he ordered the bags and barrels on deck, forthwith. It was well
something was done, or I doubt not a disease would have been the
consequence.  As decomposition was the usual process by which to come
at the treasures of these animals, however, everything was exactly in
the state we wished.

An uninterested observer would have laughed, at seeing the employment
of the quarter-deck, for the next four hours.  Marble, and the two
mates, attacked a barrel belonging to the captain, while Neb and I had
my own share to ourselves.  It was a trying occupation, the odour far
exceeding in strength that of the Spice Islands. We stood it,
however--for what will not man endure for the sake of riches?  Marble
foresaw the difficulties, and had once announced to the mates that
they then would "open on shares." This had a solacing influence, and
amid much mirth and sundry grimaces, the work went on with tolerable
rapidity. I observed, however, that Talcott threw one or two subjects,
that doubtless were tougher than common, overboard, after very
superficial examinations.

The first seven oysters I examined, contained nothing but seed pearl,
and not many of these. Neb opened, and I examined; and the latter
occupation was so little to my taste, that I was just on the point of
ordering the whole lot thrown overboard, when Neb handed me
another. This oyster contained nine beautiful pearls, of very uniform
dimensions, and each about as large as a good-sized pea. I dropped
them into a bowl of fresh water, whence they came out sweet, pearly,
and lustrous. They were of the sort known as the "white water," which
is the kind most prized among Christian nations, doubtless on account
of their harmonizing so well with the skins of their women. No sooner
was my luck known, than it brought all the other "pearl fishermen"
around me; Marble, with his nostrils plugged with oakum, and a quid of
tobacco in his mouth, that was as large as a small potatoe.

"By George, Miles, that looks like business," the captain exclaimed,
going back to his work, with renovated zeal, "though it is a calling
fit only for hogs and scavengers!  Did I embark in it largely, I would
keep as many clerks as a bank. What do you suppose now, these nine
chaps may be worth?"

"Some fifty dollars, or thereabouts--you see, sir, they are quite
large--much larger than it is usual to see our women wear."

The ninth of my oysters produced eleven pearls, and all about the size
and quality of the first. In a few minutes I had seventy-three just
such pearls, besides a quantity of seed pearl. Then followed a
succession of barren shells; a dozen not giving a pearl. The three
that succeeded them gave thirty-one more; and another yielded four
pearls, each of which was as large as a small cherry. After that, I
got one that was almost as large as a common hickory-nut, and six more
of the size of the cherry-sized pearls. In addition to these, I got in
all, one hundred and eighty-seven of the size of peas, besides a large
handful of the seed pearl. I afterwards ascertained, that the pearls I
had thus obtained were worth in the market about eighteen hundred
dollars; as they were far more remarkable for their beauty, than for
their size.

Notwithstanding the oakum plugs, and the tobacco, and the great
quantity of shells his divers had found, for they had brought up
something like two hundred and fifty oysters in the course of the day,
the party of the captain found in all, but thirty-six pearls, the seed
excepted; though they obtained some beautiful specimens among the
shells. From that moment, Marble discontinued the trade, and I never
heard him say anything more on the subject of pursuing it.  My own
beauties were put carefully away, in reserve for the time when I might
delight the eyes of certain of my female friends with them. I never
intended to sell one, but they were very precious to me on other
accounts. As for the crew, glad enough were they to be rid of such
uncomfortable shipmates. As I gazed on the spotless and lustrous
pearls, and compared them with the revolting tenements from which they
had just been redeemed, I likened them to the souls of the just
escaping from their tenements of clay, to enjoy hereafter an endless
existence of purity.

In the meantime, the Pretty Poll continued to find her way along miles
and miles of the deserted track across the Pacific. Marble had once
belonged to a Baltimore clipper, and he sailed our craft probably much
better than she would have been sailed by Mons. Le Compte, though that
officer, as I afterwards learned, had distinguished himself in command
of a lugger-privateer, in the British Channel. Our progress was
generally from a hundred and fifty to two hundred and twenty miles in
twenty-four hours; and so it continued to be for the first ten days,
or the period, when, according to our own calculations, we ought to be
near the Crisis, had that vessel steered a course resembling our
own. For my own part, I neither wished nor expected to see the ship,
until we reached the coast of South America, when we might ascertain
her position by communicating with the shore. As for the
_guarda-costas_, I knew we could easily elude them, and there
might be a small chance of regaining the vessel, something like the
way in which we had lost her. But Marble's impatience, and the
keenness with which he felt our disgrace, would not make terms even
with the elements; and I do believe, he would have run alongside of
the Crisis in a gale of wind, could he have come up with her. The
chance of our having sailed so far, however, on a line so nearly
resembling that of the chase as to bring us together, was so very
small, that few of us thought it worth our consideration.

On the morning of the eleventh day, the look-out we had kept on the
fore-top-sail-yard, sang out "Sail-ho!" Marble and myself were soon on
the yard, there being nothing visible from the deck. The upper sails,
top-gallant-sails, and royals of a ship were visible on our
weather-quarter, distant from fifteen to twenty miles. As we were now
in the track of whalers, of which there were a good many in that part
of the Pacific, I thought it was probable this was one; but Marble
laughed at the notion, asking if I had ever heard of a whaler's
carrying royals on her cruising ground.  He affirmed it was the
Crisis, heading the same way we were ourselves, and which had only got
to windward of us, by keeping a better luff. We had calculated too
much on the schooner's weatherly qualities, and had allowed her to
fall off more than was necessary, in the night-watches.

The Pretty Poll was now jammed up on a wind, in the hope of closing
with the chase in the course of the night.  But the wind had been
growing lighter and lighter for some hours, and by noon, though we had
neared the chase so much as to be able to see her from deck, there was
every prospect of its falling calm; after which, in the trades, it
would be surprising if we did not get a blow. To make the most of our
time, Marble determined to tack, when we had just got the chase a
point off our weather-bow. An hour after tacking, an object was seen
adrift on the ocean, and keeping away a little to close with it, it
was ascertained to be a whale-boat, adrift. The boat was American
built, had a breaker of water, the oars, and all the usual fittings in
it; and the painter being loose, it had probably been lost, when
towing in the night, in consequence of having been fastened by
_three_ half-hitches.

The moment Marble ascertained the condition of this boat, he conceived
his plan of operations. The four Sandwich Islanders had been in
whalers, and he ordered them into the boat, put in some rum, and some
food, gave me his orders, got in himself, and pulled ahead, going off
at five knots the hour, leaving the schooner to follow at the rate of
two. This was about an hour before sunset; and by the time it was
dark, the boat had become a mere speck on the water, nearly half-way
between us and the ship, which was now some fifteen miles distant,
heading always in the same direction.

My orders had been very simple. They were, to stand on the same
course, until I saw a light from the boat, and then tack, so as to run
on a parallel line with the ship. The signal was made by Marble about
nine o'clock. It was immediately answered from the schooner. The light
in the boat was concealed from the ship, and our own was shown only
for a few seconds, the disappearance of Mr. Marble's telling us in
that brief space, that our answer was noted. I tacked immediately;
and, taking in the fore-sail, stood on the directed course. We had all
foreseen a change in the weather, and probably a thunder-squall. So
far from its giving Marble any uneasiness, he anticipated the blow
with pleasure, as he intended to lay the Crisis aboard in its
height. He fancied that success would then be the most certain. His
whole concern was at not being able to find the ship in the darkness;
and it was to obviate this difficulty that he undertook to pilot us up
to her in the manner I have just mentioned.

After getting round, a sharp look-out was kept for the light. We
caught another view of it, directly on our weather-beam.  From this we
inferred that the ship had more wind than we felt; inasmuch as she had
materially altered her position, while we had not moved a mile since
we tacked. This was on the supposition that Marble would endeavour to
follow the movements of the ship. At ten, the tempest broke upon us
with tropical violence, and with a suddenness that took everybody by
surprise. A squall had been expected; but no one anticipated its
approach for several hours; and we had all looked for the return of
the whale-boat, ere that moment should come. But, come it did, when
least expected; the first puff throwing our little schooner down, in a
way to convince us the elements were in earnest. In fifteen minutes
after the first blast was felt, I had the schooner, under a reefed
foresail, and with that short canvass, there were instants, as she
struggled up to the summit of the waves, that it seemed as if she were
about to fly out of the water. My great concern, however, was for the
boat, of which nothing could now be seen. The orders left by Marble
anticipated no such occurrence as this tempest, and the concert
between us was interrupted. It was naturally inferred among us, in the
schooner, that the boat would endeavour to close, as soon as the
danger was foreseen; and, as this would probably be done, by running
on a converging line, all our efforts were directed to keeping the
schooner astern of the other party, in order that they might first
reach the point of junction. In this manner there _was_ a chance
of Marble's finding the schooner, while there was little of our
finding the boat. It is true, we carried several lights; but as soon
as it began to rain, even a bonfire would not have been seen at a
hundred yards. The water poured down upon us, as if it fell from
spouts, occasionally ceasing, and then returning in streams.

I had then never passed so miserable a night; even that in which
Smudge and his fellows murdered Captain Williams and seized the ship,
being happiness in comparison. I loved Marble. Hardy, loose, in some
respects, and unnurtured as he was in others, the man had been
steadily my friend. He was a capital seaman; a sort of an instinctive
navigator; true as the needle to the flag, and as brave as a
lion. Then, I knew he was in his present strait on account of
mortified feeling, and the rigid notions he entertained of his duty to
his owners. I think I do myself no more than justice, when I say that
I would gladly have exchanged places with him, any time that night.

We held a consultation on the quarter-deck, and it was determined that
our only chance of picking up the boat, was by remaining as nearly as
possible, at the place where her crew must have last seen the
schooner. Marble had a right to expect this; and we did all that lay
in our power to effect the object; waring often, and gaining on our
tacks what we lost in coming round. In this manner we passed a painful
and most uncomfortable night; the winds howling about us a sort of
requiem for the dead, while we hardly knew when we were wallowing in
the seas or not, there being so much water that came down from the
clouds, as nearly to drown us on deck.

At last the light returned, and soon after the tempest broke,
appearing to have expended its fury. An hour after the sun had risen,
we got the trade-wind again, the sea became regular once more, and the
schooner was under all her canvass. Of course, every one of us
officers was aloft, some forward, some aft, to look out for the boat;
but we did not see her again. What was still more extraordinary,
nothing could be seen of the ship! We kept all that day cruising
around the place, expecting to find at least the boat; but without
success.

My situation was now altogether novel to me. I had left home rather
more than a twelvemonth before, the third officer of the Crisis. From
this station, I had risen regularly to be her first officer; and now,
by a dire catastrophe, I found myself in the Pacific, solely charged
with the fortunes of my owners, and those of some forty human beings.
And this, too, before I was quite twenty years old.

Marble's scheme of attacking the ship had always seemed to me to be
wild and impracticable. This was while it was _his_ project, not
my own. I still entertained the same opinion, as regards the assault
at sea; but I had, from the first, regarded an attempt on the coast as
a thing much more likely to succeed. Then Emily, and her father, and
the honour of the flag, and the credit I might personally gain, had
their influence; and, at sunset, all hope of finding the boat being
gone, I ordered sail made on our course.

The loss of the whale-boat occurred when we were about two thousand
miles from the western coast of South America.  We had a long road
before us, consequently; and, as I had doubted whether the ship we had
seen was the Crisis, it was necessary to be in motion, if anything was
to be effected with our old enemies. The reader may feel some desire
to know in what manner my succession to the command was received by
the people. No man could have been more implicitly obeyed. I was now
six feet and an inch in height, of a powerful and active frame, a good
seaman, and had the habit of command, through a twelvemonth's
experience. The crew knew me, having seen me tried, from the
weather-earings down; and it is very likely I possessed more of their
confidence than I deserved. At all events, I was as implicitly obeyed
as if I had sailed from New York at their head. Everybody regretted
Marble; more, I think, than we regretted poor Captain Williams, though
it must have been on account of the manner we saw him disappear, as it
might be, from before our eyes; since, of the two, I think the last
was the most estimable man. Nevertheless, Marble had his strong
points, and they were points likely to take with seamen; and they had
particularly taken with us. As for the four Sandwich Islanders, I do
not know that they occupied any of our minds at all. We had been
accustomed to regard them as strange beings, who came from that ocean
to which they had thus suddenly returned.

Fifteen days after the loss of the whale-boat, we made the peaks of
the Andes, a very few degrees to the southward of the equator. From
some casual remarks made by the French, and which I had overheard, I
had been led to believe they intended to run for Guayaquil, or its
vicinity; and I aimed at reaching the coast near the same point. We
had been in, ourselves, at several bays and roadsteads, moreover, on
this part of the shore, on our way north; and I felt at home among
them. We had acquaintances, too, who could not fail to be of use to
us; and everything conspired to render this an advantageous land-fall.

On the evening of the twenty-ninth day after quitting the island, we
took the schooner into an open roadstead, where we had carried on some
extensive traffic in the ship, about eight months before, and where I
fancied we should still be recognised. As was expected, we had
scarcely anchored, before a Don Pedro Something, a fellow with a
surprising string of names, came off to us in a boat, in order to
ascertain who we were, and what we wanted. Perhaps it would be better
to say, what we had that _he_ wanted. I knew the man at a glance,
having delivered to him, myself, three boat-loads of goods, and
received a small bag of doubloons in exchange. A very few words,
half-English, half-Spanish, served to renew our acquaintance; and I
gave our old friend to understand that I was in search of the ship,
from which I had been separated on some extra duty. After beating the
bush to discover all he could, the Don Pedro gave me to understand
that _a_ ship had gone in behind an island that was only ten
miles to the southward of us, that very afternoon; that he had seen
her himself, and had supposed she might be his old friend the Crisis,
until he saw the French ensign at her gaff. This was sufficient, and I
made inquiries for a pilot. A man qualified to carry us to the place
was found in one of the boatmen. As I feared the news of the arrival
of a schooner might be carried to the ship, much as we had got our
intelligence, no time was lost, but we were under-way by ten o'clock.
At midnight we entered the pass between the main and the island; there
I got into a boat, and pulled ahead, in order to reconnoitre. I found
the ship lying close under a high bluff, which made a capital lee, and
with every sign about her of tranquillity.  Still, I knew a vessel
that was always in danger from the _guarda-costas_, and which
relied on the celerity of its movements for its safety, would have a
vigilant look-out. Accordingly, I took a cool and careful examination
of the ship's position, landing and ascending the bluff, in order to
do this at my ease. About two o'clock in the morning, I returned to
the schooner.

When I put my foot on the Polly's deck again, she was quite near the
point, or bluff, having set down towards it during my absence. All
hands were on deck, armed, and in readiness. Expectation had got to be
so keen, that we had a little difficulty in keeping the men from
cheering; but silence was preserved, and I communicated the result of
my observations in as few words as possible. The orders were then
given, and the schooner was brought under short sail, for the
attack. We were so near our side of the bluff, while the ship lay so
near the other, that my principal apprehension was of falling to
leeward, which might give the French time to muster, and recollect
themselves. The canvass, accordingly, was reduced to the fore-sail,
though the jib, main-sail, and top-sail were all loose, in readiness
to be set, if wanted.  The plan was to run the ship aboard, on her
starboard-bow, or off-side, as respected the island; and to do this
with as little of a shock as possible.

When everything was ready, I went aft, stood by the man at the helm,
and ordered him to bear up. Neb placed himself just behind me. I knew
it was useless to interfere, and let the fellow do as he pleased. The
pilot had told me the water was deep, up to the rocks of the bluff;
and we hugged the land as close as possible, in rounding the point. At
the next moment the ship was in sight, distant less than a hundred
fathoms. I saw we had good way, and, three minutes later, I ordered
the fore-sail brailed. At the same instant I walked forward. So near
were we, that the flapping of the canvass was heard in the ship, and
we got a hail. A mystified answer followed, and then crash came our
bows along those of the Crisis. "Hurrah! for the old craft!" shouted
our men, and aboard we tumbled in a body. Our charge was like the
plunge of a pack of hounds, as they leap through a hedge.

The scene that followed was one of wild tumult. Some twenty pistols
were fired, and a good many hard blows were struck; but the surprise
secured us the victory. In less than three minutes, Talcott came to
report to me that our lads had complete possession of the deck, and
that the French asked for quarter. At first, the enemy supposed they
had been seized by a _guarda-costa_, for the impression had been
general among them that we intended to quit the island for Canton.
Great was the astonishment among them when the truth came to be
known. I heard a great many "_sacr-r-r-es!" and certain other
maledictions in low French, that it is scarcely worth while to repeat.

Harris, one of the-Philadelphians, and the man who had got us into the
difficulty by falling asleep on his watch, was killed; and no less
than nine of our men, myself among the number, were hurt in this brisk
business. All the wounds, however, were slight; only three of the
injuries taking the parties off duty. As for the poor fellow who fell,
he owed his death to risking too much, in order to recover the ground
he had lost.

The French fared much worse than ourselves. Of those killed outright,
and those who died before morning, there were no less than sixteen;
our fellows having fired a volley into a group that was rushing on
deck, besides using their cutlasses with great severity for the first
minute or two.  This was on the principle that the first blow was half
the battle. There were few wounded; most of those who fell being cut
or thrust at by several at the same time--a species of attack that
left little chance for escape. Poor Mons. Le Compte was found
stone-dead at the cabin-doors, having been shot in the forehead, just
as he put his foot on the deck.  I heard his voice once in the fray,
and feared it boded no good; but the silence which succeeded was
probably caused by his just then receiving the fatal bullet. He was in
his shirt.



CHAPTER XVIII

  _1st Witch_. "Hail!"
  _2d Witch_.  "Hail!"
  _3d Witch_.  "Hail!"
  _1st Witch_. "Lesser than Macbeth, and greater."
  _2d Witch_.  "Not so happy, yet much happier."
  MACBETH.


I hope I shall be believed in saying, if Marble had been with us when
we retook the ship, I should have been perfectly happy. He was not,
however, and regret was left to mingle in our triumph. I had a hasty
interview with Major Merton that night, and communicated all that was
necessary to quiet the apprehensions of his daughter. Emily was in her
state-room, and had been alarmed, as a matter of course; but when she
learned that all was over, and had terminated successfully, her fears
yielded to reason. Of course, both she and her father felt it to be a
great relief that they were no longer prisoners.

We were no sooner fairly in command of our old ship, again, than I had
all hands called to get the anchor. We hove up, and passed out to sea
without delay, it being necessary to cover our movements with as much
mystery as possible, in order to prevent certain awkward demands from
the Spanish government, on the subject of the violation of neutral
territory. A hint from Major Merton put me on my guard as respected
this point, and I determined to disappear as suddenly as we had
arrived, in order to throw obstacles in the way of being traced. By
day-light, therefore, both the ship and schooner were four leagues
from the land, and on the "great highway of nations;" a road, it may
be said in passing, that was then greatly infested by foot-pads and
other robbers.

Just as the sun rose, we buried the dead. This was done decently, and
with the usual ceremony, the triumph of victory giving place to the
sad reflections that are so apt to succeed to the excited feelings of
most of our struggles. I saw poor Le Compte disappear from sight with
regret, and remembered his recent hopes, his generous treatment, his
admiration of Emily, and all that he had so lately thought and felt,
as a warning of the fragile nature of life, and that which life can
bestow. Thus terminated an acquaintance of a month; but a month that
had been pregnant with incidents of great importance to myself.

It now became necessary to decide on our future course.  I had the
ship, just as the French got her from us, with the addition of those
portions of their own cargo with which they had intended to trade on
the coast of South America.  These consisted of silks and various
fancy articles, with a little wine, and would be nearly as valuable at
home as they were in Spanish America. I was strongly averse to
smuggling, and the ship having already followed out her original
instructions on this point, I saw no necessity for pursuing the
ungrateful trade any further. Could I return to the island, and get
the articles of value left on it by the French, such as the copper
they had not used, and divers pales received from the Bombay ship,
which had been abandoned by us all under a tent, more profit would
accrue to my owners than by any illicit commerce we could now possibly
carry into effect on the coast.

While Talcott, and the new chief-mate, and myself were discussing
these points, the cry of "sail ho!" was heard.  A large ship had
suddenly hove up out of the morning's mist, within a mile of us, and I
thought, at first, we had got under the guns of a Spanish
man-of-war. A second look at her, however, satisfied us all, that,
though heavy and armed, she was merely one of those clumsy traders
that sailed, periodically, from the colonies to Spain. We went to
quarters, and cleared ship, but made no effort to avoid the stranger.
The Spaniards, of the two, were the most uneasy, I believe, their
country being then at war with England; but we spoke each other
without coming to blows. As soon as the strangers saw the American
ensign, they expressed a wish to communicate with us; and, unwilling
to let them come on board us, I volunteered a visit to the Spanish
captain.  He received me with formal politeness, and, after some
preliminary discourse, he put into my hands some American newspapers,
which contained a copy of the treaty of peace between the United
States and France. On looking over the articles of this new compact, I
found that, had our recapture of the Crisis been delayed to that very
day, at noon, it would have been illegal. The two nations, in fact,
were at peace, when the French seized the ship, but the customary
provisions as to captures in distant seas, just brought us within the
saving clauses. Such is war, and its concomitants!

In the course of half an hour's conversation, I discovered that the
Spaniard intended to touch at Valparaiso, and called, in order to get
men, his own having suffered, up the coast, with the small-pox. His
ship was large, carried a considerable armament, and he should not
deem her safe from the smaller English cruisers, unless he doubled the
Cape much stronger handed than he then was. I caught at the idea, and
inquired what he thought of Frenchmen? They would answer his purpose,
for France and Spain had a common enemy, and nothing would be easier
than to send the French from Cadiz to Marseilles. A bargain was
consequently struck on the spot.

When I got back on board the Crisis, I had all the prisoners mustered
on deck. They were made acquainted with the offers of the Spanish
captain, with the fact that peace now existed between our respective
countries, and with the chance that presented itself, so opportunely,
for them to return home. The proposition was cheerfully accepted,
anything being better than captivity. Before parting, I endeavoured to
impress on the French the necessity of prudence on the subject of our
recapturing the Crisis in Spanish waters, inasmuch as the circumstance
might induce an inquiry as to what took the ship there; it being well
understood that the mines were the punishment of those who were taken
in the contraband trade in that quarter of the world. The French
promised fairly. Whether they kept their words I never knew, but, if
they did not, no consequences ever followed from their revelations. In
such a case, indeed, the Spanish government would be very apt to
consider the question one that touched the interests of smugglers
alike, and to feel great indifference between the parties. At all
events, no complaints were ever made to the American government; or,
if made, they never reached my ears, or those of my owners. It is most
probable nothing was ever said on the subject.

About noon we had got rid of our prisoners. They were allowed to take
away with them all their own effects, and, as usually happens in such
cases, I make little doubt some that belonged to other persons. The
ships then made sail, each on her own course; the Spaniard running
down the coast, while we spread our studding-sails for the island. As
soon as this was done, I felt relieved from a great burthen, and had
leisure to think of other matters. I ought to mention, however, that I
put the second-mate, or him who had become chief-mate by my own
advancement, in command of the "Pretty Poll," giving him two
experienced seamen as his own mates, and six men, to sail her. This
made Talcott the Crisis' first officer, and glad was I to see him in a
station a little suited to his attainments.

That evening, just as the sun was setting, I saw Emily again, for the
first time since she had stood leaning over the rail as the Crisis
shot through the inlet of the lagoon. The poor girl was pale, and it
was evident, while she could not but rejoice at her liberation, and
her release from the solicitations of the unfortunate Le Compte, that
his death had cast a shade of sadness over her pretty features. It
could not well be otherwise, the female breast ever entertaining its
sympathies for those who submit to the influence of its owner's
charms. Then, poor Le Compte had some excellent qualities, and he
treated Emily, as she admitted to me herself, with the profoundest
respect, and delicacy. His admiration could scarce be an offence in
_her_ eyes, however disagreeable it proved, in certain points of
view.

Our meeting partook of the character of our situation, being a mixture
of melancholy and happiness. I rejoiced in our success, while I
regretted Marble, and even our late enemies, while the Major and his
daughter could not but remember all the gloomy particulars of their
late, and, indeed, of their present position.

"We seem to be kept, like Mahomet's coffin, sir," Emily observed, as
she looked affectionately at her father, "suspended between heaven and
earth--the Indies and America--not knowing on which we are to
alight. The Pacific is our air, and we are likely to breathe it, to
our heart's content."

"True, love--your comparison is not an unhappy one.  But, Wallingford,
what has become of Captain Marble in these stirring times? You have
not left him, Sancho Panza like, to govern Barritaria, while you have
come to recover his ship?"

I told my passengers of the manner in which our old friend had
disappeared, and inquired if anything had been seen of the whale-boat,
or the schooner, on the night of the tropical tempest.

"Nothing"--answered the Major. "So far from expecting to lay eyes on
the 'Beautiful Emily,' again, we supposed you would be off for Canton
by the end of the fortnight that succeeded our own departure. At
least, that was poor Le Compte's version of the matter. I am certain
however, that no sail was seen from this ship, during the whole
passage; nor, had we any storm like that you have described. More
beautiful weather, I never met at sea."

Upon this, I sent for the log-book, and ascertained, by day and date,
that the Crisis was not within fifty leagues of the spot, where we
encountered the thunder-squall. Of course the ship we saw was a
stranger; most probably a whaler. This destroyed any little hope that
was left concerning Marble's fate.

But it is time I should mention a _galanterie_ of poor Le
Compte's. He was well provided with shipwrights--better, indeed, than
with seamen--as was apparent by the readiness with which he had
constructed the schooner. During the passage from Marble Land, he had
set these workmen about building a poop on the Crisis' quarter-deck,
and I found the work completed. There was a very pretty, airy cabin,
with two state-rooms communicating with light quarter-galleries, and
everything that is customary with such accommodations.  Furniture had
been made, with French dexterity and taste, and the paint was just dry
to receive it. Emily and her father were to take possession of these
new accommodations the very day succeeding that in which the ship fell
again into our hands. This alteration was not such as I would have
made, as a seaman; and I wonder Mons. Le Compte, who had the gauntlet
to run through the most formidable navy in the world, should have
ventured on it, since it sensibly affected the ship's sailing on a
wind. But, now it was peace, I cared little about it, and determined
to let it remain, so long, at least, as Miss Merton continued on
board.

That very night, therefore, the Major occupied one of the state-rooms,
and his daughter the other. Imitating poor Le Compte's gallantry, I
gave them a separate table, though I took quite half my meals with
them, by invitation. Emily did not absolutely dress my wound, a flesh
injury in the shoulder, that office falling to her father's share, who
had seen a good deal of service, and was familiar with the general
treatment of hurts of this nature; but she could, and did, show many
of those gentle and seductive attentions, that the tenderness of her
sex can alone bestow, with full effect, on man. In a fortnight my hurt
was cured, though Emily had specifics to recommend, and advice to
bestow, until we were both ashamed to allude to the subject any
longer.

As for the passage, it was just such a one as might be expected to
occur, in the trades of the Pacific. The ship was under studding-sails
nearly the whole time, making, day in and day out, from a hundred and
twenty to two hundred miles in the twenty-four hours. The mates kept
the watches, and I had little to do, but to sit and chat with the
Major and his daughter, in the cool, airy cabin, that Le Compte had
provided for us; listen to Emily's piano, which had been transferred
from the prize, and subsequently saved from the wreck; or read aloud
out of some of the two or three hundred beautifully bound, and
sweetly-scented volumes that composed her library. In that day, people
read Pope, and Young, and Milton, and Shakspeare, and that sort of
writers; a little relieved by Mrs. Radcliffe, and Miss Burney, and
Monk Lewis, perhaps. As for Fielding and Smollet, they were well
enough in their place, which was not a young lady's library,
however. There were still more useful books, and I believe I read
everything in the ship, before the voyage ended. The leisure of a
sea-life, in a tranquil, well-ordered vessel, admits of much study;
and books ought to be a leading object in the fitting out that portion
of a vessel's equipment which relates chiefly to the welfare of her
officers and crew.

Time passed pleasantly enough, with a young fellow who had certainly
some reason to be satisfied with his own success thus far in life, and
who could relieve the tedium of ship's duty in such society. I cannot
say I was in love, though I often thought of Emily when she was not
before my eyes, and actually dreamt of her three times, in the first
fortnight after the re-capture of the ship. What was a little
remarkable, as I conceive, I often found myself drawing comparisons
between her and Lucy, though I hardly knew why, myself. The result was
very much after this sort;--Emily had vastly the advantage in all that
related to art, instruction, training--I am wrong, Mr. Harding had
given his daughter a store of precise, useful knowledge, that Emily
did not possess; and then I could not but see that Lucy's tact in
moral feeling, was much of the highest order of the two. But, in
purely conventional attainments, in most that relates to the world,
its usages, its finesse of feeling and manner, I could see that Emily
was the superior. Had I known more myself, I could have seen that both
were provincial--for England, in 1801, was but a province, as to mere
manners, though on a larger scale than America is even now--and that
either would have been remarked for peculiarities, in the more
sophisticated circles of the continent of Europe. I dare say, half my
own countrymen would have preferred Lucy's nature to the more
artificial manner of Emily; but, it will not do to say that even
female deportment, however delicate and feminine nature may have made
it, cannot be improved by certain general rules for the government of
that which is even purely conventional. On the whole, I wished that
Lucy had a little of Emily's art, and Emily a good deal more of Lucy's
nature.  I suppose the perfection in this sort of thing is to possess
an art so admirable that it shall appear to be nature, in all things
immaterial, while it leaves the latter strictly in the ascendant, in
all that is material.

In person, I sometimes fancied Emily was the superior, and, sometimes,
when memory carried me back to certain scenes that had occurred during
my last visit to Clawbonny, that it was Lucy. In complexion, and
perhaps in eyes, the English girl beat her rival; possibly, also, in
the teeth; though Lucy's were very even and white; but, in the smile,
in the outline of the face, most especially in the mouth, and in the
hands, feet, and person generally, I think nine judges in ten would
have preferred the American. One peculiar charm was common to both;
and it is a charm, though the strongest instance I ever saw of it in
my life, was in Italy, that may be said to belong, almost exclusively,
to the Anglo-Saxon race: I mean that expression of the countenance
which so eminently betokens feminine purity and feminine tenderness
united; the look which artists love to impart to the faces of
angels. Each of the girls had much of this; and I suppose it was
principally owing to their heavenly blue eyes. I doubt if any woman
with black, or hazel eyes notwithstanding all the brilliancy of their
beauty, ever possessed this charm in the higher degree. It belonged to
Grace even more than to Lucy or Emily; though, of the two last, I
think the English girl possessed it, in a slight degree, the most, so
far as it was connected with mere shading and colour; while the
American exhibited the most of it, in moments of feeling and
emotion. Perhaps, this last advantage was owing to Lucy's submitting
most to nature, and to her impulses. It must be remembered, however,
that I had not seen Lucy, now, for near two years; and two of the most
important years of a young female's life, as respected her personal
appearance.

As relates to character, I will not now speak as plainly as I shall be
called on to do, hereafter. A youth of twenty is not the best judge of
such things, and I shall leave events to tell their own story, in this
particular.

We had been at sea a fortnight, when happening to allude to the pearl
fishery, I bethought me of my own prizes. A ship that carries a
numerous crew, is a sort of _omnium gatherum_, of human
employments. For ordinarily manned craft, seamen are necessary; but
ships of war, privateers and letters-of-marque, can afford, as poor
Marble would express it, to generalize. We had several tradesmen in
the Crisis--mechanics, who found the restraints of a ship necessary
for their own good--and, among others, we happened to have a
goldsmith. This man had offered to perforate my pearls, and to string
them; an operation to which I consented.  The fellow had performed his
task as well as could be desired, and supplying from his own stores a
pair of suitable clasps, had formed the whole into a simple, but as
beautiful a necklace, as I ever laid eyes on. He had put the largest
pearl of all directly in the centre, and then arranged the remainder,
by placing several of the smaller together separated by one of the
second size, until the whole formed a row that would much more than
encircle my own neck, and which, of course, would drop gracefully
round that of a female.

When I produced this beautiful ornament, one that a woman of rank
might have coveted, Emily did not endeavour to conceal her
admiration. Unaccustomed, herself, to the higher associations of her
own country, she had never seen a necklace of the same value, and she
even fancied it fit for a queen. Doubtless, queens usually possess
much more precious pearls than those of mine, and yet it was to be
supposed they would not disdain to wear even such as they. Major
Merton examined the necklace carefully, and I could see by his
countenance, he was surprised and pleased.

On the whole, I think it may be questioned, if any other man enjoys as
many _physical_ advantages with the same means, as the Americans. I
speak more of his habits, than of his opportunities; but I am of
opinion, after seeing a good deal of various parts of the world, that
the American of moderate fortune has more physical indulgences than
any other man. While this is true, however, as a whole, there are
certain points on which he signally fails. He fails _often_, when it
comes to the mere outward exhibition; and it is probable there is not
a single well-ordered household--meaning for the purposes of comfort
and representation united--in the whole country. The particular
deficiency, if deficiency it be, applies in an almost exclusive degree
to the use of precious stones, jewelry, and those of the more valuable
metals in general. The ignorance of the value of precious stones is so
great, that half the men, meaning those who possess more or less of
fortune, do not even know the names of those of the commoner sorts. I
doubt, if one educated American in twenty could, even at this moment,
tell a sapphire from an amethyst, or a turquoise from a garnet; though
the women are rather more expert as lapidaries.  Now, I was a true
American in this respect; and, while I knew I possessed a very
beautiful ornament, I had not the smallest idea of its value, as an
article of commerce. With the Major it was different. He had studied
such things, and he had a taste for them. The reader will judge of my
surprise, therefore, when I heard him say:--

"That necklace, in the hands of Rundle and Bridges, would bring a
thousand pounds, in London!"

"Father!" exclaimed Emily.

"I do think it. It is not so much the size of the pearls, though these
largest are not common even in that particular, but it is their
extreme beauty; their colour and transparency--their _water_, as
it is called."

"I thought that a term applied only to diamonds"--observed Emily, with
an interest I wished she had not manifested.

"It is also applied to pearls--there are pearls of what is called the
'white water,' and they are of the sort most prized in Europe. The
'yellow water' are more esteemed among nations of darker skins; I
suppose that is the secret.  Yes, I think if you send this necklace to
London, Wallingford, you will get six or eight hundred pounds for it."

"I shall never sell it, sir--at least, not as long as I can avoid it."

I saw that Emily looked at me, with an earnestness for which I could
not account.

"Not sell it!--" repealed her father--"Why, what in the name of
Neptune can _you_ do with such an ornament?"

"Keep it. It is strictly my own. I brought it up, from the bottom of
the sea, with my own hands; removed the pearls from what the editors
would call their 'native homes' myself, and I feel an interest in
them, that I never could feel in any ornament that was purchased."

"Still, this will prove rather an expensive taste. Pray, What interest
do you obtain for money, in your part of the world, Wallingford?"

"Six per cent., in New York, sir, perhaps, on the better sort of
permanent securities."

"And how much is sixty pounds sterling, when turned into dollars?"

"We usually say five for one, though it is not quite that; from two
hundred and eighty to two hundred and ninety, all things
considered--though two hundred and sixty-six, nominally, or
thereabouts."

"Well, even two hundred and sixty-six dollars a year, is a good deal
for a young man like you to pay, for the pleasure of saying he owns a
pearl necklace that he cannot use."

"But it cost me nothing, sir, and of course I can lose nothing by it."

"I rather think you will lose what I tell you, if the ornament can be
sold for that sum. When a man has property from which he might derive
an income, and does not, he is, in one sense, and that the most
important, a loser."

"I have a sister, Major Merton; I may possibly give it to her--or,
should I marry, I would certainly give it to my wife."

I could see a smile struggling about the mouth of the major, which I
was then too young, and I may add, too American, to understand. The
incongruity of the wife of a man of two thousand, or five and twenty
hundred dollars a-year, wearing two years' income round her neck, or
of being magnificent in only one item of her dress, household, or
manner of living, never occurred to my mind. We can all laugh when we
read of Indian chiefs wearing uniform-coats, and cocked-hats, without
any other articles of attire; but we cannot imagine inconsistencies in
our own cases, that are almost as absurd in the eyes of highly
sophisticated and conventional usages. To me, at that age, there was
nothing in the least out of the way, in Mrs. Miles Wallingford's
wearing the necklace, her husband being unequivocally its owner. As
for Emily, she did not smile, but continued to hold the necklace in
her own very white, plump hand, the pearls making the hand look all
the prettier, while the hand assisted to increase the lustre of the
pearls.  I ventured to ask her to put the necklace on her neck. She
blushed slightly, but she complied.

"Upon my word, Emily," exclaimed the gratified father, "you become
each other so well, that I am losing a prejudice, and begin to believe
even a poor man's daughter may be justified in using such an
ornament."

The sight was certainly sufficient to justify anything of the
sort. The dazzling whiteness of Miss Merlon's skin, the admirable
outlines of her throat and bust, and the flush which pleasure gave her
cheeks, contributed largely to the beauty of the picture. It would
have been difficult to say, whether the charms of the woman ornamented
the pearls, or those of the pearls ornamented the woman! I remember I
thought, at the time, my eyes had never dwelt on any object more
pleasing, than was Miss Merton during the novelty of that
spectacle. Nor did the pleasure cease, on the instant; for I begged
her to continue to wear the necklace during the remainder of the day;
a request with which she had the good nature to comply. Which was most
gratified by this exhibition, the young lady or myself, it might be
difficult to say; for there is a mutual satisfaction in admiring, and
in being admired.

When I went into the cabin to say good-night, I found Emily Merton,
with the necklace in her hand, gazing at it, by the light of a
powerful lamp, with eyes as liquid and soft as the pearls
themselves. I stood still to admire her; for never before had I seen
her so bewitchingly beautiful. Her countenance was usually a little
wanting in intellectual expression, though it possessed so much of
that which I have described as _angelic_; but, on this occasion,
_it seemed to me_, to be full of ideas. Can it be possible,
whispered conceit--and what very young man is entirely free from
it--can it be possible, she is now thinking how happy a woman Mrs.
Miles Wallingford will one day be?--Am I in any manner connected with
that meditating brow, that reflecting air, that fixed look, that
pleased and yet doubting expression?

"I was about to send for you, Captain Wallingford," said Emily, the
instant she saw me, and confirming my conceited conjectures, by
blushing deeper than I had seen her before, in the whole of that
blushing, sensitive, and enjoyable day; "about to send for you, to
take charge of your treasure."

"And could you not assume that much responsibility, for a single
night?"

"'T would be too great--it is an honour reserved for Mrs. Wallingford,
you know."

This was smilingly said, I fancied sweetly and kindly, and yet it was
said not altogether without something that approached to an
_equivoque_; a sort of manner that the deep, natural feeling of
Grace, and needle-like truth of Lucy had rendered unpleasant to me. I
took the necklace, shook the young lady's hand for good-night--we
always did that, on meeting and parting for the day--paid my
compliments to the father, and withdrew.

I was dressing next morning, when Neb came bolting into my state-room,
with his Clawbonny freedom of manner, his eyes looking lobsters, and
_his_ necklace of pearl, glittering between a pair of lips that
might have furnished a cannibal two famous steaks. As soon as fairly
established in command, I had brought the fellow aft, berthing him in
the steerage, in order to have the benefit of more of his personal
service than I could obtain while he was exclusively a foremast
Jack. Still, he kept his watch; for it would have been cruel to
deprive, him of that pleasure.

"Oh! Masser Mile!" exclaimed the black, as soon as he could speak; "'e
boat!--'e boat!"


"What of the boat?--Is any one overboard?"

"'E whale-boat, sir!--Poor Captain Marble--'e whale-boat, sir!"

"I understand you, Neb--go on deck, and desire the officer of the
watch to heave-to the ship, as soon as it is proper; I will come up,
the instant I can."

Here, then, I thought, Providence has brought us on the track of the
unfortunate whale-boat; and we shall doubtless see the mutilated
remains of some of our old companions--poor Marble, doubtless, from
what Neb said--well, the will of God be done. I was soon dressed; and,
as I went up the cabin-ladder, the movement on deck denoted the nature
of the excitement that now prevailed generally, in the ship.  Just as
I reached the quarter-deck, the main-yard swung round, and the sails
were brought aback. The whole crew was in commotion, and it was some
little time before I could learn the cause.

The morning was misty, and the view round the ship, until within a few
minutes, had been confined to a circle of less than a mile in
diameter. As the sun rose, however, the mist broke away gradually, and
then the watch caught a view of the whale-boat mentioned by
Neb. Instead of being floating about on the ocean, with the remains of
its unfortunate crew lying in its bottom, as I had expected to see it,
when I caught the first glimpse of the unlooked-for object, it was not
a mile distant, pulling briskly for us, and containing not only a
full, but a strong and an animated crew.

Just at that instant, some one cried out "Sail-ho!" and sure enough, a
ship was seen some four or five miles to leeward, a whaler evidently,
turning to windward, under easy canvass, in order to rejoin her boat,
from which she had lately been separated by the night and the
fog. This, then, was no more than a whaler and her boat; and, on
sweeping the horizon with a glass, Talcott soon discovered, a mile to
windward of the boat, a dead whale, with another boat lying by it, in
waiting for the approach of the ship, which promised to fetch as far
to windward, on its next tack.

"They desire to speak us, I suppose, Mr. Talcott," I remarked.  "The
ship is probably an American; it is likely the captain is in the boat,
and he wishes to send letters or messages home."

A shout came from Talcott, at the next instant--then he cried out--

"Three cheers, my lads; I see Captain Marble in that boat, as plainly
as I see the boat itself!"

The cheers that followed, were a spontaneous burst of joy. They
reached the approaching boat, and gave its inmate an earnest of his
reception. In three more minutes.  Marble was on the deck of his old
ship. For myself, I was unable to speak; nor was poor Marble much
better off though more prepared for the interview.

"I knew you, Miles; I knew you, and the bloody 'Pretty Poll,'" he at
last got out, the tears running down his cheeks like water, "the
moment the fog lifted, and gave me a fair glimpse. They've got
her--yes--d----n her--God bless her, I mean--they've got her, and the
bloody Frenchmen will not go home with _that_ feather in their
caps.  Well, it couldn't have happened to a cleverer fellow; and I'm
just as happy as if I had done it myself!"

There he stood, sound, safe, and sturdy as ever; and the four Sandwich
Islanders were all in the boat, just as well as if they had never
quitted the ship. Every man of the crew had to shake hands with
Marble, congratulations were to be exchanged, and a turbulent quarter
of an hour passed, before it was possible to get a coherent account
from the man of what had befallen him. As soon as practicable,
however, he motioned for silence, and told his own story aloud, for
the benefit of all hands.

"You know how I left you, men," Marble commenced, swabbing his eyes
and cheeks, and struggling to speak with something like an appearance
of composure, "and the errand on which I went. The last I saw of you
was about half an hour before the gust broke. At that time I was so
near the ship, as to make out she was a whaler; and, nothing doubting
of being in sight of you in the morning, I thought it safer to pull
alongside of _her_, than to try to hunt for the schooner in the
dark. I found an old shipmate in the whaler's captain, who was looking
for a boat that had struck adrift the night before; and both parties
were pleased. There was not much time for compliments, however, as you
all know.  The ship bore up to speak you, and then she bore up, again
and again, on account of the squalls. While Mr. Wallingford was
probably hugging the wind in order to find _me_, we were running
off to save our spars; and next morning we could see nothing of
you. How else we missed each other, is more than I can say; for I've
no idee you went off and left me out here, in the middle of the
ocean--"

"We cruised for you, within five miles of the spot, for a whole day!"
I exclaimed, eagerly.

"No, no--Captain Marble," the men put in, in a body, "we did all that
men could do, to find you."

"I know it! I could swear to it, without a word from one of you. Well,
that's the whole story. We could not find you, and I stuck by the ship
as a matter of course, as there was no choice between that and jumping
overboard; and here has the Lord brought us together again, though we
are every inch of five hundred miles from the place where we parted."

I then took Marble below, and related to him all that had occurred
since the separation. He listened with the deepest interest,
manifesting the strongest sympathy in our success.  Nothing but
expressions of gratification escaped him, until I remarked, as I
concluded my account--

"And here is the old ship for you, sir, just as we lost her; and glad
am I to see her once more in so good hands."

"Who put that bloody poop on her, you or the Frenchman, Miles?"

"The Frenchman. Now it is peace, however, it is no great matter; and
the cabin is very convenient for the Major and his daughter."

"It's just like 'em! Spoiling the neatest quarter-deck on the ocean,
with a bloody supernumerary cabin!"

"Well, sir, as you are master now, you can have it all cut away again,
if you think proper."

"I! I cut away anything! I take the command of this ship from the man
who has so fairly won it! If I do, may I be d----d!"

"Captain Marble! You astonish me by this language, sir; but it is
nothing more than a momentary feeling, of which your own good
sense--nay, even your duty to the owners--will cause you to get rid."

"You never were more mistaken in your life, Master Miles Wallingford,"
answered Marble, solemnly. "I thought of all this the moment I
recognised the ship, and that was as soon as I saw her; and my mind
was made up from that instant. I cannot be so mean as to come in at
the seventh hour, and profit by your courage and skill. Besides, I
have no legal right to command here. The ship was more than
twenty-four hours in the enemy's hands, and she comes under the usual
laws of recapture and salvage."

"But the owners, Captain Marble--remember there is a cargo to be taken
in at Canton, and there are heavy interests at stake."

"By George, that would make me so much the more firm.  From the first,
I have thought matters would be better in your hands than mine; you
have an education, and that's a wonderful thing, Miles. As to sailing
a ship, or stowing her, or taking care of her in heavy weather, or
finding my way across an ocean, I'll turn my back on no man; but it's
a different thing when it comes to figures and calculations."

"You disappoint me greatly in all this, sir; we have gone through so
much together--"

"We did not go through _the recapture of this vessel_ together,
boy."

"But it was _your_ thought, and, but for an accident, would have
been your _deed_."

"I don't know that; I have reflected coolly in the matter, after I got
over my mortification; and I think we should have been flogged, had we
attacked the French at sea. Your own plan was better, and capitally
carried out. Harkee, Miles, this much will I do, and not a jot
more. You are bound to the island, I take it for granted, to pick up
odds and ends; and then you sail for Canton?"

"Precisely--I am glad you approve of it, as you must by seeing into it
so readily."

"Well, at the island, fill up the schooner with such articles as will
be of no use at Canton. Let her take in the copper, the English goods,
and the like of that; and I will carry her home, while you can pursue
the v'y'ge in the ship, as you alone have a right to do."

No arguments of mine could turn Marble from his resolution.  I fought
him all day on the subject, and at night he was put in command of the
"Pretty Poll," with our old second-mate for his first officer.



CHAPTER XIX.

  "Thou shalt seek the beach of sand,
  Where the water bounds the elfin land;
  Thou shalt watch the oozy brine
  Till the sturgeon leaps in the light moonshine."
  DRAKE.


There is but a word to say of the whaler. We spoke her, of course, and
parted, leaving her her boat. She passed half an hour, close to us,
and then went after her whale. When we lost sight of her, she was
cutting in the fish, as coolly as if nothing had happened. As for
ourselves, we made the best of our way for the island.

Nothing worth relating occurred during the remainder of the
passage. We reached our place of destination ten days after we found
Marble; and carried both the ship and schooner into the lagoon,
without any hesitation or difficulty.  Everything was found precisely
as we had left it; two months having passed as quietly as an hour. The
tents were standing, the different objects lay where they had been
hastily dropped at our hurried departure, and everything denoted the
unchangeable character of an unbroken solitude.  Time and the seasons
could alone have produced any sensible alteration. Even the wreck had
neither shifted her bed, nor suffered injury. There she lay, seemingly
an immovable fixture on the rocks, and as likely to last, as any other
of the durable things around her.

It is always a relief to escape from the confinement of a ship, even
if it be only to stroll along the vacant sands of some naked beach. As
soon as the vessels were secured, we poured ashore in a body, and the
people were given a holiday. There was no longer an enemy to
apprehend; and we all enjoyed the liberty of movement, and the freedom
from care that accompanied our peculiar situation.  Some prepared
lines and commenced fishing; others hauled the seine; while the less
industriously disposed lounged about, selected the fruit of the
cocoa-nut tree, or hunted for shells, of which there were many, and
those extremely beautiful, scattered along the inner and outer
beaches, or lying, visible, just within the wash of the water. I
ordered two or three of the hands to make a collection for Clawbonny;
paying them, as a matter of course, for their extra services. Their
success was great; and I still possess the fruits of their search, as
memorials of my youthful adventures.

Emily and her maid took possession of their old tents, neither of
which had been disturbed; and I directed that the necessary articles
of furniture should be landed for their use. As we intended to remain
eight or ten days at Marble Land, there was a general disposition to
make ourselves comfortable; and the crew were permitted to bring such
things ashore as they desired, care being had for the necessary duties
of the ships. Since quitting London, we had been prisoners, with the
short interval of our former visit to this place, and it was now
deemed wisest to give the people a little relaxation. To all this, I
was advised by Marble; who, though a severe, and so often seemingly an
obdurate man, was in the main disposed to grant as much indulgence, at
suitable moments, as any officer I ever sailed with. There was an
ironical severity, at times, about the man, which misled superficial
observers. I have heard of a waggish boatswain in the navy, who, when
disposed to menace the crew with some of his official visitations,
used to cry out, "Fellow-citizens, I'm coming among you;" and the
anecdote never recurs to my mind, without bringing Marble back to my
recollection. When in spirits, he had much of this bitter irony in his
manner; and his own early experience had rendered him somewhat
insensible to _professional_ suffering; but, on the whole, I
always thought him a humane man.

We went into the lagoon, before the sun had risen; and before the
breakfast hour of those who lived aft, we had everything landed that
was necessary, and were in possession of our tents. I had ordered Neb
to attend particularly to the wants of the Mertons; and, precisely as
the bell of the ship struck eight, which, at that time of day, meant
eight o'clock, the black came with the major's compliments, inviting
"_Captain_" Wallingford and "_Captain_" Marble to breakfast.

"So it goes, Miles," added my companion, after promising to join the
party in a few moments. "This arrangement about the schooner leaves us
both captains, and prevents anything like your downhill work, which is
always unpleasant business. _Captain_ Marble and _Captain_
Wallingford sound well; and I hope they may long sail in company. But
natur' or art never meant me for a captain."

"Well, admitting this, where there are _two_ captains, one must
outrank the other, and the senior commands. You should be called
_Commodore_ Marble."

"None of your pleasantry, Miles," returned Marble, with a severe look
and a shake of the head; "it is by your favour, and I hope by your
good opinion, that I am master of even that little, half-blooded, part
French, part Yankee, schooner. It is my second, and I think it will be
my last command. I have generalized over my life, upon a large scale,
within the last ten days, and have come to the conclusion that the
Lord created me to be your mate, and not you to be mine. When natur'
means a man for anything partic'lar, she doesn't set him adrift among
human beings, as I was set adrift."

"I do not understand you, sir--perhaps you will give me an outline of
your history; and then all will be plain."

"Miles, oblige me in one particular--it will cost you no great
struggle, and will considerably relieve my mind."

"You have only to name it, sir, to be certain it will be done."

"Drop that bloody _sir_, then; it's unbecoming now, as between
you and me. Call me Marble, or Moses; as I call you, Miles."

"Well, be it so. Now for this history of yours, which you have
promised to give me, by the way, any time these two years."

"It can be told in a few words; and I hope it may be of service. A
human life, properly generalized on, is at any time as good as most
sermons. It is full of what I call the morality of idees. I suppose
you know to what I owe my names?"

"Not I--to your sponsors in baptism, like all the rest of us, I
suppose."

"You're nearer the truth than you may imagine, this time, boy. I was
found, a child of a week old, they tell me, lying in a basket, one
pleasant morning, in a stone-cutter's yard, on the North River side of
the town, placed upon a bit of stone that was hewing out for the head
of a grave, in order, as I suppose, that the workmen would be sure to
find me, when they mustered at their work. Although I have passed for
a down-easter, having sailed in their craft in the early part of my
life, I'm in truth York born."

"And is this all you know of your origin, my dear Marble?"

"All I _want_ to know, after such a hint. A man is never anxious
to make the acquaintance of parents who are afraid to own him. I dare
say, now, Miles, that _you_ knew, and loved, and respected
_your_ mother?"

"Love, and respect her! I worshipped her, Marble; and she deserved it
all, if ever human being did!"

"Yes, yes; I can understand _that_," returned Marble, making a
hole in the sand with his heel, and looking both thoughtful and
melancholy. "It must be a great comfort to love and respect a mother!
I've seen them, particularly young women, that I thought set quite as
much store by their mothers, as they did by themselves. Well, no
matter; I got into one of poor Captain Robbins's bloody currents at
the first start, and have been drifting about ever since, just like
the whale-boat with which we fell in, pretty much as the wind
blew. They hadn't the decency to pin even a name--they might have got
one out of a novel or a story-book, you know, to start a poor fellow
in life with--to my shirt; no--they just set me afloat on that bit of
a tombstone, and cast off the standing part of what fastened me to
anything human. There they left me, to generalize on the 'arth and its
ways, to my heart's content."

"And you were found next morning, by the stone-cutter, when he came,
again, to use his chisel."

"Prophecy couldn't have better foretold what happened.  There I was
found, sure enough; and there I made my first escape from
destruction. Seeing the basket, which it seems was one in which he had
brought his own dinner, the day before, and forgotten to carry away
with him, he gave it a jerk to cast away the leavings, before he
handed it to the child who had come to take it home, in order that it
might be filled again, when out I rolled on the cold stone.  There I
lay, as near the grave as a tomb-stone, when I was just a week old."

"Poor fellow--you could only know this by report, however.  And what
was done with you?"

"I suppose, if the truth were known, my father was somewhere about
that yard; and little do I envy the old gentleman his feelings, if he
reflected much, over matters and things. I was sent to the Alms-House,
however; stone-cutters being nat'rally hard-hearted, I suppose. The
fact that I was left among such people, makes me think so much the
more, that my own father must have been one of them, or it never could
have happened. At all events, I was soon rated on the Alms-House
books; and the first thing they did was to give me some name. I was
No. 19, for about a week; at the age of fourteen days, I became Moses
Marble."

"It was an odd selection, that your 'sponsors in baptism' made!"

"Somewhat--Moses came from the scriptur's, they tell me; there being a
person of that name, as I understand, who was turned adrift pretty
much as I was, myself."

"Why, yes--so far as the basket and the abandonment were concerned;
but he was put afloat fairly, and not clapped on a tomb-stone, as if
to threaten him with the grave at the very outset."

"Well, Tombstone came very near being my name. At first, they thought
of giving me the name of the man for whom the stone was intended; but,
that being Zollickoffer, they thought I never should be able to spell
it. Then came Tombstone, which they thought melancholy, and so they
called me Marble; consaiting, I suppose, it would make me
_tough._"

"How long did you remain in the Alms-House, and at what age did you
first go to sea?"

"I staid among them the public feeds, until I was eight years old, and
then I took a hazy day to cut adrift from charity. At that time,
Miles, our country belonged to the British--or they treated it as if
it did, though I've heard wiser men than myself say, it was always our
own, the king of England only happening to be our king--but I was born
a British subject, and being now just forty, you can understand I went
to sea several years before the revolution."

"True--you must have seen service in that war, on one side, or the
other?"

"If you say _both_ sides, you'll not be out of the way. In 1775,
I was a foretop-man in the Romeny 50, where I remained until I was
transferred to the Connecticut 74--"

"The what?" said I, in surprise. "Had the English a line-of-battle
ship called the Connecticut?"

"As near as I could make it out: I always thought it a big compliment
for John Bull to pay the Yankees."

"Perhaps the name of your ship was the Carnatic? The sounds are not
unlike."

"Blast me, if I don't think you've hit it, Miles. Well, I'm glad of
it, for I run from the ship, and I shouldn't half like the thought of
serving a countryman such a trick. Yes, I then got on board of one of
our sloops, and tried my hand at settling the account with my old
masters. I was taken prisoner for my pains, but worried through the
war without getting my neck stretched. They wanted to make it out, on
board the old Jarsey, that I was an Englishman, but I told 'em just to
prove it. Let 'em only prove where I was born, I said, and I would
give it up. I was ready to be hanged, if they could only prove where I
was born. D----, but I sometimes thought I never _was_ born, at
all."

"You are surely an American, Marble? A Manhattanese, born and
educated?"

"Why, as it is not likely any person would import a child a week old,
to plant it on a tombstone, I conclude I am. Yes, I must be
_that_; and I have sometimes thought of laying claim to the
property of Trinity Church, on the strength of my birth-right. Well,
as soon as the war was over, and I got out of prison, and that was
shortly after you were born, Captain Wallingford, I went to work
regularly, and have been ever since sarving as dickey, or chief-mate,
on board of some craft or other. If I had no family bosom to go into,
as a resting-place, I had my bosom to fill with solid beef and pork,
and that is not to be done by idleness."

"And, all this time, my good friend, you have been living, as it might
be, alone in the world, without a relative of any sort?"

"As sure as you are there. Often and often, have I walked through the
streets of New York, and said to myself, Among all these people, there
is not one that I can call a relation. My blood is in no man's veins,
but my own."

This was said with a bitter sadness, that surprised me.  Obdurate, and
insensible to suffering as Marble had ever appeared to me, I was not
prepared to find him giving such evidence of feeling. I was then
young, but now am old; and one of the lessons learned in the years
that have intervened, is not to judge of men by appearances. So much
sensibility is hidden beneath assumed indifference, so much suffering
really exists behind smiling countenances, and so little does the
exterior tell the true story of all that is to be found within, that I
am now slow to yield credence to the lying surfaces of things. Most of
all had I learned to condemn that heartless injustice of the world,
that renders it so prompt to decide, on rumour and conjectures,
constituting itself a judge from which there shall be no appeal, in
cases in which it has not taken the trouble to examine, and which it
had not even the power to examine evidence.

"We are all of the same family, my friend," I answered, with a good
design at least, "though a little separated by time and accidents."

"Family!--Yes, I belong to my own family. I'm a more important man in
my family, than Bonaparte is in his; for I am all in all; ancestors,
present time and posterity!"

"It is, at least, your own fault you are the last; why not marry and
have children?"

"Because my parents did not set me the example," answered Marble,
almost fiercely. Then clapping his hand on my shoulder, in a friendly
way, as if to soothe me after so sharp a rejoinder, he added in a
gentler tone--"Come, Miles, the Major and his daughter will want their
breakfasts, and we had better join them. Talking of matrimony, there's
the girl for you, my boy, thrown into your arms almost nat'rally, as
one might say."

"I am far from being so sure of that. Marble." I answered, as both
began to walk slowly towards the tent "Major Merton might hot think it
an honour, in the first place, to let his daughter marry a Yankee
sailor."

"Not such a one as myself, perhaps; but why not one like you? How many
generations have there been of you, now, at the place you call
Clawbonny?"

"Four, from father to son, and all of us Miles Wallingfords."

"Well, the old Spanish proverb says 'it takes three generations to
make a gentleman;' and here you have four to start upon. In _my_
family, all the generations have been on the same level, and I count
myself old in my sphere."

"It is odd that a man like you should know anything of old Spanish
proverbs!"

"What? Of _such_ a proverb, think you, Miles? A man without even
a father or mother--who never had either, as one may say--and he not
remember such a proverb! Boy, boy, I never forget anything that so
plainly recalls the tomb-stone, and the basket, and the Alms-House,
and Moses, and the names!"

"But Miss Merton might object to the present generation," I resumed,
willing to draw my companion from his bitter thoughts, "however
favourably disposed her father might prove to the last."

"That will be your own fault, then. Here you have her, but on the
Pacific Ocean, all to yourself; and if you cannot tell your own story,
and that in a way to make her believe it, you are not the lad I take
you for."

I made an evasive and laughing answer; but, being quite near the tent
by this time, it was necessary to change the discourse. The reader may
think it odd, but that was the very first time the possibility of my
marrying Emily Merton ever crossed my mind. In London, I had regarded
her as an agreeable acquaintance, with just as much of the colouring
of romance and of the sentimental about our intercourse, as is common
with youths of nineteen and girls a little younger; but as nothing
more. When we met on the island, Emily appeared to me like a friend--a
_female_ friend--and, of course, one to be viewed with peculiarly
softened feelings; still, as only a friend. During the month we had
just passed in the same ship, this tie had gradually strengthened; and
I confess to a perfect consciousness of there being on board a pretty
girl in her nineteenth year, of agreeable manners, delicate
sentiments, and one whose presence gave the Crisis a charm she
certainly never enjoyed during poor Captain Williams's time.
Notwithstanding all this, there was something--though what that
something was, I did not then know myself--which prevented me from
absolutely falling in love with my fair guest. Nevertheless, Marble's
suggestion was not unpleasant to me; but, on the other hand, it rather
conduced to the satisfaction of my present visit.

We were kindly received by our hosts, who always seemed to remember
the commencement of our acquaintance, when Marble and myself visited
them together. The breakfast had a little of the land about it; for
Mons. Le Compte's garden still produced a few vegetables, such as
lettuce, pepper-grass, radishes, &c.; most of which, however, had sown
themselves. Three or four fowls, too, that he had left on the island
in the hurry of his departure, had begun to lay; and Neb having found
a nest, we had the very unusual treat of fresh eggs. I presume no one
will deny that they were sufficiently "country-laid."

"Emily and myself consider ourselves as old residents here," the Major
observed, as he gazed around him, the table being set in the open air,
under some trees; "and I could almost find it in my heart to remain on
this beautiful island for the remainder of my days--quite, I think,
were it not for my poor girl, who might find the society of her old
father rather dull work, at her time of life."

"Well, Major," said Marble, "you have only to let your taste be known,
to have the ch'ice among all our youngsters to be her companion. There
is Mr. Talcott, a well-edicated and mannerly lad enough, and of good
connexions, they tell me; and as for Captain Wallingford here, I will
answer for _him_. My life on it, he would give up Clawbonny, and
the property on which he is the fourth of his name, to be king, or
Prince of Wales of this island, with such company!"

Now, it was Marble, and not I, who made this speech; and yet I
heartily wished it unsaid. It made me feel foolish and I dare say it
made me look foolish; and I know it caused Emily to blush. Poor girl!
she, who blushed so easily, and was so sensitive, and so delicately
situated--she was entitled to have more respect paid to her
feelings. The Major and Marble, however, took it all very coolly,
continuing the discourse as if nothing out of the way had been said.

"No doubt--no doubt," answered the first; "romance always finds
votaries among young people, and this place may well excite romantic
feelings in those who are older than these young men. Do you know,
gentlemen, that ever since I have known this island, I have had a
strong desire to pass the remainder of my days on it? The idea I have
just mentioned to you, therefore, is by no means one of a moment's
existence."

"I am glad, at least, dear sir," observed Emily, laughing, "that the
desire has not been so strong as to induce you to make formal
proposals on the subject."

"You, indeed, are the great obstacle; for what could I do with a
discontented girl, whose mind would be running on balls, theatres, and
other amusements? We should not have even a church."

"And, Major Merton," I put in, "what could you, or any other man, do
with _himself_, in a place like this, without companions, books,
or occupation ?"

"If a conscientious man, Miles, he might think over the past; if a
wise one, he would certainly reflect on the future. I should have
books, since Emily and I could muster several hundred volumes between
us; and, _with_ books, I should have companions.  What could I
do? I should have everything to create, as it might be, and the
pleasure of seeing everything rising up under my own hand. There would
be a house to construct--the materials of that wreck to
collect--ropes, canvass, timber, tar, sugar, and divers other
valuables that are still out on the reef, or which lie scattered about
on the beach, to gather together, and save against a rainy day.  Then
I would have a thought for my poultry; and possibly you might be
persuaded to leave me one or two of these pigs, of which I see the
French forgot half a dozen, in their haste to cheat the Spaniards. Oh!
I should live like a prince and be a prince _regnant_ in the
bargain."

"Yes, sir, you would be captain and all hands, if that would be any
gratification; but I think you would soon weary of your government,
and be ready to abdicate."

"Perhaps so, Miles; yet the thought is pleasant to me: but for this
dear girl, it would be particularly so. I have very few relatives; the
nearest I have being, oddly enough, your own country-people,
gentlemen. My mother was a native of Boston, where my father, a
merchant, married her; and I came very near being a Yankee myself,
having been born but a week after my parents landed in England. On my
father's side, I have not five recognised relatives, and they are
rather distant; while those on my mother's are virtually all
strangers. Then I never owned a foot of this earth on which we live,
in my life--"

"Nor I," interrupted Marble, with emphasis.

"My father was a younger son; and younger sons in England are
generally lack-lands. My life has been such, and, I may add, my means
such, that I have never been in the way of purchasing even enough
earth to bury me in; and here, you see, is an estate that can be had
for asking.  How much land do you fancy there is in this island,
gentlemen?  I mean, apart from the beach, the sands and rocks; but
such as has grass, and bears trees--ground that might be tilled, and
rendered productive, without much labour?"

"A hundred thousand acres," exclaimed Marble, whose calculation was
received with a general laugh.

"It seems rather larger to me, sir," I answered, "than the farm at
Clawbonny. Perhaps there may be six or eight hundred acres of the sort
of land you mention; though the whole island must contain several
thousands--possibly four, or five."

"Well, four or five thousand acres of land make a good estate--but, as
I see Emily is getting frightened, and is nervous under the
apprehension of falling heir to such extensive possessions, I will say
no more about them."

No more _was_ said, and we finished our breakfasts, conversing of
the past, rather than of the future. The Major and Marble went to
stroll along the groves, in the direction of the wreck; while I
persuaded Emily to put on her hat and stroll--the other way.

"This is a singular notion of my father's," my fair companion
remarked, after a moment of musing; "nor is it the first time, I do
assure you, on which he has mentioned it.  While we were here before,
he spoke of it daily."

"The scheme might do well enough for two ardent lovers," said I,
laughing; "but would scarcely be Wise for an elderly gentleman and his
daughter. I can imagine that two young people, warmly attached to each
other, might get along in such a place for a year or two, without
hanging themselves; but I fancy even love would tire out, after a
while, and they would set about building a boat, in which to be off."

"You are not very romantic, I perceive, Mr. Wallingford," Emily
answered, and I thought a little reproachfully.  "Now, I own that to
my taste, I could be happy anywhere--here, as well as in London,
surrounded by my nearest and dearest friends."

"Surrounded! Ay, that would be a very different matter.  Let me have
your father, yourself, honest Marble, good Mr. Hardinge, Rupert, dear,
dear Grace, and Lucy, with Neb and some others of my own blacks, and I
should ask no better home. The island is only in twenty, has plenty of
shade some delicious fruits, and Would be easily tilled--one might do
here, I acknowledge, and it would be pleasant to found a colony."

"And who are all these people you love so well, Mr.  Wallingford, that
their presence would make a desert island pleasant?"

"In the first place, Major Merton is a half-pay officer in the British
service, who has been appointed to some civil station in India"--I
answered, gallantly. "He is a respectable, agreeable, well-informed
gentleman, a little turned of fifty, who might act as Judge and
Chancellor. Then he has a daughter--"

"I know more of her and her bad qualities than you do yourself,
_Sire_--but who are Rupert, and Grace, and Lucy--_dear,
dear_ Grace, especially?"

"Dear, _dearest_ Grace, Madam, is my sister--my _only_
sister--all the sister I ever can have, either by marriage, or any
other means, and sisters are usually _dear_ to young men, I
believe."

"Well--I knew you had a sister, and a _dear_ sister, but I also
knew you had but one. Now as to Rupert--"

"He is not another sister, you may be well assured. I have mentioned
to you a friend from childhood, who went to sea with me, at first,
but, disliking the business, has since commenced the study of the
law."

"That, then, is Rupert. I remember some such touches of his character,
but did not know the name. Now, proceed on to the next--"

"What, Neb!--You know _him_ almost as well as I do myself. He is
yonder feeding the chickens, and will save his passage money."

"But you spoke of another--that is--was there not a Mr.--, Hardinge
was the name, I think?"

"Oh! true--I forgot Mr. Hardinge and Lucy, though they would be two of
the most important of the colonists.  Mr. Hardinge is my guardian, and
will continue to be so a few months longer, and Lucy is his
daughter--Rupert's sister--the old gentleman is a clergyman, and would
help us to keep Sundays as one should, and might perform the marriage
ceremony, should it ever be required."

"Not much danger of that, I fancy, on your _desert_ island--your
Barrataria"--observed Miss Merton, quickly.

I cannot explain the sensitiveness of certain young ladies on such
points, unless it be through their consciousness.  Now, had I been
holding this idle talk with Lucy, the dear, honest creature would have
laughed, blushed ever so little, possibly, and nodded her head in
frank assent; or, perhaps, she would have said "oh! certainly," in a
way to show that she had no desire to affect so silly a thing as to
wish one to suppose she thought young people would not get married at
Marble Land, as well as Clawbonny, or New York. Miss Merton, however,
saw fit to change the discourse, which soon turned on her father's
health. On this subject she was natural and full of strong
affection. She was anxious to get the Major out of the warm
latitudes. His liver had been touched in the West Indies, but he had
hoped that he was cured, or he never would have accepted the Bombay
appointment. Experience, however, was giving reason to suspect the
contrary, and Emily wished him in a cold climate as soon as possible,
and that with an earnestness that showed she regarded all that had
been said about the island as sheer pleasantry. We continued the
conversation for an hour when, returning to the tent, I left my fair
companion with a promise to be as active as possible, in order to
carry the ship into a higher latitude. Still I did not deem the island
a particularly dangerous place, notwithstanding its position; the
trades and sea breezes, with its ample shades, rendering the spot one
of the most delightful tropical abodes I had ever been in.

After quitting Emily, I went to join Marble, who was alone, pacing a
spot beneath the trees, that poor Le Compte had worn into a path, and
which he had himself called his "quarter-deck."


"This Major Merton is a sensible man, Miles," the ex-mate began, as
soon as I dropped in alongside of him, and joined in his semi-trot; "a
downright, sensible sort of a philosopher-like man, accordin' to my
notion."

"What has he been telling you, now, that has seized your fancy so much
stronger than common?"

"Why, I was thinking of this idee of his, to remain on the island, and
pass the remainder of the v'y'ge here, without slaving day and night
to get up two or three rounds of the ladder of promotion, only to fall
down again."

"And did the Major speak of such things? I know of no disappointments
of his, to sour him with the world."

"I was not speaking for Major Merton, but for myself, Miles. To tell
you the truth, boy, this idee seems just suited to me, and I have
almost made up my mind to remain behind, here, when you sail."

I looked at Marble with astonishment; the subject on which the Major
had spoken in pleasantry, rather than with any real design of carrying
his project into execution, was one that my old messmate regarded
seriously! I had noted the attention with which he listened to our
discourse, during breakfast, and the strong feeling with which he
spoke at the time, but had no notion of the cause of either. I knew
the man too well, not to understand, at once, that he was in sober
earnest, and had too much experience of his nature, not to foresee the
greatest difficulty in turning him from his purpose. I understood the
true motive to be professional mortification at all that occurred
since he had succeeded Captain Williams in command; for Marble was
much too honest and too manly, to think for a moment of concealing his
own misfortunes behind the mantle offered by my success.

"You have not thought of this matter sufficiently, my friend," I
answered, evasively, knowing the folly of attempting to laugh the
matter off--"when you have slept on it a night, you will see things
differently."

"I fancy not, Miles. Here is all I want, and just what I want. After
you have taken away everything that can be required for the vessels,
or desirable to the owners, there will be enough left to keep me a
dozen lives."

"It is not on account of food, that I speak--the island alone in its
fruits, fish and birds, to say nothing as to the seeds, and fowls, and
pigs, we could leave you, would be sufficient to keep fifty men; but,
think of the solitude, the living without object, the chances of
sickness--the horrible death that would follow to one unable to rise
and assist himself, and all the other miseries of being alone. Depend
on it, man was not created to live alone. Society is indispensable to
him, and--"

"I have thought of it all, and find it entirely to my taste.  I tell
you, Miles, I should be exactly in my sphere, in this island, and that
as a hermit. I do not say I should not like _some_ company, if it
could be yourself, or Talcott, or the Major, or even Neb; but no
company is better than bad; and as for asking, or _allowing_ any
one to stay with me, it is out of the question. I did, at first, think
of keeping the Sandwich Islanders; but it would be bad faith, and they
would not be likely to remain quiet, after the ship had sailed.  No, I
will remain alone. You will probably report the island when you get
home, and that will induce some vessel, which may be passing near, to
look for me, so I shall hear of you all, every four or five years."

"Gracious heaven! Marble, you cannot be serious in so mad a design?"

"Just look at my situation, Miles, and decide for yourself.  I am
without a friend on earth--I mean nat'ral friend--I know what sort of
friend you are, and parting with you will be the toughest of all--but
I have not a relation on the wide earth--no property, no home no one
to wish to see me return, not even a cellar to lay my head in. To me
all places are alike, with the exception of this, which, having
discovered, I look upon as my own."

"You have a _country_, Marble; and that is the next thing to
family and home--overshadows all."

"Ay, and I'll have a country here. This will be America, having been
discovered by Americans, and in their possession. You will leave me
the buntin', and I'll show the stars and stripes of a 4th of July,
just as you will show 'em, in some other part of the world. I was born
Yankee, at least, and I'll die Yankee, I've sailed under that flag,
boy, ever since the year '77, and will not sail under another you may
depend on it."

"I never could justify myself to the laws for leaving a man behind me
in such a place."

"Then I'll run, and that will make all right. But, you know well
enough, boy, that leaving a captain is one thing, and leaving a man
another."

"And what shall I tell all your acquaintances, those who have sailed
with you so often and so long, has become of their old ship-mate?"

"Tell 'em that the man who was once _found_, is now _lost_,"
answered Marble, bitterly. "But I am not such a fool as to think
myself of so much importance as you seem to imagine. The only persons
who will consider the transaction of any interest will be the
newspaper gentry, and they will receive it only as _news_, and
thank you about half as much as they would for a murder, or a robbery,
or the poisoning of a mother and six little children."

"I think, after all, you would scarcely find the means of supporting
yourself," I added, looking round in affected doubt; for I felt, at
each instant, how likely my companion was to adhere to his notion, and
this from knowing him so well. "I doubt if the cocoa is healthy, all
the year round, and there must be seasons when the trees do not bear."

"Have no fear of that sort. I have my own fowling-piece, and you will
leave me a musket, or two, with some ammunition. Transient vessels,
now the island is known, will keep up the supply. There are two hens
setting, at this moment, and a third has actually hatched. Then one of
the men tells me there is a litter of pigs, near the mouth of the
bay. As for the hogs and the poultry, the shell-fish and berries will
keep them; but there are fifteen hogsheads of sugar on the beach,
besides thirty or forty more in the wreck, and all above water. There
are casks of beans and peas, the sea-stores of the French, besides
lots of other things. I can plant, and fish, and shoot, and make a
fence from the ropes of the wreck, and have a large garden, and all
that a man can want. Our own poultry, you know, has long been out; but
there is still a bushel of Indian-corn left, that was intended for
their feed. One quart of that, will make me a rich man, in such a
climate as this, and with soil like that on the flat between the two
groves. I own a chest of tools, and am, ship-fashion, both a tolerable
carpenter and blacksmith; and I do not see that I shall want for
anything. You _must_ leave half the things that are scattered
about, and so far from being a man to be pitied, I shall be a man to
be envied. Thousands of wretches in the greatest thoroughfares of
London, would gladly exchange their crowded streets and poverty, for
my solitude and abundance."

I began to think Marble was not in a state of mind to reason with, and
changed the subject. The day passed in recreation, as had been
intended; and next morning we set about filling up the schooner. We
struck in all the copper, all the English goods, and such portions of
the Frenchman's cargo as would be most valuable in America. Marble,
however, had announced to others his determination to remain behind,
to abandon the seas, and to turn hermit.  As his first step, he gave
up the command of the Pretty Poll, and I was obliged to restore her,
again, to our old third-mate, who was every way competent to take care
of her. At the end of the week, the schooner was ready, and despairing
of getting Marble off in _her_, I ordered her to sail for home,
via Cape Horn; giving especial instructions not to attempt Magellan. I
wrote to the owners, furnishing an outline of all that had occurred,
and of my future plans, simply remarking that Mr. Marble had declined
acting out of motives of delicacy, since the re-capture of the ship;
and that, in future, their interests must remain in my care.  With
these despatches the schooner sailed. Marble and I watched her until
her sails became a white speck on the ocean, after which she suddenly
disappeared.

As for the ship, she was all ready; and my only concern now was in
relation to Marble. I tried the influence of Major Merton; but,
unfortunately, that gentleman had already said too much in favour of
our friend's scheme, in ignorance of its effect, to gain much credit
when he turned round, and espoused the other side. The arguments of
Emily failed, also. In fact, it was not reason, but feeling that
governed Marble; and, in a bitter hour, he had determined to pass the
remainder of his days where he was.  Finding all persuasion useless,
and the season approaching when the winds rendered it necessary to
sail, I was compelled to yield, or resort to force. The last I was
reluctant to think of; nor was I certain the men would have obeyed me
had I ordered them to use it. Marble had been their commander so long,
that he might, at any moment, have re-assumed the charge of the ship;
and it was not probable his orders would have been braved under any
circumstances that did not involve illegality, or guilt. After a
consultation with the Major, I found it necessary to yield to this
whim, though I did so with greater reluctance than I ever experienced
on any other occasion.



CHAPTER XX.

  "Pass on relentless world! I grieve
    No more for all that thou hast riven!
  Pass on, in God's name--only leave
    The things thou never yet hast given.--"
  LUNT.


After every means had been uselessly exhausted to persuade Marble from
his design, it only remained to do all we could to make him
comfortable and secure. Of enemies, there was no danger, and care was
not necessary for defence.  We got together, however, some of the
timber, planks and other materials, that were remaining at the
shipyard, and built him a cabin, that offered much better shelter
against the tropical storms that sometimes prevailed, than any tent
could yield. We made this cabin as wide as a plank is long, or twelve
feet, and some five or six feet longer.  It was well sided and tightly
roofed, having three windows and a door. The lights of the wreck
supplied the first, and her cabin-door the last. We had hinges, and
everything that was necessary to keep things in their place. There was
no chimney required, fire being unnecessary for warmth in that
climate; but the French had brought their camboose from the wreck, and
this we placed under a proper covering at a short distance from the
hut, the strength of one man being insufficient to move it. We also
enclosed, by means of ropes, and posts made of the ribs of the wreck,
a plot of ground of two acres in extent, where the land was the
richest and unshaded, so as to prevent the pigs from injuring the
vegetables; and, poor Marble knowing little of gardening, I had a
melancholy pleasure in seeing the whole piece dug, or rather hoed up,
and sown and planted myself, before we sailed. We put in corn,
potatoes, peas, beans, lettuce, radishes, and several other things, of
which we found the seeds in the French garden. We took pains,
moreover, to transport from the wreck, many articles that it was
thought might prove of use, though they were too heavy for Marble to
handle. As there were near forty of us, all busy in this way for three
or four days, we effected a great deal, and may be said to have got
the island in order. I felt the same interest in the duty, that I
should in bestowing a child for life.

Marble, himself, was not much among us all this time.  He rather
complained that I should leave him nothing to do, though I could see
he was touched by the interest we manifested in his welfare. The
French launch had been used as the means of conveyance between the
wreck and the beach, and we found it where it had been left by its
original owners, anchored to-leeward of the island, and abreast of the
ship. It was the last thing I meddled with and it was my care to put
it in such a state that, at need, it might be navigated across that
tranquil sea, to some other island, should Marble feel a desire to
abandon his solitude.  The disposition I made of the boat was as
follows:--

The launch was large and coppered, and it carried two lug-sails. I had
both masts stepped, with the yards, sails, sheets, &c. prepared, and
put in their places; a stout rope was next carried round the entire
boat, outside, and a few inches below the gunwale, where it was
securely nailed.  From this rope, led a number of lanyards, with eyes
turned into their ends. Through these eyes I rove a sort of
ridge-rope, leading it also through the eyes of several stancheons
that were firmly stepped on the thwarts. The effect, when the
ridge-rope was set up, was to give the boat the protection of this
waist-cloth, which inclined inboard, however, sufficiently to leave an
open passage between the two sides, of only about half the beam of the
boat. To the ridge-rope and lanyards, I had tarpaulins firmly
attached, tacking their lower edges strongly to the outer sides of the
boat. By this arrangement, when all was in its place, and properly
secured, a sea might break, or a wave slap against the boat, without
her taking in much water. It doubled her security in this particular,
more than answering the purposes of a half-deck and wash-board. It is
true, a very heavy wave might carry all away; but very heavy waves
would probably fill the boat, under any circumstances. Such a craft
could only find safety in her buoyancy; and we made her as safe as an
undecked vessel very well could be.

Marble watched me while I was superintending these changes in the
boat, with a good deal of interest; and one evening--I had announced
an intention to sail next morning, the Major and Emily having actually
gone on board--that evening, he got my arm, and led me away from the
spot, like a man who has urgent business. I could see that he was much
affected, and had strong hopes he intended to announce a change of
purpose. His hand actually trembled, the whole time it grasped my arm.

"God bless you! Miles--God bless you, dear boy!" he said, speaking
with difficulty, as soon as we were out of earshot from the
others. "If any being could make me pine for the world, it would be
such a friend as you. I could live on without father or mother,
brother or sister, ship or confidence of my owners, good name even,
were I sure of meeting such a lad as yourself in only every thousandth
man I fell in with. But, young as you are, you know how it is with
mankind; and no more need be said about it. All I ask now is, that you
will knock off with this 'making him comfortable,' as you call it, or
you'll leave me nothing to do for myself. I can fit out that boat as
well as e'er a man in the Crisis, I'd have you to know."

"I am well aware of that, my friend; but I am not so certain that you
_would._ In that boat, I am in hopes you will follow us out to
sea, and come on board again, and take your old place as master."

Marble shook his head, and I believe he saw by my manner that I had no
serious expectations of the sort I named. We walked some distance
farther, in silence, before he again spoke. Then he said suddenly, and
in a way to show how much his mind was troubled--

"Miles, my dear fellow, you must let me hear from you!"

"Hear from me! By what means, pray? You cannot expect the
Postmaster-General will make a mail-route between New York and this
island?"

"Poh! I'm getting old, and losing my memory. I was generalizing on
friendship, and the like of that, and the idee ran away with me. I
know, of course, when you are out of sight, that I shall be cut off
from the rest of the world--probably shall never see a human face
again. But what of that? My time cannot be long now, and I shall have
the fish, fowls and pigs to talk to. To tell you the truth, Miles.
Miss Merton gave me her own Bible yesterday, and, at my request, she
pointed out that part which gives the account about Moses in the
bulrushes, and I've just been looking it over: it is easy enough, now,
to understand why I was called Moses."

"But Moses did not think it necessary to go and live in a desert, or
on an uninhabited island, merely because he was found in those
bulrushes."

_"That_ Moses had no occasion to be ashamed of his parents.  It
was fear, not shame, that sent him adrift. Nor did Moses ever let a
set of lubberly Frenchmen seize a fine, stout ship, like the Crisis,
with a good, able-bodied crew of forty men on board her."

"Come, Marble, you have too much sense to talk in this manner. It is,
fortunately, not too late to change your mind; and I will let it be
understood that you did so at my persuasion."

This was the commencement of a final effort on my part to induce my
friend to abandon his mad project. We conversed quite an hour, until I
had exhausted my breath, as well as my arguments, indeed; and all
without the least success. I pointed out to him the miserable plight
he must be in, in the event of illness; but it was an argument that
had no effect on a man who had never had even a headach in his
life. As for society, he cared not a straw for it when ashore, he
often boasted; and he could not yet appreciate the effects of total
solitude. Once or twice, remarks escaped him as if he thought it
possible I might one day return; but they were ventured in pleasantry,
rather than with any appearance of seriousness. I could see that the
self-devoted hermit had his misgivings, but I could obtain no verbal
concession from him to that effect. He was reminded that the ship must
positively sail next day, since it would not do to trifle with the
interests of the owners any longer.

"I know it, Miles," Marble answered, "and no more need be said on the
subject. Your people are through with their work, and here comes Neb
to report the boat ready to go off. I shall try my hand ashore
to-night, alone; in the morning, I suppose you would like to take an
old shipmate by the hand for the last time, and you will nat'rally
look for me at the water-side. Good-night! Before we part, however, I
may as well thank you for the supply of clothes I see you have put in
my hut. It was scarcely wanted, as I have enough needles and thread to
supply a slop-shop; and the old duck left by the French will keep me
in jackets and trowsers for the remainder of my days. Good-night, my
dear boy! God bless you--God bless you!"

It was nearly dark, but I could see that Marble's eyes looked moist,
and feel that his hand again trembled. I left him, not without the
hope that the solitude of this night, the first in which he had been
left by himself, would have the effect to lessen his desire to be a
hermit. When I turned in, it was understood that all hands were to be
called at daylight, and the ship unmoored.

Talcott came to call me, at the indicated moment. I had made him
chief-mate, and taken one of the Philadelphians for second officer; a
young man who had every requisite for the station, and one more than
was necessary, or a love of liquor. But, drunkards do tolerably well
on board a ship in which reasonable discipline is maintained. For that
matter, Neptune ought to be a profound moralist, as youths are very
generally sent to sea to cure most of the ethical flings. Talcott was
directed to unmoor, and heave short.  As for myself, I got into a boat
and pulled ashore, with an intention of making a last and strong
appeal to Marble.

No one was visible on the island when we reached it.  The pigs and
fowls were already in motion, however, and were gathering near the
door of the hut, where Marble was accustomed to feed them about that
hour; the fowls on _sugar_, principally. I proceeded to the door,
opened it, entered the place, and found it empty! Its late inmate was
then up, and abroad. He had probably passed a sleepless night, and
sought relief in the fresh air of the morning. I looked for him in the
adjacent grove, on the outer beach, and in most of his usual
haunts. He was nowhere visible.  A little vexed at having so long a
walk before me, at a moment when we were so much pressed for time, I
was about to follow the grove to a distant part of the island, to a
spot that I knew Marble frequented a good deal, when moody; but my
steps were arrested by an accidental glance at the lagoon. I missed
the Frenchman's launch, or the boat I had: myself caused to be rigged
with so much care, the previous day, for the intended hermit's
especial advantage.  This was a large boat; one that had been
constructed to weigh a heavy anchor; and I had left her, moored
between a grapnel and the shore, so securely, as to forbid the idea
she could have been moved, in so quiet a time, without the aid of
hands. Rushing to the water, I got into my own boat, and pulled
directly on board.

On reaching the ship, a muster of all hands was ordered.  The result
proved that everybody was present, and at duty.  It followed that
Marble, alone, had carried the boat out of the lagoon. The men who had
had the anchor-watches during the past night, were questioned on the
subject; but no one had seen or heard anything of a movement in the
launch. Mr. Talcott was told to continue his duty, while I went aloft
myself, to look at the offing. I was soon in the main-top-mast
cross-trees, where a view was commanded of the whole island, a few
covers excepted, of all the water within the reef, and of a wide range
without. Nowhere was the boat or Marble to be seen. It was barely
possible that he had concealed himself behind the wreck, though I did
not see how even this could be done, unless he had taken the
precaution to strike the launch's masts.

By this time, our last anchor was aweigh, and the ship was clear of
the bottom. The top-sails had been hoisted before I went aloft, and
everything was now ready for filling away. Too anxious to go on deck,
under such circumstances, and a lofty position being the best for
ascertaining the presence of rocks, I determined to remain where I
was, and conn the ship through the passes, in my own person.  An order
was accordingly given to set the jib, and to swing the head-yards, and
get the spanker on the ship. In a minute, the Crisis was again in
motion, moving steadily towards the inlet. As the lagoon was not
entirely free from danger, coral rocks rising in places quite near the
surface of the water, I was obliged to be attentive to the pilot's
duty, until we got into the outer bay, when this particular danger in
a great measure disappeared. I could then look about me with more
freedom. Though we so far changed our position, as respected the
wreck, as to open new views of it, no launch was to be seen behind
it. By the time the ship reached the passage through the reef, I had
little hope of finding it there.

We had got to be too familiar with the channels, to have any
difficulty in taking the ship through them; and we were soon fairly to
windward of the reef. Our course, however, lay to leeward; and we
passed round the southern side of the rocks, under the same easy
canvass, until we got abreast, and within half a cable's length of the
wreck. To aid my own eyes, I had called up Talcott and Neb; but
neither of us could obtain the least glimpse of the launch.  Nothing
was to be seen about the wreck; though I took the precaution to send a
boat to it. All was useless. Marble had gone out to sea, quite alone,
in the Frenchman's launch; and, though twenty pairs of eyes were now
aloft, no one could even fancy that he saw anything in the offing,
that resembled a boat.

Talcott and myself had a private interview on the subject of Marble's
probable course. My mate was of opinion, that our friend had made the
best of his way for some of the inhabited islands, unwilling to remain
here, when it came to the pinch, and yet ashamed to rejoin us. I could
hardly believe this; in such a case, I thought he would have waited
until we had sailed; when he might have left the island also, and
nobody been the wiser. To this Talcott answered that Marble probably
feared our importunities; possibly, compulsion.  It seemed singular to
me, that a man who regretted his hasty decision, should adopt such a
course; and yet I was at a loss to explain the matter much more to my
own satisfaction. Nevertheless, there was no remedy. We were as much
in the dark as it was possible to be with a knowledge of the
circumstance that the bird had flown.

We hovered around the reef for several hours, most of which time I
passed in the cross-trees, and some of it on the royal-yard. Once, I
thought I saw a small speck on the ocean, dead to windward, that
resembled a boat's sail; but there were so many birds flying about,
and glancing beneath the sun's rays, that I was reluctantly compelled
to admit it was probably one of them. At meridian, therefore, I gave
the order to square away, and to make sail on our course.  This was
done with the greatest reluctance, however, and not without a good
deal of vaciliation of purpose. The ship moved away from the land
rapidly, and by two o'clock, the line of cocoa-nut trees that fringed
the horizon astern, sunk entirely beneath the rolling margin of our
view. From that moment, I abandoned the expectation of ever seeing
Moses Marble again, though the occurrence left all of us sad, for
several days.

Major Merton and his daughter were on the poop, nearly the whole of
this morning. Neither interfered in the least; for the old soldier was
too familiar with discipline to venture an opinion concerning the
management of the ship. When we met at dinner, however, the
conversation naturally turned on the disappearance of our old friend.

"It is a thousand pities that pride should have prevented Marble from
acknowledging his mistake," observed the Major, "and thus kept him
from getting a safe passage to Canton, where he might have left you,
and joined another ship had he thought it necessary."

"Where we shall do the same thing, I suppose, dear sir," added Emily,
with a manner that I thought marked, "and thus relieve Captain
Wallingford from the encumbrance of our presence."

"Me!--call your delightful society anything but an enumbrance, I beg
of you, Miss Merton," I rejoined in haste.

"Now, that Mr. Le Compte has furnished this comfortable cabin, and you
are no longer at any inconvenience to yourselves, I would not be
deprived of the advantage and pleasure of this association, for more
than I dare mention."

Emily looked gratified; while her father appeared to me to be
thoughtful. After a brief pause, however, the Major resumed the
discourse.

"I should certainly feel myself bound to make many apologies for the
trouble we are giving," he said, "especially, since I understand from
Wallingford, he will not accept, either for himself or his owners,
anything like compensation even for the food we consume, were it not
that we are here by constraint, and not by any agency of our own.  As
soon as we reach Canton, however, I shall feel it a duty to get on
board the first English ship that will receive us."

I stole a glance at Emily, but could not understand the expression of
her countenance, as she heard this announcement.  Of course, I made an
earnest protest against the Major's doing anything of the sort; and
yet I could not well find any sufficient reason for urging him to
remain where he was, beyond my own gratification. I could not go to
either England, or Bombay; and I took it for granted Major Merton
wished to proceed, at once, to one, if not to both of these places. We
conversed, a little generally perhaps, on the subject for some time
longer; and when I left the cabin, it struck me, Emily's melancholy
had, in no degree, lessened.

It is a long road to traverse over half of the Pacific.  Weeks and
weeks were thus occupied; Talcott and myself profiting by every
suitable occasion, to enjoy the advantages of the association chance
had thus thrown in our way. I make no doubt I was greatly benefited by
my constant communications with the Mertons; the Major being a
cultivated, though not a particularly brilliant, man; while I conceive
it to be utterly impossible for two young men, of our time of life and
profession, to be daily, almost hourly, in the company of a young
woman like Emily Merton, without losing some of the peculiar roughness
of the sea, and getting, in its place, some small portion of the
gentler qualities of the saloon. I date a certain _a plomb_, an
absence of shyness in the company of females, from this habitual
intercourse with one of the sex who had, herself, been carefully
educated in the conventionalities of respectable, if not of very
elegant or sophisticated society.

At length we reached the China seas, and falling in to windward, we
made a quick run to Canton. It now became necessary for me to attend
to the ship and the interests of my owners; suffering my passengers to
land at Whampoa, with the understanding we were to meet before either
party sailed. I soon disposed of the sandal-wood and skins, and found
no difficulty in procuring teas, nankins, china-ware, and the other
articles pointed out, in the instructions to poor Captain Williams. I
profited by the occasion, also, to make certain purchases on my own
account, that I had a presentiment would be particularly agreeable to
the future mistress of Clawbonny, let that lady turn out to be
whomsoever she might. The dollars obtained on the west coast of South
America enabled me to do this; my instructions giving the necessary
authority to use a few of them on private account.  My privilege as
master rendered all proper.

In a word, the residence of six or eight weeks at Canton, proved a
very advantageous affair for those whose money was embarked in the
Crisis. Sandal-wood and sea-otter skins brought particularly high
prices; while teas, and the manufactures of the country, happened to
be low. I had no merit in this; not a particle; and yet I reaped the
advantage, so far as advantage was connected with the mere reputation
of the voyage; success being of nearly as great account in commerce,
as in war. It is true, I worked like a dog; for I worked under an
entirely novel sense of responsibility, and with a feeling I am
certain that could never have oppressed me in the care of my own
property; and I deserved some portion of the credit subsequently
obtained.  At all events, I was heartily rejoiced when the hatches
were on, and the ship was once more ready for sea.

It now became a duty, as well as a pleasure, to seek Major Merton,
whom I had seen but once or twice during the last two months. He had
passed that time at Whampao, while I had been either at the factories,
or on board. The Major was occupied when I called; and Emily received
me alone. When she learned that I was ready to sail for home, and had
come to take my leave, it was easy to see that she was uneasy, if not
distressed. I felt unhappy at parting too, and perhaps I had less
scruple about saying as much.

"God only knows, Miss Merton, whether we are ever to be permitted to
see each other again," I remarked, after the preliminary explanations
had been made.

The reader will remember that I am now an old man, and that vanity no
longer has any of that influence over me which it might be supposed to
possess over one of more juvenile hopes and feelings; that I relate
facts, without reference to their effect on myself, beyond the general
salvo of some lingering weaknesses of humanity. I trust, therefore, I
shall be understood in all my necessary allusions to the estimation in
which I was apparently held by others.  Emily fairly started when I
made this remark concerning the probable duration of the approaching
separation, and the colour left her cheek. Her pretty white hand
shook, so that she had difficulty in using her needle; and there was
an appearance of agitation and distress about the charming girl, that
I had never before witnessed in one whose manner was usually so
self-possessed and calm. I _now_ know the reason why I did not
throw myself on my knees, and beg the charming girl to consent to
accompany me to America, though I wondered at myself afterwards, when
I came to reflect coolly on all that passed, for my stoicism. I will
not affirm that I fancied Emily's agitation to be altogether owing to
myself; but I confess to an inability to account for it, in any other
manner, as agreeable to myself. The appearance of Major Merton at that
instant, however, prevented everything like a scene, and probably
restored us both to a consciousness of the necessity of seeming
calm. As for the Major, himself, he was evidently far from being
unconcerned, something having occurred to disturb him. So very
apparent was this, that I commenced the discourse by asking if he were
unwell.

"Always _that,_ I fear, Miles," he answered; "my physician has
just told me frankly, unless I get into a cold climate as soon as
possible, my life will not be worth six months' purchase."

"Then sail with me, sir," I cried, with an eagerness and heartiness
that must have proved my sincerity. "Happily, I am not too late to
make the offer; and, as for getting away, I am ready to sail
to-morrow!"

"I am forbidden to go near Bombay," continued the Major, looking
anxiously at his daughter; "and that appointment must be abandoned. If
I could continue to hold it, there is no probability of a chance to
reach my station this half-year."

"So much the better for me, sir. In four or five months from this
moment, I will land you in New York, where you will find the climate
cold enough for any disease. I ask you as friends--as guests--not as
passengers; and to prove it, the table of the upper cabin, in future,
shall be mine. I have barely left room in the lower cabin to sleep or
dress in, having filled it with my own private venture, as is my
right."

"You are as generous as kind, Miles; but what will your owners think
of such an arrangement?"

"They have no right to complain. The cabin and passengers, should any
of the last offer, after deducting a very small allowance for the
ship's portion of the food and water, are mine by agreement. All the
better food I find at my own charge; and, should you insist on
remunerating the owners for the coarser, or such as they find, you can
do so, it will be less than a hundred dollars, at the most."

"On these conditions, then, I shall thankfully profit by your offer;
attaching, however, one more that I trust you may be permitted to
fulfil. It is important to me that I reach England--can you touch at
St. Helena?"

"Willingly, if it be your wish. The health of the crew, moreover, may
render it desirable."

"There, then, I will quit you, if an opportunity offer to proceed to
England. Our bargain is made, dear Miles; and to-morrow I shall be
ready to embark."

I think Emily never looked more beautiful than she did while listening
to this arrangement. It doubtless relieved her mind on the painful
subject of her father's health, and I fancied it relieved it also on
the subject of our own immediate separation. Months must elapse before
we could reach St. Helena; and who could foresee what those months
might bring forth? As I had a good deal to do at such a moment, I took
my leave, with my feelings lightened, as it might be, of a
burthen. The reader will at once infer, I was in love.  But he will be
mistaken. I was not in love; though my imagination, to use a cant
phrase of some of the sects, was greatly exercised. Lucy, even then,
had a hold of my _heart_ in a way of which I was ignorant myself;
but it was not in nature for a youth, just approaching his majority,
to pass months and months, almost alone, in the society of a lovely
girl who was a year or two his junior, and not admit some degree of
tenderness towards her in big feelings. The circumstances were
sufficient to try the constancy of the most faithful swain that ever
lived. Then, it must be remembered that I had never professed love to
Lucy--was not at all aware that she entertained any other sentiment
towards me than that she entertained towards Rupert; whereas Emily--
but I will not prove myself a coxcomb on paper, whatever I might have
been, at the moment, in my own imagination.

Next day, at the appointed hour, I had the happiness to receive my old
passengers. It struck me that Talcott was as much gratified as I was
myself; for he, too, had both pleasure and improvement in Emily
Morton's society.  It has often been said that the English East-India
ships are noted for quarrelling and making love. The quarrels may be
accounted for on the same principle as the love-making, viz.,
propinquity; the same proximity producing hostility in whose sterner
natures, that, in others of a gentler cast, produces its opposite
feeling. We sailed, and it is scarcely necessary to tell the reader
how much the tedium of so long a voyage, and the monotony of a
sea-voyage, was relieved by the graces and gentle intercourse of our
upper cabin.  The other apartment being so crowded and hot, I passed
most of my time in the poop, which was both light and airy.  Here I
generally found the father and daughter, though often the latter
alone. I played reasonably well on the flute and violin, and had
learned to accompany Emily on her piano, which, it will be remembered,
Mons. Le Compte had caused to be transferred from the Bombay ship to
his own vessel, and which had subsequently been saved from the wreck.

Talcott played also on the flute, far better than I did myself; and we
frequently made a trio, producing very respectable sea-music--better,
indeed, than Neptune often got for his smiles. In this manner, then,
we travelled our long road, sometimes contending with head-winds and
cross-seas, sometimes becalmed, and sometimes slipping along at a rate
that rendered everybody contented and happy.

In passing the Straits of Sunda, I related to Major Merton and Emily
the incidents of the John's affair with the proas, and her subsequent
loss on the island of Madagascar; and was rewarded by the interest
they took in the tale. We all spoke of Marble, as indeed we often did,
and expressed our regrets at his absence. The fate of my old shipmate
was frequently discussed among us, there being a great diversity of
opinion on the subject. As for the Major, he thought poor Marble must
be lost at sea, for he did not perceive how any one man could manage a
boat all alone by himself.  Talcott, who had juster notions of what a
seaman could do, was of opinion that our late commander had run to
leeward, in the hope of finding some inhabited island, preferring the
association of even cannibals, when it came to the trying moment, to
total solitude. I thought he had gone to windward, the boat being so
well equipped for that service, and that Marble was in the expectation
of falling in with some of the whalers, who were known to be cruising
in certain latitudes. I was greatly struck, however, by a remark made
by Emily, on the evening of the very day when we passed the Straits of
Sunda.

"Should the truth be ever known, gentlemen," she said, "I am of
opinion it will be found that poor Mr. Marble only left the island to
escape from your importunities, and returned to it after the ship
disappeared; and that he is there at this moment, enjoying all the
happiness of a hermit."

This might be true, and from that hour the thought would occasionally
recur to my mind. As I looked forward to passing at least several more
years at sea, I secretly determined to ascertain the fact for myself,
should occasion ever offer. In the mean time, the Crisis had reached a
part of the ocean where, in those days, it was incumbent on those who
had the charge of a ship to keep a vigilant look-out for enemies. It
seems we were not fated to run the gauntlet of these pirates entirely
unharmed.

Early on the following morning, I was awoke by Talcott's giving me a
hearty shake of the shoulder.

"Turn out at once, Captain Wallingford," cried my mate, "the rascals
are closing around us like crows about a carcase. As bad luck will
have it, we have neither room nor breeze, to spare. Everything looks
like a busy morning for us, sir."

In just three minutes from that moment, I was on deck, where all hands
were soon collected, the men tumbling up, with their jackets in their
hands. Major Merton was already on the poop, surveying the scene with
a glass of his own; while the two mates were clearing away the guns,
and getting the ship in a state to make a suitable defence. To me, the
situation was altogether novel. I had been six times in the presence
of enemies before, and twice as commander; but never under
circumstances that called so imperiously for seamanship and good
conduct. The ocean seemed covered with enemies, Major Merton declaring
that he could count no less than twenty-eight proas, all full of men,
and some of them armed with artillery. These chaps were ahead, astern,
to windward, and to leeward; and, what was worse, they had just wind
enough to suit their purposes, there being about a five-knot
breeze. It was evident that the craft acted in concert, and that they
were desperately bent on our capture, having closed around us in this
manner in the night.  Nevertheless, we were a warm ship for a
merchantman; and not a man in the Crisis betrayed any feeling that
indicated any other desire than a wish to resist to the last. As for
Neb, the fellow was in a broad grin, the whole time; he considered the
affair as a bit of fun. Yet this negro was afraid to visit certain
places about the farm in the dark, and could not have been induced to
cross a church-yard alone, under a bright sun, I feel well
persuaded. He was the oddest mixture of superstitious dread and
lion-hearted courage, I ever met with in my life.

It was still early, when the proas were near enough to commence
serious operations. This they did, by a nearly simultaneous discharge
of about a dozen guns, principally sixes, that they carried mounted in
their bows. The shot came whistling in among our spars and rigging,
literally from every direction, and three struck, though they were not
of a size to do any serious injury. Our people were at quarters,
having managed to man both batteries, though it left scarcely any one
to look after the braces and rigging, and none but the officers with
small-arms.

Mr. Merton must have felt that he and his daughter's liberty, if not
their lives, were in the keeping of a very youthful commander; still,
his military habits of subordination were so strong, he did not
venture even a suggestion.  I had my own plan, and was just of an age
to think it derogatory to my rank, to ask advice of any one. The proas
were strongest ahead and on both bows, where they were collecting to
the number of near twenty, evidently with the intention of boarding,
should an opportunity offer; while, astern, and on our quarter, they
were much fewer, and far more scattered. The reason of all this was
apparent by our course, the pirates naturally supposing we should
continue to stand on.

Orders were given to haul up the mainsail and to man the
spanker-brails. The men were taken from the starboard battery,
exclusively, to perform this work. When all was ready, the helm was
put up, and the ship was brought as short round on her heel, as
possible, hauling up, on an easy bowline, on the other tack. In coming
round, we delivered all our larboard guns among the crowd of enemies,
well crammed with grape; and the distance being just right for
scattering, this broadside was not without effect.  As soon as braced
up, on the other tack, we opened starboard and larboard, on such of
the chaps as came within range; clearing our way as we went. The
headmost proas all came round in chase; but, being from half a mile to
a mile astern, we had time to open a way out of the circle, and to
drive all the proas who were now ahead of us, to take refuge among the
crowd of their fellows. The manoeuvre was handsomely executed; and, in
twenty minutes we ceased firing, having all our enemies to the
westward of us, and in one group: this was an immense advantage, as it
enabled us to fight with a single broadside, prevented our being
raked, and rendered our own fire more destructive, by exposing to it a
more concentrated, and, at the same time, a larger object. I ought to
have said before, that the wind was at the southward.

The Crisis now tacked, setting the courses and royals.  The ship lay
up well, and the proas having collected around their admiral, there
was a prospect of her passing to windward of everything. Six of the
fellows, however, seemed determined to prevent this, by hauling close
on a wind, and attempting to cross our bows, firing as they did
so. The ship stood on, apparently as if to intercept them; when,
finding ourselves near enough, we kept away about three points, and
swept directly down in the very centre of the main body of the
proas. As this was done, the enemy, taken by surprise, cleared a way
for us, and we passed the whole of them, delivering grape and
canister, as fast as we could deal it out. In the height of the
affair, and the thickest of the smoke, three or four of the proas were
seen quite near us, attempting to close; but I did not think it
necessary to call the people from the guns, which were worked with
great quickness, and did heavy execution. I fancy the pirates found it
hotter than they liked, for they did not keep on with us; though our
lofty sails gave us an advantage, and would have enabled us to leave
them, had they pursued a different course. As it was, we were clear of
them, in about five minutes; and the smoke beginning to rise, we soon
got a view of what had been done in that brief space.  In order to
increase our distance, however, we still kept away, running pretty
fast through the water.

By the confusion which prevailed among the pirates, the rascals had
been well peppered. One had actually sunk, and five or six were round
the spot, endeavouring to pick up the crew. Three more had suffered in
their spars, and the movements indicated that all had enough. As soon
as satisfied of this, I hauled the ship up to her course, and we
continued to leave the cluster of boats, which remained around the
spot where their consort had gone down. Those of the fellows to
windward, however, did not seem disposed to give it up, but followed
us for two hours, by which time the rest of their flotilla were hull
down. Believing there was now plenty of room, I tacked towards these
persevering gentry, when they went about like tops, and hauled off
sharp on a wind. We tacked once more to our course, and were followed
no further.

The captain of a pepper ship afterwards told me, that our assailants
lost forty-seven men, mostly killed, or died of their hurts, and that
he had understood that the same officer commanded the Crisis that had
commanded the "John," in _her_ affair, near the same spot. We had
some rigging cut, a few of our spars slightly injured, and two men
hurt, one of whom happened to be Neb. The man most hurt died before we
reached the Cape, but more from the want of surgical assistance, than
from the original character of his wound. As for Neb, he went to duty
before we reached St. Helena. For my part, I was surprised one of the
proas did not get down his throat, his grin being wide enough, during
the whole affair, to admit of the passage of a two-decker.

We went into the island, as had been agreed, but no ship offering and
none being expected soon, it became necessary for my passengers to
continue on with us to New York.  Emily had behaved uncommonly well in
the brush with the pirates, and everybody was glad to keep her in the
ship.  The men swore she brought good luck, forgetting that the poor
girl must have met with much ill-luck, in order to be in the situation
in which she was actually placed.

Nothing occurred on the passage from St. Helena to New York, worthy of
being specially recorded. It was rather long, but I cannot say it was
unpleasant. At length our reckoning told us to look out for land. The
Major and Emily were on deck, all expectation, and ere long we heard
the welcome cry. A hazy cloud was just visible on our lee-bow. It grew
more and more dense and distinct, until it showed the hues and furrows
of a mountain-side. The low point of the Hook, and the higher land
beyond, then came in view. We glided past the light, doubled the Spit,
and got into the upper bay, just an hour before the sun of a beautiful
day in June was setting. This was in the year of our Lord 1802.



CHAPTER XXI.

  "Drink! drink! to whom shall we drink?
  To a friend or a mistress?--Come, let me think!
  To those who are absent or those who are here?
  To the dead that we loved, or the living still dear?
  Alas! when I look I find none of the last!
  The present is barren--let's drink to the past."
  PAULDING.


Though strictly a Manhattanese as a sailor, I shall not run into
rhapsody on the subject of the beauties of the inner or outer bay of
this prosperous place. No man but one besotted with provincial conceit
could ever think of comparing the harbour of New York with the Bay of
Naples; nor do I know two places, that have the same great elements of
land and water that are less alike. The harbour of New York is barely
pretty; not a particle more, if quite as much; while the Bay of Naples
is almost what its owners so fondly term it, "a little bit of heaven,
fallen upon earth." On the other hand, however, Naples, as a haven, is
not to be mentioned in the same breath with the great American mart,
which, _as a port_, has no competitor within the circle of my
knowledge, Constantinople alone excepted.  I wish my semi-townsmen,
the Manhattanese, could be persuaded of these facts, as, when they
_do_ brag, as the wisest of mortals sometimes will, they might
brag of their strong, and not of their weak points, as is now too
often the case.

The Major, Emily and myself, stood on the poop, regarding the scene,
as the ship glided onward, before a good south-east breeze. I watched
the countenances of my companions with interest, for I had the
nervousness of a tyro and a provincial, on the subject of the opinions
of the people of other lands, concerning everything that affected my
own.  I could see that the Major was not particularly struck; and I
was disappointed, _then_, whatever may be my opinion _now_.
Emily better answered my hopes. Whether the charming girl really felt
the vast contrast between a view of the unbroken expanse of the ocean,
and the scene before her, or was disposed to please her host, she did
not hesitate to express delight. I let her understand how much I was
gratified; and thus our long, long voyage, and that, so far as degrees
of longitude were concerned, nearly embraced the circuit of the earth,
may be said to have terminated with the kindest feelings.

The ship was off Bedlow's, and the pilot had begun to shorten sail,
when a schooner crossed our fore-foot, beating down. I had been too
much occupied with the general movement of the bay, to notice one
small craft; but, this vessel happening to tack quite near us, I could
not but turn my eyes in her direction. At that instant I heard a shout
from Neb, who was furling one of the royals. It was one of those
irrepressible "nigger gollies" that often escaped from the fellow
involuntarily.

"What do you mean by that uproar, on the mizen-royal yard," I called
out angrily--for the _style_ of my ship had now become an object
of concern with me. "Keep silence, sir, or I'll find a way to instruct
you in the art."

"Lord!--masser Mile--" cried the negro, pointing eagerly towards the
schooner--"there go Pretty Poll."

It was our old craft sure enough, and I hailed her, incontinently.

"Pretty Polly, ahoy!"

"Halloo!"

"Where are you bound, sir; and when did that schooner get in from the
Pacific?"

"We are bound to Martinique--The Poll got home from the South Seas
about six months since. This is her third voyage to the West Indies,
since."

Here then was the certainty that the cargo sent home, and the letter
with it, were all safe. I must be expected, and the owners would soon
hear of my arrival. We were not kept long in doubt; for, as the ship
entered the Hudson, a boat approached, and in her were two of the
principal members of our firm. I had seen them, and that is all; but
my own letters, and the report of the officer who brought home the
schooner, had told them all about me. Could Nelson, after his victory
of the Nile, have walked into the King of England's private cabinet
with the news of his own success, his reception would not have been
more flattering than that I now received. I was "Captain
Wallingforded" at every sentence; and commendations were so intermixed
with inquiries about the value of the cargo, that I did not know which
to answer first. I was invited to dine the very next day by both the
gentlemen in the same breath; and when I raised some objections
connected with the duty of the ship, the invitations were extended
from day to day, for a week.  So very welcome is he who brings us
gold!

We went alongside of a North River wharf, and had everything secure,
just as the sun was setting. The people were then allowed to go ashore
for the night. Not a soul of them asked for a dollar; but the men
walked up the wharf attended by a circle of admiring landlords, that
put them all above want. The sailor who has three years' pay under his
lee, is a sort of Rothschild on Jack's Exchange. All the harpies about
our lads knew that the Crisis and her teas, &c. were hypothecated to
meet their own ten and twenty dollar advances.

I dressed myself hurriedly, and ordered Neb to imitate my example. One
of the owners had kindly volunteered to see Major Merton and Emily to
a suitable residence, with an alacrity that surprised me. But the
influence of England, and Englishmen, in all America, was exceedingly
great forty years since. This was still more true in New York, than in
the country generally; and a half-pay English Major was a species of
nobleman among the better sort of Manhattanese of that day. How many
of these quasi lords have I seen, whose patents of nobility were
merely the commissions of captains and lieutenants, signed by the
Majesty of England! In that day--it is nonsense to deny it--the man
who had served _against_ the country, provided he was a "British
officer," was a better man than he who had served in our own
ranks. This was true, however, only as regarded _society;_ the
ballot-boxes, and the _people_, giving very different indications of
their sentiments on such subjects.  Nor is this result, so far as New
York was concerned, as surprising as, at first sight, it may possibly
appear.  Viewed as a class, the gentry of New York took sides with the
crown. It is true, that the portion of this gentry which might almost
be called _baronial_--it was strictly _manorial_--was pretty equally
divided, carrying with them their collaterals; but the larger portions
of this entire class of the elite of society took sides with the
crown; and the peace of '83 found no small part of them in possession
of their old social stations; the confiscations affecting few beyond
the most important, and the richest of the delinquents. I can give an
instance, within my own immediate knowledge, of the sort of justice of
these confiscations. The head of one of the most important of all the
colonial families, was a man of indolent habits, and was much
indisposed to any active pursuits. This gentleman was enormously rich,
and his estates were confiscated and sold. Now this attainted traitor
had a younger brother who was actually serving in the British army in
America, his regiment sharing in the battles of Bunker Hill,
Brandywine, Monmouth, &c. But the Major was a younger son; and, in
virtue of that republican merit, he escaped the consequences of his
adhesion to the service of the crown; and after the revolution, the
cadet returned to his native country, took quiet possession of a
property of no inconsiderable amount, while his senior passed his days
in exile, paying the bitter penalty of being rich in a revolution.  It
was a consequence of the peculiarities first mentioned, that the
Manhattanese society set so high a value on English connection. They
still admired, as the provincial only can admire; and they worshipped,
as the provincial worships; or, at a safe distance. The strange medley
of truth, cant, selfishness, sophistry and good faith, that founded
the political hostility to the movements of the French revolution, had
as ardent believers in this country, as it had in England itself; and
this contributed to sustain the sort of feeling I have described. Of
the fact, there can be no doubt, as any one will testify who knew New
York society forty years ago.

No wonder then, that Major Merton and Emily fared well, on their
sudden arrival in the country. Some romance, moreover, was attached to
their adventures; and I had no great reason to give myself any anxiety
on their account.  There was little doubt of their soon being much
more at home, than I could hope to be, though in my native land.

Neb soon reported himself ready for shore-duty, and I ordered him to
follow me. It was my intention to proceed to the counting-house of the
owners, to receive some letters that awaited me, and, after writing
short answers, to despatch the black at once to Clawbonny, with the
intelligence of my return. In 1802, the Battery was the court-end of
the town, and it was a good deal frequented by the better classes,
particularly at the hour at which I was now about to cross it. I have
never returned from a voyage, especially to Europe, without being
particularly struck with two things in the great Western
Emporium--since the common councils and the editors insist on the
word--viz., the provincial appearance of everything that meets the
eye, and the beauty of the younger females; meaning, however, by the
last, the true, native, portion of the population, and not the throng
from Ireland and Germany, who now crowd the streets; and who,
certainly, as a body, are not in the least remarkable for personal
charms. But an American can tell an American, man or woman, as soon as
he lays eyes on either; and there were few besides native girls on the
Battery at the time of which I am writing. As there were many children
taking their evening walk, and black servants were far more common
than now, Neb had his share of delights, too, and I heard him exclaim
"Golly!" twice, before we reached the centre of the Battery. This
exclamation escaped him on passing as many sable Venuses, each of whom
bridled up at the fellow's admiration, and doubtless was as much
offended as the sex is apt to be on such occasions.

I must have passed twenty young women, that evening, either of whom
would induce a youth to turn round to look again; and, for the moment,
I forgot my errand. Neither Neb nor I was in any hurry. We were
strolling along, in this manner, gazing right and left, when a party
approached, under the trees, that drew all my attention to itself. In
front walked a young man and young woman, who were dressed simply, but
with a taste that denoted persons of the better class. The former was
remarkable for nothing, unless it might be a rattling vivacity, of
which large doses were administered to his fair companion, who,
seemingly, swallowed it less reluctantly than doses of another sort
are so often received. At least, I thought so, while the two were at a
distance, by the beautiful glistening teeth that were shining like my
own spotless pearls, between lips of coral.  The air, beauty, figure,
and, indeed, all connected with this singularly lovely young creature,
struck my imagination at once. It was not so much her beauty, though
that was decided and attractive, as the admixture of feminine delicacy
with blooming health; the walk, so natural and yet so full of
lightness and grace; the laugh, so joyous and still so quiet and
suited to her sex; and the entire air and manner, which denoted
equally, buoyant health and happiness, the gracefulness of one who
thought not of herself, and the refinement which is quite as much the
gift of native sentiment, as the fruit of art and association. I could
not tell what her companion was saying; but, as they approached, I
fancied them acknowledged lovers, on whom fortune, friends, and
circumstances smiled alike. A glance aside told me that even Neb was
struck by the being before him, and that he had ceased looking at the
sable Venuses, to gaze at this.

I could not keep my gaze off the face of this lovely creature, who did
not let me get a good look of her dark-blue eyes, however, until I was
quite near, when they were naturally turned towards the form that
approached. For a few seconds, while in the very act of passing, we
looked intently at each other, and the charm said to be possessed by
certain animals, was not more powerful than was our mutual gaze. In
this manner we had actually passed each other, and I was still in a
sort of mystified prance, when I heard suddenly, in a voice and tone
that caused every nerve to thrill within me, the single word--

"Miles!"

Turning, and taking another look, it was impossible any longer to
mistake. Lucy Hardinge stood before me, trembling, uncertain, her face
now pale as death, now flushed to scarlet, her hands clasped, her look
doubting, eager, shrinking, equally denoting hope and fear, and all so
blended, as to render her the most perfect picture of female truth,
feeling, diffidence, and natural modesty, I had ever beheld.

"Lucy--is it--_can_ it be possible!--It is then _you_, I
thought so gloriously beautiful, and that without knowing you, too."

I take it for granted, had I studied a week, I should not have
composed a more grateful salutation than this, which burst forth in a
way that set all the usual restraints of manners at defiance. Of
course, I felt bound to go through with the matter as prosperously as
I had commenced, and in spite of the publicity of the place, in spite
of half a dozen persons, who heard what passed, and had turned,
smiling, to see what would come next, in spite of the grave-looking
gentleman who had so lately been all vivacity and gaiety, I advanced,
folded the dear girl to my heart, and gave her such a kiss, as I'll
take upon myself to say, she had never before received. Sailors,
usually, do not perform such things by halves, and I never was more in
earnest in my life. Such a salutation, from a young fellow who stood
rather more than six feet in his stockings, had a pair of whiskers
that had come all the way from the Pacific with very little trimming,
and who possessed a manliness about him of which mere walking up and
down Broadway would have robbed a young Hercules, had the effect to
cover poor Lucy with blushes and confusion.

"There--that will do, Miles," she said, struggling to get free--"a
truce, I pray you. See, yonder are Grace and my father, and Rupert."

There they all were, sure enough, the whole family having come out, to
take an evening walk, in company with a certain Mr. Andrew Drewett, a
young gentleman who was a fellow-student of Rupert's, and who, as I
afterwards ascertained, was a pretty open admirer of Rupert's
sister. There was a marked difference in the manner in which I was
received by Grace and Lucy. The first exclaimed "Miles!"  precisely as
the last had exclaimed; her colour heightened, and tears forced
themselves into her eyes, but she could not be said to blush. Instead
of first manifesting an eagerness to meet my salute, and then
shrinking sensitively from it, she flung her delicate arms round my
neck, without the slightest reserve, both arms too, kissed me six or
eight times without stopping, and then began to sob, as if her heart
would break. The spectators, who saw in all this the plain, honest,
natural, undisguised affection of a sister, had the good taste to walk
on, though I could see that their countenances sympathised with so
happy a family meeting. I had but a moment to press Grace to my heart,
before Mr. Hardinge's voice drew my attention to him. The good old man
forgot that I was two inches taller than he was himself; that I could,
with ease, have lifted him from the earth, and carried him in my arms,
as if he were an infant; that I was bronzed by a long voyage, and had
Pacific Ocean whiskers; for he caressed me as if I had been a child,
kissed me quite as often as Grace had done, blessed me aloud, and then
gave way to his tears, as freely as both the girls. But for this burst
of feeling on the part of a grey-headed old clergyman, I am afraid our
scene would not altogether have escaped ridicule.  As it was, however,
this saved us. Clergymen were far more respected in America, forty
years ago, than they are to-day, though I think they have still as
much consideration here as in most other countries; and the general
respect felt for the class would have insured us from any
manifestations of the sort, without the nature and emotion which came
in its aid. As for myself, I was glad to take refuge in Rupert's
hearty but less sentimental shake of the hand. After this, we all
sought a seat, in a less public spot, and were soon sufficiently
composed to converse. As for the gentleman named Drewett, he waited
long enough to inquire of Lucy who I was, and then he had sufficient
tact to wish us all good evening. I overheard the little dialogue
which produced this explanation.

"A close friend, if not a near relation, Miss Hardinge?"  he observed,
inquiringly.

"Oh, yes," answered the smiling, weeping girl, with the undisguised
truth of her honest nature--"both friend and relative."

"May I presume to ask the name?"

"The name, Mr. Drewett!--Why it is Miles--dear Miles--you surely have
heard us speak of Miles--but I forget; you never were at Clawbonny--is
it not a most joyful surprise, dearest, dearest Grace!"

Mr. Andrew Drewett waited, I thought, with most commendable patience
for Grace to squeeze Lucy's hand, and to murmur her own felicitations,
when he ventured to add--

"You were about to say something, Miss Hardinge?"

"Was I--I declare I have forgotten what it was. Such a surprise--such
a joyful, blessed surprise--I beg pardon, Mr. Drewett--ah. I remember
now; I was about to say that this is Mr. Miles Wallingford, of
Clawbonny, the gentleman who is my father's ward--Grace's brother, you
know."

"And how related to yourself, Miss Hardinge?" the gentleman continued,
a little perseveringly.

"To me! Oh! very, very near--that is--I forget so much this
evening--why, not at all."

It was at this moment Mr. Drewett saw fit to make his parting
salutations with studied decorum, and to take his leave in a manner so
polite, that, though tempted, I could not, just at the moment, stop
the current of my feelings, to admire.  No one seemed to miss him,
however, and we five, who remained, were soon seated in the spot I
have mentioned, and as much abstracted from the scene around us, as if
we had been on the rustic bench, under the old elm, on the lawn--if I
dare use so fine a word, for so unpretending a place--at Clawbonny. I
had my station between Mr. Hardinge and Grace, while Lucy sat next her
father, and Rupert next to my sister. My friend could see me, without
difficulty, owing to his stature, while I saw the glistening eyes of
Lucy, riveted on my face, as leaning on her father's knee, she bent
her graceful form forward, in absorbed attention.

"We expected you; we have not been taken _altogether_ by
surprise!" exclaimed good Mr. Hardinge, clapping his hand on my
shoulder, as if to say he could now begin to treat me like a man. "I
consented to come down, just at this moment, because the last Canton
ship that arrived brought the intelligence that the Crisis was to sail
in ten days."

"And you may judge of our surprise," said Rupert, "when we read the
report in the papers, 'The Crisis, _Captain Wallingford_.'"

"I supposed my letters from the island had prepared you for this," I
observed.

"In them, you spoke of Mr. Marble, and I naturally concluded, when it
came to the pinch, the man would resume the command, and bring the
ship home. Duty to the owners would be apt to induce him."

"He did not," I answered, a little proudly perhaps, forgetting poor
Marble's probable situation, for an instant, in my own vanity.
"Mr. Marble understood well, that if I knew nothing else, I knew how
to take care of a ship."

"So it seems, my dear boy, indeed, so it doth seem!" said
Mr. Hardinge, kindly. "I hear from all quarters, you conduct
commended; and the recovery of the vessel from the French, was really
worthy of Truxtun himself."

At that day, Truxtun was the great gun of American naval idolatry, and
had as much local reputation, as Nelson himself enjoyed in
England. The allusion was a sore assault on my modesty; but I got
along with it, as well as I could.

"I endeavoured to do my duty, sir," I answered, trying not to look at
Lucy, and seem meek; "and it would have been a terrible disgrace to
have come home, and been obliged to say the French got the ship from
us, when we were all asleep."

"But you took a ship from the French, in that manner, and kept her
too!" said a soft voice, every intonation of which was music to me.

I looked round and saw the speaking eyes of Lucy, just clear of the
grey coat of her father, behind which she instinctively shrank, the
instant she caught my glance.

"Yes," I answered, "we did something of that sort, and were a little
more fortunate than our enemies. But, you will recollect we were much
favoured by the complaisance of poor Monsieur Le Compte, in leaving us
a schooner to work our mischief in."

"I have always thought that part of your story, Miles, a little
extraordinary," observed Mr. Hardinge; "though I suppose this
Frenchman's liberality was, in some measure, a matter of necessity,
out there, in the middle of the Pacific."

"I hardly think you do Captain Le Compte justice, sir.  He was a
chivalrous fellow, and every way a gallant seaman.  It is possible, he
was rather more in a hurry than he might have been, but for his
passengers--that is all--at least, I have always suspected that the
wish to have Miss Merton all to himself, induced him to get rid of us
as soon as possible. He evidently admired her, and could have been
jealous of a dead-eye."

"Miss Merton!" exclaimed Grace. "Jealous!"

"Miss Merton!" put in Rupert, leaning forward, curiously.

"Miss Merton! And jealous of dead-eyes, and wishing to get rid of us!"
said Mr. Hardinge, smiling. "Pray who is Miss Merton? and who are the
_us_? and what are the dead-eyes?"

Lucy was silent.

"Why, sir, I thought I wrote you all about the Mertons.  How we met
them in London, and then found them prisoners to Monsieur Le Compte;
and that I intended to carry them to Canton, in the Crisis!"

"You told us some of this, certainly; but, though you may have written
'all about' a _Major_ Merton, you _forgot_ to tell us 'about
_all_ the Mertons. This is the first syllable I have ever had
about a _Miss_ Merton. How is it, girls--did Miles speak of any
one but the Major, in his letter?"

"Not a syllable to me, sir, of any young lady, I can assure you,"
replied Grace, laughing. "How was it to you, Lucy?"

"Of course he would not tell me that which he thought fit to conceal
from his own sister," said Lucy, in a low voice.

"It is odd I should have forgotten to mention her," I cried,
endeavouring to laugh it off. "Young men do not often forget to write
about young ladies."

"This Miss Merton is young, then, brother?"

"About your own age, Grace."

"And handsome--and agreeable--and accomplished?"

"Something like yourself, my dear."

"But handsome, I take it for granted, Miles," observed Mr. Hardinge,
"by the manner in which you have omitted to speak of her charms, in
your letters!"

"Why sir, I think most persons--that is the world in general--I mean
such as are not over-fastidious, would consider Miss Merton
particularly handsome--agreeable in person and features, I would be
understood to say."

"Oh! you are sufficiently explicit; everybody can understand you,"
added my laughing guardian, who had no more thought of getting me
married to his own daughter, than to a German princess of a hundred
and forty-five quarterings, if there are any such things; "some other
time we will have the particulars of her eyes, hair, teeth, &c., &c."

"Oh! sir, you may save me the trouble, by looking at her yourself,
to-morrow, since she and her father are both here."

"_Here!_" exclaimed all four in a breath; Lucy's extreme surprise
extorting the monosyllable from her reserve, even a little louder than
from the rest.

"Certainly, here; father, daughter, and servants; I dare say I omitted
to speak of the servants in my letters, too; but a poor fellow who has
a great deal to do, cannot think of everything in a minute. Major
Merton has a touch of the liver complaint; and it would not do to
leave him in a warm climate. So, no other chance offering, he is
proceeding to England, by the way of America."

"And how long had you these people on board your ship, Miles?" Grace
asked, a little gravely.

"Actually on board, with myself, about nine months, I should think;
but including the time in London, at Canton, and on the island, I
should call our acquaintance one of rather more than a year's
standing."

"Long enough, certainly, to make a young lady sufficiently obvious to
a young gentleman's memory, not to be forgotten in his letters."

After this pointed speech, there was a silence, which Mr.  Hardinge
broke by some questions about the passage home from Canton. As it was
getting cool on the Battery, however, we all moved away, proceeding to
Mrs. Bradfort's.  This lady, as I afterwards discovered, was much
attached to Lucy, and had insisted on giving her these opportunities
of seeing the world. She was quite at her ease in her circumstances,
and belonged to a circle a good deal superior to that into which Grace
and myself could have claimed admission, in right of our own social
position. Lucy had been well received as her relative, and as a
clergyman's daughter; and Grace on her own account, as I afterwards
learned. It would be attaching too much credit to Clawbonny, to say
that either of the girls had not improved by this association; though
it was scarcely possible to make Grace more feminine and lady-like
than she had been made by nature. The effect on Lucy was simply to put
a little reserve on her native frankness, and sturdy honesty; though
candour compels me to say, that mingling with the world, and,
especially the world to which they had been introduced by Mrs.
Bradfort, had certainly increased the native charm of manner that each
possessed. I began to think Emily Merton so far from possessing any
advantage over the two girls, might now improve a little herself, by
associating with them.

At the house, I had to tell my whole story, and to answer a multitude
of questions. Not a syllable more was said about Miss Merton; and even
Lucy had smiles to bestow and remarks to make, as before. When we got
to the lights, where the girls could remove their shawls and hats, I
made each of them stand before me, in order to ascertain how much time
had altered them. Grace was now nineteen; and Lucy was only six months
her junior. The greatest change was in the latter. Her form had
ripened into something as near as possible to girlish perfection. In
this respect she had the advantage of Grace, who was a little too
slight and delicate; whereas, Lucy, without any of the heaviness that
so often accompanies a truly rounded person, and which was perhaps a
slight defect in Emily Merton's figure, was without an angle of any
sort, in her entire outline. Grace, always so handsome, and so
intellectual in the expression of her countenance, had improved less
in this respect, than Lucy, whose eyes had obtained a tenderness and
feeling that rendered them, to me, even more attractive than those of
my own dear sister. In a word, any man might have been proud, at
finding two such admirable creatures interested in him, as interested,
every look, smile, syllable, and gesture of these dear girls, denoted
they were in me.

All this time, Neb had been overlooked. He had followed us to the
house, however, and was already engaged in a dark-coloured flirtation
with a certain Miss Chloe Clawbonny, his own second-cousin, in the
kitchen; a lady who had attracted a portion of his admiration, before
we sailed, and who had accompanied her young mistress to town. As soon
as it was ascertained the fellow was below, Lucy, who was quite at
home in her kinswoman's house, insisted on his being introduced. I saw
by the indulgent smile of Mrs.  Bradfort, that Lucy was not exceeding
her conceded privileges, and Neb was ordered up, forthwith. Never was
there a happier fellow than this 'nigger' appeared to be, on that
occasion. He kept rolling his tarpaulin between his fingers, shifting
his weight from leg to leg, and otherwise betraying the confusion of
one questioned by his betters; for, in that day, a _negro_ was
ready enough to allow he had his betters, and did not feel he was
injured in so doing. At the present time, I am well aware that the
word is proscribed even in the State's Prisons; everybody being just
as good as everybody else; though some have the misfortune to be
sentenced to hard labour, while others are permitted to go at
large. As a matter of course, the selections made through the
ballot-boxes, only go to prove that "one man is as good as another."

Our party did not separate until quite late. Suppers were eaten in
1802; and I was invited to sit down with the rest of the family, and a
gay set we were. It was then the fashion to drink toasts; gentlemen
giving ladies, and ladies gentlemen. The usage was singular, but very
general; more especially in the better sort of houses. We men drank
our wine, as a matter of course; while the ladies sipped theirs, in
that pretty manner in which females moisten their lips, on such
occasions. After a time, Mrs. Bradfort, who was very particular in the
observance of forms, gaily called on Mr. Hardinge for his toast.


"My dear Mrs. Bradfort," said the divine, good-humouredly, "if it were
not in your own house, and contrary to all rule to give a person who
is present, I certainly should drink to yourself. Bless me, bless me,
whom shall I give?  I suppose I shall not be permitted to give our new
Bishop, Dr. Moore?"

The cry of "No Bishop!" was even more unanimous than it is at this
moment, among those who, having all their lives dissented from
episcopal authority, fancy it an evidence of an increasing influence
to join in a clamour made by their own voices; and this, moreover, on
a subject that not one in a hundred among them has given himself the
trouble even to skim. Our opposition--in which Mrs. Bradfort joined,
by the way--was of a very different nature, however; proceeding from a
desire to learn what lady Mr. Hardinge could possibly select, at such
a moment. I never saw the old gentleman so confused before. He
laughed, tried to dodge the appeal, fidgeted, and at last fairly
blushed. All this proceeded, not from any preference for any
particular individual of the sex, but from natural diffidence, the
perfect simplicity and nature of his character, which caused him to be
abashed at even appearing to select a female for a toast.  It was a
beautiful picture of masculine truth and purity!  Still, we would not
be put off; and the old gentleman, composing his countenance five or
six times in vain efforts to reflect, then looking as grave as if
about to proceed to prayer, raised his glass, and said--

"Peggy Perott!"

A general laugh succeeded this announcement, Peggy Perott being an old
maid who went about tending the sick for hire, in the vicinity of
Clawbonny, and known to us all as the ugliest woman in the county.

"Why do you first insist on my giving a toast, and then laugh at it
when given?" cried Mr. Hardinge, half-amused, half-serious in his
expostulations. "Peggy is an excellent woman, and one of the most
useful I know."

"I wonder, my dear sir, you did not think of adding a sentiment!"
cried I, a little pertly.

"And if I had, it would have been such a one as no woman need be
ashamed to hear attached to her name. But enough of this; I have given
Peggy Perott, and you are bound to drink her"--that we had done
already; "and now, cousin, as I have passed through the fiery
furnace--"

"Unscathed?" demanded Lucy, laughing ready to kill herself.

"Yes, unscathed, miss: and now, cousin, I ask of you to honour us with
a toast."

Mrs. Bradfort had been a widow many years, and was fortified with the
panoply of her state. Accustomed to such appeals, which, when she was
young and handsome, had been of much more frequent occurrence than of
late, she held her glass for the wine with perfect self-possession,
and gave her toast with the conscious dignity of one who had often
been solicited in vain "to change her condition."

"I will give you," she said, raising her person and her voice, as if
to invite scrutiny, "my dear old friend, good Dr. Wilson."

It was incumbent on a single person to give another who was also
single; and the widow had been true to the usage; but "good
Dr. Wilson" was a half-superannuated clergyman, whom no one could
suspect of inspiring anything beyond friendship.

"Dear me--dear me!" cried Mr. Hardinge, earnestly; "how much more
thoughtful, Mrs. Bradfort, you are than myself! Had I thought a
moment, _I_ might have given the Doctor; for I studied with him,
and honour him vastly."

This touch of simplicity produced another laugh--how easily we all
laughed that night!--and it caused a little more confusion in the
excellent divine. Mrs. Bradfort then called on me, as was her right;
but I begged that Rupert might precede me, he knowing more persons,
and being now a sort of man of the world.

"I will give the charming Miss Winthrop," said Rupert, without a
moment's hesitation, tossing off his glass with an air that said, "how
do you like _that?_"

As Winthrop was a highly respectable name, it denoted the set in which
Rupert moved; and as for the young lady I dare say she merited his
eulogium, though I never happened to see her. It was something,
however, in 1802, for a youngster to dare to toast a Winthrop, or a
Morris, or a Livingston, or a de Lancey, or a Stuyvesant, or a
Beekman, or a Van Renssellaer, or a Schuyler, or a Rutherford, or a
Bayard, or a Watts, or a Van Cortlandt, or a Verplanck, or a Jones, or
a Walton, or any of that set. They, and twenty similar families,
composed the remnant of the colonial aristocracy, and still made head,
within the limits of Manhattan, against the inroads of the
Van--something elses. Alas!  alas! how changed is all this, though I
am obliged to believe it is all for the best.

"Do _you_ know Miss Winthrop?" I asked of Grace, in a whisper.

"Not at all; I am not much in that set," she answered,
quietly. "Rupert and Lucy have been noticed by many persons whom I do
not know."

This was the first intimation I got, that my sister did not possess
all the advantages in society that were enjoyed by her friend. As is
always the case where it is believed to be our _loss_, I felt
indignant at first; had it been the reverse, I dare say I should have
fancied it all very right. Consequences grew out of these distinctions
which I could not then foresee, but which will be related in their
place. Rupert now called on Grace for her toast, a lady commonly
succeeding a gentleman. My sister did not seem in the least
disconcerted: but, after a moment's hesitation, she said--

"Mr. Edward Marston."

This was a strange name to me, but I afterwards ascertained it
belonged to a respectable young man who visited Mrs. Bradfort's, and
who stood very well with all his acquaintances. I looked at Rupert, to
note the effect; but Rupert was as calm as Grace herself had been,
when he gave Miss Winthrop.

"I believe I have no one to call upon but you, Miles," said Grace,
smiling.

"Me! Why, you all know I am not acquainted with a soul. Our Ulster
county girls have almost all gone out of my recollection; besides, no
one would know them here, should I mention twenty."

"You strangely forget, brother, that most of us are Ulster county
folk. Try if you can recall no young lady--"

"Oh! easily enough, for that matter; a young fellow can hardly have
lived nine months in the same cabin with Emily, and not think of her,
when hard pushed; I will give you, Miss Emily Merton."

The toast was drunk, and I thought Mr. Hardinge looked thoughtful,
like one who had a guardian's cares, and that Grace was even grave. I
did not dare look at Lucy, though I could have toasted her all night,
had it been in rule to drink a person who was present. We began to
chat again, and I had answered some eight or ten questions, when Mrs.
Bradfort, much too precise to make any omissions, reminded us that we
had not yet been honoured with Miss Lucy Hardinge's toast. Lucy had
enjoyed plenty of time to reflect; and she bowed, paused a moment as
if to summon resolution, and then mentioned--

"Mr. Andrew Drewett."

So, then, Lucy Hardinge toasted this Mr. Drewett--the very youth with
whom she had been in such animated discourse, when I first met the
party! Had I been more familiar with the world, I should have thought
nothing of a thing that was so common; or, did I understand human
nature better, I might have known that no sensitive and delicate woman
would betray a secret that was dear to her, under so idle a form. But
I was young, and ready myself to toast the girl I preferred before the
universe; and I could not make suitable allowances for difference of
sex and temperament. Lucy's toast made me very uncomfortable for the
rest of the evening; and I was not sorry when Rupert reminded me that
it was eleven, and that he would go with me to a tavern, in order to
look for a room.

The next morning was passed in transacting the business of the ship. I
found myself much noticed among the merchants and ship-masters; and
one of my owners took me on 'Change, that I might see and be seen. As
the papers had spoken of the recapture of the Crisis, on the arrival
of the Pretty Poll, and had now each an article on the arrival of the
ship, I had every reason to be satisfied with my reception.  There are
men so strong in principle, as well as intellect, I do suppose, that
they can be content with the approbation of their own consciences, and
who can smile at the praises or censure of the world, alike; but I
confess to a strong sympathy with the commendation of my
fellow-creatures, and as strong a distaste for their disapprobation. I
know this is not the way to make a very great man; for he who cannot
judge, feel and act for himself, will always he in danger of making
undue sacrifices to the wishes of others; but you can have no more of
a cat than the skin; and I was sufficiently proud at finding myself a
miniature hero, about the lower end of Wall-street, and in the columns
of the newspapers. As for these last, no one can complain of their
zeal in extolling everything national. To believe them, the country
never was wrong, or defeated, or in a condition to be defeated, except
when a political opponent could be made to suffer by an opposite
theory; and then nothing was ever right. As to fame, I have since
discovered they consider that of each individual to be public
property, in which each American has a part and parcel--the editors,
themselves, more than the man who has thrown the article into the
common lot. But I was young in 1802, and even a paragraph in my praise
in a newspaper had a certain charm for me, that I will not deny. Then
I _had_ done well, as even my enemies, if I had any must have
admitted.



CHAPTER XXII.

  "Ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats, and
  water-rats, water-thieves, and land-thieves; I mean pirates; and
  then, there is the peril of waters, winds and rocks: the man is,
  notwithstanding, sufficient;--three thousand ducats;--I think I may
  take his bond."--_Shylock_.


I saw Grace, and Lucy, and Rupert, and good Mr. Hardinge, every day;
but I could not find time to call on the Mertons, until near the close
of a week. I then paid them a visit, and found them glad to see me,
but not at all in want of my attentions to make them comfortable. The
Major had exhibited his claims to the British consul, who happened to
be a native Manhattanese, and was well-connected, a circumstance that
then gave him an influence in society, that his commission alone would
not have conferred.  Colonel Barclay, for so was this gentleman
called, had taken the Mertons by the hand, as a matter of course; and
his example being followed by others, I found that they were already
in the best circle of the place. Emily mentioned to me the names of
several of those with whom she had exchanged visits; and I knew at
once, through Lucy's and Grace's conversation, and from my own general
knowledge of the traditions of the colony and state, that they were
among the leading people of the land, socially if not politically; a
class altogether above any with whom I had myself ever associated.
Now, I knew that the master of a merchantman, whatever might be his
standing with his owner, or consignee, or the credit he had gained
among his fellows, was not likely to get admission into this set; and
there was the comfortable prospect before me, of having my own sister
and the two other girls I admired most and loved best in the
world--next to Grace, of course--visiting round in houses, of which
the doors were shut against myself.  This is always unpleasant, but in
my case it turned out to be more.

When I told Emily that Grace and Lucy were in town, and intended
coming to see her that very morning, I thought she manifested less
curiosity than would have been the case a month before.

"Is Miss Hardinge a relative of Mr. Rupert Hardinge, the gentleman to
whom I was introduced at dinner, yesterday," she demanded, after
expressing the pleasure it would give her to see the ladies.

I knew that Rupert had dined out the day before, and, there being no
one else of the same name, I answered in the affirmative.

"He is the son of a respectable clergyman, and of very good
connections, I hear."

"The Hardinges are so considered among us; both Rupert's father and
grandfather were clergymen, and his great-grandfather was a seaman--I
trust _you_ will think none the worse of him, for that."

"A sailor! I had supposed, from what some of those present said--that
is, I did not know it."

"Perhaps they told you that his great-grandfather was a _British
officer?_"

Emily coloured, and then she laughed faintly; admitting, however, that
I had guessed right.

"Well, all this was true," I added, "though he was a sailor. Old
Captain Hardinge--or Commodore Hardinge, as he used to be called, for
he once commanded a squadron--was in the English navy."

"Oh! that sort of a sailor!"--cried Emily, quickly--"I did not know
that it was usual to call gentlemen in the navy, seamen."

"They would make a poor figure if they were not, Miss Merton--you
might as well say that a judge is no lawyer."

This was enough, however, to satisfy me that Miss Merton no longer
considered the master of the Crisis the first man in the world.

A ring announced the arrival of the two girls. They were shown up, and
I soon had the satisfaction of seeing these three charming young women
together. Emily received her two guests very courteously, and was
frank--nay warm--in the expression of her gratitude for all that I
had done for herself and her father. She even went back so far as to
speak of the occurrence in the Park, at London, and was gracious
enough to declare that she and her parents owed their lives to my
interference. All this gave her listeners great pleasure, for I
believe neither ever tired of hearing my praises. After this opening,
the conversation turned on New York, its gaieties, and the different
persons known to them mutually. I saw that the two girls were struck
with the set Miss Merton was in, which was a shade superior even to
that of Mrs. Bradfort's, though the fusion which usually accompanies
that sort of thing, brought portions of each circle within the
knowledge of the other. As the persons named were utter strangers to
me, I had nothing to say, and sat listening in silence. The
opportunity was improved by comparing the girls with each other.

In delicacy of appearance, Grace and Lucy each had the advantage of
the English beauty. Their hands and feet were smaller, their waists
finer, and their _tournures_, generally, I thought the most
pleasing. Emily had the advantage in complexion, though her colour had
less fineness and delicacy.  Perhaps her teeth were the most
brilliant; though Grace and Lucy, particularly the latter, had very
fine teeth.  The English girl's shoulders and bust, generally, would
have been more admired than those of most American--particularly than
most New York--girls; but it was not possible to surpass those of
Lucy. As a whole, Emily's countenance had the most spirit, Lucy's the
most finesse and feeling. I make no comparison with the expression of
Grace's countenance, which was altogether too remarkable for its
intellectual character, to be included in anything like a national
classification. I remember I thought, as they sat there in a row
conversing frankly and cheerfully together, Lucy the handsomest, in
her pretty neat morning-dress; while I had my doubts whether Emily
would not have extorted the most applause in a ball-room. This
distinction is mentioned, because I believe it national.

The visit lasted an hour; for I had expressed a wish to all parties
that they would become acquainted, and the girls seemed mutually
pleased. As they chatted, I listened to the tones of their voices, and
fancied, on the whole, that Emily had slightly the advantage in
intonation and accent; though it was scarcely perceptible, and it was
an advantage that was attended by a slight sacrifice of the charm of
natural utterance. She was a little more artificial in this respect
than her companions, and insomuch less pleasing though, had the
comparison been made with the Manhattan _style_ of the present
day, the odds would have been immensely in her favour. In 1802,
however, some attention was still paid to the utterance, tones of
voice, and manner of speaking of young ladies. The want of it all,
just now, is the besetting vice of the whole of our later instruction
of the sex; it being almost as rare a thing now-a-days, to find a
young American girl who speaks her own language gracefully, as it is
to find one who is not of pleasing person.

When the young ladies parted, it was with an understanding that they
were soon to meet again. I shook hands with Emily, English fashion,
and took my leave at the same time.

"Well, Miles," said Grace, as soon as we were in the street, "you have
certainly been of service to a very charming young woman--I like her,
excessively."

"And you, Lucy--I hope you agree with Grace, in thinking my friend,
Emily Merton, a charming young woman."

Lucy did not speak as frankly, or as decidedly as Grace, so far as
manner was concerned; though she coincided in words.

"I am of the same opinion," she said, in a tone that was far less
cheerful than her usually very cheerful manner.  "She is one of the
loveliest creatures I ever saw--and it is no wonder--"

"What is no wonder, dear?" asked Grace, observing that her friend
hesitated to proceed.

"Oh! I was about to say something silly, and had better not finish the
speech. But, what a finished manner Miss Merton possesses;--do you not
think so, Grace?"

"I wish she had a little less of it, dear; that is precisely what I
should find fault with in her deportment. It _is_ manner; and,
though we all must have some, it strikes me it ought not to be seen. I
think all the Europeans we saw in town, last winter, Lucy, had more or
less of this manner."

"I dare say it would seem so to _us_; notwithstanding, it may be
very agreeable to those who are used to it--a thing to miss, when one
gets much accustomed to it."

As Lucy made this remark, I detected a furtive and timid glance at
myself. I was mystified at the time, and was actually so silly as to
think the dear girl was talking at me, and to feel a little
resentment. I fancied she wished to say, "There, Master Miles, you
have been in London, and on a desert island in the South Seas--the
very extremes of human habits--and have got to be so sophisticated, so
very un-Clawbonnyish, as to feel the necessity of a _manner_, in
the young ladies with whom you associate." The notion nettled me to a
degree that induced me to pretend duty, and to hurry down to the
ship. Whom should I meet, in Rector Street, but Mr. Hardinge, who had
been across to the Hudson in search of me.

"Come hither, Miles," said the excellent old man, "I wish to converse
with you seriously."

As Lucy was uppermost in my thoughts at the moment, I said to
myself--"What can the dear old gentleman have to say, now?"

"I hear from all quarters the best accounts of you, my dear boy,"
Mr. Hardinge continued, "and I am told you make a very superior
seaman. It is a feather in your cap, indeed, to have commanded an
Indiaman a twelve-month before you are of age. I have been conversing
with my old friend John Murray, of the house of John Murray and Sons,
one of the very best merchants in America, and he says 'push the boy
ahead, when you find the right stuff in him.  Get him a ship of his
own, and that will put him on the true track. Teach him early to have
an eye to his own interests, and it will make a man of him, at once.'
I have thought the matter over, have had a vessel in my eye, for the
last month, and will purchase her at once, if you like the plan."

"But, have I money enough for such a thing, my dear sir--after having
sailed in the John, and the Tigris, and the Crisis, I should not like
to take up with any of your B's, No. 2."

"You have forgotten to mention the 'Pretty Poll,' Miles," said the
divine, smiling. "Be under no fear, however, for your dignity; the
vessel I have in treaty, is all you could wish, they tell me, having
made but one voyage, and is sold on account of the death of her
owner. As for money, you will remember I have thirteen thousand
dollars of your income invested in stocks, and stocks that cost but
ten. The peace has brought everything up, and you are making money,
right and left. How have your own pay and private venture turned out?"

"Perfectly well, sir. I am near three thousand dollars in pocket, and
shall have no need to call on you, for my personal wants. Then I have
my prize-money to touch.  Even Neb, wages and prize-money, brings me
nine hundred dollars. With your permission, sir, I should like to give
the fellow his freedom."

"Wait till you are of age, Miles, and then you can do as you please. I
hold four thousand dollars of your invested money, which has been paid
in, and I have placed it in stocks. Altogether, I find we can muster,
in solid cash, more than twenty thousand dollars, while the price of
the ship, as she stands, almost ready for sea, is only fifteen.  Now,
go and look at the vessel; if you like her, I will close the bargain
at once."

"But, my dear Mr. Hardinge, do you think yourself exactly qualified to
judge of the value of a ship?"

"Poh! poh! don't imagine I am so conceited as to purchase on my own
knowledge. I have taken some of the very best advice of the
city. There is John Murray, to begin with--a great ship-holder,
himself--and Archibald Gracie, and William Bayard--all capital judges,
have taken an interest in the affair. Three others of my friends have
walked round to look at the vessel, and all approve--not a dissenting
voice."

"May I ask, sir, who have seen her, besides the gentlemen you have
named? they, I admit, are, indeed, good judges."

"Why?--why--yes--do you happen to know anything of Dr. Benjamin Moore,
now, Miles?"

"Never heard of him, sir, in my life; but a physician can be no great
judge of a ship."

"No more of a physician than yourself, boy--Dr. Benjamin Moore, the
gentleman we elected Bishop, while you were absent--"

"Oh! he you wished to toast, instead of Miss Peggy Perott--" cried I,
smiling. "Well, what does the Bishop think of her--if he approve, she
_must_ be orthodox."

"He says she is the handsomest vessel he ever laid eyes on, Miles; and
let me tell you, the favourable opinion of so good a man as Dr. Moore,
is of value, even though it be about a ship."

I could not avoid laughing, and I dare say most of the readers will
also, at this touch of simplicity; and yet, why should not a Bishop
know as much of ships, as a set of ignoramuses who never read a
theological book in their lives, some of them not even the Bible,
should know about Bishops? The circumstance was not a tittle more
absurd than many that are occurring daily before our eyes, and to
which, purely from habit, we submit, very much as a matter of course.

"Well, sir," I replied, as soon as I could, "I will look at the ship,
get her character, and give you an answer at once. I like the idea,
for it is pleasant to be one's own master."

In that day, $15,000 would buy a very excellent ship, as ships
went. The vessel I was taken to see, was coppered and copper-fastened,
butt-bolted, and she measured just five hundred tons. She had a great
reputation as a sailer, and what was thought a good deal of in 1802,
was Philadelphia built. She had been one voyage to China, and was
little more than a year old, or the best possible age for a
vessel. Her name was the "Dawn," and she carried an "Aurora" for her
figure-head. Whether she were, or were not inclined to Puseyism, I
never could ascertain, although I can affirm she had the services of
the Protestant Episcopal Catholic Church read on board her afterwards,
on more than one occasion.

The result of my examination and inquiries was favourable, and, by the
end of the week, the Dawn was purchased.  The owners of the Crisis
were pleased to express their regrets, for they had intended that I
should continue in the command of their vessel, but no one could
object to a man's wishing to sail in his own employment. I made this
important acquisition, at what was probably the most auspicious moment
of American navigation. It is a proof of this, that, the very day I
was put in possession of the ship, good freights were offered to no
less than four different parts of the world. I had my choice between
Holland, France, England, and China. After consulting with my
guardian, I accepted that to France, which not only paid the best, but
I was desirous of seeing more of the world than had yet fallen to my
share. I could make a voyage to Bordeaux and back in five months, and
by the end of that time I should be of age, and consequently my own
master. As I intended to have great doings at Clawbonny on that
occasion, I thought it might be well not to go too far from
home. Accordingly, after shipping Talcott and the Philadelphian, whose
name was Walton, for my mates, we began to take in cargo, as soon as
possible.

In the meantime, I bethought me of a visit to the paternal home. It
was a season of the year, when most people, who were anybodies, left
town, and the villas along the shores of the Hudson had long been
occupied. Mr. Hardinge, too, pined for the country and his flock. The
girls had had enough of town, which was getting to be very dull, and
everybody, Rupert excepted, seemed anxious to go up the river. I had
invited the Mertons to pass part of the summer at the farm, moreover,
and it was time the invitation should be renewed, for the Major's
physicians had advised him to choose some cooler residence than the
streets of a hot close town could furnish, during the summer
months. Emily had been so much engrossed with the set into which she
had fallen, since her landing, and which it was easy for me to see was
altogether superior to that in which she had lived at home, that I was
surprised at the readiness with which she urged her father to redeem
his promise.

"Mr. Hardinge tells me, sir, that Clawbonny is really a pretty spot,"
she said, "and the country around it is thought to be very
healthy. You cannot get answers from home (she meant England) for
several months, and I know Captain Wallingford will be happy to
receive us. Besides, we are pledged to accept this additional favour
from him."

I thought Major Merton felt some of my own surprise at Emily's
earnestness and manner, but his resistance was very feeble. The old
gentleman's health, indeed, was pretty thoroughly undermined, and I
began to have serious doubts of his living even to return to
Europe. He had some relatives in Boston, and had opened a
correspondence with them, and I had thought, more than once, of the
expediency of apprising them of his situation. At present however
nothing better could be done than to get him into the country.

Having made all the arrangements with the others, I went to persuade
Rupert to be of the party, for I thought it would make both Grace and
Lucy so much the happier.

"Miles, my dear fellow," said the young student, gaping, "Clawbonny is
certainly a capitalish place, but, you will admit it is somewhat
stupid after New York. My good kinswoman, Mrs. Bradfort, has taken
such a fancy to us all, and has made me so comfortable--would you
believe it, boy, she has actually given me six hundred a year, for the
last two years, besides making Lucy presents fit for a queen.  A
sterling woman is she, this cousin Margaret of ours!"

I heard this, truly, not without surprise; for, in settling with my
owners, I found Rupert had drawn every cent to which he was entitled,
under the orders I had left when I last went to sea.

As Mrs. Bradfort was more than at her ease, however, had no nearer
relative than Mr. Hardinge, and was much attached to the family, I had
no difficulty in believing it true, so far as the lady's liberality
was concerned. I heartily wished Rupert had possessed more
self-respect; but he was, as he was!

"I am sorry you cannot go with us," I answered, "for I counted on you
to help amuse the Mertons--"

"The Mertons!--Why, surely, they are not going to pass the summer at
Clawbonny!"

"They quit town with us, to-morrow. Why should not the Mertons pass
the summer at Clawbonny?"

"Why, Miles, my dear boy, you know how it is with the world--how it is
with these English, in particular. They think everything of rank, you
know, and are devotees of style and appearance, and all that sort of
thing, you know, as no one understands better than myself; for I pass
most of my time in the English set, you know."

I did not _then_ understand what had come over Rupert, though it
is all plain enough to me, _now_. He had, truly enough, got into
what was then called the English set. Now, there is no question, that,
so far as the natives, themselves, were concerned, this was as good a
set as ever existed in his country; and, it is also beyond all cavil,
that many respectable English persons, of both sexes, were
occasionally found in it; but, it had this great defect:--_every_
Englishman who wore a good coat, and had any of the slang of society,
made his way into the outskirts, at least, of this set; and Rupert,
whose own position was not yet thoroughly confirmed, had fallen a
great deal into the association of these accidental comers and
goers. They talked large, drank deep, and had a lofty disdain for
everything in the country, though it was very certain they were just
then in much better company where they were, than they had ever been
at home. Like most tyroes, Rupert fancied these blustering gentry
persons to imitate; and, as they seldom conversed ten minutes without
having something to say of my Lord A----or Sir John B----, persons
they had _read_ of, or seen in the streets, he was weak enough to
imagine they knew all about the dignitaries of the British Empire. As
Rupert was really a gentleman, and had good manners naturally, it was
a grievous thing to see him fashioning himself anew, as it might be,
on such very questionable models,

"Clawbonny is not a stylish place, I am ready to allow," I answered,
after a moment of hesitation; "still it is respectable.  There is a
good farm, a valuable mill, and a good, old, comfortable, straggling,
stone house."

"Very true, Miles, my dear fellow, and all as dear to me, you know, as
the apple of my eye--but _farmish_--young ladies like the good
things that comes from farms, but do not admire the homeliness of the
residence. I speak of young English ladies, in particular. Now, you
see, Major Merton is a field-officer, and that is having good rank in
a respectable profession, you know--I suppose you understand, Miles,
that the king puts most of his sons into the army, or navy--all this
makes a difference, you understand?"

"I understand nothing about it; what is it to me where the king of
England puts his sons?"

"I wish, my dear Miles, if the truth must be said, that you and I had
been a little less boyish, when we were boys, than happened to be the
case. It would have been all the better for us both."

"Well, I wish no such thing. A boy should be a boy, and a man a man. I
am content to have been a boy, while I was a boy. It is a fault in
this country, that boys fancy themselves men too soon."

"Ah! my dear fellow, you _will_ not, or _do_ not understand
me. What I mean is, that we were both precipitate in the choice of a
profession--I retired in time, but you persevere; that is all."

"You did retire in season, my lad, if truth is what you are after;
for, had you staid a hundred years on board ship, you never would have
made a sailor."

When I said this, I fancied I had uttered a pretty severe
thing. Rupert took it so coolly, however, as to satisfy me at once,
that he thought differently on the subject.

"Clearly, it is not my vocation. Nature intended me for something
better, I trust, and I mistook a boyish inclination for a taste. A
little experience taught me better, and I am now where I feel I ought
to be. I wish, Miles, you had come to the study of the law, at the
time you went to sea.  You would have been, by this time, at the bar,
and would have had a definite position in society."

"I am very glad I did not. What the deuce should I have done as a
lawyer--or what advantage would it have been to me, to be admitted to
the bar?"

"Advantage!--Why, my dear fellow, every advantage in the world. You
know how it is, in this country, I suppose, in the way of society, my
dear Miles?"

"Not I--and, by the little I glean from the manner you sheer about in
your discourse, I wish to know nothing. Do young men study law merely
to be genteel?"

"Do not despise knowledge, my boy; it is of use, even in trifles. Now,
in this country, you know, we have very few men of mere leisure--heirs
of estates, to live on their incomes, as is done in Europe; but,
nine-tenths of us must follow professions, of which there are only
half-a-dozen suitable for a gentleman. The army and navy are nothing,
you know; two or three regiments scattered about in the woods, and
half-a-dozen vessels. After these, there remain the three learned
professions, divinity, law and physic. In our family, divinity has run
out, I fear. As for physic, 'throw physic to the dogs,' as Miss Merton
says--"

"Who?" I exclaimed, in surprise. "'Throw physic to the dogs'--why that
is Shakspeare, man!"

"I know it, and it is Miss Emily Merlon's, too. You have made us
acquainted with a charming creature, at least, Miles, by this going to
sea. Her notions on such subjects are as accurate as a sun-dial."

"And, has Miss Emily Merton ever conversed with you, on the subject of
_my_ profession, Rupert?"

"Indeed, she has; and regretted it, again and again.  You know as well
as I do, Miles, to be a sailor, other than in a navy, is not a
_genteel_ profession!"

I broke out into a fit of laughter, at this remark. It struck me as
infinitely droll, and as somewhat silly. I knew my precise position in
society, perfectly; had none of the silly swaggering about personal
merit, and of "one man's being as good as another," that has since got
into such general use among us; and understood perfectly the useful
and unavoidable classifications that take place in all civilized
communities, and which, while they are attended by certain
disadvantages as exceptions, produce great benefits as a whole, and
was not disposed at all to exaggerate my claims, or to deny my
deficiencies. But, the idea of attaching any considerations of
_gentility_ to my noble, manly, daring profession, sounded so
absurd, I could not avoid laughing. In a few moments, however, I
became grave.

"Harkee, Rupert," said I: "I trust Miss Merton does not think I
endeavoured to mislead her as to my true position, or to make her
think I was a greater personage than I truly am?"

"I'll not answer for that. When we were first acquainted, I found she
had certain notions about Clawbonny, and your _estate_, and all
that, which were rather English, you know. Now, in England an
_estate_ gives a man a certain consideration, whereas land is so
plenty with us, that we think nothing of the man who happens to own a
little of it.  _Stock_, in America, as it is so much nearer
ready-money, is a better thing than land, you know."

How true was this, even ten years since; how false is it to-day! The
proprietor of tens of thousands of acres, was, indeed, under the
paper-money _regime_, a less important man than the owner of a
handful of scrip, which has had all its value squeezed out of it,
little by little. That was truly the age when the representative of
property was of far more importance than the property itself; and all
because the country existed in a fever, that set everything in motion.
We shall see just such times, again, I fear.

"But what had Emily Merton to do with all this?"

"Miss Merton? Oh! she is English, you know, and felt as English
persons always do, at the sound of acres. I set it all right, however,
and you need be under no concern."

"The devil you did! And, pray, in what manner was this done?
_How_ was the matter set right?"

Rupert took the segar from his mouth, suffered the smoke to issue, by
a small, deliberate jet, cocking his nose up at the same time as if
observing the stars, and then deigned to give me an answer. Your
smokers have such a disdainful, ultra-philosophical manner, sometimes!

"Why, just in this way, my fine fellow. I told her Clawbonny was a
_farm_, and not an _estate_, you know; that did a good deal,
of itself. Then, I entered into an explanation of the consideration of
farmers in this country, you know, and made it all as plain as A B
C. She is a quick girl, is Emily, and takes a thing remarkably soon."

"Did Miss Merton say anything to induce you to suppose she thought the
less of me, for these explanations."

"Of course not--she values you, amazingly--quite worships you, _as a
sailor_--thinks you a sort of merchant-captain Nelson, or Blake,
or Truxtun, and all that sort of thing. All young ladies, however, are
exceedingly particular about professions, I suppose you know, Miles,
as well as I do myself."

"What, Lucy, Rupert?--Do you imagine Lucy cares a straw about my not
being a lawyer, for instance?"

"Do I?--out of all question. Don't you remember how the girls
wept--Grace as well as Lucy--when we went to sea, boy. It was all on
account of the _un_gentility of the profession, if a fellow can
use such a word."

I did not believe this, for I knew Grace better, to say the least; and
thought I understood Lucy sufficiently, at that time, to know she wept
because she was sorry to see me go away. Still, Lucy had grown from a
very young girl, since I sailed in the Crisis, into a young woman, and
might view things differently, now, from what she had done three years
before. I had not time, however, for further discussion at that
moment, and I cut the matter short.

"Well, Rupert, what am I to expect?" I asked; "Clawbonny, or no
Clawbonny?"

"Why, now you say the Mertons are to be of the party I suppose I shall
have to go; it would be inhospitable else.  I do wish, Miles, you
would manage to establish visiting relations with some of the families
on the other side of the river. There are plenty of respectable people
within a few hours' sail of Clawbonny."

"My father, and my grandfather, and my great-grand-father, managed, as
you call it, to get along, for the last hundred years, well enough on
the west side; and, although we are not quite as genteel as the
_east_, we will do well enough. The Wallingford sails early in
the morning, to save the tide; and I hope your lordship will turn out
in season, and not keep us waiting. If you do, I shall be
_ungenteel_ enough to leave you behind."

I left Rupert with a feeling in which disgust and anger were
blended. I wish to be understood, more particularly as I know I am
writing for a stiff-necked generation. I never was guilty of the
weakness of decrying a thing because I did not happen to possess it
myself. I knew my own place in the social scale perfectly; nor was I,
as I have just said, in the least inclined to fancy that one man was
as good as another. I knew very well that this was not true, either in
nature or in the social relations; in political axioms, any more than
in political truths. At the same time, I did not believe nature had
created men unequal, in the order of primogeniture from male to
male. Keeping in view all the facts, I was perfectly disposed to admit
that habits, education, association, and sometimes chance and caprice,
drew distinctions that produced great benefits, as a whole; in some
small degree qualified, perhaps, by cases of individual injustice.
This last exception, however, being applicable to all things human, it
had no influence on my opinions, which were sound and healthful on all
these points; practical, common-sense-like, and in conformity with the
decisions of the world from the time of Moses down to our own, or, I
dare say, of Adam himself, if the truth could be known; and, as I have
said more than once in these rambling memoir's, I was not disposed to
take a false view of my own social position. I belonged, at most, to
the class of small proprietors, as they existed in the last century,
and filled a very useful and respectable niche between the yeoman and
gentleman, considering the last strictly in reference to the upper
class of that day. Now, it struck me that Emily Merton, with her
English notions, might very well draw the distinctions Rupert had
mentioned; nor am I conscious of having cared much about it, though
she did. If I were a less important person on _terra firma_, with
all the usages and notions of ordinary society producing their
influence, than I had been when in command of the Crisis, in the
centre of the Pacific, so was Miss Merton a less important young lady,
in the midst of the beauty of New York, than she had been in the
isolation of Marble Land. This I could feel very distinctly. But
Lucy's supposed defection did more than annoy me. I felt humbled,
mortified, grieved. I had always known that Lucy was better connected
than I was myself, and I had ever given Rupert and her the benefit of
this advantage, as some offset to my own and Grace's larger means; but
it had never struck me that either the brother or sister would be
disposed to look down upon us in consequence. The world is
everywhere--and America, on account of its social vicissitudes, more
than most other countries--constantly exhibiting pictures of the
struggles between fallen consequence and rising wealth. The last may,
and does have the best of it, in the mere physical part of the strife;
but in the more moral, if such a word can be used, the quiet
ascendency of better manners and ancient recollections is very apt to
overshadow the fussy pretensions of the vulgar aspirant, who places
his claims altogether on the all-mighty dollar. It is vain to deny it;
men ever have done it, and probably ever will defer to the past, in
matters of this sort--it being much with us, in this particular, as it
is with our own lives, which have had all their greatest enjoyments in
bygone days. I knew all this--felt all this--and was greatly afraid
that Lucy, through Mrs. Bradfort's influence, and her town
associations, might have learned to regard me as Captain Wallingford,
of the merchant-service, and the son of another Captain Wallingford of
the same line in life. I determined, therefore, to watch her with
jealous attention, during the few days I was to remain at Clawbonny.
With such generous intentions, the reader is not to be surprised if I
found some of that for which I so earnestly sought--people being very
apt to find precisely the thing for which they look, when it is not
lost money.

The next morning we were all punctual, and sailed at the proper
hour. The Mertons seemed pleased with the river, and, having a fresh
southerly wind in our favour, with a strong flood-tide, we actually
landed at the mill the same afternoon. Everything is apt to be
agreeable when the traveller gets on famously; and I thought I never
saw Emily in better spirits than she was when we first reached the top
of the ascent that lies above the landing. I had given her my arm, as
due to hospitality, while the others got up as they could; for I
observed that Rupert assisted no one. As for Lucy, I was still too
much vexed with her, and had been so all day, to be as civil as I
ought. We were soon at a point that commanded a view of the house,
meadows, orchards and fields.

"This, then, is Clawbonny!" exclaimed Emily, as soon as I pointed out
the place to her. "Upon my word, a very pretty farm, Captain
Wallingford. Even prettier than you represented it to be, Mr. Rupert
Hardinge."

"Oh! I always do justice to everything of Wallingford's, you know. We
were children together, and became so much attached in early life,
that it's no wonder we remain so in these our later days."

Rupert was probably nearer the truth than he imagined, when he made
this speech; my regard for him, by this time, being pretty much
reduced to habit; and certainly it had no increase from any fresh
supplies of respect. I began to hope he might not marry Grace, though
I had formerly looked forward to the connection as a settled
thing. "Let him get Miss Merton, if he can," I said to myself: "it
will be no great acquisition, I fancy, to either side."

How different was it with his father, and, I may add, with Lucy! The
old gentleman turned to me, with tears in his eyes; pointed to the
dear old house, with a look of delight; and then took my arm, without
reference to the wants of Miss Merton, and led me on, conversing
earnestly of my affairs, and of his own stewardship. Lucy had her
father's arm, on the other side; and the good divine was too much
accustomed to her, to mind the presence of his daughter.  Away we
three went, therefore, leading the way, while Rupert took charge of
Emily and Grace. Major Merton followed, leaning on his own man.

"It is a lovely--it is a lovely spot, Miles," said Mr. Hardinge; "and
I do most sincerely hope you will never think of tearing down that
respectable-looking, comfortable, substantial, good old-fashioned
house, to build a new one."

"Why should I, dear sir? The house, with an occasional addition, all
built in the same style, has served us a century, and may very well
serve another. Why should I wish for more, or a better house?"

"Why, sure enough? But, now you are a sort of a merchant, you may grow
rich, and wish to be the proprietor of a _seat_."

The time had been, when such thoughts often crossed my mind; but I
cared less for them, then. To own a _seat_, was the great object
of my ambition in boyhood; but the thought had weakened by time and
reflection.

"What does Lucy think of the matter? Do I want, or indeed deserve, a
better house?"

"I shall not answer either question," replied the dear girl, a little
saucily, I thought. "I do not understand your wants, and do not choose
to speak of your deservings. But I fancy the question will be settled
by a certain Mrs. Wallingford, one of these days. Clever women
generally determine these things for their husbands."

I endeavoured to catch Lucy's eye, when this was said, by leaning a
little forward myself; but the girl turned her head in such a manner
as prevented my seeing her face.  The remark was not lost on
Mr. Hardinge, however, who took it up with warmth, and all the
interest of a most pure and disinterested affection.

"I suppose you _will_ think of marrying one of these days,
Miles," he said; "but, on no account, marry a woman who will desert
Clawbonny, or who would wish materially to alter it. No good-hearted
woman, indeed--no _true_-hearted woman--would ever dream of
either. Dear me! dear me!  the happy days and the sorrowful days--the
gracious mercies of Providence, and the chastening afflictions--that I
myself have seen, and felt, and witnessed, under these same roofs!"

This was followed by a sort of enumeration of the events of the last
forty years, including passages in the lives of all who had dwelt at
the farm; the whole concluding with the divine's solemnly
repeating--"No, no! Miles; do not think, even, of marrying a woman who
would wish you to desert, or materially alter, Clawbonny."



CHAPTER XXIII.

  "If thou be'st rated by thy estimation,
  Thou dost deserve enough; and yet enough
  May not extend so far as to the lady."
  _Merchant of Venice_.


Next morning, I was early afoot, and I found Grace as much alive to
the charms of home, as I was myself. She put on a gypsy, and
accompanied me into the garden, where to my surprise, I found Lucy. It
looked like old times to be in that spot, again, with those two dear
girls.  Rupert alone was wanting to complete the picture; but, I had
an intimate conviction that Rupert, as he had been at least, could
never come within the setting of the family group again. I was
rejoiced, however, to see Lucy, and more so, just where I found her,
and I believe told her as much with my eyes. The charming girl looked
happier than she had appeared the day before, or for many previous
days indeed, and I felt less apprehension than of late, concerning her
having met with any agreeable youth of a more _genteel_
profession than that of a merchant-captain.

"I did not expect to find you here, Miss Lucy," cried Grace, "eating
half-ripe currants, too, or my eyes deceive me, at this early hour in
the morning. It is not twenty minutes since you were in your own room,
quite unadorned."

"The green fruit of dear Clawbonny is better than the ripe fruit of
those vile New York markets!" exclaimed Lucy, with a fervour so
natural as to forbid any suspicion of acting. "I should prefer a
Clawbonny potatoe, to a New York peach!"

Grace smiled, and, as soon as Lucy's animation had a little subsided,
_she_ blushed.

"How much better would it be, Miles," my sister resumed, "could you be
induced to think and feel with us, and quit the seas, to come and live
for the rest of your days on the spot where your fathers have so long
lived before you. Would it not, Lucy?"

"Miles will never do _that_," Lucy answered, with emphasis.  "Men
are not like us females who love everything we love at all, with our
whole hearts. Men prefer wandering about, and being shipwrecked, and
left on desert islands, to remaining quietly at home, on their own
farms. No, no; you'll never persuade Miles to do _that_."

"I am not astonished my brother thinks desert islands such pleasant
abodes, when he can find companions like Miss Merton on them."

"You will remember, sister of mine, in the first place, that Marble
Land is very far from being a desert island at all; and, in the next,
that I first found Miss Merton in Hyde Park, London; almost in the
canal, for that matter."


"I think it a little odd that Miles never told us all about this, in
his letters, at the time, Lucy. When young gentlemen drag young ladies
out of canals, their friends at home have a right to know something of
the matter."

How much unnecessary misery is inflicted by unmeaning expressions like
this. Grace spoke lightly, and probably without a second thought about
the matter; but the little she said, not only made me thoughtful and
uneasy, but it drove everything like a smile from the usually radiant
countenance of her friend. The conversation dragged; and soon after,
we returned together to the house.

I was much occupied that morning, in riding about the place with
Mr. Hardinge, and in listening to his account of his stewardship, With
the main results I was already acquainted--nay, possessed them in the
Dawn,--but the details had all to be gone over, with the most minute
accuracy.  A more simple-minded being there was not on earth than
Mr. Hardinge; and, that my affairs turned out so well was the result
of the prosperous condition of the country at that day, the system my
father had adopted in his life-time, and the good qualities of the
different agents he had chosen, every one of whom remained in the
situation in which he was at the sad moment of the fatal accident at
the mill.  Had matters really depended on the knowledge and management
of the most excellent divine, they would soon have been at sixes and
sevens.

"I am no believer in miracles, my dear Miles," observed my guardian,
with amusing self-complacency; "but I do think a change has been
wrought in me, to meet the emergencies of a situation, in which the
interests of two orphans have been so suddenly intrusted to my
guidance and care.  God be thanked! everything prospers; your affairs,
as well as those of my dear Grace. It is wonderful, boy, how a man of
my habits has been directed in his purchases of wheat, for instance;
I, who never bought a bushel until the whole responsibility of your
mills fell upon my shoulders I take no credit to myself for it--no
credit to myself!"

"I hope the miller has not been backward, my dear sir, in giving you
all the assistance in his power."

"Morgan?--yes; he is always ready, and you know I never forget to send
him into the market to both buy and sell. Really, his advice has been
so excellent, that to me it has the appearance of being almost
miraculous--prophetic, I should say, were it not improper. We should
avoid all exaggeration in our gratitude, boy."

"Very truly, sir. And in what manner have you managed to get along so
well with the crops, on the place, itself?"

"Favoured by the same great adviser, Miles. It is really wonderful,
the crops we have had; and the judgment that has been so
providentially shown in the management of the fields, as well as of
the mills!"

"Of course, sir, old Hiram (Neb's uncle) has always been ready to give
you his aid?--Hiram has a great deal of judgment, in his way."

"No doubt--no doubt--Hiram and I have done it all, led by a
Providential counsel. Well, my boy, you ought to be satisfied with
your earthly lot; for every thing seems to prosper that belongs to
you. Of course, you will marry, one of these days, and transmit this
place to your son, as it has been received from your fathers?"

"I keep that hope in perspective, sir; or, as we sailors say, for a
sheet-anchor."

"Your hope of salvation, boy, is your sheet-anchor, I trust.
Nevertheless, we are not to be too hard on young men, and must let
them have a little romance in their compositions. Yes, yes; I trust
you will not become so much wedded to your ship, as not to think of
taking a wife, one of these days. It will be a happy hour to me, when
I can see another Mrs. Miles Wallingford at Clawbonny. She will be the
third; for I can remember your grandmother."

"Can you recommend to me a proper person to fill that honourable
station, sir?" said I, smiling to myself, and exceedingly curious to
hear the answer.

"What do you think of this Miss Merton, boy? She is handsome, and that
pleases young men; clever, and that pleases old ones; well-educated,
and that will last, when the beauty is gone; and, so far as I can
judge, amiable; and that is as necessary to a wife, as fidelity.
_Marry no woman, Miles, that is not amiable!_"

"May I ask _what_ you call amiable, sir?--And, when that question
is answered, I may venture to go so far as to inquire _whom_ you
call amiable?"

"Very sensible distinctions, and such as are entitled to fair answers;
at least the first. I do not call levity, amiability; nor mere
constitutional gaiety. Some of the seemingly most light-hearted women
I have ever known, have been anything but amiable. There must be an
unusual absence of selfishness,--a person must live less for herself,
than others--or rather, must find her own happiness in the happiness
of those she loves, to make a truly amiable woman.  Heart and
principle are at the bottom of what is truly amiable; though
temperament and disposition undoubtedly contribute. As for the whom,
your own sister Grace is a truly amiable young woman. I never knew her
do anything to hurt another's feelings in my life."

"I suppose you will admit, sir, I cannot very well marry Grace?"

"I wish you could, with all my heart--yes, with all my heart! Were not
you and Grace brother and sister, I should consider myself well quit
of the responsibility of my guardianship, in seeing you man and wife."

"As that is out of the question, I am not without hopes you can
mention another who will do just as well, so far as I am concerned."

"Well, there is this Miss Merton--though I do not know her well enough
to venture absolutely on a recommendation.  Now, I told Lucy, no later
than yesterday, while we were on the river, and as you were pointing
out to Miss Merton the forts in the Highlands, that I thought you
would make one of the handsomest couples in the state--and, moreover,
I told her--bless me, how this corn grows! The plants will be in
tassel in a few days, and the crop must turn out most beneficent--truly,
truly--there is a providence in all things; for, at first, I was for
putting the corn on yonder hill-side, and the potatoes here; but old
Hiram was led by some invisible agency to insist on this field for the
corn, and the hill-side for the potatoes--and, now, look, and see what
crops are in promise! Think of a nigger's blundering on such a thing?"

In 1802, even well-educated and well-intentioned clergymen had no
scruples in saying "nigger."

"But, sir, you have quite forgotten to add what else you told Lucy?"

"True--true--it is very natural that you should prefer hearing me talk
about Miss Merton, to hearing me talk about potatoes--I'll tell
_that_ to Lucy, too, you may depend on it."

"I sincerely hope you will do no such thing, my dear sir," I cried, in
no little alarm.

"Ah! that betrays guilt--consciousness, I should say; for what guilt
can there be in a virtuous love?--and rely on it, both the girls shall
know all about it. Lucy and I often talk over your matters, Miles; for
she loves you as well as your own sister. Ah! my fine fellow, you
blush at it, like a girl of sixteen! But, there is nothing to be
ashamed of, and there is no occasion for blushes."

"Well, sir, letting my blushes--the blushes of a shipmaster!--but
setting aside my blushes, for mercy's sake _what more_ did you
tell Lucy?"

"What more? Why I told her how you had been on a desert island, quite
alone as one might say, with Miss Merton, and how you had been at sea,
living in the same cabin as it were, for nine months; and it would be
wonderful--wonderful, indeed, if two so handsome young persons should
not feel an attachment for each other. Country might make some
difference, to be sure--"

"And station, sir?--What do you think would be the influence of the
difference of station, also?"

"Station!--Bless me, Miles; what difference in station is there
between you and Miss Merton; that it should cause any obstacle to your
union?"

"You know what it is, sir, as well as I do myself. She is the daughter
of an officer in the British army, and I am the master of a ship. You
will admit, I presume, Mr. Hardinge, that there is such, a thing as a
difference in station?"

"Beyond all question. It is exceedingly useful to remember it; and I
greatly fear the loose appointments of magistrates and other
functionaries, that are making round the country, will bring all our
notions on such subjects into great confusion. I can understand that
one man is as good as another in _rights_, Miles; but I cannot
understand he is any _better_, because he happens to be
uneducated, ignorant, or a blackguard."

Mr. Hardinge was a sensible man in all such distinctions, though so
simple in connection with other matters.

"You can have no difficulty, however, in understanding that, in New
York, for instance, I should not be considered the equal of Major
Merton--I mean socially, altogether, and not in personal merit, or the
claims which years give--and of course, not the equal of his
daughter?"

"Why--yes--I know what you mean, now. There may be some little
inequality in that sense, perhaps; but Clawbonny, and the ship, and
the money at use, would be very apt to strike a balance."

"I am afraid not, sir. I should have studied law, sir, had I wished to
make myself a gentleman."

"There are lots of vulgar fellows getting into the law, Miles--men who
have not half your claims to be considered gentlemen. I hope you do
not think I wished you and Rupert to study law in order to make
gentlemen of you?"

"No, sir; it was unnecessary to take that step as regards Rupert, who
was fully born in the station. Clergymen have a decided position all
over the world, I believe; and then you are extremely well connected
otherwise, Mr. Hardinge.  Rupert has no occasion for such an
assistance--with me it was a little different."

"Miles--Miles--this is a strange fancy to come over a young man in
your situation--and who, I am afraid, has been the subject of envy,
only too often, to Rupert!"

"If the truth were known, Mr. Hardinge, I dare say both Rupert and
Lucy, in their secret hearts, think they possess advantages, in the
way of social station, that do not belong to Grace and myself."

Mr. Hardinge looked hurt, and I was soon sorry that I had made this
speech. Nor would I have the reader imagine that what I had said,
proceeded in the least from that narrow selfish feeling, which, under
the blustering pretension of equality, presumes to deny the existence
of a very potent social fact; but simply from the sensitiveness of
feelings, which, on this subject, were somewhat in danger of becoming
morbid, through the agency of the most powerful passion of the human
heart--or, that which has well been called the master-passion.
Nevertheless, Mr. Hardinge was much too honest a man to deny a truth,
and much too sincere to wish even to prevaricate about it, however
unpleasant it might be to acknowledge it, in all its unpleasant
bearings.

"I now understand you, Miles; and it would be idle to pretend that
there is not some justice in what you say, though I attach very little
importance to it, myself. Rupert is not exactly what I could wish him
to be in all things, and possibly _he_ may be coxcomb enough, at
times, to fancy he has this slight advantage over you,--but, as for
Lucy, I'll engage she never thinks of you but as a second brother--
and that she loves you exactly as she loves Rupert."

Mr. Hardinge's simplicity was of proof, and it was idle to think of
making any impression on it. I changed the subject, therefore, and
this was easily enough done, by beginning again to talk about the
potatoes. I was far from being easy, nevertheless; for I could not
avoid seeing that the good divine's restlessness might readily widen
the little breach which had opened between his daughter and myself.

That day, at dinner, I discovered that Grace's winter in town had led
to a sensible melioration of the domestic economy; most especially as
related to the table. My father and mother had introduced some
changes, which rendered the Clawbonny household affairs a little
different from those of most other of the Ulster county families near
our own class; but their innovations, or improvements, or whatever
they might be called, were far from being as decided as those
introduced by their daughter. Nothing, perhaps, sooner denotes the
condition of people, than the habits connected with the table. If
eating and drinking be not done in a certain way, and a way founded in
reason, too, as indeed are nearly all the customs of polished life,
whatever may be the cant of the ultras of reason--but, if eating and
drinking be not done in a certain way, your people of the world
perceive it sooner than almost anything else. There is, also, more of
common sense and innate fitness, in the usages of the table, so long
as they are not dependent on mere caprice, than in almost any other
part of our deportment; for everybody must eat, and most persons
choose to eat decently.  I had been a little nervous on the subject of
the Mertons, in connection with the Clawbonny table, I will confess;
and great was my delight when I found the breakfast going off so
well. As for the Major, himself by no means familiar with the higher
classes of his own country, he had that great stamp of a gentleman,
simplicity; and he was altogether above the cockney distinctions of
eating and drinking; those about cheese and malt liquors, and such
vulgar niceties; nor was he a man to care about the silver-forkisms;
but he understood that portion of the finesse of the table which
depended on reason and taste, and was accustomed to observe it. This I
knew from near a twelve month's intercourse, and I had feared we might
turn out to be a little too rustic.

Grace had made provisions against all this, with a tact and judgment
for which I could have worshipped her. I knew the viands, the
vegetables, and the wines would all be good of their kind, for in
these we seldom failed; nor did I distrust the cookery, the
_English_-descended families of the Middle States, of my class,
understanding that to perfection; but I feared we should fail in those
little incidents of style and arrangement, and in the order of the
service, that denote a well-regulated table. This is just what Grace
had seen to; and I found that a great revolution had been quietly
effected in this branch of our domestic economy during my absence;
thanks to Grace's observations while at Mrs. Bradfort's.

Emily seemed pleased at dinner, and Lucy could again laugh and
smile. After the cloth was removed, the Major and Mr. Hardinge
discussed a bottle of Madeira, and that too of a quality of which I
had no reason to be ashamed; while we young people withdrew together
to a little piazza, that was in the shade at that hour, and took
seats, for a chat. Rupert was permitted to smoke, on condition that he
would not approach within fifteen feet of the party. No sooner was
this little group thus arranged, the three girls in a crescent, than I
disappeared.

"Grace, I have not yet spoken to you of a necklace of pearls possessed
by your humble servant," I cried, as my foot again touched the
piazza.--"I would not say a word about it--"

"Yet, Lucy and I heard all about it--" answered Grace with provoking
calmness, "but would not ask to see it, lest you should accuse us of
girlish curiosity. We waited your high pleasure, in the matter."

"You and Lucy heard I had such a necklace!"

"Most unquestionably; I, Grace Wallingford, and she, Lucy Hardinge. I
hope it is no infringement on the rights of Mr. Miles Clawbonny"--so
the girls often called me, when they affected to think I was on my
high-ropes--"I hope it is no infringement on the rights of Mr. Miles
Clawbonny to say as much."

"And pray how _could_ you and Lucy know anything about it?"

"That is altogether another question; perhaps we may accord an answer,
after we have seen the necklace."

"Miss Merton told us, Miles," said Lucy, looking at me with
gentleness, for she saw I really wished an answer; and what could Lucy
Hardinge ever refuse me, that was right in itself when she saw my
feelings were really interested?

"Miss Merton? Then I have been betrayed, and the surprise I
anticipated is lost."

I was vexed, and my manner must have shown it in a slight
degree. Emily coloured, bit her lip, and said nothing; but Grace made
her excuses with more spirit than it was usual for _her_ to show.

"You are rightly punished, Master Miles," she cried; "for you had no
business to anticipate surprises. They are vulgar things at best, and
they are worse than that when they come from a distance of fifteen
thousand miles--from a brother to a sister. Besides, you have
surprised us sufficiently once, already, in connection with Miss
Merton."

"I!" I exclaimed.

"Me!" added Emily.

"Yes, I and me; did you tell us one word about her, in your letters?
and have you not now both surprised and delighted us, by making us
acquainted with so charming a person? I can pardon such a surprise, on
account of its consequences; but nothing so vulgar as a surprise about
pearls."

Emily blushed now; and in her it was possible to tell the difference
between a blush and the suffusion that arose from a different feeling;
but she looked immensely superior to anything like explanations.

"Captain Wallingford"--how I disliked that _Captain_--"Captain
Wallingford can have but little knowledge of young ladies," she said,
coldly, "if he supposes such pearls as he possesses would not form the
subject of their conversation."

I was coxcomb enough to fancy Emily was vexed that I had neglected to
be more particular about her being on the island, and her connection
with the ship. This might have been a mistake; however.

"Let us see the pearls, Miles; and that will plead your apology," said
Lucy.

"There, then--your charming eyes, young ladies, never looked on pearls
like those, before."

Female nature could not suppress the exclamations of belight that
succeeded. Even Rupert, who had a besetting weakness on the subject of
all personal ornaments, laid aside his segar, and came within the
prescribed distance, the better to admire. It was admitted all round,
New York had nothing to compare with them. I then mentioned that they
had been fished up by myself from the depths of the sea.

"How much that adds to their value!" said Lucy, in a low voice, but in
her warm, sincere manner.

"That was getting them _cheap_, was it not, Miss Wallingford?"
inquired Emily, with an emphasis I disliked.

"Very; though I agree with Lucy, it makes them so much the more
valuable."

"If Miss Merton will forget my charge of treason, and condescend to
put on the necklace, you will all see it to much greater advantage
than at present. If a fine necklace embellishes a fine woman, the
advantage is quite reciprocal.  I have seen my pearls once already on
her neck, and know the effect."

A wish of Grace's aided my application, and Emily placed the ornaments
around her throat. The dazzling whiteness of her skin gave a lustre to
the pearls that they certainly did not previously possess. One
scarcely knew which to admire the most--the ornaments, or their
setting.

"How very, very beautiful they are _now!_" cried Lucy, in
generous admiration. "Oh! Miss Merton, pearls should ever be your
ornaments."

"_Those_ pearls, you mean, Lucy," put in Rupert, who was always
extremely liberal with other people's means; "the necklace ought never
to be removed."

"Miss Merton knows their destination," I said, gallantly, "and the
terms of ownership."

Emily slowly undid the clasp, placed the string before her eyes, and
looked at it long and silently.

"And what is this destination, Miles? What these terms of ownership?"
my sister asked.

"Of course he means them for you, dear," Lucy remarked in haste. "For
whom else can he intend such an ornament?"

"You are mistaken, Miss Hardinge. Grace must excuse me for being a
little selfish this time, at least. I do not intend those pearls for
Miss Wallingford, but for Mrs. Wallingford, should there ever be such
a person."

"Upon my word, such a double temptation, my boy, I Wonder Miss Merton
ever had the fortitude to remove them from the enviable position they
so lately occupied," cried Rupert, glancing meaningly towards Emily,
who returned the look with a slight smile.

"Of course, Miss Merton understood that my remark was ventured in
pleasantry," I said stiffly, "and not in presumption.  It was decided,
however, when in the Pacific, that these pearls ought to have that
destination. It is true, Clawbonny is not the Pacific, and one may be
pardoned for seeing things a little differently _here_, from what
they appeared _there_. I have a few more pearls, however, very
inferior in quality I confess, to those of the necklace; but, such as
they are, I should esteem it a favour, ladies, if you would consent to
divide them equally among you. They would make three very pretty
rings, and as many breast-pins."

I put into Grace's hands a little box containing all the pearls that
had not been placed on the string. There were many fine ones among
them, and some of very respectable size, though most were of the sort
called seed. In the whole, there were several hundreds.

"We will not balk his generosity," said Grace, smiling--"so, Miss
Merton, we will separate the pearls into three parcels, and draw lots
for them. Here are handsome ornaments among them!"

"They will have one value with you, at least, Grace, and quite likely
with Lucy, while they might possibly possess another with Miss
Merton. I fished up every one of those pearls with my own hands."

"Certainly, that will give them value with both Lucy and me, dearest
Miles, as would the simple fact that they are your gift--but what is
to give them their especial value with Miss Merton?"

"They may serve to remind Miss Merton of some of her hair-breadth
escapes, of the weeks passed on the island, and of scenes that, a few
years hence, will probably possess the colours of a dream, in her
recollection."

"_One_ pearl I will take, with this particular object"--said
Emily, with more feeling than I had seen her manifest since she had
got back into the world, "if Miss Wallingford will do me the favour to
select it."

"Let it be enough for a ring, at least," Grace returned, in her own
sweetest manner. "Half a dozen of the finest of these pearls, of which
one shall be on Miles' account, and five on mine."

"On those conditions, let it then be six. I have no occasion for
pearls to remind me how much my father and my self owe to Captain
Wallingford."

"Come, Rupert," added Grace; "you have a taste in these things, let us
have your aid in the selection."  Rupert was by no means backward in
complying, for he loved to be meddling in such matters.

"In the first place," he said, "I shall at once direct that the number
be increased to seven; this fine one in the centre, and three on each
side, gradually diminishing in size. We must look to quality, and not
to weight, for the six puisne judges, as we should call them in the
courts. The Chief Justice will be a noble-looking fellow, and the
associates ought to be of good quality to keep his honour's company."

"Why do you not call your judges 'my lords,' as we do in England,
Mr. Hardinge?" inquired Emily, in her prettiest manner.

"_Why,_ sure enough! I wish with all my heart we did, and then a
man would have something worth living for."

"Rupert!" exclaimed Lucy, colouring--"you know it is because our
government is republican, and that we have no nobles among us. Nor do
you say exactly what you think; you would not be 'my lord,' if you
could."

"As I never shall be a 'my lord,' and I am afraid never a 'your
honour'--There, Miss Merton--there are numbers two and three--observe
how beautifully they are graduated as to size."

"Well, 'your honour,'" added Grace, who began to be a little uneasy at
the manner Rupert and Emily exhibited towards each other--"well, 'your
honour,' what is to come next?"

"Numbers four and five, of course--and here they are, Miss Merton; as
accurately diminished, as if done by hand.  A beautiful ring it will
make--I envy those who will be recalled to mind, by so charming an
object."

"You will now be one of those yourself, Mr. Hardinge"--observed
Emily, with great tact--"for you are fully entitled to it, by the
trouble you are giving yourself, and the taste and judgment you
possess."

Lucy looked petrified. She had so long accustomed herself to think of
Grace as her future sister, that the open admiration expressed in
Rupert's countenance, which was too manifest to escape any of us,
first threw a glimmering of light on suspicions of the most painful
nature. I had long seen that Lucy understood her brother's character
better than any of us--much better, indeed, than his simple-minded
father; and, as for myself, I was prepared to expect anything but
consistency and principle in his conduct. Dearly as I prized Lucy, and
by this time the slight competition that Emily Merton had presented to
my fancy, had entirely given way to the dear creature's heart, and
nature,--but, dearly as I prized Lucy, I would greatly have preferred
that my sister should not marry her brother; and, so far from feeling
resentment on account of his want of fidelity, I was rather disposed
to rejoice at it. I could appreciate his want of merit, and his
unfitness to be the husband of such a woman as Grace, even at my early
age; but, alas! I could not appreciate the effects of his inconstancy
on a heart like that of my sister. Could I have felt as easy on the
subject of Mr. Andrew Drewett, and of my own precise position in
society, I should have cared very little, just then, about Rupert, and
his caprices.

The pearls for the ring were soon selected by Rupert, and approved of
by Grace, after which I assumed the office of dividing the remainder
myself. I drew a chair, took the box from Rupert, and set about the
task.

"I shall make a faithful umpire, girls," I observed, as pearl after
pearl was laid, first on one spot, then on another--"for I feel no
preference between you--Grace is as Lucy; Lucy is as Grace, with me."

"That may be fortunate, Miss Hardinge, since it indicates no
preference of a particular sort, that might require repressing," said
Emily, smiling significantly at Lucy. "When gentlemen treat young
ladies as sisters, it is a subject of rejoicing. These sailors need
severe lessons, to keep them within the rules of the land."

Why this was said, I did not understand; but Rupert laughed at it, as
if it were a capital thing. To mend the matter, he added, a little
boisterously for him--

"You see, Miles, you had better have taken to the law--the ladies
cannot appreciate the merits of you tars."

"So it would seem," I returned, a little drily, "after all Miss Merton
has experienced and seen of the trade."

Emily made no reply, but she regarded her pearls with a steadiness
that showed she was thinking more of their effect than that of either
her own speech or mine. I continued to divide the pearls, and soon had
the work complete.

"What am I to do, now?"--I asked--"Will you draw lots, girls, or will
you trust to my impartiality?"

"We will certainly confide in the last," answered Grace.  "The
division is so very equitable that I do not well see how you can
defraud either."

"That being the case, this parcel is for you, Lucy; and, Grace, that
is your's."

Grace rose, put her arms affectionately around my neck, and gave me
one of the hundred kisses that I had received, first and last, for
presents of one sort and another. The deep attachment that beamed in
her saint-like eyes, would of itself have repaid me for fifty such
gifts. At the moment, I was almost on the point of throwing her the
necklace in the bargain; but some faint fancies about Mrs. Miles
Wallingford prevented me from so doing. As for Lucy, not a little to
my surprise, she received the pearls, muttered a few unintelligible
words, but did not even rise from her chair.  Emily seemed to tire of
this, so she caught up her gypsy, said the evening was getting to be
delightful, and proposed a walk. Rupert and Grace cheerfully
acquiesced, and the three soon left the place, Lucy preparing to
follow, as soon as a maid could bring her hat, and I excusing myself
on the score of business in my own room.

"Miles"--said Lucy, as I was about to enter the house, she herself
standing on the edge of the piazza on the point of following the
party, but holding towards me the little paper box in which I had
placed her portion of the pearls.

"Do you wish me to put them away for you, Lucy?"

"No, Miles--not for _me_--but for _yourself_--for Grace--
for _Mrs. Miles Wallingford_, if you prefer that."

This was said without the slightest appearance of any other feeling
than a gentle request. I was surprised, and scarce knew what to make
of it; at first, I refused to take the box.

"I hope I have done nothing to merit this, Lucy?" I said,
half-affronted, half-grieved.

"Remember, Miles," the dear girl answered--"we are no longer children,
but have reached an age when it is incumbent on us to respect
appearances a little. These pearls must be worth a good deal of money,
and I feel certain my father, when he came to think of it, would
scarce approve of my receiving them."

"And this from _you_, dear Lucy!"

"This from me, dear Miles," returned the precious girl, tears
glistening in her eyes, though she endeavoured to smile. "Now, take
the box, and we will be just as good friends as ever."

"Will you answer me one question, as frankly and as honestly as you
used to answer all my questions?"

Lucy turned pale and she stood reflecting an instant before she spoke.

"I can answer no question before it is asked," was at length her
answer.

"Have you thought so little of my presents as to have thrown away the
locket I gave you, before I sailed for the North-West coast?"

"No, Miles; I have kept the locket, and shall keep it as long as I
live. It was a memorial of our childish regard for each other; and, in
that sense, is very dear to me. You will let me keep the locket, I am
sure!"

"If it were not you, Lucy Hardinge, whom I know to be truth itself, I
might be disposed to doubt you, so many strange things exist, and so
much caprice, especially in attachments, is manifested here, ashore!"

"You need doubt nothing I tell you, Miles--on no account would I
deceive you."

"That I believe--nay, I see, it is your present object to
_undeceive_ me. I do not doubt anything you tell me, Lucy.  I
wish I could see that locket, however; show it to me, if you have it
on your person."

Lucy made an eager movement, as if about to produce the locket; then
she arrested the impetuous indication, while her cheeks fairly burned
with the blushes that suffused them.

"I see how it is, Lucy--the thing is not to be found. It is mislaid,
the Lord knows where, and you do not like to avow it."

The locket, at that moment, lay as near the blessed creature's heart
as it could be placed; and her confusion proceeded from the shame of
letting that fact be known. This I could not see, and consequently did
not know. A very small and further indication of feeling on my part,
might have betrayed the circumstance; but pride prevented it, and I
took the still extended box, I dare say in a somewhat dramatic
manner. Lucy looked at me earnestly; I saw it was with difficulty that
she kept from bursting into tears.

"You are not hurt, Miles?" she said.

"I should not be frank if I denied it. Even Emily Merton, you saw,
consented to accept enough pearls for a ring."

"I did perceive it; and yet, you remember, she felt the impropriety of
receiving such large gifts from gentlemen.  Miss Merton has gone
through so much, so much in your company, Miles, that no wonder she is
willing to retain some little memorial of it all, until--"

She hesitated; but Lucy chose not to finish the sentence.  She had
been pale; but her cheeks were now like the rose, again.

"When Rupert and I first went to sea, Lucy, you gave me your little
treasure in gold--every farthing you had on earth, I fancy."

"I am glad I did, Miles; for we were very young, then, and you had
been so kind to me, I rejoice I had a little gratitude. But, we are
now in situations," she added, smiling so sweetly, as to render it
difficult for me to refrain from catching her in my arms, and folding
her to my heart; "that place both of us above the necessity of
receiving aid of this sort."

"I am glad to hear this--though _I_ shall never part with the
dear recollection of the half-joes."

"Or I with that of the locket. We will retain these, then, as
keepsakes. My dear Mrs. Bradfort, too, is very particular about Rupert
or myself receiving favours of this sort, from any but herself. She
has adopted us, in a manner; and I owe to her liberality, the means
of making the figure I do. Apart from that, Miles, we are all as poor
as we have ever been."

I wished Rupert had half his sister's self-respect and pride of
character. But he had not; for in spite of his kinswoman's
prohibitions, he had not scrupled to spend nearly three years of the
wages that accrued to me as third-mate of the Crisis. For the money I
cared not a stiver; it was a very different thing as to the feeling.

As for Lucy, she hastened away, as soon as she had induced me to
accept the box; and I had no choice but to place all the pearls
together, and put them in Grace's room, as my sister had desired me to
do with her own property before proceeding on her walk.

I determined I would converse confidentially with Grace, that very
evening, about the state of affairs in general, and if possible, learn
the worst concerning Mr. Andrew Drewett's pretensions. Shall I frankly
own the truth? I was sorry that Mrs. Bradfort had made Lucy so
independent; as it seemed to increase the chasm that I fancied was
opening between us.



CHAPTER XXIV.

  "Your name abruptly mentioned, casual words
  Of comment on your deeds, praise from your uncle,
  News from the armies, talk of your return,
  A word let fall touching your youthful passion
  Suffused her cheek, called to her drooping eye
  A momentary lustre."


I had no difficulty in putting my project of a private interview with
Grace, in execution in my own house. There was one room at Clawbonny,
that, from time immemorial, had been appropriated exclusively to the
use of the heads of the establishment; It was called the "family
room," as one would say "family-pictures" or "family--plate."  In my
father's time, I could recollect that I never dreamed of entering it,
unless asked or ordered; and even then, I always did so with some such
feeling as I entered a church.  What gave it a particular and
additional sanctity in out eyes, also, was the fact that the
Wallingford dead were always placed in their coffins, in this room,
and thence they were borne to their graves. It was a very small
triangular room, with the fire-place in one corner, and possessing but
a single window, that opened on a thicket of rose-bushes, ceringos,
and lilacs. There was also a light external fence around this
shrubbery, as if purposely to keep listeners at a distance. The
apartment had been furnished when the house was built, being in the
oldest part of the structures, and still retained its ancient
inmates. The chairs, tables, and, most of the other articles, had
actually been brought from England, by Miles the First, as we used to
call the emigrant; though, he was thus only in reference to the
Clawbonny dynasty, having been something like Miles the Twentieth, in
the old country. My mother had introduced a small settee, or some such
seat as the French would call a _causeuse;_ a most appropriate
article, in such a place.

In preparation for the interview I had slipped into Grace's hand a
piece of paper, on which was written "meet me in the family-room,
precisely at six!" This was sufficient; at the hour named, I proceeded
to the room, myself. The house of Clawbonny, in one sense, was large
for an American residence; that is to say, it covered a great deal of
ground, every one of the three owners who preceded me, having built;
the two last leaving entire the labours of the first. My turn had not
yet come, of course; but the reader knows already that I, most
irreverently, had once contemplated abandoning the place, for a "seat"
nearer the Hudson.  In such a _suite_ of constructions, sundry
passages became necessary, and we had several more than was usual at
Clawbonny, besides having as many pairs of stairs. In consequence of
this ample provision of stairs, the chambers of the family were
totally separated from those of all the rest of the house.

I began to reflect seriously, on _what_ I had to say, and
_how_ it was to be said, as I walked through the long passage
which led to the "family-room," or the "triangle," as my own father
had nicknamed the spot. Grace and I had never yet held what might be
termed a family consultation; I was too young to think of such a
thing, when last at home, and no former occasion had offered since my
return. I was still quite young, and had more diffidence than might
have been expected in a sailor. To me, it was far more embarrassing to
open verbal communications of a delicate nature, than it would have
been to work a ship in action. But for this _mauvaise honte_, I
do think I should have been explicit with Lucy, and not have parted
from her on the piazza, as I did, leaving everything in just as much
doubt as it had been before a word passed between us. Then I
entertained a profound respect for Grace; something more than the
tenderness of a brother for a sister; for, mingled with my strong
affection for her, was a deference, a species of awe of her angel-like
character and purity, that made me far more disposed to receive advice
from her, than to bestow it.  In the frame of mind which was natural
to all these blended feelings, I laid my hand on the old-fashioned
brass latch, by which the door of the "triangle" was closed. On
entering the room, I found my sister seated on the "causeuses," the
window open to admit air, the room looking snug but cheerful, and its
occupant's sweet countenance expressive of care, not altogether free
from curiosity. The last time I had been in that room, it was to look
on the pallid features of my mother's corpse, previously to closing
the coffin. All the recollections of that scene rushed upon our minds
at the same instant; and taking a place by the side of Grace, I put an
arm around her waist, drew her to me, and, receiving her head on my
bosom, she wept like a child. My tears could not be altogether
restrained, and several minutes passed in profound silence. No
explanations were needed; I knew what my sister thought and felt, and
she was equally at home as respects my sensations.  At length we
regained our self-command, and Grace lifted her head.

"You have not been in this room since, brother?" she observed, half
inquiringly.

"I have not, sister. It is now many years--many for those who are as
young as ourselves."

"Miles, you will think better about that 'seat,' and never abandon
Clawbonny--never destroy this blessed room!"

"I begin to think and feel differently on the subject, from what I
once did. If this house were good enough for our forefathers, why is
it not good enough for me. It is respectable and comfortable, and what
more do I want?

"And so warm in winter, and so cool in summer; with good thick stone
walls; while everything they build now is a shingle palace! Besides,
you can add your portion, and each addition has already been a good
deal modernized. It is so pleasant to have a house that partakes of
the usages of different periods!"

"I hardly think I shall ever abandon Clawbonny, my dear; for I find it
growing more and more precious as other ties and expectations fail
me."

Grace drew herself entirely from my arms, and looked intently, and, as
I fancied, anxiously at me, from the other corner of the settee. Then
she affectionately took one of my hands, in both her own, and pressed
it gently.

"You are young to speak of such things, my dear brother," she said
with a tone and air of sadness, I had never yet remarked in her voice
and manner; "much too young for a man; though I fear we women are born
to know sorrow!"

I could not speak if I would, for I fancied Grace was about to make
some communications concerning Rupert.  Notwithstanding the strong
affection that existed between my sister and myself, not a syllable
had ever been uttered by either, that bore directly on our respective
relations with Rupert and Lucy Hardinge. I had long been certain that
Rupert, who was never backward in professions, had years before spoken
explicitly to Grace, and I made no doubt they were engaged, though
probably subject to some such conditions as the approval of his father
and myself; approvals, that neither had any reason for supposing would
be withheld.  Still, Grace had never intimated anything of the sort,
and my conclusions were drawn from conjectures founded as I imagined
on sufficient observation. On the other hand, I had never spoken to
Grace, of my love for Lucy. Until within the last month, indeed, when
jealousy and distrust came to quicken the sentiment, I was unconscious
myself with how much passion I did actually love the dear girl; for,
previously to that, my affection had seemed so much a matter of
course, was united with so much that was fraternal, in appearance at
least, that I had never been induced to enter into an inquiry as to
the nature of this regard. We were both, therefore, touching on
hallowed spots in our hearts, and each felt averse to laying bare the
weakness.

"Oh! you know how it is with life, Grace," I answered, with affected
carelessness, after a moment's silence; "now all sun-shine, and now
all clouds--I shall probably never marry, my dear sister, and you, or
your children, will inherit Clawbonny; then you can do as you please
with the house. As a memorial of myself, however, I will leave orders
for stone to be got out this fall, and, next year, I will put up the
south wing, of which we have so much talked, and add three or four
rooms in which one will not be ashamed to see his friends."

"I hope your are ashamed of nothing that is at Clawbonny, now,
Miles--as for your marrying, my dear brother, that remains to be seen;
young men do not often know their own minds on such a subject, at your
age."

This was said, not altogether without pleasantry, though there was a
shade of sadness in the countenance of the beloved speaker, that from
the bottom of my heart I wished were not there. I believe Grace
understood my concern, and that she shrunk with virgin sensitiveness
from touching further on the subject, for she soon added--

"Enough of this desponding talk. Why have you particularly desired to
see me, here, Miles?"

"Why? Oh! you know I am to sail next week, and we have never been
here--and, now we are both of an age to communicate our thoughts to
each other--I supposed--that is--there must be a beginning of all
things, and it is as well to commence now, as any other time. You do
not seem more than half a sister, in the company of strangers like the
Mertons, and Hardinges!"

"Strangers, Miles! How long have you regarded the last as strangers?"

"Certainly not strangers in the way of acquaintance, but strangers to
our blood. There is not the least connection between us and them."

"No, but much love; and love that has lasted from childhood. I cannot
remember the time when I have not loved Lucy Hardinge."

"Quite true--nor I. Lucy is an excellent girl, and one is almost
certain of always retaining a strong regard for _her_.  How
singularly the prospects of the Hardinges are changed by this sudden
liking of Mrs. Bradfort!"

"It is not sudden, Miles. You have been absent years, and forget how
much time there has been to become intimate and attached. Mr. Hardinge
and Mrs. Bradfort are sister's children; and the fortune of the last,
which, I am told, exceeds six thousand a-year, in improving real
estate in town, besides the excellent and valuable house in which she
lives, came from their common grandfather, who cut off Mrs. Hardinge
with a small legacy, because she married a clergyman. Mr. Hardinge is
Mrs. Bradfort's heir-at-law, and it is by no means unnatural that she
should think of leaving the property to those who, in one sense, have
as good a right to it as she has herself."

"And is it supposed she will leave Rupert her heir?"

"I believe it is--at least--I think--I am afraid--Rupert himself
imagines it; though doubtless Lucy will come in for a fair share. The
affection of Mrs. Bradfort for Lucy is very strong--so strong, indeed,
that she offered, last winter, openly to adopt her, and to keep her
with her constantly.  You know how true and warm-hearted a girl Lucy
is, and how easy it is to love her."

"This is all new to me--why was not the offer accepted?"

"Neither Mr. Hardinge nor Lucy would listen to it. I was present at
the interview in which it was discussed, and our excellent guardian
thanked his cousin for her kind intentions; but, in his simple way, he
declared, as long as life was spared him, he felt it a duty to keep
his girl; or, at least, until he committed her to the custody of a
husband, or death should part them."

"And Lucy?"

"She is much attached to Mrs. Bradfort, who is a good woman in the
main, though she has her weaknesses about the world, and society, and
such things. Lucy wept in her cousin's arms, but declared she never
could leave her father.  I suppose you do not expect," added Grace,
smiling, "that _she_ had anything to say about a husband."

"And how did Mrs. Bradfort receive this joint declaration of
resistance to her pleasure, backed, as the last was, by dollars?"

"Perfectly well. The affair terminated by Mr. Hardinge's consenting to
Lucy's passing each winter in town, until she marry. Rupert, you know,
lives there as a student at law, at present, and will become
established there, when admitted to the bar."

"And I suppose the knowledge that Lucy is likely to inherit some of
the old Bleecker estate, has not in the least diminished her chance of
finding a husband to remove her from the paternal custody of her
father?"

"No husband could ever make Lucy anything but Mr.  Hardinge's
daughter; but you are right, Miles, in supposing that she has been
sought. I am not in her secrets, for Lucy is a girl of too much
principle to make a parade of her conquests, even under the pretence
of communicating them to her dearest friend--and in that light, beyond
all question, does she regard me; but I feel as morally certain as one
can be, without actually knowing the facts, that Lucy refused
_one_ gentleman, winter before last, and three last winter."

"Was Mr. Andrew Drewett of the number?" I asked, with a precipitation
of which I was immediately ashamed.

Grace started a little at the vivacity of my manner, and then she
smiled, though I still thought sadly.

"Of course not," she answered, after a moment's thought, "or he would
not still be in attendance. Lucy is too frank to leave an admirer in
doubt an instant after his declaration is made, and her own mind made
up; and not one of all those who, I am persuaded, have offered, has
ever ventured to continue more than a distant acquaintance. As Mr.
Drewett never has been more assiduous than down to the last moment of
our remaining in town, it is impossible he should have been
rejected. I suppose you know Mr. Hardinge has invited him here?"

"Here? Andrew Drewett? And why is he coming here?"

"I heard him ask Mr. Hardinge's permission to visit us here; and you
know how it is with our dear, good guardian--the milk of human
kindness himself, and so perfectly guileless that he never sees more
than is said in such matters, it was impossible he could
refuse. Besides, he likes Drewett, who, apart from some fashionable
follies, is both clever and respectable. Mr. Drewett has a sister
married into one of the best families on the other side of the river,
and is in the habit of coming into the neighbourhood every summer;
doubtless he will cross from his sisters house to Clawbonny."

I felt indignant for just one minute, and then reason resumed its
sway. Mr. Hardinge, in the first place, had the written authority, or
request, of my mother that he would invite whom he pleased, during my
minority, to the house; and, on that score, I felt no disapprobation.
But it seemed so much like braving my own passion, to ask an open
admirer of Lucy's to my own house, that I was very near saying
something silly. Luckily I did not, and Grace never knew what I
suffered at this discovery. Lucy had refused several offers--that was
something; and I was dying to know what sort of offers they were. I
thought I might at least venture to ask that question.

"Did you know the four gentlemen that you suppose Lucy to have
refused?" said I, with as indifferent an air as I could assume,
affecting to destroy a cobweb with my rattan, and even carrying my
acting so far as to make an attempt at a low whistle.

"Certainly; how else should I know anything about it?  Lucy has never
said a word to me on the subject; and, though Mrs. Bradfort and I have
had our pleasantries on the subject, neither of us is in Lucy's
secrets."

"Ay, your pleasantries on the subject! That I dare say.  There is no
better fun to a woman than to see a man make a fool of himself in this
way; little does _she_ care how much a poor fellow suffers!"

Grace turned pale, and I could see that her sweet countenance became
thoughtful and repentant.

"Perhaps there is truth in your remark, and justice n your reproach,
Miles. None of us treat this subject with as much, seriousness as it
deserves, though I cannot suppose any woman can reject a man whom she
believes to be seriously attached to her, without feeling for
him. Still, attachments of this nature affect your sex less than ours,
and I believe few men die of love. Lucy, moreover, never has, and I
believe never would encourage any man whom she did not like; this
principle must have prevented any of that intimate connection, without
which the heart never can get much interested. The passion that is
produced without any exchange of sentiment or feeling, Miles, cannot
be much more than imagination or caprice."

"I suppose those four chaps are all famously cured, by this time,
then?" said I, pretending again to whistle.

"I cannot answer for that--it is so easy to love Lucy, and to love her
warmly. I only know they visit her no longer, and, when they meet her
in society, behave just as I think a rejected admirer would behave,
when he has not lost his respect for his late flame. Mrs. Bradfort's
fortune and position may have had their influence on two; but the
others I think were quite sincere."

"Mrs. Bradfort is quite in a high set, Grace--altogether above what we
have been accustomed to?"

My sister coloured a little, and I could see she was not at her
ease. Still, Grace had too much self-respect, and too much character,
ever to feel an oppressive inferiority, where it did not exist in
essentials; and she had never been made to suffer, as the more
frivolous and vain often suffer, by communications with a class
superior to their own; especially when that class, as always happens,
contains those who, having nothing else to be proud of, take care to
make others feel their inferiority.

"This is true, Miles," she answered; "or I might better say, both are
true. Certainly I never have seen as many well-bred persons as I meet
in her circle--indeed, we have little around us at Clawbonny to teach
us any distinctions in such tastes. Mr. Hardinge, simple as he is, is
so truly a gentleman, that he has not left us altogether in the dark
as to what was expected of us; and I fancy the higher people truly are
in the world, the less they lay stress on anything but what is
substantial, in these matters."

"And Lucy's admirers--and Lucy herself--"

"How, Lucy herself?"

"Was she well received--courted--admired? Met as an equal, and treated
as an equal? And you, too?"

"Had you lived more in the world, Miles, you would not have asked the
question. But Lucy has been always received as Mrs. Bradfort's
daughter would have been received; and as for myself, I have never
supposed it was not known exactly who I am."

"_Captain_ Miles Wallingford's daughter, and _Captain_ Miles
Wallingford's sister," said I, with a little bitterness on each
emphasis.

"Precisely; and a girl proud of her connections with both," rejoined
Grace, with strong affection.

"I wish I knew one thing, Grace; and I think I _ought_ to know
it, too."

"If you can make the last appear, Miles, you may rest assured you
shall know it, if it depend on me."

"Did any of these gentry--these soft-handed fellows--ever think of
offering to _you_?"

Grace laughed, and she coloured so deeply--oh! how heavenly was her
beauty, with that roseate tint on her cheek!--but she coloured so
deeply, that I felt satisfied that she, too, had refused her
suitors. The thought appeased some of my bitter feelings, and I had a
sort of semi-savage pleasure in believing that a daughter of Clawbonny
was not to be had for the asking, by one of that set. The only answers
I got were these disclosures by blushes.

"What are the fortune and position of this Mr. Drewett, since you are
resolved to tell me nothing of your own affairs?"

"Both are good, and such as no young lady can object to. He is even
said to be rich."

"Thank God! _He_ then is not seeking Lucy in the hope of getting
some of Mrs. Bradfort's money?"

"Not in the least. It is so easy to love Lucy, for Lucy's sake, that
even a fortune-hunter would be in danger of being caught in his own
trap. But Mr. Drewett is above the necessity of practising so vile a
scheme for making money."

Here, that the present generation may not be misled, and imagine
fortune-hunting has come in altogether within the last twenty years, I
will add that it was not exactly a trade, in this country--a regular
occupation--in 1802, as it has become, in 1844. There were such things
then, certainly, as men, or women, who were ready to marry anybody who
would make them rich; but I do not think theirs was a calling to which
either sex served regular apprenticeships, as is practised
to-day. Still, the business was carried on, to speak in the
vernacular, and sometimes with marked success.

"You have not told me, Grace," I resumed, "whether you think Lucy is
pleased, or not, with the attentions of this gentleman."

My sister looked at me intently, for a moment, as if to ascertain how
far I could, or could not, ask such a question with indifference. It
will be remembered that no verbal explanations had ever taken place
between us, on the subject of our feelings towards the companions of
our childhood, and that all that was known to either was obtained
purely by inference. Between myself and Lucy nothing had ever passed,
indeed, which might not have been honestly referred to our long and
early association, so far as the rules of intercourse were concerned,
though I sometimes fancied I could recall a hundred occasions, on
which Lucy had formerly manifested deep attachment for myself; nor did
I doubt her being able to show similar proofs, by reversing the
picture. This, however, was, or I had thought it to be, merely the
language of the heart; the tongue having never spoken. Of course,
Grace had nothing but conjecture on this subject, and alas! she had
begun to see how possible it was for those who lived near each other
to change their views on such subjects; no wonder, then, if she
fancied it still easier, for those who had been separated for years.


"I have not told you, Miles," Grace answered, after a brief delay,
"because it would not be proper to communicate the secrets of my
friend to a young man, even to you, were it in my power, as it is not,
since Lucy never has made to me the slightest confidential
communication, of any sort or nature, touching love."

"Never!" I exclaimed--reading my fancied doom in the startling fact;
for I conceived it impossible, had she ever really loved me, that the
matter should not have come up in conversation between two so closely
united--"Never!  What, no girlish--no childish preference--have you
never had no mutual preferences to reveal?"

"Never"--answered Grace, firmly, though her very temples seemed
illuminated--"Never. We have been satisfied with each other's
affection, and have had no occasion to enter into any unfeminine and
improper secrets, if any such existed."

A long, and I doubt not a mutually painful pause succeeded.

"Grace," said I, at length--"I am not envious of this probable
accession of fortune to the Hardinges, but I think we should all have
been much more united--much happier--without it."

My sister's colour left her face, she trembled all over, and she
became pale as death.

"You may be right, in some respects, Miles," she answered, after a
time. "And, yet, it is hardly generous to think so. Why should we wish
to see our oldest friends; those who are so very dear to us, our
excellent guardian's children, less well off than we are ourselves?
No doubt, no doubt, it may seem better to _us_, that Clawbonny
should be the castle and we its possessors; but others have their
rights and interests as well as ourselves. Give the Hardinges money,
and they will enjoy every advantage known in this country--more than
money can possibly give us--why, then, ought we to be so selfish as to
wish them deprived of this advantage? Place Lucy where you will, she
will always be Lucy; and, as for Rupert, so brilliant a young man
needs only an opportunity, to rise to anything the country possesses!"

Grace was so earnest, spoke with so much feeling, appeared so
disinterested, so holy I had almost said, that I could not find, in my
heart, the courage to try her any farther.  That she began to distrust
Rupert, I plainly saw, though it was merely with the glimmerings of
doubt. A nature as pure as her's, and a heart so true, admitted with
great reluctance, the proofs of the unworthiness of one so long
loved. It was evident, moreover, that she shrunk from revealing her
own great secret, while she had only conjectures to offer in regard to
Lucy; and even these she withheld, as due to her sex, and the
obligations of friendship. I forgot that I had not been ingenuous
myself, and that I made no communication to justify any confidence on
the part of my sister. That which would have been treachery in her to
say, under this state of the case, might have been uttered with
greater frankness on my own part. After a pause, to allow my sister to
recover from her agitation, I turned the discourse to our own more
immediate family interests, and soon got off the painful subject
altogether.

"I shall be of age, Grace." I said, in the course of my explanations,
"before you see me again. We sailors are always exposed to more
chances and hazards than people ashore; and, I now tell you, should
anything happen to me, my will may be found in my secretary; signed
and sealed, the day I attain my majority. I have given orders to have
it drawn up by a lawyer of eminence, and shall take it to sea with me,
for that very purpose."

"From which I am to infer that I must not covet Clawbonny," answered
Grace, with a smile that denoted how little she cared for the
fact--"You give it to our cousin, Jack Wallingford, as a male heir,
worthy of enjoying the honour."

"No, dearest, I give it to _you_. It is true, the law would do
this for me; but I choose to let it be known that I wish it to be
so. I am aware my father made that disposition of the place, should I
die childless, before I became of age; but, once of age, the place is
all mine; and that which is all mine, shall be all thine, after I am
no more."

"This is melancholy conversation, and, I trust, useless.  Under the
circumstances you mention, Miles, I never should have expected
Clawbonny, nor do I know I ought to possess it. It comes as much from
Jack Wallingford's ancestors, as from our own; and it is better it
should remain with the name. I will not promise you, therefore, I will
not give it to him, the instant I can."

This Jack Wallingford, of whom I have not yet spoken, was a man of
five-and-forty, and a bachelor. He was a cousin-german of my father's,
being the son of a younger brother of my grandfather's, and somewhat
of a favourite.  He had gone into what was called the new countries,
in that day, or a few miles west of Cayuga Bridge, which put him into
Western New York. I had never seen him but once and that was on a
visit he paid us on his return from selling quantities of pot and
pearl ashes in town; articles made oh his new lands. He was said to be
a prosperous man, and to stand little in need of the old paternal
property.

After a little more conversation on the subject of my will, Grace and
I separated, each more closely bound to the other, I firmly believed,
for this dialogue in the "family room." Never had my sister seemed
more worthy of all my love; and, certain I am, never did she possess
more of it. Of Clawbonny she was as sure, as my power over it could
make her.

The remainder of the week passed as weeks are apt to pass in the
country, and in summer. Feeling myself so often uncomfortable in the
society of the girls, I was much in the fields; always possessing the
good excuse of beginning to look after my own affairs. Mr. Hardinge
took charge of the Major, an intimacy beginning to spring up between
these two respectable old men. There were, indeed, so many points of
common feeling, that such a result was not at all surprising. They
both loved the church--I beg pardon, the Holy Catholic Protestant
Episcopal Church.  They both disliked Bonaparte--the Major hated him,
but my guardian hated nobody--both venerated Billy Pitt, and both
fancied the French Revolution was merely the fulfilment of prophecy,
through the agency of the devils. As we are now touching upon times
likely to produce important results, let me not be misunderstood. As
an old man, aiming, in a new sphere, to keep enlightened the
generation that is coming into active life, it may be necessary to
explain.  An attempt has been made to induce the country to think that
Episcopalian and tory were something like synonymous terms, in the
"times that tried men's souls." This is sufficiently impudent, _per
se_, in a country that possessed Washington, Jay, Hamilton, the
Lees, the Morrises, the late Bishop White, and so many other
distinguished patriots of the Southern and Middle States; but men are
not particularly scrupulous when there is an object to be obtained,
even though it be pretended that Heaven is an incident of that
object. I shall, therefore, confine my explanations to what I have
said about Billy Pitt and the French.

The youth of this day may deem it suspicious that an Episcopal
divine--_Protestant_ Episcopal, I mean; but it is so hard to get
the use of new terms as applied to old thoughts, in the decline of
life!--may deem it suspicious that a Protestant Episcopal divine
should care anything about Billy Pitt, or execrate Infidel France; I
will, therefore, just intimate that, in 1802, no portion of the
country dipped more deeply into similar sentiments than the
descendants of those who first put foot on the rock of Plymouth, and
whose progenitors had just before paid a visit to Geneva, where, it is
"said or sung," they had found a "church without a bishop, and a state
without a king." In a word, admiration of Mr. Pitt, and execration of
Bonaparte, were by no means such novelties in America, in that day, as
to excite wonder. For myself, however, I can truly say, that, like
most Americans who went abroad in those stirring times, I was ready to
say with Mercutio, "a plague on both your houses;" for neither was
even moderately honest, or even decently respectful to ourselves.
Party feeling, however, the most inexorable, and the most
unprincipled, of all tyrants, and the bane of American liberty,
notwithstanding all our boasting, decreed otherwise; and, while one
half the American republic was shouting hosannas to the Great
Corsican, the other half was ready to hail Pitt as the "Heaven-born
Minister." The remainder of the nation felt and acted as Americans
should. It was my own private opinion, that France and England would
have been far better off, had neither of these worthies ever had a
being.

Nevertheless, the union of opinion between the divine and the Major,
was a great bond of union, in friendship. I saw they were getting on
well together, and let things take their course. As for Emily, I cared
very little about her, except as she might prove to be connected with
Rupert, and through Rupert, with the happiness of my sister. As for
Rupert, himself, I could not get entirely weaned from one whom I had
so much loved in boyhood; and who, moreover, possessed the rare
advantage of being Lucy's brother, and Mr.  Hardinge's son. "Sidney's
sister, Pembroke's mother," gave him a value in my eyes, that he had
long ceased to possess on his own account.

"You see, Neb," I said, towards the end of the week, as the black and
I were walking up from the mill in company, "Mr. Rupert has altogether
forgotten that he ever knew the name of a rope in a ship. His hands
are as white as a young lady's!"

"Nebber mind dat, Masser Mile. Masser Rupert nebber feel a
saterfaction to be wracked away, or to be prisoner to Injin! Golly! No
gentleum to be envy, sir, 'em doesn't enjoy _dat!_"

"You have a queer taste. Neb, from all which I conclude you expect to
return to town with me, in the Wallingford, this evening, and to go
out in the Dawn?"

"Sartain, Masser Mile! How you t'ink of goin' to sea and leave nigger
at home?"

Here Neb raised such a laugh that he might have been heard a hundred
rods, seeming to fancy the idea he had suggested was so preposterous
as to merit nothing but ridicule.

"Well, Neb, I consent to your wishes; but this will be the last voyage
in which you will have to consult me on the subject, as I shall make
out your freedom papers, the moment I am of age."

"What dem?" demanded the black, quick as lightning.

"Why, papers to make you your own master--a free man--you surely know
what that means. Did you never hear of free niggers?"

"Sartin--awful poor debble, dey be, too. You catch Neb, one day, at
being a free nigger, gib you leave to tell him of it, Masser Mile!"

Here was another burst of laughter, that sounded like a chorus in
merriment.

"This is a little extraordinary, Neb! I thought, boy, all slaves pined
for freedom?"

"P'rhaps so; p'rhaps not. What good he do, Masser Mile, when heart and
body well satisfy as it is. Now, how long a Wallingford family lib,
here, in dis berry spot?"--Neb always talked more like a "nigger,"
when within hearing of the household gods, than he did at sea.

"How long? About a hundred years, Neb--just one hundred and seven, I
believe; to be accurate."

"And how long a Clawbonny family, at 'e same time, Masser Mile?"

"Upon my word, Neb, your pedigree is a little confused, and I cannot
answer quite as certainly. Eighty or ninety, though, I should think,
at least; and, possibly a hundred, too. Let me see--you called old
Pompey your grand-father; did you not, Neb?"

"Sart'in--berry good grandfader, too, Masser Mile. Ole Pomp a
won'erful black!"

"Oh! I say nothing touching the quality--I dare say he was as good as
another. Well, I think that I have heard old Pompey's grandfather was
an imported Guinea, and that he was purchased by my great-grandfather
about the year 1700."

"Dat just as good as gospel! Who want to make up lie about poor debble
of nigger? Well, den, Masser Mile, in all dem 1700 year, did he ebber
hear of a Clawbonny that want to be a free nigger? Tell me dat, once,
an' I hab an answer."

"You have asked me more than I can answer, boy; for, I am not in the
secret of your own wishes, much less in those of all your ancestors."

Neb pulled off his tarpaulin, scratched his wool, rolled his black
eyes at me, as if he enjoyed the manner in which he had puzzled me;
after which he set off on a tumbling excursion, in the road, going
like a wheel on his hands and feet, showing his teeth like rows of
pearls, and concluding the whole with roar the third, that sounded as
if the hills and valleys were laughing, in the very fatness of their
fertility. The physical _tour de force,_ was one of those feats
of agility in which Neb had been my instructor, ten years before.

"S'pose I free, who do sich matter for you, Masser Mile?" cried Neb,
like one laying down an unanswerable proposition. "No, no, sir,--I
belong to you, you belong to me, and we belong to one anodder."

This settled the matter for the present, and I said no more.  Neb was
ordered to be in readiness for the next day; and at the appointed
hour, I met the assembled party to take my leave, on this, my third
departure from the roof of my fathers. It had been settled the Major
and Emily were to remain at the farm until July, when they were to
proceed to the Springs, for the benefit of the water, after living so
long in a hot climate. I had passed an hour with my guardian alone,
and he had no more to say, than to wish me well, and to bestow his
blessing. I did not venture an offer to embrace Lucy. It was the first
time we had parted without this token of affection; but I was shy, and
I fancied she was cold. She offered me her hand, as frankly as ever,
however, and I pressed it fervently, as I wished her adieu.  As for
Grace, she wept in my arms, just as she had always done, and the Major
and Emily shook hands cordially with me, it being understood I should
find them in New York, at my return. Rupert accompanied me down to the
sloop.

"If you should find an occasion, Miles, let us hear from you," said my
old friend. "I have a lively curiosity to learn something of the
Frenchmen; nor am I entirely without the hope of soon gratifying the
desire, in person."

"You!--If you have any intention to visit France, what better
opportunity, than to go in my cabin? Is it business, that will take
you there?"

"Not at all; pure pleasure. Our excellent cousin thinks a gentleman of
a certain class ought to travel; and I believe she has an idea of
getting me attached to the legation, in some form or other."

This sounded so odd to me! Rupert Hardinge, who had not one penny to
rub against another, so lately, was now talking of his European tour,
and of legations! I ought to have been glad of his good fortune, and I
fancied I was.  I said nothing, this time, concerning his taking up
any portion of my earnings, having the sufficient excuse of not being
on pay myself. Rupert did not stay long in the sloop, and we were soon
under way. I looked eagerly along the high banks of the creek, fringed
as it was with bushes, in hopes of seeing Grace, at least; nor was I
disappointed. She and Lucy had taken a direct path to the point where
the two waters united, and were standing there, as the sloop dropped
past. They both waved their handkerchiefs, in a way to show the
interest they felt in me; and I returned the parting salutations by
kissing my hand again and again. At this instant, a sail-boat passed
our bows, and I saw a gentleman standing up in it, waving his
handkerchief, quite as industriously as I was kissing my hand. A look
told me it was Andrew Drewett, who directed his boat to the point, and
was soon making his bows to the girls in person. His boat ascended the
creek, no doubt with his luggage; while the last I saw of the party it
was walking off in company, taking the direction of the house.



CHAPTER XXV.

  "Or feeling--, as the storm increases,
  The love of terror nerve thy breast,
  Didst venture to the coast:
  To see the mighty war-ship leap
  From wave to wave upon the deep,
  Like chamois goat from steep to steep,
  Till low in valley lost."
  ALLSTON.


Roger Talcott had not been idle during my absence.  Clawbonny was so
dear to me, that I had staid longer than was proposed in the original
plan; and I now found the hatches on the Dawn, a crew shipped, and
nothing remaining but to clear out. I mean the literal thing, and not
the slang phrase, one of those of which so many have crept into the
American language, through the shop, and which even find their way
into print; such as "charter coaches," "on a boat," "on board a
stage," and other similar elegancies. "_On_ a boat" always makes
me--, even at my present time of life.  The Dawn was cleared the day I
reached town.

Several of the crew of the Crisis had shipped with us anew, the poor
fellows having already made away with all their wages and prize-money,
in the short space of a month!  This denoted the usual improvidence of
sailors, and was thought nothing out of the common way. The country
being at peace, a difficulty with Tripoli excepted, it was no longer
necessary for ships to go armed. The sudden excitement produced by the
brush with the French had already subsided, and the navy was reduced
to a few vessels that had been regularly built for the service; while
the lists of officers had been curtailed of two-thirds of their
names. We were no longer a warlike, but were fast getting to be a
strictly commercial, body of seamen. I had a single six-pounder, and
half a dozen muskets, in the Dawn, besides a pair or two of pistols,
with just ammunition enough to quell a mutiny, fire a few signal-guns,
or to kill a few ducks.

We sailed on the 3rd of July. I have elsewhere intimated that the
Manhattanese hold exaggerated notions of the comparative beauty of the
scenery of their port, sometimes presuming to compare it even with
Naples; to the bay of which it bears some such resemblance as a Dutch
canal bears to a river flowing through rich meadows, in the freedom
and grace of nature. Nevertheless, there _are_ times and seasons
when the bay of New York offers a landscape worthy of any pencil. It
was at one of these felicitous moments that the Dawn cast off from the
wharf, and commenced her voyage to Bordeaux. There was barely air
enough from the southward to enable us to handle the ship, and we
profited by a morning ebb to drop down to the Narrows, in the midst of
a fleet of some forty sail; most of the latter, however, being
coasters. Still, we were a dozen ships and brigs, bound to almost as
many different countries. The little air there was, seemed scarcely to
touch the surface of the water; and the broad expanse of bay was as
placid as an inland lake, of a summer's morning. Yes, yes--there are
moments when the haven of New York does present pictures on which the
artist would seize with avidity; but, the instant nature attempts any
of her grander models, on this, a spot that seems never to rise much
above the level of commercial excellencies, it is found that the
accessaries are deficient in sublimity, or even beauty.

I have never seen our home waters so lovely as on this morning. The
movements of the vessels gave just enough of life and variety to the
scene to destroy the appearance of sameness; while the craft were too
far from the land to prevent one of the most unpleasant effects of the
ordinary landscape scenery of the place--that produced by the
disproportion between the tallness of their spars, and the low
character of the adjacent shores. As we drew near the Narrows, the
wind increased; and forty sail, working through the pass in close
conjunction, terminated the piece with something like the effect
produced by a _finale_ in an overture. The brightness of the
morning, the placid charms of the scenery, and the propitious
circumstances under which I commenced the voyage, in a commercial
point of view, had all contributed to make me momentarily forget my
private griefs, and to enter cheerfully into the enjoyment of the
hour.

I greatly disliked passengers. They appealed to me to lessen the
dignity of my position, and to reduce me to the level of an
inn-keeper, or one who received boarders. I wished to command a ship,
not to take in lodgers; persons whom you are bound to treat with a
certain degree of consideration, and, in one sense, as your
superiors. Still, it had too much of an appearance of surliness, and a
want of hospitality, to refuse a respectable man a passage across the
ocean, when he might not get another chance in a month, and that, too,
when it was important to himself to proceed immediately. In this
particular instance, I became the dupe of a mistaken kindness on the
part of my former owners.  These gentlemen brought to me a
Mr. Brigham--Wallace Mortimer Brigham was his whole name, to be
particular--as a person who was desirous of getting to France with his
wife and wife's sister, in order to proceed to Italy for the health of
the married lady, who was believed to be verging on a decline. These
people were from the eastward, and had fallen into the old error of
Americans, that the south of France and Italy had residences far more
favourable for such a disease, than our own country. This was one of
the provincial notions of the day, that were entailed on us by means
of colonial dependency. I suppose the colonial existence is as
necessary to a people, as childhood and adolescence are to the man;
but, as my Lady Mary Wortley Montagu told her friend, Lady Rich--"Nay;
but look you, my dear madam, I grant it a very fine thing to continue
always fifteen; _that_, everybody must approve of--it is quite
fair: but, indeed, indeed, one need not be five years old."

I was prevailed on to take these passengers, and I got a specimen of
their characters even as we dropped down the bay, in the midst of the
agreeable scene to which I have just alluded. They were
_gossips_; and that, too, of the lowest, or personal
cast. Nothing made them so happy as to be talking of the private
concerns of their fellow-creatures; and, as ever must happen where
this propensity exists, nine-tenths of what they said rested on no
better foundation than surmises, inferences drawn from premises of
questionable accuracy, and judgments that were entered up without the
authority, or even the inclination, to examine witnesses.  They had
also a peculiarity that I have often remarked in persons of the same
propensity; most of their gossiping arose from a desire to make
apparent their own intimacy with the private affairs of people of
mark--overlooking the circumstance that, in thus making the concerns
of others the subjects of their own comments, they were impliedly
admitting a consciousness of their own inferiority; men seldom
condescending thus to busy themselves with the affairs of any but
those of whom they feel it to be a sort of distinction to converse. I
am much afraid good-breeding has more to do with the suppression of
this vice, than good principles, as the world goes. I have remarked
that persons of a high degree of self-respect, and a good tone of
manners, are quite free from this defect of character; while I regret
to be compelled to say that I have been acquainted with divers very
saintly _professors_, including one or two parsons, who have
represented the very _beau ideal_ of scandal.

My passengers gave me a taste of their quality, as I have said, before
we had got a mile below Governor's Island.  The ladies were named
Sarah and Jane; and, between them and Wallace Mortimer, what an
insight did I obtain into the private affairs of sundry personages of
Salem, in Massachusetts, together with certain glimpses in at Boston
folk; all, however, referring to qualities and facts that might be
classed among the real or supposed. I can, at this distant day, recall
Scene 1st, Act 1st, of the drama that continued while we were crossing
the ocean, with the slight interruption of a few days, produced by
sea-sickness.

"Wallace," said Sarah, "did you say, yesterday, that John Viner had
refused to lend his daughter's husband twenty thousand dollars, to get
him out of his difficulties, and that he failed in consequence?"

"To be sure. It was the common talk through Wall Street yesterday, and
everybody believes it"--there was no more truth in the story, than in
one of the forty reports that have killed General Jackson so often, in
the last twenty years. "Yes, no one doubts it--but all the Viners are
just so! All of us, in our part of the world, know what to think of
the Viners."

"Yes, I suppose so," drawled Jane. "I've heard it said this John
Viner's father ran all the way from the Commons in Boston, to the foot
of State Street, to get rid of a dun against this very son, who had
his own misfortunes when he was young."

"The story is quite likely true in part," rejoined Wallace, "though it
can't be _quite_ accurate, as the old gentleman had but one leg,
and _running_ was altogether out of the question with _him_.
It was probably old Tim Viner, who ran like a deer when a young man,
as I've heard people say."

"Well, then, I suppose he ran his horse," added Jane, in the same
quiet, drawling tone. "_Something_ must have run, or they never
would have got up the story."

I wondered if Miss Jane Hitchcox had ever taken the trouble to
ascertain who _they_ were! I happened to know both the Viners,
and to be quite certain there was not a word of truth in the report of
the twenty thousand dollars, having heard all the particulars of the
late failure from one of my former owners, who was an assignee, and a
considerable creditor. Under the circumstances, I thought I would hint
as much.

"Are you quite sure that the failure of Viner & Co. was owing to the
circumstance you mention, Mr. Brigham?" I inquired.

"Pretty certain. I am '_measurably acquainted_' with their
affairs, and think I am tolerably safe in saying so."

Now, "measurably acquainted" meant that he lived within twenty or
thirty miles of those who _did_ know something of the concerns of
the house in question, and was in the way of catching scraps of the
gossip that fell from disappointed creditors. How much of this is
there in this good country of ours! Men who live just near enough to
one another to feel the influence of all that rivalry, envy, personal
strifes and personal malignancies, can generate, fancy they are
acquainted, from this circumstance, with those to whom they have never
even spoken. One-half the idle tales that circulate up and-down the
land, come from authority not one tittle better than this. How much
would men learn, could they only acquire the healthful lesson of
understanding that _nothing_, which is much out of the ordinary
way, and which, circulates as received truths illustrative of
character, is true in _all_ its material parts, and very little
in _any_. But, to return to my passengers, and that portion of
their conversation which most affected myself. They continued
commenting on persons and families by name, seemingly more to keep
their hands in, than for any other discoverable reason, as each
appeared to be perfectly conversant with all the gossip that was
started; when Sarah casually mentioned the name of Mrs. Bradfort, with
some of whose _supposed_ friends, it now came out, they had all a
general visiting acquaintance.

"Dr. Hosack is of opinion she cannot live long, I hear," said Jane,
with a species of fierce delight in killing a fellow-creature,
provided it only led to a gossip concerning her private affairs. "Her
case has been decided to be a cancer, now, for more than a week, and
she made her will last Tuesday."

"Only last Tuesday!" exclaimed Sarah, in surprise.  "Well, I heard she
had made her will a twelvemonth since, and that she left all her
property to young Rupert Hardinge; in the expectation, some persons
thought, that he might marry her."

"How could that be, my dear?" asked the husband; "in what would she be
better off for leaving her own property to her husband?"

"Why, by law, would she not? I don't exactly know how it would happen,
for I do not particularly understand these things; but it seems
natural that a woman would be a gainer if she made the man she was
about to marry her heir. She would have her thirds in his estate,
would she not?"

"But, Mrs. Brigham," said I, smiling, "is it quite certain
Mrs. Bradfort wishes to marry Rupert Hardinge, at all?"

"I know so little of the parties, that I cannot speak with certainty
in the matter, I admit, Captain Wallingford."

"Well, but Sarah, dear," interposed the more exacting Jane, "you are
making yourself unnecessarily ignorant.  You very well know how
intimate we are with the Greenes, and they know the Winters perfectly
well, who are next-door neighbours to Mrs. Bradfort. I don't see how
you can say we haven't good means of being 'measurably'
well-informed."

Now, I happened to know through Grace and Lucy, that a disagreeable
old person, of the name of Greene did live next door to Mrs. Bradfort;
but, that the latter refused to visit her, firstly, because she did
not happen to like her, and secondly, because the two ladies belonged
to very different social circles; a sufficient excuse for not visiting
in town, even though the parties inhabited the same house. But, the
Brighams, being Salem people, did not understand that families might
reside next door to each other, in a large town, for a long series of
months, or even years, and not know each other's names. It would not
be easy to teach this truth, one of every-day occurrence, to the
inhabitant of one of our provincial towns, who was in the habit of
fancying he had as close an insight into the private affairs of all
his neighbours, as they enjoyed themselves.

"No doubt we are all as well off as most strangers in New York,"
observed the wife; "still, it ought to be admitted that we may be
mistaken. I have heard it said there is an old Mr. Hardinge, a
clergyman, who would make a far better match for the lady, than his
son. However, it is of no great moment, now; for, when our neighbour
Mrs. John Foote, saw Dr. Hosack about her own child, she got all the
particulars out of him about Mrs. Bradfort's case, from the highest
quarter, and I had it from Mrs. Foote, herself."

"I could not have believed that a physician of Dr. Hosack's eminence
and character would speak openly of the diseases of his patients," I
observed, a little tartly, I am afraid.

"Oh! he didn't," said Sarah, eagerly--"he was as cunning as a fox,
Mrs. Foote owned herself, and played her off finely; but Mrs. Foote
was cunninger than any half-dozen foxes, and got it all out of him by
negations."

"Negations!" I exclaimed, wondering what was meant by the term, though
I had understood I was to expect a little more philosophy and
metaphysics, not to say algebra, in my passengers, than usually
accompanied petticoats in our part of the world.

"Certainly, _negations_" answered the matron, with a smile as
complacent as that which usually denotes the consciousness of
intellectual superiority. "One who is a little practised, can
ascertain a fact as well by means of negatives as affirmatives. It
only requires judgment and use."

"Then Mrs. Bradfort's disease is only ascertained by the negative
process?"

"So I suppose--but what does one want more," put in the husband;--"and
that she made her will last week, I feel quite sure, as it was
generally spoken of among our friends."

Here were people who had been in New York only a month, looking out
for a ship, mere passengers as it might be, who knew more about a
family with which I had myself such an intimate connection, than its
own members. I thought it no wonder that such a race was capable of
enlightening mankind, on matters and things in general. But the game
did not end here.

"I suppose Miss Lucy Hardinge will get something by Mrs. Bradfort's
death," observed Miss Jane, "and that she and Mr. Andrew Drewett will
marry as soon as it shall become proper."

Here was a speculation, for a man in my state of mind!  The names were
all right; some of the incidents, even, were probable, if not correct;
yet, how could the facts be known to these comparative strangers? Did
the art of gossiping, with all its meannesses, lies, devices,
inventions, and cruelties, really possess so much advantage over the
intercourse of the confiding and honest, as to enable those who
practise it to discover facts hidden from eye-witnesses, and
eye-witnesses, too, that had every inducement of the strongest
interest in the issue, not to be deceived? I felt satisfied, the
moment Mrs. Greene's name was mentioned, that my passengers were not
in the true New York set; and, justly enough, inferred they were not
very good authority for one half they said; and, yet, how could they
know anything of Drewett's attachment to Lucy, unless their
information were tolerably accurate?

I shall not attempt to repeat all that passed while the ship dropped
down the bay; but enough escaped the gossips to render me still more
unhappy than I had yet been, on the subject of Lucy. I could and did
despise these people; that was easy enough; but it was not so easy to
forget all that they said and surmised. This is one of the causes
attendant on the habit of loose talking; one never knowing what to
credit, and what not. In spite of all my disgust, and a firm
determination not to contribute in any manner to the stock in trade of
these people, I found great difficulty in evading their endless
questions. How much they got out of me, by means of the process of
negations, I never knew; but they got no great matter through direct
affirmatives. Something, however, persons so indefatigable, to whom
gossiping was the great aim of life, must obtain, and they ascertained
that Mr. Hardinge was my guardian, that Rupert and I had passed our
boyhoods in each other's company, and that Lucy was even an inmate of
my own house the day we sailed. This little knowledge only excited a
desire for more, and, by the end of a week, I was obliged to submit to
devices and expedients to pump me, than which even the thumbscrew was
scarcely more efficient. I practised on the negative system, myself,
with a good deal of dexterity, however, and threw my inquisitors off,
very handsomely, more than once, until I discovered that Wallace
Mortimer, determined not to be baffled, actually opened communications
with Neb, in order to get a clearer insight into my private affairs.
After this, I presume my readers will not care to hear any more about
these gentry, whose only connection with my life grew out of the
misgivings they contributed largely to create in my mind, touching the
state of Lucy's affections.  This much they did effect, and I was
compelled to submit to their power. We are all of us, more or less,
the dupes of knaves and fools.

All this, however, was the fruits of several weeks' intercourse, and I
have anticipated events a little, in order to make the statements in
connection. Meeting a breeze, as has been said already, the Dawn got
over the bar, about two o'clock, and stood off the land, on an easy
bowline, in company with the little fleet of square-rigged vessels
that went out at the same time. By sunset, Navesink again dipped, and
I was once more fairly at sea.

This was at the period when the commerce of America was at its
height. The spirit shown by the young Republic in the French affair
had commanded a little respect, though the supposed tendencies of the
new administration was causing anything but a cordial feeling towards
the country to exist in England. That powerful nation, however, had
made a hollow peace with France the previous March, and the highway of
nations was temporarily open to all ships alike; a state of things
that existed for some ten months after we sailed. Nothing to be
apprehended, consequently, lay before me, beyond the ordinary dangers
of the ocean.  For these last, I was now prepared by the experience of
several years passed almost entirely on board ship, during which time
I had encircled the earth itself in my peregrinations.

Our run off the coast was favourable, and the sixth day out, we were
in the longitude of the tail of the Grand Bank.  I was delighted with
my ship, which turned out to be even more than I had dared to hope
for. She behaved well under all circumstances, sailing even better
than she worked. The first ten days of our passage were prosperous,
and we were mid-ocean by the 10th of the month. During this time I had
nothing to annoy me but the ceaseless _cancans_ of my passengers.
I had heard the name of every individual of note in Salem; with
certain passages in his or her life, and began to fancy I had lived a
twelvemonth in the place. At length, I began to speculate on the
reason why this morbid propensity should exist so much stronger in
that part of the world than in any other I had visited. There was
nothing new in the disposition of the people of small places to
gossip, and it was often done in large towns; more especially those
that did not possess the tone of a capital. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
and Horace Walpole wrote gossip, but it was spiced with wit, as is
usual with the scandal of such places as London and Paris; whereas
this, to which I was doomed to listen, was nothing more than downright
impertinent, vulgar, meddling with the private affairs of all those
whom the gossips thought of sufficient importance to talk about.  At
Clawbonny, we had our gossip too, but it was innocent, seldom
infringed much on the truth, and usually respected the right of every
person to possess certain secrets that might remain inviolate to the
world. No such rules prevailed with my passengers. Like a certain
editor of a newspaper of my acquaintance, who acts as if he fancied
all things in heaven and earth were created expressly to furnish
materials for "paragraphs," they appeared to think that everybody of
their acquaintance existed for no other purpose than to furnish them
food for conversation. There must have been some unusual cause for so
much personal _espionnage_, and, at length, I came to the
following conclusion on the subject. I had heard that church
government, among the puritans, descended into all the details of
life; that it was a part of their religious duty to watch over each
other, jog the memories of the delinquents, and serve God by ferreting
out vice. This is a terrible inducement to fill the mind with the
motes of a neighbourhood, and the mind thus stowed, as we sailors say,
will be certain to deliver cargo. Then come the institutions, with
their never-ending elections, and the construction that has been put
on the right of the elector to inquire into all things; the whole
consummated by the journals, who assume a power to penetrate the
closet, ay, even the heart,--and lay bare its secrets. Is it any
wonder, if we should become, in time, a nation of mere gossips? As for
my passengers, even Neb got to consider them as so many nuisances.

From some cause or other, whether it was having these loose-tongued
people on board or not, is more than I can say, but certain it is,
about the time Salem was handsomely cleaned out, and a heavy inroad
had been made upon Boston, that the weather changed. It began to blow
in gusts, sometimes from one point of the compass, sometimes from
another, until the ship was brought to very short canvass, from a
dread of being caught unprepared. At length, these fantasies of the
winds terminated in a tremendous gale, such as I had seldom then
witnessed; and such, indeed, as I have seldom witnessed since. It is a
great mistake to suppose that the heaviest weather occurs in the
autumnal, spring, or winter months. Much the strongest blows I have
ever known, have taken place in the middle of the warm weather.  This
is the season of the hurricanes; and, out of the tropics, I think it
is also the season of _the_ gales. It is true; these gales do not
return annually, a long succession of years frequently occurring
without one; but, when they do come, they may be expected, in our own
seas, in July, August, or September.

The wind commenced at south-west, on this occasion, and it blew fresh
for several hours, sending us ahead on our course, at the rate of
eleven knots. As the sea got up, and sail was reduced, our speed was a
little diminished perhaps; but we must have made more than a hundred
miles in the first ten hours. The day was bright, cloudless, genial,
and even bland; there being nothing unpleasant in the feeling of the
swift currents of the air, that whirled past us. At sunset I did not
quite like the appearance of the horizon; and we let the ship wade
through it, under her three top-sails, single-reefed, her fore-course,
and fore-top-mast staysail.  This was short canvass, for a vessel that
had the wind nearly over her taffrail. At nine o'clock, second reefs
were taken in, and at ten, the mizen-top-sail was furled. I then
turned in, deeming the ship quite snug, leaving orders with the mates
to reduce the sail, did they find the ship straining, or the spars in
danger, and to call me should anything serious occur. I was not called
until daylight, when Talcott laid his hand on my shoulder, and said,
"You had better turn out, Captain Wallingford; we have a peeler, and I
want a little advice."

It was a peeler, indeed, when I reached the deck. The ship was under a
fore-course and a close-reefed main-top-sail, canvass that can be
carried a long time, while running off; but which, I at once saw, was
quite too much for us.  An order was given immediately, to take in the
top-sail.  Notwithstanding the diminutive surface that was exposed,
the surges given by this bit of canvass, as soon as the clews were
eased off sufficiently to allow the cloth to jerk, shook the vessel's
hull. It was a miracle that we saved the mast, or that we got the
cloth rolled up at all. At one time, I thought it would be necessary
to cut it from the yard. Fortunately the gale was steady, this day
proving bright and clear, like that which had preceded.


The men aloft made several attempts to hail the deck, but the wind
blew too heavily to suffer them to be heard. Talcott had gone on the
yard himself, and I saw him gesticulating, in a way to indicate there
was something ahead.  The seas were running so high that it was not
easy to obtain much of a look at the horizon; but, by getting into the
mizen-rigging, I had a glimpse of a vessel's spars, to the eastward of
us, and directly on our course. It was a ship under bare poles,
running as nearly before us as she could, but making most fearful
yaws; sometimes sheering away off to starboard, in a way to threaten
her with broaching-to; then taking a yaw to port, in which I could see
all three of her masts, with their yards pointed nearly at us. I got
but one glimpse of her hull, as it rose on a sea, at the same instant
with the Dawn, and it actually appeared as if about to be blown away,
though I took the stranger to be a vessel at least as large as we were
ourselves. We were evidently approaching her fast, though both vessels
were going the same way.

The Dawn steered beautifully, one of the greatest virtues in a ship,
under the circumstances in which we were then placed. A single man was
all that we had at the wheel, and he controlled it with ease. I could
see it was very different with the ship ahead, and fancied they had
made a mistake on board her, by taking in all their canvass. Talcott
and the gang aloft, had not got out of the top, however, before we had
a hint that it would be well to imitate the stranger's prudence.
Though our vessel steered so much better than another, no ship can
keep on a direct line, while running before the wind, in a heavy
sea. The waves occasionally fly past a vessel, like the scud glancing
through the air; then, they seem to pause, altogether, as if to permit
the ship to overtake them. When a vessel is lifted aft by one of these
torrents of rushing waters, the helm loses a portion of its power; and
the part of the vast machine that first receives the impulse, seems
intent on exchanging places with the bows, vessels often driving
sideways before the surges, for spaces of time that are exceedingly
embarrassing to the mariner. This happens to the best-steering ships,
and is always one source of danger in very heavy weather, to those
that are running off. The merit of the Dawn was in coming under
command again, quickly, and in not losing so much of the influence of
her helm, as is frequently the case with wild-steering craft. I
understand there is a sloop-of-war now in the navy, that is difficult
to get through a narrow passage, in a blow, in consequence of her
having this propensity to turn her head first one way, then another,
like a gay horse that breaks his bridle.

The hint given, just as Talcott was quitting the top, and to which
there has been allusion, was given under the impulsion of one of these
driving seas. The Dawn still carried her fore-topmast stay-sail, a
small triangular piece of stout canvass, and which was particularly
useful, as leading from the end of the bowsprit towards the head of
the fore-top-mast, in preventing her from broaching-to, or pressing up
with her bows so near the wind, as to produce the danger of seas
breaking over the mass of the hull, and sweeping the decks. The
landsman will understand this is the gravest of the dangers that occur
at sea, in very heavy weather.  When the ship is thrown broadside to
the sea, or comes up so as to bring the wind abeam, or even forward of
the beam, as in lying-to, there is always risk from this
source. Another clanger, which is called pooping, is of a character
that one who is ignorant of the might of the ocean when aroused, would
not be apt to foresee. It proceeds from the impetuous velocity of the
waves, which, rushing ahead so much faster than the vessel that is
even driving before the gale, breaks against the quarter, or stern,
and throws its masses of water along the deck, in a line with its
keel. I suppose the President steamer to have been lost by the first
of these two dangers, as will appear in the following little theory.

There is no doubt that well-constructed steamers are safer craft, the
danger from fire excepted, than the ordinary ship, except in very
heavy weather. With an ordinary gale, they can contend with sufficient
power; but, it is an unfortunate consequence of their construction,
that exactly as the danger increases, their power of meeting it
diminishes.  In a very heavy swell, one cannot venture to resort to a
strong head of steam, since one wheel may be nearly out of water,
while the other is submerged, and thus endanger the machinery. Now,
the great length of these vessels renders it difficult to keep them up
to the wind, or head to sea, the safest of all positions for a vessel
in heavy weather, while it exposes them to the additional risk of
having the water break aboard them near the waist, in running dead
before it. In a word, I suppose a steamer difficult to be kept out of
the trough, in very heavy weather; and no vessel can be safe in the
trough of the seas, under such circumstances; one of great length less
so than others. This is true, however, only in reference to those
steamers which carry the old-fashioned wheel; Erricson's screw, and
Hunter's submerged wheels, rendering steam-ships, in my poor judgment,
the safest craft in the world.

The Dawn was overtaken by the seas, from time to time; and, then, like
everything else that floats, she yawed, or rather, had her stern urged
impetuously round, as if it were in a hurry to get ahead of the
bows. On these occasions, the noise made by the fore-top-mast
stay-sail, as it collapsed and filled, resembled the report of a small
gun. We had similar reports from the fore-sail, which, for moments at
a time, was actually becalmed, as the ship settled into the trough;
and then became distended with a noise like that of the shaking of a
thousand carpets, all filled with Sancho Panzas, at the same
instant. As yet, the cloth and gear had stood these violent shocks
admirably; but, just as Talcott was leading his party down, the ship
made one of her side-long movements; the stay-sail filled with a
tremendous report, and away it flew to leeward, taken out--of the
bolt-rope as if it had been cut by shears, and then used by the furies
of the tempest. Talcott smiled, as he gazed at the driving canvass,
which went a quarter of a mile before it struck the water, whirling
like a kite that has broken its string, and then he shook his head. I
disliked, too, the tremendous surges of the fore-sail, when it
occasionally collapsed and as suddenly filled, menacing to start every
bolt, and to part every rope connected with block or spar.

"We must get in that fore-course, Mr. Talcott," I said, "or we shall
lose something. I see the ship ahead is under bare-poles, and it were
better we were as snug. If I did not dislike losing such a wind, it
would be wiser to heave-to the ship; man the buntlines and
clew-garnets, at once, and wait for a favourable moment."

We had held on to our canvass too long; the fault of youth. As I had
determined to shorten sail, however, we now set about it in earnest,
and with all the precautions exacted by the circumstances. Everybody
that could be mustered, was placed at the clew-lines and buntlines,
with strict orders to do his best at the proper moments. The
first-mate went to the tack, and the second to the sheet. I was to
take in the sail myself. I waited for a collapse; and then, while the
ship was buried between two mounds of water, when it was impossible to
see a hundred yards from her in any direction, and the canvass was
actually dropping against the mast I gave the usual orders. Every man
hauled, as if for life, and we had got the clews pretty well up, when
the vessel came out of the cavern into the tempest, receiving the
whole power of the gale, with a sudden surge, into the bellying
canvass. Away went everything, as if the gear were cobwebs. At the
next instant, the sail was in ribands. I was deeply mortified, as well
as rendered uneasy, by this accident, as the ship ahead unquestionably
was in full view of all that happened.

It was soon apparent, however, that professional pride must give place
to concern for the safety of the vessel. The wind had been steadily
increasing in power, and had now reached a pass when it became
necessary to look things steadily in the face. The strips of canvass
that remained attached to the yard, with the blocks and gear attached,
threshed about in a way to threaten the lives of all that
approached. This was only at the intervals when the ship settled into
the troughs; for, while under the full influence of the gale, pennants
never streamed more directly from a mast, than did these heavy
fragments from the fore-yard.  It was necessary to get rid of them;
and Talcott had just volunteered to go on the yard with this end, when
Neb sprang into the rigging without an order, and was soon beyond the
reach of the voice. This daring black had several narrow escapes, more
especially from the fore-sheet blocks; but he succeeded in cutting
everything adrift, and in leaving nothing attached to the spar, but
the bolt-rope of the head of the sail. It is true, little effected
this object, when the knife could be applied, the threads of the stout
canvass snapping at the touch.

As soon as the ship was under bare poles, though at the sacrifice of
two of her sails, I had leisure to look out for the other
vessel. There she was, more than half a mile ahead of us, yawing
wildly, and rolling her lower yard-arm, to the water's edge. As we
drew nearer, I got better glimpses of this vessel, which was a ship,
and as I fancied, an English West Indiaman, deep-loaded with the
produce of the islands. Deep-loaded as I fancied, for it was only at
instants that she could be seen at all, under circumstances to judge
of this fact; sometimes her hull appearing to be nearly smothered in
the brine, and then, again, her copper glistening in the sun,
resembling a light vessel, kept under the care of some thrifty
housewife.

The Dawn did not fly, now all her canvass was gone, as fast as she had
previously done. She went through the water at a greater rate than the
vessel ahead; but it required an hour longer to bring the two ships
within a cable's length of each other. Then, indeed, we got a near
view of the manner in which the elements can play with such a mass of
wood and iron as a ship, when in an angry mood.  There were instants
when I fancied I could nearly see the keel of the stranger for half
its length, as he went foaming up on the crest of a wave, apparently
ready to quit the water altogether; then again, he would settle away
into the blue abyss, hiding everything beneath his tops. When both
vessels sunk together, no sign of our neighbour was visible, though so
near. We came up after one of these deep plunges into the valleys of
the ocean, and, to our alarm, saw the English ship yawing directly
athwart our course, and within fifty fathoms of us. This was about the
distance at which I intended to pass, little dreaming of finding the
other ship so completely in our way. The Englishman must have intended
to come a little nearer, and got one of those desperate sheers that so
often ran away with him.  There he was, however; and a breathless
minute followed, when he was first seen. Two vehicles dashing along a
highway, with frightened and run-away teams, would not present a sight
one-half as terrific as that which lay directly before our eyes.

The Dawn was plunging onward with a momentum to dash in splinters, did
she strike any resisting object, and yawing herself sufficiently to
render the passage hazardous.  But the stranger made the matter
ten-fold worse. When I first saw him, in this fearful proximity, his
broadside was nearly offered to the seas, and away he was flying, on
the summit of a mountain of foam, fairly crossing our fore-foot.  At
the next moment, he fell off before the wind, again, and I could just
see his tops directly ahead. His sheer had been to-port, our intention
having been to pass him on his starboard side; but, perceiving him to
steer so wild, I thought it might be well to go in the other
direction. Quick as the words could be uttered, therefore, I called
out to port the helm. This was done, of course; and just as the Dawn
felt the new influence, the other vessel took the same sheer, and away
we both went to starboard, at precisely the same instant. I shouted to
right our helm to "hard a-starboard," and it was well I did; a minute
more would have brought us down headlong on the Englishman. Even now
we could only see his hull, at instants; but the awful proximity of
his spars denoted the full extent of the danger. Luckily, we hit on
opposite directions, or our common destruction would have been
certain. But, it was one thing, in that cauldron of a sea, to
determine on a course, and another to follow it. As we rose on the
last wave that alone separated us from the stranger, he was nearly
ahead; and as we glanced onward, I saw that we should barely clear his
larboard quarter. Our helm being already a starboard, no more could be
done. Should he take another sheer to port, we must infallibly cut him
in twain. As I have said, he had jammed his helm to-port, and slowly,
and with a species of reluctance, he inclined a little aside. Then we
came up, both ships rolling off, or our yards must have interlocked,
and passing his quarter with our bows, we each felt the sheer at the
same instant, and away we went asunder, the sterns of the ships
looking at each other, and certainly not a hundred feet apart. A shout
from Talcott drew me to our taffrail, and standing on that of our
neighbour, what or whom should I see waving his hat, but the red
countenance of honest Moses Marble!



CHAPTER XXVI.

  "At the piping of all hands,
  When the judgment signal's spread--
  When the islands and the lands,
  And the seas give up the dead,
  And the south and the north shall come;
  When the sinner is dismay'd,
  And the just man is afraid,
  Then heaven be thy aid,
  Poor _Tom_.'"
  BRAINARD.


The two ships, in the haste of their respective crews to get clear of
each other, were now running in the troughs; and the same idea would
seem to have suggested itself to me and the other master, at the same
instant. Instead of endeavouring to keep away again, one kept his helm
hard a-port, the other as hard a-starboard, until we both came by the
wind, though on opposite tacks. The Englishman set his mizen-stay-sail,
and though he made bad weather of it, he evidently ran much less risk
than in scudding. The seas came on board him constantly; but not in a
way to do any material damage. As for the Dawn, she lay-to, like a
duck, under bare poles. I had a spare stay-sail, stopped up in her
mizen-rigging, from the top down, and after that the ship was both
easy and dry. Once in a while, it is true, her bows would meet some
fellow heavier than common, and then we got a few hogsheads of water
forward; but it went out to leeward as fast as it came in to
windward. At the turn of the day, however, the gale broke, and the
weather moderated sensibly; both sea and wind beginning to go down.

Had we been alone, I should not have hesitated about bearing up,
getting some sail on the ship, and running off on my course, again;
but, the desire to speak the stranger, and have some communication
with Marble, was so strong, that I could not make up my mind to do
so. Including myself, Talcott, Neb, the cabin-steward, and six of the
people forward, there were ten of us on board, who knew the ex-mate;
and, of the whole ten, there was not a dissenting voice concerning his
identity. I determined, therefore, to stick by the Englishman, and at
least have some communication with my old friend. As for myself, I own
I loved Marble, uncouth and peculiar as he sometimes was. I owed him
more than any other man living, Mr. Hardinge excepted; for he had made
me a seaman, having been of use to me professionally, in a hundred
ways. Then we had seen so much in company, that I regarded him as a
portion of my experience, and as, in some measure, identified with my
own nautical career.

I was afraid at one moment, that the Englishman intended to remain as
he was, all night; but, about an hour before sunset, I had the
gratification to see him set his fore-sail, and keep off. I had wore
round, two hours before, to get the Dawn's head on the same tack with
him, and followed under bare poles. As the stranger soon set his
main-top-sail close reefed, and then his fore, it enabled us to make a
little sail also, in order to keep up with him. This we did all that
night; and, in the morning, both ships were under everything that
would draw, with a moderate breeze from the northward, and no great
matter of sea going. The English vessel was about a league to leeward
of us, and a little ahead. Under such circumstances, it was easy to
close.  Accordingly, just as the two ships' companies were about to go
to breakfast, the Dawn ranged up under the lee-quarter of the
stranger.

"What ship's that?" I hailed, in the usual manner.

"The Dundee; Robert Ferguson, master--what ship's that?"

"The Dawn; Miles Wallingford. Where are you from?"

"From Rio de Janeiro, bound to London. Where are _you_ from?"

"From New York, to Bordeaux. A heavy blow we have just had of it."

"Quite; the like of it, I've not seen in many a day.  You've a pratty
sea-boat, yon!"

"She made capital weather, in the late gale, and I've every reason to
be satisfied with her. Pray, haven't you an American on board, of the
name of Marble? We fancied that we saw the face of an old shipmate on
your taffrail, yesterday, and have kept you company in order to
inquire after his news."

"Ay, ay," answered the Scotch master, waving his hand.  "The chiel
will be visiting you prasently. He's below, stowing away his dunnage;
and will be thanking you for a passage home, I'm thinking."

As these words were uttered, Marble appeared on deck, and waved his
hat, again, in recognition. This was enough; as we understood each
other, the two ships took sufficient room, and hove-to. We lowered our
boat, and Talcott went alongside of the Dundee, in quest of our old
shipmate. Newspapers and news were exchanged; and, in twenty minutes,
I had the extreme gratification of grasping Marble once more by the
hand.

My old friend was too much affected to speak, for some little time. He
shook hands with everybody, and seemed as much astonished as he was
delighted at finding so many of us together again; but not a syllable
did he utter for several minutes. I had his chest passed into the
cabin, and then went and took my seat alongside of him on the
hen-coops, intending to hear his story, as soon as he was disposed to
give it. But, it was no easy matter to get out of ear-shot of my
passengers. During the gale, they had been tongue-tied, and I had a
little peace; but, no sooner did the wind and sea go down, than they
broke out in the old spot, and began to do Boston, in the way they had
commenced.  Now, Marble had come on board, in a manner so unusual, and
it was evident a secret history was to be revealed, that all three
took post in the companion-way, in a manner to render it impossible
anything material could escape them. I knew the folly of attempting a
change of position on deck; we should certainly be followed up; and,
people of this class, so long as they can make the excuse of saying
they heard any part of a secret, never scruple about inventing the
portions that happen to escape their ears.  Consequently, I desired
Marble and Talcott to follow me; and, incontinently, I led the way
into the main-top. I was obeyed, the second-mate having the watch, and
all three of us were soon seated with our legs over the top-rim, as
comfortable as so many gossips, who had just finished their last cups,
have stirred the fire, and drawn their heads together to open a
fresh-budget. Neither Sarah nor Jane could follow us, thank God!

"There, d--n 'em" said I, a little pointedly; for it was enough to
make a much more, scrupulous person swear, "we've got the length of
the main-rigging between us, and I do not think they'll venture into
the top, this fine morning, in order to overhear what shall be
said. It would puzzle even Wallace Mortimer to do that, Talcott."

"If they do," observed Talcott, laughing, "we can retreat to the
cross-trees, and thence to the royal-yard."

Marble looked inquisitive, but, at the same time, he looked knowing.

"I understand," he said, with a nod; "three people with six sets of
ears--is it not so, Miles?"

"Precisely; though you only do them credit by halves, for you should
have added to this inventory forty tongues."

"Well, that is a large supply. The man, or woman, who is so well
provided, should carry plenty of ballast. However, as you say, they're
out of hail now, and must guess at all they repeat, if repeating it
can be called."

"Quite as much as nine-tenths of what they give as coming from
others," observed Talcott. "People never can tell so much of other
person's affairs, without bailing out most of their ideas from their
own scuttle-butts."

"Well, let them go to--Bordeaux--" said I, "since they are bound
there. And now, my dear Marble, here we are, and dying to know all
that has happened to you. You have firm friends in Talcott and myself;
either of us, ready to give you his berth for the asking."

"Thank'ee, my dear boys--thank'ee, with all my heart and soul,"
returned the honest fellow, dashing the moisture from his eyes, with
the back of his hand. "I believe you would, boys; I do believe you
would, one or both. I am glad, Miles, you came up into this bloody
top, for I wouldn't like to let your reg'lar 'long-shore harpies see a
man of my time of life, and one that has been to sea, now, man and
boy, close on to forty years, with as much blubber about him, as one
of your right whales. Well--and now for the log; for I suppose you'll
insist on overhauling it, lads?"

"That we shall; and see you miss no leaf of it. Be as particular as if
it were overhauled in an insurance case."

"Ay; they're bloody knaves, sometimes, them underwriters; und a fellow
need be careful to get his dues out of them--that is to say,
_some_; others, ag'in, are gentlemen, down to their shoe-buckles,
and no sooner see a poor shipwrecked devil, than they open their
tills, and begin to count out, before he has opened his mouth."

"Well, but your own adventures, my old friend; you forget we are dying
with curiosity."

"Ay--your cur'osity's a troublesome inmate, and will never be quiet as
long as one tries to keep it under hatches; especially female
cur'osity. Well, I must gratify you; and so I'll make no more bones
about it, though its giving an account of my own obstinacy and
folly. I reckon, now, my boys, you missed me the day the ship sailed
from the island?"

"That we did, and supposed you had got tired of your experiment before
it began," I answered, "so were off, before we were ourselves."

"You had reason for so thinking; though you were out in your
reckoning, too. No; it happened in this fashion.  After you left me, I
began to generalize over my sitiation, and I says to myself, says I,
'Moses Marble, them lads will never consent to sail and leave you here,
on this island, alone like a bloody hermit,' says I. 'If you want to
hold on,' says I, 'and try your hand at a hermitage,' says I, 'or to
play Robinson Crusoe,' says I, 'you must be out, of the way when the
Crisis, sails'--boys, what's become of the old ship? Not a word have I
heard about her, yet!"

"She was loading for London, when we sailed, her owners intending to
send her the same voyage over again."

"And they refused to let you have her, Miles, on account of your
youth, notwithstanding all you did for them?"

"Not so; they pressed me to keep her, but I preferred a ship of my
own. The Dawn is my property, Master Moses!"

"Thank God! then there is one honest chap among the owners. And how
did she behave? Had you any trouble with the pirates?"

Perceiving the utter uselessness of attempting to hear his own story
before I rendered an account of the Crisis, and her exploits, I gave
Marble a history of our voyage, from the time we parted down to the
day we reached New York.

"And that scaramouch of a schooner that the Frenchman gave us, in his
charity?"

"The Pretty Poll! She got home safe, was sold, and is now in the
West-India trade. There is a handsome balance, amounting to some
fourteen hundred dollars, in the owners' hands, coming to you from
prize-money and wages."

It is not in nature, for any man to be sorry he has money. I saw by
Marble's eyes, that this sum, so unusually large for him to possess,
formed a new tie to the world, and that he fancied himself a much
happier man in possessing it. He looked at me earnestly, for quite a
minute, and then remarked, I make no doubt with sincere regret--

"Miles, if I had a mother living, now, that money might make her old
age comfortable! It seems that they who have no mothers, have money,
and they who have no money, have mothers."

I waited a moment for Marble to recover his self-command, and then
urged him to continue his story.

"I was telling you how I generalized over my sitiation," resumed the
ex-mate, "as soon as I found myself alone in the hut. I came to the
conclusion that I should be carried off by force, if I remained till
next day; and so I got into the launch, carried her out of the lagoon,
taking care to give the ship a berth, went through the reef, and kept
turning to windward, until day-break. By that time, the island was
quite out of sight, though I saw the upper sails of the ship, as soon
as you got her under way. I kept the top-gallant-sails in sight, until
I made the island, again; and as you went off, I ran in, and took
possession of my dominions, with no one to dispute my will, or to try
to reason me out of my consait."

"I am glad to hear you term that notion a conceit, for, certainly, it
was not reason. You soon discovered your mistake, my old mess-mate,
and began to think of home."

"I soon discovered, Miles, that if I had neither father, nor mother,
brother nor sister, that I had a country and friends. The bit of
marble on which I was found in the stone-cutter's yard, then seemed as
dear to me as a gold cradle is to a king's son; and I thought of you,
and all the rest of you--nay, I yearned after you, as a mother would
yearn for her children."

"Poor fellow, you were solitary enough, I dare say--had you no
amusement with your pigs and poultry?"

"For a day or two, they kept me pretty busy. But, by the end of a
week, I discovered that pigs and poultry were not made to keep company
with man. I had consaited that I could pass the rest of my days in the
bosom of my own family, like any other man who had made, his fortune
and retired; but, I found my household too small for such a life as
that. My great mistake was in supposing that the Marble family could
be happy in its own circle."

This was said bitterly, though it was said drolly, and, while it made

Talcott and myself laugh, it also made us sorry.

"I fell into another mistake, however, boys," Marble continued, "and
it might as well be owned. I took it into my head that I should be all
alone on the island, but I found to my cost, that the devil insisted
on having his share. I'll tell you how it is, Miles; a man must either
look ahead, or look astarn; there is no such thing as satisfying
himself with the present moorings. Now, this was my misfortune; for,
ahead I had nothing to look forward to; and astarn, what comfort had I
in overhauling past sins!"

"I think I can understand your difficulties, my friend; how did you
manage to get rid of them?"

"I left the island. You had put the Frenchman's launch in capital
condition, and all I had to do was to fill up the breakers with fresh
water, kill a hog and salt him away, put on board a quantity of
biscuit, and be off. As for eatables, you know there was no scarcity
on the island, and I took my choice. I make no doubt there are twenty
hogsheads of undamaged sugars, at this very moment, in the hold of
that wreck, and on the beach of the island. I fed my poultry on it,
the whole time I staid."

"And so you abandoned Marble Land to the pig's and the fowls?"

"I did, indeed, Miles; and I hope the poor creaturs will have a
comfortable time of it. I gave 'em what the lawyers call a quit-claim,
and sailed two months to a day after you went off in the Crisis."

"I should think, old shipmate, that your voyage must have been as
solitary and desperate as your life ashore."

"I'm amazed to hear, you say that. I'm never solitary at sea, one has
so much to do in taking care of his craft; and then he can always look
forward to the day he'll get in.  But this generalizing, night and
day, without any port ahead, and little comfort in looking astarn,
will soon fit a man for Bedlam. I just: weathered Cape Crazy, I can
tell you, lads; and that, too, in the white water! As for my v'y'ge
being desperate, what was there to make it so, I should like to know?"

"You must have been twelve or fifteen hundred miles from any island
where you could look forward to anything like safety; and that is a
distance one would rather not travel all alone on the high seas."

"Pshaw! all consait. You're getting notional, Miles, now you're a
master and owner. What's a run of a thousand or fifteen hundred miles,
in a tight boat, and with plenty of grub and water? It was the easiest
matter in the world; and if it warn't for that bloody Cape Horn, I
should have made as straight a wake for Coenties' Slip, as the
trending of the land would have allowed. As it was, I turned to
windward, for I knew the savages to leeward weren't to be trusted. You
see, it was as easy as working out a day's work. I kept the boat on a
wind all day, and long bits of the night, too, until I wanted sleep;
and then I hove her to, under a reefed mainsail, and slept as sound as
a lord. I hadn't an uncomfortable moment, after I got outside of the
reef again; and the happiest hour of my life was that in which I saw
the tree-tops of the island dip."

"And how long were you navigating in this manner, and what land did
you first make?"

"Seven weeks, though I made half a dozen islands, every one of them
just such a looking object as that I had left.  You weren't about to
catch me ashore again in any of them miserable places! I gave the old
boat a slap, and promised to stick by her as long as she would stick
by me, and I kept my word. I saw savages, moreover, on one or two of
the islands, and gave them a berth, having no fancy for being
barbacued."

"And where did you finally make your land-fall?"

"Nowhere, so; far as the launch was concerned. I fell in with a
Manilla ship, bound to Valparaiso, and got on board her; and sorry
enough was I for the change, when I came to find out how they
lived. The captain took me in, however, and I worked my passage into
port. Finding no ship likely to sail soon, I entered with a native who
was about to cross the Andes, bound over on this side, for the east
coast.  Don't you remember, Miles, monsters of mountains that we could
see, a bit inland, and covered with snow, all along the west side of
South America? You must remember the chaps I mean?"

"Certainly--they are much too plain, and objects much too striking,
ever to be forgotten, when once seen."

"Well them's the Andes; and rough customers they be, let me tell you,
boys. You know there is little amusement in a sailor's walking on the
levellest 'arth and handsomest highways, on account of the bloody ups
and downs a fellow meets with; and so you may get some idee of the
time we had of it, when I tell you, had all the seas we saw in the
last blow been piled on top of each other, they would have made but a
large pancake, compared to them 'ere Andes.  Natur' must have outdone
herself in making 'em; and when they were thrown together, what good
comes of it all? Such mountains might be of some use in keeping the
French and English apart; but you leave nothing but bloody Spaniards
on one side of them Andes, and find bloody Spaniards and Portugeese on
the other. However, we found our way over them, and brought up at a
place called Buenos Ayres, from which I worked my passage round to Rio
in a coaster. At Rio, you know, I felt quite at home, having stopped
in there often, in going backward and forward."

"And thence you took passage in the Dundee for London, intending to
get a passage home by the first opportunity?"

"It needs no witch to tell that. I had to scull about Rio for several
months, doing odd jobs as a rigger, and the like of that, until,
finding no Yankee came in, I got a passage in a Scotchman. I'll not
complain of Sawney, who was kind enough to me as a shipwrecked
mariner; for that was the character I sailed under, hermits being no
way fashionable among us Protestants, though it's very different among
them Catholic chaps, I can tell you. I happened to mention to a
landlady on the road, that I was a sort of a hermit on his travels;
when I thought the poor woman would have gone down on her knees and
worshipped me."

Here then was the history of Moses Marble, and the end of the colony
of Marble Land, pigs and poultry excepted.  It was now my turn to be
examined. I had to answer fifty curious inquiries, some of which I
found sufficiently embarrassing.  When, in answer to his
interrogatories, Marble learned that the Major and Miss Merton had
actually been left at Clawbonny, I saw the ex-mate wink at Talcott,
who smiled in reply. Then, where was Rupert, and how came on the law?
The farm and mills were not forgotten; and, as for Neb, he was
actually ordered up into the top, in order that there might be another
shake of the hand, and that he might answer for himself. In a word,
nothing could be more apparent than the delight of Marble at finding
himself among us once more. I believed even then, that the man really
loved me; and the reader will remember how long we had sailed
together, and how much we had seen in company.  More than once did my
old shipmate dash the tears from his eyes, as he spoke of his
satisfaction.

"I say, Miles--I say, Roger," he cried--"this is like being at home,
and none of your bloody hermitages! Blast me, if I think, now, I
should dare pass through a wood all alone. I'm never satisfied unless
I see a fellow-creatur', for fear of being left. I did pretty well
with the Scotchman, who _has_ a heart, though it's stowed away in
oatmeal, but _this_ is _home._ I must ship as your steward,
Miles, for hang on to you I will."

"If we ever part, again, until one or both go into dock, it will be
your fault, my old friend. If I have thought of you once, since we
parted, I have dreamed of you fifty times! Talcott and I were talking
of you in the late gale, and wondering what sail you would advise us
to put the ship under."

"The old lessons have not all been forgotten, boys; it was easy enough
to see that. I said to myself, as you stood down upon us, 'that chap
has a real sea-dog aboard, as is plain by the manner in which he has
everything snug, while he walks ahead like an owner in a hurry to be
first in the market.'"

It was then agreed Marble should keep a watch; whenever it suited him,
and that he should do just as he pleased aboard. At some future day,
some other arrangement might be made, though he declared his intention
to stick by the ship, and also announced a determination to be my
first-mate for life, as soon as Talcott got a vessel, as doubtless he
would, through the influence of his friends, as soon as he returned
home. I laughed at all this, though I bade him heartily welcome, and
then I nick-named him commodore, adding that he should sail with me in
that capacity, doing just as much, and just as little duty as he
pleased. As for money, there was a bag of dollars in the cabin, and he
had only to put his hand in, and take what he wanted. The key of the
locker was in my pocket, and could be had for asking. Nobody was more
delighted with this arrangement than Neb, who had even taken a fancy
to Marble, from the moment when the latter led him up from the
steerage of the John, by the ear.

"I say, Miles, what sort of bloody animals are them passengers of
your's?" Marble next demanded, looking over the rim of the top, down
at the trio on deck, with a good deal of curiosity expressed in his
countenance. "This is the first time I ever knew a ship-master driven
aloft by his passengers, in order to talk secrets!"

"That is because you never sailed with the Brigham family, my
friend. They'll pump you till you suck, in the first twenty-four
hours, rely on it. They'll get every fact about your birth, the island
where you first saw me, what you have been about, and what you mean to
do; in a word, the past, present, and future."

"Leave me to overlay their cur'osity," answered the ex-mate, or new
commodore--"I got my hand in, by boarding six weeks with a Connecticut
old maid, once, and I'll defy the keenest questioner of them all."

We had a little more discourse, when we all went below, and I
introduced Marble to my passengers, as one who was to join our
mess. After this, things went on in their usual train. In the course
of the day, however, I overheard the following brief dialogue between
Brigham and Marble, the ladies being much too delicate to question so
rough a mariner.

"You came on board us, somewhat unexpectedly, I rather conclude,
Captain Marble?" commenced the gentleman.

"Not in the least; I have been expecting to meet the Dawn, just about
this spot, more than a month, now."

"Well, that is odd! I do not comprehend how such a thing could well be
foreseen?"

"Do you understand spherical trigonometry, sir?"

"I cannot say I am at all expert--I've looked into mathematics, but
have no great turn for the study."

"It would be hopeless, then, to attempt to explain the matter. If you
had your hand in at the spherical, I could make it all as plain as the
capstan."

"You and Captain Wallingford must be somewhat old acquaintances, I
conclude?"

"Somewhat," answered Marble, very drily.

"Have you ever been at the place that he calls Clawbonny?  A queer
name, I rather think, Captain!"

"Not at all, sir. I know a place, down in the Eastern States, that was
called Scratch and Claw, and a very pretty spot it was."

"It's not usual for us to the eastward, to give names to farms and
places. It is done a little by the Boston folk, but they are notional,
as everybody knows."

"Exactly; I suppose it was for want of use, the chap I mean made out
no better in naming his place."

Mr. Brigham was no fool; he was merely a gossip. He took the hint, and
asked no more questions of Marble. He tried Neb, notwithstanding; but
the black having his orders, obeyed them so literally, that I really
believe we parted in Bordeaux, a fortnight later, without any of the
family's making the least discovery. Glad enough was I to get rid of
them; yet, brief as had been our intercourse, they produced a sensible
influence on my future happiness. Such is the evil of this habit of
loose talking, men giving credit to words conceived in ignorance and
uttered in the indulgence of one of the most contemptible of all our
propensities. To return to my ship.

We reached Bordeaux without any further accident, or delay. I
discharged in the usual way, and began to look about me, for another
freight. It had been my intention to return to New York, and to keep
the festivities of attaining my majority, at Clawbonny; but, I confess
the discourse of these eternal gossips, the Brighams, had greatly
lessened the desire to see home again, so soon. A freight for New York
was offered me, but I postponed an answer, until it was given to
another ship. At length an offer was made me to go to Cronstadt, in
Russia, with a cargo of wines and brandies, and I accepted it. The
great and better informed merchants, as it would seem, distrusted the
continuance of the hollow peace that then existed, and a company of
them thought it might be well to transfer their liquors to the capital
of the czar, in readiness for contingencies. An American ship was
preferred, on account of her greater speed, as well as on account of
her probable neutral character, in the event of troubles occurring at
any unlooked-for moment.  The Dawn took in her wines and brandies
accordingly, and sailed for the Baltic about the last of August. She
had a long, but a safe passage, delivering the freight according to
the charter-party, in good condition. While at Cronstadt, the American
consul, and the consignees of an American ship that had lost her
master and chief-mate by the smallpox, applied to me to let Marble
carry the vessel home. I pressed the offer on my old friend, but he
obstinately refused to have anything to do with the vessel. I then
recommended Talcott, and after some negotiation, the latter took
charge of the Hyperion. I was sorry to part with my mate, to whom I
had become strongly attached; but the preferment was so clearly to his
advantage, that I could take no other course. The vessel being ready,
she sailed the day after Talcott joined her; and, sorry am I to be
compelled to add, that she was never heard of, after clearing the
Cattegat.  The equinox of that season was tremendously severe, and it
caused the loss of many vessels; that of the Hyperion doubtless among
the rest.

Marble insisted on taking Talcott's place, and he now became my
chief-mate, as I had once been his. After a little delay, I took in
freight on Russian government account, and sailed for Odessa. It was
thought the Sublime Porte would let an American through; but, after
reaching the Dardanelles, I was ordered back, and was obliged to leave
my cargo in Malta, which it was expected would be in possession of its
own knights by that time, agreeably to the terms of the late
treaty. From Malta I sailed for Leghorn, in quest of another
freight. I pass over the details of these voyages, as really nothing
worthy of being recorded occurred.  They consumed a good deal of time;
the delay at the Dardanelles alone exceeding six weeks, during which
negotiations were going on up at Constantinople, but all in vain. In
consequence of all these detentions, and the length of the passages, I
did not reach Leghorn until near the close of March, I wrote to Grace
and Mr. Hardinge, whenever a favourable occasion offered, but I did
not get a letter from home, during the whole period. It was not in the
power of my sister or guardian--_late_ guardian would be the most
accurate expression, as I had been of age since the previous
October--to write, it being impossible for me to let them know when,
or where, a letter would find me. It followed, that while my friends
at home were kept tolerably apprised of my movements, I was absolutely
in the dark as respected them. That this ignorance gave me great
concern, it would be idle to deny; yet, I had a species of desperate
satisfaction in keeping aloof, and in leaving the course clear to Mr.
Andrew Drewett. As respects substantials, I had sent a proper power of
attorney to Mr. Hardinge, who, I doubted not, would take the same care
of my temporal interests he had never ceased to do since the day of my
beloved mother's death.

Freights were not offering freely at Leghorn, when the Dawn
arrived. After waiting a fortnight, however, I began to take in for
America, and on American account. In the meantime, the cargo coming to
hand slowly, I left Marble to receive it, and proceeded on a little
excursion in Tuscany, or Etruria, as that part of the world was then
called. I visited Pisa, Lucca, Florence, and several other
intermediate towns. At Florence, I passed a week looking at sights,
and amusing myself the best way I could. The gallery and the churches
kept me pretty busy, and the reader will judge of my surprise one day,
at hearing my own name uttered on a pretty high key, by a female
voice, in the Duomo, or Cathedral of the place. On turning, I found
myself in the presence of the Brighams! I was overwhelmed with
questions in a minute. Where had I been? Where was Talcott? Where was
the ship? When did I sail, and whither did I sail? After this came the
communications. _They_ had been to Paris; had seen the French
Consul, and had dined with Mr. R. N. Livingston, then negotiating the
treaty of Louisiana; had seen the Louvre; had been to Geneva; had seen
the Lake; had seen Mont Blanc; had crossed Mont Cenis; had been at
Milan; Rome; had seen the Pope; Naples; had seen Vesuvius; had been at
Paestum; had come back to Florence, and _nous voici!_ Glad enough
was I, when I got them fairly within the gates of the City of the
Lily. Next came America; from which part of the world they received
such delightful letters! One from Mrs. Jonathan Little, a Salem lady
then residing in New York, had just reached them. It contained four
sheets, and was full of _news._ Then commenced the details; and I
was compelled to listen to a string of gossip that connected nearly
all the people of mark, my informants had ever heard of in the great
_Commercial_ Emporium that was to be. How suitable is this name!
Emporium would not have been sufficiently distinctive for a town in
which "the merchants" are all in all; in which they must have the
post-office; in which they support the nation by paying all the
revenue; in which the sun must shine and the dew fall to suit their
wants; and in which the winds, themselves, may be recreant to their
duty, when they happen to be foul! Like the Holy Catholic Protestant
Episcopal Church, Trading Commercial Trafficking Emporium should have
been the style of such a place; and I hope, ere long, some of the
"Manor Born" genii of that great town, will see the matter rectified.

"By the way, Captain Wallingford," cut in Jane, at one of Sarah's
breathing intervals, that reminded me strongly of the colloquial
Frenchman's "_s'il crache il est perdu,_" "You know something of
poor Mrs. Bradfort, I believe?"

I assented by a bow.

"It was just as we told you," cried Sarah, taking her revenge.  "The
poor woman is dead! and, no doubt, of that cancer. What a frightful
disease! and how accurate has our information been, in all that
affair!"

"I think her will the most extraordinary of all," added Mr. Brigham,
who, as a man, kept an eye more to the main chance. "I suppose you
have heard all about her will, Captain Wallingford?"

I reminded the gentleman that this was the first I had ever heard of
the lady's death.

"She has left every dollar to young Mr. Hardinge, her cousin's son;"
added Jane, "cutting off that handsome, genteel, young lady his
sister, as well as her father, without a cent"--in 1803, they just
began to speak of _cents_, instead of farthings--"and everybody
says it was so cruel!"

"That is not the worst of it," put in Sarah. "They _do_ say, Miss
Merton, the English lady that made so much noise in New York--let me
see, Mr. Brigham, what Earl's grand-daughter did we hear she was?--"

This was a most injudicious question, as it gave the husband an
opportunity to take the word out of her mouth.

"Lord Cumberland's, I believe, or some such person---but, no matter
whose. It is quite certain, General Merton, her father, consents to
let her marry young Mr. Hardinge, now Mrs. Bradfort's will is known;
and, as for the sister, he declares he will never give her a dollar."

"He will have sixteen thousand dollars a year," said Jane, with
emphasis.

"Six, my dear, six"--returned the brother, who had reasonably accurate
notions touching dollars and cents, or he never would have been
travelling in Italy; "six thousand dollars a year, was just
Mrs. Bradfort's income, as my old school-fellow Upham told me, and
there isn't another man in York, who can tell fortunes as true as
himself. He makes a business of it, and don't fail one time in
twenty."

"And is it quite certain that Mr. Rupert Hardinge gets all the fortune
of Mrs. Bradfort?" I asked, with a strong effort to seem composed.

"Not the least doubt of it, in the world. Everybody is talking about
it; and there cannot well be a mistake, you know, as it was thought
the sister would be an heiress, and people generally take care to be
pretty certain about that class. But, of course, a young man with that
fortune will be snapped up, as a swallow catches a fly. I've bet Sarah
a pair of gloves we hear of his marriage in three months."

The Brighams talked an hour longer, and made me promise to visit them
at their hotel, a place I could not succeed in finding. That evening,
I left Florence for Leghorn, writing a note of apology, in order not
to be rude. Of course, I did not believe half these people had told
me; but a part, I made no doubt, was true. Mrs. Bradfort was dead, out
of all question; and I thought it possible she might not so far have
learned to distinguish between the merit of Lucy, and that of Rupert,
to leave her entire fortune to the last. As for the declaration of the
brother that he would give his sister nothing, that seemed to me to be
rather strong for even Rupert. I knew the dear girl too well, and was
certain she would not repine; and I was burning with the desire to be
in the field, now she was again penniless.

What a change was this! Here were the Hardinges, those whom I had
known as poor almost as dependants on my own family, suddenly
enriched. I knew Mrs. Bradfort had a large six thousand a year,
besides her own dwelling-house, which stood in Wall Street, a part of
the commercial emporium that was just beginning to be the focus of
banking, and all other monied operations, and which even then promised
to become a fortune of itself. It is true, that old Daniel M'Cormick
still held his levees on his venerable stoop, where all the heavy men
in town used to congregate, and joke, and buy and sell, and abuse
Boney; and that the Winthrops, the Wilkeses, the Jaunceys, the
Verplancks, the Whites, the Ludlows, and other families of mark, then
had their town residences in this well-known street; but coming events
were beginning "to cast their shadows before," and it was easy to
foresee that this single dwelling might at least double Rupert's
income, under the rapid increase of the country and the town. Though
Lucy was still poor, Rupert was now rich.

If family connection, that all-important and magical influence, could
make so broad a distinction between us, while I was comparatively
wealthy, and Lucy had nothing, what, to regard the worst side of the
picture, might I not expect from it, when the golden scale
preponderated on her side. That Andrew Drewett would still marry her,
I began to fear again. Well, why not? I had never mentioned love to
the sweet girl, fondly, ardently as I was attached to her; and what
reason had I for supposing that one in her situation could reserve her
affections for a truant sailor? I am afraid I was unjust enough to
regret that this piece of good fortune should have befallen Rupert. He
must do something for his sister, and every dollar seemed to raise a
new barrier between us.

From that hour, I was all impatience to get home. Had not the freight
been engaged, I think I should have sailed in ballast. By urging the
merchants, however, we got to sea May 15th, with a full cargo, a
portion of which I had purchased on my own account, with the money
earned by the ship, within the last ten months. Nothing occurred
worthy of notice, until the Dawn neared the Straits of Gibraltar.
Here we were boarded by an English frigate, and first learned the
declaration of a new war between France and England; a contest that,
in the end, involved in it all the rest of christendom. Hostilities
had already commenced, the First Consul having thrown aside the mask,
just three days after we left port. The frigate treated us well, it
being too soon for the abuses that followed, and we got through the
pass without further molestation.


As soon as in the Atlantic, I took care to avoid everything we saw,
and nothing got near us, until we had actually made the Highlands of
Navesink. An English sloop-of-war, however, had stood into the angles
of the coast, formed by Long Island and the Jersey shore, giving us a
race for the Hook. I did not know whether I ought to be afraid of this
cruiser, or not, but my mind was made up, not to be boarded if it
could be helped. We succeeded in passing ahead, and entered the Hook,
while he was still a mile outside of the bar. I got a pilot on the
bar, as was then very usual, and stood up towards the town with
studding-sails set, it being just a twelvemoth, almost to an hour,
from the day when I passed up the bay in the Crisis. The pilot took
the ship in near Coenties slip, Marble's favourite berth, and we had
her secured, and her sails unbent before the sun set.



CHAPTER XXVII.

  "With look like patient Job's, eschewing evil;
  With motions graceful as a bird's in air;
  Thou art, in sober truth, the veriest devil
  That ere clinched fingers in a captive's hair."
  HALLECK.


There was about an hour of daylight, when I left the compting-house of
the consignees, and pursued my way up Wall Street to Broadway. I was
on my way to the City Hotel, then, as now, one of the best inns of the
town. On Trinity Church walk, just as I quitted the Wall Street
crossing, whom should I come plump upon in turning, but Rupert
Hardinge? He was walking down the street in some little haste, and was
evidently much surprised, perhaps I might say startled, at seeing
me. Nevertheless, Rupert was not easily disconcerted, and his manner
at once became warm, if not entirely free from embarrassment. He was
in deep mourning; though otherwise dressed in the height of the
fashion.

"Wallingford!" he exclaimed--it was the first time he did not call me
"Miles,"--"Wallingford! my fine fellow, what cloud did you drop
from?--We have had so many reports concerning you, that your
appearance is as much a matter of surprise, as would be that of
Bonaparte, himself.  Of course, your ship is in?"

"Of course," I answered, taking his offered hand; "you know I am
wedded to her, for better, for worse, until death or shipwreck doth us
part."

"Ay, so I've always told the ladies--'there is no other matrimony in
Wallingford,' I've said often, 'than that which will make him a ship's
husband.' But you look confoundedly well--the sea agrees with you,
famously."

"I make no complaint of my health--but tell me of that of our friends
and families? Your father--"

"Is up at Clawbonny, just now--you know how it is with him. No change
of circumstances will ever make him regard his little smoke-house
looking church, as anything but a cathedral, and his parish as a
diocese. Since the great change in our circumstances, all this is
useless, and I often _think_--you know one wouldn't like to _say_ as
much to _him_--but I often _think_, he might just as well give up
preaching, altogether."

"Well, this is good, so far--now for the rest of you, all.  You meet
my impatience too coldly."

"Yes, you _were_ always an impatient fellow. Why, I suppose you
need hardly be told that I have been admitted to the bar."

"That I can very well imagine--you must have found your sea-training
of great service on the examination."

"Ah! my dear Wallingford--what a simpleton I was!  But one is so apt
to take up strange conceits in boyhood, that he is compelled to look
back at them in wonder, in after life. But, which way are you
walking?"--slipping an arm in mine--"if up, I'll take a short turn
with you. There's scarce a soul in town, at this season; but you'll
see prodigiously fine girls in Broadway, at this hour, notwithstanding
--those that belong to the other sets, you know; those that belong to
families that can't get into the country among the leaves. Yes, as I
was saying, one scarce knows himself, after twenty. Now, I can hardly
recall a taste, or an inclination, that I cherished in my teens, that
has not flown to the winds. Nothing is permanent in boyhood--we grow
in our persons, and our minds, sentiments, affections, views, hopes,
wishes, and ambition; all take new directions."

"This is not very flattering, Rupert, to one whose acquaintance with
you may be said to be altogether boyish."

"Oh! of course I don't mean _that._ Habit keeps all right in such
matters; and I dare say I shall always be as much attached to you, as
I was in childhood. Still, we are on diverging lines, now, and cannot
for ever remain boys."

"You have told me nothing of the rest," I said, half choked, in my
eagerness to hear of the girls, and yet unaccountably afraid to ask. I
believe I dreaded to hear that Lucy was married. "How, and where is
Grace?"

"Oh! Grace!--yes, I forgot her, to my shame, as you would naturally
wish to inquire. Why, my dear _Captain,_ to be as frank as one
ought with so old an acquaintance, your sister is not in a good way,
I'm much afraid; though I've not seen her in an age. She was down
among us in the autumn, but left town for the holidays, for them she
insisted on keeping at Clawbonny, where she said the family had always
kept them, and away she went. Since then, she has not returned, but I
fear she is far from well. You know what a fragile creature Grace ever
has been--so American!--Ah! Wallingford! our females have no
constitutions--charming as angels, delicate as fairies, and all that;
but not to be compared to the English women in constitutions."

I felt a torrent of fire rushing through my blood, and it was with
difficulty I refrained from hurling the heartless scoundrel who leaned
on my arm, into the ditch. A moment of reflection, however, warned me
of the precipice on which I stood. He was Mr. Hardinge's son, Lucy's
brother; and I had no proofs that he had ever induced Grace to think
he loved her. It was so easy for those who had been educated as we
four had been, to be deceived on such a point, that I felt it unsafe
to do anything precipitately.  Friendship, _habit_, as Rupert
expressed it, might so easily be mistaken for the fruits of passion,
that one might well be deceived. Then it was all-important to Grace's
self-respect, to her feelings, in some measure to her character, to be
careful, that I suppressed my wrath, though it nearly choked me.

"I am sorry to hear this," I answered, after a long pause, the deep
regret I felt at having such an account of my sister's health
contributing to make my manner seem natural; "very, _very_ sorry
to hear it. Grace is one that requires the tenderest care and
watching; and I have been making passage after passage in pursuit of
money, when I am afraid I should have been at Clawbonny, discharging
the duties of a brother. I can never forgive myself!"

"Money is a very good thing, Captain," answered Rupert, with a smile
that appeared to mean more than the tongue expressed--"a surprisingly
good thing is money!  But you must not exaggerate Grace's illness,
which I dare say is merely constitutional, and will lead to nothing. I
hope your many voyages have produced their fruits?"

"And Lucy?" I resumed, disregarding his question concerning my own
success as an owner. "Where and how is she?"

"Miss Hardinge is in town--in her own--that is, in _our_
house--in Wall Street, though she goes to _the place_ in the
morning. No one who can, likes to remain among these hot bricks, that
has a pleasant country-house to fly to, and open to receive him. But I
forgot--I have supposed you to know what it is very likely you have
never heard?"

"I learned the death of Mrs. Bradfort while in Italy, and, seeing you
in black, at once supposed it was for her."

"Yes, that's just it. An excellent woman has been taken from us, and,
had she been my own mother, I could not have received greater
kindnesses from her. Her end, my dear Wallingford, was admitted by all
the clergy to be one of the most edifying known in the place for
years."

"And Mrs. Bradfort has left you her heir? It is now time to
congratulate you on your good fortune. As I un-understand her estate
came through females to her, and from a common ancestor of hers and
yours, there is not the slightest reason why you should not be
gratified by the bequest. But Lucy--I hope she was not _altogether_
forgotten?"

Rupert fidgeted, and I could see that he was on tenter-hooks.  As I
afterwards discovered, he wished to conceal the real facts from the
world; and yet he could not but foresee that I would probably learn
them from his father.  Under all the circumstances, therefore, he
fancied it best to make me a confidant. We were strolling between
Trinity and Paul's church walks, then the most fashionable promenade
in town; and, before he would lay open his secret, my companion led me
over by the Oswego Market, and down Maiden Lane, lest he might betray
himself to the more fashionable stocks and stones. He did not open his
lips until clear of the market, when he laid bare his budget of griefs
in something that more resembled his old confidential manner, than he
had seen fit to exhibit in the earlier part of our interview.

"You must know, Miles," he commenced, "that Mrs.  Bradfort was a very
peculiar woman--a very peculiar sort of a person, indeed. An,
excellent lady, I am ready to allow, and one that made a remarkably
edifying and; but one whose peculiarities, I have understood, she
inherited with her fortune. Women _do_ get the oddest conceits
into their heads, you know, and American women before all others; a
republic being anything but favourable to the continuation of property
in the same line. Miss Merton, who is a girl of excellent sense, as
you well know yourself, Miles, says, now, in England I should have
succeeded, quite as a matter of course, to _all_ Mrs. Bradfort's
real estate."

"You, as a lawyer--a common law lawyer-can scarcely require the
opinion of an Englishwoman to tell you what the English laws would do
in a question of descent."

"Oh! they've a plaguey sight of statutes in that country, as well as
ourselves. Between the two, the common law is getting to be a very
uncommon sort of a law. But, to cut the matter short, Mrs. Bradfort
made a _will_."

"Dividing her property equally between you and Lucy, I dare say, to
Miss Merton's great dissatisfaction."

"Why, not just so, Miles--not exactly so; a very capricious, peculiar
woman was Mrs. Bradfort--"

I have often remarked, when a person has succeeded in throwing dust
into another's eyes, but is discarded on being found out, that the
rejected of principle is very apt to accuse his former dupe of being
_capricious_; when, in fact, he has only been _deceived_. As
I said nothing, however, leaving Rupert to flounder on in the best
manner he could, the latter, after a pause, proceeded--

"But her end was very admirable" he said, "and to the last degree
edifying. You must know, she made a will, and in that will she left
everything, even to the town and country houses, to--my sister."

I was thunder-struck! Here were all my hopes blown again to the
winds. After a long pause, I resumed the discourse.

"And whom did she leave as executor?" I asked, instantly foreseeing
the consequences should that office be devolved on Rupert, himself.

"My father. The old gentleman has had his hands full, between your
father and mother, and Mrs. Bradfort. Fortunately, the estate of the
last is in a good condition, and is easily managed. Almost entirely in
stores and houses in the best part of the town, well insured, a few
thousands in stocks, and as much in bonds and mortgages, the savings
from the income, and something like a year's rents in bank.  A good
seven thousand a year, with enough surplus to pay for repairs,
collection and other charges."

"And all this, then, is Lucy's!" I exclaimed, feeling something like
the bitterness of knowing that such an heiress was not for me.

"Temporarily; though, of course, I consider Lucy as only my trustee
for half of it. You know how it is with the women; they fancy all us
young men spendthrifts, and, so, between the two, they have reasoned
in this way--'Rupert is a good fellow at bottom; but Rupert is young,
and he will make the money fly--now, I'll give it all to you, Lucy, in
my will, but, of course, you'll take care of your brother, and let him
have half, or perhaps two-thirds, being a male, at the proper time,
which will be, as soon as you come of age, and _can_ convey. You
understand Lucy is but nineteen, and _cannot_ convey these two
years."

"And Lucy admits this to be true?--You have proof of all this?"

"Proof! I'd take my own affidavit of it. You see it is reasonable, and
what I had a right to expect. Everything tends to confirm it. Between
ourselves, I had quite $2000 of debt; and yet, you see, the good lady
did not leave me a dollar to pay even my honest creditors; a
circumstance that so pious a woman, and one who made so edifying an
end, would never think of doing, without ulterior views.  Considering
Lucy as my trustee, explains the whole thing."

"I thought Mrs. Bradfort made you an allowance, Rupert; some $600 a
year, besides keeping you in her own house?"

"A thousand-but, what is $1000 a year to a fashionable man, in a town
like this. First and last, the excellent old lady, gave me about
$5000, all of which confirms the idea, that, at the bottom, she
intended me for her heir.  What woman in her senses, would think of
giving $5000 to a relative to whom she did not contemplate giving
_more_?  The thing is clear on its face, and I should certainly
go into chancery, with anybody but Lucy."

"And Lucy?--what says she to your views on the subject of
Mrs. Bradfort's intentions?"

"Why, you have some acquaintance with Lucy--used to be intimate with
her, as one might say, when children, and know something of her
character--"This to me, who fairly worshipped the earth on which the
dear girl trod!--"She never indulges in professions, and likes to
take people by surprise, when she contemplates doing them a service--"
this was just as far from Lucy's natural and honest mode of dealing,
as it was possible to be--"and, so, she has been as mum as one who
has lost the faculty of speech. However, she never speaks of her
affairs to others; _that_ is a good sign, and indicates an
intention to consider herself as my trustee; and, what is better
still, and more plainly denotes what her conscience dictates in the
premises, she has empowered her father to pay all my debts; the
current income and loose cash, being at her disposal, at once. It
would have been better had she given me the money, to satisfy these
creditors with it, for I knew which had waited the longest, and were
best entitled to receive the dollars at once; but, it's something to
have all their receipts in my pocket, and to start fair again. Thank
Heaven, that much is already done. To do Lucy justice, moreover, she
allows me $1500 a year, _ad interim_. Now, Miles, I've conversed
with you, as with an old friend, and because I knew my father would
tell you the whole, when you get up to Clawbonny; but you will take it
all in strict confidence. It gives a fashionable young fellow so silly
an air, to be thought dependent on a sister; and she three years
younger than himself!  So I have hinted the actual state of the case,
round among my friends; but, it is generally believed that I am in
possession already, and that Lucy is dependent on me, instead of my
being dependent on her. The idea, moreover, is capital for keeping off
fortune-hunters, as you will see at a glance."

"And will the report satisfy a certain Mr. Andrew Drewett?" I asked,
struggling to assume a composure I was far from feeling. "He was all
attention when I sailed, and I almost expected to hear there was no
longer a Lucy Hardinge."

"To tell you the truth, Miles, I thought so, too, until the death of
Mrs. Bradfort. The mourning, however, most opportunely came to put a
stop to anything of the sort, were it even contemplated. It would be
so awkward, you will understand, to have a brother-in-law before
everything is settled, and the trust is accounted for. _Au
reste_--I am very well satisfied with Andrew, and let him know I am
his friend; he is well connected; fashionable; has a pretty little
fortune; and, as I sometimes tell Lucy, that he is intended for her,
as Mrs. Bradfort, no doubt, foresaw, inasmuch as his estate, added to
just one-third of that of our dear departed cousin, would just make up
the present income.  On my honour, now, I do not think the difference
would be $500 per annum."

"And how does your sister receive your hints?"

"Oh! famously--just as all girls do, you know. She blushes, and
sometimes she looks vexed; then she smiles, and puts up her lip, and
says 'Nonsense!' and 'What folly!'  'Rupert, I'm surprised at you!'
and all that sort of stuff, which deceives nobody, you'll understand,
not even her poor, simple, silly brother. But, Miles, I must quit you
now, for I have an engagement to accompany a party to the theatre, and
was on my way to join them when we met.  Cooper plays, and you know
what a lion _he_ is; one would not wish to lose a syllable of his
Othello."

"Stop, Rupert--one word more before we part. From your conversation, I
gather that the Mertons are still here?"

"The Mertons! Why, certainly; established in the land, and among its
tip-top people. The Colonel finds his health benefited by the climate,
and he has managed to get some appointment which keeps him among
us. He has Boston relatives, moreover, and I believe is fishing up
some claims to property in that quarter. The Mertons here, indeed!
what would New York be without the Mertons!"

"And my old friend the Major is promoted, too--you called him Colonel,
I think?"

"Did I? I believe he is oftener called _General_ Merton, than
anything else. You must be mistaken about his being only a Major,
Miles; everybody here calls him either Colonel, or General."

"Never mind; I hope it is as you say. Good-bye, Rupert; I'll not
betray you, and--"

"Well-you were about to say--"

"Why, mention me to Lucy; you know we were acquainted when
children. Tell her I wish her all happiness in her new position, to
which I do not doubt she will do full credit; and that I shall
endeavour to see her before I sail again."

"You'll not be at the theatre this evening? Cooper is well worth
seeing--a most famous fellow in Othello!"

"I think not. Do not forget to mention me to your sister; and so, once
more, adieu!"

We parted--Rupert to go towards Broadway, at a great pace, and I to
lounge along, uncertain whither to proceed.  I had sent Neb to inquire
if the Wallingford were down, and understood she would leave the basin
at sunrise. It was now my intention to go up in her; for, though I
attached no great importance to any of Rupert's facts, his report
concerning my sister's health rendered me exceedingly uneasy.
Insensibly I continued my course down Maiden Lane, and soon found
myself near the ship. I went on board, had an explanation with Marble,
gave some orders to Neb, and went ashore again, all in the course of
the next half-hour.  By a sort of secret attraction, I was led towards
the Park, and soon found myself at the door of the theatre. Mrs.
Bradfort had now been dead long enough to put Lucy in second mourning,
and I fancied I might get a view of her in the party that Rupert was
to accompany. Buying a ticket, I entered and made my way up into the
Shakspeare box.  Had I been better acquainted with the place, with the
object in view I should have gone into the pit.

Notwithstanding the lateness of the season, it was a very full
house. Cooper's, in that day, was a name that filled every mouth, and
he seldom failed to fill every theatre in which he appeared. With many
first-rate qualifications for his art, and a very respectable
conception of his characters, he threw everything like competition
behind him; though there were a few, as there ever will be among the
superlatively intellectual, who affected to see excellencies in
Fennel, and others, to which this great actor could not aspire. The
public decided against these select few, and, as is invariably the
case when the appeal is made to human feelings, the public decided
right. Puffery will force into notice and sustain a false judgment, in
such matters, for a brief space; but nature soon asserts her sway, and
it is by natural decisions that such points are ever the most justly
determined.  Whatever appeals to human sympathies, will be answered by
human sympathies. Popularity too often gains its ascendency behind the
hypocrite's mask in religion; it is usually a magnificent
mystification in politics; it frequently becomes the patriot's
stalking-horse, on which he rides to power; in social life, it is the
reward of empty smiles, unmeaning bows, and hollow squeezes of the
hand; but with the player, the poet, and all whose pursuits bring them
directly in contact with the passions, the imagination and the heart,
it is the unerring test of merit, with certain qualifications
connected with the mind and the higher finish of pure art. It may be
questioned if Cooper were not the greatest actor of his day, in a
certain range of his own characters.

I have said that the house was full. I got a good place, however;
though it was not in the front row. Of course I could only see the
side boxes beneath, and not even quite all of them. My eyes ran
eagerly over them, and I soon caught a glimpse of the fine, curling
hair of Rupert. He sat by the side of Emily Merton, the Major--I knew
he was a colonel or general, only by means of a regular Manhattan
promotion, which is so apt to make hundreds of counts, copper
captains, and travelling prodigies of those who are very small folk at
home--the Major sat next, and, at his side, I saw a lady, whom I at
once supposed to be Lucy.  Every nerve in my system thrilled, as I
caught even this indistinct view of the dear creature. I could just
see the upper part of her face, as it was occasionally turned towards
the Major; and once I caught that honest smile of hers, which I knew
had never intentionally deceived.

The front seat of the box had two vacant places. The bench would hold
six, while it had yet only four. The audience, however, was still
assembling, and, presently, a stir in Lucy's box denoted the arrival
of company. The whole party moved, and Andrew Drewett handed an
elderly lady in, his mother, as I afterwards ascertained, and took the
other place himself. I watched the salutations that were exchanged,
and understood that the new comers had been expected. The places had
been reserved for them, and old Mrs. Drewett was doubtless the
_chaperone;_ though, one having a brother and the other a father
with her, the two young ladies had not hesitated about preceding the
elderly lady. They had come from different quarters of the town, and
had agreed to meet at the theatre. Old Mrs. Drewett was very
particular in shaking hands with Lucy, though I had not the misery of
seeing her son go through the same ceremony. Still he was sufficiently
pointed in his salutations; and, during the movements, I perceived he
managed to get next to Lucy, leaving the Major to entertain his
mother. All this was natural, and what might have been expected; yet,
it gave me a pang that I cannot describe.

I sat, for half an hour, perfectly inattentive to the play, meditating
on the nature of my real position towards Lucy.  I recalled the days
of childhood and early youth; the night of my first departure from
home; my return, and the incidents accompanying my second departure;
the affair of the locket, and all I had truly felt myself, and all
that I had supposed Lucy herself to feel, on those several occasions.
Could it be possible I had so much deceived myself, and that the
interest the dear girl had certainly manifested in me had been nothing
but the fruits of her naturally warm and honest heart--her strong
disposition to frankness-habit, as Rupert had so gently hinted in
reference to ourselves? Then I could not conceal from myself the
bitter fact that I was, now, no equal match for Lucy, in the eyes of
the world.  While she was poor, and I comparatively rich, the
inequality in social station might have been overlooked; it existed,
certainly, but was not so very marked that it might not, even in that
day, be readily forgotten; but now, Lucy was an heiress, had much more
than double my own fortune--had a fortune indeed; while I was barely
in easy circumstances, as persons of the higher classes regarded
wealth.  The whole matter seemed reversed. It was clear that a sailor
like myself, with no peculiar advantages, those of a tolerable
education excepted, and who was necessarily so much absent, had not
the same chances of preferring his suit, as one of your town idlers; a
nominal lawyer, for instance, who dropped in at his office for an hour
or two, just after breakfast, and promenaded Broadway the rest of the
time, until dinner; or a man of entire leisure, like Andrew Drewett,
who belonged to the City Library set, and had no other connection with
business than to see that his rents were collected and his dividends
paid. The more I reflected, the more humble I became, he less my
chances seemed and I determined to quit the theatre, at once. The
reader will remember that I was New York born and bred, a state of
society in which few natives acted on the principle that "there was
nothing too high to be aspired to, nothing too low to be done." I
admitted I had superiors, and was willing to defer to the facts and
opinions of the world as I knew it.

In the lobby of the building, I experienced a pang at the idea of
quitting the place without getting one look at the face of Lucy. I was
in an humble mood, it is true, but that did not necessarily infer a
total self-denial. I determined, therefore, to pass into the pit, with
my box-check, feast my eyes by one long gaze at the dear creature's
ingenuous countenance, and carry away the impression, as a lasting
memorial of her whom I so well loved, and whom I felt persuaded I
should ever continue to love. After this indulgence, I would
studiously avoid her, in order to release my thoughts as much as
possible from the perfect thraldom in which they had existed, ever
since I had heard of Mrs. Bradfort's death. Previously to that time, I
am afraid I had counted a little more than was becoming on the ease of
my own circumstances, and Lucy's comparative poverty.  Not that I had
ever supposed her to be in the least mercenary--this I knew to be
utterly, totally false--but because the good town of Manhattan, even
in 1803, was _tant soit peu_ addicted to dollars, and Lucy's
charms would not be likely to attract so many suitors, in the modest
setting of a poor country clergyman's means, as in the golden frame by
which they had been surrounded by Mrs. Bradfort's testamentary devise,
even supposing Rupert to come in for quite one half.

I had no difficulty in finding a convenient place in the pit; one,
from which I got a front and near view of the whole six, as they sat
ranged side by side. Of the Major and old Mrs. Drewett it is
unnecessary to say much. The latter looked as all dowager-like widows
of that day used to appear, respectable, staid, and richly
attired. The good lady had come on the stage during the revolution,
and had a slightly military air--a _parade_ in her graces, that
was not altogether unknown to the _eleves_ of that school. I dare
say she could use such words as "martinets," "mowhairs," "brigadiers,"
and other terms familiar to her class. Alas!  how completely all these
little traces of the past are disappearing from our habits and
manners!

As for the Major, he appeared much better in health, and altogether
altered in mien. I could readily detect the influence of the world on
him; He was evidently a so much greater man in New York than he had
been whew I found him in London, that it is not wonderful he felt the
difference. Between the acts, I remarked that all the principal
persons in the front rows were desirous of exchanging nods with the
"British officer," a proof that he was circulating freely in the best
set, and had reached a point, when "not to know him, argues yourself
unknown." [*]

[Footnote *: The miserable moral dependence of this country on Great
Britain, forty years since, cannot well be brought home to the present
generation. It is still too great, but has not a tithe of its former
force.  The writer has himself known an Italian Prince, a man of
family and of high personal merit, pass unnoticed before a society
that was eager to make the acquaintance of most of the "agents" of the
Birmingham button dealers; and this simply because one came from Italy
and the other from England. The following anecdote, which is quite as
true as any other fact in this work, furnishes a good example of what
is meant. It is now a quarter of a century since the writer's first
book appeared. Two or three months after the publication, he was
walking down Broadway with a friend, when a man of much distinction in
the New York circles was passing up, on the other side-walk. The
gentleman in question caught the writer's eye, bowed, and _crossed
the street_, to shake hands and inquire after the author's
health. The difference in years made this attention marked. "You are
in high favour," observed the friend, as the two walked away, to
"have ---- pay you such a compliment--your book must have done this."
"Now mark my words--I have been puffed in some English magazine,
and ---- knows it." The two were on their way to the author's publishers,
and, on entering the door, honest Charles Wiley put a puff on the book
in question into the writer's hand!  What rendered the whole more
striking, was the fact that the paragraph was as flagrant a puff as
was ever written, and had probably been paid for, by the English
publisher. The gentleman in question was a man of talents and merit,
but he had been born half a century too soon, to enjoy entire mental
independence in a country that had so recently been a colony.]

Emily certainly looked well and happy. I could see that she was
delighted with Rupert's flattery, and I confess I cared very little
for his change of sentiment, or his success.  That both Major and
Emily Merton were different persons in the midst of the world and in
the solitudes of the Pacific, was as evident as it was that I was a
different personage in command of the Crisis, and in the pit of the
Park theatre.  I dare say, at that moment. Miss Merton had nearly
forgotten that such a man as Miles Wallingford existed, though I think
she sometimes recalled the string of magnificent pearls that were to
ornament the neck of his wife, should he ever find any one to have
him.

But, Lucy, dear, upright, warm-hearted, truth-telling, beloved Lucy!
all this time, I forget to speak of her. There she sat in maiden
loveliness, her beauty still more developed, her eye as beaming,
lustrous, feeling, as ever, her blush as sensitive, her smile as
sweet, and her movements as natural and graceful. The simplicity of
her half-mourning, too, added to her beauty, which was of a character
to require no further aid from dress, than such as was dependent
purely on taste. As I gazed at her, enthralled, I fancied nothing was
wanting to complete the appearance, but my own necklace. Powerful,
robust man as I was, with my frame hardened by exposure and trials, I
could have sat down and wept, after gazing some time at the precious
creature, under the feeling produced by the conviction that I was
never to renew my intercourse with her, on terms of intimacy at
least. The thought that from day to day we were to become more and
more strangers, was almost too much to be borne. As it was, scalding
tears forced themselves to my eyes, though I succeeded in concealing
the weakness from those around me.  At length the tragedy terminated,
the curtain dropped, and the audience began to move about. The pit
which had, just before, been crowded, was now nearly empty, and I was
afraid of being seen. Still, I could not tear myself away, but
remained after nine-tenths of those around me had gone into the
lobbies.

It was easy, now, to see the change which had come over Lucy's
position, in the attentions she received. All the ladies in the
principal boxes had nods and smiles for her and half the
fashionable-looking young men in the house crowded round her box, or
actually entered it to pay their compliments. I fancied Andrew Drewett
had a self-satisfied air that seemed to say, "you are paying your
homage indirectly to myself, in paying it to this young lady." As for
Lucy, my jealous watchfulness could not detect the smallest alteration
in her deportment, so far as simplicity and nature were concerned. She
appeared in a trifling degree more womanly, perhaps, than when I saw
her last, being now in her twentieth year; but the attentions she
received made no visible change in her manners. I had become lost in
the scene, and was standing in a musing attitude, my side face towards
the box, when I heard a suppressed exclamation, in Lucy's voice. I was
too near her to be mistaken, and it caused the blood to rush to my
heart in a torrent. Turning, I saw the dear girl, with her hand
extended over the front of the box, her face suffused with blushes,
and her eyes riveted on myself. I was recognised, and the surprise had
produced a display of all that old friendship, certainly, that had
once existed between us, in the simplicity and truth of childhood.

"Miles Wallingford!" she said, as I advanced to shake the offered
hand, and as soon as I was near enough to permit her to speak without
attracting too much attention--"_you_ arrived, and _we_ knew
nothing of it!"

It was plain Rupert had said nothing of having seen me, or of our
interview in the street. He seemed a little ashamed, and leaned
forward to say--

"I declare I forgot to mention, Lucy, that I met Captain Wallingford
as I was going to join the Colonel and Miss Merton.  Oh! we have had a
long talk together, and it will save you a history of past events."

"I may, nevertheless, say," I rejoined, "how happy I am to see Miss
Hardinge looking so well, and to be able to pay my compliments to my
old passengers."

Of course I shook hands with the Major and Emily, bowed to Drewett,
was named to his mother, and was invited to enter the box, as it was
not quite in rule to be conversing between the pit and the front
rows. I forgot my prudent resolutions, and was behind Lucy in three
minutes. Andrew Drewett had the civility to offer me his place, though
it was with an air that said plain enough "what do _I_ care for
_him_--he is a ship-master, and I am a man of fashion and
fortune, and can resume my seat at any moment, while the poor fellow
can only catch his chances, as he occasionally _comes into
port_." At least, I fancied his manner said something like this.

"Thank you, Mr. Drewett," said Lucy, in her sweetest
manner. "Mr. Wallingford and I are very, _very_ old friends,--you
know he is Grace's brother, and you have been at Clawbonny"--Drewett
bowed, civilly enough--"and I have a thousand things to say to
him. So, Miles, take this seat, and let me hear all about your
voyage."

As half the audience went away as soon as the tragedy ended, the
second seat of the box was vacated, and the other gentlemen getting on
it, to stretch their limbs, I had abundance of room to sit at Lucy's
side, half facing her, at the same time. As she insisted on hearing my
story, before we proceeded to anything else, I was obliged to gratify
her.

"By the way, Major Merton," I cried, as the tale was closed, "an old
friend of yours, Moses Marble by name, has come to life again, and is
at this moment in New York."

I then related the manner in which I had fallen in with my old
mate. This was a most unfortunate self-interruption for me, giving the
Major a fair opportunity for cutting into the conversation. The
orchestra, moreover, giving notice that the curtain would soon rise
for the after-piece, the old gentleman soon got me into the lobby to
hear the particulars.  I was supremely vexed, and I thought Lucy
appeared sorry; but there was no help for it, and then we could not
converse while the piece was going on.

"I suppose you care little for this silly farce," observed the Major,
looking in at one of the windows, after I had gone over Marble's
affair in detail. "If not, we will continue our walk, and wait for the
ladies to come out. Drewett and Hardinge will take good care of them."

I assented, and we continued to walk the lobby till the end of the
act. Major Merton was always gentleman-like; and he even behaved to
me, as if he remembered the many obligations he was under. He now
communicated several little facts connected with his own
circumstances, alluding to the probability of his remaining in America
a few years.  Our chat continued some time, my looks frequently
turning towards the door of the box, when my companion suddenly
observed--

"Your old acquaintances the Hardinges have had a lucky wind-fall--one,
I fancy, they hardly expected, a few years Since."

"Probably not; though the estate has fallen into excellent hands," I
answered. "I am surprised, however, that Mrs. Bradfort did not leave
the property to the old gentleman, as it once belonged to their common
grandfather, and he properly stood next in succession."

"I fancy she thought the good parson would not know what to do with
it. Now, Rupert Hardinge is clever, and spirited, and in a way to make
a figure in the world; and it is probably in better hands, than if it
had been left first to the old gentleman."

"The old gentleman has been a faithful steward to me, and I doubt not
would have proved equally so to his own children. But, does Rupert get
_all_ Mrs. Bradfort's property?"

"I believe not; there is some sort of a trust, I have heard him say;
and I rather fancy that his sister has some direct or reversionary
interest. Perhaps she is named as the heir, if he die without
issue. There _was_ a silly story, that Mrs. Bradfort had left
everything to Lucy; but I have, it from the best authority, that
_that_ is not true--" The idea of Rupert Hardinge's being the
"best authority" for any thing; a fellow who never knew what
unadulterated truth was, from the time he was in petticoats, or could
talk!--"As I _know_ there is a trust, though one of no great
moment; I presume Lucy has some contingent interest, subject, most
probably, to her marrying with her brother's approbation, or some such
provision. The old lady was sagacious, and no doubt did all that was
necessary."

It is wonderful how people daily deceive themselves on the subject of
property; those who care the most about it, appearing to make the
greatest blunders. In the way of bequests, in particular, the lies
that are told are marvellous.  It is now many years since I learned to
take no heed of rumours on such subjects, and least of all, rumours
that come from the class of the money-gripers. Such people refer
everything to dollars, and seldom converse a minute without using the
word. Here, however, was Major Merton evidently Rupert's dupe; though
with what probable consequences, it was not in my power to foresee. It
was clearly not my business to undeceive him; and the conversation,
getting to be embarrassing, I was not sorry to hear the movement which
announced the end of the act. At the box door, to my great regret, we
met Mrs. Drewett retiring, the ladies finding the farce dull, and not
worth the time lost in listening to it. Rupert gave me an uneasy
glance, and he even dragged me aside to whisper--"Miles, what I told
you this evening, is strictly a family secret, and was entrusted to a
friend."

"I have nothing to do with your private concerns, Rupert--" I
answered,--"only, let me expect you to act honourably, especially when
women are concerned."

"Everything will come right, depend on it; the truth will set
everything right, and all will come out, just as I predicted."

I saw Lucy looking anxiously around, while Drewett had gone to order
the carriages to advance, and I hoped it might be for me. In a moment
I was by her side; at the next, Mr.  Andrew Drewett offered his arm,
saying, her carriage "stopped the way." We moved into the outer lobby,
in a body, and then it was found that Mrs. Drewett's carriage was up
first, while Lucy's was in the rear. Yes, Lucy's carriage!--the dear
girl having come into immediate possession of her relative's houses,
furniture, horses, carriages, and everything else, without reserve,
just as they had been left behind by the last incumbent, when she
departed from the scene of life, to lie down in the grave. Mrs.
Bradfort's arms were still on the chariot, I observed, its owner
refusing all Rupert's solicitations to supplant them by those of
Hardinge. The latter took his revenge, however, by telling everybody
how generous he was in keeping a carriage for his sister.

The Major handed Mrs. Drewett in, and her son was compelled to say
good night, to see his mother home. This gave me one blessed minute
with Lucy, by herself. She spoke of Grace; said they had now been
separated months, longer than they ever had been before in their
lives, and that all her own persuasions could not induce my sister to
rejoin her in town, while her own wish to visit Clawbonny had been
constantly disappointed, Rupert insisting that her presence was
necessary, for so many arrangements about business.

"Grace is not as humble as I was, in old times, Miles," said the dear
girl, looking me in the face, half sadly, half reproachfully, the
light of the lamp falling full on her tearful, tender eyes, "and I
hope you are not about to imitate her bad example. She wishes us to
know she has Clawbonny for a home, but I never hesitated to admit how
poor we were, while you alone were rich."


"God bless you, Lucy!" I whispered, squeezing her hand with
fervour--"It cannot be _that_--have you heard anything of Grace's
health?"

"Oh! she is well, I know--Rupert tells me _that_, and her letters
are cheerful and kind as ever, without a word of complaint. But I
_must_ see her soon. Grace Wallingford and Lucy Hardinge were not
born to live asunder. Here is the carriage; I shall see you in the
morning, Miles--at breakfast, say--eight o'clock, precisely."

"It will be impossible--I sail for Clawbonny with the first of the
flood, and that will make at four. I shall sleep in the sloop."

Major Merton put Lucy into the carriage; the good-nights were passed,
and I was left standing on the lowest step of the building gazing
after the carriage, Rupert walking swiftly away.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

  "Hear me a little;
  For I have only been silent so long,
  And given way unto this course of fortune,
  By noting of the lady: I have mark'd
  A thousand blushing apparitions start
  Into her face; a thousand innocent shames
  In angel whiteness bear away those blushes--"
  SHAKESPEARE


I reached the Wallingford before eleven, where I found Neb in
attendance with my trunks and other effects. Being now on board my own
craft, I gave orders to profit by a favourable turn in the wind, and
to get under-way at once, instead of waiting for the flood. When I
left the deck, the sloop was above the State Prison, a point towards
which the town itself had made considerable progress since the time I
first introduced it to the reader. Notwithstanding this early start,
we did not enter the creek until about eight in the morning of the
second day.

No sooner was the vessel near enough, than my foot was on the wharf,
and I began to ascend the hill. From the summit of the latter I saw my
late guardian hurrying along the road, it afterwards appearing that a
stray paper from town had announced the arrival of the Dawn, and that
I was expected to come up in the sloop. I was received with extended
hands, was kissed just as if I had still been a boy, and heard the
guileless old man murmuring his blessings on me, and a prayer of
thankfulness. Nothing ever changed good Mr. Hardinge, who, now that he
could command the whole income of his daughter, was just as well
satisfied to live on the three or four hundreds he got from his glebe
and his parish, as he ever had been in his life.

"Welcome back, my dear boy, welcome back!" added Mr. Hardinge, his
voice and manner still retaining their fervour.  "I said you
_must_--you _would_ be on board, as soon as they reported
the sloop in sight, for I judged your heart by my own. Ah! Miles, will
the time ever come when Clawbonny will be good enough for you? You
have already as much money as you can want, and more will scarce
contribute to your happiness."

"Speaking of money, my dear sir," I answered, "while I have to regret
the loss of your respectable kinswoman, I may be permitted to
congratulate you on the accession to an old family property--I
understand you inherit, in your family, all of Mrs. Bradfort's
estate-one valuable in amount, and highly acceptable, no doubt, as
having belonged to your ancestors."

"No doubt--no doubt--it is just as you say; and I hope these
unexpected riches will leave us all as devout servants of God, as I
humbly trust they found us. The property, however, is not mine, but
Lucy's; I need not have any reserve with you, though Rupert has hinted
it might be prudent not to let the precise state of the case be known,
since it might bring a swarm of interested fortune-hunters about the
dear girl, and has proposed that we rather favour the notion the
estate is to be divided among us. This I cannot do directly, you will
perceive, as it would be deception; but one may be silent. With you,
however, it is a different matter, and so I tell you the truth at
once. I am made executor, and act, of course; and this makes me the
more glad to see you, for I find so much business with pounds,
shillings and pence draws my mind off from the duties of my holy
office, and that I am in danger of becoming selfish and mercenary. A
selfish priest, Miles, is as odious a thing as a mercenary woman!"

"Little danger of your ever becoming anything so worldly, my dear
sir. But Grace-you have not mentioned my beloved sister?"

I saw Mr. Hardinge's countenance suddenly change. The expression of
joy instantly deserted it, and it wore an air of uncertainty and
sadness. A less observant man than the good divine, in all the
ordinary concerns of life, did not exist; but it was apparent that he
now saw something to trouble him.

"Yes, Grace," he answered, doubtingly; "the dear girl is here, and all
alone, and not as blithe and amusing as formerly.  I am glad of your
return on her account, too, Miles.  She is not well, I fear; I would
have sent for a physician last week, or the moment I saw her; but she
insists on it, there is no need of one. She is frightfully beautiful,
Miles!  You know how it is with Grace--her countenance always seemed
more fitted for heaven than earth; and now it always reminds me of a
seraph's that was grieving over the sins of men!"

"I fear, sir, that Rupert's account, then, is true, and that Grace is
seriously ill?"

"I hope not, boy--I fervently pray not! She is not as
usual--_that_ is true; but her mind, her thoughts, all her
inclinations, and, if I may so express it, her energies, seem turned
to heaven. There has been an awakening in the spirit of Grace, that is
truly wonderful. She reads devout books, meditates, and, I make no
doubt, prays, from morn till night. This is the secret of her
withdrawal from the world, and her refusing of all Lucy's
invitations. You know how the girls love each other--but Grace
declines going to Lucy, though she knows that Lucy cannot come to
her."

I now understood it all. A weight like that of a mountain fell upon my
heart, and I walked on some distance without speaking. To me, the
words of my excellent guardian sounded like the knell of a sister I
almost worshipped.

"And Grace--does she expect me, now?" I at length ventured to say,
though the words were uttered in tones so tremulous, that even the
usually unobservant divine perceived the change.

"She does, and delighted she was to hear it. The only thing of a
worldly nature that I have heard her express of late, was some
anxious, sisterly wish for your speedy return. Grace loves you, Miles,
next to her God!"

Oh! how I wished this were true, but, alas! alas! I knew it was far
otherwise!

"I see you are disturbed, my dear boy, on account of what I have
said," resumed Mr. Hardinge; "probably from serious apprehensions
about your sister's health. She is not well, I allow; but it is the
effect of mental ailments.  The precious creature has had too vivid
views of her own sinful nature, and has suffered deeply, I fear. I
trust, my conversation and prayers have not been without their effect,
through the divine aid, and that she is now more cheerful--nay, she
has assured me within half an hour, if it turned out that you were in
the sloop, she should be happy!"

For my life, I could not have conversed longer on the painful
subject; I made no reply. As we had still a considerable distance to
walk, I was glad to turn the conversation to other subjects, lest I
should become unmanned, and sit down to weep in the middle of the
road.

"Does Lucy intend to visit Clawbonny, this summer?"  I asked, though
it seemed strange to me to suppose that the farm was not actually
Lucy's home. I am afraid I felt a jealous dislike to the idea that the
dear creature should have houses and lands of her own; or any that was
not to be derived through me.

"I hope so," answered her father, "though her new duties do not leave
Lucy as much her own mistress as I could wish. You saw her, and her
brother, Miles, I take it for granted?"

"I met Rupert in the street, sir, and had a short interview with the
Mertons and Lucy at the theatre. Young Mr. and old Mrs. Drewett were
of the party."

The good divine turned short round to me, and looked as conscious and
knowing as one of his singleness of mind and simplicity of habits
could look. Had a knife penetrated my flesh, I could not have winced
more than I did; still, I affected a manner that was very foreign to
my feelings.

"What do you think of this young Mr. Drewett, boy?"  asked
Mr. Hardinge, with an air of confidential interest, and an earnestness
of manner, that, with him, was inseparable from all that concerned his
daughter. "Do you approve?"

"I believe I understand you, sir;--you mean me to infer that
Mr. Drewett is a suitor for Miss Hardinge's hand."

"It would be improper to say this much, even to you, Miles, did not
Drewett take good care, himself, to let everybody know it."

"Possibly with a view to keep off other pretenders"--I rejoined, with
a bitterness I could not control.

Now, Mr. Hardinge was one of the last men in the world to suspect
evil. He looked surprised, therefore, at my remark, and I was probably
not much out of the way, in fancying that he looked displeased.

"That is not right, my dear boy," he said, gravely.

"We should try to think the best and not the worst, of our
fellow-creatures."--Excellent old man, how faithfully didst thou
practise on thy precept!--"It is a wise rule, and a safe one; more
particularly in connection with our own weaknesses. Then, it is but
natural that Drewett should wish to secure Lucy; and if he adopt no
means less manly than the frank avowal of his own attachment, surely
there is no ground of complaint."

I was rebuked; and what is more, I felt that the rebuke was
merited. As some atonement for my error, I hastened to add--

"Very truly, sir; I admit the unfairness of my remark, and can only
atone for it by adding it is quite apparent Mr.  Drewett is not
influenced by interested motives, since he certainly was attentive to
Miss Hardinge previously to Mrs.  Bradfort's death, and when he could
not possibly have anticipated the nature of her will."

"Quite true, Miles, and very properly and justly remarked.  Now, to
you, who have known Lucy from childhood, and who regard her much as
Rupert does, it may not seem so very natural that a young man can love
her warmly and strongly, for herself, alone--such is apt to be the
effect of brotherly feeling; but I can assure you, Lucy is really a
charming, as we all know she is a most excellent, girl!"

"To whom are you speaking thus, sir! I can assure you, nothing is
easier than for me to conceive how possible it is for any man to love
your daughter. As respects Grace, I confess there, is a
difference--for I affirm she has always seemed to me too saintly, too
much allied to Heaven already, to be subject herself, to the passions
of earth."

"That is what I have just been telling you, and we must endeavour to
overcome and humanize--if I may so express it--Grace's propensity.
There is nothing more dangerous to a healthful frame of mind, in a
religious point of view, Miles, than excitement--it is disease, and
not faith, nor charity, nor hope, nor humility, nor anything that is
commanded; but our native weaknesses taking a wrong direction, under a
physical impulse, rather than the fruits of repentance, and the
succour afforded by the spirit of God.  We nowhere read of any
excitement, and howlings and waitings among the apostles."

How could I enlighten the good old man on the subject of my sister's
malady? That Grace, with her well-tempered mind, was the victim of
religious exaggeration, I did not for a moment believe; but that she
had had her heart blighted, her affections withered, her hopes
deceived, by Rupert's levity and interestedness, his worldly-mindedness
and vanity, I could foresee, and was prepared to learn; though these
were facts not to be communicated to the father of the offender.  I
made no answer, but managed to turn the conversation towards the farm,
and those interests about which I could affect an interest that I was
very far from feeling, just at that moment. This induced the divine to
inquire into the result of my late voyage, and enabled me to collect
sufficient fortitude to meet Grace, with the semblance of firmness, at
least.

Mr. Hardinge made a preconcerted signal, as soon as he came in view of
the house, that apprised its inmates of my arrival; and we knew, while
still half a mile from the buildings, that the news had produced a
great commotion. All the blacks met us on the little lawn--for the
girls, since reaching womanhood, had made this change in the old
door-yard--and I had to go through the process of shaking hands with
every one of them. This was done amid hearty bursts of laughter, the
mode in which the negroes of that day almost always betrayed their
joy, and many a "welcome home, Masser Mile!" and "where a Neb got to,
dis time, Masser Mile?" was asked by more than one; and great was the
satisfaction, when I told his generation and race that the faithful
fellow would be up with the cart that was to convey my luggage. But,
Grace awaited me. I broke through the throng, and entered the
house. In the door I was met by Chloe, a girl about my own sister's
age, and a sort of cousin of Neb's by the half-blood, who had been
preferred of late years to functions somewhat resembling those of a
lady's maid. I say of the half-blood; for, to own the truth, few of
the New York blacks, in that day, could have taken from their brothers
and sisters, under the old _dictum_ of the common law, which
declared that none but heirs of the whole blood should inherit. Chloe
met me in the door-way, and greeted me with one of her sweetest
smiles, as she curtsied, and really looked as pleased as all my slaves
did, at seeing their _young_ master again. How they touched my
heart, at times, by their manner of talking about "_ole_ Masser,
and _ole_ Missus," always subjects of regret among negroes who
had been well treated by them.  Metaphysicians may reason as subtly as
they can about the races and colours, and on the aptitude of the black
to acquire, but no one can ever persuade me out of the belief of their
extraordinary aptitude to love. As between themselves and their
masters, their own children and those of the race to which they were
subject, I have often seen instances which have partaken of the
attachment of the dog to the human family; and cases in which the
children of their masters have been preferred to those of their own
flesh and blood, were of constant occurrence.

"I hope you been werry well, sah, Masser Mile," said Chloe, who had
some extra refinement, as the growth of her position.

"Perfectly, my good girl, and I am glad to see you looking so
well--you really are growing handsome, Chloe."

"Oh! Masser Mile---you so droll!--now you stay home, sah, long time?"

"I am afraid not, Chloe, but one never knows. Where shall I find my
sister?"

"Miss Grace tell me come here, Masser Mile, and say she wish to see
you in de family-room. She wait dere, now, some time."

"Thank you, Chloe; and do you see that no one interrupts us. I have
not seen my sister for near a year."

"Sartain, sah; all as you say." Then the girl, whose face shone like a
black bottle that had just been dipped in water, showed her brilliant
teeth, from ear to ear, laughed outright, looked foolish, after which
she looked earnest, when the secret burst out of her heart, in the
melodious voice of a young negress, that did not know whether to laugh
or to cry--"Where Neb, Masser Mile? what he do now; de _fel_-ler!"

"He will kiss you in ten minutes, Chloe; so put the best face on the
matter you are able."

"_Dat_ he wont--de sauce-box---Miss Grace teach me better dan
_dat_."

I waited to hear no more, but proceeded towards the triangular little
room, with steps so hurried and yet so nervous, that I do not
remember, ever before to have laid my hand on a lock in a manner so
tremulous--I found myself obliged to pause, ere I could muster
resolution to open the door, a hope coming over me that the impatience
of Grace would save me the trouble, and that I should find her in my
arms before I should be called on to exercise any more fortitude. All
was still as death, however, within the room, and I opened the door,
as if I expected to find one of the bodies I had formerly seen in its
coffin, in this last abiding place above ground, of one dead. My
sister was on the _causeuse_, literally unable to rise from
debility and agitation.  I shall not attempt to describe the shock her
appearance gave me. I was prepared for a change, but not one that
placed her, as my heart instantly announced, so near the grave!

Grace extended both arms, and I threw myself at her side, drew her
within my embrace, and folded her to my heart, with the tenderness
with which one would have embraced an infant. In this situation we
both wept violently, and I am not ashamed to say that I sobbed like a
child. I dare say five minutes passed in this way, without either of
us speaking a word.

"A merciful and all gracious God be praised! You are restored to me in
time, Miles!" murmured my sister, at length. "I was afraid it might be
too late."

"Grace!--Grace!--What means this, love?--my precious, my only, my most
dearly beloved sister, why do I find you thus?"

"Is it necessary to speak, Miles?--cannot you see?--_do_ you not
see, and understand it all?"

The fervent pressure I gave my sister, announced how plainly I
comprehended the whole history. That Grace could ever love, and
forget, I did not believe; but, that her tenderness for Rupert--one
whom I knew for so frivolous and selfish a being, should reduce her to
this terrible state, I had not indeed foreseen as a thing
possible. Little did I then understand how confidingly a woman loves,
and how apt she is to endow the being of her choice with all the
qualities se could wish him to possess. In the anguish of my soul I
muttered, loud enough to be heard, "the heartless villain!"

Grace instantly rose from my arms. At that moment, she looked more
like a creature of heaven, than one that was still connected with this
wicked world. Her beauty could scarcely be called impaired, though I
dreaded that she would be snatched away from me in the course of the
interview; so frail and weak did it appear was her hold of life.  In
some respects I never saw her more lovely than she seemed on this very
occasion. This was when the hectic of disease imparted to the sweetest
and most saint-like eyes that were ever set in the human countenance,
a species of holy illumination. Her countenance, now, was pale and
colourless; however, and her look sorrowful and filled with reproach.

"Brother," she said, solemnly, "this _must_ not be. It is not
what God commands--it is not what I expected from you--what I have a
right to expect from one whom I am assured loves me, though none other
of earth can be said to do so."

"It is not easy, my sister, for a man to forget or forgive the wretch
who has so long misled you--misled us all, and then turned to another,
under the impulse of mere vanity."

"Miles, my kind and manly brother, listen to me," Grace rejoined,
fervently pressing one of my hands in both of hers, and scarcely able
to command herself, through alarm. "All thoughts of anger, of
resentment, of pride even, must be forgotten.  You owe it to my sex,
to the dreadful imputations that might otherwise rest on my name--had
I anything to reproach myself with as a woman. I could submit to
_any_ punishment; but surely, surely, it is not a sin so
unpardonable to be unable to command the affections, that I deserve to
have my name, after I shall be dead, mixed up with rumours connected
with such a quarrel. You have lived as brothers, too--then there is
good, excellent, truthful, pious Mr. Hardinge; who is yet _my_
guardian, you know; and Lucy, dear, true-hearted, faithful Lucy--"

"Why is not dear, true-hearted, faithful Lucy, here, watching over
you, Grace, at this very moment?" I demanded, huskily.

"She knows nothing of my situation--it is a secret, as well as its
cause, from all but God, myself, and you. Ah!  I knew it would be
impossible to deceive your love, Miles!  which has ever been to me,
all that a sister could desire."

"And Lucy! how has _her_ affection been deceived?--Has she too,
eyes only for those she has recently learned to admire?"

"You do her injustice, brother. Lucy has not seen me, since the great
change that I can myself see has come over me. Another time, I will
tell you all. At present I can only say, that as soon as I had certain
explanations with Rupert, I left town, and have studiously concealed
from dear Lucy the state of my declining health. I write to her
weekly, and get answers; everything passing between us as cheerfully,
and apparently, as happily as ever. No, do not blame Lucy; who, I am
certain, would quit everything and everybody to come to me, had she
the smallest notion of the truth. On the contrary, I believe she
thinks I would rather not have her at Clawbonny, just at this moment,
much as she knows I love her; for, one of Lucy's observation and
opportunities cannot but suspect the truth. Let me lie on your breast,
brother; it wearies me to talk so much."

I sat holding this beloved sister in my arms, fully an hour, neither
of us speaking. I was afraid of injuring her, by further excitement,
and she was glad to take refuge in silence, from the feelings of
maiden shame that could not be otherwise than mingled with such a
dialogue. As my cheek leaned on her silken hair, I could see large
tears rolling down the pallid cheeks; but the occasional pressure of
the hands, told me how much she was gladdened by my presence. After
some ten or fifteen minutes, the exhausted girl dropped into feverish
and disturbed slumbers, that I would have remained motionless
throughout the night to maintain. I am persuaded it was quite an hour
before this scene terminated. Grace then arose, and said, with one of
her most angelic smiles--

"You see how it is with me, Miles--feeble as an infant, and almost as
troublesome. You must bear with me, for you will be my nurse. One
promise I must have, dearest, before we leave this room."

"It is yours, my sister, let it be what it may; I can now refuse you
nothing," said I, melted to feminine tenderness.  "And yet, Grace,
since _you_ exact a promise, _I_ have a mind to attach a
condition."

"What condition, Miles, can you attach, that I will refuse?  I consent
to everything, without even knowing your wishes."

"Then I promise not to call Rupert to an account for his conduct---not
to question him--nay, even not to reproach him," I rejoined, enlarging
my pledges, as I saw by Grace's eyes that she exacted still more.

The last promise, however, appeared fully to satisfy her.  She kissed
my hand, and I felt hot tears falling on it.

"Now name your conditions, dearest brother," she said, after a little
time taken to recover herself; "name them, and see how gladly I shall
accept them all."

"I have but one--it is this. I must take the complete direction of the
care of you--must have power to send for what physician I please, what
friends I please, what advice or regimen I please!"

"Oh! Miles, you _could_ not--_cannot_ think of sending for
_him_!"

"Certainly not; his presence would drive me from the house. With that
one exception, then, my condition is allowed?"

Grace made a sign of assent, and sunk on my bosom again, nearly
exhausted with the scene through which she had just gone. I perceived
it would not do to dwell any longer on the subject we had been
alluding to, rather than discussing; and for another hour did I sit
sustaining that beloved form, declining to speak, and commanding
silence on her part. At the end of this second little sleep, Grace was
more refreshed than she had been after her first troubled repose, and
she declared herself able to walk to her room, where she wished to lie
on her own bed until the hour of dinner.  I summoned Chloe, and,
together, we led the invalid to her chamber. As we threaded the long
passages, my sister's head rested on my bosom, her eyes were turned
affectionately upward to my face, and several times I felt the gentle
pressure of her emaciated hands, given in the fervour of devoted
sisterly love.

I needed an hour to compose myself, after this interview.  In the
privacy of my own room, I wept like a child over the wreck of the
being I had left so beautiful and perfect, though even then the canker
of doubt had begun to take root. I had yet her explanations to hear,
and resolved to command myself so far as to receive them in a manner
not to increase the pain Grace must feel in making them. As soon as
sufficiently calm, I sat down to write letters. One was to Marble. I
desired him to let the second-mate see the ship discharged, and to
come up to me by the return of the sloop. I wished to see him in
person, as I did not think I could be able to go out in the vessel on
her next voyage, and I intended him to sail in her as master. It was
necessary we should consult together personally. I did not conceal the
reason of this determination, though I said nothing of the cause of my
sister's state. Marble had a list of physicians given him, and he was
to bring up with him the one he could obtain, commencing with the
first named, and following in the order given. I had earned ten
thousand dollars, nett, by the labours of the past year, and I
determined every dollar of it should be devoted to obtaining the best
advice the country then afforded. I had sent for such men as Hosack,
Post, Bayley, M'Knight, Moore, &c.; and even thought of endeavouring
to procure Rush from Philadelphia, but was deterred from making the
attempt by the distance, and the pressing nature of the emergency. In
1803, Philadelphia was about three days' journey from Clawbonny, even
allowing for a favourable time on the river; with a moderately
unfavourable, five or six; whereas the distance can now be passed,
including the chances of meeting the departures and arrivals of the
different lines, in from twelve to fifteen hours. Such is one of the
prodigious effects of an improved civilization; and in all that
relates to motion, and which falls short of luxury, or great personal
comfort, this country takes a high place in the scale of nations. That
it is as much in arrears in other great essentials, however,
particularly in what relates to tavern comforts, no man who is
familiar with the better civilization of Europe, can deny.  It is a
singular fact, that we have gone backward in this last particular,
within the present century, and all owing to the increasingly
gregarious habits of the population. But to return to my painful
theme, from which, even at this distance of time, I am only too ready
to escape.

I was on the point of writing to Lucy, but hesitated. I hardly knew
whether to summon her to Clawbonny or not.  That she would come, and
that instantly, the moment she was apprised of Grace's condition, I
did not in the least doubt. I was not so mad as to do her character
injustice, because I had my doubts about being loved as I had once
hoped to be. That Lucy was attached to me, in one sense, I did not in
the least doubt; this, her late reception of me sufficiently proved;
and I could not question her continued affection for Grace, after all
the latter had just told me.  Even did Lucy prefer Andrew Drewett, it
was no proof she was not just as kind-hearted, as ready to be of
service, and as true in her friendship, as she ever had been. Still,
she was Rupert's sister, must have penetration enough to understand
the cause of Grace's illness, and might not enter as fully into her
wrongs as one could wish in a person that was to watch the sick
pillow. I resolved to learn more that day, before this portion of my
duty was discharged.

Neb was summoned, and sent to the wharf, with an order to get the
Wallingford ready to sail for town at the first favourable moment. The
sloop was merely to be in ballast, and was to return to Clawbonny with
no unnecessary delay.  There was an eminent, but retired physician of
the name of Bard, who had a country residence on the other bank of the
Hudson, and within a few hours' sail from Clawbonny. I knew his
character, though I was not acquainted with him, personally. Few of us
of the right bank, indeed, belonged to the circles of the left, in
that day; the increasing wealth and population of the country has
since brought the western side into more notice. I wrote also to
Dr. Bard, inclosing a cheque for a suitable fee; made a strong appeal
to his feelings--which would have been quite sufficient with, such a
man--and ordered Neb to go out in the Grace and Lucy, immediately, to
deliver the missive. Just as this arrangement was completed, Chloe
came to summon me to my sister's room.

I found Grace still lying on her bed, but stronger, and materially
refreshed. For a moment, I began to think my fears had exaggerated the
danger, and that I was not to lose my sister. A few minutes of close
observation, however convinced me, that the first impression was the
true one. I am not skilled in the theories of the science, if there be
any great science about it, and can hardly explain, even now, the true
physical condition of Grace. She had pent up her sufferings in her own
bosom, for six cruel months, in the solitude of a country-house,
living most of the time entirely alone; and this, they tell me, is
what few, even of the most robust frames, can do with impunity. Frail
as she had ever seemed, her lungs were sound, and she spoke easily and
with almost all her original force, so that her wasting away was not
the consequence of anything pulmonary. I rather think the physical
effects were to be traced to the unhealthy action of the fluids, which
were deranged through the stomach and spleen. The insensible
perspiration was affected also, I believe; the pores of the skin
failing to do their duty. I dare say there is not a graduate of the
thousand and one medical colleges of the country, who is not prepared
to laugh at this theory, while unable quite likely to produce a
better,--so much easier is it to pull down than to build up; but my
object is merely to give the reader a general idea of my poor sister's
situation. In outward appearance, her countenance denoted that
expression which the French so well describe, by their customary term
of "_fatigue_," rather than any other positive indication of
disease--Grace's frame was so delicate by nature, that a little
falling away was not as perceptible in her, as it would have been in
most persons; though her beautiful little hands wanted that fulness
which had rendered their taper fingers and roseate tint formerly so
very faultless. There must have been a good deal of fever, as her
colour was often higher than was formerly usual. It was this
circumstance that continued to render her beauty even unearthly,
without its being accompanied by the emaciation so common in the
latter stages of pulmonary disease, though its tendency was strongly
to undermine her strength.

Grace, without rising from her pillow, now asked me for an outline of
my late voyage. She heard me, I make no doubt, with real interest, for
all that concerned me, in a measure concerned her. Her smile was
sweetness itself, as she listened to my successes; and the interest
she manifested in Marble, with whose previous history she was well
acquainted, was not less than I had felt myself, in hearing his own
account of his adventures. All this delighted me, as it went to prove
that I had beguiled the sufferer from brooding over her own sorrows;
and what might not be hoped for, could we lead her back to mingle in
the ordinary concerns of life, and surround her with the few friends
she so tenderly loved, and whose absence, perhaps, had largely
contributed to reducing her to her present state? This thought
recalled Lucy to my mind, and the wish I had to ascertain how far it
might be agreeable to the latter, to be summoned to Clawbonny. I
determined to lead the conversation to this subject.

"You have told me, Grace," I said, "that you send and receive letters
weekly, to and from Lucy?"

"Each time the Wallingford goes and comes; and that you know is
weekly. I suppose the reason I got no letter to-day was owing to the
fact that the sloop sailed before her time. The Lord High Admiral was
on board; and, like wind and tide, _he_ waits for no man!"

"Bless you--bless you, dearest sister--this gaiety removes a mountain
from my heart!"

Grace looked pleased at first; then, as she gazed wistfully into my
face, I could see her own expression change to one of melancholy
concern. Large tears started from her eyes, and three or four followed
each other down her cheeks.  All this said, plainer than words, that,
though a fond brother might be momentarily deceived, she herself
foresaw the end.  I bowed my head to the pillow, stifled the groans
that oppressed me, and kissed the tears from her cheeks. To put an end
to these distressing scenes, I determined to be more business-like in
future, and suppress all feeling, as much as possible.

"The Lord High Admiral," I resumed, "is a species of Turk, on board
ship, as honest Moses Marble will tell you, when you see him,
Grace. But, now for Lucy and her letters--I dare say the last are
filled with tender secrets, touching such persons as Andrew Drewett,
and others of her admirers, which render it improper to show any of
them to me?"

Grace looked at me, with earnestness, as if to ascertain whether I was
really as unconcerned as I affected to be.  Then she seemed to muse,
picking the cotton of the spotless counterpane on which she was lying,
like one at a loss what to say or think.

"I see how it is," I resumed, forcing a smile; "the hint has been
indiscreet. A rough son of Neptune is not the proper confidant for the
secrets of Miss Lucy Hardinge.  Perhaps you are right; fidelity to
each other being indispensable in your sex."

"It is not that, Miles. I doubt if Lucy ever wrote me a line, that you
might not see--in proof of which, you shall have the package of her
letters, with full permission to read every one of them. It will be
like reading the correspondence of another _sister_!"

I fancied Grace laid an emphasis on the last word she used; and I
started at its unwelcome sound--unwelcome, as applied to Lucy
Hardinge, to a degree that I cannot express.  I had observed that Lucy
never used any of these terms, as connected with me, and it was one of
the reasons why I had indulged in the folly of supposing that she was
conscious of a tenderer sentiment. But Lucy was so natural, so totally
free from exaggeration, so just and true in all her feelings, that one
could not expect from her most of the acts of girlish weakness. As for
Grace, she called Chloe, gave her the keys of her secretary, and told
her to bring me the package she described.

"Go and look them over, Miles," said my sister, as I received the
letters; "there must be more than twenty of them, and you can read
half before the dinner hour. I will meet you at table; and let me
implore you not to alarm good Mr. Hardinge. He does not believe me
seriously ill; and it cannot benefit him or me, to cause him pain."

I promised discretion, arid hastened to my own room, with the precious
bundle of Lucy's letters. Shall I own the truth? I kissed the papers,
fervently, before they were loosened, and it seemed to me I possessed
a treasure, in holding in my hand so many of the dear girl's
epistles. I commenced in the order of the date, and began to read with
eagerness. It was impossible for Lucy Hardinge to write to one she
loved, and not exhibit the truth and nature of her feelings. These
appeared in every paragraph in which it was proper to make any
allusions of the sort. But the letters had other charms. It was
apparent, throughout, that the writer was ignorant that she wrote to
an invalid, though she could not but know that she wrote to a
recluse. Her aim evidently was to amuse Grace, of whose mental
sufferings she could not well be ignorant. Lucy was a keen observer,
and her epistles were filled with amusing comments on the follies that
were daily committed in New York, as well as in Paris, or London. I
was delighted with the delicate pungency of her satire, which,
however, was totally removed from vulgar scandal. There was nothing in
these letters that might not have been uttered in a drawing-room, to
any but the persons concerned; and yet they were filled with a humour
that rose often to wit, relieved by a tact and taste that a man never
could have attained.  Throughout, it was apparent to me, Lucy, in
order to amuse Grace, was giving a full scope to a natural talent--one
that far surpassed the same capacity in her brother, being as true as
his was meritricious and jesuitical--which she had hitherto concealed
from us all, merely because she had not seen an occasion fit for its
use. Allusions in the letters, themselves, proved that Grace had
commented on this unexpected display of observant humour, and had
expressed her surprise at its existence. It was then as novel to my
sister as it was to myself. I was struck also with the fact, that
Rupert's name did not appear once in all these letters. They embraced
just twenty-seven weeks, between the earliest and the latest date; and
there were nine-and-twenty letters, two having been sent by private
conveyances; her father's, most probably, he occasionally making the
journey by land; yet no one of them contained the slightest allusion
to her brother, or to either of the Mertons. This was enough to let me
know how well Lucy understood the reason of Grace's withdrawal to
Clawbonny.

"And how was it with Miles Wallingford's name?" some of my fair
readers may be ready to ask. I went carefully through the package in
the course of the evening, and I set aside two, as the only exceptions
in which my name did not appear. On examining these two with jealous
care, I found each had a postscript, one of which was to the following
effect: "I see by the papers that Miles has sailed for Malta having at
last left those stubborn Turks. I am glad of this, as one would not
wish to have the excellent fellow shut up in the Seven Towers, however
honourable it may have been." The other postscript contained this:
"Dear Miles has got to Leghorn, my father tells me, and may be
expected home this summer. How great happiness this will bring you,
dearest Grace, I can well understand; and I need scarcely say that no
one will rejoice more to see him again than his late guardian and
myself."

That the papers were often looked over to catch reports of my
movements in Europe, by means of ships arriving from different parts
of the world, was apparent enough; but I scarce knew what to make of
the natural and simply affectionate manner in which my name was
introduced. It might proceed from a wish to gratify Grace, and a
desire to let the sister know all that she herself possessed touching
the brother's movements. Then Andrew Drewett's name occurred very
frequently, though it was generally in connection with that of his
mother, who had evidently constituted herself a sort of regular
_chaperone_ for Lucy, more especially during the time she was
kept out of the gay world by her mourning. I read several of these
passages with the most scrupulous attention, in order to detect the
feeling with which they had been written; but the most practised art
could not have more successfully concealed any secret of this sort,
than Lucy's nature. This often proves to be the case; the just-minded
and true among men daily becoming the profoundest mysteries to a
vicious, cunning, deceptive and selfish world. An honest man, indeed,
is ever a parodox to all but those who see things with his own
eyes. This is the reason that improper motives are so often imputed to
the simplest and seemingly most honest deeds.

The result was, to write, entreating Lucy to come to Clawbonny; first
taking care to secure her father's assent, to aid my request. This was
done in a way not to awaken any alarm, and yet with sufficient
strength to render it tolerably certain she would come. On deliberate
reflection, and after seeing my sister at table, where she ate nothing
but a light vegetable diet, and passing the evening with her, I
thought I could not do less in justice to the invalid or her friend. I
took the course with great regret on several accounts; and, among
others, from a reluctance to appear to draw Lucy away from the society
of my rival, into my own.  Yet what right had I to call myself the
rival or competitor of a man who had openly professed an attachment,
where I had never breathed a syllable myself that might not readily be
mistaken for the language of that friendship, which time, and habit,
and a respect for each other's qualities, so easily awaken among the
young of different sexes? I had been educated almost as Lucy's
brother; and why should she not feel towards me as one?

Neb went out in the boat as soon as he got his orders and the
Wallingford sailed again in ballast that very night.  She did not
remain at the wharf an hour after her wheat was out. I felt easier
when these duties were discharged, and was better prepared to pass the
night in peace. Grace's manner and appearance, too, contributed to
this calm; for she seemed to revive, and to experience some degree of
earthly happiness, in having her brother near her. When Mr. Hardinge
read prayers that night, she came to the chair where I stood, took my
hand in hers, and knelt at my side.  I was touched to tears by this
act of affection, which spoke as much of the tenderness of the sainted
and departed spirit, lingering around those it had loved on earth, as
of the affection of the world. I folded the dear girl to my bosom, as
I left her at the door of her own room that night, and went to my own
pillow, with a heavy heart. Seamen pray little; less than they ought,
amid the rude scenes of their hazardous lives. Still, I had not quite
forgotten the lessons of childhood, and sometimes practised on
them. That night I prayed fervently, beseeching God to spare my
sister, if in his wisdom it were meet; and I humbly invoked his
blessings on the excellent divine, and on Lucy, by name. I am not
ashamed to own it, let who may deride the act.



CHAPTER XXIX.

  "Wherever sorrow is, relief would be;
  If you do sorrow at my grief in love,
  By giving love, your sorrow and my grief
  Were both extermin'd."
  _As You Like It._


I saw but little of Grace, during the early part of the succeeding
day. She had uniformly breakfasted in her own room, of late, and, in
the short visit I paid her there, I found her composed, with an
appearance of renewed strength that encouraged me greatly, as to the
future. Mr. Hardinge insisted on rendering an account of his
stewardship, that morning, and I let the good divine have his own way;
though, had he asked me for a receipt in full, I would cheerfully have
given it to him, without examining a single item.  There was a
singular peculiarity about Mr. Hardinge. No one could live less for
the world generally; no one was less qualified to superintend
extensive worldly interests, that required care, or thought; and no
one would have been a more unsafe executor in matters that were
intricate or involved: still, in the mere business of accounts, he was
as methodical and exact, as the most faithful banker. Rigidly honest,
and with a strict regard for the rights of others, living moreover on
a mere pittance, for the greater part of his life, this conscientious
divine never contracted a debt he could not pay. What rendered this
caution more worthy of remark, was the fact that he had a spendthrift
son; but, even Rupert could never lure him into any weakness of this
sort. I question if his actual cash receipts, independently of the
profits of his little glebe, exceeded $300 in any one year; yet, he
and his children were ever well-dressed, and I knew from observation
that his table was always sufficiently supplied. He got a few presents
occasionally, from his parishioners, it is true; but they did not
amount to any sum of moment. It was method, and a determination not to
anticipate his income, that placed him so much above the world, while
he had a family to support; whereas, now that Mrs. Bradfort's fortune
was in the possession of his children, he assured me he felt himself
quite rich, though he scrupulously refused to appropriate one dollar
of the handsome income that passed through his hands as executor, to
his own uses. It was all Lucy's, who was entitled to receive this
income even in her minority, and to her he paid every cent, quarterly;
the sister providing for Rupert's ample wants.

Of course, I found everything exact to a farthing; the necessary
papers were signed, the power of attorney was cancelled, and I entered
fully into the possession of my own.  An unexpected rise in the value
of flour had raised my shore receipts that year to the handsome sum of
nine thousand dollars. This was not properly income, however, but
profits, principally obtained through the labour of the mill.  By
putting all my loose cash together, I found I could command fully
$30,000, in addition to the price of the ship.  This sum was making me
a man quite at my ease, and, properly managed, it opened a way to
wealth. How gladly would I have given every cent of it, to see Grace
as healthy and happy as she was when I left her at Mrs. Bradfort's, to
sail in the Crisis!

After settling the figures, Mr. Hardinge and I mounted our horses, and
rode over the property to take a look at the state of the farm. Our
road took us near the little rectory and the glebe; and, here, the
simple-minded divine broke out into ecstasies on the subject of the
beauties of his own residence, and the delight with which he should
now return to his ancient abode. He loved Clawbonny no less than
formerly, but he loved the rectory more.

"I was born in that humble, snug, quiet old stone cottage, Miles," he
said, "and there I lived for years a happy husband and father, and I
hope I may say a faithful shepherd of my little flock. St. Michael's,
Clawbonny, is not Trinity, New York, but it may prove, on a small
scale as to numbers, as fitting a nursery of saints. What humble and
devout Christians have I known to kneel at its little altar, Miles,
among whom your mother, and your venerable old grandmother, were two
of the best. I hope the day is not distant when I shall meet there
another Mrs. Miles Wallingford. Marry young, my boy; early marriages
prove happier than late, where there are the means of subsistence."

"You would not have me marry, until I can find a woman whom I shall
truly love, dear sir?"

"Heaven forbid! I would rather see you a bachelor to my dying day. But
America has enough females that a youth, like you, could, and indeed
ought to love. I could direct you to fifty, myself."

"Well, sir, _your_ recommendations would have great weight with
me. I wish you would begin."

"That I will, that I will, if you wish it, my dear boy.  Well, there
is a Miss Hervey, Miss Kate Hervey, in town; a girl of excellent
qualities, and who would just suit you, could you agree."

"I recollect the young lady; the greatest objection I should raise to
her, is a want of personal attractions. Of all Mrs. Bradfort's
acquaintances, I think she was among the very plainest."

"What is beauty, Miles? In marriage, very different recommendations
are to be looked for by the husband."

"Yet, I have understood you practised on another theory;
Mrs. Hardinge, even as I recollect her, was very handsome."

"Yes, that is true," answered the good divine, simply; "she was so;
but beauty is not to be considered as an _objection_.  If you do
not relish the idea of Kate Hervey, what do you say to Jane
Harwood--there is a pretty girl for you."

"A pretty girl, sir, but not for me. But, in naming so many young
ladies, why do you overlook your own daughter?"

I said this with a sort of desperate resolution, tempted by the
opportunity, and the direction the discourse had taken.  When it was
uttered, I repented of my temerity, and almost trembled to hear the
answer.

"Lucy!" exclaimed Mr. Hardinge, turning suddenly to towards me, and
looking so intently and earnestly in my face, that I saw the
possibility of such a thing then struck him, for the first time. "Sure
enough, why should you not marry Lucy? There is not a particle of
relationship between you, after all, though I have so long considered
you as brother and sister. I wish we had thought of this earlier,
Miles; it would be a most capital connection--though I should insist
on your quitting the sea. Lucy has too affectionate a heart, to be
always in distress for an absent husband.  I wonder the possibility of
this thing did not strike me, before it was too late; in a man so much
accustomed to see what is going on around me, to overlook this!"

The words "too late," sounded to me like the doom of fate; and had my
simple-minded companion but the tithe of the observation which he so
much vaunted, he must have seen my agitation. I had advanced so far,
however, that I determined to learn the worst, whatever pain it might
cost me.

"I suppose, sir the very circumstance that we were brought up together
has prevented us all from regarding the thing as possible. But, why
'too late,' my excellent guardian, if we who are the most interested
in the thing should happen to think otherwise?"

"Certainly not too late, if you include Lucy, herself, in your
conditions; but I am afraid, Miles, it is 'too late' for Lucy."

"Am I to understand, then, that Miss Hardinge is engaged to
Mr. Drewett? Are her affections enlisted in his behalf?"

"You may be certain of one thing, boy, and that is, if Lucy be
engaged, her affections are enlisted--so conscientious a young woman
would never marry without giving her heart with her hand. As for the
fact, however, I know nothing, except by inference. I do suppose a
mutual attachment to exist between her and Andrew Drewett."

"Of course with good reason, sir. Lucy is not a coquette, or a girl to
encourage when she does not mean to accept."

"That's all I know of the matter. Drewett continues to visit; is as
attentive as a young man well can be, where a young woman is as
scrupulous as is Lucy about the proper forms, and I infer they
understand each other. I have thought of speaking to Lucy on the
subject, but I do not wish to influence her judgment, in a case where
there exists no objection. Drewett is every way a suitable match, and
I wish things to take their own course. There is one little
circumstance, however, that I can mention to you as a sort of son,
Miles, and which I consider conclusive as to the girl's
inclinations--I have remarked that she refuses all expedients to get
her to be alone with Drewett--refuses to make excursions in which she
must be driven in his curricle, or to go anywhere with him, even to
the next door. So particular is she, that she contrives never to be
alone with him, even in his many visits to the house."

"And do you consider that as a proof of attachment?--of her being
engaged? Does your own experience, sir, confirm such a notion?"

"What else can it be, if it be not a consciousness of a passion--of an
attachment that she is afraid every one will see? You do not
understand the sex, I perceive, Miles, or the finesse of their natures
would be more apparent to you.  As for my experience, no conclusion
can be drawn from that, as I and my dear wife were thrown together
very young, all alone, in her mother's country house; and the old lady
being bed-ridden, there was no opportunity for the bashful maiden to
betray this consciousness. But, if I understand human nature, such is
the secret of Lucy's feelings towards Andrew Drewett. It is of no
great moment to you, Miles, notwithstanding, as there are plenty more
young women to be had in the world."

"True, sir; but there is only one Lucy Hardinge!" I rejoined with a
fervour and strength of utterance that betrayed more than I intended.

My late guardian actually stopped his horse this time, to look at me,
and I could perceive deep concern gathering around his usually serene
and placid brow. He began to penetrate my feelings, and I believe they
caused him real grief.

"I never could have dreamed of this!" Mr. Hardinge at length
exclaimed: "Do you really love Lucy, my dear Miles?"

"Better than I do my own life, sir--I almost worship the earth she
treads on--Love her with my whole heart, and have loved, I believe, if
the truth were known, ever since I was sixteen--perhaps I had better
say, twelve years old!"

The truth escaped me, as the torrent of the Mississippi breaks through
the levee, and a passage once open for its exit, it cleared a way for
itself, until the current of my feelings left no doubt of its
direction. I believe I was a little ashamed of my own weakness, for I
caused my horse to walk forward, Mr. Hardinge accompanying the
movement, for a considerable distance, in a profound, and, I doubt
not, a painful silence.

"This has taken me altogether by surprise, Miles," my late guardian
resumed; "altogether by surprise. What would I not give could this
have been known a year or two since! My dear boy, I feel for you, from
the bottom of my heart, for I can understand what it must be to love a
girl like Lucy, without hope. Why did you not let this be known
sooner--or, why did you insist on going to sea, having so strong a
motive for remaining at home?"

"I was too young, at that time, sir, to act on, or even to understand
my own feelings. On my return, in the Crisis, I found Lucy in a set
superior to, that in which I was born and educated, and it would have
been a poor proof of my attachment to wish to bring her down nearer to
my own level."

"I understand you, Miles, and can appreciate the generosity of your
conduct; though I am afraid it would have been too late on your return
in the Crisis. That was only a twelvemonth since, and, then, I rather
think, Andrew Drewett had offered. There is good sense in your feeling
on the subject of marriages in unequal conditions in life, for they
certainly lead to many heart-burnings, and greatly lessen the chances
of happiness. One thing is certain; in all such cases, if the inferior
cannot rise to the height of the superior, the superior must sink to
the level of the inferior.  Man and wife cannot continue to occupy
different social positions; and, as for the nonsense that is uttered
on such subjects, by visionaries, under the claim of its being common
sense, it is only fit for pretending theories, and can have nothing to
do with the great rules of practice. You were right in principle,
then, Miles, though you have greatly exaggerated the facts of your own
particular case."

"I have always known, sir, and have ever been ready to admit, that the
Hardinges have belonged to a different class of society, from that
filled by the Wallingfords."

"This is true, but in part only; and by no means true to a degree that
need have drawn any impassable line between you and Lucy. You forget
how poor we then were, and bow substantial a benefit the care of
Clawbonny might have been to my dear girl. Besides, you are of
reputable descent and position, if not precisely of the gentry; and
this is not a country, or an age, to carry notions of such a nature
beyond the strict bounds of reason. You and Lucy were educated on the
same level; and, after all, that is the great essential for the
marriage connection."

There was great good sense in what Mr. Hardinge said; and I began to
see that pride, and not humility, might have interfered with my
happiness. As I firmly believed it was now too late, however, I began
to wish the subject changed; for I felt it grating on some of my most
sacred feelings.  With a view to divert the conversation to another
channel, therefore, I remarked with some emphasis, affecting an
indifference I did not feel--

"What cannot be cured, must be endured, sir; and I shall endeavour to
find a sailor's happiness hereafter, in loving my ship. Besides, were
Andrew Drewett entirely out of the question, it is now 'too late,' in
another sense, since it would never do for the man who, himself at his
ease in the way of money, hesitated about offering when his mistress
was poor, to prove his love, by proposing to Mrs.  Bradfort's
heiress. Still, I own to so much weakness as to wish to know, before
we close the subject for ever, why Mr.  Drewett and your daughter do
not marry, if they are engaged?  Perhaps it is owing only to Lucy's
mourning?"

"I have myself imputed it to another cause. Rupert is entirely
dependent on his sister, and I know Lucy so well as to feel
certain--some extraordinary cause not interposing--that she wishes to
bestow half her cousin's fortune on her brother. This cannot be done
until she is of age, and she wants near two years of attaining her
majority."

I made no answer; for I felt how likely this was to be true. Lucy was
not a girl of professions, and she would be very apt to keep a
resolution of this nature, a secret in her own breast, until ready to
carry it into execution. No more passed between Mr. Hardinge and
myself, on the subject of our recent conversation; though I could see
my avowal had made him sad, and that it induced him to treat me with
more affection, even, than had been his practice. Once or twice, in
the course of the next day or two, I overheard him soliloquizing--a
habit to which he was a good deal addicted--during which he would
murmur, "What a pity!"--"How much to be regretted!"'--"I would rather
have him for a son than any man on earth!" and other similar
expressions.  Of course, these involuntary disclosures did not weaken
my regard for my late guardian.

About noon, the Grace & Lucy came in, and Neb reported that Dr. Bard
was not at home. He had left my letter, however, and it would be
delivered as soon as possible.  He told me also that the wind had been
favourable on the river, and that the Wallingford must reach town that
day.

Nothing further occurred, worthy of notice. I passed the afternoon
with Grace, in the little room; and we conversed much of the past, of
our parents in particular, without adverting, however, to her
situation, any further than to apprise her of what I had done. I
thought she was not sorry to learn I had sent for Lucy, now that I was
with her, and it was no longer possible her illness could be
concealed. As for the physicians, when they were mentioned, I could
see a look of tender concern in Grace's eyes, as if she regretted that
I still clung to the delusion of hoping to see her health
restored. Notwithstanding these little drawbacks, we passed a sweet
eventide together. For more than an hour, Grace lay on my bosom,
occasionally patting her hand on my cheeks, as the child caresses its
mother. This was an old habit of hers, and it was one I was equally
delighted and pained to have her resume, now we were of the age and
stature of man and woman.

The next day was Sunday, and Grace insisted on my driving her to
church. This was done, accordingly, in a very old-fashioned, but very
easy Boston chaise, that had belonged to my mother, and with very
careful driving.  The congregation, like the church-edifice of
St. Michael's, was very small, being confined, with some twenty or
thirty exceptions, to the family and dependants of Clawbonny.
Mr. Hardinge's little flock was hedged in by other denominations on
every side, and it was not an easy matter to break through the
barriers that surrounded it. Then he was not possessed with the spirit
of proselytism, contenting himself with aiding in the spiritual
advancement of those whom Providence had consigned to his care. On the
present occasion, however, the little building was full, and that was
as much as could have happened had it been as large as St. Peter's
itself. The prayers were devoutly and fervently read, and the sermon
was plain and filled with piety.

My sister professed herself in no manner wearied with the exertion. We
dined with Mr. Hardinge, at the Rectory, which was quite near the
church; and the irreverent, business-like, make-weight sort of look,
of going in to one service almost as soon as the other was ended, as
if to score off so much preaching and praying as available at the
least trouble, being avoided, by having the evening service commence
late, she was enabled to remain until the close of the day. Mr.
Hardinge rarely preached but once of a Sunday.  He considered the
worship of God, and the offices of the church, as the proper duties of
the day, and regarded his own wisdom as a matter of secondary
importance. But one sermon cost him as much labour, and study, and
anxiety, as most clergymen's two. His preaching, also, had the high
qualification of being addressed to the affections of his flock, and
not to its fears and interests. He constantly reminded us of God's
_love_, and of the _be